483: Online Dating

download (1) I understand that you have an 87 % chance of meeting a psychopath on an online dating site, and that 93% of statistics are made up on the spot. Given that constraint, I believe that I am firmly in both the majority and the minority of that equation. The 87% of weirdos are definitely out there. I met one guy who wanted to exchange photos – of unmentionable body parts. Ummm…..NO, thanks just the same.

I also met one guy who pledged undying love and exclusivity to me….in the first e-mail, in about six pages of flowery, verbose, over-the-top text. Then, a few days later, as he is offering to give up his idyllic existence in another state about 800 miles distant from me and move to be with me, I discovered that he had an alternate profile on the same dating site, just a different name and persona. The first iteration of him was the preppy, family oriented guy, complete with fetching photo in front of the decorated Christmas tree. The second iteration was the consummate bad boy, muscle shirt, shades, tattoo prominently displayed. Made me wonder if he was conducting experimental research at the graduate level into the psychology of women who join online dating sites.

See, people want to be paired. We all want that intimate, emotional and spiritual connection (not to mention the physical connection) with another like-minded person (usually of the opposite sex, but hey, I’m not judging) who does not freak us out too much on a daily basis. Most of us have been around the track in face-to-face, traditional relationships, and have found that meeting and dating process to be somewhat lacking (!), not to mention extraordinarily time-consuming.  HAS to be a better way, right? For me, the better way included being far, far away at my new job in Kazakhstan when I joined the site and started getting responses.

I figured my previous two marriages were mostly based on the hormones/pheromones of physical attraction (not that you could have told me that at the time), so I figured, THIS time, I would meet someone via text, and communicate that way to see if we had similar goals, interests, morals, and values, where the whole physical attraction thing was conspicuously absent to gum up the works and shut off what little common sense I possess in the first place. Figured it was worth a try – doing things the same way was obviously not working, so a change in tactics was in order.

So, I clicked on an advertisement featuring a man/woman/other who was fairly attractive, and decided to take the online dating plunge. Some sites, from what I am told, have an extensive questionnaire designed to better weed out those individuals you would run screaming from on the public street if you met them face to face. Kinda reminds me of the Purity Test http://www.puritytest.net/test/500/. The purity test is an EYE-OPENER,  and let’s just say, I scored fairly poorly for someone who actually is not into bodily waste as a sex object. I am NOT kidding…..absolutely and totally boggles the mind, some of those questions. Opened up whole vistas that you just can’t mentally un-see, ya know?

Some sites, like the one I joined, simply ask you to self-promote. Marketing yourself is difficult, because let’s face it, it’s just bragging. Period. How do you brag about yourself and make it sound humble and attractive? Yeah – see what I mean? Still, I tried to be honest about my intentions, mostly honorable ones…mostly. I included some photos that actually looked like me…you know, the FLATTERING ones that still actually managed to look like me.

As I got flirts, invitations for contact and other messages, I added bits to my profile to more accurately indicate what I was NOT looking for. Pretty much men with extremely suggestive nicknames such as stallion4U or longhotrod fit into that category, as well as anyone without the self-confidence to post a photo. You could be a little green man from Mars, I just don’t know.

I mentioned that, along with the 87%, I also found the 13%. Yes, they do exist, Virginia. One sharp individual asked me a question that led me to do some serious introspective thinking, and he made me realize I had been intellectually dishonest with myself. I had some work to do on that one, and I “came clean,” and owned up to my mistake.  Another one might, just possibly could, hopefully is, I believe, be the one. We are taking it slowly and discussing every topic under the sun, delving and exploring each other in pretty much perfect safety, if you don’t count the scary business of opening up to another human being as being unsafe.

See – all of us want that intimate relationship – without having actually to get intimate, confess to our faults and flaws, and generally bare our souls. That is scary, and he/she/it might not like me if I bare all, because not everything has been lipo-suctioned (or exercised) into shape.

But, guess what?

You are not gonna get there (where you want to be) if you don’t go there.

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482: New Habits

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Many people are dissatisfied with some part of their life. That’s pretty universal, since life has so many compartments: physical, spiritual, financial, occupational, familial, emotional, and every one of those compartments has multiple occupants, all of which can run smoothly, or gum up the works.

In the process of living our lives, we humans are often like water. We choose the easiest path (the path of least resistance) to find our way down an incline. What this translates to in daily life is that we establish easy routines to deal with most things, and they become habits over time with repetition. They start to feel natural and normal with the familiarity, even if they are not natural and normal. It happens this way even when our established habits are actually unhealthy for us, or harmful to us.

All of us struggle with habits, but who would knowingly establish a habit that harms them? Well – that appears obvious, but people do it every day.  We choose to take a drink because we are bored, or because something is uncomfortable that we’d rather not think about and deal with. Repeatedly choosing that option leads us to a dependency on alcohol (or drugs, or food, or sex, or the Internet, or gambling, or shopping, or fill-in-the-blank with your own addictive, escapist behavior) and the poor choice is now a habit that feels natural and normal to you, even though it is anything BUT. The problem with addictive, escapist behaviors is that they are never, ever satisfied with the compartment of your life that they started out in. They do take control of that compartment, yes – and then they cast a proprietary eye on the compartment next door, and the one after that, and the one after that, until they pretty much take over everything.  Every stinking, little, tiny thing.

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This is why people who don’t see (and heed) the warning signs when a habit is still small enough to be uprooted, before its roots are so massive that digging it out uproots the rest of the garden, too – this is why those people speak of hitting absolute rock bottom. It takes that ultimate comeuppance (rock bottom) at that point, to make a change. When there are no more excuses, when you have pretty much lost everything that mattered to you, when there is nothing that is left of any value or worth, making a change isn’t such a bad thing. It is the only thing left.

You can’t dig yourself out of a hole. When you find yourself in a hole, STOP DIGGING. Make a change. You can’t expect different results when you continue to make the same choices. Start something new, and be sure it is something positive, and do it one day at a time, until you are no longer in a hole.

When will you be out of the hole? You will know. Just be sure you don’t start digging again.

481: Starting Over is Overrated

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There are TONS of blog posts and memes on the positive aspects of starting over, and, I get it, I really, really get it. It is great to approach starting over with a positive attitude, some faith in yourself and the limitless opportunities of the future, and the courage and determination that it will be better this time. That’s great, and I get it. Really. Yo comprendo. I understand.

However.

Let’s just face it. Most of us are starting over because *something* failed. A marriage. A relationship. Our health. Our control. Our sanity. Our investments. A job. A business. A life. Fill in the freaking blank. Most of us don’t just wake up one day from a perfectly satisfactory and fulfilling life and announce to the Universe: I am throwing all this delightful existence away today for the incredible, life-changing, exciting chance to START OVER!! Um……no. That is not how it happens, except for Julia Roberts in Eat Pray Love. The rest of us have more sense.

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Nope – we start over because we HAVE to start over. For nearly every one of us, starting over is a have to, even if it is also a want to because we consciously made a choice to get OUT of whatever failed, once we recognized and admitted to ourselves that it did, in fact, fail, and that we would be far better off starting over than remaining there to continue fighting to survive/succeed.

That has always been my biggest dilemma in a potential starting over scenario – whether to remain and fight, or choose to move on, acknowledging that continuing to struggle is counter-productive and damaging, with no or very little chance of success. For me, that choice was always tempered by whether or not the choice affected only me, or if my choice would impact others I was responsible for. Sometimes that consideration ultimately made the choice for me. Even if I chose starting over, it was still essentially a forced choice. Sometimes choosing to stay and fight is harder than starting over, I’ve found.

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At any rate, starting over is, ultimately, an acknowledgement that something failed (even if that failure was completely and totally out of my control, and I was an innocent victim (yeah, right)) but that I am not going to curl up and die in the face of this failure, I am going to take my raw courage and my tear-stained determination, and I am going to sally forth and establish something bigger, better, and brighter than I had before.

And starting over is not something we do voluntarily, even if we choose to do it. Being positive and hopeful about it helps.

Does not mean I relish the opportunity.

 

 

480: Up to Me

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Most of what I want…is up to me.

The job I have can be accepted and embraced with a sense of optimism, and improvement – ownership. I can show up every day to endure, or I can show up every day to make a difference. Or, I can shift my butt and make a move.

The relationship I have with my significant other can be explored with thoughtful, caring concern, shored up with love, admiration, respect, and acceptance, and enhanced by deeper intimacy: emotional, mental, spiritual, and physical. I can invest my time and myself in this relationship. Or, I can shift my butt and make a move.

The body I live in can be cared for, exercised, fed sensibly and prudently, stimulated with inspirational ideas and experiences, rested and invigorated with sweet dreams, shared with another who matters, and explored (by me, and whomever else I allow) for its limits. Or, I can shift my butt and make a change to get where I’d rather be.

My state of being is up to me. I decide how I am going to face the day, and in what frame of mind I will live out my hours in this rotation of the Earth. I can reflect on what happens during my day, and I can choose to shift my butt and modify my behavior so that next time I get a more pleasant result.

My circumstances are partly under my control, in that my choices and decisions contributed to what I am experiencing, and where I am today. What part of my circumstances that isn’t under my control is still mine to respond to, and that IS a choice I get to make. I can shift my butt, and make conscious, not knee-jerk, choices.

It is my life and if it is mine, I can shift my butt and with happiness aforethought – I can deliberately LIVE IT.

Thank God every sunrise is a new beginning. I CAN shift my butt today. My choice, my opportunity.

479: Gimme, dammit

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I want some.

I want some care, concern, and affection from a significant other – and a significant other would be nice while you are at it. I want it NOW, today, right this very minute. (stomps foot and pouts)

I have spent years – YEARS, I tell you – being primarily concerned with the well-being of others: students, friends, coworkers, husbands, children, the dadgum PETS, and even the freaking houseplants. I am pathetic. And responsible. And mostly an adult, which is sucking the life right out of me (some days I’m whiney, too).

I wish I could get away with rolling about on the floor, drumming my heels and screaming, but at the advanced age of 5(mumble, mumble), I would look ridiculous, and would certainly throw out my back, as well. WHY is piching a hissey fit something allowable only to toddlers, who don’t have NEARLY the justification for pitching a fit as us mature adults do? Ye gods.

When is it MY TURN?

478: Why?

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Because you are breathing, and life isn’t always fair. Because there are lessons you are supposed to learn from this, and you haven’t learned them yet, or you would not be going through this again. Because there is a reason that you can’t see, and this time, the lesson is that you are supposed to have faith and trust that God knows best for you. Even if it hurts.

Because it is for the good of someone else, not you this time. Because you are strong enough to take it, and come out victorious on the other side, even if it does not feel that way right now. Because you made a less-than wise (OK, butt-ugly, dumb, and stupid) decision and must now suffer the consequences of your own haste/poor judgment/desires. Because the universe and the planets aligned and it was simply your turn. Because you were in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Because you deserved it (ouch). Because karma made that big circle, and your chickens are coming home to roost. Because you were good and noble and the world does not always honor that. Because it is a sacrifice. Because it is an honor. Because you love. Because you live.

Pick one.

477: NO

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No.

I drew a line in the sand, and you stomped all over it. NO.

No, I am not putting up with your childish behavior. No.

You cannot say and do anything you feel like it, just because it is YOU and because you know that I will take it because it comes from you. No.

Those days are over. Dead. Finished. DONE.

I do not accept your blame. NO.

I do not accept your manipulation. NO.

I do not accept the you that you have decided it is alright for you to be when you speak to me. NO.

I don’t have to take it, and I choose not to take it. NO.

You will have to rant to someone else, not to me. Try your mirror and see how YOU like it.

I am not holding still for long enough for you to rant to me any more. NO.

I have said YES to me, not to YOU.

You get the NO.