Category Archives: love life introspective

Love Life Introspective: No, I am Not a Slut

So, I’ve been really quiet again lately. That’s because I keep starting posts and not finishing them. And I keep not finishing them because things are going really well, almost too well to be able to write about it in any meaningful way.

Most importantly, The Traveling Progressive and I have been seeing quite a lot of each other. He has made me a delicious dinner, taken me out for a fancy dinner, and put me completely out of my element by taking me out on an ATV.

And he told me stories of baby TTP crashing four-wheelers.

When I recently discussed this with my parents, the differences in their reactions were startling.

Me: TTP took me to the [little, fancy, expensive restaurant in town] last night.

Dad: Oh? How was it?

Me: It was really good. . .blah blah blah.

But later, my conversation with my mom was more like this:

Me: TTP took me to the [little, fancy, expensive restaurant in town] last night.

Mom: And is he expecting any reciprocity in return?

Me: [dumbfounded look as I try to decide if she is talking about my taking TTP out sometime]

Mom: Well, you know most guys expect something in return for taking you out to a nice dinner.

Me: Or. . . not. Because that hasn’t happened.

Mom: You need to play hard to get.

Now, I don’t necessarily want to discuss my parents’ disparate reactions, or how weird it is that my mom chose to focus on whether or not I was sleeping with him while my dad just cared how dinner was. I also don’t want to talk about my mother’s passive comments like smirking at me when someone mention’s “fuck buddies” or straight up asking “who are you sleeping with now?” when I try to get my family to make plans in advance so I can plan the rest of my weekend. Continue reading

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Love Life Introspective: Relationship Material

Yesterday, I came across this post on Miss Guyded Dates about the top personality traits men are looking for in women. Writer NewYorkVAGal challenges some of these qualities and what the top qualities women would choose for men.

The qualities, which come from Ask Men’s 2013 Great Man Survey, are:

  • Sense of Loyalty (36% overall, 40% in the US)
  • Sense of Caring/Nurturing (26% overall, 25% in the US)
  • Sense of Humor (20% overall, 16% in the US)
  • Intelligence (18% overall, 19% in the US)

Now, it’s important to note that these are the only four choices the survey gave men. So some men might actually have another quality that is more important than these. Notice how none of them have to do with looks, which culture seems to reinforce as one of the most important things we look for in a mate (whether that’s true or not, I’ll not venture to guess).

I’m trying to make myself think about this topic more. What exactly am I looking for? What do I want in a potential partner?

At one point I liked you, but I'm more interested in these cookies now. Image by Scott McLead, via Flickr.

At one point I liked you, but I’m more interested in these cookies now.
Image by Scott McLead, via Flickr.

In the past, I’ve tended to not know what I’m looking for or what I like about a particular person. “There’s just something about them,” I would emphasize, as if the X Factor was somehow the most important consideration when looking for a mate. But that is ultimately not helpful when it comes to evaluating the relationship because I typically end up losing sight of what I found attractive about him in the first place. Continue reading

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Love Life Introspective, #2

I stay in bad relationships because I like to prove people wrong. Of course, I don’t realize that this is what’s happening at the time. When I think about some of the less positive relationships I’ve been in, though, I realize that this is definitely the case.

The only woman I’ve ever dated, The Girlfriend, had so many hang ups that centered on my not being “gay enough” for her. Regardless of how much I showed her I cared about her, she was concerned that I was going to leave her for a man. My feelings for her didn’t really matter, no matter how many times I explained how I felt–that I was attracted to her exactly as she was for exactly who she was. It didn’t have anything to do with whether or not I was previously or still attracted to men, at least for me. But eventually the desire to show her those feelings became something else, and the competitive side kicked in.

Instead of saying, “Listen, Girlfriend, I really love you and care about you, but if you can’t accept who I am, I don’t think this is going to work,” I would say or do whatever it seemed would make her feel better. I didn’t lie to her–I told her how I genuinely felt at the time. But in hindsight, those feelings might not have been motivated by our happy relationship, and that relationship became not so happy for me.

What did I feel the need to prove otherwise? Was I really convincing her of anything when the reality was that we simply weren’t right for each other, and these arguments were just symptomatic of that problem?

This is. . . not an isolated event. The Grad School Boyfriend was often verbally abusive. Among his favorite lines were “you said x to every guy you’ve dated!” or “If we break up, you’ll just go back to  being a slut and sleep with the first guy you can.” These weren’t one-time comments but frequent insults flung at me while inebriated. But I stayed with him to prove. . .that I loved him? That I wasn’t a slut? That he wasn’t the same as every other person I’d ever dated?

This is, simply put, a horrible practice. I didn’t prove anything. No matter what I said, it didn’t assuage his concerns or ease his paranoia. Instead, it just made me miserable. I was constantly trying to prove stuff to him because he was insecure and needed to be reassured, but any reassuring just led to more questions and more insecurity.

Sometimes, these situations lead to sacrificing who we are, and especially when that shouldn’t be the end result. I’m a big believer that the people in a relationship should grow and change together, but one person should not do all of the changing just to satisfy another person. With The Grad School Boyfriend, things became “I’m going to become who you want me to be in order to prove to you that I’m not who you think I am.” Why did that ever sound like a good idea?

This isn’t something that will be changed easily, unless I figure out how to identify it when it’s happening. But I can say that this isn’t healthy, and if one person is constantly proving anything to the other person (who, in return, is proving nothing), then things just aren’t going to work out.

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Love Life Introspective, #1

After being in a long-term relationship for just short of two years, I find myself living six months single. Break-ups are hard, but I personally find the in-betweenness of twenty-something singledom to be frustrating.

I don’t know if “in-betweenness” is common post-break-ups at this age, but that’s definitely how I’m feeling. I no longer mourn my lost relationship, though I do occasionally get the urge to talk to the ex, The Grad School Boyfriend. This mostly happens when immersed in something I shared with him, like Game of Thrones.

At the same time, I am definitely not ready to be friends with him again. I would like to, eventually, but it’s just not something I’m sure we could ever do. Our relationship was, frankly, toxic. And how do you get over that toxic past to be friends who care about each other’s success and well-being without falling back into the toxic romance? Continue reading

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