Thursday, April 7, 2011

Fairytales and

I think I have become jaded on relationships lately. At this point in my life I don’t want to be in one. I’m pretty sure this is exactly opposite of what any 29 year old woman should be thinking, but it is really true.

This is not to say that I don’t want a relationship EVER, just not right now.

For one I don’t have time for one. I am working full time, going to grad school full time, am really active at church and am really active with the Junior League of Norman. Not to mention I have amazing friends that are all fighting for my time and I have adorable children in my life that I enjoy actually getting to see at times besides births and birthday parties. Then there is always the pool drama that has started this week.

Another reason is that I don’t really care to make any effort to look for one. I know, I know, when you stop looking that’s when it happens and certainly that has happened for me in the past, but I mean seriously. I have friends that are on eharmony,, okcupid and other dating websites. I have a twofold reason for being anti-online dating. The first is very simply I like stories and I want to have a good story and I do not want to explain to my grandchildren that I met grandpa online. Just not my thing. I have friends who tell me that it is socially acceptable now, well I don’t care, it is not acceptable for me. Now, stepping down from that soapbox, another reason for not wanting to look is simply that love is never sitting around waiting to be found, it finds us, so the way I look at it, why break my back going out to bars or wherever when very simply I’m going to meet Mr. Perfect at Borders or Panera or at some non profit event? I also don’t want to go around looking for love because then I would have to give up something in my life and frankly I really like how my life is right now and I’m not willing to budge!

I also HATE dating. I mean I really, really hate it. Love being in a relationship; hate “dating.” There are always those questions of “is he seeing someone else?” “does he like me better than everyone else?” “are we taking things too fast?” “are we taking things too slow?” Just too many questions. Don’t get me wrong I love the new feelings and the first kisses and all of that mess, but in the end I like knowing what I’m getting myself into and I don’t like taking risks.

Probably the most prevalent reason for my lack of desire to “couple” is that I’m not sure that I believe that relationships can really work anymore. This is such a sad thing to say. It’s a battle between my brain, which says relationships are just doomed to fail, and my heart, which believes that it will all work out just the way it was meant to be. I am a hopeless romantic, I really, really am, and as much as I preach against it I do think there is one person out there for everyone and the stars will align just right at just the right time and everything will fall into place and we’ll live happily ever after. (I try to ignore this annoying thought as much as possible though.) We grow up having the idea of the fairytale pounded into us, especially as girls, and there is something about that which makes me sad. I don’t really think everyone gets the fairytale (though my gut feeling is that after all is said and I done I will end up with the fairytale, call me a pessimistic optimist). However, in the last few weeks I have learned information about some friends that are in seemingly happy marriages. These are really good guys, if they are doing what they are doing then what about the rest of the world? I am really wondering what our society has come to.

There are certain actions that I have been thinking about lately.

The first is cheating.

What exactly constitutes cheating and an affair? Does it have to be having sex with someone else? Could it just be a kiss? What about having an emotional relationship with someone that you’ve never seen in person, but you share more with them than with your significant other? Infidelity has been around as long as the world has (don’t think that “thou shalt not commit adultery” commandment wasn’t put there for a reason).

I remember the old days (well not really, but follow along) when to have an affair you would call home and say you were working late and then go to the bar to pick someone up. Sneaking around to seedy motel rooms during lunch breaks. Having your buddies cover for you when your spouse asks where you were. Ah the good old days. At least it was a little bit easier to get caught by a paper trail back then. Then came the technology age: chat rooms (if they still exist), instant messenger, and social networking websites. Again, you’re leaving a trail, your spouse can check your history on the computer.

But now we have computers in our pockets: smart phones with text messaging and Internet. Before someone could look at a phone bill and notice unusual calls, but now it takes an act of Congress to get a hold of text message content (but it can be done for any would be cheaters reading this) and I don’t know if you can get a record of specific Internet usage on a phone. Not to mention we always have our phones with us, it is rare (shut up Kristin and Travis) for me to go anywhere without my phone and I know I’m not the only one. All of these allow for an individual to cheat pretty easily.

This brings me to the article that got me so riled up. I was on Yahoo checking my email last week and found an interesting article. Basically a man and woman went undercover for Redbook magazine to a website,, which at the time I had never heard of. If you have not heard of this let me give you a few tidbits as to what this website is for. In a lot of ways it is a dating website, like eharmony or match, however this particular site is geared to individuals that are in relationships. Their slogan is: Life is Short. Have an Affair. An entire website that is devoted to encouraging and facilitating affairs. Are you kidding me? The creator of the website said that the whole point of this is to help people “hook up” meaning no strings attached sex. The problem is that it didn’t stop with sex. Not saying that sex with someone that is not your spouse or significant other isn’t bad enough, but what the undercover reporter found is that so many of the men she went out with were looking for emotional connections that they weren’t getting at home. Who’s to blame? The woman because she isn’t giving the man what he needs? The man because he’s not giving the woman what she needs?

I don't really understand cheating. I have heard that people don't want to hurt their partner or their children. In my humble opinion the psychological ramifications of being cheated on is much worse than a break up on a significant other. When it comes to children, what exactly is cheating teaching them? (Note: the following scenario is if the male is cheating on the female, I realize it could go the other way as well) If you get caught, and let's be honest, the truth always comes out, if you have daughters you are teaching them that they should put up with someone cheating on them and how would you feel if someone did this to your daughter? If you have sons then you are teaching them that it is okay to treat others this way. Neither one is great.

This was a quote from Hot In Cleveland which was on again last night:
"This is why the Internet was invented: for men to find pictures of naked celebrities and women to cyberstalk the men they trust."
When you are someone who has been cheated on it is really hard to ever trust again. As far back as high school I can remember boyfriends cheating. Of course there is the “we weren’t really together” excuse that makes it okay, but it’s not. As we press onto new relationships, is it wrong to check up on the person you are dating/engaged to/married to? What if they never cheat and yet you still check up on them? Does that put you in the wrong? What gives you any reason to trust them? When you have been burned over and over giving that trust away gets really hard. Or, worse yet, it is really easy to give away. You get to a point when you just think, well maybe this one will not disappointment me, I’ll take that risk. In my experience every time they end up being just like the last one and the one before that.

Another major concern that has come to light in the last six months or so is that of domestic violence. Last semester in my Current Problems class one of our groups presented on this topic. It scares me to death that a lot of individuals that hurt their spouse never showed any indication of any type of violence when they were dating. That is terrifying! We also see domestic violence all over the place. Who hasn’t heard of the Rihanna/Chris Brown relationship? How many of us blew it off? I know I did, clearly she was just making too big of a deal about it. Then there is the song by Rihanna and Eminem.
“You ever love somebody so much You can barely breathe When you're with them You meet And neither one of you Even know what hit 'em Got that warm fuzzy feeling Yeah them chills Used to get 'em Now you're getting sick Of looking at 'em You swore you've never hit 'em Never do nothing to hurt 'em Now you're in each other's face Spewing venom And these words When you spit 'em You push Pull each other's hair Scratch, claw, bit 'em Throw 'em down Pin 'em So lost in the moments When you're in 'em It's the rage that took over It controls you both So they say it's best To go your separate ways Guess that they don't know ya Cause today That was yesterday Yesterday is over It's a different day Sound like broken records Playin' over But you promised her Next time you'll show restraint You don't get another chance Life is no Nintendo game But you lied again Now you get to watch her leave Out the window Guess that's why they call it window pane”
Maybe this is an attempt to make domestic violence more talked about, or maybe it’s glorifying it. Regardless the thoughts are there. I don’t have any personal experience on this one (another scary thought), so I can’t go into a huge rant on it, but it is still something to worry about.

Then there is probably my biggest concern: codependency. Because of a whole lot of reasons that I’m not going into here I have a lot of codependency issues. I am lucky that I am recognizing it earlier and earlier now. I know a lot of great people that are going to get themselves into really bad relationships because they want to fix someone. It is easy to say that you’re going to love someone exactly the way they are, but frankly, at least for me, that’s really hard.

I agree with this quote by Anne Frank:
“Despite everything, I believe that people are really good at heart.”
I very much believe in people. I believe that people are going to do the right thing. I believe that people can do anything they put their minds to. And I believe that they will, eventually, put their minds to it.

This is a problem. I get hurt because of this. I have many, many, many examples, both in romantic relationships and in other relationships. In Eat, Pray, Love Elizabeth Gilbert wrote:
“I have a history of making decisions very quickly about men. I have always fallen in love fast and without measuring risks. I have a tendency not only to see the best in everyone, but to assume that everyone is emotionally capable of reaching his highest potential. I have fallen in love more times than I care to count with the highest potential of a man, rather than with the man himself, and I have hung on to the relationship for a long time (sometimes far too long) waiting for the man to ascend to his own greatness. Many times in romance I have been a victim of my own optimism.”
Oh my, oh my, oh my does that sum me up. It scares me that every time I am even remotely interested in someone. I ask myself, what if I do it again.

Actually, I don’t ask myself that, which is the problem. After I get out of the relationship I realize that I did it again. When I am in the throws of “in love” or even “in like” I walk blindly in ignoring all signs that the person could be a cheater, a beater or a project.

So is my picker broken? Do I have a bad judge of character? Or are all of these bad relationships just leading me up to one great one?

The romantic in me believes the last one. I learn something from everyone that I encounter in some sort of serious way. It might be a quality that I like and will look for again, or it might be a huge warning sign that tells me to run away scream.

In the end I want a fairytale. I don’t know when that fairytale will happen, but I truly believe it will. I pray that there is one person out there that will not disappointment me in all the ways that I have mentioned. This is not to say that he won’t disappointment me somehow and I won't disappoint him, I mean we are all human.

I will end this rambling rant with one more quote, from Sam Keen:
"Love isn't finding a perfect person. It's seeing an imperfect person perfectly."
(So long as that imperfection isn't infidelity or violence!)

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