Part I: Rejection in the World of Monogamy

Remember that first crush you had as a kid?  And remember that gut wrenching feeling when you discovered they didn’t actually like you the same way you liked them?  It felt like your young heart was broken into a million pieces.  And for a moment you wondered what the point of having feelings for anyone really was, especially when the heartache hurt so badly.  The devastation of putting yourself out there for the first time, and not having the feelings reciprocated sticks with us.  In our monogamous driving society we learn, to avoid or prevent those feelings.  And we do so by putting up barriers, or learning to vet out a person before getting hurt.  We rally our friends to feel out our next love interest, to spare us the face to face humiliation of a “just not interested”, being ignored or worse, laughter!  And if you are anything like me, when you fell in love for the first time, and had that love finally returned you vowed that you would do whatever it took to make it work.  Because you had a glimpse of what rejection felt like, and that was more than enough to make you realize that it should be avoided wherever possible.

There is just no denying that getting rejected sucks!  But the reality is, that no one has the time, resources, attraction or even inclination to give every single person a chance.  And thus, we reject people, avoid the whole situation outright, or the latest fad, we ghost a person.  I could spend an entire post talking or rationalizing all the why’s a person rejects someone else, but the thing is, we have all done it at some point.  It would be impossible to like every single human on the planet, so part of growing up is rejection trial and error.  And for me, I had so many errors early on that I decided not to date until I was out of high school.  Which I attributed to the understanding that no one marries their high school sweetheart and stays happy, so why even bother wasting my time.  Let the e-mails from happily married high school sweethearts flood my inbox as I know there are a few of you out there.  I’m just a realist by nature and figured the chances for me were slim! 

Now once I actually started dating as an adult, I, like so many out there, had my fair share of total and absolute let downs that when that first guy that I could stand to both look at and talk to popped into my life, I clung on!  I had serious illusions that I would be the first monogamous person to fall in love and never experience the pain of heartbreak or rejection.  Blood, sweat and a lot of tears were shed in the quest to ensure that we were going to be married and live happily ever after.  And it was a close call.  A very, scary, close call to the I do’s.  I was fearful of being alone, and I was competitively inclined to make that first relationship succeed.  A life without heartbreak, was an opportunity too tantalizing to ignore.  And then, we broke up.  And I don’t have to relate to any of you just what that feels like.  The tightness in your chest, the inability to get out of bed, and the hiding from the sunlight because that represents the whole world seeing your pain and your failures.  It’s agonizing.  But I survived day by day, and then got back together with the same man.  Only to experience heartbreak again a few years later and finally walk away from him forever.  I had failed. I couldn’t avoid rejection or a broken heart, no matter how hard I tried.

The thing was, back then, I would have done anything to avoid that pain.  Hindsight shows me plainly that I was leaning eerily close to marring the devil I knew, rather than explore my options, to protect myself.  And I know I am not alone.  I guarantee that you know a person, perhaps even well, who got married to someone simply because they were tired and emotionally exhausted from getting their heartbroken.  That person decided to make things work with the next person they dated, simply to prevent any more pain.  It’s self preservation.  We want to be with someone far more than we want to be hurt, so sometimes we sacrifice perfection, in exchange for our mental and emotional well being, and just take what’s there.  Is the relationship perfect?  Of course not, but compatible is the next best thing.  And we humans have survived because once we experience pain we learn and adapt to avoid that same negative stimulus in the future.

And that is a huge benefit to living in the monogamous community and one that I never recognized until becoming non monogamous.  For you see, pair bonding for life, within the comfort of monogamy gives you a real chance to never feel that pain again.  We are told after our first heartache, not to fret, because someday, you will find someone amazing.  And you will fall in love, live happily ever after and you will never feel that loneliness again.  I bought into it, hook line and almost sinker.  I desperately wanted rejection to be something of a trial of youth.  But, here I am to tell you, that things are a little different on the non-monogamous side of the fence.  For you see, rejection is unavoidable and in fact, becomes a necessary skill to hone…

 

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The Ice Queen and Finding Peace

When I was a young girl some not so lovely people started referring to me as the Ice Queen.  It was a nickname born out of my outward coldness and reserved nature.  In short, I built a wall around myself, as many children from broken homes do and I gave off a vibe of isolation and an emotionless demeanor.  This is a persona that haunted me well into my early 20’s.  At the time, I chose to embrace this being, this ice queen.  I used the cold, and calculating comfort that this identity provided me to explain my lack of tears, and my almost holier than thou attitude.  I didn’t have time for foolish games, my young self would decree, I was a queen, and nothing could penetrate my icy heart. Whenever I was feeling down or lonely, I could snap into this character and find a calm sense of power and control.  Queen’s don’t cry, especially in front of the plebs (I lament that I only learned that word recently and never actually got the chance to use it on the playground!).

So why now, when I am the happiest I have ever been in my life, does this painful memory pop into my head?  Because as it turns out, this is my default when something unexpectedly painful arises in my life.  I go into cold, survival mode, and nothing can get in.  My defense mechanism is my Ice Queen identity.

I found out a few days ago that one of my great aunts passed away, quite suddenly.  And while that in of itself is painful, it is not what triggered me.  The catalyst was in fact the text message from my mom, the person I had not had any communication with in more than 4 years.  I cried for my aunt, and my grieving grandparents.  But then, the well of tears just dried right up.  There was a cold, protective shield that went up in light of the message from her.  It was like reading a message from a complete stranger.  You quickly scan, glean the information and then process the information at face value.  It was like she was a messenger pigeon and not the person who helped give me life.

I felt confused.  Really, seriously out of sorts.  How was it possible that this person had become a complete stranger to me?  Is this what happens to normal people when they have a falling out?  Do they just become acquaintances or less?  And what’s more, was I guilty that this had happened?  What was my next move, if any?

And then, just as quickly as my brain started to wind up, it calmed (with the help of my sister of course).  The wave of uncertainty was replaced by something wondrous.  Something I didn’t know was even possible.  It was peace.  Simple, calm, elegant peace.  I’m left knowing that there is no right or wrong, or regret or lament, or really anything else.  I made a decision that brought me peace and comfort.  And the ability to live my life to the fullest, without an anchor judging, shaming or holding me back in any way.  I am free.  I am also grateful, to the Ice Queen inside of me.  I recognize now, that in the face of uncertainty she will be there, she will not let me fall apart.  She will keep me whole in the face of adversity.  I can count on her years of strength and support when I could very easily be overcome with emotion and lose control.  The fear, that used to give me pause, is gone.  And while I am grateful for the calm reminder that the Ice Queen will always be a part of me, I am hopeful that I will not have to rely on her for many years to come.

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Talking Publicly About Your Sex Life


Last week I wrote a post about expressing my fantasies, and how it is an area of my life that I would like to improve upon.  I have difficulty expressing my fantasies, but I have absolutely no trouble with talking about my amazing sex life.  I could go on and on about the incredible foursome that I experienced very recently, but there is a problem, who can I tell? 

When it comes to social media there are certain societal norms that we tend to follow.  One of the main ones, is that you do not brag about your sex life on facebook, or other such social forums where your family or friends reside.  You cannot post that incredibly hot picture that you took in the mirror while doggy style, or share the picture taken in the hot tub just before the clothes started to fall off.  Exhibitionism is taboo for social media.  And if you do decide to Instagram, Snapchat or Tweet those pictures you may get some very nasty name calling and labels from those you know.  Sure, people say they want to see the images from time to time, but the general population just does not want to see a person they know in the throes of passion.  The consensus seems to be that those images are not necessarily bad, but any sort of in your face boasting is scandalous.

All of this is fine, and I am not trying to change this particular social climate, but there are days that I just want to brag to someone about how sexy I feel, or how amazing my most recent orgasm was.  And guess what?  Not even my best friends want to get that text.  If I try out of the blue to talk about that incredible connection at the swing club I get crickets from my nearest and dearest.  And I know I would get blocked or unfriended on facebook for sharing that the best start to the morning is a quickie before work, and I am speaking from direct experience ;).

Now interestingly enough, if I posted that same status on an anonymous forum like twitter, I would get likes and retweets for days.  A stranger can appreciate the sexiness, but friends and family cannot.  Why does this happen?  I suppose one parallel could be when we unfollow people who constantly update about their fitness journey, or Instagram every meal they eat.  We are just not geared to be supportive of peoples braggadocio behavior.  We cringe at anything in excess.  So therefor no one wants to see constant updates about orgasm after orgasm.  There is a very thick line in the sand in regards to sex and daily interaction with your peers.  It is not something to publicly discuss with your friends, period.

There is a nearly 80 study at Harvard that directly links overall happiness to your sense of community, and the line that is key to my point is this, “Researchers also found that those with strong social support experienced less mental deterioration as they aged.”  So here is the crux of my post, if sexual relationships are important to you, but you cannot talk about them with any of your peers, are we actually doing a disservice to our long term mental health and fitness?  Yes I am aware that I have used the term bragging and not just status updates, but aren’t those the most memorable points in our lives that go on social media?  We celebrate engagement, educational triumphs, births, and parties.  But we do not talk about sex publicly.  We do not celebrate threesomes, or orgasms or loss of virginity.  Speaking of, does anyone else remember that Clone High Episode where a congrats card is sent when one of the guys loses his virginity on prom night?  Funny in a cartoon, but oh the horror and social outrage in real life.

I believe that my sex life is key to my overall happiness.  While studies show that a strong sense of community is the most important factor in a person’s overall happiness level.  And yet we live in social constraints where these two aspects of life must stay far, far away from each other.  Is this reasonable?  Is this necessary?  Would talking publicly about sexual health, appetite, kinks or preferences make you a happier person?  Do you seek information about sex on the internet or find support groups and counseling to facilitate a safe place to discuss socially taboo topics?  Does sex have to remain in the world of the internet or books or simply within your partnership?

We are human, and curious about sex, sometimes even about the sex lives of our friends.  But we are not willing to admit that to each other.  And yes we all are, every single one of us at one time or another.   And don’t try to tell me that when you hear on the news a report on the latest sexual study that you are above comparing yourself to it; for example a certain study about average sexual encounters per week for married couples.  Hell, reading this blog is a perfect example of human curiosity.  But I highly doubt any of you discuss the contents openly with one another.

We have restrictions on what good behavior or socially tolerated subjects are.  And although it is unlikely to change in future, I personally think it is important to give thought to why that is.  And perhaps ask yourself if your sex life or overall well being would be positively or even negatively affected by being able to openly talk about sex?  Just some food for thought, some societal foreplay if you will…

Online Dating: The Woman Who Message First

Over the past few weeks I have been getting a large number of messages from women.  I am not sure why, but I sure appreciate it.  Now that I have a little more information to go off, I am boldly going to make a comparative statement of opening online dating messages.  Woman rarely make the first move other than a timid like.  This may be why the pool of users on Bumble is so low, and for a more in depth comparison I did recently of online dating sites, click here.  And when we do, and I am including myself here for fairness and honesty, it is usually terribly awkward or just plain lackluster.  Of all the messages I have received from women the only ones noteworthy are from those just looking to be friends.  You see, they have nothing to lose in being themselves.  This reality hurts my little feelings.  But there, I said it.  Woman’s openers when they are looking for anything more than friendship, are terrible.  “Hey there”, “you’re cute”, and “I just thought I would say a quick hi” are a few examples.

And while we are on the topic women, “hi” is a terrible opener.  I don’t know if we do it just to test the water and see if someone really is on the other end.  Or perhaps we are shy.  Or maybe just spineless and cannot handle another rejection.  But seriously, we can do better.  If we expect guys to be clever, to read our profiles and come up with something not copy and pasted, then guess what?  We have to give back too.  I know how excited men get when a woman messages first.  So, do yourself a favor and say something funny, clever, or interesting.  Do to men what we want them to do to us.   
Now once a conversation miraculously gets going, there is room for improvement in the first few lines.  Women, seem to treat online dating like an interview.  It is question, after question after question.  Whereby men, make a surprising amount of statements.  Statements that seem to have no forethought as to where the recipient is supposed to go with the conversation.  With women, I can barely keep up with the questions, and have to take a deep breath to ensure I take the time to ask questions back.  With men on the other hand, I am constantly trying to fuel a conversation, or fight to keep it flowing.
So here I have but a few suggestions for those initial online dating messages that should work for both sexes, and that is simply to be yourself.  The goal is to meet at some point, right?  Show some personality, take that ridiculously small risk.  You do not know the person on the other end so making mistakes is fine.  Test out the waters, test out some messages, try new things, try new approaches and this does not mean practice your small talk!  I would strongly recommend that you make a fake profile if you are struggling to figure out what to say.  Perhaps you could even try making one for the opposite gender that you are after and then try to have a conversation.  You may figure out a style of communication that is attractive and you want to start using yourself.  As we are losing the ability to communicate with humans, you may have to fake a scenario to educate yourself and put the shoe on the other foot so to speak.  Gain some insight from the other side to recognize what you are most definitely doing wrong if you cannot seem to get conversation going.

So, message someone your interested in, male or female, in a voice that works for you.  And please, ladies, keep trying.  Keep messaging me, and I will do the same.  If we work together, maybe we can have some fun?

Update Post, Family Changes: A New Year, New Challenges

I wrote a post nearly 4 years ago, whereby I questioned the forgive and forget mantra when it comes to family.  I wrote also, that I was done allowing my family to control me.  When I read back through this post I can see that I was a mess, both in sentence structure and grammar, but also in the waves of emotion I tried to conceal.  I was forcing objectivity while hurting so badly.  It is never easy to walk away from a family that does not support you as an adult.  A woman who is trying to find her way in the world, judged from the foundation out. 
But I am very proud to report a few things.  Number one, I closed the door on a family member who emotionally abused me.  Number two, I opened the door to a family member that had been closed out of my life for years.  We offered each other forgiveness and love and are working diligently to have a real father daughter adult relationships.  And I couldn’t be more thankful that he came back into my life during this dark timeline that I am in.   
I broke free of my families hypocrisy.  And rejected the notion that I had to accept them and their words and actions, while they talk about me behind my back and judge me.  Acceptance is a two way street.  My biological dad and my renewed relationship with him is based on this principle.  We do not judge each other, simply try to understand and support.  We are no longer re hashing past events, but rather forging new memories and experiences.  He found peace, and I have found my inner voice.  I can not lament the closed minded people who share my blood.  I can only be grateful to have relationships with those who are open and genuinely love life, themselves and me. 
Finding unconditional love within a few of my family members has helped my confidence in the dating world as well.  I am more open to new partners and less jealous of the past.  It took a few years to really see the truth in who I am and who my partner is. Now that I can, well, I treat myself with the respect and pride I deserve. 

In a Utopian world, this post would be about everyone in my life forgiving and forgetting.  However, this is the real world and this post is celebratory.  I have forgiven myself and by forgetting the past on an individual that never thought I could or would, I have found peace.  Here`s to new and amazing beginnings.  Why wait until 2016 is officially over to move forward?