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Mother’s Day is a different celebration every year at my house. Some years it passes without fanfare and simple expressions of appreciation, and others are day-long frenzies of gift giving and increased family time.

Mothers (and mother figures) are caregivers, protectors, role models and leaders. That’s a lot of hats. Moms teach us so much, and there’s no way to measure how much their lessons mold us…except maybe one. And that’s in the one lesson you know you’ve learned that will stay with you. What did your mom (or mother figure) teach you that you will never forget?

The best thing I’ve ever learned from my mom is self sufficiency. The cool knowledge and know-how to look out for yourself, thrive in an environment solo [even if you don’t need to], and find the resources without – when you need them, and how you need them. This kind of independence doesn’t discount the presence or the significance of diverse interpersonal relationships with others. Of course not. But knowing how many different relationships you’ll have throughout your life? It just makes that unshakable independence all the more important.

So for that: thanks Mom! Happy Mother’s Day to all you moms and mother figures out there! We do really appreciate you (even if we’re sometimes lame in how we go about showing it the other 364 days of the year).

Quick test! Have you got the knack of Tweeting down to its awesome micro-blogging science? Can you put together 140-character updates in a snap and get in everything you wanna say?

Well, short and sweet has its advantages, but not when it comes to relationships, apparently. Not according to one of the hilarious charts that dating site OKCupid put together (check out chart 4!). Yep, that’s right, a whole TWO MONTHS shorter and sweeter. Maybe all that connectedness and succinctness come with a price?!

How long are your average relationships? And how many social media sites do you actively participate in? If you’re not married, have you seen the longevity of your relationships decrease as you use more and more social media sites, apps, etc?

Don’t blame me, blame the study. An academic study, recently published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology and summarized here, says that giving your partner the freedom to let their eye wander a little bit (or being given that leeway yourself) can make for a healthier relationship, one in which you’re less likely to stray and find satisfaction. Basically, I think what the study really conveys is this: if you know your quick double-take of appreciation to an attractive person who isn’t your significant other (and no, we’re NOT talking ogling here!) won’t result in an onslaught of resentment, you’ll be less likely to get defensive. Keep the peace and choose your battles, right? Unless you or the other person is truly being inappropriate, a resulting argument could do worse for the relationship than the checking out itself.

Of course, those who are totally and utterly happy in their relationship usually don’t even notice other attractive people, right?  Love is blind, they say. But, we all know the love-is-blind phase doesn’t last forever. And there’s a big difference between simply glancing at another attractive human being and letting your saliva drip to the floor.

I really don’t know how I feel about this one. One the one hand, what does a glance really mean? A good-looking person is eye catching…noticing their attractiveness doesn’t necessarily equate to actual attraction, and NOT looking at all is just one big elephant in the room. On the other hand, it’s still annoying, perhaps not enough to call attention to.

It’s a whole ‘nother story when it comes to celebrities through, because what I know for sure is this:  one day when I’m married, if I do happen to flip to a TV channel and see Keanu Reeves (or Gerard Butler, or Ryan Reynolds, or…well, the list could go on…) on the screen, I WILL stop and drool for a minute…or two. Trust me. And my husband will just have to deal with it.

Do you get annoyed when the guy or girl you’re with checks out someone else? And what do YOU do?

Like you DON’T ever check out the love/relationships/sex section at Barnes & Noble? Pshh, yeah right. None of us has gotten the whole love and dating thing figured out (and if you have, please divulge!), so a little self-help never did any harm, right?

Ever since making a little ol’ New Year’s resolution back in 2010 to figure out my next love-related move post first-real-relationship-breakup, I’ve been completely devouring the self-help stuff. Do I ever put any of the stuff into practice? Well, not really! Everything out there is quite contradictory, so it would be pretty much IMPOSSIBLE to implement all the tips. And, as I’ve talked about earlier, I think it’s dangerous and silly to stereotype gender-specific behaviors and actions.

Just remember these 3 things when reaching for your next (very addictive for the most part, I must say!) self-help treatise into this thing called love:

1. You are reading these books for FUN. Unless you’re a university student doing research for a thesis, I really don’t think these books should be taken with anything but the tiniest grain of salt.

2.  Try to refrain from comparing anecdotes of couples in the books to your own life and relationship(s). No matter how strikingly similar. There are a million little details that go into the fine print of one relationship to the next, so it’s really unhealthy to compare literally.

3. Learn from what you read, but don’t take it as science. I like to think that what I believe (or what I think I believe, anyway!) is a hybrid of tidbits I read and things I experience…but that’s always secondary to the reality of a current relationship!

Here’s what’s on my reading list right now:

The Case for Falling in Love by Mari Ruti
Spousonomics: Using Economics to Master Love, Marriage, and Dirty Dishes by Paula Szuchman and Jenny Anderson
Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough by Lori Gottlieb

I’m in the middle of the first one, and the next will soon follow. I’ll report back!

Any recommendations?

Do you play pranks on April Fool’s Day? (Or, do you get unwittingly tricked by someone every year, like I tend to be?)

Speaking of being really foolish…I can never let this ‘holiday’ go by without thinking back to one of the, um, strangest relationships I was ever in. (That’s putting it nicely.) Let’s just say that the guy was someone I could not have been MORE incompatible with, even in a non-serious dating sense.  Were I to meet him today, I doubt he’d even make it into the “acquaintances” category.

It’s not just that there were red flags waving all over from the day I met him–he WAS one big, gigantic red flag! If you’re familiar with Neil Strauss’s The Game, suffice it to say that the book was this guy’s bible, but NOT in a good way. I really should have known better! And when did I meet this guy? April 1st. It was like the universe screaming (and me not listening, obviously): “HAPPY APRIL FOOL’S TO YOU, PAM! The joke is on you, big time!” And indeed it was.

At least I can say that it was one of my earliest relationships. Still, every April Fool’s Day, I cringe. We all do really silly, stupid, FOOLISH things in the search for love, don’t we?

I hope you all had a great first weekend of April! Did you meet someone on the 1st? Might wanna be extra careful with that one! 😉

Have you ever wondered what kind of first impression you give? And, are you good and quick at reading others right away? I mean, you know the old saying, you never get a second chance to make a first impression, blah blah blah. We all grew up with that somewhat depressing adage, more as it relates to landing a job than anything else, but obviously it applies to dating, too.

According to a survey by Match.com, more than half of all singles can tell within 15 MINUTES if a date isn’t going well.

Yikes. That’s fast. You know what I’m thinking within the first 15 minutes of meeting someone new?

Hmm, this is a nice place. (Or not.)

What am I ordering? I’m STARVING!

Should I go with appetizers and a meal? Or just one big meal? I’m hungry. (Did I mention I like eating?)

Am I asking enough questions?

Wow, whatever he ordered sounded good. Hmm…should I change my order?

Was that a pop culture reference? Crap, it sounds familiar. Do I pretend I got it or ask what that meant?

Now, granted I’ve mentioned before that I suck at conventional dating…the meet-today, date-tomorrow type of thing. So, if I only get 15 minutes, I’d better work on my first approach. (Or, my non-approach?)

Obviously everyone is looking for different things, not just in a potential mate but also the type of relationship they’re seeking at any given time. But with over 50% of singles saying they can tell where the date is headed within just a quarter of an hour (which isn’t even enough time for the appetizers to come out!), it begs the question: what does 15 minutes really tell you? Is that really all it takes? Maybe I should stop focusing so much on the food…

Well, now it’s legit. The “less than” symbol and number three combo, <3, has officially been added to the Oxford English Dictionary! That combo in conjunction with its symbolic counterpart, the heart symbol (♥ ), are now synonymous with love in verb form. Here’s the explanation given:

♥ to heart: The graphic symbol – which will be found alongside the word ‘heart’ and listed as a verb meaning ‘to love’ – is the first of its kind to be included in the comprehensive reference work.

Hmm…what effect, if any, might this have on relationships? After all, it’s hard enough already to get to the “I love you” stage–no one wants to be the first to say it. Now that “to heart” means “to love”, are we gonna see more copouts? Will this redefinition of a very innocent symbol just add to the miscommunication? (New dealbreaker: any guy who thinks it’s OK to tell me he “hearts” me before ‘I love you’.)

I guess we should have known this was coming. After all, “I NY” has reached iconic status as a logo for New York  since its launch in 1969, but no one ever fought for the heart’s addition into a dictionary. It’s only more recently, now that you can type two keys in Facebook chat and Gchat and create the symbol, that the heart as verb has become a true phenomenon. And the editors behind the OED took note. Well, you know what they say: once something’s on Facebook, it’s official!

What do you think about this precedent? Do you hate it? Or do you heart it?

* Check out the full list of added words, as well as OED editor John Simpson’s thoughts, here. (My fave? “Rub-a-dub”! I mean, why not??)