Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Parable of Up In The Air Girl

Every once and a while I go for breakfast with a woman who is constantly trying to decide between three or four men.

It makes it significantly tougher for all parties that one of those men is her long term boyfriend.

"Everything's kind of up in the air," she tells me.

I respond to this by nodding and making supportive noises in between bites of buttermilk pancakes. I don't tell her that she says this exact same sentence to me every time I see her, which has been once every two or three months for the last couple years. Save for the long term boyfriend, the men involved sometimes change, but the situation never does.

Everything is up in the air.

Not from my perspective.

Everything isn't up in the air. From her description of the situation, the only thing up in the air is her. She hovers there like a hot air balloon tethered to a circus fairground--not free enough to float away, not grounded enough to come down.

Everyone else is just standing around waiting to see if she's going to come down or not.

One guy is trying to coax her down.

A couple others are waiting for her, looking up with arms extended waiting for her to make a damn decision one way or another.

Another wanders in and out of the scene. He looks up, notices she's still up there, and walks away munching on an apple. Every now and then he ambles by to see if there's been any activity and if so, whether things are going to break his way, but he doesn't seem bothered much one way or the other.

Personally, he's my favorite. He's just going about his life, open to possibilities, but not worrying about things over which he has no control.

I try to follow his example.

Some days Up In The Air Girl seems torn. Other days, she tells me everything happens for a reason and she's just going to see what happens.

Which would be fine, I suppose, but while she is waiting to see what happens, time is passing.

Secretly, I believe the reason the situation has never really changed is because she LIKES it. I wonder if  having three or four potential relationships makes her feel powerful.

Sadly, that kind of power is an illusion.

Having choice is power. But having choice and not making it is wasting it.

Having three or four POTENTIAL partners is the same thing as saying she has NO partners.

She has nothing. Worse, she doesn't seem to realize it.

And time is still passing.

It reminds me of a line in Nick Hornby's High Fidelity where the protagonist's girlfriend says something to him to the effect of "you spend so much time keeping your options open that pretty soon you aren't going to have any left."

It makes me sad.

She talks about not wanting to hurt people, but it seems like many of the people are involved are already hurting. She also doesn't seem to realize that the person who is most missing out is her.

One guy has made the choice to stay with her. Others have chosen to wait.A few others have walked away. Others see her as a potential opportunity, but not one worth investing undue effort in.

But all of them have made a choice. All of them have exerted their power. We can argue about the wisdom or rightness of their decisions, but they have made them.

What else can we ask from ourselves and others? We make commitments...to ourselves, to others, to our own values. We accept the consequences for how things turn out. We hope for the best, and learn from the worst.

In short, we keep our feet on the ground, pick a direction, and start walking.

But to remain Up In the Air forever?

Whether you're male or female, Don't Be That Girl.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Maybe Nothing Went Wrong

When things don’t go well, our instinct is to look for what went wrong.

I need to be fixed.

No wait, she needs to be fixed.

No wait, the relationship needs to be fixed.

And the big question: What am I doing wrong?

It’s a human way of processing. When things go wrong and we feel overwhelmed to cope with it, we cast about looking for something to blame, looking for a piece of control over the uncontrollable.

It took me a couple days to realize there was a better question.

I could drop the idea of wrong.

Instead of judging, instead of trying to find reasons to blame myself or my partner, I could simply look at what happened. 

Instead of asking myself, what am I doing wrong, I could ask another, deeper question.

Not what am I doing wrong?

Just what am I doing?

-May All Beings Be Sexy

Friday, October 17, 2014

Diary of a Gateway Boyfriend: A Poem

Posting will resume Tuesday.

In the meantime, here is a poem for those don't know what to do or what is going to happen next:

by W.S. Merwin

with the night falling we are saying thank you
we are stopping on the bridges to bow for the railings
we are running out of the glass rooms
with our mouths full of food to look at the sky
and say thank you
we are standing by the water looking out
in different directions.

back from a series of hospitals back from a mugging
after funerals we are saying thank you
after the news of the dead
whether or not we knew them we are saying thank you
looking up from tables we are saying thank you
in a culture up to its chin in shame
living in the stench it has chosen we are saying thank you
over telephones we are saying thank you
in doorways and in the backs of cars and in elevators
remembering wars and the police at the back door
and the beatings on stairs we are saying thank you
in the banks that use us we are saying thank you
with the crooks in office with the rich and fashionable
unchanged we go on saying thank you thank you

with the animals dying around us
our lost feelings we are saying thank you
with the forests falling faster than the minutes
of our lives we are saying thank you
with the words going out like cells of a brain
with the cities growing over us like the earth
we are saying thank you faster and faster
with nobody listening we are saying thank you
we are saying thank you and waving
dark though it is

Monday, October 6, 2014

On Vacation

No articles for the next couple weeks, as I will be out of town, though I may post a few tidbits from the road.

If you're suffering from Dating Advice withdrawal, this might be a time to browse through the labels at the bottom of the page and click on something that strikes your fancy.

You never know what may come from reading something a second time. Or seeing something that you missed the first time through.

After all, dating isn't always about new lessons. Sometimes it's about remembering the old ones and putting them into practice.

If you're looking for more current doses of dating talk or have questions, the nerdlounge forums can tide you over.

- May All Beings Be Sexy

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Got A Specific Dating Question?

The Official Dr. Nerdlove Dating Forums are no more, but there is a unofficial forum here.

It's a great place to get (or give advice) on dating and relationships as well as other miscellaneous topics from some great people.

I post regularly as do many other awesome and insightful folks from all walks of life.

Once again, the link is here.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

(Editorial) Creepers Be Creepin'

A guy recently complained: "Women think I'm creepy and I don't know why. It drives me crazy how they'll bitch about guys rubbing them the wrong way, even when I never harassed anyone. Women will discuss guys being creeps for the vaguest of reasons."

Put that way it sounds more than fair: People are allowed to out in public even if they rub people the wrong way. Creeped-out people can voice their displeasure.

Everybody wins.

By the by, 'never harassing anyone' is not exactly a high bar to clear. Citing it as a credit is like a MMA fighter being introduced as "a guy who hasn't been knocked out in weeks now."

Kidding aside, it's okay to have someone 'rub you the wrong way' whether they've done anything unwanted or not. It's also okay for people to have that same reaction about us. We're all allowed our feelings.

I don't know how many women do what this guy is describing.  I expect it to be less than he might think, but from my perspective it's a good thing. Knowing whether or not you are making people uncomfortable is useful information to have. Otherwise, we're completely flying blind.

Years ago, before I made a commitment to changing my dating life around, I remember being pulled aside by one woman and told how my behavior was making others uncomfortable. It wasn't an easy thing for her to bring up, but I really appreciate that she did.

Of course if these women are complaining about people who are Not Us, that's even better. Instead of making it personal, we can look at what those other people are doing and try and learn from their mistakes.

-May All Beings Be Sexy

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Love And Heartbreak Are The Same

Loved this article from Capital Dharma...which I keep wanting to call CAPTAIN Dharma, an awesome name for a Zen Pirate.

I love how she talks about heartbreak being love separated from it's object. I loved how she put forth the idea that despite what we say, we aren't looking for love, we're looking for safety.

And I loved that she said many of us are broken-hearted all the time.

-May All Beings Be Sexy