Sunday, December 30, 2012

Red Flag #7: Definitions

I've been away for a week, hence the lack of posts.  Sorry for that (you loyal 4 or 5 readers).  ;)

Number 7 in our series seems like an obvious one, but I missed it and even though I'm relationship retarded in so many ways, I figure that one or two other people may have missed this red flag too.  The red flag I'm talking about? Defining what you are.

No, I'm not speaking about throwing a label on your relationship after date two, but I am talking about knowing where you stand with your significant other.  And as a testament to my own lack of relationship prowess, I can say that this has happened to me MULTIPLE times... in fact, in nearly every dating relationship I've ever had (should also tell you that my man-picker is broken and in need of some serious tinkering to fix it). As always, I'm going to give you some examples and see if they ring true for you too:

1. Once, I was seeing a guy and took him to a place I frequented and was friends with all the staff.  They asked me who he was (and who he was to me).  When I looked to him for an answer he simply supplied his name to them and dismissed it.  Sure, it was early on but not so early that we couldn't say we were dating each other.

2. Another man I was dating told me in private that he wanted to be exclusive and that he didn't want to see anyone else... and yet, when he met with a friend of mine (he didn't know that she and I were friends... I knew they were meeting... she knew we were dating and was meeting him to figure out the deal - he asked her out to dinner), he told her that I wasn't his girlfriend and that we weren't dating... that I was some psycho who was overly attached... uh... yea...

3. My last serious relationship.  He wasn't shy to tell his friends that I was his girlfriend or anything like that, but almost 2 years into the relationship he still struggled to define what we were, what he wanted and where it was going in his eyes.  He would say things like, "I should get you some jewelry so that everyone knows you are my girl." but hadn't even told his children that we were seriously dating and when it came down to the wire, he freaked out, didn't want to label our relationship and left me hanging with the decision of what to do... guess what I did?  Walked away!

That's right, ladies and gentlemen, if the person you are with is unsure about what you are to them, they are unsure about being with you or committing and have no business being in your life.  Of course, I caution that with don't throw a label onto things right away... but you shouldn't ever feel afraid to tell someone else that you are dating.  You shouldn't worry about backlash from your date if you call him a boyfriend or her a girlfriend if you've had several dates. I think our I-can-have-everything society and mentality has messed up how we treat and deal with others.  Date me or don't but if you do, be prepared to be called my boyfriend at some point. ;)

Monday, December 17, 2012

Red Flag #6: Quality Check

That title is a little misleading in the sense that the sixth red flag isn't about checking his qualities.  It's about him asking you to check yours. And you know where this is going, I'm going to site some examples for you and hope that it makes some sense (side note: this blog series is teaching me a LOT about the types of men I've chosen to date... I need to pick better dudes!!).

Example 1: One time (not at band camp... I know a few of your minds said that though and it's okay), I was with my boyfriend at the time.  We were at MY friends' house with a bunch of my co-workers and friends for drinks, snacks and laughs.  We were all having a great time and were a few bottles of vino into the evening.  Now anyone who knows me knows that I am loud at the best of times.  I have THAT voice... you know, the voice that carries a thousand miles away without me even trying (makes for a great coach in a loud gym).  So at one point (and this is such a vivid memory for me) someone said something that made me laugh.  It was an all out belly laugh full of joy and others were laughing too.  My boyfriend laughed too and then looked at me and quietly said: "Why are you so loud?" And there was no humour in his voice.  I was so shocked that I immediately stopped, took another sip of wine and stayed quiet for the rest of the evening.  I was so hurt, it wasn't like he didn't know that I was a loud person.  I'd been loud on the day we met and every day since then.  It was and is still just part of who I am and I'd heard all of my life how loud I was.  I accepted it, coped with it when in a professional setting and embraced it when letting my hair down or out with friends that knew me.  I thought that the man I was in love with would accept that trait as well, turns out he was judging me and making me question how I could change that in myself.  I just remember being so hurt that he didn't like something about me that was just part of who I was/am.

Example 2: Another man I dated and then broke up with because I was moving (um... that was his excuse after dragging me along for weeks of don't go, we are just getting started here, you're my perfect woman, let's find a way to meet and stay together junk.).  After I had moved, he was chatting with me as a friend (or so I thought) and then sent me something that caused me to question that (in order to be above board, of good character, I will not divulge what was sent or said.... just like how I behaved at the time it all happened).  I was left feeling excited and confused.  I mentioned it to a girlfriend or two (without any specifics... no one really knows the specifics except him and I  - although I bet you are curious now - ;) ). They all agreed that he was sending confusing messages and that I needed to discuss it with him.  And I did.  He immediately got angry with me and then told me that we could not even try to be friends because I had a serious character flaw... to this day I don't know what that flaw was.  I just remember questioning myself and over analyzing the situation (hey... I am a woman... that's what we do) for weeks.

Long story short... if a man that you are dating or even in love with calls into question your character or qualities that are integral to who you are... you might need to see that as a red flag.  In both my examples I hadn't done anything wrong.  I was being myself.  And in the first example, the hurt from that judgement caused me to try and alter myself... something you should never feel the need to do when you are in love with someone.  You should be trying to find ways to let their personality and qualities shine and they should be doing the same for you.  Sure, some things they do or say will irritate you and vice versa, but as adults you discuss it... you never humiliate the other person or make them feel like something in themselves isn't good enough.... it was good enough when you met.  I guess it comes down to this: Don't date or form a relationship with someone you feel like you have to change.  It's not worth it... it will end in heartbreak and disaster.  Instead, date someone who is, was and will be someone you are proud to call a partner.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Red Flag #5: Clothes

This mostly stems from one relationship.  It was the last serious relationship I had (pretty much the only one... who am I kidding?!?! hahaha).  One of the best things about the man in that relationship was that he loved to buy me outfits and clothes.  He would often call me and ask my size and then when I would show up at his house, there would be a new outfit on the bed for me to wear out.  Sounds like a fairytale, right?  I felt like it was too, until everything ended.  I began to look at the clothes that he picked out for me and preferred me to wear.  I began to notice that a lot of the clothes weren't things I would ever pick for myself.  I wasn't comfortable in the fit of some of them. I felt like my personal style had changed and I never even noticed it happening.  I've always been the kind of woman who knows her body type and tends to dress to suit it best and suddenly I had all these things that didn't fit me or my body well.  Of course it took me a long time to change back to things that I felt sexy or beautiful in... but I did it eventually and as I prepared to write this series, I noticed that this could be a red flag.  My ex fell for me as I was, but even down to my clothes, he made subtle changes to what he thought I should be.  And now that I look back, that is a red flag.  It's nice that he wanted to buy me things or would see and outfit and could see me in it, but it was a red flag that slowly raised itself so that I didn't even know it was there and maybe that is the scariest kind.
So take a look at your relationship.  Have you changed your style to suit your partner?  Have you noticed that things that made you feel beautiful are no longer in your closet? Do you notice that you dress to suit his style and not your own?  If that's whats happening, it might (MIGHT) be a clue that more is wrong in your relationship... just maybe.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Red Flag #4: Private Conversations

I feel like with each entry that I write in this series I need to preface it with an apology or explanation of sorts.  I really am not bitter or setting out to attack the men I've dated in the past.  I am writing these because when I look back with my 20/20 hindsight, I see some red flags that I was too blinded to see at the time.  I started this blog as a place for me to have some therapy for my pain and to laugh about being single in my 30s.
So here the explanation for this post is this:  I'm not against privacy, I'm not against having conversations out of the earshot of your loved one.

Okay, let's get on with the post.

This only happened in 2 relationships that I had and one was more casual so I wasn't sure if it bothered me (until he stated that he had a former/current/who-the-hell-knows fiance in his life and wanted us both... uh... yup, that's a HUGE red flag and so should  have his "private" conversations been).  The time it did get to me most was when I was dating someone quite seriously.  Let me explain:

When we started dating and spending time at each other's homes and he would get a telephone conversation from home (he had children, and they didn't know we were dating... see the entry Red Flags #1: Kids) and he would always step into another room.  When I asked him about it, he explained the sensitive nature of having kids and bringing another person into their lives too early etc.  I understood at the time but further on in our relationship when it continued to happen it was something that niggled at me and I kept putting it to the back of my mind.  I began to notice that it wasn't always with his kids' calls, it was his exes, and sometimes friends.  It even happened with people who knew about me and it just didn't feel comfortable.  I guess perhaps I'm just too open.  Sure, if I'm in a room with my significant other and another person or two and my phone rings and I need to answer, I'll leave the room to have that conversation but I usually return with an explanation about the conversation and why I needed to leave the room.  But I had/have nothing to hide and never felt the need to keep my significant other in the dark (towards other's in my life or towards what's happening in my life).

So if your partner continues to take phone conversations out of your earshot and doesn't have a good explanation for that... it's a RED FLAG.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Relationship Red Flags: Bonus Post - Presents

Please don't think I'm shallow in talking about gifts from a significant other.  I wanted to put this in my original list but was distracted by the other things I needed to get said.  Sure, I thought lots about this in all my relationships and dating situations but I never saw it as a red flag until I was considering this blog series.

It's not that I think the giving of gifts or the lack of giving of gifts is a red flag necessarily.  It's all about the kinds of gifts.  

 If love is truly kind, not proud and not self-seeking then it should be giving, generous, selfless and humble.  And gifts can be a simple indicator.  Let me explain (and the examples from all variety of relationships in my past is pretty much endless, so let me highlight just one):

In one particular relationship, the man I was seeing told me within the first few weeks (when I was talking about how much I loved the flowers etc around) that he would never purchase me flowers because they just die and therefore are a waste of money.  I was shocked and didn't respond but every fiber of my being wanted to scream, "YOU AREN'T BUYING THEM FOR YOU... YOU ARE BUYING THEM FOR ME, AM I NOT WORTH IT?"  I couldn't believe that regardless of my likes or dislikes, his frugality and opinions came first.  Selfish.  And yet I continued to see and fall in love with this man.  Who on our first Valentine's together, called me and said, "I hope you don't celebrate Valentine's Day because I don't. It's just a Hallmark holiday anyway."  Again, I was shocked but blinded by stupidity and love and I readily agreed to appease him.  For our second Valentine's Day together I had told him that it mattered to me, that I wanted to know how he felt.  I stood up for myself and he sent me a food bouquet because at least I could share that with people and it was useful, unlike flowers.  The gift was a double-edged sword.  I was so happy that he acknowledged my need to be acknowledged but hurt because he cared little about my happiness in the gift, it still came down to his needs and wants. This is also the same man that forgot my birthday and bought heartwarming things like electronics etc. But to be fair, he was generous in a lot of ways and I think he gave what he would have wanted to get for the most part (he scored big though when he got me a new Bible that was a study edition because he saw how I took notes in my old tattered one... that was a great gift that was about me and helping me to continue doing what I loved to do).

I'm not saying that gifts are what makes or breaks a relationship, but sometimes listening can.  Only one of my boyfriends ever gave me flowers but it was because he got them from a florist (they were the broken stems from the palace in the country I lived in, made into arrangements so they wouldn't go to waste... not especially for me).  I've had more than one guy tell me that flowers are a waste of their money (hm... really, but what about the joy they give your girlfriend? What about the smile on her face when she gets them?  Not worth it?). I've even told men that I need to feel appreciated by the occasional flower or card or words (words are a gift too), to no avail.  That's where the red flag comes in.

When you are in a relationship, you aren't seeking your own happiness and agenda, you are trying to see the significant other happy and to build a joint agenda for life.  If the woman loves flowers, give her some once in a while.  Let her know that her happiness is worth the $10 for a bundle of grocery store blooms.  I promise that the returns will far outweigh the cost of a few flowers that will eventually die.

Be selfless in your relationships but when the other person is selfish (and it can be seen so clearly and simply in gift giving), then see the red flag and wave your white one.  Get out of there!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Red Flag #3: Profile Problems

Online dating isn't something I'm shy to admit, ashamed of trying or particularly proud of either.  I've tried several sites and methods of meeting guys online.  Let's face it, meeting people isn't easy and trying something else to meet nice guys... well, sure!! Not to mention that I got sucked into the idea I would be able to sift through all the yuck because I assumed that people paying to be part of certain dating sites would list truthful information like I was.  Hm... well, smack me and call me an idiot!  That's just not the way it works.  Whether people paid for membership or not, it didn't seem to matter, people put what they wanted on their sites.

My red flag for this post is all about profiles and the "truth" that is listed there.  Once I dated a man who had one birthdate listed on his online dating profile, a different one on his Skype account and yet another one on his social media site.  Hm.... and he couldn't understand why this raised a red flag for me and caused me to question his honesty.

So while I think that online dating is a great way to go, just be careful out there friends.  Don't worry about asking lots of questions and seeing if what they said online is true.  Don't be a psycho detective but treat a first date like a first date and don't think you know anything about a person just because you've chatted online or seen their profile.  And if their profile doesn't add up, pay attention to the red flag and walk away.  Honesty is what you want and deserve!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Red Flag #2: Man-caving

Hi there readers!  It's time for this week's installment of our series on relationship red flags.  If I sound all chipper, it's because I got my hair done yesterday and that's always a bit of a boost.  I'm a simple girl, I know! ;)

Okay, this week I want to talk about a bit of a sensitive subject to me: man-caving.  First off, let me explain what man-caving is:  it's when your man retreats to a space by himself for whatever length of time.  This isn't inherently a bad thing.  In fact, it's a good thing for both parties in a relationship to have spaces of their own.  Just like it's important for both parties to have their own hobbies independent of each other and their own group of friends who aren't completely intertwined.  So, men, don't get your boxer-briefs in a knot, having a man-cave is a great thing!

When man-caving becomes a problem is when it becomes a frequently occurring event without informing the other party.  Let me give you a personal example from a past relationship of mine:

In one of my more serious relationships, I dated a man who had some issues in his past.  They weren't bad things at all, just the baggage of life lived and he was working through those on his own.  Sure, we'd talk about things and I felt like I was never in the dark about his previous relationships or issues.  I felt like he was very honest with me in that respect and I respected him a great deal for it.  It was very "adult:" the types of conversations we had and I felt completely secure and comfortable.

We got to one particular point in our relationship (it was quite early on but things had been intense from day one and serious from about day three it seemed) though that rocked me pretty hard.  I remember us having one of our "adult" conversations and myself thinking things were fine.  Then I didn't hear from him the next day (which was unusual because I normally got text messages or emails at the beginning and end of every day saying good morning or good night and telling me about his day), or the next. I chalked it up to a busy work week for him and shrugged it off, until it went on for nearly 2 weeks.  He didn't answer my calls, texts or emails.  Then one day he called out of the blue (my heart was at the point of breaking and I had basically tossed in the towel) and apologised, stating that he had been man-caving after our last conversation.  He said that something in that conversation struck a chord with him and he needed to ruminate on it for a time.  I nearly lost my mind and then calmed myself down and said that it was okay but just to let me know because I went through a lot of emotions and fear in those 2 weeks.  He apologised again and we spent a lovely weekend in a lovely bubble of cuddles. Until it happened again and again over the course of two years.

It's a red flag, friends, when the person you are with holds back emotions that pertain to YOUR relationship and disappears off the radar for undetermined amounts of time without warning to think about things.

Relationships need trust and honesty, but they also need communication that is open and honest.  If you need time to yourself to think about things, tell your partner, let them know that you are struggling with something and that you need to think things over.  One of my friends (hope she won't be mad at me for sharing this) did just that with a pretty serious decision with her partner.  She is a grounded person who likes to think things through and pray them through to be sure.  So in her situation (see how vague I'm being?!), instead of hopping up and down and leaping forward, she stood still and told her partner that she needed time to think about their relationship.  She gave a specific amount of time, asked her friends and family to respect the solitude and she prayed and thought about what should happen.  Her partner knew where she was, what she was doing and about how long they'd have to wait to discuss the issue again.  The partner then also had time to collect their thoughts about it.  It was like a gift to them both and that's a beautiful thing.  My friend communicated her need to woman-cave, said how long she thought she'd need and was open and honest about it with her partner.  I didn't know it then, but she set the example for what man or woman-caving should look like.  If your partner disappears for a length of time to think about things but doesn't alert you or include you somehow, it's a red flag that you should discuss.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Relationship Red Flags #1: Kids

Here we go, faithful readers... the first in our series about relationship red flags.  Let me re-iterate that these come from my personal experiences and aren't meant as an attack on my exes or to make judgement about people's choices.  Instead, they are things I wish I'd paid closer attention to in my previous relationships so I would have known when to get out.
For exes that might read this and know the situations pertains to our past, please forgive me and know that I'm not posting specifics that would "out" you to anyone unless they know that this is you... and that would come from your own telling, not mine. I bear no ill will towards these guys... they had their reasons and I can respect that.  However, I should have removed myself from the relationship when this red flag flew.

Okay... with the little disclaimer out of the way, here we go on this week's entry into red flags.

I love kids, I'm a teacher for crying out loud.  I've spent the last 15 years of my life dedicated to teaching and loving children so that they can make positive changes in the world.  I've done 7 years of education that centres around kids and anyone who knows me can't deny how passionate I am about kids and how much I love them.  With that said, I'm not much of a baby person and am not entirely sold on birthing my own children, ever.  But dating guys with kids is not an issue for me.  I have no problem being in that situation because I do love kids and I want to have them in my life in some capacity or other.  So with that said, when I start seeing a guy and he let's me know he has kids, I do my best to put his mind at ease and embrace the fact (truth is, it's the best situation for me... kids without giving birth!!).
However, there have been 3 specific dating incidents where kids were either not mentioned at all or I was not mentioned at all to the kids. Let's explore that:

1. I was just beginning a bizarre kind of long distance thing with one man and he failed to mention that he had children.  Things in the "reationship" fell apart for other reasons but we were able to maintain a friendship out of it all.  Flash forward to the present when (and this is several years later) I find out for the first time that he has children.  Imagine my surprise... it wasn't part of our this-is-everything-about-me conversations.  Being who I am, I questioned him and he said that he was scared to mention it because he thought it would drive a potential girlfriend away.  Fair enough, but what really drives us away is lies.  Men/Women... if you have kids, be PROUD!  Own up, tell the prospective daters... it doesn't mean they have to meet them tomorrow or be part of their lives while you figure out where things are, but it just let's that other person know that you have priorities that are more than a job etc.  So it's a red flag when a guy doesn't tell you he has kids at all.

2. The second situation was much simpler.  The man was honest and up front even before our first date that he had children and he talked about them all the time.  Perhaps the fact that after date one we never really had traditional dates etc is why he felt that besides filling me with tales of his glorious off-spring and seeking advice even, he never had the need to introduce me.  Granted things were still in a semi-causal state and I can't be too upset but I felt like it was a red flag because they were part of our every conversation but I know I wasn't part of his with them in any way.

3. This situation was much more complicated.  In this situation, I knew very early on that there were children in his life and I respected that.  I respected that I wouldn't meet them right away because we had talked about it and how he felt the need to protect them from growing attached to someone who may or may not be in his life for the long term.  I thought at the time how wise it was of him to think of his kids that way... but when the relationship became very serious, I expected to be gradually introduced and was not.  He even left the room when his kids called so I couldn't hear the conversations and so they wouldn't hear me at his house.  I had patience, gave way to his wishes because I was in love and had a hope for the future... I had verbal confirmation that this relationship was going to be for longer than a minute and not much less than forever.  So when I found out that after a long term his kids still knew nothing about me, or that they had been told that we were just friends, all my alarm bells went off.  Did I pay attention?  Nope.  But it was a huge red flag that a hugely important part of my partners life was off-limits to me.  I should have heeded the alarms and high-tailed it out of there but I didn't.  So if your partner keeps an important part of their life secret from you or you a secret to that part of their life, HUGE RED FLAG.... RUN!  I know he had his reasons and I'm sure he had doubts he wasn't willing to fully pay attention to at the time but it still wasn't right.

All in all, if the person you date denies their children or, after your relationship takes a serious turn, denies you to their children... GET OUT OF THERE!  If there is no honesty with something as important as the lives of precious little (or even teen/big) people, there certainly are other, "lesser" areas that they are also being dishonest about and there goes the trust.  If you don't have trust and honesty, what do you really have?

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

A New Series...

Well, as I was laying in bed the other night, my brain started spinning and wondering about things.  No, not my typical pity party of why I am single (I'm kinda done with that aspect of life... not worried about being single or not single).  No, I started thinking about past relationships and some of the red flags that I couldn't see in the moment but in my heart, I knew they were red flags.
Then I got to thinking about this blog and how powerful it is to write it and know that people are reading it.  I got to thinking that perhaps my writing about my relationship red flags might help to open another woman's eyes instead of her being stuck somewhere she doesn't belong and hurting deeper than she needs to.  Yup, that's right... you read correctly... I'm saving men and women around the world from relationship sadness.  Ha!  Just kidding, but I do love to share and hope that it impacts another in a positive way.
So I thought I would write a series of entries about some of the relationship red flags that I see now.  Hopefully I will write one entry per red flag, but I can't make promises. ;)

Here is a list of what I'm hoping to cover in the coming weeks:

1. If he doesn't tell you he has kids, or tell his kids about you... That's a red flag.

2. If he has a habit of man-caving for weeks at a time... That's a red flag.

3. If he has different birthdays on every online profile... That's a red flag. (yes, readers... I've dated some shady, shady fellas)

4. If he can't have a conversation on the phone in the same room as you... That's a red flag.

5. If he is only happy with the outfits he picks out for you... That's a red flag.

6. If he makes you doubt ANY of your qualities... That's a red flag.

7. If he's constantly unsure of defining your relationship (even 2 years down the road)... That's a red flag.

8.  If he attempts to control how you deal with your emotions in any way... That's a red flag.

9. If he asks you to marry him but then explains how it's not a real proposal yet... um... That's a RED flag.

10.  If strangers see sadness in your eyes when you are meant to be in love... That's a red flag.

Now, if some of these seem familiar to you, I'm sorry for you.  These are things that have happened to me over the course of the past 10 years of failed relationships.  I'm not bitter about them, I'm not sad about them, they just are what they are and it's time to share them... hopefully it helps someone and it will help me to release them from my brain.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Dry Spells... Delight in Life

It's been a really long time since I posted to this site... I haven't had a lot to say about being single lately. Don't get excited, it's not because Mr. Right finally showed up... it's just been a time of quiet reflection and moving to a new place.
Those of you who know me personally (which is pretty much all of my readers), know that I've left the lovely country of Turkey and am now soaking up the sun of Singapore.  It's a great, metropolitan city with people from all over the world living and working.  There is a lot on offer here in regards to life but as I am finding out, little in regards to dating and finding a partner.
I've just been here for 3 months and I've already taken to terming it the  dry spell of my dating life.  There are plenty of attractive men, but there are also a plethora of gorgeous, thin women to catch the eyes of the men.  While I don't diminish my own adorableness, it's just not the right fit for the men of Singapore.  I've also really had a change of heart and M.O. when it comes to my single life, but more about that later... Truth is, I just haven't seen a lot of men that have caused me to look twice and those I have seen have either been married or with a woman when I saw them... so I have a feeling that SG will be a place for me to really focus on me and get my life together (not a bad thing... but makes SG just another stopping point instead of a home... but things could change, I'm open to it).
Now, about that change of heart.  Since leaving Turkey and moving to Singapore, I've had less of a desire to date just to date.  Previously, I felt like the right way, the best way to find Mr. Right was to date lots of different guys and figure it out.  But lately, I just feel like it isn't worth the time and heart wasted (on failed relationships) to date around.  I'm just not interested.  I've had an offer or two, but wasn't feeling it so I just ignored it.  I used to feel stressed about life passing me by and now I don't.  Have I given up wanting to find my life partner, no... just the opposite, I feel more ready than ever to have that life, but I just don't think me running around chasing men is going to invite the RIGHT kind of man in my life.  Instead, I want to have fun with my friends, do a great job at my career and build myself into the woman that I want and have Mr. Right want to chase after me.

So there you go... the latest in the life of the Chronically Single... finally delighting in life and really and truly not concerned about being single... it's a GREAT place to be.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Unexpected Sighting.

Lately I've gotten a lot of invites and reminders of invites for the website LinkedIn.  I had previously ignored them, not really wanting to be part of yet another site, even though it's a great professional networking site.  However, when my advisor for my professional placement site requested an add, I decided to give the site a look.  It automatically went through my gmail contacts to see if there was anyone I knew on the site and would like to be linked with.  I was shocked and surprised to see my ex (KJ) on there.  He was the whole reason this blog started, the whole reason I felt the need to take a journey trying to explore my single self and why I couldn't seem to make relationships work and it's something I'm very grateful for even though it was born out of the pain of our break-up.  Anyway, I've thought of him often and missed our friendship but I had erased (or thought I had) his contact information from my email and didn't know if I could or should try to contact him.  I'd hoped and still do that he is happy in his life and from his profile I could see that his wish to live overseas again had come true.  I'd still like to be friends with him but I'm not sure he would want that... *sigh* It's been 3 years and I'm in a different place in my single journey, not one of looking back for a hopeful romantic connection but of hoping to be friends.  *sigh* Sometimes I wish life was simpler and people were easier to understand.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Suffering Single

And by suffering, I mean having a little bit of a pity-party (if I'm being honest).  I go through cycles in my single life.  Times where I am happy to be single and I embrace all that it offers me (and it offers a lot) and times where I am low and feeling incredibly sad.  Usually when I feel sad about being single, someone tells me that it was my choice (I HATE it when people say that... I said yes to the last guy who asked... I thought it was forever and then he changed his mind... it had nothing to do with my choice.... have I made bad choices since then, sure, admittedly).  And, sure, lots of the choices I've made in the past and even in the present are what leads me to be single.  I get it and don't deny it for the most part but it doesn't mean that secretly I WANT to be single.  Lately I've been feeling the loneliness of being single a lot.  Every time I open my facebook I see pictures of happy friends (even former students) in relationships or getting married or sharing their family time online.  Family and friends alike are steeped in it, but not me.  And, for the most part, all I feel when I see their happiness is joy.  Lately though, I've just felt a disconnect.  I have nothing to offer to their experiences and I feel like I'm losing most of my friends (even though I'm aware that I'm not).  I feel more and more bitter that I've been left behind and that the happiness I've dreamt about (like most women and girls) has been denied to me (through my choices as well as things that are out of my control).  Generally I feel like life is passing me by and like I'm treading water and getting tired.  I keep trying to focus in on myself and make myself better and stronger but it's not in my nature to be selfish.  I LOVE nothing more than to do nice things for other people (throw parties, make dinners, treat people to coffee or drinks, buy little presents, write encouraging notes, letters or emails, and generally find ways for those around me to feel cared for), it's what makes me happy.  But the older I get, the less opportunities I find I have for this as well... most of my friends get that love and encouragement from their significant other (as they should) and have less and less time for me in their lives as they have families and their focus shifts appropriately to their loved ones and to their friends that share the same things in their life. I don't know what to do about all this besides to just spill it out here as a form of therapy... a release.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Further Observations on the Mating Rituals of Turkish Males

Some time back I gave a brief, if not completely over generalized, overview of how Turkish men tend to date foreign women.  I've dated a couple (which clearly makes me an authority, does it not? hehe).  I stated that they tend to fall in love (and declare it openly and with passion) in the first hour or two of meeting their date.  I also stated that these declarations and mooning goes on for about 4-6 weeks before they disappear altogether (and by disappear, I mean they truly vanish), only to resurface at some later date apologizing for their fear or the worry that said foreign chick won't mesh with the Turkish family or whatever the excuse du jour may be.  But I missed something... I missed something vital that I hadn't been exposed to... okay, part of it I'd been exposed to but as a foreigner living in foreign-to-me places for 13 years it's excusable that I missed part of it, but the other part... well... just odd.
The first part is the gawk or leer or shameless stare.  I kinda got used to that after living in East Asia for 8 years.  Looking different and being stared at was my norm for a long time so I kind of missed that.  But Turkish guys are really skilled at staring you down while walking in a completely different direction.  This was pointed out to me this past weekend as I was out with some friends at a small watering hole.  Lots of Turkish men (there were few foreigners of the male persuasion in the place) walked past where we were sitting and they stared... and stared... and stared... I'm surprised several of them didn't walk into tables or break through the glass doors nearby!  It was some serious rubber-necking... and it happened the next day while shopping with another one of my gorgeous friends (I have a lot of beautiful friends and I'm thinking of developing a theory of how my singleness is their fault because all the cute and quality men fall for them before they can get to me... still working on that though).  I'd been somewhat immune until it was in my face big time for the past few days...
The second part of the Mating Ritual of the Turkish Male that I'd previously missed was the "Surround and Conquer" move that I witnessed while out dancing with my gorgeous friends a few weeks back.  By the way, I also have a theory that dating is kind of like war sometimes (I'm working on an entry for this based on the Art of War too, so don't worry... more entertaining observations of dating and singleness are on their way) so sometimes I name the tactics guys use after what I would like to think of as tactical maneuvers. Anyway, the gorgeous and I entered the club  to dance and hang out and were immediately encircled by a number of Turkish men who just stood really close, really still and really creepy.  It was laughable, especially since they rarely spoke to the women they were circling and staring at... apparently one of them kept saying "are you married?" to one of my friends but that's all I could figure out that they said the entire time... and they weren't deterred by the husbands and boyfriends in attendance either... interesting.... I'll have to be better at observing these unusual mating rituals... stay tuned... can't wait to get to Singapore and see how it works there! ;) hehehe

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Spring Cleaning

Is what is going on right now in mind, body, heart, soul... everywhere!! So I think that means that these dumb dudes don't need to be my facebook friends etc. I'd already removed one and put the other on limited profile access but today I went to remove the last one to find out that he had removed me from his list... YAH!!! Hopefully this means that texts and phone calls will also stop. I keep them in my phone so I know which calls not to answer and which texts not to respond to anymore... I feel like a weight is off my shoulders now that they have been removed from my life! YAH!! With the icky guys out of my life, there is now room being made for the great guy that is coming... right?! :) So happy about this step forward in my life. Slowly but surely I'm becoming who I was always meant to be... thanks for supporting me on my journey friends! <3

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Lots of Changes

Lately I've been going through a lot of self reflection when it comes to my single life. I've been looking at the things I like about being single, the things that leave me in tears and why that is and the people I've allowed into my life. This entry is going to be a sort of catch-up so please forgive the rambling flow it will have.

Okay, let's start with the things that I love about my single life:
  • being in control of just me
  • going where I please when I please
  • cleaning up just after me
  • being in control of my finances
  • the freedom

Now let's look at the things in my single life that bring me to tears and why:

  • being just me (it's lonely being the only one in your home all the time or having only yourself to rely on... I got really sick with some hives etc this year and I had to take myself to emergency at 3 am in a foreign country and I was scared... if I had a life partner, someone would have been there with me... holding my hand and telling me it would be okay. I know I have friends who are willing, but would you wake your friend at 3 am because your 36-year-old self is nervous to go to the hospital? I didn't think so)
  • Traveling alone (yes, I can travel with friends and sometimes I do but lots of times I want to go somewhere where they don't want to go or sometimes plans are made before I know about them and then it's too hard for me to join... so I travel alone and talk to myself. It's good for self reflection but it's lonely and sad)
  • cooking for myself (I love to cook and bake and to make other's happy. I love to take care of others but when I live alone, well... I just cook for me. I'd live off cereal if it were healthy... it makes me sad to try and cook these little meals and then to eat them in the silence of my own home)
  • the freedom (I know, it's something I love but I hate it too. I'd love nothing better than to have to consider someone else besides just myself.)
  • the disconnection ( at 36, I don't know a lot of people my age in my position. I have a couple of single friends that are my age but none of them lives where I do and while we still talk etc, my closest friends who I hold dearest to my heart are married and have children or are having children... no matter how hard I try, there is a disconnect there. I don't know what it feels like to share your life with someone, nor do I know what it's like to have a child and have my priorities take that kind of shift... it makes me sad and wonder if somehow I've allowed life to pass me by).

Ah... now to the guys. Remember the Dumb Dudes entry? Oh... well... some of them keep trying to resurface. But I will say that I'm getting stronger and respecting myself more. YAH ME!. Mr. Turk-Not-So-Turk resurfaced and asked if I was still angry with him. I told him that I wasn't (because I'm not... takes too much of my energy that is needed for me to focus on him) but that I didn't like him either. I had a jacket he left at my house and he asked to see me so he could get it. I decided that our conversation would happen in my house so it could be an honest conversation (being in public wouldn't have ended up being honest just more awkward). He came over, tried to be cool and I boldly asked him why he lied and when he explained, I told him he had 2 choices in his life: 1. to grow a set (of you know what) and be a man and make some of his own decisions and stand up for himself (he is practically engaged because his family and hers are in business together and pressured them into it).... yes I called him weak to his face, even used the word "weak" or 2. he could keep lying to the people he "cared" about, he said he cared for me, so that he could live a life of misery as set out by his family. It was a cleansing conversation for me. When he left I felt like I'd washed him out of my life.
The Current Athlete has also been back in touch, wanting to see me... and as tempting as that is (puhahahaha not really), I've been putting him off because I'm just not interested. I have no desire to take time out of my precious schedule and the little time I have left in Turkey and give any of it to him. So yah!!! Glad that I'm finally making some good choices for me.

Mr. T (the Tunisian I dated that disappeared and then turned up again engaged to his ex) has also resurfaced. He wanted to get back in touch because he believes that we are friends... um... yea, I let him know that I don't think of us as friends. I kinda view him like this:

Somebody That I Used to Know

He seemed upset and I told him we could start over as friends maybe (I have no intentions).

Next step? Cleaning house on my facebook and in other areas in my life. As I've told some friends, I'm entering a selfish phase in my life where I'm going to value myself, put myself first and really take care of me. I'm going to make good changes physically, mentally and emotionally. So if you haven't already started to follow my other blogs, you may want to look them up. I'll be posting recipes and workouts etc. It's my time... just for me!

Thanks for sticking with me and being a support for me. This change or these changes have been a long time coming, but I'm a slow learner and a late bloomer when it comes to myself and matters of my heart so... yea, I'm 36 and just figuring this stuff out, but I know it's not too late for me!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Strength and Dignity

I just don't have anything to add to this except that this is the woman I am becoming... YAH!

Update on Dating Duds...

So previously I posted about the dudes I had/have been seeing in the last little while. Well, recently Mr. Turk-Not-So-Turk has been back in touch. Instead of typing that all the way through this post, let me just call him AT (his initials... all my peeps here know who he is). Anyway, he recently texted to hang out but I was in London on my job search. This this weekend he asked to hang out but I wasn't going into town on the Friday because of the snow and slick roads and he didn't want to drive out on the roads... understandable. Now, if you've been reading, you know I like(d) this guy. I felt bad about dating other guys that were pursuing me because I liked AT and was confused about what was going on. Sure, I had my suspicions about things but this was the EXACT text I got last night when I invited him out to hear a friend sing etc:

Angela i have something to tell you, i would liked to tell u in person but its best i tell u now

Im practically engaged. When u & i met there was a slump in our relationship

If ur ok with it we can continue seeing each other, otherwise im sorry

UH.... WTF!?!?!?! So my response went like this:

Hahaha I figured. Why send me the video (click the link people... this is the video he posted to my facebook wall when he found out that I was taking a job in Singapore... just days before this text) to ask me to stay then? And no... I'm not okay with it. I really don't know what to say besides ur the typical ASS that I end up dating... Thanks for the confirmation.

His response? Here it is, dear readers:

IM SORRY i hve feelings for u its just that i have feelings for someone else too.

I won't type in my exact response because I was pretty upset... I was actually in a taxi on the way out for a girls' night out with my girls here in Ankara. I was all dressed up and ready to have some fun with some good people. But bascially I told him that it wasn't right to try and mess around with two people at once and that he wasn't a man of good character (I used a few more choice terms than that of course). I then told him that I didn't need or deserve what he had to offer. I also told him that he did a good job of snowing me and my friends as to his true colours. His response? Here it is:

My battery is dying & i wasn't pretending.

UH... yea... RIGHT!!! puhahaha... played me for a fool once, not going to do it again, sir. I then deleted him from my facebook etc. What a jackass!! But I am proud of me for standing up for myself and for what I think is right. And, good bye to bad rubbish... YAH ME!!!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Ah... the young...

I know, I know, I am young but not THAT young!! I was out last night with my friends (one was leaving the country and it was her last big hurray... miss you already, G) and we were dancing, laughing and generally having a good time. I was sticking to my resolution to recognize my value and worth by acting like it. Anyway, it was a great night... but one little bit stuck out to me and I thought I'd share it with my readers:

We were dancing the night away and some men that we had met out once before joined in our fun, dancing and laughing and being a little bit flirty. One of them was an adorable young guy with a thousand watt smile. He was about as flirtatious with my friends as he was adorable and at one point one of my friends kind of bounced away from him all smiles (she is so much more adorable that he is so that tells you a LOT). Anyway, he kind of looked after her and I sauntered over and the conversation went a little like this:

Me: Go get her.

Him: Nah...

Me: Ah... you're used to the ladies coming after you right (he nods). Well, you're young so let me tell you how this works out best... you gotta go after the quality girls.

Him: (laughs) yea, I guess. But I'm not THAT young, I'm 25! How old are you?

Me: Oh sweetie... you ARE that young (laughing)... I'm 36.

Him: GET OUTTA HERE!! Wow, you look like you're a lot younger!

I'm still giggling about that. I love (and I was like this at that age) how when we are in our early to mid 20s we think we are so mature, wise and all-knowing. And now in my mid 30s I'm realizing how little I know and how I wish I had listened to advice doled out to me in those earlier years. Sure, it was a great compliment from a cute younger guy for him to think I was younger... but what struck me is the sense he had about knowing how to "play the game." Perhaps that's the problem in dating these days. It's all a game somehow! :) But then again, I have not the wisdom of my 20s, just the uncertainty of my 30s.

P.S. my young friend who bounced away from cutie pie has the wisdom of her 20s and she is so much more aware of her value and worth... It makes me happy and I'm thrilled to watch and learn from her!

Monday, January 2, 2012


Reflections aren't always good for me. As my friend, L, likes to say: YOU THINK TOO MUCH!! And she may just be right. We had a really great conversation last night (although you might not have known it if you were a fly on the wall with all my whining, crying and expressions of self doubt etc) and L wasn't afraid to push my boundaries and ask me the tough questions that challenged all the many thoughts that race around in my head. She agreed that it was high time that I started to see my own worth and to be proud of who I am. She also said it was high time to begin to ACT like I knew my worth. And while it's a bit of a battle for me (I know that it shouldn't be, but as we talked she helped me to see that I have a lot of unrealistic and crazy expectations of myself and then in turn I have these expectations for others as well.), she was really helpful in helping me sort out how I can go about doing that little by little... and I think I'm already making those baby steps forward.
How am I doing that, you ask? Well... the first way is that I am writing this in this blog. I find that this is my therapy and even though it's a little scary to know that ANYONE who wants to can read this, it's also freeing. So I am writing about this journey to my better self here in hopes that others will take courage from it and that I can take encouragement from my loving readers who often email me or leave comments on my facebook page.
The second way I am taking baby steps forward is not to jump at every little bit of attention thrown my way, especially when I know that the guy in question isn't really intending for much of a relationship to take place (and that is what I want.... I've been saying that I'm not looking for the next guy but the LAST guy... for the marriage but I haven't exactly behaved like it and that starts now!). Case in point... actually 2 cases in point. There is a guy who is interested but I know without a shadow of a doubt that it won't go anywhere. And he's really nice, calls me often, showers me with compliments and offers an open ear when I need it and isn't afraid to give me honest advice. Sounds great, right? Sure, but we've had an honest conversation and I know that a relationship isn't what he wants and so I've made it clear and reiterated, today in fact, that point. The me of 2011 and just about every year before that would have jumped at the opportunity for any attention and "love" I could get thinking it was all that I COULD or would get. But not now, I'm worth a relationship that's real and I won't accept less. Thankfully he's very sweet and understands and respects that. Hopefully we will remain friends. And also a guy I'm seeing (I guess, I'm really not sure what's going on... you know Mr. Turk-not-so-Turk) has been in touch with me but blows hot and cold all the time. I know he has family commitments and work commitments that are crazy and somewhat out of his control... I get that, I'm trying to be understanding. But those things CANNOT be an excuse not to text me or email or even call (these things can take anywhere from 30 seconds to 10 minutes... and really, he can't spare that?!), so when he texted me after NOT returning texts about meeting yesterday (as we had agreed to do... thankfully we hadn't set a time or place or I would have foolishly been there waiting around for him) with a text saying that he was already flying to his next location for work but would like for me to visit him, my answer was a little curt and stated a maybe, we'll see... when I'm pretty sure in my heart and mind that there is no point... I mean, since I am just an afterthought to him, why do I make him more to me? I'm worth more than just being an afterthought for ANYONE and so I'm going to start treating myself that way and acting like it.

So this is how I propose to make baby steps forward. I always say fake it until you make it and it's worked for me in so many other areas of my life... I'm successful in my work, I live a life of adventure and wonder (I live and work all over the world), I have the most wonderful friends and family who support and love me through all the ups and downs... I am confident, smart, BEAUTIFUL (even if the guys I date don't think it's important to tell me that), funny, well-liked, cheerful, complex and yet simple, and I am proud of all I am and am worth it!! As my friend, R, says from the movie The Help: "you is KIND, you is SMART, you is IMPORTANT" and I am... so is she, so is just about everyone I know and love... so time to treat myself that way!!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Years Resolutions

Typically at this time of the year I sit down and make this huge list of things I want to accomplish in various areas of my life. I compartmentalize my life and I sit down and think about the physical, mental, emotional, financial etc changes and improvements I want to make in my life. And each year I meet some of my goals or resolutions and each year I fail at several as well. And because I am who I am, I write them down somewhere and reflect on them often and make judgments about myself based on those successes and failures.
This year as the new year began to approach, I let my mind wander to those previous goals and what I think I could or would change to find more success in 2012. But as I sit here on my couch, in my cozy living room with the snow falling outside, on this first day of the new year, and reflect on the past and face towards the future, I can only come up with one goal. This year, in 2012, I want to see and understand my worth and value as a human being. I know... seems vague, doesn't it? But I can't find a better way to sum up what it is I want to accomplish in my life this coming year. I want to see the worth in myself that my friends and family see in me. I feel like if I can begin to accomplish that, the other goals I've been trying to make and reach for years will naturally fall into place. I think if I can find my worth, embrace it and expose it to myself and others I will be able to find the joy in myself that is required to be a success in all areas of my life.
So that's my resolution this year... just the one thing, it's more than enough. I hope that each of my readers (you small, faithful group... I love you all for reading, by the way) also finds and understands their worth and that you embrace your value and live your life knowing that you have value and worth in your own eyes and in the eyes of those who know you. I think knowing that could create a better world among us... May 2012 bring you and me the strength and peace of mind to be our best selves.