Sunday, February 24, 2013

Can You Date Someone Who is Broke?

You know how this goes…

It’s packed in here. I’m in a corner chatting with a FRIEND over cocktails. We’re having, what looks like, fun.

Friend: I don’t know what to do. He’s cute and has a great job. Plus, his you-know-what is HUGE.
Too much information.
Me: Yeah, but if he isn’t romantic and you need romance, what are you going to do?
Friend: Well, maybe he can change. Maybe if I tell him enough he will get it and start doing really super hot and sexy romantic things like give me flowers. I’m too cute and young not to be wooed.
I take a nice, long sip of my glass of wine. She’s making me want to get very, very drunk.
Me: You won’t change him and he’ll end up feeling very resentful. People should feel accepted and good around the person they are with. If he doesn’t, he’ll eventually feel really bad about himself and give up. I’ve been there, regretfully.
Friend: Like, you’ve been the one to try to change someone or vice versa?
Me: Both. And even when I was trying to change the other person I knew it was wrong, but I thought it would create a different effect over time.
Friend: Whatever, you’re a lesbian. It’s different.
Me: Uh, no, it’s really not.
She pounds the rest of her drink. That’s number four. Her eyes start to spin a little, but she regains her composure.
Friend: Okay, I’m going to be f*cking honest with your right now. Don’t judge me.
Ha, like that’s going to happen.
Me: Okay. Shoot.
Friend: Besides his big you-know-what, I don’t want to let him go because he has a nice job. He comes from a family that has money plus he’s career driven so I know he’ll always be able to take care of me.
Me: Makes sense. But didn’t you say he doesn’t like to take you on trips…and that he rarely plans a date?
Friend: He’s Jewish, that’s different.
Everything’s different tonight.
Friend: I’m over dating guys who are broke, don’t have their shit together, or live paycheck to paycheck. Stability is hot. I like the fact that he is so focused on his goals. But, I totally want flowers, which I keep telling him. Ugh, but he gets the cheap ones. Ew.
Me: Let’s focus on what you’re saying is a need of yours. You need romance. If you don’t feel special with him, money doesn’t matter as much right?
Friend: I don’t know. I may need another drink to figure it out.
Me: Look at the pattern. You get resentful, tell him he’s not taking you out enough, he promises to do better, doesn’t live up to your expectations, and then you blow up and dump him. After a day or two you go back. This has happened, what, four times in three months?
She starts to look off in the distance.
Friend: He’s just so good in bed. Sorry, but that’s hard to just let go of combined with his money. He’s going to be rich one day. I know it.
Me: Wow, you don’t sound superficial at all. That’s sarcasm, by the way. Look, everyone has a currency. Like, if I’m dating someone who is broke but always cooks, makes an effort to do special things, and is affectionate in private and in public, then I’m cool. Currency is different for everyone.
Friend: Then what you’re saying is the currency I need is money?
Me: And romance, girl, which means your guy doesn’t have what you’re looking for unless you accept him for who he is and know that he may never be as romantic as you’d like.
Friend: Ew.
Me: I know. But think of the time and hurt you’ll save by figuring this out now. You like him--we know this. Do you love him?
Friend: Almost.
I laugh.
Me: Can you see a life without him?
Friend: OMG, stop asking me these questions. Just tell me how I can make him give me cute flowers and take me to Big Bear.
I sigh and order another round of drinks, now throwing in the towel. This conversation keeps going in circles. At least I can get to the point where maybe I’m spinning, too.

Everyone has deal breakers. For some, maybe it is the fact that a person is broke, or maybe that there is no intellectual stimulation.

Whatever it is for you, that’s cool. But, trying to change someone to fit into your expectations won’t get you the results you desire. That’s the real, on the real, for real.

Perhaps a better question is, Can You Deal with Their Currency? My Friend was so busy focusing on her guy’s lack of romance instead of what he brings to the table, which is shocking because he has checks in 9 out of the 10 boxes on her What-I-Need-in-A-Guy List.

I dated someone who didn’t communicate well. However, in person it was great. I got her undivided attention and she was very sweet. But when I wasn’t face-to-face with her, there was little to no contact. Texts weren’t responded to in a timely manner, she didn’t pick up her phone sometimes, etc. Instead of trying to change this about her, I just asked myself: is this a deal breaker for me? Do her other currencies outweigh this one incompatibility? Turns out, I couldn’t deal with it. So, I took a step back. I didn’t try to change her or complain about it, just let it go. What ended up happening was she improved communication on her own.

Sometimes you have to let people, or a situation, go in order to see what you really have—if anything at all. 

                                                      What's your currency?

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Does Love Have A Window Period?

There are moments in my life that flash by, others that stick like glue to my guts and my bones and the insides of my heart. And then there are those long forgotten, only seen in a dream – and then lost all over again. Some things fly away and some things stick forever. What moments we allow to come inside, well, that depends on how much we open our window.

Let’s go back to a time involving two people – one getting real, and one doing everything but that.
You know how this goes…

I sit on my bed snuggled in between a few blankets. Cozy is the word that comes to mind. A cell phone is to my ear as I talk to my FRIEND on the phone.

Me: “Thanks for coming to my party and basically doing everything.”
Friend: “That was basic. Cooking comes naturally to me. I’ve hosted Thanksgiving on my own a few times.”
Me: “Wow. That’s inspiring.”
Friend: “Yeah. So how’d your session go. Figure anything out?”
I gulp. That gulp that I do when I get a little nervous.
Me: “It went well. Just talked about my feelings and what my boundaries are right now.”
Friend: “And what was decided?”
Me: “Uh, not much. It’s a process.”
Friend: “Look, let’s get real, you know like your book. I mean I get where you’re coming from, wanting to be ready but I’m about to put you in the friend category. Just being honest.”
Me: “It hasn’t even been that long.”
Friend: “Doesn’t matter. My feelings are starting to get hurt and it’s making me feel sad. I’m a physical person who needs affection. If that’s not there, we’re just friends, which is okay. But it can’t be in between.”
My Friend’s clear needs take me by surprise. I’m not used to such frankness, such a lets-get-real approach. It feels grown and very scary. I straighten and rub my neck – another nervous quirk.
Me: “Uh, whoa. I didn’t know it was having this affect. I just want to be sure before doing anything on the romantic end.”
Friend: “I’m not trying to be rude but I don’t have time. This year I’m not putting up with any B.S.”
Me: “I understand that, trust me. But don’t you feel like it’s important to live in the moment?”
Friend: “Absolutely. This is different. I don’t like feeling like I’m not good enough or like I’m constantly being asked private things when you have no right, as a friend, to do so.”
‘Not feeling good enough’. My Friend’s words hit me and I suddenly understand what she’s saying and where she’s coming from. No one deserves to feel that way.
Me: “I’m sorry you feel that way. So, I’m basically going to be on the friend list forever if I don’t figure it out soon?”
My Friend laughs one of her easy and sweet laughs. I smile, too.
Friend: “Not to give an ultimatum, but yeah. I feel like you’re special so I’ve been patient...I mean even having this conversation for an hour. My time is limited with work, reading, fitness, and my other goals. It’s all an investment to me.”
Me: “Got it. I understand where you’re coming from because I do believe that certain things have a window period. Sometimes it can shut quickly and can’t be open again.”
Silence. My heart starts beating a little faster as I feel fear creeping closer. What ifs run through my mind – no one likes to get hurt.
Me: “Okay, relax. Everything’s going to work out. You’re spectacular, the best, and deserve to feel nothing but appreciated. We will talk in person on Friday and get on the same page. Don’t worry.”
Friend: “Hopefully it won’t be too late. Just kidding, I’m looking forward to it.”


I close my phone and sit there, puzzled and floored all at the same time. After a minute or so, I start to wonder: Can someone be forced into walking inside the window and going in? Do some people need to feel a nice, cold chill in order to realize it’s better on the inside where it’s nice and warm?

At first I thought, “No way! It’s not possible to be cornered, to be pressured into a decision. But, then I thought about it more and realized that IT IS when the potential loss of something great is the other option. Suddenly, the thought of the window going down defeats the fear – sort of like a survival mechanism. (Don’t leave me out here all alone! Extreme, but you feel me). What seems blurry may become clear within minutes, seconds, hours, or days.

Perhaps the real issue is FEAR and learning how to quiet its thoughts. Perhaps when the focus isn’t on fear and it’s pushed to the side, only the truth is left. I think certain folks need to be pressured, thrive on it in fact; sort of like needing a deadline for a term paper in college. Sometimes, this brings out the BEST in people. On the other hand, there are those who can’t step up and continue feeding the fear when the pressure comes. One isn’t better than the other, right or wrong – just reality.  

In one way or another, love has a window period. I could feel it through the phone – my friend’s truth – and knew this person would close the window without hesitation, rightfully believing she deserves the best.

Then, shortly after getting off the phone, my heart stops racing and I slowly sink back into my blankets, realizing that I deserve the best, too.