Archive of ‘Dating & Relationships’ category

Why My Dog is a Key Part of My Marriage

If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram, you’ve probably noticed that I am obsessed with my dog. I don’t even try to hide it anymore. That dog is my soul mate.

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“Hold up. Aren’t you married?”

Why, yes! Yes, I am. I’m married to a wonderful man who fulfills me in many ways, including being the best high five partner around. Being with him is like being alone, but better (which, for a secret introvert, is the highest compliment I can pay). I’ve never felt happier or more stable in any other relationship, which is part of why I married him. But, he is a person. He is his own person, who needs his own space, and he certainly doesn’t need me to smother him.

I’m a smotherer. It’s been the demise of relationships in the past. I’m generally reserved with my affections, but all those reserves have to be dumped somewhere, and they used to fall on my significant other. This translated into endless streams of text messages and general neediness. Not good. Not good at all.

By the time I met my husband, I had just finished my second round of casual online dating. I had learned to keep the smothering under wraps. I learned what was reasonable and what wasn’t. But still, the smothery needs were there. As soon as I moved in with him, I started begging for a dog.

Enter: Daphne. Daphne is (probably) a shih tzu or lhasa apso mixed with poodle. Her breed background means that she was essentially bred to be in close proximity to humans. She was bred to be cute and cuddly. By the time I found her at Animal Friends, she was 11 years old and had been through two homes already, each with multiple dogs, children, cats, and a few generations of adults. For a dog who loves attention, that was a lot of competition. Naturally, we bonded pretty quickly, and that bond has gotten a lot stronger since I began working from home 8 months ago. She’s also picked up on house training and a few easy commands, so it turns out you can teach an old dog new tricks (or at least basic obedience).

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A year and a half later, I’ve noticed that my expectations for my relationship with my husband are a lot more realistic. I now have someone who is ecstatic to see me, whether I’ve been gone for 1 hour or 1 week. Someone with completely unrestrained enthusiasm, whose world is very small. I mean, I don’t expect to be my husband’s whole world. That’s just ridiculous. But a reality about dogs is that their owners pretty much are their worlds. And it’s a nice feeling.

For some reason, even though I wouldn’t describe myself as a sensitive person, I tend to be very sensitive to the moods of my significant other. When my husband is unhappy, I try to cheer him up, but realistically, sometimes you just have to let someone be unhappy and work through it on their own. In contrast, Daphne is perhaps the happiest dog in the entire world. It’s nice to have a break from the complexities of human emotion, and just enjoy some time with a happy furry creature.

When I come home from my now frequent business trips, Daphne greets me like she hasn’t seen me in ten years. I am overwhelmed with kisses and wiggles and excitement. And, frankly, I’m just as excited to see her as she is to see me. Then I kiss and high five my husband, and we all eat a midnight snack. It’s a damn good arrangement, if you ask me.

Off to Saint Louis! Plus, Wedding Wednesday v2.0

Today, I’m taking my first plane ride in 10 years and heading to Saint Louis to visit Steve’s family! I couldn’t be more excited to see them again. We’re planning to celebrate our engagement, visit the City Museum, and go cliff diving. Crazy shit considering we’ll only be there until Sunday!

Things I hope the TSA doesn’t confiscate: Lelo Luna Beads (mini), MiMi v1, or my Lush essentials. Note: By “essentials”, I mean a 12 step routine that would put even the likes of Donatella Versace to shame. 

And now for Wedding Wednesday: Bachelor/Bachelorette Parties!

What to do, what to do. I’ve never really had just one group of friends, and because of that, I love to associate with so many different kinds of people. Even online, I have my sex blogger friends, my lifestyle blogger friends, and even my animals-on-Instagram friends. It’s even more diverse in person! Because of this, I’ve gotten all kinds of bachelorette party suggestions, from a BYOB painting class (fun, but not my idea of a bachelorette party), to a wild night with a limo and South Side bars (um hi anxiety attack).

Listen. I want there to be strippers. I love strippers.

You might not know this about me, but I have a damn good time at a strip club. I love to watch men get hustled, and a dancer with pole skills is simply a lovely sight to behold. Furthermore, male strippers are hilarious. Sometimes they’re kinda sexy, but mostly? Just a riot. I’ve seen a few nice looking penises in my day (and more than a few nice butts), but booty poppin’ just isn’t the same when it’s done by a man. It’s all about the physical form, and the discomfort or total rapture of those around you. Steve’s first time at a strip club was with me, and if I had had a little more cash to throw around, I would have bought him a lap dance. That’s just the kind of giving soul I am.

I’d really like to combine mine and Steve’s bachelorette/bachelor parties, and happily, there’s a club in our city that has male and female dancers on Saturday nights. I don’t want to combine because I’m afraid of what might happen without me there – quite to the contrary! I’m afraid that without me there to egg them on, Steve may never get that pre-marriage lap dance that he deserves. What kind of wife would I be if I let that happen?

Anyway. There’s a time and a place for wine and class, and that’s at the bridal shower – I can certainly clean up when I want to.

OkCupid University: Etiquette 0500

Welcome to another installment of OkCupid University!  In case you missed it, you can find my intro to OkC post here.

Many of the most common question I get asked about online dating revolve around etiquette.  A lot of myths still abound about male/female interaction, and since the majority of my friends are heterosexual, that’s what I hear the most about.  I hate to be heteronormative, but a lot of this post is going to deal with being a woman looking to date a man, because that’s what I have personal experience with.  If you don’t fall into that category, I would love to hear from you about how your experiences differed from mine, if at all.

My Least Favorite Myth: Women shouldn’t send the first message.

I can’t believe I’m even addressing this in 2013, but since I’ve been asked more than once, it seems I have to: Go ahead and send a damn message.  Someone has to make the first move, and if you noticed him first, why shouldn’t you?  There exists this stereotype about girls who “chase” boys, girls who are needy and pathetic, and I know a lot of smart women who are afraid to make a move because of that.  Fuck that shit.  Say hi, mention something specific from their profile that drew you in, and close with a question related to another area of their profile that caught your eye.  Easy peasy, and nothing “crazy” about it.  Women who message men aren’t crazy or needy, they just don’t subscribe to bullshit theories perpetuated by the patriarchal media.

Real Faux-PasThe double message.

You know who really is crazy? The person who sends a follow-up message, when the first one did not receive a response. Especially a follow-up message like this:

“Guess you didn’t like what you see.  Sigh.

No matter what you want to say to that psycho, just don’t do it. Don’t tell them off, don’t buy into it, and most of all, don’t apologize. This is not someone you want to get involved with. They’re either emotionally manipulative, or they’re a child, and either way they are not fit for a healthy adult relationship.

There is one exception to this rule: If you have been messaging someone and you were setting plans with them but they disappeared, it is perfectly fine to send a follow-up 3 or more days later. Something like, “Hey, still interested in getting together?” Short, sweet, nothing emotional. It’s possible that they forgot to press send on their last message, but it’s also possible that they changed their minds. I won’t lie to you – it happens. All you can do is be an adult and hope they behave the same way.

Call Me, MaybeWhen to give out your number.

In my opinion, there is absolutely nothing wrong with giving out your number. I usually did it when we’d talked for a bit via OkC messenger, mostly to make my life easier. It’s much simpler to text someone about plans than to rely on them checking their account. Use common sense: Don’t give out your number in a first message, and don’t put it in your profile. I gave my number to at least 15 guys during the course of my OkC experience, and not a single one ever harassed me. Some people think it’s forward for a woman to give a man her number before he asks for it.  I guess those people really get a kick out of wasting time.

Set a DateAsking, accepting, and declining.

Do I really need to tell you that it’s totally ok for a woman to ask a man out on a date?  Really?  Because it’s totally ok for a woman to ask a man out on a date.  ”Would you like to get coffee sometime?”  Any well-adjusted person would be happy to hear (or read) those words!  If you want to go on a date, there is absolutely no shame in asking.  Because guess what?  If he says yes, he wanted to go out with you.  End of story.

Now, what if someone asks you on a date.  Do you want to go?  Did you check out their profile, and make sure they didn’t answer any questions in a worrisome fashion?  Then accept!  Obviously.  Do you think it would be a total train wreck, ending with a thrown drink or you falling asleep in your chair?  Politely decline.  ”I’m sorry, I’m flattered, but I don’t think we’d make a good match.  Good luck, and I do appreciate the invitation.”  Maybe I’m a little formal, whatevs, you can adjust it.  I’m not your damn secretary.

Show Me the MoneyWho pays?

This is a highly personal aspect of dating, and it’s something that gets many people’s undies in a twist.  To be safe, assume you’re going to split it down the middle. Don’t be a dickwad and order anything you wouldn’t want to pay for. I’m personally ok with letting someone else cover the check if that’s what they want to do. I think it’s polite to ask, “Are you sure? I don’t mind splitting,” but if they press I will let them pay. I might get flack for that, and I understand why, but it’s how I’ve always handled dates. If you hate to let anyone pay for you, that is certainly your prerogative, and I do understand the reasoning behind it.

Next up at OkC U: Playing the Field – Dating More than One Person at a Time

OkCupid University: OKC 101

Welcome to OkCupid University.

For my first course, let’s just take a look at the basics, shall we?  If you’re unfamiliar with the site entirely, know that it’s a free service and can be relatively private if you’re smart about it.  Mostly, it’s successful for college and grad students, and working kids in their 20s.

Myths

1.  Free sites are only good for hook-ups.  If people want relationships, they’re willing to pay.  False!  If you’re a student (undergrad or graduate) or you’re in your 20s, you probably don’t have that much disposable income.  You probably also feel like you’re not “old enough” for something like Match.com or eHarmony.  You can use OkCupid for random casual hookups, but there are people actually looking for relationships too.  We’ll touch on the beauty of signaling later.

2. Anyone can find you, so you shouldn’t show your face.  Ever.  At least on OkCupid, there is an option that allows you to be invisible to non-members.  The way I see it, if someone is a member and sees you on there, you’ve reached an impasse.  You could be outed, but they’ll realize you’d out them, too.  You absolutely should include pictures of your face – otherwise you look like a crazy person and no one will want to meet up with you.  Should you include your face, your home address, and your job title/company?  Um, no, do you want to be stalked?  Obviously, keep basic internet privacy and safety rules in mind.

3. It’s weird.  You’re weird.  Sure, there are some weird people on OkCupid, but there are weird people at your campus bars too.  Learn how to spot red flags, and you won’t have to worry.  (Also, carry pepper spray.)

Photos

1. Include at least one photo focusing on your face.  Maybe it’s a picture from a vacation, a cute shot of you and your dog/cat/rabbit, or a halfway decent self-taken photo that is not a mirror pic.

2. Include one fully body shot that’s flattering, but not obvious.  Again, vacation photos are great for this.  No judgment if you want to go for a bikini pic, but I would recommend it be cute and not too ~sexy~ unless you want to wade through creepy messages.

            A. Example: I included a pic of me in a bikini at the beach, holding my dog.

            B. Pictures from a hike, a 5k, etc. are also great, as they show some personality.

3. Include a silly photo that showcases a bit of your personality.  Maybe you play the ukulele, because you’re secretly Zooey Deschanel.  Or if you play D&D and you’re looking to snag a fellow player, post a picture of you on D&D night.  Whatever.  Don’t be afraid to show an interest of yours that’s a little less common – it gives someone who’s interested but shy something to comment on so you can begin a conversation in a way that’s not awkward.

Your “About Me”

1. I’m hoping everyone’s gotten over this internet phase, but just in case you haven’t, you are not random.  I repeat: you are not random.  Don’t you dare put “I’m really random lol” in your About Me.  You are not 14 and this is not 2002.

2.  Brevity is the soul of wit.  A short, well-written description is worth more than all the words you know thrown together in an attempt to sound interesting.  I recommend one to two short paragraphs.

3.  No one wants to hear you put yourself down or make self-deprecating jokes.  This is the time to focus on your good qualities, because trust me, they’re there.  If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?

Your “Looking For”

Really, this is a simple one.  Be honest about what you’re looking for!  During my last stint on OkCupid, when I met my boyfriend, I had checked only “new friends” and “long-term dating”, because I didn’t want to be casually dating a number of people.  You don’t have to check “short-term dating” if you’re not looking for that.  I think a lot of people make the mistake of checking “short-term dating” when they’re looking for long-term dating because they don’t want to appear too needy.  Forget about that for now.

Congratulations!  You’re now ready to move onto the next installment of OkCupid University.

First Anniversary

G’marnin’!  Today is mine and Steve’s first anniversary, I think.  We celebrated March 31st, the date of our first date, but today is something special.  And, if I may say so, it’s a much better story.

It all began when I decided in the middle of my junior year that I absolutely had to have drinks with one of my professors.  Alright, fine, I’m a sucker for men with PhDs.  Sue me.  So I spent an entire semester working up to this.  In the mean time, I had re-joined OKCupid, and a dashing young bearded PhD student had recognized me from my coffee shop job.  Our relationship was just getting off the ground when I was invited to imbibe with the professor at a campus bar, at 3pm.

One beer turned into two as 3pm rolled into 4.  By 5, he’d convinced me to invite Steve to join us, and he invited his girlfriend.  When Steve joined us, I’d had 2.5 beers, and made him drink the last .5, thinking I would stop there.  Oh no.  No, no.  Shot pitchers – essentially giant mixed drinks made with bottom shelf liquor – were ordered.  More shot pitchers were ordered.  Lemon drops were dropped.  It was 8pm, and Steve convinced me it might be time to ease off.  We made our way to his office.

While we were picking up the rest of his belongings, I channelled my inner sexy secretary and tried to seduce him.  I imagine this was much less smooth than I thought it was at the time.  The office also had a clear glass door, so I didn’t get very far.  I did, however, manage to slur, “Are you seeing anyone else?  Do you want to see anyone else?”  No to each.  I was very happy, and still very drunk.  We made our way out to catch the bus.

As Steve tells it, one minute I was reaching into my bag for my student ID, and the next minute I was face down on the ground, bleeding from both nostrils.  I actually do not remember this at all.  Gentleman that he is, he helped me up, and at least attempted to get me safely onto the bus.  I wrestled out of his grasp and hit my face once more, against the railings on the bus.  Bless this man’s soul, for he displays infinite patience.

We walk into my apartment, where I announce that I had been out with said professor, then immediately run into my room, take all of my clothes off, and lie face down on my bed.  This is the part where I also have to include a little aside about how much bullshit rape culture is full of.  There I was, practically blacked out, almost naked, and Steve sat beside me and rubbed my back while I slept it off.  What a mighty, mighty good man.

At some point, he asked me if he could leave.  I said yes, then texted him an hour later asking him to come back.  Because he’s a saint, he did, and he stayed the night with me until I woke up the next morning and vomited up everything I’d consumed in the last 24 hours, which was mostly clear alcohol.  Then, he tried to tutor me in microeconomics so I wouldn’t fail my final the next day.

Now, if I were him, I would not have put up with all of that bullshit.  But I’m really glad that he did, because this year with him has been the happiest year I’ve ever had.  Besides the fact that my nose is now crooked.

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