What Pretty Girl Syndrome Feels Like

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I don’t usually think of myself as a pretty girl.  I’m not ugly by any means,  but I’m not someone who stops traffic either.  That being said,  my whole life I’ve suffered with the consequences of what I call “pretty girl syndrome“.

What is this you ask?  I see you rolling your eyes “not another post about how hard life is when your pretty”. No.  This post is about what it’s like to be judged. And how that can affect relationships.   Recently I experienced someone’s insecurities, aimed at me in the form of rage.  I recently moved into a new apartment, and my downstairs neighbor, an insecure older woman who I could tell has been having ongoing marital issues with her husband,  became enraged with me less than two weeks after I moved in.

The first thing I want to point out is how can I tell she has insecurities?  Well,  she never once said hello to me,  looked me in the eye,  or spoke to me,  in two weeks,  despite my attempts at being pleasant and in that time,  I had full conversations with all of my other neighbors,  including many down the street.  I’m very approachable and friendly.  Secondly,  in the same two weeks,  I heard her have multiple screaming matches with her husband which is also how I could tell they were having issues in their relationship.  Minding my business I spoke only of apartment related issues and only very briefly with her husband.  However,  very late one night,  this woman banged on my door,  and proceeded to scream at me,  and in fact,  damaged property of mine,  and eventually ended up arrested and charged with charges of assault and criminal mischief and property damage.

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This is where “pretty girl syndrome” comes in.   This woman,  struggling with insecurities,  saw me,  judged me,  and raged out on me, for being “pretty”. Too pretty to be single and living next door the husband she’s having marital struggles with.  In this case,  I did nothing wrong,  but in the midst of a mental crisis this woman got herself arrested (attacking a police officer didn’t help her case). This is not the first time I’ve been judged for being too pretty or too “something”.  Countless times it was assumed I’m sleeping with my male friends,  or they must be “in love with me” in order to hang out with me,  because we can’t be just friends.

In college I was told by a guy he couldn’t tell his girlfriend we were having lunch because my name was “too sexy and she would assume the worst”. MY NAME!  so you would rather lie completely than tell the truth?!  Getting judged only makes me judge myself more,  I end up taking on blame for things I didn’t do.  Apologize for things that aren’t my fault.  I’m sorry my parents picked a sexy sounding name?  I’m sorry you’re so insecure you threw bleach at me because you think your husband can’t keep it in his pants,  but did you stop to think that I might have a say in that?  Why am I apologizing for being judged?  Why do I feel like I should suddenly be unpretty to make you feel better?

So how does this affect my relationships,  or yours if this sounds familiar to you?  Because I find myself feeling attacked frequently when I’m not.  I end up on the defensive quickly because I feel the need to apologize for things that aren’t my fault and then I feel angry for being made to feel that way,  even though it’s me who got me there.   And that is a sure-fire way to destroy a relationship.  Always being on the defensive means you’re always ready to attack what’s going to attack you,  but what if you’re not really being attacked?  It’s time to take that control back,  stop apologizing for being pretty,  let the defenses down.  And for you and its insecurities,  stop assuming every pretty girl is out to get you.  You might build a stronger relationship and find you’re able to drop your insecurities if you learn we all have them.

Why this Female Founder had to Leave Her Tech Startup and Get a Job

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founders

About two years ago I had the honor of meeting one of the smartest men I’ve ever met. Fate had me meet with him after answering an online classified job ad where he was seeking marketing help. At the time, all he had was his idea drawn out on a whiteboard, and a couple of designs on his phone. Coming from a matchmaking and marketing background, I was instantly attracted to his idea, because it solved a huge problem that no other dating company had tried to solve in 20 years. I told him I wanted to be a part of it, and became his Cofounder and VP of marketing within a few months of proving my value to him.

I don’t have to tell you how difficult and challenging the past two years have been for us, but I can say it has been the most amazing journey I’ve ever had in my life.  I want to make one thing transparent: I’m not leaving my startup for a job because I don’t like it anymore.  I’m leaving because I have an eight-year-old son and bills to pay. I love my startup more than anything in this world, I consider it my second child.  I put my heart and soul into it 14 hours a day, seven days a week, for two years without any pay. I don’t mind the hours, I’ve actually learned to thrive on it, and find myself a bit emotional when I’m not working on it.  It’s like going to Neverland to fly with Peter Pan, and then coming home to regular old Earth.

I often read about investors who focus on female founders, and invest in early-stage companies. When I reach out to them, I don’t hear back, or they say that we are too early for them. Wait a minute, isn’t this an “early stage” investment firm?  How can you be too early for an early stage investment firm?  I get confused about this because from what I understand, investors look for a couple of things:

  • Proof of concept
  • Some sort of traction
  • A solid founding team
  • The technology (hardware of software platform) already built
  • Early signs of revenue

The peculiar part of my story, is that we have all of this and much more, and have even raised over $100,000!  Yet still, investors have not helped us reach the next level by investing a small Seed round to help us really take our platform to the next level. There’s only so much I can do as a single parent, to take care of my son, and pay my bills, while running a tech startup that doesn’t pay me any money. I have to do what is necessary in order to survive and take care of my family. It pains me to take a job when I know my startup is going to succeed, it’s obvious that it’s only a matter of time.

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Luckily, my team can pick up my duties while I am working at my job, so there’s still hope. I think it’s funny when investors ask the founding team to run their startup full-time, and I’d love to ask them a simple question. How can I work my startup full-time if I have no money to feed my eight-year-old son, pay my rent, put gas in my car to drive to meetings, pay for my phone and Internet bills, pay for health insurance, and just my basic human needs of survival?

Investors who want us to work full-time, should give us money so that we can work full-time. My mother is dead, my father is dead, and I have no family to help me with my bills.  My mother actually died just a few short months ago while I was right in the middle of the second year running this startup. We had committed investors in Philadelphia at this time , but they backed out last minute the day of her funeral of all days. We were too risky for them we have a California style platform and didn’t have 1M in revenue yet . Did I give up? No, I cried and I mourned.  But I kept moving forward, to make my second child grow.  It’s what my mother would have wanted. My team supports me, my coworkers and friends support me, what family I do have supports me, but not financially. Therefore, I have to take a job that will pay me money, and I will work on my startup when I’m at home at night, and on the weekends.  I’m very effective, so the hours I invest will be double what a normal entrepreneur puts in.

If you are an entrepreneur, and you are reading this, then you know how hard it is to do what I am about to do. If you are investor and you are reading this, shame on you. You say you support early-stage companies, you say you support female founders, you said you support companies that have all their pieces in place.  Well let’s see if you support me and my team, I’m waiting for your phone call.

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Ironically, the job I took is a Business Funding Expert for a leading investment firm.  So now I have to help them manage their funds, invest in companies, vet entrepreneurs, and perform due diligence on their companies.  All the while I couldn’t get an investment for my own company.  Apparently, irony (not misery) loves company.

Yours truly, a single mother, with no parents, an amazing startup, an incredible founding team, proof of concept, traction, early signs of revenue, angel investors, 250k downloads, and a live (both Apple & Google app stores) breakthrough platform that is already changing the way people form relationships in real time, in a space that has needed disruption for two decades.

10 Questions You Should Ask on a First Date

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One of the reasons I dread having a first date is because typically they are like job interviews.  You have to get to know someone, just like you do in a job interview, so you ask them 21 questions about themselves.  After thousands of dates, you can imagine how boring this can be, both asking the questions, and answering them repeatedly without an end in sight.

One of the things I tried recently to shake things up a bit and make a first date more interesting was to switch up my questions. Here are some examples of questions you may have asked or have been asked, and what I think you could ask instead to make a first date more enjoyable:

Generic Question: How many brothers or sisters do you have?

Better Question: If you have any siblings, tell me about one of the funniest moments you remember with them?

Generic Question: What do you do for a living?

Better Question: What’s the favorite part of your job?

Generic Question: Where did you go to college?

Better Question: What did you major in college, and if you could have changed your major and done something else, what would it be and why?

Generic Question: What are some of your hobbies?

Better Question: Which hobby do you prefer the most, and why do you like it so much?

Generic Question: Do you have any pets?

Better Question: If your pet could talk, what are some of the things you think it would say to you?

Generic Question: What’s your favorite food?

Better Question: What was the last thing you cooked, and why did you enjoy preparing it?

Generic Question: What’s your favorite movie?

Better Question: What were some of the last few movies you watched, and did any of them move you at all?

Generic Question: What’s your favorite band?

Better Question: If you could listen to any band dead or alive right now, which would it be and why?

Generic Question: Where are some of the places you’ve traveled to?

Better Question: Tell me about the most memorable moment you’ve ever had in a foreign country.

Generic Question: Are you close to your parents?

Better Question: Tell me about something about growing up with your parents that you remember vividly, funny, sad, or just a cool moment.

Generic Question: What do you do in your free time?

Better Question: When you have free time, what do you usually do more: relax, read, listen to music, watch movies, engage in culture, seek out adventure, or all of the above?

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I can go on and on with these generic questions that don’t get to the core of what will show if there is a match. Personality and chemistry reign supreme, but these generic questions don’t target those characteristics. So hopefully my “Better questions” will help those of you who are going on yet another first date.   When you ask someone these questions, take extra care to look at their facial expressions, so you can see how they got surprised and/or intrigued by your question.

I think these questions will give you more of where the person is coming from.  Whether or not they are creative, funny, or if they can think on the spot.  Plus, based on the answers, you might find that their personality is a lot like yours if they choose some of the same answers you would choose. Of course it’s only fair that you answer them also, so make sure you thought your answers through. In the end, this would be a much better way to get to know someone in my opinion while walking in a park with a coffee or an ice cream in hand.

How to Break the Statistics and Find Your True Love

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tombstone

“Studies show that 85% of people go to their deathbeds, without experiencing what a truly happy and fulfilling relationship feels like.” Wow. How do you feel when you first encounter this conclusion? Hold on to that thought. The mystery will be solved by the end of my short story 😉

Three weeks ago, I broke up with my ex. That meant I no longer had a plan for Memorial Day weekend. I decided to take an overdue ‘homecoming’ visit to New England, and the weather conveniently decided to chill down in the middle of May. I then missed my connecting trainLonely Woman Traveling after pulling myself across town from Penn Station to the Yale Club. When I finally found a transfer train and one of the few open seats on it, my seat mate, a 6’1” strong looking man, refused to help me with my suitcase…! Granted, there were probably far worse situations I could’ve found myself in at that very moment, but to save time, let’s just agree that I was not having the best day of my life.

Well, it turns out he was – “just kidding!” Whew. Turned out I did hit rock bottom when I thought I did – and from there, the only direction I could go is to go – UP. Kirk, my seat mate, was actually a real blessing. We chatted for four hours on the train, and 95% of that time was him raving about his wife, his kids, and how wonderful it was to have a family of eight. How he was ‘picked up’ by his wife at a gay bar in North Carolina. How much they fought initially because of the big reverse age gap (him being 22 and her being a 29 year old single mom with a 6 year old daughter when they met). How he finally found the ‘man’ in him to grow up and commit. How she didn’t want any more kids initially, but now that they’ve had another five, she still wants more! How they stuck through the thick and the thin. How his step daughter grew up to become his best friend, and even wrote her valedictorian graduation speech based on him…yes, you guessed it right, the other 5% of the time was me weeping.

Kirk’s story was so simple, so everyday life, and yet so touching, I had to cry. I had to cry because he helped me see how all this was still possible – for me and for everyone else – not just from a logical, factual, statistical perspective, but from a personal perspective. He showed me that with passion, commitment, and diligence, true love can be ignited, sustained, and strengthened.

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When we parted, Kirk smiled and told me: “Wanna know our secret? The Five Love Languages. Read that book. It’s helped our marriage in so many ways, I can’t even count.” Wait, what? Kirk, the military man, police officer turned truck driver, he read The Five Love Languages? YES. So much for the notion that “80% of self-help books are consumed by women, the rest 20% are in dumpsters”!

Old Couples Dancing

If I’d thought that was too much, it was just the beginning of my blessings. I arrived in Hanover, I walked around The Green, and there are young college sweethearts reading, playing, napping together, brushing next to me with sweet bright smiles. I went to the Canoe Club, and couples in their 30s, 50s, 70s were holding each other to dance with such brimming warmth, passion and romance, you’d think it was still Prom Night. My eyes were opened. You see, what amazed me the most were not just happy couples, but happy couples of whom you could tell that they had stayed with each other for a long time – and none of that “grandpa dating a 20 something” thing. It seemed as though the womens’ wrinkles were the ultimate aphrodisiac, and whatever physique they were in was the most desirable object in their husbands’ eyes. Wow. It. Was. Possible!

So, “Studies show that 85% of people go to their deathbeds, without experiencing what a truly happy and fulfilling relationship feels like”, huh? Some people look at this and say: “Oh gee, I thought I was the only one unhappy about my relationship, but now that I know most people are unhappy, I guess that’s OK. I don’t feel as bad anymore and I don’t need to strive for any better. It must be so hard to become the 15% and…I don’t have time! They probably just got goddamn lucky anyways!”

Don't Follow the CrowdNO. I want you to look into the mirror and say: “OK. So 15% of people did end up getting a happy, fulfilling relationship, right? That’s A LOT of people! So, WHY NOT ME?” Yeah, why not YOU? You are beautiful, you are kind, you are awesome. And if you are reading this right now, it means you are willing to do your homework, take action and seek out support on your path to find love. You’ve got what it takes. You DESERVE to be the 15%.

Tyrion-Dany-Stop Wheel

“What if I have done everything right and I’m still not in the 15%?” You don’t know it yet. You don’t know if you’ve done everything right. You don’t even know if you’ve done ‘everything’. I certainly haven’t 😉 Have faith, and never, never, never give in. If you accept nothing but the very best, you often get it – the very best, or nothing (let’s be honest, that could happen, for a period of time at least) – but trust me, if you are a 15%er, ‘nothing’ is still so much better than settling.

So believe in love. Become a 15%er. Better still, don’t just BE a 15%er – you see, once you accept nothing but a truly happy relationship, you end up making your partner a 15%er too, and your examples will ripple through your family, your friends, your children – you will be making it a 16%, 17%…20%…you will begin the change for a happier world. For your own happiness and the better of the world, you will succeed, or die trying – but most likely, you WILL succeed 🙂

Break the Wheel

How to Navigate Through the Vast Ocean of Love

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I’m sure that if you’re single, you will agree that you’re sick of hearing “When you find the one, you will just know.  You won’t question it anymore, you will just stop asking yourself if this is who you are supposed to be with.” I’m not going to lie, I was one of the single people out there who thought that this saying might be B.S.!  Yet even I was skeptical that I would ever meet anyone online. It seemed like it was an endless pool of sharks and I was just a starfish sinking to the bottomless sea of the unknown.  Just a mysterious, endless, lonely ocean of nothing.

I read a long time ago that in Christian symbolism, the starfish represents the Virgin Mary (Stella Maris which means Star of the Sea), who creates safe travel over troubled waters and is also seen as an emblem of salvation during trying times. The star as well as the starfish are seen as celestial symbols and as such, they represent infinite divine love. In addition to love, the starfish also holds characteristics such as guidance, vigilance, inspiration, brilliance and intuition. If a starfish is injured and its tentacles are removed, they grow back making them immortal.  They have fascinated me since the first time my mother gave me one as a pet for my birthday.

At first, during my search for love I was oblivious like anyone else.   I would see an attractive picture and email back and forth with men that were obviously nothing like me and had nothing in common with me.  I was being shallow. I usually went for someone who was emotionally unavailable or someone who lived far away, or who was mysterious, or showed signs of being taken. I was avoiding commitment and I didn’t even know I was doing it. I was making mistakes and learning the hard way.  Each day that went by I lost more and more hope.  Did I even deserve to have someone special in my life?  I was in seven weddings and watched my girlfriends go on honeymoons, have babies, and buy houses.  Meanwhile, I was going to bed alone night after night, and each day my job (I was a matchmaker) was to tell people how to be patient and that love does exist.

One thing my job did teach me during this journey was a lot about research and statistics on singles and online dating. So I started to learn trends and what drove people to choose one person over another users profile. I learned online lingo, how to choose the best profile pictures, and how to make an appealing first impression by video. I read and watched thousands of profiles, looked at probably a million people that sounded exactly the same.  But how could everyone be the same?!  I was becoming an expert on online dating profiles and platforms. I even sat on panels and had shows about the topics. Then I went on a hundred bad dates. I really started using what I learned and my dates actually started to get better and started lasting past two or three dates.  But I was still alone and not feeling the ultimate connection.  I was getting no sort of real commitment.

The truth is, no matter what expert data you have and learn or analytics on dating trends and skills its still up to timing, fate, luck, and the universe. So long story short I actually found him and I just knew like people said I would! He is the most amazing, kindhearted man I have ever met.  He is just like me and we could have fun throwing rocks, or talking for hours.  We have a lot in common and I feel like he was made just for me.  Like I created him in my mind or something.  Sometimes I wonder if he’s even human. Well here is what I did:

1. Pray – I’m not super religious but on those lonely nights when I was lying in bed with tears in my eyes I would pray that God would help me or lead me in the right direction to find someone who had a heart like mine.

2.Clean out the closet – I got rid of my past just a couple days before I met him.  I said my final goodbyes to people who had wasted my time or had been unemotionally available. I wanted a game free environment for anyone coming in.

3. Stop going on dates/research – I used to go on a date if someone asked me and they looked decent or had an interesting job.  But now before I went on any date I took it more serious.  I would review their profiles then text as many important vital questions. I did my research.  I would check out their LinkedIn, Facebook, and any online presence, have video chats, etc. Its amazing what you can learn about a person when they are not putting on a facade to lure you in to go on a date with them.

4. I did the picking and choosing – Usually a man would approach me online, ask me out and that’s how the courtship began. But this time I refused to talk to anyone that emailed me or sent me a wink.  I wanted the men that were not interested and I wanted to find out why.  So I was now the one sending the first emails and my decision was based on how they responded back.  What I found during my investigation was the most unusual finding.  I found my guy on the first try using my new approach. I didn’t know it would happen that fast but it did and I’m ecstatic.  I found ten things I liked about him and listed them kind of like I would list on a PowerPoint for investors and sent it to him. Here is what I like about you, here is what I want, here is what I offer, do you want to meet? At first he wanted to meet for a drink like any other date but then he texted me back and said he would rather play miniature golf.  I knew this was going to be different.

5.Vulnerable/Honesty – I went into this wholeheartedly.  Yes I was hurt in the past, but I had nothing to lose.  I was already alone. I was honest with him like I would be with any of my best friends or family members. I was very vulnerable.  I always go for the unavailable guys.  He was different.  He was showing that he was available.  I gave him my trust. I remember one of our first few dates he told me to get dressed up and I had no clue where we were going but I let him surprise me.  I didn’t have to know everything.  I didn’t have to know all the answers or where we were going as long as it was together.  This was new to me.

I wasn’t alone anymore, I found another starfish in the sea to float through the great big ocean. Maybe it’s not about what you think is supposed to happen but it’s about taking what’s missing in your heart more serious.  After you do this then you will let timing, fate, karma, and serendipity come into play. Don’t ever give up hope.  There is absolutely someone for everyone.

Five Reasons Why Building a Happy Relationship is just like Building a Business

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Love & Entrepreneurship

“Whoever said love is easy, must has never been in love.” A good relationship should fit you like a glove, right? But it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t take work to put it on and groom it clean! On a similar note, most people would love to become entrepreneurs working for themselves instead of having someone breathing down their neck…but why aren’t they ditching their jobs? Because working for yourself, starting a company, takes a lot of work too.

Heart & Abacus

It may be easy for some to separate business to be the ‘matters of the mind’ and relationships to be ‘matters of the heart’, if they’d like to compartmentalize their lives like that. But for me, my career is the love of my life, and the love of my life is my career (and not in a trophy housewife kind of way) – they are both matters of the heart AND the mind to me! The way I see it, you need passion to drive the business mind, and you need sense to guide the passionate heart, to achieve optimal outcomes in both scenarios. So as much as some might accuse me of over-applying business analogies on relationships, I’m still going to go out on a limb and say that building a happy relationship is just like building a startup:

Tree with Strong Roots

  1. You need to have your own strength and core before you are ready. This may sound tongue-in-cheek, but if you fall apart without a relationship, you are not ready for a relationship. Only when you are complete, content and happy with yourself, will you have the mental and emotional capacity to love and receive love from someone else, unconditionally – which is the core foundation of a happy and healthy relationship. The same goes with startups. It’s perfectly fine to get out there and talk to people about your vision and ideas, but few investors or potential partners will likely come on board until you have a solid business plan, product prototype or existing clients. The more self sufficient you are, the more attractive you are – to the opposite sex as well as to the business world.

Singles-Party

  1. You need to put yourself out there and market the best version of yourself, constantly. Looking for a boyfriend/girlfriend? It’s probably not gonna help if you just sit alone in your room pondering about how great you are and yet why you are still alone. Waiting for Prince Charming or Cinderella to be dropped off on your doorstep? Yeah…unless the UPS driver has a crush on you and you happen to like him/her too, that’s probably not gonna work either. For the best results, you really need to go out regularly with your friends, go to community meetups and singles events, get a good profile up on several popular dating apps…sounding really familiar with the endless networking events and conventions, investor meetings and the multi-media marketing packages that most successful entrepreneurs are leveraging these days?

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  1. You need to work hard in finding the RIGHT people who REALLY understands you and caters to your needs (and vice versa). For a good relationship to work, chemistry, core values and willingness to compromise need to match between both partners. If you think about it, these core criteria are not that different from what you would use to assess potential clients, investors, partners or employees, are they? Also, this rule of thumb applies to both areas (most of the time): don’t ever take the first offer (read: don’t marry your first boyfriend, or take the first bid that comes along for building your website). In general, shopping (dating) around within reasonable boundaries helps you gain clarity on what you REALLY want (as opposed to what are really just nice-to-haves), and be ready when the real best offer comes along. Don’t worry about missing that first offer either – in love as well as in business, have faith just like my wise friend Perpetua – accomplished wife, mother, entrepreneur: “If something does not belong in your life, it won’t matter how much tighter you hold on, it’ll leave you eventually; but if something is meant to be in your life, even if you let go, it will find its way back one way or another.”

Things Meant To Be

  1. You need to overcome a significant amount of fear to make a commitment. “If you haven’t tried, you’ll never fail.” Hence why some people are afraid to make relationship commitments such as becoming exclusive, labeling each other boyfriend/girlfriend, or getting married. The same mentality applies to people who are always thinking or talking about starting their own companies but never take the leap of faith – out of fear of failure. The thing is though – if you’ve ever tried bungee jumping or sky diving, you know: the longer you wait, the more fear builds up. Ask yourself: do you really want to disappoint your soul mate and end up alone for your life? Do you really want to look back on your life and shamefully realize that you never even attempted at your biggest dreams? Do you really want to be that last diver who got back to ground in the plane cabin because you were too afraid to jump?

Sky Diving 2

  1. But the good news is: once you make the commitment, you will usually soon realize how most of those fears were unfounded and that the rewards greatly outweigh the risks! Is this a good time? Do I have enough money? What if I fail? As Perpetua puts it: “Fear is mostly based on scenarios we make up in our minds before things unravel – but once we take action, we’ll find that more often than not, those ‘scenarios’ seldom really happen!” As someone who’s successfully taken up multiple roles in life, Perpetua certainly knows a lot more ‘scenarios’ than a lot of us do. The secret to such a full and happy life she’s living today? She had the same fears we all have, but instead of getting stuck with fear, she went ahead and took action anyway. Sometimes, all it takes is action to dissolve your fear – so just go get married or go register that new company alright. If it’s the right opportunity, you’ll soon be so busy with your happy family life or your busy entrepreneur schedule, that you’ll practically forget all about the fears you started out with; even if it doesn’t work out, my friend, trust me, you’ll have learned so much to offer your next love partner, or you’ll have an amazing experience to share at your next job interview! The worst case scenario is never as bad as you think; and the best case scenario? It just gets better and better each day you work at it.

Intertellar Love

Remember: true confidence is not blind optimism; true confidence is taking action after well calculated risks, and believing that you and the people in your life will be strong enough to survive even the worst case scenario – in love or in entrepreneurship.

When You Know You’re Ready to Settle Down

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Relationships are fantastic if you find the right person to share the experience with. There are so many different things to consider when it comes to settling down long-term, finally committing, and taking yourself off the market.  Here are some of the signs I found most significant for me:

1.  You have been single for a significant amount of time: If you have been single for a long period of time this is actually very good, you have actually done what most people cannot do be alone. You are now comfortable with who you are, you have your own interests, likes and dislikes.  You are not hiding behind a partners’ shadow and you have your own life. This will help you with a future partner.  Not only is your independence attractive, but it shows you are settling down for the right reasons and not to just to have someone around just because.

Fact:75 percent of folks who settled down feel that they just settled, according to a new study by Siemens Festival Nights .

 

2. Tired of being the third wheel: When your friends are all married, engaged, living with partners and you’re always the third wheel, it will definitely start crossing your mind that it would be really nice to have someone on your arm. When your friends stop giving you a plus one to their events because they never see you with anyone and want to save money, you know that even they have given up on your search for love.

3. You are alone on the Holidays: Have you ever been at the mall during Christmas and everyone seems to be running around for that special gift.  You are actually jealous of their craziness because, you know you won’t be snuggling up by the fireplace drinking hot cocoa under the mistletoe with your beloved. You’re ready to sit on Santa’s lap and wish for a boyfriend.  Imagine six years alone on every holiday. I imagine my first holiday with someone will be better then any gift that would be store bought.

 

4. The night life and random dates start to bore you:  On dates, you can only get dressed up so many times, drink so many fancy martinis and explain your life story over and over again to someone who is most likely completely a waste of time or wrong for you. If you are out on the prowl and know what the DJ is going to play next and what the drink specials are at your favorite hot spot, you are definitely spending too much time being single. I know I personally enjoy cooking dinner, watching movies, laughing and snuggling over any night out.

5. You don’t have an emergency contact: This might sound silly but after my mom passed away and I lost both parents I had to take my mom off my records as the emergency contact. And as everyone knows there is a spot for spouse husband/wife and mine has always been blank. So as I was sitting there with my injured hip alone in the hospital bed after surgery I realized I wanted to fill that spot in.  I don’t want to be here alone.  I want someone to go get me a vending machine drink and snack and tell me it’s all OK and they love me. I’m a big baby.

6. You know you won’t mess up things if you found the right person this time around: We all look back at mistakes we made and our past failed relationships.  When you are mentally ready for a real relationship you might be thinking and saying things , Like if I ever find a person that is worth it I will not just give up on them. I won’t run away when times get tough and I won’t ever think the grass is greener.  They will be my second chance, my everything and I will always put them first and make it work.

Hope this helps a little.  Please add some of your thoughts and remember we all make mistakes.  We all have struggles and regrets from things that have happened in our past.  We are not our mistakes, struggles or regrets. We are here now today and alive.  So use those experiences to shape tomorrow and your future relationships. Life has been preparing you for all the right things that are yet to come good luck out there!

How I Lost My Best Friend to Marriage

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I lost my best female friend of eight years recently to marriage. As weird as that may sound, it’s the truth. What happened to me in this situation, I don’t wish upon anyone, because it’s very hurtful. All I can hope for is that others will read this and take precautions to avoid doing this to one of your best friends if you meet the man or woman of your dreams.

My friendship with (I’ll call her Jill), started off back in 2007. Jill and I had a lot in common, whether the food we ate, the arts we enjoyed, cultural exhibits, going to fun events together, and many other things. I was her “go-to guy” for when she had boyfriend trouble. I can’t remember how much advice I’ve given her over the years because it is a tremendous amount. But I can safely say, I have done more with Jill in the 8 years as her friend than I have with any girlfriend in my life. And this is why my story is painful to tell.

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About four months ago, Jill invited me to a party.  She wanted to introduce me to her new “boyfriend”, whom she had literally just met like the day before. She said she was,”in love”. I was actually kind of shocked because given her track record, I thought she would be more careful. Especially after a previous conversation when we went to hear the Philadelphia orchestra perform, whereas she told me she was giving up on men,  taking it easy, and focusing on herself and her business. Well that went right out the window.

Whether she knew it or not, I was actually happy for her. She has not been treated well by men, and as her best friend, I felt for her, more than she will ever know. I was happy that she found someone with whom she could start a life.  Where I was unhappy, was how she treated me in the process. I was forgotten. I was left behind. It was as if she and I were soldiers on a battlefield, I was shot, and she didn’t come back for me. The wound was made, and she expected me to heal it on my own. That’s not what friends do. Friends are there for friends no matter what. It doesn’t matter if you meet a new lover. It doesn’t matter if you start a new business. It doesn’t matter if something tragic happens in your life. Friends should always be there for their friends.

I love the saying from the Bible: Treat others the same way you want them to treat you.  Well, if Jill was following this saying, she made it pretty clear that she wanted to have nothing to do with me. Of course, four months later she randomly texts me to let me know that she married this stranger, and that they live together (well that was lightning fast).  She expected me to be happy for her and pick up where we left off. This coming from a friend who I no longer thought was a friend. My question to everyone out there is: If you meet a significant other, and start a relationship with them, does that mean you should toss your best friend(s) aside?  Those friends that were there for years.  Shouldn’t you still talk to them at least once a week, and meet with them for coffee or some fun event like you used to do at least every other week?  Why does it have to be one or the other?

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Personally, anyone who knows me, knows that I will never, ever, NEVER, EVER, ditch a friend for a girlfriend. I never have in 38 years, and I never will. That’s completely disrespectful, uncalled for, immature, and shows a huge lack of empathy. Funny enough, I decided to be the better man and invited my long lost friend to a party that I am throwing soon. After a brief a scuffle via text message when I voiced my opinion, she is now not coming to the party.  I’m sorry, but I will never bite my tongue, and definitely will not hold back my opinion, especially when it comes to a so-called “best friend”.  I now realize that my friend is lost forever, in a long-lost land called marriage. If this is what traveling to that land is like, then count me out. I would rather stay single, and be happy with my friends and my family, then jeopardize the friendship(s) that I have, over just one person (who may one day disappear).  Friendship lasts forever, marriage does not, as we all well know.

Good luck to you Jill, I hope your marriage brings you all the happiness in the world.  I hope that your husband treats you how you want to be treated. I hope that your husband does things with you that you truly love to do. The things we used to do together. Above all, I hope that the next time you make a new friend, that you don’t push them aside for anything in the world, not a husband, not a job, and not even a tragic event.  Nothing is worth losing a friendship over.

How Love Can Survive Across Borders

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Mixed Race Wedding

Have you ever dated a foreigner? Or, are you a foreign national dating an American? Have you ever struggled with the fact that you or your loved one may have to leave the country for immigration reasons, and that a Green Card arrangement is always something hanging at the back of your minds besides the marriage topic itself – which already adds a ton of pressure to the relationship?

Well, I have. For as long as I’ve been here in America, the guys I date seldom failed to ask me about my ‘status’, besides just whether I’m single or married. While I can understand the US Citizen’s suspicion of getting taken advantage of, it doesn’t take away the sting. It almost always starts the relationship off with a bad taste. So, to save myself the embarrassment and to start the relationship on the right foot, I’ve learned to address the concern myself before the relationship gets serious, and ‘come clean’ about my intentions of not just dating a guy for a Green Card Marriage. Even though I’ve learned to treat it matter-of-factly over the years, it’s still not the most comfortable conversation to have, and the guys usually don’t really know what to say other than “Sure” “Ok” “Alright…can we have sex now?”…Sigh.

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Which was why I totally melted at my last boyfriend’s response. He chuckled, and then held my hand.  He was thinking like “OK, even if she doesn’t like me, maybe I can still offer a Green Card to keep her.” Of course he was just kidding! “In all seriousness sweetie, I’m not too worried about it and you shouldn’t worry about it either.  If it comes to the point where we need to make a decision, then we’ll see how much we are really attached; and if I can’t let go, that means I really like you…so I won’t (let go)…anyways, it will be a happy problem to have.”

Sigh. How I loved that guy for it. Alas, we both did let go – for other reasons and for the best, but I’ll never forfeit his Best Answer Ever award, and I would encourage all the American brothers and sisters out there to learn from him on this – if you don’t want to alienate your foreign born sweethearts on this very tricky, very special topic.

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No: Borders, distance, and nationality do not necessarily kill love. However, insecurity and suspicion that comes with it, DOES. You can’t blame a foreign national for yearning stability or feeling insecure about his/her status in America and how it affects their dating lives, just like you can’t blame them for seeking love in the first place. You can’t blame the US Citizens looking out for their own interest and not making long term commitment for reasons other than pure love. But it takes trust to melt away insecurity, and it takes confidence to address suspicion. It is a two way street.

Here’s another perspective from someone else who also lives and breathes these concerns everyday.  The “Best Immigration Attorney on the Main Line”, John Vandenberg shares: “Most of the time, you’ll find that the US Citizen doesn’t really care (about their partner’s immigration status or whether they’d have to sponsor them), they just want to find someone to start a life with, and if this someone happens to be a foreign national, then so be it. Love comes with its responsibilities. Plus, for the US Citizen, all they have to do is to show up for the interview (with the immigration officer)!” How refreshing. The weight of the world was just lifted from my shoulders! Should I sign up for the 90 Day Fiancé?

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But wait, what are some of the other challenges couples might face if they do plan to go through the family based Green Card sponsorship at some point? “Family and cultural misunderstandings,” said Vandenberg, “I find that clients sometimes underestimate how much they DON’T know about each other and their extended families until they really have to sit down, make a firm commitment and go through this process. For example, it’s very hard for us Americans to imagine having a large extended family visiting and literally having them in your face every day without a break; on the other hand, it hurts the foreign national spouse’s feelings to realize that their American spouses really need to ‘take a break’ from all the family and cultural stuff. What seemed exotic and exciting at first may become a burden and cause for constant conflicts down the road, if couples don’t seek to communicate and reconcile as early as possible.”

Love Across Borders

With that being said, is there light at the end of the tunnel? Absolutely. With cultural and political advances, lovers across different borders are coming closer every day, empowered also by new technologies that help them find each other, fall in love and stay in love in unprecedented ways. It’s a known fact that dating apps in particular have been growing exponentially in international territories just as fast as they are in America.  Another interesting fact is that singles from Europe, Asia and the Middle East are talking to singles in the United States using these free dating apps, which is wonderful! Breaking down the traditional barriers and really helping people from all over the world find love with a bigger scope is the main goal driving certain apps in particular.

You never know – the love of your life might be just around the corner, or he/she might be all the way at the other end of the world. Technology helps you create the same intimacy and transparency on your first few “meetings” so you can create the same bond with someone, no matter where you are.

Should you Choose a Partner by What They do for a Living?

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A few weeks ago a friend told me she was about to go on a date with a family lawyer.  I like her so I tried to stop her.  I explained that being a family lawyer destroys the soul. During my stint getting divorced I’ve been screwed by my ex’s lawyers, the parent coordinator lawyers and my lawyers.   I think I’ve had about 8.  That adds up to a lot of lawyers.  My experience has got to be statistically significant.  Family lawyers will do anything, and I mean anything for money.  I told my friend to run for the hills.  No good could come of that relationship.  Plus, if they did end up getting married and then divorced…Oy Vey.  Can you imagine divorcing an expert in destroying ex’s?

I spoke with that friend today.  She threw into the conversation that she’d been dating a family lawyer and he turned out to be an asshole.  I got to throw into the conversation, “I told you so!” I knew what this guy was like without knowing anything about him except his profession.

And now for some dating advice.  When looking for love, look at what someone does for a living.  Certain personality traits are inherent in certain fields. What comes first, the chicken or the egg? For example, does being a family lawyer make you slime, or do slimy people become family lawyers?  Who knows, but for dating purposes, it does not matter.  All you need to do is look up the personality traits that are associated with a person’s job, and you will get very useful information as to whether or not to date them.  In fact, when on internet dating sites, I recommend going directly from the dating site to googling personality traits of whatever profession the profile you were looking at had.  Then you will know if you are truly a match.

For example, and I’m going back to lawyers, according to a study done at John’s Hopkins, attorneys have 3.6 times more depression than people in other professions.  They also are way more likely to be alcoholics and use illegal drugs. On the other hand, they are the highest paid professionals. If you are looking for money, lawyers could be for you.  When they are depressed or depressing, you can tune them out and enjoy your new Porsche. If you like to drink and do illegal drugs, lawyers could be for you.  They could also come in handy if you get caught doing the illegal drugs, because you’ll need a lawyer.

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But, if you are looking for someone happy and wholesome, I’d recommend dating a minister. They are always pleasant and smiling.  Except, of course, the Republican ones after they get caught in the gay sex scandals.  But, I digress… and besides, even then they keep smiling.

Before I finish this blog, I want to apologize to lawyers.  I’m sure you don’t all suck.  In fact, I was once an environmental protection agency attorney.  My colleagues were all saving the world and super nice, not spending their days figuring out ways to throw a woman out of her marital residence.   I really liked my marital home.  I should have married an environmentalist.  No doubt, what a person does for a living shapes their personality.