Lessons on How To Use Facebook

Facebook is a great [stalking] tool. I truly hate talking on the phone or at all with most people I’m “friends” with, so it really expedites the process of being a nosy busybody.

Which I am.

However, there are some things that I do NOT want to see on Facebook.

1. Updates on your child’s eating/sleeping/bodily function patterns. Listen, during the weekday, I spend more time with a dozen ADORABLE little kids than their own parents do. And though this somehow hasn’t yet killed my natural desire to have one of my own [SOMEDAY], I like to pretend that children don’t exist on my off hours. And I DO understand what a milestone it is for YOUR family when little Fallen/Rushmore/Lingerie [TRUE STORY] rolls over for the first time, and I give you a pass for that. What I DO NOT give you a pass for is posting a iPhone pic of little Charlenee’s poop face. Unacceptable.

2. Daily wedding countdowns. I know a girl who started on day 183. I told Anne that if I ever morph into some crazed creature like that, she can stab me with my wedding stilettos.

3. In lieu of a child, endearing parent-like posts about your dog, cat, goldfish, miniature giraffe. Hey. You DON’T have a child yet. So stop giving your pets people names, talking to them in baby talk voices, and posting pictures of them with their hair manipulated into crazy styles decked out with bedazzled accessories. I want a GIGANTIC dog one day and will most definitely post pictures of me and my unconditional love factory, but you will not hear me say things like, “Little Sophie has been so naughty this week!” or “Isn’t Charlie just the cutest? He’s top of his class in obedience school!” When I used to call my friends, even if they were married, they’d have things to say about themselves. Now half the conversation is about the headaches of carpooling dogs to the kennel during couples’  vacation and little Caroline’s mischievous streak of hiding dog toys in the dishwasher. I just can’t handle it.

4. “Funny” and “ironic” condemnations of our next end-of-times scare. Yes, I guess we all ARE really still here. Couldn’t have figured that out myself at 6:01. Or from the fifteen other people who posted the exact same status. Bring something new to the conversation or leave it at home.

I’ll stop there. I could go on, but soon it’s just going to get vindictive. What do YOU hate to see on Facebook?

#20 Google is your Friend

I was at a family reunion just a couple weeks ago, and my brother in law was about to start his umpteenth rendition of his terrible tooth problem and how it resulted in 13 doctor’s visits and was still giving him trouble. I moved away towards my sister because the story is painfully long and kinda gross.

“He’s about to tell his bad tooth story again,” I muttered.

She nodded knowingly, and one of my aunts asked me about my love life. They know all about my history with Ben, from when I first started liking him, to our first date three years later, through our two year relationship and long drawn out breakup/”friendship”. So I mentioned Ben at one point. Or they asked me. I don’t know. Irrelevant?

But my sister turned to me and said, “Ben is your bad tooth, Judy. You need to let it go.”

But. I did something I shouldn’t have.

I’ve been so good the last couple months about ignoring my ex. I hardly visit his Facebook page anymore. I haven’t really sobbed over it since at least January. And I’ve stopped having Carrie-esque dreams where the other Judy suddenly gets drenched with blood at the altar.

Things were going well.

So well, in fact, that I thought I could endure a little internet stalking. Just to indulge my voracious curiosity.

Sigh. Curiosity. My fatal flaw.

I AM sorry that I did it, but what I learned I can’t forget. I didn’t want to know, because I knew I’d have a countdown in my head then, the old school style one with real flipping numbers. And now I do.

It’s 2 months and 5 days until my Ex marries the other Judy.

I thought I’d be ok knowing–I didn’t actually think I’d find out with my limited stalking resources, but the internet surprised even me–but all day I’ve had visions of them wandering through Macy’s with one of those dumb registry guns, picking out their every day plates and glasses, debating bed sheets, negotiating the balance between masculine and feminine color schemes.

And then it kept going–from registry shopping to newlywed house decorating to first born children. Visions of toddlers in car seats in the Ex’s new grown up car, this one with FOUR doors. Meals around the dinner table. High school graduations. Christmases and anniversaries and holding grandchildren for the very first time.

Ben and I have been broken up for five years. We haven’t spoken in over 18 months. It still surprises me how it sucks so much to think about him or hear about him. I try to move on, but there are wounds and then there are scars.

You know what my brother in law needs to do with his dumb tooth? He needs to stop trying to save it. He needs to get it pulled, yanked right away, and get a replacement. Get rid of the problem, get rid of the pain.

Sometimes I freak out because I think I’ll never have the marriage I dream up for everyone else. Even when I’m dating someone, it’s hard for me to think about a point at which I’d be willing and wanting to spend the rest of my life with them. But my brother in law’s tooth story made me realize, I have to let go before I can hope for a new love story. As long as I’m clenching on to the past, I won’t be able to jump into the future.

I don’t know what that means, practically. I don’t know what else I can do that I haven’t already been doing (well, except I should probably stop internet stalking). And I know that I’m letting go, slowly. It’s not on my own time anymore though. There’s a date set for my heart.

By July 30th, 2011, this bad tooth is going to get pulled.

My Third Date with Pete

If I tell you this story with Pete is a trilogy, would that be a big enough hint about how this thing goes down?

Most of my friends, when I told them about our two dates, flipped out. I’m not usually a two-date girl, definitely not a three-date girl, and they could see the potential for another date as well as I could. And I guess that my storytelling skills are better than I thought, because when they asked about it, when I was going to see Pete again, my noncommittal shrug totally baffled them.

Didn’t I want to see him again?

Didn’t I? Did I? I wasn’t sure. We had fun together, post-bowling that is. But at the same time, I wasn’t thinking about kissing him anymore. And when I realized it had been three days since our date and I hadn’t heard from her, all it garnered was a thoughtful, “huh,” and a shrug. Look, I’m all about letting love have time to grow, but I wasn’t even sure if I liked the seeds I was about to plant.

Maybe it WAS the bowling.

My friends blamed my hesitation on my poor sportsmanship during the bowling game. They warned me about the shrinking pool of Dateables our age. They tried to argue the logic of at least seeing Pete one more time. And I could acknowledge that at least, so when he finally texted me after a week and a half of nothing, I played along.

He asked about my plans that weekend, and I gave him a run down of the scheduled events, expecting him to pick a time that was free.

Except, he didn’t. He invited himself to the movies with my best friend and her boyfriend.

That’s cool. It could be like a fun little double date. Besides, a third date is as good a time as any for a guy to meet Anne. If she doesn’t approve, it’s over anyway. Most likely at least.

So I agreed to this. Except I TOLD him, VERY clearly, that we had to be at the movie theatre a half an hour before the movie started. Movies are very important to me and I hated missing previews.

You know what’s coming, right? A text from Pete a half hour before the movie starts, telling me he’s just leaving his apartment, and could I buy his ticket for him to save time? A phone call telling us to go ahead and get seats and that he’ll let us know when he’s arrived. A text five minutes AFTER the movie starts letting me know he’s there and needs his ticket.

An ENTIRE movie spent trying to focus despite the hair playing, “cute” elbow nuzzling, and finger plucking that he must have thought was cute.

Oh, and he TALKED during the movie. Gag on a spoon.

When the credits began to roll and the lights came up, I didn’t know whether to comment on the movie first or introduce Pete to Anne and her boyfriend. It didn’t matter much, since Pete barely gave them more than a head nod.

As we were walking out of the theatre, Pete rested his hand on my elbow, “Can I walk you to your car?”

“Please,” I said. As in, Please, escort me out of this unimpressive situation and thank you for not asking me out to coffee now, or a drink, or some other night-extending waste of time.

When we got to my car, I could tell he was trying to draw me in. And to be honest, I was trying my very hardest not to even look him in the eye. I was disappointed. What happened to the interesting guy who so coyly convinced me to give him my number? What happened to the fun guy who could surprise my expectations by drinks at Applebee’s? What happened to the vulnerable guy who could open up about his emotions in the middle of the bowling alley?

And as I was opening my car door and slipping into my seat for a pucker-free escape, Pete grabbed the door.

“Wait,” he said. — No no please, I thought. — “Let me pay you back for the movie ticket.”

He opened up his wallet. “I’ve only got five bucks.”

He handed me the bill, and I took it like a golden ticket. A guy who waits ten days to text, shows up late for the movie, and barely pays for his own ticket, let alone mine? He sounds just as uninterested as I am. Another promising beginning proved as just the typically unsensational experience. My optimistic side is hardly disappointed–though my cynical side is feeling vindicated, once again.

Maybe we can just be friends. If either of us can ever muster enough motivation to break out our texting fingers again.

Movie Night

On a side note, Anne and I went to go see Bridesmaids last night. Hil-ar-ious. And a VERY relatable story. If you’re looking for a good girls’ night movie, or just a great movie, I would totally recommend it (especially over the star-vehicle, unrealistically constructed, and seriously flawed story of Something Borrowed).

I had something else clever to say, but I forgot.

My Second Date with Pete

Pete didn’t kiss me on that first date. And it wasn’t that I was surprised or disappointed. Well, actually, I guess I was surprised. So many times guys have lunged at me without even a thought of a date in their heads that the lack of a goodnight kiss kept me thinking about him.

If that was intentional, it was VERY well played.

When Pete texted me a few days later, I was a lot more excited than I thought. And my anticipation was answered with, “sup?”

Really? The entire English language is at your disposal, you’re trying to impress a girl [I’m assuming, of course], and you choose — sup? To the nines, Pete, really.

But I had spent the last three days imagining how warm his lips were, so I just rolled with it. A very short, uninspired text conversation later, we had a Friday night date planned.

Things I did not do that Friday night. I did not try on half the clothes in my roommate’s closet. I did not straighten then curl my hair. I definitely DID NOT paint my toenails. What sort of time do you think I have on my hands? [But if I had been doing all those things, it would make my delayed posts understandable.]

Pete wouldn’t tell me what we were doing, but he seemed pretty excited about it when he picked me up. I was excited too, as long as we weren’t going to the morgue–but when we pulled in at our destination, I would have picked even that.

We were going bowling.

Look, I know–EVERYONE likes bowling, right? No, false. Everyone likes mini golf. Or the movies. Or anything else, I don’t know. I just have a particular problem with bowling, and that particular problem is that I suck. I average about 32. The last time I had an extremely emotional outburst it was at a bowling alley. I think the setting greatly influenced my emotional stability at the time.

But you know, I tried to be–excited–about bowling. Pete was obviously into it, and as long as he was cool with the fact that I sucked, it could still be fun. This is what I always tell myself–it COULD be fun. And I find out every time–no it can’t.

As we’re waiting in line to get our shoes, I casually mention, like I always do at bowling alleys, that I’m terrible and wouldn’t bumpers be so much fun?

Pete’s look told me exactly what he thought of that idea.

The sweet irony of this all is that I always start out strong. I threw a damn strike with my first ball. And Pete was impressed.

“You were just trying to get my guard down,” he said. “Telling me suck only to start out perfectly.”

“Those are all my points for the entire game,” I said.

And they pretty much were.

But you know, it still could have been fun. I was looking forward to hanging out with Pete. Maybe he could give me some pointers. Maybe he’d be super sweet and encourage me the entire time. Maybe he’d be the first person to relent and let me have gutter bumpers. But I realized very quickly, Pete is extremely competitive. I was trailing by 80 points and he was still trash talking me.

Boys, I’m sorry, but giving a play by play sports announcer style about a girl’s fifteenth gutter ball in a row is NOT a turn on. I’m already pissed at myself–don’t give me an excuse to blame shift.

We played two games. He was about ready to fire up a third, when he looked over and saw me wilted in a far seat. I had already decided, enough was enough. A second date so consistently miserable is the end of the line for me.

Except then he stepped away from the scoreboard controls and sat down next to me.

“I’m a little extreme about bowling,” he said.

I just sorta smiled and grunted, because I know when I’m about to be nastily scathing and I do try to hold that sort of thing in. Most of the time.
“I was actually on the bowling team in high school,” he said.

“Makes sense,” I muttered.

“We weren’t exactly cool,” he went on. “In fact, we were pretty much the most socially unacceptable people in high school.”

“High school is dumb,” I say. Deep wisdom, I know, but I was starting to soften.

“I don’t think I even realized it until I went to ask this one girl out that I had had a crush on all year. She wasn’t even that popular, but when I asked her out, she laughed at me and said she’d never date a loser on the bowling team.”

Alright, I’m not going to lie, I was drawn in at this point. I have a weakness for stories of past rejection.

“I got really defensive about it then. I really liked this girl, but I also really liked bowling. I knew I wasn’t cool, but at least I was having fun some of the time, which is more than most high schoolers can saw. We started calling ourselves the Gutter Ballers and we even got jackets.”

I laughed and forgave him then. Because I’m defensive about some stupid stuff too. Like how bad I am at bowling.

“You weren’t that bad,” he said.

“I’m a better bowler than you are liar,” I shot back.

We left the bowling alley then and went out for drinks, because both the winner and loser have a reason to drink after a game.

And still he did not kiss me.

Really? REALLY?

I got an email from eHarmony, since I was once subscribed [and still receive matches]. The subject read, “Give Mom the Greatest Gift of All…” and inside —

Find someone who’s perfect for you.

We already HAVE mothers to guilt trip us, eHarm, we don’t need any more e-nagging, thank you.

My Date with Pete

I think you can tell a lot about a person by the place they pick for drinks.

Pete chose Applebee’s.

I enjoy Applebee’s for late night half off appetizers with my friends or an inexpensive dinner. But I live in a college town, with a plethora of unique and interesting places to drink. And the boy who I could have sworn was wearing eyeliner when I first met him chose Applebee’s.

So I got ready with trepidation. Since I’ve become a firm believer in giving every date a fair shot no matter what your first impressions might be, I curled my hair, threw on some eye shadow, and actually tried on more than one outfit. But as my roomie said, “Have fun!” my response was–

“One can only hope.”

When I arrived he was waiting, looking a little less grunge but still with striking eyelashes. He suggested we sit at the corner of the bar instead of at a table, and I agreed, thinking that if this went from disappointing to disastrous, it’d be easier to get away from a bartender than a waitress.

When we sat down, I reached for the drink menu, but Pete stopped me.

“You’re not going to need that,” he said. “Hey, Paul!”

Apparently Pete was friends with the bartender. Apparently they went through bartending school together. And apparently Applebee’s can serve more than your standard mojito.

Pete asked me what I liked to drink and made suggestions that I had never even heard of. Since we were both driving, Paul served us in sampler size glasses. The last one was a drink Pete and Paul had made up on their own, and I would share the recipe with you but they made me promise not to tell anyone. It was good.

I was having fun, I’ll admit it. I mean, drinking for free with two attractive, reasonably funny guys? We spent the first half hour just joking around, swapping stories of irresponsibility [like the time I woke up after a night of excessive drinking and found a phone number in my pocket–my phone number–except for the last two digits. Oops?]. But as Paul was serving up their signature drink, I asked Pete, “So are you a bartender too?”

“Not really,” Pete replied. “I bartended for a couple months, but most of the bars here cater to the undergrad douche bag.”

“So what do you do now?”

This should be an easy question, right? RIGHT?

“I work for an undertaker,” Pete said. Very casually.

“You’re an undertaker?” I was still making the connection between man I was sitting next to and the cartoon hunchback carrying a lantern and a shovel through a graveyard.

“No, I’m his assistant.”

“So,” I started slowly, because I was unsure whether or not I really wanted to utter these words, “you’re an undertaker’s assistant.”

“Yeah, I’ve been there for almost a year.” Pete was momentarily transfixed by a playoff game. It might have been a move to give me sometime to think this through–stunned silence is probably something Pete encounters often–and if so, it was to his credit.

Because I took the minute to consider the job, decide to stop considering the job, and to make the choice to forge ahead on this date. Yeah, it’s not the most…conventional of careers. But a man is not his job. Sometimes you just have to pay the bills. And we’d have time to talk about it [assuming I wanted to know more about it]. If I liked Pete enough to go on a second date with him.

And you know what? Through the next hour of conversation, laughter, and maybe just enough alcohol, I decided I did like Pete enough to go out with him again.
And he decided the same.

#19 Don’t Look in Unexpected Places

You know how they say you find love when you stop looking for it? You remember how I wrote a post calling fate a tart? You know how I started this blog a mere six months ago because I thought my misadventures might be amusing to someone, and since they had been going on so long they were sure to continue even longer and would provide a creative outlet for years?

Don’t get excited–because I’m for sure not–but I’ve met someone…intriguing. And I actually have a pretty good feeling about this.

I have a good feeling about THIS. Except, when I met him, he was wearing a shirt. Probably because they have rules about that in most places.

I was at the library the other day (yes, I go to the library. When I don’t have outstanding fines, which I usually do. It’s pretty embarrassing having to pay any library fine over $10), perusing some classic literature titles (ok, I was looking at the newest chick lit) when I noticed this guy wandering down the aisle toward me. I staunchly ignore guys when they get close to me because 1. I am too cool for that and 2. I get nervous. But it’s one thing to ignore someone inching their way toward you and another to pretend you’re deaf.

“Any suggestions?”

I took a quick glance over–cute, a little young looking, a bit of a grunge thing going on (or is it emo?)–but only for a second because I had to make up something more male appropriate than “Good Enough to Eat.” Unfortunately, I’m surrounded by Brontes.

Luckily, the A’s are on the bookshelf behind me. I pluck out Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

“Well, Douglas Adams is a sure bet,” I said. “But you’ll have to wait until next time–this is the last copy, and I’m taking it.”

I think I attempted a coy smile at this point, but I’m always pretty awkward at these things. Might have come out as a mean-spirited smirk.

“They made a movie about that a couple years back, didn’t they?” he asked. And as I’m nodding, he reaches over and takes it from my hand, flipping through the pages. As he studies the book, I study him. Definitely younger than me, but people often under guess my age. No backpack or anything, so hopefully he’s not a student. And cute. But is that mascara? Or just naturally gorgeous eyelashes?

Eye makeup? Or no eye makeup?

“Do you read a lot of science fiction?” he asked.

“I used to. I sorta grew out of it.” He closed the book and fixated on me. He didn’t give it back to me, though. He has dark dark brown eyes.

“I just read The Hunger Games, actually,” I continued. “They skew young adult, but it’s a really excellent trilogy.”

No joke, I wasn’t saying that just to be all scifi-y. They really are a great read.

“Good suggestion. Maybe I’ll check them out since you’re stealing Douglas Adams.”

“Ah, I believe the technical term is ‘borrowing’,” I corrected him.

He smiled–and it’s a boy next door smile. Not a creeper smile.

“I’m Pete.” He had to switch which hand the book is in to shake hands.

“Judy.” And then I looked pointedly at my book. Which I really do want to read now.

“Oh, you want this back?” He held it up, considering. “How about…I give you back this book if you give me your number.”

I was flummoxed. This is atypical for my life. Boys have asked for my number, it’s true. But after I’ve drunkenly made out with them or something even more audacious.

“Well, I–” I think I actually stammered at this point.

“Pretty simple trade,” Pete said, dangling the book in front of me.

So I did it. I gave him my number. And a couple days later he texted me to ask if I wanted to grab a drink (and while I usually applaud guys who call instead of text, I stuttered so much in giving him my number I barely trusted myself having a phone conversation with him. I’m awkward to the max on the phone). And while I don’t normally hit it off with rando strangers, while I don’t normally find connection in a chance meeting, while I don’t normally find the odds of meeting someone I’m actually compatible with by chance at all attractive, I decided to do something a bit bold for me.

I said yes.

The Birds and the Bees and Everything Between (my knees)

TV’s taught me a lot about life. I’ve learned that heroes always escape at the last second. If you work for the Secret Service, the FBI, or any other law enforcement agency you have a high chance of spending several years with crazy sexual tension between you and your super hot partner. And that writers will stretch realism for convenience, as evidenced by the six people who apparently never kept their New York City apartments locked.

I like paying attention to how TV shows portray certain demographics that I fall into–single white female, post-grad hot mess, writer, New York City native (I definitely identify with my NYC years–not my Jersey years).

There is one particular demographic I fall into that I’m always fascinated by when it’s put on TV. Community described it as being really rare, like a unicorn. Glee said it meant that I was naive and a bit frigid.

What’s rare, naive, and cold? I’m talking, of course, about being a virgin.

BUT WAIT, before anyone freaks out about how I’m going to talk about NOT having sex, I do feel the need to have the disclaimer. Summer and I regularly talk about boys, dates, making out, sex, and Cosmo articles, and we have made two polar opposite decisions on this. If my roomie can feel comfortable talking with me about sex, I hope you will too. This is my own personal choice, and I don’t expect others to share it. Just respect it. And, sadly, that respect is what was missing this week from an otherwise excellent episode of Glee.

Apparently it's more acceptable to act all hot and bothered in front of students than to accept waiting for sex as a real, mature decision.

Let me start off by saying that one of the main points of the Glee episode, that teenagers should be educated about sex, is something I COMPLETELY agree with. I’m not one of those people who think we should teach abstinence only. I think we need to have well-rounded sex education that includes all choices. I thought the sex talk that Kurt’s dad gave him was great, validating both who he is as a person and the choices he’ll make [If you haven’t seen it, go ahead and YouTube it, or read this article by Mandi Bierly ].

Best scene of the show, by far.

My parents are pretty shy people, and I never got a sex talk. Wait, maybe I did. I remember some sort of awkward conversation with my mom, but I don’t remember the two sentences that we exchanged about it. I learned about sex through my friends, media, sex ed classes, and Cosmo articles. Is this the best way to learn about sex? Probably not. Does it mean I’m naive, cold, and frigid? Um, no. And guess what, Glee writers, I KNOW what Afternoon Delight is.

Not only am I informed about afternoon delight, I would NEVER be caught in that skirt. EVER.

People make the decision not to have sex for lots of reasons. Some do it for emotional reasons, some health reasons. I have several reasons for not having sex right now, but the main one, the one that trumps them all, is spiritual. God says not to have sex before marriage, and since He’s God, I trust that He’s got a good reason. This is an incredibly personal decision, and I don’t hold any non-Christians, and I’m pretty generous with Christians too, to this decision at all. And most of my discussions about sex don’t even delve into the spiritual side of things because I’m talking with people to who that’s not applicable. That’s just my main reason for my choice.

But I have to ask–why is my decision not valid? Why are people threatened by people who’ve made the decision to abstain? Why are we called naive, frigid, repressed? I ain’t got no respect, and honestly, it gets me fired up. Why is it that you can choose one thing, and I another, but I’m scorned for my decision? My relationships aren’t stifled because we haven’t had sex. I am not unaffectionate or unloving or cold with a boy because I choose not to have sex with him. And I’m not a prude. I still love making out. I’m rare like a freaking unicorn, and instead of thinking that makes me a freak, I think it makes me more awesomely me.

I cannot wait to have sex [you guys picked up on that, right? I’m not staying a virgin FOREVER! Holy heaven, that is not the goal!]. One of my fears in life is dying before I have sex. But I want to have sex with my husband and my husband only. It’s going to be awesome. And I’m not going to try to convince anyone to make the same choice I have. Just give me the same respect that I give everyone else.

#18 Don’t Agree on Anything–Including the State of your Relationship

Once upon a time there was a lovely girl named Selena. Selena had a big heart and a strong character and, of course, like all heroines, smoking hot too. Selena worked at a research lab, trying to help scientists and teachers and occupational therapists better understand autism. I’m not saying she was Ma Theresa. I mean, she worked at a RESEARCH lab, and sometimes very late at night they would–well, that’s not pertinent.

One day Selena was giving a lecture to a group of teachers about the newest discoveries in autism research. At the end of the lecture, a ruggedly handsome and smolderingly vulnerable man approached her. His name was Justin, and though he wasn’t a teacher, he was an architect who had just returned from three years building houses in war torn Uganda, his newborn nephew had autism, and he wanted to be as informed as he could be so as to provide his nephew with the best support he could. Selena’s soft heart was touched, and she offered to meet Justin again for coffee to give him more information.

It did not take long for the relationship to turn romantic. Justin persistently but non-stalkerishly pursued Selena, taking her out to dinner, sending her flowers, texting with sweet excitement about their dates. And when Justin introduced Selena to his sister’s family, and his adorable little nephew, she knew that he was falling in love with her. Also, it was good that he was into that late night stuff too.

OMG, aren't they like, SO super cute?

Selena and Justin delved into a wonderful, lovey-dovey, sickening to their friends relationship. Justin was sweet and attentive and would come over to shovel Selena’s driveway in the winter. Selena was supportive and understanding and was just naughty enough to make Justin feel like he was dating a seductress and not a slut. After two years, they moved in together.

After four more years, Selena had resorted to online auctions to ice the sore spot in her life.

Selena wanted to get married.

Some people don’t want to get married. I have opinions enough of dating and marriage, hooking up and living together, but I also hold, for the most part, that if two people agree on the state of their relationship, there’s no problem. If two people want to live together, raise children, build a home, and never get married, that’s completely their prerogative. The problem sneaks in when the two individuals want DIFFERENT things.

Whenever anyone brought marriage up to Justin, he would grunt. Not in an assenting or even noncommittal way, in a “shut-the-hell-up-no-one-gives-a-baby-panda’s-ass” way. Justin’s family had been through several divorces, and he just couldn’t see the value of marriage in today’s transient culture. And because Selena was level-headed and mostly reasonable, she didn’t push or manipulate. She loved Justin and respected his opinions and only faked a pregnancy once.

She thought he was going to propose that night. He just sang her some dumb song.

But now she was in her late 30s, with a man she loved but who didn’t share her life dreams, and she had to make a choice–stay with Justin, a dreamboat in a fantasy river, or end it and look for a lover who wanted the same life she did.

Ok, so, the story of Selena and Justin may not be exactly accurate, but I do know a couple who has been together for over five years, and the guy has zero interest in proposing–not because he doesn’t have enough money or because he thinks he’s too young or because he has something else he wants to accomplish first. He just has no intention of getting married. And he doesn’t want children. Ever. And my friend is caught–stay with a guy she loves who won’t marry her or move on.

Here’s the problem, and this may seem a little harsh, but I’m just going to say it–Justin is never going to wake up one day and realize he wants to marry Selena. For the most part, people resist change. And if Justin is comfortable–if he LIKES the state of his relationship–he’s not going to spontaneously become interested in matrimony and shared names. So for Selena to hang around, hoping that one day his eyes will be opened to the beauty of legally forever, is stupid.

She has three options–

1. Stay with him. If Selena decides she loves Justin more than her own dreams of marriage and babies. And that is totally cool–if she REALLY decides she wants Justin more than her own family. But Selena does want a family. Really really badly. And usually, when we sacrifice our dreams for another, seeds are planted. Resentment. Frustration. And sadness. If Selena stays with Justin, it’s not a compromise. It’s a complete surrender.

2. Give him an ultimatum. This is dumb. If he proposes, he’s only doing it because she forced him into it, and that just seems… bad. If he doesn’t propose, either they break up or she sticks with him, her bluff called and everyone knowing it.

3. Leave. Just leave. Just tell him, “Hey, I’ve love you, but I know that what you want and what I want are different. And I need a relationship with a guy who wants what I want.” And then it’s over.

Selena compensates for her lack of an engagement ring with other obnoxious jewelry.

Yes, it will suck, but if Justin is going to recognize the value of marriage, it’s going to be because he lost a girl he wanted to be with forever. And I’m not saying that he will. Door #3 is a risk–Justin may never connect the sadness of the breakup with his inability to commit. And it’s very unlikely that if he DOES change, that he’ll pursue Selena again. The most likely best case scenario is that, by Selena dumping Justin, the next time he’s with a girl who he wants to love forever, he’ll let her know. In every way possible. He’ll take the chance with her and risk his love on marriage.

And Selena, the wonderfully chic, awesomely cool girl that she is, will meet an guy of comparative character, who’ll want to give her everything she’s dreamed of.

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