When the Salmon Rots

We had so much fun at that bonfire on the beach, he and I.

The air in my nose was stronger than a salmon swimming upstream.

But if you stayed close enough to the growling fire

that smoky haze would cover you better than a fur blanket.

So I stayed close, tucked into him

dreaming of honey.

Against the black curtain of the sky

It was hard to tell the difference between

the fading flickers of a hot, red amber from a fire

versus his taillights fading down the road.

And then you realize it can’t always be seven o’clock on a summer evening.

Most Memorable Dates in my Dating Career

I’ve been on a lot of first dates and honestly after a while they tend to all blend together. But there are some that stand out even 4-5 years later! I don’t really know why some of these stick out to me, tell me some of your best/worst dates in the comments!

 

1.The Guy who Lied:

I was once on a date with a guy, we’d gone out a few times before. We went rock climbing and he asked me to grab his phone for pictures. As I got it, there was a message from a girl on his screen. I thought nothing of it, it could have been just a friend, we’d only been out a few times so it’s not like we were exclusive, and I never saw what the message said. He freaked out over it though, assured me it was nothing at the time. Assured me again later that night and even had his friend text me to help him cover his tracks. That’s what I thought was suspicious.

His desperate attempts did the exact opposite of what he had hoped. But again, we weren’t exclusive, I didn’t think it was a big deal. Later on he asked for us to be exclusive and then cheated but that’s another story.

 

2. The Guy I was Rude to:

I went to dinner with this guy and he was nice but I knew we didn’t have a future. The restaurant happened to be very close to my house and it was decided we’d walk my dog around the neighborhood before the night ended. (Sidenote: he came inside and met my dad which was awkward and then he let my dog escape which was also a hassle lol)

So we were walking my dog and I decided to get to the bottom of his dating hang ups so I could help him with dating other girls. We mostly talked about his exes and he felt weird about it because that’s not what you do when you’re trying to date someone new. I felt terrible as I realized we weren’t on the same page as I had thought the date ended when we left the restaurant. I was giving him pointers/criticism and digging into his past when he was just a nice guy trying to find a partner. I never got the opportunity to truly apologize and I thought about it for years.

 

3. The Date I Didn’t Want to Go on:

I’ve talked about this guy before but we’ll do it again here. I knew from texting him that we would not be a match and there was no reason for us to meet. I had been on a lot of dates and I was tired of it. He was insulted and called me judgmental and I was somewhat cornered into a date. We went on the date and I was dead on about him; it was not a match. It probably seems like I already had my mind made up, which might be the case but honestly, it’s because I made the right decision in the first place!

 

4. The Creepy Guy:

I don’t know how I ended up going to get coffee with this guy because after the first few minutes I knew he was terribly creepy and I could not wait to get away from him. Unfortunately, nearly every girl on a dating app will eventually have her turn being sketched out by a guy. I don’t even remember what we talked about but I knew in the car after I was so creeped out and anxious from it. I still think about it when I drive by that Starbucks even though so many of the memories are hazy now.

 

5. The Guy who Wanted Me to be his Brain:

I had been on a lot of first dates when I finally found a guy I liked enough to go on a second! I was really into him until we started watching a movie. He constantly asked questions about what words meant and what was going on with the plot. First off, you can use context clues for defining words and secondly, I’m watching the movie for the first time like you are, I don’t know what the plot is going to be! The endless questions were a huge turn off and used up all my patience. I needed someone who could keep up and I was out the door with the end of the movie.

 

The hardest lesson in dating

The hardest lesson you learn while in various relationships is this:

You can’t change people.

 

While you’re young you might have made a list of your ideal partner. Then you started meeting suitors and you realized the perfect partner doesn’t exist. You meet a guy with some potential but you’re both still young and growing your careers. You can’t stay with someone’s potential, waiting and hoping for them to change and grow up. Next thing you know, it’s two years wasted and he’s still exactly how you found him. Plenty of people grow into their potential, but you can’t stay in a relationship where you’re waiting on change. 

 

You are not the same person at 23 that you were at 18 and even that person has evolved at 29 years old. Your education, beliefs, and characteristics you’re looking for in a partner all change. Just as you can’t change people, you also can’t stop them from changing. Important life goals like wanting to get married or wanting children can change over the years. It’s heartbreaking but you have to know when partners in a relationship have changed so much that they’re no longer on the same path. 

 

Another thing women tend to do at a young age is try to fix the guys they want to date. You meet a guy who’s giving you attention and he has good qualities but his coping mechanisms are stunting his growth. Life lessons have shaped all of us and it’s up to us to seek professional help if we feel like we need ‘fixing’. It’s not our job as a partner to be someone’s mother and therapist. We’re your partner and we will support you but it should not fall on our shoulders to fix you up. Above you had to know when to end a relationship, but here you have to know when you shouldn’t even start one. 

 

Nagging or mothering someone into changing only leads to resentment and exhaustion. The ones who do make any type of change or improvements did so themselves. You can be motivation or a support system but they have to put in all the work. Even after all this, there’s no guarantee for a successful relationship. 

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Instead of trying to change someone, you have to know when it’s time to change your plans. After a few years of dating you’ll know what you’re not willing to settle for and you’ll probably figure out the hard way of when it’s time to cut your losses on a partner that will never become who you need them to be. 

 

How can I trust myself to pick the right guy?

Over the past 5 years, I’ve been on tons of first dates. More than any person would ever want to, I’m sure. I kept going on first dates though because I was ‘picky’. I needed a palpable connection and a list of criteria to be met. It was meaningless first date after first date when I finally met my long term boyfriend.

Finally, someone I just connected with. The beginning was easy, I felt alive, and he was good to me. I finally picked the right one! Even his mom was excited about our future!

But time passed and he stopped treating me right and eventually he became my ex. I should have left a lot earlier than I did and now it’s hard to trust myself. 

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I’m really picky and I still didn’t pick the right guy. How can I trust myself now?

 

I’m wondering if I should go about picking partners differently now since clearly, I’ve been getting it wrong all these years. I don’t think I’m too picky honestly, but however I am picking must not be working. Do I need to stop putting so much weight on that feeling of connection?

Maybe with the information I knew at the time, I was picking right? And eventually as time goes on, someone who was right for you can stop being right for your future.

We all know love has a way of blinding us so maybe I need friends and family to pick the right match for me. People who know and love me and have my best interests at heart. But we probably all know someone we would have picked differently for and who’s to say that they made the wrong choice?

Maybe with the new lessons I learned from my dating experience, I will pick the right one next time and I can trust myself. I can trust myself by being self aware. By knowing I’m a hopeless romantic and where my weak spots are. By listening to red flags when I first see them and by understanding the type of men I gravitate towards.

 

What I thought a Pandemic would do to modern dating vs what’s really happening

What a crazy world we’re living in right now! A global pandemic that has completely changed our daily lives. It’s affected the dating world too.

Since we can’t really meet, I thought COVID-19 would weed out the fuckboys and hook up culture. It would force people to really talk and get to know each other before meeting up. It would foster relationships based on conversations and not looks or make outs. 

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I had seen the cute memes. They facetime, deliver meals to each other’s houses and have a virtual date. It was the most chivalrous dating I have ever seen. But I think those might be the rare cases.

 

What’s really happening are the fuckboys don’t care about social distancing and are still trying to get you to come over. For the smart ones who do listen to COVID rules, conversation goes stale quickly. A conversation normally lasts two weeks before you run out of questions and memories to talk about. Then you talk about the weather and the third walk you went on that day and the connection is dead.

Long Distance relationships work, in part, because they both have an end goal in mind of when they’ll get to see each other again. With this pandemic, you know they live close by but you don’t know when you’ll actually get to meet them in person. With no end goal or date in mind, it’s hard to keep the motivation to stay connected.

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I’ve lost all desire to connect with anyone new. There is no way a random date with some Tinder guy could possibly be worth the risk of catching or spreading COVID-19. And any potentially good matches are kind of ruined by the boredom so I nearly don’t want to talk to them until the world is a bit back to normal. If a match has potential now, then hopefully they will also have potential in another month or two. I guess I’m waiting for the guy that could catch my attention and change my mind. For now, no one is really catching my eye. 

 

Why dinner and a movie is a terrible first date

Dinner and a movie has been the classic first date idea since the beginning of time. Honestly, I just don’t understand why.

 

For starters, dinner and a movie immediately forces you into at least a 4 hour date. There’s the pressure of keeping the date interesting and there’s the fear of having to be ‘on’ for such a long period of time. 

 

During dinner you can probably figure out if you like this guy enough to want to see him a second time or not. If you don’t like him then the last thing you want to do is be stuck closely next to him for the next 2.5 hours as he possibly tries to make moves on you. You might not want to spend the money on a movie or feel bad making him spend money on a somewhat pointless date together. 

 

If you do like him then you either want to continue on with this great conversation or you probably want to do more than just brush arms in a crowded, darkly lit room. I never understood the movie part of this classic first date. You’re not getting to know each other during a movie. The only thing you may learn is if they chew popcorn loudly and if they talk and ask questions during movies. These are pet peeves but highly unlikely that these could ever be deal breakers. 

 

There’s so much awkwardness and uncertainty with going to a movie on the first date. Who’s paying? Where should you guys sit? Should you talk during the previews? Where should you put your arm? Will she feel weird if I try to put my arm around her? Did he just brush his leg with my leg on purpose or on accident? I’m anxious just writing this now! 

 

Watching a movie is also a boring date in my opinion. I’d much rather go bowling or play mini golf. It keeps me stimulated, it helps provides material for conversation, and it also allows you to not have to talk the entire time like you do at a dinner. You’ve also disconnected from each other during the movie with the lack of conversation. The date is normally over after the movie and you leave just kind of shrugging your shoulders about the whole night since it ended so disconnected. 

 

Instead, when you do something fun, they’ll associate that feel -good feeling with you. They’ll think of the smiles and laughs they had while doing that activity, and guess what? You were there with them and they’ll smile and think of you too! That’s exactly what you want out of a first date.

 

Why I like being single for now

Relationships are great and I know in time I will look forward to being in one again. But right now, there is a lot of enjoyment of being single! It’s a lot less stress for me to be single and here’s all the ways that’s true.

 

I saved a ton of money on gifts this holiday season. Let’s be honest, relationships require financial effort for dinners, trips, gifts, and fun date activities. You can date on a budget but being single now, I’m back in saving mode. The holiday season can sometimes include your significant other’s family if you’ve formed that bond. I was very lucky and got along with my ex’s family very well but I can’t ignore the fact that I saved a ton of money not having to get gifts for my ex and his family this holiday. 

 

Less stress, I just go about my business in my lane. There’s a give and take with this one. Every relationship has its ups and downs. When you’re single, you no longer have to suffer through the downs! You’re mood is steady, content. This also means it doesn’t go gleefully high. No exciting butterflies in the stomach. No thrill when you see their name on your phone screen. But there’s less emotional labor when you’re just looking out for yourself. My heart is safe and resting, no pressure there.

 

I’m not stressed about getting someone to like me. Not stressed about dates. I’m single single. If a guy is talking to me now, I very freely tell him No when I disagree with plans or topics. I don’t need to impress him, I don’t need to compromise. If the connection dies because I say No, then I have no problem with that. 

 

I have no guilt; I can do what I want with my time and not feel bad about neglecting my significant other. I don’t have to divide up my time. I can focus on my projects. I can feel good about the time I put towards friends and family instead of feeling like I’m choosing them over or under my boyfriend. I can watch whatever TV I want, whenever I want, at any volume I want.

 

This is a nice change of pace and freedom after having been in a long term relationship. Like all of you, I make the best out of every situation I’m in. I’ll start stressing about finding a relationship when I’m ready for that.

 

Talking to Multiple Daters

Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching so I thought it would be a fun time to talk about why it’s okay and common to talk to multiple daters at the same time while using dating apps.

 

When on dating apps you tend to get a batch of matches at the same time. This increases your chances of starting multiple conversations at the same time. Based solely on numbers, it’s nearly impossible to only talk to one person at a time. You could miss out on making a great connection if you wait too long to talk to someone.

 

Since you’re getting batches of matches on different days, you’ll progress in conversations at different rates. You’ll be ready to meet one guy as you start out with hellos with someone else. When meeting someone for the first time, you still don’t know how much you like them and if there’s any in person chemistry. It’s perfectly normal to still keep up conversation with other people so that you’re not starting from complete scratch if the date doesn’t go well.

 

Having connections with more than one person, helps with the let down when a date doesn’t go well or if someone randomly ghosts you. You don’t have to keep all your eggs in one basket. You also don’t want to seem needy or lame, so talking to multiple people helps keep each conversation casual and replies at a normal speed.

 

Talking to multiple people is a completely normal practice in the modern online dating world and you can delete the apps or stop talking to daters at your own speed. Just be honest about what you’re looking for and what your expectations are.

 

I’m happy I don’t really care about dating apps right now

I knew when I downloaded the apps that I didn’t want to jump right into anything. I also knew it takes a long time to meet someone you actually want to go on more than one date with so I wasn’t too worried about it. The reason I downloaded the apps in the first place right after the break up was because I wasn’t sure I could handle all the sudden down time and lack of daily communication to someone. 

People would ask what I was looking for on the apps and I found it kind of difficult to answer because I really didn’t know. As some conversations progressed to the potential of meeting up I found out that I really wasn’t interested in that so soon after becoming single. I found myself falling into one of the distinct categories of app users; I was on the apps just to talk but never meet up and basically just waste my time so I would be less bored.

Swiping through users was just a game to pass time and I found bumble annoying because it forced me to start a conversation within 24 hours. I tried a few apps just to see what they were about but in the end found myself using tinder the most of it’s easy, basic use. After a few weeks, I let new matches sit for days before even thinking about reaching out and in general, just spending less time on the app at all.

I didn’t really care for the conversations, they were all the same and I didn’t want them leading anywhere. Since I wasn’t looking for any type of partner there wasn’t much reason or interest to swipe through the sea of potential daters either.

I’m content to just make plans with my sisters, work on my blog, watch new tv shows, and focus on my schoolwork. I’ve been debating with myself when I might be interested in dating again and the answer is definitely not anytime soon. It’s a very different attitude than I’ve had for the past 5 years but I’m really happy with it.