Say No Confidently

I have been on quite a few dates over the years. There is a debate about when to say No to a date/guy. Should you say yes to every guy? Give a fair chance to everyone? Will it burn you out to always be saying Yes? When is the time to say No?

I mentioned before being nudged into a coffee date because I was being called out for judging this guy too quickly. I didn’t want to seem like a judgmental bitch to this stranger (why I would care is another post for another time) so I agreed to coffee. See, I knew I was right that this guy wasn’t a good match for me. That doesn’t make him a bad person or me a better one. It bugged me that I couldn’t say No. Actually I had already said No! It was when I originally said No that he called me judgmental and it’s really quite difficult to say No twice.

So we get coffee and he wasn’t the guy for me. We didn’t have much in common, we didn’t have any chemistry, things he considered fun were things that sounded like my personal nightmare. We were just too different and there wasn’t anything pushing us to make it work anyway. And you shouldn’t have to try to make it work with every person you meet. You’re allowed to be picky. You’re allowed to have standards.

I gotta admit, this post isn’t really for any of you. It’s for me. I’m here to tell myself that it’s okay to say No. It’s okay to stick to your guns. It’s okay to say No as many times as you want! Whenever you want!

You don’t want to go out on a date, don’t go. You like this guy but you don’t want to go back to his house yet, don’t. You went back to his house and the clothes are falling to the bedroom floor, You’re allowed to change your mind and say No. No matter where you are in the relationship or in the moment, you have the freedom and the right to say No. You don’t owe him anything. But you do owe it to yourself to stand up for yourself. Be your own Advocate. Be your own strength.

‘Getting Drinks’ is not a date

I’ve been on probably two non-date coffee dates. One time with Stubborn  in which I believe he was unsure about us and didn’t want to commit to an hour -long meal and a heftier bill. Ironically, that coffee lasted longer than nearly all of my dinner dates. The other coffee date was with some guy I didn’t want to see but he said I judged him too quickly and in order to not look like the bad guy, I agreed to coffee (he was as wrong for me as I originally thought).

When I choose that coffee date with the second guy, I wanted it to come off as noncommittal. I wanted to chug my hot cup in 25 minutes and call it a day no matter the taste bud burns. I didn’t want to be trapped waiting for the waiter to come back and take our meal order. I wanted an easy out.

I’ve also been on two “Let’s get drinks” non-date dates. Now I, personally, am not much of a drinker so the fact that these men suggested drinks means they don’t know me every well nor did they really care to. Those drinks also lasted the noncommittal hour and then they would ask, “Hey, wanna get out of here?” Yes. Yes, I did want to get out of here but sure as hell not with you!

Those were not a ‘let’s get to know each other’ drinks, they were ‘let’s see if you’re interesting enough to want to hook up with’ drinks. They didn’t want to waste time or money truly wooing me. They were lazily looking for something quick and fun. It was their way of ‘sampling the product’ without having to put in the proper amount of time and effort of a real date.

You might be wondering why I continue to call these dates ‘non-dates’ and that’s because the lack of commitment. Coffee or drinks is casual, quick, and easy. It’s kind of like if you just ‘hang out’ with a guy. You’re not really dating him if you’re never seen together in public.

If you really like someone, you probably won’t suggest coffee or drinks as the first option. You’ll be thinking “I really like this person and want to spend as much time with them as possible” and let’s face the facts, coffee just wouldn’t cut it.

A Few Rules to Keep Your Standards Up

I imagine if you’re a male and you read this article, you might feel a little bit misunderstood and let me just say I am not talking about you. This is for all the immature boys who don’t want to commit to the girl they’re stringing along.

For the past year, my standards have been the perfect height (for new men only, don’t worry I’m well aware I stuck around Stubborn too long).

So a few tips for the girls who seem to always wind up with a f*uckboy:

  • If you set up a date with me for the following weekend and then make no effort AT ALL till the night before when you say “we still on?”. Dude, No we’re NOT still on.
  • If you get frisky in the first 3 days looking for some fun then I’ll ‘casually’ drop you into the delete box.
  • Randomly leave me hanging all day with no explanation… Exit stage left please. I get it, you lead a busy life but all you had to do was say “I’m at work, talk tonight”.
  • Say any sexist, misogynistic garbage, treating women like sexual objects to conquer, or just a general lack of respect for an entire gender. You’ll be taken out like the trash that you are.
  • If a new guy does any of the nonsense Stubborn pulled then I’m chucking the deuces up on my way out the door.

I am very good at not tolerating f*ckboy behavior from new prospects. It’s very easy when they’re new and there are no emotional ties blurring my judgment. Heck, that’s how I landed Mr. Right. My past dating protocol has not worked for me, I’ve learned quite a few things, and I refuse to suffer anymore at the hands of boys too immature to handle a real relationship.

Ladies, if you relate to my frustrations I hope you’ll eventually find yourself in the arms of a man who really appreciates you. If you currently have an almost relationship with your phone then I hope you know it’s not a race, and the journey will teach you many things.

Your Dating Flaws

There are so many articles on the Internet about not wasting time on guys who don’t pursue you honestly and whole –heartedly from the start. Since these articles are mostly for women written by women, it nearly makes sense that all the blame seems to be on the guy. We assume it’s always the guy with the commitment issues and his inability to open up that causes him to ruin relationships. We assume the women have no hang ups of their own that would make them unready for a relationship.

Of course, I agree that these men are emotionally unavailable and it’s highly unlikely that they will be in a relationship with anyone anytime soon. But I also think we’re fooling ourselves if we think we’re nothing but innocent bystanders in this. Why are we picking these men? Do we hope to fix them? Do we see something in them that resembles ourselves? Are we not ready for love and just trying to project the blame somewhere else? Are we really just trying to fix ourselves?

If you want the perfect man then you also have to be flawless, which is unrealistic! Perfect does not exist. Relationships are about accepting flaws and how flaws work well together. While others say he’s too restless to settle down, she is excited by his sense of adventure. Some try to say she’s too demanding but he admires the way she loves life so fiercely.

Maybe we attract those that are similar to ourselves. We’re compassionate for flaws we recognize in others. We treat others as kindly as we wish we could treat ourselves. I try to be open -minded and understanding when a guy is opening up to me about a scar of his because I fear someone judging my scars harshly. When I met a guy with intimacy issues, I know not to push him too quickly because I know how easily I scare away too. And perhaps sometimes I think, “if I work on his issues, maybe mine can go away too”.

We are all flawed (despite what Beyonce sings) and we will always be flawed, but that doesn’t make us unlovable. It just takes the right person to see your stars when everyone was seeing an empty sky.

Emotional Cheating

I think a lot of people have different definitions of cheating. Some draw the line at provocative dancing while others only think a full fledged affair constitutes cheating. Some people think different types of cheating are worse than others like if it only happened once or if it was only when drunk and under the influence.

The offense seems to be worse when there’s more emotion involved. When it was with a clear mind and happened multiple times with the same person. So why is it that emotional cheating seems to get overlooked sometimes?

There’s this delusional belief that if you never meet up in person then you never cheat. Or if it’s not nudes, if it’s not sexual in nature, then it’s not cheating. These things can start innocent enough, just someone in need of a support system. Maybe things are hard with your significant other right now and you just want someone to talk to.

The problem occurs when you stop communicating with your SO. Instead you’re telling all personal issues to this new confidante. You’re no longer only talking to them when you need advice, you’re talking to them when you’re happy, bored, and alone. There’s now a daily connection and although you don’t think you’ve done anything wrong, there’s something stopping you from telling your SO about it.

Would it bother you if your SO didn’t tell you things anymore? Would it bother you if you didn’t know who your SO’s emotional support system was? A support system is a type of relationship if you have to keep it on the down low.

Saying “You Can Do Better” but Meaning…

I have definitely said, “You can do better” to a friend before and I have also had it said to me. I realize it is a friend trying to support, compliment, and look out for you. That’s how I meant it when I said it, along with “You deserve so much better” and “Forget him, he’s nothing but bad news anyway”. What I’m also willing to admit is that I’m passing along a lot of judgment while saying these ‘encouraging’ comments (read: critiques).

I’m judging her taste and ability to choose lovers/boyfriends by calling them ‘bad news’. I’m telling her that she has no authority over her own life and I’m going to make better decisions for her since she can’t seem to pick the right guy for herself. I’m judging her self -confidence and worth by telling her what I think she deserves; how much I think she is worth.

All in all, I’m criticizing her personal choices.

I’m also telling her that our friendship is no longer a safe place to openly be herself. I’m telling her that this friendship is about me. I am not here for her to voice her concerns and lessen her burdens. I am here to praise myself for not making the same foolish mistakes that I am judging you for from where I sit on my high horse. I’m telling her to not trust me with her vulnerability.

She knows any other girl would try and leave him, but her feelings are outweighing her logic. And Love is rarely logically. She doesn’t need her friends pointing out the logical and less ’embarrassing’ option. She needs support so that she never feels trapped or shamed.

She needs support so that she can finally come to a new decision on her own in due time. Or she might never change her mind! And then she has to choose between you and him. Trust me, you’ll lose her then because she will always choose Love.

So when I tell her “Wise up, he’s no good for you” I’m also telling her “Wise up, I’m not much better.” Because if a friend needs to tear you down in order to build themselves up, then that’s not a friend you need to be around.

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 to get over someone

Getting over someone is tough. There’s no right way to do it but we tend to beat ourselves up over it anyway. Here are some ideas that could help you move on after heartbreak. And we all know getting over someone you never actually dated is the hardest so I hope this helps there!

 

1. Stop talking to them and stop stalking their socials, separate them out of your life. You need to remember what life is like without them and realize you have the strength to carry on.

 

2. Write a list of all the reasons it didn’t work out or why they’re not right for you – read it to yourself whenever you forget. Tell your friends about everything that went wrong so they can keep your gentle heart safe.

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3. Delete cute texts and pictures. I’m willing to let you keep any texts when you guys were fighting or he was showing his true colors. You might need to be brought back down to reality if you’ve been daydreaming about the good old days for too long. You’ll need all the help you can get when your heart feels weak.

 

4. The mind is an amazing creature but she will create these fantasies and forget the pain. You have to stay busy and keep your mind off of whoever you’re trying to get over.

 

5. Stay busy and stay social. You still have friends that can fill in your ex’s spot on any adventure! I know you may feel lonely and like a huge chuck of your life is suddenly missing but Life is still awesome and fun on your own. It may take a few tries to remember that.

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6.  Cry about it if you need to. Avoiding and pushing your emotions down will just delay the real healing. Even if it was only an almost relationship, your feelings are real and validate.

 

7. Throw out anything they gave you or that reminds you of them. You don’t really need material possessions and it helps make the break up more real for you.

 

8. Remember your goals and desires before you knew them. Focus energy back on yourself. Until someone can appreciate your energy, focus it all on you.

 

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.