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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Fear and Dating in Las Vegas (or anywhere for that matter)

Now isn't this what we all want? To be kissed in the rain, in Paris, while also wearing really cute boots?! Were that it was that easy...

I've been talking to my girlfriends about relationships this week. Who am I kidding, we talk about relationships and dating all the time, this week I've just been taking note a bit more.

One friend cracked me up when she said she wanted to start a support group for women who don't choose well. I could be the poster child for this group. Seriously. But I know for a fact I'm not alone.

The common thread is of course is all everyone wants is to be loved and love back, but getting there is fraught with a minefield of opportunities to get your heart broken, embarrass yourself and end up much the worse for wear. But hopefully you come back not just bruised and battered, but wiser for the journey.

I keep thinking I should be better at this by now, but are any of us good at love, or are we all just stumbling in the dark?

I was talking to a friend today about how much I loathe dating and how it makes my stomach hurt. My brother's theory is people don't send themselves on dates, they send ambassadors of themselves. You know, the best behavior - perfect manners, laughing in all the right places. holding your stomach in and being delightful. Then, as time goes on the masks come off and you see who people really are. Often it's disappointing, but once in a rare while, when the constellations align, there is no disappointment. That's when you know you've gotten lucky.

It isn't all about luck, there are some things to remember. If you make it past a cup of coffee and commit to a meal, you might just want to remember these things.

1. Stop thinking anyone is going to rescue you, complete you or make your life idyllic. They won't, and you need to complete yourself. That said, a rescue once in a while is pretty nice.

2. Don't accept anyone loving you any less than you love yourself.

3. It really doesn't matter if he leaves the cap off the toothpaste or she doesn't clean the kitchen the way you would. What matters is, is this a person you would want to be stuck on the side of the road with a flat tire with? Is this someone who is calm, consistent and there for you? Forget the minutiae, it's the big stuff that really matters.

4. Make sure you're with someone who knows what it's like to love someone more than they love themselves. This is where parents have an advantage. We're used to giving, even when we feel like we can't anymore, and putting someone else's needs ahead of our own is a daily practice. The key is finding an equal opportunity giver.

5. Attitude is everything. Through ups and downs and all life throws at you, choosing well means choosing someone you can laugh with, cry with, and know they've got your back. I know I want to spend my life with someone who isn't thrown off by insignificant things, and can handle the big things as well. No one's a rock all the time, but knowing you've got a steady person to navigate the trails with makes life a lot easier.

6. You are not a "magnet" for bad boys or the victim of bitchy, angry women. YOU do the choosing. There's no one to blame. It's up to you to choose better. Stop blaming anyone else for the casting you do for the movie of your life.

When I was talking to a friend today about this topic, she laughed and quoted "thirtysomething," - "Fear, doubt and insecurity are my roommates." Yeah, that trio lives with me too.

The best advice I can give you is this. People will tell you lots of things you might want to hear, but they show you who they are with their behavior. When they show you who they are, believe them.

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