Uncomplicated is one of those words that makes me cringe when I hear it dripping off a guy’s lips.  He’s intending it as a compliment but it really isn’t and I’ll tell you why….If your relationship is uncomplicated, then one of you isn’t being authentic and most likely, it’s you.

You know what a synonym for uncomplicated is?  Easy.  I’m not saying that your job in a relationship is to make his life difficult but you can be too accommodating, too understanding, too afraid to rock the boat.  Sure you want to put your best foot forward but make sure you’re being your true self.  Don’t create an image of yourself for him to fall in love with because it’s unsustainable.  Don’t be so intent on winning the guy that you lose yourself.

Some guys (not all guys – there are good guys out there) will use this word as a behavior modifier.  It’s a bit of a veiled threat – keep the relationship simple and the relationship continues; make the relationship complicated and the relationship ends.  It’s manipulation.  If you’re involved with one of these guys – run and don’t look back!

So if you’re with a guy who suddenly comes up with this little gem – ask him what it means and listen to his response with your brain, not your heart…because a guy who wants an undemanding relationship doesn’t want all the marvelous complications that real life holds.

I’m going to leave her just as soon as…

File this under “lies married men tell.”  I can hear you gnashing your teeth as I type!  One of the biggest is that he’s going to leave his wife once x, y, or z occurs.  It’s usually anything from his ship coming in to the kids leaving the nest.  The simple fact of the matter is, if he was going to leave her he would have already.

Why say it?  Because if he were to tell you that he’s perfectly satisfied in his situation as it stands and what he’s interested in is sex on the side, you’d run a mile.  “But there are girls out there who will give them sex,” I can hear you say.  Yes but most men like a bit of a challenge, and a woman who believes they’re in a relationship is less likely to out him to his wife.

So why does it work?  Hope.  You want to believe him.  You want to believe that you’re not the other woman.  You want to believe that there is some unseen force that prevents him from divorcing his wife and being with you.  Unfortunately, you’re lying to yourself as much as he’s lying to you.

Tell him to get his proverbial sh*t together, leave his wife, and then come see if you’re still interested.  If he never comes back, the only thing you’ve lost is a guy who will lie to you and who will eventually cheat on you in much the same way.

Nobody gets me like you do

Certainly there can not be a girl that hasn’t heard this line or a guy who hasn’t uttered it.  Unfortunately, it’s complete bullshit.  It’s a line designed to flatter your ego and ease their way into your panties.  It is a very effective means to an end.

The line works because it makes you feel special; as though you are the only person in the world with this magical connection to this other person.  It attempts to establish an immediate familiarity, a fast forward button to intimacy.  It turns that guy you barely know into “the one.”  I’m not saying that people don’t connect in unique ways, they most certainly do and you will connect with lots of people over your lifetime.

When a guy is throwing down a line like this too quickly, you would be correct to feel suspicious, not closer to him.  Consider his intentions for saying it.  He may want sex (okay, they *all* want sex) but he might also be a love junkie (addicted to the high that comes with the flirt and not in it for the long-term, even if he’s unaware of his status himself).

So don’t confuse that rush of hormones with knowledge of or experience with the other person.  Make sure you know them, not just their lines.

My psycho ex-girlfriend

It’s rare that you meet a guy that doesn’t have a “psycho ex-girlfriend” story.  He’ll regal you with how possessive she was, how she criticized his every move, and how she wasn’t supportive of his dreams.  You, in your head, immediately commit to not being *that girl* with him…because that’s how he’s going to fall in love with you, right?

Here’s the problem with the situation:  If she was such a psycho, why didn’t he see it earlier and get out?  Does he just have really bad judgment?  What was his part in her “psychosis” – did her drive her to behave in such a manner?  Or is it just a great story to gain sympathy and at the same time, communicate to females exactly the behavior that will “win” him? (Could he be striving for the “cool girl” who doesn’t bitch about his irresponsible behavior? Pay attention to the clues.)

I’m not saying that she wasn’t a psycho, maybe she was.  The point is, I don’t know her and neither do you.  The two things to remember here are 1) there are two sides to every story, and 2) if he talks about her like this, he’ll talk about you like this.

Go for it!

Well my lovelies, it’s been an amazing year.  I hope you’ve learned as much as I have through this experience.  I hope you will take this knowledge and use it in the coming year.  If you’ve missed anything, please wander back through the archives.  This blog will make more sense if you start reading it from 1 January and reading forward from there but please, use it as you best see fit.

I would like to leave you with a mantra for the next year – go for it!  You have the knowledge,now go apply it.  There are no trophies for bench-warming.  Yes, there may be more trials and tribulations but look at them as character building experiences and glean what lessons you can from both the good and the bad.  Life is more satisfying when you get out there and live it.

Why failure is a good lesson

The feeling of failure is never a pleasant one.  However, much can be gleaned from our failures if we are willing to learn from them.

  • Failure teaches you to be resilient.  Okay, you failed but the sky didn’t fall.  Get up and try again.
  • Failure teaches what you don’t want.  Thought you wanted the bad boy and it turned out crappy again?  Don’t go for the bad boy.
  • Failure teaches you to work harder for what you want.  If you really want something, it’s not going to be handed to you.  You have to put in the work.
  • Failure teaches you to be kind.  Everyone is fighting a battle on some front, be gentle with them.
  • Failure teaches you to learn.  No point in re-inventing the wheel – feel free to learn from someone else’s mistakes.
  • Failure teaches you to where to start.  You don’t always have to start at zero, although sometimes it’s helpful.
  • Failure teaches you economy.  It’s more important to be effective than to do a lot of needless work.

Can’t we just be friends?

Oh isn’t it grand when you try to be friends with your ex?  It’s a lofty ideal but not exactly what you want to do.  There are a tenacious few who are willing to slog through valley of crap in order to get to the mountain of friendship but these people usually have kids or a business together.  Most couples simply aren’t meant to be friends after they break up.

I can give you a million reasons why you shouldn’t be friends with your ex but it boils down to your history with him.  Until you have some time and distance and can approach the friendship like a new relationship, you’re doomed to fail.  You will continue to treat him like you have some ownership in his life and he will continue to think that he can sleep with you at any point he desires.  And let’s face it, the reason we want to stay friends with our ex is to feel as though we exert some form of control over or voyeurism into their lives.  You can’t move into the future if you’re holding onto the past.

You’re better off with a clean break but if you insist….

  1. Take a break, a long break, from the friendship.
  2. Ask yourself why you want to be friends with him.  Make sure it’s for the right reasons.
  3. Approach him like a brand new person and get to know him all over again.
  4. Do not flirt or have sex with him.  Keep it strictly platonic.
  5. Have full disclosure with current and future boyfriends.

Post mortem

Whenever a relationship ends, it is tempting to hide the evidence.  While I agree that some time and distance can give you perspective on a relationship, you should absolutely attempt to figure out what went right and what went wrong.  You need to conduct a relationship autopsy.

While it would be nice, do not expect your ex to participate.  If he is willing to answer a few questions, make it one session and don’t attempt to defend yourself or the relationship.  Be aware that it’s highly likely that he’s going to lie to you about or at least omit the reasons why you broke up.  He still wants to be the nice guy – even after the break up.  Attempting to talk to him at length about it is not going to improve this, it will only annoy him and make him avoid you in the future.

You may also want to ask some of your close friends and family what they think went wrong with the relationship.  Be aware that they will be unconditionally biased toward you.  So don’t believe them when they tell you that it was all his fault.

Your biggest source of information will be yourself.  Think back about what was happening when the relationship was happy.  Was it merely because it was new?  Were you still putting your best foot forward?  What parts of your personality were on display?  Were you being inauthentic?  Did the relationship go bad after a specific event or length of time?  Did you seem to be fighting more often?  If so, what about?  Did you not fight because one or both of you were closed of?  Did you have different communication styles?  Did either of you give up?

As this won’t take an evening, you might want to journal it out so you have a written record you can go over.  The process may be painful but it is worthwhile.  If you can figure out what went wrong in the relationship, you can avoid the same mistake(s) in the future.

The end of an era

There comes a point when your relationship with your ex changes.  You may wake up one morning and the connection is gone.  You’re not angry with him, you don’t want him back, you just feel a bit…meh.  It can be described as a detached calm.  There has been a shift in your feelings and your relationship with him no longer serves you.  Do not feel bad, this is merely the end.

However, as this denouement is a bit of a disappointment (no bang, no whimper, no absolute finality), you may feel a bit unsure how to properly call it quits with your ex after you’ve already called it quits.  You should inform him, with no malice, that your relationship has run its course, there is no additional benefit to remaining in contact, and it’s better for both of you to say goodbye than to hang on to the last sentimental vestiges of a bygone era.  Do not be hurt if he readily agrees – he just came to the conclusion before you did but didn’t want to hurt you.  Also, do not be surprised or swayed if he attempts to argue the point – no one likes to be the one left out of the decision-making process.  Stand firm and remain calm.  It’s over, the only thing that’s left is acceptance.

Then quietly begin the last of the separation.  Remove him from your social networking sites, delete him from your cellphone (although keep his information somewhere just in case you ever need to ask a question, like did you file your taxes together five years ago), put all his pictures and stuff in a box, or better yet, give it to charity.  Stop commenting on him to friends, in fact, ask them not to talk about him at all.  Soon enough he’ll be that guy you once dated and think fondly of….just don’t look him up again.

All you do to me is talk talk

It is natural, when you end a relationship, to have feel as though you still have unfinished business.  This usually manifests itself as a painful, protracted conversation with just enough hope thrown in to keep you coming back.

While you may feel as though you need closure, do not fool yourself into believing that you could still have a life with this person – there are usually very good reasons why you broke up.

Should you find yourself in a relationship exit interview here are some things to remember:

  • You are not rekindling the relationship no matter is being alluded to.
  • Make it short and sweet.  It may not be all hammered out in one afternoon but if it’s stretching into months, it’s gone on too long.
  • Be as pleasant as possible.  Do not attack or lay blame.  Do not accept these things either.
  • Ask what went wrong in their opinion but do not expect an honest answer.
  • Do not offer to fix what went wrong – you’re past that now.
  • Accept what they say as constructive criticism, ask for examples but not solutions.
  • Agree to disagree.  You’re fact-finding, not defending your record.
  • Work on what is valid, disregard the rest.  Do not beat yourself up over someone’s opinion.
  • There is no such thing as obtaining closure from another person, it’s a gift you give to yourself.