When I told my friend Molly how much I wanted to write this, but how unsure I was if I was ready to put it out in the world, she gave me some of the best writing advice I’ve ever received: “My biggest piece of advice is that if you’re not ready to share, don’t. Still, write it for you. I have written things I wish I hadn’t put out there. But listen to your heart.”
I knew she not only meant my work itself, but being so open to the public about something so complex and personal through what I was writing.
Molly is one of the only people I’ve ever discussed my sexual fluidity, flexibility, and confusion within a truly candid, in-depth, and vulnerable way. It may have been through copious amounts of Denver’s best brews and a couple of whiskey cokes too many, but it was the first time I was able to say I kissed a girl and I liked it (and it wasn’t just for the fun of it).
Other friends of mine know I’ve been sexually involved with other women, but I suppose they’ve explained it away to my wild ways, written it off to the fact that I’m sexually liberated, thought I was just having fun in my singledom, or believed I was just dabbling in the same sex. And that’s because I was more than fine with letting them assume any of those things versus me having to explain myself.
Because how do you explain something to someone else that you don’t fully understand yourself?
It was this bewilderment (and the fear that family and those close to me and who know me would read this) that initially made me think that maybe I shouldn’t be writing this. So there I was, having just opened up that text from one of my dearest friends, and walking into the library when I came across the contents of a bag of Skittles scattered in all their vibrant glory on the sidewalk. If that wasn’t a metaphor or the universe’s way of telling me something, then I don’t know what is.
I called Molly immediately, “You’re not going to fucking believe this.”
Fuck it, I thought, I’m so unreserved in my writing when it comes to everything else, so why not be open about this? If I’m as uncertain as I am, and as afraid, surely someone out there feels the same. And if this resonates, I haven’t done a disservice to anyone. Won’t this be yet another step to living my most authentic self?
So, this is me taking that last bit of advice and listening to my heart who is telling me that it’s okay to, and time to, admit that at 30 I am still struggling to find a label I am comfortable with, because the truth is that not only has my identity as a straight woman been threatened, but it has completely been debunked.
My whole life I’ve only ever been romantically involved with men. Every person I’ve dated and have had a relationship with has been a man. Everyone I’ve ever had an emotional attachment to and had feelings for has been a man. I’ve always loved men.
The feel of their rough hands, their facial hair against my soft skin, the heady scent of their cologne. Men in all their masculine grace. The veins on their forearms, the sight of their sleeves rolled up, the way their frame overpowers my own, how small and delicate I feel with their weight on me, and their strong arms wrapped around me. Feeling them inside me. Fucking me. Owning me. Owning them. Driving them mad. The power I could hold over them.
If there was one thing I was always certain of, it was that I loved men.
I had made out with and kissed other girls, but what girl hadn’t done the same? At 16, I had a sexual encounter with another girl, making it to third base, but it was normal, wasn’t it, to experiment? Throughout my teens and twenties, I felt attracted to other girls, but I told myself it wasn’t so much attraction as much as it was admiration; a girl crush. It was natural to find other women beautiful, to covet their style, to marvel at them.
Then, in my early twenties, I had my first FMF threesome. In the midst of all the sweat, the skin, the limbs, and the sex, I found myself wishing he wasn’t there. I found myself wishing I could be alone with her. I found myself wishing I could take my time with her. And when the opportunity presented itself again, I was all game, but it wasn’t both of them or him that I wanted, it was her I wanted to kiss and feel again. I found myself replaying the tender way she kissed me, how she sucked on my lip, her mouth on my breasts, the taste of her neck.
It was from there on out that I began to fantasize more about other women. I always had, truth be told, but I always chalked it up to my extremely imaginative mind being just that, and to me being curious and exploring sexual desires and scenarios in a safe and private way. After all, I hadn’t gone down on her, so it was all just healthy sexual fun, wasn’t it? I was still straight …
Over the next few years, I messed around with a few girls, but it wasn’t until the first time that I “properly” had sex with a girl at 28 that I began to wonder if I was truly straight. It was the most highly charged sexual experience of my life and the single most vigorous orgasm I had ever had. It was electrifying and, more than anything, it was terrifying.
I told myself that it was natural to be bicurious, that a lot of women have found themselves there. I did everything to dismiss the lusty and powerful sensations I was experiencing for other women. I even convinced myself that my attraction to women was due to the abuse – sexual, emotional, and physical – that I had suffered at the hands of men. But, the truth was that I was beginning to think about women the same way I had always thought about men.
I wasn’t just checking out other girls anymore, or admiring their clothes and hair. I wasn’t just finding other girls pretty or hot anymore, I was beginning to feel drawn to and aroused by some of them. I’d imagine how their hair would smell, how soft their skin must be to the touch, what their perfume and lipstick would taste like. I began to masturbate to the thought of some.
The first time I tried talking to a friend about what I was experiencing she was initially understanding and all very cool with it. She was someone I had always considered to be very open-minded. I thought, This is safe, this opening up. Just when I began to become comfortable in my admission, she asked me, “But, you like haven’t and like wouldn’t eat them out, would you?” And the way she said this was with such abhorrence, such revulsion as if going down on a girl was one of the most disgusting things a human being could do. I looked at her, and I remember her expectantly waiting for me to say no.
Didn’t she, as a woman, enjoy that being done to her? As one of her closest friends, and therefore, being fully aware of the details of her sex life, I knew the answer was yes. So why as a woman who was attracted to other women, who had been, and wanted to continue, being physical with other women, was it so wrong for me to bestow the same kind of pleasure on them?
I concluded that she was either not as open-minded as she came off, disgusted by her own genitalia, or wasn’t taking me seriously. And then I did one of the worst things I could have done – I felt ashamed. I was embarrassed to admit that not only had I gone down on a girl, but that I enjoyed it, and I would do it again.
And I did do it again. And after each time I had sex with a woman, it became glaringly obvious that maybe I wasn’t 100% straight.
I’ve always been someone who has been very in tune with herself and with who she is, an introspective soul, so when I began to harbor doubts about my sexual orientation, I didn’t know what was real anymore.
I knew I wasn’t a lesbian, I still loved men, I still craved men. I was still having sex with men and lusting after them. To be honest, but crass, I loved dick. I wanted to identify with the concept of bisexuality, it sounded like what I was, but I had my doubts about this label, too.
The next person I broached the subject with told me I didn’t really like girls because, and I quote, “It’s not like you would date one or could see yourself sharing a life with one.” So then I began to have more doubts. I had never been in love with a girl, had a relationship with one, or harbored romantic feelings for one, but was that because I was in reality a heterosexual, or was it because I just hadn’t met the right one?
I was as confused as ever.
I asked myself all kinds of questions.
Was I equally attracted to men and women? What did I find myself drawn to in both genders? Is it only physical with women? What attracts me to different people? What and who are my sexual fantasies focused on? What types of bodies am I attracted to? What kind of porn and erotica arouses me? Why? Could I see myself dating another woman? What do I want in a lifelong partner? Am I attracted to more than just the two genders? Am I bisexual? Am I pansexual? Am I straight but confused? Where do I fall on the spectrum? What am I?
I became even more perplexed when I found myself really into a friend of a friend who was nonbinary.
Today, I have the answers to some, but not all, of these questions, and I’ve since then formed even more questions.
When I took to the internet, I became overwhelmed by all the information and misinformation I found. I learned new terms such as cross-orientation, novasexual, heteroromantic, novaromantic, mixed orientation, and the list goes on. I felt such a pressure from myself to choose a sexual identity, so I could stick with it. If I was straight, then I needed to be just that, figure out what was going on regarding my desire for other women. If I was bisexual, I needed to know, I needed the answer, I needed to find my truth, I needed to try to open up myself not just sexually, but emotionally, to other women and see how that felt. I also needed to explore the possibility that maybe I was pansexual.
I was, and still am, very afraid of what answer I might find. I’m the only daughter to Catholic and Mexican parents, expected to marry a man and bear children. I come from a culture where there is still so much shame surrounding sex and sexuality. There is even more shame and lack of acceptance around anything that deviates from traditional norms.
I’m not sure if it’s confusion, the fact that I have so much more exploring my sexuality left to do, or if I’m unwittingly allowing fear to dictate my sexuality, that is rendering me incapable of identifying with a label. But, maybe, right now, for me, the only thing I need to know is that my sexuality ebbs and flows.
The only person who can define my sexuality is me, and the only person who can identify my sexuality is me. I just want to acknowledge how I feel and live in my experiences and stop chasing my sexuality.
I want to admit to myself and others that I don’t know how I identify.
I want acknowledgment from myself and others that my sexuality is valid, even if I’ve only ever been romantically involved with men.
I want to be able to say that maybe the fact that I’m not straight means I’m queer, and just because I’ve only ever had emotional attachments to men doesn’t make me any less queer.
I want acknowledgment that my lack of romantic experience when it comes to women doesn’t invalidate my sexuality.
Whether I’m bisexual, pansexual, a fluid lover, somewhere on the scale, or just not straight, my sexuality is still valid, and I’m still proud of it. I just hope whoever is reading this, and anyone in my life who loves me, acknowledges this and feels proud of me, too.
Confusion and uncertainty are inevitable when it comes to sexual fluidity, but the beautiful thing is that we can find solidarity in the two.
As uncertain as any of us may be, we’re still valid, and we sure as fuck belong at Pride.
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Texting him would be stupid. You don’t need to talk to him. You need to forget about him.
He hasn’t learned anything. He’s the exact same person. Giving him another chance is a recipe for heartbreak.
He never cared about you. The only person he’s capable of caring about is himself. So you should start caring about yourself.
He isn’t sorry he hurt you. He’s sorry you’re not around to feed his ego anymore.
Yes, you might be single for a while. But single is better than returning to the hellhole he called a relationship.
He isn’t going to watch your story. Stop posting in the hopes of impressing him. Stop worrying about his bullshit opinion.
No, he isn’t all bad — but he is bad enough. Stop trying to convince yourself he deserves another chance. He doesn’t.
He’s gone. You have to accept he isn’t coming back. And you have to accept that’s good news.
He sucks. He’s not worth the tears. He’s not worth the self-loathing.
Missing him doesn’t mean you should go back to him. It doesn’t mean you should ruin all your progress.
He’s not thinking about you. He’s never thinking about you. He only thinks about himself.
He broke your fucking heart. He doesn’t deserve another poem.
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The strange mystery of Kaspar Hauser.
1. No One Knows Why Or How This Strange Teenage Boy Suddenly Appeared In Nuremberg’s Town Square One Day
On the afternoon of May 26, 1828, a boy who looked to be in his in mid-teens wearing tattered clothing and holes in his shoes stumbled into a town square in Nuremberg, Germany. Observers said that he walked strangely as if he had never walked before.
When a shoemaker approached him, the boy handed him two letters. One was addressed to a captain of the local cavalry. The other was allegedly written by a woman who was abandoning him, but both were in the same handwriting using the same ink and the same type of paper, leading some to suspect that the boy had written them both.
His behavior was so strange that many assumed he was a “feral child”—i.e., one who grew up in the wild alone or was even raised by wolves. He was placed in a local horse stable, where he peacefully fell asleep.
2. An Initial Exam Found He Knew Few Words But Could Sign His Own Name
When police questioned him, all he said was “don’t know” or “take me home.” When one policeman gave him a coin to play with he said “Horse! Horse!” But when they handed him a pen, ink, and paper, they were surprised to see that he wrote down a name very legibly—“Kaspar Hauser.” He was confined in a local jail, where, to the befuddlement of observers, he refused to eat or drink anything besides bread and water. Anything else would make him vomit.
3. His Jailer’s Son Taught Him How To Speak
The eleven-year-old son of this mystery boy’s jailer quickly became good friends with him and taught him how to speak German. Soon enough, he was speaking the language fluently, although in a foreign accent. He also quickly learned to write—publishing his autobiography only a year after arriving in town—and proved himself to be a talented illustrator.
4. He Approached The World As If He’d Never Seen It Before
Hauser always acted kind and gentle and seemed greatly upset even if an insect was accidentally killed. He was delighted to see a lit candle but reached out and burned his hand on the flame. When looking into a mirror for the first time, he touched his own reflection and then turned around to find whoever he thought was looking at him in the mirror.
5. He Eventually Said He’d Been Imprisoned In A Tiny Cage For A Long Time.
In his autobiography, he wrote that an unnamed man—referred to only as “the man”—forced him to grow up in a small cage that was about six feet long, four feet wide, and five feet high. He never saw the sun and hardly ever saw any light. He slept on a straw bed and relieved himself in a bucket.
Every morning he’d awake to find a jug of water and a piece of bread by his side. On days when the water tasted bitter—which presumably meant it was laced with opium—he would quickly fall asleep, only to awaken and find that his nails had been cut and his hair trimmed.
He wrote that one day, “the man” woke him up and told him they were going to Nuremberg.
6. He Was Able To See, And Even Read, In The Dark
Presumably due to his deprived upbringing, he developed an amazing sense of sight. He was able to spot and identify entire constellations in the sky. He could also read in total darkness and identify colors in total darkness. His hearing was so sharp that he could hear what was being said even if someone whispered from across the room.
7. Due To His Prior Isolation, He Was Extremely Sensitive To Some Things.
Loud sounds induced convulsions in young Kaspar. Bright light caused him to howl in pain. The smells of coffee or alcohol would cause him to vomit, although he reportedly would get drunk merely by smelling wine. His sense of smell was so strong that he could identify people in the dark merely by their scent.
8. He Was Unusually Sensitive To Electricity And Metals.
He reportedly would undergo intense pain during thunderstorms due to static electricity. He was also able to identify metals that were hidden beneath a cloth merely by holding his hand over the cloth and identifying how the metals “pulled” at his fingertips. He felt that magnets, depending on which polarity was pointed at him, were sucking air out of his body or blowing air onto his body.
9. After Becoming A European Celebrity, He Was Attacked With A Knife One Day.
Hauser’s bewildering origins and odd talents made him famous throughout Europe, and celebrities, dignitaries, and commoners from across the continent flocked to Nuremburg to get a glimpse of this wild child.
But on Sunday, October 17, 1829, while his guardian was out walking, Hauser said a man in black entered the house and attacked him with a butcher’s knife. The man was apparently aiming for the throat, but Hauser said he ducked and was slashed across his forehead. He said that judging by the attacker’s voice, it was the man who’d kept him imprisoned in a cage.
Or perhaps the “attacker” was Hauser himself. Several of the people who were assigned to be his caregiver reached the conclusion that Daumer a serial liar and perhaps a total fraud.
10. Was He Murdered, Or Did He Kill Himself?
In December of 1832, over four years after Hauser first arrived in Nuremberg, he staggered back to his residence and mumbled to his caregiver, “man…stabbed…knife…Hofgarten…gave purse…Go look quickly.” He said that he met a man in a snow-covered garden who handed him a document while stabbing him in the side. But even though his guardian did not deem the injury to be serious, Hauser was taking his final breaths. On his death bed, he reportedly gasped, “’Many cats are the death of the mouse….Tired, very tired, still have to take a long trip.”
The purse was found in the garden and it contained a wallet with a note that was written in mirror writing—i.e., backwards—that said, “Hauser will be able to tell you how I look, where I came from and who I am. To spare him from this task I will tell you myself. I am from…on the Bavarian border…My name is MLO.”
However, the document contained certain misspellings that Hauser himself was known to make, and the letter had been folded in a triangular manner that Hauser had been known to use.
Even more damningly, an inspection of the garden where Hauser was stabbed revealed only one set of footprints in the snow—Hauser’s.
He is buried in Nuremberg in a churchyard. The epitaph on his tombstone reads, “Here lies Kaspar Hauser, riddle of his time. His birth was unknown, his death mysterious.”
11. Was He A Complete Fraud Or A Pawn In A Royal Scheme?
Even while Hauser was alive, rumors circulated that he was somehow a relative of the Grand Duke Karl of Baden, whose wife wanted another of her sons to inherit the throne and therefore arranged for Kaspar’s cruel fate.
In 1996, forensic technicians examined bloodstains found on Hauser’s clothes and compared their DNA to that of living descendants of the Baden family. They concluded that there was no relation.
Then, in a startling turnaround to this intensely puzzling mystery, in 2002 it was revealed that the bloodstains originally tested were not taken from Hauser’s clothes. When new samples were taken from his hat and his hair, a DNA test revealed a 95% match with the Baden family.
So was he one of history’s greatest pranksters, or was he the victim of a tragic royal scandal? It seems as if we will never know.
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Marrying my job. Marrying a job that belongs to someone else.
Treading water through my twenties. Just exerting all this energy to stay afloat. Never moving forward or back. Just existing right above the surface.
Marrying someone who wears a suit every day and only believes in stability and carefully crafted logic. Never getting a dog with him because he says pets are a waste of money. Never pursuing my creative dreams because he says a roof over our head is more important than pipe dreams. Recapping my day-to-day at a job that I hate to him over a prepackaged ingredient cook-it-yourself dinner with a bottle of Trader Joe’s wine that I tolerate while he nods in between checking his phone.
Getting excited when I have an offer for another job that I’ll for sure grow to hate. Never being able to express my hatred because a roof over my head has suddenly become more important to me than writing.
Flavorless bitter coffee. Never drinking it with cream and sugar or anything that ends with “ccino.” Eliminating pleasures for practicality. Eliminating convenience for survival. Only living for survival.
Going to bed before 10 p.m. because I’m always so tired. I’m already so tired. Getting upset with friends who call me at 9:45 p.m. on a Friday because I’m already asleep.
Realizing it’s not just a phase.
Being asleep for the rest of my life.
Actively choosing unhappiness because it’s the path I’ve been told to take. Holding complacency between both hands and saying, “This will do.” Listening to people even more miserable than me on whether or not the work I produce is on par.
Looking back when I’m about to go and wondering what would have happened had I been just a little bit braver.
Asking myself if being careful got in the way of letting myself live.
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Caring too much isn’t a mistake.
Admitting your feelings for someone isn’t a mistake.
Wearing your heart on your sleeve isn’t a mistake.
If your honesty scares someone away, that isn’t your fault. You did the right thing. More people should be upfront like you. They should connect with their emotions like you.
You don’t want to get used to hiding behind your sarcasm. You don’t want to create defense mechanisms that slowly build a wall around your heart.
You might be worried that, if you wear your heart on your sleeve, you’ll become vulnerable to heartache. But you’re human. You’re always vulnerable to heartbreak. The only difference between pretending you’re heartless and wearing your heart on your sleeve is the latter has more room for potential.
If you tell someone how you feel, you could end up in a relationship with them. You could end up living happily ever after with them. Or you could end up learning they aren’t interested and will free yourself from their grasp early.
You don’t want to waste your time on the wrong person. You don’t want to be in an almost relationship for months because you were on two completely different pages all along. It’s better to rip the bandage off right away. The longer you wait, the stronger you’ll bleed.
If you hide your feelings for someone, you’re never going to figure out how they feel about you. Even worse, you’re never going to get in a relationship with them. You’re accidentally going to create distance between the two of you. You’re going to push the right person away. But when you wear your heart on your sleeve, the only people you push away are the wrong ones.
The next time you’re too embarrassed to express your feelings, remember else hates playing games as much as you do. The right person is going to appreciate your transparency. They’re going to be relieved you’re real with them instead of trying to put on an act.
It takes courage to say how you feel. It’s easier to pretend you’re feeling nothing than to admit you’re feeling everything. But most of the time, the easiest thing to do isn’t the best thing to do.
Wearing your heart on your sleeve might seem like a mistake when someone doesn’t feel the same way about you. But the real mistake is refusing to take risks. It’s remaining inside of your comfort zone where you’re safe.
Wearing your heart on your sleeve is always the more rewarding option. Anyone who faults you for how emotional you are doesn’t understand the benefits of vulnerability. They don’t understand how much courage it takes to be honest with yourself and how much it pays off in the long-run.
When you wear your heart on your sleeve, you create an air of authenticity.
When you wear your heart on your sleeve, you prevent drama and mixed signals and silly dating games.
When you wear your heart on your sleeve, you are admitting your feelings matter. You matter.
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1. I may hang out with your friends like one of the guys or play video games like one of the guys, but I am not one of the guys. I am your girlfriend. Give me attention outside of hanging with your friends, do things with me other than what you like to do with your friends, and spend quality time with me away from your friends. Not as a special treat, not as a holiday surprise, but as a normal part of our relationship.
2. If she’s complaining, or venting, it’s not always because she wants advice or a solution. Sometimes all that’s needed is to vent. So, in those situations, just let her vent.
3. Do not forget to tell your girlfriend she’s beautiful. I feel like so many guys forget to do this. Specially after they’ve been with a girl for a while. Girls love to be reminded that you’re still attracted to them. It goes a long way and it’ll always make her happy.
4. Plan out unique dates! Don’t leave it all up to her. And offer back rubs without wanting anything in return.
5. Know where the clitoris is, and how your partner likes hers to be simulated. Remember that MOST women do not get off through vaginal penetration.
6. Explain how you feel. We want to know what you’re feeling.
7. A “how are you?” text and a “thinking about you!” text etc goes a long way!
8. Hugs and affection with no ulterior motive. Sometimes I like to be held with out feeling like he’s wanting to fuck me.
9. Learn to cook. Not just one very slow to prepare meal. Learn to cook decent meals that can be prepared “normally” during a weekday. Learn to cook without making the kitchen look like a war zone.
10. Do your share of household chores. Don’t ask or expect a medal for doing household chores once or twice. It is a routine. Just own the task and keep doing it. Remember that since you are doing something it is easy for you to remember you did it and that this makes you overestimate the amount of chores you are being responsible for.
11. You guys should be a team, not just you. This helps in arguments. Remind yourself you are a team and that you shouldn’t bring your own teammate down.
12. Pay attention to what she says and remember the little things.
13. GENUINE COMPLIMENTS theres been so many times I get especially dressed up thinking “my boyfriend is going to think I look nice!” and then I see him and he doesn’t compliment me! Even when I know I look good because other guys hit on me, it would be nice if my boyfriend could hit on me for once.
14. Just keep your girl up to date on things if you’re having a busy day. It keeps them less worried and making sure you are safe.
15. When I ask you what do you want me to cook for dinner, please don’t say “I don’t know!” Sometimes men can be as bad as women are portrayed when deciding what to eat!
16. Pay attention when she is talking. Active listening. Don’t be on your phone when out to dinner. Communication. Honesty. And yes pay attention to the little things. Do what you say your going to do. Share your interests. Be authentic.
17. Biggest thing for me is to just do what you say you’re going to do. Nothing more, nothing less.
18. Be honest about how you feel about literally everything instead of allowing small things to build up resentment in your heart and then break up over something small. Like just be honest if something she does like a quirk bothers you, communicate what you like and don’t like so she can have the chance to at least compromise or adjust. And then if she doesn’t care for your feelings you can break up. Way too often men don’t communicate and expect us to read their minds, then say they fell out of love over some petty crap.
19. Think for yourselves. Don’t relay on your partner to carry the mental load. Wash basket GETTING full? Do some washing then get it dry and then put it away. Your partner shouldn’t be directing you to do everyday chores. You should see it needs doing and do it. You shouldn’t have to ask if your partner needs help with the cleaning, you should be doing it together. It’s called being a team.
This works both ways obviously.
20. Don’t compliment them by saying things like ‘you look so much better in that dress that other girl ever would’ – compliment them without making them feel like they are being constantly compared (even if they do come out on top).
21. Remember that women like to orgasm too!
22. Learn their love language, I would say. What makes them feel most appreciated or most loved? Not every girl wants the same thing (as is evident in this thread) but it comes down to one of the big 5. Words of affirmation, physical touch, gift giving, acts of service/devotion, or quality time.
23. Don’t make her feel like your mom.
A lot of guys I know say something to the effect of, “If you just ask I’ll do the dishes/put laundry away, etc.”
Well we don’t want to be your mom and make you do these things. Rather when you notice something needs to be done, do it. Trust me, we will notice!
24. If she asks you to stop doing something or do something more, LISTEN. Even if you don’t agree, compromise on something you both can work with.
25. Honestly, get excitable. Nothing kills a conversation like when a man tries to look cool and not geek out when they want to. Seeing a dude get excited over their interests is adorable
26. Affirm your affection for them by saying nice things, or qualities you like about them. “You’re so….” “I love that you do that.” Anything that shows your reassurance that they are the best.
27. If you’re getting irritated with us, please calmly explain why. Or if we are trying to bring up what’s bothering us, please don’t get defensive and then flip the blame on us. Otherwise, it makes us feel like we’re just a nuisance to you. I get that communication is a learned skill that requires experience. In short- encouraging & practicing open, honest, and respectful communication on both sides.
28. Don’t lie or hide things from her. She knows, she always knows because she knows you so well she can tell when you are being shifty. Just be open and honest and vulnerable. She will love you the more for it.
29. When you’re in the store, don’t call and ask what to bring. Hopefully you have paid attention and know what she likes/what the household needs and just bring that. Or google a recipe and buy the ingredients. Maybe shoot a text and say “I think I’ve got it covered, but here’s your chance for requests, I’m in the store”. Be pro-active, don’t force her into supervisor mode constantly.
30. The #1 thing all successful healthy relationships need is mutual respect. Do some research on what it’s like to live in society as a woman and make sure you’re not contributing to how hard it can be.
31. Don’t mention exes.
32. Date someone you’re happy with and don’t have to make “better.” If you need something, communicate what you need. If someone is doing something that bothers you, let them know in a kind way and include a solution that could work for both of you. If you want something done by the other person, let them know your time frame up front. For example, can you please do the dishes before I get home from work today, I want to have an empty sink when I cook dinner tonight. Not just do the dishes.
33. Don’t laugh when I’m frustrated no matter how “cute” it is.
34. Cut your goddamn nails my dudes you don’t need mountain peaks at the tips of your fingers.
35. I’m a big believer in equity theory. Do as much for her as she does for you! If you don’t she’ll end up feeling unappreciated, unassured, and questioning why she’s with someone who doesn’t put in the same as she does. Even recognition, a thank you, and some flowers goes a long way. But it’s still important to show how much you care about her in your actions.
36. My husband sends me little gifs online when he sees one that he thinks I’d like. It always makes me smile because he was thinking about me enough to find something I’d smile at and send it.
37. We don’t always need you fixing solutions, sometimes we want to be heard and vent.
38. Don’t put women in a box. Men tend to compartmentalize things and have figurative boxes in their heads in which they keep all the things in their life. That’s great, but not for relationships. You can’t take your significant other out of that box and play with them only when you want to. You always need to be there for your gf and sometimes that means making time when you weren’t expecting her to need you.
39. Don’t tell her what to do, she is her own person. Don’t try to control her. Be supportive of her dreams and aspirations (even if you don’t necessarily agree with them).
40. This could go either way, but reciprocate everything. Don’t do anything you wouldn’t want your S.O doing.
41. Randomly say “I love you”. No context, no nothing, just say it.
42. Take her seriously when she talks about her health. And if she needs to go to a hospital and allows you to come along, be prepared to advocate for her.
43. My grandpa thanked my grandma for the delicious meal after every. Single. Meal. that she cooked for him.
Don’t get so used to your partner that you stop noticing and showing gratitude for the lovely things they do for you.
44. If a woman is in a bad mood – NEVER – I repeat – NEEEEEEVER ask if she’s got her period!
45. Stop caring about your looks and just try to be more hygienic. For real you people care too much about how you look and you smell awful.
46. Don’t fucking cheat.
47. Affirmations and validation work well.
48. Communicate instead of yelling. I have made a pact with myself to never be with a person ever again who doesn’t make an effort to communicate with me. It’s paid off immensely and I’m super happy with a wonderful man now who I never argue with, when all my previous relationships were torrentially toxic and abusive. I’m not saying not arguing ever is normal, but it definitely isn’t normal when people yell and cuss as a communicative norm.
49. Just take a moment to reflect on what conversations you’re having and what you’re bringing to them. I know there’s this idea that your partner is the person you can vent to but is that all you’re doing? Try to be mindful that your partner also has difficult times; are you as available to listen to them as they are for you? Do all (or even most) of your conversations turn into a back and forth of complaints about work/traffic/etc.? Are those complaints really worth the time you’re dedicating to them?
I recently suggested to my boyfriend that, hey, let’s make the bed a no-complaining zone. I brought it up because every single night I would find myself just laying in the dark rolling my eyes as he went on and on about the same issues with the same coworkers every single night. Even nights when he didn’t work would end up this way.
Now we have a rule of “if this is really something that you want to talk about right this moment, we’ll go sit on the sofa and talk.” It gives you a moment to just consider if it’s really that big of an issue or not. What he’s found is that usually it’s not worth it, and I’ve seen a positive change in him. He seems happier now that he’s not dwelling on small stuff.
50. Surprise her sometimes by remembering something you shared and calling back to it.
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I’m in LA to work on some projects for Creepy Catalog, so it’s only natural that when I felt like writing today I felt like tackling the scariest subject of all, Men. Here are some things that scare me about men:
(Disclaimer: gender roles are stupid. You have my joyful blessing to be an outlier to the generalizations below.)
1. Men and women seem so different. There are so many ways we don’t speak the same language and yet there’s this overwhelming sense that I should one day find complete partnership with a dude. It seems like such and unlikely thing that we understand each other’s needs and are free enough from baggage and emotional dis-ease that this will become a reality.
2. For instance, I have discovered over the years that the most common sexual fantasy men have is a woman who wants to have sex with them for no reason. They want to show up at my door so I can start drooling over them and beg them to fuck me. I’m not offended because a fantasy is a fantasy, but it’s not something I am personally into whatsoever. It doesn’t make any part of my body do a little pitter-patter of excitement.
3. On the other hand, I think the most common sexual fantasy for a woman is a man that extremely desires her. Specifically her. Not a stranger, not a random woman, but specifically the person you have worked your whole life to become. Someone who sees you and wants you and fucks you the way you specifically want to be fucked. A lover who takes us on a holiday and wants to talk about everything they are thinking and have such life-affirming, intimate moments that make you feel like anything can happen in life.
4. I think (???) both fantasies could make both sexes happy. A chance encounter isn’t a terrible way to start a romantic fling. But that promise so often dies out before it even starts. Men lose interest (???) when they’ve slept with you. It’s not the beginning of anything for them, it’s the end. It doesn’t always happen this way, but enough.
5. When women have good sex they want more good sex. When a guy cums it’s like when they turn the lights on in the club and you question everything about your life and your choices. These are two very different moods. It feels very rude to take a vulnerable journey with someone only for them to have lights-turning-on-at-the-club feelings about you afterwards.
6. I’ve never met a man who is unhappy while in the middle of a passionate love affair, even if they wouldn’t have thought to pursue it on their own. It reads as work to a lot of them. Labor to put in in order to get something out of. Even though they seem so happy while it’s happening.
7. Also like, the whole narrative that men want freedom but will give it up for a relationship. This is just exhausting to think about. I don’t want to take anyone’s freedom away but taking away someone’s freedom in this context means like, telling me what day and time you want to come over a few days in advance so I can plan my week.
8. This seems really bad. Maybe it is just me. I don’t really think it’s just me, but it’s hard not to consider.
9. Which is another thing. I don’t have an infinite reservoir inside me of love and affection and self-confidence. When a guy ghosts me (many guys ghost me, which is on par with the dating experience of the diverse set of women I hear dating stories from) it has a cost. I have to spend months getting over this. It sucks that it takes months and I agree with anyone who says it’s overkill. But that’s just how long it takes. I think dating someone is like going camping and you should leave people in better condition than you found them. Ghosting unnecessarily increases the pain and prolongs the rebound period of someone who was nice enough to spend their time with you and maybe put one or a few of your body parts in their mouth. It feels very disorienting to be asking for someone to at least be polite when they decide they don’t want to see you anymore. I don’t think these guys would behave rudely to a stranger they met off the street, but they are rude to me and it is sad and confusing.
10. Once my tarot reader told me, “You are already happy with little, you do not need to settle for less” and that haunts me. I like men. I don’t participate in “all men are trash” culture because I think it’s fundamentally both untrue and harmful. But my expectations aren’t high. I think we’re in a place right now where there are a lot of models of toxic masculinity and not a lot of models of wholesome masculinity. Men don’t learn to express their feelings and so they do weird things to not feel them or to bottle them up. (Though, to be fair, I did spend QUITE a bit of money co-paying my therapist because even though it’s more socially acceptable for women to express feelings, it’s still frowned upon socially and we still by and large do not learn how to do this in healthy ways). I am happy to be with a work in progress like myself and I don’t know how to say this in a nice way but even asking for the trajectory of someone who wants to be a good person feels like I am aiming too high.
11. I just want to be full-time adored.
12. And I have no control over this.
13. And no one gets to have that anyway.
14. Another scary thing is that I am reasonably independent and accustomed to time alone. I think I could be very happy living in the woods, hoarding animals, and writing poetry. But I know people will think that’s kind of sad and it’s really discomforting to think about other people thinking your life is sad. It makes me feel like it’s the wrong choice but I can’t see or understand why on my own terms. Like driving with no headlights.
15. It’s scary that it’s supposed to be so important but also that it’s so hard and not hard like figuring out how to build a car, for which there are many manuals and experts and rules about what makes an engine run.
16. It’s scary to be worn down. There are many things that get better with aging but you have to work purposefully at not getting bitter and the more tired I get the harder it is to frame my dating life as something other than failing. What is going to happen if I fail for another 10 years? I think it would be just fine to be single for 10 years or the rest of my life but I’m not sure I can take the pressure of knowing that I failed at something that is so fundamental to our humanity.
18. Is anyone else out there?
19. Is this normal?
20. A one foot in front of the other kinda thing?
21. It’s hard that there’s no answer. It’s out of my control. I can’t conjure up a lover who respects me and is affectionate in all the ways I want someone to be affectionate. I don’t want to use my brain space for this. I think love is an interesting topic but I’m bored of it. I want to learn about trees and space and read as many memoirs as I can.
22. I’m not lonely. But that’s not a cure. It offers little in the way of protection from the enormous pressure to date so that I can hold some boyfriend up to my parents and everyone around me and say “See?”. I think some of them are waiting to breathe a sigh of relief once I am coupled and they can figure me out. This is a weird line of thought, but it’s true, and their approval means something real to me.
23. There’s a famous story about how you trap a monkey without a cage which is that you put a banana in a cage with bars wide enough for the monkey to put his or her arm in, but not wide enough to get the banana out. Because the monkey will not let go of the banana, the monkey is trapped. I don’t want to be trapped by a fucking banana but I don’t know if I’m ready yet to let go.
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I know you want to write out a long, elaborate text explaining exactly why you’re upset with this other person. I know you want to show up at their door, screaming about how you cannot believe what they’ve done to you. I know you want to slash their tires, toss a drink at their face, sleep with their best friend. I know you want some sort of revenge, some sort of closure, some sort of way to deal with your anger.
This probably isn’t what you want to hear while you’re all fired up, but sometimes, silence is the best form of revenge.
Your silence speaks a thousand words. It shows them you don’t have any more breaths to waste on them. You don’t have any more time to dedicate to them. You’re completely and utterly done with them.
Instead of hurting your throat screaming or hurting your fist punching a wall, you can easily block their number, delete them from social media, and throw all their photographs in your digital trashcan. You can erase them from your world with a press of a button.
It might sound anticlimactic. It might sound unsatisfying. But sometimes, silence is your healthiest choice. If you resort to screaming and fighting and cursing them out, it might feel good in the moment, but that feeling probably won’t last. You’ll still be angry in the end. You still won’t feel like you’ve gotten everything off your chest. You’ll still be in a bad mood.
Fighting with someone toxic isn’t going to accomplish anything. You’re not going to make them feel bad and you’re not going to make yourself feel any better. You’re only going to cause yourself more stress. Your best option is to put that stress in the past. Release it from your grasp. Decide you’re done with the drama. Decide this person isn’t worth your energy.
Sometimes, silence is the best revenge. Watching you drop off the face of the planet will hurt them more than anything you could have said to them. They’re going to wonder how you’ve been. They’re going to wonder what’s on your mind. They’re going to wonder what you’ve been doing. The questions are going to eat away at them.
Choosing silence doesn’t make you a coward. It makes you mature. It makes you smart enough to know when it’s time to step away from a bad situation. Sometimes, taking the high road doesn’t mean forcing fake smiles and accepting apologies. It means leaving someone toxic in your past instead of fighting with them again and again in the future.
Your silence is meaningful. It shows them you don’t care enough about them to raise your voice or your middle finger at them. It shows them you have more important things to worry about than whatever drama they’re trying to cause.
Sometimes, silence is the best revenge. Sometimes, instead of having the same argument over and over, you should hit that block button. You should remove all the toxic hearts from your life.
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I’m worried my anxiety is going to push people away. I’m worried it’s going to make me come across as a boring, bland, insecure person.
Now that I’m with my forever person, I would never dream of lying to him, but there have been times in the past when I’ve lied to guys about my anxiety in order to look more ‘normal.’
1. I’ve lied about being fine with last minute plans. I need my schedule planned out ahead of time. I want to know what the day holds as soon as I wake up in the morning. I can’t stand spontaneous, last minute plans, but early on in relationships I have pretended to be adventurous. I have pretended to be up for anything. I have pretended it was no big deal when plans were set an hour before I was meant to leave the house even though it made me a nervous wreck.
2. I’ve lied about having plans. On the days when I couldn’t bring myself to get showered and dressed at the last second, I’ve lied about being busy. I’ve lied about working late. I’ve lied about hanging out with another set of friends. I’ve lied to make it look like I have a thriving social life — instead of admitting I’m too anxious to socialize on that particular night.
3. I’ve lied about whether my feelings were hurt. Drama makes me even more anxious than usual. I avoid confrontation at all costs. That’s why there have been a few times when a boy has acting appropriately in our relationship and I kept quiet. I didn’t say anything about how he hurt my feelings because it was easier to keep my emotions to myself. It was easier to lie.
4. I’ve lied about liking the partying life. I don’t like loud, crowded places. I can’t stand going to nightclubs and bars — but there have been a few times when I agreed to meet a guy there anyway. I freaked out in my car on the way there (without letting him know) and escaped to the bathroom to freak out some more (and came back to our table with a fake, plastered smile).
5. I’ve lied about my reasonings for stupid, little things. I like to sit on the end of aisles so it’s easier to escape (and so I don’t have to push past people to get to my seat). I like to bring books with me to stop strangers from making small talk. I like to text and email because making calls is too intimidating. I’ve lied about some of these things (or at least avoided mentioning some of these things) to avoid looking high-maintenance or snobby or weird.
6. I’ve lied about how hard it is for me to live a regular life. Some people don’t understand how bad my anxiety is because I try my hardest to come across as ‘normal.’ But in reality, there have been days when I’ve walked out of grocery stores without buying what I needed because I couldn’t find the courage to speak to the cashier. There were other days when I called out from work or school because I couldn’t find the strength to get out of bed. Early on in relationships, I always felt weird about mentioning my anxiety, but it’s a big part of me. If you don’t know about my anxiety, you really don’t know me at all.
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(This poem is a dedication to the LGBTQ and growing community. In the 1980’s, many queer individuals lost their lives and loved ones due to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. I wrote this poem to celebrate these people and to revisit the cause.)
I wonder if it spreads. Your touch is a soliloquy that enhances every pardon. Your smile is sustainable liquid courage and you’re fire. When it spreads, I lift my hands in directions that transition into everything you could’ve been. I realized I’m reaching for thin air but I still see your name hanging onto nitrogen. I used to see you singing down blocks that lead to your disasters, and you danced around in commotion like it wasn’t going to define you someday. Your name is now written in three to four acronyms, and that’s the only time I knew I couldn’t spell.
Your breathing would huff to a chord and conciliate even minor injuries. I can’t hear you through machines and beeps that don’t pause—lines that draw zero conclusions, but the straight line is when you lose, right? You used to shiver at the sight of built pecs and chiseled jaw lines. Glances that could lead you anywhere, and you often found yourself foxtrotting on the moon. I used to know your shivers better than you do; now your crinkled lace shivers without ignition. You shudder inward and your heart seems to be the most stable thing about you.
I would look in and see panoramic sceneries of everything you could’ve been. The hourglass would clench on to the last drop of sand before time was through with you. Rain would gladly stand in for your tears, and I’m confident that the sol was your best friend. You just didn’t know it. I watched it spread out into the galavanting thieves that stole your rights away from everything you used to be. Those closed eyes used to talk—they used to shout, actually. You rambled with the end of your days and kissed the plague away.
You kissed it all away.
We used to kiss.
Why didn’t you let me kiss you back?
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