Category Archives: The Ingredients

The ex & his status.

Just don't doooo it, girl.

Just don’t doooo it, girl.

On my way to work last week, the radio show I regularly listen to was talking about the reasons we look up our exes on Facebook.

According to the study they were discussing, the #1 reason was to see if that person was dating someone hotter than us.

Fair point.

I’ll admit it, I do look at my exes on social media – that is, if I haven’t blocked them, which is very rare. I’m often scared to look because then I’ll start to care, even after months (sometimes years) of working to move on.

The interesting thing about this is that for as long as I’ve had a serious boyfriend, there was Facebook. Breakups before social media are unknown to me.

Think about it: if there was no real way for us to check up on our exes, we’d probably get over them a lot sooner.

Without social media, the only way we’d know what happened in their lives would be through mutual friends and colleagues, provided we never ran into each other in person.

Facebook has famously been credited for ruining high school reunions, but I think it’s safe to say it’s slowed our chances of moving on, too.

Instead, Facebook has increased the likelihood that we’ll compare ourselves to others, based on status updates and pictures.

Its human nature to want to know what an ex is up to; after all, they were once a big part of your life.

But really, sometimes I wonder why I even give a shit at all.

And then I heard a podcast featuring Psychiatrist Melanie Watkins, M.D., and she said that we tend to feel more attachment to our first love because we simultaneously felt the chemical rush that comes with love, in general.

This one ex in particular, he wasn’t my very first love, he was my second, but I’d say it was the first time I thought about getting married and having kids. I was really thinking about our future.

It was also my longest relationship, and although I hate measuring the weight of a relationship in months or years, it was definitely the most serious.

We went through a lot together; good times and bad (although probably more bad), and we were friends that fell in love. Or at least, I did, I’m still not sure how he felt about the whole thing given that it ended so terribly.

Perhaps my brain has attached that sense of forever with this one ex, because that’s really the only time I’ve thought about it seriously.

I try not to look at his Facebook; he’s married to someone he cheated on me with, and they have a child. He still works the same boring job he’s always had, and the very few times he’s messaged me online over the years, he forgets to mention his family.

Instead, he says he’s “married” to his job.

Even when I do look at an ex’s social media profile, it’s difficult to say what their life is really like, and how much of their feed is a façade.

The chances are likely that we see what we want to see – a fake smile paired with eyes that could only say exactly what we desire.

Whether we’re chemically addicted to old loves, masochists, or just plain bored, my best advice is to clip this habit cold turkey.

Go for the block; pretend Facebook doesn’t exist, and the only way you can get the message from your ex is by way of horse carrier.

At least then there’d be a cowboy, perhaps a sunset, and a valid reason to wear turquoise boots.

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‘Dig’ gone glossy!

You may or may not know this, but usually my Wednesday blog posts are a replicate of the column that is published in a weekly magazine, “Dig”, which is distributed in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

I’ve worked as a contributing writer for Dig since it was born, a little more than five years ago. The column, also called “The Bitter Lemon” has been around for a little more than two years. And I have loved being able to share the “wisdom” from this blog, to print readers in Baton Rouge for this time.

I know this probably sounds like a goodbye letter, but it’s not! Actually, I’m so excited to say that instead of being printed weekly, on newspaper texture, Dig is now becoming a monthly publication on flossy, glossy paper! And, The Bitter Lemon gets to stay!

You can check out letters from the editor and publisher to get the full scoop here. When I got the email from my editor explaining this, I was worried that this was it, maybe The Bitter Lemon had run its course…but nope, we get to stay!

So, there is no column this week. Instead, the first monthly, glossy issue will be on stands (and online, of course), June 1st. In the meantime, you can STILL get your fix of The Bitter Lemon… I’ve put all 90 columns (yes, 90) in one spot, right here, for your reading pleasure.

If you’re new here, that should last you a bit. If you’ve already read them all, perhaps you could take a walk down memory lane – I know I did looking back at nearly 100 pieces!

It’s crazy how looking back I can tell exactly what was going on in my life just by looking at the first few sentences of each column.

Some of my favorites are:

Lose Control in Dating… And Love It (January 27, 2016)

Learning to let go...

Learning to let go…

People often say, “When you’re not looking, that’s when it’ll happen.” These people are usually in a relationship.

I get it – just when you’re busy getting your life together instead of obsessing over dating, Mr. or Mrs. Right could be eyeing you from afar.

It makes sense, but the most difficult thing for me to wrap my brain around when it comes to dating is that it’s one of the only things in our lives that’s completely out of our control.

Think about it: in general, when you work hard, you know at some point, you’ll get a promotion. When you put extra time and effort into a hobby, the chances are likely you’ll get better at it. Read more…


Discovering that dating is ultimately out of my control was one of the most freeing experiences I’ve ever had. It really took the pressure off, and it helped me to stop analyzing every single thing that happened to me – because ultimately, it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter what I wear, or if a guy calls me after one day or one year; whatever happens is going to happen and there’s nothing I can do about it. As James Bay says, “Leave it to the breeze.”

Searching for Unicorns (November 4, 2015)

What's this crazy talk?

What’s this crazy talk?

At least a year ago, a guy named Daniel invented the “Universal Hot Crazy Matrix,” and presented his findings on YouTube. It went viral, because guys love to call women crazy.

According to the matrix, all women start off at being “at least a four” on the “crazy scale.” If you’re between a 5-8 on the scale, under the crazy line, that’s what Daniel calls the “Fun Zone.”

If you’re an eight hot, and below crazy, that’s the “Wife Zone.” Anything above an eight hot and still below crazy is considered a unicorn and does not exist.

While I know this matrix was created by a 46-year-old white guy with a cell phone clip on his belt, it gets on my nerves. Read more…


This is a column I’d been wanting to write for a very long time. Men calling women crazy really drives me… insane. Not only is it rude and dismissive, but it’s hurtful, and I’m saying that as a woman who’s been called crazy a lot, despite the fact that I’m not, in fact, crazy, nor am I on mind-altering pills. The guy I mentioned in the column, my then-crush, was obsessed with this Crazy-Hot matrix, and now that I no longer talk to him, it’s no wonder he takes his dating advice from a guy on YouTube wearing a cell phone clip.

I’m Single, Stop Asking Why (March 4, 2016)

Single, sexy, and sweet.

Single, sexy, and sweet.

“So, have you found anyone yet?”

It was a question from my coworker whom I’d just met.

“What does that mean?” I asked her.

She found it difficult to believe I was still single. I told her to believe it, because I am very, very single.

“That’s good,” she said. “Wait until you’re like, almost 30 and then settle down.”

Aside from the fact that I’ll be 30 in four months, I don’t understand why coupled people think that being single is a life decision. Read more…


Writers have this ability to turn really small moments into metaphors and symbols and make it seem meaningful to life as a whole. That’s what happened before I wrote this column – it was a simple, rainy day conversation between two coworkers that really got my gears grinding. Single people are, and probably will always be, the outcasts of society given that we didn’t follow that Biblical path everyone seems to follow. Because, why not? But I’m not in a position to follow that path, and I may never be, but it’s not up for judgment.

…And with that, I hope you enjoy looking back at some of the older columns! Don’t worry, I’ll still be blogging five days a week, sometimes it’ll be on dating stuff (or my lack of), and sometimes it’ll be about TV or my devil-cat Blanche, or cooking. Who knows – I’m giving up planning right now.

And thank you, as always for reading! See y’all tomorrow!

Am I lacking ‘girl game’?

I'm losing my cool and just going straight NERD.

I’m losing my cool and just going straight NERD.

Last week, Forbes magazine published an Instagram post revealing the top five downloaded podcasts, which included one called “The Art of Charm”.

I checked it out, and noticed the description was geared toward men and how they could improve their lives in all areas, including work, friends, family, and dating, all by the tips in the podcast.

Dating? Count me in.

I started binging on old episodes right away.

One episode was dedicated to learning how to “win” at speed dating. The two hosts had been on several speed dating adventures and were sharing their tips.

One of their pieces of advice was to steer the conversation in your favor – speaking to the men.

“If a woman just asks you ‘What do you do for a living’, it’s because she’s got no girl game,” one host said.

Girl game?

And here I thought asking someone about their career made for interesting conversation.

The more they talked about it, they explained that often women don’t have game because they don’t have to; women are used to being approached instead of having to do the work themselves.

It sounded a little annoying at first, but then I got to thinking about it, and they were right.

I went on a date a few months ago and I was so nervous, I found myself unable to rely on my usual crutch of self-confidence.

I was finding it hard to maintain eye contact and hold up conversation, which was very unlike me. Do I lack girl game?

During the date, I kept catching myself looking away or picking up nervous habits, but I couldn’t stop myself.

I hate to admit it, but I kind of think I need help with my dating game.

When we refer to men who have game, it means they’re not only good in the dating world, they’re super smooth. These men have loads of confidence, they know what they want, and they go after it.

For women, having said “game” might be a little bit of new territory; we’re still learning how to steer the dating ship and be treated proper in a relationship, simultaneously.

I have always wondered if a girl comes across as aggressive in the beginning, will the man still take the lead later, or will it always be up to the woman?

But the truth of the matter is, you can only be good at dating – actually going on dates – if you practice.

And, you lose practice one of two ways: 1. Spending your Saturday nights on the couch with Netflix, alone, or 2. Getting into a serious relationship.

Most women straight out of a relationship find it difficult to date because they’re ready to just pick up (emotionally) where they left-off, even if it’s with someone new.

It sounds silly, but mastering the game means conquering every day skills, such as holding great conversation, maintaining eye contact, and keeping an open mind. Overall, just be cool, right?

At the end of the podcast, the guys suggested everyone try speed dating because it’s a good way to put yourself out there, even for just a short time.

I’ve been considering checking one out – I often seen them advertised in New Orleans – and maybe I should. It’d be a good way for me to “practice” dating and hone my girl game.

Dating in my Past Life.

I did have a soulmate... in my past life.

I did have a soulmate… in my past life.

When I was 16, I went to see a palm-reader. She lived in a semi-sketchy neighborhood, and when my high-school friend and I knocked on her door, she quickly snapped off an episode of “Full House” before tending to us.

As shady as it seemed, she told me a few things that proved to be true: my parents would divorce, and I would end up with a hunky blonde with the initials of “J.S”.

Okay, so that second part has yet to come true, but here’s to hoping.

It’s been a very long time since that reading, and I wanted to get a better idea of where things might be going for me.

So, I booked an appointment with an astrologer; she is also the founder and CEO of the New Orleans School for Esoteric Arts.

For my reading, she went over my natal chart, which is a map of the universe calculated for the time of my birth (including day, year, and location).

She talked a lot about my life; my childhood, and my personality given the alignment of the universe according to my chart. It was eerily true.

She also discussed my dating life in three different ways:

  1. The men attracted to me/those I usually date
  2. Upcoming romantic forecast
  3. A man from my past life

She quickly picked up on the fact that I usually date douche-y, arrogant guys. She even knew the day of my most-recent fallout with a guy I was talking to.

According to my chart, I should be expecting a “summer romance” beginning around June 23. This is awesome news; and means I have around two months to get a great tan for my summer guy. Expect written news regarding this fling.

And finally, she asked me about a certain someone who’d passed away during my college years. Of course, I knew who she was talking about: he was the first person I met at LSU, he was my friend, and we often went on dates.

I liked him very much for just meeting him.

“When you meet someone and feel like you’ve known them your whole life,” she said. “It’s because you have.”

She said we knew each other in our past lives; and that in that life, we were soulmates.

The tears started forming in my eyes. It was emotional for me, because ever since his unexpected death, I wondered if he WAS my soulmate. But I always talked myself out of it, because then that would mean fate wasn’t real.

Her theory explained everything.

According to her, he was watching over me, and asked if I had a picture of him in my house. I do, framed, I told her.

“That gives him permission to watch over you, and put luck on your side,” she said.

I cannot tell you how oddly satisfying that was to hear. She also said I could give him energy to continue protecting me by lighting a candle by his picture.

So, I’ve been doing just that – garden scented.

The reading was also insightful in the areas of my career, travel plans, and upcoming instincts I may encounter. I loved the reading so much, I’m definitely going to make it a regular occurrence.

In the meantime, I’ll be looking forward to that summer romance. In all honesty, I can’t say I’m disappointed that she didn’t mention anything serious.

Given my rocky dating experiences recently, I think I just need a little fun to remind myself that all guys aren’t terrible.

He’s not into you…now what?

Waiting for that phone call that never comes...

Waiting for that phone call that never comes…

“When a guy’s really into you, he’s coming upstairs.”

It was a simple line that Carrie Bradshaw’s then-boyfriend, Jack, delivered to her friend Miranda when she asked for feedback on a date she recently had.

That episode of “Sex and the City” originally aired in July 2003, and sparked an entire movement in dating and pop culture.

He’s just not that into you.

It became a wildly popular book, a movie, and was referred to in other TV shows such as “Gossip Girl” and “Californication”, among others.

It was one of the first times we’d been force-fed the truth, and frankly, it became the answer for every dating question.

No call back? No second date? No meeting the parents? No ring? Easy. He’s just not that into you.

But, just because we suddenly had an answer to all of the shady palm trees we were sitting under, it didn’t make the news that much easier to swallow.

I mean, come on, who hasn’t been the “Gigi” in a relationship a time or two? Okay, so I’ve never served chips at a guy’s party, but I’ve bent over backwards for jerks on the regular.

We already get it, you’re just not that into us. Trust me, this has happened to me more times than I can remember.

But the question now becomes, what should you do to get over it?

Start by looking at yourself instead of the other person. How, or why, did you get wrapped up in someone who doesn’t realize how awesome you are?

Instead of viewing this person as an asshole, give them thanks for putting you on the fast-track to self-discovery.

Next, accept the fact that you can’t change this person, and stop wishing you could. I know, that’s a lot to ask.

But speaking from experience, I know it’s easy to wish that he/she would eventually see the light and come around.

Just stop. Wishing you could change someone or that they would change is just a waste of precious energy (Tracy Chapman sang it best) that you could spend on something, or someone, else.

If this person is not into you, then it’s time for you to focus on what you really want. Perhaps it’s what you want in a relationship, or what you’re looking for in this life (let’s go big).

Next, look within and recognize that you deserve someone who knows your worth.

Instead of making a list of all the things you wish for in a partner, make a list of how you want a partner to treat you in certain situations.

And finally, remember all of the progress you’ve made just after one person wasn’t into you.

It is very rare that a person who rejects you won’t return to check up on what they’ve missed out on. So, when this person comes back, stand your ground!

Even Mr. Big came back around, but Carrie had already packed her bags for Paris. Remember? And she was outside her apartment in that fabulous coat, screaming, “I don’t live here anymore!”

Okay, so eventually she got back with Big because The Russian was horrible. But that is not my point.

My point is, you don’t need to be with someone who’s just not that into you. Don’t even spend another second thinking about them.

Maybe by the time they see their mistake, you’re just not that into them.

Friends With Setups.

Take thaaaat!

Take thaaaat!

This is going to come out wrong, but I’ve been really lucky to have friends that don’t pressure me to be in a relationship.

Of course, my friends are rooting for me – they hope that one day I’ll find Mr. Right, but until then, they’re cool with the solo me.

There have been times when my friends have tried to set me up with someone, but there are two ways to go about this: the right way and the wrong way.

The right way is when a friend is truly looking to find your match, he/she asks you if the setup is okay, and/or if you’re interested in going along with it.

I had one friend give a guy my email address, and let me take care of it from there. It was sweet, and we actually dated for a few months.

I’ve had great experiences with this type of setup. The other type of setup is when the friend just wants you to date anyone.

Picture it: you’re out at a bar, there’s a person sitting alone with a beer. All of the sudden, THAT is your soulmate, according to your friend.

Let’s get this right, just because a person is single, doesn’t make him or her a match. And one more thing, it’s really difficult to know if someone is truly single. Right?

I was once out to dinner with a girlfriend; she was happily engaged, and she had a habit of asking every waiter we ever had if he was single. If so, she’d say, “You should date him.”

I knew her intentions were good; she wanted to get me out there and eventually be happy like she was. But, I also was starting to take offense at the people she wanted me to date. Did she think the waiter at Plucker’s was the best I could do?

Don’t get me wrong, I love hot wings and beer, but she was trying to set me up with people before even getting to know them. When I tried to brush it off, she told me I was too picky, and that I needed to give people a chance.

That was absolute bullshit. My problem has always been that I’m not picky enough, and that I give too many chances.

The tough thing is, there’s not a great way to deal with this. Of course, you don’t want to hurt your friend(s), but you also don’t want to deal with dating someone you’re not interested in.

If there’s a way to brush it off and forget it, I say go with that option first.

If not, consider what you can say to your friend to kindly get your point across. Whether you’re not ready to date, didn’t feel a spark with the potential setup, or you just don’t feel comfortable with it, a true friend should understand.

Sometimes, our coupled friends forget what being single is like – it’s not as easy as just dating the waiter at the next pizza place.

Unfortunately, even setups under the right circumstances can go wrong. And then there’s your friend, stuck in the middle.

In all cases, try to keep remembering that your friend has those good intentions. And try your best to leave your friend out of the middle, as difficult as it may be.

If a setup is how you’re destined to meet your match, then it’ll happen no matter what. And then, you can thank your friend at your wedding.

Commitment: Yes, We Can.

Take 'em down!

Take ’em down!

As much as I hate to admit it, I’ve become addicted to watching “Vanderpump Rules” on Bravo each week.

I’ve watched this show since its first season (season four just finished airing) and it’s a show that follows the very petty drama of the employees at an upscale Hollywood restaurant called SUR.

One of the employees, Katie, has consistently complained – during each season – about how her boyfriend-turned-fiance has a problem with commitment.

It took years for her to coax him into proposing, and he’s constantly moving from one job to the next.

But I feel like men are always getting pegged for not being able to commit. Is it all men in general? Perhaps it’s just a personality type that’s scared off by promises.

I often see lots of articles based around, “How to get him to commit” or “The types of women a man will commit to”, and all of these seem pretty misleading.

I’d venture to guess that different types of men will commit to different types of women – and vis-versa, depending on their respective personalities. Right?

When you take a step back, it’s pretty obvious that our current societal situation isn’t really big on following through with commitments.

Right now, everything is offered to us quickly, and if we don’t get it fast enough, then we’ll just punish the world by staring at our phones every chance we get.

Dating apps, social media, and even reality television (all things I’m a fan of), promote a lifestyle that’s fast-paced, fleeting, and often self-gratifying.

So, I’ve got three reasons why all of us may be just a little terrified of committing:

  1. We’re looking for the bigger, better deal. We all have expectations for how our lives are supposed to turn out. I’m definitely a fan of having standards, and not settling. But there’s also something to be said about giving something a chance long enough to see what it could be. Perhaps we’re too focused on what’s next, that we can’t see what’s right in front of us, which could be something good.
  2. We self-sabotage, and/or are masochists. Whether your parents are divorced or every guy named Matt has screwed you over, there’s something in your blood that must be ruining dating for you, right? Not necessarily. If we’d get out of our heads (and believe me, I’m so guilty of this) every once in a while, maybe we could see that we’re not destined to fail. If I’m being super optimistic, I’d say that things are probably designed to work out for us all, we just have to let it happen.
  3. We just haven’t met the right person yet. As cheesy as it sounds, I truly believe that once the right person comes along, all of this commitment horseshit is going to go right out the barn window. That person, whomever they are, is going to make us stop saying we’re too busy, make us stop saying “I’m cool doing me”, and possibly make us stop asking, “Why does this keep happening to me?”

Instead, the past will not matter, and the future will look certain. And for once, perhaps only once, that certainty, that commitment, won’t be something to fear.

It will finally be something to embrace.

Maybe we’re all to blame…

A few weeks ago, I got into a pretty nasty argument with the guy I was “talking” to. Needless to say, we aren’t talking anymore; I even blocked his number.

Our argument was so ridiculous, I don’t know if I’ve ever been so mad in my life. I was shaking, and spitting off insults about to him to my best friend.

“He’s a nutcase,” I told her. “I seriously cannot believe what a prick he is.”

A few days later, my friend brought to light what I’d been wondering all along but didn’t want to admit: maybe this “prick” was actually dating someone else, and he was just treating me poorly to let me down easy.

The thought of him with someone else made my heart sink.

When the anger subsided, I recalled that classic line I’ve heard for years, “Everyone’s an asshole.” Cynical? Maybe.

Google the phrase and you’ll be delighted to see the video explanation from College Humor: “Bradley will brag about how much he’s paid, and still he’ll complain of the cost of his maid.”

We all do things that would categorize us as assholes to at least someone in the world. Whether you’re the person talking in a movie theatre, the cheap tipper, or my upstairs neighbor making laps in his apartment wearing cinder blocks for shoes, it’s likely you’ve pissed someone off at one point or another.

Me? I’m definitely an asshole. Sure, I volunteer once a month, I am always on time to meetings, and I say “Thank you” anytime a waiter refills my water glass. But, I know I do things that make people want to punch me.

I’m working on my manners when it comes to my phone (I’m always on it), my small case of road rage comes complete with horn honking, and I’m totally guilty of loud snacking in my cubicle at work.

Of course, afternoon snack choices are a little different from straight up treating someone like crap in a relationship, but I think we treat others in a way that reflects how we feel about ourselves.

A few years ago, I was involved in a physical relationship with an engaged man. We ended it before he got married, and once he did get married, he apologized to me for putting me in the situation, and ultimately hurting our friendship.

Although it was just as much my fault for agreeing to our relationship, I accepted his apology and forgave him. Whether or not I realized it at the time, I know he was going through other issues that led him to treat me the way he did.

I’m not saying we should just chalk all bad behavior up to life’s issues, but it’s worth considering.

It doesn’t mean it still doesn’t hurt like hell, or that the innocent party has to forgive.

But at the very least, it gives me a little bit of solace (in a weird way) to know that I’m not perfect, and there’s been times that one of my exes has ran to his friends and said I was a bitch or at least, crazy.

The thing is, it’s all about finding the jerk you can put up with, and one that’s going to put up with you, as well.

It’ll be a great person, not an asshole, and you’ll fall in love. And it will happen despite the fact that someone, somewhere still thinks your soulmate is an asshole.

Social media: causing codependency.

Technology... we need to draw some lines in dating.

Technology… we need to draw some lines in dating.

I woke up, pissed as all hell. It was a Saturday morning, I’d slept in, and for some reason I was in a fit of rage.

I was mad at the guy I’d been talking to, mainly because we weren’t really talking to each other anymore.

Six months prior to this ugly Saturday morning, I would have woken up to a sweet text message from him, or a video on SnapChat.

But after finally sleeping with him, he’d gone dark without much of an explanation.

The thing is, this has happened to me so many times, I’ve nearly come to expect it. I get it, no one wants to have a “break up” talk with someone they’re not really dating.

However, if the guy had no interest in me, then why was he still looking at all my SnapChats and mentioning things he’d seen on my Instagram? It made my stomach churn. It felt creepy.

I recently started following Life Coach Brenden Dilley on Twitter after hearing him on a radio interview. He said one of the first things you should do when parting ways in a relationship is, what I like to call, the Digital Delete.

Get rid of pictures of your ex on your phone, old text messages, and delete the person from all social media channels.

According to Dilley, we’re living in a society that’s codependent, so removing our exes or past flings in every capacity, makes it real that it’s over.

If we weren’t talking in our actual, non-digital lives, then I sure as hell wasn’t going to let this guy check up on me online. And I didn’t need to be checking out him, either. It was over.

So, I deleted our connections on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and SnapChat. And of course, I changed his name in my phone to “Fuck Boy”.

He tried to add me back on SnapChat, to which I responded by blocking him and telling him to stop contacting me via social media.

A few weeks later, this guy told me I was immature for doing this (he actually asked me if I was 12 years old).

If I was indeed 12, that makes him a sexual predator, and actually, social media wasn’t around when we were 12. But I suppose that wasn’t his point.

Perhaps I am immature, but in any case, I did it because I wanted him out of my life in every way possible.

And I would venture to admit that I was wishing for a bit of control in a situation that left me clueless, and hurt.

So, do we live in a codependent society? It sounds so terrible, but maybe we are. I do think that social media has made us more lonely than we were before it arrived, and it does have the power to affect our relationships.

I was reading an interview with author Kim Stoll in Time magazine, and she said social media has given us all gateways to contact people from our past that may not be good for us.

Interestingly enough, that’s how I reconnected with this last guy. We went to high school together and started talking via SnapChat (God, that sounds so cheap when I write it).

I’d bet that if social media didn’t exist, we wouldn’t have reconnected. Just saying.

But since deleting him from social media, I do feel rather free. Pay no mind to the fact that all of my social media feeds are public, and I have a revealing blog.

It’s less about visibility and more about the cold, hard fact that we are no longer connected, emotionally, or digitally.

Am I afraid of intimacy?

What am I really afraid of?

What am I really afraid of?

I recently became obsessed with podcasts. There’s about six that I listen to regularly, including “The Jillian Michaels’ Show”.

You may remember Michaels as one of the trainers on “The Biggest Loser”. Her podcast is a mix of fitness and health tips, along with life lessons and relationship advice.

A few episodes ago, they had a woman caller who was distressed. Her husband kept insisting on a threesome, even though she was completely against it.

The conversation on possible solutions to her problem ultimately led to a discussion about why he was so interested in the threesome to begin with.

“It sounds like he has intimacy issues,” Michaels suggested.

Intimacy issues: it’s a term I’ve heard many times, but never actually thought about.

Intimacy is the closeness between people in a relationship. As I understand it, it’s the ultimate level of connecting.

I’ve been thinking a lot about the fact that I’ve never had, what I would consider, a “real boyfriend”. The relationships I’ve been a part of are always riddled with some sort of drama, whether it be alcoholism, infidelity, or emotional unavailability.

I’m always asking myself why these relationships never work, but after thinking on it for a while (for years), I’m starting to see some trends.

Mostly, it appears I choose to date men that I won’t even have the chance to get close to. Why? Because if I can’t get close to someone, then when it’s over, it wasn’t over because of me.

That’s messed up, right?

So, I took it a step further and did some Googling. Of course, this has the WebMD effect: everything I look up is going to sound right on-point.

But I found an article on the fear of intimacy, which included possible causes of said fear. These causes include (but are not limited to): alcoholism, self-esteem problems, body image issues, and previous abusive relationships.

Uh, check here for “All of the Above”.

The article also talks about having problems communicating emotions. While I don’t think I have issues communicating my feelings currently, I know this has been an issue for me in the past.

I used to never want to express anger to a guy I was dating, because I didn’t want him to think I was a nag or crazy.

Honestly though, the more I thought about intimacy, the more I realized I know very little about it. So, I talked to my mom instead of Google.

I was telling her that I’m not even sure how to be that close with someone. I feel like I’m open with most people, so how can I get closer to the person I care about?

“I don’t think it’s necessarily about the things a person knows about you,” my mom said. “It’s more about just getting each other.”

And that’s the feeling I’ve never really had with someone; those moments when you don’t even have to say anything, but your partner just knows what you’re thinking.

My mom has always said that finding a true match is really just based on timing. I do believe that’s true, but I also know I’ve got to get over my fear of getting close with someone, which is ultimately a phobia of getting hurt.

But in my experience, even those relationships that weren’t really close still hurt, a lot. So, if I’m going to go for it, I probably just need to rip the Band-Aid off, and go for it, 100 percent.

What ‘Catfish’ taught me about fate.

Why are people still getting Catfished? Fate.

Why are people still getting Catfished? Fate.

Recently, MTV premiered season five of “Catfish”, the show that’s become synonymous with online dating failures.

“Catfish” was introduced to the world in 2010 as a documentary, starring Photographer Nev Schulman.

The film followed Schulman as he indulged in an online relationship with someone across the country, after “meeting” on Facebook.

In the film, his friends are not so sure the woman is being truthful, so they do a little lite investigating.

One of their first finds is that the MP3s she’s been sending are ripped from YouTube videos featuring someone else.

Schulman continues the relationship and makes plans to meet his then-girlfriend, despite obvious doubts.

What he ultimately discovers is that he’s been sexting a woman in her late 40s, who is married with children.

Watching it is part-awkward, and part-devastating. There is an underlying sadness to Schulman’s relationship – the woman eventually admits she continued the lies in attempts to escape her everyday life that was riddled with hardship.

Many critics still question the truth of the documentary. After all, how could a young, smart, tech-savvy guy fall for these obvious tricks?

But those are often the same questions asked after an episode of “Catfish”: don’t these people see the obvious red flags a mile away?

No, they don’t. Why? Because they don’t want to.

While I haven’t been catfished in the traditional sense, I’ve certainly been tricked into believing ridiculous lies from the one I love.

Because of instances such as these, I’ve also undergone years of therapy.

I have learned that when a person is hurt emotionally, it’s obvious from the outside, and there are people built to see those wounds and prey upon them.

A confident person, standing tall, is going to spot the red flags and they’ll walk away from the bullshit.

But a heartbroken person, sitting in the dark will do anything to see the light. Nothing is too good to be true to someone who needs a lifeboat.

I’ve watched “Catfish” the movie, and all of the seasons on TV. For starters, I think Schulman is super sexy, but of course I also like seeing the dynamic of these online relationships.

I’ll admit it, when they announced season five was on its way I thought, “How are these people still getting catfished?”

But, after watching a few of the recent episodes, I got to thinking about fate.

And the truth is, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think these people were catfished at just the right time in their lives. In fact, the timing is essential to making the lies work.

The usual scenario is this: after the catfishee gets clued in on the false relationship, they confront the catfish, and often discover the real reason behind the lies.

The reasons are usually incredibly sad: previous abuse, failed relationships, death of a parent, troubled childhood, etc.

And while these are not reasons to make fake online profiles, it adds context for the heartbroken victim.

This leads the victim to pick himself or herself up, cut their losses, and find the strength within in order to move on. Most of the time, the victims quit online dating for good, and say they have found joy in other ways: through work, family, and friends.

In other words: they’ve taken it upon themselves to drive their happiness and not left it in the hands of complete strangers.

“Catfish” the movie taught us that catfish (IRL) are placed in tanks to keep cod agile during their long ship ride. In other words, it’s what’s hiding in the shadows that keep us under the sun.

Seen, not heard.

Men want a woman who listens to their every word...

Men want a woman who listens to their every word…

“We’re selfish, so all we want is a girl who’s going to listen to everything we say and act like it’s the coolest thing ever.”

A guy friend of mine was trying to explain the inner-workings of the male brain to me.

I’d just heard on the radio that the #1 reason a man will dump a woman early in a relationship is if she doesn’t listen (according to survey results).

Um, come again?

I was shocked by this, so I turned to my male friend to see if it was true.

It took him less than a minute to say yes, it was true, and expand with the aforementioned.

This surprised me for two reasons: 1. I didn’t think men really cared about much else outside of physical appearance or the ratio of sexual activity to nagging, and 2. I feel like I’m a great listener, so what gives?

I agreed with my friend that yes, men are egotistical, so of course they want someone who’s obsessed with their every move.

On the other hand, how many times have you been obviously into a guy and it sends him running for the hills?

Personally, that’s happened to me more times than I’d like to admit. Everyone knows you’ve got to play hard to get to not appear desperate, and to keep the guy somewhat interested.

In general, I’ve got a curiosity for people and I love stories. Because of this, it’s not unlike me to ask lots of questions no matter who I’m around.

But this clearly hasn’t had any benefits for my dating game.

I decided to share this information with my hair stylist, because she’s obviously the person I go to for all of my needs.

“For years, I’ve sat there and listened to all of their dumb shit,” I told her, referring to past boyfriends.

Of course, at the time, I was really into just about everything they told me, no matter what it was.

And that’s the other part of this equation that rubs me the wrong way. Dear men, if you want us to hang on your every word, then let’s start by saying something interesting.

Here’s the truth: rarely (and I mean about twice) have I met a guy who’s got something cool to say.

A majority of the guys I meet have three topics to discuss: work stress, sport matchups, and it’s a tossup between the weather or what happened on XM radio.

Riveting.

The other half of this equation is the woman, you know, that human who’s listening to the words coming out of your face, is someone who wants to speak, as well.

Coincidentally, a conversation is a two-way street. If it were a one-way street, you’d eventually keep circling, and you’d never get anywhere.

Aside from this whole “listening” rule making absolutely no sense, it amazes me that no matter how far we think we’ve come, we’re still in an environment that wishes women would keep quiet.

Perhaps that is one of the many reasons why I’m single. If there’s an outlet for my voice, I’ve used it, and I’d venture to say that’s never going to change.

Yes, I like to listen and learn about the person I’m talking to. But I also like contributing to conversation, whether it’s just talking about my day, or even politics and pop culture.

If you’re a guy looking for someone to listen and not speak, I’d suggest starting a podcast. If it’s at all groundbreaking, maybe I’ll pick up a pair of headphones.

Baby, you should go & date yourself.

I want that top.

I want that top.

I’ve been single for almost three years. Of course, during these three years, I’ve gone on several dates, and had many flings and crushes.

But recently, I’ve found myself in a situation that rarely happens: I don’t even have a crush.

As pathetic as it sounds, this thought disappoints me greatly. While I’ve never considered myself to be boy crazy, a crush gives me something to be excited over; something to work toward (you know, before I ultimately get crushed).

Given that this “zero crush” situation is rare for me, I realized I probably need to do something else I’ve never done: date myself.

That term sounds incredibly weird, but it’s something that needs to happen.

You see, I will admit I have a habit of filling the void of one relationship with another, and this is an unhealthy pattern I’ve been working to break.

Between relationships, you’ve really got to focus on yourself to heal, and to avoid ruining your next relationship because of the last.

Dating yourself doesn’t mean sitting at home alone all the time (as fun as that is), it means truly being in a relationship with yourself.

Some days, that may mean pampering yourself and being kind to yourself, while other days that could mean jumping out of your comfort zone and challenging yourself.

The reward? You’re going to learn a lot about who you are, and ultimately what you want out of life, and out of a relationship.

It also solidifies the fact that you can spend time alone, and enjoy it, not because you have to, but because you want to!

I put this to the test last weekend when I made it a goal to eat alone at a restaurant I’d been wanting to try.

Normally in these situations, I’d just get takeout, and enjoy the feast alone, within the privacy of my apartment.

But no, I put on something I felt confident in, went to the restaurant, and I sat by myself, with no book or shield to protect me.

I even ordered a giant beer, and watched a basketball game before mowing down a messy burger and cheese fries.

And you know what? I felt like a million bucks when I walked out of that restaurant. I’d done what I thought was impossible, and it was actually fun!

I know you think I’m nuts. But everyone has their thing that seems scary to do alone. I have never minded going to the movies alone; in fact, I prefer it.

Coffee shops and errands are fine, hell, I’ve even gone on vacation by myself. But for some reason, tackling the restaurant scene alone seemed untouchable.

Now that I’ve at least tried it, I’m kind of excited to go out again. It means I’ve got more control over my life, and that I don’t have to miss out on things I love just because I’m not coupled up.

Okay, sure, I’m not getting a goodnight kiss at my doorstep when I date myself, but I also don’t have the anxiety of fumbling for my keys, wondering if a kiss will even happen.

Building the relationship I have with myself is going to prepare me for whatever’s to come. I’m going to be my very best self, and when the next guy comes along, I’ll have to decide if he’s worth breaking a date with myself.

I don’t even know who he is yet, but I can tell you this: I’m a pretty cool girl, and it’s going to take someone really awesome to get me to share my Saturday nights with someone aside from myself.

And because Justin Bieber has a song for all of my feelings:

Dating Just for the Fun of it.

...Because everyone does this on dates, right?

…Because everyone does this on dates, right?

“What happened to the days of dating someone just because you liked them?” One of my best girlfriends and I were chatting one night about guys; not an uncommon occurrence with us.

It was an interesting question, and truthfully, one I hadn’t thought of. But once my mind started to dive into the subject, she was onto something.

The last few guys I’ve been interested in have all been so technical about every move. Every text message is picked apart, my social media feeds have been admittedly stalked, and I’m starting to wonder if my next date is going to involve fingerprints and a background check.

When did we all get so serious about dating?

I don’t know if I’m just high on life – I am still feeling free after coming to the conclusion that dating is completely out of my control and I’ve been skipping around town wearing red lipstick ever since.

But dating should be fun, right? The dating part, or the beginning stages of a relationship, should simply be about getting to know someone. This is when you’re figuring out if you’re even compatible, or if there’s a special spark.

If things work out and you’re considering buckling up for the long haul, okay, then let’s go Colonel Mustard on this sh*t and dig through my closet. But until then, let’s take a chill pill (don’t mind me, I’ve been listening to 90’s on 9).

Okay, so I’m not totally blind to the fact that there’s two issues with taking things easy from the start: 1. Feelings are at stake, and 2. Time is of the essence.

We’ll start with feelings. Five years ago, I would have agreed with this idea. However, feelings are just the risk you’ve got to take when you put yourself into the dating game.

Sure, it sucks to lose someone, even if it’s just a new companion, but if you go on a few dates and it just doesn’t work, then you’ve got to remind yourself that you have lived without this person before, and move on.

If it’s casual in the beginning and less like an episode of “Married at First Sight”, then you’ll be more apt to bounce back quickly if things go south.

Point two: time. Yeah, we’re all busy, and we’ve got old episodes of “The Wire” to watch (just me? Ok.), but any relationship, or fling, is an investment. Even if it doesn’t work out, you probably learned something about yourself, even if it’s sharpening the picture of who you want to be dating.

Upon some lite research on the subject of “dating for fun”, I came across several articles where people were debating if this was actually an “okay” thing to do. Um, what?

Again, when did we all get so freakin’ serious?

Yes! Of course dating for fun is okay! That’s the O-N-E perk we have as single people – we can do whatever we want.

One article was talking about this apparently crazy idea of dating just for fun, without the guarantee of a ring at the end.

This isn’t revolutionary, folks. I’ve been dating for 14 years and have never seen a ring, or even a glimmering shard of a ring, so there’s that. It is, in fact, possible to date without a guy getting on one knee at the end.

Can we make a pact to stop taking each other, and everything, so seriously? After a hard day of work, I could use a beer, a laugh, and possibly a cute guy to lean on when I’m re-watching all eight seasons of “Dexter”.

If you’re ready for the pact, I’ll be at the Skee-Ball lane, still wearing red lipstick.

How History Screwed Singletons.

Valentine's Day, what are we supposed to do with you?

Valentine’s Day, what are we supposed to do with you?

You probably already know that Valentine’s Day comes from Saint Valentine. But, I need to know how a Saint caused such a giant mess for singletons each year.

I took it to Google.

An article I found on History.com says the Catholic Church recognizes three saints named Valentine or Valentinus. There is a legend that one of the Valentines was in prison, and he sent the first “valentine” to his jailor’s daughter. He signed it, “From your Valentine,” and the phrase has stuck around ever since.

According to some, the celebratory day of Valentine corresponds with his date of death, but some say the timing has more to do with the start of birds’ mating season. Put that in your champagne and drink it.

Today, 1 billion Valentines are exchanged each year, making it the second-best day for the greeting card companies.

The history is interesting, but it doesn’t explain why singletons are left in the dark on this day of love. I’ll say this: when February rolls around, I never know how I should take it.

Some people, coupled or single, hate Valentine’s Day, and some people love it. And there are some people who don’t care about it at all.

I’ve noticed though, that there’s no right way for a singleton to acknowledge Valentine’s Day. If we hate it, then we’re seen as bitter; if we love it, then we’re stupid for celebrating a “fake” holiday. What gives?

I just started watching the HBO series “Newsroom” a few weeks ago (I know, I’m late to the game), and in the first season, Maggie instructs Jim to treat her roommate to a fantastic Valentine’s Day because every February 14 has been terrible for her.

Naturally, Jim gets caught up at work on the big day, and the roommate comes storming into the office, screaming about how another Valentine’s Day has ruined her life. I don’t think that’s how most single people act on Valentine’s Day, but I can’t speak for all of us.

However, I’d venture to say that actual Valentine’s Day isn’t just about the day. Most singletons don’t care about an over-priced bouquet of roses, a mushy card, or a themed dinner. I left out chocolate, because I do care, greatly, about chocolate.

It’s about not having a partner. Sure, we’ve got friends, family, coworkers, and colleagues, but we’re tackling the struggle on our own.

Some of the most joy I’ve gotten from a man came from simply having someone to talk to at the end of the day. Whether it’s sorting out the challenges, or laughing about the happy times, going it alone is a battle in itself.

And while every holiday has its “couple-y” aspect, a holiday such as Valentine’s Day just drives it right on home – that flashing billboard that says, “YOU’RE SINGLE.” Trust us, universe, we already know.

Don’t think we aren’t aware of the idyllic jewelry commercials, and the date nights just for couples. We see it.

It’s not like I just forget that I’m single. It’s pretty easy to remember when I go to bed alone, when I’ve got no special guy to call for great news or a bad day, no kissy-face emojis to start my morning, and worst of all, no one to snuggle with when I’m on the couch watching shitty TV.

No, I’m not moping around all day, every day, I’m just saying that single people don’t need a big, red and pink, hoopla of a holiday to make us feel better or worse.

To my fellow singletons, at the very least, Valentine’s Day falls on a Sunday this year, so no gawking over giant flower displays at work. However, beware of every half-decent restaurant on Saturday night. If you need me, I’ll be on my couch with champagne. The upside? I don’t have to share.