Married Women are Pretty, Too

October 24, 2013 at 1:24 pm | Posted in Relationship Woes | Leave a comment

Let’s be honest for a second.  We live in a very vain world.  No matter how hard we try to pretend that looks don’t matter, they do, and beyond that, how we feel about the way we look and getting validation in the form of compliments does wonders for our self image.  You truly can never hear “You’re beautiful” too many times.

I’ve never had a terrible self image.  Like all women, I have my insecurities and I’ve felt unpretty or bad about my appearance at times.  I’m not used to being the girl that gets all of the attention and I’m not used to being the one getting none of the attention.  I’ve always ridden the middle of the wave, taking compliments as they come and not really thinking too much about it.  Overall, I have always carried myself with confidence, compliments or not.

But something happens when you are taken off the market and it makes perfect sense.  All of a sudden, compliments start fading away.  Men try to respect the boundaries, perhaps, and significant others have already won you, so do they really need to tell you every day that you are beautiful? (The answer to that question is yes, in case you were wondering).

And as I said earlier, I was never one to be overwhelmed with fan mail.  I had some admirers, and I don’t consider myself an unattractive person, so it makes me wonder.  Why do some people get more compliments than others? Aside from the obvious drop dead gorgeous girls, there are some hidden gems that get uncovered and some shiny stones that are left to shine on their own.  Is confidence something that turns people off?  Perhaps there’s a feeling that if they are confident, they just know how the world views them and no one needs to tell them.

But everyone needs reassurance, men and women from both men and women. Compliments shouldn’t always be tied to intentions of pursuit.  Encouraging confidence and just making others feel good makes you, in turn, feel good.

And don’t forget to be polite.  A big part of receiving compliments is actually accepting them graciously.  If you aren’t open to receiving, then people will give up.

So be kind. Tell a married girl she looks pretty today.

The Importance of the Friend Zone

September 18, 2013 at 4:08 pm | Posted in Friends Then and Now, Relationship Woes | Leave a comment

The friend zone gets a really bad rep. It is generally assumed that if you are in the friend zone that there is no chance at anything more with the person who put you there. But I am here to advocate for the friend zone and what it can do to make relationships more meaningful.

When you become friends with someone, it is very similar to being interested in someone romantically. There is this connection you feel, this instant attraction and curiosity to learn something more about this person. What is he or she all about? What can I learn from this person? What can I teach him or her? Will he or she get my jokes? Are we into similar things? Can we have fun together? Can I trust him or her?

The qualities you look for in a friend are very similar to the qualities you look for in a romantic interest, because if you want that romantic interest to develop into something more than just a physical attraction, it helps to have a foundation of friendship, because romance changes, chemistry changes, love changes. There will be times where you hate each other, but if you have the foundation of friendship you won’t lose love.

My husband and I were friends and coworkers when we first met. I won’t lie that there was an immediate attraction, but I was in a long term committed relationship that I wasn’t ready to let go of, and we worked together and wanted to keep things professional, so we friend-zoned each other for 2 years. We developed a great relationship with long talks about people he dated and other relationship type stuff, as well as things about our families, our interests, our friends. We developed a great group of mutual friends and started meeting each other’s non-work friends.

Fast forward 8 years and here we are, married. It’s not perfect, I won’t lie. But I know him and he knows me, and when we hate each other, we still love each other, and no matter what, we will always be friends first.

So as the world becomes more and more disconnected from each other; as more interactions take place virtually, as more people meet on line, I say this.  Meet people. Make friends. Look at the friends you have and why they are your friends.  We are all adults now. Who’s to say a friendship can’t evolve?  Sometimes, it is worth the risk for the possibility of finding something even greater.

A Slut, Like You

August 11, 2013 at 6:06 pm | Posted in Relationship Woes | 1 Comment
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This past weekend, I had the opportunity to participate in a march, a protect, against victim blaming, down in our Nation’s Capitol.  The event was called Slut Walk and it takes place each year in cities across the country to raise awareness around an alarming issue.  Back in 2011, a police officer in Toronto suggested that in order for women to remain safe, they should stop dressing like sluts.  With this walk, we are taking the word “sluts” back.  We need to teach “don’t rape”, not “don’t get raped.”

The walk, in many ways, was a culminating event in the life of one of my dearest friendships.  My good friend has been involved with domestic violence and related causes for several years now and she got me involved, which only made sense after the violations we both experienced in our lives and still experience to this day.

I can remember very clearly one of the earliest times I was violated.  I was in middle school, and there was this boy who would always linger a little too long after hugging me, always sit next to me, touching my thighs, my sides, whatever he could slyly get away with.  He was much larger than me, and I was scared so I went along with it, not knowing what to do.  He would do this to me in the halls of the school, and even in computer class, and nobody would help me.  He would do this to many girls I went to school with, some were better at thwarting his advances than others, but we never talked about it with each other.  Together, we were silent victims.  And he, a boy turned into perpetrator by what society told him was okay.

The violations continued in different forms in high school and into college, before my intuition kicked in and told me this was wrong and that I needed to do something about it.  It was then that I seeked out a safe relationship, someone who would treat me right and keep me away from all the “bad guys”. And it worked.

I am lucky that I have never been brutally attacked by a stranger, never was I left for dead in a park as many people picture rape.  But rape comes in many forms, and women are sexually violated every day and we very often just take it.  Some women confuse it for attention that they badly seek.    Some women confuse it with marital responsibilities.  Many women trust their offenders.  In fact, 7 out of 10 victims of rape know their rapists.  So much for stranger danger.

And we, as a society, need to speak up, need to change this.  Victims, survivors, should not be held responsible for being abused.  It is not their fault.  Offenders are the ones to blame, not my skirt.  And it’s time we start teaching that to our children.

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