Tequila vs. The WTF Moment

I once went to a free open bar at a joint in Murray Hill. This was before I discovered this particular part of New York is breeding ground for frat guys who never wanted to leave college and still enjoy beer pong more than making a career or adult life for themselves. Even in school, where I was in a sorority and I thoroughly enjoyed Greek life, I never dated or slept with a guy in a fraternity. There has always been something about their Solo cup-decorated apartments, perfectly styled hair (or looks that resemble the Biebs), and stained Ralph Lauren Polos that turned me off.

Imagine that.

Nevertheless, when a friend found booze for free on PulseJFK and invited me to come, I followed in suit, high heels and push-up in tow. Fast forward to midnight, way past the penniless power hour: picture my friend with smeared red lipstick and crusted mascara, sucking face at the corner of the bar with a guy I believe was named Todd. And then there’s me, turning on the charm with a dude who told me he worked for MTV. I’d say what he did for them, but instead of telling me, he told my tequila – which is gladly no longer with me.

At this point in the night, my friend lets me know she’s going home with Todd, who claimed he was one of the Mets. She later confirmed he was, but more of a benchwarmer than an actual athlete. Still fairly new to Manhattan and as broke as an early-20s gal can get, I asked her not to leave (I didn’t want to pay for a ride home). Obviously not one of my closest companions, she encouraged me to go with the MTV man and said she’d text me when she arrived in Hoboken with Todd. I responded with a half-drunken smirk, followed by thoughts of how much I felt sorry for her that she was leaving for dirty Jersey.

Even knew to the city, I knew that wasn’t a favorable ending point for an evening. (Don’t believe me? Ask anyone who takes the PATH at night).

As I watched her exit into the rolling crowds of the M.Hill, Mr. MTV turned his attention to me and asked if I needed another drink. I refused while nodding my head in agreement. Intrigued by my drunken stupor, he welcomed more company from the liquor that not only heats me up, but makes everyone around me instantly hotter. And thus, in the next 20 minutes, I fell for Mr. MTV.

In the bits and pieces I remember, I imagined him opening doors (both literally and figuratively) for me at his company and attending fancy parties ripe with celebrities. I may have devised a fantasy where he introduced me to Ryan Reynolds at rooftop gala in the middle of June, where he instantly found me irresistible and I left Mr. MTV in a dramatic exit as I whisked away to Paris. Perhaps Rome. Hell, I’ll settle for Madrid, if need be.

Mr. MTV, noticing my inability to focus as he enthusiastically bragged about his corner office (or was it a cubicle with a view?), whispered, “Do you want to go back to my place?” Before I could comprehend, tequila (who knows this dude better than I do, apparently), nodded yes.

In barely enough time to grab my bag and cardigan, I found myself hailing a cab, hand-in-hand with Mr. MTV. “I live, like, really close by, in Union Square,” he reassured. Unable to comprehend my coordinates (or to really care), I again, allowed tequila to control my motions by giving him a slurred, encouraging grin. In what seemed like an eternity but probably equated to ten minutes, Mr. MTV had us heading cross-town to an apartment he lived by himself. Somewhere between allowing him to cram his tongue half-way down my throat, telling me to relax, and he does this sort of thing all the time -I woke up.

I could give it an eloquent name, but in all fairness, it was simply a WTF moment.

As Mr. MTV is chatting with the driver, I looked out my window to catch a glimpse of a familiar landmark and realized what I was doing. As if it was in slow motion, I looked down to see my hands, still stamped from the beginning of the evening. I wiggled my fingers to make sure they still had feeling. I was glad to find, they did. I checked to see if I had everything with me that I started with and minus an earring, I thought, “Good job, Linds. All together.”

But then the sobering side of me argued, “Um, no. Look again. You’re a hot mess. Where are you going?”

So, without a word to Mr. MTV or gaining enough courage to look at him, I shouted to the cabbie to stop. Maybe the driver had been in this situation enough times, but he pounded the brakes immediately. Without hesitation, I threw open the door, stumbled my way ten steps across the street, shot my hand in the air, and magically, another yellow-and-black carriage swept me away to a place much better than the place I was heading: home. Alone.

Sometimes it is easy to know when it is time to walk away.

Unfortunately, most of the relationships that leave the most damage aren’t created and ended in a matter of hours. They are often the ones that are a collection of times where we depend on our staying graces as much as we peer over at our boots-made-for-walking, and the ones that Katy Perry claims are measured by fluctuating temperatures. They are the ones encompassed by exhaustion and often leave us, just as I was in my tequila haze, one hell of a mess. And though we know it is so not right and against our better judgment, we always stick around. Because somehow we think – or we convince ourselves- there’s a way for it to work out. If we can only get over one thing, if we can only be brave enough to stick around while he makes up his mind, or if we can establish a scenario where he’ll miss us. That’s when we will be justified in our one-night stand or our shouldn’t-have-lasted-as-long-as-it-did.

Maybe for some couples the patience pays off and the rewards are plenty.

But most of the time, tequila (or denial) comes in the form of syrupy romantic notions that against all other rational thought processes, tells us to keep going and going, when really, it’d be best to steer away from another tall drink of complication. Because while shots in a glass can be difficult to swallow, a shot to the broken heart and at our swollen pride, burns much longer. It is only when the rose-colored glasses are removed and the love drunk haze wears off that we see a relationship or a man for what he really is: a bad idea that’s best left on Saturday night (or in the past), where he belongs.

The Good, The Bad, and The One for Me

Motorcycles aren’t my thing. Really. I know they are quite popular among the Southerners I grew up with, but they’ve never oiled my engine. The savage beast inside of me is not tamed by the musings of a musician with a sleeve of tattoos and a knack from strumming strings with precision. A detailed rap sheet or a scent that attracts bar fights aren’t things I’d put down my dream man’s checklist – and they’d be a red flag in a hot minute. I’m not impressed by the number of shots a dude can down or how many women have been nailed up against his bedpost. I really don’t care how fast he can drive his car, no matter how expensive it is.

I’ve never really wanted to date the bad guy. You know – the one who’s flawed around the edges and rough with me. A player or a gangster, a homeboy or unattractive unemployed artist have never caught my eye or held my attention. I may not be entirely specific about what type of person I desire, but I know he doesn’t fit the bad boy protocol.

Well, at least in the traditional sense, anyways.

I have a knack for attracting unavailable men with miles of baggage and disclaimers. Those who make entirely more money than what I would know what to do with and the ones who avoid commitment in ways more clever than my own. They don’t walk on the wild side, but they bring out the wild little freak in me who over analyzes everything to death – with the help of friends over Gchat, Merlot, and mass text messaging. They don’t put me down, but my self-assurance can leave as easily as they have seemed to do, and I’ve admittedly been a doormat a few times, allowing them to walk all over me in the process. They are not crazy or dangerous in any sense, but they make my heart feel like it’s in harm’s way and I go a little crazy for each of them, each time.

A few years ago, as I was describing my most recent opposite-sex induced dilemma, my mother exclaimed, “Lindsay – where do you meet these guys? They are so complicated and have such odd hang-ups. Don’t you ever just date a nice guy?”

In my own defense – I’ve tried dating the really good guy. The one who, on paper, would seem like the best fit for me. Someone who is tall, attractive, comes from a great family, makes a decent living, likes what he does, answers when I call, responds to emails and text timely, doesn’t question his desire to be with me, takes me to nice places, and compliments my eyes. He says all of those things I want to hear, exactly when I want to hear them, and he is never too much, too invasive, too needy, or too anything. He’s just fine.

And that’s the problem.

I’d classify myself as an equal-opportunity dater, give or take a few non-negotiables that I’d never lower my standards for. I do tend to give most everyone a chance –or at least a drink – and see how I feel before writing them off into never, ever land. But generally speaking, I’m a middle-ground kind of girl: I really don’t care for the bad boy in the rock band, but I also don’t find myself gleaming at the guy who has everything together. Or at least the versions of together I’ve met so far in the game.

Does a man need to have visible flaws for me to be attracted to him? Do I confuse passion with a disaster waiting to happen? Am I lured in by an unfinished project, rather than a sturdy hunk of a man? Do I overcompensate the importance of a personality, of a man who makes me laugh, who keeps me on my toes, and continuously guessing? Do I think for a relationship to be successful, it needs to be work? Is a stubborn, charming challenge more alluring to me than one of those easy, simple, All-American boys?

Or is that we all just attract the company we keep? Or the people we really are?

If I’m a little messy, if I’m a gal who will snap back the wit as quickly (if not quicker) than its spewed, if I’m a woman who needs constant intellectual engagement – is that what I’ll find in return? If I’m still haunted by the ghost of past-love, will I inevitably meet men who can’t shake the lingering what-if’s from their last girlfriend? If I’m attempting to figure myself out and see what Manhattan has to offer all in the same breath – will I meet a multi-tasker, just like me?

I’m nor the good girl or the bad one. I’m not the down-and-dirty, hardcore gal, but I suppose I’m not strawberry shortcake and lemonade, either. I can be messy, I can be indecisive, I can be all over the place – so why wouldn’t I be intrigued by a man of the same manner? After all, isn’t imitation the highest form of flattery?

The nice guys are always irritated by the women who won’t give them a chance and will say they always finish last in the pack. The bad guys on the other hand, don’t really seem to give a damn who finishes where. Maybe the reason I find myself searching in the gray area between the one with wings and the ones who gets high enough to think they have wings – is because I’m search of myself. I’m always looking for answers, so I want someone who is willing to think a little more out of the box. I’m going to get upset and I’m going to be less than polished and classy at times, and I need to be around someone who accepts me as I am. I’m not an extremist but I also would never be satisfied by a life that’s painted with mediocrity. Any investment I’d make with my money would be on something that I felt was worth the risk or the time, but part of the thrill, is in making the wager. If I don’t feel like I have something of value, by my own standards, something that I would hate to lose, why would I go for it at all?

Maybe the good guys are meant to show us what we should want, while the bad ones are designed to tease us with what we shouldn’t. But they each show us the life we don’t want to have forever, and are merely ideas of futures we’ll never experience. They show us the different sides, varying scenarios we’ve imagined, but they also give us a reflection into our own psyche. At whatever point in our life we’re at, that’s the partner we’ll decide to pact with. The way the good guy gets the girl or the bad guy steals her away- isn’t based on the men themselves, but the woman who choses what’s best for her, right then, right at that moment. There’s no way to determine if she’ll go left or right – or go straight into the army of middle ground again.

But somewhere, between the ones who brings me to my knees and the one who would get on their knees for me- is the man, who is good for my life, bad for the attention-span, but perfect for me.

PS: Jennifer from Cincinnati, OH completed Love Addict’s survey and won a fabulous glass from Lolita and perfume set from Pacifica. Love Addict will be doing another giveaway soon, so make sure to take the survey for your chance to win! Congrats Jen and thanks for reading!

The He’s & the She’s of Me

He is the one who showed me what it felt like to make love like a woman. She convinced me that I could, in fact, make a living as a writer. He made me believe that love is never quite what you expect. She introduced me to the miracle that is the Miracle Bra. He made me addicted to sushi. She taught me  to be a best friend, sometimes the best remedy for anything is a little wine and a hell of a lot of nodding along. He showed me everything I never wanted in anyone and how to walk toward something that’s might be worth the risk. She gave me the friendship ring that would remain in each and every jewelry box I’ve ever owned. He opened my eyes and my heart to the exhilaration that comes from liberating yourself from self-imposed rules. She held me steady and made me exhale with a single text message thousands of a miles away.

People have entered my life in a variety of fashions – through a friend, through a class, through a shared interest, through a job interview, through a blog post, through an affinity for Mac Viva Glam #5 lipstick, and even through public transportation. The ways the faces of the he’s and the she’s cycle through my life, some staying longer than others, seems magically planned by a divinity that I can never entertain. By a force, that no matter how I may try, I can never reckon with.

If you ask your mother or your best friend who both try to say the right thing at the right time – they’ll tell you that people come into your life to teach you something and that the higher power of your own belief gives you what you need, no necessarily what you want. And if your fate director is anything like mine, my life always has playful and unexpected turns that makes every experience unpredictable.

Last night, New York was radiating in 50 degree weather, making my blazer, jeans, and high heel trio a hit on the streets. Between the blinking buildings and the waves of sidewalk congestion, an encouraging wind made its way to me. And in a language that only someone who loves the city as much as I do can understand, something spoke to me. It went straight to my core, dismissing any chills, barriers, or worries and it promised me that I’m always exactly where I’m meant to be…

…with whoever I’m meant to be with or without.

Time, sweet, time has a funny little rhyme about it, but I’ve somehow managed to always have exactly who I need, exactly when I needed them the most. Even if at the moment we met, became friends, fell into bed, or had our first date, we couldn’t understand why in the world we came to be whatever we were.

Sometimes that second chance I would have done anything to be given comes in the form of a person I didn’t initially desire or in an opportunity I would have missed if the someone I wanted back, didn’t leave. Those prayers that I brought me to my knees over and over again, desperately needing a solution to the trouble brewing in parts I didn’t know could feel pain – turned out to be best left unanswered. The partners in crime growing up that I surely couldn’t imagine myself without, have become strangers whose name only pops up on Facebook occasionally – but I don’t mind. The miles that seemed to separate me from where I was and where I knew I belonged disappeared in an hour-and-half plane ride that was delayed two hours. Those dreams I dreamed, those men I melted into, those friends who knew my deep dark secrets, those days where the second-hand couldn’t have gone slower, turned into memories signaled by simple reminders in uncommonly common places.

But the trick of it all is to take people for who they are. To realize that only one man will be meant forever, the rest are merely chapters and courses to pass before the final exam. To know that the person who knew you best five years ago, most likely won’t be the same lady who plays the part of best friend in a decade. To be able to see when a relationship, a friendship, or something undefined has run its course, or maybe, is finally getting the fresh start it needs.

To know that time and space, miles and hours are sometimes temporary and sometimes forever. To remind yourself that while your heart wonders if you’ll feel that thing again, if history is an indicator of anything, you know you will. To accept that not everyone will give you what you need or be able to give you what you want – but the good ones, those worth the trials and the work, will do what they can to make you happy. To let people go when they want to leave and fight for the ones you know you’d regret to see walk away. But if they do anyways, rest assured someone else will eventually fill the shoes and perhaps be even better suited to you.

Without certain interactions, each relationship, or the phone calls that lasted for hours, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. People may try to break you, but in so many ways, they make you. Some I may never see again and a few I may be lucky enough to know a lifetime, but regardless, I’m glad to have met them and I thank them for molding me into the woman I am. While I’m not sure if life is a series of fleeting images and experiences that become part of my past faster than they were part of my present – I do know all of the people I’ve met are the he’s and the she’s of me.

Falling Into Like

Baby dolls and Barbies turned into Backstreet Boys and Bon Bons. Sleepovers and truth-or-dare transformed into cell phones and driver’s licenses. Crushes became lovers. Bubblegum was replaced with Mike’s Hard lemonade. Worries of missing a curfew outweighed stress over class. Kids grew into adults, while parents tried to remain young at heart. High School prepared us for college, but being away for school never prepared us for the big world we’d eventually dive (or be pushed) into. Broken hearts and tear drops intensified into Merlot-induced waves of anger, depression, and hopefully, acceptance.

And like became love.

I can remember moments during middle school, when the boy band or the boy in the band – had all of the power in the world to overtake my every thought and fill up pages in my notebook. Mr. Curls served as the main obsession during my three-year span in junior high and more than I cared about classwork, fitting in with the popular girls who were allowed to wear mini-skirts, or the boobs I wasn’t sure how to handle yet – I wanted this dude to like me. And I wanted him to not only care about me – but I wanted the whole school to know he picked me, he was with me, and no other gal could steal his attention. While today, I’m sure young ladies and lads update their Facebook status at the ripe age of 12 years old, in my time, saying you were together meant you held hands. Preferably down the hallway between class change or at the mall, while my mother waited in the food court for us to finish our “date.” I scribbled we’d be together forever on my composition book, but really – I just wanted to know that someone, especially him, liked me.

If we all stopped focusing on the love, on The One, on how wealthy a man is, how clever or witty he is, how strong his background or his lineage is, how well he takes care of himself, and where he sees himself in five years -would relationships be much easier? What if instead of contemplating the prospect of a relationship itself and determining if there is a future, we just focused on whether or not we liked the guy? And if he liked us?

How have we all forgotten the importance of falling into like?

Of all the men I’ve dated – Mr. Buddy aside – I haven’t been friends with them before we decided to make our relationship official. Whatever relationship we developed was never based on a mutual understanding, share interests, or a history of experiences together that eventually turned into something more. Instead, from the moment I met them, spent a few days getting to know them, or going on dates – I was more or less ready to try out the girlfriend role. The title of friend never interested me and while I may have liked who they were, it was never as much of a priority as my ability to love them, and they love me in return.

Somehow, between being a boy-crazed pre-teen and a 20-something wading through the dating pool of Manhattan, I lost sight of getting to know a person and turned my priority on getting to know a boyfriend.

I won’t discount the importance of passion, intrigue, and mystery when meeting someone who could grow into a partner. We all, regardless if we claim to be interested in the nature and intensity of love, want to have a great story to tell when an outside source asks us about how we met our significant other. Perhaps Harlequins and rom-coms have destroyed our ideas about what encounters should be. Maybe we all believe they should be romantic and by chance, where both parties involved instantly have a connection, and in the very best scenario, one of the two or two of the two, just know the other person was always meant to be theirs. My parent’s story has swayed me into the mindset that a man should gaze at me with endearment, find me the single most beautiful creature he’s ever known, and chase me into the great unknown endlessly, just for a chance to be by my side.

While those stories are wonderful and ever intriguing, maybe a cardinal mistake I’ve made is not taking the time to really get to know someone before I started dating them. To figure out what they are really like, what makes them tick, what brings them happiness, which parts of their personality they hid away at the beginning to entice me to stay, and who they are when they aren’t enthralled with the idea of me, but me as my most honest self.

Though I make a sincere attempt to never regret anything, in hindsight, a lot of unnecessary pain with Mr. Idea and others, could have been avoided if I would have been their friend first. If I would have figured them out before figuring them into my life. If I would have taken a step back and made an effort to determine if they are someone I would chose as my friend, before being faced with the decision of having them as a mate.

I’m well-aware we don’t have the opportunity to control who comes and who leaves our lives, or how we feel about them from the initial meeting – but instead of ruling out all of the maybes because they don’t have that spark or that thing that I’ve always thought I needed, perhaps I should try being a friend. Try falling in like before I let myself fall in love.

All of My Exes Are Closer Than Texas

I’d like to have a word with Mr. Zuckerberg.

No doubt the man will go down as one of the geniuses of my lifetime, as someone who greatly impacted the way people communicate and connect worldwide, and possibly, thanks to the movie, as a somewhat royal jackass – but sometimes, I wonder what life would be like without Facebook. For something so incredibly new – a mere seven years old – and already seem like such an important part of daily life for millions of people from Africa to Australia, is wildly impressive.

There are indefinite pros and cons to the technological revolution that makes sure connectivity is not just an option, but rather a saturation into normalcy. Do Facebook or Twitter serve as a novelty anymore – or are they officially acceptable methods of communication? Or if you’re anything like me, tools for stalking ex-boyfriends? Or those who I wish would have become boyfriends? Or both? Why is it that all of my exes aren’t far, far away in Texas, but super close on Facebook?

When Mr. Zuckerberg created Facebook, his idea was to keep people in touch -and perhaps he never thought implementing a section for “relationship” status would be as paramount as it is, but somehow, a single change or update has the power to completely make or totally break my day. And my confidence.

But worse of all, it can make me feel like every man who has ever loved me, I have loved, or was just momentarily a huge part of my life, has moved on. And here I am still stalking their Facebook.

Just from searching through the many social networks I’m signed up for, I can easily update you on the many Mr’s:

Mr. Faithful – still on the way to becoming a chiropractor, in a serious relationship with a gal I don’t know for over three years now. For Halloween, they wore matching outfits and during the many blizzards, they played outside each time. And took pictures.

Mr. Rebound – currently living in Chicago, accepted a great new job that he loves and was recently promoted to a higher position. In a relationship, though not sure for how long, with a lady who looks strikingly similiar to him. He appears to be balding, as well (she isn’t, for the record).

Mr. Fire – preparing for a move in May, seemingly still madly in love with the girl he posed in pictures with (in a hot tub, to be specific) a day after we broke things off. Still a hotshot in the sport he loves and apparently managed not to get pulled over by a cop for speeding a few weeks ago. And, both he and his Miss pulled for the Steelers last night.

Mr. Temporary– newly engaged, owns a house (wow!), and working in the school district he always dreamed he would. Looks like he recently got a puppy and has updates about what he eats, thinks, and breathes. Riveting, really.

Mr. Disappear– living in the same city and though he’s nearing the big 3-0, has yet to receive his Bachelor degree, and is in a relationship with a woman who is quite pretty. He happens to be completely bald, has a season pass to Nascar races (cringe), and hasn’t upgraded his taste in beer, so he’s still milking Bud. Ugh.

Mr. Smother – excelling in his career, residing in North Carolina, and recently started a relationship with a lovely blonde. Strangely enough, in the years that have passed since I cut things off, he hasn’t changed his profile picture. Not even once.

Mr. Fling – finishing up school after a medical bout and as charming as he is, has the ladies parading his wall constantly. I don’t blame them. And sometimes, I join them.

Mr. Idea – absoultely no idea  (no pun intended). He removed me as his friend, so thus communication paths are closed.

Central theme from the majority (minus one, actually) of these profiles? They have all entered into new relationships.

For most, the pairings are serious and they seem very happy with their new significant other, regardless of how significant I used to be in their life. A handful of them I still talk to, two or three I’d rather never speak to again, and maybe one I still wonder “what if” about. Regardless of how I feel toward these characters, I’m still connected to them and any information I want to know is at the reach of a click or a keyboard.

Well, maybe not any information, but the kind that makes me question what it means to really move on.

In an age where we’re bombarded and alerted to things we want and don’t want to know about – when can we officially say we’ve let go of any possibility, any longing, any angry or depressed sentiment, and have let the past be the past? Is it when we no longer feel the need to know what’s going on in their lives or when images of them newly in love don’t rock our hearts anymore when they show up on our feed?

For most of my exes, when we initially parted ways – I had to remove them from Facebook, block them from Gchat, delete every last email we exchanged and their phone number, stop following them on Twitter, and if we had a mutual friend that wasn’t that important to me, I’d go as far to ax them as well. I simply couldn’t bear to see the man I deeply cared about or allowed deeply in me…happy.

Or maybe not happy, but living their life without me. Okay, happily living their lives without me, while dating other people, and I was stuck being single. Because I wasn’t enthralled in the fire of a new romance or nearing happily ever after – anyone who once titillated my heart or my lovely lady parts – wasn’t allowed to be either. Because if they were in love or found someone they were interested in, that meant I hadn’t moved on and they had beat me in the mourning process. But relationships and especially the time needed to really let go of someone isn’t a competition or a race to the alter.

Or is it?

The measure of success after a relationship comes to an end isn’t determined by how quickly or easily you move from one bed, one embrace, one relationship status to another. It’s not measured by how much it hurts or doesn’t pain you to look at someone else experiencing romantic bliss sans you. Moving on isn’t defined by clicks, minutes spent stalking, or if you’re still intrigued by what’s going on in someone else’s life. Most living things are curious and if something is at your disposable or available through the world of webs, it’s natural to take a peek. If anything, it’s expected.

But instead of dwelling on the fact I’m single and dedicating an entire blog and year (or years?) to my life figuring out how to be content in my solo shoes, I’ve started asking myself a simple question:

Do I want to be that girl? Do I want to be the gal by his side? The one making out with him in a hot tub?

And that answer is even more basic than the question: no. I may not be falling head over heels, dreaming up visions of my future children, or deciding if I want chicken or fish, but I’m happy. Without a man. Without validation from another person. Without having to change my Facebook or make status updates about “my hubby” or how my boyfriend did something incredibly sweet.

Instead, my life, my Facebook, my social networks are about me. About the life I created for myself without depending on someone to build me up, boost my confidence or ensure me I could, in fact, reach my goals. I captured them just fine on my own – and frankly, wouldn’t have it any other way.

So regardless if everyone else is secure in their coupled-up oasis, for me, I know I’ve moved on, I’ve let go, I’ve released the ghosts of boyfriends-past because I don’t want to go back. Maybe more surprisingly, I’m not entirely focused on moving forward – but rather, setting my status, my updates about the things, the places, the people, the current life that means the most to me.

And that life, is just fine without someone writing on my wall, wearing matching outfits with me on Halloween, without having to fake an interest in the superbowl, without someone proposing to me, or inquiring about my whereabouts. It may be complicated at times, but it isn’t open, and it isn’t an exclusively non-exclusive relationship. It’s totally undefined by the Book of Faces or Twitterverse. It’s a life that I hope my exes stalk, so they see, regardless if you have a partner or you don’t, you can still find a love that brings you happiness. Even if it’s your own.

P.S. Confessions of a Love Addict is making Valentine’s Day more about the single ladies and less about flowers that’ll die in a day. Submit your Valentine here.

The Exclusively Nonexclusive Relationship

In a matter of days, Mr. Possibility returns from his overseas two-month business excursion. I’d by lying if I said I wasn’t incredibly nervous and maybe even more confused. Not by him, but by myself.

Since he’s been gone, there have obviously been some developments between us and certain things have changed. I have missed his company, but my life has also become increasingly busier and fuller. My career has started to grow, along with my group of close girlfriends and contacts. I’ve placed more effort on my running time, indulged in more brunching, and meeting a collection of new interesting people. Within the next couple of months, not only will I continue through this 12-step program, but I’ll also be moving to a new apartment, and at last, Spring will be here and all of this cold weather will be a distant memory.

Have I changed since the start of December when he caught his 10-hour flight? Absolutely. Do I still feel the same way about the possible relationship I thought we could have? I don’t know.

I’ve spent a lot of time over the last few weeks really thinking, considering, and determining how I truly feel about whatever it is that we are, or we were doing. When I met him, I was at a point of complete self-discovery where I was determined to leave not only the past, but the bad habits I developed from old relationships and my own doings, far behind me. I had made a distinctive decision to be the captain of my own soul, to lead my life without worrying or stressing about men, and finding love –or even the chance for it – was miles from my mind or priorities. Instead, I was embarking on the journey of sincerely learning to accept myself.

And then, as they always seem to do, a man came into my life. Not just any man at that, but a tall, attractive, and successful guy who made me laugh, who was intelligent and charming, and for whatever odd reason, we connected in a way that I don’t believe either of us could describe to give it its full merit. It wasn’t love at first sight, or maybe even love at all, but it was something. And even though I was concentrating so diligently on being a single gal, I also promised myself I’d never turn away from what could-be, just because I was afraid of what I may find.

However, I never got to the point where I wanted a relationship. Where I couldn’t stand the thought of being with anyone else. Where I wanted to introduce him as my boyfriend to my friends or my family. Where I felt the need to have “The Talk” with him that every man on this planet intensely fears (and women too, for the matter). Where I hoped to accept a relationship request on Facebook.

On the other hand, in keeping with the “no rules” rule – I decided to give myself sexual liberties. The power to free myself and my own thinking about when it is okay and not okay to have sex with someone. Before, I needed to be head-over-heels, practically in love, to even consider getting down to my skimpies. I needed to have commitment. Stability. The absolute, undeniable promise that this man did care about me, did have my best interest at heart, and I could rest assured that he’d be there not only the next morning, but next month, too. In all the times before Mr. Possibility, even when I sincerely had the desire to sleep with someone, I refrained to protect my heart, protect my number from going up, or maybe, just protect what I was afraid would break if I gave in.

But then, Mr. Possibility showed me that I don’t need a ring or a title to have an orgasm. Maybe, I just need to have a connection based on honesty with someone, know who they are as a person, and most importantly, trust that if something goes awry, I can still depend on myself to pick up the pieces, should anything shatter.

However, as liberated as I became as a single woman – I didn’t reach the point where I wanted to sleep with an additional man. Nor did I feel comfortable to balance two (or three or four) different beds. And when I discovered his explorations in other possibilities, I was sincerely hurt. I felt betrayed and like the hope I had in whatever we were creating was damaged. I had agreed to a no-strings attached relationship, even though I knew both of us were starting to tie our ends together. I had agreed to casual sex, even when both of our feelings were a little more serious. I had been an active, willing, and happy participant in a relationship that didn’t require or demand monogamy…until I discovered it wasn’t, in fact, sexually monogamous from his perspective.

Yet, even after knowing, I still didn’t want to be his girlfriend or set boundaries within the confines of a relationship. I just didn’t want him to do the deed with anyone else. Basically – I wanted an exclusively, nonexclusive relationship.

Is this a complete double standard? Am I fooling myself into thinking I’m capable of the friends-with-benefits relationship? I wasn’t the only one developing emotions, but were mine far stronger than his? Or is that sex just really does complicate everything? Or is it that defining a relationship places pressure on the developments of dating?

I will say there are genetic differences between men and women in many ways, and especially in sex. In my experience, men are able to jump more freely from woman to woman, where a lady has trouble shutting off feelings or projections from man to man. I could go into detail about the hormones released and the scientific studies, but I won’t.  I refuse to generalize every man and every woman, for I rather believe we’re defined more by being individuals than our genitalia. Regardless, getting naked – either emotionally or literally exposes you to someone else in the most intimate of ways. And with that intimacy, comes a certain level of trust. That faith, that reliability, regardless if its for a night, for a few months, or for the time your partner is across many oceans, needs to be nurtured to keep not only the possible romance (if there is one), but the sex, preserved and healthy.

Somehow, even with all of the progress I’ve made, all of the love addict qualities I’ve kicked to the curb with my Louboutins, I’ve discovered there are certain non-negoitables, particular charactertiscs and dare I say, moral obligations that a person makes to him or herself. And those, even in the span of progress can’t be compromised. I’m not sure how things will be when he comes back, how I will react to seeing him, and I’m positive we can’t just jump right back in where we left off. Though with possibility comes a hope for something more, it also opens up the opportunity to see what’s possible and acceptable for yourself. Maybe I don’t feel the need to have a boyfriend or to call Mr. Possibility my one-and-only, but when it comes to traveling the jungle of single sex, I’m more of a two-person safari gal. Perhaps he’s more of an explorer. Or we’re both somewhere in between, trying to decide what’s best for each of us. Or for the “us” we both thought there could be, or potentially still could be.

If there’s anything I’ve learned in his two month absence and all that’s happened in the weeks we’ve been connected only through technology and not touch – it’s that relationships, in their truest forms, are of course fleeting, but also indefinable. Monogamy may be easy to explain, but the interpretation changes as quickly as a polygamist’s bed. Cheating has all sorts of different levels and doesn’t just involved banging boots, but can encompass emotions beyond what we anticipated. Benefitting with a friend is dangerous territory, just like rebounding with a handsome stranger. The point between talking and dating, casual and serious, picturing the future and living it, and the time where a hard place comes into play and the rock goes on the finger – are all lines that are easily blurred.

Maybe, the only relationship we can truly have on our own terms, without compromising or bending the rules or our standards, is the one we have with ourselves. And even that one is also complicated, and is neither exclusive or nonexclusive. Because at times we open up ourselves to possibilities, and other times, we’re completely content with being in only the company of ourselves. But most of the time – we’re somewhere right in between, deciding which turn, which page, which road, to take next.

PS: Confessions of a Love Addict is considering a Q&A Sunday where Lindsay answers questions from your own stories about the journey of self-love (and the men along the way). If you’re interested, send her an email.

The Obsession Network

Let’s be honest: Facebook is not good for ex-boyfriends.

In fact, it is probably the worse idea ever created for us love addicts. It has every tool necessary to figure out whatever it is you want to know about someone –regardless if they want you to or not.

Think about how many times in a day you check FB or update your status or go through someone’s pictures or read conversations that have nothing to do with you. Or what about just taking a look at what your ex is up to, because you’re finally at the point where you can? And if you’re not at that point, you “test” yourself by looking at his profile and seeing how it makes you feel to see another gal writing on his wall? Better yet, have you heard of Facebook-drunk-stalking? I’m sure you have. Instead of just avoiding drunk-texting, we now have to avoid drunk-Facebooking. I mean, Facebooking is even a verb now?

I’m as guilty as the next person of having all of these ridiculous habits, and if you are my ex-boyfriend (or someone I remotely was interested in), I admit to knowing or doing the following:

  • What you’re currently doing career or school wise
  • Who you’re dating and who you have dated in the past
  • Any picture you’ve been tagged in or made your profile picture since we broke up
  • Current trends concerning your statuses
  • If I’ve had access with privacy settings, I’ve read wall-to-wall conversations
  • If you’ve invited me to an event, I’ve seriously considered going
  • If you’ve been on Facebook chat while I was on Facebook chat, I’ve wanted to (and maybe have) IMed you
  • If you wrote on my wall (even if it’s just for my birthday), I’ve thought long and hard about what to write back
  • Anything you have posted on your profile as information, including websites, quotes, etc, I’ve stalked
  • I’ve glared at the screen when your current girlfriend wrote something sweet on your wall
  • I’ve felt very angry, nauseous, annoyed, jealous, and just flat-out bitchy when I’ve seen cute pictures of your girlfriend and you
  • I’ve tracked things you’ve done and tried to make conclusions based on pure assumptions (like you became friends with her five minutes ago and then she wrote on your wall about last night…so you met her last night? Or what?)
  • If you’ve become engaged, I’ve been highly, highly angry for a full day. Sometimes more than one
  • If you’re not engaged, but I think you will be, I’ve cringed when looking at your wall
  • I’ve probably deleted you from my feed, but I still go stalk on my own
  • I’ve blocked you and unblocked you (did you guys know about the 48-hour rule?), removed you from friends, and re-added you (thank you ex-boyfriends for playing along)

Yeah, maybe this doesn’t paint me in the brightest light, but if someone is going to give me access to your profile, as a journalist, and as a love addict, it is my duty to completely dissect your profile. While Facebook is coined as The Social Network, is does not create a network of love but rather, an “obsessive network.”

And in an effort to un-obsess my life, my thoughts, and my relationships – I’m attempting to get a little less crazy with Facebook. At least in terms of my former flames. I hate when my confidence or my mood goes from super-high to an all-time low when I see one update or one picture or one wall post that makes me sad.  And I hate it even more that I have to physically and emotionally remind myself to not look at someone’s profile because of the damage it could do. Seriously, Facebook is having all these troubles with privacy issues and I think it is rubbing off on its users.

Yes, I’m “friends” with my ex-boyfriends, but only by Facebook’s definition. And I wouldn’t want someone who I really am not that close to digging around into every corner of my profile (but if they do, they’re probably reading this, go figure) – so maybe I should give my former loves the same respect.

So, with the start of step 4, as I dig back into my obsessive habits and try to correct them, the first task…is taking a big ‘ol step back. No more obsessing over what someone writes on someone’s wall who I kissed three times sophomore year of college. No more analyzing the facial expressions of a couple that came to be right after he broke up with me. No more blocking and re-blocking an ex just to see if anything changes.

This journey is not about what my ex-boyfriends are doing on Facebook. It is not about who they are sleeping with instead of being in love with me. It is not about our past, what we’re doing in our presents, or what will happen in our futures. Because any part of “we” or “our” or “us” doesn’t exist.

What does exist is everything I’ve learned from those relationships, the internal battles I’ve had to fight (and will continue to fight) to let go of love and to finally, with the start of this blog, take a stand for myself. And to know that if I wanted to, I could be Facebook official, in love with, in a relationship with… myself (although I won’t do that because that’s just takin’ it a little too far).

So sorry, Facebook, but I’m only going to give you 75 hits a day, instead of the 150 I’ve been giving you the last five years.

But if so-and-so does get engaged, whoever he may be, no one tell me until like step 11, okay?