A Love For Fools

Long-distance love?

…run for the hills!

Ok, maybe I am a little bias BUT in my defense, when it comes to my blog posts I am writing about MY experiences, so why not write about this one??

When I was growing up my mother had a boyfriend who was one of her better ones. He was a wonderful guy, or so I thought. It was a few years after their break-up that I came to find out that he had cheated on my mom while on a trip to Colombia but that’s for another story..maybe. His and my mother’s relationship was a strenuous one. I remember my grandmother always telling her, “Amores de lejos, Amores pendejos.” Which pretty much translates to “A love from afar is a love for fools.” My grandmother didn’t hold back. She was a wise one that one and this phrase always stuck with me. Watching my mom have to really plan out her week when it came to her being able to drive off for two and a half hours to go see her love, or even vice versa, I noticed how big of a challenge it was for her. God forbid it was an off week for them and they fought during one of their visits. They would each leave one another feeling defeated. My mom spent every night talking with him on the phone when he wasn’t around. In a way, it was cute to watch her get so excited when he called for their nightly talk. Giddy like a little school girl she would be.

I don’t really recall how long they dated. It was about four years I believe? Possibly longer. All I really remember was that one day he no longer was going to be apart of our lives and I was a little crushed. It wasn’t so much that their love really fizzled out. This heartbreak was a big one for my mom. Neither of them were willing to relocate for the other. He lived in Jersey City, north from our south Jersey home, in a dingy city with great mom and pop style eateries but nothing motivating enough to get my mom away from her pension job and safe neighborhood. Why hadn’t he wanted to move south?? I’m sure he had a level of comfort built around his life in Jersey City. He had a good job, and I also feel that he liked being able to take a break whenever the family life got to be too much for him. A single mom with two daughters can’t be the easiest or most ideal situation. No matter the reason, it hadn’t lasted.

Moving forward about 15 years later, here I was in the same style of relationship. The young man and I had met one night while out at one of the local clubs in my town. Unfortunately for me, he didn’t live locally so then started my first (and only) long-distance relationship. Of course, I had remembered the wise words of my grandmother and, yes, I had remembered what my mother had gone through. Yet, in my eyes, I felt as though I had been given an opportunity and so snatching it up was what I had to do. I began my weekly (at times bi-weekly) commute to the east coast of Florida. It was two and a half hours for me to get to my home from his. Sometimes, if I was feeling up to it, I would leave after work and drive straight there. Most times I would leave on my day off early in the morning and drive back home the next day. In the beginning, it wasn’t such a chore but later on, as life moved forward it took a toll on me and my emotions. There were moments when maybe he had to work late that night or the entire next day that resentment would build because I felt as though I was getting the attention I needed or expected after a long ride to see him. Arguments that sometimes didn’t need to go on for more than a day would go on for a week because there wasn’t much quality time to work on issues. At one point I was even starting to believe I was dating a complete stranger because who I thought I had initially met was now turning into someone I hadn’t even thought existed.

The biggest downfall in our relationship I will say was the fact that we hadn’t given ourselves enough time to really get to know one another before really diving into an official and committed relationship. By week two I noticed that he was no longer in the courting stage. We had become an item so soon that comfortability took over and with that, the “wooing” period went straight out the window. Little by little I began to learn who this man really was and although I cannot speak ill of him I do know that if distance hadn’t played its part, I would have gotten to realize a lot sooner that maybe this man just wasn’t for me.

We made it nine months before our issues got the best of both of us. This wasn’t until after I had already made my move to the east coast to be with him. I won’t lie that even when I was sitting in the moving truck driving across the state I knew that this wasn’t going to work out. But a commitment had already been made and to be honest, I was also tired of the town I was in. I had decided to move forward with the plans, always staying hopeful that maybe, just maybe, by being closer together we would be able to work things out.

Moving in together had only amplified our issues. No shock there, right?

I write about long-distance love because it happens every day. I feel that people are in such a desperate need to find love that they don’t really think about what it means to be in a long-distance relationship and the hardships that come along with it. It is truly difficult to get to really know someone who lives hours away. You seldom get to see each other in one’s natural habitat and the “best behavior” aspect of dating lasts a lot longer. Meaning, that it takes a while to really see what the other person is truly like, what their flaws are, etc

I don’t think I was at his place for an entire month before things began to fully fall apart. We had different ways of approaching life. We wanted different things. What he was willing to settle for was not something I wanted. Not only that, but I soon began to discover that he had habits that I was not willing to ignore. Substance abuse and the refusal for help wasn’t going to be tolerated and so it wasn’t long before I packed my bags and said adios.

Most of what I learned after I moved in with him were all things I would have probably picked up on if we would have not had the distance in the way to slow the learning process down. Love already isn’t easy. You have to work at it no matter how easy it is to love the person. Adding distance to the equation almost dooms it. Don’t get me wrong there are people who succeed in making it work and do end up lasting a lifetime. However, the odds of it working out are slim and the journey will be at times empty and almost always frustrating. I guess when it comes to love, we never want to pass up the love of one’s lifetime. It’s only human nature to try to go after the impossible when it comes to it. If the pros outweigh the cons, then hey, go for it and make sure it’s adding to your life more than it’s taking. All I’m saying is that long-distance love is not for the weak. It’s more for fools in love.

Dating Miss. Independent

I am 31 and still very single.

I won’t say that it bothers me in the least bit.

Dating isn’t easy. Can we even really call it enjoyable? Don’t get me wrong, I am not jaded. What I am is realistic and although dating is more times fun than not, I wouldn’t consider it entirely enjoyable. The process can be exhausting from meeting someone, to having to get ready to go on dates, to later meeting his friends and family, to then establishing some sort of compromising routine so that all parties involved are at least equally as happy. I mean, breaking it down like this and who really wants to go dating?

Try doing all of that while being highly independent and the dating world suddenly gets even murkier. That’s what I’ve always gone through, and even though I still tend to jump right in, it doesn’t take me very long to quickly get back out.

The unknown typically doesn’t make a person like myself very comfortable. Funny thing because independent people tend to go adventuring into the unknown but only because of our curiosity and uncomfortability with it; the unknown usually driving us to wanting to know more. Relationships are a huge unknown. Although many would like to constantly express their trust and comfortability within their relationship, no one can be 100% sure because we all know that in life, anything can happen. With that said no wonder we independents find comfort in the walls that we built around our hearts, letting only a countless few in. An average man who desires the independent woman’s heart, can’t even see beyond that wall.

Men tend to always crack me up. In conversations with the male counterpart I often hear that an important quality that they look for in a woman is that she be independent. Later on they meet one and before you know it the relationship is over and it is because of her independent ways that didn’t sit well with them. It’s one example of how sometimes what we think we want in another person isn’t exactly what we may need.

An independent woman won’t be that girl waiting by the phone for his phone call. She will most definitely not be the “doormat” type of girlfriend. She is picky and why shouldn’t she be? Forever is a long time so she’s got a long list of traits she wants because she is ambitious even when it comes to her love life. Although we love to love and crave that emotional availability and companionship with another, we won’t bend for just anyone because for most of us, we have been living a life for so long on our own that we have even built a metaphysical wall around our hearts; just another safety precaution to help us get through this crazy life. Most of us ‘Miss. Independents’ have faced life challenges with a courageous heart and yes, we have overcome a lot yet there is still a fear of failure that lingers on, just like with everyone else. Independents are typically strong and know much about themselves and this can be intimidating for many men. Hence why it takes someone very secure with themselves to be with an independent and will have no problem standing behind their partner when support is needed. A man who is a ball of mush will never be able to hold the attention of a strong woman because it shows her that he will never be able to give her the stability she needs.

Most men tend to want to be that knight in shinning armor aiding in the rescue of his damsel in distress. When he begins dating an Independent woman, his entire game is thrown for a loop. An Independent isn’t looking to date you in order to feel financially secure, which is the foot many men want to begin to lead with, and even though Independent women aren’t necessarily more financially successful, they still won’t seek or accept offerings.

An independent woman will respect a man who is the type to plan their dates and romances her, is chivalrous to her and respectful towards others; a man who will take the reins when need be. She respects the man who maintains an independent social life apart of the one they share together because for an independent woman, alone time is key. A man who lives his own life alongside hers and doesn’t intertwine the two is a major plus. If he is possessive, overbearing, or tends to come on too strong that will be the perfect repellent to keep this kind of girl at bay. She is anti-clingy and so she will never be the woman who will be obsessed with your looks and who will be continously feeding your ego. Simply put you are a part of her life and not her entire life. She is a big advocate on each person keeping their own serperate identity when also building one as a unit. For her it isn’t about not wanting to bend to his ways but more so keeping who she has worked so hard to become. When she meets that man who is willing to invest in doing the things that make her her without a fight, she is loyal to a fault because of its rareity.

Independent women tend to always give off the “I’m fine” vibe. It is almost second nature for us. Even though we cherish our independence we also know that it can get in our way of our asking for help when we needed. Strong communication is important in general but more so with an Independent. Communicaton is not only when it comes to verbally speaking or listening, but it is also interpretation. It’s importnat to listen to what she doesn’t say because what she isn’t saying can speak volumes.

Guys, dating an independent woman isn’t easy. Like any other relationship it can most definitely be a bumpy ride but one that will be 100% worth it. An independent woman has a clear idea of who she is and what she wants and if you’re the kind of man who knows himself and feels comfortable in speaking up about and desires and limits, this relationship will be rewarding.

My advice to you is to be patient, be yourself, and always enjoy the ride.

It’s Not Another Love Story

I had ended it a month before I was to meet who is now, the love of my life. It wasn’t like there was anything truly serious between us. It was more like we were beta testing what it would be like if it had turned into something more. Now looking it back, it is apparent to me that even if we had made us “official” the relationship between us would have never lasted.

We had been friends for years, or maybe “friends” is a term I’m using loosely. I met him through mutual friends and eventually when I had bowed out of the circle, our friendship had turned into one of acquaintances. It was only years later that we had reconnected.

When you’re living in a world  that is often cold and lonely, certain things, people, places, situations, begin to look more appealing than under normal circumstances. You begin to give life to thoughts that normally wouldn’t exist or at the very least would have quickly been dismissed. It had months since I had last seen him. I had been out one night with a few friends, and there he was chatting it up to some of his customers at the bar. As quickly as we said hi to one another, we said our goodbyes. My group and I were changing scenery but after that night we began to exchange FB messages here and there. After some time I knew there was an interest there, but knowing what I thought I knew about him, I didn’t feel the urge to pursue anything.  If I would have continued to follow my intuition, maybe the drama would have been avoided. Yet, no matter how certain you may be of something, once the seed of doubt is planted, it hardly take much for it to grow. My seed of doubt?What if I ended up dismissing something beautiful simply because I felt like I had an idea of where it may lead me to?

On the day that it had all began, I had been hours in to day drinking by myself on the beach. Season had finally begun to die down and there wasn’t much traffic so I had taken it upon myself to take advantage of the quiet, and decided to have a “me” day. Not that I had much of a choice considering I hardly had any friends on this side of town… or hardly at all for that matter. By this point, we had gone from speaking only through FB to texting and almost on a daily basis. The invite to hang out via text arrived in the early afternoon. Since I was already too buzzed to even think about driving anywhere, I insisted he meet me at a bar in walking distance to where I was. The bar I suggested was on the beach with a pool. I figured if we ever hit an “awkward silence” moment, it would provide us with, at the very least, a distraction.

Under normal circumstances I would have never been down to hang out one on one like that. Not just with him, but with any guy who I wasn’t already real friends with. Under “normal” (meaning sober) circumstances I would have known what us hanging out could have potentially meant for him, and it was more than what it would have meant for me.

Now I understand what you’re thinking,

“This b!T%* really is so full of herself that she believes that this poor guy is just going to fall in love with her and her not feel a thing. How does she know she won’t be the one falling for him?” 

I understand what you’re saying. It’s not that I am full of myself, not by any means. To give a little history here, during the time that I had initially met this particular person, it had been made very clear to me by his closest friends, that he was very interested and very smittened by me. Fast forwarding to this moment, the flirting through messages was obvious and strong. I knew right away that I wasn’t interested (in that way) and this is why that up until this particular beach day we hadn’t hung out. Up until this day I had really been the one to choose not too.

By the time I had gathered myself off the beach and walked into the bar, he was already sitting there, drink in front of him. Within minuets of our initial greet he presented me with a well thought out gift. I remember my last clear thought that day was “Well that was really nice of him,” and after that it was all a cloud.

I don’t remember much of our conversation. I know that once it got dark, we made it to the beach, where we sat and smoked a joint. I vaguely remember listening to the music that erupted from his phone. To this day I will never forget the song River. He introduced me to that song that night and I remember having made him replay it what seemed like hundreds of times while we sat there on the beach. Had we kissed that night under the deep night sky? I do not know. To this day I do not know because I had later been too embarrassed to ask.

Eventually we made our way back to my place where we said our goodbyes and once inside my apartment, I remember plopping down on my not so soft couch futon, thinking to myself, “Fuck, now what are you going to do?”

I woke up the next day to find a message from him telling me how much he enjoyed the day before. I was hungry, hungover, and thoughtful. It was over a reheated slice of pizza that I decided to weigh out the pros and cons of what would happen if it was decided to take this friendship of ours a step further. To my surprise the list was a draw. It could go either way. That’s when I decided to give this a whirl. It wasn’t like he was a bad guy, no matter how much of an asshole he tried to project. That was just a show for others, I knew that. Sure, he hadn’t looked like the man I had always dreamed up in my mind. Yes, he was a little more negative than I had hoped for my other half to be BUT those were things one could look past and even maybe with time, change. (by this very thought it should have been clear to me that this was not to be…you don’t attempt a relationship with people in hopes to change them. Not like that.  When it is pure and true, you accept them as they are. You love down to the very flaws that once would have made you think twice and if needed be, with love they evolve, on their own to be better versions of themselves, of yourself.) 

We continued hanging out after that night. At first a couple times a week. Quickly a couple times a week ended up turning into almost everyday. Days had then turned into weeks and still the doubt was there and just wouldn’t let up. I was angry at myself because I didn’t understand what was internally wrong with me. He was funny and attentive. Two qualities I had always loved in a man. He had household skills that would put many housewives to shame. A particular set of skills in the kitchen that only a true chef could master. Still, all these great qualities and I just couldn’t fall in love. Not like he wanted me to. The flame was just not igniting for me no matter how much I tried to force it.

The heart is strong and it is pure.

One cannot convince the heart to feel things that do not come natural. I learned this the first time when it came to my father. I would later learn this many more times in a number of different situations. It is a lesson hard to learn and only when one comes to accept this does life become a little tiny bit easier.

We had been “talking” for a little over a month when I had finally decided to be completely and 100% honest with him. Not only was it what he deserved, but I truly did come to love the friendship and I wanted to preserve what we had built up to that point. Silly girl.

It wasn’t at all easy for me to have the conversation. No one wants to be the bearer of bad news, news that would emotionally hurt someone for that matter. It wasn’t easy for him to hear. No one wants to stand there and get their heart broken.

His hurt wore many faces. He was angry, sarcastic, hurtful, all of which I understand. He tried many times to make me realize how perfect we were for each other. “How could two good people who deserve each other not be together?” he asked me once.

“Just because two good people come together doesn’t mean they should date. Maybe they’re in each other’s lives for a long lasting friendship.” I answered.

The friendship has now completely diminished. His anger over time built into resentment and once I made it public that I was officially in a relationship with someone, he completely let me have it.

I had known this reaction would come but I hadn’t believed it to be permanent. I thought that he would eventually see that my honesty was something that had to be. What was I supposed to do? Suck up the fact that I was’t emotionally connected to him like we had hoped I’d be? Was I to live a life forcing something there? I thought he would get over his angry and understand that I had not meant to hurt him. That he would understand that if I had continued on to force love, things would have ended way worse.

The understanding never came. Instead there was more insulting and hostility. Today we don’t speak and with all the sadness that a dying friendship brings I do morn for its loss. I move on with my life coming to the understanding that sometimes the pursuit of happiness can be difficult. You will encounter tough situations and maybe hurt others along the way, but happiness is what we’re on this earth to experience. Not for others, but for ourselves.

029-2 Photo Credit: Natal Galvan, Location: Venice Beach California