Sure, I’ll take some more pain, please.

No, the title of this post is not in reference to some weird 50 Shades of Grey thing…sorry if I got your hopes up, haha.

I realized this weekend that human nature is a funny thing. I watched myself and several of my friends go through different experiences where we chose to put ourselves in mentally painful situations, repeatedly. At the end of the weekend I was exhausted, I had nothing productive come from my two days off from work, and I thought, “what the hell are we doing? Are we happy being miserable? Do we just want to be unhappy?”

I know, I know…you’re thinking, “What is she talking about? Give us the dirt! We want to hear what hot mess of a situation you got yourself into!” Alright already…but you’re just going to shake your head at the end of it, I’ll say it now: I told you so.

After being in a long term relationship for so long, one could say I’m a little afraid terrified of settling down and getting serious with someone right now. At this point in my life, it’s nice to just have companionship and someone to text or cuddle with when you’re lonely. So, in the midst of online dating/Tinder-ing/whatever you want to call it, I found someone who is pretty cool. We hung out for about 6 weeks or so, seeing eachother a couple times a week, and it was going well. Couple of things to note: we never discussed past relationships (this is big for me, as a huge part of my identity was found in the label of being “divorced”), and also, we never had the DTR (define the relationship) conversation, this led to many nights of confusion and wondering about what we were doing.

Okay, you probably want to stop me here. Looking back, it’s easy to say, “Why didn’t you just ask? You could’ve brought up the past. Etc, etc.” Can I just tell you, easier said than done. I have this thing with wanting to be the “cool girl”…it’s a term that’s very common in the dating scene. As a young woman, you want to be cool enough so that guys are attracted to this mystery and easy-going-ness, but you have to be strong and opinionated just enough so that they know they can’t walk all over you and they must respect you. It’s a stupidly fine balance that is impossible to achieve.

Anyway, I finally broke after 6ish weeks and risked the conversation of “what are we doing because I’m going crazy trying to figure this out without communicating.” (Shocker, I know.) It went surprisingly well, with us both being on the same page of keeping things “casual” and not wanting anything “serious”. We were open to the other going on dates with other people, but if anything became serious, we would let the other know. It seemed like the perfect situation at the time… (cue dramatic music, please).

It’s been almost 3 months, and SURPRISE, this girl now has feelings for the dude. Yep, I said it. Out loud, to the masses, and I can’t take it back now. It’s not like that “can’t eat, can’t sleep, reach for the stars, over the fence, world series kind of stuff”, (props if you caught the 90’s It Takes Two reference, thank you Kristie Alley). It’s just like, you wake up and want to text him (but I don’t), or you catch yourself listening to different music because he introduced you to it. Hell, I even went to a Mexican food restaurant (that didn’t have hamburgers!) for him.

So, now I’m in a pickle. He is still being very casual and I can tell things haven’t progressed in the emotional department for him. My choices: 1. I have to still play the cool girl role and pretend to not want anything more. or 2.  Be honest and risk losing what we do have for something more. That’s a big risk to me, and one I’m not sure I’m ready to take. But, on the flip side, it kinda sucks having to act like I’m less interested than I am and constantly hoping for more, and consistently being disappointed,

The doozie happened this weekend when he said he’d come to a party for my roommate’s birthday. The morning of said party, he asked me what time things were starting, and then said he’d “let me know”. I know, how non-committal. Well, I didn’t hear from the kid again until Monday. He just never texted me about the party, didn’t show up, didn’t call or text, no lame excuse for backing out, nothing. Just a casual text on Monday about his day, like the discussion about the party never existed…I was thinking I was crazy. Who does that?

Quiz time! What did Ashley do in response?

A. Confront him about not showing up to the party.

B. Call him a jerk for bailing and never talk to him again.

C. Answer his text politely and positively about his day and completely avoid the party conversation.

Yep. I did C. I know! This is the part where you’re shaking your head and throwing your fist in the air! Why didn’t I stand up for myself? Why did I give him an out? Why would I let him think that’s okay to treat others like they don’t matter?

Ehh, I don’t know. Why do we, as people, do any of the above things? Why are we okay with being continually hurt by the same person? Why do we pour out our feelings and be honest time and time again, just to be let down as we knew we would be? Why do we pursue friendships and relationships that are only one-sided?

Maybe we are hoping for something better. Maybe we have this idea of the situation being improved or the person being who they could be. Perhaps we think that if we make the same mistake enough times, we will get it through our thick skulls that things won’t change and we should just move on. Who knows, really. I think we each have our own motivation for making the choices that we do, and I’m not one to judge…I for real have had my share of stupid decisions. (See above for the most recent, then all previous blog posts for prior dumb mistakes, haha.

In light of this weekends shenanigans, here’s my quote for the week:

Nora Ephron Quote

The Girl Who’s Just a Friend

Recently, I’ve had several conversations with girlfriends of mine, who all happen to be in a variety of different relationship statuses (stati? Hah, they both sound weird). Interestingly enough, it’s come up several times about the identity we as women take on in our relationships. This idea of a role that we play in our when we are dating. I think this is so interesting! So naturally, I wanted to write about them…but please, realize that I pass absolutely no judgement. I mean, having been in only one long-term relationship that was never really that functional, the last thing I want to do is come across like I know what I’m talking about. Because I don’t, I have no idea. These are just simply ideas that I find intriguing, and of course, this led me to consider the identity I’ve taken on as well, even if I’m not currently in a relationship.

For example, there’s the girl that believes she can’t commit/is afraid of commitment. This girl has been in several successful relationships with great guys. Everything goes well for 3, 6, sometimes 9 months…and then, all of a sudden, I’m at dinner and she’s explaining to me that it just didn’t really work out for reason ‘this’ or argument about ‘that’. I’m not saying some of the break-ups were valid, but there have been times I wonder if she were looking for a way out. She claims to be a “free spirit” and hates being tied down, completely opposite of me, but nevertheless I hope some of that open-mindedness rubs off on me.

There’s also the girl who believes she has become the one before the one. She’s had several good relationships with guys, and she is the best kind of girlfriend: beautiful, easy going, successful, romantic. The connection ends for various reasons…but then, it usually happens that the next relationship her former beau ends up with becomes the one that leads to marriage. This friend of mine is starting to think that she will never be ‘the one’, yet always lead her significant other to their future ‘one’.

I have a couple of other friends who openly identify themselves as fixers. They crave a relationship where they can fulfill a motherly role, and consciously (or sometimes sub-consciously)want to try and fix that fatal flaw in their significant other. I’ve been there, wanting to change something so bad about a person you would do anything you could to make it work. Usually, this relationship ends in demise (including my own, obviously). As they say, “no one can change another person, it is up to only themselves”.

Although in my last relationship I realize now that I was essentially a fixer (however futile that was), both before, during, and since that relationship I would classify myself in a different category. Drum roll please! I am: The Friend. I was ‘the friend’ to my ex before we dated…while married I was ‘the friend’ to several guys who were trying to date friends of mine…since divorcing I have become ‘the friend’ to guys regarding their ever-changing interests. It’s a precarious position I find myself in again and again, often times having to provide harsh realities or honest opinions to both the guys and/or the girls they’re pursuing.

Being this ‘friend’ definitely has it’s pros and cons…I mean, I know that these guys value my opinion and I’ve been told they see me as an “awesome girl who deserves the best”, whatever that means. I have deep, honest relationships with them and I truly value our friendships. They say all the right things about love and dating, only it’s never directed towards me. It’s not even that I want to be in relationships with them, in fact, it’s usually not the case. The cons? Oh, don’t worry, I’m getting there. It’s so frustrating to hear all these great ideas about love, and what dates they should take the girls on, and how they write songs for them, and so on and so on…I only hope that one day all these ideas I’ve heard will pay off and I can use them on someone that I’m interested in. Haha, it’s only fair, right?

My life is seriously like a corny chick-flick sometimes, only I have yet to have my happy ending where I get the man. (Ahem, the right man…that is.) A small piece of advice I would offer to guys who have a girl that’s ‘the friend’ regarding relationships: just make sure that you’re truly being a friend to this girl, and not just using her to run ideas by or to get in closer with the other girl that you think you’re interested in. If you do take advantage of your friend…you’re not only guaranteed to not get the girl your interested in (she’ll make sure of that, I promise), you’ll lose a friend in the process as well. And listen to her, remember that your judgement is most likely off a little bit because, well, let’s be honest: you’re probably not thinking clearly with all those hormones running around in your body.  Chances are – she’ll save you a lot of time, money, and emotion in your ‘epic quest’. (Yes, I’ve had guys refer to getting the girl as an ‘epic quest’. It was weird, I told him that.)

Sigh. Men.

Just kidding, we’re all crazy. Crazy for wanting this thing called love that makes us do stupid things, makes us act crazy. We forget what our purpose is, what our priorities are, what’s good for us. The interesting thing is that none of us HAVE to take on any sort of identity…except for who we really are. We aren’t destined to be a “fixer” or a “free spiriit” or just a “friend” forever…(that alliteration was completely unintentional, but awesome). We are all free to just be the real us in our relationships. My girlfriends are all amazing women, I only hope that we can break free of this mold we’ve created for ourselves and be happy in our true identities.