What I’ve Learned From Dating in My 20s

If you know me or follow any type of my social media, you may know that I’m pretty quick to make fun of my dating life. Making jokes about the situations I’ve gotten myself into constantly and consistently, time and time again.

I ignore what’s literally in front of me, and let my mind create situations or false futures instead of seeing the signs of future heartbreaks.

At least I can laugh about it (now) right??

So here we are. I’m going to share what I’ve learnt through past relationships, heartbreaks, hookups and everything in between as I’ve dated through my 20s.

1) I’m going to start with the most important thing I’ve learnt over the years. It is that if you can’t love yourself, no else will be able to either. I read this quote the other day and it really stayed to me:

“I think the problem is that we depend on our lovers to love us the way we should love ourselves”

Av.

Our society constantly relies on other people to tell us we are doing a good job or to tell us we’re beautiful and smart when really all we should be telling ourselves these things every day. If I can’t love myself with all my imperfections and loose ends, how should I expect another person too? I can’t. Simple as that.

2) The next thing I’ve learnt is you can’t try and change for someone and someone should never have to change for you. Trying to change yourself for someone else, will only result in you being unhappy in the relationship because you’re constantly trying to be something or someone you’re not. Expecting someone to change for you is unrealistic and cruel because then you technically don’t even like the person they are, you like the person they could be.

3) Age difference doesn’t matter, but maturity level does. With my parents being 10 years apart, age has never really affected whether or not I like a person, but I’ve now learnt that age does and will play a factor no matter how hard you try and deny it. It’s either going to be something you can work through or be a constant burden.

4) You can’t love someone into loving you.

5) You can love someone with your entire heart, but if they still love their ex., there’s no hope, no matter what you do or how hard you try.

6) IF THEY WANT TO TALK TO YOU, THEY WILL. If they want to make time for you, they will. If they want to make it work, they will.

7) Trust the key to a successful relationship. If you can’t build your relationship with a base of trust, you won’t be able to build it very far off the ground.

8) Don’t be unfaithful (this is the tip my teenage youth gave me when I asked). Cheating benefits no one. If your mind is wondering, you shouldn’t be with the person you’re with. That’s not fair to the significant other or even to yourself. If you lacking something in your relationship, whether that is on an emotional level or physical level, express this to the person you’re in a relationship with, don’t go seeking it from other resources.

9) Honesty is key. If you can’t be honest about what you want, what you like, what you’re expecting, then you’re just setting yourself up for failure.

10) If your significant other isn’t your best friend, you’re doing it wrong. If you don’t laugh at the same things, or goof around with each other, the relationship will get boring real quick.

11) It’s not who you want to spend Saturday night with, it’s about who you want to spend all day Sunday with doing absolutely nothing but enjoying every second of it.

12) If you want commitment and a future, don’t waste your time with someone who doesn’t share the same interests as you.

13) You’re not always going to get the closure you may need and want, and that’s just something you have to learn to accept.

14) Don’t waste your time trying to make someone feel bad about how they treated you, because most of the time they honestly just don’t care and you’ll end up wasting more of your time. The best thing you can do is walk away and not look back.

15) Desire and value do not go hand in hand. Just because a person desires you, does not mean they will value you. If they don’t value you, they don’t deserve you. You will only be an option if you allow yourself to be.

I am no dating expert, but I’ve learnt a few things along the way. I will forever remain the hopeless romantic I label myself as, even though I often get caught up in convenience and being comfortable. I think it’s the person that pushes you outside your boundaries, the person that you feel most like yourself with and the person that’s not only there for the good times but also the bad, that will make the best partner. I can’t wait to find this person.

-Ash

(10 Shitty Dating Truths You Must Accept If You Want To Find Love)

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Dating a Person With an Alcoholic Parent

People joke with me all the time about being single.

“Why don’t you have a boyfriend?” “Why are you always single?” “Why don’t you ever give anyone a chance?”

I never really thought about it much actually. I easily blame my extremely busy schedule as a contributing factor and the fact I “just haven’t met anyone that’s worth giving up my free time too”. It’s not like I don’t ‘date’. I do. But I usually find myself caught in situations that aren’t benefiting me, with people that I find to be quite pessimistic or someone who doesn’t have the same intentions as I do.

When dating, I am the kind of person who knows right away if I’m going to get along with you. To other people (even my friends), this sounds crazy. But if I know we aren’t going to click, I’m not going to spend time trying to make it work.

Okay, after a little background on my single AF self, we can get to the point of this blog post. In my line of work, I am constantly reminding myself that the negative and sometimes harsh actions of my youth/clients are due to the trauma and situations they grew up in. I never thought to do that with myself. I’ve never stepped back and wondered why I do certain things and why I gravitate towards certain people.

I started doing some research on what having an alcoholic parent can do to the child and what effects it may have. I was surprised at how many interesting and relatable articles I found, especially when it comes to dating. I never really thought that this part of my life could affect my dating life. That might be naive of me to think because there are other more noticeable things in my life that having addiction in my life affects, like the constant need for control and acceptance.

Here are some of the main points I picked up from the research I did:

  1. Control. A child of an addict has seen how addiction can take all control away from a person. This child will then constantly want to control all aspects of their life. In dating this becomes difficult. When you date a person, you have to give up some control and trust to another person. This can not only be difficult, but also frustrating. Something as simple as cancelled plans may be triggering or seen as a much bigger deal because an addicts child has gone through a lot of cancelled plans. When we give up control, this means a lot.
  2. Burdens. A child of an addict is used to carrying around others burdens with them. It is something that we may have done for so long, we don’t even realize we are doing it anymore. You might not see this right away, but eventually, it will come out. You will see us get dragged down and worn out from doing so, but you will also see the strength it takes for us to get back up.
  3. Patience. It takes a lot of patience and time to love someone who has felt the pain of addiction. It takes time for us to open up and trust you. It takes patience to understand why our brains may work the way they do. It also takes understanding and consideration to get why we may react differently in some situations than ‘normal’ people do.
  4. Fun Over Attachment. Children of addicts often seek out fun relationships compared to deep and meaning full relationships. We fearful of getting attached to someone. Something that is fun and service level is easy to let go of and run away from whereas a more deep relationship makes so vulnerable and susceptible to being hurt.
  5. People That Need Saving. People who have dealt with addiction sometimes gravitate to people we think ‘need to be saved’. We take it upon ourselves to change and save this person. If they eventually do, we will prove to ourselves we are worth love and worth getting the validation for doing so.
  6. Emotions. Drastic and quick changes in emotions are something children of addicts are used to and have most likely picked this trait up. We are aware of this and blame ourselves for it. We think they are broken and defective. We are used to feeling loved one second and hated the next. Inconsistent emotions and feelings are something we are used to, please be patient with us.
  7. Grief. Children of addicts are grieving. Grieving lost memories, forgotten birthdays, ruined holidays, memorable moments they were skipped, etc. The thing is, we are good at hiding this grief. It doesn’t come out often, but it will. When it does be supportive.
  8. Can’t Say Goodbye. Breakups and goodbyes are not easy for children of addicts. If we’ve opened up to you and shown you a side of us we don’t often show people, we won’t ever want to let you go. We have been programmed to continuously try and make a relationship work, even through abusive situations. If you feel the relationship is toxic, it may be up to you to walk away, because quite often the child of an addict won’t be able to.
  9. Affirmation. Children of addicts are always looking to be told we’re going something right. While growing up, this aspect might have been skipped. So now that we’re older, we will do things to get the affirmation we desperately needed when we were younger.

    Articles I used:
    Children of Alcoholics Have Intimacy Issues
    Dating The Child Of An Alcoholic
    5 Things You Need To Know About Loving The Adult Child Of An Alcoholic Parent

    -Ash

The Lessons of Love

I think this post is going to be a lot more for myself, than for you guys (I’m sorry!!). But stay with me for a second. I want to go through all my old types of relationships, and explain what I learned from each of them.

“But Ashley, isn’t that a little cruel and harsh to your exes?”

Well for 1) I won’t use their real names and 2) I have nothing against the people of my past. I’ve come to learn that everyone enters your life for some kind of reason. I think all of them come with some kind of message or lesson.

Let’s begin!

My first love. Everyone has a first ‘love’. That first person that makes your heart flutter, your knees weak and your brain cloudy. I think this one for myself, was full of an important lesson. I wasn’t ready for love. I didn’t love myself enough, to be in love with another. I also couldn’t love someone else, into loving myself. If that makes sense. No matter how much love I could give another, if I couldn’t give that same amount of love to myself it wasn’t going to work. Simple as that. This first love for me could really have been two people from my past. They both taught me this extremely important lesson.

The love that got away. I truly don’t wish this kind of feeling on anyone. I think I could have fallen deeply in love with this person from my past, but my mind was to sick at the time, I didn’t treat them or any other people involved fairly. From this love, I learned that an unhealthy mental state makes you selfish, harsh and cold-hearted. It not only breaks your own heart, but it breaks the hearts of those around. I learned that loving someone with mental health problems is sometimes unbearable and isn’t always fair, especially when the person isn’t ready to get better.

The wrong place, wrong time love. I fell hard and fast into this love, engulfed by the perfect life we had set up for ourselves abroad. This love was in paradise, away from society, away from pressures and away from reality. This love taught me that I didn’t know myself well enough yet. I wasn’t sure what direction I wanted my life to go in and I wasn’t ready for that amount of love and commitment from another person. I learned that I hadn’t given myself enough time to learn who I was before I could possibly learn who I was with another person.

The love that tries to change you. This is still a tough love for me to talk about and reflect on. This person tore me down continuously and I don’t think they will ever really understand the damage they did (the fact that I am still in a negative mindset about this person, proves that I still have healing to do). This is the type of love that you never feel good enough for. You never feel pretty enough, or pure enough, or smart enough, or successful enough. This is the type of love that tries to mould you into the person they want you to be instead of loving you for the person you are and the potential you have within your own vision. This love caught me a lot. It taught me that I am enough. It taught me that if a person really wanted to change me that much, they didn’t deserve me. And it taught me that no person should ever feel that they are not good enough for someone.

The empty love. This is the type of love I’ve found myself in time and time again. It’s the love that you continually give more than you receive. You put this person first, make time for them in your busy schedule and often get lost in. It’s the type of love that you float blindlessly through, hoping that they will one day give back to you what you’ve given to them. These people left me feeling more empty. They play mind games. They trick you into thinking there is a future and they tip top around the word “commitment”. These people may not think they are doing anything wrong because “we’re just hanging out and having fun”. This type of love is tricky. You can’t convince them to want you as much as you want them. But you also can’t wait around forever. This type of love taught me, that sometimes the only company you need is yourself. Filling voids with people will not do any good in the long run.

I have a hard time letting go of things. I struggle holding grudges against people who have long gone forgotten about me. Holding onto lost love, hurt feelings and other negative things does nothing but hurt yourself. Reflecting on the types of love I’ve endured and felt has helped me realize the type of love I want. It has helped me move on and understand why things happened the way they did, and why certain people entered my life and then left. As hard as heart break is, I think one day it is something I will be grateful for. Thankful that I can share my lessons with you all and appreciative of the love I hope to one day find.

“There’s a trick to the ‘graceful exit.’ It begins with the vision to recognize when a job, a life stage, or a relationship is over — and let it go. It means leaving what’s over without denying its validity or its past importance to our lives. It involves a sense of future, a belief that every exit line is an entry, that we are moving up, rather than out.”

Ellen Goodman

-A


Can FWB be successful?

FWB, friends with benefits, f*ck buddies, no strings attached.. whatever you want to call it, by your mid-twenties you’ve most likely been in a situation with someone where these words have come up.

So what makes a friends with benefits situation successful? WELL, I can definitely tell you what doesn’t make it successful.

-feelings

-jealousy

-miscommunication

-attachment

..this list could go on and on, for me especially because I’ve been in far more unsuccess relationships like this than successful ones. The number is one actually. One single successful friends with benefits relationship and I am here to tell you what I’ve learned to be successful and unsuccessful.

I recently listened to an episode from the podcast: “Guys We’ve F*ucked”. If you’re a female or even a male, I highly recommend this podcast. It’s hilarious and real.  It ties together political and social issues with the hilarity of dating, sexual experiences and much more. The episode that really got me thinking, discussed a no strings attached relationship from both a male and two females’ perspectives. In this case, it was the male that said that relationships like this can’t work.  He said that if you have sex with someone more than 3 times, that means there’s something between the two people, whether that be feelings, attachment, attraction, a connection.. something and whatever this something is, is bound to make the friends with benefits relationship not work out in the end.  Even the one female talker who said she had had an FWB relationship in the past, did have a ‘crush’ on the guy she was sleeping with.

The male went on to explain that there’s a type of coldness that comes along with this type of relationship. You are turning off your emotions. I agree with this. 100% the only way an FWB relationship can ever possibly work, is if you turn off your emotions and feelings. Throw the expectations out the window. Don’t expect this person to be there for you in any other way than physically.

The male even explains that an FWB relationship is an ‘overindulgence’. Like smoking, or dipping your hand in the cookie jar, one too many times. With this statement, I would probably have to say I disagree. I definitely see his point of view on this, but I think that if both parties in this situation are on the same page and have the same agreements of what is doing down, I don’t think it’s necessarily an overindulgence as much as it’s two friends helping each other meet eachother’s needs.

The more this podcast made me think, the more I analyzed what was the key to success.
1) Do not allow feelings to form. You obviously need to be attracted to this person, but psychically not emotionally. Don’t talk to this person about personal things. Don’t ask too many personal questions. If you’re having a bad day, don’t lean on this person to bring you back up. Keep your physically needs separated from your emotional needs.
2) Make sure you’re on the same page. What do you want? Is it the same thing this other person wants? If you find yourself not getting what you want out of the situation, communicate it.
3) If this person or the relationship starts to not feel right, walk away. There’s no need to explain your reasoning, you do not owe this other person anything other than what you gave them, just walk away.
4) Be honest. If you start to have feelings, if something doesn’t feel equal or fair, don’t only be honest with the other person, but be honest with yourself.
5) Keep it secret. I honestly don’t know if this really helps or not, but I’ve found it keeps a whole lot of unneeded drama out of the situation. Keep it simple.

Are friends with benefits are the way of the future? I honestly hope not. But for where I am right now, it’s working for me, and until further notice, I’m just going to go with it, not ask too many questions or overthink the situation.

-A

The Other Woman

I have been wanting to write this post for foreverrrrr.

But first I had to decide how I wanted people to portray it. Did I want to make people laugh, and take on a funny view to this term? Did I want to make people feel pity for the girls who are tagged as the “the side chick”, or did I want to throw it all down, the raw, real and naked truth?

Obviously, funny is always the easiest route, the second I would say is the pity route, then the hardest is when you lay down the truth. Truth is always the hardest because when people disagree with it, it hurts your writing ego a little bit. haha

Well, here we are. Ok ok I know, “Ashley, get to the point”. I’m heading there I promise. But first, a little back story.

So, what is a “side chick” or the “other woman”. Well, readers, this is what the trustful Urban Dictionary had to tell me:

the other woman; also known as the mistress; a female that is neither a male’s wife or girlfriend who has relations with the male while he is in another relationship

In society, the side chick is glamorized. She the more attractive woman, that’s better in bed and is always dressed to the 9s. She knows about the wife or girl friend but doesn’t care because inside she knows she’s better, hotter, sexier, etc.

But in real life, the side chick thinks she’s the only girl. She’s the one that gets the hate, even though it’s the husband or boyfriend that are making the wrong choices.

The side chick gets the “Are you awake?” at 3am text messages, whereas the partner gets the “Good morning beautiful” texts. The side chick gets the “You’re hot” DMs, whereas the partner gets the “I’m so happy I met you” comments on pictures. The side chick gets the creepy smirks across the bar, whereas the partner gets paraded around and shown off. Ok ok, I’m getting side tracked and jumping on the pity party train. Let’s take a new approach.

To the side chicks out there. You are better than him. You deserve to be shown off, to be loved and to be the only girl in someone’s life. Don’t let him convince you otherwise. Don’t let him tell you, you are his only one. Believe your gut feeling, because it is usually right.

To the wife/girlfriend/partner. Don’t let out all the blame on these girls that your man is fooling. Don’t compare yourself to them. Don’t hate them. They deserve the exact same thing you deserve. To be respected by a man and not played by a boy. Remember they might not know you exist, and that is not their fault. Remember to take a step back, and realize the blame should be dealt out accordingly.

To the man, or should I say boy. Who makes you think you’re so much better than those around you? Why do you think it’s fair to play with people’s hearts the way you have or waste people’s time the way you did? Think about the way you make these women feel like objects instead of human beings. These girls you are messing around with would give you the world, and you can’t even give them the respect they deserve.

I have been the side chick, the other woman and it has taught me a lot. Not only has it made me feel hurt and extremely guilty, but it was taught me about what I want and deserve in this crazy world of love. I want someone to care that I’m obsessed with the colour blue and sharks. I want them to remember my birthday without me having to remind them and to remember I’m allergic to kiwis. I want someone to call me just because I crossed their mind. I want them to be proud of me and want to introduce me to their friends. And most importantly I want to be respected and valued the way I respect and value the people who are important to me in my life.

Playing with people’s hearts or time is no joke, my friends. A person’s heart is the most beautiful thing about them. The way they smile while doing the things they love, with the people they love. And time should never be taken advantage of because it is something so valuable and limited.

Love others the way you want to be loved and treat people the way you want them to remember you.

-A

Modern Day Dating

Have no fear, Ashley is here.. to be the crash test dummy when it comes to dating in 2017.

First off, let’s just clear the table.. Where have I been for the last two months? Same place, doing the same things. haha Just kidding. I actually graduated in June and got a real life job. **Hold the applause. Going from working 5 part-time jobs, to a real life job, sounds like a dream come true, until I find myself working six 12 hour shifts in a row and missing out on all the fun summer things. Real life can kiss my butt haha (but seriously).

Okay, back to the reason for this post. Dating. The bane of my existence. The sour milk to my perfect cup of coffee and the clouds to a sunny summer day. Yea, yea, I know I’m being dramatic, but if you’ve lived my past couple years of dating, you’d understand where I’m coming from.

“Boys are just intimidated by you!”, “You’re too busy to date anyway!”, “Maybe you need to go for a different type of guy.”, I’ve heard every excuse and advice on dating that you could possibly think of, and guess what? I’m still single. I’ve gone for the “nice guy”, the “bad guy”, the “sporty guy” the “smart guy”, you name it, I’ve probably gone on a date with it. And after all of this “life experience,” we’ll call it, I still don’t know what I’m doing wrong.

Let’s start from the beginning. Meeting boys. The real question is how do single ladies even meet single men now a day? It’s not like I’m a hermit crab. I go out to coffee shops (probably too many of them if we’re being honest here), I’m a member at multiple gyms (again, probably too many) and I also like to go out to bars and pubs.. but 99% of the time no one comes up to me. Believe me, it’s not like in the movies, boys aren’t begging to buy me drinks, or offering to pay for my coffee. Cute guys don’t come up to me, saying cute one liners that make me blush. It’s usually an accidental butt graze and a creepy one-eye closed smile at 2:30am when the bar lights come on and people are getting kicked out of the club I’m at.. yea sign me up for that please.. not.

Tinder, let’s just get this one out of the way. Yea, I’m on Tinder and no I won’t message you first if we match.  Here’s the issue I see with Tinder.  Since I live in a smaller city you could call it, I know AT LEAST 75% of the guys on Tinder. Out of that, at least 50% of those guys follow me on some sort of social media or we’re Facebook friends. Do you really need to match me on Tinder to get the initiative to talk to me????? Why not just message me?? Or better yet, talk to me in person when we see each other out! Clearly with the amount of selfies and dog pictures I take, I’M STILL SINGLE. If I see you on TInder and I know you in actual real life, I will not swipe right on you. If you liked me enough you would talk to me in person.. Am I being too sceptical? Probably, but I don’t really care.

Okay, so say we’ve made it past the stage of getting asked out (or let’s be honest, asking the person out yourself) we move onto the oh-so-important texting stage. My personal favourite, because now it becomes a team effort of screen shotting text conversations and sending them to your all-girl group chats to try and figure out what to say back.. Oh you didn’t think we actually did this?? Sorry to burst your bubble, but we do. I’ve gotten to the point where I’m completely fed up and over this stage. I don’t like the texting games of “should I text him first” or “is it too soon to text him back” BS. Tell me to have a great day in the morning, maybe send a cute text in the afternoon and a nice “how was your day?” at night and I’ll be perfectly pleased. If you want to hang out, ASK ME, don’t assume I know, because I am a huge believer that: “Assuming makes an ASS out of U and ME”. haha

Okay, onto the actually ‘dating stage’ if you’re lucky enough to have made it here (most of the time I don’t because I get fed up of the texting and snap chatting phase) I think guys have forgotten how to take a girl on a date. A date is not watching Netflix at your place, with a possible offering of some kind of beverage (usually water because anything else takes too much effort). A date is not a 12am text on a Saturday night. Boys, those are straight up booty calls. Let me say that to you again. BOO-TAY calls. And hey, there’s nothing wrong with a good booty call, but be honest if that’s all you want. Remember, communication is key. If you don’t want to be called a f*ck boy, player or any other term in that category, claim a booty call for what it is, and don’t lead a poor girl on, thinking it’s something it’s not. **Spoiler alert, I’m usually the poor girl thinking it’s something it’s not.

Please, dating world, let’s try to rewind the time. Let’s appreciate and respect each other the way we all deserve to be treated. Stop the mind games, stop the dating of multiple people at once. If you like someone, tell them, don’t assume they know. If you just like their booty, make sure you draw the line so you’re not leading them on. Life is too short, don’t waste your time or other people’s time on fake love, or false feelings.

Respect. Communication. Truth.

That’s all I ask for.

Is that really too much?