Adventures in texting with my ex

Just an update: in my last blog titled “Friends with benefits benefits no one,” I mentioned that my ex and I were going to try being friends with no benefits. I wrote that I would give y’all an update on how it goes. Here’s the deets:

Starting August 1st, my ex texted me just to say hi for the first time after our breakup on March 30th. He asked if I was still mad at him. I said I wasn’t mad and that I would like to make a fresh start as friends. He agreed and said, “That sounds awesome.”

Our exchange went something like this:

Him:

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(This is the second Oprah picture I have used in a blog. Call me obsessed. Just don’t call me maybe)

Me:

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(Fun fact: I look nothing like this)

We continued texting just to say hi for the entire month. It seemed as if we were heading in a new, positive direction: friends with no benefits. We mutually agreed on it and it was written. On August 30th, a month after our new arrangement, I ask him how he was doing after his leg injury. He replies that he is feeling better. I tell him, “You need to rest up for all the adventures that may lie ahead.”
He answers, “I just need to find someone who’s willing to share those adventures with me.”
I said, “You’ll find someone you like.”
He rejoins, “That’s exactly what’s going to happen. You seem pretty upset about that.”
I tell him, “Not at all. I was just validating your feelings. I think we’re good as friends, but we’re not really a match when it comes to being in a relationship.”
Then he says, “Sweet. Glad we see eye to eye on that. I’m hanging out with my dad. I’ll text you later.”

End scene. It has been a week and I haven’t heard anything else from him.

This is what I get texting a 23 year old. This feels like a game, an emotional mindfuck if you will. At 30, I just don’t have time for this. I told him if there’s anything more he’d like to discuss, he can talk to me anytime. It’s unlikely he’ll jump on that offer. Dating younger men is like dealing with my students. I try to get them to be clear about what they are trying to tell me and they cannot quite put into words what they are trying to convey. I will forgive them, though. They are all between the ages of 3-10. This is a grown ass man (I think). Maybe I’m expecting too much. Some of my lady friends thought he was trying to propose the idea of us dating again and then got butthurt when I told him he would find someone he likes. Another school of thought was that he was trying to tell me he wanted to move on. Either way, it could have been more clear and done in a more direct, mature fashion. But the important lesson to be gained from this is I ain’t even mad, bro. Maybe you are. It is just a disappointment that a new beginning for us was ended abruptly by an immature text message exchange. The classic Blink 182 song “What’s my age again?” comes to mind. Chances are if you’re in your late twenties or early thirties, you’ll remember the famous chorus from jr. high or high school:  “Nobody likes you when you’re 23…”

(This is a live version without the nudity found in the original music video)

As you’re reading this and enjoying Blink 182’s blast from the past, feel free to share your thoughts on what you think my ex was trying to say or any similar stories you may have 🙂

How to tell if you’re in a dead end friendship

Friendship can be a fun addition to your life if you’re in the right kind of friendship. The “right kind” of friendship involves a give and take. You both have a lot in common, you both listen to each other speak, and you have the same interests. Seems easy to be able to tell, right?
Sometimes we are tricked into thinking we found a new friend when in actuality, we found ourselves a new career opportunity called Unpaid Therapist. How can you tell if your friend has designated you to be her unpaid therapist? If she calls you up to meet for drinks because she “has a bunch of stuff to tell you”, that is actually code for “I’m going to go on and on about my guy problems while you give me advice that I have no intention of taking.” You are tricked into meeting her for drinks because after she tells you “the bunch of stuff she needs to tell you” then you think you will have your chance to tell her what’s going on with you. The problem is, it hardly ever works that way. Your friend will spend the whole night telling you what a jerk the guy she’s seeing is because he (Fill in the blank: Didn’t call when he said he would, canceled their date, or makes her drive to his house for “dates”). Then you think to yourself, “Is my fellow 30 year old friend really asking my advice on something that any 15 year old would be able to answer?” You then give her advice as she immediately interrupts with, “Yeah. So do you think that’s normal for him to do that? He didn’t do that when we were first dating.” As if that isn’t bad enough that she totally steamrolled over all your advice by basically ignoring you and going on about her guy, you might find it helpful to jump in with, “I had a similar experience when the guy I was seeing canceled our date. I…” She will then cut you off- “Anyway, I just don’t get it.” It is at that point when you realize she doesn’t want to talk to you and have a give and take conversation. She needs someone willing to listen to the sound of her own voice. You might feel useful by being able to help your friend. If she takes your advice, great. But what will most likely happen will be she will call you in a week or two to meet up for drinks because she “has a bunch of stuff to tell you” (sound familiar?) and you will meet with her because you want to hear how it all turned out following your advice. Instead, she will tell you about how she decided to give her guy another chance. They had a date for Saturday night and he, (gasp!) canceled it!! What should she do??? It is at this point when you might be thinking, “Didn’t I tell you to stop seeing him, you dumb bitch?”
If you so much as put it in a kinder way such as, “Well I told you he’d probably do it again, so you should move on” she will reply with,
“But I really like him!” She will then tell you everything she likes about this very obvious horse’s ass. But the only horse’s ass is you because you are allowing this fake friend to completely waste your time. Don’t fool yourself into thinking she needs you. She just needs a sounding board. And one simply does not have time for that. If you have ever felt like this, it is time to move on:

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I have had a lot of “friends” like this recently. I’ve met up with them to listen to their guy problems and have given them great advice because I’ve been there. Then they turn around and do what they want. I’m sure they would eventually listen to my guy problems, but I wouldn’t want to take advice from friends who at age 30 have the naivete of 15 year olds (and I thought I was inexperienced!). If you find yourself in this draining situation, run don’t walk to the friend store and do a trade-in for your clunker.

And if you feel you are competing for her attention over one of these, make like one of these and trade up:

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Because Honey Child, you deserve better.

Wanting to know whether to talk to that cool guy or girl in class? Go for it!

Society tells us that the time to go to college is immediately after high school, between the ages of 18 and 22. These are the years that we form most of our friendships, relationships, and social connections that will carry us through the rest of our twenties and beyond. The problem is most of us enter college with a lot of emotional baggage still left over from high school. We are still nervous if our peers will think we’re cool enough, good looking enough, and interesting enough to be worthy to talk to. These insecurities can prevent us from talking to people who might wind up becoming our friends, boyfriends, girlfriends, or enrich our lives in some meaningful way. It takes years to shake all these insecurities left over from high school. I wish the social skills I now have in my thirties could be teleported to my 20 year old self.
  …..Flashback to 2003. I was sitting in my psychology class in college on the first day. My professor wanted each of us to say something interesting about ourselves as a way to get to know each other. The reserved, handsome, brooding guy next to me stated his name and said, “I play guitar. My favorite song is “How Soon Is Now” by The Smiths”. The outgoing, cute, blonde guy next to me introduced, “I am a comedian. The Berenstain Bears is the last book I read.” I said, “My name is Sydney. I am a writer.”
I had so much in common with those two guys and they actually had a lot in common with me. Playing the guitar, being a comedian, and writing are all intertwined. Not to mention The Smiths and The Berenstain Bears are my two passions that have made me who I am: quirky, morose, reserved, innocent, and a natural curiosity to learn more about those around me. If only I would have been brave enough to talk to those guys. We could have taken on the world. We could have teamed up and created a project whether it be a band, screenplay, or some YouTube wackiness that only we and our other close friends would see.  Instead, I let a whole semester go by without saying a word to my seat neighbors. They also never said a word to me. Missed opportunities happen a lot in one’s early twenties due to a lack of self confidence. In our thirties we become more self confident. We are able to just randomly introduce ourselves to a stranger. We don’t care if our conversational skills are up to par. We don’t care what the other person thinks about what we are wearing or how cool we are.  None of that matters. But unfortunately, by the time we reach our thirties and get ahold of this amazing courage, we no longer are in school where we have this amazing opportunity to freely meet all these cool people our age. Many of us have jobs which don’t allow for a lot of social interaction. Our coworkers are often much younger than us or much older. Our coworkers often are in different phases of life than we are: married, have children, or are single. We find we don’t have much in common with them outside of work. In college, however, most students are exactly your age and share a similar background. This is the one time in life where most everyone you meet will be single just like you, understand your generation, like your music, and be willing to go out with you to all the places you like. Enjoy that time because no other time in your life will be like that. So many opportunities that are yours for the taking. So speak up and don’t be afraid to talk to that cool person next to you who seems “out of your league.” Make something happen.
  If you need some inspiration, I once heard of a girl who was in a taxi in New York. The cab driver picked up a guy who got in the cab next to her. She thought he looked really cool. She just had this “feeling” about him. His stop came before hers. Instead of staying in the cab and waiting for her stop, she decided to get out with him and “pretend” to be going to the same place as he was. She introduced herself to him, “My name is Karen.” He replied, “My name is Brian.” She later told Rolling Stone Magazine, “I just had this feeling that I was supposed to know him.”
Ladies and gentlemen, that girl was Karen O., the future singer of the band The Yeah Yeah Yeahs. That guy was Brian Chase, the future drummer. They met on that fateful night in New York and formed The Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Because Karen chose to be brave and not tongue tied, this magnificent duo met and put their mark on music history.
  So don’t be afraid to talk to that cool guy or girl in class.  He might just introduce you to your future husband. This was the case for a quiet art student named Julia who through a classmate in her math class at community college was introduced to her future husband, Julian Casablancas who was a singer in the up and coming band The Strokes. You never know how your life might change. But you have to learn to speak up first. Unfortunately, we take these opportunities for granted when we’re 20 and in school. We think there will be more or we psych ourselves out of it due to nerves. Life is short. If I knew at 20 what I know now, I would have pushed myself a little harder to talk to those guys in my class. Even if it turned out we didn’t change the world, I could have at least made some interesting friends to talk to. That’s the whole reason we go to college, but it’s so easy for us to lose sight of that when we’re young.

You know you’re 30 when….

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1. You go to Vegas with some friends who are turning 21 and they don’t understand why you don’t want to get black out drunk with them. Trying to explain that you’ve “been there” and “know better” gives you the playful title Mother Goose.

2. When your 20 year old friend just doesn’t get something (which happens ALL the time), you knock on her head and call out, “Hello McFly?!” like Biff in Back To The Future as she backs away worriedly and asks, “What are you doing?”

3. Your proclamation, “George Michael is one of the greatest singers of all time!” is met with, “Who’s George Michael?”

4. To your 20 year old friends New Kids On The Block means you’re going to have some new neighbors

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All my 20 year old friends asking me to describe these pop culture phenomenons and my 23 year old ex pretending he knows about them just so he can prove he can hang. Oh yeah? Just show me ONE childhood picture of you holding your Teddy Ruxpin doll or holding the VHS movie. You can’t, can you? Fail!

Any other 30 year olds out there have any stories to share about relating to their twenty something friends? Please comment below and we’ll share a laugh 🙂

Friends with benefits benefits no one

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Friends with benefits is my companion piece to my last blog entry: Keeping an ex as a friend in facebook? Ain’t nobody got time for that! This is another dating mistake I made in my twenties that I’ll be sure to never make again. On the surface, friends with benefits seems like an ideal sequel or solution to a breakup: you still get to hang out with this great guy you still have feelings for and do all the same stuff that you did while you were dating but now he doesn’t owe you anything! Yay! Jackpot! When I was 26, I really missed my boyfriend who dumped me. We both suggested being friends but when I realized “being friends” meant never seeing, facebooking, or talking to each other ever again, I came up with what seemed like the perfect idea. I suggested we hang out as just friends over a drink. I said I didn’t want to be “friends with benefits” because I “wasn’t that kind of girl.” What a difference a couple of drinks makes! He agreed with my deal to just be platonic friends with no benefits. He invited me to a party that night. We had a couple of beers and we decide to go somewhere “quiet” where we could talk. That “quiet” place turned out to be the backseat of his car. We talk about what’s been going on in our lives since the big breakup two months prior. Suddenly he kisses me and all my judgment takes a trip to The Bahamas as we’re making out ferociously in the backseat. Without any discussion, we have unofficially crossed that dangerous threshold from “just friends” to “friends with benefits” I designated my tall can of Pabst as an unneccessary scapegoat when I really just had my own stupidity to blame. Contrary to popular belief, girls also do some of their thinking “down there” just like the fellas.
  After our “hookup,” my new FWB (Friend With Benefits) admitted that he thought it was fun to be able to makeout with me again. We carried on this arrangement for about four months. In a way, it was cool to just text each other anytime we wanted day or night and have our meetups, but as time went on, it started to become more insulting than gratifying. One time my ex texted me and told me he wanted to hang out. So I invited him to come bowling with my friends first before we would go off on our own to (wink, wink). He turned me down flat by telling me he didn’t feel like going bowling but wanted me to text him afterwards. The stunning realization hit me like a brick shithouse: My ex no longer wanted to hang out with my friends and I like he did when we were dating. He wanted us to just meet on the down low without each other’s friends knowing. On another occasion, he said he was going to the movies with his friends but “would call me after.” I no longer felt like I was a part of this guy’s life like I did when we were dating. He was keeping me in a separate box where our meetups were secret and hidden from everyone. Suddenly an arrangement that started out being kind of fun became very seamy. I felt like some kind of Lady of the Night. I tried one more time to blend my ex with my friends by inviting him to see my friend’s band with me. For the first time ever, my ex made me pay for my own drink as he ordered and paid for his. I realized he really didn’t owe me anything anymore since he wasn’t my boyfriend, but yet we were still making out and what have you as if we were dating. But all the other benefits like including me in outings with his friends, being emotionally available, and hell, just paying for my beer were over like Justin Bieber’s career. The worst was yet to come.
  My ex agreed to meet up with me at a music festival. This time, his friends were along for the ride. One girl was single and by herself. The other two were a couple. The girl flirted with him like no one was watching (most of all me, his ex. He just introduced me as “a friend”). I looked at his stylish new makeover which consisted of expensive skinny jeans, high top converse, and a form fitting flannel shirt. I wondered why he had to become better dressed and drop a few pounds AFTER our breakup. It was like he was on the prowl. I painfully realized that he was moving on at the very same time he insisted on meeting with me. The feeling was bittersweet. I wanted him more than ever after his sexy upgrade but it was too late. We all went to his house to watch Saturday Night Live after the music festival. His flirty friend tried to sit next to him on the couch. I had to force my way in there. The couple seated next to us started cuddling and holding hands. I knew that would never be us again. There was this distance between us that was palpable. After everyone went home, we went to bed. No longer did my ex try to hold me or cuddle me like he did when we were dating. In the morning as I was about to leave, he looked at me as if to say, “This is the last time. We can’t do this anymore.” No words had to be said. I knew what he was thinking. I wanted to tell him how I felt, but never got the courage. He was sending a message that was loud and clear. All the pain that I felt right after our breakup resurfaced. It turned out being friends with benefits just prolonged that pain. We never really had that fresh start that I was looking for. Nothing would ever be the same again. Take my advice and don’t do it. If you really care about someone and still want them in your life after a breakup, suggest being platonic friends. Stay in touch, talk, but whatever you do, DON’T be intimate. If he still wants you in his life, he’ll agree to being platonic friends. I am going to try being friends with no benefits with my latest ex. I don’t plan to fuck it up by being intimate with him. No matter how strong the sexual tension gets, we’re not acting on it. I’ll keep you posted on how it goes. I’m not guaranteeing it will work out, but I can guarantee it will work out a helluva a lot better than being intimate with him and confusing each other. This is the wisdom that comes with being in my thirties: I’ve learned that a genuine friendship ala Jerry and Elaine on Seinfeld is better than a little ass. And that is the best benefit a girl could ever have from a guy who used to be her boyfriend.

Keeping an ex as a “friend” on facebook? Ain’t Nobody Got Time For That!

Oh yes, the big debate. Whether or not to keep your ex as a “friend” on facebook. One of my boyfriends said deleting your ex from facebook makes you seem “bitter.” I wouldn’t call it “bitter” as much as I would call it “practical.” Let’s get practical for a minute: Do you really care that your ex thinks you’re bitter for deleting him off facebook? In all likelihood, he’s not thinking about you at all. I know. That stings, but it’s true. He’s thinking about how he’s going to find his next lady friend. And you don’t want to have him as a friend on facebook so you can witness his journey. In a word:

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(Meme created by sydrocks)

Let’s face it: Guys have an unfair advantage over women. They are able to move on a lot faster. They can meet women a lot faster than women can meet men because men have all the control. They can approach women, ask them out, and be in control of the calling while women have to get all gussied up and wait to be approached. We women often keep waiting because as Liz Tucillo so eloquently put it in her book He’s Just Not That Into You:“There are many more good women out there than there are good guys to date.” It may seem sexist to some of you that a girl should have to wait til a guy approaches her first, but I can tell you from my experience that I have never had a guy be seriously interested in me that I’ve had to approach first. Seriously interested in sleeping with me? Yes. Seriously interested in dating me? Ain’t no homeboy got time for that. (Unless he approaches you first). The purpose of this blog entry and my blog in general is to share some of the dating mistakes I’ve made in my twenties and why I’ll never do them again now that I’m in my thirties. I would like to settle into my mama bear role and help all my twentysomething female blog follower “cubs” out. You’re welcome, my pretties. Now let’s get back to my original point (adult ADD is very real. Don’t let anyone tell you it’s made up like Kim Kardashian’s talent). If you are friends with your ex on facebook, you are eventually going to witness him posting a profile pic of the new girl he’s dating. And no, she will not be as pretty or prettier than you, but that’s not the point. The point is he’s moved on and he doesn’t give a shit about you anymore. Nothing hurts more than that very real and very devastating realization. And meanwhile because you have a little thing called “standards,” you can’t post a retaliatory pic of your new guy because he’s from the future. However, if you feel so inclined, it’s not a bad idea to get a bit drunk and ask a cute guy to take a picture with you at a bar that you can post until the right one comes along. This does take courage, though. Another reason why you should not keep an ex as a friend on facebook is if he made a conscious decision NOT to have your amazing self be a part of his life by deciding not to date you anymore, then why the hell should he get a sneak peek into your life via facebook? He didn’t earn the privilege of getting to know about your new job, new niece, new haircut, new froyo, I could go on but I think you catch my drift. Only real friends should know those awesome details. Not someone who broke your heart but is pretending everything’s still “cool” by keeping you at arm’s length as a friend on facebook so everyone can see what a standup guy he is by being able to “still be cool with his exes.” Meanwhile if you try to talk to him, he will ignore you. If y’all could indulge me as I take a quick trip to Sad Island, I would like to share my experience with my ex. He dumped me but kept me as a friend on facebook. One time I was logged on, I noticed that he was available to chat. I asked him how he was doing. As soon as I typed that question, boom! He magically logged off (Yay internet! A new way to get rejected by guys! It’s not just the phone anymore!) Coincidence? I think not. The only valid excuse would be if he was practicing his role as Stonewall Jackson for an upcoming college play. And we know that’s not true because that fool didn’t go to college. That hurt the ‘ol ego just a little bit. In a separate incident, I typed him a quick “hello” on his wall. He then again stonewalled me. Funny because he made a big deal about staying friends after we broke up. He said, “If you ever need anything or want to talk anytime, you can count on me.” I guess he meant only on Thaturdays which is a made up day, much like his empty promise. Shortly thereafter, he posted a pic of his new girl which made my heart feel like someone dropped an anvil covered in bird shit on it. I had no choice but to delete him right then and there. Why didn’t I just do it right away? Even though I feel great now, I just wanted to share my story so you ladies will think twice about keeping an ex as a friend on facebook. I know some of you may be thinking, “But what if I dumped him instead of the other way around?” It doesn’t matter. Is it really nice to put him through the same emotional mindfuck of thinking he still has your friendship but you’re really keeping this poor fella at arm’s length? Since my experience with this particular ex three years ago, I decided to immediately delete all my subsequent exes off facebook because practically speaking, why would you want to be an emotional masochist (credit: Alexandra Lewis, my brillant sister who coined the term) and prolong the pain when you both should just really move on? Remember that’s what you both wanted, wasn’t it?

Being an elementary school teacher: My secret weapon for dealing with adults

My secret identity comes out: I am an elementary school teacher. I teach both kindergarten through fifth grade general education and special education. There is a priceless reward in helping struggling students reach their full potential as scholars. I feel privileged to be a part of that. Perhaps an unexpected reward that comes from being an elementary school teacher is that the patient, nurturing, and maternal attitude that I use around my students had helped me successfully deal with adults in a way I never thought possible. I have a side job as a server on the weekends. I have learned that when communicating with my adult customers and coworkers, it is best to think of them as second graders. Talking to them as adults rarely gets the job done. It is better to talk slowly, calmly, patiently, and in a maternal style. I have several examples which I will list below:

1. One time the line was very long at the bar, so I helped the bartender out. One gentlemen asked the bartender, “Do you have limes?” She replied, “We ran out of limes,” in a regular tone of voice aimed at an adult male in his thirties. He then got belligerent and challenged us by stating, “You really don’t have any limes?” I could have said “no” in a regular adult tone. I could have even attempted sarcasm such as, “What part of “no” don’t you understand?” like I have seen male bartenders do in other bars (I would not recommend this strategy). Instead I had an idea. I wanted to calm the gentleman down so I replied very patiently, calmly, and slowly like I was talking to one of my kindergartners: “No, we do not have limes.” The key to my success was not to make it obvious that I thought he was mentally challenged for not understanding the first time or for thinking that he could try to intimidate two sweet women. I treated him like he was my seven year old student. I was nice but firm and also surreptitiously condescending (not in a way that was obvious). I held onto the word “No” in an attempt to drag it out like I do with preschoolers, “Noooo.” It helped to make my mouth into an “O” shape as if I was teaching this gentleman to sound out the letter. Guess what? It worked like a charm. Homeboy smiled and said, “No worries” as he quietly left the bar.

2. The next incident I was bussing my table when a woman in her forties asked, “Do you have any straws?” I replied, “I’m sorry ma’am we don’t,” in a kind, professional manner. You’d think that would get the job done, right? Instead I couldn’t have been more wrong when she burst out, “So you don’t have any straws?” She emphasized “any” as if this were The Sahara and I said we couldn’t find any water. It was a matter of life and death to have a tiny straw in which to suck up her soda. I can think of something else I’d like her to suck but I have to avoid getting off topic. I decided to treat her as if she were one of my first graders asking to go to the bathroom five minutes after I had just said no. I smiled and replied very calmly but firmly, “Still no.” This lady then got embarrassed for how she acted and smiled and said, “It’s okay.” I don’t know where these people come from. If I don’t have straws in my kitchen I can’t automatically pretend I’m Criss Angel and pull one out of my ass. (I’d rather not think about what Criss Angel has up his ass).

3. My final example has to do with my male coworkers ages 20-40. I was on break with all five of them. A June bug came crashing onto our table. Immediately the boys wriggled and cried out, “Ewwww! A June bug!” I told them, “June bugs are attracted to the light.” My 40 year old coworker mirrored my information to the rest of the group as if he had learned a new fact: “June bugs are attracted to the light.” He then picked up the struggling June bug and put it in a can of Coke. Having seen my kindergarteners kill bugs without knowing any better, I immediately forgot about code switching and talked to this 40 year old like he was a kindegartner. In my patient, firm, and maternal voice I said, “We do not kill June bugs. They are our friends. Just because they are inconvenient to us doesn’t mean their lives are worth any less than ours.” One of the 20 year olds snickered and said, “Friends. Hahaha.” Thinking I wasn’t looking the 40 year old took the can of Coke and dumped it out on the grass so the June bug could fly away. The next June bug that landed on the table got left alone. The boys allowed me to pick it up and release it. When one of the other 20 year olds said, “Don’t they live for only a day anyway?” I explained, “June bugs have a different concept of time than we do. To them, a day feels like 10 years to us. We wouldn’t want to cut their precious lives short just like we wouldn’t want anyone to cut our lives short.” The boys sat there transfixed as they were thinking about my lesson. I think the lesson I learned was the most powerful of all.