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Monday, September 27, 2010

Sweeping Me Off My Feet.... Romance & Relationships

Yesterday I posted on my FB status that sweeping gestures can be pretty cool if they're sincere. And you know, for the most part? I think that's true. An exception this is when it's a regular occurance in a romantic relationship. Romantic Relationship... Why do we call it that? Does every dating relationship necessarily include romance?

I'm reminded of a blog I read awhile back; actually had to go dig it up this evening. Since I often write about dating & the relationships that accompany it? I've always kept up with other blogs that write about relationships, sex, and dating. This particular blog is written by Patty Brisben, the Founder/CEO of Pure Romance. In it, she talks about 10 ways you can experience romance in a relationship. When I first read it, I wondered how many people did these things (or things like them) on a regular, reoccuring basis. I compared the list to my prior relationships and thought about whether or not I had done these things... or had they... ?

The results weren't really stellar. I had a habit of picking out the "grand gesture" guy and then when that rubber band would snap; settling back into a relationship with a guy that was allergic to romance. (1) Not because I didn't like romantic gestures... who doesn't like little things that show the person that you're with thinks you're special or cares?? (2) No, I think I did it because over time, I developed a fear of what those romantic gestures meant: they only came on the other side of something disasterous. Over time, I learned to equate romance to equal an aspect of an apology. And when that's the only time it happens? It makes it not cool. So, over the years, I think I developed my own 'allergy' to romance. I lent a leary eye to people who wanted to hold my hand, didn't really flirt much, and developed a disdain for watching romantic movies. (3)

The problem, is, though? That's not really fair to the people I date. It's bringing old baggage into new relationships - which, while to an extent is unavoidable? Never a good idea to have steamer-trunk sized baggage you've yet to deal with. You both end up paying for that and it's an expensive baggage bill. Not to mention the fact that there's some serious life benefits to daily (or close to it) dosages of romance... check this out (4):

  1. Did you know that kissing is healthier than shaking hands? You're less likely to get a cold from the guy/gal you're with if you kiss them hello or goodbye than by shaking their hand. Yeah, I know, sounds wrong but it's true.

  2. Kissing your partner goodbye each morning might increase your income. The Pollsters contend that their studies show that the man who kisses his wife goodbye before he leaves for work each morning averages a higher income than the guy that doesn't. This is attributed more to the character behind the man than the act of the ritual - more painstaking, more methodical, more stable ; but still, might be worth making a habit of! ;)

  3. Your guy will live longer just by smooching you each morning. Another reason for men to kiss their women-folk before they leave each morning is that there is documented evidence that they'll live 5 years longer than those that don't, on average.

  4. It's good for the economy. All that kissing helps contribute to the wearing off of women's lipstick... which is partly responsible for this quasi-gross stat: A woman will use up approximately her height in lipstick every five years. While this makes me shudder a bit; it's keeping Estee Lauder in business... so, kiss me already!!

  5. It's not a bad way to burn some carbs. A fairly passionate kiss will burn approximately 9 calories. When you consider the average kiss is less than 60 seconds; if you make out for 20 minutes? You've burned off that coke you snuck in during the afternoon-duldrums.

  6. It could lead to sex... which supports patriotism... kinda. Well, maybe that wasn't worded well, but America is ahead the global average of annual sexual experiences. Greece wins out at 138 times a year; we come in at 113, Canadians are sporting 108 sexual experiences on a PPA each year... global is 103. So, when you get romantic, it could lead to sex, which helps boost our ratings... maybe? Stretch?? :p Either way, next time you hear "Honey, I'm not in the mood tonight" I vote you try, "But Baby, do it for America!!" ha.haha.hahaha

  7. Phone Romance could lead to a Proposal. Approximately 6% of men who propose each year do so over the phone. Now, what percentage of that 6% got a "yes?" Might be an entirely different statistic.

  8. Hand-Holding Reduces Stress. While it may increase your chances of getting a cold, it helps your brain to keep from working overtime to handle stress. University of Virgina put out a study that shows when you're holding the hands of your significant other, it literally soothes the brain, creating a calming effect; making it easier to deal with tough situations and decreasing overall stress levels.

  9. The Jones' Do It. The number one "romantic activity" rated by couples is one area that you probably won't mind keeping up with the Jones' on... and surprisingly, it's not sex (that's the 8th highest rated). It's actually snuggling on the couch watching TV/a movie. I don't mind going on record saying that's a regular occurance with my boyfriend and it's pretty relaxing (5).

  10. It's Cheaper than Cocaine; and healthier, too! It's commonly believed that cocaine addicts are addicted due to the dopamine release that comes after a hit (6). It makes you feel elated, estatic, and even turned on. Guess what? So does looking at your partner - especially in the early days of a relationship... and it won't fry your body/brain or kill you. Well, unless you're doing it while crossing a street and therefore not looking both ways first. :p Other health benefits are as a result of more frequent sex; which comes on the other side of upping the romance factor in your relationship... but they are a better sense of smell, lower rate of heart disease, lower body rate, increased physical fitness, and higher levels of pyschological self-satisfaction.
With these kinds of benefits? Maybe it's worth giving it a shot after all... LOL

(1) This new introspective kick that I'm on? Bites. Sometimes self-awareness is not fun.

(2) And I think I'm fairly good at doing those things, even if I'm leary of receiving them. Yes, I get that's a double-standard. Again, introspection is a work-in-progress so back off. :p

(3) Still do, unless it's more comedy than romance and dear God, please don't make me watch a sex scene in a movie theatre full of strangers. Awkward! I'm also oddly proud that I've managed to never be sucked into seeing "Dear John" by my gal pals or daughter.

(4) Facts obtained from Romancepedia. Also some news article and Romance Unlimited.

(5) One of my fav. activities; though I'm not sure how much it counts for a 'romantic activity' when we're both asleep 15 minutes in. :p

(6) I "just say 'no' to drugs" so I have zero first-hand knowledge of this.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Dating & Arbor Day

I've personally never been one to really want to rush a relationship. Actually, the term "Commitment Phobic" might be a better phrase to describe my approach to relationships. For the last several years, I've been known to break out in hives and run the opposite direction when the terms "girlfriend" or "serious" were tossed out. Within weeks, I'd find a reason (1) to end things, a la Seinfeld... some silly obscure flaw or mental machination that justified saying:


So, imagine my utter confusion when I hear of friends or acquantainces rushing headfirst into major commitments and life-altering relationship statuses. It almost seems like it's some kind of a fad right now to 'take the plunge' after only being together a few short months. (3) Personally? I think it's kinda nuts; but to each their own, I guess. Pretty sure it's not going to be helping the divorce rate and associated statistics 10 years from now. On a semi-related vein, my ex-husband recently remarried. I really like the lady that's now my children's step-mother - thank goodness - but it was a really short courtship that initially gave me pause (4). I guess time will tell whether it was a hasty decision or not - but for now? They seem happy. A couple of friends of mine have gone through tumultuous divorces after whirlwind romances of under six months led them to marriage and subsquently divorce court within 13 months after saying "I Do."

Anyway, was talking about this with the guy that I've been dating over the last couple of months; because it IS kind of dumbfounding to me. He made what at first seemed like a pretty off-the-wall comment, "Need to see how they act on Arbor Day before you say 'I Do'." (5) Basically, the point is that there's wisdom in waiting at least a full year before making a life-long commitment to another person. I totally agree with this and could potentially see adding another year or few to that equation as being generally wise. Obviously, every situation is different... but, I do believe overall slow and steady wins the race... away from divorce court. When you think about it, everyone's on their best behavior at the beginning of a relationship. This is why I say it takes crazy at least a full three months to come out and play. Why lock yourself down before that?? So, Arbor Day... have you experienced it in your dating relationship yet? :)

(1) Or Thirty
(2) In reality, it really has been ME.. but, what fun is there in admitting that? Much better to potentially emotionally scar the other party by blaming them, right??? :p

(3) "a few short months" was intentional phrasing. Stacking up against the promise you make of 'forever' when you marry? Months are SHORT.

(4) Obviously, I want to see my ex- happy; but the pause was for the kids. Clearly, as a parent? I want to see their lives as stable and happy as possible! :) And when your kids say, "Dad's getting married because he wants to see where the relationship can go and this is the only way to do it?" Um... initial red flags. Fortunately, they weren't quite relaying the WHOLE story.. he really loves her, too. ;)

(5) Or something to that effect. Anyway, I knew there was a reason or few why I like him. ;)

Thursday, September 9, 2010

What's in a Relationship Status?

It's absolutely amazing to me how important something as trivial as a Facebook 'relationship status' has become. Now I? Have never really been one to change that little bugger every time I'm seeing someone. I figure eventually I'll likely have to change it back (1) and what a pain THAT is. Nothing like 592 of your friends and acquaintainces being able to weigh in on the demise of your relationship. ESPECIALLY if it doesn't last long after the switch. :p

So, for me, I've been happily 'single' or 'divorced' (2) since my FB was made a few years ago. Same thing with my Myspace... And I'm okay with that. What I'm not okay with, though? Is the rash of really intrusive 'requests' to go out with this guy or that lately. It's like FB has become the new "Plenty of Fish" (3) or something; with your connections or randoms messaging you willy-nilly, asking you out. This would be flattering, except I've kind of made it obvious that I'm seeing someone; it's not like it's hidden, anyway. You can see a pretty distinct pattern if you look for it - and if you're going to be asking someone out? You should. Right??

Even still, I can easily dismiss the one-hit wonders who are respectful of my current level of disinterest once I point out that I'm dating someone. But, then there are the guys that just don't know when to quit. I REALLY want to believe that this is a guy thing; I have a hard time thinking a girl would be so persistent after being shot down. Am I wrong? A couple of times a week, I'll deal with one of these guys that just doesn't seem to know how to respect 'NO.' (4) Today's? Was enough to make me consider changing my FB status.. just to not have to deal with it anymore. Excerpt time:

Between XXXXX and You
****** ********** September 09 at 8:51am Your beautiful. I would love to get to know you better. Drinks?
Crystal Miller September 09 at 09:13am I am flattered by the interest; but I'm seeing someone. Take care.
****** ********** September 09 at 9:24am O. I am ok with that if you are.
Crystal Miller September 09 at 9:28am So, by 'seeing someone' I mean I actually have a boyfriend. Like, only seeing him? Thanks again, though. Take care.
****** ********** September 09 at 9:36am If there's no ring on your finger than you still have time to explore your options. I'm a great guy if you'd just give it a chance.
Crystal Miller September 09 at 9:40am So's my boyfriend. Seriously, 'no?' Means no. I won't respond again. Take care.

Eliminating THAT? might make the status change worth the subsequent comments. My fear? Is that it wouldn't be enough to do it.

(1) Yes, I realize that's a cynical view on relationships but let's face it.. most of the relationships we enter into as single people will end. If it was easy to find 'the one' there wouldn't be so many movies, songs, stories about trying to find them.

(2) Facebook didn't offer a "divorced" option when I first signed on. I kinda felt like a leper. Thanks, FB, for recitfying that.

(3) For my married friends or those who aren't internet-dating savvy? Plenty of Fish is a free dating site. It's suuper scary what's out there, folks.

(4) By the way, if you are one of those guys? Chicks tend to believe that it's NOT cute when you don't accept 'no' for 'no.' In fact, it's generally accepted among my girlfriends that if you can't take 'no' for face value through email? There's a really good chance you won't take 'no' in person and we'll end up needing to use Pepper Spray before the end of the date. It's not cute; it's creepy. 'Nuff said.