Of Fries And Goodbyes

So this is it.

The line has been crossed and there’s no turning back. 

It’s time for me to move on.

I don’t have the words right now, so I’ll let this poem speak for me.

After A While
©1971 Veronica A. Shoffstall

After a while you learn
The subtle difference between
Holding a hand and chaining a soul
And you learn that love doesn’t mean leaning
And company doesn’t always mean security.

And you begin to learn
That kisses aren’t contracts
And presents aren’t promises
And you begin to accept your defeats
With your head up and your eyes ahead
With the grace of woman
Not the grief of a child

And you learn
To build all your roads on today
Because tomorrow’s ground is
Too uncertain for plans
And futures have a way
Of falling down in mid flight.

After a while you learn
That even sunshine burns if you get too much
So you plant your own garden
And decorate your own soul
Instead of waiting
For someone to bring you flowers.

And you learn
That you really can endure
That you really are strong
And you really do have worth
And you learn
And you learn
With every goodbye you learn

tumblr_m7j4usdRbP1rob34yo1_500

The Queen’s 5 Rules of Casual Dating (5 of 5)

Rule# 1 here

Rule# 2 here

Rule #3 here

Rule #4 here

Forget all the rules for a second and let’s address the elephant in the room. I received a very thought-provoking comment from Skinny And Me

I think casual relationships are difficult because relationships whether they be friendships, love, work, whatever the case, are not casual in nature. I mean do you have a casual best friend? No you have acquaintances, you know exactly what to expect from these people. But casual relationships blur the line. It becomes difficult to distinguish what you can and can not ask of the person.

Which leads me to this: What the hell is a ‘casual’ relationship anyway? 

shutterstock_130915880-e1368889171458-760x300.jpg.pagespeed.ce.kWLoGxF2eZ

Is it

  • A Friends-with-Benefits arrangement?
  • A bunch of dinner and movie dates minus the empty promises?
  • A No-BS-let’s-hook-up-only scenario?
  • An in-between relationship before the ‘right’ person comes along?
  • A manifestation of fear of commitment, disguised in a seemingly aloof affair?

Or is it simply what you choose to call it, for lack of a better term?

I’m not here to try and define what a casual relationship is, or force you to accept a certain interpretation of it.

A casual relationship is whatever you choose it to be. There is a reason you call it ‘casual’, and you know that reason better than anyone else.

So, rule#5 is really simple : Know your reason

Once you know your reason for being in a casual relationship, you’ll know whether not you’re getting what you want out of it.

If you are, then congratulations, you’ve cracked the casual dating code. 

If not, then you know it’s time to let go.

As for me, I think my dear friend S sums it up best:

“I think there is nothing called a casual relationship. What you have with this guy only falters in a way that it’s not ‘exclusive’. But it cannot be casual. I’m sure in many ways you touch each other’s hearts deep down and bring joy and sorrow. It’s the new 21st century meaningful relationship. I’m sure you love him and he loves you in many ways and the love does not cover certain norms. It’s the french fry you don’t have all the time but it’s the fry you’ve enjoyed the most till now.

The Queen’s 5 Rules of Casual Dating (4 of 5)

Rule# 1 here

Rule# 2 here

Rule #3 here

Some of my friends were quite surprised to see me writing about casual relationships.

Why? Because, truth be told, I suck at it. My feelings always get in the way somehow, and I never seem to be able to keep things casual.

Which is ironic because here I am writing these so-called rules of casual dating.

Looking back, I guess these are rules I wish I had followed, so that I could have at least kept my sanity and dignity. 

So if you’re like me and you suck at casual relationships, then chances are you will find it very hard to apply these ‘rules’. But if you were to take away just a tiny glimpse of everything I’ve said, I want it to be this :

4) Don’t Lose Yourself

don__t_lose_yourself_by_sapientiam-d4l7fmm

Just because you indulged in a few fries doesn’t mean you have to label yourself a “Fry-eater” and forget about all the other food you like.

Similarly, being in a casual relationship shouldn’t take you away from doing things you like. It shouldn’t mean you start blowing off plans or giving up your me-time so you can spend more time with this guy.

Remember what happiness means for you outside of your relationship with this guy. In other words, don’t lose yourself. There are plenty of fries and men in the world, but there’s only one of you – never forget that.

Rule #5 here

The Queen’s 5 Rules of Casual Dating (3 of 5)

Rule #1 here

Rule #2 here

3) Draw the line 

Okay, so you’ve stepped out of denial and decided that you will indulge in some fries, without asking about the calories. Good for you.

But does this mean you should run off to McDonalds and munch down six orders of fries? I should hope not. Which is why it’s important to draw the line.

There comes a time in life, where you have to draw a line in the sand and say, ‘This is where I stand’

In every relationship, it’s important to set boundaries, and it’s no different when you’re in a casual relationship.

Drawing the line means asking yourself:

1) Where do I stand?

2) How far am I willing to go?

3) What am  I okay with?

4) What am I not willing to accept?

To put it in context,

My line is when the guy I’m casually dating says he has a girlfriend but wants to continue seeing me – that’s a game-changer. Sorry, Olivia Pope, I adore you and I hope you end up with Fitz, but I’m not willing to be someone’s side-chick.

My line is also when I realize I want more out of this than just a limited time fun. That’s actually a red flag because it means I’m starting to fall for this guy. When this happens, I see three ways it can go :

1) He doesn’t feel the same way, and I get out of it.

2) He feels the same way, and the casual relationship turns into a more intense one.

3) He doesn’t feel the same way, but continues to string me along. I like him enough so I stay. And it ends up destroying me.

Because I’ve been through all of those 3 things, I can safely say that I allowed #3 to happen because I had not drawn a line.

Which brings me back to the importance of having boundaries.

Ask yourself where you draw the line, and then draw it.

A-Line-in-the-Sand

Rule #4 here

Rule #5 here

The Queen’s 5 Rules of Casual Dating (2 of 5)

Rule #1 here

2) Don’t ask, don’t tell 

dontask

When you’re in a committed relationship, you’re allowed to ask the other person every detail about their life: their whereabouts, how they spent their day, what they had for lunch, and whether or not they are constipated.

But in a casual relationship, it’s best to adopt the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy. Allow me to paint a picture for you..

Exhibit A

You: So, how many girls are you seeing besides from me?

Scenario 1 : He tells you the number of girls he’s seeing. You feel bad. 

Scenario 2 : He tells you he’s not seeing anyone else. You find out he’s lying. You feel bad.  

Scenario 3 : He refuses to answer the question & makes you feel embarrassed for asking. You feel bad. 

Exhibit B

You: Are you on Facebook? 

Scenario 1 : He says yes, adds you, and you see a whole bunch of things you don’t want to see on his FB wall. You feel bad. 

Scenario 2 : He says no. You snoop and find out he’s lying. You feel bad.  

Scenario 3 : He says yes but refuses to add you on FB. You feel bad. 

You see, no matter what the answer is, you will end up feeling bad about yourself. So, why even bother to ask?

The point of being in a casual relationship is that you keep things light and fun.

Asking him a million questions about where he’s been, who he was with, why he didn’t return your call, and so on and so forth, is the opposite of what a casual relationship is.

Similarly, you don’t need to tell him every detail about your personal life.

Just imagine yourself enjoying delicious golden fries..picking them up one by one.. devouring them…licking the salt off your fingers..

Now imagine being interrupted by some know-it-all who informs you the calories, fat content, and sodium levels of fries you’re enjoying.

How would it make you feel?

If you have a sudden urge to slap that person, then you’ll understand the point I’m trying to make here: No guy wants to know about your past or present dating escapades.  Especially not when you’re in a casual relationship. You’re in this thing because you enjoy each other’s company. Just leave it at that.

The way I see it, there’s only one question worth asking in a casual relationship : ‘Are you being safe?’

P.S. Because I’m so nice, I’ve decided to help you guys out by putting together a list of questions you can ask in a casual relationship:

1) Who would win in a fight – Chuck Norris or Batman?

2) Do dolphins sleep?

3) What does the fox say?

Rule #3 here

Rule #4 here

Rule #5 here

The Queen’s 5 Rules of Casual Dating (1 of 5)

When I got out of a long-term relationship a few years ago, I got myself into a casual arrangement with an emotionally unavailable man.

Why? Because I didn’t want any more relationship drama.

Ironically enough, with my luck in men, it turned out to be an emotional-and-dramatic-long-term-on-again-off-again thing – which I’ve yet seen the end of.

But, the good news is, I get to share the valuable lessons I’ve learned with you guys, my dear readers 🙂

So, here are my five rules of casual dating.

1) Get out of denial 

The most important thing, before you do anything else, is to stop being in denial. How do I know this? Because I’ve lived it. Before I dubbed myself Queen of the Fries, I was Queen of Denial.

Yup, that's me.

Yup, that’s me.

Maybe this will lead somewhere. 

I remember telling myself that, because I had never been in a ‘casual’ relationship before. I’ve had one serious relationship prior to that. And it was the ‘right’ way to do things as far as I’d been brought up. You date so that you get into a relationship so that you build a future together. Makes sense, right?

Until I met this guy – charming, a killer smile, great dancer, impeccable manners, amazing way with words.

I wasn’t ready for a relationship at all. And anyway, he wasn’t relationship material. We had amazing chemistry and loads of fun together, but I couldn’t bring myself to admit I was ‘casually’ dating him. It just didn’t sit right in my books. I felt guilty for being involved with someone I don’t see a future with (thanks, Mom).

So what did I do instead? Convince myself that it would lead somewhere, and that it wasn’t going to be all in vain.

It’s like lying to yourself that these fries aren’t that unhealthy. (Yes, they are) or saying  I’ll have just one fry. (No, you won’t, nobody has ‘just one fry’).

Deep down, I already knew the truthI just refused to let myself believe it. 

So, the first step is to face the truth: 

You want to eat fries because they’re freakin’ delicious.

You want to date this guy because you want to have fun (or because he has nice abs, or whatever the reason).

It’s as simple as that. There’s no need to feel guilty,  or try to rationalize or justify it, or turn it into something else.

Just own it, and enjoy it. You’ll be surprised how liberating it feels to step out of denial.

Rule #2 here

Rule #3 here

Rule #4 here

Rule #5 here

Of Fries, Love, and Freedom

  1. Your skin is too dark
  2. Your arms are too flabby
  3. Your stomach isn’t flat enough
  4. If only you were taller
  5. Why can’t you be more feminine?
  6. Why did you pick that school? It’s not even a good school.
  7. You are too stubborn
  8. I don’t like your friends
  9. I don’t want you talking to that person again
  10. There’s something not right in your head
  11. You only got that promotion because your boss is a man
  12. You can’t travel to that place
  13. Your dream job is stupid, it doesn’t even pay well
  14. You are too outgoing
  15. You need to change your eating habits
  16. You are stupid
  17. You have this f*cked up idea about how you want to live your life, and no guy is ever going to be okay with it

That was a list of things said to me by the men I’ve dated throughout my life. There’s probably more on that list but I’ve stopped remembering after a while. It’s funny because the things on that list used to make cry. But now I am laughing as I write them.

I am laughing because I don’t remember why it had upset me so much before. I don’t remember that girl who cried over it. The girl who clung onto every word that was said to her, and tried to change herself in every possible way to please some guy.

I am also laughing because, come on, that list is just silly! “You are too outgoing”? What does that even mean?

Most of all, I am laughing because all of those things were said to me in the name of ‘love’.

But that list definitely wasn’t love. It was someone’s need for control, stemming from insecurity, intimidation, or whatever that guy’s childhood trauma was.

So what is this fancy thing called ‘love’, anyway?

Well, I don’t know. But if I had to define ‘love’ in my own terms, then for me, love is freedom. Freedom to be myself. Freedom to make my own choices. Freedom to just… be.

And so that girl stopped crying and pulled herself together. She walked away from these men and their opinions. She started to love herself more, rather than trying to please someone else. Ever since then, she made a promise to never give up her freedom in the name of ‘love’.

On a lighter note, I was also asked (in the name of love) to stop eating fries. I’m glad I didn’t stop, otherwise this blog might not have been created 🙂

Image

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.