Of Fries and How To Be In The Relationship of Your Dreams (3 of 3)

Lesson #1 here. Lesson #2 here.

Lesson #3 Embracing the ‘V’ Word

Get your mind out of the gutter, guys. The ‘V’ word I’m talking about here is Vulnerability. Did anyone have some kind of physical reaction just from seeing this word? For me, this word makes my stomach churn. After so many failed relationships, it was way easier to put up a guard.

In the last couple of years, I only allowed myself to be in casual relationships, or relationships that I knew had no future. This way, I could still keep my guard. I didn’t have to be exposed to potentially being heartbroken, since I knew the relationships weren’t going to work out anyway.

But you know what happens when you keep your guard up? Sure, I managed to block out the ‘hurt’, but it also meant that the positive stuff got blocked out. My guard prevented me from melting when the men I dated showered me with compliments. It stopped me from spending the night cuddled up in their arms. And the biggest thing – it stopped me from opening up my heart and letting love in.

When a friend suggested that perhaps I should try being “vulnerable”, I almost threw up. Really – it felt like she had just punched me in the gut. No – actually, it felt worse. It was like she reached down to my guts and pulled the whole damn thing out! Being vulnerable? This word was never ever in my dictionary. How the hell does a person be vulnerable? I decided to ask the internet, and that was pretty much the question I typed into google. A TED talk by Brene Brown came up. By the way if you guys haven’t seen it, you totally should.

She describes vulnerability as the willingness to say, “I love you” first… the willingness to invest in a relationship that may or may not work out.

Yikes. Another punch in the gut. I hated the sound of all of it.

But the truth is…  here I was, wanting to be in love.. and so I thought to myself: if this V word is the key, then I’ll freakin’ try it out.

And I did.

The first thing I did was sign up to an online dating site. It was one of those real deal we-help-you-find-true-love dating sites where you had to pay and answer like a hundred questions.

Now, to some of you that might not seem like a big deal. But for me – someone who takes pride in showing the world that she’s tough and doesn’t need love – this was equivalent to admitting defeat. Hello, vulnerability!

I didn’t find love via an online dating site. (You can read about how I found love here if you haven’t already). But it played a huge part in helping me embrace the V word, and that’s what led me to finding love.

When I tell people the story of how I asked my boyfriend out, the common response is “Wow, you’re so brave!”

I can assure you that it wasn’t bravery. It was vulnerability – the willingness to put myself out there, despite knowing that there’s a chance I might get rejected.  And boy am I glad I took that risk!

So what about you guys – where are you at with embracing the V word?

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Of Fries and How To Be In The Relationship of Your Dreams (1 of 3)

As promised, I’m here to share three lessons I learned on how to be in the relationship of your dreams. For those of you who haven’t been following the journey of how I met the perfect man, you can do so here.

One of the most valuable things I got out of my self-development course (Landmark) is that I am responsible for my life. That I not only have a say, but I actually have THE say in how my life goes. And that if something isn’t working, I have the power to do something about it. So for those of you who cringe at the word ‘responsibility’, here’s a head’s up: Everything I’m about to say will be based on the notion that YOU are responsible for creating the kind of life (and relationship) you want. And look, I’m not saying it’s the truth. I get that sometimes things happen that are beyond our control. However, ‘responsibility’ is a place to stand, and it will give you more power to live your life as the ‘CAUSE’ of it, rather than at the effect of it.

On that note, here’s the first lesson:

Lesson #1 Admitting that you don’t ‘know’ everything

I used to know everything. Like every single thing. I knew exactly what kind of man I was looking for. I knew what he should be doing for a living. I knew that he wouldn’t be Indian. I knew where we would live. I even knew what our lives would look like – we would have dogs and no kids. We wouldn’t get married. We wouldn’t own a house.

Man, that’s a lot of knowing, isn’t it? At that time I didn’t see how ‘limiting’ it was to KNOW everything. I thought I was so smart! But it turns out by me ‘knowing’ everything, it was equivalent to putting myself in a box. Not only that, I was also trying to put whoever I was dating inside a box – I had to make him fit into what I already knew.

When I started falling for and dating Mr V, I had to confront the fact that this wasn’t at all what I ‘knew’. He wasn’t the kind of guy I knew to date, yet it felt so right and he made me so happy. What’s more, I started to want all those things I ‘knew’ I didn’t want. I remember Mr V asked me on our 2nd date if I wanted kids, and to my surprise, I didn’t respond with a No. I was slowly breaking out of my own box, and it was so liberating to not know for a change!

So I invite you guys to give up that you know everything. In fact, give up that you know ANYTHING. Life is full of discoveries and surprises, and you might meet the man of your dreams if you come out of your box 🙂

Lesson #2 here

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Of Fries, The Perfect Brunch, and The Perfect Man Part V (Final)

Part I here. Part II here. Part III here. Part IV here.

I said what I had to say, and then sat there in silence. The ball was now in his court. He turned to look at me and said “Okay, well I think you’re really great and cute too..” I held my breath waiting for a BIG ‘but’. “And,” he continued, “I’d like to see where this goes too”. I nearly jumped with joy! In fact, my initial response was that of disbelief. I responded with “Really??”

The next day, we agreed to go for a bite after our class. There weren’t many places opened at that hour, so we settled for McDonald’s. I was more nervous than usual, and I knew it was because I really liked Mr. V and wanted it to work.

I made a joke about how when our mutual friend offered to set him up on a date, I was almost tempted to blow off the whole thing and not say anything to him. His response was that while he was glad I didn’t do that, he was still interested in exploring the world of dating. He asked if I would be okay with that, and I’ll admit it stung a little, but I played it cool and responded with “Yeah, sure”. He asked if I wanted him to tell me when he went on dates. I said I did. Then he asked if I would do the same. I told him he didn’t need to worry about that because I wasn’t interested in dating anyone else.

Eventually we moved on to other topics, and all in all we had a good time, but when I came home that night, I knew I wasn’t okay.

The next day, what he said still weighed heavily on me and I couldn’t let it go. I asked him to call me when he could, and when he did, I told him I wasn’t okay with this arrangement. I gave him two choices: Either be all in, or we stay friends. There was a moment of silence, and I could tell he was caught off guard by this ultimatum. He said he liked me a lot and really wanted to explore where things could go with me, but that he also needed to be true to himself. With that said, he chose being friends.

I was extremely disappointed, but again pretended to be cool. For the rest of the day, I kept wondering whether I did the right thing. I had broken up with men before, and each time I had been sad and hurt, but I was not familiar with such sense of loss and disappointment. It didn’t make any sense for me to be this upset – we hadn’t even started dating yet!

Later that night, we both realized there were things left unsaid, so we spoke on the phone again.

He asked me what I was afraid of, and I told him I didn’t want to re-live my past of being with men who dated different girls at the same time. I said I was done with all that, and I wanted to be in a committed relationship now.

He said he didn’t want to have multiple partners, and that he was looking for a committed relationship too. He also said he wasn’t dating anyone at the moment and reassured me that the connection he had with me exceeded what he’s had so far with other girls. And that I could be the one. But I was asking him to sign an exclusivity contract and we haven’t even started dating yet. That wasn’t something he was comfortable doing at this stage.

When he put it that way, it got me thinking. He was absolutely right. Why was I forcing him into an exclusive relationship when we haven’t even been on a first date? And why was I already approaching this from a relationship context? We were just starting to date. The whole point of dating is to get to know one another and see if we want to take things forward. Why did I want to skip all that?

I realized it was all to do with my fears and insecurities. I was afraid of losing him, and so the only thing I could think to do was to ‘lock’ him into a relationship. When I understood what I was doing, I wanted to laugh because I’ve dated guys who had tried to get me to commit from the very start, and I had pushed them away saying they were too clingy and desperate. Now I was doing the exact same thing.

Once I came to this realization, I immediately felt lighter. I told him I understood where he was coming from and that he was right. I took back my ultimatum and asked that we revisit this conversation again – perhaps in a month’s time – to which he agreed.

And so he took me out on our first official date.

He met me at the train station and held my hand as we walked towards the bar he picked. I usually try to keep physical contact to the minimum on first dates, but it felt natural and comfortable to hold his hand, so I didn’t object.

We got a table in a more quiet and private corner of the bar. It was perfect because we could talk without having to shout over the music, but still could hear the music and had direct view of the live band.  We talked about all sorts of things, danced a bit, and every now and then he would place his hand on my knee. It was by far the best date I’ve had.

At one point when we were both quiet, I turned and asked him “What are you thinking about?” To which he responded with “Why don’t I show you?” and proceeded to kiss me.

Now, I was never one to believe in magical, fairy tale-like kisses. In fact, I found first kisses to be awkward and sloppy. But… that kiss… I kid you not – it was the best kiss I’ve had in my entire life.

I used to ask couples how they knew they were right for each other, and always heard the same response: “You just know”. I never understood what they meant by that.

That night, I finally understood. As my head rested on his shoulders after that fairy tale-like kiss, I just knew. It was weird and crazy and surreal – at the same time exhilarating and magical.

Our second date was a week later and equally wonderful – he took me on a motorcycle ride and a stroll along the beach, followed by food and ice-cream 🙂

While I was over the moon, I couldn’t help but wonder if he was dating other girls. He said he would be honest with me, and he hasn’t said anything up until then, so I guess there was nothing to worry about. But there was a part of me that was scared. I was falling hard for this man and a part of me wanted to hold back because there was a possibility that he’d hit it off with someone else.

A couple of days after our second date, he said he needed to talk to me and pulled me aside after class. He looked me straight in the eyes, and said in a serious tone “I’m in”. I didn’t get what he meant, so I gave him a confused look and asked “In what?”. He repeated again “I’m in”. I still didn’t get what he was talking about. Finally, he said “This relationship. I’m in. I don’t want to be in it half-way anymore, I want to be in it fully”. I was so excited and I couldn’t contain myself!  “Reaallllllllllllllyyyy??” I squealed. “Yes, really” he said with a reassuring smile. He then took out his phone and deleted the Tinder app. In that moment, he made me the happiest girl alive.

And here we are, five months later, I’m still the happiest girl alive 🙂

I hope you guys enjoyed reading my story, and rest assured there are more stories to follow.

In the next blog post, I’ll be sharing lessons I learned on how to be in the relationship of your dreams. Stay tuned!

Of Fries, The Perfect Brunch, and The Perfect Man Part IV

Part I here. Part II here. Part III here.

First of all, I have to apologize for disappearing. I could blame it on the holidays, but that’s really not the reason why I didn’t write. The real reason I didn’t write was because I was afraid. I was afraid my writing wouldn’t do justice to this amazing man I met. I was afraid my writing wouldn’t be..well.. perfect.

I had a conversation with someone about this, and he said something quite eye-opening for me. He said perfection exists when you have a barometer in which you measure it, usually against a precedent. But when you’re creating something new, there’s no precedent. How can you measure something that’s never been created before? By which standards would you measure it against? And if you can’t measure it, how can perfection exist?

The conversation happened so casually, but it’s one of those conversations I know I’d never forget because it completely altered the way I view the writing process.

Anyway, let’s get back to the story, shall we?

After I broke it off with T, my attraction towards Mr V started to grow. I remember an instance where we were talking, and I couldn’t hear a word he was saying because I was too distracted by his lips and kept picturing what it would be like to kiss him. I also recall gazing into his brown eyes as he was talking, and feeling like I was completely drawn to them. To him.

This was a really weird experience for me. It’s only been a month or so since we started talking, yet the attraction was so strong. And it wasn’t just lustful or superficial. There was more to it than physical attraction. In that split second, I knew I couldn’t dismiss it without exploring what “this” was. Only problem was, did he feel the same way too?

I knew he liked blondes. It came up in one of our conversations. In fact, there was a girl he’d been talking to. She was blonde. And a nurse. There was no way I could compete with that!

Don’t get me wrong, I know I can flirt and be charming. I could spend a bit more time getting to know him and figure out what makes him tick. It’s a strategy that’s worked well for me in the past. But I wasn’t interested in coming up with a plan to ‘charm’ Mr V. I didn’t want this to be another one of my ‘missions’ i.e. get the guy to fall for me and once he does – mission accomplished. I was genuinely interested in Mr V, and I really wanted him to like me. Without the seduction, without the flirtation, just me.

Over the next few weeks, we continued to meet in class. We talked on the phone every now and then, and he sometimes gave me a ride to the train station after class. One night while giving me a ride, he showed me a photo of a girl that he was planning to go on a date with. I took a quick look at her photo and almost squealed with excitement. She had dark skin and black hair – in fact she looked Indian or similar. If he’s dating Indian-looking girls, then I definitely have a chance! And, the best part, I looked way cuter than her! There was a part of me that was a bit annoyed though. If he was willing to date her, then surely he could date me – so why hasn’t he asked me out already??

That date didn’t end up happening, and I silently celebrated when I found out. At the same time, I realized he could easily find another date. Worse yet, what if they hit it off? What would I do then? Stay in the friend zone and wait around for him to realize he wanted me all along? I definitely didn’t want to go down that path. So, what was I going to do about it? Since charm and flirtation were off the table, there was really only one way: Yep, I have to actually tell him how I feel. Oh gosh. As much as it made me cringe and turned my stomach into knots, I knew there was no other way. I had to tell him, and I had to do it soon.

2 weeks, 1 overseas trip, a million pep talks from my friends and sisters, and 2 tattoos later, I finally mustered the courage to send him the “let’s talk” message. I said I had something to tell / ask him, and that I’d like to do it face to face. We would be meeting at the leadership course that night, so we agreed to talk afterwards.

At the end of the night, he said he’d give me a ride so we could talk in the car. As we headed out to the parking lot, we stopped to have a conversation with some mutual friends, one of which said to Mr V “Hey, aren’t you like looking for a date? I’ve got this friend I’d love to set you up with!” I was horrified but of course pretended to be cool. I stood there thinking Damn it, can you guys just shut up!

Luckily he didn’t seem all that excited by the idea, and we finally walked towards his car. I started rambling on about random things – which is what I do when I’m nervous.

We get to his car, and here I am, fidgeting in the passenger’s seat, my hands are clammy, my heart is racing a thousand miles an hour, and my stomach is doing cartwheels. He, on the other hand, appears to be calm and collected as he slowly drives out of the parking lot. I try my best at pretending to be cool and in the process make a random joke – to which he responds with a light chuckle.

In my head, I work up the courage to tell him, and then talk myself out of it, over and over again. This goes on for what seems like hours, until he interrupts my thought process “So, let’s get this difficult conversation out of the way”, he says. “Difficult conversation?” I ask, still trying to play it cool. “Well, you said there’s something you wanted to tell me. What is it?”, he asks. Shit, quick, make something up! I can’t think of anything, so what comes out of my mouth is a bunch of Ums and Uhs. I mentally kick myself in the butt and decide to go for it.

“Okay so”, I start off “I know we don’t know each other that well yet… “ I pause and take a deep breath. No turning back now. “…but from what I know of you so far… I really like” I continue talking and avoid any eye contact with him “So, I just wanted to say that I like you.. I think you’re cute..  and I’d love to see where this goes…” I can feel my face turning red  “Anddddd .. that’s it… I’m gonna shut up now” I quickly finish up, still avoiding eye contact. OMG. I can’t believe I did it. I hold my breath and wait for his response.

Final part here

Of Fries, The Perfect Brunch, and The Perfect Man Part III

Part I here.  Part II here.

Ironically, I had started dating an Indian guy at the time. Let’s call him T.

T approached me on the street as I was walking home one night. I was thrown off guard and didn’t find him particularly attractive, and it didn’t help that he was Indian. But he seemed harmless, and I’d just been on two bad dates in a row, so I figured I had nothing to lose and gave him my number.

We exchanged some messages and he sounded like a decent guy, so I gave it a shot and went on a date with him. If I was being really honest with myself, I was kind of hoping it was one of those scenes from a movie where one finds love in the most bizarre, random way. I mean, what a cool story to tell people that I found love on the street- literally! I had already created this perfect story in my head, with a fairy-tale happy ending – all before I even started dating him.

In a way, it’s like I was idealizing an order of fries – imagining how heavenly they would taste, thinking these would be the perfect fries – before even actually having a taste.

So we went on a date. Although we had a good conversation, there was no chemistry on my part. The fries didn’t taste as good as I imagined them to. But…. I really wanted to believe in that story. I wanted him to be the perfect fries. So I continued dating T, with the hopes that I’ll wake up one day and the ‘feeling’ will hit me. Except, each fry that I put in my mouth didn’t taste better than the previous one. Each date I went on with him didn’t change the way I felt.

Three weeks into the so-called relationship and I was frustrated, exhausted, and nowhere near to feeling anything. I didn’t even want him to kiss me.

During this three-week period, Mr V and I started talking. I guess after seeing him in a different light, I let my guard down and naturally became friendlier towards him. I even fessed up to him about why I’d been ignoring him. We started off talking about the leadership program, and the conversation flowed naturally onto other things. I was surprised to learn that we have a lot of things in common i.e. he too enjoys writing and poetry. We also began exchanging stories from our dating adventures.

I shared with him the whole situation with T. Our mutual friends encouraged me to push through and make it work, and I asked him what he thought. I remember his response so clearly because it made a huge difference to me. He said he comes from a school of thought that deep down, you know what you want. He also assured me that whatever I choose is the ‘right’ choice, and there is no ‘wrong’ choice. It was really just up to me.

What he said made me realized that I knew the answer all along. All I had to do was apply the lessons I’d learn from the past: trust my instinct, and if the fries don’t taste good, then I don’t have to force myself to finish it!

And with that, I broke it off with T. Although I was relieved and had no regrets about my decision, there was a part of me that started questioning myself. Am I just hopeless with relationships? Should I stop trying? Am I ever going to find that person?

Little did I know, that person was already right there 🙂

Part IV here

Of Fries, The Perfect Brunch, and The Perfect Man Part II

For those of you who read Part I and have been waiting to find out how the perfect brunch relates to meeting the perfect man…  here is Part II

It was March this year, and I had just enrolled into a seven-month leadership program. On day one, I see this skinny, average-looking Indian man (let’s call him Mr V). He was wearing glasses, a light-pink, long sleeve button-down shirt, and black trousers. He had neck-length hair which he tied up into a smal pony tail. He appeared well-mannered and friendly. We exchanged a few polite words in the kitchen while he ate Daal (I assume that’s what it was) from his lunchbox.

During those few seconds of interacting with him, I was busy mentally assessing him and had decided that he was one of those goody-two-shoes, entitled Indian boy. And what was up with him being so nice and helpful? Who’s he trying to impress? Not to mention the fact that I had a no-Indian men policy. Dated them before and it’s pretty much been a no-go zone for the past 10 years.

My cocky self also decided that since Indian men tend to fall for me (well, is it considered cocky if it’s true? :P), I’d better not interact with this guy much or he might think he has a chance.

So I spent the next four months of the program pretty much ignoring him. It was a class of about 20 people, and I was friendly towards everyone except him. I was civil towards him and exchanged pleasantries, but I made sure our conversations never lasted longer than a minute, and that we were never seated next to each other.

Everyone seemed to like him and only had good things to say about him – which annoyed me even more because come on, don’t they know that no one is that great? He could be a sociopath for all we know!

Fast forward to one fine day in July.

It’s 10 minutes before class and I’m walking through the hallway to get to class. Mr V was standing there, and I almost didn’t recognize him because he had gotten a haircut. When I finally realized that it was him, I could feel my jaws drop. He looked so good I literally could not stop staring at him!

Not surprisingly, I started taking more notice of him from that day on and found myself being impressed by the things he’d share in class. I began to see him as a nice person, and now that I saw him as attractive, my cockiness disappeared and was replaced by insecurity and doubts. He probably has girls throwing themselves at him. Plus, he’s a nice guy. I’m not a nice girl so he probably wouldn’t want to date me anyway. He’s probably looking for a meek Indian girl to become his house-wife, and that’s definitely not my cup of tea.

Fine, I’ll admit he’s nice and cute (and has a reallllly nice butt!), but there was no way it was going to work out between us. All he can be is my eye-candy when I’m in class.

During this time, I’ve come off my 6-month men-tox and started dating again.

Part III here.

Of Fries, The Perfect Brunch, and The Perfect Man Part I

A year ago, I did a self-development program – Landmark – which completely altered the course of my life and opened up a whole new world for me. From being someone who was unfulfilled and constantly trying to find the ‘next’ thing that would make me happy, I was able to create a happy and fulfilling life I didn’t have to escape from.

A key part of creating a life I love included being totally honest with myself about what I want. And so I had to cough up – to myself and others- that while I kept saying I love being single, deep down I was just scared and I actually did want to be in a relationship.

So, as I mentioned in my last post, I started dating again. This time, it wasn’t just to pass time or have more stories to tell – but to have the kind of relationship I’ve always wanted. For those who have been following my blog, you know that I haven’t had a lot of success in this area. But I’m about to say (type) something very radical: I’m thrilled to report that I finally have a success story to share with you guys!

Let me tell you how it happened.

I’m a huge fan of brunch, and of course fries. The two don’t really seem to go together though, so my alternative for fries that I can justify eating for brunch is hash browns.

There are tons of cafes in my neighbourhood, and in over a year of being in the area, I’ve tried a few cafes, and narrowed down to only 2 cafes that served great brunch.  My definition of a ‘perfect brunch’ consists of: scrambled eggs, avocado, grilled tomato, mushrooms, spinach, avocado, and as I said, hash browns.

Neither of these 2 cafes served hash browns though, and I’ve googled cafes in the area which serve hash browns (yes, that’s how desperate I was), and found none to my disappointment. Anyhow, I would alternate between these 2 cafes as there wasn’t one café that had everything I wanted on one plate, let alone have hash browns.

There’s this one café which is also walking distance from my place, and I often walked pass, but never paid attention to. I’ve read a few good reviews about it, but each time I passed by, I got this feeling that it ‘wasn’t my style’. The place just didn’t have the usual ‘vibe’ I look for in a brunch place. So I never thought to give it a try in the one year or so that I’ve lived in the area.

Not long ago, I woke up and went for a walk while deciding where to have brunch between the 2 cafes. I wasn’t too hungry, so I kept walking along and came across this particular café. Instead of walking pass, for some reason that day I stopped in front of the café. They had outdoor seating which I love, and I was surprised I didn’t notice it before. I decided I might as well go in and take a look at the menu. So I walked towards the counter inside the cafe, picked up the menu and there it was:

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Everything I wanted – all on one plate! Even the hashbrown! I almost couldn’t contain my excitement as I sat in that lovely café and devoured the best brunch I’ve had in a year.

So that’s how I found my perfect brunch 🙂

I’ve probably left you wondering how on earth this relates to my success in dating, didn’t I? I promise I’ll bridge it for you, but before I do that, I’d like to hear from you guys. What did you see, and what lessons can you take away from my perfect brunch incident?

Part II here

Of Fries And Discovering Patterns

I was reading through my old diary entries recently, and realized two things:

ONE: I was such a DORK!!
TWO: Every single diary entry had something to do with boys. Like literally e-v-e-r-y one of them. I would blab on about my “crush” in each entry, and somehow managed to constantly find new boys to ‘crush’ on and write about.

I was 11 years old when I had my first crush. He was an American boy who came to visit for a while. When he went back to the US, I went through great lengths to get his address and sent him a love poem (which I composed), only to get back a ‘let’s be friends’ note. I was heartbroken, but I got over it pretty quickly when I met my second crush at the age of 12.

Crush #2 was the first guy who ever rang me. Back then we were still using home phones. We would arrange a time for him to call every day, and I would wait by the phone at that exact time. If someone else (like my grandma) happened to pick up the phone, he would hang up and keep calling again until I was the one who answered. I still remember my family discussing a ‘prank caller’ who kept calling at 6 pm. Oops.

We hardly got to meet because I was too young to go out on my own (according to my parents). After a short period, it became difficult to sustain a ‘relationship’ only through phone calls, and even more difficult for both of us to be free at the same time everyday. So things started to fade. Also possibly because I met my new crush.

From ages 13-15, I had a series of crushes. One of them had dimples. One was tall and played basketball. Another was someone I met in an online chat room. My diary entries were a roller coaster of emotions from “yay, he talked to me today!”, to “he hates me.. I want to die :(” I wrote poems about each one, wrote their names and drew hearts around, took candid photos of them and taped them to my diaries. You would think I was some kind of serial killer if you saw my diaries!

When I was 16, I finally had my first real date. I remember we went to the movies, and this guy who was 4 years older than me had “forgotten” his wallet. I paid for his ticket and mine. Halfway through the movie, he turned to kiss me. It was my first kiss and unlike what I saw in movies, there were no fireworks, no sparks, no butterflies, no nothing. It was just awkward and sloppy and unromantic. I remember feeling horrible as though my first kiss had been “stolen”.

That relationship only lasted for two months. We got together on Valentine’s Day, and broke up on April fools day 😀

After him, I met a guy who would become my first ever infatuation and obsession. We went on a few dates and spoke on the phone, but he wasn’t looking for something serious – which at that time I didn’t understand. I wasn’t (and still am not) good at taking ‘No’ for an answer, so I spent the next few years making it my “mission” to win him over. I bought him gifts, did chores for him (I went over to his shop and mopped the floor for him!), called him everyday, wrote him love letters. I was one desperate chick.

Until I met someone else at the age of 19. He was my first real boyfriend, and we were together until I was 24.

After we broke up, I had a couple of rebounds, and one of them became my second obsession. Let’s call him frenchie. Many of my blog posts are about him. Of Side Orders and Casual Relationships,  Of Unavailable Fries and Men, and  Of ‘Limited Time’ Fries And Men, to name a few.

When I turned 25, I decided I need to get over frenchie, and so I got myself into possibly the worst relationship of my life. I wrote about him in Of Fries and Trusing Your Instincts and Of Fries And Hope.

I wasn’t even 26 when I got back to my obsession with frenchie, and it became this on and off thing for about a year. During this time I also dated a few other men, since my thing with frenchie wasn’t exclusive.

Last year I was 27, and went through a series of short-term relationships. Some were more intense than others, but they all had one thing in common: they weren’t going anywhere. 

In my quest for ‘love’, I had gone from trying to find the man of my dreams, to thinking I had found him, to believing there was no such man and that I would be better off just having fun with men whom I saw no future with.

I turned 28 yesterday, and it dawned on me that I haven’t been free of men for nearly two decades!

I tried to think of a reason behind this.

Is it an act of rebellion? I grew up in a strict household and it was an unspoken rule from the day I was born that the guy you date is the guy you marry. It seems like I was rebelling, but then I was writing my first name with these guys’ last names, so I must have been thinking about marriage to some degree?

Is it a way to escape? I wasn’t happy with the way things were at home, and maybe being obsessed with these guys gave me something to ‘escape’ to / daydream about?

Is it low self esteem and constant need to be liked?

Maybe it’s all of the above and more, I don’t know. All I know is after having discovered this pattern in my life, I am more determined than ever to break the pattern.

I think now is a good time to focus on me and on doing all the things I want to do – without being worried about whether or not I have someone to ‘crush’ on.  That’s my resolution for 2015 and the years to come.

Another resolution is to cut down on my other obsession: fries.

You must be wondering what would become of this blog if I was cutting down on fries and men. Hah! I guess you’ll have to stay tuned to find out 🙂

What about you guys, what patterns have you discovered about yourself and your love life?

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Of Fries And F*ck the Rules

I had an enlightening conversation today with J – over fries of course 😉

We were talking about how sometimes women hold back even though we’re interested in a guy, because we believe we should follow a set of ‘rules’ or ‘steps’ in dating. Rules like ‘no kissing on first dates’, or ‘no spending the night at his place’, or ‘no sex until the third date’ or ‘never text him first’, you get the drift. The list goes on and on.

A lot of these rules are carved in our brains through magazines, books, relationship blogs, friends, mothers, and hairdressers. We have the rules memorized, we recite them before going on a date (do *not* go home with him!), and we refer back to them throughout the course of the date.

For example, suppose I’m on a first date, and there’s this perfect moment where we are both sitting under the stars, and the guy leans over for a kiss. My immediate reaction would probably be to pull away even if I wanted to kiss him, because in that split second I have consulted my rulebook and Heaven forbid if I were to kiss him, I would be letting my hairdresser down!

I’ve never really questioned these rules or given much thought to them. They were just something you followed because you’re supposed to.

But J said something today that really made me think:

‘You’ll always have different dynamics and connection with each person you meet, which is why it doesn’t make sense to apply the same set of rules to everyone. That’s not how dating works.’

And J is completely right. By following certain rules, you’re preventing yourself from reacting spontaneously to someone based on how they make you feel. There might be people you connect more with, which means you’ll behave differently towards them than you would with others, and that’s absolutely fine.

Just like it’s absolutely fine to eat your fries whichever way you want. J had his with ketchup, while I had mine with mustard – yum 🙂

Of Fries And Being Fearless

So recently I had a ‘last date’ with this guy I’ve been seeing. Relax, he didn’t die or anything (thank God!). It was our last date because I was leaving the city.

Before I tell you how our last date went, let me first tell you that he’s the same guy whose text I was waiting for. He’s also the same guy who made me realize I may want more. And the same guy I was holding back from.

Looking back at these posts, there seems to be a pattern in terms of my thought & behavior. I get insecure around him, perhaps because he’s quite secure with himself and seems to ‘have it all’. Or maybe it’s because he doesn’t get in touch with me as much as other men have (or as much as I’d like him to). Or because he’s the first nice & sane guy I’ve met in a long while. Or it could be that I actually like this guy (more than I’d like to admit). Well, I guess it’s all of the above.

Anyway, being insecure around a guy you like –> SUCKS. In case you haven’t experienced it, let me paint you a picture of what it’s like:

Every time he sends you a text, you spend hours decoding it with your girlfriends (picture a scene from CSI or House). And when he hasn’t texted, you spend hours wondering why (most of the time you automatically assume he’s with another girl).

When he asks you out, you’re excited but also wonder if it’s because the other girls on his list aren’t available. You then start panicking over the fact that you’ve been pigging out lately and now have nothing to wear. You finally pick your best dress after trying about a kazillion outfits, and manage to convince yourself that you look pretty.

When you do meet him, he’s even more attractive than you remember, and you forget how to speak English for a few minutes! You also now feel like the ugliest thing on earth and regret wearing that horrendous dress.

When you’re hanging out, you’re constantly analyzing everything he says to figure out if there’s a deeper meaning (OMG he just told me what he wants his daughter to be named. Does that mean he wants me to be the mom? OMG!)

And constantly worried that you’ll say the wrong thing so you stick to safe topics like animals and food (after all, who doesn’t love talking about dogs and tofu!)

So that pretty much sums up most of our dates. Not to say we didn’t enjoy ourselves, I mean, we did have good laughs. But there was always this fear at the back of my head that prevented me from really enjoying it. Fear of doing or saying something that will turn him off. Fear that he wouldn’t call me again. Simply put, fear of being rejected.

Our last date, though, turned out to be the best date we’ve had.

Why?

Because, for the first time, I didn’t have any fears or insecurities in my head. I guess it’s because I was leaving, so I didn’t really care how the date went. I was able to just relax and be myself, without worrying about what he said or what I said. We ended up talking for hours about all kinds of things – real things – not just dogs & tofu! I genuinely had a great time and I know he felt the same way.

It made me realize that in dating, you can never have a fulfilling experience if you spend your time worrying and over-analyzing. The same way you can never enjoy fries if you keep worrying about the calories while you’re eating them. So, ladies, get out there and be ‘fearless’ (as Taylor Swift puts it).

 

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