Do You Care What Others Think About Your Partner? (And What Does That Have To Do With Moths?)

“Seriously? She got back with him after I told her what a jerk he is. Doesn’t my opinion count for anything?”

You’re holding a dress in your hand at a department store when another customer (you haven’t met before) says, “Oh. My. God. I’ve never seen an uglier frock than that!” How likely are you to buy it now? How about if it’s your best friend whose fashion sense you trust implicitly?

Now substitute the dress for your recent boyfriend. (Male readers, just use a new car and your current chick!)

This is the psychology of a relationship that gets rather tricky, doncha think? Perhaps you insist it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks about the person you’re with because your opinion is the only one that matters. But if you suddenly become informed (or you inadvertently overhear, in the case of eavesdropping —  we don’t know ANYONE who does that, do we??) of negative feedback about your perspective mate, wouldn’t it subconsciously modify the way you feel, even if only slightly?

Disclaimer: So if you popped in for my typical lighthearted humor, you may be disappointed in today’s blog. If you decide to stay and read anyhow — let’s dig right in! Ready?

Once upon a time, I broke up with a certain ex. Many people (whose opinions I highly respected) couldn’t wait to tell me afterward that they experienced this particular ex as being totally arrogant, judgmental, and controlling. They ended by saying, “Congratulations, your split is for the best!” Now mind you, I hadn’t really noticed those traits in him, and our relationship ended for an entirely different set of reasons. Nevertheless, when a chance for reconciliation occurred (the other issues resolved) I found myself highly influenced, knowing so many friends and family found him to be such a revolting personality type — and I opted not to get back together.

Now….which is true? x) These family and friends were just attempting to make me feel better about the death of our coupleship by exaggerating their sentiments about him being so awful, so I wouldn’t mourn the loss so much?  y) That really WAS their accurate opinion of him and all those times they’d socialized with us, they were squelching it, figuring they’d spare my feelings for the sake of harmony?

The correct answer? z) I dunno. But these are the kinds of quandaries that contribute to my insomnia!

Here’s another example. Once upon a time, I was involved with a man that none of my six children cared for, and that’s putting it mildly. Was this simply because no child wants to see their mother with anyone but their father? Or should their strong reactions be taken into consideration and thought of as a red flag? For instance, it definitely crossed my mind that, “Gosh! Not just one, not just two, not just three . . .  but ALL six kids feel the exact same way about this guy! Gee, what are the odds??” (Okay some mathematician out there, please tell me!)

Then there was another (OUAT) “Once Upon a Time” tale. OUAT, I grew up in a Jewish household with a holocaust survivor father who made very clear to me from the time I was a young girl just how crucial it was I marry someone in our same faith. (Fiddler on the Roof musical, anyone?) I actually broke up with an individual of another religion (whom I was very attached to) to marry someone Jewish, solely to comply with their strong convictions. I can hear you saying . . . “And how’d that work out for ya?”

So those are some different (and true) scenarios that range in variation of intensity for how other people’s viewpoints of my relationships have impacted me. And if you think my tales are outlandish and I’m a minority in this dilemma, check out this study demonstrating that both men and women very much care about what others think of their choices right  HERE

I know what you’re thinking right about now, so don’t even bother to leave a comment. Here it is in a nutshell, right? “You’re an adult of sound mind. (Even though you call yourself “Little Miss Menopause.”) You should be living your life for you. And if you’re letting love be dictated by others, you’re sacrificing your own happiness for no reason whatsoever.” Close enough?  Or maybe you’re thinking this — “Someone who truly has your best interests at heart will love your partner, too. Why? Because you love him and because he makes you happy. Anyone who can’t fall in line to support your choice in mates is putting their own needs/desires/prejudices before what’s really important: Your Happiness.”  That sounds really astute — I’m definitely not deleting it in my final draft!

And now some subtler points to this whole mess, (after all, it’s only in a perfect world that people keep their big mouths shut!) because when someone close to you confides (for your own good, of course) what is objectionable about your potential partner (even if you decide to ignore it because it absolutely carries no weight) ——- You . . .

  • Can never unhear what you’ve already heard.
  • Will question your judgment. Can love really make you blind?
  • Are suddenly included in far less social engagements because people really don’t want to be around your partner.
  • Have to choose your words carefully when you vent or ask this friend for relationship advice because “they already tried to warn you . . . in vain.”
  • Will always remain hyper-vigilant looking for the flaws they originally pointed out to you, to see if they are somehow insidiously manifesting.
  • Will eventually wish your partner was an ugly frock (who even uses that term any more??) that you can just hang back on the rack in the department store, then casually back away.

I’ll leave you with one last OUAT situation.  OUAT, I had a roller-coaster, turbulent relationship where we literally broke up and got back together five different times. (Makeup sex aside, this was exhausting!) But each time we separated, my “well-meaning” friends came forward to list every miserable character defect they couldn’t stand about him. Each time he and I flew back into each other’s arms, they would sheepishly backpedal and withdraw their harsh judgements. Suddenly he was Mr. Wonderful again. My takeaway from this: He was flying back into my arms simply to restore his sterling reputation in our community.

And speaking of flying, if you liked the cockeyed “reasoning” I demonstrated with that previous conclusion, you’ll love my moth logic which goes a little something like this: I pick up a moth and command it to fly. Of course it flies. I pull off one wing and tell it to fly once more. It flies. I do this two more times. The moth continues to fly. I pull the last wing off and tell the moth to fly. Alas, the moth can no longer fly. Why not???  Because when I pull off all the wings, the moth became deaf!

And now the answer to the question posed in my title. Why does a moth have anything to do with other people’s opinions of your new partner? Because if they’re not attracted to your new flame (like a moth!) — they should just keep their big moth shut!

Dear Readers: Alright so I’m not a logician, a mathematician, (or even a mothematician!) but have you ever ended (or not started?) a relationship because of what close friends and family thought? Did you regret it?

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Are You a HSP? (Hint: If You Think That Means Hardware Software Programmer, You’re NOT!)

As mentioned in a previous post, I’ve recently navigated the world of online dating — but before I did, I studied up on all the acronyms and now know that LTR means Long Term Relationship, BDSM means Bondage Discipline Sadism Masochism (I think it should just be abbreviated with “OW!”) and FWB means Friends With Benefits. (I was hoping the latter offered medical and dental coverage, but alas it does not!)

So after describing myself in my profile as an “Intense writer who feels things very deeply!” — many men wrote asking, “Why don’t you just say you’re an HSP?”

Uh, because I never knew that was an actual thing!

A Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) is apparently found in 15 to 20% of the population–too many to be a disorder, but too few to be well understood. I’m not going to help you understand it right now either, but go HERE if you’d like to.  And go HERE if you enjoy taking tests to see if you fit the label. (But come back here! Because I’m a HSP and your leaving will surely hurt my feelings.)

Instead of educating you about these types of individuals, I’m just going to poke fun of myself for kinda being one. Oh and also this other anonymous random guy who had the misfortune of messaging me while he was apparently going through a bout of it himself — so now he’s being featured in my blog. Sorry Random Anonymous guy! Nothing personal.

All you really need to know to keep reading is that Highly Sensitive People (HSP) have above average manners!

MATCH.COM INBOX WITH 2 HSPs

HSP GUY: Good evening. I’m sorry for bothering you! Maybe you can respond when you get a moment, but if not, I totally understand and hope you have a nice life.

HSP ME: When you say, “but if not, I totally understand,” does that mean you don’t really like me that much, so it’s no big loss? Sorry if I’m bothering you when I ask for clarification on that.

HSP GUY: It just meant that I didn’t want to intrude. Sorry because it seems I already have!

HSP ME: I have a profile up here for the express purpose of meeting someone, so how could you intrude? Am I now intruding ON YOU by responding when you said you’d understand if I didn’t — which to me really means you could care less?

HSP GUY: Shouldn’t that be couldn’t care less? Sorry, I don’t mean to criticize, but I’m sensitive to getting phrases like that correct.

HSP ME: That’s quite alright — I’m as much of a grammar nazi as the next person, but perhaps a phone call would be less confusing. Here’s my number: ***-****.  Sorry if this text came too late at night, but I’m an insomniac.

HSP GUY: So sorry you can’t sleep. Anything I can do to help? Where are my manners? Here’s my number: ***-****

A week goes by.

MATCH.COM INBOX WITH 2 HSPs

HSP GUY: I guess you lost interest. You didn’t call me.

HSP ME: Sorry, I didn’t want to disturb you in case that was your work number and I thought you were calling me.

HSP GUY: May I call you now?

HSP ME: Please.

HSP GUY: Thank you.

HSP ME: You’re welcome.

HSP GUY: Do you mean I’m welcome to call you now? Or you’re just being polite and saying “You’re welcome” because I said, “Thank you?”

PHONE CALL WITH 2 HSPs

HSP ME: Hi! I figured I’d may as well reach out first, since we keep getting caught in a giant web of considerateness.

HSP GUY: Yes, sorry. I’ve been told that I read a little too much into things. Thank you for reaching out.

HSP ME: That always makes me think of that song,  “Hands….touching hands….reaching out…..”

HSP GUY: “Sweet Caroline!” Wow. We both know Neil Diamond. I think that’s a sign we should meet. Unless of course you hate Neil Diamond, and then maybe that’s a sign we shouldn’t?

HSP ME: Neil Diamond was recently diagnosed with Parkinson’s. I’m sorry. I hope that didn’t just depress you.

HSP GUY: I’m sorry, but you do seem like kind of a Debbie Downer.

HSP ME: I’m sorry. Well, nice talking with you. I’m gonna let you hang up first since I called you first.

HSP GUY: No, you hang up first.  I wouldn’t want the noise to hurt your ears.

HSP ME: No you hang up first. Okay thank you for offering to let me hang up first — my ears are highly sensitive.

HSP GUY: Please don’t hang up. I’m sorry. I was only joking about the Debbie Downer stuff.

HSP ME: I’m sorry, but I believe that in every joke there’s a grain of truth.

HSP GUY: Sorry, but aren’t you over-reacting just a tad? Or sorry — maybe I’m overreacting myself to your grain of truth statement? At any rate, I am deeply sorry.

HSP ME: I’m sorry to have to say this — but it’s not going to work out with two people who are always apologizing and being so polite and sensitive and just constantly too … ugh . . .  too NICE!

HSP GUY: I’m sorry, but too nice? I knew it, I just knew it. I’m a Highly Perceptive Person (HPP) and could totally sense from your photo (and that hair!) …  that you’re into BDSM and are only looking for FWB and not a LTR.

HSP ME: Wait! So now there’s an HPP also? Is that a thing too?

HSP GUY: Sorry, but it most definitely is. (LOUD CLICK!)

HSP ME: Hello? Hello? OW! That really hurt my highly sensitive ears.

READERS: DO YOU KNOW A HSP? WOULD YOU ADMIT TO BEING ONE? IS IT TERRIBLE OR WONDERFUL? DON’T WE MAKE EXCELLENT WRITERS???

What’s DRIVING Your Relationship? (Odd Advice For Couples, Thinly Disguised as Car Talk!)

 

Gentlemen (and Ladies!) . . . Start your engines!

SHOULD YOU CARPOOL DOWN LOVER’S LANE?

  1. BE VERY SELECTIVE: If you’re letting someone inside your car, it’s like being with every single person they’ve ever driven with before you! Which often leads to becoming . . .
  2. A NON-DRIVER: There are other perfectly good modes of transportation like the subway, biking, or walking. Even rollerblading can be fun solo.
  3. DRIVER’S TRAINING: You’ve had your license for years now and this isn’t your first time circling around the block, but the rules of the road may have changed and who knows, it could be a rebuilt motor this time with extremely rare, hard-to-find parts! Take courses, read books, and google, “Better communication skills.” This will go a long way to preventing totaling your vehicle in a serious crash.
  4. TRUNK: This can be the most dangerous part of a car and if you’re embarking on a trip (thru life!) with a new carpool partner, I see nothing wrong with requesting them to remove their baggage from the trunk before you start the ignition. Just politely ask to open up their luggage for inspection. I’m not saying to screen like TSA security does at the airport, but if there are some major causes for flat-tires zipped up tightly in a side compartment of one of their suitcases, it’s best to find out early on. (Always carry a jack and a lug wrench just in case.) Better yet, offer to unpack your baggage first. There! Isn’t that freeing?
  5. STEERING WHEEL: Pay attention to who’s taking the wheel during your joint cross-country road-trip. Control “freaks” come in many different forms. Some (like me!) just feel better when they have some power and control over themselves — preferring to fuel up their own gas tank and choosing when/where/how and why to have a tune-up or fix needed repairs. However beware that other overly-controlling individuals will extend the life of the warranty to cover all of YOU….bumper to bumper! Be careful because their motto usually is, “It’s MY way or the Highway!”
  6. GEARS: Don’t shift too soon or too fast because you might pop the clutch, throttle the relationship, or permanently stall out. Seriously, where’s the race? If the spark-plugs are in good working order, and the entire electrical system is obviously functioning well, I’d suggest coasting in neutral until you make sure passenger and driver are making a smooth automatic transmission together. If I were a BMW (Beware Men/Women!) dealer, I’d recommend for optimum performance, waiting 3-4 months before implementing the pistons and cylinders. The internal combustion you’ll experience if you delay using these parts will be a power-boosting propulsion system like no other! If you MUST shift into overdrive early on, at least use a seatbelt for protection.
  7. HITCHHIKERS: This is simple. Just don’t ever pick ANYONE up on the side of the road. The last thing you need is either of your mothers or “well-meaning” friends, siblings, or children along for THIS ride!
  8. HEATING OR AIR-CONDITIONING?: Okay, this is where all the car metaphors come to a screeching halt! Real life advice here, because this topic will make or break your relationship faster than you can google, “What’s Considered Normal Room Temperature?” And if it’s not settled before you climb between the sheets, those sheets will be flying on and off the bed all night long. So decide now…..does your engine tend to run better warm or cold?
  9. STEREO:  Keep an open mind and don’t have too many preset radio stations. And for goodness sake, don’t keep pushing all your driver’s buttons. And don’t immediately reject an 8-track or cassette player because you may be dealing with a classic chassis, the value of which is not immediately apparent.
  10. HAZARDS: Don’t put yours on. Nobody else on the street needs to be alerted with flashing lights if you’re experiencing driving difficulties. Go down a private road!
  11. REAR VIEW MIRROR: She’s not gonna be real happy if this is the angle you’re constantly focused on.
  12. HORN: I wouldn’t be constantly tooting your own if I were you.
  13. GPS: The end destination is not the point, it’s how well you follow directions! Signal well in advance if you change lanes so you don’t cut anyone off. And no sudden U-Turns if you change your mind. Just tell your driver you’re carsick and ask to be let off in a well-lit safe area on the side of the road, and thank them for the lift thus far.
  14. YOUR MILEAGE MAY VARY: But if you keep passing by all the exits (even though your low fuel indicator icon has ominously lit up!) that’s probably a good sign you want to run out of gas with this person forever — and your relationship gets the green light to accelerate. Now you should Merge carefully together out of oncoming traffic and avoid going near your local DMV(Divorce/Mediation/Victim).

Good luck and Drive safely!

 

Are You Out There? I Imagine You Are . . .

When I log in to write a new post here, it’s like putting a message in a bottle and tossing it out to sea. Maybe nobody will ever read one single word, and therefore it’s as if I haven’t written anything at all.  Or maybe a certain someone (that the bottle was secretly meant for!) will be be surfing (the ocean or the internet?) and analyze it closely, looking for hidden codes or puzzling underlying messages to decipher and then act on what they’ve read between the lines and track me down in the real world. Maybe they’ll find my phone number and call me with important similarities that can’t be just coincidences. Maybe . . .

So these words are for YOU . . . I imagine you’re out there somewhere and things will go down just like this:

  1. You’re a woman around my age who always longed for a sister. My weird words make you laugh and you strongly identify with things like chronically being out of style, becoming a librarian who shouts instead of whispers, and recreating slumber parties you didn’t get invited to as a teen where you stay up all night and eat Twinkies while doing impersonations of Rizzo in Grease singing, “Look at Me, I’m Sandra Dee. You’ll leave me a comment and we’ll plan to meet on a cruise ship to Alaska because….well because we’ve both always wanted to dance on a glacier.

  2. You’re a single guy who finds my wordplay to be foreplay. My puns, double entendres, and euphemisms drive you to distraction. When you read my work, you fantasize about having unprotected syntax, premature articulation, and propositioning me with prepositions. If you peruse my blog at your office, you’ll urgently need to take a break in the lunchroom where you’ll eat other employee’s food because you’re hungry for that which you know not how to pack yourself. You’ll contact me and we’ll instantly fall in love and go on a talk-show discussing couples who were destined to be together because of Linguistic Lust.

  3. You’re a literary agent who receives ho hum query letters by the hundreds from would-be authors, but you’ve always preferred to extract the diamond-in-the-rough from the blogosphere quite by accident, just like Lana Turner was discovered drinking a soda in Schwabs drugstore, even though that’s just an urban legend. So 26 blogs ago, you’ve been following me and saying to yourself, “Her Words! I must have Her Words. On coffee mugs or on tee-shirts — they’ll make an absolute fortune. And I’ll take 25 percent.” Then you’ll contact me, exploit me, and find a publisher for my humorous recipe book. Because food should always be funny.

  4. You’re a college student who doesn’t exactly know what you want to do with your life but somehow my blog about turning rock songs into news articles greatly inspired you. To cheat. That’s right, you thought to yourself, “If she’s out there literally transcribing the lyrics from Stairway To Heaven into a breaking news story (and not getting into copyright trouble) then I’m lifting the words to “C’mon Baby, Light My Fire” and typing them up for my next English essay.

You know that it would be untrue

You know that I would be a liar

If I was to say to you

Girl, we couldn’t get much higher . . .

5.  You’re a grandmother type who doesn’t have anybody to spoil but you’ve discerned from reading my blogs that I have six kids and thus you think you’ve hit the jackpot with knitting sweaters, baking banana bread, dispensing advice, treating them to frozen yogurt and in general starting every sentence with “When I was your age…” Next you fly to San Diego and stay in our guest room, insisting everyone call you “Grammy Goldie” but once you get slightly senile, we put you in a maximum security home for the aged and visit you only once a year because we’re not really related. Sorry in advance,

6.  You’re another author and you’ve been looking for that perfect writing style, (that would complement your own brand of genius) and also a team player who bestows actual unique titles on book chapters, rather than just assigning them a boring number. You contact me and we collaborate on a new novel about librarians who shout — which will become a NY Times bestseller, or should that be a “BestYeller?”

7. You’re a fellow insomniac who notices the timestamp on my blog posts and either wants to share with me some personal tips about falling asleep at a reasonable time, or else you want to play me in Words With Friends into the wee hours of the night. My username is OneQuoteGal. I sometimes try putting any letters together to see if they’ll go through. Is that cheating? Find me anyhow.

8. You’re a retro television show watcher and have seen how many posts I’ve written on The Brady Bunch and I Love Lucy. You’re compelled to feel sorry for me that my hairstyle is still from Charlie’s Angels and my idea of a good time is straight out of Bewitched even though I cannot twitch my nose. You contact me strictly to discuss who shot j.r.? And also the twist ending of Newhart. You’ll leave a comment right now telling me your favorite Twilight Zone episode and we’ll bond immeasurably.

9. You’re looking for a place to live in sunny San Diego and you think I’d make the ideal housemate. Okay, “ideal” might be exaggerating just a tad. You think I’d be the type of roommate that mystery thriller movies are made about — the kind who has a secret locked door in her house that leads to? And plugs flashing night lights in the baseboards of her living room so the mice can have their own discotheque, and designates two whole shelves in the pantry and refrigerator in which to store your private food but then insidiously eats it all because it looks better than my own. That kind of housemate. C’mon….write to me, I’ve got a spare room and you just know we should be cohabiting.

10. You’ve got sadness and fear deep down in you that you also try to disguise (or avoid completely!) with humor. You found this post of mine right HERE buried within all my quirkiness and wondered, “Is this fiction?” It’s not. You contact me and we talk depression and anxiety and instill hope within one another.

11. You’ve battled an eating disorder once upon a time (or now) and you understand that it’s not really about food, weight, or body size. You find me on Facebook and we support each other during the times life closes in and threatens to shut us down.

12. You’re a mid-life individual wondering, “Is THIS really all there is? This hamster wheel world that continually goes round and round with the same old thing? And why oh why can I not learn to be more grateful?  Or just meditate and stay in the present moment? How on earth is everyone else DOING this? Hint: They’re not. We need to talk.

13. You kinda already know me in real life and come here specifically because you think I’m a wild card or a loose cannon who might impulsively write something about you. And it might be far more interesting than the real you. And maybe, just maybe you’ll let me know you’re more than just an acquaintance, that you feel a real connection with me, and we can go the distance in friendship.

14. You’re someone else entirely, (not previously mentioned above) because I am afraid if this goes on for too long, nobody will ever read it. Even if they’re the one the message in the bottle is specifically meant for. But rest assured, I also write this blog especially for YOU. And you know who you are. So tell me!

 

Dear Reader . . . Won’t you finally reveal to me who you are? 

Stephanie Debra Lewis, AKA Little Miss Menopause

Have You Self-Improved So Much that Now You Suck?

All the psychologists and marriage counselors know to flock to my garage sales because every few months my living-room shelves sag with the extreme weight of hundreds of self-help books (ranging from having better relationships to communicating more effectively to figuring out if you’re addicted to self-help books!) and so I put every single paperback and hardbound copy on the front lawn with a sign, “Take All My “Fix Yourself” Books For $500.”  Oh! I’m not selling them for that price, I’m actually willing to pay someone that amount to haul them the heck off my property.

In addition to reading scads of these books, I participate in dozens of self-improvement courses, programs, classes, groups, meetings, and listen to Ted-Talks and podcasts. And this is where all of this SELF studying has gotten me today.  Have a listen!

SUPPORT GROUP SOCIALIZATION

ME: Wow, that was a great discussion you facilitated today. I got a lot out of it.

LEADER: People-Pleasing!

ME: No, I just meant it was perfect for me.

LEADER: Perfectionism!

ME: Oh gosh, sorry.  I appreciate you pointing this stuff out. I don’t think I’ll ever stop saying those kind of things!

LEADER: Catastrophization!

ME: Oops, you’re right. I just really want you to like me.

LEADER: Not everybody is always going to like you, you just have to accept that.

ME: Yes, how does that go again? Let’s see…”What other people think of me is none of my business?” Is that right?

LEADER: Approval-Seeking!

ME: Oh now this is getting kinda silly, don’t you think? Just tell me if I said it correctly.

LEADER: Controlling!

ME: Oops, I guess that kinda was. So how are you? You mentioned last week you were getting over a cold.

LEADERS: Boundaries!

ME: Oh gosh, sorry. I didn’t mean to overstep, I was truly concerned. I’ll just keep my big, fat mouth shut from here on in and then maybe you’ll be happy.

LEADER: Self-Deprecating AND Passive Aggressive!

ME: I am soooooo sorry.

Leader: Overly apologetic!

As I leaned in to give her an “I’m not upset” hug goodbye, she whispered “Co-Dependent!” into my ear.

While I went about the rest of my day, I decided that two can play at the psychobabble game! And this time it would be to my advantage.

PRINCIPAL’S OFFICE AT SON’S MIDDLE SCHOOL

PRINCIPAL: We’d like to discuss with you what we foresee after graduation when your son starts high school.

ME: Oh!  I’m sorry but I only live in the present moment.

PRINCIPAL: Really?!  Well, don’t you think you should think about the fact that he’s not passing several classes at this point and he should have a tutor.

ME: Watch those “should” statements. Always substitute “Could” for “Should.”

PRINCIPAL: Alright. Could you conceive of your son failing biology, history, and math? Because every single one of his teachers Could.

ME: Magnification!

PRINCIPAL: Well, what’s your plan as a mother to cope with your son not graduating?

ME: I’ll just “ACT AS IF” he’s graduating. Haven’t you read The Secret? You really should.

PRINCIPAL: I suppose I Could.

I flounced out of his office and went straight to the bank to secure a loan. When the teller went to shake my hand, I pointed out that he might want to deal with his attachment issues.

FIRST AMERICAN NATIONAL UNIVERSAL WORLDLY BANK

ME: Let me start out by clearly setting my intentions. I am here to borrow money. Dollar signs have also been placed on my vision board.

TELLER: Your what board? Never mind. So you say you’d like some extra cash for Home Improvement? Can you be more specific?

ME: Boundaries, please!  Let’s just say I’ve given up on Self-Improvement.

TELLER: (odd look) I see. Gosh, Miss Menopause, I’m afraid there’s not much I can do for you today.

ME: You’re in denial!

TELLER: That’s a river in Egypt.

ME: Humor Defense Mechanism! Let’s unpack what’s making you so uncomfortable about this issue, shall we?

TELLER:  I am required to ask you certain questions and I’m also accountable for deciding if you’re a good risk. It’s a lot of responsibility for me.

ME: Narcissism! It’s not always about you.

TELLER: You know, I don’t think I’ve ever been at such a total loss before, like I am right this very moment.

ME: Reclaim your power!

TELLER: Ok. You’ll either need to respond directly to my questions or immediately leave the premises.

ME: Black & White Thinking!

And with that I raced home to practice my relaxation and meditation. My kids were in for a treat because I challenged myself to see how many times I could (NOT should!) use the word “Mindful,” which was how my yoga instructor told us we should approach life.

FAMILY TIME

SON: What’s for dinner?

ME: Do you think you can go one morning without asking that idiotic question? It’s enough to make me lose my ever-loving Mind-ful!

DAUGHTER: What do you think of my new dance routine? Do you like the music?

ME: please! Do you Mind-ful?? I’m trying to relax right now and that godawful song is blasting!

DAUGHTER: Can you at least tell me what you think of my new outfit?

ME: It’s wintertime. I have a good Mind-ful to let you freeze to death in those skimpy shorts.

SON: Gosh, whadya think is up with Mom today??

ME: Will you both just Mind-ful your own darn business?!!

At that point I gave up completely and wisely switched from meditation to medication. Forget Self-Help. What a difference in my life just a single letter can make!

READERS:  Are you, or do you know someone else who is overdosing on Self-Help Stuff? Leave me a comment if this strikes a chord and then God help us all! 

 

 

 

 

 

Getting Your Ex Back (Even If You Don’t Want Them Back!)

Wait a sec. . . I think my title is supposed to say, “Getting Your Ex Back (Even If THEY Don’t Want to Come Back!”) But either way, it makes as much sense!

Hey! Did you know that . . .

the “Reunite With Your Ex!” industry is thriving!

Not a day goes by I don’t get an email shouting, “8 Ways To Make Your Ex Beg To Reconcile!” or “10 Phrases To Text That Will Make Your Ex Realize They Made a Huge Mistake!” or “How To Get Your Ex Back And Ignore All the Valid Reasons You Broke Up With Him in the First Place.”

And my personal favorite, “How To Lure Your Ex Back Without Looking Like a Psycho!”

Last week I sat at a cocktail table with my girlfriend Tiffany (Yes, Stephanie and Tiffany — it’s beyond precious!) at a Mix N’ Mingle event when she immediately burst into tears lamenting, “Why am I here? I just want him back. I’d give anything for that to happen.”

Immediately a man in an ugly green tuxedo shirt and suspenders materialized from behind a pillar and launched into a routine so smacking of a vacuum salesman, I anticipated him scattering clumps of dirt on our white linen tablecloth and sucking them up with his expensive sample machine.

“For just $1,000, I’ll have him crawling back before the New Year. He’ll be full of yearning, promises, engagement rings, and offering homemade Key Lime pie.” He danced a little jig as he spoke.

“She hates Key Lime and besides . . . ” I started to say.

“Really? That’s my favorite pie,” he interrupted.

“Then maybe YOU want her ex back?” I winked.

He pretended I wasn’t there, and turned his attentions back to Tiffany, who btw is not the sharpest tool in the box.

“My schemes are guaranteed to have him crawling on hands and knees no matter whom he’s currently frolicking with.”

“He’s frolicking with God,” I stated solemnly.

“OMG, he is??” asked Tiff, incredulously.

“I’m very sorry for your loss,” he said to Tiffany and then without missing a beat, threw a bunch of mud on our table — at which point she paid him $89.95 for a DustBuster.

“Forget that creep,” I told my friend.

“But I do still love him,” Tiffany protested.

“I meant the jerky salesman, Tiff.  Sheesh, even I have better ideas to get your guy back!”

Suddenly Tiffany had an epiphany! (But again remember — not the brightest bulb in the chandelier.)

“That’s right!  You’re creative!  You can help me. So far all I’ve come up with is losing ten pounds because he’s always hated my muffin-top. I just KNOW you’ll give me advice that will work.”

After reluctantly researching this idiotic topic, I realized there are two contradictory schools of thought. One was basically to disappear completely, because supposedly he’ll miss you terribly and come running back.

And the other is the exact opposite — recommending you definitely do NOT vanish because then he’s liable to develop complete amnesia and forget all about the amazing sex you had on the balcony during your cruise to Alaska. (What? No cruise to Alaska?? Well now we know exactly how to get him back, don’t we? Anchors away, my eskimo friend!) So essentially this technique advocates staying very much on his mind!

Alright so back to my dimwitted friend, Tiffany. I created two index cards outlining each of the very different ways to proceed. Essentially little cheat sheets for Tiff to pick one strategy and then follow it. Easy Peasy.

 

 

 

 

 

But Tiff couldn’t make up her mind which method to try . . .  so of course she utilized them both!

One day she unfriended him from all social media, cancelled every one of her memberships, and changed her phone number/email address. The next day she sprayed her signature perfume on the welcome mat of his front door, requested all radio stations play their favorite song, and had billboards put up on his route to work with pictures of her and another guy. (It was just her twin brother and they’re not identical, so this didn’t blow her ruse.)

She carried on like this for weeks, alternating days of being totally in his face with days of falling off the face of the earth — until I was sure the poor slob didn’t know whether he was coming or going — much less what Tiff was doing!

Meanwhile she also continued her Atkins diet and lost 10 lbs. However one fateful day she discovered he was on a European vacation for three months and the person she’d been seducing back was his 85 year-old grandma who was house-sitting. Not a good plan.

At this ridiculous news, I decided to permanently end my career in the field of “Reconciliation” and  just stick to writing. As a last ditch effort, I suggested that Tiff text him with an offer no man can refuse….having really great Make-Up Sex!

But Tiff claimed that he liked her face au’ naturale, without any mascara or lipstick — so I had to explain the concept.

The next day Tiffany was elated to report his response was, “Yes! But before we have great makeup sex, we need to have a really HUGE tiff.”

It was a Win/Win! Not only did Tiffany think he was referring to her name, but she was also thrilled to increase her calorie intake.

THEY SOOOO DESERVE EACH OTHER!

READERS:  HAVE YOU EVER BEEN DESPERATE TO GET AN EX BACK? WHAT DEPTHS OF DESPAIR DID YOU SINK TO? LEAVE ME A COMMENT!

Is it a Speakerphone or a “SNEAKERphone??”

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Very SNEAKY speakerphone crimes are on the rise these days and even Yours Truly is guilty of a few. See if you’re the victim of any of the ones I’ve made up names for below — or if gasp….(be honest now!) you’re actually The Perpetrator!

  1. THE BRAG — Being around other people and expecting a phone call you know will contain good news? Possibly someone is going to be praising YOU for a job well done? You answer the phone and say, “Gosh it’s so hard to hear you. Let’s see if you’re more audible on speaker. Keep talking.” Bingo. You’ve just modestly made everyone around you aware that it was your quick thinking and innovative talent that saved the day!  Look properly sheepish when hanging up, but don’t overkill by saying, “Awwww shucks,” if someone around you offers a high-five or a congratulations.
  2. THE JEALOUSY — Your relationship has just passed that two-year mark when people typically start taking each other for granted just a tad. You’re out with your girlfriend when the call comes through and you recognize the name/number as the young sounding female nurse from your doctor’s office, obviously calling to report your lab results from your recent physical. You answer the phone on speaker but as soon as the caller chirps, “Hi, it’s Katherine . . . ” you awkwardly (guiltily?) interrupt her and say in a lowered voice, “Hold on so we can uh, talk more privately,” and remove speakerphone. During your long silence (in which she’s reading your blood results) nod your head enthusiastically, smile a lot, and suspiciously doodle on a pad of paper — the initials that stand for bad and good cholesterol . . .  “LDL” + “HDL”   This works best if your name is Logan David Lewis and the nurses name is Hilary Denise Lawrence.  Then put a plus sign in between the two and for good measure, draw a cute heart around the whole thing.  (Don’t jot down your triglyceride levels, that’s not romantic at all!) Upon hanging up, chuckle nervously while announcing to your gal, “That? Oh that was just the doctor’s office calling. Heh heh.”
  3. THE BUFFER — Did you just crash the car? Forget to do something important you promised? Spend a ton of $$ on something frivolous? Are you afraid to reveal these things to a certain someone because they fly off the handle easily? Simply make the call and when they answer, casually inform them you have a little bad news, but to first say hello to some mutual friends. Have a few people shout, “Hi there, Tom!” Guaranteed your confession will be received calmly and serenely. They may even say, “Don’t worry about it, you know stuff like that never bothers me.”
  4. THE EMPATHY — Your best friend calls you once a week to read entries from a journal she keeps on her relationship. This week she suspects her boyfriend may be having an affair with the young nurse from his doctor’s office. You turn on speakerphone, but you employ the mute button so she cannot hear you doing the dishes and vacuuming. After she finishes (and your house is tidy) and she asks your opinion, you say “I’m just too stunned to formulate any words.”
  5. THE CHORES — Call the child who always loudly protests their responsibilities, from their best friend’s home. Proceed to tell them you’re having tea with the parent and how proud you are to hear they’re sooooo helpful and polite whenever they’re a guest in this particular parent’s home. Next, remind them to please walk the dog, empty the garbage, and make the bed before you return home. When they pleasantly agree, resist asking, “Okay, who is this really?” (This is my personal crime and it works like a charm.)

READERS:  Please comment on any other speakerphone abuse I may have omitted besides the obvious — not letting someone know when they are on speakerphone, and people who talk on speakerphones in public places. Poor chaps never had walkie-talkies as a child!

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Couple’s Conundrums Creatively Clarified! (How do little things get decided in a new relationship?)

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First of all, how do two people (who’ve been dating) even decide they’ve actually become a “Couple” unless they’ve had that specific, “Are we or aren’t we?” talk.  Instead everyone looks for telltale validating signs — the changing of the relationship status on Facebook, the deleting of a dating profile, or the specific way an introduction is made. (I’d like you to meet my…..my WHAT??) Some even view the ultimate official coupleship marker as meeting the other person’s family. But suppose within two weeks you just happen to bump into his awkward parents for the first time in the lingerie department of Nordstrom as you’re trying on a teddy that will hopefully captivate him? Does this mean . . . BOOM! You’ve now rocketed from a lowercase “we” to a capital “US!” (with an exclamation point) right in the fitting room? Nope, it simply means his nerdy parents also still like to have a little fun. Ew.

But that’s just one of the mystifying issues that may need clarifying in new relationships. Here are three other concepts that are intriguing to think about when everything is so brand spanking new. (And nope, spanking didn’t make this list.)

An Over-Thinker’s Guide To Couple’s Conundrums!

  1. WHO YA GONNA CALL??  — How are those special (and ridiculous) nicknames for one another originally determined within the coupleship? Does she just say, “Gee, I’ve always had a thing for ‘Kitten’ on the Father Knows Best series. From now on you call me that, ok? Meow.” (BTW, Kitten would be a true PET-name!) Or does one person think up two options and then invite the partner to give their input? i.e. One day he offhandedly says, “So yeah. Ya wanna be my ‘Old Lady’ or ‘Little Lolita?’ Operators now standing by for your vote!” Or do couples connect their terms of endearments to personal stuff that nobody else knows about. For instance, his first word as a baby was “Baa-Baa” (stupid, but maybe he couldn’t say bottle?) making him sound like a little sheep. Plus he’s a black belt in martial arts so of course you’re gonna try and work a karate move into his new name as well. Put both concepts together and whadya get? He’s now you’re little “Lamb-Chop!” Okay that particular example? Maybe not so much.i-shall-call-him-squishy-2-4558-1455894011-1_dblbig
  2. BEDROOM PREFERENCES? — It’s the first time you’re sleeping together (not actually hitting the sack, but you get the euphemism?) so how is it decided who’s gonna be on the bottom? Perhaps in prior relationships both parties preferred to be the one who looks down on the other person? But suddenly there’s an indoor wrestling match, jockeying for the top position before the bell rings! Really? Alternatively when it’s your very first time “sleeping together”  (And I mean actual “staying over night snoozing” this time!) how do you resolve who gets to sleep on which side of the bed . . . if you’re both accustomed to being on the side closest to the window? For efficiency sake, I suggest a little check-box notice left on the nightstand (much like hotels do with their complimentary continental breakfast room service door-tag which you hang outside to designate preferences for whole wheat over white bread, and orange over tomato juice.) So yours would say —   Circle Your Choices:  1. Sex Position:  Top/Bottom  2. Side of Bed Sleeping: (as per facing the foot of the bed)  Left/Right  3.  Lighting: Off/On  4. Snoring Remedy:  Shaking/Hitting/Shouting 5. Cuddling & Snuggling Duration: Part-Time/Full-Time/Roll Over Immediately After!  5. Linens: Extra Blanket/Just Sheet  6. Temperature:  Coolish/Cozy/Stuffy  7. Windows & Door: Wide Open/Slightly Ajar/Bedroom Gets Sealed Tighter Than a Drum In Case of Prowlers. 8. If You Awaken First:  Rinse & Repeat/Hands Off and Lemme Sleep In!21an8lv
  3. SOCIAL CONTROL? — Which one of you makes the plans now that you’re no longer formally “just dating?” (There are 52 weeks in a year and equality suggests an even 50/50 split in calendar calibration — so simply alternate who’s in charge bi-weekly? Think of it as sharing the custody of your Joint Fun before the actual divorce.) And for that matter, when does “going out” taper off and both people deem it cool to just spend Saturday night staying in just “hanging out?” (If you do this, consider inviting other “official couples” over and playing my version of The Not-So-Newlywed Game!)  And finally, if you officially declare Coupledom just before the holidays, how do you decide whose family you’ll be joining? (Note: This is where some people like to bring out the gender wars and say it should always be celebrated with the female’s family — citing that stupid old saying, “A son is a son until he takes a wife, but a daughter is your daughter for the rest of her life.” Having FOUR sons I’d like to say “Utter Nonsense!” and offer my own little saying, “Go to the holiday table that calls you by your new Pet-Names, promises calorie-free eating, and thinks of dish-washing as a New Year’s Day resolution to be broken by Jan. 2nd!)

PROBLEMS SOLVED!

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HOW IS IT DETERMINED WHO STARTS THE PILLOW FIGHT THE MORNING AFTER YOUR VERY FIRST SLEEPOVER?

 

Is it a Soul-Mate OR a Parole-Mate?

Breaking-the-Rules-in-Soulmate-RelationshipsHow will you know the difference between someone who’s supposed to be your partner for all time, and someone who’s just gonna be your partner in crime?

Some cultures and religions claim RIGHT HERE that you have only ONE SINGLE soul-mate out there because it literally involves the splitting of polarities from one intact original state of unity. I don’t write like that! What does that gobblygook even mean? In other words, the two of you were originally baked up together (but where? In some NYC bagel shop?) as one entire whole soul but upon birth, your soul was sliced in half (like an onion, poppy-seed bialy?) and you are therefore “incomplete” until you search far and wide for the one person in this world who possesses the other portion of your soul. And thus only when you both find each other (and a tub of cream-cheese!) will you actually feel WHOLE again.

I imagine going around town like the Duke in Cinderella, only instead of having every eligible fair maiden trying on a glass slipper to see if it fits, I’ll be awkwardly moseying up to strange bachelors, demanding they intimately press their half of their soul right up into mine (forget regard for personal space when soul-searching!) to see if our soul’s jagged edges align and interlock like two jigsaw puzzle pieces, and then exclaiming, “Hmmm, close but no cigar… Next?!”

Or instead you could simply pay more attention to my weird list of . . .

7 Extremely Subtle, Nearly Imperceptible Signs that You’re With the Correct Soul-Mate.

  1. NO MORE SQUANDERED FOOD! — You’ll suddenly notice nothing goes to waste because (since this individual is truly your other half) they’ll want to gobble up the other half of the morsels  you discard.  For instance, they’ll eat the yolk in the hard-boiled egg when you only like the whites … so the WHOLE egg gets eaten. They’ll eat the white meat while you prefer the dark meat in a chicken … so the whole bird gets consumed. Sensing a “wholeness” pattern here? That’s right, while you eat the banana, they’ll ingest the peel. (Or you could just be dating a human garbage disposal?)
  2. FINISHING JOKES! — Forget finishing each others sentences, that’s no big trick. But when you’re telling a really good joke (in front of your mutual friends you want to impress) and just as you’ve painstakingly outlined the entire set-up and have everyone hanging on the edge of their seat — in true soul-mate style, they’ll loudly chime in with the funny punchline, lovingly stealing your thunder. Then that’s your “better” half, for certain!
  3. INTENSE EMOTIONAL REACTION! — You cannot stand them upon your first meeting and never want to see them again. In fact you want to destroy them and wonder if their body might fit into a blender? This is because our higher selves know more than we do and can pick up the vital significance of this person before we’re even consciously aware of it. This triggers our ‘fight or flight’ response as we suspect there’s gonna be a very expensive wedding looming ahead, and we dislike someone shoving cake in our mouth while being photographed. It’s self-sabotage, baby! But this is your soul-mate.
  4. NEWLY ACQUIRED KNOWLEDGE! — When you’re around this person you’re suddenly speaking fluent Egyptian, inexplicably knowing that apples are evil, or ascertaining how to crack open a bank vault. This is a sure sign you were both historical soul-mates in a previous life — Cleopatra & Mark Antony, Adam & Eve, or Bonnie & Clyde. Bonus: Your next Halloween costume is already decided.
  5. BOOKS! — Join a book club where you must all read the same inept, boring novel. When you can’t stand it anymore, put a bookmark in. At the next meeting, ask members, “So who stopped at the beginning of chapter two?” If it’s Fifty Shades of Grey, (and they’re literate folks) most everyone will nod their head. You’re getting warmer. But to narrow down your precise soul-mate, shout out, “Twenty-six, middle of the third paragraph?!” and when someone else raises their hand, you’ve found them! Everyone knows being on the exact same page is always a match made in heaven, or at least in your local library.
  6. THEY COMPLETE YOU! Or rather they complete important things for you. The last of your gallon of cookie dough ice-cream . . . gone! The crossword puzzle you started and meant to get back to . . . already filled in. You paused Black Mirror right at the most exciting part until you’re back from the gym . . . it’s been watched to its ironic conclusion and the free Netflix membership promptly cancelled. (But they won’t complete washing the dishes, your joint taxes, or the Christmas shopping list because they know how you like those things done your own special way. Bless your considerate soul-mate’s heart.)
  7. CLAM CHOWDER! And lastly and most importantly, if you ever share a hot steaming bowl of chicken noodle, broccoli cheddar, or french-onion . . . Oh wait, that’s a blatant typo made when I couldn’t think of anything else to write and Googled, “Signs of a Soup-Mate.”  NEVER MIND!   (My best Gilda Radner impression below…..isn’t it amazing, the resemblance? She’s my comic soul-mate!)

Readers: Do you believe you have just one single, solitary Soul-Mate?

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Is THIS Really a Thing Now? Cuddle Up With My Blog and Find out!

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Hello Friends! I’m your Snuggler Buggler Cuddler Befuddler! Are you lonely? Do you suffer from skin-to-skin hunger? Are you in need of some Spooning Fine-Tuning? The answers to all your problems are just one touch away atop my cozy, comfy couch! Simply give me a call and for $80 an hour, we’ll laze around together on the sofa watching Netflix Black Mirror episodes. Benefits to you include lower blood pressure, reduction of stress/anxiety, as well as an instant mood boost. Requests for me to wear my Hello Kitty jammies will be honored at an additional charge.

That would be my commercial if I were certified in the up-and-coming cathartic career in caressing called a “Cuddle Collaborator.” Yes this really IS a thing, folks. And lest you think this is just Cuddling Camouflage for Coquettish Courtesans, let me point out that the Cuddling Code of Conduct constitutes a NO SEXUALITY clause. Yep, you can confirm all of this right HERE — as well as watch a humorous short video that consolidates and cancels all your cuddling concerns because cuddling calamities can cause catastrophes!

If you prefer your snuggling to take place in larger groups (just like litters of kittens, but not nearly as cute) with music and food, you should come to a Cuddle Party right HERE.

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These are my two professional cuddlers  (Ritz & Bits)  age 6 months!

Would I lie about this stuff?? I even ordered one to come to my house for an interview to see for myself.

ME: Come in, have a seat at my kitchen table.

PRO CUDDLER: Oh we need a horizontal surface. Chairs are bad Snuggle Feng Shui.

ME: Well the thing is, we’re gonna cuddle long distance– and by that I mean you’re not gonna lay so much as a finger on me, but I’m gonna ask you questions.

The Pro Cuddler left in a huff when I made ear-whispers, arm stroking, and hair ruffling also off limits.

By now it must be obvious that I’m absolutely incredulous this could be a real thing in our society. But no amount of coaxing, coercing, convincing, or cajoling will ever get me to do ANY of this touchy/feely stuff because my motto can be classified with MC Hammer’s “U Can’t Touch This!”

However…..someone obviously put their thinking cap on and thought of ways to make money doing something that requires little training, effort, and investment capital, which in turn inspires me to brainstorm other easy career options as well.

A Nagologist — Oversleeping on weekend mornings? Forgetting to do those pesky chores? For $120 I will arrive at your home with lists of tasks in hand that you should be doing around your house and yard.  Just say the word and it can carry over into your personal appearance as well — because nobody is as highly trained as to when you should wear a jacket or get your hair out of your pretty face, as I am.

A Clockationer — Your time is valuable and I do things with clocks that are earth-shattering and life-altering. For $1,000 you’ll get my services year-round. Simply provide me with a key to your home and unbeknownst to you, I’ll occasionally sneak in and set all your clocks ahead by thirty minutes. Imagine arriving places with perfect punctuality, or even a few minutes early for once in your life! Conversely, when you’d rather skip an appointment you’re dreading, I’ll set your clocks back by two hours so you’ll have no chance. This is an idea whose time has come!

A Complimentician — Plagued by low self-esteem? Raised by overly critical parents? Feeling under appreciated at work or by your spouse?  I have 150 different ways of applauding you while saying, “Great job!” You’ll feel like a million bucks for just under 100.  Never again will you be taken for granted and my *gratitude for you (as a person!) will know no bounds. (*I’ll be extra grateful if you pay me under-the-table in cash.)

An Imaginarian — Feeling bored? Life too predictable? Yearning for the excitement you see in movies? For $99, I’ll bring my overactive imagination in tow along with my unique hypothetical scenarios that will make you feel young, vibrant, and alive again. Each hourly session starts out with me probing, “What if?”  For instance, “What if . . . you found out your committed, honest spouse was actually having a secret affair? Your child, (a straight A student) was good at covering up his cocaine addiction?  Your doctor’s blood pressure cuff hasn’t been calibrated in years and you really have 160/110? Just think! (No gratuity tips necessary.)

A Blogchiatrist — For $300, I’ll put your blog into psychoanalysis, specifying what your theme is covertly conveying, your language and vocabulary is subliminally suggesting, what gruesome thoughts your accompanying photo images are conjuring up, and report back with a thorough critique of the number one reason many of your readers are not returning for more. After you’re feeling clinically depressed about everything you’re doing wrong, I’ll give you a bonus complimentician and nagology session, followed up by an imaginarian and clockation hour. But wait, there’s more! I’ll take you into my figurative bed, wrap my metaphoric arms around your shoulders, and give you an all-day comforting symbolic cuddle at no extra charge!

Dear Readers: What jobs can you think up that nobody needs, but everybody wants to read about?? Leave one in the comments.

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