Friday, June 25, 2010

Where did The Relationship Diva Go?

Hi there!

So where have I been? In the midst of travels and well, just life -- The Relationship Diva has been going through some very wonderful things. And, one of those very exciting things: It's got a new home  on ChicagoNow, a great online community in Chicago. To learn more about them, click here.

This in no way means that The Relationship Diva is over! On the contrary -- it just means that it's got a great new home with a new look! So, to continue reading about The RD's dating highs, lows and learnings along the way, just head over to or!

And, if you ever need to reference past stories, don't worry -- this page is staying right here. So you can always come back  to visit the archives before catching up on The RD's current events at ChicagoNow! 

So, please show some love to The Relationship Diva at its new home.

Thanks for reading and I can't wait to connect with you soon...

The RD

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Flipside to Unfriending

It blows my mind how many ways there are to stay connected to someone: calling, texting, e-mail... And now with the advent of social media tools like Twitter and Facebook which you can usually do ALL off of your mobile phone, it's virtually impossible NOT to know what someone is doing by just moving through a few clicks. Really it's genius. Log in for 10 minutes and you know who's getting married, what parties are happening all across the U.S., what people are feeding their imaginary pets, and when they've decided to "Like" that random movie or a new phone they want to buy. Basically, TMI with a crazy busy interface.

Anyway, acknowledging all this, I kind of dig the fact that there is some choice in who you follow, whose updates you get and so forth. And in extreme cases, enter the "unfriend" function (how cool is it that it was the Word of 2009?). Someone you barely know driving you nuts? Have a rough break-up? That's the ticket -- removing them from your friends automatically makes them vanish and creates a filter for you.

Another way I've discovered this really works? When it comes to dealing with old flames and/or exes. I discovered this the hard way not too long ago with Jason. While things are simmering between us, it comes and goes, and I've allowed myself to bob and weave against my better judgment.

I also found that as he started to surface again in my life, I let myself keep up with him through things like Facebook. I mean, it's normal to check on your friend's profiles, write  messages on their Walls, comment on photos... But maybe not as much when you've got a wacky romantic history like he and I do.

Now this next part's hard to admit, but I have to in order to make sense of what I learned...

Soon, I found myself going to his page more than even I liked. And when I spotted several pictures of him and a cutesy brunette, I froze up a bit. Suddenly, I found myself dealing with a pang of jealousy thinking of a girl that seemed quite close to him... In a way that I hoped he'd see me. And that's when I felt like someone that gave too much of a damn -- more than I certainly like. So last night, after bobbing back and forth, I used the unfriend function. (Only the third time since I've been on the networking site)

Granted, it was bugging me to do... And I am wondering whether that brunette was the one he was with during one of our separation spells. But, what I realized here is that I like my sanity more. So, checking his page will not help matters any nor will it undo what's happened before me. 

If we do figure things out with us, then with a little time, I'm OK with being friends on the page again.  Besides, there are several ways to stay in touch. For now, I'm just giving myself one less avenue in which to do it... And if he wants to be friends again on any level... Well, I'll just cross that bridge when I get to it.

Photo Credit: Adam Borkowski/PhotoXpress

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Liquor Made Me Do It!

Memorial Day Weekend, the unofficial gateway to summer, is known for the warm weather, great cookouts, crazy bar scenes and if you're lucky, cute guys or girls to help you kick off a fun new season.

It's this very feeling I had this weekend while my cousin, Josie, came into the Windy City. My mind was set on having a good time, keeping my thoughts off of Jason (while I let that one unfold on its own), enjoy a possible flirtation or two at best and just enjoying my 20s while I still have them. Sounds like a formula for success, right?

Yes, well, what happened instead was a story I can only say is a prime example reinforcing the drama alcohol can cause. 

Towards the end of the night, Josie and I stopped at a bar just a couple of blocks away from my apartment, simply to have a few beers and wind down from the roaming around we'd done. Anyway, not too long after getting our drinks, a very cute guy with a nice build and somewhat scruffy beard wanders over to us and immediately chatted us up. He told us he was from the Midwest and a former military boy, having come in town with his girlfriend for the holiday. However, that night he was rebelling because he got into a fight with his other half, leaving her in the hotel room alone. Listening to him talk, we figured he was a little drunk, which amused Josie and me --- for a moment.

Anyway, he soon starts getting too friendly as he abruptly proceeds to tell me how attractive he finds me, that he finds my brown skin attractive, that I could pull down his pants to check him out because I wouldn't be disappointed by what he had to "offer"... And that's when he put his arm around my shoulder and tries to reached for my breast. 

At this point Josie immediately shoves him off of me and he proceeds to embrace me again. This time I shrug him off, obviously turned off but wanting to be careful in case he got more aggressive. And, it was when I got him off of me that his phone went off -- with a text message from his girlfriend telling him to come back to the hotel room because all she wanted to do was be with him. He kept saying he didn't want to be with her, that he wanted to be with me and proceeds once again to grope me before I once again gently shrug him off.

Soon, the bar closes and Josie and I manage to slip out of the bar without him catching us. Whew!

Creepy, I know... But, in thinking about it after the fact, two things became even clearer than ever to remind me why dating and extreme drinking just don't mix:

(a) There are things you just can't take back: I wouldn't be surprised if later that night, the guy headed back into his hotel room and either passed out or had sex with his girlfriend. And, I wouldn't be surprised if in the morning he had no recollection of the night before. But, what would or could have happened if he met a woman that was receptive to his advances and had taken him home? Would the sex or a make-out session with a random stranger be worth damaging what he has with his girlfriend?

(b) The Scary Factor: Sure, the guy was cute. But, as the night progressed and his hands started to roam free, he quickly became that creepy guy (you know -- the ones you see on Law & Order: SVU). Which means he was a little less than predictable, making even a potential hook-up run for the hills.

The point? A nice glass of wine or a cold beer can definitely round out a nice night and I am all for that (and could add a nice touch when you're home with someone special, too). But over the top drinking? Well, that can be a buzz kill -- real quick.

See, now that's a case to stay sober on a Friday night... Or at least be out with a group of people that can help make sure you behave when you're kicking 'em back.

Photo Credit: Bram Meijer/PhotoXpress

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

What's YOUR Number? (Or Discussing Body Count)

"What's Your Number?"

What a loaded question! I mean, consider it in the case of a cutie you've been spying across the bar comes over to ask you for your digits before the night's done. That's good.

But, how about when you're dating someone for a while and the relationship is escalating into physical territory? Then it means that it's time for the talk about sexual history, number of partners... Which makes the question "what's-your-number" not so sexy. 

 While this topic is not a new, it's one that still matters, especially in this day and age which means that there's always room to break it down. Shall we?

Pro for admitting your true number: On one hand, you clear the air and get to keep it real and honest, especially when taking a situation to that physical level.  

Things to think about when admitting your number:
  • Does a number too high or too low create some type of stigma (slut or inexperienced)?
  • Moreover, would too much risky behavior such as pregnancy scares or past STIs make a person look less desirable? 
  • Can a woman and a man get away with having the same body count? Not necessarily -- that may cause insecurity. (Seriously, do you want your partner to flat out tell you they wished you did something someone else used to do to them in bed?)
But, don't be fooled by all of this because it's about more than a number. The truth is, it's not quite that black and white. In reflecting on the conversations I've had with friends, I was surprised to learn how many of them hadn't had that talk with past boyfriends, instead choosing to just jump into the sex which didn't always fare out too well.  I mean, the first time I was in an ongoing sexual relationship, I actually had a pretty long sit-down with the guy, even going so far as to ask all sorts of questions that in hindsight may have been overkill.

Admittedly, the conversation is a hard one and not easy to have.  And, for situations or people with whom the acts will be isolated incidents, maybe a whole formal conversation isn't worth the drama. But, asking the Test question is always smart (Have they had a test? When? What were the results?). And, of course, in cases where there is no monogamous relationship, making sure there's protection and birth control can help protect from unwanted pregnancies and STIs. 

Survey says: However, regardless of this obvious stuff, there are some things that may be fair assessments to make when it comes to the Number question in a dating relationship:
  • Body Count has nothing to do with the two of you at that moment: Regardless of the number of partners each of you had before entering the relationship, that should have no bearing on how the two of you feel about each other at that moment. The two aren't related.
  • Numbers aren't experience: The number of people a person has slept with isn't necessarily related to the amount of experience.
  • Having the talk is a smart thing to do: Sure, it's not fun. But having this unfun talk now is definitely a mature thing to do and if handled properly can avoid a lot of pain later.
  • Feelings Count: Each time you choose to escalate a dating situation into physical territory, it's an indicator that things are real. Truth is, a sexual milestone in a relationship is an important one -- it's a way to grow the bond you have. I mean, that may be old school, but the whole sex with feelings thing? Yeah, that's still in.
Choosing to reveal your number is all up to you. Ultimately, think about what you BOTH will be comfortable with and take it from there. Or, to sum up? Play it smart for you! That's always the best move, wouldn't you think?

Photo Credit: PhotoXpress

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Heart Lockdown

It may be pretty safe to assume that at one point or another, most of us have formed snap judgments on someone based on how they're dressed, how they carry themselves or even who they're with. Whatever it is, we immediately allow ourselves to run with all sorts of theories and speculations, which seem much more appealing over the realities.

It's this "ability"-- the one of making abrupt assessments -- that I constantly work on, especially in dating. While I've gotten tons better in the last couple of years, it does have its moments when it rears its head. In those cases, I find myself quickly cutting something off early, if only to protect myself and my heart. To do this, I find a reason that it can't work so I'm not disappointed when/if things do fail. I guess I see it as a way of keeping tough.

Anyway, I find myself coping with these feelings specifically with an old flame, Jason, with whom things just...Faded. Not "ended," not "broken up," not "bad" -- but just faded. In all honesty, I was bummed when that happened and for a while even believed that he could have meant quite a bit to me. We met after I'd gotten out of a relationship, then dated for a short while before taking a long hiatus while we both took up with other people... Then, when we got back on track, we had a great time for a little while, but it just never seemed like the right time for either one of us. And things genuinely felt real between us. Back then, anyway. Now we're taking about seeing each other again and even though I hadn't taken him seriously before, he keeps reaching via e-mails and texts in the hopes of winning me over.

There is a part of me that's been nursing some serious wounds from past situations and protecting my heart by conjuring up theories for his motives: He's gotten out of something, that's why he's free to pursue me again... Or, he'll be like the last couple of non-relationships and disappear with time.... Or, he's putting all this effort simply to get me into bed. But the rational side of me is balancing out the negative by trying to not make him responsible for any experiences before him -- at least, not before I've had a chance to really assess his motives.

What it boils down to? It's about telling the difference between a relationship that went sour and a relationship that didn't have a chance to happen. And, it's about being careful with how tightly we keep the padlock on our hearts so that we can let the ones with potential through.Essentially, put the baggage away. You can't make everyone pay for the mistakes of one.

The jury is out on this situation with Jason. Truth is, I'm still ruled by thinking about the dark side before the positive and learning how to balance my extreme fear with ideas on what my perfect match should look like. But as I talk to him, I'm trying something a little different: giving it a little more time before I make the call of which side of the fence he falls on. After all, there's no way of being loved without surrendering yourself to it, now is there? That much I know.

In the meantime, I'll keep the lock fastened on my heart, with the key not too far away -- just in case. After all, he's still got a lot of work to do if he expects to get anywhere. (smile)

Photo Credit: PhotoXpress