Vulnerability: why we need to lean into discomfort.

Many people (myself included) find it incredibly difficult to be vulnerable, and judging from the numerous articles I’ve read, it seems to be a common fear. When we were young, we were carefree, rarely phased by anything; but over time factors such as our upbringing, our environment, our romantic relationships, our social circles gave us different experiences — both good and bad. Unfortunately at some point in life, people will hurt and disappoint us, so we end up building walls around our hearts to protect ourselves. At the same time, we’re unable to appreciate close relationships and intimacy… vulnerability is simply a double-edged sword. 

As humans we’re hardwired to connect with others. We live in families, we build families, we work in teams, we love as couples and thrive in friendships. It’s a scientific fact that our well-being is dependent on our connections. Yet more than ever, I’m witnessing more loneliness, more broken relationships, more disconnection… but what’s causing all of this? Being vulnerable means opening yourself up to new experiences, new people, and getting comfortable with uncertainty. It’s bloody terrifying but worth it, I trust that it creates many beautiful outcomes once you choose to receive with an open heart . The fact is, vulnerability is necessary. You can’t build genuine connections without it, but somehow society has turned it into a weakness.

I find it challenging expressing my emotions, I’m getting better but there’s still a lot of work to be done. I’ve previously been told that I’m cold or dead inside, that my wall is ridiculously high, and that I always keep people at arm’s length. Yeah… this is partially true (I don’t think I’m completely dead inside). In relationships, I try my best to communicate my feelings but sometimes I feel like it’s forced or I get extremely uncomfortable. When I’m hurt or upset, I tend to either shut down or choose to let that person go rather than let them in because it’s “safer” this way. I guess the good thing is that I recognise my issue and I’m making a conscious effort to improve on it.

Part of my resistance to vulnerability came from the fact that I’ve had toxic relationships, I’ve been a toxic person and I’ve attracted toxic people. Some of my relationships were very unhealthy, then there were others where I realised a compatibility issue. I don’t wish to relive any of these experiences but it’s hard to ignore the woes, and the fact that there’s an obvious recurring pattern of my relationships breaking down again and again. After tolerating a load of nonsense, I began viewing my “failed” relationships as a warning sign to pull back, build my wall even higher and go in fully armoured ready for the next “battle” (if there were to be a next). Clearly this was the wrong way to look at things. Relationships should never be seen as a war (and one that I wanted to win every single time)… perhaps I just got used to the toxicity. Anyway I eventually changed my mindset and saw it for what it was — simply a mismatch of people, a redirection, a learning curve and a step towards personal growth.

“You can’t keep doing the same thing over and over again, and expect different results.”

If you’re someone who also struggles with embracing vulnerability. I feel you. Being vulnerable is an ongoing process that we fine-tune over time. So as we take small steps together and slowly lean into the discomfort, here are some reminders on how being vulnerable can actually enhance our lives.

DEVELOPING EMPATHY FOR OTHERS
When I’m pissed off, it’s highly likely the other party will feel my wrath. However this usually lasts for a very short period; so when I’m calm again, my compassion kicks in and I try to see things from their perspective… even if I think they’re in the wrong! It’s so easy to judge people harshly, especially when pride and ego gets in the way, but learning to relax and allow ourselves to move out of our comfort zone plays a massive part in being vulnerable. We’ve all been guilty of getting so caught up in our own lives that we forget the world doesn’t revolve around our needs.

BE AT PEACE WITH YOUR PAST
Those who aren’t scared of being vulnerable have already made peace with negative memories from their past. We’ve all made bad decisions and mistakes but we can’t keep storing our energy there. Dwelling on the past means we’re not fully present. Likewise, we shouldn’t worry too much about the future. Living in the moment and appreciating all the amazing moments right now is what we need to be focusing on.

I AM WHO I AM
By accepting our qualities and our “flaws”, by feeling comfortable in our own skin; we’ll learn to accept all the things that make us special and unique. Being confident and our genuine self also allows us to attract the right kind of people in our lives.

BUILDING EMOTIONAL INTIMACY
Speaking of being your true self — vulnerability creates greater emotional (and physical) intimacy. Sure, this is relevant to romantic relationships but it’s just as important to drop your guard around friends and family as well. It’s what creates a deeper sense of love and understanding. For real connections to flourish we have to be brave enough to reveal all of our layers.

“Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it’s having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome. Vulnerability is not weakness; it’s our greatest measure of courage.”

Brené Brown 

What impact has technology had on love and romance?

The evolvement of technology has changed our lives, it’s been said that society has become too reliant upon technology. With all sorts of information readily available at our fingertips; from weight loss, education, investing, cooking, travel, sport — technology is at the forefront of everything we do, so it’s no surprise we struggle to put our devices down! Even our approach towards dating and relationships, we’re in a world where we’re able to speak to multiple potentials and “test drive” them all before one is selected. Technology has not only altered how we communicate and connect, but also how we feel.

Dating in the digital age means you can pull out your phone and find a date faster than it would take to get glammed up for a night out. We’re living in a time where these technological advancements has made our lives easier and faster… but has it improved our chances of finding love and romance? Personally, while I can’t say for a fact that chivalry is dead, I can say that technology has introduced a few obstacles when attempting to forge genuine, deeper connections.

According to a recent study by eHarmony, 67% of UK adults crave more romance in their lives. By nature most people want to find the ultimate form of human connection, the kind that lasts a lifetime. People want love and they want to be loved in return. So it’s always a breath of fresh air whenever when I hear of a virtual romantic success story. However it seems there are far more stories on the trials and tribulations of why people have suddenly become so inept at making relationships last. Have we run out of time for romance? Has technology made people lazy in love? Is technology actually bringing us closer together or driving us apart? I have so many questions and not enough answers… nonetheless in today’s blog post, I’ve gathered together a few points (benefits and drawbacks) on how the Information Age has changed the dating and relationship realm.

DON’T WORRY, THERE’S PLENTY OF FISH IN THE SEA!
Ah the old cliché… typically used as words of encouragement after a breakup. However for newly singletons, there really are plenty of fish in the sea! These days it’s super easy to sign up to a dating site, and within minutes you’ll find yourself a pile of matches waiting to be swiped through. Online dating is great as it gives us access to many more potential partners outside of our social circle.

ERM, THERE’S TOO MANY FISH IN THE SEA!
And while it’s great to have choice, too many options can be overwhelming. Research has shown that individuals who have a larger pool of potential partners were more likely to change their minds and choose a someone else to speak to within a week! There is also the aspect of people being overly judgemental, if it’s not the off-putting photos then it’s their inability to write about themselves well or it’s their terrible grammar/spelling. Regardless of what the minor “issue” is, pickiness can be problematic, thus humans have become easily disposable.

GREAT FOR BUSY BEES
For those who have less time to dedicate to meeting people, technology could be the very thing that’ll help you meet your ideal partner when it’s most convenient for you. A bit of downtime before going bed or perhaps during a less busier week… finding romance is just a couple clicks away.

SO NEAR YET SO FAR
For those in a long distance relationship, technology is a Godsend! Gone are the days when people had to wait for a long time before seeing or hearing from their partners. Being able to exchange video calls and text messages on a daily basis means long distances relationships have become stronger than before. 

BE SPECIFIC
If you want to meet someone with similar core values, faith, interests, background and preferences, there’s most certainly a dating app out there designed to fit your requirements. No matter if you’re after a quick hookup, a threesome, or an affair… you name it, the digital dating realm has got it. Did you know there’s a dating app for Vegans, for Vegetarians, for women who are really into men facial hair, for people who believe in the magic of astrology and obsessed with horoscopes, for farmers, for bacon lovers, for sci-fi lovers, and my all time favourite — the SugarD app! 😆👴🏻

ATTENTION ADDICTION
We all want validation in some form — for each match, each like, each message, we’re bound start feeling ourselves a bit! As the rush of excitement happens, the dopamine our brain produces spikes, so it’s not uncommon for people to get addicted to these “hits” and constantly check in for more. Sometimes people aren’t actually interested in the “match”, they just like what it does for their ego boost.

ROMANCE TAKES TIME… TEXTING TAKES SECONDS
Communication is now easier than ever before, but there’s an argument that it has also ruined romance. Emojis are no love letters, and text messages is where most people feel their partners are falling short. It’s seen as a bare-minimum form for communication, and unsurprisingly isn’t valued as highly as a phone call. Quick messages are great for firming up Friday night dinner plans, but for expressing heartfelt sentiments? Not so much.

FEEDING THE ANXIOUS MIND
Living in a fast-paced digital world where we can get instant responses, some individuals rely heavily on the timings and meanings of each message to get a better understanding of how the other person feels or where they stand. Trust me, sometimes it’s not that deep! Then you have the presence of social media… a tempting space for those who like to play detective — the element of “stalking” allows people to get to know someone before even meeting! Yikes! No matter what stage you’re at in a relationship, having the ability to keep tabs on the other person on a daily basis not only creates worry and anxiety for yourself, but it can also become an obsessive, unhealthy habit.

AVOIDANCE OF REAL LIFE INTERACTION
Technology tends to be used as a means to avoid having real-life conversations, and it occurs more often than you’d think! When it comes to uncomfortable conversations, people would rather take the passive-aggressive approach, making statements which they wouldn’t dare make face-to-face. Or in some cases, completely dismiss everything and “ghost” 👻

I’M SORRY… WHO ARE YOU?
You can talk to someone for days, weeks, or months before meeting someone face-to-face. And the problem here is hardly an earth-shattering revelation… people lie on their online dating profiles! Okay not everyone lies or is purposely trying to mislead you but when we get to know someone for a significant period of time from behind our screens, we end up basing our connection on feelings that haven’t been reinforced by in-real-life experiences — thus we don’t get to see the full picture of who they are. There’s nothing wrong with meeting someone and developing an attachment to them online, but it’s always best to solidify your relationship face-to-face.

Conclusion

When we look at how technology has shaped the dating landscape, the overarching view is pretty negative. However based on some of my points above, I believe technology for some has created a new etiquette to romance and has enabled us to cast our nets a lot wider, opening opportunities to meet people we’d otherwise would not have met.

I think there are other factors we need to consider when putting our thoughts across. The generation we fall in will cause a difference of opinion. For a true traditionalist, dating apps might sound daunting. Once upon a time, courtship meant focusing on one person, picking up the telephone and asking them on a date… and if you’re in luck, you might be greeted with a bunch of flowers on the first meet. Today, you simply drop a quick message which will go along the lines of: “Hey you good? Free tomorrow at 7pm? Wanna have dinner?” — then hope for the best. If that fails then there’s always option 2, 3 or 4!

The popularity of technology has helped us create many connections, but these generally lack quality and substance. Communication is so fast and easy now that it’s removed the ‘thrill of the chase’ and killed romance somewhat. It seems as though the “games”, the ego boosts, the non-committal attitudes/behaviours, and the time-saving efficient nature of modern dating has become more important than actually finding a partner.

A story of conflict: Growing up with strict Asian parents and having an interracial relationship.

This is by far one of the most difficult posts I’ve ever had to write… it’s a sensitive subject, an extremely personal account and still to this day evokes so many negative emotions as I type. I can literally feel my heart tightening along with a slight rise in my blood pressure when I cast my mind back to that specific time in my life. Part of me doesn’t really want talk about this but I think it’s important to release memories that I’ve suppressed and highlight important topics/issues that I feel strongly about. I predict it’ll be quite a word-heavy post, I’m not sure how or where to start… so apologies in advance if it sounds like a bunch of word vomit. Everything is based on my own experience, I’m hoping this piece of writing in particular will give you raw insight on the difficult challenges I (and probably many other Asians — more so females) have had to face growing up in a traditional, strict Asian household… especially where dating is concerned.

Before I begin my account, I think it’s worth sharing some context on my ethic background. I grew up in a typical immigrant Chinese/Vietnamese household. I won’t dive into too much detail on my family history but in a nutshell it wasn’t long after the Vietnam War that my parents, grandparents, aunties and uncles had to flee the country. After many, many trials and tribulations, my parents eventually settled in the UK.

People who’ve come from a similar background as myself would probably hesitate to divulge too much information about our upbringing; some words that come to mind include shame, embarrassment and guilt. With this also comes fear. Fear of others judging or thinking less of you and your family. However, I don’t concern myself with the opinions of others, I’m very open and willing to address the elephant(s) in the room.

The way traditional Asian parents communicate their love is vastly different from western culture. There were no hugs, no “I love you”, no praises and compliments. Parents like mine were over protective, abusive (physically and verbally), and needed to have full control over their children. Yet they were incredibly hard working; certainly the most hard working people I know. Everything and anything they did was solely for my sisters and I to succeed in life and I’m very grateful.

An endless cycle of hostility

Now when you’re a 16 year old teenager who has grown up in a western society living under a roof with a Tiger Mum (sadly my dad passed away when I was 5)… there’s bound to be conflict. Lots of it. At that hormonal age, it was only natural for me to start thinking about partying, drinking, smoking, dating and having sex. Of course, I was constantly reminded to focus on my studies (which I did) but I also began to take an interest in boys.

Having a boyfriend at 16 was one problem… but the “types” of guys I was interested in was another (I’ll get to it shortly), I spent most of my teenage years living with resentment. My mum’s discipline and strictness pushed me to rebel and endure an endless cycle of hostility towards everyone.  I lied countless times just to be able hang out with my boyfriend, I snuck out many nights, got kicked out on a few occasions and even packed my things and left home on my own accord. I kept my relationship a secret from my mum for 3 years… although I’m pretty sure she knew but tried to turn a blind eye.

Perception

My boyfriend at the time was black and when it comes to dating, I’d rather not think about race, it holds no relevance to me. But that’s been hard to avoid especially growing up in my household. Unfortunately there is an inherent racist element in Asian culture towards black people. The rigid views and ideologies stem mainly from the older generation which gets passed down. Much of the dislike or reluctance comes from deep-seated racial stereotypes — and this all comes down to lack of knowledge, exposure and availability. Asians who’ve grown up in Asia tend to have very little knowledge of black men and black culture in general.

Frustratingly what makes it worse is that these negative stereotypes of black men have been perpetuated by the media, displaying them as irresponsible “bad boys” and thugs. Asian culture tends to be achievement oriented and “high status” conscious, therefore the qualities of black men depicted by the media are not desirable. The fact is many Asian parents overtly tell their daughters not to date black guys. I imagine there are many Asian girls/women who are attracted to black boys/men but are afraid to pursue such relationships because of how their family will react. Honestly, it isn’t easy for us, and depending on how headstrong we are as individuals, we have two options — either follow our parent’s instructions or don’t… and the latter will instantly label you as disrespectful because you’ve gone again their word and “shamed the family”.

In addition to this, there is a very archaic view on dark skin… it’s an unspoken thing but it exists. Historically many Asian countries believed that dark skin was associated with working in the fields, symbolising rural poverty. On the other hand, pale skin meant living a more comfortable life indoors, out of the sun. Skin colour is thus a sign of social class. I mean this doesn’t play a huge factor on what I’m discussing as this is more about how Asians see other Asians… but worth mentioning for insight.

So even though my mum turned a blind eye, inside I felt like I was committing the ultimate “sin”. It always seemed like I was stuck between a rock and a hard place. The only thing that made it slightly bearable was that my sisters knew and understood the difficulties I was going through. But ultimately if I had admitted to dating a black boy to my mum’s face; I guarantee she would have beaten and disowned me… you think I’m being dramatic when I say it but trust me, I’m not.

World War III: The Dating Battlefield

I can only describe the whole situation as a hot mess and one of my biggest strains. It wasn’t just from the conflict between my mum and I either, the relationship itself wasn’t healthy. Don’t get me wrong, experiencing “young love “was wonderful in so many ways — there were a number of highs but far too many lows.

When we started dating, I didn’t even think to consider what my mum would have thought. We were so into each other, literally inseparable. As my first boyfriend, I just wanted to see him frequently and hangout like any normal teenage girl. Thankfully we went school together; so we’d meet at lunch, he’d wait for me after class, I’d jump into his arms every time I saw him, I’d sneak into his lessons, he’d sneak into mine, we’d get into trouble together for being late… it was a very typical “teenage love”.

Eventually I met his family, his mum was super lovely, I got along with his brothers well, his cousins were nice. His mum made me dinner regularly, I always felt so welcome in their home. I wanted nothing more than to do the same for him… but realised it wasn’t going to be possible which saddened me a lot. It was so unfair, why could I not just come from a “normal” family where parents were not so narrow-minded, judgemental and ignorant? The more I thought about it, the more angry and resentful I became.

In the first year or so, my mum was working outside of London at the time, I had the house to myself a lot which was perfect because I invited him over almost every day. Yeah spending all that time with him was great but the problem was that I was never able to fully immerse myself in those moments… not without anxiety, worry and paranoia sitting beside me. In my mind I’d visualise what would happen if my mum randomly came home early one day and found us in bed! A early grave for me for sure. My mum had a few friends that lived in the area too so whenever we went out, I found myself looking behind my shoulder in case someone would see me. Constantly feeling on edge brought me to tears a lot, and although he was very understanding, it didn’t make me feel any better about the bullshit situation.

What pissed me off even more was that the majority of my girl friends were Afro/Caribbean, and my mum was cool with that. No seriously, they’ve come to my house, she’s spoken to them, cracked jokes, they’ve been around for lunch or dinner… all of that! What the actual fuck? Why couldn’t she see and treat my boyfriend in the same way!? It irritated me to the core. And because of my frustrations and her absurd way of thinking… we were clearly unable to see eye to eye. Often we’d get into some real heated arguments… leading into verbal/physical abuse.

With all that rage inside me, I could only see red around her. She would say something and it would immediately trigger me or we’d be discussing something which would escalate into another topic. I don’t think I’ve ever cried so much in my life from just pure distress. At that age, the only way I could express anger was through shouting profanity at her, threatening her, slamming doors, throwing my weight, packing my stuff and leaving. There were many times I wanted to get physically violent with her.

Towards the end of the relationship, my boyfriend and I were very rocky… we had many issues. I felt like I was fighting fires everywhere. At this point, I was battling with him, at the same time trying to salvage my broken heart and the broken relationship. I was still at war with my mum, I felt like my sisters weren’t supporting me enough and fell out with them. I felt like I was drifting away from my friends. It was a turbulent time. As a teenager, it seemed like my world came crashing down. I felt lonely, trapped and so miserable.

I was 19 when I decided to call it quits, I couldn’t deal with the turmoil any longer. It was a hard, painful decision because I was so emotionally invested and attached but I knew in my heart the relationship was no longer serving me. It drained me physically and mentally. It took me a long time to get over him but even then, the hurt and issues that surfaced in those 3 years didn’t leave me until much later in life.

15 years later

It’s been 15 years since all of that happened, crazy how certain moments in life can really engrain in your mind. But I’m glad I was able to share this account with my readers. Personally I think it was an important topic to discuss, especially as we now live in a generation where we need to encourage and embrace cultural diversity. Fortunately, negative stereotypes are slowly dying out and as people become aware and travel more, there has been a growing acceptance of interracial dating/marriages globally.

For those with traditional Asian parents, if you’re facing a similar problem as I did, please do not start a feud and rebel against them. Trying to educate them about the black community is ideal but I’m sure it will be like talking to a brick wall… I would give it a go though. If I could travel back in time, I would have preferred to be honest (even if it meant getting a beating/disowned), I would remind my mum that the colour of someone’s skin does not define them and express how happy that person made me. It’s highly likely that it wouldn’t have gone down well but at least I would have freed myself from living in fear and been able to enjoy the moments without carrying all the emotional baggage every single second of the day.

In terms of my relationship with my mum now? It’s certainly improved. We get along much better. Maturity and gaining perspective has aided towards my overall attitude (and temper) but I’m not going to lie, I still hold a tiny bit of resentment towards her… I know I shouldn’t and I need to let it go, but it’s honestly so difficult. I read a lot of books and listen to various podcasts to help me manage and get past the emotions I hold onto… with time I believe I’ll get there. I’d never want to paint anyone of my family in a negative light, but this is the truth of my childhood but I understand that my mum also endured many difficulties throughout her life.

The eX-Files: Keeping memorabilia from past relationships.

Today I’m wondering… “Do you keep memorabilia from past relationships?” I think it’s a good question and I’m sure the answer varies from person to person. I honestly don’t. At least not on purpose. After a failed relationship, I purge anything and everything attached to an ex — especially if it was a bad relationship. It’s got nothing to do with being hurt or upset, but more for me to start with a clean slate. I’m quite cut-throat anyway so once I’m done with someone, I really couldn’t care less. Oh and also… I don’t like clutter!

I’m going to throw it out there and say that keeping old photos and gifts from a past love generally won’t be appreciated by a current partner, whether they like to admit it or not. What am I basing this on you ask? A lot of reading, secondary research and speaking to numerous people. I’d say the first thought people have when items like these come to light is “are they still holding on to old feelings?” The action of keeping memorabilia from past relationships is apparently called “Soul Ties” and causes one to be “locked in” to that person on an emotional and mental level. This is likely to be true if your partner is actually still clutching on to the past and hasn’t fully moved on emotionally from their last relationship.

However on the flip side, many choose to keep sentimental items from the past for different reasons. And after speaking to various friends, I think there are some good takeaways from these overall discussions. A couple of my girlfriends admitted to keeping memorabilia but have boxed the things up and stored it somewhere out of the way. They said that their current partners are obviously aware that they had a life before them; adding that everyone has a past and should have a right to keep what they want to keep. In one of their words: It’s not that I still have feelings for my ex or I’m looking for a reconciliation. I just find it hard to let go of memories of someone I once held dear. It feels like denying they ever were important to me.

I know some people have chosen to keep little objects like old cinema tickets or key chains from a date because in the future they want to have small reminders of what their teenage years were like (which is fair enough, I actually think that’s quite cute) Then I have guy friends who have kept items only if they serve a functional purpose, ie. NutriBullets, Cameras, Clothing.

Flipping the script

So how would I feel if I was dating someone and they kept old gifts or left photos of their ex on social media? Well… I reckon a few years back when I really struggled with my insecurities and paranoia — any of the above would have bugged the shit out of me. Today, if I saw old cards or love letters… I’m not going to lie, I’d probably have an issue with it so would raise my concerns. But with regards to old photos on social media, I might have a look at them (because it’s right there in my face) but I wouldn’t focus my energy on it. There are a few reasons (that aren’t linked to harbouring old romantic feelings) why people still have pictures of their exes. Firstly, your partner might not be that active on social media/hasn’t gotten around to deleting them. Secondly, they may still value his/her friendship; they don’t even have to be friends, perhaps they just broke up amicably. Thirdly, as my girlfriends mentioned, it’s just a memory of a life before you, there doesn’t have to be any meaning behind it.

I try my best not to jump to conclusions too much. If I find myself jealous or insecure about old photos then I’d say that’s my problem to deal with. At the same time, your partner should make you feel secure and not put you in a position where you have to question them. I’m a big believer in actions, so if your other half is clearly showing that you are their present and priority, then there’s absolutely no need to worry. Just concentrate on building happy memories with them!

If you find yourself in a situation where you’ve discovered items/photos from the past but it makes you feel uncomfortable, then I believe you have a right to express your feelings… in a calm manner! When you build up the courage to have the conversation, understandably it can feel awkward. You might even feel bad for bringing it up! Nevertheless, with all relationships, communication is very important. If something doesn’t sit right with you then it’s okay to be direct and have an open dialogue about it, but equally it’s important to refrain from sounding accusatory to avoid anything blowing up into a fight!

Do you still keep photos or items from past relationships? Does your current partner know? What is your feeling towards a significant other keeping sentimental memorabilia? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

When the past becomes our present.

Old emotional wounds have many ways of inserting themselves into existing and new relationships. When this occurs, they can prevent a connection from blossoming or slowly pull at a relationship until one or both parties suffocate. Some of our deepest wounds often come from childhood, and others will make an appearance at a later point in life.

Dealing with heartbreak, betrayal, having our ideas about love questioned and our spirits bruised are distressing experiences to go through. Mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually — these past traumas have the power to greatly impact our overall character; it can affect the way we think, the way we see ourselves, and the way we see others. When emotional pain cuts us deep, it can cause repeat unhealthy behaviours and offer a recipe for toxic relationships. Sometimes without even realising, few of us will continue living our lives holding onto negative, distorted thoughts in our unconscious mind. But one thing is for sure… none of this has to be permanent.

Cute but psycho

I’d be lying if I said freeing yourself from the past was an easy process. It really isn’t. Speaking from personal experience, I spent years convinced that I was healed from my first relationship. Unfortunately, feelings of resentment and bad memories can linger long after a previous split. The reality was that I had simply swept everything under the carpet and put in place a few coping mechanisms which involved: always having my guard up, purposely starting conflicts to make myself feel better and feel more in control, never communicating or addressing the root problem, and playing the blame game. After going through a couple superficial relationships in my emotionally unavailable state, it became clear that my issues were just adding this growing ball of toxic energy. The longer I left it to manifest, the worse I became.

I was cheated on in my first relationship but didn’t find out until a year later… and it was only by chance I had discovered the secret. Around the same time, the manipulative and controlling behaviour became more apparent (dictating what I could/couldn’t wear, where I could go, who I could talk to/hang out with, etc.), our heated arguments were pretty intense, we hurled things at each other then got into physical altercations. The atmosphere was always tense and disruptive, and not just between us but for others as well. When things were good, they were amazing; when things were bad, it was hideous. Being 16 at the time, in my first relationship; I was naive and “blinded by love”. I can’t even comprehend what was going through my mind back then. All I knew was that no matter what shit we had gone through, he was never wrong in my eyes. Eventually three and a half years later, I found the courage to leave. And by no means was it an easy exit.

I swiftly got into my next relationship about 5 months after but I was just a ticking time-bomb for my next partner… and the next one after that. When I look back, I feel awful for the way I treated some of my exes. Even thinking about it now makes me cringe and feel a lot of shame. I found myself creating worst-case scenarios in my head, getting easily triggered over certain things they’d say or do. I was always feeling hypersensitive, insecure and on-edge when they wanted to have a guys night out or attend a work do. I dealt with it all by self-sabotaging. I would go down their phones to check their call logs, messages, photos, social media. I looked through their draws, cupboards — I don’t exactly know what I was looking for but I needed anything to use as ammo so I could pull them up on it and accuse them of cheating on me. I honestly think I put more effort in my search for “evidence” than I did with the actual relationship. Messed up huh?

Road to recovery

When we’re stuck in trauma, our limbic system (basically an important part of the brain) can become impaired in its ability to regulate our emotions. As a result, our mood, sleep and thought patterns can be impacted and lead to symptoms such as anxiety, fatigue, loss of appetite, low sex drive and even depression. It’s essential to understand how past issues are affecting your love life so that you can address them.

No one likes feeling vulnerable, disappointed or hurt, but how we deal with past issues determines the quality of our lives, our next relationship and ultimately helps to shape ourselves. As mentioned, it’s not a straightforward or quick practice, nonetheless I guarantee that taking an opportunity for self-reflection and learning can be the gateway to experiencing real joy and happiness. If you’re seeking some guidance on how to release those burdens, I’ve compiled some mindful tips to help loosen that grip on previous situations and move forward in a much healthier way.

IT IS WHAT IT IS
For some of us, “letting it be” or “letting it go” alludes to the idea that we’re wrong or it feels like we’re allowing someone else to be right. It also means letting go of your expectations of how things should have been. The fact is, what happened was all in the past and there’s nothing you can do about it. The drama, holding on… it’s all in your own mind. As you continue feeding the memories, you make what someone said or did even bigger and more powerful in your head than it might have been in reality. Accepting what happened gives you the ability to create empowering stories and discover valuable lessons to carry with you in the future.

DO NOT PUT EVERYONE IN THE SAME CATEGORY
Your new partner should not be punished for the pain you felt from previous relationship, just because someone did you wrong in the past, it doesn’t mean that your new partner will do the same. It’s an unfair position to put them in. It’s important to communicate, be open and honest, and explain why you might have certain hangups or sore spots. And if it’s a situation where you’re clinging onto hurt and anger but struggling or refusing to let it go, then perhaps you’re not in the right frame of mind for a new relationship.

TAKE YOUR TIME TO HEAL
There’s no timeline for healing from trauma, it can take months or even years. However, it’s vital to release the sadness and let yourself process all the emotions. Use the opportunity to self-discover and work on getting your mind back in a better place.

LET IT OUT OF YOUR SYSTEM
Some will feel better after verbal communication with a friend, family member or therapist, others might prefer writing down their thoughts in a journal. Either way, the cathartic release can do wonders for your mental health. You’ll find that self-expression helps to clarify your thoughts, feelings, reduce stress and even solve problems more effectively.

DO THINGS THAT YOU ENJOY
On your road to recovery, I reccomend channeling your energy into things you enjoy. Perhaps you let go of a hobby you used to love? Maybe you want to take up something new? Just go for it. Even if it’s a bit of therapeutic shopping, brunching with friends, binging on awful reality TV shows or treating yourself to a pamper session — stick to positive environments, surround yourself with good people and focus on finding happiness and inner peace.

I always encourage learning and growing from all our experiences in life. When we’re dealing with past trauma, concentrate on becoming stronger in the process, rather than carrying the baggage around like an anchor. Don’t let it weigh you down from living and enjoying your life. The past should be used as a reference to serve and support you for the present and future. Always keep in mind:

“Scars remind us of where we have been, not where we are headed.”

“I had a great time, when can I see you again?”

These days you’ll need to come armed with garlic, a crucifix and a dictionary if you’ve got any chance of survival in the modern dating world. Learning the millennial language of “love” can be pretty helpful to if you want to figure out what kind relationship you’re getting yourself into — or whether it’s even one at all! With the extensive, ever-evolving list of vocabulary, phrases and acronyms, it’s no surprise that many of us feel baffled after seeing things like “TDTM” or “DSL” (all to be revealed at the end of this post!)

In this week’s blog piece, I’m focusing on one very unpleasant term. Please raise your hand if you’ve ever had a potential prospect suddenly end all contact and disappear into the ether… 🙋🏻‍♀️ Yes, that’s right people. Ghosting is what we’re about to cover… or uncover rather!

So the depressing news is that this “trend” happens more frequently than we think. In a survey conducted by dating app Plenty of Fish, among 800 single US and Canadian participants aged 18-33 — nearly 80% had fallen victim of being “dumped” by someone without any explanation. In another survey ran by Elle.com, more women reported being on the receiving end, but more women than men also admitted to being the ghoster!

I’m sitting here shaking my head yet I’m also guilty of committing this cruel act… twice in the past. Not my proudest moments and I don’t condone it. Since then, I’ve matured, improved my communication skills and learned to deal with tough situations like a decent human being.

Ghosting can happen at any point… after one date, after a few texts, even after several months of dating! For the person bearing the brunt, the aftermath can be devastating; especially if it felt like things were heading somewhere. Naturally, self-esteem is impacted, one might feel abandoned, betrayed, angry, anxious and go into a spiral of overthinking. But what drives this behaviour? I’ve provided 6 brutally honest reasons why people will opt for this exit strategy.


AVOIDANCE OF CONFRONTATION
Uncomfortable conversations. Nobody really wants to have them and very few people can handle them. Simply avoiding possible conflict and hoping the problem goes away on its own is usually a Ghoster’s easy way out.

YOU CAME ACROSS A BIT ERM… NEEDY
I mean come on! You got a little ahead of yourself there… talking about the skirting boards, the white picket fence, 3 kids, 2 dogs and your 5 year plan — all of this before the bread basket even touched the table! It was going well until the overwhelming pressure of the conversation caused them to jump into an Uber and out of your life.

YOU’RE A SIDE PIECE
Given how many people are on dating apps, it’s fairly easy for someone else to catch your eye. Other possibilities might be that they’ve returned to an ex, they’re already married or involved with someone else, and that’s a sticky situation! If they’ve abandoned you for those reasons then I’d say you dodged a bullet and got lucky!

THE CONNECTION ISN’T SERIOUS ENOUGH / THEY’RE NOT THAT INTO YOU
When a person isn’t that interested or hasn’t invested much time into the “relationship”, they may feel they don’t owe you anything, including a conversation to explain themselves.

AFTER ONE THING ONLY
The game-playing ghosts. They’ve led you on, they’ve said what you wanted to hear, they’ve gone into full blown Prince/Princess Charming mode… until they finally bedded you. With their egos boosted, it’s time to go ghost. These ones are equivalent to some kind of 15-day free trial.

YOU’RE THE ISSUE
And sometimes it’s just your attitude and behaviour. No one wants to be involved with people who are liars, disrespectful, rude, arrogant, complainers… the list of negative traits can go on. If someone feels that being direct is a waste of their time and energy, they’ll go for the obvious choice and avoid you at all costs.

How to react when you get ghosted

Firstly, let a ghost stay a ghost. Put your phone down, stop stalking their social media, stop showing up at places you know you’ll see them at. It’s not attractive and it says you need their validation, which you absolutely do not! You are worthy and you don’t need anyone’s stamp of approval. 

I know my advice will go through one ear and out of the other for some people… so if you’re tempted to get in touch with them, please think hard about what outcome you’re really looking for. If someone has ghosted you then they’ve already shown an inability to handle conflict in a healthy way. Ask yourself if it’s really worth investing time and effort in someone who is evidently emotionally unavailable.


ACRONYMS
TDTM = Talk Dirty To Me
DSL = D*** Sucking Lips (lovely!)

If you need a bit of brushing up on millennial dating lingo or you’re simply new to the dating scene, you can use my Dating Dictionary as a reference point to help navigate your way through ghastly minefield!

Love, lust or attachment?

With 80 billion cells and various chemicals in our brain, it’s no wonder why feelings and emotions are so hard to decipher. I’m sure we’ve all experienced a time when we’ve met someone and felt instantly drawn to them. It’s common to feel a variety of sensations including nervousness, excitement, an adrenaline rush, anxiety, an increased heartbeat and so on. Sometimes the “sparkle” of a new relationship in your life can be overwhelming; causing your judgements to be clouded. There’ll be a certain point where the mind starts throwing up all sorts of questions like: Should I give 100% to this individual? Do they feel the same? Is it more than just attraction? Is there potential for longterm commitment? Is this person a “nice to have” because I’m bored?


Assuming we have those questions figured out, and things develop even further… are we then entering the territory of love, lust or attachment? How do we differentiate between the three? Personally speaking, I believe I’ve felt lust before, I’ve also felt attachment (in a rather unhealthy way), and both are a type of high that are not just addictive but consume a lot of your mental space. If I were to briefly summarise the two experiences, I’d say:

LUST
Is impulsive, obsessive and surface-level; it offers immediate gratification thus short lived. When you’re lusting after someone, you’ll find yourself in fantasyland. The infatuation begins to takes over to the point where you start ignoring things… including red flags! With lust, we project what we want to see rather than the reality of the person and situation. This is exactly what I went through during a rebound.

ATTACHMENT
Is actually more about yourself than the other person, though it might not seem like it in the moment. It leaves no allowance for vulnerability. It’s convenient, pleasure seeking, requires constant reassurance and eventually drains the living soul out of you because in the end, it’s just a power struggle game. The aim is to keep the person there for as long as possible to fill a void, whether it be boredom, loneliness, etc. Unfortunately as humans, we’re wired to get attached to ideas/people/things very quickly because ultimately it’s what we think will complete us and fulfil our needs. I could go much deeper into this subject but I think I’ll save it for a rainy day!

LOVE
Well I can’t really speak on “being in love” as I don’t think I’ve experienced it in full force as such but in one of my others posts “Love, Sex & Magic”, I collaborated with a fellow blogger and discuss what I believe it to be. Whilst we’re on the subject, I wanted to highlight an interesting study led by Helen Fisher from Rutgers University on the science behind love. There are some key takeaways from her model suggesting that there are various overlaps as well as subtleties between the three ‘strands of love’, all uniquely characterised by their own set of neurotransmitters and the release of specific hormones during each stage, these are:

Lust – Testosterone and oestrogen
Attraction – Dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin
Attachment – Oxytocin and vasopressin

While love can start off with any of these three feelings, ie. people have sex first and then fall in love, some fall in love then have sex, some feel deeply attached to someone they’ve known for a while then eventually fall in love — the brain’s system can be tricky. Having sex increases dopamine in the brain and can push you over the threshold toward falling in love. With an orgasm, a flood of oxytocin and vasopressin pumps into the brain, giving you feelings of attachment. Where casual sex is concerned, as much as we like to convince ourselves otherwise, it isn’t always casual. In fact, those who engage in “hooking up”, do it to unconsciously trigger feelings of romance and attachment. The bottom line: sexual intimacy can trigger a host of powerful feelings. This is why we can become so confused internally when it comes to matters of the heart.

Fisher explains that romantic love is composed of attachment, attraction, and lust. As they emit a different combination of chemicals from the brain, it is impossible to experience real love without a blend of all three. When we do experience this love, one of the central ideas is that romantic love is a drive much stronger than the sex drive. A few signs of “romantic drive” are as follows:

1. You begin to think your love interest is unique. You also experience the inability to feel romantic passion for anyone else. This single-mindedness results from elevated levels of central dopamine, increasing attention and focus.

2. Your overall outlook in life seems significantly more positive. You’ll frequently catch yourself daydreaming about the other person. Trivial events and objects will instantly remind you of them.

3. People who are in love generally feel a powerful sense of empathy toward their partner, feeling the other person’s pain as their own and being willing to make sacrifices for the other.

4. Emotional intimacy is one the biggest factors that sets love apart from the attraction or lust you feel in the early days of dating. When you open up to your partner and become more vulnerable, it shows that you may very well be heading in the direction of love.

5. Oxytocin increases feelings of safety and calmness. When the initial nerves/anxiety are replaced with contentment, it could be a sign you’ve gone from infatuation to love. 

6. Lastly, when you’re in love, you start including your partner in all your future plans. You’ll start considering your significant other when it comes to making big life decisions simply because you want them to be there for it all.


It’s evident our human brains are a minefield; emotions are no doubt complex to decode. Nonetheless it’s important to remember that whether you’re in early stages of a relationship or happily settled down, we at times forget to prioritise ourselves. It’s easy to get wrapped up by someone and driven by forces outside of our conscious awareness, so do check in with yourself to ensure your situation isn’t having a negative impact on your mental and physical wellbeing.

One Q&A + two sassy bloggers = love, sex and magic.

Happy weekend everyone! Hope you’re enjoying the beautiful weather (Londoners) albeit windy! As if it wasn’t hot enough already this week… I’m here to crank the heat up a notch or two with my very first (and very spicy) collaboration! Yessss this a Bank Holiday Special! So before I dive in, I want quickly give a shout out to my fellow blogger, sexpert and orgasm lover, the bold and beautiful soul behind TheDatingShitShow. I’ll warn you now, her content is not for the faint hearted! In short, she takes you on a personal journey with a strong emphasis on female sexual empowerment, essentially you’ll see her life through a “steamy” lens. The underlying message is to encourage women to embrace pleasure, erotic energy and explore your deep desires. Check it out if you have 5 mins to spare 🙂

As for context on how this collaboration came about, we literally met through Instagram like… last week! She dropped me a message and it pretty much took off from there. The fact that we’re both passionate about self-expression, have similar writing tones, are huge fans of Sex and the City (Samantha Jones obvs!) and of course share comparable dating experiences; it just made sense to come together, hone in on our areas of interest and produce a fun and exciting joint blog post to share with our readers.

Between the two of us, we conjured up 8 extremely deep, intimate, daring questions. The type that most people would not typically discuss in such a public domain! It’s a good thing we’re not “most people” then, because here we are… two sassy bloggers + one hot and heavy Q&A piece. We touch on love, heartbreak, sex and porn! So without further ado…


DO YOU THINK YOU HAVE EVER BEEN IN LOVE?

Damsel in Dating Distress
I used to think so but looking back I’m not entirely convinced. The one time I think I experienced “being in love” was with my first boyfriend. I was 16 at the time, together for 3 years so fairly young and naive. I went through all the emotions that you would associate with romantic love. Feeling like you’re on cloud nine, the immediate excitement of seeing or speaking to them, having that person on your mind throughout the day, placing the other person’s needs before your own, imagining the rest of your life with them, being blind to everything else around you, being literally inseparable. In hindsight I realised it was just a heavily codependent relationship. Maybe my “teenage love” was nothing more than an attachment, but not the healthy kind.

Dating Shit Show
The first time I fell in love was with my university boyfriend and we were together for 4 years. He taught me what love should be like and showed me how to love, without conditions. I would say I’ve been in love a handful of times throughout my life, young love, puppy love, dependent love. We learn a lot about ourselves when we fall in love, sometimes it blinds us, sometimes it breaks our heart and then teaches us to be a little less naive.

IF YES, CAN YOU DESCRIBE THE FEELING AND EXPERIENCE? IF NOT, WHAT DO YOU THINK LOVE IS?

Damsel in Dating Distress
I think many of us tend to get confused between, love, lust and attachment. I’ll save my deep dive for a separate post but in essence, love should feel steady and secure. It involves commitment, vulnerability, mutual trust, and acceptance. It’s a feeling and emotion that grows over time through getting to know a person, while also experiencing high and low moments together. Love should hold a more balanced perspective; when together your energies should complement each other whilst allowing for the ability to maintain a life of your own. I’m yet to experience this high level version of love.

Dating Shit Show
Love is beautiful and intimate. The first time I fell in love I learned what love has the potential to be. Love is about bringing out the best in another person and giving your best to another person. Nourishing and encouraging each other to be the best possible version of yourselves. I don’t fall in love very easily, but when I do I fall deeply.

WHAT WAS YOUR WORST EXPERIENCE OF HEARTBREAK?

Damsel in Dating Distress
Not surprisingly, it was with my first boyfriend. The overall heartbreak was a build up of many painful, infuriating moments over time. It started off with his controlling, double standard behaviour where I was told to stop hanging out and speaking to my guy friends. Dictating what I could and couldn’t wear. The verbal and physical bust ups. The lying and cheating. We went through a break up/make up vicious cycle which involved manipulation, mind games and eventually led to the real break up which was just horrid. I cried for about 3 months, lost my appetite and felt a huge void. Thinking back, I cannot imagine putting myself through mental and physical turmoil for a man (!) or anyone for that fact! Being young, having your first relationship and going through a rollercoaster of emotions (never experienced before) was tough. The aftermath of trust issues, paranoia, anger, insecurity, etc. took its toll on me for a good few years, consequently causing damage to my other relationships. Thankfully time allows you to grow, mature, heal, learn and self discover.

Dating Shit Show
I dated a guy for 4 years during my twenties. I moved to a small town where everything and everyone was new. We started dating and I fell in love. It wasn’t what love should be. It was full of resentment, lying and disrespect. He ended the relationship over text after 4 years, started dating someone new a week later, then had me fired from my job. LOL. This was my “rock bottom” heartbreak, the one where you feel as though you’ve been shit on. It took me a while to get over the relationship. but I believe this heartbreak is one of the reasons I am as strong and badass as I am today. That breakup taught me to never give someone else so much control over my feelings and it taught me that love shouldn’t complete any part of me or my life, it should add something extraordinary to an already amazing life.

WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST TIME HAVING SEX LIKE?

Damsel in Dating Distress
Yeah it wasn’t bad. We had spoken about it in advance and (us being clueless teenagers) kinda “choreographed” what was going to happen, from foreplay to the actual moment! It happened in my house, on my bed. I don’t remember every detail (it was a while ago) but I know we were both nervous. The nerves certainly got to him more than me (I suspect this is common for guys) because it took us a couple of tries which added even more pressure on him – slightly awkward! We got there in the end and it’s kind of what you’d expect for a first time ; a bit of uncertainty, a little clumsy, slow but nevertheless enjoyable. I’m that the experience was shared with a boyfriend, it made everything more intimate and special.

Dating Shit Show
My first time was beautiful. I was very fortunate and I chose well. He was a chef in a restaurant I was working in. He was a little older than me and a lot more responsible. I was in such a hurry to have sex for the first time and he encouraged me to slow down and not to rush such a big thing. My first time was sweet and romantic and unforgettable in all the right ways.

WHAT’S A SUREFIRE WAY TO TURN YOU ON?

Damsel in Dating Distress
There’s a list but here’s the shortened version:

1. Confidence, respect, wit and assertiveness – Nothing beats a man with a strong presence. If he is self-assured with gentlemanly traits, I’m hooked in.
2. Strong arms and broad shoulders – I find it very attractive as it makes the guy appear more masculine and domineering.
3. Aggression/submission in bed – hair pulling, neck grabbing, back scratching, nail digging, against the wall, over the table! 😀
4. Men in sweats (preferably grey) and topless – This look makes me clench my fist and bite it! It’s the way the sweats outline his manhood.
5. Physical affection/heaving flirting/teasing – I thoroughly enjoy getting a guys mind going!

Dating Shit Show
Hmm, I would say there’s a few surefire ways. My top 3 would be…

1. A guy with confidence – A guy who knows himself, knows what he’s about, knows what he wants in life and isn’t afraid to go after it.
2. Sexual dominance – A guy who knows how to take charge in the bedroom gets me pretty wet. One that isn’t afraid to put me in my place.
3. Passion – I need a lover who is passionate about sex and connection and passionate about giving me multiple orgasms.

Some other things would be… man buns, big hands, sexy arms, broad shoulders, sexy chocolate lovers, sensuality, presence, connection, chemistry, a guy who knows his way around a clitoris, good kissers, an ass that looks good enough to eat and those sexy ass V lines.

WHAT WOULD BE YOUR SEXUAL FANTASY RIGHT THIS MINUTE?

Damsel in Dating Distress
Hahaha! I’m literally laughing out loud as I type this because there is a certain someone that comes to mind. First of all I would get him to cook a full-on roast dinner for me (as my belated birthday present) after that we’d uber over to a secret and private location (that comes with a hot tub on the balcony and skyline view of London). It’d be an evening full of deep conversations, lots of laughter, being silly, flirty, wine, a bit of weed, hot tubbing, games and plenty rounds of passionate sex. There’d be no sleep until early hours of the morning.

Dating Shit Show
After 6 weeks alone in quarantine I think any form of sex would be a fantasy right now. But my biggest sexual fantasy at the moment is an MMF threesome. I love dick, so a double dick fantasy would do me nicely right now. But mainly right now, I need a good weekend full of instabiable, uninterrupted sex.

WHAT WAS YOUR WORST SEXPERIENCE?

Damsel in Dating Distress
I can think of two occasions… but the worst was a rebound from one of my relationships. Sure he was attractive but unfortunately that’s all he had going for him!

1. He was very, very sweaty! Having face drip like a tap on me is never gonna do it.
2. Performing like a rabbit on speed is also not it!
3. The size! I feel a little bad because normally I’d say it’s how you use your tool; but he had some shortcomings (pun intended). Having a decent looking penis would of been his lifeline. Sadly, short pencil penises aren’t crowdpleasers.

Dating Shit Show
Hmmm I’ve had a few. Top disasters would be:

1. The guy who faked a phonecall to get out of giving me oral
2. The guy who made the strangest noise when he came
3. The guy who refused to give me oral because he couldn’t get hard

WHAT KIND OF PORN DID YOU LAST WATCH?

Damsel in Dating Distress
Porn!? It’s been years! But does going to a sex peep show in Amsterdam count? Right, so I paid €5 or something like that to watch drugged-up-looking couples have sex on a rotating platform. There were about 6 different “shows” going on at once, each having 4 rooms where you go in and have a “peep” at the action. You witness the usual positions, oral, anal and some kinky shit involving bondage… and that’s literally it. I didn’t quite get it, I wasn’t impressed but was interesting to say the least!

Dating Shit Show
Anal porn. It’s usually at the top of my most viewed. Tushy is one of my favourite porn channels, although they need to upload some new material, I think I watched it all during quarantine. I’ve also been watching some MMF threesome porn, for research purposes 😉


With this piece I wanted my responses to be raw and completely transparent so I hope that was delivered! To some readers who know me… I’m sorry haha! I guess you’ve really gotten to know me now. 🙊

I’ve always said social media comes with its pros and cons, however this is one example where I’ve seen a real positive. Since I started taking my blog seriously, I’ve already noticed the fruits of my labour. It’s rewarding knowing that my content resonates with others in the dating/relationship community. The connections I’m making are so valuable. The conversations and feedback I’ve had not only inspire me but also helps with ideas and direction.

It was a real pleasure (excuse the pun) to team up TheDatingShitShow. Thanks again girl, I had a lot of fun writing this and I hope we can collaborate on another piece in future! 💕

COVIDiaries: The 6 feet of separation

Firstly, I really hope everyone has coped okay during these turbulent times. Living in the midst of a pandemic and a lockdown is something that no one could have predicted. Socially and economically there have been a few cause for concerns. Many people have lost or feel terrified about the future of their jobs, some separated from and worried about loved ones, others craving freedom because home felt like their prison or those who are simply stuck indoors with little to no outdoor space. It hasn’t been easy for everyone to adjust to the “new normal”, which is why communicating, connecting, finding new hobbies and really making the most out of life’s simple pleasures is vital. We all need to muster the energy and enthusiasm to get through each day, and if we can refocus some of that energy on our own wellbeing and look out for others; then that’s always a great starting point to a more positive outlook.

Prior to the outbreak, I had been speaking to a few people across Hinge, Bumble, OKCupid and Coffee meets Bagel just to curb my boredom. I went on a couple dates here and there, it was great fun but overall the vibe wasn’t quite right so things died out fairly quickly. There was one guy in particular that I matched with on Hinge. I specifically remember when I went through his profile, something about him just didn’t sit right with me. I mean, it’s likely I was being judgemental (we’re all human at the end of the day!) but he had this very “laddish” look about him. Bar that, he did send quite a funny ice breaker; and funny is always good in my eyes. But don’t get it twisted, funny does not win me over.

As we started talking, I probably put in about 55% effort. That’s my general rule of thumb, you need to see what the other person is about without going all in, and I think you can get a good enough gauge if you fire the right questions and carefully look at their responses. After a few days of talking, I sussed that he was quite a smooth talker, confident with a tendency to step on the line of cocky, witty, funny, fairly charming and quite direct. I’ve dealt with many guys alike in the past, some slightly worse than others and I’ve always ended up extremely unimpressed. My normal reaction would have been to not bother but I was quite intrigued with him mainly because I saw a little bit of my personality come through in his responses. Also the fact that I knew within myself that I needed to be more open minded! As with most guys I meet online, my guard is held extremely high. Most things that are said, I take with a pinch of salt. With this guy, my guard was up for a while… it still is to be honest but it has dropped a significant amount over time.

And almost 9 weeks later (to my suprise) we’re still talking, regularly. We have these weekly video calls which I find very pleasant and entertaining. I’d explain what happens during these calls but I’ll save the details for another post. I guess it’s nice to get dressed up and pretend I’m going out on a date (literally just chilling on my bed), though I must say my efforts of late have been on the decline! Clearly I’m getting far too comfortable! 😬

The most frustrating part is that we haven’t actually met! Timing has been unfortunate but nevertheless I’ve genuinely enjoyed getting to know him thus far. I’ve appreciated the reciprocation in terms of time and effort put in to build a connection. You’d think in lockdown, people would get tiresome of having to entertain a conversation knowing that it wouldn’t lead an actual date… at least not for a while, consequently throwing in the towel after a couple of weeks or so. I wouldn’t be shocked if people said they were video dating purely as a time filler.

With video calls it still feels like there’s a barrier between us. Even though we talk frequently, without the physical form, we’re only getting a small part of what we’re about. It’s a fact that 70% of our communication is done via body language. So I guess my concern now is not so much him being a “lad” but more so us meeting properly and having an actual date! I’m not a pessimist but I can’t help but wonder “what if…”

We finally meet and there’s zero chemistry!?
We don’t find each other attractive face to face!?
We find each other unbearable?!
He’s not really that talkative in person and it gets awkward?!
He’s not really that funny and it gets awkward?!


I am looking forward to meeting him (finally), we joked that it would take us about 10 dates until we’d eventually see each other and currently it appears we’re on track! However it goes, I’ll be sure to enjoy the date, have fun and a good laugh. Fingers crossed it’s not another kittenfish or brick wall situation! Who knows… but make sure you stay tuned for the next chapter of COVIDiaries! 😀

We’re not friends or enemies. Just strangers with some memories.

Being friends with exes, there’s no universal rule. Research has shown that maintaining contact with exes is pretty common, but the motives for wanting to maintain contact should be thought out carefully. I’ve personally never had any desire to remain friends with a man I broke off a relationship with. There’s a reason why I walked away and that reason still exists. It’s not that I’m bitter, it’s not that I can’t handle it, I have no beef or ill feeling towards any of the guys. It’s just that by the time I’m done with the relationship, I’m emotionally checked out, I have no care for it or them. I’m happy to move on and put things in the past. They’ve served their purpose and I already have enough friends.

When I’m investing time and effort with anyone, I’d like to see if there’s real value there. My friends are the people I turn to when I want to have chit chats about current affairs, work, family, TV shows, dating, sex, reminiscing the old days, etc. Having great friendships is enjoyable, effortless, there’s mutual respect and each individual holds a important place in my heart. With that said, the thought of exchanging these kind of conversations with exes and sharing my personal business with them doesn’t appeal to me in the slightest. Reminiscing about the past? Giving them updates on who I’m dating? Nah, it doesn’t make sense to me.

What else makes me skeptical about the whole idea?

Truth is, one person is always a little more invested in the relationship than the other. In breakups, we have our egos challenged. These situations are never easy or nice to deal with on either side, the whole process is excruciating and exhausting. No matter what people say, it’s a challenge to go from loving words to no contact and awkwardness (it gets easier over time with more practice 😬) But I simply couldn’t think of anything worse than resorting to that cliché response of “let’s be friends” just to soften the blow after a break up. Offering friendship while the other party still has feelings for you is giving them false hope… and boy, do some exes clutch at the straws! Perhaps I’m a bit brutal but I’ve made an attempt to remain friends with an ex once! Unfortunately it wasn’t long until he started pissing me off with his inappropriate jokes and going on about the “good times” 🙄 — you can leave now.

In addition, I’ve always been someone who prefers to start off a new relationship with a clean slate, meaning no drama or baggage pulled in from the past. Hovering exes can be quite off-putting and let’s be real, it doesn’t really set the tone for a great start. Whether we’d like to admit it or not, many (insecure and jealous) people will use continued “friendship” to constantly compare themselves to the new partners in their ex’s life. A guy I once dated remained friends with his ex, and that ex would occasionally reconnect to ask silly questions about me 😒 I was not impressed. In instances like these, people tend to hang onto exes for the purpose of an occasional ego boost or to keep tabs on them.

Where new relationships are concerned, “friends with an ex” is tricky terrain. Letting your partner hang out one on one with a person they’ve previously had sexual and emotional history with? Having your partner’s ex call/text them at ungodly hours of the morning for a chat? Your partner getting sent birthday gifts and cards to the door from their ex? I mean… how would you feel about this? I know where I stand with those scenarios. And if your relationship started off romantically charged to begin with, then there is no friendship to really transition back to. Which was the case for all my previous relationships. Don’t get me wrong, if I bump into an ex, I’ll be civil but it’s never a case of “let’s go for a coffee one day!” Lastly, there are circumstances where staying on talking terms is necessary, for example, if you have kids together. You’d have to navigate some sort of friendship or at least have some form of communication there because it’s the right thing to do, even if there were feelings of hurt involved. 

Some of y’all are too liberal with the word “friend”… But that’s none of my business.

Ultimately there is no right or wrong answer with regards to being friends with an ex, it’s a choice you make as an individual. In my opinion, I believe there is a difference between “being on good terms” and “being friends”. If neither party has ulterior motives, and if the friendship doesn’t interrupt your current relationship then who knows, it may work. Although I’ve never heard of any success stories thus far. Either way, it’s important to have boundaries in place so that the past doesn’t interfere with the present. A good test is whether you’re comfortable hanging out with your current partner and your ex together, and whether your ex’s partner is comfortable with you. If you choose to stay friends with an ex, it might be worth asking yourself some important questions.

What are my motivations here?
Is this friendship truly feasible?
Can you be truly honest with each other?
Is this friendship fair to your current partner (if you have one)?
Is this friendship interfering with/delaying my recovery and emotional well-being?

Every individual is entitled to choose their own friends and live the way they feel comfortable. But things like this may have the ability to alter the dynamics of new relationships, so communication and understanding plays a vital role. Being entirely open and honest with each other will help relieve any worries/concerns as well as set the expectations early on.