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 

The courage to forgive.

It’s easy to fall into a pit of despair, bitterness and grief when we’ve been deeply hurt. After someone has wronged us, the thought of forgiving them seems elusive. Where relationships are concerned, if we’ve been the victim of cheating, mental/physical abuse, being lied to or put up with toxic behaviour; these events will naturally stick with us due to our brain’s innate tendency to remember things that are emotionally impactful. This is why letting go, whether it’s feelings, people and/or relationships can be so difficult.

Forgiveness is no doubt one of the hardest challenges you will ever face in a relationship or post-relationship. Most of us assume that if we forgive, then the offenders are let off the hook while we unfairly suffer from their actions. We must remember that forgiving someone doesn’t mean condoning their behaviour or pretending it didn’t happen. In essence it’s about letting go of the desire to seek revenge towards the other party, eliminating negative emotions rooted from them and shedding the emotional baggage from the unpleasant incident. Unfortunately there’s no quick formula to recover from pain nor is it a linear process, but if we’re able to practice forgiveness, I guarantee that it will bring a kind of peace that will enable you to move on and live a happier, more meaningful life.

It was only 3 years ago when I truly learned how to forgive properly, since then I’ve reaped the benefits. My perspective in life, personal growth, attitude and relationships in general have improved vastly. Being able to finally get over a relationship wound that I was subconsciously holding onto for almost 10 years (!!!) instantly made me feel a huge sense of relief, freedom and strength. You just know when you’ve finally let that shit go… something instantly changes within you, it’s that kinda feeling.

Until that moment I really thought I had known how to forgive, but I hadn’t. The only thing I was doing was suppressing the memories; but through time, maturity and lots of self-reflection, it occurred to me that some of my behaviour patterns were very destructive. When it came to relationships, I struggled with communication (particularly when I was upset), I was easily triggered, I was defensive, paranoid and anxious often. When I had that moment of realisation, I knew something was going on with me deep down and I needed to fix it. Not just for future relationship but for myself.

If you’re going through a circumstance; whether you’re struggling to forgive someone, haven’t forgiven the past (and haven’t let go) or simply don’t wish to forgive, I get it. Sometimes stubbornness and ego gets in the way. And sometimes it’s just the principle! But if I can highlight just a few reasons why it’s essential to practice forgiveness, then I hope it will enable you to think or view the situation in a different light.

It helps you to recognise the pain in others
No one is born wanting to hurt others. Our life experiences shape us as we mature and learn over the years. If we can take some time to think about the person who has hurt us, we can often find clues that help to explain their behaviour. And when we’re able to do this, we can begin to see things from a bigger perspective. The person who caused us pain is just a human trying to cope with their challenges, just as we are.

It’s for your benefit
Forgiveness is not something we do for others, it’s something we do for ourselves. If you continue to feel like a victim, then you’re carrying a heavy burden. The act of forgiving allows you to drop the burden and free yourself by walking away.

You’ll build inner strength
It takes a lot of courage and mental strength to forgive someone that caused us significant pain. When we practice forgiveness, we’re releasing negative emotions that we’ve held on to. And if we can continue to maintain this powerful mindset, we’ll become more resilient as well as build greater relationships in future.

We can learn from past experiences
Whether we move on with or without the person who hurt us – be mindful of the lesson. During and after the situation, we should do our best to take a step back and learn something about ourselves. Understanding what pushes our buttons, at what point do we get sensitive, how do we handle our emotions, how do we deal with conflict. Gathering this knowledge enables us to be better equipped for the next dispute or relationship later down the line.

Improves wellbeing
Holding a grudge or holding on to any negative emotion affects the cardiovascular and nervous systems. According to a study, people who struggled to forgive had elevated blood pressure and heart rates, as well as increased muscle tension. Choosing to let go and offering forgiveness will help boost your feelings of wellness on a mental and physical level.

Forgiveness comes with many steps, and depending on the situation, it can take weeks, months, or even years to get over a painful experience. I wouldn’t want anyone to be a prisoner of someone else’s behaviour, and struggling to let go might mean that you’re the one who pays most in the long run. It’s important to remember that forgiving means to eliminate the suffering, not the wrongdoing. The offender might not deserve your pardon, but you definitely deserve to be at peace.

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! 💕

Dear broke people, we are not obligated to date you.

Alright go easy on me! I know what you’re thinking. You read the title and suddenly I’m a bad person because I sound shallow or portrayed myself like some gold digger. Well no, that’s not the case…

According to a study I recently read, 50% of marriages end in divorce, and most of them cite financial stress as a primary cause of separation. While I wholeheartedly agree that money does not define happiness nor does it overrule everything in life, the simple truth is: we work to earn money, and we need money to live. In this post I’ll be giving a very brief account on two of my past relationships where both guys were financially unstable and how it caused a lot of friction between us. There was…

Relationship #1 – gambler
Relationship #2 – no drive/ambition in life (dreamer)

I’ll then move on to discuss why I think money is not the most important factor in relationships but it’s certainly not irrelevant! Discussing money in relationships can be a touchy subject for many. I’ve had guy friends who jump on the defence when the topic comes up in conversation. Clearly I’ve bruised an ego or two with my opinions, however I won’t be stepping on eggshells because of sensitivity.

There’s a reason why “gambling” is a deal breaker for me. By gambling, I don’t mean popping into a casino once in a while and chucking 50 quid in a slot machine. It’s when you continue to gamble despite negative consequences. I once dated someone who claimed they’d “occasionally gamble” but through time I caught on to the fact that “occasionally” was quite a downplay on reality. I was 19 at the time but I remember he would randomly buy me gifts out of nowhere, treat me to fancy lunches and dinners, bought himself a new car, the latest smarthphone, a massive flat screen TV and more… sure, it was all very lovely, but I wondered how on earth was he able to afford all this?

The Gambler

Then one day, he asked if he could borrow money off me (not exactly a small sum), and that he’d give it back on pay day. Considering I was still in university and had a part-time job, it was a bit of an ask! But I didn’t think much of it at the time and gave it to him. You can probably guess where this is all going but to summarise: no he didn’t pay me back on pay day, yes I did end up lending him more money, yes I ended up footing some bills for him (overdrafts included), yes he booked a couple holidays for us but I ended up covering the costs, yes we argued crazy amounts, yes I stopped being an ATM machine, and yes I did get some of the money back at the very end of the relationship. Not that it even mattered at that point!

The Dreamer and his pity party

Moving on to Relationship #2. Well… at first it was his personality that stood out for me. I admired his charm, humour and creative flair. More than anything, I enjoyed hearing him talk about his life goals, hopes and ambitions. I admired his “drive”, especially knowing that his family were far from affluent. The problem was that most of what he said ended up being all talk and no action. A “dreamer” is probably the best word to describe him. He was so out of touch with reality, he wanted to achieve all this, that and the other…. but didn’t want to put in the work — for anything! When he lost his job, I found myself repeating history yet again! Feeling sorry for him, thinking I can help get his life back on track, eventually paying for his lifestyle. The worst part was that I was (stupidly) funding his weed addiction! The least he could do to help himself was amend his CV and start job hunting… he wouldn’t even do that?! It was only a matter of time where I got real sick and tired his attitude. He had no enthusiasm for anything, no motivation, no thought for the future let alone the next 24 hours. Just a bunch of self-pity and blame. I had an inkling he may have suffered from depression… but either way, the negative energy was not something I wanted to be around or dragged into. I dated him for quite a while but it was very obvious we were not on the same page at all!

Zero F’s to give

Dating a person with any form of addiction is emotionally draining, costly and everyday can feel like a repetitive cycle. The worst thing is when you attempt to help them, and in doing so, you end up losing your sense of self. It’s important to realise that love does not “conquer” all, and it definitely cannot conquer addiction.

With both not having a penny to their names, spending more than they could earn and having absolutely no consideration for the long term. Their mindsets certainly helped me realised what I wouldn’t be able to tolerate in a relationship. I promised myself that I would never pay for someone’s lifestyle ever again. In other words, I really couldn’t see myself dating someone who was financially unstable. Getting people’s shit together and managing their finances is not and will never be my responsibility. Sometimes life can be unpredictable, and I get that a sudden loss of a job is not in our control but what happens next is something that does fall in our hands.

Money is definitely not everything, but it is an important aspect in life. Most of us have hobbies, some form of social life and hopefully life goals that we want to achieve. Whether it’s going out to bars, restaurants, going on holiday, buying nice clothes, going for beauty treatments, reading books, buying/owning a property, investing, starting a business, getting married, having children… they all ultimately require a stable flow or income to obtain and maintain the lifestyle. And if you’re looking to build a future with someone while retaining some of these lifestyle choices then you’re gonna need to find someone who shares the same mentality.

“When do I get my fairytale ending?”

A few weeks back I was talking to my cousin over WhatsApp, we were exchanging stories on all the latest dating dramas and screenshots of our erm… interesting matches. We’re both in agreement that online dating sucks, and while I’m having a lot of fun with it, my cousin is on the brink of giving up!

There are some women who really want the whole marriage and kids thing (my cousin) and some who are open to the idea but not particularly fixed on it (well that would be me!) Speaking of which, did you know about 17% of marriages and 20% of relationships begin online. I guess it’s not a terrible stat, to be honest I think it’s amazing when people manage to find their perfect partner online, but I think there’s a sprinkle of luck involved too!

The idea of fulfilment

During our conversation, my cousin said to me “When do I get my fairytale ending?” — and even though I’m fully aware that there’s no such thing as a “fairytale ending” (I’m not pessimistic, just a realist), it dawned on me that actually… dating can be quite the opposite sometimes. I feel like there’s this whole stigma about settling down. Traditionally, the stages of a “perfect relationship” has always been portrayed as: dating someone for many years, buying a house together, getting engaged, getting married, having kids and growing old together. Obviously this way of thinking has branched out and moved on yet it’s still an idea that people hold on to. For the singletons who hold tightly on to this way of life, tend to feel the pressure more as the years go by.

I find that as you get older, dating becomes harder. The truth is, the longer you’re alive, the more baggage you build up. We become set in our own ways, we’re more particular about what we want in a partner, we’re more critical. And this is just a tiny handful of reasons why. You’ll also find that everyone has been in some form of relationship(s) already, people might have children, be divorced… all of that stuff. So what do we have left? Well, it’s a choice of:

1. Serial daters – doesn’t take dating seriously and doesn’t want to take dating seriously
2. Broken but healing – may succeed once healed
3. Broken and not healing – toxic and undateable
4, Mentally unstable – this can cover a lot of ground but generally toxic and undatable or adds too much of a burden
5. Married – no thanks
Kids from someone else – might work for some, dealbreaker for others

You get my drift right? Okay, fine… there might be like 10% of “normal” people out there but even so, it’s not the easiest journey, particularly if you’re someone looking to settle down. There are other factors which unfortunately make an individual put pressure on themselves, this includes:

1. When all your friends are getting hitched and popping out babies
2. Parents / Other family members
3. Awareness of your body clock
4. Not being able to enjoy your own company

5. Overthinking about the future

Go easy on yourself

One might not be fussed about any of the above but I totally understand why a number of women are in a hurry to find their Mr. Right. The thing is however, progression of a romantic relationship can’t be forced or rushed, it’s something that should naturally evolve over time. So on that point, I wanted to compile a few “words of wisdom” for my fellow singletons. Mind you, I’m no love guru here, I’m simply picking out some narrative from various books I’ve read and conversations I’ve had — all which I’ve personally found useful and taken onboard.

JUMPING INTO RELATIONSHIPS
There are a number of reasons why people rush into new relationships. A lot of the time, it’s an attempt to get over an old one (ie. filling a hole in their life), but rebound relationships rarely stand the test of time because until your heart has healed you’re unlikely to be in the right frame of mind to let someone new in. Lost relationships deserve to be grieved. Even if the choice was yours to end it, there is still the loss of the hope you once had for it. You’ll be surprised how much you discover about yourself when you take some time out to heal.

Being part of a healthy relationship requires being a healthy person (mentally and emotionally). While it’s lovely to have a companion, it’s vital to feel comfortable and happy within yourself when you’re on your own and before entering a new relationship. It’s worth mentioning that no one ever figures everything out about themselves. I’m still learning every day! But when you know what you want and need in a relationship, the higher chance you will find someone in alignment with those needs.

TRUST YOUR OWN JOURNEY
We need to remember that everyone’s timing and journeys are different — and I’m not just referring to relationships in this instance. What works for some will not work for others. In life, it can be very discouraging when you witness friends or siblings reaching important milestones, whilst you’re there struggling to make ends meet.

Now if we look at dating, it can be hard to suppress feelings of sadness, envy or whatever it is you feel in the age of social media where everyone’s life seems so perfect online. If you find yourself thinking “why can’t it be me?” after seeing a friend’s Instagram post announcing her wedding engagement while she’s in the Caribbean with her new fiancee — it’s totally understandable. There was a study on Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking which found that social media use was associated with lower self-esteem and poorer mental health.

Please don’t focus on how you rank in comparison to others. Enjoy your journey. And remember that your journey has nothing to do with how well other people are doing, or what they have… but it has everything to do with what you want to do, and where you want to go. That’s all you need to worry about.

HIGH STANDARDS VS. BEING UNREALISTIC
People people people… we must draw the line between having high standards and being unrealistic. First of all, there is nothing wrong with having high standards. I think it’s a sign of healthy self-esteem, and it implies clarity about who you are and what you want. High standards conveys someone who knows their worth and what they deserve and are not afraid to ask for it and expect it done.

On the other hand, having unrealistic expectations for yourself and others isn’t great. Expecting someone else to be perfect, tick all the boxes all the time and do things when and how you want is not fair. Sorry but who do you think you are? If you’re constantly feeling disappointed in your relationships, you might want to consider the fact that you expect too much from your partner. Yes, relationships involve compromise and there are certainly non-negotiables, but sometimes we need to do some readjusting where expectations are concerned.

I’ve seen people’s (long ass) lists where there’s a column for dealbreakers and a column for requirements… and boy, some of that stuff is incredibly far-fetched and laughable. I’m not even gonna go there! Anyway, the bottom line is that you must understand and accept that no one is perfect. By doing so, you release yourself and others from this competition that nobody can ever win. 

STOP JUDGING
I have been particularly bad at this in the past, which is why I’ve been called “stush” before. One thing I would like to highlight is that putting yourself out there, being in a vulnerable position isn’t such a bad thing — and I’ve massively appreciated it when the other person does the same. It really helps when two people are honest and can communicate. It takes a good amount of time to really get to know someone and even then, you’ll only know a fragment about them. Even in relationships where you learn more over the years, people change as they go through different stages of life, things also happen and you either go with it or walk away.

Managing your judgement is very important here. The problem with judging early on is that you don’t allow a chance to connect with the other person on a deeper level, where you see their core values and beliefs, and watch their actions to make sure that they’re aligned with their words. At the end of the day, kindness and acceptance is imperative when getting to know someone new.

ENJOYING THE MOMENT
The best part of dating? Having fun! Life might throw a lot of bullshit your way, but it should be enjoyable… and as a bonus, sometimes it’s a learning curve. There are people who restrict the fun side of things because they’re not living in the moment. In fact, the same people are most likely too busy formulating plans on how to lock things down with the “potential”. Remember: Not all relationships will lead to marriage, some will help you discover new restaurants.

We often lose sight of what dating is all about, and in my opinion, it’s about connecting with another person, sharing who you are while learning who they are, enjoying the activity, laughing at the jokes, flirting and appreciating each other’s company. When you don’t take yourself or the date too seriously, you’ll quickly find yourself having the best dates of your life. Perhaps we need to trade the unattainable “fairytale ending” for a happy journey with a few bumps en route.

THERE’S NOTHING WRONG WITH BEING SINGLE
Lastly…. this. I wasn’t always someone who enjoyed being single but when I took the time out and focused on me and put myself first, my mindset and outlook changed completely. As a society we’re so wrapped up in finding someone to complete us, instead of trying to complete ourselves. Being single is when you learn about yourself and discover who you are. You have all the freedom when you’re single with no one holding you back — so make the most of it! Don’t allow yourself to be so enthralled on becoming somebody’s that you forget to first become somebody. 

Well that’s it from me… I hope you enjoyed this post and it’s given you some food for thought!

Why is it always something?

From age 16 until now I’ve been in 5 relationships… although I wouldn’t consider the ones before 25 “serious” as my young, wild and naive phase lasted a fair few years. When I finally matured and got my shit together, I decided to remain single for a while — 2 years in fact. I spent a lot of that time focusing on myself, working on my own happiness. I learnt how to enjoy my own company, spent more quality time with family and friends, went on a fair few holidays, got through a ton of books, put more energy into my career, improved my fitness, took up new hobbies, as well go through the process of self-reflection, all which gave me an incredible amount of perspective.

I can’t emphasise how important the self-reflection part was for me. Once I took a step back and analysed my life events, behaviour, values and beliefs; I decided it was time to make a few adjustments. I didn’t necessarily change who I was, but knew there were areas within myself that needed improvement – my attitude in particular. Once upon a time, I used to be extremely selfish, I went from 0 to 100 extremely quickly, sometimes violent, easily irritated, always spoke without thinking, was condescending towards others and had issues with authority.

Being a typical teenager/young adolescent was an obvious factor, however there were so many more layers to why I behaved and acted in such a way… but I won’t bore you with my life story! Maturity, different experiences combined with taking a time out made such a positive impact on my life. Over the last few years I’ve found myself to be much calmer, a better listener, more empathetic, understanding and open-minded. I pretty much did a 180! 😊 And if you’re wondering how any of the above is relevant to dating/relationships… just bear with me… My friend recently described my relationship history as: “Every bad trait you could ask for in a man, you found in each one of your relationships.” – This is true! Here is an overview on everything I’ve encountered in the past (not fishing for sympathy by the way!)

Relationship 1 – violent, controlling, cheater
Relationship 2 – no backbone, gambler
Relationship 3 – drug abuse, no ambition/drive
Relationship 4 – needy, insecure, controlling
Relationship 5 – compulsive/pathological liar

Quick overview

Number 1 affected me the most for sure. He did me dirty! 😩 I was young, it my first boyfriend and I was very cut up about it when it came to an end. A few of my issues stemmed from this particular relationship, and caused some of my existing issues to magnify. I knew it had affected me badly because when I entered my second relationship, I ended up being an icy bitch while displaying signs of a very unstable, insecure person. I just didn’t allow myself enough time to fully heal before jumping into a new relationship. Thinking back, I was a real handful to deal with! But the fact that he was a gambler didn’t help much with my irritable behaviour, he also never put his foot down when I was being mean, thus making it very easy for me to be a living nightmare.

When I was 21, I signed myself up for CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy), I could feel my rage getting out of control as it was slowly spreading across to my home life. I found therapy helpful, it made me more self-aware, however it wasn’t going to solve everything… and putting what I learnt into action was a very slow process for me.

After the dramas and the 2 year self-cleanse, I told myself that if I were to get into another relationship, that I’d be the best version of myself, not let past issues creep into the present, not set any expectations and just go with the flow. Which I did… as well as I could anyway. As you know, people don’t just change overnight.

Then Relationship 4 & 5 happened. Along came Mr. needy, insecure and controlling, followed by Mr. compulsive/pathological liar. Oh and not to forget, my dating history includes (but not limited to) being ghosted, bring dropped because they were still hung up on their ex, bring slow faded. Isn’t dating delightful?

The “psychoanalysis”

I believe my old line manager at work came to the conclusion that I was the “common denominator” — rude. Firstly, I’m confident it’s not me — yeah, that’s what they all say! But seriously, it’s not. I’m someone who thinks very logically, I have my head screwed on and don’t act “cray”… well not anymore! I’ve already gone through that phase. What I don’t know is how and why I manage to attract certain types of people. They seem cool at first and then all the toxicity suddenly comes pouring out! Literally… why is it always something? I’m capable of understanding that no one is perfect. I’m not and have never asked for perfect. I totally get that everyone has had some shit to deal with in the past but how is it possible that every person I’ve been in a relationship with… or even short-term dated just ends up having some major issue??

Ain’t nobody got time for that!

It’s a good thing I’ve learnt not waste too much time and energy on people! To think that I used to drag things out for more than a year in hopes that the person/situation would by miracle change! Madness. Don’t get me wrong, I think people can change but it’s not an overnight thing… it can take many years and quite frankly… who’s waiting?

I exchanged some hilarious dating/relationship stories with my work colleague the other week, and she shared a this little theory with me. She believes that damaged/unstable people can sense the aura of those who have their shit together. Then once the victims have been sussed out, these “parasites” will lure us in, latch on and absorb as much time and energy at the expense of our happiness and wellbeing… so in essence, I’m a host for these leeches! Sad but sounds about right.

Turning point

On a serious note though, not many people are aware of their internal issues or they simply choose to suppress it. I feel it’s vital for everyone to self-reflect. Not only do you become more confident and happy within yourself but it helps to build much better relationships. It’s certainly not a natural or easy thing for people to do. Many will struggle to hold up a mirror and really take a good look at themselves because it means being vulnerable, being completely honest with oneself and admitting mistakes/faults. When I think about the past, I genuinely hope that my exes/guys I’ve dated have gone through this process and managed to better themselves allowing them to discover real happiness and love.

Perhaps I’ve been dealt a slightly bad hand when it comes to dating/relationships but will always be grateful for the experience and learnings that came with it. I have no idea what to expect next but all I know is that right now… I’m in a really good place where I have peace of mind, life is stress/drama-free, I can look back and laugh, cherish memories, write about it and enjoy the moment 🙂

I would rather adjust to your absence than be frustrated by your presence.

Generally I’m a logical thinker but when it comes to matters of the heart, sometimes it’s hard to override feelings and emotions. Even when you have the answers right in front of you. I met my last partner on OKCupid which was a pleasant surprise because that dating app is seriously trash! You find all sorts of people on there, I’d say it’s marginally better than Plenty of Fish (which is bloody horrendous!) – but to be fair, I only utilised OKCupid as fodder for my old dating blog.

Anyway, I wanted to give an account on my journey with this guy. I’ve tried my best to condense the story down but it’s difficult with the amount of drama that took place! This is a story of love, lies and deception.

To start with and for context, here’s some fluff around my dating history: I’m someone who doesn’t really have a “type” as such. For me it’s about personality and compatibility. Of course there needs to be an element of attraction towards the person (online dating is about swiping left or right based on photos after all) but looks and appearance are certainly not my priority. In my eyes, you can go from hot to fucking not in an instant if your personality sucks ass.

I started dating from when I was 16 and looking back, what I realised with most of my long-term relationships was that I always ended up being the alpha female… which is not a bad thing, it just wasn’t ideal with the guys I was dating at the time! The alpha female thing is likely due to the nature of my personality and upbringing. I have a lot of strong women with very bold personalities in my family. On the flip side, I also recognised that being young and naive once upon a time meant tolerating a lot of bullshit and excusing people’s absurd behaviours/attitudes.

Skipping a few years forward… I grew up, matured and like to think I have my head screwed on properly now. I embraced being free and single, it enabled me to enjoy my own company, spend quality time with family and friends, learn about myself, people and relationships. When I hit my mid-20s, I started to consider dating again (basically after retirement from clubbing!) I got into a relationship with a guy from work, it lasted just under a year, then broke that off as he was far too needy! I then remained single for 2 years (excluding the FWB situation… but I’ll discuss that drama in a separate post) and it was probably the most enjoyable 2 years of my life. Then I decided to get back on the dating scene once again… and a few swipes later, I met him.

*cue dramatic music*

When we matched and first spoke, we instantly clicked. After our first date, it became hours upon hours of talking, we had so much in common! He was super nice, charming, funny, very responsive, had an amazing career, close to his family, intelligent, held the same values… literally he was ticking all the boxes one by one. I won’t lie, in my head I was thinking, “wow, this might be the one!” – and anyone that knows me, knows that I don’t even believe in that crap! Let me tell you now. Ticking all the boxes??? It’s a myth and a big, fat red flag!

A few incredible dates later, we found ourselves naturally slipping into a relationship. The more time we spent together, the more boxes he continued ticking… (a myth!!!) he was chivalrous, romantic, thoughtful, generous, protective, always picked me up and dropped me home. Honestly, the list went on! I was treated like royalty and I’d never experienced any guy like this one. You know when you hear these stories about people meeting someone online and the next thing you know, they’re all settled down, married with kids? That is some serious luck right there… but the way our relationship was going, I really thought I may have been one of those lucky people. On top of that, I don’t even like the idea of marriage or kids, but with him, it felt so different. We were in tune with each other on every level, I could only describe what we had as a soulmate kind of connection. Or what felt like it at the time!

So at this point, dating apps were obviously a thing of the past, love was in the air, we were happy, the future was becoming a topic of discussion, everything was fantastic!

Until they weren’t.

Almost 4 months in, my gut instinct suddenly started to kick in out of nowhere. Something felt odd. The thing about my intuition is that I can never tell if it’s actually intuition or I’m confusing it with paranoia (occasionally happens when my brain decides to overthink/over analyse). It was around 1:00am on a Saturday, I really struggled to sleep… I was up thinking about how vague he had been with some of his responses in our conversations and how he had no presence at all on social media. Before you say anything, yes – most people would say that’s a red flag (not having any social media) but I personally know people who aren’t fond of it so I kind of get it if there’s a preference to live your life in private. However, this feeling was not going away, so I had to do some research…

Not long later, there it was. Looking right at me. A photo of him, a woman (his ex, I presumed) and a child. I also found out a few other things he failed to mention.

After this fucking bombshell, I had to give myself a couple of hours to absorb the information and figure out how I was going to approach it. Ugh, the audacity!! Not only did I tell him from the first date that men with children was one of my deal breakers, but I also cannot stand dishonesty. Nonetheless, remaining calm and collected was the only way to be at this moment.

Around 6:00am, we spoke over the phone. I called him out. He chose to deny having a child at first (wow), then admitted it, then had the cheek to try and get me off the phone. But I gladly did because I was fucking knackered and couldn’t be asked to hear any more of his shit! To think he had referred to his son as his “nephew” before I found out. How wrong is that?!

A couple of days later with no contact, he wanted to talk face to face and lay all his cards out on the table. I gave him the opportunity to say his piece. He confessed to many things including his child, his living situation, the situation with his ex, some stuff about his family, blocking me on social media to prevent me from finding out!!! He then went on to explain why he lied and pleaded for forgiveness. I asked him whether there was anything else to reveal, he said no. Then I had done the most unexpected, out of character move – I gave him another chance. Yes! I know.

I admit, my “weakness” is that I have a lot of empathy for people which means I’m extremely forgiving and will always give a person the benefit of the doubt.

Now, with my trust at 0% and paranoia up at 100%, it was only ever gonna go in one direction right? Agreed. So what in the hell was I thinking giving him another shot? Heart over head… it happens, what else can I say? As time went by, we bickered a lot, I questioned him about his honesty, and every so often I’d ask if he had anything else to tell me. He swore on mine and his child’s life that that there wasn’t anything left to tell. He promised he’d never lie again. Then guess what? I found out he was lying…again. This time about something as stupid, small and unnecessary as smoking. The craziest thing is that he repeated the same behaviour! Denied it, then admitted to it. Why? Why not just admit it? I never understood the smaller lies, it was completely mind boggling to me.

So to summarise his behaviour so far: he lied straight my face, he denied the truth, he broke his promises and happily said anything (i.e. swear on mine and his child’s life) to ensure he was in the clear.

Now is the part when you’ll cuss me down or express some form of disappointment because I gave him a 3rd and final chance 🤦🏻‍♀️ (final chance, believe me, it really was!)

As we continued our relationship, I noticed some changes in him. He was less vague, he seemed a lot more comfortable, he was very open with everything and I could see he was working hard to earn my trust back. After so much tension and negative energy between us, it kind of felt like things were slowly starting to improve. We spent more time together, we took lovely trips away, we were laughing a lot more, it felt like “us” again. Unfortunately this didn’t last very long… because something else started bothering me.

I hadn’t met any of his friends or family yet! He always discussed introducing me, he even gave me dates but it never came to fruition. He pushed the date back then would always try to avoid discussing or cut the conversation short whenever I brought the topic up. Naturally, my suspicions were turned on full blast and my intuition was kicking in again. Was this motherfucker married? Engaged? What the fuck was he hiding now?

New Years Eve – we argued. After a weekend away – we argued. It was getting extremely tiring. My patience was wearing thin and I was fed up of having this constant feeling of paranoia/anxiety/irritation. A day after one of our arguments, I’m not sure what came over me (but I’m almost certain it was the power of prayer), I decided to do some further research on him. And that was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

He was lying about his age the whole damn time.

At his point, I finally took off those rose tinted glasses! This was the moment my brain found its way back into my head and I had the biggest epiphany you could ever imagine. It was like all the things I was in denial about suddenly surfaced and overflowed to the top. The mask had dropped… and this manipulative, insecure, controlling, mentally unstable and selfish person was revealed. Who the hell was this guy??? I felt sorry for him if anything. And as crazy as it sounds, I even started to feel curious. With my interest in human behaviour and psychology – I found myself Googling things like: “Signs of a pathological or compulsive liar” and “What causes people to be pathological or compulsive liars” – it was very interesting! Oh and by the way… I obviously done all this research after I broke up with him!

Of course, I ended things immediately. I dropped the text and blocked him. I didn’t want to see the guy, I didn’t want to speak to the guy, I didn’t want to give him a chance to explain. I just needed this toxic energy out of my life for good.

A couple days later, I got a text from a random number. It was a request to unblock him so he could arrange something. I already knew what he was going to say. I had one of his hoodies at mine and he wanted it back. Of course he did. 🙄
The arrangement was that I’d leave it in a bag outside my house at 8:30pm and he’d come and collect it. Great, sorted! I blocked him again. Except that he wanted to be spiteful towards me… so I received another text with attitude and pure rudeness. He stated that he was going to return all my gifts and cards. I told him to throw it all in the bin but he insisted on giving them back to me. Sure, whatever. I’ll throw it in the bin myself then. I can’t say I really cared too much at this point. Although, I did care about my own safety so I had to call in some muscle (aka. a couple of my guy friends) to protect me! LOL! I mean… I did’t really know who he was anymore so I wasn’t sure what he’d be capable of! Anyway, he took his hoodie back, I took the bag of stuff (which came with an apology letter) and no one got hurt – thankfully!

The next morning, I received a text. It was only him again. This time he was acting erratic. He wanted my gifts and cards back. 🙄🙄🙄 He’s lucky I hadn’t throw them away yet! I told him to stop acting crazy, sent one final (firm but fair) message and gave him a window to take the stuff back. He sent me a very, very long text, I read it a few times and then deleted it… along with everything else that reminded me of him. I shredded all his cards, deleted photos of us, threw stuff in the bin. Oh, I forgot to mention – in the text, he asked me to meet him on a certain day, at a certain time and place. I know what he was doing… it was a manipulative move from him to say the least. I never showed up. I’m the kind of person that when I say I’m done. I’m done. It would be a miracle if you think you could change my mind.

3 weeks had gone by since the break up, I came home from work one day and saw a letter posted through my door. He requested to meet me again. I figured I may as well tell him to his face… perhaps he’ll get the message then. We met, he spoke mostly… and I was very direct about how I felt. It was a long night. He asked me to give him a final chance and to think about it. A couple days later, I told him where I was at.

In summary, I was over it all. I wanted us both to move on. I forgave him and wished him well but there was no chance of reconcilliation. I had nothing left for him. No love, no respect, no trust. I told him that he needed to sort his head out, find happiness within, start being honest with people and set himself free. I asked that he never contacted me again.

And that was the chapter closed. I’ve never heard from him since.


Lessons learned

It wasn’t until this relationship that I truly understood the power of honesty/dishonesty. I’ve been lied to before but never to this extent. I’ve always been an honest person, bar the little white lies before (but who doesn’t tell little white lies?) I can’t express how being upfront and honest saves you so much time and energy! Why on earth would someone chose to put themselves through the process of lying then having to remember and keep up with all of their wild stories. It’s an effort! And how can people lie with so much ease – not feeling any guilt or remorse for the other party involved. There’s no morals whatsoever.

This relationship was definitely a “whirlwind romance” – it came as fast as it had gone, but as I’ve said, I always learn, and in this case, I’ve taken away an incredible amount. Call it a blessing in disguise. I’m thankful I got myself out sooner than later, had I not followed my intuition, I would still be with him and he would still be lying to me right this second.

I felt at ease walking away knowing that I tried, I gave it my all, I never lost my composure and that my intentions were always pure. I’m proud of myself for knowing my value and worth and I’m happy that I put my needs and mental wellbeing first. In hindsight, I should have left from when I discovered the first lie as it was major! But obviously, when you’re in your feelings, things do become blurred. Unfortunately for some, it leads to so much damage! Situation like these can take its toll on your confidence, happiness, other relationships, lifestyle and health (physical/mental). I’ve seen and heard it happen with many people – cases that were a lot worse than mine! When you settle and/or accept certain behaviours, you end up sacrificing yourself by going through absolute hell and back, then once you’re back, you spend a lot of time in your head trying to convince yourself it’ll get better… and the cycle continues.

My experience from being with a compulsive liar has helped me realise what early red flags to look out for (and hopefully I won’t need to even consider red flags in future). It’s important to follow your intuition, always be honest as a person (it’ll make life easier), always forgive no matter what (you owe yourself freedom) and never give up hope. There really are so many people out there that will fit the bill! Never change your goal posts for others, never settle for less than what you deserve. Make sure you talk to friends and family – because they will be your eyes when you’re unable to see clearly. As a final note from me…

Life is far too short to waste time and energy on things, situations or people that don’t serve you. And trust me when I say that self-love is the first step to finding true love and happiness.