Again. That was all that was going through my mind when I went on my third movie date and I realized that getting a man to buy me some popcorn was a feat equal to climbing Mount Everest. There I was sitting across my date, who had this annoying clownish grin on his face and I was itching to know what had him smiling that way. At that point in our date, there was nothing that could have been that amusing. So, Braveheart finally uttered: “I love that you are so independent and you buy your own popcorn.” I stared at him for a full five minutes waiting for him to tell me he was joking, but all I got was that grin. He was lah-ving it! He was on a date with an independent woman, what was there not to love? A 21st century girl who had her ‘ish together; she works, pays her own bills and obviously she can buy her own popcorn – an extra-large at that. I didn’t know how to remind him that he was on a first date (which would also be his last). Although I may be independent, I forgo a bit of my independence during the first rendezvous.

This was the third movie date in a row where this had occurred and I made an executive decision to no longer allow first dates at the movie theater.

Exhibit One

My co-worker asked me out and I was psyched! This man was H-O-T! I mean c’mon, I hadn’t seen such sculpted arms since Arnold Schwarzenegger in “The Terminator”. So, he pulls up in his brand spanking new car (he probably bought it to impress me) and I step in looking hotter than necessary for a movie date. Everything is going well, he opens my door like a true gentleman, grabs hold of my hand and we enter the movie theater. We’ve gotten our tickets (so far so good) and he literally zips me past the concession stands. He definitely let me know that I would not be getting any candy and ripping my arm was his way of ensuring that I didn’t look in that direction. In the theater, I examined my arm which, surprisingly, was still intact and no ligaments had been torn. My date was enjoying himself, he kept asking “Did you see that?!” – uhm no, I am focusing my attention on your hand which appears to be holding mine. Isn’t it funny how many things you’re able to do with your hands when they are not holding a bag of popcorn or a drink?

Exhibit Two

After that major fail came date number two with baby daddy. What’s not to like about baby daddies? You get to see them in action taking care of their kids so you know what kind of father they will be to yours and having a child builds character. We’re in line and I am staring at him adoringly; I am super excited for our date. We get our movie tickets and we ACTUALLY head to the concession stands. He looks at me, I continue to stare adoringly and he asks: “Since I got the movie tickets, you got the popcorn and drinks right?” Deeeath stare. I mumble, “Yeah sure, why not?” I may be getting our snacks, but you mister will not be getting a second date. He had the guts to add, “It’s cool that you said yes because most women have an issue and an attitude about it.” Ya think?! How completely shocking that a woman who says yes to a first date expecting to be treated like a queen is not pleased when she is instead treated like a second class citizen. I mean I wonder why she would give you so much attitude – so, another fail.

Exhibit Three

I gave you a little taste of date three earlier. It went down like this: we arrived at the movie theater and he bought our tickets. I was less than enthusiastic to be there so rather than waiting for him to offer to get some treats (which I didn’t think would happen anyway), I went and purchased my necessities. That’s when he hit me with that one liner: “I love that you are so independent.” I honestly think that I only agreed to the date because I really, really wanted to watch the movie since that should have been my cue to get up and leave.

I am old school in the sense that I believe men should pay for the first date. Not all of my friends feel this way; some are completely okay going dutch because they do not yet know if they’re into the guy, so they are not willing to allow him to pay for them. I think it’s a nice gesture to pay for the woman and it shows how considerate you are to have taken the time to thoroughly plan the date. I do not by any means expect them to pay for each consecutive date and I always come ready to pay my share. Also, I do not need the date to be over the top or overly expensive – a picnic at the park will do, it’s the gesture that counts and the fact that I’m in good company. Banning movie dates for the first rendezvous has served me well. It wasn’t the best first date idea anyway. How do you really get to know someone if you’re fixated on a movie the entire night? When I finally rid myself of “The Curse of the Movie Theater”, I cheered to better dates and even better company. Lest this serve as a warning, get the girl some popcorn – it’s the least you can do.

 

I’ve been on an NCIS binge as of late, I think I’ve watched all episodes from the first 11 seasons in a two-week period. Please, don’t state the obvious, I know I need a life. Believe it or not, I have learned some important life lessons from watching the show as well as had the opportunity to analyze the dynamics of the relationships between the characters. There are three scenes that stood out the most to me which all involved the complexity that plagues saying “I love you”.

Scene 1

In the first scene, DiNozzo’s girlfriend had already made her feelings very clear; she had told him she loved him on several occasions, but he had yet to utter those three magical words. She got fed up of waiting, but then he finally reciprocated. He was in love, but had been unable to be open with her.

Scene 2

Gibbs, a three-time divorcé, was confronted by one of his ex-wives who had come to understand that she had been the only person in love during their marriage. Rather than refuting this statement, he simply told her that he had “really, really liked her.” My heart just about tore out of my chest when I heard those words – I felt for her (and yes, I am very well aware that this is not real life, but honestly after my binge, I seriously felt as though I was a part of the cast. Note to self: this is sad, get a life!)

Scene 3

Ziva and DiNozzo had an undeniable attraction to one another and it had been an underlying theme that affected their relationship throughout each season. It was clear that Ziva loved DiNozzo and she longed to be with him. During an elevator scene she momentarily believed that he was finally ready to reveal his feelings, not only to her, but to their co-workers as well (the boss has a no dating rule within his team). As she began to say yes to the proposal, he walked out of the elevator leaving her there to realize that not only had she misunderstood the situation, but that it was very likely that he had no idea how she felt about him and that he may not feel the same for her.

Have you ever been in love? When you’re in love you want to shout it from the rooftops and you want the entire world to know how you feel about your special person. Feeling like you’re unable to do so or that you must hold back for the sake of self-preservation (aka refraining from setting into motion the mental breakdown that could ensue if they happen not to say it back), is crushing to the spirit.

The words “I love you” serve to reinforce the standing of one’s relationship whether that means that it leads to its demise or to long-lasting love. Some follow a rule before allowing themselves to tell someone they love them. I have girlfriends who don’t dare say “I love you” lest they hear it first, while others will gladly say it first hoping that it will be reciprocated. But if the person you are dating professes their love to you and all you can earnestly say at that moment is “Oh that’s nice!” is it cause for concern? Can you comfortably continue to pursue this relationship and pray that it will continue to be a “no-awkwardness” zone? Personally, I don’t believe so. I think after that point, the relationship is kind of tainted.

I attempted to say “I love you” once and I mean I really, really loved this guy, but he knew what was about to happen and he stopped me: “I know what you’re about to say, but please don’t say it.” He explained that he cared for me, but that he had not reached the point where he could tell me that he loved me. Then, he went on to explain that he had dated a girl who would constantly tell him that she loved him and his best response was to smile. Smile?! He might have as easily pet her head and said “That’s my girl!” He never did come around to saying “I love you” but just like Gibbs, he “really, really liked me.” I did respect him for not saying it if he did not feel it because some do blurt it out just to keep the peace.

Would I be the first to say “I love you” again? Honestly, I don’t know that I’ve mustered up enough courage to put myself in that sort of situation again. I do; however, wear my heart on my sleeve and there is never any guess work involved as to how I feel about my partner. For some, those words are the beginning of the end while for others, it’s the start of new beginnings.

 

Are you willing to say “I love you” first? If he/she does not respond would it be reason enough to end the relationship? How long are you willing to wait in limbo hoping to hear them say “I love you” before calling it quits?

Sound off below!

 

I’ve never been one to deny that I need tremendous help in the relationship department. Could we not have simply been born experts in the field of relationships or at least have been created with a “relationship expertise” gene that could have been switched on in case of malfunction? This could have assisted in eradicating the love diseases that plague so many of us. As this is not the case, I’ve often found myself flipping through books in the self-help section of my local bookstores. I would of course always dress for the occasion wearing full black attire, my New York Yankees cap and dark sunglasses. The attire would at times include gloves as not to leave behind any sort of physical evidence that I had sifted through the books in that section (thank you NCIS).

Do you notice that there are never more than two people browsing the shelves at one time? It’s as if there is some inherent code that must be followed once you’ve stepped within the borders of the self-help territory. This code serves to respect the need for a certain level of privacy that individuals skimming through these types of books may require. I am often curious to know which books people have picked up from the shelves and what relationship issues they may be dealing with. There’s a hint of voyeurism at play since each book title gives us a glimpse into the private life of our fellow self-help devotee. Once the book has been purchased (I will never divulge how many I have bought) usually an all-nighter follows where I take the time to analyze and cram all of this essential information. Why the rush you ask? If I were to meet my first husband let’s say tomorrow, should I not be prepared?

Some time ago, I was prepping for Mr. Right while still dating in the process and I was getting ready to meet a new guy later that day. I had a gym bag with me because I had stayed at a friend’s house the night before which was filled with an unnecessary amount of clothes and beauty products. As I was fishing for my wallet, a book I was reading fell out. He reached over to pick it up and I could have died on the spot when he read the title out loud: “The Meaning of Marriage by Timothy Keller.” “This looks like an interesting book” he said. “Yeah it’s for research,” I muttered. For research?! Riiiight. Like anyone would buy that. Thankfully, he didn’t probe any further. I was beyond mortified. I’m usually good with these things; you know, hiding the evidence that I may be in serious need of a psychotherapy session.

I recounted the horror to a friend and we began to discuss the hilarity of it all. In a society where we consume self-help books at the same rate that we breathe in air, why are we so embarrassed to share with others that we’ve read the latest version of “He’s Just Not That Into You”? These books are being purchased, there’s no denying that, so why are we made to feel that we are less than for choosing to get assistance in this department? Relationships are so entrenched in our daily lives that it should be of no surprise that this is an area in which we may need the most help. Even relationship experts are not immune to relationship failures, remember the ladies of the show Miss Advised? I stand by every single decision I’ve made to purchase my relationship books; there is absolutely no shame in my game.

I may not openly flaunt my collection, but I will be the first to quote what I have learned, share the titles of the books and go as far as lending them to you. I’m not perfect – none of us are. The next time you happen to stumble upon someone clearly hypnotized by the self-help book they’re reading (you know the kind: chewing their hair, hyperventilating while continuously repeating “tomorrow will be a better day”) go ahead and giggle, but just remember that they are trying. They know they need help, they want things to change and for things to make sense. They’ve let go of their pride, walked into that aisle like the bad ass person that they are and now they are attempting to truly make themselves believe that tomorrow will be a better day.

 

Contrary to what you may believe, I don’t always enjoy discussing love or relationships. I’ve racked my brains for years trying to understand the person I am when I’m in love, the behaviour I display after a break-up and the incessant noise in my head mostly made up of various analyses of different love scenarios. Why am I like this? In a world where love is not black and white, where promiscuity is an acceptable form of relationship, where one can juggle multiple liaisons with the acknowledgement of the other parties, where do I fit in? This, my friends, is my current love dilemma and one of many running through my head. I’m constantly trying to understand this perpetual state of singledom at the exhaustion of my mental functions. Do I lead such an insignificant life that I am solely defined by my relationships?

It can be tiring having to wait for that person with whom you’re expected to live with for richer or for poorer and in sickness or in health. Yet, I am aware that this is the optimum time to discover myself; learn about my intricacies and relish in the single life. I guess, it’s just that during the holidays I feel forced to discuss my love life (or lack thereof) relentlessly. It’s the non-stop questions at holiday gatherings that multiplied the number of times that I’ve had to repeat “Yes I am still single.” and of course: “Nope, I wish I knew why too.” Then, there were the get-togethers with my girlfriends where we reflected on the past year in order to make our goals for the coming year, this included a very thorough inventory of all love related problems – we needed to know why they had occurred, what we could have changed and what growth came from these love situations. To be honest, 2014 was a heavy hitter in the love department which could be the main reason that discussing it has taken such a toll in comparison to previous years. Although talking about it may have forced me to relive painful memories, it also allowed me to embrace the lessons that I’ve learnt, ensured that I had dealt with any unresolved feelings and it gave me the opportunity to assess how far I’d come. Relationships are a constant in our lives and they don’t seem to be going anywhere any time soon.

Funny how I say I tire myself from the constant relationship talks, but I wrote yet another post on the topic in question. I won’t fight it; it’s an urge I can’t resist.

 

Have you ever played the waiting game? Waiting for your order, waiting for the mail, waiting in line – just waiting. Waiting isn’t so bad when there is a purpose, when you know what the outcome will be. You’re not waiting aimlessly, there’s a goal, there’s a reason – you wait in anticipation. But, are you waiting alone? Are you waiting together or are you waiting in the shadows? Did you establish a perimeter in which this waiting game will occur? Why must we wait, should we even wait? What will it be worth in the end?

I’ve waited before – waited for something to come to fruition, waited for things to change and for what? For whom? I’m patient, I can handle the wait because there’s hope and you picture your happy ending so you know the wait will be over. It will end and it will all have been worth it. Will it? Did you let life pass you by to wait for one when there could have been many? But have you defined this state of waiting? How are you so sure that you are not waiting alone? When it has not been explicitly defined, when the two of you are waiting for the right timing, the right circumstances – what are you really waiting for? There may be a mutual understanding that you are in deep like with one another, but if it were love, there would be no waiting, no? When in love you push through, you break the boundaries and you make it work – circumstances be damned. So when in wait, is it an acceptance of excuses? Have you allowed the excuses in and allowed them to permeate your existence? Are the excuses the state in which you live? Look around you, open your eyes and ask yourself, what are you really waiting for? For a friend to become a lover, for him to figure out his life and to be ready to commit – what are you waiting for? Why wait? Who is ever worth this wait?

During my time in the waiting room, I wished I had known what I know now. I waited for someone who would say what he thought he meant, yet what he said was not what he meant. So I waited. I waited. And waited. But where is he now? This person that I waited for? Nowhere in sight. He knew this, he knew I would wait. I served my time, but for what? There’s a limit to the time that should lapse. So, feeling that I was in my right, I asked: “how much longer?”

“How much longer for what?”
“What do you mean for what?”
“What are you waiting for?”
“Us. I’ve been waiting for us.”
“Are we friends?”
“I wouldn’t call it friends, you’ve said you liked me but it’s been hectic…”
“We make time for each other when we can. I mean, that’s what friends do.”
“Friends, eh?”
“We do what we can because friends try”
“I’m changing my expectations.”
“I do what I can, I’m busy. My reality is more difficult than yours.”
“I’ll remember that, friend.”

When did the dialogue change? Perhaps, while I was waiting. He threw that word “friend” around like it was the new kid on the block, that new shiny toy he had been waiting to wear out. Friend. He’s a smart boy, he knew what he was doing, rather than confronting it head on, the change, he said “friend” so I knew to no longer wait. How long had I been waiting from the time his reality changed? How long? A week, a month or it could have been from that very instant that the new “kid” came out to play. I was the call forwarding, the busy signal, the one for whom excuses were made.

This is a cautionary tale, my loves, there is never a need to wait.