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.

 

He’s a bad boy
The type that may never change
Constantly distracted by his next prey
Yet there you are waiting for the stars to align
It’s his artistic flair, his zest for life
The sounds of the worlds he’s travelled permeate his voice
You’ve felt it was him, you’ve known for a while
Yet your heart is not at ease
And when you get close to allowing him in, you pull back
Not ready for him to see into the depths of your soul
There is an uncomfortable feeling about him
What you seem to want appears to be far from what you need
But there he stands, in all his beauty, yet you know that you can’t allow yourself to breathe
You’re choking at the knowledge that he will eventually break your heart
You hope, you want, you wish
But his perfection cannot exist with you
So, you begin to walk away
Waiting for some glimmer of hope to stop you from this path
A pull at your heart, a push in his direction
But nothing comes
You stop for a moment breathing in the air of sadness
You turn around for one last smile, hoping for one last look into his eyes
An answer of some sort
But nothing comes
You stand there all alone engulfed by the darkness
When you hear the sound of paper crumbling
At that moment you know, perfect on paper is slipping away
You will not be together today nor will you be together tomorrow
Maybe in another lifetime, you will see him smile again

 

I definitely have a type, I can describe my ideal lover to a tee: he would have large shoulders that would prevent him from being able to comfortably walk through a doorway, arms big enough to serve as a winter coat if needed, legs three times the size of my body and not a single particle of hair on his head. That’s it! Although it’s not an absolute list, I’d be lying if I said that these characteristics did not slightly influence my decision to, well, keep someone around longer than necessary.

While watching a movie recently, I was struck by the resemblance between an actor and an ex of mine. My ex was drop dead gorgeous and practically Mr. Physically Perfect. While we were together, I noticed that I tolerated a lot more compared to those who came before him. His desirability factor pushed me to forgo all mental facilities and attribute logic to the hell I allowed myself to endure. I thought he was my soul mate solely based on the fact that I had already envisioned that he would look that way. My ability to look past the horror was a form of coping mechanism as I waited for our love to flourish. As you can see, I had lost my common sense and dignity was no longer a word I could comprehend.

Was this a “me” phenomenon or were these beautiful creatures spreading worldwide terror? But then I wondered, are we more forgiving to individuals who fit within the parameters of Mr. Perfect, but not necessarily Mr. Right? Beyond the physical, had I been honest with myself, I would have readily admitted that he was far from my type. I like the cultured individuals; the ones who are the brightest kids in the class. They can usually teach me a thing or two and they easily pleasure me with some mental stimulation. With that being said, when a man of a particular physique walks into the room as much as I may enjoy mental foreplay, it’s hard to resist those chiseled arms. Okay so they may look good, but how they had passed my funnel test is beyond me. The lack of selective skills used when choosing these “physically perfect” men leaves me with a lackluster pool of potential mates. I’ve noticed that the ones who do make the cut, you know the Idris Elba look-a-likes, seem to have greater difficulty expressing themselves when compared to the rest of the general population.

Back to that beautifully sculpted boyfriend of mine, it became apparent that he was a very quiet individual. I mean this guy basically mimed his way through life, and yet, there I was thoroughly drawn to his “mystique”. Rather than labelling him as utterly uninteresting, he was “intriguing”. The fact that we barely conversed should have made it glaringly obvious that there was no hope for our budding relationship. Case in point:

I had told him that I had read an article about First Nations cultures and how I was unaware that the name of the sports team he played for had First Nations’ roots. He proceeded with the following response:

“So?”

Let’s try this again.

“Well, uhm, I found this interesting because I had no idea the number of team names that have First Nations origin.”
“How is this important?”
“I’m sorry?!”
“You always bring up these random facts, I don’t know why.”

It’s called a CON-VER-SA-TION!

You know when you have the urge to smack someone, but you know that (A) you don’t have the physical strength to cause any sort of permanent damage. And (B) orange has never been your colour and it was not written in the multitude of horoscopes you read that day that jail time was in the near future.

It doesn’t seem like much, but this was ALL THE TIME; even basic exchanges like how are you were exercises of repeat after me. So, our relationship revolved around staring contests while I kept myself pleasantly entertained by conversing with the nearest wall. It was only a matter of time before my happily ever after came crumbling down.

When I think back to that situation, I recall the numerous conversations I’ve had with my girlfriends during which I “happen” to be on the social media profile of a love interest and within minutes, they all have an opinion about his appearance. Funny how a conversation will soon ensue where they retract all of their comments and add “I mean, if you like him then looks shouldn’t matter.” Riiiiiight! That statement necessitates a raised eyebrow.

We’re all aware of the adage that we should not judge a book by its cover, which is quite true, but I do believe that attraction is essential. Attraction does not always comprise appearance; therefore, hoping that a fruitless relationship will suddenly become a Disney spun fairy tale on the basis of looks only was beyond ridiculous on my part. My soul mate may very well not look like anyone I’ve ever imagined in my head. It’s the unexpected that I hope for now, the man who seems to appear out of nowhere that I may never had paid any attention to but still manages to sweep me off my feet. We do ourselves a disservice when we limit ourselves to our top ten lists, but I will say this: if you run into me and I happen to be in the arms of a football player type, just remember, there is such a thing as just fun and games.