Sex is not Romance

Sex is…a bodily act…

Romance is another thing entirely…

So what’s the difference and why does it matter?

This is where I start to veer all over the place with this topic. We have the following random observations:

  1. Some people really like sex
  2. Some people really like romance
  3. Some people think romance is love
  4. Romance is often seen as the conduit to getting someone else have sex with you
  5. Romance is often associated with love
  6. People assume that if one person is romancing another, it means that they are in love
  7. People wrongly assume that if one person is romancing another, it means that they are in love
  8. Sometimes people romance another not because they are in love, but because they want to have sex
  9. Not everyone is romantic
  10. Everyone’s idea of romance is different

I could probably twist the words around a bit more, but you get the gist. Sex and romance are not the same but there are people who do not see the distinction. Or maybe they don’t want to see the distinction. I’m going to take a guess and say that people who want to be in love are going to take signs of romance as a sign of love.

Big mistake.

And I think this is where the problems start.

As I’ve been binge watching “The Big Bang Theory”, I came across an episode where Howard is planning something for the anniversary of his first date with his wife. Howard is known as being slightly oversexed. The Penny character (really attractive) begins to think that she never does anything romantic for her boyfriend. Her boyfriend (unsure about his attractiveness, but wants sex) does tend to do romantic things. The Sheldon character (not sexual at all) doesn’t do anything romantic, and his girlfriend complains about it. Raj, the character who desperately wants to be in love is clearly the most classically romantic of them all, and even romances all his friends in a friendship sort of way(and oddly, the only main character who ends up unmarried on the show)

Two male characters use romance as a way to show love and get sex

One male character doesn’t care about sex or common displays of love, so does nothing to romance his partner

One male character is innately romantic, yet, that seems to push women away

Is this a good correlation to actual life?

Could we start with a hypothesis that 50% of people use romance to get what they want, 25% don’t care one way or another, and 25% can’t find someone to love them the way they want to be loved? Would you say that out of the 50% who use romance to get sex, maybe only half of them are actually “in love”?

I am totally spitballing.

I have absolutely no idea about any of this, I’m just throwing our random observations and waiting for at least one of you (Deb) to make some sense of what I’ve said.

For Write my Blog Thursday, give me any observations about the correlation between romance and sex and love.

Why is this such a hard topic to think or write about? Is it impossible to define, or do we just not want to look behind the curtain of what this all actually means? Do we want to cling to any illusions that we harbor about sex or romance or love?

Discuss

https://anchor.fm/laover50

Happy Ending?

And they lived happily ever after…

How many movies end like this?

How many endings have been changed so that the ending is indeed happy?

However…

Is there ever a happy ending?

Or are endings just closure?

What’s the last thing you ended? Relationship? Job? Something else?

What was the reason that something ended? Did you end something because you were happy? Or did you end something because in some way, shape or form it didn’t work for you? Did someone else cause the ending and you had no say in the matter?

When you signed the divorce papers, were you happy? Or were you just glad that it was over?

When is the last time something ended that made you happy?

Even the whole pandemic/quarantine thing: I’m glad things are opening up. I’m glad that things are getting back to normal. And in one sense I am happy- ecstatic even. But I know that I will never get back the things that I have lost in the past year. I will never get back that year. Am I happy? Not as much as I’m glad that it’s finally ending. It’s more about the closure. I am ending a very sad chapter in my life that brought me depression and regret and sadness. Happiness is just the illusion we cling to because we don’t want to face what the “before” actually did to us.

Now I swing the topic over to you: Are endings happy, or do they just end something that needs to end? Do endings really only bring us closure?

Have you ever been 100% truly happy over an ending? Or does every ending come with some sort of angst?

This episode features additional insight not included in the post yesterday. You can find out if the hypothetical was really hypothetical.

I Take Care of Me

I recently saw a post on Instagram- the gist of it was:

“Find a man who takes care of himself (eg. books spa appointment), because a man who takes care of himself will take care of you.”

I have to admit I was a little flummoxed to be reading this. Is the way a person treats themselves an indicator of how they will treat you?

I think that people do have to be kind to themselves. I think people need to take care of personal grooming and health needs. I think they need to care for their personal space. I also think that people do need to practice self care. But I think everyone should be doing this to a certain degree. Every single person on this planet should accept personal responsibility for themselves. So, in turn, shouldn’t we all be actively looking for someone who takes care of themselves?

The problem is in the interpretation of what self care means. Self care to me means taking the time out to make sure all parts of me are nourished: food that sustains my body in a healthy way, books and conversation that stimulates my brain, showers and hair cuts and grooming that keeps my appearance in check, relationships that help me emotionally. Self care means taking the time out to be good to myself.

But are there variations of self care?

Can too much self care be a bad thing?

Can we assume that someone who takes care of themselves will take care of you?

Yes.

No.

Maybe.

Who knows.

I guess I want to know what people expect when they say they want someone to take care of them. What does that even mean?

I don’t know if I want my Husband to “take care of me.” I want him to respect me. I want him to listen to me. I want him to not lose his patience when it comes to my daughter or the pets or household inconveniences. I want him to not complain if I put wine in the tomato sauce because the tomato’s and the meat needed a little balance.

But do I want him to take care of me?

What expectations do we have when we try to find a mate? Are we looking for the person that best suits us, or the person who will take care of us?

Discuss:

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Tick Tick

My daughter sprinted into the living room:

OMG! A and L made a tik tok that went viral

To answer the two questions that you may have:

  1. TikTok is “a massively popular app that lets users create and share videos up to 60 seconds long” informal definition according to dictionary.com
  2. A and L are the daughters of my brother in law’s (via my sister in law) cousin. We have met them on many occasions over the past twenty years

Now to the story:

The Grandfather of A&L left the girls a text. In it he extolled the virtues of the Grandson of one of his friends from the country club. He told the girls where the guy worked and what he did, who the family was, and what he looked like. He told the twins that as the guy lived in NYC one, or both of them should text him.

With me so far?

The twins then decided to text this guy while filming it for a TikTok. The video went something like this:

Hey- do you know that your Grandfather is pimping you out?

There was a little more to their words but this was the gist of the video, and I believe the line that made people laugh and cringe at the same time, thus ensuring its viralness…

We can think about this on a variety of levels:

  1. Should relatives be trying to set you up on dates if you haven’t explicitly asked?
  2. Were the twins right to call out their Grandfather like this, on a public forum?
  3. Was it fair to call out the guy on a video, seeing that he had absolutely no part in this and can’t control the actions of his relative?
  4. Is it OK because I’ve met the Grandfather and let’s say he could be a tad…pompous?

What do you think?

Would you be trying to get your Grandkids married off? Would you retaliate if someone tried to set you up?

Discuss:

Take it to the Limit

How honest should we be with one another? I ask this often and I sweat this is not an entire post about this subject: it’s going to lead to something else.

When you are at someone’s house and they serve you food, do you immediately say that it is salty? More than once? When asked how the meat is, do you reply “A little tough.”

Think about that- do you tell your host that the food isn’t good?

Now let’s add another variable: What if the cook is your Mother, and the one making the statement about the food is your Father in Law?

FYI- true story about my Father’s Day meal and the food my Mom took three hours to prepare. Let’s see, at the meal my FIL also told my Dad that the way he was treating his cancer was wrong. (No- my FIL is not a Doctor, nor is he in the science field at all. And no, he did not have cancer- so yeah- no frame of reference).

To add to his conversation, he also yelled at me. Nastily. Why? you ask. Because while we were at the table eating dinner I turned off the TV in the living room. He yelled  “Why did you turn that off? I was watching.” Nasty. In front of my parents- and you know- that doesn’t put them in an odd position at all. You know, my parents who can’t cook a meal nor know how to treat an illness…

Last night I had the pleasure of eating dinner with my Mother in Law. Look up passive aggressive in the dictionary- her picture is there…. She proceeded to tell me that no one ever tells her when my daughter wins anything. First off- usually posted on Facebook, which she has. Second off- I know my husband forwards her the pictures. And she’s going on and on about how she’s only the Grandmother, why should she know anything. To which I said to my Husband (rather loudly) “You don’t tell your Mother anything?” thereby extricating myself from the situation.

I also heard that the weather in Ithaca NY is the same exact weather as Washington DC because my MIL is a little (ha) annoyed that my Daughter is going to a Catholic college and though she is all accolades, she’s writhing that my daughter didn’t choose another college….(FYI- she didn’t talk to me for a month and a half after my daughter chose her school)

So Friday, which is already going to be emotionally laden for me will be made worse by the onslaught of family at the table. Good times. I know I am whining, but I don’t have the energy to deal with pettiness this week. I just want to watch my daughter graduate, and take pride in her accomplishments.

Why does family make it so difficult?

 

The Relationship Post Mortem

I spoke of my friend yesterday, and how she doesn’t love the relationship that her daughter is in. The update is, the boyfriend broke up with the girlfriend on Monday (coincidently right after his graduation weekend)

You would think my friend would be relieved, which she is, sort of. Of course her first thought was – “I wish I knew why he broke up with her.” (of course my first nasty thought was – maybe his Mother didn’t like her- I know- I’m bad)

So here’s the question for today:

Do we really want to know why someone ended a relationship?

There are millions of reasons why two people break up. My sister once ended a relationship because she didn’t like the way he brushed his tongue. Some are tangible, logical reasons: they drink too much, they live too far away, they don’t treat me well. We can put a name to these: there is one specific thing that makes the relationship not good. But what about when there is no “big” reason?

Ok- the boyfriend broke up with the girlfriend. What if the reason is seemingly silly, like the tongue brushing thing. Do you need to know that a guy thinks you have some little quirk that is harmless but a problem for them? What if a woman thinks you have a hobby that is silly? What’s the point of knowing? Are you going to change?

See- that’s my thought: Is knowing why someone broke up with you beneficial? Are you going to stop the behavior they don’t like, or start doing something that they do like? Or in general- will it be a catalyst to some sort of change? Will it make you think about yourself more clearly? Or will it make you feel bad about who you are?

In theory, I guess there’s something to closure. I broke up with you because of A, B, C, F and G. Thank you next. But how much time are you going to spend dissecting the reasons? Are you going to question why you behave that way? Are you going to overanalyze your characteristics to the point you question everything you do? Are you going to beg the other person to come back because you vow to change?

Do you need to change because someone doesn’t want to continue dating you?

We also have my favorite answer to why I’m breaking up with you:

It’s not you, it’s me.

Is there a worse line in the history of stories we tell one another?

What does that even mean? It’s not you, it’s me. Why would you ever say that to anyone? Is that an actual reason to stop dating someone? I’d rather someone not tell me a reason than to say that tired, tired, lame excuse. Don’t insult my intelligence.

Of course, there is one step lower than INYIM: ghosting. When did it become acceptable behavior to just stop communicating with someone? And I don’t mean after one date- I mean people that have been in a relationship and then just cease communication. Did people start ghosting to get out of explaining why they no longer want to date someone? Did the relationship post mortem expectation become so intense that people feel it’s easier and better to just walk away?

I know I threw a lot at you today. But what are your post break up expectations?

 

 

Really?

I was talking to a friend the other day- the incident she was talking about and the ensuing discussions have been tossing around in my mind for awhile. I still don’t know how I’m going to express my ideas today, so bear with me. I know there will be a point eventually.

My friends 19 year old college daughter was dating a guy she knew in High School. They didn’t date in hs, but were “best friends” ( I italicize this because that is probably going to be a whole other blog). While they were at two separate colleges in two separate states that are reasonably far apart for a college student they decided to begin dating.

The dating began a few months ago- with girl A going to visit boy B. Fine. He then asked her to come back for his frat formal in April and then again for his graduation in May. Let’s start out with how much grief this caused my friend. She did not understand why her daughter was going to either of these events. I looked at her: why wouldn’t a guy want his girlfriend to be at these events? And why wouldn’t the girl want to go?

Well, it turned out this was all a red herring. She didn’t care about the events. She just doesn’t like the guy. Apparently he’s a history major (the shame and the horror) and he’s not going to go to law school (NOOOO) and his parents are questionable. They make too much money and go to the Caribbean too much. (Can you imagine New Yorkers wanting to go to the tropics? For shame) And the big thing was – “he doesn’t have ambition. He’s not a go getter like my daughter.” Side note- perfectly nice girl, lots of adjectives to describe her but go getter is not one I would add to the list. And then the kicker: “How will he support my daughter?”

See- she was already thinking they’d get married. Because, you know, they were dating for three months in college.  And that is surely exactly what every 19 and 21 year old are thinking. (sidenote- my friend married her first real boyfriend from college- unsuccessfully I might add)

so…

Are we allowed to have expectations of who our children date? Are we allowed to have expectations of how those relationships will play out? Outside of abusive relationships, do we have the right to tell out children who they can and can not date?

My Husband is Jewish and I am Catholic. I think both sets of parents would have preferred that we married within our actual faiths. They didn’t say anything directly, but there have been some passive aggressive references from my Mother in Law over the years. Trust me: she is not thrilled that we put Christmas decorations up. I know this because she actually said “Why are there Christmas things up?” She has commented about how we eat ham on Easter (from the woman who lives on bacon, but all of a sudden its bad to eat pork….) I am pretty positive she is not happy about my daughter attending a Catholic college….

My MIL expected her son to marry a Jewish girl. Is this wrong?

My friend expects her daughter to marry the first guy she’s in a relationship? Wrong?

My friend expects her daughter to marry someone who will make a lot of money. Is this wrong?

What can and should we expect from the pairings our children make?

I am the Most Boring Person Ever

I had a busy day yesterday and when I got to read the comments I noticed that many of them were of a similar thread. So instead of answering everyone individually I am writing a post addressing some of the comments. If I missed your comment/query, don’t worry- there’s always tomorrow…

  1. My worry about empty nesting is not about being bored. I have lots of hobbies that I love. I have absolutely no problem exploring a new interest. I don’t think I’ve said the words “I’m bored” since I was 17.  I’m not worried about the seemingly free hours ahead of me.
  2. Though I love to travel, finances are a consideration. College costs a lot of money.
  3. My Husband and I have been doing “dates” for years. We go out at least one evening a week and usually spend at least one day/afternoon together on the weekends.
  4. Husband and I do theme things: he loves food and I love exploring different neighborhoods, so we meld this together. Over the winter we did our own ramen tour. We found a list (Thrillist) of the best ramen places in NYC and we tried a whole bunch of them (not all on the same day- we did one a week). We would find a theater or exhibit or something fun in the neighborhood of the ramen shop, and make a day of it. Previously we’ve done sandwiches, hand pulled noodles and pizza.
  5. We get along really well. We are not the couple at the restaurant who just stare at one another. We talk. In fact we talk a lot. We laugh. We have fun. But is that enough?

My concerns:

  1. I am a very different person than the one I was 18 years ago. I no longer like hanging out in bars. For the record, if there is trivia, or arcade games, live music or tastings involved, I am right there. I do not like to sit at a generic bar and drink. My husband has friends that love to do this. I mean, this is their idea of a fun night out. To be clear, I am bored after five minutes.
  2. I have become a day person. I like to get out of the house- but I greatly prefer being home at night. Again, my husband is sort of the opposite.
  3. We do not have many couple friends- I have friends and he has friends, but our groups don’t overlap. How do you make couple friends?
  4. We’ve known each other for 25 years- how much more is there to talk about?
  5. My daughter is not a buffer, yet she is. It’s just the way life is set up. She’s at the dinner table with us. She’s on vacation with us. She asks for help with things. It’s having a kid and being a parent. We’re a family- a unit. When one leaves the dynamic shifts.

So…

What’s the secret to long term relationships? What makes some couples work and some implode?

And you know I’m going to overthink and analyze this, so….

The Tale of the Bread and the Bagel

Once upon a time there was a Queen who ruled over her kitchen with a mighty hand.  On Sunday evenings, the Queen liked to clean out the fridge and utilize all the leftovers and veggies that were left. The Queen liked to start off the week with a clean slate. The Queen was a little weird this way…

So one Sunday Eve, the Queen took out a container of lentil/tomato  cassoulet, and a small bowl of rice and set to reheating them. After glancing at the freezer and the cabinets the Queen made a royal decree:

“I have tuna and cheddar, rye bread and bagels.  Who wants what?”

The Princess answered “Tuna, cheese and bread please.”

The King responded. “Bread.  Tuna.  No cheese.”

And the Queen took four slices of rye out of the freezer, and got the tuna down from the shelf. She then began assembling the hodgepodge that would be called “Dinner”. As she stirred and reheated, the King entered the kitchen.  He looked at the griddle where the bread was heating and stated:

“Where’s my bagel?”

And the Queen looked at him askance.

“You said bread.” The queen responded.

“Bagel is bread” The King retorted.

And the yes it is, no it’s not went on for a few rounds until the Queen said:

“If I send you to the royal market and ask you to pick up bread, are you coming home with a dozen bagels?”

The King got a little red in the face and sort of stomped his feet like a petulant toddler. Finally he said:

“Ok.  I see your point.  Maybe you are more correct in this incident.  But you have to understand my point of view.”

And the Queen just looked at him for a second, then put two slices of rye bread on each plate and said:

“Just make the tuna.”

And she walked out of the kitchen and lived happily, and correctly, ever after.

 

 

 

Relationship Goals

I don’t do resolutions: I set goals.  I try to figure out areas of my life that need help, and then I attempt to fix them, sometimes more successfully than others. In the upcoming year, my goal is to get better at relationships.

What do I mean by better at relationships? On the surface it would appear that I do OK in that department.  I have reasonably successful relationships with numerous people: friends, family, partners, etc.  I have a fatal flaw involving relationships though.  I tend to push people away.

Luckily, I have been blessed with friends who just push their way in and keep nudging, friends who hold onto the back of you collar tightly and pull you back into the fold. But you see, I’m really good at pushing away the people in my life that matter. Do you know how the majority of my closest friends found out that my Dad has cancer?  In my blog. I can talk about a lot of things (trust me- I can talk) but I have trouble talking about the most important things. I don’t particularly like opening myself up. I have trouble letting people in.

Somewhere in the back of my mind I feel that if I let someone in, they might hurt me. Ironically, I end up getting hurt anyway- because who wants to be friends with someone not committed to a friendship.

So, I’m going to concentrate of talking less about silly things, and more about things that matter. I’m going to listen better- I don’t think I’m a particularly good listener. And I’m going to try to let the people that mean the most to me into my world. I think it’s worth the risk.