The Art of the Break-up
Welcome to the age of the unanswered text! These days, it's far more common to be ghosted than to actually have a respectable break-up. What does that mean for most of us? Confusion, wine and tears.
Yes, the old saying still rings true: "Breaking up is hard to do."
Whether it happens in person, over phone or by text, the bottom line is someone is going to get hurt. Unless you are a real asshole, you don't actually want the other person to feel pain, so you may find yourself developing a plan to let them down as easily as possible. Now apply that idea to 2017: The age of hiding behind our computer/phone screens to avoid our fear of letting someone down. Of course, it’s easier to type it out rather than express your feelings face-to-face. At least if we break up by text, we don't have to watch the person's face drop when we break the news that we're about to make like a bad check and bounce out of the relationship. Disaster avoided, right?
Well, I hate to break it to you, but the letdown is still there and cannot be avoided.
Now, I've had my fair share of break-ups throughout the years. Some I've handled respectably, and some I handled like Britney Spears circa 2006 when she dumped K-Fed via text. Pretty shitty. I never got over how I handled my break-up over text. To this day, I still beat myself up for running away scared like a child.
At the time, I saw no other way to handle the situation. Deep down, I knew I made the right decision by ending things, but on the surface, I could very easily have been persuaded into staying in a relationship I knew wasn't right. I knew if I saw the hurt in his eyes, I would want to make it better, and I would put my true feelings on the back burner at the risk of disappointing someone I cared about.
If there is one thing our generation needs to learn, it is this: You cannot run from feelings. They will hunt you down and find you. And when you do take a chance on someone who doesn't pan out, you have to end the relationship in a respectable fashion – not just for them, but for yourself. Ghosting a person after more than one date will only leave you feeling like a coward, and that's because you are acting like a coward.
The act of ghosting is only setting you up for the occasional 2 a.m. text from that person, trying to get some sort of idea of what went wrong. If you can pull yourself together long enough to end things face to face, you will actually have a better chance of a clean break. Meaning, the other person will know exactly where they stand without question. Really, that's all anyone wants at the end of the day.
If you find yourself questioning a future with the person you are dating, you should be honest about that as soon as the feeling occurs. You deserve to be happy and the person you are seeing deserves honesty. I'm not saying the other person will always take such abrupt news well initially, but eventually he or she should be able to look back and say, "Yeah, that sucked, but at least they were honest and upfront with me."
No one likes to feel vulnerable, which is exactly why we all take off running as soon as we start to catch "the feels." It's the potential of facing rejection that really freaks us out. So, if you are going to make someone face their fear of rejection, be a dime and handle it well. Be honest and direct. If there is no chance of a reconciliation, say so. You will do the other person a favor by eliminating the "what if" scenarios.
I know that times are changing faster than Taylor Swift can reinvent herself, but I feel like no matter what changes in the world, respect should stay the same. Pay it forward. Always be fair – you never know when the tables will turn. You may find yourself getting dumped and I can bet you would much rather have a mature explanation than a string of text messages.
What the Occasional Text Means to Her
I'm sure by now we have all realized how easy it is to send a message without ever saying a word. It is true that not saying anything can say it all. But what message is being sent by having little to no conversation?
I've experienced the occasional text more often than usual lately, which sparked some questions on the matter. Allow me to put this into context for you, let's say you have met someone and exchanged phone numbers, maybe even had a few dates. Every meeting you have had has went well and you find yourself making plans to meet again, but ironically that never seems to happen. Weeks, if not months go by. If that person then sends you the occasional "hey, what are you up to?" text out of the blue, you might find yourself questioning where you stand. Should I cross you off the list and move on or are you actually pursuing me? It's a valid question.
I guess I figured when you hit adulthood the childhood tit-for-tat games all come to an end, but in reality they were just getting started. And it's exhausting! So when it comes to the occasional once a month text, I have to ask- do you seriously think I would be willing to meet up with you?! You see, when someone drops communication with you altogether, it sends the message loud and clear. It sucks, but at least you know exactly where you stand. However, the casual text blurs unnecessary lines. We end up in some kind of weird text limbo.
The message this sends to girls- and I can only give the point of view from my perspective here- is that we don't matter or perhaps you are on the fence about us. No girl wants to invest her time with someone that is only half interested! In my case, the guy I was seeing would get upset if I didn't show up after being sent a casual text on a random Friday night to meet up with his friends. Tough shit! I'm not dropping my plans with friends to run to your beckoned call.
This type of behavior will almost always place you in the filler category, meaning you're just there on the sidelines until something better comes along. After all, no successful relationship starts with one person being strung along. You're doomed from the start if you don't respect the person enough to make your intentions clear. And if you don't no what your intentions are yet, just be consistent. At least that way the girl will know you are interested.
FOMO: "Fear of Missing Out"
Has anyone ever heard this phrase before? If you have, it has most likely been related to missing out on weekend plans with friends while you're stuck at some family gathering with you third cousin, twice removed. "Fomo" is a real thing, but have you ever considered how it applies to the dating world?
Rather than point fingers in this post, I'm going to be honest when I say I am guilty of letting fear get in my way. I have prematurely passed up opportunities with guys in an effort to prevent myself from getting stuck in the wrong relationship and as a result, miss out on "the one."
I can't say I'm doing it all wrong, though. It's true, you don't know unless you try. You have to be willing to put yourself out there, but what if the fear of missing out is the one thing that actually stops us from settling for anything less than what we deserve? From what I have witnessed in my dating journey, labels can be downright terrifying. Some may argue that this is the reason the modern day dating world centers around minimal emotional attachment. Once you label your situation you immediately take on a responsibility to someone other than yourself. For me, the label has never been my cause of fear. What scares me the most is the thought of being stuck in a relationship that just isn't right and missing out on the type of person that makes my heart beat out of my chest. My fear is missing out on something great because I was just "passing the time" with someone. I mean, shit, if I don't know what I'm looking for how am I supposed to know what it feels like when I find it?
So, while some may say not committing to any one person, or having "fomo" is just a cop out, I have to say I disagree to a certain extent. Clearly, there are people out there that are using the art of non-commitment as a crutch, but some of us aren't dodging the responsibility, we are simply waiting on the relationship that lives up to our standards. Could it be proven then, that this generation is not just a large bunch of lazy daters, but rather less willing to try to settle for anything less than fireworks kind of love? It seems like as we get older, our checklist gets longer and longer. We all want someone with a good career, a certain level of attractiveness, family values, etc. When someone doesn't meet your standards it always seems to be a disappointment, no matter how small. For most of us, we believe in love. But, can we identify love? That's where the struggle lies. It seems that the ultimate goal here is trying to get out of our heads and into our hearts.
Fear is something that can hold you back on so many accounts. However, mindlessly jumping into new relationships can be just as harmful when you consider the amount of messy break-ups you could potentially face. It seems then, our only option is to find a happy medium. As comedian Katt Williams once said, "You got to get real in tune with yo motha fu%$in' star player!" In simpler terms, tune in and act from a place of mindfulness in whichever direction you choose. Take a chance when it feels worthwhile, but don't try to just pass the time.
The Unspoken Rules of Modern-Day Dating
If you don't know by now, times have definitely changed in terms of the dating world. If you are a member of the millennial age group and just so happen to be single, welcome to the tennis match that is about to be your dating life. For lack of better words, dating in this age can be described as a game. Hell, sometimes its a game I wasn't even aware I was playing. If you are still in denial in thinking these rules don't apply to you, I suggest you read on. I can almost guarantee any single person between the ages of 18 and 30 can relate to the following unspoken rules at least once.
1. Social media activity means something more than what it actually means. A "like" on an Instagram or Facebook post will more often than not relay some sort of interest in the person posting. For example, let's say a guy has been consistently liking the pictures you post on your Instagram page. Millennials interpret that like as a serious sign of that person showing interest in you. I mean, let's be honest, if a guy throws a like at your post, he's probably not liking the picture because you have some fluffy caption that captivates his soul. No- quite the opposite: He just wants to make himself relevant. Now, if you get a notification that someone has liked a picture from several weeks ago, that shows major interest and can actually be described as "cyber stalking" if it goes too far. It is a sure sign that rather than just scrolling through his news feed and casually stumbling on your post, he has made the choice to visit your profile page.
"OMG he liked a picture on my Instagram from three months ago!" is something I've heard many of my friends say. If the aged liker happens to be someone you are interested in, the person is obviously showing interest back. Insert "jump split" here! There is nothing more rewarding than that. However, on the flip side, if the aged like is from someone that repulses you, he will immediately be labeled a creep.
2. You can't be caught dead sending the first text. This is a rule that took me a moment to grasp. To a rational person, if both parties are interested enough to exchange numbers, it would seem like the next logical step to progression would be texting that person to talk. Or, dare I say it, make plans for a date. This is millennials we're talking about people- everything is written in code that the average mindful person will never be able to understand. So, if you are a woman and you send the first text, or even God forbid double-text, you will be labeled as desperate or aggressive. The goal is to appear to be interested, but not too interested. Available, but also super-busy. It's exhausting.
3. Do not, and I repeat, do not try to define the relationship. This is the generation of distance. Rather than define, we will dance around the idea of making anything official. If you try to label the relationship, chances are the guy will head for the hills because relationships with definitions hold people accountable. When you are held accountable, suddenly any of your questionable side behavior is labeled as cheating. You see, while you are in a relationship it is highly frowned upon to like other girls' pictures on social media, send snap chats to members of the opposite sex, and ditch your girl all weekend to spend time with the boys. As long as that relationship has no real definition, you can pretty much do as you please. It's no surprise that guys freak out the second you question where the relationship is going. It's almost like having house rules when you come back from college during the holidays to stay with your parents. When you are used to living your life your own way with no regard for a partner, there is no rush to signing up for the obligations that a defined relationship can impose.
4. Never question the intent of cheating. The lines are blurred these days with all of the underlying meanings out there. A guy you are seeing tags another girl in a meme, likes a picture or carries on a back and forth brigade of Snapchat selfies. It's not actually cheating, although we all know it isn't exactly innocent either. Millennials want you to be the cool girl who is disconnected, so you can't actually be mad about something like that, right? Wrong. We all just have to pretend that we aren't mad when really it's clear that the guy you are seeing is keeping his options open right in front of you. Your relationship or "situationship" will be kept at arm's length, but you know what else is kept at arm's length? Another girl that he's been showing interest to on all forms of social media. It's as if everyone has something on the back burner these days!
5. Expect to be ghosted, but don't cross them off the list. Just because you haven't heard from a person in two weeks doesn't mean you've been given permission to move on to someone new. Like I said, dating millennials is all about deflecting from definition. The newest trend in dating is "ghosting"- when someone you have been dating seemingly disappears into thin air, dropping all forms of communication. No texts, no calls, or as my southern mother would say, "Didn't even give you a bye, kiss my ass or nothing." It is the literal version of having the rug pulled from underneath you. I've had this happen to me, but the ghosting wasn't necessarily the worst part.
For me, the real stinger is when that person resurfaces weeks later with a casual text, asking what I'm up to for the weekend. As if nothing is out of the ordinary! It's just enough communication to make you silently suffer internally, wondering if this means you still have a shot with this relationship, when in fact it is just a sign that you are obviously not a priority. The problem is that you are left questioning where you stand with that person, which in turn limits you from moving on to someone else whole-heartedly.
As if dating isn't hard enough, we now have to figure out how to close the chapters of the book ourselves. If answers are what you are seeking, disappointment and unclarity is what you will most likely find. You see, while the mature daters out there would have the courage to tell you where you stand in a relationship, the millennial daters will keep you in limbo, never truly giving you an out. By keeping their options open, they never have to feel as though they failed in the dating world, because they are never left alone.
A few days ago, a male co-worker of mine, Kris, approached me with a question that later sparked a conversation with my friends and I. "How many drinks are too many when you are on a date?" I instinctively replied with "two". His rebuttal set me back in my seat. Kris said that as a guy you are always aware of your stopping points. The last thing a guy in that situation wants to do is feel like he's forcing a girl to sit on a date when she isn't interested. So, if the waiter comes over and asks if you'd like another round, if the girl says "no, I'm fine", the message she sends to her date is that she isn't interested in staying out and continuing to hang out longer.
Mind blown! I had honestly never thought about what message I would be sending to my date. In my eyes, only having two drinks was respecting my date and the potential of ever getting a second date. Who wants to risk saying or doing something stupid? I mean, I have been known to let my jokes go a tad too far after a few too many dirty martinis. This thought process brought me a new way of thinking. Have I been unknowingly pushing opportunity away?
Growing up I always remembered my Grandpa talking about his time as a singer. He played at many bars in downtown Nashville and he said that during that time he learned one important thing- there is nothing more unattractive than a drunk woman. Obviously when you are the musical entertainment for the night you get a birds eye view while on stage. My Grandpa would notice some of the most drop dead gorgeous women walk in to the bar that night, but by the time he was finishing his set, the women would be so drunk and sloppy that he would never consider approaching them.
So what is the happy medium on a date? If you enjoy your date's company do you cut it short after two drinks or keep the night going? Before having the conversation with my co-worker I would 100% say keep it to a two drink maximum. After hearing his interpretation of the message that sends, I have to admit I may rethink my answer.
It appears that we are constantly sending a message with our actions whether we are aware of it or not. So, what do you think? How many drinks are acceptable on a first date?
Social Media or Social Suicide?
Hi Dimes! Has anybody else made a face like this when cyber stalking a potential date? I know I have. In fact, I've had this come up quite a few times this year, especially back when the election was taking place. I literally had to take a break from Facebook, it was unbearable!
While the picture above is meant to make you laugh, my point is no laughing matter. Some things are just better left unsaid or perhaps left better said to a medical professional. Kidding!... kind of. I know I'm not the only one out there that has agreed to a date, but after some online social media stalking, quickly reconsidered and cancelled.
There is nothing attractive about a guy or girl pouring their heart out on their Facebook wall. No one really cares to hear you bitch and complain about your job or the terrible service you had during your recent visit to Outback Steak House. In all honesty, it makes you look petty.
When considering your social media presence, less is definitely more. Whether we like it or not, social media is self advertising at its best. We are exuding an image and shaping the way others see us. While social media can be a valuable tool for staying in touch with others, it can also knock you right out of the dating game. Not to mention, it can ruin your chances with potential employers as well. That's right people, if you want to be taken seriously you might want to rethink that gym selfie, stop checking into the gym on Facebook when you get there, and stop posting inspirational memes relating to how you were mistreated during a breakup. I don't know where the whole "know your worth" phrase came from but I'm pretty sure it does not mean posting a selfie and making yourself your own "MCM" (Man Crush Monday).
And for the girls, don't get me started on the #iwokeuplikethis post. Of course you woke up like that, bitch. You have botox, lash extensions, lip injections and a weave in your hair. I'm not knocking it, but let's be clear, if we were lost at sea for five months with no salon we would all be waking up looking like dog shit. You aren't some rare gift from God that miraculously wakes up ready to walk the runway for Tom Ford. Just be real. I have no shame and no desire to hide the fact that I wake up looking like a little troll that just crawled out from under a bridge. At least I'm honest.
Do yourself a favor and leave the people wanting more when it comes to social media. Use it sparingly, like salt. A little salt on your meal can enhance the flavors of the dish. If you dump too much salt on your dinner suddenly its enough to make you gag. Thats exactly how social media works. A little bit goes a long way!
So, you’re probably wondering who is this girl and what the hell is a dime? Well, let me start from the top. My name is Michele and I am a former St. Louis Rams Cheerleader currently living in St. Louis. I have the most loving wonderful family a girl could ever ask for. Growing up, my parents were the best example of what a strong relationship should look like. They have been together since they were fifteen years old. Fifteen! I myself have had two very long term relationships that did not work out. Almost two years ago I was introduced to the single dating world and the result was so pathetic I decided to write a book about it.
The Dime Series is a site I created to promote and explain the concept behind my book I have written, “50 Ways to Lose Your Dime”. I named this site The Dime Series because I plan on creating a series of books on the subject.
So what exactly is a dime you ask? In short, a dime is a ten. A girl who has it all. She’s the type of girl that all of your friends love and your Mom wants you to marry. A dime can take care of herself and isn’t too self-absorbed. She’s smart, funny, and the type of girl you are proud to have on your arm. And not only does she have a great personality, she’s a real babe. However, contrary to popular belief, a dime is not just a pretty face. I mean let’s be real, no one cares how good you look if you’re a total bitch and have the personality of a door knob. A pretty face just isn’t enough to get you to dime status. I mean nowadays if you look like a barking dog you can just head over to the plastic surgeons office for a little tweak. So, looking good alone just doesn’t cut it anymore. There has to be more depth to a person. In my opinion, a dime is the real deal. Basically, a dime can run her world, run a business, run a household and most importantly run like hell from a guy that can’t recognize a good thing when he has it.
Honestly, I came up with the concept of my book while trying to explain to one of my guy friends why all of his relationships were failing. You see, he was very attractive, had a good job and was the life of the party every where he went. How could he possibly have trouble hanging onto a girlfriend? I constantly found myself saying to him, “I could teach a class on how to get and keep the girl of your dreams.” With each and every epic failed attempt, my dime friends and I kept a group text message going back and forth trying to figure out what was going wrong. What started as a group text and advice chain ultimately ended up in all of my friends sharing epic fails in their own dating lives as well. It was a mindless way for all of us to make light of some of the horrific dating experiences we had. In the midst of all of this, I found myself going through what would turn out the be the worst break up of my life. I realized that from the age of fifteen to twenty-six I had been in a relationship. Having “never been single” and new to the modern dating world, I did what any girl would do- I went out. A lot. While out with friends checking out the party scene, I met my fair share of eligible bachelors in the city. With each and every person I could see a slight resemblance to my guy friend that sparked the idea of my book in the first place. The city was crawling with guys just like him- attractive, successful and charming. These guys were great, they really had potential, but would fall short in some awkward and surprising new way after a short time. Now, being fresh into the dating world, I started to ask myself “can this really be happening? If this is what I have to encounter in my search for a partner should I just consider becoming a nun? ” Whatever happened to there are plenty of fish in the sea?! There must be an effing drought.
Rather than sulk in my dismay of the selection, I decided to share the horrific dating stories of my life as well as my friends dating lives. Whether you are in a relationship or joining us on the ride from hell that is being single, its important to remember to laugh. Taking life and dating too seriously is not an option for me. Most girls my age in the Midwest seem to either be happily married or planning their own funerals because they’re not married. I think wishing you had something you don’t is a recipe for disaster. There is so much more to life than sitting around sulking in the fact that you’ve had some low blows in the dating world- we’ve all been there. What I do know for sure is that what you focus on expands, so if you’re sitting around complaining about being single you’re going to end up making a desperate attempt at forcing a not so good relationship to work out of fear. Lighten up a little and join me in this journey. I’d rather laugh and swap horror stories than be stuck sitting around wondering when Mr. Wonderful will show up. After all, laughter is the best medicine. In my book, “50 Ways to Lose Your Dime”, I’ll share with you fifty short stories on dating fails that either I myself have encountered, or my friends have suffered through. Again, none of these guys are horrible people, they just made some horrible choices that made the girl of their dreams run like hell. Now before you throw my words back in my face, I realize that girls are just as guilty at times. I will have a second book coming out about all the ways a girl can lose her dime status. So stay tuned!
FYI- 50 Ways to Lose Your Dime will be released in 2017.
Michele is a former St. Louis Rams Cheerleader living in St. Louis. Follow Michele from the sidelines of the NFL to the sidelines of the modern dating world.