Next: How do you repair or rekindle a relationship?

You have a fight with your best friend, significant other or spouse. What do you do?  Do you hash it out or do you give the other person the silent treatment and then one day just act like nothing ever happened and hope things return to normal?  Does it matter if the person on the other end of the disagreement is of the same sex? Do men and women handle disagreements differently?  Do we fight the same?  Do we make up the same?

Tune in for our next blog as we try to answer these questions. . .

The Art of Kicking ‘em to the Curb

He Said

Honesty is the best policy, right?  For instance, a man might be blunt and say, “I’m just not into you.” End of story, move on, keep it 100.

This might hurt her feelings though. And?

There’s no crying in baseball!

But it is understandable that a tear might be shed during the act of kicking her to the curb, especially if the man is a tad blunt in his delivery. But do you women really want the man to beat around the bush? Do you want to be led on? Do you think he’ll change his mind? I’m certain you don’t want him to lie.

I suspect women, like men, desire to hear the truth – but most of us can’t handle it. It hurts to hear: 1) you’re not tall enough, 2) you’re too broke, 3) you aren’t Idris or Denzel. Those things might be the truth, but they might be damaging to a person’s psyche. Or, a) I don’t date women out of my race, b) you’re too fat, c) you smell.

All of these things might be valid arguments as to why you might want to kick someone to the curb, but they do appear fairly painful. Even I, the Neanderthal with little conscience, knows this.

So how can you be delicate enough yet honest enough? Here are my thoughts:

  1. Take your emotions out of the equation – If we are driven emotionally, good or bad, we have a tendency to allow our emotions to cloud our judgment.
  2. Be honest, yet sensitive. I realize it’s not easy for many men to attain this, but I challenge the man to say it as if you were trying to explain to your daughter without pushing her over the edge.
  3. Don’t give her the silent treatment and hope she just goes away. That is rude. Take a few simple minutes and explain yourself gingerly.  (See item 2 above).
  4. Try not to say, “let’s be friends” if you don’t mean it. We all know that’s some BS.
  5. Be polite and gentle. Rejection is a very hard thing to handle (even if someone says it doesn’t affect them). Thus, if you like only women with blonde hair and big breasts you can change it up to say “I have a specific style and I’m sorry that you don’t fit it.”

My final thought – you can always be a jerk about this and just play your cards that way, but do know, karma’s a bitch and it might come back to haunt you. Quite simply, let her off as easy as possible and lessen the risks of repercussions. Trust me guys, you don’t want to find your kid’s pet rabbit boiling in a pot.

She Said

How to let them down easy?  That’s a tough one.  In my younger days, I did the avoidance thing.  I just limited my contact and hoped they’d go away.  As a result, I am told I used to have the tendency of having it appear as if I had men sitting on a shelf until I decided to pay attention to them.  While that’s the way it may have seemed, all I really wanted to do was get out of a sticky situation and remain friends.  Why is that so hard???

Why?  Because it is just not possible to be friends with someone who has a romantic interest in you without having to continually keep the barrier up, while possibly putting a future relationship at risk.  Men (and women) lie to themselves.  They think if you’re still talking to them that it means, as Mr. Neanderthal aptly put it, you’re somehow going to change your mind.  When has that ever happened?  Only in the movies or in romance novels.  Why put yourself through that?  Why hang on, putting up with crumbs, convincing yourself that the payoff (i.e., a relationship) is right around the corner?  It isn’t.  But men and women do that every day.  So in order to avoid this push and pull and the ever persistent, hopeful suitor who is really only pretending to be your friend, hoping for something more, kick’em to the curb early and clearly.

In my personal experience and from talking with other women, the best thing to do is to be clear, not necessarily completely honest (why be mean), firm, and sever all ties.  Do not allow a foot, or even a toe, in the door.  Forget all that talk about “Let’s be friends.”  I’ll say it again.  You can’t be friends with someone who has a romantic interest in you.  Those men that are regularly rejected seem to have this innate ability to be incredibly persistent, so persistent that you wonder if they are looking at the same situation that you’re looking at.

When a man is looking to reject a woman, he usually takes the easy way out.  Since men are usually the aggressors, they just withdraw and hope the woman goes away.  Sometimes she does but sometimes she doesn’t.  Why go through that when you can be clear and just get it over with? Contrary to popular opinion men don’t do it because they’re “nice.”  They do it because they’re big chickens.  Men don’t like dealing with their (or others’) messy emotions.  They don’t want to look too deeply into why there was no connection or what they’re really looking for in a relationship, if they’re even looking for a relationship at all.  So they just withdraw.

In sum, whether you’re male or female, suck it up and do the right thing for yourself and the other person.  Kick’em to the curb but just be clear, definitive and decisive (and nice) about it.

Next up: The Art of Kicking ‘Em to the Curb

Scenario: You’ve met someone; you talk briefly on the phone; you decide to give it a go; and you arrange a date. Unfortunately, you quickly realize during the date that you have absolutely no connection with this new potential love interest. Now what? Simple, you tell ‘em to scram, beat it, hasta la vista, baby! Or maybe you are more tactful and say – it’s not you, it’s me (snicker, snicker).

What is the best way to let someone off easy? Is there a good way? Or in the end will the rejection just feel the same? It probably will with less flowery wording.

Stay tuned…

Dealing with Changing Traditions

She Said

With the Christmas holidays just over, you may recall encountering conflict over how to deal with the change in family traditions due to a divorce or separation when kids are involved.  While everyone’s circumstances are different, here are three tips on how to navigate through holidays and other special occasions in 2015 and beyond.

Listen to the Kids

While you may be hurting, your children are hurting more and in most instances in ways neither you nor they will fully understand until they are much older.  As such, put your children’s needs first and take your cues from them.  Find out what traditions are important to the children and try to figure out ways to preserve them. For example, our family makes homemade cranberry sauce every Thanksgiving in the U.S.  Each year, my ex took the lead, using his mother’s recipe.  It was obvious from talking to, and watching, the children that this tradition was not only important and worth salvaging but it was a special time for them with their dad.  So now my ex and the kids make the cranberry sauce, and I am happy to relinquish that tradition.

It’s Just a Day

You can make any day special.  A birthday can be celebrated on any day.  You can have Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve if you don’t have Christmas one year.  It’s the family time and memories that are important.  If you don’t make a big deal out of the date on the calendar, chances are your children aren’t going to either.

Develop New Traditions

While you should make every effort to figure out a way to salvage a few important family traditions, be sure to start some new traditions.  If the family always took a trip hiking in the summer, come up with a new family activity to share with the children in the summer.

Divorce is hard for all involved, but if you keep in mind that this is really about the children, you can hopefully successfully navigate the common pitfalls.

(Originally posted on http://divorcedparents.co.uk/)

He Said

A sensitive topic indeed but I am thankful for the new traditions that I have found myself sharing with my kids.

Pre divorce there were traditions that me and my spouse were beginning to undertake in our years of engagement and early years of marriage – most notably gatherings with friends and family during the holidays. There was euphoria building within me as we began down the road of traditions however all of that fell apart as we separated. It left me reeling and lost as to how to proceed.

What I have noticed is the traditions are not lost but slightly transformed as the lives of my kids and I take a different path in transforming the desired traditions into something even more meaningful and relevant. Thus, not all is lost as we began to explore things that make us happy as a family unit.

  1. I make sure to explore various activities that they haven’t tried and expose them to undiscovered territory – like ice skating.
  2. I follow the lead of my children – they provide a great barometer in creating life-long moments that can spring forth new traditions.
  3. A supportive and involved family helps to solidify old traditions prior to marriage that now include my young ones as part of these celebrations.
  4. You don’t realize you might be starting a tradition until you partake in the activity and see how it sticks with your kids. Therefore, keep trying.
  5. Going to Disney World doesn’t have to be the only tradition. Other traditions start off small and grow over time. Keep an eye on these experiences as they develop into full-fledge family traditions.

As always, change isn’t the easiest thing to overcome, but history has shown us time and time again that we can overcome many circumstances. There are times my kids make mention of something we have done in the past but they are quick to take notice of new things. And most of the new things start off very simplistic – spending time at the park every Wednesday during the Fall – and the feelings that come with this give all of us comfort in the direction we are headed. It is a good feeling to know that while our lives change we begin to talk about these events with pleasure.

“Daddy, remember last Christmas we spent at Grandma’s house and we put up the tree? I can’t wait to do it this year!” Neither can I.

Strictly Platonic – No, Seriously

He Said

Can a man and a woman maintain strictly platonic relationship with each other?

heart02

True or nah?

I agree – true. For the life of me I cannot understand how grown people cannot maintain friendships with the opposite sex without muddying the waters with – sexual advances or energy. Many times men are drawn to a woman because they have sex on the brain, but sometimes the man can begin to truly appreciate the woman for who she is. Other times, it becomes the responsibility of either party to control their own emotions and desires and not make unwanted advancements.

I understand that attraction may occur between friends. Or that one friend might be more attracted to the other friend unbeknownst to the friend. However, neither of these examples nullifies our ability to reach higher and maintain a platonic relationship with someone for whom you may have an attraction.

People decide to bring others into their lives driven by whatever needs are to be fulfilled. The Bible states we go through seasons and individuals might come in and out of our lives depending on where we are in our life journeys. However, there is no reference to or hard and fast rule coming from the good Book about maintaining opposite sex friendships.

Well, there is some reference to committing adultery in one’s own mind including lasciviousness and other sinful actions. Yada, yada, yada, but I digress.

Men will almost always befriend females in which they have an attraction. And some men will truly desire a strictly platonic relationship as they get to know the female friend they’ve encountered. Heck, even Oedipus desired and married his own mother (hello…gross!) according to Sophocles. Besides, what man, straight or gay, doesn’t want to be around a harem of attractive female friends?

The bottom line – discipline and self-control come into play. Keep it in your pants for once in a while and get to know the woman for who she is – and you might find yourself with a friend for life. Or at least until you get married and your spouse nixes on the female friend.

And given the chance would a male friend control any sexual desires he has toward his female companion? Maybe not, but even so, should a one-time sexual encounter stop two individuals from developing a meaningful friendship after a “slip up”? I think not.

Have at it folks – go find that female or male friend and keep it platonic. There could be a treasure chest of friendship benefits waiting.

She Said

It’s almost impossible to maintain a close relationship with a member of the opposite sex without getting too close, resulting in problems in your existing romantic relationship, hindering your ability to get involved in a romantic relationship or causing one of the two people in the “friendship” to be hurt or frustrated.  It gets even more complicated if you have had an intimate relationship with the person.  In my opinion, all that bonding that you do with a member of the opposite sex should be reserved for the person with whom you will have or are having  a romantic relationship.

I believe someone always wants more than a mere friendship and they think they can “wait out” the other person or are willing to accept the crumbs of a relationship that the other person is willing to dole out.  It’s not a healthy situation for either party and should be avoided.  I have male friends, but I’ve never had a male friendship where there wasn’t an undercurrent, a tension that had to be managed.  If my significant other were to feel threatened by that relationship then that relationship would have to go.

Mr. Neanderthal (aka “He Said”) is right.  What brings friends together is an attraction, whether it’s an attraction to shared history or shared values or a physical attraction.  Either way, when you have this “attraction” to a member of the opposite sex it is very difficult not to cross over the line and get your heart or your body (or both) in trouble.  It is the emotional intimacy that is the greatest threat to your primary relationship.  The best test of whether a friendship with a member of the opposite sex is healthy is to ask yourself, “If something very good or very bad happens in my life, is this the person that I immediately think to call?” or “I am the person that my friend immediately thinks to call if something very good or very bad happens in his/her life?”  If the answer to either question is “yes” then you are far too emotionally tied to this “friend” or he/she to you (or both).

How is this a problem, you say?  Ask your significant other.  Who wants to be involved in a relationship with someone who has a relationship with a member of the opposite sex that usurps your role in your significant other’s life?  I know there are those that believe that no one person can fulfill all of your needs, and I agree, but I also think that if you decide to have a member of the opposite sex be your “go to” person to fulfill one of your needs, you should make sure it’s okay with your significant other and be clear with all involved on what the boundaries of the “friendship”are going to be.  There should be no sexual innuendos, no intimate conversations and limited time alone.

Mr. Neanderthal says it’s just a matter of “growing up” and avoiding the pitfalls that such a relationship presents.  Maybe, maybe not.  I guess it depends on the people involved.  I personally think it has less to do with “growing up” and more to do with being honest with yourself and asking yourself those two questions I posed.

male_female_friendship

Teaser: Strictly Platonic – No Seriously

Happy 2015 and may the year give you everything your hearts desire!

Now, for the meat of the post – platonic friendships between male and females. Do they truly exist or is one party always waiting to pounce on the other party? Are we living in a fantasy world thinking things don’t have to heat up or will our attraction (that’s what most likely brought the two together) get the best of us?

I say hogwash! Stop playing games, be an adult with friends. How hard is it? Mind over matter folks, mind over matter.

Stay tuned…

Rebuttal to “Who Faces More Rejection in Dating: Men or Women?”

She Said

“It’s similar to that routine text message you might throw out to about 50 female friends and you wait to see who responds.” (Let that sink in first . . .)

He Said (or should I call him Mr. Fisherman) actually said that!  That’s my very point!  A lot of men are just out there “fishing.”  Women are not fish, and we also aren’t strands of spaghetti (Mr. Fisherman said, “It’s like throwing spaghetti at the wall and seeing which strands stick.”)  All I can say is “WOW!”

Men should be selective in whom they look to date.  Not all women are right for every man so why is it that most men view dating as a race to see how many women they can attract?  Why do women allow this foolishness to continue?  Why does this occur at all?  Because most women AND men are insecure.

Most people spend too much time worrying about who wants them and not enough time learning to love themselves.

Until you learn to love yourself, you will continue to attract the male and female “fisherman.”  The bench clearers are confident, love themselves and won’t put up with those that aren’t going to give them what they want, need and deserve.  While the bench clearers may not have a very active dating life, when they finally catch “The One” they end up being the happiest in the long run.