R&R Love+Relationships: The D-Word

Writing Love and Relationships posts is hard for me because, honestly, I don't feel like I have enough experience to tell someone what they should or shouldn't do in a relationship. I've been single much longer than I've ever been in any relationship. And I'm a firm believer in the philosophy of not taking advice on achieving something from someone who hasn't achieved it themselves yet.

Does this mean that a single woman's opinions on relationships have no merit or that her advice is void because she doesn't have a man in her life at the time? Not necessarily. Romantic relationships are just like friendships, family bonds, or any other types of social interaction. The same values of respect, thoughtfulness, and trust are even more important when you are as close to someone as you are in a romantic relationship. Although as a single woman I can't totally put myself in the shoes of a friend who wants my advice on what to do in her relationship, I can share past experiences with her and give her the benefit of the good and/or bad choices that I made in those situations that may be similar to the one she currently finds herself in. I understand, however, that I am talking to her standing outside of the bubble of being in love, which makes things look and feel totally different to the one who is standing inside of it.

"The Bubble", as I'll call it, and the cataracts that it deposits on your eyes and mind are something that I know very well and I've learned that if you're not careful, "The Bubble" can turn into an isolating,dangerous place called desperation. Men and women experience desperation differently; men take it hard when despite their best advances they are not able to get a woman's attention and women start to sink into this dark place when a relationship they've committed to seems to fall apart beyond their control. I think that men have the easier way out since, in my mind, they can just work hard to forget the infatuation that they have with said woman and move on. As the cliche goes, you don't miss what you never had. A woman's desperation switch is not as easy to turn off since she's already tasted what it is to have a commitment to her man and her mind goes wild fast forwarding to expensive weddings (you know it's been planned, down to the silverware at the reception, since you were in 6th grade), 3-4 kids (names already picked out, all starting with your first initial),and growing old together. The danger factor kicks in when, despite a man's obvious signs that he is either unable or unwilling to be a committed, loving partner, women hold on to these intricate dreams and fill in the blanks of the unknown or unaccepted traits of a man with what she wants them to be for him to be the proverbial "One".

The #1 health threat to women is not heart disease or any type of cancer, it's being in a bad relationship with a man who is only out for himself. No parasite is as debilitating as a person who takes but never gives. While a tapeworm may deplete you physically, such a person depletes you spiritually,emotionally, AND physically so that you literally have nothing left but the shell of the person you created in order to cater to them.

There is a fine line between bitter venom from past wounds and sound advice, so we must be careful, selective consumers of our words of wisdom especially when it comes to relationships. Too many people have an "if I'm miserable, you must join me" philosophy on life and love is too precious and too hard to find in this society for you to naively trust just anyone . But, especially when it comes to relationships, I think it's important to have a person that you consider logical and rational around that has their feet planted firmly outside of your bubble. They can help you navigate the haze and tell the difference between real love and the d-word.