Seriously - WTH?

Calling out the stupid...and boy is there a lot to call out.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Random Thoughts Women Have Before Sex (Warning Mature Readers Only!)

Today as I was screwing around online I saw an article that was something like 11 Things Men Think about When They See a Women Naked. Now, I'm not a guy, but I have to think that if I was and there was a naked woman in front of me the most prevalent thing running through my mind would be, Cool, a naked chick that wants to have sex with me. Sure a guy may think to suck in his gut, stick out his chest, and flex a little but mainly he is thinking, Haha... boobs... and I get to touch them.

See, I don't believe women spend as much time pondering what men think when they see us naked as these articles suggest. No, when we get (or are about to get) horizontal with a man I believe we spend way more time in our own heads. So I have put together some random thoughts that tend to run through our minds and get in the way when we are having (or are about to have) sex.

(*Note: These are in no particular order and can vary depending on the stage of the relationship.)

Thought #1: "I am way too fat to have sex today." 
Yes men, it may sound crazy to you, but even though we may look like we weigh the same to you from day to day, we really do have fat days and skinny days. Maybe it's water retention from hormones or maybe it's a guilty conscience from the one bite of cake that turned into us finishing off half of the ass end of our niece's My Little Pony left over birthday cake, but fat/skinny days are not just in our head. The good news is we still have sex on our fat days, but we're more likely to feel like sex goddesses and curl your toes on our skinny days;)

Thought #2: My God I hope he doesn't have anything freaky that he forgot to disclose and I have to act like I've seen it before or it's perfectly normal. (Usually reserved for the 1st sexual experience...or for some people, the first sober sexual experience or sexual experience with the lights on);

Thought #3: What is he doing? How can I make him stop doing that without spending the next 6 months reassuring him that he isn't a bad lover I just didn't like that.

Thought #4: Please don't let him be into anything really freaky...(i.e. don't let me walk in and find him wearing my lingerie and heels, learn he is into farm animals [doing or acting like one] or call me "Mommy." Ewwwwww - btw, that was Ewwwww as in gross, not the sheep.

Thought # 5: Man, are those cobwebs on the ceiling? I just dusted!"

Thought #6:  Did you see his ex? There is no WAY I am getting naked knowing he dated a girl that looked like that. Yes, she may be completely psychotic and I may be smarter and have a better personality, but you don't f#%k personality! (New relationship pre-sex)

Thought #7: "Seriously? What's with the double standard? I need a freakin' machete' down here!"

Thought #8: Is he close? I hope he is close. I'm chaffing here!

Thought #9: Does he know he is making that face? I wonder if he knows he is making that face?

Thought #10: He wants to have sex now? Vampire Diaries is on in 5 minutes. ( Vampire Diaries can be swapped with any of the following: Dancing with the Stars, American Idol, The Voice, etc)

Thought #11: Is it rude if I tap his head to get his attention?

Thought #12: Why do all men do that dance? (Ladies you know the one-and men so do you. Your man stands naked with his hands on his head, legs apart, and thrusts his hips back and forth making his "wing man" fly back and forth wildly.)

Thought #13: So I guess we're done with foreplay?

Thought #14: Really? He got completely naked but couldn't take the extra 2 seconds to take off the black socks? I wonder if I can take them off with my toes?

(For those with kids)
Thought #15: Did I lock the door? Did he lock the door? The kids are going to walk in? Did he lock the door? Did I lock the door? I know I didn't lock the door? I bet he didn't lock the door. I bet the door's not locked...


Don't forget to check out my book: Why Am I Still Single? A Tough Love Guide For Single Women Available on Amazon.com and Barnes&Noble.com

http://www.amazon.com/Why-Am-Still-Single-Tough/dp/0985590610/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1348718953&sr=8-1&keywords=why+am+i+still+single+shay+stone

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Wilford Brimley is Pissed

Wilford Brimley is pissed.

Why you ask? Because you have been slacking.

"But Shay", you say, "I have been working all day. I come home, take care of my family and then do my A-Z challenge like a good little blogger."

Well, let me ask you this: When was the last time you checked your blood sugar?

See, that's what I thought!

Seriously, can someone tell me why he is so pissed off? I will be sitting in my living room, watching TV, not bothering anyone, then BAM! there he is on my screen, with his red, bulldog like face and his overgrown, furry caterpiller mustache all up in my business, like a total hard ass telling me, "You check your blood sugar and you check it often! There's no reason not to."

Excuse me Mr. Brimley, but I do have a valid reason not to: I don't have diabetes. So, why are you going all postal and yelling at me?

Do you get paid on every diabetes or as you say, "dibeetus", kit you sell? Are you pissed because you have to prick your fingers and think everyone should suffer and feel your pain?

All I know is I don't come into your living room and make you suffer the same things I have to go through. Have I ever gotten pissy with you and demanded, "You get a pap smear and you get it often!" I didn't think so!

I don't know why you are so angry. Maybe you are mad that you can't eat things with sugary goodness or maybe you are upset because Our House got cancelled.

All I know is you better back off, Brim or I will start spiking your food with pixie stix. So, Mr. Brimley, you check your blood sugar and you check it often and leave me in piece to eat my Reese's peanut butter cups! You don't scare me!

Well maybe a little... seriously, what is with that mustache?

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Confessions of a Recovering “Nice Girl”


"Well behaved women rarely make history." - Eleanor Roosevelt.

Hi, my name is Shay and I am a recovering nice girl.

That probably sounds pretty strange. I mean, why would anyone want to recover from being nice? Haven’t parents and teachers drilled it into our heads to be nice?  Isn’t that what we strive to be? Aren’t girls supposed to be nice?

Growing up I was always considered to be a nice kid. My teachers loved me. I didn’t speak out of turn in class. I never questioned authority because I was taught to respect my elders. I maintained good grades. As a teenager, I never sneaked out of the house, went to wild parties and drank or experimented with any drugs. When I was bullied, I wouldn’t retaliate or pick fights because nice girls didn’t do stoop to that level. Instead I would try to rise above it, turn the other cheek, walk away, go home and cry.

As an adult I continued to be nice. I was a hard working, dedicated employee. I had a large group of friends and I prided myself in being a good friend - in many cases, a better friend. When friends betrayed me by talking about me behind my back or doing something hurtful, I would always forgive them because that is what nice girls did.

Dating was, well let’s just say I was never exactly in high demand. I was raised in a house where not only was sex something saved for marriage but it was viewed as something bordering on shameful. Nice girls didn’t have sex and they sure as hell didn’t enjoy it. In school, my virginity was no secret so I often went dateless. Occasionally I would hear about a boy liking me, but no one ever seemed to follow through. I seemed perpetually condemned to the dreaded friend zone. I was the one that the guys would come to complain about their girlfriends, get advice, tell me how great I was and then leave to go have sex with their girlfriends. I remember one time I was told that a certain boy was going to ask me to prom but he ended up asking someone else instead. When I asked him why he had changed his mind he told me that I was a nice girl and it was prom so he was going to expect to get some that night so he went for the “sure thing”. In an attempt to ease my disappointment he said, “You’re not the girl you date; you’re the girl you marry.” It was the first time I had heard that statement but it certainly wouldn’t be the last and for some stupid reason, this appeased me for a while.

As I got older, dating still sucked. Although my virginity had come and gone with my first serious boyfriend and I discovered I actually liked sex (a lot) I still wasn’t a one night stand or casual sex kind of girl.  I was a nice girl. And you know who likes nice girls? Bad boys. Maybe it was the challenge or imply the juxtaposition. Whatever it was, they seemed drawn to me like a moth to a flame and the feeling was definitely mutual.

A lot of people wonder how women can continuously fall for these bad guys – like we look at this broke, in between jobs, addict and think, “Ooo, I have got to get me some of that!” While I won’t go too much into it (that’s a subject for another article!) I will say that I blame 2 things: First, Hollywood. We have all seen the movies where the bad boy finds his true love, changes his ways and becomes the perfect guy for the nice (aka “good”) girl. Hell, we even occasionally hear about it happening in real life. Second, a bad boy doesn’t come across as bad boy when you first meet him. He always seems on the cusp of a metamorphosis into a good guy -  mysterious, misunderstood, a bit of a rule breaker, and to a nice girl that always plays by the book, that is a bit exciting. He is confident, doting, romantic and makes you feel like you are the only girl in the world. He tries to forge an instant connection, often suggesting you move in or marry him within a month or two of dating, before you figure out that he is really just a self involved head case that continuously sabotages his own happiness and is perfectly willing to take you down with him.

As a nice girl, I was willing to give up everything to show this guy that he was worthy of love. In my warped nice girl brain, sacrificing my hopes and dreams to support his latest harebrained scheme was a way to prove my love and hopefully make him believe in me the way I believed in him. After all, nice girls compromise. Nice girls sacrifice. Growing up, my mom used to constantly utter the phrase, “Relationships are 90/10 and YOU’RE THE 10” – something her grandfather had told her. And while I always balked that would never be me, I did succumb to all that “Stand by your man” crap. I was supportive. I was loyal. I put my needs on the back burner. I was nice. And most of all, I was miserable.

So after a few failed relationships and one failed marriage I decided I didn’t want to be a “nice girl” anymore. You see I finally realized that while people were saying “nice girl” what they were really meant was “doormat.” It’s true. Nice girls are agreeable. Nice girls have an overwhelming need to be liked. Nice girls don’t rock the boat. They don’t stand up for themselves. They don’t ask for raises. Nice girls are afraid of what people think. Nice girls live in constant fear of being judged, and often, even pass judgment on themselves. They don’t have sex with random people. They allow family members to be emotionally abusive because they don’t want to make waves. They forgive friends that only offer one sided friendship. They say yes to all favors even at the risk of spreading themselves too thin because they want to be perceived as “nice” always knowing that to say, “No” would run the risk of being referred to as the dreaded b-word. In fact, they are so fearful of being labeled a “bitch” that they continuously allow themselves to be manipulated and taken advantage of until they are left empty, miserable and often bitter.

People may have confused you into believing that being nice means being a doormat. It doesn’t. And that is why I recommend everyone stop being a nice girl as soon as possible. I am certain that I have been referred to as the b-word. And while years ago, it probably would have destroyed me, causing me to bend over backwards to prove that I wasn’t, today I no longer care. Well, I care a little and that is why I am a recovering nice girl. I wish it didn’t bother me but honestly, sometimes it does and sometimes I still cry. But I’m getting better because I finally realized, in most cases, when someone says “bitch” what they are actually saying is, “You won’t allow yourself to be bullied and manipulated by me anymore. I have to treat you with respect and boy does that piss me off.” So now I wear my Bitch badge proudly.

Recently my friend got in a debate with a guy that she had known since high school but hadn't seen in decades. Her opinion differed from his and in a last ditch effort, when he ran out of points to defend his position he tried to intimidate her by saying, “What happened to you? You used to be such a nice girl.”

In short, she didn’t just let him win the argument. She stood up for her convictions. And to him that meant she was no longer a nice girl. Maybe he even thought she was a bitch. But instead of cowering or being intimidated at the inference, she simply said, “I am still a nice girl. But what I am not is a pushover.”

It's time we redefine our idea of the word "nice." Don't let your need to be considered a nice person allow you to be manipulated out of your own needs, wants or desires. Be kind. Help others. Say "yes" to wild and crazy nights with friends. Say "no" to some favors;  Call people out on their bullshit. Stand up for yourself.  Live your life for you and don’t ever dim your own light so someone else’s can shine brighter. Be bad! Be bold! Be brave! And above all else, stop being so damned nice.

Sincerely,

A recovering nice girl


Monday, November 17, 2014

What I Have Learned about Turning 40

This year I have been doing something I have never done before. I have caught myself interjecting my age into sentences and various conversations. Age has never been something that has bothered me. In fact, in the past when someone has asked me my age I have even had to stop and think about it for a minute because I often say the age I am going to be instead of the age I am. So what's the new obsession with my age? Well in one week I am about to turn forty.

Yep, that's right. The BIG 4-0.

Now I have heard about people my age, male and female, that have done things ranging from spending the day crying under the covers in bed & refusing to talk to anyone, to having a major midlife crisis, to shrugging it off and not really acknowledging it at all. I will say this, most people at least say at some point, "Wow, I can't believe I am going to be forty."

I think the reason for the big forty awakening is because you are hit with a number of things when you turn or are about to turn forty. For example, Like most people, my friends are constantly posting pictures of their kids on Facebook. The disturbing thing about that is that instead of the cute baby's first steps videos or look who lost her first tooth pictures, the photos are of children graduating from high school or heading off to college, or (gulp*) of their babies having babies which makes my friends officially grandparents. Aren't grandparents supposed to be little, old, cute gray haired people that are always handing out candy or giving you a quarter? And the fact that my friends' children are heading off to school makes me realize one thing - their kids are now as old (or in many cases older) than the age I was when I first met their mother or father. Eeeeek!

Besides my friends having offspring that are old enough to drink and have kids, the other forty realization that slaps me in the face is that forty seems to be the age when you are really viewed as an adult. Yes, it's cute that we call 18 year olds adults, and allow people to officially drink and buy their own alcohol at 21 because they are adults, and you even get a break in your car insurance when you hit the big 2-5. But forty is the age when you are expected to really have your shit together.

According to societies' standards, by forty you should be married, have your career in full swing, and your family well underway, have stability, and saved at least half of your retirement. And well, all of this makes me more nervous than a long tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs. Hmmmm, let's see how I stack up:

Married - check!
Divorced - check! (Ok, that wasn't on the list, but hey! look at me Bonus Accomplishment! Plus they kind of go hand in hand)
Career - Which one? Still trying to find that perfect fit.
Family - Do dogs and cats count? I had my tubes tied so I guess I can check that off, right?
Stability - I pay my bills , if you call that stable. However, one bad illness and I could end up on the street living in a cardboard box with my dogs and cats...but it would be a stable box.
Retirement - Ha! Can't even fathom that. My last long term investment was in my 1997 Toyota Corolla because I knew it would save me money on gas. Between my divorce and the Recession (you know, the one they say we never had), coupled with a few unexpected surgeries, my bank account pretty much consists of dust. Seriously, when I get my statement for my savings account from my bank it says, "Balance: HAHAHAHA! P.S. When are you going to get started on this?"

Like most people, it seems every time I start to get ahead, something happens like my car needs brakes, or I get a rock to the windshield, or my uterus tries to implode. You know, normal every day things that seem to keep me from getting on my feet and ahead of the game. It's frustrating when there seem to be obstacles at every turn. So instead of beating myself up for where I should be, I'm going to try to think about the things I've done, learned, and most of all, overcome.

At 40 I have:

Graduated high school and completed some college;
Survived a major accident;
Overcome (for the most part), several health issues that would have sidelined most people;
Written 2 books that were both published;
Owned a record label, pizzeria, Italian restaurant, horse farm, and recycling business;
Found hobbies I thoroughly enjoy (painting and writing);
Lived in 3 different states;
Experienced marriage...and even better, experienced divorce :)
Learned what I do and don't want in a partner and that I am perfectly comfortable being single too;
Made lifelong friends that I wouldn't trade for anything;
Understand the difference between friends you can count on & friends that are just fun friends;
Learned blood doesn't make you family. Loyalty does - that's why some friends are family.
Acknowledged that if I have to fight to keep someone in my life, they probably don't deserve to be there;
Learned to never take advice or care about the opinion of someone that I don't respect;
Saved or given a home to some incredible animals;
Traveled (not as much as I'd like, but I am still fortunate enough to have done some travelling);
Learned my clothing size has nothing to do with my self worth;
Realized it's OK to tell people, "No" when I don't want to do something;
Volunteered for various charities;
Learned the only person responsible for my happiness is me;
Acknowledged that people will treat you how you allow them to treat you;
Realized it's OK to like sex and own that fact;
Understood I will always come second to someone's addiction. That's not my problem, it's their's;
Realized some people want to be miserable; I also realized I should distance myself from those people so they don't make me miserable;
Learned to trust my gut;
Continued to feed my inner child to keep me young- sometimes with a cupcake; sometimes with cartoons (How The Grinch Stole Christmas!);
Realized feeding that child doesn't keep me looking young, but sunscreen, moisturizer, exercise, and water will;
Age is a mindset;
Carmines has the best Italian food in the country with Christini's in Orlando being a very close 2nd;
A wagging tail = an immediate smile;
Most of all, I realized I like me and it's OK if no one else does.

And while I had thought that I would be in a very different place by the time I reached forty, I'm not in a bad place. No one's life is perfect or turns out just the way they planned. I mean, how boring would that be? In the word's of Aerosmith, " Life's a journey not a destination" and I'm looking forward to what the next forty will bring.

What have you learned by the time you turned 20? 30? 40? 50? 60? 70+?



Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Why You Shouldn't Tell Your Kid, "No."

OK, before everyone goes off on me about how we are raising a society of undisciplined, disrespectful brats, hear me out.

I think that we can all agree that parents today are...shall we say...CRAZY overprotective. Kids have to wear a helmet to ride a bike or they risk falling, hitting their head and having to eat through a tube for the rest of their lives. If a class is tough, clearly it is the teacher's fault. The class should be made easier or the parent will demand the child be transferred to a different class, where the teacher isn't "picking on him." Oh, and let's not forget that EVERYONE has to get a trophy so that no one gets their feelings hurt. You were born? Here's a trophy. You're 7 and wiped your own ass? Here's a trophy. Your team came in last place? Trophies all around! I mean GOD FORBID your child is made to believe they aren't good at something. Why risk the blow to their self esteem and years of therapy when a simple "Participation" ribbon lets everyone know, "Hey you! You are average! Just like everyone else"? You know, because that's the way life works. You get a job, don't work as hard as the person next to you, your mommy calls your superior to say if you don't get the promotion you'll be sad and your feelings will be hurt, so naturally, your boss gives you the promotion. No wonder our country is in the toilet.

So with that said you're probably wondering in a world where parents are afraid to (but should) tell their children, "No" why the hell am I saying not to do it? Because there is one area that I continuously hear moms and dads "protecting" their children right out of success. Recently, I have been present when various parents have made the following remarks (and some other equally detrimental ones) to their children and it absolutely infuriates me:

"I don't know why you want to try out for the [insert sport here] team. There are kids that have been playing since they were 5. You're not going to make it."

"You need to know your place in this world."

I have three words: SHAME ON YOU!

How dare you tell your child what they can and cannot accomplish! Whether you are doing it because you think you are protecting them from failure or simply because if you were in their position, you wouldn't have the guts to go for it, you need to stop and realize the negative impact you are making on your child's life.

Life is all about failure, overcoming obstacles, and striving to be our best self. A parent should never discourage their child from having goals and trying to be the best person they can.

Let me give you some examples:

When I wanted to try out for cheerleading in high school, my mom all but forbade me. She was so afraid I would be disappointed when I didn't make it, that it never even dawned on her that I might actually make it. ( I did).

Years later, I was in accident. After several surgeries, while trying to find meaning in tragedy, I decided to write a book to help people living with chronic pain. There was one catch...my head injury left me with the inability to look at a computer screen. That could have stopped me in my tracks, but I refused to let it. Not only did I write my novel, I got it published. 

Too small scale? How about these examples:

On  January 29th, 1954, a little black girl was born in rural Kosciusko, Mississippi. She survived a troubled adolescence in which she was sexually abused by relatives and male friends of her mother. As a teen, she moved to Tennessee to live with her father. She attended school, went to college and grew up to have her own talk show, and eventually her own network. Today she is one of he most powerful, well respected woman in the world. I am of course talking abut Oprah Winfrey. 

Sophomore year, Laney High School, N.C. Mike Jordan, arguably the greatest basketball player to ever play, failed to make the Varsity team. Did that stop him? No. He busted his butt to become the best all around player and became the superstar we know today as the great #23, Michael Jordan.

And perhaps one of the most inspiring stories, March 24th, 1986, a mother gave birth to a child born with congenial amputation. Kyle Maynard had no arms below the elbow and no legs below the knee. Instead of his parents sheltering him and allowing him to use that as an excuse to do nothing with his life, they encouraged him to be as independent as possible. Kyle grew up wanting to wrestle. He joined the school wrestling team. At first he lost every match... then one day something happened. He won. And then it happened again. In fact, it happened 34 more times. He eventually went on to be inducted into The National Wrestling Hall of Fame. But Kyle didn't stop there. He trained hard and went on to compete as an amateur mixed martial arts fighter, and as if those feats weren't impressive enough, he decided he wanted to climb Africa's Mt. Kilimanjaro...and did.

In any of these instances, it would have been very easy for the parents of these children to say, "It's too hard" or "You can't do it." 

"Oprah, you want to be a millionaire. You're crazy. Remember where you are from. Little black girls from Mississippi do not become millionaires."

"Michael, you couldn't even make the Varsity team.You think you are going to play professional ball some day? There are a million kids that have that dream and were good enough to make Varsity their first time out. You need to think more practically."

"Kyle, how is a kid with no arms and legs going to climb a mountain? You have to be realistic son. There are some things you are  going to have to accept that you just can't do."

So the next time you're speaking with your child and they tell you they want to find the cure for cancer or invent a flying car, or be a ballerina, I'm begging you, please be mindful of your words. Don't be that voice of doubt in your child's head that says, "You can't do it;" The one that causes a bundle of nerves and makes them too afraid to try out for the team, ask for that raise they deserve, or dare to change the world. Instead, be the one that teaches them how to accomplish their dreams. If your 5'7 son tells you he wants to make the basketball team, encourage him to try out and if he doesn't make it, instead of letting him give up, help him put together a game plan to improve his skills so he can make the team next time. Encourage him to practice and train with him whenever possible. Teach him the only failure in life is not trying and if you want something bad enough, you work for it, whether that be studying, hours of practice, interning, or daring to think outside the box. After all, it worked for Spud Webb. He went on to not only play in the NBA, but to win the Slam Dunk contest.

Remember, kids tend to share their dreams with the ones they are closest to in the hopes of receiving support and encouragement.  Imagine the look on Neil Armstrong's mother's face when he said," Hey Mom, you see that moon up there? I'm going to be the first person to walk on it someday." She had to think, "Sure you are son! And how do you plan on getting there? Walking?" But you know what, he did it. So if your child has a dream, no matter how ludicrous it may sound, don't crush it. Don't point out all the reasons why it can't happen. Don't say,"No." Instead, let them dream. Sit down with your kid and together, come up with a list of steps they can take to achieve their goals, whatever they may be. Let them know you believe  in them so that one day, when other people are trying to hold them back and telling them it's too hard! That's impossible! You can't do it! You can be the voice inside their head that says, "I believe in you.Yes you can."

Please if you like this post, share it :)

**Don't forget to check out my books Pain, Pain, Go Away and Why Am I Still Single? A Tough Love Guide for Single Women available on Amazon.com and at Barnes&Noble.com  **

Shay Stone books on Amazon
Shay Stone books Barnes & Noble


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Excerpt from New Book In Progress

... 

"He took her hand in his and pulled her close to him as they began to sway to the music. It felt amazing to finally hold her like he had wanted to for so long. In his arms, she felt safe, as though she belonged there; like she was home. The feeling was unnerving. She belonged to another, yet here she was in his embrace, feeling his warm breath on her neck, taking in his intoxicating smell. She felt dizzy, uncertain if it was the alcohol or his touch that was making her feel that way.

His cheek lightly touched against hers. Her skin was soft, like a perfect rose petal. God he wanted her so much. Without thought, he brushed her ear softly with his nose as he gently whispered the silky words of the song into her ear, “Let me hold you tight, if only for one night…”

She felt weak as his lips traced their way from her neck to her face. He kissed her eyes, and then with his thumb, gently caressed her soft, red lips. She felt as though he could hear her body crying out for him. With one hand placed firmly on the small of her back, he pulled her closer, moving his other hand through her hair as their lips met. He kissed her slowly at first, but then more passionately as he lost control of his restraint. His kiss awakened something in her she thought was lost. She could feel it in her stomach; in her knees; in her soul. She ran her fingers through his dark hair. She couldn't control herself...she didn't want to control herself." 

***Don't forget to check out my other book: Why Am I Still Single? A Tough Love Guide for Single Women currently available in hardcover and for Kindle and eBook at Amazon.com and at BarnesandNoble.com Links are below:

Ebook: Why Am I Still Single?

Hard Cover: Why Am I Still Single?

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Does Love Still Exist?

We all know those couples. The ones that met when they were in high school or saw each other on the street, locked eyes and immediately knew they were soul mates and meant to spend the rest of their lives together. They got married, never questioned it and appear to have found the key to true love.

I hate these people.

See, for me love doesn't come easy. Allow me to clarify: I love my family, friends, and tell my dogs and cat that I love them daily. But when it comes to true love...real, romantic, spending the rest of your life together kind of love...it terrifies me and remains something that I don't know that I am capable of achieving.

I used to think I was alone when it came to this feeling, which made me feel like even more of an outcast. Then, one night after a little too much wine, I confessed something to a friend: Even though I had been married at one point in my life, I didn't know that I had ever been in love. I loved my ex-husband, but I wasn't in love with him. Now, there were probably many reasons for that - the least of which was our relationship was more of the roommate variety opposed to the husband and wife kind, much to my dismay. But then, after my divorce, dates with other men, a few marriage proposals, and even one man's request to have a child with him, I found that I still felt the same way. Whenever I would think about the idea of falling in love or enter into a relationship with someone I would get the same image in my head that would cause me to high tail it out of the relationship so fast I'd  leave a Scooby-Doo type shape of myself in the door behind me.

The Image:

 I'm standing alone, strong and independent. Then a black, transparent, ghostly shadow with long arms, and exaggerated, skinny fingers comes up behind me, wrapping it's arms around me so tight that I can't move and begin to choke. It pulls me tighter and closer into it until it envelopes me completely and I am lost forever.

OK, air... I need air.

I mean, seriously, what the hell was wrong with me? Was I cold-hearted? Unfeeling? Too realistic? Too logical for love? Or was I just simply incapable of love? Then my friend responded in a way that I did not expect, "Oh my God, you feel that way too?!? I thought it was just me."

My friend and I discussed it at length and dissected it to the point that would exhaust Freud. We both wanted to fall that deeply in love, but didn't know if it could ever happen. Neither one of us could imagine letting ourselves be that vulnerable and surrender control long enough to fall in love. Maybe it was trust issues; or maybe we were both control freaks; or maybe we just couldn't let go of how bad we had been burned by previous relationships. I remembered something my ex had said while we were still just dating, "You can never love anyone like you loved your first love."

At first the statement bothered me and I took offense to it, but then as I thought about it more, I began to understand. See when you go into a relationship for the first time, you open your heart and give it everything you have. You become infatuated with the person and they occupy your every thought. As you're driving in your car and a song comes on the radio, you find yourself thinking,This should be our song or this would make a great wedding song someday for us. You imagine your perfect future together - the house, the kids, the dog (or cat) with the fluffy tail, traveling the world, and living happily ever after. Then WHAM!!! You catch your guy (or girl) in bed with your best friend. You're mad, hurt, heart broken, and most of all, you're blindsided. The life you imagined for yourself with the person you never thought would hurt you is obliterated into a million pieces and you're left standing there thinking, what the hell just happened? How did I not see it coming?

Once you have been hurt like that, no one has the ability to do it again, because, on some subconscious level, it is always in the back of your mind. And I think that really is true. Was that what was holding me back? Is that why I could never feel that deep love?

Or was my definition of love wrong? I remember my first love. He had long dark hair and was a grade above me. We were friends, which meant that we hung out at school, but other than that, he didn't notice me. I used to pine over him, doodling his last name behind my first name, writing poems about him, imagining the day when he would wake up and realize we were destined to be together. Needless to say, he never did. He ended up knocking up his high school sweetheart, getting married in 12th grade, and having a mess of kids. And he broke my heart most likely without even knowing it.

My next first love came when I was around 20 years old. I say my next first because over time I realized I probably wasn't really in love when I was younger. It was more of a crush... an infatuation with the idea of the guy and life I created in my mind. My second first love I actually dated. If you have read my book Why Am I Still Single? A Tough Love Guide for Single Women (Chapter titled The Savior) , then you know it was visceral, very tumultuous, and almost destroyed me. It was also what I thought was love.  I did everything I was supposed to - when he had to move to another state, I went with him. When he struggled with addiction, I stood by him; when he didn't think he was worthy of love and tried to push me away, I wouldn't let him and tried to show him why he deserved to be loved and how good it could be. I sacrificed my wants, needs, and basically myself again and again thinking that it would  prove my love because to me, love was supposed to be unconditional.

Eventually I ended the relationship, but the pattern continued even into my marriage. The only way to prove that you loved someone was to support them no matter what, even at the expense of your own happiness. After all, if you were supporting their dreams, they would reciprocate and support your's as well and it would even out, Right?

Wrong. 

Inevitably my dreams were put on hold. At first, it was OK. I didn't mind showing my support because well, that's what women were supposed to do. Yep, I said it. Little Miss Independent just said that line of crap. Like many of my friends, I grew up in a time and with a mother that instilled in me that women sacrifice for the men in their life. To be fair, it is the way she grew up too. Women stayed home and took care of the house and kids while the husband worked. So naturally if his job required a move, the family relocated and everyone just had to adapt. My mother once told me, "I'm going to tell you what my grandfather told me. Relationships are 90/10 and you're [woman] the 10."

Naturally I balked at the sentiment. I would reply that relationships should be equal with both partners giving 100/100, to which my mom would laugh and say, "We'll see."

Still there I was in each of my relationships, throwing a bowling game so that my partner wouldn't ruin the night, mad because he was beaten by a girl, or putting my dreams on hold so my ex could pursue one dream after another assuring me that my time would be coming. Whenever I would try to pursue my own dreams, I would be accused of not being supportive.

After my divorce I realized two things -  1) Love isn't unconditional. You have to have conditions in order to have respect. No matter how loving and supportive someone can be, if you push them far enough, they can (and should) leave. My ex once told me that there was nothing I could do that would make him leave me, then got mad when I didn't return the sentiment. The truth was, there were things he could do that would cause me to leave him like cheating, physical violence, etc. Some people see unconditional love as romantic; others see it as carte blanche. People need boundaries and need to know that although you love them, you aren't going to be treated like a doormat to prove it and will walk away if necessary. And while that statement may scare some people that want a guarantee of forever no matter what happens, it can also provide a comfort because it shows that you are staying with someone by choice, not obligation.

The other thing I realized was that I had lost myself. It had never dawned on me just how much I was walking on eggshells and doing things to please my spouse at the cost of my own happiness just because he was so high maintenance and I wanted to seem supportive and avoid a fight, which although never turned physically violent, would involve him throwing things.  Finally, one night after being pushed too far, I stood up for myself and pushed back. When I did, I found myself.

Since then, I vowed to never lose myself again. Hence the image that relationships have taken on in my head: one of suffocation,  sadness, stress, panic, utter sacrifice and loss of self. Is that really what love was? And if so, why the hell would I want it?

I have to admit, I took some comfort in knowing that my friend felt the same way I did. At least I wasn't alone. In fact, the more people I talked to, the more I discovered just how many people were viewing love and relationships the same way I did. When it all came down to it, one person was the giver (the nurturer), and the other is the receiver.

The funny thing is, after everything, I still believed in love. Not the impending doom image of love, but real, crazy about each other, best friends, soul mates, lovers, spend the rest of your life together and still snuggle on the couch watching movies, hand holding when you're old, respectful, reciprocal, trustworthy, smile when you think of them, doesn't make sense love. Which is why I have avoided relationships. In my heart, I don't want to be proven wrong.

I want to...I need to know that it exists. I am still a huge commitment phobe and for the first time in years, I am dating, ironically another commitment phobe who has been very patient with me. And while that could mean we're doomed, it may just mean that we understand each other enough to take down our walls long enough to let each other in, even if we don't let anyone else enter. Only time will tell. But I know one thing for certain - I believe I'm willing  to redefine my idea of love and to try be open to it because I'm worthy of it and I deserve to be loved like that.

Someone once said, "Do what you've always done and you'll get what you've always got." Well, I don't like what I've gotten so far, so I'm going to give it a shot. Right now, all I can do is try. Because when it all comes down to it, I want to live in a world where there is true love.

Don't forget to check out my book Why Am I Still Single available in hardcover and Ebook/Kindle on Amazon.com Ebook link to Amazon and at Barnes and Noble.com Hard cover link B&N