love

Valentine’s Day

So here it is Valentine’s Day. You always hear people complaining that this is a “Hallmark Holiday” and people having anti-Valentine parties, etc. Why is that? I used to think that way. That was until I finally found someone to make celebrating this day worth it. In the past I was never treated right or loved, etc. I had no reason to look forward to a day celebrating love, something I had no concept of. I think that’s people’s problem. They don’t know what true love is therefore they get all Scrooge like and pissy about this little day called Valentine’s Day.

I mean seriously stop and think about it for a minute. Why would someone who has no idea what true love is want to celebrate or look forward to a day that’s main focus is just that. True love? They wouldn’t. I thank God everyday for giving me the woman that he gave me last year when I was at my lowest. She has finally given me a reason to look forward to and celebrate Valentine’s Day. So to everyone out there let me wish you a Happy Valentine’s Day and even if you’re single give your mom a call and tell her you love her.

Five Ways to Have a Healthy Relationship

So if you’ve been keeping up with my blog you know that I’ve had a pretty horrific track record with relationships. So how can I even begin to offer advice on a healthy, successful relationship? Well just because I’ve had many failed ones in the past doesn’t mean I’ve learned from each one. I’ve had some time to sit and think about everything that went wrong and decided that I should share what TO do instead of what NOT to do in order to have that great relationship with someone. Now I’m writing this from my perspective as a man dating a woman, but most of these can easily be from a woman’s perspective.

Note: These are not in any particular order.

1. Take Your Time – Don’t rush into saying I love you or rush into “laying on thick” as they say. You’ll scare her off. Women for the most part are timid creatures. You rush in there like a lion rushing in to kill that gazelle, she’s gonna bolt.

2. Be Chivalrous – Regardless of what some people may say chivalry is NOT dead my friends. Open that car door. Pull her chair out at dinner. Walk on the outside of the sidewalk and let her walk on the inside. These are all things I was raised to do and still do to this day. Sure I may not open EVERY single door, but I try my best do to so. Plus my girlfriend gets out of the car faster than I can get over to open her door. But the point is I’m making the effort. A lot of women will say they are independent and don’t “need a man” to do stuff like that, but deep down almost every woman will appreciate it if you do.

3. Listen – Guys take my word on this one. Listen to her. You’re probably sitting there saying “I do listen to her what are you talking about?” As an old friend once asked me “Are you really listening or are you just hearing what she’s saying?” I’ve done A LOT of hearing in my days. It wasn’t until I started to actually listen to what she was saying that I got my old friend told me. Sure you can hear old-handsholdingbeachher tell you about her crappy day at work, or how her best friend was a witch” and that’s fine. But what about when she’s telling you how she feels about you or about a certain thing you doing or not doing? Do you hear her or are you listening to her? I’ll be the first to admit guys tend to tune women out a lot of the time. We sometimes get tired of hearing the drama, etc. so we turn off the listening part and just keep the hearing part turned on. The problem with that is sometimes we don’t always turn listening part back on and that’s the problem. When you don’t listen to her you’re gonna miss out on sometime very important. I’ve finally learned as I get older to never turn off the listening part. Leave it on all the time. You’ll benefit from it in the long run.

4. Remind Her How Much You Care – S you’ve gotten past the “I Love You” part of the relationship. I for one love that part because no longer are you stuck saying “Ok well bye” when hanging up the phone. But do you make it a point to tell her just how much you love her enough? I was once told to always tell someone that you love that you love them before leaving the house and before going to sleep at night because you never know what might happen. You might get into a car accident on the way to work or to the grocery store and die. You may not wake up or they may not wake up. How many times have you heard the person who just lost a parent or a wife, etc. say “I wish I could have had just one last chance to tell them I loved them.”

5. Do The Little Things – So what do I mean by the little things? The little things are things like doing the dishes in the sink or unloading the clean dishes from the dishwasher and loading it back up with dirty ones. Or taking that load of clean towels and folding them and putting them away. These things may seem “little” to you, but to her you’ve allowed her to relax and rest and not have to do those “little things” herself. There’s nothing wrong with doing the “little” things every once in a while.

Again I wrote these from a guy’s perspective but for the most part they can all be reversed to come from a woman’s perspective. I hope you get some use out of these and as always feel free to leave any of your own tips/advice in the comments section.

What About Love?

love2So you’ve found that special someone. They make you smile and laugh. When they are gone you can’t stop thinking about them and longing for when you get to see them again. All of these things usually are the sign of love. Or infatuation. So how can you tell if what you’re feeling is true love or just an infatuation? Sometimes the line between the two is a bit grey and hard to see. My method is always to go with your gut instinct. Go with what your heart tells you.

Personally to me love is a lot different than an infatuation. Love is painful. In a good way of course. When the person you love is gone your heart aches for them to return. Or when you wake up in the morning next to that person you just want to hug them and lay there with them forever. That’s love. I’ve had both. Love and infatuation. With infatuation I never felt like that. I hated when the person left, but I wasn’t sitting there all day dying for them to return. With love you want to spend as much time as you can with that person. You want to do everything you can to make sure they know you love them. Now of course this only works if the love is mutual.

That’s why saying those three magic words, I Love You, can be a scary thing to do. What if the other person doesn’t say it back or what if you’re waiting for them to say it first and they never do because they’re waiting for you to say it first? That last one isn’t TOO bad, but sometimes it is an issue because one of you may think the other doesn’t love you because they aren’t saying it when they’re just as scared to say it first. This can sometimes lead to one person leaving the relationship because they think the other person doesn’t love them. This usually isn’t an issue. At least not in my own personal experience or in what I’ve seen in others. 

With infatuation you never really love the person, you just love what they offer. You love the kissing or the hugging or the sex. Or the fact that they buy you stuff or pay for things like your bills, etc, but that’s it. You don’t love that person’s heart and soul. You’re infatuated with them physically (most times) and have no want to pursue anything long term. Some people may even say you are a user or a player. I can see why some would say that especially if it’s for the sex.

When you truly love someone you love them unconditionally. You love their mind, their soul, their heart, their emotions, etc. Of course you’re gonna also love their body and that’s gonna be part of what you love just not the ONLY thing as with infatuation.

So why am I writing this. What’s my point? Didn’t really have one. Just wanted to get some thoughts down and figured I’d share what’s in my head with you all so I hope you enjoyed it.

Life’s Little Surprises

Sometimes life throws you that curveball everyone talks about. Sometimes you swing at it and you miss. Sometimes you get a home run. The point is you never know what the end result of your swing will be until after you’ve already swung. I’ve been through a lot in my 29 years on this earth. Some good, some bad, some well just whatever, but I wouldn’t change a single thing. I look back at my life and stop and think about the crazy stuff I did in college and how much I could have done differently. I wonder sometimes what might have been had I stayed in Illinois. What might have been had I gone to college in Ohio as I originally planned. But then I stop and realize that I am here, in small town Iowa for a reason. I was put in Newton, IA on purpose. I got married to my ex-wife for a reason. It was all planned before I was ever born. I know some of you are going “Has Harold lost his marbles” and I can see how one might think that. No I haven’t gone all weird on ya and crazy. I just have always thought that everything in life happens for a reason. I think that I met my ex-wife so that I would end up in Newton and get the job that I have now. A great job that is close to where I live.

curveball

Me getting divorced was God’s way of doing just what I had told him I wanted him to do. Take over and do what needed to be done to save my marriage. Well he saved me from a lot of continued heartache and pain and showed me that getting divorce was the right thing to do. I know that the religious sects say divorce is not a good thing, but sometimes you have to just say “God I’m sorry, but I have to do this” and move on. I did. I was angry though at first. I was pissed. I was cursing at God. How could he do this?  I asked him to help me save my marriage and he let all of this stuff happen? How could he do that to me? I now look back and realize how foolish I was thinking that. I realize that I was speaking out of anger and frustration. It took some very strong people in my life to make me realize that he did just what I asked. He helped me. He showed me the right thing to do and got me out of a situation that was unhealthy for me.

I went back to church this past Sunday as my mom and step-dad were in town visiting. We all went as did my new girlfriend. It was great. I was nervous because I hadn’t been there since that Christmas Eve service. I got some looks and what not because A) I was back after so long and B) had this woman with me that wasn’t my wife. In the long run I’m glad I went and I plan on going more often now. My girlfriend wants to go with me to so that’s always a plus. To have someone like that to stand by you and do stuff with you is great. I never had the support from my ex-wife. I never got what I get from my girlfriend I have now. It’s such a great feeling to get back 100% what I give out. Words can’t describe how that makes a person feel. How it warms your heart knowing they aren’t just going through the motions.

I just had all of this on my mind and thought what better thing to do than to get on here and get it down in writing. I’d love to hear your thoughts on any of this so leave your comments and let me know what ya think. Take care.

Confessions of the Safe Guy: Part 3

loveIn Part 1 and Part 2 you got to find out about my past failed relationships and get my back story. In Part 3 I’m going to try and semi-analyze my past relationships and what went wrong, what could have been done differently, what was the constant. My hopes are that this will somehow help someone out there that may have or is going through similar situations that I’ve gone through in the past.

Let’s start with Terri. Wow. That was a train on a collision course with the side of a big mountain from the get go. To start she lived in Montana. I lived in Illinois. Why the hell was I looking for a girlfriend so far away. Well I wasn’t LOOKING for one that far away it just happened. My second mistake was letting her stay with me for so long. Being around her so much so fast was a mistake. We got on each others nerves fast and grew to despise each other. I loathed anytime I could get away from her towards the end.

Next there was Mary. Mary and I messed up the minute we crossed the friendship territory into relationship girlfriend/boyfriend territory. Now I’m not saying you can’t ever date your best friend. On the contrary. I say that your girlfriend, france, wife, etc. should be your best friend in your life. But the thing is when you cross over from friends to girlfriend/boyfriend you risk losing that friend if the relationship doesn’t work out. Tha’ts what happened with Mary and me. After we split we stopped speaking to each other.

After Mary I decided to date Jessie. What was wrong there? Well she was the an ex-girlfriend’s best friend. Biggest mistake you can ever make is dating the best friend of an ex. There’s just no logical reasoning to confirm doing this. Of course I didn’t see that. Why would I? I’d been on a roll of bad relationships so far so making a sound decision was a moot point for me by this time. See one thing I failed to mention is that when Jessie called me to tell me she was sorry about the split between Mary and me she said the words “whatever you need Harold just ask me” and that was a mistake. That turned into sex and then dating. Hey come on now. She said “anything” and I clarified that sex fell into the anything category so don’t be giving me the stink eye sitting there reading this. I was following the rules….I think. So yeah Jessie and I were doomed from the get go. Sex THEN dating. Doesn’t usually work out when its that way. Plus she had a kid with a total psycho (just never to me) that couldn’t seem to let her go. I should have run away but I was stupid and hell I won’t lie the sex was good. I didn’t want to give it up that easily. Ultimately it was what I knew would happen all along that ended things. Her going back to her ex. But I was just stupid and hoped it wouldn’t happen.

I moved to Iowa and took time off from “dating” anyone seriously. I had girls that I hung out with and other “stuff” but nothing serious that I’d call a girlfriend. That was fun for a while but I started to miss having someone steady around. I don’t remember how Mary and I got in touch after I moved to Iowa but we did and as you know started dating again. It too was doomed from the get go. I still held a buried resentment for her leaving me for another guy, but as usual I was stupid and ignored my gut feelings. I mean I asked her to marry me. DUH! And as my gut had told me things went back to the way they were towards the end of our first relationship with her constantly complaining and blaming everything on me. That’s why I ended it.

After Mary 2.0 I took yet another break and then I met Cathy. She was great. Sweet. Caring. Nice. I thought this was it. I found someone who is perfect for me. Yeah she had a kid but her daughter liked me. We all got along. Well except for her neurotic and mentally disturbed cat HAHA! But the whole psycho ex thing popped it’s head up and this time it was directed towards me. Now I think I can proudly say I wasn’t stupid this time and I knew when to get out. I wasn’t going to risk injury to myself with this guy. Wasn’t worth the possible risk.

So that moves us my most recent relationship that failed. Angie. Wow. Where do I begin. Well as with Jessie we started off with the sex and THEN dating. But unlike Jessie she wasn’t the best friend of an ex so my brain said it was ok and not to worry. I’ll be honest, and she knows this herself, I never intended to have more with her than a sexual relationship when I came over to meet her the very first time. Don’t ask me how but it just felt comfortable and I stayed the night and then the next night and so on. I just felt close to her. I’d never done this with any of the other girls I’d “hung out” with in the past that I wasn’t dating. It was a new thing for me, but it felt right. This was my mistake and trust me I’ve learned from it. I don’t regret anything I’ve ever done in my life though and this relationship I don’t regret. We shouldn’t have gotten married though that’s for sure. And I should have ended the marriage back in February 2008 when I was sitting in the car in the driveway with a bag packed, but like I fool I let her crying and pleading to stay draw me back in. I know her “true” reason now for wanting me to stay at that time. She’ll never admit it, but I’m not a fool and I know why.love4

So after realizing what all I’ve done wrong in everyone of my failed relationships I have to ask the question “What is the constant in every failed relationship?” Well to answer that I refer to something a fellow blogger told me. He told me that I was the constant. In every single failed relationship the one common denominator is ME. Now what does that mean? It means I was causing these relationships to fail. That’s not saying I was doing anything wrong, at least not on purpose. What it means is I kept getting too close too fast or giving too much of myself too much and too fast. WHen that happens you open yourself up for a broken heart or getting used and/or trampled on. That’s happened to me every time. I’ve gotten my heart broken more than once. I’ve gotten used and trampled on almost every time as well. Now I won’t get all psychological on ya, but I think a another reason that I’ve had so many problems with relationships was due to my mother leaving when I was only 9 years old. Now she didn’t just up and disappear. Her and my dad got divorced and she decided the best thing was for me to stay with my dad as she had no idea where she’d be living, etc. He had a steady job, a place to live, etc. I can’t say I wouldn’t do the same thing if I were in her shoes. She now regrets that decision though and thinks that her leaving had a lot to do with me always needing someone around that was a female. Granted I had a step-mom (who is a GREAT GREAT woman) around most of my life after my mom left, but sub-consciously I think I am always looking for that “motherly” aspect in women. Someone to take care of me and treat me good and love me unconditionally. Hopefully all of this makes sense. It does to me so I guess that’s what matters most right? It’s no different than when a girl has what they call “daddy complex” where she’s dating or sleeping with lots of different guys. She’s trying to fill a void her mind had created when her dad left her life.

So there you go. This ends the Confessions of the Safe Guy series. Hopefully it has helped you get a better look at my life on a personal level. I originally started this series in the hopes of writing it to help others but it just turned out differently. I still feel that it can help some guys and even girls possibly realize what NOT to do at least when it comes to a relationship. Let me just end by saying don’t give your all in a relationship and not get anything in return. It MUST be an equal partnership for it to work and you both need to know each other. Know each others dislikes, similarities, etc. It’s good and perfectly fine to have stuff in common, but also have things that you differ on. It’s actually not good, at least in my opinion, to have everything in common. Especially if you are both stubborn and hard headed. Just ask my ex-wife about that one.

Confessions of the Safe Guy: Part 2

broken_heart-1823So at this point you’re probably saying to yourself “This guy SUCKS at relationships” and you are right. I did. I was always settling, something you shouldn’t do. I always thought I’d never get anything better so take what I got and thank God you have someone period.

After my second go round with Mary I was single for a while (the longest time in my life to be honest). I met the next girlfriend that we’ll call “Cathy” sometime in 2003. She was great. She was sweet, caring, pretty. I was happy. Like almost all the past girlfriends she had a kid. But this time I got to experience a first. The classic “psycho ex” scenario. She was legally separated when I met her and just was waiting for the divorce to be finalized. I had no problem with that. She wasn’t “married’ technically. Things were fine at first. Then suddenly her daughter started to turn on me and was very hateful to me out of nowhere. She’d always been sweet and loving to me up until this point. We found out her dad had told her one time when he had her for the weekend that I was an evil man and that I was going to kill mommy and grandpa and grandma and kidnap her and take her away forever. Yep. Great guy right? So she tells him that my car was parked in front of the neighbors house (I never parked in her driveway if he drove by, which is something he did a lot). So then I started to park in her garage and that was fine for a while until her little girl tells her dad that if mommy’s car was in the driveway that meant I was over. So after all of this I had to stop coming to visit Cathy. Her ex-husband told her if he ever saw me he was going to kill me, chop me up into little pieces, and drop the pieces in the river. Such a sweet guy right? He fit the psycho label perfectly.

Needless to say things started to get sour between Cathy and I over the stress of her ex and we split. I think it was a mutual split too because we both knew as much as we cared about each other it wasn’t going to work right then. Last I heard she living in Illinois, with another kid, married to, get this….her ex-husband’s cousin! Yeah I was thinking the same thing!

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Five Ways to Survive Being the Safe Guy

coneSo you’re the safe guy. The guy girls turn to when their “bad boys” turn out to be real pricks. Once a woman’s comfort level changes and she realizes that her “bad boy” isn’t what she thought he was she wants to leave and come to the safe guy. Being the safe guy isn’t a bad thing though.

Here are 5 ways that you can be the safe guy but not get walked all over and used.

1. Don’t Kiss Her Butt – She already knows you’re sweet,nice, and caring. That’s why you’re the “safe guy” remember? Be a gentleman, but there’s no need to coddle her and bend to her every whim.

2. Be Nice But Not TOO Nice – Maybe you are too nice.  Not all safe guys are perfect gentleman.  The safe guy takes care of himself and his woman. There’s a difference between being nice and over doing it. Being too nice can sometimes cause you to get used and then dropped when something else comes along.

3. Don’t Assume All Women Are The Same – Contrary to popular belief not all “hot” women are two fries short of a happy meal. Just because she’s “hot” doesn’t mean she can’t hold an intellectual conversation. In the same regard don’t assume all “normal” women are the smart ones. It’s truly a mixed bag.

4. Don’t Get A Big Head –Don’t take the position that you’re the best thing since sliced bread.  You’re not.  You’re a catch and all you need is the chance to prove it.

5. Don’t Settle –This one is an important one. Too many times safe guys settle and take what they can get. This usually ends up in break ups or divorces. Don’t think you’re only going to find one woman who likes/loves you. Never just give up and settle.

Thanks to Mike over at unpaidentertainer.com for contributing to this post.

Confessions of the Safe Guy: Part 1

NOTE: This is not meant as an advice post or anything. Rather it’s a look into my miserable and pathetic failed relationships. While I’d love to find humor in them that’s not easy to do so it may come off as dry but it’s just me telling ya my back story. More so that you’ll know where I’m coming from down the road in future posts I may write about relationships, love, etc. And yes I’m a recently divorced but I’m not bitter over it believe it or not. It was a long time coming and glad that’s it’s done and over. Now with that out of the way enjoy.

So I was wanting to write this whole series on relationships and how to have successful ones, etc. but I’ve decided to just write a history of my past failed ones and then maybe touch on the things I could have done differently or stuff I just had no control over. I hope you enjoy these and that you’ll come back to read the rest of my story.

Relationships are definitely a task….one that I’ve taken on a few times in the last 10 years since I started really dating. You see I wasn’t much of a “social” person in high school. I stuck to my computer and learned the stuff I knew would make me good money later in life. Therefore I never really “dated” anyone until I got into college. Now for the sake of privacy no real names will be used in any of these posts so those of you reading that know me may know who I’m really talking about but this is a way to cover my butt.

dating_internetMy first girlfriend came when I was 19. I had just started college a few months earlier. I met this great girl named “Terri” online that lived in Montana. Now I can’t even remember nowadays where I met her online just that I met her online. We talked for months and months and she came down to visit me a few times. Now those of you unfamiliar with “dating” someone online you consider yourself dating them even if you’ve never met them. Go watch Napoleon Dynamite you’ll understand when you see his brother. A few more months pass and she tells me she’s moving to Georgia and wanted to stop and see me in Chicago. So anyways she comes and stays at my apartment. She ended up staying I think for a month maybe two? The bonus that I never mentioned? She had a kid. Two actually. She had one the other was with the dad in Georgia. So began my journey into the world of dating women with kids. She moved down to Georgia after she left my place and came to see me a few times. We eventually lost touch and I haven’t spoken or talked to her period in over 10 years or more. Always wondered what came of her. Last time I spoke to her she was getting back with her kid’s father and that was the last I heard.

So can anyone point out my first mistake? Was it dating someone all the way in Montana while I lived in Illinois? Was it dating someone who had kids? What was my mistake? In my eyes my mistake was more than ONE thing. It was A) dating someone far away B) letting her stay with me that long. Yeah that was a big mistake.

So we’ve gotten past the first girlfriend and failed relationship. I never ended it. Now that I think about it she did kind of end things via email. Yeah I know lame right?  So my first “relationship” was under my belt. Time to move on to the next one.

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Series Post Coming

So I’ve been inspired by the 31DBBB (31  Days to Build a Better Blog) Challenge to write a post series. All about the same subject. I’ve chosen Relationships as my first series topic. Figured I’ve been through enough failed ones I can give plenty of advice on what NOT to do at least. 🙂 Maybe in turn that will help someone avoid a failed relationship. Who knows. Anyways keep it tuned here for the series.

I’ll try and get the first one out Sunday evening and then will post the next post in the series a day or two later. I’m not sure how long of a series it will be. I’m thinking 2 or 3 parts most likely. Depends on what my brain spits out. If I have enough material it could be longer. I’m really looking forward to this as it’s a first for me.

It’s Over

Well it’s official. I am legally divorced from my ex-wife. Took a whole 5 minutes I think.

People ask if I’m happy. I can’t say I’m happy. I mean it wasn’t all bad the whole time. I’m not happy but rather glad that it’s over. I’m glad to we can both move on and do what we want. She’s happy with the “situation” she’s in now and so be it. Myself, along with quite a few others don’t think it will last. I give it a year tops. But that’s just my personal opinion. If it lasts great but I just have a gut feeling. I won’t go into details because it’s not my place to give ALL of the details here. And plus apparently her mom still reads my site, which is perfectly fine. I am not hiding anything and have no issues with that. But yeah so we’ll see how long her new relationship lasts.

divorceWhere did it all go wrong? Who knows. I just know that it went wrong. I personally feel it started to go south when we moved to Newton. For some reason it just seemed the timing was right when things went sour. We were great at first. Granted the biggest downfall was that we started out as FWB (look that up if you don’t know the meaning) and never got to be good friends. That was our first and biggest mistake. I’ll regret that decision. Not getting with her, but the not becoming good friends part. Maybe it would have saved the marriage and made it better. Maybe not. We’ll never know.

That’s why I have said to myself that the next person I get serious with MUST be my best friend first and foremost.

That’s why I’m taking my time and just being friends with Nikki. I want to get to know her. We may never date. Who knows. I’m not LOOKING to get serious and she knows that. She knows to give me time to get my own life in order and that’s one thing that makes her such a great person.

We just failed. Plain and simple. It was both of our faults and I blame her no more than I blame myself. It was a 50/50 deal and I’m pretty sure she agrees with that.  If I could go back in time and do it differently would I? Knowing what I know now? Probably not. I mean I wouldn’t have gotten serious with her. I let her have my heart way too early and that was my own fault and something I just have to work at not doing again. My heart is worn on my sleeve and I have to remember to tuck it inside more often so it doesn’t get trashed again. Live and learn right?