Teen Dating

Let me give you a quick review. I have four children. I’m divorced. I prefer to say we are co-parenting rather than single parenting. I refer to my children collectively as the fan4 or fantastik4. The oldest will be 17 soon and I lovingly refer to him as The Teenager. Second up is my daughter who is now 14 and she is my Honeygirl. The third one, who has the qualities of the attention grabbing middle child, is 11 and referred to as Little Dude. The last one in our line up is my baby boy who is nine. He acts like he’s 39 most of the time. He’s the self appointed referee for Little Dude and often finds himself blowing the whistle, throwing flags and explaining the rules of life to him. From now on we shall refer to him as Ref. I determined early on to protect their identities since I share things that occur in their lives. 

Dating… (Insert eye roll and a deep sigh) (after I typed that I realized I should use some really funny meme but since I don’t have a stock pile of them to flip through and select from I’m using good old fashioned words) I will not lie, I’m not a fan of teen dating. After polling my daughter and her previous bff, we determined that from middle school to high school the average relationship lasts about four weeks. We have six six week grading session during the school year. By the time they begin middle school in sixth grade until they graduate they could potentially have “dated” 63 people at the rate of nine per year. 

But what is dating at 11 or even at 16? 

When I think about my daughter and her friend excitedly discussing dating and boys in general it made me sad and a bit anxious. 

Sad because the friend felt incomplete and was upset with her parents because they wouldn’t allow her to date. She really wanted her very own boyfriend. This disagreement sparked a rebellion and she began running away. My daughter has been asking me about dating for years. She asks her dad and me to define the timeline and allowed activities. His standard answer is 36. Mine is based on maturity and decision making ability. She is enamored with dating. I refer to it as the Disney effect. After watching those popular teen shows she thinks dating has perfect lighting, a laugh track, great clothes, hair and make up as well as a great ending. Periodically I like to dash their dating dreams on the rocks of reality and talk about kissing, hugging, touching and what if that’s not what you want? What’s your exit plan? How do you protect yourself from a person who may overpower or manipulate you into something you aren’t ready to do?

I was anxious because a lot of adults don’t have the cognitive ability to select a good partner and remain committed. If after years of education, reading articles, blogs, after video viewing and talking to other people we as adults make questionable relationship choices then how are they expected to make sound decisions at such a young age? Each dating partner is given a tiny piece if not large chunk of their hearts. They aren’t looking for spouses. They are looking for good times. They aren’t searching for anything deep and long lasting. It’s fleeting and shallow. 

Exhibit 1- the teenager went on a first date to the movies recently with some girl he met through a friend. He asked her to be his girlfriend the next day. She asked him to join her at church on Sunday, meet her parents and have lunch with her family afterwards. She prepped him on what her parents would say and how to respond. I texted his dad with my concerns of how quickly this was moving. She broke up with him the next day. 

I’m glad I never really learned her name or got attached. I don’t even want to know the newest interest’s name until they make it past the four week mark. 

I’m not into the whole bring people home so I can meet them thing. My two brothers ruined that for me. They brought everybody by the house. It wasn’t something special it was normal. I have a male friend who whole heartedly disagrees with me. He wants to meet any and everybody his daughter dates. The one time he and is ex found out she had a boyfriend they planned a family dinner and invited him over. They broke up after the invite but before dinner. 

I understand the desire to have somebody to call your very own.  Who doesn’t want their very own George or squishy? I have friends who met the loves of their lives in high school. It happens. Is it possible to somehow bypass the other 62 people to get to that one? Yes, it is. Serial dating does not have to become their norm neither does looking for someone to define or complete them. 

How are you helping your teen manuver through the obstacle dating course?

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He Held Her Hand

Their first date found her falling asleep on his sofa as he held her hand while laying on the floor. 

Their last date, decades and a life time of experiences later, consisted of him holding her had as she took her last breath. 

The Parting Gift

She tried. She gave it her best effort. If you know her or if you’ve heard of her then you know her best effort contained thought, action, love, maybe even a few tears and lot of her emotions as well as time. He tried. He gave her his time, shared his space, and fed her body and spirit. It just didn’t work out. That’s the thing about relationships sometimes they don’t work out. 

Where did things go wrong? They never went wrong. Things just never went completely right. They laughed, held hands, had inside jokes and shared special moments. She prayed for him. He encouraged her. All the stars seemed to have lined up. Maybe it was her insecurities or could it have been his inability to let go of the past? Perhaps she wanted more than he was willing to give. It could have been as simple as they both lost interest. Either way, whatever the reason it was over. Neither of them had verbalized their unwillingness to move forward. Their actions told the story. The time between phone calls and dates became fewer reminiscent of a couple who had been married for decades. Text messages were scattered throughout the week like the first fallen leaves in autumn.

He was kind enough to provide her with a parting gift. He did not refer to it as such but in her mind that’s what it was. For him it was a well thought out gift that she would enjoy for years to come. A gift that would bring a smile to her face and create gratitude to her heart. For her it was a parting gift which is never to be confused with a consolation prize. Neither of them were losers who needed consoling but winners who would separately celebrate the opportunity they had to get to know each other. One last hug. One last look into each other’s eyes. One last goodbye. No broken hearts. No tears to shed. No sad songs or movies. No dramatic ending. They were two people who shared a moment in time that they may or may not fully recall in a few years. 

First Date Do’s and Don’ts

I met this guy a few months ago. We’ve talked and texted since then but due to our schedules and let’s face it, lack of any real effort we went out for the first time recently. After I write this article I really should write one that helps you determine if the person is date worthy.
I’m not new to dating. I’ve had several first dates that never led to a second date. I’m not a serial dater but I consider my time valuable and can’t see spending hours with a person I never want to see again, because they seem nice but have no substance or are self-absorbed. First dates can be awkward. But there are things you can do to lessen the awkwardness and increase the chances of there being a second date.

Shall we number these? Sure, why not?

1. Resist the urge stare at your date – seems like a no brainer right? If it wasn’t occurring I wouldn’t add it to my list. My last two dates sat across from me and stared. One with the intention of making me uncomfortable. He was trying to, “see my soul through my eyes.” It reminded me of staring contests I would get into with my honeygirl when she was a toddler. She had uncanny ability to not blink. I always lost therefore I never accepted that particular challenge from anybody else. What’s the point anyway? Heck, I like blinking. The other person was much more smooth with his staring and even gave me a line upfront, “I’m not staring, I’m observing.” Call it what you want it still results in making your date uncomfortable.

2. If you are going to insist on the other person selecting the place then don’t complain or worse wait until you get to the restaurant to let them know how much you dislike their selection. “Why didn’t you say something two hours ago when I made the suggestion?” ” I didn’t want to offend you.” I can fully appreciate not wanting to offend someone, irritating them is a much better option.

3. Allow the other person to talk. I know you and your life are fascinating but there’s something so engaging about dialogue. If you don’t ruin the first date you might get a second one and can use that date to tell the other person how smart, talented and wonderful you are.

4. Keep your assets to yourself. I’m not using that as a metaphor. Unless you are looking for a gold digger it’s not necessary to list all of your assets on the first date. I understand you want to appear successful but unless you are giving out one of your many houses or putting my name on your large bank account, I honestly don’t care.

5. Don’t talk about your ex. I had one guy insist on taking me out for my birthday as our first date. He spent an hour ranting about his ex whom he had been divorced from for three years. Another one actually called his ex and the mother of his children a bitch. If you will call her a name what’s to keep you from calling me one? We aren’t friends and I’m not your confidante. Get over your ex or at the very least don’t disrepect them in front of your date.

6. Be yourself but not all of yourself. Save the revelation of fetishes, quirks and anything else that may abruptly end the potential relationship until the third date. Those things may seem charming and eclectic instead of weird and strange by then.

7. Hold off on the selfies or usies. I don’t like the thought of my face being plastered all over someone’s social media outlets. Call me old-fashioned. Let’s add, don’t take unauthorized photos either. One of my friends mentioned something about a guy taking pictures of her toe cleavage without asking her and it was on the first date. Had he waited to reveal his foot fetish until the third date who knows what could have happened between them.

8. Be “normal”- Use your active listening skills. Make brief eye contact, smile and even laugh a little.

9. Enjoy the silence. Every moment of a date doesn’t have to be filled with conversation. It may seem awkward at first but give it a try. This is not an opportunity to manipulate or intimidate the other person. “I’m going be quiet and stare at you until you talk.” It’s givng an opportunity to chew your food, enjoy the music or think about something intriguing you just said.

If you have any others to add feel free to leave them in the comments. Thanks for stopping by.

He and she

It all began on a day when new beginnings where waiting to occur. It was after a breakup but before a makeup. Was it meant to be? On that day, yes it was. It wasn’t about the obvious it was about the underlying current that flowed through the room waiting to whisk them away to a time and place that only this journey could lead them to find.
Was it the stale donuts he offered as a sacrifice? Definitely not. Like Cain he didn’t give his best but a poor rendition of a sacrifice that would not appease the goddess of love. Unlike Cain, he made a second attempt and on the alter he placed what would spark the beginning and the end of something wonderful. Who knew the power of a chocolate chip cookie? He knew but did she?
As she arrived to the meeting location of the first date she rounded the corner to see him standing in the cold in long, black, wool coat. Did he look regal? As though he was the descendent of a king and a queen. Yes, regal, charming and captivating. He captured her heart right then and there. She knew but did he?
The only thing she remembers of that lunch on that afternoon was that smile and several small gestures. He opened the door to the restaurant, pulled out her chair, walked her to her car, opened the door and helped her in. She didn’t see these as insults or gestures aimed at destroying her independence or womanhood. She saw them as an example of his chivalry, regard and consideration. She knew but did he?
Days turned into nights and nights turned into days. Conversations and visitations led to laughter and more smiles.
He had learned, during one of those many conversations, that she liked to dance. They slipped in to a small place and easily found each others’ rhythm and danced to the beat of each others hearts. It was as if they had practiced the dance for months. It was easy and comfortable and familiar. They both knew.
The night did not end the way he had planned. He leaned in, she leaned away with a smile on her face but a look in her eyes that confirmed what he knew but he learned something else in that moment, patience would be his guide and surrender was not her companion. Another day, another date another place in time.
More chronicles of their journey on another day at another time…