Dating a Single Parent

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El Pescado and Medium 5-11-16

When you make a decision to date a single parent, you are taking on a new challenge but I am guessing, you have no idea how hard this can be. A single parent will not be available at all times to go out or be able to be as adventurous or spontaneous as you may want them to be. A single parent will not put you and the relationship first. Their first, and most important relationship, will be with their child, then with their ex, if they are still around and involved, and then with you.

Before the topic of whether or not to help parent the offspring of your new partner, it needs to be understood what your role will be. When you first start dating, you will understand the challenges of dating a single parent. For example, you may have plans for a fantastic night out which include drinking, dancing, and carousing until all hours of the morning only to discover that the child has gotten sick and your date has to be postponed or the babysitter has to be home by 11:00 so your night out will be a lot shorter than you anticipated. Single parents are slaves to finding a babysitter and watching the clock. This can make the meeting for a drink at happy hour and taking it through the closing of the bar, very unlikely. In addition to the babysitter problems, one also has to deal with the guilt that can accompany dates. Some, if not most, single parents have a hard time making time for themselves. They feel that any free time that they have should be spent with the child. In addition to the responsibility of parenting, single parents have to juggle work and a social life . This can lead to long talks about understanding. As someone who decides to date a single parent, you will need to be able to listen for the signs of guilt, be able to understand that you are not the first priority and set aside your ego when the parent wants to cancel to spend time with their child.

This next piece of advice will sound snobbish but it needs to be said. If you do not have children, it is best to stay completely out of how to parent a child. You may feel that because you raised your brother or sister or if you had to take care of a niece or nephew, you have the necessary experience to offer opinions on how to rear a child, however, you are wrong. You may be in a relationship with someone for six months or more; do you know everything about them? So, how could you understand or be able to determine what the appropriate way is to parent a child that you have not met or only met a few times? Even if the child lives with you and your partner, you still do not have the experience to make decisions with regards to how to parent the child.

Some single parents will ask you for your opinion on how to handle certain situations while others will not ask for your advice. Unless you have been asked for advice, it is highly suggested that you keep your thoughts to yourself. The parent has been with that child since the beginning and they have a fairly good idea as to how to rear the child. If asked, it may be in your best interest, and perhaps the best interest of the relationship, to give multiple options; as people will see different situations from a different point of view.

Dating a single parent comes with a different set of rules, roles and expectations. It is definitely not for everyone but, if given a chance and with a clear understanding of everyone’s roles and expectations, this experience can enhance one’s life in a myriad of ways.

If you have had an experience, either positive or negative, with dating a single parent, please feel free to comment below. I would love to hear from you.

The Battle

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El Pescado Medium 2 5-8-16

As the sun makes its way towards the horizon in the West, another day hastens to an end. The wind slows to a gentle breeze that whisks away the mosquitoes leaving the dragonfly to seek out better hunting at the fringe of the yard. The mercury in the thermometer starts its slow descent towards its origin. As the minutes ebb away, sweaters and tee shirts come out and begin to cover those exposed parts of skin. The lake takes on the look of a mirror as it flattens out and regurgitates the images around it.

The nightfall creeps in like a silent assassin, snuffing out the dying rays of sunlight. There is a ruckus amongst the trees as the squirrel and chipmunk make their way home. The tree emits a snap and crack as it gives up its dead branches. The flames dance around the dead branches giving life to a wondrous fire. As the light from the fire jumps to and fro, the depths of darkness are illuminated for a few seconds only to beat the light back to its home. As the warmth of the fire starts to grow, it beats back the coolness of the night bringing with it an ease and comfort.

Alas, the fire and light are no match for the cool darkness brought on by the impending midnight. The fire is reduced to dying embers and the warmth is defeated by the cold air of the dark night. The last hours of the night are spent in quiet solitude with the cool air clinging to its victory. However, the victory is short as the first rays of the sun are beginning to break over the horizon in the East. Another night is defeated as daylight begins to flood the dawn. Thus the battle begins again.

 

Work-Life Balance is a Fallacy Propagated by the Average

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El Pescado 5-7-16

The goal of society is to convince every one of us to have some sort of balance in our lives. We are taught to seek a balance between wake and sleep, food and exercise, and work and play. Society teaches us that we need to have a balance, an equilibrium so to speak. If you work too hard or sleep too much or eat too much, you are looked down upon.   Society has labels for those who seem to be out of balance with the equilibrium of balance. Those who work too hard are overachievers, if you sleep too much, you are lazy and if you eat too much, you are a glutton. It appears that society is uncomfortable with doing things outside of the “norm”. However, we have no idea what is outside of the “norm” as those who told us about the “norm” are usually average. They strive to keep everyone at the same level so as not to make anyone feel uncomfortable. Why do we agree with society and how do those of us who choose to be different from the “norm” maintain our state of being?

The problem arises when one starts to set a limit on “normal”. Some spend an inordinate amount of time working and are criticized for their zealousness.   They are labeled as overachievers constantly looked down upon for going above and beyond the means of the “norm”. The fact that some do not look at working as a negative trait is off-putting to many members of society. These members of society do not believe in putting extra effort into their lives or jobs. They are content to be average and seek to attain the “middle class” designation. Even this designation, “middle class”, screams out as average. As soon as one decides to work harder to get ahead, they are lectured on the pitfalls of working too hard. They say, “The stress from too much work will hurt your heart, your health will falter and your relationships will begin to wane.” One will hear all about the “work-life” balance. The problem is that this phenomenon does not exist. There is only life. How one spends ones life is a personal choice. If one has a spouse that is attracted to someone with a healthy work ethic, then the relationship will continue to mature and grow despite an above average amount of time spent working. If one partner is seeking to accomplish great things but the other wants everything to remain at the status quo, then problems will arise.

Do not fall prey to the idea that one must have a balance in ones life. If one makes the choice to spend more time working than doing leisure activities, then that is their choice. It does not make their life any better or worse, it only makes it different from the “norm”. Everything in moderation works for those who only want to be average. At the end of one’s life, does one want to look back and say, “I had a very average life. I ate my dessert at the end of every meal. I loved my spouse with the average amount of devotion and loyalty.” Or does one want to say, “I lived every day as if it was my last. I worked extremely hard but played just as hard. Sometimes I skipped some meals and only had dessert but it was enough to sustain me. Finally, I loved my spouse with all of my heart doing my best to remind them of how I felt each and every day. “

Do your best to be your best! Never settle for being average! Your life belongs to you; make the decisions that will make you most happy.

Your Relationship Status and an Instagram like

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El Pescado 4-17-16

A woman posed a question on a social media platform which asked, “Why do men say that they want to have a relationship with classically beautiful women such as Marlene Dietrich, Bridgette Bardoh, or Ingrid Bergman types but immediately go and like pictures of scantily clad “models” on Instagram?”

First of all, most men are animals and they have not evolved very far.  Men have an instinct buried deep inside of them to procreate in order to keep the species alive.  Men are attracted to beauty.  Now, not all men have the same idea of beauty.  Some see a tall, woman with large breasts and long, lithe legs and describe her as beautiful.  They are only interested in the visual aspects of beauty.  Almost 98% of the men on the planet fall into this category.  They are driven by this instinct to procreate and have been taught or have learned that the most beautiful woman is the woman who is best for the continuation of the species.  Men want to be visually attracted to their mate.  When they have the opportunity to see women in various states of undress, they become aroused and they believe, be it right or wrong, that they should do what is best for the species and make an effort to procreate with this woman, which in today’s society means liking the picture on Instagram.

A generation or two ago, a man would purchase a Playboy and have to hide it in the garage or some other place.  This type of magazines were not meant for public viewing.  If you had a magazine such as this, it meant that you were fairly close to being a deviant.  Instagram and its use by “models” seems to have taken on the same insinuation.  As a person who is not of the millennial generation, I am not entirely sure that I understand the implications of liking a picture on Instagram.  From what I have been told, equating a like on an Instagram post is much like walking down the street and whistling at a beautiful woman.  If you happen to be in a relationship, this could lead to the end of the relationship.  If a man is walking down the street, holding the hand of his girlfriend/significant other/wife and whistles or “cat-calls” at another woman, this is extremely rude behavior and the woman has every right to be upset.  With the world becoming smaller and people having access to pictures from around the world, why does liking a picture on a social media site pose a threat to a relationship?

Perhaps part of the problem is that when one likes a picture of a person of the opposite sex, it sends out a message to the rest of the digital world that says, “I find this person attractive”.  However, it does not say that I find my current partner unattractive or less attractive.  When you like a picture, it states that you have seen the beauty in the image being presented.  The reaction to the like appears to be the problem.  For example, if you find a picture of a cute puppy or kitten, does your current pet have a problem with you?  Will your pet not talk to you or no longer feel the same way about you?  If you have a cat perhaps, but more than likely, no, the pet does not know the difference.  The reaction to the like by your significant other/spouse is caused by the ego of the other person, their ego has been bruised.  The reaction may also say a lot about the relationship.  If both people are secure with themselves in the relationship, liking a picture should make no difference.  However, if either party is insecure in themselves or the relationship, it will cause a rift.

Finally, there are two different types of women that men want in their life.  They are looking for a woman who can fulfill their sexual desires as well as a woman that stimulates them mentally.  If a man can find these two different versions in one person, they will have attained a perfect partner.  This does not mean that a man cannot cultivate either type of relationship with their partner but it is harder to create a sexual chemistry with someone when you are not attracted to them in that way or they are not attracted to you in that way.  On the other hand, being able to connect on an emotional level takes a tremendous amount of courage.  If you have become engaged in a sexual relationship without getting to know the other person on a deep level, it is hard to create an emotional trust or relationship with them.  It is easier to grow a physical relationship after an emotional one has developed.

Men and women may need to learn to be a little more thick skinned when it comes to social media.  Simply because a man or woman likes a picture or status, retweets a picture, or responds to a snap, it does not mean that they want this person in a sexual way, it may simply mean that they see something that appeals to them.

 

A straight man in a gay bar

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El Pescado 4-3-16

In the last week, I had the opportunity to spend some time celebrating a birthday with a good friend.  She always want to go out drinking and dancing.  This year she decided that her celebration would take place at a bar geared towards homosexual males.  This was not an uncommon request.  Where else could a good looking young woman go to celebrate her life, dance, drink and have a good time without having to put up with the furtive glances, inappropriate comments and touching that has become commonplace in most dance clubs.  However, as a straight man, this was a new experience for me.  I was excited to go and see how this type of club was different from co-ed dance clubs.

Upon entering, the vibe of the club was very much like every other club.  The dance music was turned up to eleven, the drinks were flowing freely, the dance floors were packed with bodies rubbing up against one another.  The main difference was that there were very few females to be found.  There were a few females in attendance but they were mostly either transvestites or in the process of undergoing the change from a man to a woman.  This was not a problem for anyone at the club.  Each person was treated the same.  One of the most noticeable differences was the restrooms.  There were no “Mens” or “Ladies” restrooms.  It would have been very confusing.  For example, if you were in the process of becoming a woman or a man, what would you consider yourself?  So, the obvious solution was to create unisex restrooms.  This took all of the guesswork out of it.  Everyone was free to use any restroom that was available.  This revelation made it a little bit harder for the “males” as we usually have shorter lines to get into a restroom.  It also made it harder for the “females” to go to the restroom and discuss the potential hookups as the “males” could be in the stall next to you.  It was interesting and unique.

The dance clubs have always been a place to set yourself free from the restraints of society.  This was especially noticeable in the club.  With the majority of the patrons being male, they were able to act out on their impulses with a little less regard for the mores that were forced upon them by society.  For example, in a co-ed dance club, if a man wants to dance with a woman, he has to approach her, speak kindly to her, compliment her on her outfit or shoes, and probably buy her a drink.  As men tend to be linear thinkers, they will go about this in a very logical and methodical way, trying to come up with  appropriate lines to impress the woman.  The men want to impress the woman enough so that she will entertain the thought of leaving with him and perhaps even engaging in sexual intercourse with him.  When men interact with other men, it is much more direct.  Men are very visual creatures so when they see a possible mate that looks nice, they will move toward them in a direct way.  The men in the club were very upfront with their intentions.  Most of the men at the club were looking for a mate for that night.  They did not have to mince their words nor did they have to put on any sort of airs in order to get across what they were hoping for.  The sexual tension was discernible to everyone in the club.  This is not extremely different from any co-ed club but it was much more overt.  Some men were walking around as if displaying their wares.  It made me think of the red light district in Amsterdam where the prostitutes were in the window and if you wanted one, you went in, paid the price and she was yours.

The biggest difference for me, a straight man, was the intensity of the sexual tension and the rawness with which it was shown.  No one was there to play games or trade phone numbers in the hopes of getting some action.  The action was there for the taking as long as you were willing to put it out there.  In a way, this made the club much more “real” for me.  Too often, one goes to the club with the intent of meeting a person of the opposite sex for the point of sexual relations.  But the interactions between the opposite sexes makes it hard.  When it was strictly one man with one man, the intentions are clear, the directive is given and matters come to a climax, so to speak.

This was a fantastic experience for me.  I was extremely interested in the interactions of very basic creatures and was not disappointed.  Men are very simple creatures and left to their own devices, they will act in a direct and straightforward manner.