Category Archives: Facebook

Great expectations …. and the art of letting them go

There is one thing you can be sure binds us together when it comes to relationships …and to be clear I’m talking about all relationships here, not just the intimate ones. And that is this ..we’ve all been disappointed at some point.

That’s not to say that every relationship will let you down, but in the main there will have been a falling short of the mark that caused us to retreat, sob, lick our wounds and sob some more in the worst cases, and to shrug our shoulders in resigned acceptance in less severe instances.

When we invite people into our emotional space we attach hopes to them in terms of their behaviour and consequential outcomes, we hope, will weigh heavily in our favour. The more we like a person, the more hopes we attach. It’s like planting a garden. If it’s of critical importance to you that it blooms to perfection then you’ll tend it regularly, ply it with fertiliser, stand and wait for green shoots to appear. If on the other hand you don’t care one way or the other, you might chuck a few seeds about in homage to whatever BBC2 gardening bonanza caught your eye as you channel-hopped one evening.

Hopes, dreams, aspirations … if you hang on to them for dear life and fail to implement a qualification process that tells you whether they are realistic or not, they become one thing. Expectations.

Some where deep down we might start to conjure pictures of a happy ever-after with someone we just met or else we possibly imagine our child opening his practice in Harley Street thirty years hence as he walks into his new classroom on his first day at school. If you’re really adept at this process you will imagine these things happening before there is a “someone we just met” or before you’ve even taken a positive pregnancy test.

We like to dream, we should all live in hope (despite there sometimes being no apparent reason why that’s a good idea) and aspirations gave birth to the profession that is marketing. Expectations, however, seem to be the root of disappointments and let-downs, dashed and disregarded like insignificant pieces of flotsam and jetsam floating on the cruelly hostile sea of hope.

Now I can’t hold my hands up as a visionary on this subject for I too was practically olympic-standard at imagining the “whole roses around the cottage door” scenario when it came to fledgling relationships. And then after what seemed to be an indeterminable number of gargantuan bitter pills my friend Ullie spelt out my solution in brilliantly simple terms…

“You should never enter any relationship with expectations. They are the seeds of misery. Rid yourself of expectations and you will enjoy the relationship for what it is in real terms, not what you’re willing it to become”

Ullie was unequivocally correct.

Only yesterday I had a vivid reminder of how ignoring this advice can play out when I was targeted with a nasty little message left “anonymously” on Facebook.

Some time ago I became aware that a chap had taken a liking to me, he wasn’t my type in any way shape or form but he could be mildly amusing so we occasionally swapped banter. Every time I reaffirmed the distance between us, he seemed to ramp up his attempts to preen and parade himself in front of me like some prize-winning bull, often in front of his easily amused friends.

It became harder to feign a smile in front of Mr Jack T. Ladd, especially when he proclaimed pearls of wisdom like “You and I are so alike. We both have an air of mystery about us.” Explaining to him that it wasn’t mystery in my case, it was indifference felt like it possibly would have popped his balloon with a force he wasn’t ready for. So I chose to dodge him at every given opportunity, often very unsubtly.

My opinion on events like this is quite straightforward. If you like somebody and you throw out bait several times which they chose to ignore, then they don’t like you. Simple. And when if you’re a man throwing said bait, be in even less doubt. Continuing to puff your chest up that bit more and plunge in once again is only going to ensure that when the realisation sets in that the interest is not mutual, the catastrophe will feel so grave it should make the six o’clock news headlines.

And so Mr J T Ladd went on and on and on. And I backed off and off and off.

And then yesterday evening to my Facebook Honesty Box question “Tell me something you probably wouldn’t say to my face” I got this (anonymous) response ..

“I think you are a coward which i find disappointing. I would never have a problem saying that to your face mind you, just never got the opportunity.”

Now anyone who can’t be bothered to capitalise “I” isn’t worth a huge amount of bother anyway, but that just happens to be a bête noir of mine that I battle with constantly amidst the many grammar and spelling affectations that haunt me.

And, in case you are wondering, I knew this to be Mr Ladd … for one simple reason. He and people like him can’t just let their expectations go because they think everyone is waiting for their next promised installment, so when they sense the game is starting to run away from them they seize on that critical match-winner … the last word, preferably a nasty toxic one.

Building expectations is never advisable, particularly when you have no knowledge of the person you’re constructing them around. Which is why Ullie was spot on with her advice.

But if you really can’t help yourself donning a hard hat and erecting some scaffolding in preparation…. then learn to let them go gracefully.

Or even better … live in the moment and let the rest go hang.


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Filed under dating, Facebook, flirting, Honesty Box, Life, love and the universe, Men, middle age, relationships, Women

It has to mean something … otherwise it will be blogged, drawn and quartered.

I really have no idea where time goes … it seems only two days ago I was discussing with a friend how I felt I needed to leave this blog alone for a while due to the fact that I believed it was getting a tad repetitive and that I thought I was starting to sound like I had as much luck with men as the village spinster (although arguably my memoirs might make for better reading). In fact it has been over a month since I last posted.

So in effect I have done just that. I kicked off my heels, cracked open the gin and took a blogging holiday. And that has to all intents and purposes been fine, except for the fact that I’ve felt the urge to blog about a couple of incidents but couldn’t for two rather pertinent facts. The first is that I must now have one of the most public personal lives that doesn’t belong to a celebrity (of my own making, granted) and the second being that a friend informed me recently that my candid approach to recording my take on the opposite sex could have a detrimental effect on my search for a meaningful relationship.

And that, ladies and gentleman, has been the sum total of my month away from these blogging shores. I now know what I’m looking for.

A meaningful relationship. A relationship that means something. Not marriage. Not co-habitation even. It just needs to “mean” something.

People oft think I’m a bit of a flibbertigibbet on the one hand and a ruthless user of men on the other. I never worked out how those two married up  but apparently it is possible; after three or four Babychams laughing at ridiculous jokes I can turn into the female Don Corleone of the dating world. I take no prisoners you see. All wrongdoers are exposed with a mere tap-tap-tap on my rather slinky Mac keyboard.

And so they should be! I’m not entirely sure that I’ve been specific about the criteria by which I judge my dating experiences in terms of suitability for “outing” them Debsy-style, but it’s really quite simple. Men that act like arses will have their arses exposed, and to clarify, “act like arses” means at some point they have treated me (and probably many like me) pretty shoddily.

I never use real names, but if they were to read the post, they would know to whom I’m referring. Job done.

My friend (of the candid approach comment) informed me that a man would need to have “balls of steel” to get into a relationship with me, knowing about this blog and my tendency to whip out an exposé quicker than you could say “second date”. For my part I found that a bit harsh ….. but then we always do see onlooker’s views through sterile binoculars don’t we? In essence I found his “balls of steel” comment quite funny … or was I merely pleased with the fact that I was starting to appear formidable in the dating arena? In retrospect I’m not sure either interpretation is desirable.

The unfortunate fact is that recording my experiences in this blog have become my way of laying them to rest. Every time someone has told me how funny they thought a particular entry about a disastrous date was, I’ve jumped up and down on the grave of the memory of said incident, knocked back an imaginary martini, thrown the glass at the wall and screamed “next!”

We all need to review, investigate, understand and conclude. My conclusions just happen to involve sharing my findings with about seven thousand others on Twitter and Facebook. What the heck’s formidable about that?

So. Meaningful. That’s the sum of it. And by meaningful, I mean just that.

Welcome back friend.

I was joking about the Babychams by the way.

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Filed under attraction, blogging, dating, Facebook, internet dating, Life, online dating, relationships, sex, Twitter, Uncategorized, Women

Physical attraction …. does it have a lot to answer for?

In this heady and dynamic world of social networking, online dating and cyber chat, this question looms large in front of me  …….why and how do we determine the connections we make?

How we make potentially romantic contacts is of course different to those we make for business or other social reasons ….. or is it?

Most online dating sites offer you the choice of either posting a profile photograph or not, but when I tested both options for myself I got around eighty per cent less interest without a snap as opposed to with. It was actually a man who advised me to try removing my photo but the sad truth soon emerged that when a woman is post-forty, men expect the worst. I’m sorry guys, but you do …. So the moral here is …. middle-aged daters need to validate their applications with some sort of evidence that they won’t frighten small children and horses, especially if they are female.

I’ve already talked about how when browsing men’s profiles that don’t have pictures, I’ve been automatically suspicious. No matter how “nice” someone is online, if on meeting them they turn out to look like something that could be towing the British army’s tank division single handedly, I will lose interest pretty quickly. Call me shallow, but there it is…

I’m Debsylee, and I’m an attracto-holic.

When we get a way down the dating line the cracks often begin to appear, of that there is no doubt. Take Mr Bunched Up as my most recent example of this; perfectly presentable (thanks to his relentless gym regime as he was keen to point out … ) but the personality of a giraffe on acid soon negated any good work he had done in the body shop. So whilst attractiveness might get you a second interview, it’s not necessarily going to secure the position of significant other …

In socio-business situations it’s slightly less obvious, but the basic model is the same. As a single girl I’d have to admit to having two types of contacts, those (male and female) who are married/attached and therefore kept well away from any flirtatious activities, and those attractive males who aren’t married or attached …. they go into a mental file labelled “Let’s not rule it out”. That’s not to say I would necessarily start plotting a takeover manoeuvre, but on a good day with a fair wind … Who knows?

Physical attraction, therefore, seems to be the number one motivating factor that determines whether communication is pursued with significant interest initially … or not. If the interest grows with the onset of emotional, spiritual and mental attraction too, then you’re on very fertile ground and you’d better prepare for all possible outcomes. Just in case.

I’ve pursued contact with a couple of men that really should have been parked when an alarm sounded but because I was visually hooked and the mental pairing was progressing well too, I chose to ignore the siren and battle on regardless.

Cat in the Hat is a perfect example. He was a substantial number of years older than me, but very learned, great with words and had a fabulous American accent. I was without doubt in the latter stages of “liking too much”. So when he chose to impart the information that he was going to have a “surgical procedure” that would involve some pumpage in – ahem – intimate moments, I chose to brush it off as unimportant.

Now, sane, rational and clear-thinking Debsy would scream “you what???” at that prospect but no, not the case for the newly mesmerised and smitten Debsy. My one remaining slightly concerned and clear-thinking brain cell chose to discuss it with Mr Distant Cynic, who after composing himself mentioned that a fit and healthy woman in her forties would soon tire of mechanics in the bedroom … I maintained that true love would see us through. How deluded was I? More on Cat in the Hat on another day. Needless to say the relationship was soon a deflated  version of it’s former self (not as the result of any test-drives, I should add …)

One lady commented to me some time ago that being very beautiful can be a curse; it can attract the wrong sort of attention. I can see why that would be … beauty can act like a magnet, attracting people from every direction. If the attractor has a well-honed selection process to eliminate all the ne’er-do-wells and retain the gems, then all well and good. But you can only imagine the number of times you might have to fall flat on your face to get that system operating well, without sentiment or emotion.

When all is said and done we remain a species that acts first on the visual; we might like to think we’ve evolved but the truth is that the progress has been negligible.

We may be phasing out beauty contests, but that just puts the judges back out on the streets ….

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Filed under attraction, dating, Facebook, flirting, Friends Reunited, Life, love and the universe, Men, middle age, relationships, sex, Twitter, Women

When it comes to men …. does age matter?

There’s a line uttered by Carrie Bradshaw in the now-immortal Sex and the City (immortal, that is, to most women between thirty and fifty) that goes …

“Men in their forties are like the New York Times Sunday crossword puzzle: tricky, complicated, and you’re never really sure you got the right answer.”

People who haven’t been “re-singled” in mid-life possibly won’t relate to this, but it has come to my attention on several occasions that forty is the age at which men dive into the deep, dark cavern of despair when their relationships go belly-up. That’s not to say that they don’t venture out again and sample “what the world has to offer” (if you get my drift …) but, ultimately, they remain long-term patients in emotional intensive care.

Take my initial foray into the dating arena after I found myself single again, for example.

Mr Shifter, 49, was the owner of an international logistics company whose marriage had broken down when his wife of seventeen years told him she had reignited a relationship with her first love whom she had found again through Friends Reunited. It became apparent after a handful of dates that although his ex was not physically present, her memory was not only there … it was ordering seconds. When he started to eye me up and down at our last meeting to support his verbal commentary on how alike she and I were physically, I realised our time together was not going to ultimately be translated into a Hollywood block-buster of a love story.

Friends Reunited. What a hot bed of illicit wrong-doing that turned out to be. I noticed yesterday that the site may be sold by it’s owners ITV for £15 million, this after they bought it for £175 million some three and a half years ago. It did make me wonder if ITV were offloading after having paid out damages (without prejudice) to all the victims of the relationships it had allegedly wrecked unintentionally …. There is something about a first love akin to the metaphorical sleeping dog. It’s best left uninterrupted. There’s a lot to be said for the adage “it didn’t work out for a reason …” but we do still feel the need to go back and poke it, don’t we? And Facebook, there’s another one …

So Mr Shifter and I parted company amicably; he said he needed to see if there was anything he could salvage from his marriage. The last time I spoke to him he told me they had sold the ex-marital home, divided it all up and he was now living in a “sh*t-tip of a shoebox semi-detached”. No bitterness there then.

On the flip-side I did enjoy quite a few dates with my then financial advisor  who was almost ten years younger than me …. I know, I know … business and pleasure should never be bed fellows.

The Mortgage Man had a boyish charm that allowed him to capitalise on my lack of financial awareness. He invested in a couple of nights away for us that sadly happened to fall on the weekend of the most momentous rainfall known to man in July 2007. We ended up staying in a hotel seven miles away from my house as that was as far as my car could swim, and on the last day, marooned by vast expanses of water, I realised that he had to constantly have the TV switched on in our room. He hopped from channel to channel and eventually settled on a thirty year old episode of Top Cat.

Before I allowed myself time to think, the words “you’re just a boy trapped in a man’s body, aren’t you?” had left my lips. There was no way to bundle them back up and swallow them whole.

He stared at me in disbelief. I went to pack my toiletries sensing that my stock price had dropped.

Now I’m plucking these two tales from a bag of similar story-lines, and as I see it there are two recurring themes … “re-single” men over forty struggle to truly move on emotionally but they do make better father figures …. and men under forty don’t allow themselves to become trapped in a relationship’s shipwreck.

I’m generalising. Of course I am. But it does make me wonder if the men I’ve dated really think they are over the wall of their emotional past and running towards freedom …

As for me, well, my jury is still out when it comes to a man’s age. Let’s not let a little number spoil the cornucopia that is life’s rich tapestry ….

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Filed under Carrie Bradshaw, dating, divorce, Facebook, Friends Reunited, Life, love and the universe, Men, middle age, relationships, Sex and the City, Women