I had an interesting question come up the other day, and to be honest, this is one of the most common issues I have to advise people on. Whether you are just dating or in a relationship, we are all human and have our own insecurities. However, how are we suppose to handle ourselves when the person we are dating or partnered with are feeling insecure and now starting to display that behavior vocally or through their actions? It’s not as difficult as it seems, so take a deep breath, pour yourself some bourbon and get ready to have Drinks with Jess.
So let’s say for all intent purposes that your girlfriend is starting to act weird. Maybe it seems as if she expects too much from you. Maybe she is starting to voice or act jealous when it comes to other women or people in your life. She may complain about your actions in a way that makes it seem as if she doesn’t trust you, or she could ask questions as if she is seeking validation (commonly known as the “shit test”!)
Admit it. We’ve all had a time where we have not only seen others insecurities come out, but ours have come out, too. Hell, I remember asking a woman I was dating, “When you come to Philly, do you ever think about me?” Needless to say, I was hoping her answer would validate how she felt about me, but obviously this validation we seek is temporary. Plus, she didn’t give me the answer I wanted. But I’m going to give you the lowdown on how to handle and respond to this behavior that shows confidence and strength on your part.
Remember, women feel everything. They base their decisions and reactions on it, like an animal in its natural habitat. Sometimes, when our partner feels insecure, it starts to breed our own self-doubt such as: the fear of not knowing how, or if we are able to handle the situation. This is a crazy cycle that will feed both of you! Once you start doubting yourself, your partner will feel that energy and become or feel even more insecure. Talk about tension!
To be honest, women don’t actually want, nor are attracted to someone who wants to fix their problems, anyway, so don’t do it! Go fix your car or change the lightbulb, but not her! It’s like my mother trying to give me advice when all I want to do is vent, until I figure it out on my own. Your partner’s doubts, fears, etc. are her own; she is accountable for them and responsible for figuring out the cause and understanding her own feelings and reactions.
Her insecurity is not about YOU! She doubts herself for some reason. The only time it is about you, is if you are actually being dishonest, treating her poorly or being shady and cheating.
All you have to say is “I don’t know what’s going on in your mind or why you’re feeling this way, but I understand that’s for you to figure out. I can’t fix or change how you’re feeling. Just know that I love you, and if and when you want to talk, I’m here.” Say it with confidence while looking her in the eyes. When you’re done, hug her for God’s sake, then leave it be and keep enjoying your time with her. When feeling insecure, women don’t need validation; they just want to feel safe knowing that you trust her to handle her own feelings, and that you’ll be there without judgment when she is ready to voice her innermost vulnerabilities. Think about it, when we feel insecure, we test our partner through questions and reactions. But unless we deal with it ourselves, validation is only temporary, and the same issue will come up again later, including in future relationships.
Here’s how NOT to handle it
You know... when things get too close too fast, which is the most common thing I see in the lesbian community, we lose ourselves and the relationship becomes our identity. We get so caught up in new, exciting, sexy times that we forget about ourselves. Remember that both parties are accountable and responsible for allowing the relationship to develop that way. She probably didn’t take the time to truly look or confront her insecurities and issues in order to love and believe in herself. If she is feeling insecure, it’s possible that she has detached a bit from herself and her center. So use this knowledge to get your head back in gear!
You can’t control her or her thoughts, but you sure as hell can control yours! So again friends, if this is an issue for you and your partner, stay calm and control yourself and your reactions, she will notice! Now top off that bourbon, relax and join me next week for more Drinks with Jess.
In the past few years, we have encountered a major addition to the dating scene: Online Dating Sites. Now this isn’t a commentary on how to use them, but after an occurrence that I personally experienced this weekend, I figured I would expose a common issue in regards to online dating. The ex-factor. So sit back with a Dos Equis, and get ready for a personal convo and Drinks with Jess.
Now I understand that sites such as POF, OkCupid and others are opening up a larger pool of hopefully prospective mates. However, it is inevitable that at some point, you will spot or have been seen by an ex or previous lover. This actually happened to me a few days ago, and my brain went into overdrive.
I am on a few sites, mostly for research purposes. I like meeting a woman when I’m out enjoying the day. However, on the off-shot that there is a good online candidate, I’ll take the opportunity to check them out. This is what started this week’s mind-blowing, answer-seeking, sleep deprived week. A nice and very beautiful woman contacted me via POF. It was great, we exchanged a few messages and since I’m ballsy, I called so we could actually have a conversation. All went well, and it turns out we were hitting the same spot for an event that very same weekend. Now, I received a lot of messages this particular weekend, so on Monday, I took the time to see who viewed my profile. Low and behold, the woman I dated for quite some time last year, showed up as viewing my profile. It’s obvious that she is new to the site, but seeing that she viewed my profile caused such chaos in my mind that it was unbearable. You see, I really loved this woman. I didn’t want things between us to turn out the way that they did, and I’ll spare you the details because I could probably write an entire book on this particular dating experience. But what I want to acknowledge today is some of the things that went through my mind and how to (or not to) react.
It really depends on the person. I have seen ex partners put their profile up, and I usually don’t view them. I’m not even curious to see how they’re doing. It’s not that I harbor anger or any other resentment towards them, or don’t want to see their face, it’s solely because I moved on and realized how little of a connection we had in the past. But this one… this one is different. And my mix of emotions exhibited the strangest ebb and flow of confusion, happiness, anger and sadness. But I’m not here to discuss my mood swings because no matter how chaotic your mind will get, it comes down to 3 basic questions, and we as humans want answers.
Why did she look at my profile, knowing that I’d see that she viewed it?
Knowing me, when I come across an ex’s profile, I only look at it if I miss them, truly care and possibly want to give it another shot. Because I know this about myself, and am always straight forward and honest, I have no problem admitting my intention or motivation behind my actions. With that being said, some people aren’t as kind or sincere. Some just want to check up on you or were curious when they saw your picture. Some want to pop up just when it has been enough time for you to have finally gotten your life back on track because they know it will screw with your head. Some people may really care about you and will want to contact you but out of fear, embarrassment or shame, they will just look and not engage in contact. No matter what the reason, this basic question will feed your curiosity, insecurities and quite frankly, drive you nuts. Please try not to indulge in this mental masturbation.
I wonder if she misses me/hates me/loves me?
This is something that you may always question, especially if you didn’t have closure. When things didn’t turn out the way we expect, sometimes we may think that we failed. So when their face pops up showing that they viewed your profile, this is the extension of the question above that will plague your mind. It needs to be understood, that if you are questioning this, maybe they are as well. They are also human. I still love the woman who viewed me, but I will never know her answer unless I wait for her to hopefully send me a message, or I message her first. Which leads us to:
What should I do?
Sometimes I’m stupid and jump the gun, but then again, why wait to do something that you want? How, if or when she responds, is something that you can’t control, you just have to accept. If you are nothing but angry and want to “rip her a new one,” DON’T contact her. Why open that door and make yourself look like a crazy person? If you haven’t gotten yourself to a point that you moved on with your life but are just holding on to the “dream,” DON’T contact her.
However, if you keep your life moving forward and are doing the things you want to or need to achieve, and if your feelings are still there, I say CONTACT her and keep it simple. I admit, I contacted her, with a simple “I saw you viewed me, I hope “life” is treating you well. I say “life” because I’m not going to say where she lives on this post. No matter if she is going to respond or not, I can be certain I made the attempt in a way that is non offensive and leave it at that.
So what this ex-factor, online experience has taught me is that no matter how big you make the dating pool, it’s still small enough of a world to keep connecting certain people. Hell, I found it funny when I got the list of top matches from the same site the next day and she was my #1 match. However, the questions above bring us to the conclusion that it really is about getting closure. And sometimes, you need to give yourself the closure that you’re seeking. With that, readers, close that bottle and join me next week for Drinks with Jess.
All of us have dated or have had relationships that we later realize weren’t healthy or didn’t give us exactly what we wanted. One of the reasons for this is not the responsibility of the other person, but falls on us. So later, we look at the negatives and tell ourselves “I’ll never date someone who does xyz again”. This is where we discover our expectations and set boundaries. However, once we start dating someone new, our boundaries and what we want, magically disappear. How does this happen and how can you set boundaries early on? Well grab a glass of whiskey and get ready to get tough. It’s time for Drinks with Jess.
Maybe you’ve had a string of relationships that were quite up to par. Maybe you’ve been single for a while. Maybe you, like many of us, believe we will stick to the plan of not allowing people who display certain types of behaviors or character traits into our dating lives. Miraculously, here enters an insanely beautiful woman who seems to possess everything that you are looking for. Caught up in the excitement that it’s someone new as well as caught up in the sheets for days on end, our boundaries become non existent. Just like beer goggles make looks disappear, or a Saturday night at a strip club makes money mysteriously vanish, sex (especially fantastic, raw, wall climbing sex) makes boundaries evaporate into thin air. After a while, you notice that this new love starts to display behaviors or demonstrates character flaws that you don’t appreciate. Then the relationship becomes frustrating and a game to win control. Now that isn’t pleasant is it?
Here’s a little secret. Boundaries are sexy. You see, women are attracted to those who know what they want. They love you for being you and want someone who has their own beliefs and opinions and stands up for themselves. Unfortunately, because you don’t want to lose this new prospect of feeling loved and satisfied at all hours of the day, you start to succumb to their wants and needs while forgetting your own. After a while, you no longer are an individual and she loses her attraction to you. Setting boundaries is your responsibility, and only you are accountable for your experience. It’s not as hard as you think (unless you are a sap without a backbone). We can accomplish boundary setting in 2 steps.
Step 1 – Know what you want (and what you don’t want).
So for this step, I will give you an example. I don’t (in fact) I won’t allow someone who thinks connecting via text all the time will build a relationship. Vocal energy and face-to- face time is needed to build intimacy and attraction because as women, we base our connection and attraction on feeling. Texting only allows them to feel their phones.
So I take what I won’t put up with, i.e. building a relationship via text, and change it to voicing and declaring what I do want. I want someone who will have phone conversations and go out to spend time together in order to build a relationship. Seriously, I think those who create and engage in these long term, long distance, only online/email relationships and claim to fall in love without ever meeting are nuts.
Step 2 – Use your boundary/expectation from step 1 and be accountable for sticking to it and creating what you want in a relationship. I want to build a relationship and attraction with someone who doesn’t hide behind a screen.
If this is what I want, all I have to do is make sure I too make the effort of calling and asking her out. You see, many people say they want something but don’t take the steps to get it. If you don’t hold yourself accountable for your end in creating what you want, then you can’t blame anyone but yourself when you are unhappy or frustrated.
In addition, if you do make the effort and stick to this expectation and your new love doesn’t, such as not returning calls, flaking on plans etc, then you know that this is not the person or situation that you want and you can choose to walk away with integrity and ease.
So my friends, setting boundaries is important for various reasons. Simply put, it allows you to focus on what you want instead of wasting your time with what you don’t want. It holds you accountable for your part in building the relationship that you want. And finally, it’s a wonderful leaderesque quality that most women will find immensely sexy. Now go out there, know your boundaries and act with catlike precision sticking to them. And if you do forget from a sex-crazed mind, have no fear; just join me again next week for more Drinks with Jess.
Happy 2015 to all! After a holiday hiatus, and much needed time out to discover new topics to cover in this blog, I am back with the latest questions and dating advice for the lesbian community. However, with the beginning of the new year, we see the typical act of making resolutions, so sit back, grab yourself some Gatorade and water (you probably need it after all of the festivities) and make some new resolutions while having a Drink With Jess.
I’m going to go to the gym. I’m going to lose weight. I’m not going to bring work home. I’m going to quit smoking or drinking. I’m going to find more hobbies. Yes, there are a plethora of New Year’s resolutions that we proclaim each year. So what is a good resolution for your relationship or dating life? There are many, but resolutions start with YOU. So here is my top 5 resolutions that I’d like you to consider before you embark on the dating scene. These will also help you to make good decisions or walk away from a future mistake.
1. Proclaim what type of relationship status that you want and the reasons why.
I love my single life, however I also believe in monogamous relationships. Sometimes we seldom find, or engage in something that we want because we have no focus or we have little sense of self and think that any person will make us happy. It’s a bunch of crap. It’s amazing to me how many women feel depressed during the holiday season because they don’t “have” someone. Get that thought out of your mind. I personally love being single during the holidays because I can just enjoy my time with family and friends without external obligations. And I know that with Valentine’s Day looming, many feel like losers without a “love” of their own. Please don’t feel this way because to be honest, your identity is not your relationship with someone else. So back to this resolution, state what type of relationship you want and why. Sometimes the reason why gives us an understanding of ourselves that we may have to explore before going after the relationship we want.
2. Take some time to discover all of your good and bad qualities when it comes to relating to others.
Many women proclaim that they need to “feel whole” and “love themselves.” Essentially, this is what it means. You have to be totally honest and look at both your good and bad qualities and actions, and love them all. “How can we love them all,” you ask? When you know both sides, you are in control and can choose which person you want to extend into the world. Think about it. I know what cold feels like, and I know what hot feels like. I like hot, so I turn my thermostat up. This, my friends, is also why the theory of relativity is nothing short of amazing, so use this to your advantage.
3. State the qualities and values that are important to you when it comes to a partner.
This is a very important resolution. Take some considerable time for this. Don’t just say you want someone who is hot or nice, because that won’t allow you to choose someone long-lasting. Seriously, those qualities only take someone so far. I value someone who appreciates and has a healthy relationship with their family. I seek someone that has a creative quality and sets goals. Once you take the time to know someone, you’ll see their true qualities, values and passions. Then you can decide if that is the type of person who fits into what you want. If they don’t demonstrate what you are seeking, don’t hold out waiting for them to change because it rarely happens. Go find someone else who fits into what you want. This, along with the next resolution, will also help you to NOT ignore red flags.
4. Set your boundaries and deal breakers.
This one will be short and sweet. This is important with friends and lovers, even bosses and family members. We hear a lot of talk about people getting rid of other toxic people in their lives, and this is one of the ways that they do it. When you know what you will accept into your life, you’ll quickly become a master at leaving toxic people at the door. Deal breakers are the absolute “no-go!” With that in mind, I’ll share an example of each from my list. One of my boundaries is that I won’t allow someone in my life who thinks that everything should be done on their time. Relationships are a compromise, and as individuals we both have to set aside time to attend to our responsibilities. An absolute deal breaker for me is drug use. State what yours are and stick to them. It will make navigating the dating scene much more efficient.
5. Stand firm in what you want, without excuse and without fear.
People stay in situations or settle because they don’t think there is anyone else out there. We all know logically this is not the case. We also get so wrapped up in new excitement that we forego anything we declare. So here is the biggest new year’s dating resolution of all: take your declarations and stay the course. Don’t make excuses for someone else’s behavior just because you feel lonely. Don’t stand up for what you want and believe out of fear of losing someone. Women like confident women with integrity, and when you apply all of these tips and stand firm, you’ll be in control of your journey.
I hope you are as excited about 2015 as I am. Now go out there and get what you want and deserve. Tune in next time for another Drink With Jess.
Jess is a dating coach, best selling author, and radio personality in Philadelphia. She provides the LGBTQ community with no-nonsense, straight forward advice to understanding your mind in order to navigate the complex dating scene and go after and get the people you desire.