love

Unhealthy Relationships: 5 Signs That the Nice Guy Isn’t So Nice

This article was originally published as a guest post on HUGStronger in September 2012, a college advice blog that has since been discontinued, and was later reposted on College Relationships here.

We’ve all been warned.  Before leaving for college, we receive a surplus of information from older friends, advising us both academically and socially.  These friends also share their dating wisdom, cautioning us against falling for the “wrong” kind of guy.

Pop culture portrays the “wrong guy” as the unmotivated slacker who skates by on an academic probation, or as the misogynist who only wants you for your looks.  However, during my freshman year, I learned that the wrong guy can be difficult to spot, because he often disguises himself as the nice guy you can’t help but trust.

That fall, I met a boy with whom I instantly connected.  We fell into an easy friendship that eventually developed into more.  With little dating experience behind me, I took his seemingly charming personality at face value.

In time, I learned that his “nice guy” routine was exactly that – a routine.  He simultaneously pursued multiple girls who had no knowledge of each other, while feeding them the same lines and spreading hurtful rumors. Ultimately, I realized our relationship was unhealthy and would only drag me down.

Nice guys do exist, and I’ve dated a few since then. However, when dealing with new guys, watch out for red flags:

ran-into-my-ex21. He says mostly negative things about his ex-girlfriends.
If he tells you extremely personal (or insulting) details about previous girlfriends, chances are he’ll say the same things about you when you break up.  Of course, you don’t want to date someone who still loves his ex-girlfriend, but if he seems particularly vindictive toward the girls he’s dated, you might want to break things off.

2. He likes to tell you about all of his admirers.
Even when he claimed to be interested in only me, my not-so-nice guy would constantly rant about the many girls who were “in love” with him.  I’m not a jealous person, but I often wondered why he needed to share this knowledge.  It’s one thing if other girls find him attractive; it’s another thing if he’s using that information to try and upset you.

3. He mixes up his stories.
First he tells you that he was spending time with his boys last night.  Then he casually slips in that another girl was there.  Then he gets annoyed when you ask him for details about his evening, and accuses you of not trusting him.  What starts out as simple curiosity can quickly morph into suspicion.

aint-nobody-got-time-for-that4. He plays hot and cold with your emotions.
If a guy is sending you mixed signals for any prolonged period of time, he’s not that into you.  If he’s truly worth your time, he will make it known that he’s interested, and he won’t keep you guessing whether or not he wants a relationship.

5. He disguises condescending remarks as compliments.
In trying to win me back, my not-so-nice guy once explained that I had grown since we last parted ways, and that he now felt more attracted to me because of how “assertive” I had become. (Translation: “Now that you’re unattainable, I consider you a challenge worth pursuing.”) The truth was, I hadn’t changed much in that time, and I didn’t need his affirmation that I had “grown” enough to be worth his attention. Remember, you deserve to be treated well no matter how much you still have left to learn or accomplish.

Not-so-nice guys come in all forms. Be aware of the warning signs, so that you won’t fall into the same traps as many others.  Don’t settle for anyone who treats you as anything less than you deserve.

Unfinished: The Tricky Thing About Closure

Lifetime_How-I-Met-Your-Mother_6_Unfinished_79899_LF_2013_HD_768x432-16x9“You need demarcation.”
“Demarcation?” I asked.
“It means a clear separation between two things,” he told me. “A solid end before a clean beginning. No murky borders. Clarity.”
- Sarah Dessen, The Moon and More

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As I was binge-watching old episodes of How I Met Your Mother, I came across an episode in season six that struck a chord with me. In the episode Unfinished, Robin has recently broken up with Don, a boyfriend who had left for a job in Chicago just as things were getting serious. Robin experiences both anger and remorse as she deals with one of the most difficult break-ups of her life, concerned that she will never have closure, and that she and Don “will always be a loose end.”

closurelaw-smIt is a problem that so many of us face in our lives, whether we are going through a break-up or experiencing another monumental change. Within the realm of relationships, it is difficult to find closure if one or both parties aren’t ready to let go, and as much as we hate to admit it, we often aren’t ready. Lines of communication are kept open, words are minced to soften the blow and suddenly we find ourselves wondering where we would be if X, Y and Z had never happened. Things end in a way we don’t expect and don’t like, and the closure we yearn for is suddenly out of reach.

I remember at the end of my junior year of high school, I finished my cheerleading season with injuries and a few sub-par performances that my sophomore-self wouldn’t have been proud of. Because of my senior year schedule and my new position as a yearbook editor, I knew that cheerleading in my senior year was out of the question, but it was hard to wrap my head around the fact that my season hadn’t ended the way I wanted it. I was devastated, and considered forcing practices and games into my schedule so that I could end my cheerleading career on a brighter note, if only to gain the closure I so desperately needed.

delete-buttonOf course, I realized that would have been a mistake, and while I initially mourned the uniform and pom poms (bear with me, I was a teenager!), I eventually moved on. I had a successful year as a yearbook editor, and not re-joining the team gave me more time to write freelance articles locally. As an adult, I have never regretted the decision I was convinced I would regret at age seventeen.

In my college years and early twenties, I have been in situations that initially lacked closure as well – a break-up I wasn’t ready for, a perfect first date that never led to a second, jobs I applied to that never called back. I have craved closure and sometimes I have even gotten that closure thrown back at me in the worst possible way. However, I have also met new people along the way and even ended up at my dream job.

7fd7600e150ac1bce69b852d20676a53Throughout Unfinished, Robin struggles to erase Don’s phone number from her memory (and from her cell phone), but by the end of the episode, she forgets it. And just as Robin forgets Don’s number, you too will forget your ex’s nuances (or the job you didn’t get, or the sport you quit, etc.) in certain ways because your brain will be focused on something else: a hobby, perhaps, or someone new. Breaking up with closure can be a tricky thing, but it passes with time as you change your circumstances and create your own closure.

“And the heart,” says Judith Ortiz Cofer in her poem To a Daughter I Cannot Console, “like a well-constructed little boat, will resume its course toward hope.”

The Weekend Five: Romantic Comedy Plots That Don’t Work Out in Real Life

graduate2Valentine’s Day may be over, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to stop binge-watching our favorite romantic comedies! From Sabrina to You’ve Got Mail, I have my go-to films that I can’t help but love, flaws and all. Of course, sometimes these movies may shape our own beliefs about love and relationships in an unrealistic way. As a personal service to my lovely readers, I’ll share five romantic comedy plots that just don’t work out in real life. (Feel free to add your own in the comments section below!)

The Weekend Five: Romantic Comedy Plots That Don’t Work Out in Real Life

1. Person A stops the wedding of Person B, and the two ride off into the sunset together.
This romantic comedy staple has always bothered me! First of all, who waits until the day of their beloved’s wedding to declare their love for that person? Second of all, who would want to be with someone who would leave their betrothed at the altar? Here’s what really happens when Person A stops Person B’s wedding: The two “ride off into the sunset” and enjoy a few happy months together before Person A starts to question whether Person B would actually run out on their wedding. Person B realizes that the woman he almost married has gotten better looking and more successful, and wonders if he made a mistake. Person A and Person B become so resentful of one another that they break up after a year and never speak again.

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Eternal-Sunshine-of-the-Spotless-Mind-movie_image2. Guy falls in love with quirky commitment-phobe who has a few serious issues and tries to fix her.
Unfortunately in real life, this happens all too often, but with one catch: he can’t fix her. People are drawn to the manic pixie dream girl or manic pixie dream boy (see: Kate Winslet in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Zooey Deschanel in 500 Days of Summer, etc.) but they don’t realize that they can’t change someone who doesn’t want to change.

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3. Two friends with benefits fall in love and live happily ever after.
In real life, these arrangements are usually much more complicated. Although attachments do occur, they are usually incredibly one-sided. Person A may be in love with Person B, but Person B doesn’t take Person A seriously as a potential love interest, and quickly brushes Person A aside once the stronger feelings have become more apparent. Hint: Do not start a “friends with benefits” situation with anyone you are even considering starting a relationship with in the future.

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movieimage4. A journalist lies about something important for an investigative piece, but winds up falling in love.
This goes against every ethics course you will ever take. No reputable newspaper or magazine will require their copy editor to pose as a high school student to run an exposé a la Never Been Kissed, and no self-respecting journalist would take such an absurd assignment. (Of course, it does make for an entertaining movie!)

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5. Person A lies to Person B about everything, but they still end up together.
Person B finds out in a horrible twist of events that Person A has been lying about something very important: his marital status, his identity, etc. In real life, this would lead to a lot of resentment later on. After all, how can you really trust a 25-year-old journalist who claimed to be a high school student in your English class? (Yes, I am still on Never Been Kissed!) Things might work out temporarily, but not very likely in the long run.

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Any other romantic comedy plots that you would argue would/would not work out in real life?

Best Cinematic Love Quotes

Two years ago, I shared a list of some of my favorite literary love quotes of all time. The list appealed to bibliophiles of all kinds, and remains one of my most popular blogs to date! This year, in honor of Valentine’s Day, I would like to bring my movie-loving readers five of my favorite cinematic love quotes. I’m a bit of a romantic comedy junkie, so this may get interesting! :)

Enjoy the list, and please feel free to add your own favorites in the comments section below!

bestcinematiclovequotes
1. “I love that you get cold when it’s 71 degrees out. I love that it takes you an hour and a half to order a sandwich. I love that you get a little crinkle above your nose when you’re looking at me like I’m nuts. I love that after I spend the day with you, I can still smell your perfume on my clothes. And I love that you are the last person I want to talk to before I go to sleep at night. And it’s not because I’m lonely, and it’s not because it’s New Year’s Eve. I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.”
When Harry Met Sally (1989)

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2. “It’s gotta be that can’t eat, can’t sleep, reach for the stars, over the fence, World Series kind of thing.” – It Takes Two (1995)

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3. “If I hadn’t been Fox Books and you hadn’t been The Shop Around the Corner, and you and I had just, well, met… I would have asked for your number and I wouldn’t have been able to wait 24 hours before calling you and saying, ‘Hey, how about… oh, how about some coffee, or, you know, drinks or dinner or a movie… for as long as we both shall live?’” – You’ve Got Mail (1998)

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4. “You had me at hello.” – Jerry Maguire (1996)

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5. “The best kind of love is the kind that awakens the soul and makes us reach for more, that plants a fire in our hearts and brings peace to our minds.” – The Notebook (2004)

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Well, friends, what are some of your favorites?

Link Love Wednesday: Valentine’s Day Edition

someday-valentines-day-ecard-someecards_thumb[3]Well, lovebirds, it looks like Valentine’s Day is almost here! Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few weeks, you’ve probably noticed a lot of dating/relationship/Valentine’s Day articles across the Internet. This week’s Link Love is no different.

In honor of the upcoming secretly-created-by-Hallmark holiday, enjoy some fun Valentine’s Day articles!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

The Weekend Five: Modern-Day Endings to Classic Romantic Comedies

fa439c081aea20a79a7d5457caf4694aHappy February! Valentine’s Day is just a few short weeks away, which means it is time to break out the chocolates and force our significant others to watch our favorite romantic comedies with us. (It also means that you’ll be seeing a lot more dating/relationship articles on my blog this month!) Of course, as I look back at some of my own favorites, I realize that the plots of many of these stories could have been radically different if they were set in 2014.

This week, let’s take a look at some of the classics, and discuss the alternative endings that would have taken place in modern day.

The Weekend Five: Modern-Day Endings to Classic Romantic Comedies

3831_11. You’ve Got Mail (1998).
In the original film, Meg Ryan (ShopGirl) and Tom Hanks (NY152) are real-life business rivals who unknowingly fall in love with one another after meeting in an AOL chat room. They exchange IMs and emails, gaining a deeper insight into one another. The idea of falling in love on the computer was very new at the time, and while still relatively modern, the film would have a few key differences in 2014. Meg Ryan would have met NY152 on Facebook, and the two would exchange messages until he revealed himself as a Catfish in the end.

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2. Pride and Prejudice (1813).
The book came out in the 1800s, but multiple film adaptations have occurred since. In modern day, celebutante Lydia Bennett (protagonist Elizabeth Bennett’s sister) would marry Mr. Wickham in Vegas, but when their marriage winds up in Star Magazine, Mr. Darcy sues the tabloid and saves the Bennett family’s reputation. Elizabeth gives up on her hatred for Darcy and decides to date him.

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romantic-scenes-never-been-kissed43. Never Been Kissed (1999).
In the film Never Been Kissed, Drew Barrymore’s character (who has never been kissed) falls in love with her very attractive English teacher. When he finds out that Barrymore is actually a 25-year-old reporter, he takes this as a personal betrayal and leaves. As her apology, she urges him (via newspaper) to kiss her at a baseball game. Of course, in that end scene, she waits for the teacher and almost gives up, as he doesn’t show up right on time. In 2014, however, he would have sent her a simple text message: “Omw, running late.” A lot of tension would have been lifted from this scene!

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4. Roman Holiday (1953).
Audrey Hepburn plays a runaway princess who spends a day with an American reporter (Gregory Peck) in Rome, who has secretly discovered her identity and plans to exploit it in the paper. In the 2014 version of this movie, however, he wouldn’t have to — local passersby would identify her on the street, snap photos for Facebook and Instagram, and the paparazzi would soon swarm. Also in this version, because we crave happy endings, Hepburn and Peck end up together.

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sleepless-in-seattle5. Sleepless in Seattle (1993).
In the modern version of Sleepless in Seattle, Tom Hanks’ son sets up an online dating profile for his father, who lost his wife a while ago. Women across the country fall madly in love with him, and the son quickly chooses Meg Ryan’s character as his father’s soul mate. Tom Hanks is apprehensive about meeting her at the Empire State Building, but when he looks her up on OkCupid and sees how pretty Meg Ryan is, he decides to give the relationship a chance. And the rest is history.

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What are some romantic comedies that could use a revamped ending? Share below in the comments section! :)

Book Review: All My Friends Are Engaged

allmyfriendsareengagedLet’s face it: We all have an embarrassing dating story or two.

Each of us, at one time or another, has said the wrong thing, missed the “signs,” gone out with someone who was a total mismatch, and declared that we’d be forever alone. And after these nights of poorly timed jokes and awkward half-hugs and unreturned text messages, some well-meaning friend will sit us down with the generic love advice passed down from romantic comedies and self-help books.

So when I downloaded the eBook All My Friends Are Engaged, by Jen Glantz, I was pleasantly surprised to see that this was not a manual on how to land a quality guy or why you should always play hard-to-get. Jen’s book is a refreshing look at one twenty-something’s dating experiences, from saying “I love you” before the date even happened to navigating the online dating world. Her stories will make you laugh, because chances are, you’ve probably gone through similar situations yourself, but they will also make you think. Each chapter, while often funny and lighthearted, also allows Jen to reflect on her experiences and on dating conventions as a whole.

“I ended this group blind date in the same fashion that I’ve learned to medicate all awkward situations,” she writes, “by digging my spoon into the very bottom of a cup of soft serve. And with every bite, I realized even more that there is only one rule when it comes to love – when it comes to where, and when, and how to meet someone and then, once you’ve found them, how to fully recognize how you deserve to be treated. Open your eyes.

The book is a mix of introspective essays and lists, from a Valentine’s Day gone wrong to the eight reasons he didn’t ask for your number. If you’ve ever been on a less-than-perfect date – whether you’re single, in a relationship or married – you’ll be able to relate to this book and appreciate the humor that goes along with it. Jen is a skilled story-teller and her writing is accessible no matter what your perspective may be.

You can download and purchase All My Friends Are Engaged here on Amazon, or get a taste of Jen’s writing style at her wonderful blog, The Things I Learned From. Even if you’re like me and you don’t have a Kindle, you can still read from your SmartPhone or computer. Check out her book and support a fellow Knight!

Link Love Wednesday: Happy Belated Thanksgivukkah!

Artwork by Mica Angela Hendricks

Artwork by Mica Angela Hendricks

For those of you who celebrated, I wish you a very happy belated Thanksgiving and/or Hanukkah! I am thankful for many things at this juncture in my life: a wonderful family, a great group of friends, a job I love and a supportive network of readers! :) Of course, I am also thankful for some of the awesome articles and links I came across over the last week or so, and am excited to share them with you as we make our way into December!

Again, hope you had a wonderful holiday! Any great links you’ve come across this week?

Link Love Wednesday: 23-Year-Old Edition

online datingHappy November! The temperatures have gotten lower, the Halloween candy is gone and the pumpkin-spiced drinks are in full bloom, so it’s starting to feel a lot more like fall around here!

This week’s roundup delves into a few of life’s greatest mysteries. Kidding – just a few interesting articles to get you through the week!

  • Having just celebrated my 23rd birthday in September, I can’t help but relate with these soul-crushing truths about being 23, as I’m sure many 20-somethings will.
  • Which professions have the most psychopaths? Here’s hoping that your career doesn’t pop up on this listing!
  • This article discusses why online dating can be a good thing.
  • Of course, this article suggests that online dating is making us miserable in our love lives because of the number of choices available to us. What are your thoughts?
  • For many of us, middle school was a miserable time in our lives. This BuzzFeed list reminds us of the things we are definitely not missing out on, now that we are all grown up.
  • I stumbled across this site, Forty Days of Dating, a few days ago and was completely glued. Two friends in New York with completely opposite relationship problems decide to date as an experiment for forty days, and the lines between friendship and love become increasingly unclear. You will want to stick around till the end!
  • Looking for a good read? This article will guide you to a classic book you’ll love based on your TV preferences.
  • The most retweeted tweets of all time will give you a greater insight into social media and society itself. (Sad to know that more than one of these tweets came from a member of One Direction!)

Any great articles this week?

Link Love Wednesday: Millennials vs. Baby Boomers

iphone-5-apple-generations-sympathy-ecards-someecardsWhat do you get when you take a very full work calendar, a birthday and a series of federal and religious holidays? A blogger who forgets to post Link Love for a few weeks! :) Hopefully today’s round-up of posts about topics ranging from Generation Y to jet lag won’t disappoint.

Read anything interesting lately?