The Unappreciated, Accidental Romantic Upside of Being Solely a “Freezer” and a “Fawner”

a white chest freezer with its top lid open
Image by osseous / CC BY

I recently wrote an essay called “It Was Terrifying the First Time I Dated Someone Who Was Really Good to Me.” Here’s an excerpt:

I was used to being self-reliant. I had been conditioned my entire life to never ask for help because it meant being sharply criticized by others or told that I was weak for asking.  » Read more

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Women Avoid Revealing Clothing in Order to Avoid Aggression From Other Women

a dressform bust with fabric wrapped around it
Image by Chellbie / CC BY

A while back, I was talking to a woman who in general really liked her new mother-in-law. (As we noted in an earlier installment of these series, this is not uncommon; many women get along great with their mothers-in-law, in spite of cultural jokes that would suggest otherwise.)

However, the woman I was talking to had run into one hitch with her mother-in-law,  » Read more

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For Better or Worse, You Don’t Get to Control How Other People See You

a closeup of a pair of glasses
Image by Brett Bolkowy / CC BY

I’m sitting in a pew, attending mass at the church I attended growing up.

It’s been 7 years since I went to a service here, on another visit to my hometown, but surprisingly little has changed since then.

Actually, surprisingly little has changed from 30 years ago, when I was a small child doing my best to remain quiet and tolerate the unending boredom,  » Read more

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I Can’t Tell You What Kind of Partner I Am, and That’s Okay

gray gradient background with the word "SHRUG." on it in white letters
Image by hobvias sudoneighm / CC BY

“You write an awful lot about other people, how kind they are to you, and how much you appreciate them. I find myself thinking that I hope you are as kind to them back. I hope you make an effort, too. And I wish you’d write more about what kind of partner you are, because I don’t like wondering about it.”  » Read more

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Don’t “Lower” Your Dating Standards. Examine Them.

a compass
Image by Margaret W. Carruthers / CC BY

Look, I’ll just say it. Some people are really bad at picking romantic partners. What drives interpersonal attraction is often mysterious, hard to pin down. Perhaps it’s pheromones. Maybe it’s something within our genes deciding that we’d make good offspring with THAT PERSON OVER THERE (a phenomenon that strangely occurs even when it’s not biologically possible to bear children with a partner for whatever reason).  » Read more

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Pain Never Gets Any Better Unless You Confront It & Even Then It Still Takes A Very Long Time

a lit candle burning
Image by firemedic58 / CC BY

“What you do,” he said, “is just lie there with your thoughts. Don’t judge them. Just let them happen. Let yourself feel everything you’re feeling. Think everything you’re thinking. Without distraction.”

He didn’t call it mindfulness then. I wouldn’t learn that word until much later. From someone else.

Instead, my first fraught dance with my own mind wouldn’t have a name.  » Read more

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