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Simply Solo Spotlight: Atypically Attached

December 7, 2010

This week’s Simply Solo Spotlight is from Mandy who writes the Adventures at Walgreens blog. The past couple of months, Mandy took on the crazy endeavor of only shopping at Walgreens for everything she needed. I seriously don’t know how she did it – I couldn’t live without Macy’s and The Limited (never mind Cold Stone Creamery)! But, she had some pretty fun experiences, which you can check out on her blog. I hope you enjoy her story, and I know you guys will have some great advice to offer!

Quick shameless plug: Do you have a story to tell? Advice to offer? Did you just have literally the worst date of your life and you must write about it? I’d love to have you as the next Simply Solo Spotlight! Contact me at: simplysoloblog@gmail.com.

Atypically Attached

When I started reading Catherine’s blog, what struck me about it was how Catherine’s situation is the exact opposite of mine. She had never really been single before this year, and I am always single. I don’t mean that I’ve never been asked out or I’ve never been kissed or anything crazy like that. I’ve dated. I’ve had boy “situations” aplenty. I just never had a normal, long-term relationship with a guy who actually lived in the same town as me. When I did have boyfriends they either lived in another town, another state, or they had a job that kept them out of town more than half the time. So even when I was in a relationship, I still kinda felt single, and I still kinda lived like I was single. I would do my own thing 98% of the time and then make time for my boyfriend-type person for the other 2% of my life. But usually I just dated casually. I’d sometimes play kissy-face with guys I worked with. And sometimes I dated guys who always dated chicks for a few months before breaking up with them, and after a few months … SURPRISE! They’d break up with me. But those weren’t guys I ever referred to as “my boyfriend.”

So now I’m thirty-one and, for the first time in my life, I’m in an official, committed relationship that I intend to be in for a long, long time with a man I love who lives nearby and who is a relationship guy … and I have no idea how this all is supposed to work. I mean it’s great. We just hang out all the time, and there doesn’t have to be any occasion to do so. We spend the day together and do nothing in particular. We have discussed that we intend to be together for maybe ever and we’re totally on the same page about it. And I am totally out of my element. I freak out about little stuff for no reason other than I’m new at this and I don’t know how to act right. Like, I do that stupid girl thing, where if something’s bothering me, I don’t say anything about it until it becomes a really big deal in my head, and then I get super upset and all cry-face about it when I should have just said something earlier.  

I’ve also never really introduced a boyfriend to my parents. In high school, boys picked me up at my house for a date, and my parents would be home, and they’d meet them if they hadn’t already. But that’s different. And none of them ever officially became a “boyfriend.” I introduced my family to a guy last Thanksgiving, but I already knew I was going to break up with him, so it really didn’t matter. I would’ve broken up with him earlier, but he’d already been invited to Thanksgiving, so I couldn’t. So I have no idea how to navigate this “meeting the family” situation. And I’m old enough that I should know. It’s totally weird that I don’t.

So, I guess my whole point in writing this blog is: Do y’all have any advice for me? I could really use some. I know most of the recent Spotlights have been giving advice, but I’m changing things up and requesting some instead. How do these long-term, committed relationship thingees work?

Thanks!

Mandy


19 Comments leave one →
  1. December 7, 2010 9:10 am

    I completely know how you feel. All of my serious boyfriends were long distance, and even my exfiance traveled a lot for work. The relationship I’m in now is the first one where I’m around my boyfriend more than by myself. I love it! But I still haven’t quite figured it all out yet.

    You only shop at Walgreens? What about for fresh fruit and veggies? I’m off to your blog now to check out how that works.

    • December 7, 2010 8:17 pm

      oh good! I’m glad it’s not just me 🙂

      And the not having fresh fruit on hand was really tough. By the end I was eating fruit every time I went to work ( I work at a restaurant) and I’m always bad about not eating enough fresh veggies, so that was kinda normal.

  2. December 7, 2010 9:11 am

    Don’t over think it, enjoy it, be in the moment

    • December 7, 2010 8:17 pm

      That’s very good advice for many situations! Thanks!

  3. December 7, 2010 10:36 am

    Do y’all have any advice for me?

    Yeah. Don’t do this:

    …if something’s bothering me, I don’t say anything about it until it becomes a really big deal in my head, and then I get super upset and all cry-face about it when I should have just said something earlier.

    🙂

  4. December 7, 2010 12:11 pm

    Thanks, Mandy, for writing this post for Simply Solo! I think a lot of people have been in your situation. You are right – I’m exactly the opposite. I have lived almost my entire life in a relationship! I think my advice would be to be honest with your partner. Let him know that this is something you struggle with, and he can help guide you. For me, I’ve never really casually dated. So, to learn more about it, I watched my friends who were in the dating scene. I tried to learn from the good and bad choices they were making. I used them as a model of the way dating is supposed to be.

    Also, for me, I just have to get out of my head sometimes. I overthink everything and sometimes you just have to go with it. If this guy loves you, he’ll understand where you are coming from and will love you for it, I think.

    As far as not saying things until they become an even bigger deal, I have the opposite problem. Every single time a little issue comes up, I tell my partner about it. No matter how minor. I just want to get it out there, so it won’t become a huge problem later. This also is not a good solution. So, I’ve learned that I have to let go of some things for a day or so, think about how much they really bother me, and if I’m still bothered by something a day later, then bring it up. But definitely don’t hold onto it until it becomes so big that you blow up.

    Good luck – I want an update as things progress!! 🙂

    • December 7, 2010 8:21 pm

      That’s really good advice. It’s always a good idea to actually figure out what’s a big deal and what’s not.

      One friend of mine told me that when I’m upset about something he does to pretend like it was her crazy friend Kara who was in the situation. And if I would tell Kara that she was crazy and whatever was going on was not that big a deal, then it’s not really a very big deal. And usually it’s not. I find it’s really helpful when I actually do it.

  5. December 7, 2010 2:04 pm

    LOL @ Dennis. I second that!

    And also…just go with the flow. Every time you get together doesn’t have to be a trip to the circus or a night of laser tag or a jet-skiing adventure. If you’re going to be together long-term, then most of your life will be “normal.” Make sure you enjoy those normal times before committing to more. Sounds like you’re off to a great start.

    Otherwise, have fun!

    • December 7, 2010 8:23 pm

      NO! I want EVERY day to be a jet-skiing adventure! Darn it! 😉

  6. December 7, 2010 5:57 pm

    I think that the meeting the parents thing should be laid back. Let them get to know him. They will love him (since you do). I live in a different province than my parents, so often when they met my boyfriends we were on some kind of vacation… No pressure, right?

    • December 7, 2010 8:36 pm

      That’s true. I should just relax and let them get to know one another. Good call.

  7. December 7, 2010 6:13 pm

    Just be honest and try not to over analyse stuff (I do it so I know how hard it is not to)

    • December 7, 2010 8:27 pm

      Why is that so hard? It shouldn’t be because it is SO simple!

  8. December 7, 2010 6:20 pm

    Mandy,

    A few things. First, everyone progresses through the various arenas of life at their own pace. So there really is no such things as “old enough to know how to introduce signif other to my parents.” No doubt you have been successful in many ways that other 31 year olds have yet to experience. So given that, cut yourself a break.

    You know that your boyfriend loves you, so clearly he’s already accepted you for you who are. So why all the stress? When we get anxious or emotional, we tend to look at things most illogically in a sadistic attempt to justify those feelings. When in reality, just look at the facts. The two of you are talking “forever,” so I’m gonna go out on a limb and assume that any random faux pas while introducing him to the ‘rents isn’t going to make or break anything. So again, take a breather. And for that matter, everyone gets nervous about stuff like that– no matter how old. Love is a game of uncertainty. Everyone feels their nerves creep up on them from time to time. It’s just human nature.

    Second, and as reflected by the responses above, you need to teach yourself to relax. I gather that you have been quite the independent woman in your day and virtually wholly in control of most every aspect of your life but you already know that doing so is an impossibility when you choose to share your life with another person. Which is a wonderful thing- but it comes with the necessity of give-and-take.

    Understandably, and for an A-type personality used to being on his or her own, this surrender of unbridled power & control you once enjoyed over your life can be quite scary. However, once you are able to do so, and quite literally share your life with another, the benefits are abound. Allowing someone in, and letting them take care of you and share in your ups and downs is one of life’s most wonderful gifts.

    Third, and along those same lines of letting someone into your life and heart is the need for honesty. You must have faith in your boyfriend that he will react to your feelings appropriately; as I’m sure you would. Just be honest about your nervousness, that you haven’t had too many long relationships, that you aren’t always sure how things are supposed to work. What’s he gonna do? Get mad at you?? Come on.

    Also a little hint about men…they kiiiiiiiinda like feeling unique and needed/relied upon. You know, the whole “I’m her first” along with the whole provider/teacher thing. The fact that this is your first REAL relationship as it were is certain to make him feel most flattered. And trust me, he is/will be most excited to show you the ropes. Consider yourself the metaphorical damsel in distress and he your knight in shining armor to save you from your prison-tower of inexperience. (Not sure if that metaphor worked for you, but I had fun with it).

    Finally, doing the “girly-thing” of clamming up, repressing your feelings and then having them explode in misdirected anger down the road is clearly NOT the way to go. Be honest and upfront. Be loving and thoughtful but tell your significant other what’s bothering you. Be fair for goodnesssakes! Give them a chance to do the right thing. Have faith!

    In conclusion Mandy, have faith in your man and give yourself some credit too. Relax and take his lead when you’re unsure, and don’t be afraid to be honest. I have a feeling you will be just fine.

    Hope this helped,

    ~ J.D.

    • December 7, 2010 8:34 pm

      I like the metaphor. And you’re right; most guys do want to be the “hero” to a damsel in distress. That’s a good way to go. Thanks!

      • December 8, 2010 4:58 pm

        I write about a lot of this kind of stuff. So if you find yourself in need of advice or insight on a similar topic, check it out.

  9. December 8, 2010 11:20 am

    I think the best thing to do it to just be yourself. You shouldn’t have to think about it or worry about it (even though that seems impossible). Once you start to over think you freak out!! Good luck 🙂

    • December 10, 2010 1:09 am

      Freaking out is just too darn easy! But thanks. It’s good advice.

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