The Key to Long Relationship Is…

…knowing how to fight.

I heard that today on a tik tok of all things and it has stuck with me. Me and my dude are terrible fighters with each other. We lose it. It goes from bad to worse to breaking up (I am actually not sure we are still in a relationship – he’s still mad at me from our last fight). If we fought better maybe everything would go better, including the good times. What worries be it’s been 3.5 years and we still haven’t figured out how to fight. I am not sure how much longer we should keep trying to figure it out. I am not trying to be dramatic but practical. If we never learn to fight it is going to be a long life together. I also just can’t take being the thing that makes him miserable anymore. I can’t take being the reason he’s so angry in the first place anymore. Just can’t. If I can’t be something positive in his life it might be better to not be in his life. When I say that I mean better for him because he wouldn’t have what he seems to consider my negative influence on his life. Again, none of this is meant to be self deprecating – it’s just what I am thinking. He’s told me I am a bad girlfriend and maybe I am. Maybe I try to support him in ways I think are effective and not ways he does. But I think he does the same. So it’s hard to see when one of us is really trying to support the other one.

Someone Has to Speak For Me…

…and that person is me.

Relationships are really hard and are so much work. I started to give too much of myself away to accommodate my relationship. I started to get small. If you know me, really know me, you that nothing about me is small (insert insecure body joke here). I have a big personality and I am unafraid to show it off. Any you know what? I like that about myself, I really do. I am done toning that down for other peoples comfort, inside and outside of my relationship. Hopefully everyone can just love me for me. Hopefully I will feel better and less trapped in a box that other people are trying to fit me into or want me to fit into. I am not saying that a relationship shouldn’t change you some, but not who you are at your core and it definitely shouldn’t make you feel small. I hate feeling small. Goes against my entire nature. I suppose we will see how the world reacts to me just being me with my big personality. I hope well. I hope it leads to good things and happiness. But then again, I guess we all hope for that. To be loved for exactly who we are, warts and all.

Speaking up for yourself in a way that other people will hear you is a tough trick though. Can’t be too honest or harsh or you lose their attention. Can’t be too soft spoken because they can’t hear that either. I don’t want to be harsh or hurt anyone – I just want my voice to matter as much as everyone else’s does to me. I just can’t swallow it anymore. I wont be berated into shutting down anymore. I have to be vocal. I have to express what I am thinking and feeling, even if it’s unpopular. Hopefully it matters.

Living ‘The Last Five Years…’

…from Jamie’s perspective with Kathy’s role being played by my work place.

For those who haven’t seen it, The Last Five Years is a great musical that is about a five years of a relationship told from the perspective of the man and woman living it. Jamie, the man tells his story from start to finish and Kathy, the woman tells her story from finish to start. They are telling two different versions of the same story. That doesn’t mean that either version is wrong or false, they are just different. Their love starts strong and hopeful and their lives just grow apart and their love changes. I don’t want to say it fades, it just doesn’t work together anymore. It was also made into a movie with Anna Kendrick and Jeremy Jordan (swoon) that is on Netflix. Beautiful and worth a watch.

So what does this have to do with my work and I’s relationship — a lot turns out. I started working at my current employer five years ago today. I am excited and hopeful about the job and I felt welcomed and that folks were excited to have me there. We went on like that for about 3 years. Excited and hopeful. Then me and my work started growing apart. By year five, I barely have any hours and I am clearly not missed by my place of work and honestly, I don’t miss it that much either. I am looking for new job opportunities, having been basically dumped by last one after trying to work it out so hard for what feels like forever. I am sure if I had my work’s perspective it would be just as valid (like in the play).

This parallel came to my mind today and I wanted to put the thought down before I forgot it. It’s not that I hate my place of work or anything. It’s just I don’t want to be somewhere I am so easily deleted and forgotten. Something I invested so much time and effort into, erased. It’s not fun but I learn, I do my best while still there, and I look to the future. All we can do right?

Negative Days Are Hard…

…to pull yourself out of.

I had a few things to write about that are all different yet connected.

Let’s start with work. I went into nonprofits because I wanted to do something good, do work I care about, and be cared about where I work. As I understood it, that was a perk of going the nonprofit route and it helped with the ‘gonna be poor’ part (no one goes into nonprofits for the money). I had that for a few years and it was great. I loved it – even the shit days with people who yelled and made me feel less then. It was okay, because then I would teach a kid something or my volunteers would be their awesome selves. Since COVID I understand that even nonprofits have to survive during these tough times – I just didn’t know it would be at the expense of most of it’s employees. But since I am writing this I suppose I am feeling it’s a lot at the expense of me. I didn’t realize that I was quite so disposable and forgettable. I guess that’s on me for being naive and kinda dumb. My bad. I am great at what I do and I know it. I think it’s time to start over at another place with a new mission to support that might need my skill set and contributions.

I am not married. I am in a relationship. He doesn’t want to move forward and is happy staying exactly where we are. I am not. But since I am the one who wants more I have the choice to leave the relationship or move only at his speed, because he wants to go slower. I read some stuff about it on the internet and it said that rushing someone will only get you dumped. But does that mean my timeline doesn’t matter? It’s not that I don’t want to respect his wants, I just want the same consideration. I don’t know what to do. I am hoping it will come to me.

Ideal world. My dude want to get engaged and combine our lives. I’d be good with a long engagement. I help him where he needs it and he helps me where I need it. It might also give me some opportunities to go back to teaching at nonprofits and managing when I work up to it. I love the problem solving in management but I miss teaching daily. I could contribute more to our lives together and moving my work happiness forward. Dare to dream I suppose eh?

It’s Hard Not To Compare…

…especially with relationship stuff.

I know a couple who got engaged after six months of dating. I can barely get my dude to talk about moving in together after two years. Neither is wrong and neither is bad; they are just different. But when your relationship is on slower end, it’s hard not to compare it to those moving at warp speed. It’s hard to imagine the person you love so much not being so into you that they propose within six months, when you have clear proof that exists in the world. Does that mean your love isn’t as good? No, I don’t think so. But it is still a tough comparison pill to swallow. Which is why you should try not compare – much easier said then done.

Do You Ever Wonder How Your Exes Are…

…I do.

Today, I got to thinking what my major ex boyfriends are up to these days. At first I thought it was an odd stray whim, but then I thought a little deeper. I spent a year plus of my life with each of these people. I got to know them pretty well in the phase they were in in their lives at the time and they knew me. We had sex. I know that isn’t a huge deal but when I think about being intimate with someone and then a few years later having no clue what their life is like is kind of crazy.

*this is of my own doing. Once I am done with a man I don’t really want to sit around and watch him move on. But after time passes and disappointment fades – I would like to know what they are up to and if they are happy.

My first love and I have a few people in common so I have a good pulse that he is very happy and healthy. The others just sort of faded into the background of my life. I just find it so weird. Does anyone else wonder where their exes are now and if they are setting their own p(e)ace too? Do they wonder how I am?

Do You Like Your Pajamas…

…cute with an edge of sexy or your boyfriends shirt and panties?

It sounds silly but it is something I have been wondering a lot lately. I usually wear one of my dudes shirts or just undies but I worry that isn’t putting enough effort in. The Queer Eye guys always say to people in relationships that grooming and wardrobe is as much for your partner as yourself. And I agree that you should put some effort in for your partner to show them they are worth that effort. But his shirts are comfy! lol So I have been shopping on the cute with an edge of sexy side and DAMN they are expensive. I have a brand that I like, In Bloom, and I finally found a super cute one on sale. I am happy about this but I want one or two more but it seems like such a weird thing to spend like $50 on. Maybe I am just cheap?

When on a regular work schedule – the biggest chunk of time we spend together is in bed watching tv or hanging out. Maybe for that reason it’s worth the investment? I seriously can’t decide how important putting effort into my sleepwear is.

Wearing his tshirts to sleep in and make breakfast in is about comfort – but not the in the obvious way. When I thought of the man that would be mine and being with him, I always looked forward to wearing his tshirts to sleep in. Have I worn other guys shirts? Of course. But there is something different about my dudes shirts. It’s comfort on another level – it’s homey. It what I wanted those other shirts to be but never quite were. What’s weirder is I feel cute in them (I am sure I look less then cute but hey it’s all about how ya feel right?).

Which side do you fall on? Which side do you prefer from your partner?

Life is an Adventure to Be Lived in the Moment…

…small or big – take your adventure!

I have had quite a few adventures in my life big and small. I pride myself on being adventurous. I have moved to different cities without even seeing them, went to grad school and got an apartment by myself, traveled to London, Hawaii, and Colorado.

If you follow my instagram @setmyownp.e.ace you saw my adventure to San Diego to see my mom ans hang with my dude. It was so great. I hung out with my mom, went flip flop shopping, saw my dude surf for the first time, ate good food, and had a new experience at the roof top movie. This adventure was only two days and 60 something miles away, but it was grand. Reflecting on it has reignited something in me to live for the moment and not worry so much about the future.

I haven’t been doing a good job of this prior to the trip or just after. I had my internal ultrasound scheduled and it was REALLY freaking me out. I suppose the worry of future medical bills, pain, and worry took my brain over and it spilled into other areas of my life. I do think that I did a better job of putting the breaks on allowing it to spill into other areas post adventure, but there was some small spillage. (Have to celebrate the small wins in life).

APPLYING THIS TO MY LOVE LIFE: I have been so worried about the future of my relationship with my dude that I am forgetting to enjoy the now. He was so sweet during my freak out about my health. He just held my hand, kissed me, and told me it was okay and I would be okay. I have been so worried about holding his hand forever that I am forgetting I am happy holding it right now. I think I have been looking for signs of a guarantee that this relationship will work but, that isn’t how love and relationships work. There is no guarantee – you just have to jump and know that if that jump leads to a crash, you will heal and be okay. The jump might result in flying as well. What if that happened? I want this adventure so I am going to take the opportunity as best I can. Here’s hoping we grow some wings (if you are him you get that joke) and enjoy being in the now together.

Until I see where all of my adventures lead, I am going to try to do better with enjoying the moment I am in. That really is my point of this whole blog, isn’t it? Enjoying the stage of life and love you are in! What are you enjoying right now in this moment?

phot credit @girls_night_out

Charlotte’s Experience Setting Her Own P(e)ace While…

…building a successful career, dating, finding her Harry, and learning to live without apologies.

After breaking up Mr. X, I quietly starting hanging out with another guy and kept  it very much on the down low as I wanted to protect it from all the judgement from family and friends. I was not ready to answer all of the questions and defend myself as to how could I be ready to date again after ending a 3 plus year relationship. Again, I did it my own way on my own timeline. It took a few months and then I decided to tell my friends and family I was dating a new guy.

There will always be pressure from society, friends and family members asking you at each step of your life more and more questions but my best advice to you is to stay your ground, and make your own way. Don’t be a sheep and follow the masses, stand out and be yourself.

About 6 months into this new relationship, my new boyfriend and I had a talk about expectations and wants and where we saw ourselves in 5 years. Heavy questions at 6 months yes, but we were both almost into our 30s so I felt these questions were warranted. I followed my instinct and knew I could not emotionally invest anymore time into this relationship if I didn’t put it out there what I wanted in life. I told my new boyfriend that I would give this relationship 2 years at most and if before that or at that time we both don’t see this going anywhere then we can walk away. He was startled and shocked that I could put a timeline on a relationship and expected him to accept that. I told him I know for ME that I will know by 2 years if I see a long term future with the person I am dating. I was NOT shy and told him that I dated people and I KNEW what I wanted in a partner.  We had our up and downs during this relationship but one thing that was for not misunderstood was MY timeline and my feelings because I did what I thought was right and put it on the line.

Fast forwarding two years, we were engaged to be married. My boyfriend has proposed on our two year dating anniversary and took me by surprise! No mention of anything at all until one evening when we were walking to dinner after a play and I look over and he was down on one knee! AHH! I said YES! Here I was over the moon happy and couldn’t believe it!

Even though I was on cloud 9 with excitement there were still some friends and family in my life saying the engagement wasn’t fast enough and you already lost two years and that I should get married ASAP if I wanted kids. Again, people love to share their opinions regardless of the occasion or event in your life.

My advice is to always be true to yourself and take a pause and enjoy moments of joy with your significant other and let your friends and family wait. We told our closest family and friends about our engagement the day but the rest could wait.

Dating and having a career is challenging but it can be done. Don’t be shy to cancel dates because of a project at work, or pushing dinner plans because you are trying to meet a deadline. If the person you are dating is truly supportive of your career they will understand. I hated rescheduling dates but I often did because of work. I didn’t think it was fair to the person I was dating to have to put up with me when I was fried from a bad day at work or let alone in a horrible mood that no amount of cosmos or food could fix. Sometimes we all need a personal mental health day to go home get chick-fil-a and watch a romantic comedy on Netflix and that is OKAY. I always felt it was better to reschedule vs go ahead with the date and end up in an argument or something because I was NOT at my best to start with.

Sometimes it’s hard to not talk about work when you are on dates but one rule I made was I allowed the first ten minutes of the date to be where we can talk about our days at work but after that no more work talk. I felt like this allowed me to truly “leave work at work” and be the true me and relax, unwind, and get to know the person across from me. 

Happy and Scared…

…at the same time.

My man and I are about two weeks into our reset as we call it and we hit our first real bump. I have been so happy and a little scared the last two weeks with him, but at this moment I am mostly scared. There are two sides to every story of course and this is simply my view so take it as you will.

He wasn’t truthful with me about our time apart when directly asked, on more then one occasion. I am not so upset about what happened, I am upset he felt he couldn’t tell me the truth about it. At the same time does he have to tell me the truth about it? We weren’t together and he was free to do what he wanted.

This subject (and a few martini’s and me already being scared about my PCOS) lead to some unkind words from me. I am not proud of it and I am sorry for the way I phrased a lot of things I said, but I am not sorry I expressed my fear on the topic. I spoke up for myself and what I needed in the moment and I needed to do that. Also, he isn’t taking any responsibility for his part in this fight and realizing that him not being truthful and concealing things twice, is really what set me off. His concealing things is what lead me to not be allowed into his home. Do I want a relationship with someone whose house I can’t enter?

The big problem was I wasn’t the only one who needed something last night. He hasn’t been feeling well and he needed rest – not my fear and picking at him. I knew he wouldn’t spend the night because he needed the rest (back story – I haven’t always reacted so well to this practice in the past as it makes me feel kind of abandoned. I have worked really hard not to feel that way and meet his needs but it makes me kinda sad still). I didn’t say anything when he went to leave because I really didn’t want him to feel bad or play into an old pattern. I must have looked pretty upset though because he said I did then asked why and I told him….I didn’t word it correctly and I should have. But I think he was so worried about me playing into that old pattern that he was waiting for it and maybe reacted poorly as well because of that expectation? or just because he didn’t feel well?

So my question to you today is how do you best compromise on a way to meet each others needs in the times you both have urgent needs?

Also, I am thinking of suggesting to him that we create rules of engagement when we need to talk about something serious or ‘fight.’ For example, 1) we only discuss the topic at hand – no old arguments 2) no serious talks after alcohol etc. I think these rules will help us communicate better and not fall into old, destructive habits. Does anyone out there have anything like this in their relationship?

At the end of the night I asked him how worried I should be about this ‘fight?’ He had the perfect response I needed in that moment. He looked me in the eye and said this conversation doesn’t change anything. That is my man and even if it doesn’t end up working out that was a wonderful moment of kindness and understanding. It was exactly what I needed and only someone who knows me would have been able to give m that. Hopefully we can continue setting our p(e)ace together and making a relationship based on this understanding and kindness.