Posts Tagged ‘relationships’

pop goes the world: no such thing as mixed signals

POP GOES THE WORLD  By Jenny Ortuoste for Manila Standard-Today,  16 February 2012, Thursday

No Such Thing as Mixed Signals

Ah, Valentine’s Day. For couples in a relationship, it’s a happy romantic time, roses and chocolates blah blah.

But for some singles, it’s bleak – feeling alone even when in the company of friends, wondering when the Universe will get its act together and drop your soulmate in your lap.

It’s downright painful for other singles, especially women, who are waiting on a beloved to say, “Yes, you’re the one I love. I can’t imagine life without you. Marry me.” And are still waiting. And waiting…

The man will often have an excuse – I have to take care of personal issues first, I don’t make enough money yet for us to set up together, istrik ang ferents ko. The woman will wait, hoping things would get better.

This happened to me, not too long ago. I’d been clinging, hoping for a change, rationalizing to myself that the mixed signals he was sending stemmed from his personal challenges. That it was just a matter of me being patient and giving him the space to work things out then hey, maybe, our time would come.

An older gentleman at work – a lawyer, rational and logical – hearing my story, said with extreme kindness, “He’s not sending mixed signals. He’s being very clear. He won’t commit. Now can you bear that? If yes, then let it go on the way it has been. Otherwise, the next step is up to you. It’s not up to him, because he’s already told you where he stands – and it’s not in your corner.”

I’d fallen into the trap most women do. We hang on hoping he’ll come to his senses. That he’ll wake up, as if from a dream, and transform into kind of the man you’ve always wanted to have by your side. That he’ll realize we’re the love of his life and he can’t bear spending the rest of his life without us.

But for men, it is often quite clear. They’re not the ones sending the mixed signals – it’s the women in their lives who won’t accept what they trying to say – “I won’t commit to you”.

Comedian and now relationship guru Steve Harvey says in his book “Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man” that a man doesn’t show his love the way a woman does. Women will sacrifice and endure all for the sake of love. Their love is boundless, unconditional, and encompassing.

A man’s love, says Harvey, is no less powerful but expressed differently, in three ways – profess, provide, protect. First, profess. He’ll tell everyone you’re his lady, his woman, the love of his life. “In other words, “ says Harvey, “you will have a title – an official one that far extends beyond ‘this is my friend’ or ‘ this is (insert your name here).” A man who professes you as his own claims you as his, that “he has plans for you. He sees himself in a long-term, committed relationship with you.”

Next, provide. It’s ingrained in a man’s DNA, says Harvey, that “a man who loves you will bring that money home to make sure that you and the kids have what you all need. That is our role – our purpose…[that] the people we love need want for nothing.”

Last, protect. “When a man truly loves you, anybody who says, does, suggests, or even thinks about doing something offensive to you stands the risk of being obliterated. Your man will destroy anything and everything in his path to make sure that whoever disrespected you pays for it.”

So, ladies, wake up. If he doesn’t call you his lady, if he’s not by your side right now, if he didn’t put a ring on your finger, then he’s not the one. Accept that, thank him for the good times, and move on.

You deserve much better. You deserve the title, the bacon, the protection. You deserve to spend the next Valentine’s Day in someone’s warm embrace, the kind of hug that won’t let you go.

* * * * *

Poets Joel Toledo, Karen Kunawicz, and others will read poetry at the Freelance Writers’ Guild of the Philippines’ OpenBook event tomorrow night, Friday, February 17, at Chef’s Bistro, 94 Sct. Gandia, Quezon City. Entrance-plus-drink is P200. A portion of the proceeds will help fund projects for Typhoon Sendong victims.

FWGP founder Ime Morales convinced me to read a couple of poems. I don’t fancy myself a poet. But all I can do is try my best. Feel free to bring eggs and tomatoes to hurl at the stage. I can always make an omelette. ***  

Carabineers here. Steve Harvey book image here. FWGP logo here.

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advice from the young

I have two daughters and they are very wise, wise beyond their years.

Living with them is like having “Dear Abby” at my beck and call. They are ready to dispense advice when I ask for it and consolation and comfort when I’m a depressed puddle of goo. As a mom, I must’ve done something right for them to turn out so level-headed and well-adjusted – or so I’d like to think. Most likely they’ve turned out well despite me, not because of me. Parenting is often by trial-and-error and we are blessed when our kids grow up to be fine people notwithstanding our mistakes.

Ik is 12 and Alex is 19. Their thoughts on relationships and other topics:

On people who hate on you:
Ik: “Haters gonna hate. They’re wasting their time, using their negative energy to devise ways to hate you – it’s not benefiting them.”
Alex: “”You jelly?” They just jelly.”

On being dumped:
Alex: “It’ll hurt for a while, but you were okay before them. What makes you think you won’t be okay after?”

On divorce:
Ik: “It’s good to not keep yourself attached when you’re not in love anymore and it’s awkward when you’re sharing the same house and bed and “Hiiii.” It’s a good idea to just get them out of your life.”
Alex: “Bring out the divorce cake!”

On exes:
Alex: “Wish them happiness. Don’t wish them run over by a tractor.”

On communicating with your exes:
Ik: “Don’t.”
Alex: “If they were real bleeps, cut off all communication. And body parts.”

On being single:
Ik: “Enjoy life while you can, and don’t fret about being single because it’s fun to not be obligated to be attached to be one person. And you save more because you don’t spend too much money on Valentine’s Day.”
Alex: “Oh, well.”

On failed relationships:
Ik: “It’s the past, get over it! Let it go, because if it failed in the first place, you aren’t perfect for each other and you should just get over it instead of showing up on their lawn drunk going “I miss yoooou.” And search for the right one instead.  Lots of people have wasted their lives over people who aren’t even the right one.”
Alex: “What about?”

On life in general:
Ik: “Make the most of it because life is short.”
Alex: “What she said.”

Bonus advice from Alex and Ik!
On pizza:
Ik: “It’s great, it’s delicious, I love it! Shakey’s, Pizza Hut, or Yellow Cab? All three.”
Alex: “If it comes with Mojos, all the better.”

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happens every day

From my bookshelves: Happens Every Day by Isabel Gillies (Scribner, New York: 2009).

She is beautiful, blond with bright blue eyes. She is intelligent, a graduate of New York University with a film degree. She is accomplished, having been an actress with a recurring role on the hit TV show “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit” as Detective Stabler’s wife. She is wealthy, her career and patrician family circumstances having left her well-off. And she married a handsome intellectual, a college professor of poetry with whom she had two wonderful sons.

Lucky, lucky woman, right?  Wrong. Her beauty, smarts, and children did not render her immune to her husband’s infidelity.

Isabel experiences a life-changing tragedy when “Sylvia”, a new professor from France, joins the faculty at the college where her husband teaches. In less than a month, her married life of six years goes from idyll to hell on earth, when Sylvia and Isabel’s husband “Josiah” begin an affair that breaks a family apart.

Attempting to confirm that Sylvia was her husband’s mistress, Isabel invites her to a movie and confides her fears about her husband’s involvement with someone else. Isabel’s other friends, when told, had reacted with shock and anger. Sylvia gives a nonchalant shrug and a heartless reply. “Happens every day,” she says.

It’s the story of a woman’s heartbreak, a marriage that ends in divorce, and a family that ends up separated, an old sad story that too many of us know well from personal experience. What makes Isabel’s story worth reading is how well she describes the pain of rejection, the devastation that comes after, and the healing that follows.

Isabel’s narrative is easy to relate to. It’s about having to watch the one you love most in the world slip away before your eyes into another’s arms, and being helpless to stop it despite all your attempts to keep together. But relationships need both people to survive, and not just one, and the end was inevitable. At that point, she chose to stay strong and focused on her sons, and moved on to an even better life.

Here’s the part where Isabel realizes that her marriage has broken down beyond repair:

He was shaking and heaving sobs. I knew this cry. This was the cry of someone whose heart was breaking.

“No, no, no. No, Bully. Whatever this is, stop it,” I said.

He cried even harder.

“Please, baby. Don’t go where you are going. Stop – we will be all right. Please, Josiah.”

“Nooo,” he groaned. “No, we won’t.” He could barely get the words out. “We won’t. I can’t do it. I can’t do it.”

“What? What can’t you do?” I said. I was crying now.

“I can’t do it. I can’t do it. I can’t,” he cried.

“Yes you can. Baby, please.  Stop,” I said.

But he was gone. I knew he was. He was leaving me and I knew from the way he was crying that he wasn’t going to come back. He had crossed a line and I was on the other side of it. He had decided and it broke his heart.

After the divorce, Isabel met and married “the love of her life”, lawyer and journalist Peter Lattman.  ”Josiah” (DeSales Harrison) married “Sylvia”; Isabel is now friends with them both.

Image of Isabel Gillies here.

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behrendt & tuccillo: he’s just not that into you

When He’s Just Not That Into You came out in 2004, I resisted buying a copy, even if one of my best friends got it, read it,  and loved it.

I thought, “It’s another one of those self-help baloney books that their authors write just to make money off a trend or something.” I don’t read self-help – I consider them too wimpy. I belong to the bury-your-problems-in-chocolate-ice-cream-and-then-pull-yourself-up-by-the-bootstraps-through-sheer-willpower school of survival.

But lately, a movie made from the book came out and I wondered, how could they turn a self-help book into a movie?

I didn’t watch the movie, but I bought the book. Nothing like going straight to the source to find what’s up.

Now I wish I had read it sooner. Written by a guy and a girl who have had their share of failed relationships, the book does tell girls how guys really think. It delivers valuable and practical insights about the murky world of male-female interpersonal communication.

Basically, what authors Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo, former Sex in the City writers, are saying is  - it’s no use over-analyzing a relationship. Guys tend to think one-track. And if they want out, they want out. If they tell you or show you in other ways that it’s over, accept that it’s over.

He’s not going to change his mind. He’s not going to come back. He might not come straight out and say, “I don’t love you anymore” – he may be too chicken for that or maybe doesn’t want to hurt you – but if he does, he’s telling you the truth.

Nothing you can say or do will change his mind.

If he cheats, it’s also over. Betrayal combines intent and deception. You don’t need that kind of disloyalty.

Best reaction: shut him out cold-turkey, and get on with your life, girl! In Filipino, we’d say, “Kung ayaw niya, ‘wag niya.” In other words – his loss, not yours.

Never ever beg or plead for a reconciliation. It just diminishes you in his eyes. It hurts, oh yes it hurts, but better to find out it’s not working sooner than later. Turn 180 on your high heels and walk away.

It will take a lot of strength and courage, but all of us women have that. That’s why ours is the real “stronger sex”. And it’s best to end a relationship with dignity, with your head held high, knowing that you tried your best to make it work.

As Greg says: “Don’t waste the pretty!” Make this your mantra.

Meanwhile, visualize yourself with the man of your dreams, someone who will truly love and respect you for who you are, because you are worth it!  Don’t ever settle for second-best anymore.

Behrendt continues this train of thought in his next book, written with his wife, Amiira Ruotola-Behrendt – “It’s Called a Breakup Because It’s Broken”.

Breakup_broken_book

When is this going to be made into a movie, I wonder?

Bottom line: great reads. And they’ve changed my mind about self-help books, because goodness knows ain’t no one gonna help you, baby, but yourself.

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