Hey Reddit mods – this is Melissa from JALBC aka melmelcarammel on Reddit, proving to you that I own this site
I stumbled on a note I’d saved about an article I wanted to write on “how you know your relationship is working” and of course, being a math-y nerd, there are obviously some statistics involved here! To make matters worse, I actually had the conversation with a math-y nerd ex of mine over iMessage the other day, so consider it double-nerd certified. This is my personal metric for determining whether or not I want to continue dating my human.
Here’s the bullet point form:
- When you meet someone, you get to discover them and yourself with them and given the information you gather, you choose whether or not to continue the relationship.
- If you choose to continue the relationship, you get to decide every day anew if you wish to continue it further (to the “next level”)
- Some days, for minor reasons, you won’t want to continue the relationship. Certain behaviours can annoy each other, or certain things you will discover about them or yourself will cause some doubt.
- On those days, you rely on the overwhelmingly “bigger picture” to stay in it.
First off – I am not talking about constantly evaluating and re-evaluating your partner and relationship. You’re not putting it on trial, but its important, for the sake of a happy relationship, to keep track of how much (what percent) of your relationship is happy.
Remember that scene in Sex and the City where Samantha tells one of the other girls that her gauge of whether a relationship is working depends on the amount of smiling to frowning? This is the same idea – the number of good days to bad days.
If you’re looking to achieve a relationship of 100% good days, well, good luck to you but also, this is the real world and going in with that mentality will shock you on the days when you realize your partner smells bad, or does something annoying, or stupid.
I like 90% good days. In math terms, that means that of the 365 days a year I interact with my partner, I am comfortable with 36.5 days of being driven crazy.That’s 3 days a month of not liking my human. I can live with that. More than that, I start to wonder if it is worth taking the relationship to the “next level” or continuing it. (By the way, if you think this is too logical of a way to calculate this, think of even your best friend or family — do you love being around them 100% of the time? Even with my best friend of 10 years now, who I get along with probably more than any one on this planet, we have our little spats.)
Ok – what’s your metric for gauging whether or not a relationship is working? I’m especially curious to hear from my married folks here! Just leave a comment on the article, you can even use the Facebook plugin!
Not sure you should be getting the guy or girl you’re dating a gift? Yeah, it can be awkward if you’re the only one showing up with presents — I’d just ask, if I were you. Personally, if you’ve been dating long enough to think about spending the holidays together (Christmas or New Year’s), a $50 gift limit is pretty reasonable. I’ve put together a short list of cool gifts that fit a lot of different types — you can also use this as an inspiration for your own ideas!
- Marc Jacobs “Shorty The Boxer” iPhone Case via Nordstrom $48 Great for girly-girl types.
- iPod Shuffle via Apple $49 A perfect present for a gym rat, no more putting your iPhone at risk on the treadmill!
- Fred M Nesting Dolls Measuring Cups via Amazon ~ $10 (Whoa!) Bakers and cooks will love these cute and space-friendly measuring cups.
- Chunky Zip Leather Gloves via Topshop $48 Sophisticated chic meets rocker-cool.
- Aerobie Aeropress Coffee and Espresso Maker via Amazon $26* A bonus if you spend a lot of time at his place.
- Club Monaco “AHHHHH” Knitted Hat via Club Monaco $62 Great for the low-maintenance, subtle fashionist-o outdoorsy type.
- Origins “Fire Fighter” After-Shave lotion via Origins $18 Every guy would enjoy making his daily shave a little more pleasant and a little less painful.
- Four Roses Small-Batch Bourbon (Not available online, visit here for distributor info) $35-45 Delicious bourbon!
*A quick, easy way to brew delicious, low-acidity coffee! Thanks to my friend B. for introducing me to Aeropress coffee!
**Disclaimer: JALBC, LLC does not receive any compensation or affiliate returns for providing the links above. Happy shopping!
I dare you to ask three happily married couples to tell you about the beginning of their relationship. Pick three of your friends, relatives, colleagues — anyone, really — and just ask them the following question:
What dating rules did you and your partner follow when you first started seeing each other?
I’ve asked three people for you while researching this article. I’ve actually asked more than three people but here are some of my favourite responses:
- “We slept together on the first night.” – Woman, happily married for 15+ years.
- “We got engaged after 2 weeks.” – Couple, happily married for 30+ years.
- “I bought her a puppy so she would follow me to my city.” – Man, happily married for 5+ years.
From my own observations, I’ve seen great couples, including two of my best friends, start from a casual hookup-fling type relationship. I’ve seen beautiful, multi-year courtships end in utter failure, I’ve seen love at first sight, second sight and no-sight. I’ve seen the fairy-tale story and the nightmare. There is no template.
So what does this all mean?
It means throw out all the rules, except one rule — the rule where you do what feels right, no matter how wrong it seems. By the way, “right” and “wrong” are terms we’ve constructed ourselves. They don’t mean anything. At the risk of putting your heart through a meat grinder (you’ll be fine, I promise), remember that no great story ever started within the confines of your comfort zone. They always happen when you’ve stepped out, even with a tip-toe.
So what next? Does this mean you should go out and shag your next first date? Sure, if you want to and it feels right, do it. Does it mean you should tell someone you love them? Hmm, maybe – if you really think you love them, so think about what that means to you. Should you move in with someone? Get engaged to someone? Marry someone? Yes, yes, all of the above yes. Timelines don’t matter. Only you matter.
Get crazy, kids.
In dating, we have to process a lot of data from both ourselves and our potential love interests. We’re given information about our own feelings in our words and actions and even more information from our partners’. But, not all of that information is the truth. Without trying to sound as cynical like Dr. House, the truth is that everybody lies.
We even lie to ourselves; whether we do so by refusing to believe or accept a situation or simply deluding ourselves because sometimes reality can be so much harder to face, we do it.
And our potential love interests? They do it too because often times, telling the truth means burning your bridges. It means rejecting someone you’re not sure you want to reject. It means a lot of things so we have to filter out all of the information so that we can get as close to the truth as possible.
That’s often not easy because people spend a lot of time carrying on an illusion. They’ll text you, call you, see you, kiss you, spend time with you, buy you things, share moments with you, share intimate things with you — but that’s not necessarily representative that they’re really with you. And, when it comes to men and women, we express our interest in someone differently.
So what is it that you need to look for?
Well, its easier for me to start by telling you what not to look for and I want to bring in an analogy that really resonated with me — that of a boxer’s hips. You see, in fighting, when you want to figure out your opponent’s next move, you don’t watch their arms or their feet. To figure out where they’re going next, where their body is going to move to — you have to watch the hips. Everything else can be misleading. As someone who’s been in martial arts for the better part of 10 years, knowing that has certainly saved me from a few bruised ribs and applying that to my dating life has saved me from the heartache of dealing with guys who “just weren’t that into me” and enjoying the guys who were.
Here’s what you need to watch — the “hips” of dating:
Baby, talk is cheap. Hear the words, but don’t take them to heart. When a girl’s into a guy, he occupies her headspace (or mindshare) and that means she wants to spend time with him and actually does. Time doing something or time doing nothing. She will give up her time for other things to spend time with him. You’ve got a girl telling you she’s into you but can’t hang out for the next two weeks because “she’s just soooo busy?” Unless those two weeks are spent overseas, I’ve got some bad news — she’s not into you enough to see you over going to her manicure* — she’s just not that into you.
*Or any other “me” time that a girl will gladly give up when she’s crushing.
Baby, talk is still cheap. And with men, its even cheaper than with women. When a guy digs you — really digs you — you know it because he’s pursuing you. He’s setting up the 3rd date before the 1st one is over. He’s pushing it forward because you, much like the antelope in the mind of whatever wild animal eats antelope, have become a target he wants to acquire and he will do whatever it takes to do so. You know, unless he’s not that into you. So when it comes to the guys — if they’re telling you they’re into you but not actually asking you out, not actually making the plans and stepping up to the plate — sorry, he’s just not that into you. Because another thing guys are great at is going along for the ride and trying on for size a relationship with a girl that they might not be super into. You don’t want to be that girl.
Avoid the bruised heart (and ego) that comes from pursuing someone just not that into you.
Mel x JALBC
After a few weeks of some undercover recon work grilling the guys I’ve grown to love and then putting their advice to the test, I bring you the girls’ counterpart to this article about what guys should never have in their rooms.
I poked, I prodded, I plied with beer and they spilled…and I have the hilarious text messages to prove it.
Here are the top 6 mentions:
1. Clothes strewn all over the place – as the Jerk from this post said, “girls can either be really clean when they try, or really messy” and simply put, tis’ a turn-off. He wasn’t the only guy to mention it, actually 4 out of 6 guys I interviewed in person brought this up as a no-no.
2. A Bible – specific religion aside, the guys said that a Bible out in the open can freak them out a little bit. One on the bookhelf or in a drawer? No problem.
3. Ex-boyfriends’ anythings – the Jerk specifically brought up old boyfriends’ war medals but the general sentiment from all the guys was that tokens, trinkets, and memories between you and an ex belong in the trash — or at least well-hidden in that memory box you have sitting in your closet. Pictures are ok, especially if they’re mixed in with photos of family and friends (as in, there’s not a shrine to your guy somewhere) but take that framed “True Love 4Eva” pic off the nightstand.
4. Men’s clothing – this is a particularly tough one for me because I actually wear men’s clothing on a regular basis, that I’ve purchased myself. Cue the khakis I borrowed-stole from a good friend last summer, one of my buddy’s cool bracelets, and my favourite oversized shirts-to-wear-as-dresses and the 5-pack of Fruit of the Loom Men’s V-Necks I happen to love. But, again, across the board, all the boys said this is a no-no. They’ll just wonder, do you stockpile men’s clothes as souvenirs from your shags? Do these guys strut the stride of pride sans shirts? These are things they’d rather not be thinking about!
5. Condoms* – Ok so these are not all condoms in general but rather, too many condoms. 1 of the test subjects specifically used the words “unjustified condoms” as in “she didn’t try to justify them by saying something about only having them just in case.” You know I love you guys, and you know I’m here to push the limits and get results and here’s what I will tell you — be prepared, always, but don’t have the whole condom aisle in your nightstand drawer. It freaks guys out. Same goes with a half-used bottle of sex lotion. There’s a way to be classy about the whole thing, as ironic as that sounds.
6. Porcelain dolls – 100% of the guys I quizzed said they had zero issue with girls having stuffed animals in their rooms. They said they expect it, they accept it, they deal with it. But that same 100% said it freaked the hell out of them when they saw a girl’s porcelain doll collection. I’m totally gonna agree with this one and hell, I’m a girl but those dolls with their creepy dead eyes freak me out too!
Special thanks to the guys who contributed answers to this post, you know who you are and I won’t out you Weigh in with your own suggestions and get ready as we prepare to dig for more dirt with next week’s post.
Mel x JALBC
Last week, I read this article about winging for your friends. Let’s face it, most people suck at being others’ wingman or wingwoman because of 2 reasons:
- They can’t genuinely turn on interest for a person they’re not attracted to physically.
- A lot of people are selfish and want a person they find attractive all to themselves.
There are a few core concepts to being your friend’s wing that I’ve been able to flesh out over the past couple of years by not only winging for my friends (you’re welcome, Dan) but for my clients as well (don’t worry, I won’t out you on here!).
I’m not going to share all of the details but I did want to comment on this article because I disagree with the following statement:
It’s not your fault that your friend is shy, and it’s not your fault that you yourself are attractive to guys. I’m definitely not suggesting that you roll over and play dead whenever a cute guy is in the vicinity of you and your friend.
It actually is your fault if you’re attractive to someone! If someone you know is asking you to wing for them, its because they already know that you rock at interacting with the opposite sex. So it could mean you’re simply hot, and then you don’t get any credit, or it could mean you know exactly what to say, how to say it, and when to say it to keep someone interested in talking to you (hooked, so to speak).
With that said, going back to my reasons as to why friends are bad wing-people, its because most people will write off even talking to someone if they don’t find them attractive. So, while you’re wanting to chat up that babe and your friend/wing is left with the sloppy seconds, they’re unable to turn on the charm and woo the friend while you get to swoop in and chat up your hot target. Being a good wingman means you need to be genuinely engaging — regardless of whether or not you’re interested. My advice: pick something about the person you’re talking to that you find genuinely interesting (a topic, something they said, something they’re doing or wearing). People can spot fakes a mile away. You’ll be surprised at what often comes out of these interactions (hot friends!)
The second reason is the exact opposite — let’s say you send your friend in to break the ice and they find that person hot, you’ve now lost both of them into their own flirty convo. Part of being a good wingwoman is knowing what’s yours and know what’s theirs. Now I am totally guilty of having pulled a robbery recently when I stole this really beautiful man that I had approached to introduce him to my friend. Blame it on the a-a-a-alcohol, which is why I don’t drink when I’m on the job for real clients, it’s just had the prettiest blue eyes and kind looked like Dr. Avery from Grey’s Anatomy, but I digress. When you’re winging for your friends and trying to keep the spotlight on them, don’t be a cheerleader (“OH MY GOOOODDDD, KATIE LOOOOOVES THAT BAND, YOU GUYS SHOULD TOTALLY TALK” because that’s just annoying) and don’t completely detract from your awesomeness (your ego probably can’t handle it anyway!), just be what I like to call enthusiastically factual.
For example say:
“Portugal, the Man? I think Lindsey went to see their show at insert-random-venue here last year! She thought they were great, I am more into other types of dirty hippie music.”
“Portugal, the Man? LINDSEY* LOVES THAT BAND. TOTALLY TAKE HER. Like for real, like now.”
If you’re looking to become a wingwoman/wingman – JALBC is looking for interns. If you’re interested in hiring a wingwoman/wingman, we also offer that service. We will rep you in the best light possible but also teach you how to be your own wingman! Please e-mail cupid [at] jalbc [dot] com with inquiries.
Mel x JALBC
*Lindsey is the JALBC Exec Assistant. I use her in examples all the time. Nothing I say about her on this blog should be taken seriously. She has never heard of Portugal, the Man.
Hello hello! JALBC‘s relaunched the biz blog and now that I’ve restructured my contract with JDate.com™ to only write 1 article a month for them, you’ll be receiving a lot more articles on this blog! From dating advice to the cool events in town I’ll be attending now that the weather is well…not so cool, to the what’s what of the the JALBC news, be sure to check back for regular updates.
We’ll start the week with a nice little link roundup:
Read this article from The Date Report about the 10 Things Guys Should NOT Have In Their Bedrooms. I’ve spent the last week interviewing the man panel (you know, the wickedly smart men that I use to pick their brains for the benefit of you, my dear readers) to find out what girls shouldn’t have in their rooms — you’ll find what they’re ok with pretty shocking — and that article will be posted sometime this week.
Read this article from Refinery 29 that I wrote about Where To Meet Your Boyfriend In Chicago. This piece holds one of my most effective tips: that the easiest place to meet a quality guy is somewhere where you’re doing something and no, drinking doesn’t count.
Also, this week is JALBC’s first “Ask A Hottie” post— this is where you ladies can send over the questions you’re too afraid to ask a man but that I’m not, and I’ll torture politely ask them to the current week’s volunteer. Answers will be posted every Friday.
This week’s specimen (who wrote this text message) is the “pretentious surgeon” aka my date to the symphony, who’s agreed to help me “pen an article about the pitfalls of dating pretentious surgeons.”
Any questions for him? He’s pretty hot, smart, Ivy-League educated, quite a catch, and brutally honest.
Send them over to mel [at] jalbc [dot] com with subject line Question for the jerk and I’ll make sure to ask away.
Questions must be received by 5pm Thursday 3/22/2012 to be eligible for Friday’s post and if you request it, I will post them anonymously. You can also tweet them to @jalbc_mel with the hashtag #askjalbchottie
You can also volunteer to be one of the future Hotties. We’re taking requests for the week of April 1. You don’t need to be single but you must be prepared to answer some tough questions!
Mel x JALBC