Columnist Dana Ricci takes the first steps to happiness in her introductory relationship and sex column
So I guess it’s appropriate that I’m a little apprehensive about what to say first. I don’t want to come off as a total freak and scare you off. I don’t want to send the clinger vibe, that’s for sure, but if I overdo the whole playing-it-cool thing, I’m probably going to come across as stuck-up and apathetic, aren’t I?
Does any of this sound familiar?
One blaringly obvious thing about relationships is that they can be difficult as all hell. I’m not just talking about the long-term, Facebook-official, ‘we can eve talk about pooping now’ kind, but the ‘we hang out on the weekends at parties and stuff’ ones too.
We put ourselves through tears and lies and go half-crazy waiting for that call or meager text back. We leave hours worth of voicemails and Internet stalk exes. We wait weeks to hear from people who probably forgot about us a long time ago, meanwhile, letting our inboxes fill up with unanswered messages from people who would be more than willing to show us attention, if we only let them.
I know this because I’ve done all of it before, leading me to a simple and oft-forgotten conclusion: relationships are supposed to make us happy. While realizing this, I’ve been on both sides of the sucks-to-be-you fence during my consta-dating escapades.
At times, I’m the girl sniffling and driving around my hometown all night blaring Muse (I don’t even like Muse) and wondering how I let my heart get so wrecked. Other times, I’ve ignored message after heart-felt message of attempts at reconciliation while I lied through my teeth and my computer screen to the people who cared most about me. I’ve opened myself up only to be ignored to the point of hopelessly throwing in the towel, and I’ve even had the pleasure of dealing with the ‘since you’re not answering your phone I’m outside your house right now’ type.And you know what? I got sick of it.
Over the course of my serial dating, I’ve at times lost sight of where my own happiness comes into play. I’ve dealt with the adversities without realizing that I should probably be making salary for all the work I’m putting into something that still leaves me in low spirits. The reason we subject ourselves to these ties–whether it be a serious, monogamous relationship or a hookup buddy (yes, that’s a tie too)–is because being with that other person makes us feel good.
Once the relationship becomes a David Bowie labyrinth of anxiety and hurt feelings that outweigh anything positive, it’s kicked like the first keg of the night at a frat house.
Unfortunately, there are so many people who hold on to these dismal relationships. People cling to them for fear of giving up on something they’ve become so invested in, or losing the safety blanket of having someone around, rather than taking the world on alone with no one to snuggle and watch “Swamp People” with.
Once I realized how often I’ve stayed in relationships far past their expiration date, I went into a no-nonsense mode. The minute things in my relationships started to bother me, I’d swoop in on an opportunity to either start changing things or jump ship before I spend too much time making my hyperactive brain worry about it. I’m supposed to be happy, damnit, and if I’m not then clearly something has gone wrong.
Until recently though, I hadn’t realized how unfair I was being. I had this ultimatum state of mind in order to protect myself from getting hurt. Meanwhile, I expected to hide behind my over-sized, green-blue eyes and curtain of straight hair, guilt tripping the poor people stuck dating me into thinking that I was right and they were wrong.
Then I realized that I was just as bad as everyone I complain about. While happiness is the goal to attain, fairness is just as important.
So I’m going to go ahead and make the first move. I hope to share the knowledge I’ve gained from the mistakes I’ve made, and seen other people make, so hopefully you won’t go down that awful road, too.
In this column, I hope to cut out a little bit of the heartache and nonsense that people subject themselves to in the name of love. I’m going to be tough on others and myself because honestly folks, there are a few too many heavy hearts out there for my liking.
So, if that guy hasn’t answered your texts in three weeks, delete his number. If hanging out with someone only because they want to sleep with you makes you feel used and worthless, stop sleeping with him or her. No, you and your ex are not best friends because you know everything about each other. And if your girlfriend is constantly blowing off your plans for her friends, she clearly has a different priority set than you do.
The bottom line: sex, love and relationships are supposed to bring us happiness – and sometimes babies in the case of the former. When they don’t, they become a yoke that makes even one more lonely night of watching “Swamp People” look like fun.
Dana Ricci can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.