Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Put Your Girls First

I try to follow one major rule with respect to my girl friends: I try my best not to choose boys, or the distant possibility of a relationship with them, or the certain chance of a meaningless though possibly fun tumble with them, over my girls.

Why is this? Because during the last fifteen years of dating, while a lot of men have come and gone, the relationships that have lasted are the ones that I have developed with my girl friends. I love them, I'm fiercely loyal to them, and I want them to know that with me they come first.

But, I'm weak sometimes. I make mistakes. For example, the last time I flew to Detroit I had plans to see one of my closest friends, Wood. Unfortunately, that trip happened to be just at the time that my relationship with EXBF was self-combusting. I was a distraught, confused, sobbing mess for big chunks of the weekend. And, when the subject of breaking up was raised, I chose to stay in the car with EXBF to try to once and for all sort out our stuff instead of visiting with Wood. That whole time still makes me feel sad to think about. It makes me sad to think how sad I was. It makes me sad to think that though I loved EXBF it didn't work out with him, and it makes me sad that I chose not to see a friend for a boy that became dead to me just a month later.

After EXBF and I broke up, I became stronger. Or, more accurately, I rediscovered through the haze of pain surrounding me how strong I actually was. Somehow, during the three years of my tumultuous interaction with EXBF, I had forgotten some of my strengths. I had forgotten that I do not in fact need a boy to give my life purpose. I can't believe I just wrote that sentence, because the flip of it is that I had come to feel that I needed him and our relationship to give my life purpose. Oh, Buttercup, how low you had fallen! But, remember, I was in love, depressed, worn down by months and months of having my heart stomped to pieces, and stressed out beyond belief by my toxic job. I was not in a good place. My future was horribly uncertain. Sometimes in the midst of things, it's hard to see them for how destructive they actually are.

Flash forward to just recently. I had been out to dinner with Tapas Boy once and we were trying to set up another date but were having some scheduling issues. He could only do a Thursday and was saying that he really wanted to see me and since our first date had been so great I really wanted to see him, so I decided against my better judgment to forego my weekly Thursday night ANTM viewing with Lakshmi and agreed to go out with him. There, I said it, once again, I chose a boy over spending time with one of my girls. A week after that decision, guess who was still around and guess who had become MIA?

As you all know, Tapas Boy and I ended up going out last minute on Wednesday instead of Thursday, because he couldn't break his plans with his friend on Thursday night, and after a decent Date #2, I didn't hear from the boy for 8 days. Although I ended up not cancelling with Lakshmi for Thursday, the part that bothers me is that I was ready to cancel on her for a boy that I had been on only one date with that I thought I might like. I didn't even like him. I just thought I might like him. The other reason I was ready to cancel was that I knew Lakshmi would understand, and also that she would enjoy herself without me watching ANTM. My close girl friends are all like that. They understand my weaknesses, yet they love and support me. They forgive me when I make mistakes, which just makes me want to try even harder not to make them. But still, I didn't behave like the type of woman I aspire to be.

Well, not this week, brother. This week, I am being the woman I want to be. I am being a woman worthy of my amazingly wonderful girl friends. I'm putting me first and I'm putting them first.

Exhibit #1: After spending Friday night with River, I spent parts of Saturday thinking that I liked him. I was a little bubbly inside and a flicker of hope was unfurling inside of me. I thought for a second wistfully and a tad regretfully that I had made my trip to Mexico so long. By 3:00 am Saturday night, after he had texted me and I had texted him the location at which I was drinking and after he had texted me back that he was in a different location drinking and that we would "be in touch," and after he had failed to materialize, the flicker of hope died, I felt the stab of vulnerability striking again, and I decided that he was a player and that it was impossible to have sex without becoming emotionally attached. Don't worry, I also flirted at the bar with a bunch of very cute boys, so it wasn't like I let me evening be ruined, but I still felt a tiny bit let down.

I could have (easily) spent the remainder of the weekend obsessing, berating myself for getting involved on any level with River, or feeling bad that I had made myself vulnerable. But, guess what? I didn't do that. I decided that the past was the past and I wasn't going to worry about it. If River just wanted to take me on dates, call me, and text me to sleep with me, fine. It was a nice cleansing experience. He's gorgeous and I most certainly do not regret being that close to his beautifully smooth, perfectly muscled, chocolate brown body. What's done is done. Instead, I just pushed him out of my mind and started getting excited for my trip. I didn't even worry about it! Go me! (Update: He called and wants to see me before I go. I'll keep you posted).

Exhibit #2: After Tapas Boy emailed me last Thursday to tell me that he was unavailable, I waited five days, until late last night, to email him back and let him know that I was going on vacation this Friday. Wouldn't you know that Tapas Boy immediately emailed me back and wanted to know if I was available tonight for a drink. I don't think so. a) I have plans with Lakshmi. b) Even if I didn't have plans, I most certainly would not make myself available to a boy who had waited 8 days after our last date to make contact. I mean, puh-leeeeeeze.

So, there you have it. I chose me over one boy and my girl friend over the other one. Two excellent choices in one excellent week. I'm proud of me.


Willow said...

Hi Buttercup!
I really loved this post--you said it girl! I spent too much time in my slightly younger years playing with the boys, and unfortunately some of my best friendships suffered because of it. I'm thankfully more conscious(sp?) of my behavior and the consequences that go with it. My goal is to reknew all those friendships that have gotten away from me over the years.

Have fun in Mexico! Enjoy your time off! I'd say I was envious, but I finally have the job I've been after for two years so, so I won't allow myself to be!

Thanks for the Congratulations!


DAV said...

Well as they say Chicks before Dicks, right?

That was almost Laconic verse

Blonde Justice said...

I was about to say "Chicks before dicks!"

Ha, read my mind.

Sparky Duck said...

now you are thinking with your ovaries!

Buttercup said...

Willow - That's an admirable goal. I was in that same place several years ago. After finally getting the job you've been after, you've no reason to be envious. You should be proud of yourself!

Dav and Blonde Justice - That's hilarious. Clearly I should have entitled the post "Chicks Before Dicks" ... except that I have some issues with the word "Chick" but that's a story for a different post. I'm down with the sentiment though!

Sparky - We ovaried creatures must stick together.

Starshine said...

I'm proud of you, too! Isn't it funny that as soon as you started making your own plans and living your life for you, the boys came a callin'? That awesome! :)

Gregory A. Becerra said...

I think you are confusing a few issues.

1) Who you put first in your life is who you will have the best chance of a relationship with. If you put friends first, then you probably won't have a healthy relationship with a guy. If you put the guy first, you probably won't have a healthy relationship with friends (men or women). Whichever you choose, the other tends to become casual relationships.

If you have any desire of having a significant person in your life, that will always be with you until one of you die (or one kills the other), then THAT person is your mate whether you choose to have sex with him/her or not. If you say your friends come first, then that friend or those friends are your defacto mate(s). You are transferring this aspect of your life to them and will probably be let down eventually just like the recent men in your life seem to have done.

I never really got this point until I got married. My married friends seemed aloof always running back to their wife and/or kids. Now I get it. They HAVE to come first. If your mate doesn't come first, this is a pretty good sign that they are only a friend or lover, not someone you really want to spend your life with.

On the other hand, many people don't want the life relationship and just want friends and lovers. Nother wrong with that as long as you are honest with people about it.

At some point your friends are going to put their mates before you, and they are correct to do so. You will do this again too. As you probably know, it is much easier to talk about love when you are on downtime rather than when you are standing in the middle of it. When you get into another relationship, it is very difficult to listen to yourself or other people. So to protect yourself you have to establish your standards and stick to them in the beginning before you start getting attached.

2) What percent of relationships start in bars/clubs? And are these men still with you? Friends, yes. Lovers, definately. Life mates, rare. It is harder, but better to meet people in places where you are doing something you think you'll do the rest of your life.

How many men are close friends? As close as a woman friend. If you can't be friends with a man, you won't have a lot of success putting up with them for very long.

3) I noticed you had a lot of negative things to say about your previous job. And I also noticed that you have some negative things to say about some men in your life. This is only for your personal consideration so please don't feel you have to respond to this. What other things have you been negative about? Are there a lot of things? If you are negative about more than one thing there is usually a commonality: something that these share in common besides just you. In other words there is somthing in your life that might be causing you stress and spilling over into other portions of you life. Maybe your job stressed you out and so makes it difficult to find a decent guy because it is so distracting. Or the other way, you may be frustrated with guys and taking it out on other things.

4) Saying your friends come first now is placing a lot of expectation on your friends and family. They probably love you, but they have lives too. For example, you wrote that your sister is having a baby and that is going to take a lot of her time. She has to put the baby first, and probably her husband or partner, second. This doesn't mean she thinks bad of you, just that she has to take care of her life. She'll probably make a lot of room in her life for you, but it would be harmful for her to put you before her baby or mate (assuming a good relationship).

And, when you put someone first (friend or family), that puts some expectation in your own mind, whether you admit it to yourself or not, that they are going to do the same and put you first. That isn't reality. And it is unfair to yourself, because you will miss out on some great personal relationships that could be more than just friends.

5) Dating is hard if you are looking for more than sex because you are trying to pick 1 person out of 6.5 billion people (or 3.25 if you are heterosexual, or maybe less if you narrow down to a certain geographic location).

Buttercup said...

Gregory - I'm not confused. To respond briefly: (1) When I meet the man that I want to spend the rest of my life with, he will be first, and I completely support my female friends who have significant partners and/or children putting those individuals first. (2) I already have a shrink and I don't need another one, certainly not someone who is trying to suggest that I'm just filled with negativity. If you knew me or had read my posts with an open mind, you would realize that that assumption is off base. (3) None of my relationships have started in bars or clubs and I've actually had many very fulfilling relationships with men.

Though you may just be trying to help, you are off base.

InterstellarLass said...

HA HA! You go girl! I'm glad to see you taking it back. One of these days these guys are going to realize that girls know their player ways and we are smart enough to spot it and play right back. Pah!

Buttercup said...

Thanks Lass!!