Here comes the bride…and the minister, and the caterers, the florist, the wedding planner, the makeup artist, the dressmaker, the hair stylist, the photographer and the lists and lists of family friends. 30 days into this deal and you are both ready to jump on a love boat, sail to Tahiti and get married there. Wow…who knew?
Here’s the thing about your wedding…it is your wedding in name and you may even be paying some of the costs, but, your wedding and his wedding are the time in life when parents, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends, everyone who ever had a hand in your upbringing and life get to celebrate their accomplishment – you. So, although everyone tells you this is ‘your day’ it is really their day, the payoff of all those years of, well, you know. So, let them enjoy your day that they (especially your mother) have helped to create.
Wow! Again, who knew it could be so expensive to get married? Let’s go over average costs.
How much does a wedding cost? A lot, it turns out.
Here’s what you should know about wedding costs and how to realistically estimate what you’ll spend to take the plunge.
Add it all up
Don’t bow to pressure from relatives, friends, social media or spending reports. Your wedding spending should align with your income, regular expenses and other financial goals.
Once you’ve established a budget, decided the kind of wedding you want and begun to compare costs, plug in the numbers.
What about a simple backyard wedding, reception? Can a lot of costs be reduced that way? Of course and during the time of Covid, more and more couples have been doing just that to minimize personal contact and maximize social distancing. So, before all the vendors start beating down your door, now is the time to have a talk with mom and dad, and/or the beloved, to see how much, realistically everyone wants to pay for this day. Yes, it is a very important day, however, it is one day and life does go on after. So, let’s pause and think.
Honeymoon and After
Best recommendation for honeymoon and after is to not spend too much time with mom, dad and family. They all mean well, they really do. But, try as they might, family simply cannot stop with giving advice. This is the birth of a new relationship, a marriage, and the two of you have to build that relationship. There will be fights and hard times. But, if every time there is a squabble over who takes out the trash, if you run home to mom, you are not building the steps to a strong relationship – with him. He needs to be your focus now, not your parents. Time to say good bye, (mom/dad/everyone) love you, and grow up. Growing up can be very difficult. However, you’ve had a good start, family and friends gathered around, lots of gifts, now it’s your turn. To use a corny over used phrase; ‘this is the first day of the rest of your life.’
Make it a good one.
Marriage and life ever after, well, material for another book!
Read more of Courtney’s writing in:
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How broken is that broken heart – really?
As a writer I have joined a number of writing groups, some good, some not so great. Although I have met a number of men in the various groups, never anyone who sent a zing! through my socks. I became mildly interested in the leader of my last group. I made myself available by attending one of his poetry get-togethers and inviting him to one of my events.
It seemed like we might have had something going on…for about five minutes when he closed up the group and disappeared from my life. Coincidental? Probably not. Had he thought about this? Probably. I was a little sad…but in retrospect, how often do I even think about him? Actually, fairly seldom. Meaning what? I wasn’t really in love, interested if he was interested. And…well…apparently not. Is my heart broken? Not really.
Cast your mind back and think about two different group of guys (or guy); the one(s) you think about over and over again and the one(s) you never think about. I recently went to a church event and a young man was there who was always nice to me. For the life of me, I could not remember his name. I thought about it all the way home and decided it was a D name like Daryl or Darren. I knew I had it written down at home somewhere. So, hunting around I found a card. His last name started with the D and the first name was Bill. I was so far off!
What does this mean? Probably that I think about him so seldom I can’t even remember his name. Whew! Is it that easy? Could be that little inner voice telling you things your rational mind chooses to ignore? Don’t ignore instincts. They are very useful.
Cyber Stalking: Don’t do this. It’s not dignified and it’s not even respectful. Personally, I have been stalked at least twice and it’s a terrible feeling, like being a prisoner in your own home. Plus, you’re always looking over your shoulder when you’re out.
We need to respect others and their choices. We need to respect ourselves. This behavior does not make you feel better, it makes you feel worse and small. If he is on your Facebook, Twitter account, delete him and resist the temptation to keep signing on and staring at that face again. Stop. There are a lot of fish in the sea and you the longer you spend on a lost cause, the longer it will take to find Mr. Right. Hang in there and do the right thing.
Speed Dating vs Rejection
Rejection never feels good in any setting: romantic, work or friendships. However, we can reframe the rejection thing. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? Does love at first sight exist?
“Yes, love at first sight can be an overwhelming sensation that feels like love but it isn’t, according to Robirosa. It is actually caused by a chemical reaction. “Basically, it’s a good match of endorphins between two people and in essence, it is an indication of strong physical attraction,” she says. “ By Lauren Levy Updated on 05/16/22
Love at first sight might not mean that you are destined to be together forever. However, psychologists also tell us that attraction to and from the opposite sex usually happens within just a few minutes. The way a person looks, acts, feels, sounds and even smells comes into our consciousness in a way that sends a message of “Yes! More of this!” or “No, thank you!”
Once again, we are learning to be guided by and to trust our intuition about who we have some real interest in or not.
A dating system that has gotten a lot of popularity recently is Speed dating. This is a get-together, usually in a restaurant or some public places. There you get together with a series of individuals and have a ‘speed’ date lasting about five minutes. Thereafter, you determine your interest or none in a person or persons you have met.
You can actually do this yourself if you think of life as a series of speed date situations. We can spend a lot of time nursing our wounds over individuals who have rejected us or appear to have no interest. We can also be thankful that those actions free us to move onto someone else who willbe interested.
Consider each interaction you have with a guy as a speed date. Trust me, if the male takes his time to interact with you and engage in conversation, he is interested. It is then up to you to decide, are you interested? Or not or maybe? You are conveying this information back to the guy with your expressions, your conversation, your smile and your willingness to ‘hang around’ a bit more. When you quickly leave the pool, the bar, the restaurant, the volley ball game, the whatever, you are conveying a certain message: not available, not interested. However, if you hang around a bit (not three hours) a different message is conveyed and the male will pick up on this quickly and understand it.
Don’t underestimate the power of attraction, it is important to a relationship the same way sex is important. Sex is often fueled by attraction. It’s not everything but it carries a lot of weight.
Shall I have sex with him?
Attraction is not always the same as compatibility. You may be sexually attracted to someone who is very much not the right guy. Be aware, if you become intimate with a man, it will be 50 times more difficult to bail out of the relationship than if you did not. Remember also, it is not just you getting hurt, the man gets hurt too. It can be a high price to pay on both sides. Sometimes it is better to deal with sexual frustration than a lot of lasting emotional hurt.
Is it that goober again?
How do you know there is some real interest there? A defining thing is consistency. He always smiles when he sees you, he remembers your name, he’s always friendly and nice to you. There is no hot-cold, on and off, back and forth and never knowing what the mood will be like today. If the guy is like that now, he will be like that….on going. You will never know where you stand or the true nature of your relationship. He may smile like a goober and that can be a very positive sign.
Is it him?
You have met the guy, somewhere. Maybe friends, maybe church, maybe a bicycle repair class, maybe school, perhaps on a trip…somewhere. He is consistent…he likes you. His face lights up when he sees you, he smiles, opens the door, brings you coffee. Then, it starts with little things, cards, small gifts, you meet his friends, he meets your friends. There are more small gifts, he does things for you, brings you things, fixes your car, offers to buy you Tylenol, cough syrup, orange juice, when you are sick. And so it goes. Things move on, he continues to tell you that he likes you and likes to spend time with you. You meet his family, he meets your family, they like you and you like them. Whoa.
When I was younger, I did not get the significance of meeting the man’s family. I just thought it was lunch (or dinner.) I really didn’t lock onto the significance of these meetings. Not until some years later did I realize that if the man has no serious intentions about you or the relationship, you will never meet his family, or children or close friends. I get that now and have learned it’s a serious sign. The family is sizing you up and deciding if you are okay for their son. Your family does the same thing. So, once again, listen to what goes on in these ‘casual’ meetings and take mental notes. You need to ask yourself, not just do I like them on the surface level, do we fit, mesh together? Are we cut from the same cloth?
Unfortunately, if the answer to these questions is no, not really, there could be problems down the line.
Yes, it is him
You have made up your mind. It is him, he’s the one. You fit with him and he fits with you. Ying and yang. You relax, you are ready for whatever comes next. And…
He asks you to get married. Wow! Then he stares at you with big puppy dog eyes and you want to start crying. You can’t tell if it is the puppy dog eyes or that you are so happy. Whatever, you say yes.
You call and tell your mother. She is hysterical, you father is proud, your older sister says something like “Oh, I knew it was just a matter of time.”
You sigh in a pink bubble of happiness. You and he go to your favorite French restaurant and celebrate and you are clothed in a warm, fuzzy pink blanket. All your dreams come true. For today.
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WHO DO YOU CALL – GHOST BUSTERS?
Suppose for a moment that you have a nice extended family; mom, dad, sister, brother, friends, so on. Usually speaking, if something weird happens ( you get the flu, Covid, run out of gas, have a foot in a cast and so on) you can call on one of these people for gasoline, water, juice and so on , as needed. Great, right?
Let’s imagine another scenario. Mom and Dad are on vacation, your brother has moved out of state and your sister and her new husband went on the cruise with Mom and Dad. Your friends are all busy working. You run out of gas, break your toe, lose your house key – who do you call?
Someone who will help you out, willingly, no strings attached, without resentment and with no real expectations of payback (sexual or otherwise.) Do you have such a person in your life? I have found, more times than one, the people or person I could call was a gay friend, not a straight friend. I have had a number of gay friends in my life, both male and female. They have been uniformly the most giving and caring people I have met. When I really need a friend, and I hate to ask for this thing (whatever it is), my gay friends step up when I would never, ever think of asking a straight guy the same thing.
Unfortunately, straight guys seem to mix up almost everything with sex. The slightest effort at conversation at the gym is translated into some kind of pick up line. It had gotten to be so bad for me, I rarely speak to men anymore unless they speak to me first. I have been dancing at social mixers when my partner (of five minutes) is at pains to explain to me how married he is. I do believe the next time a man does that I promise to say “Oh, good, well then, you should certainly be dancing with her,” and just walk off the floor. Men confuse niceness with sexual aggressiveness all the time. Can’t tell if is fear on their part or wishful thinking.
Anyway, when you run out of gas, and need a lift, you don’t want to feel like you have to ‘pay’ for your mistake later down the line. Now, maybe you do have a friend you can call (of either sex) who is willing to help you out. Good and cherish that friendship because there aren’t many like that.
The Alpha Male – Sports
Let’s face it, what woman doesn’t crave a big, strong man-virile, husky? It harkens back to the cave hunter days when men used to hunt down dinner and drag it home.
Of course, these days we mostly don’t live on the veldt and big game hunting is sort of passing out of style…still. In modern day’s terms, how does the modern man recapture those he-man hunting days? Sports!
Any of you that spent time recently watching the Super Bowl would have to admit, I believe, that the rough and tumble of the playing field today is just about a brutal as any historic caveman would have wanted. Now, for the sidelines, us.
Tune into ESPN any day of the week (while you’re at the gym on the treadmill) and you will have a chance to enjoy a mind numbing array of programs, announcers, presenters, athletes, father of athletes, coaches, team members and on and on. Who can keep up with all the names and numbers? The entire field of sports, sports figures, their statistics and lives are daunting. Is this is what is required to be the good girl friend?
No. And neither would most guys expect you to go hunting in a duck blind or ice fishing in a hut. They love that stuff! Let them have it and enjoy, don’t be jealous. However, if you ever expected your boyfriend to go with you to a chick flick (The Proposal, The Notebook, Jungle Cruise, all Disney movies,) you need to give the Devil his due.
Important Dates: Super Bowl Sunday. Usually in February. This is the High Holy Days of sports. To miss (or dismiss) this day is almost sacrilege. Mark it on your calendar, make it an event. Someone almost always hosts a party; go, take a dish, invite your girlfriends. Make it an event and even you might learn a little about football.
Kentucky Derby Day (May) – big with horse fans. Again, host a party, women wear hats, serve mint julips. Have fun and while the men are screaming at the horses you can casually fan yourself and sip iced tea.
Opening day for baseball. (Summer) Do you have to go to everyone? No. But opening day is big. Get tickets for a local team, maybe college. The pro-games are priced for, well, pros. Again, make it an event, invite your friends, he invites his friends. Maybe one of your girlfriends will meet someone nice. Win-win. Check it off your list.
Football/soccer – opening day (fall). Again, every game? Not hardly, but how about at least one, he will love you for it. Go before it gets too freezing cold. Men love that stuff. Once you have done your duty, you can snuggle, guilt free at home with a good romance novel and paint your nails!
Sports for you – in the interest of keeping the weight down and the healthy flush to your cheeks, you too should have at least one sport. Something you like, not something you hate because then you won’t do it. Explore and experiment, what do you like? Walking, power walking, hiking, swimming, biking, bowling? Try your hand and see what you gravitate too. If you try to ‘stick’ to something you really hate, 10 speed racing, to meet men, you will get discouraged and give up. If you meet ‘him’ at one of these events, he will become disappointed that you don’t want to do this anymore. Give both of you a break, keep to what is real for you.
Too Good to be True?
He’s tall, blond, blue eyed, handsome, wow! He’s adorable, sweet, sends cards, takes you to dinner, lunch, breakfast, skiing, fishing, and, and, and. Too good to be true?
This is the time when your mom is not your best friend. She wants you to get married. Your dad, maybe, but he may be very reluctant to say anything that interfer with that important walk down the aisle. If you have doubts, who can you really talk to and get the straight, skinny? Your very best friend is a good source. That is someone who loves you so much, they are usually willing to risk hurting your feelings to help you out. Also, your minister, priest, rabbi, therapist, etc. They are one step away from the problem and can be objective. Listen to those people. Once they have spoken, you need some alone time to process, mediate, get close to who and what you really are and what you want. Does this (male) puzzle piece fit? No one can ever really tell you what the truth is for you. You need to take some time to come to terms with your own truth. This can be meditation, walking the dog, going to church, riding a bike. Someplace where you can think.
That Really Important Question(!)
Once upon a time, it was common for girls to live at home until they were married. That age could be nineteen or twenty nine! It was also common for mom and dad to ‘vet’ the suitors for their daughter’s hand. Today, if a young woman lives at home, it usually has more to do with finances than some sense of morality or convention.
Somethings are gained and somethings are lost in these changes. The gains are in independence and freedom. The losses can be in having less support from family in the matter of dating. This can be good and bad. Good in that mom and dad are not breathing down your neck every minute asking you and him awkward questions. The bad can be that you lose help from people who care about you.
The old-fashioned question Dad asked was “What are your intentions toward my daughter?” That question still needs to be asked, however; reframed in modern terms.
The question/s that need to be asked are: Where do you see this relationship going? Do you see yourself in a marriage/or getting married? Do you want to have children?
These are very direct questions and it takes great courage to ask them. It also takes good people skills and intuition about when in the relationship to ask these questions. Obviously, these are not first date questions. However, if you have been dating the same person for six months or more, the time has come. It will be up to you to decide the best time.
Know this, if these questions aren’t asked, you will be setting yourself up for failure and hurt. The truth can hurt but, really, not as badly as misinformed ignorance. Likewise, if the responses are positive, he is interested in a long-term relationship, he is interested in marriage, etc. etc., then imagine the relief you will feel knowing that the two of you are, yes, actually on the same page!
It Didn’t Work Out – You Have to Move On
So, you ask the question and basically, the answer is a no. It can be an actual no or it may be framed in sort of avoidance terms like: Well, I don’t know, I’m not sure, Oh, not right now, etc. etc. In other words, no, or certainly not on your time schedule. If you want to wait ten years for some guy, that is up to you.
Still, we are dealing with a no response from him. Ouch! Boy does this hurt. Rapid recovery? Maybe not. Stay busy, keep up your friendships, and consider a vacation.
Don’t try to drown your troubles or try a quick hookup. You’ll end up feeling hung over and dirty. Start a garden, get a puppy, try to appreciate the good things in life and what you do have. Be open to the next step.
Read more of Courtney’s writing in:
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He asks you to go to Singapore. Or, Palm Beach, or Palm Desert or the beach or the desert or to coffee.
The point is, he is asking you if you want to do something, in the future, with him and perhaps with other people. In an abundance of caution, many men will structure ‘dates’ as group activities with other people. This can be church, choir, coffee groups, and movies, whatever. It’s okay. It takes off some of the pressure of too much togetherness, too soon. After all, what do the two of you have to talk about…yet? Group hikes and walks are wonderful ways to get to know other people. The atmosphere is relaxed, you’re outside, and the sun is on your face. A wonderful way for you and him to let your guard down and to be yourself.
There are numerous dating sites online that are good and have pretty good advice. On YouTube, I like Matthew Hussey Dating Advice, which is good listening for young women. For older women, I like Engage at Any Age – Jaki Sabourin.
Matthew is sincere, has been doing this for a while and is a very straight shooter. For older women, who face different challenges with men, it is a good site to review to realize other people are having similar problems and to not get completely discouraged.
Back to, he asks if you will be on the hike (board game, choir meeting, church service, etc.) next Sunday. You say yes and go.
Then what? Is this a DATE or a date? It is a date (small letters). This is a getting to know you date which is way different from a we-have-been-dating-six-months-and-it’s Valentine’s Day date.
This is a getting-to-know-you date. Let’s not overwhelm everyone with expectations and demands. If you go on the hike and get along, don’t turn into: let’s have coffee, let’s go to dinner, come over to my place, boom!
Don’t do it. Allow the date and the man, to process his thinking and feelings about you. Also, likewise, allow yourself some time to process your feelings. Are you interested? A little, some, a lot? None? Again, let’s stop thinking desperation, I have to grab the first guy I can get! If we think in desperation terms, everything is black or white, the end result will be a sure reflection of that thinking. Desperate!
So, if he is talking about coffee, say yes. You can casually ask some other people to go along, if you like. The presence of others softens the occasion so it doesn’t run the risk of becoming Too Important!!!!
You ask him
You ask him to go to a group breakfast, lunch (not dinner – too formal), a group hike, walk, volunteer event. You are in your natural element, you are with friends, and you are relaxed. The very best setting to be in. You are your best self. This is the perfect backdrop for conversation. It’s not too formal, not too dressed up and not too ‘special’. Unlikely that your parents or other relatives will be there looking over your shoulder and asking pointed questions like “Who is that guy?” Which then leads to more awkward questions and answers like “Just a guy,” “A friend.” At which point, someone (your mother) begins to roll Jher eyes and sigh. Jeese, who needs that pressure?
As a matter of fact, while we are on that point, keep most of your dates away from your parents unless you want your mother to run out and start buying all the latest issues of Bride magazine. Give everyone, including yourself, a break.
Is there such thing as love at first sight? Well, maybe. Personally, I think it is more like attraction at first sight and that can certainly happen. Love…hmm.
Men need to process.
I compare this to making coffee in a drip pot. You put in to ground beans, you pour in the cold water and then…you wait and let it drip. After waiting the appropriate amount of time, viola! You have coffee.
Compare this process of making coffee to the brains of really, a lot of men. You pour the information in, you let it sink in and then….they process and you….wait.
How can I miss you if you never go away? To quote that old song. How can he either miss you, think about you, consider the relationship, make decisions about the relationship if you never leave him alone to think? Again, don’t overwhelm the guy at any time. Allow him to process his feelings, about you, about himself.
It may mean that after two (little) dates he decides he is not interested. It may be after knowing you in the hiking group, the choir, the church group, the class, the whatever, he decides that he likes you but not enough. Not enough to take the thing to the next level, to continue seeing you, to make it more serious.
Wow! That hurts doesn’t it? It’s called rejection and that is why it is so difficult for guys at a dance to ask a girl to dance (unless they have been drinking). They are terrified of rejection.
However; let us think about this rejection thing. Does it hurt? Yes. Were we interested, yes? What has it really done to us other than make us feel badly (for a while) and get our feelings hurt (some?) If the ultimate goal is long term relationship, engagement, marriage…do we really want to throw ourselves (physically) into a relation where, ultimately, we get dumped? Is that not harder on us, more socially embarrassing, more difficult on family and friends who were thinking… Maybe she found someone this time? Does it not really take less of a toll on our emotions and physic?
There are all kinds of movies and books that catalogue the lover who can’t take no for an answer (Fatal Attraction – Mike Douglas). Books and movies too numerous to count. Don’t be one of those very sad people. Learn to take and accept reject as just part of the dating game. Also remember, that probably more than once you have dished it out too. So, adopt a philosophy about it, such as, Not Meant to Be or your own version. We don’t always see the total global plan and something better just might be around the corner.
The Bootie Call
And I’d really like to see you tonight – England Dan and John Ford Coley
Look it up girls, it’s on YouTube. It’s a very famous and very romantic song about having a relationship with no ties and no real future, but, he would really like to see her tonight. Of course.
Is it a booty call? If you are asking yourself that question, it probably is. Now, if you are really in the need of a bootie call, you know the guy, you have taken proper precautions (you know what they are, you learned this in junior high,) then enjoy the time together. You might feel really good and energized for days after.
Still, girls, do not engage in endless romantic fantasies about this guy and what it really means. Do not start shopping for rings and white dress fabric. This is the time to confide in your best friend. Ask her questions. “Do you think this is just a physical thing?” Your best friend (not your mother) is probably the one who will be straight with you. She is the one who is mostly likely to say “Yes, sweetheart, that is exactly what this is.” Ouch. Once again, slightly hurt feelings.
Let’s go back to the idea of, is he really interested? Ask yourself: does he talk about the future, does that future include you, you and him together, does he make plans that include you? Are you meeting his friends, his co-workers, his family? Do you only see him at night, at his convenience and mostly, at your place? Do you ever go out to eat, go to the movies, walk in the park, etc., normal things that normal people do? Do these get togethers almost always exclusively revolve around sex and perhaps, a fair amount of alcohol?
Okay, girl. Put on a few Band-Aids. You have had some fun. Don’t confuse this ‘relationship’ for a real relationship and don’t spend a lot of time with this guy. Be prepared to move on at a moment’s notice. You are after all looking for Mr. Right and not Mr. Right now. If he keeps calling you, ignore the calls. He will get the message. After all, he wants what he wants and if not you, then, he will find someone else.
If he is particularly persistent, you might have to change your phone. Sigh. Ah me. Keeps life interesting.
1 Corinthians 12:31-13:8a A reading from the first Letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians
Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.
Meeting Mr. Right – The Five best places – good and bad
Meeting Mr. Right through friends: This can be a very good thing, often. It can also be….not so great. How many times have friends with good intentions insisted on setting you up with a friend? And, to accommodate your friend(s) and to keep everyone happy, you go along with the date(s) and have a smile frozen on your face the entire time. Then, try to explain to the well-intentioned friends, “He’s just not the one.” It seems like no matter what you say, it’s the wrong thing. He’s their friend, right?
What’s the answer?
Maybe, the answer is just a few words beforehand with your friend(s) that you agree to go. However, if things don’t click you will let them know and please, maybe, no hurt feelings? At least, aim for that.
Meeting Mr. Right at Work:This is often a great place to meet the right guy. Why? It’s a neutral backdrop, you are both usually on somewhat the same footing. You can have a sense of security that the individual has been vetted, to an extent. Still, that is not an iron clad guarantee that everyone you work with is a poster child for mental wellness and health.
Dating the boss: Wow! Hot potato, this one.
Can real love occur between the boss and the worker? Yes, it can happen. It can also be a case of infatuation, also hero worship, seeing the man at his best, in his best clothes, shoes, haircut, teeth brushed, with the professional face on. The same can be said for you – the best clothes, hair done, makeup on, best shoes, etc. When you feel the love bubbles coming up, take a moment to image the same man, just getting out of bed, sleep in his eyes, bad breath, rumpled clothes, unruly hair and maybe grumpy. Hold that mental image for a moment for a brief reality check.
Is he married?
Many men don’t wear wedding rings for whatever reason. Most women wear wedding rings in the US, although in some other countries, even women don’t wear wedding rings. Also, many men are really good at hiding the fact that they are married. Examples: no wedding ring, no pictures of her or them on the desk. Also, no conversation or comments about her or them. And, this can be particularly the case when they are speaking to a single woman.
So, now what? Probably if you have real feelings, I would suggest putting on the brakes before doing anything (sleeping together) and work at getting either transferred to some other unit or maybe another job. And if there is really something there, you need to have some meaningful conversations with this individual. You both need to discuss the issues and how to resolve them before things blow up and you (and he) end up as the center of cafeteria gossip.
Lastly, many companies, institutions have written guidelines about these situations. The end point being that one or two people could end up losing their jobs over this stuff. So, walk with care.
Meeting Mr. Right in Social Settings:
Meeting at church:
I go church every week. I frequently go on Saturday evenings because that lets me either sleep in on Sunday or to get out and go hiking before it gets hot.
Almost every week I see a threesome sitting ahead of me. Because I observe people, I quickly figured out that this is a mom and dad with their adult daughter. The daughter is the one I find the most interesting.
This young woman is in her twenties, somewhere, and resembles the mother very much. The mom and the daughter get up at the end of every service and do the collections together. Very commendable. Then the young lady sits down again with her parents and at the end of service, they all leave together.
Now, question. What chance does this young lady have to ever meet anyone when she is so glued to her parents? What is this about? A) try none and B) don’t really know.
If you are in your teens, it is perfectly understandable to sit with your parents. Maybe even on holidays like Christmas, High Holy Days, etc. But the rest of the time? Chart your own path – different church, different times, so on.
Going to church is often not enough. Get involved. Do go to coffee, do go to dinners and mixers. Do go on retreats and conferences. Engage in activities that allow you to do more than just say “Hello” and “Goodbye.” What else are you doing with your time? Watching the next series on Netflix?
Bars and Restaurants that serve alcohol:
Okay, drinking. Well, it is true that not every person who drinks in a bar is an alcoholic. There are people who go to bars to have fun and socialize. And, it is also not true that every marriage that had its start in a bar is doomed to failure. However; many people in bars and particularly, who are in bars on a regular basis, are alcoholic. Bars are their home away from home, maybe even their true home. If you find yourself out with the girls on a Friday night after work, looking to relax and unwind, it’s okay. But….is it every Friday night? Saturday night, Sunday night, Thursday? Now, this is what we start to call a pattern. For you.
If you suspect there may be a problem, get out a calendar and chart, for a month, all the days you seem to gravitate to bars and restaurants where you and your friends drink. If it is a really regular pattern, you are starting to swim in deep waters and the water will only start to get deeper.
Break up the pattern and find other things to do. If your friends only want to go ‘hang out’ at bars, maybe you need to find some new friends. When I was working in South Korea, I went out many Friday nights with a group of teachers. We’d end up in any one of a number of bars available in downtown. Even though I don’t drink, I would wake up on Saturday morning with a headache. The rest of the day I felt like I was swimming underwater. I can’t really explain it. Maybe it was all the cigarette smoke or just getting home at 2 am. Whatever, I just didn’t like how I felt the next day.
When I started to resist going out to bars Friday after Friday, my betsy teacher friend dropped me. What was that all about? Well, clearly, it wasn’t about me. I ended up hanging with another group of friends who were also non-drinkers. This group wanted to go out, eat somewhere and chat. In the end, I wound up having a much better time. And, no hang over and guilty feelings!
Lastly, if you feel like you just cannot resist the lure of the bright night lights and the call of the drink, you may want to think about that and evaluate just how big a chunk of your life this is taking. It might be time to talk to someone about it. And by someone, I don’t mean your mom or your girlfriend. They will just pat you on the arm and tell you not to worry. I mean someone who deals with addiction issues. There are lots of people and institutions like that in the phone book.
Social dancing of all kinds is a really great way to meet new people. Generally, dance lessons at many places are group lessons and can be had for as little as $8 a lesson. You will need a pair of dance shoes (smooth soles) and a good attitude. You will be dancing with any number of instructors and students who have been dancing for many years, and will be a lot better than you. Don’t be discouraged, hang tough, keep coming back and you will improve.
It is an excellent way to meet new men and again, it is a ‘neutral’ setting (not yours and not his) and gives people a bit of social distance to decide if they have any real interest or not.
Gyms can be a great place to lift weights, take a swim, a sauna or take an aerobic dance class. They can also be good places to meet men. However, don’t go there just because you need a date. Gyms can get expensive and you don’t want to invest a bunch of money into something you are not really interested in. Find a sport or activity (swimming, tennis, racquetball, Zumba) that you like to do and pursue that. You are more likely to find like-minded people who share a common interest with you.
Well … It’s okay but not my favorite. Why? Have I done online dating? Yes, I have. And, don’t believe the rumors that Prince Harry met Meghan online, they were introduced through friends.
I have done online dating, and what have I learned? For starters, about 40% of men online are married and are looking to ‘fool around.’ Many men online are looking for quick, cheap (no strings attached) sex. There are men online who are not who/what they say they are. I have met any number of men who post photos of themselves taken twenty or thirty years previously. Then, you meet the man and think Is this even the same person? Online sites are notorious for spawning online money scams. I met such an individual: tall, good looking, French, engineer, hum….interesting. It was all interesting until he asked me for $500 to help bail out his daughter who was stranded somewhere.
These schemes are so common that they have made most of the magazines and periodicals. You would almost be better off with your Dungeons and Dragons nerdy Thursday group.
There are always other ways to meet people-male and female. John Lennon met Yoko Ono at an art gallery showing. You can met people in the grocery stores, at concerts, in the mall, in galleries, walking your dog, etc. One of the best ways to meet people that ensures a bit of light conversation are volunteer opportunities.
Last Thanksgiving, I volunteered to work at the Salvation Army dinner for two days. There were tons of guys working those shifts. Many were married, but not all of them. And, you are there together working for a common cause, the common good and it all feels right. It can also be a lot of fun!
According to research by the Pew Research Center, Catholics had one of the lowest incidences of divorce, with 19 percent having been divorced out of 4,752 interviewed. The Gospel Coalition noted there is a somewhat significant difference between those who are actively practicing Catholics and those who consider themselves nominally Catholic. The coalition found nominal Catholics are 5 percent less likely to divorce than non-religious persons, while Catholics who are actively practicing in their parishes are 31 percent less likely to get divorced than non-religious persons.
The Pew Research Center found Protestant individuals (anyone who identified themselves as non-Catholic, but Christian) included 74% of all Christians, and had a divorce rate of approximately 51 percent out of a sampling of 4,752 individuals. However, these were broken down by Evangelical Protestant, Mainline Protestant, and Historically Black Protestant. Of this 74%, the highest number of divorces among this group were the Evangelical Protestants at 28 percent. The Historically Black Protestants had a divorce rate of only 9 percent according to the study.”
Mormons had a divorce rate of about 1 percent. Many studies attribute the low divorce rate among this group to the strong emphasis on families and a powerful religious affiliation.
Muslim Divorce Rate
The most comprehensive study on divorce among Muslims was conducted in the 1990s by Dr. Ilyas Ba-Yunas, a professor of sociology at the State University of New York. According to his research, the divorce rate among American Muslims was slightly more than 31 percent. Top reasons for divorce among Muslims, cited by a later Sound Vision survey, include pressures and issues with in-laws, adultery and harem sex, and incompatibility. However, in 2018, the Pew Research Center listed Muslims having an 8 percent separated or divorced rate out of a sampling of 234.
Jewish Divorce Rates
The most recent available study on divorce statistics among those of Jewish faith states approximately 9 percent of those surveyed have been divorced or separated. A 2017 article in The Jerusalem Post reports the divorce rate among members of the Orthodox Jewish faith is on the rise. The reasons for this include changes in society’s values, the desire for instant gratification, and a disconnected world.
So, actually, the chances of meeting someone special are not usually through online dating sites. Most people met future spouses through friends, at a social gathering and either work or school. So, it helps to have friends!
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