Candidly Cartier – My Rodent Problem is like My Ex

Let’s be real – living in Toronto has not exactly been a cakewalk. My last apartment was actually affordable. It was also far from the modern amenities I enjoy downtown as a single Sally in the city. In this creaky old house divided into apartments, my upstairs neighbours (and their new, massive puppy) stomped around, bounced a ball, argued constantly, and played “How I Met Your Mother” on repeat. “Ba ba ba ba baaaaaaaaa ba ba ba baaaaaa ba ba ba da da dum ba da da da daaaaaaaa” haunts my nightmares to this day. I had no heat from November through January, and in February decided enough was enough and I had to vacate.

Nearly everywhere humans dwell, rats can be found living, too. I’m not just talking about the backstabbing betches spewing lies and exhausting themselves spewing vitriol. I’m talking about actual rodents. They’re all over the place, and unless what I saw was the biggest MoFo-king mouse, they’re in my new apartment, too.

We often equate rats with being dirty and diseased, yet we also describe humanity as a rat race. Are we all just dirty, diseased beings trying to bypass one another, grab that brass cheese (er – ring), and make it out alive? Maybe it’s just that we’re both warm blooded, we’re all mammals, and we give birth to living young. here are the ways in which both my exes and these rats are unwanted guests.

I never know when he’ll come to visit

While rodents are nocturnal animals, I’ve noticed that certain bait I’ve put out at before leaving for work has disappeared by the time I get home. My little furry friend is much like my big furry friend. Mr. “Doesn’t Believe in Monogamy” works on his own terms and comes to visit when he pleases. No part of me thought my new place would invite either. Both are unexpected and unwanted pests.

He lives in a hole in the wall

It’s amazing how shady some of my exes’ living arrangements have been. From Ex-CoP on the army base with no kitchen, all-burnt sienna errythang, and a broken couch (yes, I’m aware), to the aforementioned non-monogamous douche-canoe who lives in the dingiest corner in the basement of a nice Leslieville house he actually owns, it’s no wonder my exes want to spend the majority of their time at mine. It’s tantamount to Ratty ratterson climbing through pipes . I’m just as afraid of finding vermin in the toilets as I am my ex!

He doesn’t pay rent

My mouse/ rat/ whatever contributes nothing to my home, and the ex I adored sure didn’t either. Adonis lived with me rent-free and I’m pretty sure it damn near killed him to play a role where his masculinity was threatened. I do, however, miss having someone to do my laundry, tidy up my flat, and make me dinner. There’s only I one I could do without snuggling up to at night, however.

He wakes me up in the middle of the night

Speaking of nightly activities, while my pajamas parties have hit a staunch halt, my rat pal is up at all hours. My ex snored loudly, and would head for a midnight snack, a trip to the loo, or for a bit of a frisk at unexpected hours. Mr. Rat, however, is up looking for one thing only – food. I can no longer keep paper or plastic out in the open, and any garbage is taken out immediately. Also, just the thought of him potentially scampering about my space keeps me up at night.

He’s very active

Great for the ex, bad for the rat. Looks like marriage has sure softened up ole Co-P, but when we were together we were very active and worked out a lot. Not sure if I can hack a 4 AM workout these days, though. Mr. Rat and I will not be fitness pals.

He eats my food, but I still have to feed him

You can’t keep food in unsealed containers if there’s a boy or a rodent about. They. Will. Eat. It. And. Expect. More. At least with the rodent I’ve put out peanut butter and eco-friendly rat bait which seems to be an enjoyable snack for my guest.

I clean up after him

They leave their shit everywhere.

I don’t know how many others he’s seeing

As evidenced by my relationships with Adonis, Co-P, and Mr. Non-Monogamous I am not great at knowing when the apple of my eye is getting too friendly with others. As they say with rats: where there’s one, there are many.

 

I have no idea what diseases he’s carrying

Rats and humans often suffer from the same diseases, and I’m worried as to what’s being brought into my home. At least with an unfaithful man you can get tested and (hopefully) treated. What rodents bring into your home can be deadly. We have similar organs, basic physiology, similar hormones, we both have nervous systems that work in the same way, and similar body plans. While research on rats has been done to propel human disease control, vaccines, and cures, I’m not sure I want testing going the other way around.

Ultimately, I kind of want him dead

Okay, I’m mostly only talking about the rat in this case, but I often feel I would have been better off not knowing a couple of my exes. Adonis burrowed a hole in my heart I don’t think can ever quite be patched up. Ex-Co-P was a strain on my resources and the source of constant drama. The guys I’ve dated in Toronto have been a blur of pathetic POS. If I could wipe them all out from my memory, I absolutely would.

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Low-Carb Cartier: Coconut Low-Carb Cookie Dough Recipe

Cookie Dough Balls, Fat Bombs, Low-Carb Cookie Dough

Low-Carb Cookie Dough bites are super easy to make, have no eggs, and hit the spot every time! Read on to find out how to make these keto-friendly eats.

Ingredients

Yields 14 servings

  • 4 tbsp. Butter
  • 8 tbsp. Cream Cheese
  • 1/3 cup Erythritol
  • 1/2 tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup coconut flour
  • 3 tbsp. Dark chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Whip butter until light and fluffy. I didn’t use a hand mixer, but it wouldn’t be a bad idea if you have one.
  2. Add cream cheese and continue to whip.
  3. Add erythritol, vanilla and salt and beat until combined.
  4. Add the coconut flour slowly and mix until there are no lumps.
  5. Toss in chocolate chips.
  6. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put in refrigerator for 20 minutes until firm.
  7. Scoop into little balls and roll until you’re satisfied with the shape.
  8. Enjoy your Low-Carb Cookie Dough Fat Bombs!

Nutritional Information

Per Serving

  • 127 Calories
  • 3.5 g Net Carbs (5.9 g Carbs &  2.4 g Fiber)
  • 7.9 g Fat
  • 1.4 g Protein

I made another version of this Low-Carb Cookie Dough recipe adding a bit of cocoa powder and a bit of peanut butter. Maybe not the greatest when trying to make something portable, but taking a spoon to it after dinner and letting yourself have a bite? Pretty tasty!

*Don’t try baking these into actual cookies. They won’t taste great!

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Dating Diaries – Stop Dating Ugly Men

“If you want to be happy for the rest of your life never make a pretty woman your wife…”

This Jimmy Soul tune blasts through my head every time I swipe right on a guy who isn’t generically attractive, but who looks goofy and like he would be a good time. I hate to admit it, but I figure that a guy who isn’t exactly a stud would make for a more committed partner and potentially even a good father to offspring (should we ever be so lucky with my dusty old eggs).

Why I Gave Ugly Men a Try

What’s that old saying – “You’ve gotta kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince”? Well – I’m making my way through the toads, right now. Toronto hasn’t exactly been a mecca for good-looking men, full stop. Let’s not even get started on the qualities I actually desire in a partner. If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results, then, pursuant to my newest hobby of cutting the crazy, I’ve been trying something a little different.

I date hot men. While I’m certainly not a 10 myself, I find it easier to strike up a conversation with an attractive, confident man, than someone has “nice guys finish last” on repeat. I bat outside my league pretty frequently, but what has that ever gotten me? Heartbreak and absolute agony was what I got from Adonis, I was cheated on by ex co-p, and ghosted by the hotness monster. I’m trying to date within my means and based on common values and interests.

Back to the Song. The lyrics go:

"If you wanna be happy
For the rest of your life,
Never make a pretty woman your wife,
So from my personal point of view,
Get an ugly girl to marry you.

A pretty woman makes her husband look small
And very often causes his downfall.
As soon as he marries her
Then she starts to do
The things that will break his heart.
But if you make an ugly woman your wife,
You'll be happy for the rest of your life,
An ugly woman cooks her meals on time,
She'll always give you peace of mind."

Okay so the song itself is dated and offensive, sure. Remember – it was released in 1963 and I’m considering it all from my own personal perspective towards men, capisce? I’m swiping right on these guys I’m certainly not over the moon about. Give these plain boys a chance, right? Sadly, I’m getting the exact same result except now there’s no eye candy.

It’s amazing! Even if we’ve had a good time and I’ve convinced myself that I could grow to love someone’s gummy horse teeth or his Frankenstein five-head. Hot or not, I often get the message back that they had a great time and would love to see me again, but just as friends. It makes me wonder – what part of me is the Frankenstein bit?

Hunky Guys and Ugly Men – they’re all the same inside.

I can whittle myself down attacking every point which could have put me in dim lighting. A comment, perhaps, which made me appear as a know it all. My weight – it always comes down to that, doesn’t it? At the end of the day, I think it’s just that the dude didn’t want to be rejected first. Recently, I had simply thanked the guy for a lovely evening and for picking up the cheque (which he didn’t need to do, but was nice). His immediate response was to send back the “just friends” message. No part of me thought it was a love match and sparks certainly were not flying. I’d have given the poor bloke a second chance to redeem himself, though.

Stop Dating Ugly Men

I can’t imagine a man analyzing his looks and behavior the way I picked apart mine. So, I guess that’s just it. If there’s no immediate, earth-shaking spark, you must hurt them before they can hurt you. Both ugly men and beautiful ones will give you grief if they’re out to give you grief. Stop selling yourself short. If the uggos have the kind of confidence to hit on you, you might as well swing for the fences, too. Better to receive disappointing news from a pretty face, don’t you agree?

*Beauty is subjective. One woman’s trash is another woman’s treasure!

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Low-Carb Cartier – Easy Keto Ice Cream Dessert Recipe

Keto Ice Cream, Keto Chocolate, Low Carb Chocolate, Low Carb Ice Cream, Recipe, Dessert

I genuine hate finding recipes on blogs because you have to sift through the story of why and for whom this keto recipe was made on a particular spring day in ZzzZzzZzz…

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Cup Heavy Cream
  • 1 Tablespoon Stevia (or 0 Calorie Erythritol)
  • 1 Tablespoon Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract

Optional Additions:

  • 1 Tablespoon Sugar Free Chocolate Chips
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Peanut Butter
  • Nuts? Add in whatever you like – just consult the nutritional facts first.

Instructions:

  • Combine all ingredients in a jar with a screw top. Make sure it’s one you can shake without the contents going everywhere.
  • Shake vigorously for 2-3 minutes.
  • Freeze for 2 hours +
  • Enjoy!

Nutritional Information

  • 217 Calories
  • 3.4 g Net Carbs (5.4 g Carbs & 2 g Fiber)
  • 22.7 g Fat
  • 1.7 g Protein

The backstory: I have a massive sweet tooth. I’m pretty good about watching what I eat on a low-carb or keto diet, but when it comes to that time when PMS starts to rear its ugly head, I want a little something sweet. This keto recipe was inspired by Peace Love and Low Carb , but I genuinely had to scroll through the website and a gazillion ads that find the ingredients and instructions. No bueno!

Hope you enjoy this recipe – I only make as much as I’ll allow myself to finish in one sitting, but if you’ve got more willpower than me go ahead and batch up a bunch for your keto diet!

 

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Party Planning Perfection: The Not Quite Ultimate Bachelorette in Toronto

Image result for bachelorette party meme

Planning a Bachelorette party is no easy task. In Toronto, there are so many options it’s a challenge to whittle it down to what the bride will actually love. There’s paddleboarding, but that’s weather dependent. Escape rooms, unless the bride has anxiety. Pole dancing, unless someone in the bridal party used to be a stripper. Axe-throwing, but that’s far out by the docks. A bachelorette party is supposed to be fun for the bride and her closest friends. Here’s how the best laid (and expensive!) plans completely unraveled.

In advance of the big night, I had Bride/ Bridesmaid t-shirts made up and I scoured the internet for the best decor and games which wouldn’t be too lewd. Eventually, I traveled to Oshawa to pick up all the goodies at Party City since the local ones didn’t have the balloons I wanted. Not wanting the bride to have to lift a finger, I sent an UBER to pick her up and transport her to a secret location for blow-outs. Bride has hella long, thick, wavy hair, whereas mine is much shorter and more manageable.

I booked 2 long hair/ extensions blow outs thinking it would be plenty of time. It was absolutely not. Our blow-outs at Body Love Inc. made us want to curl up and dye – er, die. I looked decent when I rocked up, but definitely needed to have my hair washed and styled. The area for hair-styling is quite cramped with 1 washing station and 4 chair stations. We each opted for curly locks with a pulled-out fishtail braid. As you can see above, it was clearly not what we were expecting! Disappointment #1 on a day full of high hopes.

Louix Louis St. Regis Hotel Toronto Free-flow, Bottomless Brunch

No disappointments here! The St. Regis Hotel Toronto was absolutely magnificent. Even though we were late due to the horrendous hair incident, the staff made us feel cool, calm, and collected as we were escorted to our booth. The decor at Louix Louis is nothing short of regal, and we felt like royalty with our sparkling wine topped up by prosecco fairies (or ninjas – the service was exquisite, but the details covered without spectacle). We were also given the choice of orange or peach juice which were left at our table to be poured at our discretion.

Our appetizers were just perfect! Bride and I had Crispy Pork Belly snow pea & mint, pancetta, parmesan, red wine jus. Across the table, there was a lime Kale Caesar sourdough, lime yogurt dressing, smoked bacon, parmesan (there was no kale in this salad, though. Kind of weird, right?). My neighbour tried the beef Tartar pickled mushroom, grain mustard, spicy tomato jam, whole grain crostini. Everyone was thrilled with their choices and we were excited for the main courses.

Our entrees appeared on the smaller side, but were served up with incredibly rich ingredients. The Nova Scotia Lobster Rolls came with grainy mustard, lemon aioli, crispy lettuce, and saffron pickled fennel. My Steak & Egg Florentine was New York steak, poached egg, garlic spinach, lemon hollandaise, and toasted pumpkin. The Fried Chicken & Waffle was huge with pepper jack cheese, maple syrup, chicory leaves. I’d definitely go back for the Croque Madame made with black forest ham, Quebec gruyère, creamy cheese sauce, and a poached egg.

Four of us tried, and failed, to demolish The King’s Cake, a thirteen-layer chocolate cake made of 64% Guayaquil ganache, and served with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce!

The Westin Harbour Castle Toronto – A Sweet Suite!

When we got to The Westin Harbour Castle, we checked in and went up to the 34th floor penthouses to decorate. It was my understanding that we’d have 1 bedroom with a living room, but we ended up getting 2 bedrooms with two living rooms. Amazing since we had 4 bathrooms, but for us all to socialize we had to squish all the guests into one room. Disappointment? Certainly not, but definitely a little bit of an unexpected surprise.

We got to work decorating the suite and adding goodies so graciously sent by Miracle 10 (have you heard about their new cosmetics collection? We had the perfect nude for all skintypes), Repiel sheetmasks c/o Brill Communications, and skincare goodies from my friends at CosRX.

In each of the 4 rooms there was a massive flatscreen TV (bring your Netflix credentials for viewing pleasure), and in 2 of the 4 bathrooms there were showers. We had plenty of water and tons of coffee, thankfully, as I was already feeling pretty exhausted from a full morning!

Sheer pleasure? The set-up the Westin Harbour Castle provided for dinner. We had had a few more ladies join us for champagne and chill time before going out and popped on the Raptors game as the dishes rolled in. The hot wings were perfectly meaty, the thin crust pizza had a fantastic sauce and plenty of cheese on a doughy crust, and the nachos were actually loaded high. Again – 8 women couldn’t finish this spread!

I may be dancing and looking like I was having a good time, but El Convento Rico was a big ole bust. I had arranged for a table and some photos of the bride and her fiance to be displayed on a loop with other bachelorette parties that night. After our party got settled, it was demanded that we buy a bottle. Yeesh – no a la carte here, we bought a crappy bottle of tequila for the better part of $200. No images were displayed to the best of my knowledge at all.

Image result for bachelorette party meme

Being that this is the typical spot for parties like these in Toronto, you’d expect more than a few bathrooms in a dank corner. Waiting for 45 minutes well away from the party in a dirty, stinky place was not my idea of a good idea, and after I has returned some of the drinks and gone outside for some air it was time for bed. Yayyy what a great night, eh?

Image result for bachelorette party meme

Ultimately, some of the best laid plans go awry. No matter how carefully a project is planned, something may still go wrong. Your hair might fall flat. Heck – your friendship might be hair today, gone tomorrow! The hotel might not be exactly the room you bargained for. The guests might get unruly and destructive. When it comes down to it, all you can do is give it your heart, soul, time, and wallet, and hope your hard work is appreciated. If/ when it isn’t, give me a call and we’ll commiserate!

Contact Louix Louis at the St. Regis Hotel Toronto

Contact The Westin Harbour Castle Toronto

* This article has elements which were included in unpaid partnership in exchange for an honest review of products and/or services.  ThatGirlCartier.com only features products or services I genuinely adore and would repurchase again and again.

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Dating Diaries: Is Your Tinder/ Bumble/ Hinge Profile Hurting Your Game?

Pyeongchang Winter Olympics Sculpture Abstract Art

During the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics, if you visited the Olympic Village you were gifted your very old gold medal – er Tinder account. Tinder upped the ante by giving each and every member enjoying the festivities in and around Gangwon province special privileges. It was entirely overwhelming for the women I knew, but for men it was an absolute blessing.

gold laurel wreath

With a Tinder Gold account you can see who likes you (has swiped right), change your location, and hide your age (if that’s your jam?) You get unlimited likes, can rewind the last swipe (no more swiping left on your soulmate!), and you get 5 superlikes a day (LOL cause you need to joke that often, right?) From my straight male friends’ perspectives, they get far fewer matches than the ladies. Jackpot with Tinder Gold. For us gals? Too many matches to sort through (humblebrag, but only kind of!) I found that I was no longer swiping through men in my area, but was limiting myself to those who had swiped right. What a mess of offensive images, profile bios, and anecdotes!

tinder dating app phone swipe right

If you’re finding you’re not getting quality matches, maybe it’s time to analyse your own profile on Tinder, Bumble, Hinge, or any other of the plethora of window-shopping opportunities you can manage from your smartphone while dropping a deuce.

Tinder, Bumble, Hinge, and other dating apps are taking over the way we meet people and begin relationships. Is your profile hurting your game? Typically when I put together an online dating profile, I think about how someone from my company would react if they stumbled upon it. This probably stems from the fact that I used to work for Plenty of Fish, but it’s a good rule of thumb, too. First dates are like job interviews – you’re seeing if there’s a mutual connection. Always be honest, but make sure to put your best foot forward. I went to my instagram followers to see what the most off-putting profile elements were for them. As the saying goes, ladies first:

Ladies’ Tinder/ Bumble/ Hinge Profile Fails

Ladies’ Photo Fails

  • Photos that are too dark or far away – we want to see what you actually look like – yes, even on Tinder!
  • Group pictures – if your profile is all group picture, we’re assuming you’re the “ugly one”.
  • Overly filtered/ Snapchat – That dang puppy ear/ mouth filter. You’re 35, woman. Get your act together. If you don’t show up on a date with those damn ears, you’re paying for the drinks or craft supplies I’ll need for that to be a reality.
  • Dirty Mirror Selfies – or ones with unmade beds or clothes all over the floor. If you can’t clean up, at least learn how to crop!
  • Only headshots – do yourself a favour and have at least one full-body shot. If you’re not his cup of tea, it’s better not to match at all (in my personal opinion).
  • Old photos – we have the most advanced camera phones out there. Why are you still using your webcam?
  • DUCK FACE – none of us are Paris Hilton and this isn’t 2002.

Ladies’ Profile Fails

  • Trashing the ex – if your Tinder/ dating profile has a laundry list of things your next boyfriend better not replicate from your last relationship, it shows that maybe you’re not quite over that ex of yours, maybe you’re still harboring resentment/ hurt feelings, and maybe you’re not quite ready to move on. Not the best look, right?
  • Listing things you want in a relationship – pretty much any laundry list isn’t going to portray you as the most open-minded person on the planet. Also, throwing yourselves into a relationship scares most men (and women!) Go out on a date before deciding that he’s “the one”!
  • Negativity – most people want someone around whom they can relax and be themselves. If you’re already showing lots of negativity in your profile I think most people would agree it’s a left swipe!

Men’s Tinder/ Bumble/ Hinge Profile Fails

Men’s Photo Fails

  • Photos that are too dark or far away – we want to see what you actually look like.
  • Group pictures – if your profile is all group picture, we’re assuming you’re the “ugly one”.
  • Only selfies – do you have friends? Is your body not proportionate to your head?
  • Shirtless selfies/ gym mirror selfies – again: do you have friends? Why aren’t they telling you to stop this?
  • Riding an elephant or cuddling a drugged up tiger – it’s 2019. We KNOW BETTER.
  • Drinking straight from the bottle – Even on Tinder, it’s just not classy! Is this something you do so often that you feel you need to advertise this element of your life right away?
  • Fishing – honestly? I like getting out in nature, but there’s just something about someone displaying a live fish like a trophy that’s totally off-putting.
  • Middle finger up or other lewd gestures. Why, guys, why?
  • Picture of your junk – okay, so meeting the love of my life on Tinder is very unlikely, but even if someone is just on the app for a good time, not a long time – women value a little mystique. Women tend to react more emotionally than visually, too. Putting your junk out there isn’t as effective as, say, going out for a few drinks and creating an emotionally stimulating connection. Food for thought.

Men’s Profile Fails

  • No bio – putting no effort into your bio at all tips the scales for me. Even if you’re really cute, I know nothing about you and will most likely swipe left.
  • Just your height – this is almost worse than having no bio at all. Really? You think that’s all it boils down to? I’m interested in way more than your height, just as I hope there are various elements of my personality and my life which will be of interest to you.
  • “Tell you later” – uhhh, no you won’t ’cause I’ve just swiped left.
  • “No fatties” – bugger off. Seriously? You’re no prized pig, yourself. Even when I was in the best shape of my life (for me I was about 20% body fat and damn – I looked and felt great!) I’d swipe left on anyone who wrote this in their bio. That’s so rude and hurtful and unnecessary.
  • “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take – Wayne Gretzky – Michael Scott” – We’ve all seen The Office. This isn’t original or funny anymore, it just shows you’ve given no thought to your bio. Special mention to: “Work hard, play hard” and “You win some, you lose some”. Next!
  • Having “Assistant to the Regional Manager” or “Mr. Manager” as your job title. See above.
  • Fake testimonials – “Takes great pictures without his shirt on” – My Mirror, “Get out of our house” – My Mom, “Woof” – My dog.  PLEASE STOP DOING THIS

Have I missed any major dating profile faux pas? Let me know in the comments!

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Candidly Cartier: The Power of No

Men are simple. Women are often pretty simple, too. We all want what we can’t have. Anything that is out of reach is challenge; a goal. It bothers most of us when we’re given a simple “no”. Isn’t it amazing how one little two-letter word can hold so much power?

Patterns in relationships are changing. As they evolve, I find that traditional, cisgendered, heterosexual relationships are going the way of the dinosaur. “Love who and how you want to love” is my sentiment, but my ultimate goal is a lot more traditional. As much as I hate being cookie-cutter, I like the option of a conventional relationship. I’ll put it right out there: I want to get married and have a family. I’d like to be able to dance with my father in a nice dress at my wedding (albeit destination with a limited guestlist).

Do you have to take some “settle” when you want to settle down? My mother always told me, “men are like streetcars – another will be along in a few minutes.” Sure, but if you’ve ever taken the TTC during rush hour, you’ll know it’s a balancing act to get on and a fight to the finish. Welcome to dating in Toronto. A signal problem is effecting all lines. Welcome to your thirties.

TTC Crabs

Toronto takes the cake for crappy dating pools. The men in Toronto are old, crusty towels with tinder profiles stating their height and “no fatties”. Riveting. When you meet one who is good-looking, is employed and ambitious, and takes care of himself, can you imagine the desperation he must be able to smell? Quality men are not like streetcars. They don’t come along frequently, and when they do I’m assuming single women look at them like they’re unicorns. I mean – I certainly do.

These men are used to hearing the word “No”, but they’re not used to women meaning it. I’ll probably get a lot of flack for this, but women I know and others I read about or watch on TV often fall into the same old script of saying no then giving in. These dudes are smooth! They often get what they want without even asking. There’s power in pushing him away – channel it.

There is power in “No”. The saying “always leave them wanting more” isn’t unique to dating, but the shoe sure does fit. Silly romantic comedies with particular sets of rules exist for a reason – we’re the rule, not the exception. If you (er – I) want to have a traditional relationship, when I meet a new unicorn, a coy McCoy and negative Nancy I’ll sure as sh*t need to be.

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Candidly Cartier: Conflict Resolution – Why Don’t We Try A Little Harder?

Conflict Resolution in Relationships

In healthy relationships there’s always a little conflict. Whether it’s the cat and mouse game when first pursuing/ being pursued or the “will they/ won’t they” I once fondly remembered as being “juicy”, conflict and conflict resolution make for healthy relationships. If there’s no conflict, typically one party is sacrificing who they are as a person to appease the other. If your partner doesn’t respect how you think or feel, I might question how strong the relationship really is. It can be so easy to give up and walk away. You can swipe right on your next love, bff, or even your job! Why aren’t we trying harder to resolve that conflict and level up inter-personally?

Fixing Failures

After my ex and I broke up we both started dating others in an effort to put a band-aid on our poor little hearts. My relationship didn’t work out because, let’s be candid, I always had one foot out the door and was waiting for the other shoe to drop with him. The ex, on the other hand, learned from our “failed” relationship and has bent over backwards for his much younger lady love. Why? Well, he said he couldn’t face the hopeless feeling of another failed relationship. Rather than giving up and getting on Tinder, he’s making an effort to manage and resolve conflict. I wish we had tried that hard, and I commend him for his efforts.

Repairing Through Conflict

If ex’s new(est) relationship has taught me anything, it’s that maybe I need to give a closer look to conflict resolution. If someone as stubborn and sarcastic as he can make it work, I think it’s time I take a look at ways to navigate conflict in my next relationship (you know – if I ever meet a dude I want to see a second time in this city).

Make Eye Contact

Give the person your full attention. If they’re bringing a complaint your way, give them your eye contact and listen actively. If you’re bringing a complaint to the table, don’t be sheepish. Ensure your body-language is open so that your partner feels you’re emotionally connected and open to what he or she is saying.

Be Direct

Don’t dance around the issue. Before coming to the table with an issue or set of problems, consider why you feel a certain way, and what you might say (and how you’ll say it) in an effort to come to a resolution. Be direct in saying what you’re feeling or how something is particularly effecting you. Wishy-washy statements using “maybe” or “I dunno” aren’t effective. Say what you feel and let the other person react. Working through issues as they come up can help you/ your partner’s self-esteem, and make big blow-ups a thing of the past.

Don’t Assert Blame

The person may not even realize that a particular action is bothering you. Passive aggressive comments will just upset the other person, bringing you much further away from intimacy and mutual respect. Statements like “my problem with you is ___” can be better positioned as “it’s a problem for me when ___”. Avoid saying “you did___” even if what the person did is entirely infuriating. You want resolution, not further conflict, right?

Image result for oh brother eye roll gif

Avoid Making Sweeping Generalizations

Use specific instances and “I Feel” comments. Be genuine and pick your battles wisely. Don’t name-call, use sarcasm, or roll your eyes (I personally have serious work to do on this one – Tina Fey and I share epic eye-rolls).

Listen

We have two ears and one mouth – maybe we should be listening a little better! Hear your partner’s complaint(s) thoroughly without interrupting. Respond when they’re finished and try to use elements of what they’ve just told you without contempt. Don’t just wait to speak. Listen.

Find Positive Even in the Negative

When I have a tough day at work, I’ll typically start considering feelings about particular moments or actions. When I turn my thoughts to my daily tasks and long-standing projects on the whole, I think about how interesting my career is and how much I love what I do. Your relationships are the same. Certainly there are moments which will make you want to strangle the other person, but on the whole – do they bring you joy? Is this person a major contributor to your life? Focus on those elements and, if possible, bring them up. If you find ways to make (non-sarcastic) jokes in the midst of a negative conversation, you might be able to lighten the mood and find a break-through. Try to brainstorm a solution rather than letting the issue sit as a problem.

Conflict – Just Move On

Ultimately, conflict is a significant source of stress for most of us. It makes us uncomfortable. Often we don’t know what to say or there you’ve just tried too many times to make the other person comfortable. Are you constantly bending over backwards for someone who is just using you? Evaluate whether it’s worth the conflict resolution or if you should give up and move on. You might just find it’s a great relief to back off and move on. Take a break. Sometimes it’s worth coming back to and sometimes it’s better left alone.

Conflict is a sign of maturity when resolved through open and honest communication. Using Tinder, Hinge, Bumble, or any of the other hundreds of dating apps and sites out there to find the next best thing instead of putting a little effort into your current relationship is immature and irresponsible. You wouldn’t send a perfectly good car to a chop-shop due to a flat tire, right? Don’t throw away a solid relationship due to a disagreement or even a fundamental issue which could be resolved through communication and changed behaviour.

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Re-pat Dating Diaries: “LOL – It’s Complicated”

Looking back on my teen through mid-twenties crushes, I thought the juiciest thing in the world was the time at the beginning of a relationship. The heart/ gut-wrenching “does he or doesn’t he like me” feeling was one I looked back on almost fondly. Potential romance was fleeting, but almost as lovely as the romance itself. The excitement, the uncertainty, the torture, and the relief were things I looked back on as feeling like my heart was on fire.

That feeling left me entirely for three years, and for that I’m now so thankful. While I was in Korea, I dated 3 men who, in the beginning, gave me no feelings of uncertainty. I developed feelings not just of confidence, but self-assurance and safety from my partner. It wasn’t precarious – in the beginning I never felt like I was about to fall or my world collapse.

Dating now that I’m back in Toronto is disappointing. I keep meeting these complete and total losers who genuinely make me feel like I should give up and get a cat (or a second job!) Then, it’s like the Universe recognizes my disappointment in humanity; my loneliness.

I’m certainly not the free-spirited, lithe, fun-loving woman I was from 28-31. I’ve gained weight, lost confidence, and have retreated to the lost little girl I was in my teens through mid twenties. A glimmer of hope in romance leaves a world of doubt. Still, the Universe has brought me a forest fire.

I want a partner – someone with whom I can adventure, but also in which I can confide. This man is irreverent, masculine, sexy, and arrogant. He hasn’t quite shown me many of the answers to his brooding mystery, yet. Over the past year I’ve questioned whether I would ever be “cool enough” for a relationship with him. Recently, he has made me feel safe in the most emotionally nourishing intimacy I’ve experienced since I packed the man I still consider to be the love of my life into a taxi to the airport.

You can have sex without intimacy, and I’ve had incredible intimacy without sex. Just having someone hold you and interlock your fingers in theirs is like the emotional Kama Sutra.

Will he or won’t he feel the same way?

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Candidly Cartier: It’s Not About You

Sometimes I feel like I shouldn’t have to write this part, and sometimes it’s more of a reminder for myself: this is a blog. This is a place where I throw away all the academic writing I’ve learned for school. Writing guides at my current job have no place here. Toronto Seoulcialite is where I write my informative pieces, not here. This is a stream of consciousness and sarcasm allowing me to communicate with you, lovely readers, but also for me to figure out how to handle what’s going on in my life.

I so desperately wanted comfort from one person in particular Thursday night when this all transpired. Instead, he turned the conversation almost immediately to himself and his “problems” and completely dismissed mine.

I told someone recently, single people in Toronto are like Baskin Robbins. The women are the ice cream. You have 31 sweet, rich, basic, colourful, fun, fat-free, and decadent flavour options available at any given time just ready and waiting to be scooped up. The men are the cones: small, regular, large, plain, waffle, chocolate, or sprinkles (what it do, Church Street?) and they’re almost ALL broken. How I could have expected my Mr. of a year (May 2nd, bro) to actually be there for me was clearly insane.

Not Okay, Grief, Frustration, Candidly Cartier, That Girl Cartier

I’m not okay. The last couple of weeks had left me feeling pretty defeated, already. Thursday night I returned home from an event to find that a tradesperson who had been contracted by my property management company had left my apartment in complete disarray, with filth covering my freshly swiffered floors. What’s more – several luxury skincare items, some costume jewelry, and a pair of my pants were missing.

Physical items can be replaced, and if this person (who I’m certain clears double what I make annually) really needed what I had, then fine – take it. What I can’t replace is the feeling of security in my own home. I know that I have a 3 bolt lock system on my door. I thought the last person was just paranoid, but I’m starting to understand. The bolt locks have me covered while I’m sleeping, but what about when I’m at work? How do I know that this person who was clearly left unsupervised doesn’t have a key to my apartment? What kind of assurance do I have that he or she won’t return to hawk my laptop or sentimental items passed down from my grandmother?

Not knowing exactly what to do, I called a couple of people who I thought might help me calm down. Two of the three have a ton of personal issues going on right now. Marriage for one, divorce for the other, sleepless nights and therapy for both. These people have so much going on in their personal lives, but they both asked if I needed them to come stay the night so that I could regain some trust and, even if I didn’t feel safe, protected at the very least.

The third person I called is a man who I’ve known for a year now. He has sought solace in my words and my company. I’ve brought him lunch at work and have made him tea at my home. When he returned my call, he told me the same thing as the police on the non-emergency line: do my own thorough investigation as there’s nothing else which could be done. This single man didn’t have hair dye cooking. He certainly wasn’t preparing for a weekend of division of assets. Dude was tired from work, continuing education, and hockey. After telling Mr. “Doesn’t Believe in Monogamy” that I felt in distress, he had the audacity to start complaining about how hard it was to juggle his full-time job, part-time studies, and physical fitness. I’m the last person to pity someone for an attempt at work ethic. Work, studies, fitness, and freelance deliverables are par for the course in my world, and if that hasn’t been apparent to him by now, then he’s clearly not taken an iota of interest in who I am as a person.

My reaching out to you when I’m in a pickle is not an opportunity for you to complain. I called you because you continue to rely on me for psychological and physical support. I thought just this one time you might reciprocate. The physical things which were taken are not the issue. Vulnerability in this instance comes not from thinking I’ll be hurt physically, it’s the mental turmoil associated with a violation of trust. This isn’t about you, but at the same time maybe it is. Maybe this is the wake-up call for which I’ve been waiting. In your world (and too often in mine) it’s always about you.

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