Repat Dating Diaries: The Trash Takes Itself Out

If there’s one thing a man should know when dating me, it’s that I have a very close relationship with my parents. While they don’t know everything, they know most things. I try to avoid telling them things which will hurt them or make them worry. Sometimes they’ll surprise you when you do end up over-sharing.

dating diaries alley

In this episode of the Repat Dating Diaries, I can’t decide whether he was a cheater, cheater pumpkin eater or if this was a turkey dump. I’ve been seeing someone for the past couple of months. Things were going well! I’d see him once a week, we’d text nearly all day, and I was actually mildly hopeful. I loved waking up to an article or cute video from him, and made sure to say goodnight before crashing. I enjoyed the whole “taking it slow” thing; not just due to trying to let a relationship grow naturally rather than the warp-speed I encountered dating other expats, but also due to the global pandemic. Hugs make people nervous, understandably. Anything more than that is, of course, even riskier.

dating diaries red flag

Red Flags

When we discussed dating exclusively I wasn’t actually all that excited, but I thought it was wise since both of us have parents in their 70’s. What came as a mighty surprise was when yesterday, on the Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend, I received a text from him giving me a glowing review, but saying that he was “progressing” with someone else.

dating diaries thanksgiving train

I wasn’t aware the real reason he was sending me off on a horrible guilt trip rather than saying bon voyage for a 45 minute Go Train journey from Toronto was not due to the fact that he thought my conservative outdoor activity would put my parents at risk. In fact, the real reason was that he clearly expected all of the ladies he was dating to be monogamous. Bit unfair that he couldn’t return the favour, no?

dating diaries turkey dump

Love Lockdown

Not only did he make me unable to see my family on Thanksgiving, he ensured that as we go into Lockdown 2.0 I’ll be alone. He restricted my opportunities and put me in danger of getting Covid-19 with an extended bubble I wasn’t aware I had. I’m glad he’s got a girlfriend for the upcoming cold and lonely nights, but I resent that he limited me from being able to have someone, too.

dating diaries trash

Trash

Once a mother has written you off, there’s no getting back in her good graces. Thanksgiving is my favourite holiday. Mum says that she won’t be wishing anyone “Happy Thanksgiving” this year because “Mac ruined it”. I FaceTimed with my parents this afternoon and my Mum asked what I was up to this evening. I told her I had some blog maintenance to do, Netflix to watch, some leftovers to reheat, and trash to take out. Her words?

“I thought the trash took itself out last night.”

dating diaries trash

Dating During a Pandemic: Virtual Dating or Bust

If Love is Blind was any indication of what was to come, virtual dating is the new normal. We’re going into week 6 of social distancing and isolation. Covid-19 has changed everyone’s lives in some way, shape, or form. I think we’ve all put on a few pounds, questioned whether some hypothetical socializing method out in the world is okay (newsflash: sadly, it’s not), and romantic relationships may never be the same again.

Virtual Dating during Covid-19

The first week of the Great Canadian Quarantine, my Bumble, Hinge, and Tinder were busier than ever. These Toronto skeezbags were using the coronavirus as the ultimate wing-man. I’ve never had so many offers to “Netflix and Quarantine” in all my life. As we learned more about the virus and its severity, it became really easy to just unmatch those who wanted to bring beer, wine, and germs over to my place.

Virtual Dating during Covid-19

Week two I experienced a change in the behaviour of men on these apps. Conversations were longer. Men were opening up, being vulnerable about their emotional fragility during this uncertain time, and sharing their hobbies and interests on a deeper level. Chats like these can seem amazing and fulfilling, but don’t get caught up in the excitement. Both sides have time to come up with a response, and Prince Charming may only be able to sweep you off your feet due to preparation time and good old Google.

Chrissy Teigen's Cry Face

This past week I finally gave virtual dating a try. I had 1 phone and two video chat dates. The phone date was uncomfortable. The guy was definitely already wasted, talked about giving up on his freelance work in favour of CERB, and told me I was going to marry him.

Virtual Dating during Covid-19

My second virtual date was through an instagram video chat. At first, things were flowing pretty well. While he did seem to look like his pictures, right away I felt as though I wasn’t attracted to him. We have actually worked in the same industry. I worked for a company (years ago) that developed the first iteration of the platform about which he was complaining. You have to give someone the benefit of the doubt with technology which can lag, but it didn’t take too long to realize that he was just talking over me and wasn’t willing to let me get a word in edgewise.

Virtual Dating during Covid-19

I would ask him questions – a pretty normal practice to engage in conversation. He would answer, but would not reciprocate with a question for me. Eventually we just sat there nodding while I waited for him to bring something to the table. Lags in conversation can be really unbearable in person, but when virtual dating it’s really tempting to just X out of the chat.

Virtual Dating during Covid-19

The last virtual dating experience actually went really well. I poured a glass of wine and immediately spilled it everywhere. He laughed, but was cool about it. Conversation flowed really well. None of it was the standard small talk. We talked about our families, our passions, and what we would do on our first “real” date once extreme social distancing ends. He was rugged and masculine. His mannerisms and body language were chill and relaxed. From what I’ve seen so far, I’m into it. It might not be magic in person, but at least I know that he’s not going to cut me off each time I go to speak on “in-person” date #1.

Love Is Blind

Ultimately, the virtual date is going to be awkward and tense at first. The new normal requires a change in perspective. You can either adapt or get reaaaal comfortable with isolation. Online dating can be a colossal waste of time, but I’ve had a couple of nice relationships thanks to their help. If you’re getting butterflies, kick things up a notch. Love is not blind, as we’ve discovered. The pods can only last so long. Save yourself some time and energy. Virtual or bust.

Love Is Blind

Have you tried virtual dating throughout the pandemic?

Let us know what app and method of virtual dating you’ve given a shot (and how it went!) in the comments below.

Dating Diaries: How to Attract What You’re Least Expecting

The concept of manifesting your goals has been rattling around in my head for quite some time. There’s great power in positive thinking, and harnessing that power and honing it has been a big focus for me, especially toward the end of this year. It’s amazing what happens when you focus on something very particular and send out a very specific request to the universe. The answer certainly surprised me!

Lately I haven’t been focused so much on dating, but more on fitness, rest, healthy cooking, and just generally making it to the next day. After a tumultuous first year back in Canada, my aim is to focus on the positive, release the negative, and practice gratefulness.

It seems that the best things come to those who clearly envision their goals and make solid plans. This year, I wrote down that I wanted to see Angkor Wat. On my birthday, YYZ Deals came out with a massive list of destinations from Toronto on China Eastern. One such destination was Siem Reap. The goal I envisioned (and wrote down) turned into a reality in less than three months. I decided that was enough to get me on the path of the vision board making my dreams into goals, my goals into plans, and my plans into reality.

I often write about dating, so how do you make your vision into a reality when it comes to love? I mean, as much as it’s been on the back-burner, I’d be very happy to have a partner. They say you find love when you least expect it. How does that work with the law of attraction?

The Secret: “Under the Law of Attraction, the complete order of the Universe is determined, including everything that comes into your life and everything that you experience. It does so through the magnetic power of your thoughts. Through the Law of Attraction like attracts like. What you think about, you bring about.”

If thoughts become things, then how could you find “the love of your life” when you least expect it? Knowing that there isn’t a unique thought left on the planet, I dove headfirst into black hole of Google. Turns out the answer was on the very first page:

The Law of Attraction: “Focus on your intention, hand it to the eternal energy of the universe to contemplate entirely. You will have stopped the experience of wanting; therefore, you will have automatically placed yourself in a better position to receive. Just like those aha moments when ideas and solutions have entered your mind unexpectedly, you suddenly received what you wanted. 

If you are desperate to have something, you are in a state of need. Thus, you remain needy instead of becoming successful. The universe receives your needy energy, and politely sends you more needy energy since it is programmed to deliver your primary focus.

Your life might still be enhanced greatly when you receive gifts from the universe, and in this sense, you require what you obtain. However, you are not urgently crying out for a result when it occurs. Recognize that you also need to throw the energy of ‘want’ that you have created to the wind. When you have done so, good things will blow into your life.”

I had sent out a request to the universe to find, in essence, a unicorn. I wanted to meet someone who wasn’t from Toronto since the pickings have been so slim. I wanted to meet someone who has goals and ambitions; has his own thing going on. Someone who could make me laugh. A man who believes in monogamy. Physically I don’t really have a preference, but I like someone who is active and ready to try new things.

…and then he appeared.

I had a fantastic date with a man I seem to have dreamed up. It may not stand the test of time, but as far as the concept of asking the universe for what you want? I’m sold. Ask the universe for your wildest dreams with very specific details, then let all that focused, yet impatient, energy fly away; released to the universe – no longer something on which you need to fixate. The universe unfolds as it should.

Expat Dating Diaries: Travel Romance

The Travel Romance is just one part of the 7 Worst Guys an Expat Can Date. I have been avoiding writing this section for the better part of 3 years because the first one really and truly shook me to my core. While I’ve moved on, I still haven’t quite recovered. I’ve realized, however, that there’s a difference between a Travel Romance and Travel Love.  Travel Love has potential. It makes you want to work for, nay, fight for something intangible. It sweeps you off your feet and keeps you dangling – waiting for the other shoe (er – you, in this case) to be dropped.

This one shouldn’t be avoided altogether, but you must know upon entry that your risk of heartbreak is about 90%.  Meeting in vacation mode gives you the opportunity to live without the stress of work and other responsibilities at home.  You are at your peak around one another.  You’re consumed by the bliss of being in a new place with exciting adventures at every turn.  Give in to the Travel Love, just don’t give away your heart completely.  It will fly away to the other side of the planet to taunt you with ransom letters every time your time-zones allow you to connect.

Travel Romance, on the other hand, is fleeting. It’s a fling on the road never designed to be permanent. It has a mutually communicated date of expiration. Feelings might evolve, but you have perspective. It’s a paragraph; not a chapter.

I genuinely don’t understand the mating rituals of singles in Toronto. On vacation, with just a lingering gaze and a tentative wave, you’ve got the opening to conversation which could lead to a night of passion or following your newfound bliss across the country. Here in Canada, even at a designated “meet market”, all you’ll find are raggedy men glued to their phones or yelling about real estate.

My first Travel Romance after starting The Toronto Seoulcialite was in Shanghai back in 2015. It was my first truly solo trip, and I was shaking in my boots waiting for take-off. When I approached the hostel (with a printed out map and walking instructions – no SIM card), I was tired and nervous and wasn’t sure if I should venture out or wait until daylight broke. As I walked to the lobby a voice called out; “We’ve been waiting for you!”

It turns out he was from California, was staying at my hostel, had spent the last 5 years learning Mandarin, and had had a series of seizures in Beijing. He wasn’t sure if his health was up to finishing his months-long trip and hadn’t made any plans for Shanghai. I, on the other hand, had planned my trip down to the minute. We met up the next day and ventured around the city. It was nice to have a flirty new friend with whom to wander. People assumed we were married, and we didn’t correct them.

All things considered, he wasn’t a bad insta-husband for 2015!

The charade was all too pleasant. We walked all over for two days and the extent of our physical relationship was a bit of hand-holding and a tender kiss on my forehead. It was better than traveling solo. Better still than traveling with certain women. An intense flicker of chemistry with a well-established expiration. I was hooked.

After my little taste of Travel Romance I dove well into the deep-end with Adonis. After him, I thought I’d never fully let my heart go again. Then, I met an American (ex-Co-P) who confirmed it. I’ve never been as happy with anyone as I was when we were wandering through the dusty back roads of Phuket with a snaggle-tooth pup in tow. Since ex-Co-P, there’s been the Gentle Brummie in Seoul, the Tazzie with Trust Issues in Bali, Mr. Non-Monogamy in Toronto (who I met when home felt like a real trip), and the Dutchman in Hoi An. He cooked for me and I reworked his resume. We’re still talking, but that’s just for fun. That’s the key to a successful Travel Romance: make it all about fun in the moment.

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!

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!

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.

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.

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?

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.