Thought Catalog

When You Fall In Love With Mr. Maybe Instead Of Mr. Right

Posted: 14 Dec 2015 08:00 PM PST

Twenty20 / dlia
Twenty20 / dlia

Once upon a time, I fell in love with a good man, he was smart, ambitious, polite, handsome and charming. It was hard not to fall head over heels for him, I will call him Mr. Maybe. During that time, I tried convincing myself that he was doing all he could do to love me and was trying to give it his all, but I knew I was lying to myself because I always felt something was missing, like he could do more or give more but something was just impeding him from doing so.

For the longest time I made excuses for him, until I just decided that I was done with Mr. Maybe and all his maybes.

Let me tell you exactly what it feels like to fall in love with Mr. Maybe:

  • "Maybe" he is free at 10 PM to call you and chat for a bit.
  • "Maybe" he is attending your friend's wedding, or your cousin's birthday or your job promotion celebration.

    he is listening to you when you are talking about a personal issue.
  • "Maybe" he supports your dreams and passions but doesn't think it is a good idea to drop everything and pursue them.
  • "Maybe" he really is too busy.
  • "Maybe" he cares but doesn't know how to show it.
  • "Maybe" he is just stressed out at work and that is why he hasn't been making any effort.
  • "Maybe" he is so focused on his career and doesn't want a relationship to distract him.
  • "Maybe" he needs you in his life, but he is emotionally unavailable.
  • "Maybe" he didn't mean to ignore you when you told him you miss him.
  • "Maybe" he needs space because he is just overwhelmed with work and his family issues.
  • "Maybe" he didn't hear you when you said you loved him that night.
  • "Maybe" he didn't mean to let go of your hand when you were crossing the street.
  • "Maybe" he got wrapped up in something that he forgot to call you back.
  • "Maybe" he really didn't like your profile picture, or your article or your status update.
  • "Maybe" he loves you but he has been hurt before.
  • "Maybe" he doesn't know how to be loved because he isn't used to receiving that kind of love.
  • "Maybe" he is being distant because he is intimidated by your love for him.
  • "Maybe" he is just not ready.

The list of Mr. Maybe's "maybes" can go on forever, these are just a few examples of how love can blind people into settling for "maybes" when they know better, and they know that "maybe" is just another word for not really that into it, or you are just not that important to me to try harder. Mr. Maybe and I remained good friends for some reason. He once asked me if I will ever invite him to my wedding, I would just like him to know that the day I get married, I will be marrying the man who was sure of all his "maybes".

I will be marrying the man who knew that when it comes to me, there should be no "maybes". I will be marrying the man who has never been sure of anything more than this, more than me, more than wanting to spend the rest of his life with me. But to answer his question, will he get an invite to my wedding? Maybe! TC mark

(Originally published at Mogul)

This Is How You’ll Miss Them

Posted: 14 Dec 2015 07:00 PM PST

Dustin Adams

You won't miss them loudly. You will miss them in the details; you will miss them in the quiet. You will miss them at 4am, when your slaughtered night turns your mind into a memorial service for what you once slept beside. You will miss them in the empty moments, the still space that fills your day when you can't convince yourself to stop diving into your brain. This is how you will miss them.

You see, human beings ought to have been crafted from trees, because they have a tendency to splinter and release into the skin of those they have loved. They have a tendency to branch off into the veins of a human heart; they have a tendency to root themselves into the soul of every human part. This is why you will miss them achingly.

You will miss them jealously. Your skin will sink when you see that they have moved on. Instead of being happy for them despite trying, you will grip your memories inside clenched fists. You will blame them for moving too quickly; you will judge the person they choose. This does not make you selfish, this does not make you bitter or crazy.

This makes you human, and in your humanness you will breathe through empty lungs when you see their new flame wearing the sweater you always reached for when you were cold; you will create hurricanes within your chest when you wonder if they have laughed like you, explored like you, loved passionately like you. You will never know. It is none of your business to know. This is why you will miss them maddeningly.

You will not miss them wholly. You will miss the highlights. You will fail to remember all of the mismatched parts that lead you to make the decision to move forward; that lead you to realize that your heart was better off in softer hands. You will miss the mornings you spent curled up in their arms, forgetting that you never truly felt like you were home. You will miss the Springs and the Summers of their love, but you will fail to remember the frost that often came between you, the cold chill of their Fall, the desolate and unbearable distance of their Winter.

Above all else, please promise yourself that you will miss them with every inch of your bleeding heart, but do not miss out on life because of it. It is important for you to live through the growing pains, for experiences will slowly pour into you knowledge, your soul will grow wiser. You will see how you painted over your ashy memories with shades of rose and blush. You will remember the winters, and how you hated the cold. You will sweat old love out like Scarlet fever, and this – this, is how you will miss them no more. TC mark

Read more of Bianca Sparacino’s writing in her new book Seeds Planted in Concrete here.


Do Not Compliment Me By Telling Me I Am Nothing Like Other Girls

Posted: 14 Dec 2015 06:00 PM PST


How dare you say that 'You are nothing like any other girls'
in this way, in that way that you had said it before
in a tongue that is practiced in those words,
like it is a privledge to be loved and lied to by you,
by being told I am special.

And then you tell me why
by putting all the others down,
that they were small in comparison
for the way they dress, think and are
for not being enough for you

You speak about most other girls
as though they are all less authentic
and therefore less worthy of your love and you.

Pitting me against them
in this insidious rivalry
that girls are taught and grow into
for a man or boy’s affections
is not something for me to be grateful for.

To be honest, it is a privledge for me
that I am just like other girls.
Because all those ‘girls' you refer to
are my sisters, my mothers and my friends,
the very solace and the kindness I have sought
when the worst things in my life have happened.

How dare you assume
I should take that as a compliment,
as though we are all in a race
and our grand prize at the end is you and your lies.
Why should I beam at you like it is praise
when you are alienating me from those 
who have the same core as me in feminity?

If you truly loved me,
there are a thousand ways
to tell me you love me,
and making my sisters small
to make me big
isn't one of them.

Tell me you love me, but not because I am different.

Tell me you love me, just because you do. TC mark

5 Signs You’re In A Relationship That Will Last – According To Psychology

Posted: 14 Dec 2015 05:00 PM PST


"Irreconcilable differences" may be the most cited reason for divorce, but the idea that major differences in opinion end long-term relationships is actually a myth. Psychologist John Gottman has spent the past 40 years researching what actually makes love work, should be more common knowledge than not.

Essentially, it's not a difference of opinion that end relationships, it's the inability to communicate differing opinions or accept them as equally valid. It's also the fact that most people project what they want their partner to be onto who they really are, and then become frustrated and eventually dismissive when they don't live up to those projections. (It's a matter of self-worth at the end of the day, we feel other people judge us based on our choice of partner, so our inherent sense of worthiness gets attached to who and how they are).

Here are five of the main points that Gottman argues, or in other words, a few signs you're in a relationship that will last, according to psychology:

1. You begin conversations – especially sensitive ones – as kindly and gently as you would an acquaintance or esteemed co-worker.

When interactions begin with criticism, sarcasm, contempt, anger or blame, defenses rise and the ability to communicate dissolves. But the root of doing so is the inherent belief that your partner is "beneath you" as opposed to a true equal. (When you believe someone is your "equal" you regard them as well as you'd want to be regarded yourself.)

2. You don't criticize (which is to present evidence for change) but you do complain (which is to communicate that you're unhappy with something in a less demeaning way).

You can whine and moan for hours on end about the dishes not being done or too much money being spent this month, but as soon as it shifts from "I'm upset that this is going this way" to "You're lazy/stupid/irresponsible/disgusting because you let this happen," you're headed for trouble.

3. Neither party is contemptuous, not only to one another, but to other people in general.

Mocking, sneering, name-calling… the bullying tactics used in middle school are frighteningly common in intimate relationships, but not in the ones that last. In other words: you fight clean. You are not the kind of person who would resort to that type of mentality to begin with.

4. You're willing to absorb blame, as you recognize that all problems require two parties to create.

You're not inherently defensive, nor determined to show the other person how and why they are wrong. You approach issues with "here's how we got into this, and here's how I'd like us to get out."

5. Nobody is "stonewalled," or, in other words, ignored or "tuned out."

Gottman's research shows that in 85% of marriages, men "stonewall" their partners, and the reason for this is most likely that the male cardiovascular system recovers from stress more slowly. Women are more capable of soothing themselves in stressful situations, so they aren't indignant or standoffish about confrontation. TC mark

What Every Daughter Needs To Hear Every Day

Posted: 14 Dec 2015 04:00 PM PST

Elise Mesner
Elise Mesner

Tell your daughters how you love your body.
Tell them how they must love theirs.

Tell them to be proud of every bit of themselves –
from their tiger stripes to the soft flesh of their thighs,
whether there is a little of them or a lot,
whether freckles cover their face or not,
whether their curves are plentiful or slim,
whether their hair is thick, curly, straight, long or short.

Tell them to love the skin they are in,
whether they are fair skinned, or dark
whether they are short, tall, big or thin
whether they are embarrassed by their scars,
or the blemishes and marks on their skin.

Tell them how beautiful they are
no matter what anyone else says
Tell them their body isn’t flawed
and how it fits them perfectly
in so many thousands of ways.

Tell them how they inherited
their ancestors' souls in their smiles,
that their eyes carry countries
that breathed life into history,
that the swing of their hips
does not determine their destiny.

Tell them never to listen when bodies are critiqued.
Tell them every woman's body is beautiful
because every woman's soul is unique. TC mark

I Dream Of A Normal Life With You Where Breakfast Lasts Until The Sun Goes Down

Posted: 14 Dec 2015 03:00 PM PST

Nathan Walker
Nathan Walker

You are making breakfast
in every dream that I have
of you.

You are in the kitchen, your
soft middle pressed up against
the cold marble countertops
like a vision too beautiful for
the magazines, sprinkling
dark chocolate chips over

I think for a brief second that
I am dreaming inside of my dream,
that I had to make you up twice,
just to get it right.
You, brushing your dark hair out
of your face, smearing batter
across your cheeks.

You have come and made
my dreams smaller, narrower.
Filled them with sugar and
your body humming in the
same room as mine.

I dream, now, of a normal life
with you.
A life where breakfast lasts until
the sun goes down,
until I have finished gazing at
you from across
the table,
flour dried to your forehead
like a kiss. TC mark

Love Like You’ve Been Hurt

Posted: 14 Dec 2015 02:00 PM PST


Love like you've been hurt.

Love like you've been let down, seen the other side of passion, come to understand that what can swell and expand and enlighten can also break down, fall to pieces, and destruct. Love like you know it isn't magic. That what can begin can also end, and that loving someone else is never going to be without that risk.

Love like you have been hopeless – like you have doubted love would ever come back to you, that your heart would ever heal, that passion and sincerity and mutual intoxication would ever be something you would get to hold inside your heart. Love like you've spent a lifetime working on yourself outside of love, because you know that you’re the only person who will ever make you whole.

Love like you are braver now. Love like you're more compassionate. Love in a way that shows you understand other people have limits and issues and that you are not exempt from their overflow. Love in a way that knows that even the best of people are going to fuck up and let you down and be entirely fallible and it's possible to keep loving them anyway. Love in a way that shows forgiveness where it is deserved.

Love like you understand – that if you don't keep trying to win them, every second of every passing day, you're going to lose them.

Love as though you've watched everything that you once wanted slip between your fingers and you remember what it felt like when it all crumbled apart. Love like someone who understands that it takes work to keep love alive. And you are somebody, now, who is willing to put in that work.

Love like you have been broken. Like your delusions have been crushed and your dreams have come undone and you have feared that you will never make it back to a place of trust and peace. Love like you know the deepest, murkiest, muddiest corners of love and you aren't afraid to go there again. Love like you know that it is worth it.

Because it is.

Because now, more than ever, you understand that love is not a miracle. It's not a mirage. It's not a drug that you're allowed to get hooked on and bleed another person dry from, always trying to get your next fix.

Love like you are patient. Like you're kinder. Like you're calmer and older and more understanding of what it takes to keep love alive in a world that does everything it possibly can to tear people apart from each other.

Love like you've been deeply, irreparably hurt.

Because you'll be a better lover for it.

Because once you’ve been hurt, you know that it can happen again. That it may even be likely to. That your life is not a fairytale and your lover is not a God and that the decision to devote yourself to someone is inherently laden with risk.

And yet you’re willing to take that risk anyway.

Because you are not falling in love this time, so much as you are walking headfirst into it. Choosing it. Accepting all the risk and the unknowns and deciding that it is worth it anyway.

Because that kind of love is ferocious.

And it makes each heartbreak before it worthwhile. TC mark

Sorry, But You Have To Stop Being A Pushover: 7 Times You Need To Stand Up For Yourself

Posted: 14 Dec 2015 01:15 PM PST

Twenty 20 / cecbag
Twenty 20 / cecbag

It’s valuable advice to “pick your battles.” We’ve all probably been told this pearl of wisdom more than a few times. It’s often said to remind us that there are some things not worth getting into an argument over, or stressing about. That’s a fair assessment – not every battle is worth it. But there are battles that are worth fighting, because sooner or later, if you don’t learn to stand up for yourself, you become a pushover. And really, life is too damn short for some things – being a pushover is one of those things. So here are seven times you need to stand up for yourself:

1. When your parents disagree with your choices. It is probably true for most people, that your parents just want what is best for you. It is also true that parents often give great advice (and are probably right a lot of the time). Depending on your cultural and familial background, heeding your parents’ advice is not only desirable, but expected. Still, know that sometimes your parents can’t see what you can, they haven’t been through what you’re going through, and they might not grasp your choices and your reasons. And as your parents respect you not only as their child, but also as an adult in your own right, you will often find that they appreciate you having the courage to make your decisions, and be responsible for the consequences, even if they advised you differently.

2. When your romantic relationships don’t give you the love you need. One sure-fire way to never get what you want in a romantic relationship, is to never ask for it. There is no denying that romantic relationships are about compromise and meeting halfway. But when you start to feel like you’re compromising too much, and especially too many of the fundamentals, you’re allowing the desire to be in a relationship supersede the desire to be with the right person. And when that happens, you become the person who is accepting less than the love they deserve.

3. When your friends feel more like enemies. “It takes a great deal of courage to stand up to your enemies, but even more to stand up to your friends.” Although an entire generation will attribute this to J.K. Rowling and specifically Albus Dumbledore, the phrase has existed in some shape or form prior to Harry Potter. Under the guise of not wanting to rock the boat, it is very easy in our friendships, to let seemingly more dominant people walk all over us. But getting caught up in a friendship that hurts you more than it helps you is no way to live. Sometimes all you might need is a conversation explaining where you’re coming from. Other times, you might need the courage to say goodbye to people who treat you like crap under the guise of “friend.”

4. When you feel unfairly treated at work. Unless you are self-employed, chances are you’re going to have to walk a fine line in how you stand up for yourself here. Do it without tact, and you might find yourself unemployed. (Which by the way, is not always the worst thing in the world if you have options.) But whether it’s to co-workers or to your boss, sometimes you have to be your own advocate in getting treated fairly. This includes everything from the rapport and environment of your workplace, to the compensation and benefits you negotiate. It’s true that you won’t always get what you ask for, but it is also true that if you don’t learn how to professionally stand up for yourself, you’re always going to be undervalued. And that will affect everything from your wallet, to your state of mind.

5. When you interact with unnecessarily cruel strangers. Most people are benevolently ignorant and/or decent people: they will not go out of their way to hurt you. But every once in a while, you’ll find yourself in a situation with a vicious stranger who treats you so unkindly, it affects your sense of self. You probably don’t want to put yourself in any kind of (stranger) danger, but you have a right to express your anger and not let people walk all over you. Strangers might not owe you kindness, but they sure as hell have a moral obligation to treat you with fundamental human decency and respect.

6. When you just need some space from it all. One of the most important things you will ever learn is how to say “no.” “No” sounds easy in theory but a lot of us don’t really use it as often as we should, and at the times we should. And do you know what happens when we don’t? We get frustrated with ourselves and others, and often can’t accomplish all the things we set out to accomplish in the first place. Remember that if you are not also taking care of yourself, eventually you won’t be able to take care of anything and anyone else.

7. Whenever you know in your heart that NOT standing up for yourself, is the cowardly thing to do. It all goes back to that quote, “pick your battles.” Sometimes, the courageous thing to do is “walk away” or “let it go.” But sometimes that is nothing more than cowardice. So stop and pause every time you’re about to face one of these battles and ask, “What is the courageous thing to do here?” Choose that thing; always choose courage. TC mark

You Have To Learn How To Really Feel Your Woman (Or Risk Losing Her For Good)

Posted: 14 Dec 2015 01:00 PM PST

Twenty20, santiago__cervantes
Twenty20, santiago__cervantes

A man once told me that his wife said she doesn't feel connected to him. The first time she said it, he looked around, quickly noticed they were both physically in the same room talking to each other, and so exclaimed, "What the f**k are you talking about? I'm right here!"

She didn't feel connected to him. When he couldn't make sense of that and angrily said so, she felt even more disconnected. Over time, their relationship crisis would worsen.

Have you experienced this?

Since my recent blog, "You Have To Choose Her Everyday (Or Leave Her)," a lot of women have written me with this complaint about their male partners: "He doesn't know how to show up."

These women typically describe how angry, hurt and frustrated they are that their partners seem to be emotionally and/or psychologically absent from the relationship. Many are about to give up and leave. Some already have. There are also those who stay, and stay miserable.

What are these women pointing to in their pain of disconnection?

It's called Masculine Checkout Syndrome, or MCS (a real condition I made up).

In most heterosexual relationships* it tends to look like this:

Man is physically present but emotionally and/or psychologically distant. He might say he cares about the relationship and his partner, though he engages more consistently and perhaps more enthusiastically with other aspects of life – work, TV, hobbies, friends, sports, addictions – than he does with her. When he does engage with her, he often does so with indifferent or agitated energy. She feels it; he doesn't … or he pretends not to.

Got it?

One woman who wrote described her male partner as a good man who usually does the right thing in their relationship. She's deeply dissatisfied by his lack of emotional display. He's physically present, but all she feels is the actual solidity of his body. Sex is dissatisfying because he doesn't use his body to dance in delicious sensual partnership with hers; he's mostly just masturbating himself inside her.

She feels abandoned, even though he physically shows up.


Here's the essential problem:

He's been taught his entire life – as most men have – to deny his emotions, to deny the body in favor of mental fortitude. As a boy, he was told, "Don't act like a girl!" … "Don't be a wussy!" … "No pain no gain!" … "Stop crying!"

He was shamed when he let down his veil of invincibility, usually by other men and sometimes by women, too. For women were also taught that vulnerability is akin to weakness, that emotions are inconvenient and burdensome, and that it's best not to express yourself too much lest you annoy others.

So when emotions begin to overwhelm – as they often do in the inherently emotional world of intimate relationship, whether erupting from a partner or ourselves – we cut the body cord and retreat into the intellect for safety. Or we eventually express those emotions as anger because that's the emotion of strength, so we've been led to believe. Though even anger isn't hardly acceptable today.

When we can't solve the emotional burdens of the relationship ("Why is she feeling disconnected and upset when I'm right here?") and anger fails us, we'll turn to solving easier problems at work or in sports, or just watch others do it on TV. Whatever we do, we start separating ourselves from the relationship for mental relief.

Thus, Masculine Checkout Syndrome.

We stop showing up, even if we stay in the room.


What to do?

To start: Breathe.

To stay embodied in the presence of an intimate partner who's expressing upset, a simple technique I offer men in my coaching practice – and women, too, for women also embody masculine energy and are susceptible to MCS – is to visualize breathing into your heart.

Breathe consciously, deeply, intentionally, into your own heart. As you exhale, breathe into her heart.

She doesn't even have to know you're doing it.

Feel her. Feel into what's really beneath her upset. The woman before you may be masquerading as an exploding nuclear bomb, but she's not an actual bomb. She's simply a woman in pain. She misses you. She misses you in your heart.


This is what's required of us: To return home to the heart.

We all started out there as little boys, able to cry as easily as we could laugh. Unafraid to cuddle our mothers and embrace our fathers, we offered our emotional feedback to the world without shame.

Somewhere along the way we began to bottle it all up, distrusting, even fearing emotions.

I'm not suggesting we return to childish ways of unleashing emotional havoc on the world around us.

I am suggesting that the time has come to temper the rational intelligence of the intellect with the mysterious wisdom of the emotional body.

The intellect, though it can serve us well, can also make people do all kinds of things that hurt themselves or others when just one intense thought takes over.

Emotions can offer profound guidance when the intellect fails to comprehend the complexities of any situation. A deeply nourishing emotion can illuminate what's working well in this moment, while a painful one may indicate that something clearly isn't, no matter what the calculating intellect says.

Through their upset, our intimate partners are pointing the way home. They're inviting the masculine in us all to return triumphantly to our full bodied authentic selves, integrating intellectual intelligence with embodied emotional wisdom.

Your partner's angst is an invitation back into your heart.

Breath into your heart. Then breath into hers.

It's a start, and it won't solve everything.

But when she smiles because she feels you like she hasn't felt you in a long time, you'll know it's a good start. TC mark

27 Relationship Milestones You And Your SO Didn’t Even Realize You Hit This Year

Posted: 14 Dec 2015 12:00 PM PST


1. Actually forming relationships with each other's families. You've joined your significant other's family group text. You've passed the point of just being friendly with their siblings, and now constantly talk about how you can't wait to see your SO's sister at Christmas.

2. Designating sides of the beds. It's important.

3. Perfecting the art of preparing the other person's coffee exactly how they like it prepared.

4. Figuring out their preferred type of cleaning product, preferred laundry detergent, preferred brand of toothpaste. You now — in the privacy of your own home so as to evade your friends' eyerolls — refer to it as "our favorite brand."

5. Taking a functional picture. This year, the two of you took a picture, not for Instagram, not to appease your parents so they'd have something to put on the mantel, but just because you wanted to.

6. Going on a trip together, just the two of you, that guys planned out and executed purely because you wanted a couple's getaway, as opposed to because your friends invited you, or because you had to travel to see family.

7. Cutting out something healthy because you guys ~motivated each other~. You guys got rid of some vice together, whether it was smoking or diet soda.

8. As a pair, reclaiming whatever you gave up. But, like, doing it TOGETHER.

9. Developing an obsession with a television show that everyone else gave up on. Trying to convert all of your friends to become huge fans of "The Leftovers" on HBO. Failing.

10. Having a truly atrocious restaurant experience that was so laughable it actually made your night more fun instead of ruining it.

11. Deciding what you're going to name your kid.

12. Or your cat.

13. Or your tea kettle.

14. Learning their underwear size, but not to buy sexy lingerie, just because you realized how much they really needed new underwear.

15. Developing your own weird way of pronouncing one word that you both use a lot. It drives 80% of your friends up a wall, and the other 20% of your friends think it's adorable.

16. One of you giving the other their Netflix/HBOGo/Hulu Plus password. If that's not commitment, what is?

17. Being comfortable walking around with half your clothes — not for sex reasons, just because you're 100% comfortable with each other.

18. Reaching lol-worthy levels in the pet names category.

19. Using the other person as an excuse for why you're not going out tonight. You've told your friends that you just have to stay in and take care of your SO, even though they're not getting over a cold, and don't desperately need to make them ginger tea.

20. One of you saying something that was supposed to come out as a sentence, but was actually complete gibberish, and the other catching every word.

21. Going on a run together and realizing you guys are either the workout buddies you've waited your whole lives for, or that you absolutely cannot stand exercising together, and vow to never do it again.

22. Taking a shot together because couple-shot-taking is hilariously cute, and not nearly as lame as everyone else says. Maybe.

23. Talking about all your past relationships, and realizing you feel even more comfortable with each other now knowing that everything is out in the open.

24. Wearing a couple's costume, even if it wasn't for Halloween. And the two of you were definitely the best Bonnie & Clyde, Mr. and Mrs. Claus, or
Mr. and Mr. Claus the world had ever seen.

25. Splitting holidays for the first time as a couple.

26. Succumbing to fast food together, and not telling anyone else about it. Couples who eat Taco Bell together without admitting it to anyone else, stay together.

27. Getting a dog together. Or spending most of your year contemplating getting a dog and/or stealing a dog off the street and raising it together. TC mark