This week I had a good friend say something mean. I don’t remember it word for word, but it was basically, “At least I’m married, so somebody loves me.”
She tried to make it into a joke, but it was designed to hurt my feelings. To make me feel bad about being single so she could feel better about herself. It wasn’t her words that stung, but the purpose behind them. She wanted me to feel bad.
Luckily for me, I could see through her. And I love myself, and her, enough to know it wasn’t really about me. So, I went on my way and let it go.
But then I watched one of my favorite TV shows and the same message came at me again.
Zoe Hart, the main character, was traveling to a wedding and feeling sorry for her single self. Like most women, she had some troubles in the romance department. She was talking to the woman next to her about her most recent break-up and another guy who she might have feelings for.
The woman was shocked to hear that Zoe was single. She listed off all her own silly faults, things like smelly feet and an addiction to clipping coupons, and said that she was married. Then she asked Zoe the question that made me angry: “So what’s wrong with you?”
As if the fact that she wasn’t married meant there was something wrong with her. Something less, something broken.
It brought back my friend’s words and made me want to scream at the TV.
It makes me so sad to think that we, as women, are expected to define ourselves by a relationship with a man. And, it makes me worried that we continue to pass this along to the young women looking to us as models.
It’s true that most of us, me included, want love in our lives. It would be great to have a man who is my partner, and I look forward to that happening some day. But it does not make me broken, or unworthy, or any less accomplished because I am not married.
If it was just about having a man and getting married, we could all do that.
Sure, I could have married any number of guys who I knew weren’t right for me. But I chose to stay true to myself and wait for the guy who is the right one.
I don’t see marriage as a goal, like losing 20 pounds or getting a promotion. It isn’t something to check off our list and add to our resume.
In my eyes, that would defeat the whole purpose of marriage.
Isn’t it about finding the one person you want to be with, above all others?
That takes some of us a little longer. It doesn’t mean we are any less normal or lovable. It just means we stick to what we believe and are willing to wait for what we really want.
I don’t see how there could be anything wrong with that.
Have you ever felt pressure to be in a relationship? If you are married, do you ever pressure your single friends to hurry up and get married? What lessons about love and relationships do you want to pass on to the next generation of women?
We all have faults, things we are not so good at, and impressions that we give off unintentionally.
I am shy around new people and that can be easily misinterpreted. I come off as stuck-up when really the opposite is true. I’m so worried about whether or not people will like me that I have a hard time letting them in.
Usually, after people get to know me they tell me about their first impression. I’ve been told many times that I have a wall up.
As hard as it is to admit, I know it’s true.
I finally decided it’s time to change that.
Changing who you are can be a lot harder than it sounds. Sure, I could say I’m going to just stop putting up a wall and start letting people in. But that is not realistic. And, honestly, I don’t know how to do that.
The wall took a long time to build. I’ve been reinforcing it and making it stronger my entire life. I can’t just knock it down with one swing of a sledge hammer, no matter how much I may want it.
So, I decided to focus on removing one brick at a time.
It would start with a yes. I promised myself that when someone new invited me to do something, instead of finding an excuse I would just say yes. And go. No backing out at the last minute.
It turns out the universe was listening. And has a pretty healthy sense of humor. Soon after my decision I was invited to go to a fight.
I’d never been interested in seeing anyone fight. If one breaks out at a concert or bar, my natural reaction is to run as far away as possible. I don’t even like to watch reality TV because of all the arguing.
But I was invited, so I said yes. And, it wasn’t just an ordinary fight. We were going to support our friend, Travis, who would be fighting.
When we first arrived, it felt kind of like going to the movies. There were rows of chairs, and in place of a screen was a giant cage right in the middle. I was worried about the usual things when trying something new. Had I dressed appropriately? Were we supposed to yell and cheer? Would I get too nervous to watch?
But when the lights went down and the music came on, all those worries slipped away. Travis came out onto the stage and we all stood up and cheered. It was fun to support him, and fun to see a friend in the spotlight.
Yes, I was a little nervous the first second he was in that ring. I didn’t want to see my friend get hurt, after all. But it didn’t last long. Actually, neither did the fight.
Travis won in 55 seconds.
I feel like I won something, too. I stepped out of my comfort zone, went to see a sport that I assumed I wouldn’t like, hung out with new friends, and had a great time.
It turns out that opening yourself up is not only a good thing, but it can be fun in the process. Supporting a friend in doing something they love can be just as much fun as doing the things we love. And it leaves us with one less brick in the wall.
Do you have an easy time with new people and new situations? Or do you have a bit of a wall like me? What makes it easier for you to put yourself out there? How do you open up?
One of my favorite things about working with a big group of amazing, experienced women is all the advice they give. Yes, most of it is unsolicited, but it always comes with a great story.
Some of it is simple, yet life changing like: “You can’t love anybody else until you love yourself.”
Some of the advice is more practical. Apparently I now live in a community property state where married couples share everything, including debt and retirement accounts, even after divorce. Pre-nups and separate checking accounts, that’s what they told me.
Not that I’m even dating anyone yet…
Recently we started talking about how to make sure you have the right match in a man before you marry him. Two of my favorite married ladies told me they made a list.
I’ve heard of that before. You write down everything you want in a man and put the list under your pillow or burn it and release it to the universe. My step-mom even has a great story about one of her friends who made a list and put it under her mattress. Then she forgot about it until she was moving in with her now husband and she found it. She read it and realized he was everything on the list.
But, as my friend explained, that isn’t the real purpose of the list.
The purpose is to be very honest about who you are and what you really want. And stick to it.
That made sense to me. I always think I know what I want, but so often that falls away when I meet a guy who gives me butterflies.
I say I don’t want to be with a guy who already has kids. But then I meet the cute, smart, funny guy and I forget. Until I realize that he’s not over his ex and neither is she, and they have a child who will link them forever. A painful lesson every time.
We want what we want for a reason. And when we know ourselves, that reason becomes even more clear. But, it can be really hard to be that honest, even if just with ourselves.
I start feeling guilty when I say I want a guy who is smart, funny, good looking, educated, and enjoys working out. As if it’s not OK to want it all.
But, honestly, I think I am all those things so why shouldn’t I want them in a man?
My friend said that is the point. We get honest about what we want and we can see if we are ready for that in our lives. If I say I want a man with good credit, but I have tons of credit card debt, bill collectors calling the house, and I still shop like it’s not a problem, then I need to take a good look at myself.
My list could be a sign that I need to get myself together.
It’s also a chance to think about our personalities, strengths and weaknesses, and how we relate to other people.
Are we good at compromising? Do we like to be in charge? Or let someone else take the lead? Are we calm and rationale? These are good things to be honest about so we can know what kind of man will balance us out.
My truth is, I am a hot mess. I have a mouth and I am quick to snap to anger. If you have seen Waiting to Exhale, you know what I mean. Yes, I might just burn all of his clothes on the front lawn. I’m not saying that is a good thing, but it is the truth. I can try and pretend that I’m someone I’m not, but in the end the truth will come out. It always does. It’s better to be the real me from the start.
I need a man who will push back, rather than let me run over him. I can see that quality right away in the people I become friends with, and the people I don’t. Now I know I need to look out for that in a man, too.
So, yes, I sat down and wrote out my list. No, I’m not going to put it under my mattress or bury it in the back yard. Now that I know the real point of making the list, I’m going to keep it somewhere I can find it.
Because when I meet that guy who makes my skin tingle, I want to remember to be true to myself. And the list will just remind me of who I am.
Have you ever made a list of qualities you wanted in a man? If so, did it work? What do you think are the most important areas for compatibility? Any advice is always appreciated, especially from the happily coupled (emphasis on happily).
I think it’s pretty obvious why we all like being in our comfort zones. It’s comfortable. It’s a nice place to hang out because we know what’s coming our way. But, sometimes that comfort zone can become a rut. And then we need help getting out of it.
I didn’t realize it, but I had been in a clothing rut for far too long.
After college I went on search of professional clothing that fit my body well. I learned all the tricks about fitting clothes to my hips and butt, and having the waist taken in and the length taken up. I know that for my body, especially the bottom half, right off the rack isn’t usually wearable.
But I have always been a little stubborn, bordering on bratty, when it comes to jeans. I’ve even labeled myself “not a jeans person”. That wasn’t the whole truth, though.
The truth is, our bodies change. Especially as our workout and eating habits change. I went through a few phases of not working out, usually followed by a phase of eating mostly quesadillas. During those times, I didn’t want anything to do with jeans.
For the past nine months I’ve only had one pair of jeans that fit me. They are red. And I have to wear them with a belt. That kind of narrows down the choices of what to wear them with. So I stopped wearing jeans.
I was comfortable. But, I wasn’t really happy.
Luckily, I brought up the subject with some of my friends at the gym. They all said a lot of the things I already knew, but obviously needed to hear again: You have to try on a lot of pairs and the size doesn’t matter because it’s about fit. They also said it’s not something we should do alone. ”You need a friend to help you buy jeans.”
And then they decided I need to go jeans shopping. Right then. All sweaty and in workout clothes. I tried to come up with excuses, but they wouldn’t take no for an answer.
They pushed me out of my comfort zone and into the car.
My friends took me to a mall I’d never even heard of, and almost dragged me into the jeans store. They told the sales guy I needed some jeans. I stood there with my arms crossed and a look on my face that made him comment on my lack of enthusiasm. He could tell the shopping trip was not my idea.
But I let them give him some ideas, and I walked back to the dressing room willingly.
He brought me different styles and sizes, one pair at a time. My friends were waiting right outside the dressing room door, so I had to walk out and show them each one. At first I felt the normal resistance. But, then something happened after the third pair.
I looked in the mirror and I liked the jeans. Even better, I liked them on me. When I came out of the dressing room, my friends all nodded. They gave me specific reasons why that pair was good for me. The dark wash was professional enough to wear at work, the pockets made my butt look good, and they fit at the waist. Then they made me do an air squat and sit on the bench, just to make sure they fit.
After that pair, I was willing to try on more. I even tried on the ones with white stitching and sequins on the butt. And I had fun doing it. I was out of my comfort zone and I was happy.
After all those jeans, I bought the first pair that I loved. The dark ones that I can wear to work.
Now I am more comfortable being uncomfortable. And I’m wearing jeans.
It is tough to take that first step and sometimes we need a little push. But it is so worth it once we are there. And the friends who push us will be there to cheer us on along the way and celebrate with us at the end. Those are the kind of friends we all need in out lives.
Do your friends push you to try things you aren’t comfortable with? How do you feel about getting out of your comfort zone? Tell the truth: How does shopping for jeans make you feel?
Thankfully my cell phone still worked, so I called AT&T to figure out what was going on.
They acted like they had no idea. And they definitely didn’t waste any time with apologies. Basically, they said it was an outage and the engineers were working on it. “Try your TV again in a few hours.” That was it.
Well, the outage went on for three days. I called once a day to try and get some information. But it was always the same thing.
The engineers were working on it.
Not a single “I’m sorry this is happening.” No empathy at all.
I realize that it is just Internet and TV, but I felt cut off from the world. I couldn’t connect with my friends and family on facebook. I couldn’t check my bank statements or pay my bills. And I couldn’t relax to an episode of House Hunters after a long day at work and a tough workout.
It may not have been a big deal in the scheme of things, but I deserved an apology. And a tiny bit of empathy would have been enough to make me shrug my shoulders and open a book while I waited.
But AT&T’s indifference made me angry. It just took me awhile to figure out why.
Then I remembered the time back in college when my car was broken into. They took all my cd’s and my gym bag. Sure it was full of stinky clothes, but it also had the comb that my biological father used to comb my hair when I was a little girl. It was one of the few memories I have of him. And it was taken.
So, I did what most college kids do. I called my mother. I cried into the phone about the bag and the comb and how upset I was.
And my mother said, “That’s why I never leave anything important in the car.”
That just made me more upset. Luckily, I knew what to do. I got off the phone with my mother and called my Step-mom.
I told her my sob story about the gym bag and she said, “Oh, poor honey.”
That was all I needed to feel better. I could handle the lesson later, but I needed the empathy and the validation first.
I needed to know that my feelings mattered.
Dealing with AT&T was the same thing as talking to my mother when I was upset. It was as if my feelings, my inconvenience, weren’t important. I was just a complainer they wanted to get off the phone. When all I really needed was a “Poor Honey” to be OK.
We are told as children to treat others they way we want to be treated, but sometimes as adults we forget. We jump right into the purpose or the lesson or get right down to business.
When what we need to do is see the person standing before us, not just the problem.
If we want people to use our services, then we need to treat them as people. We need to validate their feelings and try to find a little empathy. You hear that, AT&T?
If we want people to be our friends, we need to be the friend we want for ourselves. We need to think back to Kindergarten and treat them the way we want to be treated.
And the truth is, all people deserve to be treated that way. Even the strangers we pass on the sidewalk and the waitress who brings us our check. We need to remember to see them as people. And treat them how we’d want to be treated, if we were in their shoes.
Have you ever been treated like a number by a company? How did it make you feel? Have you had any reminders lately to use the golden rule?
If you watch almost any TV show, especially something based on a YA book, you’ll see the pattern. The girl meets a bad boy with a rough exterior and a transcript from reform school. But he has great hair and a sexy smile, so she just knows there is something more beneath the surface.
And it always ends the same. After a few episodes he’s telling her about his alcoholic mother and his dead-beat dad. He cries on her shoulder, turns his back on all his friends from the old neighborhood, and trades in his leather jacket for a blazer.
He becomes the Good Boy for her. Because of her.
But that is never how it goes in real life.
So when a student walked into my classroom wearing a shirt that said, “Good Girls Love Bad Boys”, it made me angry. This is not a myth we need to keep perpetuating to young girls. Because Bad Boys are bad for us. And it never works out like it does on TV.
I have to admit, the closest I’ve come to dating a Bad Boy is dating a few slackers. The kind of guys who always need to borrow money and never live up to the potential I thought I saw in them. Luckily, all it took for me to learn my lesson was a few weeks of heartache and a couple hundred dollars.
It could’ve been much worse.
But, I grew up hearing the stories of what it’s really like.
My biological father was the ultimate Bad Boy. He was freshly out of prison when my mother met him. And he had a record that went all the way back to Juvy.
He was also tall, strong, handsome, smart, and funny. And he really was good on the inside. A Bad Boy with a heart of gold.
My mother had to quit her job to be with him. She couldn’t work for the county and marry a convict. It was against the rules. It all sounded so romantic the first time she told me.
Then reality set in. A reality that included me.
He died when I was young and the only memories I have of him are good ones. Memories full of laughs and hugs and fun times. And the dad who raised me is the opposite of a Bad Boy. Reliable to the core.
So my mother continued to tell me the stories.
Late nights waiting up for him to come home, not knowing where he was or what he was doing.
The police showing up at their front door, asking questions she didn’t want to know the answer to.
The big fight when she told him if he was arrested one more time, he’d never see me again.
She told me that she loved him, but it just wasn’t worth it. She had to think about me first.
We never see this story on TV. Probably because it’s not as pretty or romantic. But, it’s the truth.
The reality is, he doesn’t open up and he doesn’t turn in his leather jacket. He leaves you pregnant and alone at 16, the name calling escalates to the point that he’s beating you everyday, and he drags you so far into bankruptcy that you lose your house and everything you’ve worked so hard for.
It’s time we stop romanticizing the Bad Boy and tell our girls the truth.
Bad Boys are bad for us and we should walk away. The only way any of them has a chance of changing is if there is no one there to pick up the pieces for them. If they want the tweed blazer, they need to go get it on their own.
Have you ever dated a Bad Boy? What do you think of the way Bad Boys are romanticized in TV and movies? What do you tell your daughters about boys?
The other day I went to visit a friend I hadn’t seen in awhile. I was used to talking to her, and being around her, alone. But a few minutes of seeing her with her husband had me heading for the door. They were mean, grumpy, and rude to each other.
I actually walked out thinking: If that is what marriage is, I don’t ever want to get married.
Then I realized that talking with friends on the phone we always came back around to the same subject, relationships. How other friends of ours are being mistreated, unappreciated, ignored. And how they are accepting it.
That made me think about the people I don’t talk to much anymore.
When I was in a crappy relationship I had a few friends I counted on. We saw each other or talked on the phone all the time. And the subject was usually our bad relationships and what we could do to fix them.
Eventually I came to realize that the only thing I could do was leave.
Once I wasn’t in the bad relationship, some of those friends and I didn’t have much to talk about. So we just kind of drifted apart.
Back in my young party days when I was fresh out of college my friends and I talked everyday, almost exclusively about our boyfriends.
Today those same friends and I don’t talk quite as much as we used to because we have more going on in our lives. But what I realized is, we don’t talk about relationships now that we are out of the bad ones.
Sure my friend B.G. and I talked about it when her husband got cancer. But we don’t ever talk about how he cooks dinner, is a hands-on father, or buys her little gifts out of the blue for no special occasion.
It’s like we decided unconsciously that because there is nothing wrong, there is nothing to talk about.
Then I thought about the friends I have who I never talk about relationships with.
Sure, with my writing friends I talk about writing. But we also talk about our day jobs, family, coffee, college, and even clothes. And when I’ve asked, they’ve told the story of how they met their spouse. But that is where the relationship talk ends.
Now I’m left wondering why.
Because it seems to me that those are exactly the people who we should be talking about relationships with: the people in good, strong, healthy ones.
Maybe if we spend more time talking about what works, instead of what doesn’t, it will be easy to recognize it when it comes along. Or walk away when it’s obviously not working.
And maybe if we talk about marriage with our friends in happy ones, we won’t think they are the exception.
The truth is, I haven’t given up on the institution of marriage. I just don’t ever want to be stuck in an unhappy one.
Do you talk about what is good in your relationship? Did you ever lose friendships when you got out of a bad relationship? Why do you think we tend to focus on the negative? If you have any great relationship advice, I’d love to hear it.
I was watching a fun show the other evening about a kick-ass woman who saves the day, and the world, on a weekly basis. Every time I watch a show like that I end up a little bit inspired and usually wanting to take some sort of martial arts or self-defense class.
But then one of the characters said something that made me mad.
The heroine and her boyfriend/partner in saving the world were talking and the heroine apologized for saying something upsetting. Her boyfriend said he understood. He got that weepy look in his eyes and the background music got all romantic. Then he said, “I know it’s not because you don’t love me, it’s because you don’t love yourself.” Then he stepped in closer like he was about to kiss her. “But I can teach you how to love yourself.”
And that’s when I yelled at the TV. Because he was so wrong! And I hate to think of all the young women out there who might see the show and think that the right man can solve all their problems.
Because I remember when I used to think that, too.
I also remember the moment when I had everything that was supposed to make me happy. I remember sitting there with the great guy who loved me, in the nice apartment with the great view. I had a good job that I liked and a closet full of beautiful clothes. I even had a flat stomach. But I still wasn’t happy.
I remember thinking, “He’s here, he loves me, so why do I feel so bad?”
There’s nothing like being in a room with someone who loves you when you don’t love yourself. I’d never felt so alone.
That was the first time I started to realize that other people couldn’t change the way I felt about myself. But it was still awhile before I fully understood that I was the only one who could show me how to love myself.
There is an epidemic of self-hate in our culture right now. And unfortunately, that paired with the instant-gratification and consumerism makes us think that there is some magic fix for everything. I can’t stand to look at myself in the mirror, but if I buy these shoes, try this diet, or date this guy then everything will be OK.
But that is all a lie.
We can try all those things and we still won’t love ourselves.
I tried so many different things. I read self-help books, I journaled, I interviewed everyone I knew who truly loved themselves to ask how they did it, I even paid $300.00 for a twenty minute phone call with some guru on self-worth. I was desperate.
Some of those things helped. The books and the friends gave me ideas. The journaling helped me see that the relationship I was in wasn’t good for me. And getting out of it was the first step in showing myself how much I love me.
The path is different for everybody. And once you get to the other side, it’s hard to remember exactly what you did that worked. But the thing you remember the most is that you have to do it yourself.
Besides getting out of that unhealthy relationship, the thing that I think helped me the most was kind of cheesy. I looked myself in the mirror everyday, with no make-up and messy hair, and I said “I love you, Emma” out loud to my reflection.
I know, try to hold in the laughter. It sounds like something you’d see on a Hallmark Original Movie.
But when you can stand naked in front of a mirror and love yourself no matter what you see, you don’t really care how you got there. You love yourself too much to worry about that. You may not remember the exact steps you took, but the one thing you know for sure is that you did it yourself.
Because no one can do it for you. Only you can love yourself.
Have you ever battled with self-love and self-worth? Do you remember what helped you? Or are you one of those rare people who grew up already loving themselves? Any idea on how to battle the epidemic of self-hate?
It seems like the switch in gender roles is everywhere. Girls are out-performing boys in school and out-numbering them in college. If you read any of the articles in Cosmo or Glamour (which I stopped doing after one too many articles on how to give a B.J. while doing your nails), you’ll notice the big trend about women making more money than men.
Sugar mama’s are supposedly on the rise.
And while I don’t exactly think it’s the same thing as equality, I do like the impact it seems to be having on entertainment.
I didn’t used to watch much regular TV. I have always been more of a fan of cop shows than sit-coms. I didn’t like how so many of the shows were about beautiful, smart women married to fat guys who were supposed to be funny. I always found them to be mean, not really funny.
I figured that most of those shows were designed for men. Like, Hey look, you can be a fat jerk and still get a hot wife with a good job. Yes, it definitely bothered me.
Well, recently I’ve been watching a few more sitcoms and I have noticed a big change. It could be the networks I’m watching, but it feels like they are making more TV shows for us.
Now there are shows with smart, fully-clothed, stylishly dressed women. And the men in their lives are the eye candy. Instead of women in bikinis for no apparent reason, they have men working out or swimming in the middle of the day. Any excuse for them to be without their shirt.
Maybe it all started with the popularity of vampire movies and shows. Those Hollywood execs realized that it wasn’t just thirteen year old girls watching Damon, Jacob, and whoever that hot guy on True Blood is.
They realized that we want something to look at, too. It isn’t all about the prostitute being rescued by the millionaire or the girl falling in love with the male best friend who’d been right under her nose the whole time.
I’m not saying that men are only to be ogled, but it is very nice to see the change. Because sometimes what we women want is to see the woman in the fabulous outfit and the man come out of the water, shirtless and sparkling.
And it’s about time.
How do you feel about the change in men on TV? Do you like to watch the shows with the hot men? Or does that not make a difference? Be honest, because I hope it isn’t just me.
I once dated a guy who was always late. At first it made sense to me, because I’m not exactly on time myself. But there is a big difference between 30 minutes and 3 hours.
I got tired of waiting by the phone or watching an entire movie, dressed and ready to go, while I waited for him to show up.
There was always an explanation. I never said it was OK, but I always went on his time frame. That was closer to acceptance than I realized.
It wasn’t just that he was always late, either. I let him have total control of our plans. He would ask me to a movie, and then show up and say we were going out to lunch with some friends instead.
It reminded me of the one computer game I had as a child. Ken would ask Barbie out on date after date and keep changing plans. Finally, he’d take her on a date, but not before she’d changed her clothes and been to the salon four times.
Eventually I realized that my time and opinion are just as important as anyone else’s. I broke up with him and set a new boundary for myself. If a guy says five and shows up at eight, I’m either not home or I’m not opening the door.
Time being single has taught me a lot, too.
I’ve learned who I am and what I want. And what I’m not willing to give up.
I know that Friday nights are restful nights for me. After a long week of work, all I want is to sit on the couch and relax with a book, a magazine, or some good TV. I don’t want to think about getting dressed up and going out. Or even talking to new people.
I have a tiring job. I am “on” all day long. Fridays I just need to rest. I am fine with that.
Then, last week, I had a conference to go to. There weren’t any workshops Friday evening, but there was a cocktail hour and a presentation. It sounded like a great way to make new writer friends, back when I signed up. Back when I wasn’t working.
The reality of going out and being “on” after a full week of work was too much. I talked to a friend about it, and she didn’t see my point of view.
She threw out the old “What about when you’re in a relationship” thing. Anyone who is single knows what I’m talking about. Almost anytime we make a decision for ourselves, our coupled friends try to put partner parameters on it. As if we have to think about someone else who isn’t there.
What if you were dating someone who wanted to go out? You’d have to get over it and go out. That’s what my friend said.
I went home ready to suck it up and go to the conference. But something stopped me. I realized that in a relationship, I still get to set my own boundaries. Just like I won’t wait three hours without a call, I won’t make myself go out when I’m not up for it.
In relationships there has to be give and take. Our partners have to accept us as we are, or they aren’t really our partners. Even if what we are is a couch potato on Friday nights.
Being my myself I’ve learned that there are a lot of things I let go either way. I don’t care which way the toilet paper roll faces, when the garbage goes out, or which side of the bed I sleep on. But when it comes to taking care of myself, I have standards.
And I’ve learned those are worth keeping. Even if it means being alone on that couch for awhile.
What lessons have you learned from relationships? What are your deal breakers? Where are you willing to compromise? It’s ok to tell me if you think I’m being selfish about my lazy Friday nights.