What everyone should know about hooking up…

Hooking-upYou are out with your friends enjoying a few drinks on a beautiful night. Your phone vibrates. You have one new text message. You pick it up and see that it’s Sam, a guy you met three weeks ago and hooked up with because you were really wasted. He’s a nice guy, but ever since that night, he’s been pseudo-stalking you. You’ve been cordial, answering some of his texts and calls, mostly because you like the attention, but he’s just not the one for you. You tell your friends at the table, “It’s Sam the stalker again. He is out in DC and wants to know where I am.” There’s a round of snickers and laughs. Someone tells you to be nice to the poor guy and tell him where you are. You never know, he might have cute friends, she says. You take a sip of your margarita and say, “Let’s see how the night goes. If we don’t find any cute guys here, I will tell him to come by.”

Two hours and two rounds later, no one at the table has seen anyone cute. You are almost forced by one of your oversexed friends to call Sam and bring his entourage over. By now you have a good buzz going and figure, why not. He’ll buy you your next round and tell you how hot you are. So you text Sam and tell him where you are in Arlington. You laugh to yourself because you don’t even have to extend an invitation. You know very well that he’s going to say by some strange coincidence that he’s at the bar next door and will just swing by. Fifteen minutes later, Sam, his best friend, and his roommate stroll into bar. People are introduced, shots are ordered, and the night officially begins. Sam is all over you and the more you drink, the more you like it. By the end of the night, you and Sam are stumbling back to your place. You guys make out all over your apartment and for some reason it’s really great. Maybe it’s because you’ve been going through a dry spell, but whatever the reason, you are into it. You continue to make out with Sam and the more you kiss him, the more you like him. How could you have disregarded him before? Maybe he’s not as bad as you initially thought.

And then you wake up the next day completely sober and realize you had on major margarita glasses. Sam is lying in your bed, snoring like a sabertooth tiger, drooling on your favorite pillow. You are annoyed like crazy. How long is going to be here, you wonder? He finally wakes up, smiling like a cheshire cat, and pats the space next to him, indicating he wants you to lie back down. You’d rather shoot yourself than cuddle with Sam so you make up an excuse about having to run into work that morning. Disappointed, Sam reluctantly and slowly, gets out of your bed. You throw his pants at him and watch him stumble to get dressed, knocking over your alarm clock and family photo in the process. He apologizes and then asks if you have time to grab some breakfast. Ah, sorry no. You really don’t. Some other time maybe. Sam picks up on your unintentional invitation to do this again, and says, “Ok, when? Do you want to meet up later tonight?” At this point you just want him out of your apartment so you tell him to call you later and you will see about getting together. He finally leaves after you pretend to walk to your car. You get back to your apartment and collapse on the couch. You eventually drift off to sleep but not before labeling Sam’s number DO NOT ANSWER into your cell phone.

I know you can all related to this story. We have all had guys we just aren’t into, chase after us relentlessly. We’ve all caved and been nice to them, even hooked up with them once or twice. We’ve kept them on the back burner in cases of emergency and extreme boredom. But guess what? This story is not what you think. You’ve just entered the Twilight Zone. You were not out with your girlfriends having margaritas last night. You were in DC, hanging out with your best friend and her roommate, hoping to hear from the guy you met three weeks ago and had a hot hook up with. A hook up you have not been able to stop thinking about. That’s right, in this scenario, YOU are Sam. You were the one who texted him to find out where he was. You were elated when he told you he was at the Eventide rooftop in Arlington. You rushed over and played it off as if you at the bar next door. You met up with him and his friends, had some drinks and ended up back at his place, where at some point in the night you fell completely in love. You woke up in his bed filled with excitement. You are certain he likes you now. He wanted to go to breakfast, but a work emergency took priority. Totally understandable. You like him even more because he’s ambitious. He told you to call him later and you guys would meet up again that night.

Maybe you saw this switch-a-roo coming from a mile away. Maybe my Twilight Zone blog was totally predictable. I really don’t know. What I do know is this. There are lots of girls out there that string along men they aren’t interested in. They hook up with them when it’s convenient, call when they are lonely and use them when they want to. Those same women often Continue reading

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When someone first shows you who they are, believe them: How Maya Angelou can save you from certain heartache

believehimI had only been dating Palmer for a few months but I already knew I really liked him. I was twenty-one at the time and just finishing up my last year of college. Palmer avidly pursued me. I’d run into him at clubs and parties and he’d always slip away from his date and plead with me to go out with him. I thought it was exciting and romantic. I thought he was exciting and romantic. Finally after months of asking, I obliged a dinner invite and we ended up at restaurant near school. He was the perfect gentleman, opening doors and pulling out chairs. He paid for dinner and asked if he could kiss me goodnight. That date sealed the deal for me. I was falling for him.

A few months into our relationship, Palmer decided to enroll in my school. He had taken a few years off to wait tables and save money. I could tell he was nervous about his first day because he spent an extra ten minutes in the bathroom doing his hair and asked my opinion on three different shirts. When we got in the car and headed out to school Palmer was very quiet. He didn’t even turn on the radio. I reached over and rubbed back a little. “Hey,” I said. “Don’t be nervous. Everything is going to be great.” I wasn’t expecting the reaction I got.

“Get off of me,” he said with irritation.

An alarm went off in my head. I heard it. I tried to make sense of it. Why would he be upset with me? Why would he be annoyed at me for being supportive? I was confused. I looked at Palmer for a few seconds, hoping he would realize what he had said and apologize. But he didn’t. He just kept driving.

That was the moment that Palmer showed me who he really was. It was also the moment I chose to ignore it.

I continued dating Palmer for several more months and I can honestly say without a doubt it was the most emotionally exhausting, confidence wrecking relationship of my life. He was a moody, selfish person that threw anger tantrums if he didn’t get his way. He was also a womanizer that needed endless attention in order to feed his ego. At the time though, I blamed myself, thinking I was not good enough and couldn’t make him happy. That’s what happens when you don’t listen when someone tells you who they are. You get in too deep and you can no longer see them clearly. That day in the car I heard the alarm bells and knew that he had issues. But as I continued to date him, his issues disappeared and mine began to develop.

I have always loved Maya Angelou’s quote, “When someone first shows you who they are, believe them.” Over the years I’ve realized the importance of this message as it saves you wasted time believing in false hope that people will become who you want them to be. Who are we to tell them who to be anyway? All of us have been told at some point in our lives that people don’t change, so to some of you perhaps Maya Angelou’s quote may not be as profound a statement. But I think that the emphasis here is not to simply believe someone when they show you who they are, it is to believe them when they FIRST show you. That is the crux of the message. For if you ignore it the first time, you will lock yourself in for a long ride ending in disappointment. Had I gotten out of the car that day and decided that Palmer’s reaction was not normal, not nice, and not fine with me, I could have saved myself many months of heartache and many years of self-doubt.

Today I’m blessed to be happily married to my wonderful husband. I learned a great deal from my prior relationships and thankfully I was able to self-improve instead of self-destruct. But I was fortunate. I had good family, great friends, and God and the Universe somehow pulled me through the dark times unscathed. But other people have not been so lucky. So if you have been in an unsatisfying relationship because you’ve been ignoring your partners true self, open your eyes and start to see what they’ve been telling you all along.

Update: Over a decade later, Palmer is still in school, still waiting tables and still throwing anger tantrums.

For one on one dating or relationship advice, contact Jess McCann at www.jessmccann.com. You can also follow her on Twitter @IamJessMcCann

For tips on landing the guy you want, pick up a copy of my books, Was It Something I Said? and “You Lost Him at Hello”,

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Before You Marry Him, Ask Yourself This Question…

skepticalmarriageWhen I was a little girl my father would come home every night at six o’clock. I would wait patiently by the front door, nose pressed against the glass, trying to catch the first glimpse of his old brown LeBaron coming up the street. He would walk in the door all smiles and grab me in his arms to hug and kiss me hello. At dinner he would commend my accomplishments of the day, possibly a finger painting or some sort of holiday diorama. He’d tuck me into bed promptly at eight but not before reading a passage or two from one of my favorite books. I never felt unloved, never felt unimportant, never felt anything but safe and happy.

I thought all children felt this way for a very long time. It wasn’t until I was in sixth grade that I realized not every girl had a father like mine. I remember going over to a friend’s house for the first time after school one day. My mother let me stay for dinner and I was shocked that the family started eating without their Dad. In fact, my friends’ father didn’t come home until much later and we were already back to playing downstairs in the basement. I heard his heavy footsteps and deep voice through the floor. I stopped playing Nintendo, expecting my friend to spring to her feet at any moment to greet him. But she didn’t flinch.

“Don’t you want to go see your Dad?” I asked her.

“No.” She said quite firmly. “I hate him. He’s mean.”

Her words were so jarring I didn’t know what to make of them. How could she hate her Dad? I became so curious to meet the man of the house I made up the excuse of wanting some water. My friend walked me back up stairs where we found her Dad eating at the dinner table, buried behind a newspaper. She didn’t acknowledge him as she walked by. He didn’t acknowledge her either. On our way back from the kitchen, her Dad abruptly tossed his paper to the side.

“Did you clean that hamster cage yet like I told you to?” Her Dad asked without looking up from his meal.

“Yes.” My friend answered.

I stood there, behind my friend, just starring at her father. What was going on here? Why wasn’t he so happy to see her? Why wasn’t he asking about her day? Didn’t he want to know who I was? My mind raced with questions, but I didn’t dare ask any of them. Instead I took them home and thought on them some more. Was her father always late for dinner? Did he usually read the paper at the table? Did he ever hug my friend? Why did she say she hated him?

As my friend and I grew closer I learned more about her Dad and their relationship. He worked for an Insurance company, a job he hated, but he also coached girl’s basketball at the community center. He was a huge fan of the game and spent all of his free time on the court. And, of course, he enrolled his only daughter to play on the team. My friend was not athletic. Truthfully, she hated sports. She was into music and art. But her father wouldn’t hear of her quitting, in fact, if she complained too much he would ground her. So every weekend was filled with practice and games, which made my friend miserable.

Their relationship was not warm and loving. It was based on fear and resentment. Her father ruled with an iron fist, and his word was not to be challenged. He didn’t want to know his daughter, he just wanted her to fall in line.

The choices you make today…

You may be living the life of a single girl now, but one day your role will change. One day you will be a wife, and eventually a mother. The man you chose for a partner, will not only be your husband, but the father of your children. To think that far ahead is hard for some of us, but it’s a critical that we do so. You are not only choosing a man for yourself, you are choosing a man that will head your entire household. You cannot think only of the relationship you will have with him. You must also consider the relationship he could have with your son or daughter. So before you say yes to any man, you must ask yourself, “what kind of father will he be?”

My friend didn’t chose her Dad. She had no say in the relationship she was going to have with him. She was innocently born into this family and had no power to change the way she was raised. But her mother did have a choice. Her mother made the decision to marry him. Years ago, when they were merely dating, she ignored the fact that he could be cold at times. She disregarded his moody and abrasive personality. My friend’s mom was in love and wanted to get married. Even if he wasn’t exactly perfect, her mom thought she was strong enough to deal with her Dad’s long list of shortcomings.

But never did she think about how her daughter would handle them.

What are the repercussions?

Studies show that children, especially girls, are greatly effected by their relationship with their father. An active, involved Dad, one who provides a loving and supportive environment, will breed well adjusted, happy children. A detached, antagonistic Dad, can breed just the opposite. Children can grow up to be angry, distrusting, excessively insecure and wildly promiscuous.

Maybe you are dating someone right now that has a bad temper. Or maybe he flakes on you whenever you really need him. Maybe he’s too cocky to show his feelings. Or maybe he just makes you feel inadequate, unimportant and sad. Maybe you are actually considering marrying this man. Before you do, think about this: If he makes you, a grown woman feel this way, how do you think he will make your five-year-old feel?

Who you marry is your choice. Just remember that your kids will reap the benefits or suffer the consequences based on that decision. So Chose wisely.

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