The One

Posted on January 23, 2010. Filed under: Relationships | Tags: , , , , , , |

My poor boyfriend.  I’m always writing about all things important to me, here on My Life, Incomplete — yet I rarely talk about him.  Sure, he makes a cameo now and then, but usually as an extra – never as the star.  “Why is that?” you ask.  Well, because Doug is a very private person.

Can you imagine!?  Us?  A couple?  I’m an open book – to the entire World Wide Web! He’s having a sharing moment if he tells you what he had for breakfast.

So while it may seem like I’m self involved and care more about my ex-husband than my boyfriend, nothing could be further from the truth.  The fact that I don’t write much about Doug or our relationship isn’t because our relationship isn’t worth writing about.  And it’s definitely not because there’s nothing to tell.  Our life as a couple is full.  Some days it’s all I can do not to write about what’s going on with us.  But it’s out of respect for the most wonderful man in the world that I keep us to myself.

Tonight, I guess I feel more like sharing him than respecting him (sorry, babe), so I hope you enjoy it, because it’s not likely to happen again soon.

Here it is:  He makes me laugh.  He goes to Dunkin’ Donuts to get me coffee on Saturday mornings.  He always reaches for my hand.  He thinks I’m funny (and for anyone who knows me – this is HUGE).  He’s Braden’s best friend.  He loves country music.  He thinks spending 10 days with our parents is vacation.  He loves when I sing in the car.  Really!  Ask him!  He’s my best friend.  We can sit outside and play songs for each other on our iPhones all day long.  He goes for walks with me.  He always asks me what I’m wearing when we’re not together.  He’s a great sport at the mall.  He has soft skin.  He loves his kids with all his heart.  He looks amazing in black.  He is good to his parents.  He’s always in charge.  He can talk to anyone.  He believes in me.  He’s got a great ass.  He loves sports — sports all day, every day and it doesn’t even bother me one bit.  He’s my biggest fan.  He’d rather spend quality time with me than go to a Cubs game.  Okay, that one was just to see if you were still paying attention.  We can talk for hours.  I miss him before I even get on the “on” ramp.

He is my favorite person. (Calm down, I’m talking about adults here.)

They say you’ll know when you’ve found “The One.”  I knew I hadn’t when I married my ex, but since I didn’t really know what to expect, I accepted what I had.  I thought that was just something “they” say.  I thought we all just figure our one is “The One” a la “love the one you’re with…” But I know better now.  The connection that Doug and I have is like nothing I could have imagined before experiencing it.  File it under the category of “you don’t know what you don’t know.”

When I was married, I questioned my relationship and whether I belonged in it every time I stood in the greeting card aisle — desperately seeking one that said what I felt.  Problem was, there wasn’t a card that said, “I’m pretty disappointed in this whole marriage thing, but I hope you have a happy birthday anyway.”  Now, when I visit the greeting card aisle, I end up with ten cards in my hand and have to pick which one says it best. I can get the others another time…

Cliche but true: no one is perfect, but Doug is absolutely perfect for me.  I’m such a lucky girl!

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Mars vs. Venus: Stereotypes and Assumptions

Posted on January 18, 2010. Filed under: Mars vs. Venus | Tags: , |

This is the fifth of a series of posts in which I’ll provide my female perspective on selected topics, while fellow blogger, Jamey Stegmaier, provides his male perspective. We’ll link and post before reading what each other wrote. Topics we will be discussing will be ones that may be better understood or further examined once considering the perspective of each gender. Note that Mars is a single guy, while Venus is in a long-term committed relationship – not that that would impact our opinions or anything…

Today’s Mars vs. Venus post is Part 1 of a two-part series.  Jamey and came up with a list of questions for which we think the answers will vary based on gender.  We first guessed what the other person will answer, and then exchanged our actual answers (much like “The Newlyweds Game”).  After each question, you’ll see what Jamey thought my answer would be in blue, and my actual answer in pink.

On the Topic of Dating and Commitment:

1.   Rank in order of importance (one being most important) for attraction prior to first date:

___3___ Physical attractiveness ___2___

___2___ Sense of humor ___1___

___4___ Intelligence___3___

___5___ Financial standing ___5___

___1___ Appearance (i.e. fashion, hygiene, maintenance, etc.) ___4___

2.  Would you prefer high-maintenance/looks fantastic OR laid back/less “together”?

Laid back/less “together”

Laid back/less “together”

3.  Do you wait for the other person to say “I love you” first, even if you already feel it? – NO

Yes.

No.

4. What constitutes cheating? a. kissing  b. sex  c. anything in-between d. emotional relationship e. flirting/dancing

a. b. c. d. and e.

a. b. c. and d. – I’m not condoning it, and I don’t really want to know about it if it happens, but I do believe there can be truly harmless dancing and flirting.  As long as there is no underlying desire to take it further than that, I wouldn’t call it cheating.  I wouldn’t be thrilled about it, but I wouldn’t break up over it.

5. Is a little jealousy preferred, in order to know your significant other cares?

Yes, a little jealousy is good

No, jealousy is not good.  It is a turn off.

6.  What is the minimum/maximum a couple should date before getting engaged?

Min – 6 months/Max – 3 years

Min – 1 year/Max – none

7. How long should an engagement be?

About a year – enough time to plan the perfect wedding.

Jamey couldn’t be more wrong on this one!  0-24 months, enough time to save up for a trip to Hawaii.  Weddings are soooooooooo overrated!  (Sorry Mom and Dad, about the $30,000 dollars.)

8.  Once in a committed relationship, should you maintain friendships with the opposite sex?

Maybe, but you have the right to veto any of them.

Yes, definitely.  You are who you were before I met you, and you come with your whole life, friends included.

a.  Should you start new friendships with the opposite sex?

Maybe, but you’re going to be wary of them.

This is a tough-y (which I guess means Jamey is correct).  Yes, with the caveat that the friendship is based on mutual friends or interests and not because this new person has become a confidant, or sounding board for your intimate thoughts and emotions.

9.  How often should your significant other go out for the night with friends?

Once a week at most.

As often as he wants.  He should have the freedom to enjoy his life and his friends, as I expect the same in return.  If he wants to be with me, he’ll show it and I’ll know it.

10.  When living together, but before married, should a couple share expenses or keep them separate?

Share expenses, but the man should pay for more.

Separate.

11.  After a break up, is it better to cut all ties or stay in touch?

Most women, cut all ties.  For Lauren, stay in touch.

Cut ties.  Move on.  Unless, of course, you have children together.

Now click over to Jamey’s blog and read what I thought he would answer versus his actual answers for the same questions!

Select the Mars vs. Venus category in the sidebar drop down to read the other posts in this series – they’re good!

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Thankful This Thursday: My Sister

Posted on January 14, 2010. Filed under: Thankful This Thursday | Tags: , , , , , , |

She’ll probably never even read this post. (!!!!?!????) Half the time I wish she came with a mute button. That’s not very nice to say, I know. But the girl literally speaks every thought that pops into her head. You know how you could be walking down the stairs and think to yourself, “there’s a red string on the stair; I should pick that up…later”? She says it out loud. And the game “20 Questions”? That’s just a warm up for this girl!

But my sister is a part of our family, and by that, I don’t mean she is a part of my family because she is my sibling. I mean that she is a part of Braden and I. Braden expects to see her at our house on Wednesdays. If I haven’t talked to her in a couple days, I wonder what she’s up to. When I’m watching a movie, I want her to be watching it with me. I buy my groceries with her in mind. I want her to read the same books I do so we can talk about them.

We are two incredibly different people who rarely agree on anything, but we would be lost without each other. She drives me nuts, but at least she is in the vehicle with me!

When I found the keepsakes in the garage back in November, I came across a folder full of sweet things my sister wrote to me while we were growing up. To give you an idea of how much my sister has always loved me, here are some titles and some content of the letters, poems, cards and notes I’ve saved from her:

  • “A Birthday Poem from Me to You” (A very sweet poem written when she was 13.)
  • “It’s Your Birthday, Sister – I’m always telling other people how great I think you are. Today I’m telling you. Happy Birthday.” (A Hallmark card.)
  • “You’re the Greatest! Happy Valentine’s Day, Sis!” (A homemade construction paper card.)
  • “Laurie, You Are the Coolest Sister!” (A colorful sign drawn on the computer to hang in my room.)
  • “dEAR LORIE, You are nice, You are nice, You are funny, You are pretty. You are good at nintendo especially california games, I love you. You are good at school. love, your little sister.” (A note she typed and printed on a dot matrix printer.)
  • “My sister is the greatest thing I’ve ever had.” (A poem to make amends, written when she was 14.)
  • And my personal favorite: “18 Golden Things About My Sister!!” (A list of 18 things she loved about me, written for my 18th birthday on December 18th.)

After a particularly rough day of third grade, I came home to my mom video taping my sister playing with the dog in the yard. I guess I snapped at her when she tried to greet me, because the video shows her cute little pig-tailed head coming up to the camera, “Mommy! Laurie called me a idiot!”

An idiot, she is not. My inspiration for this post is her natural ability to relate to Braden in ways that I am lacking. She can get him to talk about events and emotions in more detail than he shares with me. She has this way of turning every encounter into a teaching opportunity. For example, we have a list of house rules on the bulletin board. Braden and I read them out loud together most days, and I refer to the list when I need to enforce a rule.
But what does my sister do? First time she sees the list, she reads the beginning of each rule aloud, so that Braden can finish it. Then it’s all high fives every time he gets one right. Amazing!

I actually go to her for advice on how to deal with behavioral problems and discipline challenges because she simply has a knack for it.

When she does have kids of her own, I imagine they’ll either be very smart and well-behaved, or very smart and absolute tyrants in their rebellion. And I’m certain they’ll ask a lot of questions.

This Thursday, I am thankful for my sister. She is my soul mate.

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MLI Discussion: The Ring

Posted on January 13, 2010. Filed under: divorce, MLI Discussions | Tags: , , , , , , |

I was home alone.  I was sitting at the top of the stairs.  And I was bawling — er, whaling like a banshee.  My wedding ring was gone.  I was sure of it; I’d looked everywhere.

It was 2005 and I had been married for almost three years.  We were expecting a baby in just a few months.  I was enjoying a fantastic pregnancy and was a happy mommy-to-be.  My pregnancy was so delightful that I rarely had any “crazy pregnant lady” moments.  But this was one of them.

I retraced my steps a hundred times.  I unscrewed drain pipes, pulled back carpeting – YES!, pulled back carpeting.  I pulled all of my clothes out of all of my drawers.  I dumped my baskets full of toiletries.  If that ring was in that house, I would have found it. 

After hours of frantic searching, I collapsed to the floor and the tears began to fall.  Thinking back on that day, I remember feeling like I had lost an absolutely irreplacable possession.  This wasn’t about the diamond.  My ex purchased the ring when he was waiting tables at Bob Evan’s.  It was a beautiful ring, but the monetary value was minimal. 

My attachment to the ring was in what it symbolized:  It was the day he proposed to me while I was in my pajamas.  It was shopping for my fairy-tale wedding dress.  It was the moment he slid it on my finger before all of our friends and family.  It was our first apartment, our new home, our unborn baby — all captured in that circle that belonged around my bare left ring finger. 

I can clearly remember feeling like I didn’t know how to go on without that ring.  A replacement just wouldn’t do.  I spent the next 24 hours replaying the day before in my head.  When did I last have it on?  Where was I when I took it off?  What did I do with it? 

I could picture myself setting it on the bathroom counter before my shower.  WHY WASN’T IT THERE!?  And then, as though God had decided I’d been tortured enough, it came to me.  I ran up the stairs, pulled my maternity jeans from the upper shelf in my closet, and the ring fell on the floor in front of me.  The jeans had been sitting on the bathroom counter when I took the ring off.  Unknowningly, I had set the ring on the jeans and it slid down into the cuff of the pants. 

All was right with the world.

Two and a half years after splitting with my ex, that ring sits in my jewelry box.  I keep thinking I’ll sell it, but never get around to it. 

I have a new passion for life and I welcome all of the opportunities that await me in this new chapter.  I thank God everyday for leading me to Doug, the perfect partner, best friend and love for me.  Yet, the ring is still symbolic of all the same things it was when I wore it.  Only now, it takes on a new meaning as it serves as a reminder that there was good in my marriage.  My husband, and our union, was important to me.  I do not view those years as a waste, and maintaining this perspective helps me be the best mom I can to our son.

 

Do you still have your wedding ring?  If so, why do you keep it?  What do you plan to do with it? 

If you got rid of it, what was the thinking behind that decision – and if you sold it, was it worth it?

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Mars vs. Venus: The Friend Zone – What Are We Doing Here?

Posted on January 4, 2010. Filed under: Mars vs. Venus | Tags: , , |

“I respect you too much to fool around with you.”

“I feel like I can talk to you about anything!”

“I don’t want to spoil what we have by sleeping together.”

Face it – you’re in “The Friend Zone.”  Good luck correcting course now, buddy.

You know The Friend Zone, right?  Ross was there. “BUT HE GOT OUT!” you say?  Well, that’s NBC for ya.  Do you really think Rachel Green would date paleontologist, Ross Geller, in real life.  C’MON!

According to Wikipedia, “The Friend Zone” is a popular psychology concept referring to the situation where a female has begun to view a male as a friend only, and not a potential suitor — a psychological classification supposedly exceptionally difficult to undo.

And I agree.  Seriously, guys – don’t get in this zone if what you really want is to a. be in a romantic relationship with the woman in question or b. get in her pants. Newsflash: we are wired soooo differently than you.  Woman want to believe that we can have a platonic relationship with a man.  We like to think that not every man who shows an interest in what we have to say is trying to score.  We pretend we don’t see you staring at our boobs.  It’s just how we are.  So if you are looking for the aforementioned “a” or “b,” don’t feed our friendship fantasy.

I’d bet that some men end up in this zone thinking that getting to know each other before starting the romance (or seduction) is a great way to get us interested.  Wrong!  If a woman is attracted to a man, or interested in “a” or “b,” she might want to get to know you first, but over a nice dinner date or snuggled up on the sofa in front of the fire with a glass of red wine.  She does not want to bang her best friend.

So if you find yourself in The Friend Zone and you want out, what do you do?  Pray.  I really don’t know of many real-life Ross and Rachels.  Women have men they consider platonic friends and men they date.  The mere definition of platonic renders you out of the sexual picture.

My advice to you: get it out there.  If you are interested in a woman, ask her out.  If she’s interested in you, she’ll go and you’ll both be on the same page as far as intentions are concerned.  If she’s not interested, she’ll decline and you can spare yourself the agony of The Friend Zone.


I should make the disclaimer here (before I get the comments calling me out on it) that I realize a “date” means something different for every woman.  Please allow me some literary flexibility…

Disclaimer #2: I’m well aware that the gender roles could be reversed in “The Friend Zone.”  However, I’ve been witness and party to Friend Zone situations in which the man is the one who is seeking more than friendship.


What are your thoughts and experiences relating to “The Friend Zone?”

Now that you’ve read my take on “The Friend Zone,” click over to Jamey’s blog and see what Mars has to say about it…

Other Mars vs. Venus post on MLI:

Mars Meets Venus: When Worlds Collide

Mars vs. Venus: What Women Want… Rather, What I Want

Mars vs. Venus: What Does Tiger Woods Owe the Public?

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