Thoughts for the Days

~ If you can’t own it, don’t do it.

~ Gotta love the strength of a long-awaited and well-earned revelation. It has the power to flush away – in an instant – months of emotional turmoil and to restore stability and self-confidence.

~ “Nothing is unknown. It is only temporarily hidden.” ~ Star Trek Beyond

~ “In the end what you don’t surrender the world just strips away.” ~ Human Touch by Bruce Springsteen

~ “Life, for all its anguish, is ours. It belongs to no other.” ~ quoted from Penny Dreadful, Season 3, Episode 1

~ There is meaning in many of life’s events – tragedies, triumphs, disappointments, successes. All you need is the courage to look into the shadows to see what was hidden before and to be unafraid to connect the pieces.

~ What will you – the biased political pundits of FB (you are part of this group if you have made more than 1 politically tainted post a week during this campaign) do after this election? Who will you roast? What will you have accomplished, really? What has really changed by all of your inflammatory posts but to drive a wedge between every one and every group? Just like the candidates and the media have guided you to do, driven you to express…you are not unifiers. You have become just as devisive as them all. Pity! Can’t wait for the end of the drama…

© 2010-2017 Kimberly Yoss. All rights reserved. No part of this online publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without prior approval from Kimberly Yoss.

The Myth of the Other Woman

Yes. I said it out loud.

It is my belief that the idea of the “other woman” is a true myth.

And yes, I fully expect to get some backlash for that.

But, please, hear me out.

I believe that, like a fence, there are only two sides to the idea of the “other woman”:

  • the side where you get hurt
  • the side where the other woman gets hurt

Buried somewhere in there are different degrees of pain. Some of the pain lasts longer than the rest. This is a matter of perception, as most everything in life is. Other critical factors in the pain that is felt are the true level of commitment in the relationship, and the level of perceived commitment in the relationship of both the guy(s) and the gal(s).

Yes, I just inferred that it might be in your head. I can only say that because I have been there too – both when it is real, and when I manufactured it. As a writer and an analyst, I have a tendency to overthink  A LOT.

In reality, the idea of the “other woman” is not about the other woman at all; it is about you and the guy. It’s that simple.

At this point in our lives, most of us gals should have already seen both sides of this fence; and, depending on your perception, become connected to men who traverse both sides, and the middle. Needless to say, all of us have been damaged by it.

How much you are damaged by this scenario comes down to how you cope with your own identity, your honesty with that identity, and your honesty when communicating to your guy.

You become as damaged as you allow yourself to become.

The good news is that, like most everything in this life, you have a choice. Your choice is determined by the boundaries that you set for yourself, which in turn come from how you work through past relationships in conjunction with your own inner woman.

I, like many women my age, have seen my share of both sides. I have been hurt terribly. I have scars.

I have had to turn my back on a really good man because I chose not to be a part of jeopardizing his existing relationship after I found out that he and I were going down a dark path together. I have had to turn my back on two really good men because each of them overstepped the boundaries that I set for myself. The thing about that is I didn’t have a solid knowledge of those boundaries until I was already immersed in the situation.

In these cases, I was the other woman, just on different sides of the fence. They  were really good men who were struggling with their own issues and were straddling the fence in the middle.

But, I gave of myself to the best of my ability because it was the right thing to do. I didn’t point fingers, I didn’t get angry (well, maybe not too angry).

When I emerged, I was a stronger woman for all of it and continue to gain strength, wisdom, and can still love completely.

No matter what side of the “other woman” fence you are currently on, here are some pointers that I have tried and found to work well, if you have the strength to employ them consistently:

  • Be honest with yourself and your guy about exactly what type of relationship you both think you are in.
  • This involves a strong level of open communication.
  • Clearly identify – for yourself – what you will and will not put up with; then set the standard.
  • Be patient; sometimes it takes some time for an unfamiliar standard to become the norm.
  • When the norm is established, do not waver (too much).
  • Hold yourself, and him, accountable.
  • Be flexible; we are all people with our own demons and challenges.
  • When you get to the point of love, love completely and unconditionally, regardless of the outcome.
  • Protect your heart.
  • Remember that this is not all about you; there are two other people involved along with you.

This situation is not an easy one to navigate, particularly when there is so much bad and ill-informed literature out there. If you allow the bad advice in, it can result in empowering you to point fingers, label, control, and establish a selfish point of view in order to move through it. This type of advice will only complicate your situation.

Good luck being the other woman! If you’re lucky, you will learn to relax and enjoy the ride.

© 2010-2016 Kimberly Yoss. All rights reserved. No part of this online publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without prior approval from Kimberly Yoss.

Tales From The Dating Scene: The 90-Day Shelf Life

What I am about to write might sound crass, or jaded. But it is the truth.

What you are about to read started several years ago when I began wondering why every relationship I decided to get into seemed to not be able to last longer than 90 days.

I think I have finally figured it out. It all comes down to shopping habits.

Think about how you shop. Whether you are shopping for food, or clothes, or towels, the process is usually the same. You pick up an item that interests you, you look at it, maybe view it from several angles, and then put it down. You scan down the shelf for other similar items. You pick up one or two. Put them down. Read a few labels, look at prices. You think about how that item will fit into your house and your life. Eventually, you come to a decision and buy it. Or put it down in the interest of something else.

This is the life of a commodity in the eyes of a consumer.

From within the dating scene, the men you meet and date  are the same, only a commodity. And you are only a commodity to them.

“Here’s something else to think about: calling when you say you’re going to is the very first brick in the house you are building of love and trust. If he can’t lay this one stupid brick down, you ain’t never gonna have a house baby, and it’s cold outside.” ~ Greg Behrendt, He’s Just Not That Into You: The No Excuses Truth to Understanding Guys. 

Similar to the shopping scene and process, you go online and view their images, you read their bios, you decide if they would be something you like, you weigh their qualities against those of other men, maybe you try them on by going on a date or two, and then you take the plunge…or not.

Straightforward. Simple. Man or woman, we are all doing it the same way.

With some items, like food, or even clothes, you get them home and maybe use them or put them away somewhere.

No matter what, every commodity has a shelf life. A shelf life is defined as a period of time during which the product is considered most usable. For food, this could mean that eventually the food will expire and have to be thrown away because it is no longer safely edible. For clothes, this could mean that after so many washings it will begin to look faded or even fall apart.

Same applies to relationships on the dating scene. They all have a shelf life.

“Never rearrange your life in order to meet Mr. Darcy half way. If he couldn’t see your worth at the moment you met then he won’t two years later.” ~ Shannon L. Adler

There are articles out there that suggest that the shelf life of a new relationship is biologically and scientifically proven. The shelf life of a new relationship in the dating scene is roughly 90 days.

The explanation for the 90-day shelf life on new relationships is compelling. Basically, it states that within the first 90 days of meeting someone that we are attracted to, our hormones and instincts make it virtually impossible for us to see the things about that person that we should be. We are wired to look past the personality quirks and the idiosyncrasies in order to facilitate procreation. We are wired to not focus on the red flags unless they are life-threatening. To read more, go to Your Tango.

So, yes, the honeymoon phase that we all go through is not a myth and is biologically based. Only after the hormones and instinctual nature have simmered down do our brains then have the capacity to analyze what we are up against.

“One of the best times for figuring out who you are & what you really want out of life? Right after a break-up.” ~ Mandy Hale, The Single Woman: Life, Love, and a Dash of Sass. 

Recently, during a forensic analysis with a group of friends over my most recent failed relationship, I was told about the concept of a 90-day rule. My first reaction was that it had to do with not having sex in a relationship for 90 days. Personally, I don’t think sex has a lot to do with whether or not a relationship succeeds.

It was explained to me that the 90-day rule is more about just having fun and using the period of 90 days to determine whether or not you really want to continue with this person. That after 90 days, either one of you can decide that it’s not going to work or you can decide that hey this is kind of good and let’s keep going.

What a new fresh approach. You mean, I can look at these guys as a “thing”, a commodity? I don’t have to jump in and try to make it work at all costs? I can enjoy myself and look past their oddities, and in 90 days just say no to the continuing ordeal?

“You picked a lemon, throw it away. Lemonade is overrated. Freaks should remain at the circus, not in your apartment. You already have one asshole. You don’t need another. Make a space in your life for the glorious things you deserve. Have faith.” ~ Greg Behrendt

It was a completely different perspective. And, it is completely out of line with my whole process of shopping. When I shop, and then buy something, I tend not to return things quickly. I make them work. But, I am also highly selective and put a lot of time into the initial selection. I am not an impulse shopper by any means.

On the flipside, I now understand that the men I have dated are exactly that, impulse shoppers. And I was their commodity, along with all the other women whom they had previously used and then discarded.

I buy value and in small quantities, with the intent to nurture and grow it. They bought quantity with the intent of going out and buying something else the minute they became bored or dissatisfied. And, like returning it to the store because it doesn’t do what you thought it would, I became their commodity.

Interesting – the things we learn when we look under the rocks and into the dark crevices.

I am so excited for the next “relationship”. I have done the analysis, learned something new, and have a new toolset to play with next time.

Watch out guys – your time is up.

© 2010-2016 Kimberly Yoss. All rights reserved. No part of this online publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without prior approval from Kimberly Yoss.

Catch-up Thoughts For The Days

OK – so now I’m all caught up.

November 6 ~ Forget kindergarten! Everything we really need to know is embedded in the music we listened to in our teenage years. “Surrender, surrender, but don’t give yourself away.” Cheap Trick knew the answer. How did I miss that all these years?

November 8 ~ “Courage is fear that has said it’s prayers and has decided to go forward anyways.” ~ Joyce Meyer

November 10 ~ “Every dog has it’s day; every day has it’s was of being forgotten.” ~ lyrics from What Would You Say by Dave Matthews

December 8 ~ Contrition, clemency, brutal honesty, and humility. Let’s see where this goes…

December 11 ~ Time to retreat to the relative safety of the space below the radar for awhile. Apparently some people don’t fully appreciate proactive and forthright.

December 13 ~ “The aim of argument, or of discussion, should not be victory, but progress” ~ Joseph Joubert

December 16 ~ “You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something sometime in your life.” ~ Winston Churchill

December 17 ~ “Lord remove anybody out of my life that means me no good, serves me no good purpose, and is not real and loyal. Bless me with the discernment to realize and give me the strength to let go and don’t look back.” ~ unknown

December 18 ~ “It’s no who you were; it’s who you are.” ~ lyrics from Isadore by Incubus

December 19 ~ “Change the system, and you’ll change the behaviors of the people in that system.” ~ It’s a Trap! Agile Lessons from Star Wars by Todd Sheridan (www.rallydev.com)

December 24 ~ The lines in the stores during Christmas shopping must be what livestock feel like while in line to be slaughtered.

December 25 ~ This day is not about how tall the tree is, how many nutcrackers we have, how many presents we give or receive, how perfect our dining table looks, nor even about whether we have turkey or ham for Christmas dinner. This day is about peace, hope, and joy in what a baby named Jesus brought to us. It is about the salvation He gave our souls – salvation from sin, the smallest to the largest – in the name of God.

December 26 ~ “Christmas, my child is love in action. Every time we love, every time we give, it’s Christmas.” ~ Dale Evans

December 28 ~ “The best revenge is always to just happily move on and let karma do the rest.” ~ unknown

December 29 ~ “People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway. If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway. If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest, anyway. If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway. The you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway. Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway. For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.” ~ Mother Teresa

© 2010-2016 Kimberly Yoss. All rights reserved. No part of this online publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without prior approval from Kimberly Yoss.

Tales From The Dating Scene: Meanwhile Into The Forest I Go

I’m almost positive that I have finally figured out something. Something about me – about dating – about middle-aged men.

It’s about time, actually. I have been hammering at this dating scene, and it has been hammering at me, for several years now. I am about as bruised as I want to get.

It’s definitely time to identify it, heal, and breathe.

Let me set the stage by listing some characteristics of what we face when dating in middle age:

  • All of us have been through at least one, if not multiple, long term committed relationships.
  • Many of us have children from those previous relationships.
  • We are set in our ways.
  • With luck, we know a lot more about ourselves and people in general.
  • Many of us are looking to find that safe place that we once inhabited when we were happily connected to a significant other.
  • We all have fear.

With that in mind, many of us trudge on through the dating scene, carrying the baggage and trying to find happiness with someone else. To that end, we tolerate, and even accept, rudeness, lewdness, assholes, and players. If we are lucky, we will encounter a true gentleman at some point. That is what we are seeking, right? A man who is better than the one before and who will treat us the way we deserve. We seek a gentleman who will hold the door, whether it is the car door or the restaurant door, be satisfied with holding hands, laughing, and sharing. Unfortunately, Hollywood has set that gold standard, and it is one that we can never achieve. But, that is a topic for another post.

Back to reality.
facadesChances are that all of the above qualities of the gentleman we seek are likely a façade to some degree – enacted and polished in order to navigate the dating scene successfully, just like we women do.

Remember: façades fade or crumble, and ultimately reveal the truth underneath. It’s only a matter of time.

So we wait, and hope. And we continue to put up with the bullshit, while carrying our baggage.

If you are one of the lucky ones, the façade will not be too far different from the underlying base of the man. It is much easier to make a decision on how to move forward when you know the reality for what it is.

One of the pitfalls – one that I just recently realized, despite how many times it has confronted me – is that in the effort to get to what is underneath the façade, we wander too far into the false security of a shared connection, and all the illusions that accompany that. A symptom of this is that you risk losing yourself as you prematurely entwine yourself with a man whom you really don’t know well.

Think of it like a manicured garden, with paths and picnic benches and fountains. On the edge of this manicured garden is a luscious forest. One day, after having enjoyed the precision and expected joys of the garden, you find yourselves wandering down a path from the open, manicured garden into the forest. It’s not that the forest is bad or that the garden was not enjoyable. I love forests – waterfalls, trees, bird calls, solitude – and gardens.

forest

Forest at the edge of the garden

Let’s face the reality though: gardens can get boring and forests can get deep, dark, and scary.

forest_2

Deep, dark, and scary

This is where you can lose yourself. Boredom and fear have a way of stripping away strengths that we have spent a lifetime to forge. As our strengths retreat, we can tend to cling to something that is not really there, or to someone who is not as strong as we first thought him to be.

Before you know it, not only have you lost touch with yourself, but the man who you thought was “the next one” has silently slipped away because he succumbed to fear.

Or, he decided that it was time to look for the next target.

Either way, if you are not careful, you will not only be alone – again – but you will have to find your way out of the forest and back to the garden. And, many times, that can be a long, painful journey that depends on how deep into that forest you ventured and how quickly you can retrieve yourself.

The moral to this story: stay in the manicured garden as long as you can. Not only will it give you a chance to learn how to maintain your strengths and your soul while standing alongside your companion, but it will give you the space and time to identify the issues that could cause your companion to abandon you at the worst possible moment, like when you are in the middle of the forest, the dark has descended, and the path is nowhere to be found.

© 2010-2016 Kimberly Yoss. All rights reserved. No part of this online publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without prior approval from Kimberly Yoss.

Mean Girls

Most of us are probably most familiar with this term because of the movie title, released in 2004 IMDb Mean Girls. The movie is centered around the struggles of a female high school student as she navigates through the social hierarchy of her new school. When she falls for one of the popular boys, who just happens to be the object of affection of one of the A-group girls, she falls victim to the questionable, if not ruthless, tactics of the popular girls. Ultimately, she triumphs, if for the only reason that she is authentic and goodhearted, where the girls who relentlessly pursue her for their own sport are not.

None of us is immune to the tactics of mean people. At one point or another in our lives, we have or will become victims of this behavior. How we perceive it, and the aggressor, will determine how we handle it, and whether or not we succeed in protecting ourselves and moving forward.

The goal is not to become their victim.

The very first step to not becoming a victim is to identify who and what you are dealing with. A general Google search on “mean girls” brings up a bunch of sites related to the movie. Understandable. But, expand that search to “the psychology behind mean girls” and you are rewarded with a plethora of sites that delve into the depths of the aggressor’s – a.k.a. the “Mean Girl”‘s – psychosis. Not only the psychosis, but the sociology and the behavioral aspects of what makes a “Mean Girl” mean. Outstanding information abounds.

From a sociological perspective, mean girls are mean because they are trying to beat down the competition. In his article titled “Mean Girls Are Not Mean Genes” in PsychologyToday.com, Dr. Agustin Fuentes Ph.D. establishes a link between the behavior of mean girls and the social control of female sexuality.

An abstract by Tracy Vaillancourt published by  The Royal Society in October 2013 titled “Do Human Females Use Indirect Aggression as an Intrasexual Competition Strategy”  draws further connections along the sociological track, but also brings in the concept of behavioral abnormalities of the individual, like the use of indirect aggression and manipulation to achieve the end result.

As I researched further, I noted that the behaviors that were evident in mean girls were the same behaviors that the professionals associated with psychopaths and sociopaths.

Dr. George Simon, Ph.D. has a wonderful site called Counselling Resource. On his site, he has written an informative series of articles delving into this as it relates to Predatory Aggressive Personality a.k.a. psychopaths and sociopaths. These types of individuals believe that they are superior to everyone else and will stop at nothing to achieve what they want or believe is rightfully theirs. They have no concept of boundaries or personal freedom of anyone but themselves. If that right involves you in any way, watch out!

A word of caution as you research your aggressor, whether it is a mean girl with the motives stated above, or just a mean person: every site that I visited, and every article I read, highly suggested that you not waste time trying to figure out “why” your aggressor behaves in this fashion toward you. You will waste a lot of energy for little gain.

Remember that the goal is to not become the victim. Nothing more.

To do this, try the following:

  • Learn how to identify them and their actions
  • Do not get emotional – they feed off of it
  • Remain detached
  • Learn how to say “NO” – just like toddlers, they hate that word

Check out this great article: “How to Disarm a Manipulative Sociopath”. It will give you all the tactics you need to ward off – and hopefully put a complete stop to – any mean, controlling person who has targeted you as her next victim.

In conclusion, I believe that we are all prone to some of the behaviors listed in the above referenced articles at some time or another, to varying degrees. The occurrences of those behaviors do not make us psychopaths, sociopaths, or even “mean”. They make us human.

Where human behavior transcends into the psychopath or sociopath is when it becomes endemic of an individual’s personality, and that, when confronted in a humble and non-threatening manner by the “victim”, the individual’s behavior does not subside. In other words, they keep going like a freight train in the direction that they have determined, regardless of the impact of anyone else or consideration of any boundaries not established by their decision.

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© 2010-2015 Kimberly Yoss. All rights reserved. No part of this online publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without prior approval from Kimberly Yoss.

Only Another New Year – What’s The Big Deal?

calvin-hobbes-new-years-resolutions-572x433The conventional approach to a new year never seems to change.

Reflect on how the past 365 days was not the best.

Focus on how things  can change for the better in the next 365 days.

Identify behaviors and actions to change to make a better life.

Be hopeful.

Be positive.

Friends post on Facebook and elsewhere about how the past year was so terrible. How this year will be different. Group support.

But, inevitably, at the end of 365 days, we will find those same friends posting the same sentiments again. How this past year was non-productive, traumatic, disastrous, hateful.

“I’m so glad to say goodbye to this year.”

It’s a repetitive cycle of unfulfilled dreams and expectations.

new-year-resolutionThe new year resolution is like an addiction, a pattern of behavior that is almost impossible to break.

Is it because the expectations are set too high? Or is it because we become weak – unable to permanently change our ways – and slip back into choices and actions that we are comfortable with but that lead us into trouble over and over again?

The new year resolution is an excuse to say that we tried, we set a goal…but in the end another new year is coming up in 330 days, or 250 days, or 10 days.

Another chance at a new start, a new perspective…a new year. Again.

I say…what’s the big deal about a new year?

Instead, actively work daily to identify changes that need to be made in perspective, choices, thoughts, actions.

  • Take note of your achievements daily
  • Record your expectations, dreams, prayers daily
  • Review the above, daily
  • Account for the daily blessings you receive, no matter how small they are

Bottom line: the concept of a “new year” represents a new beginning. New beginnings should be welcomed. But maybe a new beginning that has a finite beginning and a finite end isn’t fair to anyone. Change is gradual, and difficult to measure in the best of circumstances. It is subjective and objective at the same time. Perhaps chunking it into smaller measurements will help to make it more achievable and better appreciated.

Don’t throw away the new year resolution. Just give yourself space and time to grow into it.

© 2010-2014 Kimberly Yoss. All rights reserved. No part of this online publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the prior approval from Kimberly Yoss.

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