On January 15, 2009, I started a blog with my friend Dave about all the reasons not to date someone. On September 28, 2010, Dealbreaker: The Definitive List of Dating Offenses was released. On March 30, 2013, I got married.
Now, for our readers, with whom I have so carefully curated an anti-love arsenal, I owe you a story. A happy ending. And perhaps some perspective on the whole dating thing. It’s bleak, I know. I was single for like four years (and cheated on for two years prior) before meeting my husband. I had every reason to be cynical, as I’m sure you do. It’s rough out there, it’s really fucking rough. Dealbreakers feel empowering. Instead of worrying about why you might not choose to date me, I’m going to not choose you first. And I had a list long enough to fill a blog and a book about why I wouldn’t want to be with you.
I met my husband in March of 2009. He wore (and still wears) athletic sneakers with jeans. His headboard was (and still is) a mirrored panther that he found on the street. He was (and still is) a very skilled rollerblader. On paper, or more ironically, the paper that filled the book I wrote about people I don’t want to date, he was all wrong. He had a beach towel of three thong’d butts hanging over his couch for christ’s sake! It’s like something out of a bad sitcom (or a very good sitcom that Dave and I wrote). But for some reason, and nobody was surprised more than me, I didn’t care. And then I started to realize some dealbreakers about myself.
I ate chocolate chips for dinner and didn’t do my taxes. My power would get shut off because I hated to check my mail and never paid the bills. I love the Real Housewives franchise and I’ve thrown dishes away instead of washing them. More than once. These aren’t great qualities in a potential wife, and I’m not petite enough to play the manic pixie dream girl card. It dawned one me: I was undateable and I didn’t even know it. And I didn’t know it because neither of us cared. We enjoyed each others flaws, and we liked that we made each other better.
So I scrubbed his dirty bathtub and he took my car in for it’s first oil change in years. I got him a new couch and he made me eat vegetables. He listed the headboard on craigslist (“PRICE 250 FIRM”), and it’s still in our bedroom. I still watch Real Housewives; he watches them with me.
I didn’t do anything special to find my happy ending, and a lot of it probably has to do with luck. But if you’re single and don’t want to be, I know it’s easy to get caught up on the superficial stuff. Don’t let those little things (like how he cuts his own hair and puts the hair in the toilet but then doesn’t want to flush it because he doesn’t want to waste water so it looks like a pube monster) distract you from someone’s character, or authenticity, or good heart, or sense of humor. We could probably have boiled down the whole blog to “Dealmaker: You’re Awesome.” That’s all that matters. Someone who is awesome, even with their flaws, who doesn’t pay too much attention to yours.
And if anyone is looking to buy a mirrored panther headboard, the price is $250 firm.
I used to answer a lot of relationship questions over at my other blog, the in-hibernation DEALBREAKER. Looking back, I find it really funny that anyone ever trusted me with love advice, because it’s not really a topic I’m that well versed in. I’ve dated successfully, messily, carelessly, carefully, and casually, and up to this point, they all end the same way: by ending.
Someone just started following me, and I clicked on their name and saw they only had two pages of posts. It starts a few days ago, with an entry about being broken up with and not knowing what to do or how to feel, so I thought I’d offer up some unsolicited little nuggets. They might not even see this, but on the off chance they do, maybe it’ll let them know that they’re not alone in the war against the Sads.
Much like eating a peanut butter cup (*let’s be honest, this applies to all PB cups, not just Reeces. Can’t discount store brand, or the weird ones from the 99 Cent Store), there’s no wrong way to get over someone. BUT, there’s also no right way. I think the getting over someone process can be split into a few phases.
Phase One is what I like to call “No One’s Ever Felt This Pain Before,” where you walk around in a haze, unable to comprehend what had happened. You ponder the BIG questions: Is this real? WIll I ever feel better? And most importantly, why don’t my friends seem excited to talk to me about this again and again for hours at a time? You’ll mope, you’ll drink more, and if you’re anything like me, you’ll snap at one of your writing partners in the middle of a meeting, go into your room, and eat some of the mushrooms you’d bought weeks earlier with the intention of doing them with your ex. (NOTE: THIS IS NOT PART OF THE PROCESS!! SKIP THIS PART AT ALL COSTS! IT’S NOT FUN! THE COLORS WILL ALL LOOK SAD!). This phase, while excruciating to all parties involved, is important. You will look back at this phase and laugh at yourself. The night where you got high and sat under your desk, leaving an ill advised, sad voicemail. The days spent debating whether to burn all those photos or leave them in a box. The afternoons spent driving around with a box and some matches, looking for an empty lot that isn’t close to any trees. This will all be fodder for Phase Two.
Phase Two is “The Void.” You will look back at your hilariously self destructive and downright annoying behavior in Phase One and long for those days, because all there is now is nothingness. Questions here include “did I really lay under my desk for an hour?” “Do I really like the first Death Cab album that much?” “When did I lose/gain 15 pounds?” Phase Two is like a stunned silence. It’s an eerily calm period where you contemplate actually getting something done that doesn’t involve wallowing. You will Facebook your ex and think, “wait, why was I scouring this page? They’re not a calculating, cold, emotional torture machine! They’re not controlling my happiness telepathically! They’re just posting pictures of Tapas, like everyone else!” This realization won’t make you feel better or worse, but it will wash over you slowly. Pretty soon you’ll regret burning those photos, or if you’re like me, wiping them from your hard drive(s). All of this is bolstering you for Phase Three.
EDITORS NOTE: This is usually where my favorite sub-phase comes in. It’s too tricky to count on its own, but Phase 2.5, “The Hail Mary,” deserves mentioning. This comes into play when you’re sure you’re over the person, but you’re not 100%, and the more you think of it, the less sure you are. The percentage drops rapidly to the point where you’re ready to load your D cell batteries into your boombox and “In Your Eyes” this bitch, Lloyd Dobler style (If you’re too young to know what this means, just pretend I referenced a One Direction lyric or something). Here you are, filled with purpose, hope, and reckless manic energy. You’re gonna win them back! You’ve got a gameplan, now put it into action! Did it work? GOOD JOB!!!! Oh wait, it didn’t? Well, nice try. I hope those tickets to Italy are refundable. Carry on, then. Onto Phase Three.
Phase Three is called “Oh Shit, I’m Supposed To Try And Talk To Other People?” This is the end of the road. There are a million sub-phases like the one mentioned above, but this is the one that matters. You’ve come out of self imposed hibernation, you shaved your breakup beard/armpits (I don’t know, maybe that’s a thing? Sorry ladies), and you’re considering rejoining the world. That’s GREAT. Your coworker is attractive and wants to discuss “work” (*boning you) over drinks. Your neighbor is attractive and wants to discuss “your community garden” (*boning you) over drinks. The confident Trader Joe’s clerk is attractive and wants to discuss “boning you” (*their new juicer) over drinks. GO FOR IT. Try your hardest not to let the debris of your last relationship wash ashore on the sandy beaches of this budding new situation. And try not to let that sloppy sentence conjure up images of sand in your bathing suit areas.
Clearly, this is a simplification. Just remember that your pain, while real, is not special and unique. You’re sharing this, however privately, with almost every one in the entire world. Don’t be afraid. If I could leave you with my own personal motto: Everyone is an idiot and no one knows anything. And if that doesn’t level the playing field post-breakup, I don’t know what will.
my boyfriend of two years broke up with me almost five months ago and i still can't get him out of my head! seriously, it's making my life miserable. i've tried drinking heavily and having hate sex, but thoughts of him won't leave me in peace. any tips and tricks for wiping my mind?
-Stop entertaining the idea of having sex with him at least until the word “hate” isn’t involved.
-Go outside more.
-Get a hobby that doesn’t involve stalking his Facebook page.
-If you’re prone to “sad drunk” nights, drink less.
What you’re experiencing is totally natural. Your feelings for Dave are not only understandable, but common. Because you don’t know him, you’ve grafted meaning on to him that might not really exist. These are the kinds of feelings a “tween” might feel for one of those hunky celebrity types like Jason Bober or Robert Pattenfeld. You’re in luck, though! A Dealbreaker issue of Tiger Beat is on the way with huge, glossy, 24 point font versions of all your favorite Dave essays, quips, and original Dealbreakers! There’s even a centerfold you can hang on your wall with one of his longest blog posts (a whopping 1300 words)!
theres this guy i like, hes almost like my bestfriend and ive known him for 3 years now almost 4. But im starting to like him ...
what should i do? i dont want to lose our friendship, but when isee him with other girls i get jealous .. PLEASE HELP !!
The only way that you will “lose” anything by giving in to your feelings is if he’s not into you or if you find out you’re not into him seconds after something happens. When people say “I don’t want to ruin our friendship,” what they’re really saying is, “I’m not attracted to you.”
A relationship is just the natural evolution of a friendship. If someone doesn’t want to take it there, it’s not the irrational fear that you won’t be friends, it’s the knowledge that turning the friendship into something romantic is going to be something that immediately goes sour.
If you’re both interested, there’s no reason not to pursue this. It’ll be worth it, and it’ll be just like your regular, normal friendship, without all that pesky longing and built up tension.
I have realized that everything my boyfriend says is incredibly boring and I no longer care about how well he's doing in his stupid fucking classes. But I still like cuddling with him. (Silently.) Is it time to part ways?
Why do you like cuddling with someone you loathe? You deserve much better than that! Stay with him if you want to be one of those 50 year old couples where dinner is just the clanky scraping of the silverware, and the highlight of your day is staring wistfully out the window, wondering what could have been. That doesn’t sound so fun, does it? Turn tail and run, turn tail and run.
How do you know when someone is playing with your emotions? and what can you do if you realize they are playing with your emotions?
If you have to ask, your emotions are probably being played with. It’s okay, because you can get out of this game of Heart Warfare relatively unscathed as long as you realize this simple fact: You can’t win. If you engage in emotional fisticuffs with a pro, you will lose. No amount of well crafted texts, Gchat cat-and-mouse, well phrased invitations, or waiting will make you the victor. If they’ve decided they want to toy with your emotions, they will do it. And they will win. The best way to play is not at all. That usually scrambles the brains of notorious Ice Queens/Kings exceptionally well. Not playing back is your best move.
The following things are more fun to play with than emotions: kittens, Xbox 360s Kinect, Nickelodeon Gak, Trivial Pursuit, Scrabble, Silly Putty, and a deck of “Nudie” Playing Cards. Pick one.