Mama’s Monday Favorite: Gentle love

Today, I met the most gentle man as he cared for his #twin daughters in the #NICU.

I watched as he caressed and soothed his 37 week old babies.
Shielded them from the intermittent beeps.
Held their hand as they slept.
Changed their diapers when they soiled.
Urged them to eat.
Loved them, every little ounce of them.

He has stayed with them every day since their early birth 8 weeks ago.

The chemistry of love

Apparently love is no longer about woozy butterfly flutters, sweaty palms and racing hearts – it’s far more scientific than that. On a recent cyber-sleuthing mission, I came across a dating website that claims to partner subscribers based on their genetic compatibility. According to GenePartner.com (whose byline reads, “Love is no coincidence”), we are programmed to seek out partners who have a similar DNA make-up to our own – it’s got to do with biological evolution, survival of the species, blah, blah, but essentially, the site claims that it has the scientific matchmaking formula and for $99 and a (decidedly unromantic) mouth swab, they can tell you whose genes you should be trying to get into.

Now something about all of this appears far too technical to me. I mean, what next…? A urine sample? That’s quite an icebreaker. It just seems to remove all the magic from the act of falling in love, turning it into something systematic, logical even. Besides, it leaves no room for personality matching or, god forbid I should be so superficial, visual attraction. I mean let’s face it, I may be genetically on a par with the Incredible Hulk but that doesn’t mean I want to have his little green babies. As I see it, the psychology of love involves attraction on multiple levels, some even subliminal.

So, while I’m not denying that the emotions involved in falling in love are hugely physiological, and I’m not disputing the fact that love actually has nothing to do with the heart and everything to do with head, I don’t think I’m alone in favoring the rather more esoteric notions of love (I mean it’s not as if Hallmark is selling Valentine’s cards of arrow-pierced brains). Putting a scientific spin on the whole business of falling in love seems to rob it of all the fun. It’s like a genetic pre-nuptial agreement: “Hey babe, I love you and all but won’t you take this quick test.”

Besides, shouldn’t love be more art than science?

– Single-again Samantha

Single-again Samantha: Drunk dialing

Loneliness is not a pretty state of being. In fact, it can drive us to do things that are downright ugly, like stalking an ex or drinking too much wine at the end-of-year office party – neither of which makes a girl feel particularly good about herself.

The sacrifice of self-respect and principle in the search for a lover is the sad, sometimes even frightening, province of the single person. Add alcohol to the mix and the chances of having to hang one’s head in red-faced shame the next day become very real.

Today a friend was telling me about how Google has added a feature to Gmail, appropriately called Mail Goggles, aimed at cutting down on those late night drunken emails. Apparently, you’re given five simple math problems to answer and if, in your intoxicated state, memory should fail, you are barred access to your email until the (face-saving) light of day dawns. Similarly, Virgin Mobile has launched an option to help its users stop themselves from dialling away their dignity.

Yes, just thinking about it makes one cringe. But we singletons have all been there, done that. Blinkered by the booze (and horny as hell), we look back on a past love with that wistful nostalgia of the drunk, conveniently forgetting that the guy was a common-and-garden loser. This is normally when we have the brilliant idea to call him up, or, worse yet, send him an text message, committing to text our undying love for all the world to see. In the harsh light of day we wince with mortification as the memory of our dexterity at the keypad returns. At one point my drunk dialing was so bad my friends would confiscate my phone before packing me into a cab. However, time, and repeated offences, taught me to control the instinct (and delete certain numbers).

All of which reminds me… I really shouldn’t drink and blog. Not because I write silly things but because I’ll ruin another keyboard.

– Single-again Samantha

Advice: I’m In Love and He Loves Me… But Not My Kids Or My Ex

Dear Brenda,

I’m in love with this really great guy and he loves me. The problem is I have a soon to be ex hubby and two children (7 and 9) with him and my ex hubby used to work with they guy I’m in love with and myself.

The guy I’m in love with ended our relationship in December because he couldn’t handle sharing me with either the children or having to have my ex hubby in his life at all. We still see each other and have sex and are talking about everything but he still can’t seem to get his head around having to share me with another man and the competition that he says would be there.

I know it won’t be easy (he’s 10 years younger than me and wants 2 kids, which I’m really happy to have). I just would like him to realize that good things don’t always come in idealistic packages. He thinks of us as Romeo and Juliet, life crossed lovers instead of star crossed.

Please advise me on what I should be doing or saying?

Dear What-Should-I Be-Doing-or-Saying,

Really? You want me to tell you what you should be doing or saying to a man who has told you that he couldn’t “handle sharing your with the children or having to have [your] ex hubby in his life.” Are you really ready to hear this? It’s going to sizzle when it hits. All you need to say is Goodbye. All you need to do is stop having sex with him and move on. Unless of course you want to have to have kids for him too, which I know from your letter you are “happy to have.” Sounds a little harsh? Read on

Mature love says, “I accept who you are and where you are in life. Your kids and your ex and I understand you have other obligations.”

Mature love doesn’t see the ex as “competition.”

Mature love keeps their work life and their love life separate. Yes, I know people meet and fall in love at work; it can get messy, see the above letter.

WSIBDOS, can I point out that divorce is a tough time for kids. The ink isn’t dry on the papers and you’re already “in love” and plotting a marriage and two more kids. Slow down woman, you’ve got your hands in the air and your foot on the gas. What you should be doing is having safe sex with a condom. You should be taking a moment to figure out why your marriage ended and what role you played in that. What you should be doing is spending time with your kids and finding out how they feel about the change that’s going on in their lives.

Mature love knows how to wait.

PS

You didn’t “break up” with him and you’re still “having sex and talking.” You probably still cook for him too. Talk about friends with benefits!

– Brenda

In Love For The Long Haul?

With everyone around me divorcing these days and Valentines Day right around the corner, I have to ask the question…

Are you and your honey in it to win it? Are you committed to the long haul or do you own a “U-Haul” just in case things got a little rough? If the going gets tough, do you get going? Before you fell in love, did you fall in love with yourself? Are you in your relationship for what you can get out of it or for what you can give?

Safe. That’s what we want to feel in a relationship. Understood. Accepted. We want to be our wild and juicy selves, to be able to laugh loud and dance wild, to retreat in to the space of our soul sometimes and know that our love-muffin will be right there when we are ready to re-enter the world.

There is something sacred about a relationship, the ones that last and the ones that don’t. Each brings a lesson about who we are. For example we learn if we’re giving or selfish, if we can be honest about our feelings, if we can tell our partner honestly what our needs are, whether we are flexible or rigid. Who are you?

The best lesson though is that we don’t find completeness in a relationship, rather we find someone to share our completeness with. That “You complete me” crap is a line from a Hollywood movie and not a way to run your love life.

Yep.

So take a look at this couple, Herbert and Zelmyra Fisher married for 84 (no, I didn’t stutter) years. I loved what she said about him, “He was not mean; he was not a fighter,” Zelmrya said. “He was quiet and kind. He was not much to look at but he was sweet.”

That last line gave me a chuckle.

– Aunt B

Long Term Relationship Tips
(source: unknown)

  • A lifelong partner usually does not have all the characteristics of your idealized fantasy lover.
  • The biggest enemy of sex in long-term relationships is anger.
  • The partner with lower desire always controls the sexual relationship
  • Less than a third of married couples say they have taken a shower together.
  • A good long-term relationship includes trust: continuing jealousy means something is wrong.
  • You can have fulfilling sexual experiences at 90, if you’re healthy and sexually involved at 60, 70 & 80.
  • People who didn’t like sex much when they were younger tend to give it up after 50.
  • People can have fulfilling, active sex lives after they’ve had a heart attack without risking their health. It’s not more dangerous than climbing a flight of stairs—and a lot more fun.

The Gratitude Challenge – Day 27

I’d like to invite you to take the Gratitude Challenge with me. Every day during the month of January join me in setting an intentional attitude of gratitude by writing about one thing you are grateful for. Hopefully our new attitude will last beyond January and carry us throughout the year. Email your gratitude to me at AuntB@MamasHealth.com or write below in the comments.

Day 27

Mama asked me not to show her the “Full Monty,” so I’m searching for a graceful way to say this.

There is something wonderful and magic that happens when two people love each other. The energy between them becomes magnetic, velvet, anxious and lyrical. We orbit those we love, circling them, drawing them closer with music, a soft heart, flowers, sweet things to eat, an open ear.

It is the physical connection we desire and that propels us forward through time. The expression of love between two people is what I am grateful for today.

How’s that for not showing the “Full Monty” Mama?

– Aunt B

Single-again Samantha talks with Mama about finding love after divorce

I was raised to believe that marriage is for life, so was totally unprepared for the shame and sense of failure that comes with divorce. Fortunately, I was also raised to put on my face and make the most of a situation, even if it is a bad one.

Which is not to say that divorce is a walk in the park. The fear of becoming a single parent and going back to work full time, not to mention the grief and loneliness of separation, were emotions for which I was wholly unprepared. They say that divorce is like an amputation: you survive it, but there’s less of you to go around. That sure was the case for me. But I bit the bullet and slowly, slowly began to feel myself start to heal.

It’s been five years and now I’m a happy (albeit hardworking) mom with a good network of support and something that roughly resembles a social life. I tell my friends that I got married so I didn’t have to work, and now work so I don’t have to get married. But I’m just kidding – naturally, I’m still looking for that seemingly elusive love. I’m just no longer prepared to settle for it, as I once was. I see my story as a journey towards finding – and befriending – a better me, and the freedom my solo status gives me allows me to truly commit to that ride.

Hopefully there’s a knight in shining armor at the end of it, but if not, I’ll be happy with a new pair of Jimmy Choos and the knowledge that I didn’t go down without a fight.

– Single-again Samantha