Thursday, July 29, 2010

I’m sick of Bad Relationships

Dear Ma Donna,

I’ve had it with relationships. It seems like every relationship I have ends the same way, usually traumatically. I thought my last relationship was going well, and then out of the blue my boyfriend told me that when he looked into the future he didn’t see me in it. It was just like that. There was no explanation or anything. So I’m done. My friends are telling me that I’m being too cynical, and that the right person is out there for me. I wish I could believe that but I just can’t see it. What do you think?

Bitter Bitch

Dear Bitter Bitch,

Oh my darling Bitter Bitch… You can’t be old enough to be this bitter. Take it from Momma who’s been around so long her birth certificate is in Roman numerals. Don’t get me wrong though, I love bitter. Especially bitter beer buttered beets in bĂ©arnaise sauce with Boston baked beans and a side of broccoli. If they could bottle that natural gas, Momma would be a tycoon. Stand back everybody, Momma’s heatin’ up.

The first thing we should natter about is patterns. Patterns are powerful factors in how the Universe interacts with itself. Seasons are patterns. The orbit of the Earth around the sun, and the moon around the Earth, these are all patterns. Having to suck your gut in so that you can’t breathe because you insist on wearing a dress-size twelve when it’s obvious that boat has sailed… that’s a pattern. Patterns are influential teachers when it comes to helping us understand why things keep repeating themselves in our lives.

In this world, men are going to come and go (in Momma’s case, they go faster than they come) but the one constant will always be you. In every relationship, wherever you go, there you are. So let’s talk about you (Momma loves gossip).

Patterns affect everything about us, from how we behave in a relationship to who we choose to date in the first place. So you want to look back at each of your relationships and see if you can’t notice any patterns. This might involve writing down what most of your fights were over, or how each of your exes left, or how long each relationship lasted in the first place. One of Momma’s girlfriends discovered that each of her relationships always fell apart about seven or eight months into them. That’s a pattern.

Your friends will often recognize your patterns way before you do. If one person says something about you, such as, “you’re so scatterbrained,” then it’s one person’s observation, but if you hear it over and over again, you might want to take a look at it (people say that to Momma more than you think—especially when she threw her car keys down the garbage shoot with her garbage—Momma blames the hair-bleach). So pay attention to what your friends are saying about your relationships too. Don’t ask them to identify your patterns, just notice if the same comment of phrase keeps coming up again and again when you talk to them.

Another irony about relationships is that most people don’t even know what they want in the first place. If you don’t know what you want, how are you going to know when you get it? If it’s just a guy to take home and cuddle for the evening, I imagine you could easily get that any time you wanted. (Maybe Momma could have your leftovers?) However, if you want more, you’ve got to identify what that is.

The Universe seems perfectly willing to give us what we ask for. It’s bringing lots of men your direction, the question is, have you told it (and yourself) what type of man you want?

So the second thing Momma wants you to do is take out a piece of paper and write down everything you want in a boyfriend. Get crystal clear. Create a list of all the attributes you want. An example of what you’re looking for might be: loyal, loves to laugh, loves to cuddle, intelligent, hate’s rap music, has a steady job…” it’s your list, make it what you need.

Momma’s list is pretty short. He’s got to be blind, and gullible.

Once you have that list, take a look at it and ask yourself if you really believe that you can that. If you don’t, for whatever reason, then look seriously at the words that trip you up. For example, if the word “loyal” trips you up, remove it from the list and put it on another list. Do this with all the words that trip you.

Now you’ve got two lists. The first list is the list of attributes you believe you can have in a man, and the second list is a list of all the things you want, but for one reason or another you don’t believe you can have them. Maybe you don’t believe you deserve them, or maybe you don’t believe that men like that exist in the first place.

Now, put the second list behind the first one and keep that list someplace where you can always see it. Look at it, notice how you feel when you look at it. The first list is what you believe you can have, and the second list is what you’re going to grow into. You’re going to allow yourself to entertain the idea that there are men out there who are loyal.

Now I want you to write down everything you want in a relationship. “But wait,” you might ask, “didn’t I just do that?” You just defined the guy you want to have a relationship with. Now you’re going to define what you want that relationship to look like. You asked for loyalty in your partner, how does that play out in your relationship? Does that mean he never looks at another guy, or he never goes anywhere without consulting you?

I want you to go through the same procedure with this list that you did with your attributes list.

Now you may be saying to yourself, “Momma, this is a lot of work.” Sweetie; if you think that’s a lot of work, try convincing your family and friends that you’re still a virgin. Still, it’s not that much work. Making these lists usually only takes a few minutes, and it’s only a few minutes per day to go over them and update them as you feel the need. Trust me, when you get to be Momma’s age (and let’s just say that I knew Moses on a first-name basis), you’ll be glad you did. It’s a lot more awesome to look back on a wonderful relationship than it is to look back on regret. What you’re doing is building awareness, and that awareness is going to be your guide. It will help you find the man you’re looking for.

I would venture to say that at least eighty percent of the reasons we don’t have what we want in life is because we don’t know what we want. Your awareness will guide you in all stages of your relationship.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

My partner is a Fundamentalist and wants me to move in with him

Dear Ma Donna,

I’m in love with a wonderful and thoughtful man. He’s kind, compassionate, and extremely sexy. He’s everything I’ve ever wanted in a man. Lately we’ve been talking about moving in together. I’m worried though because he goes to a Fundamentalist church and he’s afraid that they will find out about him, and, now, about us. He’s out to his family, but they never talk about it, and they keep it a secret from the rest of the church. I really love this guy and he really loves me. Should I move in with him?

Fundy Mental

Dear Fundy—Dear, Dear, Precious Fundy,

Momma’s heart goes out to you. First I want you to say ten “Hail Marys,” then ten “Hell Marys” and then twenty “Hell NO’s.” Blessed child, you are about to set yourself up for real pain. I’m not talking about the pain you get when you’re trying to break in a new pair of stilettos which should be at least a size ten, but you had to have red because it matched your purse and really made the sequins pop—but they didn’t have a size ten in red and you had to settle with a nine. No, I’m talking about something even more painful than that.

The Blessed Mother has had a lot of experience with fundamentalists, and it’s no coincidence that the word “mental” is such a prominent part of that word. I would bet my virginity that this relationship won’t end well no matter how hard you try.

I have no doubt in my mind that you love him—or that he loves you, but I’m guessing that the fact that you sent me this e-mail indicates that you have some reservations?

You are the owner of your own heart, and I have seen over my many, many, many years on this planet (Momma’s birth certificate is in Roman numerals), that the heart knows us better than we do, and it will always communicate clearly with us. Your heart always has your best interest in mind, so if you’re having reservations, that means that your heart and your head are having a discussion. Pay attention to this discussion.

I suspect that the reason your honey is still in this church is that he’s afraid, and the list of fears is probably longer than the list of men who rejected Momma for a Friday night cuddle. He’s afraid that his family will disown him (particularly if their good name is called into question by the church), he’s afraid that the church will disown him and he’s afraid that God will disown him. If he’s a Fundamentalist as you said, then you’ve got to know that he’s conflicted. Fundamentalists hate “the gays” and they’re determined to eradicate homosexuality from off the Earth. Fundamentalists have no loyalty. Even though your lover is one of them, if they knew he was gay they wouldn’t hesitate to condemn him to Hell, and they would be happy to provide the transportation. Fundamentalists live for the day when God, very visibly and violently sends his beloved children to that Lake of Fire which burns forever and ever, hallelujah, hallelujah. You’re lover knows this and I imagine it plays a huge role in his continued involvement with the people he knows hate him.

Ironically, as much as he loves you (and Momma believes that he does), you are dangerous to him. You could let it slip to any of his church friends that you are dating. You may “act” gay in front of his friends and thereby call his credentials into question. If you ever got mad at him and wanted revenge, you could really hurt him... There are a lot of ways you could mess up his life, and I’m sure he thinks about those often, which might make it difficult for him to fully connect to you.

Worse, he may, at some point, view you as something that is separating him and God, and believe me, when you stand between a man and his God; you place yourself in harm’s way—not from God of course.

Have a long talk with your friend. Tell him how you really feel—that you love him deeply and that he’s more important to you than anything else. Tell him that the only thing more important to you than him is God. Then tell him that God, as you understand him (or her if you prefer), loves you as you are and bears you no ill will. See how he reacts to that. Then tell him that God as you understand It, is so adamant about you being who you are that It will support you if you try to hide, but would prefer that you stay true to yourself.

See where that conversation takes you. I’m guessing that conversation alone may postpone your amalgamation for at least a couple of months.

There are so many things we could be talking about here in regard to your friend’s continued involvement in a Fundamentalist church, on a personal level, but I don’t want to go there. To do that would mean that I would have to make a lot of assumptions about your friend, and you know what they say when you ass—u—me; and I’m already an ass, so why push it further.

Start there and see where it goes. Religion is a huge issue because of that God thing and the eternal life outlook. It’s important to know that going into a relationship in which religion is such a big part of anyone’s life.

Have faith. Who knows, maybe he’ll eventually find God.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

My mom thinks I'm going to hell because I'm gay

Dear Ma Donna,

My mother and I just had a fight and I feel like I never want to speak to her again. I’m twenty-two years old, and I’ve been out since I was eighteen. My mom is a Christian, and I thought she was okay with my sexuality, but last week when I was visiting her for her birthday, she told me that she believes I’m going to Hell because I’ve “chosen to be gay.” We had a big fight about it, and I left. I told her that I never wanted to see her again. The problem is, now the whole family is mad, and they’re blaming me. What should I do?

Homer Sexual

Dear Homer,

Believe it or not, you have plenty of options.

The first thing you need to do is settle this question in yourself. Do you believe that you’re going to Hell? If not, then why do you think you had such a visceral reaction to her? Often times our reaction to something will tell us a lot about what might be hiding out in our own closets (sorry for the pun).

The second thing you can do is get clear on why you responded the way you did. Ultimately, you have no control over your mom or your family, but you do have the ultimate say-so over your response. What were your emotions? Was it fear? Was it disappointment?

I suspect that if your mom still believes you’re going to Hell, she’s terrified of losing you. She’s got you for now, but in her mind, she’s going to have to spend eternity without you and that thought is too much for her so she’s got to get you back. Beliefs are neither rational nor logical. They don’t care if they’re supported or backed up by facts; they just need to be right. Be aware you won’t be able to do deal with her belief logically.

Settle her question with yourself first. Figure out what YOU believe about your eternal future. Most of the work that an actor does when preparing for a role is work that the audience will never see. They make lots of “choices.” They do all of this because, as the saying goes, “it reads.” Even though the audience doesn’t pick up on all that work consciously, they do subconsciously. Your family is your audience. If you truly believe that everything is okay between you and God, the family will pick up on that, and they’ll eventually start to alter their behavior.

You probably need some space from your mom right now, and that’s okay, but don’t abandon her. Remember, she’s probably acting this way because she’s afraid of losing you.

Beliefs need to be right. When a belief sets itself up, it does so with its own defense mechanism which logic will never penetrate. However, limiting beliefs, as we call them, are also a bit of a paradox, because, while the belief is limiting, there’s another part of the believer that wants it to be untrue. If you believe, for example, that you’re going to Hell, there’s another part of you that is hoping against hope that this belief isn’t true. So the worst thing you can do for a limiting belief such as this, paradoxically, is to make the belief right.

So “make her right,” but do so gently. Promise her that, while the two of you may not be able to spend eternity together, you’ll make your time together here on Earth the best it can be. Chances are she’s going to start looking for a better belief… or, if nothing else… she’ll start searching the Bible for loopholes.