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Online Dating Reality #3 - People are Disgusting

Written by marybabysteps on March 29, 2015

In today's online dating reality post I'll be addressing the subject that all of my Facebook friends are already well aware of, and that's the fact that people are disgusting. I share regularly on social media the raunchy approaches and messages I receive from men on dating sites. I do this beause, prior to entering the online dating scene two years ago, I honestly had no idea just how gross people could be. Maybe I'm naive. However, friends continue to be surprised by my postings, so I'm not the only one. If you're just as blissfully unaware of the depths of disgusting that you are likely to encounter in online dating, let me help to prepare you for the inevitable.

First Words Out of Their Mouths

Yep, they will be raunchy before ever exchanging a word with you. Just the other day, I received this gem - "well then can you deep throat?" That's exactly how he wrote it. No capitalization or punctuation beyond a question mark. Yes, I'm a writer. I'm offended by this, as well as by the fact that he assumed I was going to suck his dick. Who introduces themselves this way? This doesn't usually happen in real life. As with most internet trolls, the online dating dumbasses like to hide behind their computer screens in an attempt to be as offensive or shocking as possible. The thing I can't understand is the motive. We're all using these sites to achieve something. Even if that something is sex, approaching someone by asking her if she deep throats doesn't seem like the best way to get it. What do you think? 

Sorry. Trying to figure out the motives of online dumbasses is a blog post in itself. This post is just to give you a heads up that they exist and to let you know that they will likely approach you. No one was nice enough to warn me. Just to give you a clue of some of the kinds of obnoxious messages you may receive, here are some of my favorites that come to mind, sorry to those of you who've heard them before:

  • You into BDSM, Goddess? 
  • U swallow?
  • Hi honey how are you baby?
  • Let's play Mary ;)
  • I wish you would have my baby... blue eyes red hair... yeah. Lol
  • Would you make love in a bed of Circus Peanuts? (after reading that my weakness is for this awful candy)
  • Heyyyy sexy how r u

These aren't even the worst, just some of the more memorable or most recent. I wish I had kept a file of the horrible messages I've gotten since day one. 

Get Ready for the Photos

Sometimes you'll actually start conversing with someone because they've approached you in a respectful manner and seem interesting. Don't be shocked, though, when he sends you the infamous unsolicited dick pic. Yes, that is a thing. It does happen. Sometimes they will ask if you want a picture. Other times, you'll just be surprised by having it pop up on your phone. Men are proud of their junk, I guess. But most of the women I've spoken to have no interest in seeing an up-close, unedited photo of a man's cock before meeting him or being at a point where she'd actually consider being intimate with him. I mean, there you are exchanging "getting to know you" texts, and up pops an unflattering photo of his dick. Again, I don't know what they're thinking when they do stuff like this. 

I think I'll start sending them this video: 

It'll Be Okay

All right, please say I haven't completely scared you away from the prospect of internet dating. That was never my intent. I just believe that it's best to have information upfront before taking on something new, rather than to be completely taken by surprise. I'd want someone to tell me. Did anyone? Nope. Thanks a lot, single friends! 

Online dating can be filled with some disgusting people. Sometimes you receive a nice surpise in your inbox in the form of a thoughtful, interesting introduction. If you take a look through my past posts about online dating, you'll see that I have met some very wonderful men and had some great experiences. My biggest advice would be to try to have a sense of humor, don't engage the dumbasses and remain hopeful. It can be difficult. Believe me, I know. Some days, you want to scream. There may be times you decide to take a break from it all. I've done that, too. Follow your gut and be open to experiences. Also know that sometimes people are just disgusting.

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My Thrive Experience Week 2

Written by marybabysteps on March 23, 2015

It's been a little over two weeks since the beginning of my Thrive Experience. I'm still feeling fantastic. This update will be a bit shorter than my first because I haven't noticed a lot that's new. I've still got energy, and I'm calmer. Just more optimistic and relaxed, overall. I'm sure the improved sleep I've experienced has contributed to my better mood. And having the energy to get through my day absolutely makes me feel more optimistic. Before I always felt like I was behind on everything, and it seemed there was so little chance I'd get things done that it hardly seemed worth trying. It led to an ugly cycle of depression. 

Before Thrive

When I asked my friend for a sample of Thrive, I truly was at the point of desperation. I was constantly tired, with absolutely no focus. I was sleeping in shifts throughout the day and night. Three or four hour naps. No matter how I tried to get back on a regular sleep schedule, nothing worked. Being constantly fatigued made it impossible to think straight. I was becoming more and more pessimistic about things improving. 

And my physical health was suffering. I had put on so much weight over the past year and a half or so. My appetite was out of control, and I'm sure it was a combination of inactivity and emotional eating. Just going to the grocery store felt like attempting an hour-long advanced cardio class. It had become absolutely ridiculous. I was sleeping through my life, falling further behind on my goals. I knew it was time to do something, anything. 

Since Thrive

Thrive is not a miracle worker, but it's darn close. No, I'm not constantly energetic. And I'm not knocking everything off my list each and every day. But since I started my Thrive Experience, it all seems so much more possible. My sleep is the biggest improvement. I immediatley began sleeping regularly, each night, for eight hours at least. I wake up without an alarm, and I am able to get out of bed without creaky, sore knees and joints. I sit on the couch with my legs crossed and my computer on my lap for long periods throughout the day. I'm able to get up without pain and go down the stairs with ease. 

I'm still absent minded and a bit foggy. As someone with adult ADD, that's kind of to be expected. Like I said, Thrive is not a miracle worker. However, my mind is much clearer. I can complete short articles and blog posts without switching over to Facebook, email, dating sites and back again. As you can imagine, my productivity has improved. I feel so much more accomplished and like the goals I have set for myself are really possible. 

I went for a walk the other day, and I baked banana bread this weekend. These are two things that never would have happened before Thrive. Two very easy daily tasks that were completley beyond my reach. It's been a long time since I've enjoyed some of the most simple things life has to offer. I'm so much more positive now that I'm feeling better. I'm more patient with my kids and even more fun and outgoing when I go on dates. Not to mention my sex life has improved. Remember how difficult just going grocery shopping used to be for me? Imagine actual physical activity. It was exhausiting! Fun, but exhausting. Having energy for things makes life so much more fun! 

One thing I should note before moving on is that there was a short period of a few days where I felt very hungry and quite tired. After doing some reserch I think that may have been simply my body getting rid of toxins and briidging some of the nutritional gaps that were present. I've heard other Thrivers mention the same issues, as well as friends who have tried other nutritional supplements. That time has passed, and I'm no longer feeling sluggish periods in my days.

Weight Loss

Here's one of the biggest benefits - the weight loss. I was so excited that I already spilled the beans on Facebook. In two weeks, I've lost five pounds! That's without changing much about my diet or adding any exercise regime. I have started drinking a lot more water, and for the most part, my appetite has decreased. Here's the proof. Check out the scale! 

And here are side by side photos of me at the beginning of my Thrive Experience and two weeks in. I can tell a slight difference in my appearance. Can you? If you were to see me in real life, you'd probably be able to tell that the bags under my eyes are less visible, and my skin and eyes are brighter. Those are some changes I've definitely noticed. 

It's recommended that you try Thrive for at least eight weeks in order to feel the maximum effects. Some people notice a dramatic difference on day one. Some don't. I suspect it has to do with your beginning level of nutrition and fitness. I, personally, had nowhere to go but up. If you'd like to read other testimonials besides mine, head on over to the Le-Vel Facebook page to take a look. They have tons of stories of how Thrive is improving people's lives. 

If you're curious about what Thrive is, take al look at this post I wrote about the products I take. You can also visit my website to learn more or sign up as a free customer. 

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More About Le-Vel Thrive Products

Written by marybabysteps on March 19, 2015

I wrote recently about the new nutritional line I am taking and how I have signed up to be a Brand Promoter for the company. I wanted to write a little more about the products and the goals I have for my experience before I take the time to write my next update letting you know how I'm feeling on the product. The company is called Le-Vel, and the product line is Thrive.  You may have seen myself and others posting about Le-Vel Thrive on Facebook and other places online or talking about it in your real life circles. The reason people are talking about it is simply because it is a product that does what it claims to do, and it's made a difference in the lives of many people who take it, including mine. 

The DFT Difference

There are three basic products to the line. I'd like to start with the Thrive Premium Lifestyle DFT patch, even though it's the last in the Thrive 3-step process. DFT stands for Derma Fusion Technology, indicating that it is placed on the skin and that the ingredients are absorbed into the system through the skin. This is a delivery system that is a first of its kind. The DFT system offers time-released delivery of a unique formula that boosts metabolism, aids in weight loss, improves mental clarity and aids in appetite control. 

I am using the Thrive Plus - DFT Ultra, which is a larger patch that delivers a higher concentration of the formula. It's meant for people like me who have 50 or more pounds to lose. It's also good for highly active folks and athletes. I'm quite happy with the results of this product. The DFT patch contains ingredients such as green coffee bean extract, garcinia cambrogia, CoQ10, white willow bark, green tea extract and other proprietary blends. I lvoe the energy it gives me! 

Premium Lifestyle Capsule

The Thrive Premium Lifestyle Capsules are the first part of the 3-step process. The capsule comes in a women's formula and a men's. I belive that the men's formula simply contains a higher level of ingredients. Contained in the capsules is a natural formula of vitamins, minerals, plant extracts, antioxidants, enzymes, probiotics and amino acids. The ingredients are basically a blend of vitamins, along with folic acid, chromium, vanadium and selenium. 

Premium Lifestyle Mix

The Premium Lifestyle Mix is the shake. It can be purhcased in individual packets or by the canister. This mix was designed to complement the capsules. It contains a blend of vitamins and minerals, as well. The ingredients are formulated for both men and women and are a nutrient-rich formula that is meant to support lean muscles and aid in weight management. 

Used all together, the 3-step process combines to give you the Thrive Experience. Results, obviously, will vary and are based on which gaps may exist in your particular nutritional needs. Typically, users experience improved cognitive performance, support of digestive and immune systems, lean muscle and joint support, pain management support, aid in weight management and more. 

Here is the easy 3-step process involved in the Thrive Experience, and it's recommended to give the products eight weeks to fully notice the ultimate difference. However, most people, including myself, notice improvement in various areas much sooner. Sometimes even the first day! 

This video gives you an overview of the products. Please visit my Le-Vel Thrive site if you'd like to learn more. If you'd like to try a sample of the products, I can have a two-day sample sent out to you for $10,  a four-day sample for $20, etc.  

Feel free to reach out if you have any questions, and please visit my site to learn more! By the way, signing up as a Brand Promoter is free and offers upgrade packages not available to customers. There's no pressure to sell and no quotas. Many people sign up simply because they're so happy with the results. I'm one of those people. Most of you know I'm no salesperson. I would, however, love to earn enough money to purchase my own Thrive products as well as share the experience with others I think would benefit from it. Let me know if you have questions!

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25 Things I Betcha Didn't Know About Me

Written by marybabysteps on March 15, 2015

My friend, Tracy, recently challenged the members of her Mastermind group to share 25 things about themselves in a blog post. I've never written one of these posts in six years of blogging, so it's probably about time I do. I tend to be pretty forthcoming here on the blog, as well as on Facebook and in my real life. I feel like there's not a lot I haven't shared about myself. But I'll give it a try. Here I go. 

  1. Most of you know that I've been online dating for awhile now. I guess I've always been a little boy crazy. I can remember chasing a male classmate around the room trying to steal a kiss all the way back in Kindergarten. 
  2. I have a terrible sweet tooth and am addicted to candy. One of my favorite kinds is Circus Peanuts. I'm not sure many adults would admit to that. 
  3. I'm allergic to wheat and milk. Because the biggest symptom I experience is a stuffy nose, I tend to eat whatever I please. 
  4. This leads to the revelation that I have absolutely no willpower. Especially when it comes to food. It's very hard for me to cut out things that are bad for me. However, for my health, I intend to try. 
  5. I'm an only child. I always assumed that my child would be, as well. As a mother of three, I was obviously mistaken. 
  6. I'm not the most confident driver and don't enjoy driving in unfamiliar places. However, when I get a car again, I vow to drive absolutely everywhere! 
  7. I belong to a secret group of about 10 members on Facebook. I consider them to be amongst my closest friends and biggest source of support, though I've only met two of them in real life. 
  8. I've worked in two facilities for male juvenile offenders. I learned quite a bit from those young men. 
  9. One of my favorite jobs was working as an Activities Assistant in a nursing home. So much fun! 
  10. I was truly honored to have received the Oustanding Academic Adviser of the Year award for two consecutive years from the students at the community college where I worked before having my third child and deciding to work from home as a freelance writer. 
  11. I was in a sorority in college. It was a shocker to me, too. I'm not exaclty a joiner. And, truthfully, I never did fit in that well, but I made a few really great friends and learned a lot about myself and others. 
  12. You all know I'm a true blue liberal in my politics, right? Did you know I come from a family of staunch conservatives? 
  13. I truly loved the very first two men I met through dating sites after my divorce. Though I've made a good friend or two, there hasn't been that kind of strong emotional connection since. Beginner's luck? 
  14. I lived in an all female residence hall in college and actually enjoyed it quite a bit, despite wanting to go co-ed in the beginning. 
  15. My family moved across the state my senior year of high school. It didn't ruin my life, despite my teenage protests otherwise. I actually made a lot of friends and ended up having a support system when many of us started as freshmen at the university in our town. 
  16. I have never had a broken bone. Knock on wood.
  17. I've been to a swingers club. Though I witnessed many, many things, I did not swing. I promised my Facebook friends I'd write about it. I will. Honest.
  18. I hated being pregnant. Hated it, yet did it three times. 
  19. Despite the fact that I have two cats that I take pictures of and talk about all the time, I secretly am a dog person. Shhh... don't tell the cats. 
  20. I've never been content with being average. However, success came easier to me when I was younger. That's been hard for me to deal with over the past several years. Guess I'll just have to work harder. 
  21. I'm oblivious when it comes to pop culture. Unless it happened in the early '80's to mid '90's, I'm clueless. During the time that I've been raising kids, I've really only absorbed what they've liked. Financial and time constraints have kept me from paying attention to much else. 
  22. I despise winter. I majored in Spanish in college with the intent of moving some place warm with a high Spanish speaking population. As we know, life doesn't always work out as planned. I'm still here in Pennsylvania. 
  23. I don't make friends easily in real life. I tend not to "fit in." I have had the same best friend in my life for over 20 years, and I consider myself quite fortunate for that. 
  24. I'm highly sensitive, in every way. I used to cry over anything and everything in elementary school. Though I've gained control of my emotions over the years, I'm still easily affected by things. 
  25. I've never traveled beyond the borders of North America. I plan to change that one day.

There you have it- 25 things about me. I actually did it. I tried to come up with stuff y'all didn't already know and hope I was successful at that. Have you written a 25 Things blog post? Link it in the comments or even just tell me one thing I don't know about you!

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My Le-Vel Thrive Experience - The Beginning

Written by marybabysteps on March 8, 2015

It's been nearly two years since my separation and divorce. It's been a stressful time, to say the least. I've learned a great deal and have come a long way in that time. However, if I'm being honest, the stress has taken its toll on me. On my mind and my body. Constant stress and worry can really do a number on a person. It tears away at your self-esteem, making you doubt your abilities and unable to see a time that will ever be better. It sends you looking for comfort in whatever manner is accessible. In my case, the most available, seemingly harmless comfort was food. I've gained a lot of weight.

A Vicious Cycle

It's a new year, and though I haven't formally written about it, I've decided my word for this year is "reinvention." In order to make the changes I'd like to see in my income, my career and my personal life, I've decided I need to first start with my phyical self. I am constantly tired. Constantly. Tired is probably not even a strong enough word. Exhausted. I'm constantly exhausted. My sleep is insane. Often, I sleep in cycles of three to five hours at a time. I can't get through the day without a nap. My thinking is scattered and foggy. I'm so forgetful. The truth is, I do exhibit traits of ADD and used to take Adderall for that, and it helped a lot. However, the constant exhaustion has made my ability to concentrate worse than it has ever been. All of this has led to bouts of depression and anxiety, despite the Prozac I take daily. It's a vicious cycle that makes moving forward nearly impossible.

An Investment in Myself

So when I began to see testimonials for and people talking about Le-Vel Thrive and what it's done for them, I decided to investigate. A friend of mine is a brand promoter for the company, and she sent me a sample. In the course of four days, I noticed changes in my sleep and energy that could not be denied, so I took the plunge and purchased a month's supply. Most of you know, this is not something that is in my budget. At this point, I absolutely have to do something, and I decided the investment in myself is worth it. I have also signed up as a promoter for Le-Vel Thrive, and it is my hope that, if the product proves to be useful for me, others will decide to give it a try for themselves. I'm not a salesperson, by nature. I won't pressure anyone to buy from me. 

For those who know my situation, you have to know that I believe in the product and felt real results in order to have invested in it. I will document my results over the next month here on the blog. I'm truly hopeful to see big changes over that time. I've already seen some very noticeable differences in just the first few days on Thrive. Here are the major and subtle improvements I've observed thus far. 

Sleep and Energy

The biggest and most impactful change I've noticed is the difference in my sleep. I've been able to sleep (mostly) straight through the night. Even when I woke through the night briefly, I was able to fall right back to sleep. During my four-day sample period a while back, I noticed that I woke up around 7:00 each day without an alarm. This time around, it's been a bit different. I've woken up after that time, but I've also woken before 7:00. Whatever the case, the bottom line is that I got up without an alarm and without feeling incredibly groggy. That's right. Once I got out of bed, I noticed that my head felt immediately more clear than usual. Ordinarily, my kids know better than to talk to mommy before she's had at least one, preferably two, cups of coffee. With Thrive, I actually feel coherent enough to have a conversation prior to coffee. That's a big deal. I'm not making any claims that I'm hyper-focused and full of energy. That hasn't happened yet. However, I am feeling a difference, and even that small difference means a lot to me. I've even been able to get through days without naps. A day without a nap is unheard of for me. I did nap yesterday, and I actually attribute that to PMS, which has always increased my fatigue.

Mood and Emotions

Speaking of PMS, I am a redhead who is naturally prone to emotional ups and downs. PMS really does a number on me, ordinarily. I'm easily agitated, exhausted and cranky. Guess what? I didn't really even realize that I was about to get my period until the app on my computer reminded me. I haven't been short-tempered, even with the kids home due to snow days. Their normal interruptions of my work would send me into a frenzy during PMS past. This week, it's been a minor annoyance. I have noticed that I'm a bit more weepy than usual, but I'll take that over annoyed and agitated any day. I feel overall more able to face life's ups and downs. It's a nice change that I hope will continue.

Physical Function

Finally, something very significant I've observed since taking my Thrive over the past few days is that my knees, lower back and hips aren't as sore as usual. It didn't hit me right away when I got out of bed that first day that I wasn't feeling the pain. In fact, I still walked slowly and hobbled to the bathroom the way I usually do until my limbs and joints warm up. Except when I reached my destination, I realized that there was no need to hunch over or walk gingerly. My joints didn't hurt. Even when I went downstairs to get Brady an outfit from the laundry, I didn't feel the pain and creaking in my knees that is usually there! With warmer termperatures coming, I'm actually looking forward to getting out and walking a bit, which is a good thing since I don't currently have a car. 

These changes and observances I'm telling you about aren't miraculous. I'm not suddenly in perfect physical, mental and emotional form. But the difference is significant. It's real, and I feel it. Like my blog's title, I am excited that these changes will only increase and lead to taking the Everyday Baby Steps I need to move toward my goals. 

I will continue to keep you updated on my progress and feedback on how I'm feeling using the Thrive protocol each week for the next month. While the ultimate goal isn't to lose weight, it is a much hoped for outcome, as I think it will lead to a happier and healthier me. So I will post updates on my weight each week, as well. If you'd like to learn more about Thrive, please check out my website. There's an informational video on the page and a lot more in-depth information on each product throughout the site. Feel free to ask questions, though I'm just learning about it all myself. I will write more posts about the products I'm taking and what they are designed to do, in addition to my weekly updates. 

Thanks to everyone who has supported me on this journey. I am excited about the possibilities it offers!

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2014 Dating Recap: The Year of Second Chances

Written by marybabysteps on February 16, 2015

Well, I told some of my social media friends that I would be writing a summary of my 2014 dating experiences and what I learned from them. After all, I wrote one for 2013 that was pretty fantastic, if I do say so, myself. I had some incredibly meaningful relationships and some experiences that truly impacted my life straight out of the dating gate in 2013. I fully expected 2014 to be the year of only bigger and better things. Damn, I was cocky. 

In looking back over 2014, what's stood out to me is that it seemed to be my year of giving second (third, fourth, etc.) chances. Some turned out, thus far, to be a good thing. Others didn't work out so well. Here's a recap.

That Scientist

You know the one. I oftened referred to him as "Cute Scientist" on Facebook. After seven months, though, he simply became known as "Fucker." He was neuroscientist #2 out of three, for those keeping count. I met him in January. It seemed like a great start to the year. He was a little different than most men I'd dated. Quiet, and a bit awkward even, I do believe I gave him the most chances of all, when it comes right down to it. I saw him for seven months. We all know how that ended. In case you don't, you can read about how he was married and I had no clue. I won't rehash that here. However, what I will mention in this post is that I know I gave that one far too many chances. He was emotionally unavailable and showed me time and again he didn't value my time. Yet I continuously gave him a pass. At the time, I excused his behavior as simply being quirks of his uber intelligence. Looking back, I now realize that I simply valued the comfort and consistency of having him in my life. He was routine. I saw him reguarly. We stuck to a pretty regular rotation of dates. Some may see it as boring. For me, it was comfort. When it comes down to it, though, that comfort wasn't worth sacrificing my dignity. 

The Scientist That Came Back

The first man I dated after my separation was neuroscientist #1. It was a whirlwind of intense emotion. I loved that man fiercely. Then he went away. He had his reasons, but it hurt like hell. He was gone from my life for nearly a year. Then one day, out of the blue, I received an email from him. I didn't hesitate to let him back in my life. I have such an attachment to this person. I don't make genuine connections easily. So when I do, I tend to hold on for dear life. I welcomed him back without question. He's a complicated person, and it took some time for me to reconcile the nature of our relationship. So far, I have no regrets at giving this one a second chance and am content to have my friend back. Chalk one up for second chances. 

The Local Man With an Air of Mystery

We dated before. It didn't work out. So why would I give it another shot? Well, if I'm being completely honest, I'd have to admit that it's because of the sexual chemistry we had, as well as his many talents. Also, while looking at things honestly, I realized that the main reason things didn't work with us the first time was due to a serious lack of communication. So when I saw him visiting my OkCupid profile multiple times, I sent him a message telling him that he could at least say hello if he intended to keep stopping by. That got the conversation rolling. 

We set up a date and actually talked about some of the underlying reasons we didn't see eye to eye in our previous go round. Armed with our newfound information and understanding, we ended up having a fantastic time together. We've enjoyed each other's company on a different level from our last attempt and seem to be moving forward in a positive way. We're going slowlly and building trust in each other, which was much-needed. I'm looking forward to seeing where our newfound openness and understanding take us. 

The One Whose Ego Is Bigger Than His Heart

There's another man I ended things with due to a disagreement. In fact the disagreement was actually more of a fight, and it was rather hurtful. I may have mentioned him in another blog post, referring to his tactics of disagreement as a "mindfuck." So don't ask me why I decided to reach out to him when I saw our match rating on OkCupid had gone up to a 99%. I though that maybe we could be friends, since we seemed to be so compatible in a lot of ways. 

Our initial reunion was amicable. It was actually a comfort to have him back in my life. He sent me a friend request on Facebook and was there to "like" my posts and encourage me. It was nice. Until I posted something he disagreed with. It got quite ugly. I held my ground and explained my reasoning. He dug his feet in and continued to push his position. As it turned out, friends who had initially agreed with him actually ended up pointing out the flaws in his argument, as well as his style of making that argument. One woman even told him he was being a bully. Long story short, he ended up telling me we could no longer be friends and blocking me. But, truthfully, it was a relief to have had that argument occur publicly. It was validation that our earlier argument was not my fault and that I hadn't imagined his bullying tactics. Despite the fact that I belive the guy genuinely does have a big heart, his ego and need to be right are much bigger. Chalk this one up to a learning experience that second chances don't always work out. 

So it seems the recurring theme of my romantic life in 2014 was "second chances." These are merely a few examples. There actually are one or two more instinces where second chances were given, either by me or by someone else, in my dating life. But these are the main ones. Navigating the decision of whether to let someone back in your life or to stick to your guns can be difficult. No one wants to allow themselves to be used or treated badly. And I do always advocate for following your instincts. If you think someone is bad for you, you're probably right. However, for the most part, I am inclined to give someone a second chance. Thankfully, important people in my life have afforded me a chance or two, or even three, over the years.

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A Bonus Chance to Win a $100 Target Gift Card from Hyundai!

Written by marybabysteps on November 18, 2014

Here's a fantastic $100.00 giveaway bonus from Hyundai - they want to know what you think about their Hyundai Smarter campaign by commenting on their Smarter living videos a Rafflecopter giveaway

*sponsored post

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#Smarter Living With Hyundai

Written by marybabysteps on November 10, 2014

I'd like to share this sponsored video from Hyundai. I think it's a great message. I especially relate to Taren Guy in the video who made the decision to embrace her curly hair and her unique beauty. Coming to that place of self-acceptance takes time and bravery. I've taken my own journey toward self-acceptance and have shared a great deal of that on this blog. I plan to share more in the future and was inspired by Taren's video. Hyundai reached out to a number of smart, savvy women to talk about the smarter decisions they make in their everyday lives. They asked them to create a video to coincide with this fall's 2015 Sonata launch...enjoy

To celebrate this campaign and raise awareness, Hyundai is giving away chances to win $100 gift card from Target. Check out the Rafflecopter widget below to enter. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

* sponsored post

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Dear Men on Dating Sites, Don't Say Hi

Written by marybabysteps on October 24, 2014

I've had this post in my mind for some time now. In fact, it started out as an overall "what not to do" post based on my experience with online dating. However, it's come down to this one very specific piece of advice because this is probably my biggest pet peeve. Maybe it's just me. Maybe it doesn't really bother other women. Though my friends tell me it's annoying to them, as well. So it's a thing for at least a few of us. I call it the Hi Phenomenon because I see it so often on the dating sites. 

It may seem that I'm being picky or outrageous in expecting a man not to say hello when he reaches out to a woman. That's not what we're talking about here. I'm referring to the messages that say simply, "Hi." That's it. Just, "Hi." Even the ones that say, "Hi. How are you?" confound me. What am I supposed to do with that? There are so many reasons why the Hi Phenomenon is such a turnoff for me. 

It Tells Me Nothing

First and foremost, saying hello tells me nothing about you. Yes, of course I can look at your profile, but only if something compels me to believe I may be interested in getting to know you. A simple, "Hi" is not compelling. At all. However, a nice note telling me something about you and why you chose to get in touch with me would be great. That's all I'm asking for, and I don't think it's that much of an ask. 

I Don't Have Time for This

Seriously. No one has time for the Hi Phenomenon. If you write, "Hi,' what am I supposed to write back? Please don't think we're going to go back and forth with one word exchanges. That is not going to happen. Ever. We're all busy people. If you have time for this type of single word, shallow interaction, I probably don't have time for you. As a single mom, my dating time is limited. I want to know that the person I'm choosing to spend that time with has more to say than just, "Hi."

It's Lazy

Frankly, it really is just lazy for you to send me this one word. I realize that the men on dating sites send out more messages on average than the women do and that their odds of hearing back are not often that high. So I get that you may not want to compose a lengthy note when it's likely you may never hear back from a woman. I get it. I do. Think about it from our perspective. Don't you think you'd increase your chances of a reply if you give a little bit of yourself in that first message?

It's Shallow

Which brings me to my next point. If all you have to say is, "Hi," I'm going to think there's not a lot going on in that pretty little head of yours. I want depth of character, someone who has a lot to say, a man with personality. "Hi" conveys none of that. It makes me think you have nothing to offer. You know what else? It makes me think you're going to expect me to do all the work. You get off saying just one word, and I'm expected to send a reply and actually carry the conversation. No thank you. I want to invest my time in someone who shows me right off the bat that he'll take some time to get to know me, not expect me to put forth all the effort. 

So there you have it. Some reasons why it's not a good idea to contact a woman on a dating site with the tired, boring, lazy "Hi" message. I hope this has been helpful. It certainly was therapeutic for me. In fact, I think I'll pass it along to the five Hi Guys I got messages from today alone. Imagine how many I've gotten in the past year, and perhaps, you'll have an even better understanding of why I hate the Hi Phenomenon. Don't say, "Hi."

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That Time I Unknowingly Dated a Married Man for Seven Months and the Lessons Learned

Written by marybabysteps on October 17, 2014

If you're my Facebook friend, you likely watched the saga unfold about a month ago when I found out that a man I'd been dating for seven months was married. I took to my wall with vague reference to the subject as an outlet, a way to vent. I didn't originally intend to disclose details of the matter. I was embarrassed that I could be so naive and blind. And for such a long time. I soon realized, however, that I wasn't the one who should feel shame. I gave of myself freely to this man. I was upfront about who I was, and I was supportive of who he was. It was he who was deceitful, manipulative, unethical and emotionally unavailable.

So, as with much of my life, I opened up on social media a bit about the situation. I told my friends and followers that I had been duped by this man. I let them know the basics of how I had come to learn of the deception. I commisserated with others who had been in similar situations. That's the reason I share so much on my Facebook page and on this blog. Because I know that, as humans, we encounter similar circumstances and that talking about them can help us all to heal and to move forward in a healthier way. Thus, I figure a month has passed, so maybe now is the time to expand on the story and to try to make sense of the lessons that can be learned from it. 

The Back Story

I'll try to give a quick synopsis for those who haven't followed along. I started talking to him on a dating site this past winter. I read in his profile that he was a research scientist and briefly thought about the first man I had dated after my divorce who was also a research scientist. Then I contacted him. We had a high match, according to the site, and he was cute. He responded, and after some time we decided to begin talking off site using another online platform. That's when I learned his full name. Being a writer who relies on research, I headed to Google to see what I could learn. As he had indicated in his profile, this man was also a skilled musician. I came across some of his performance videos and was impressed. Then I saw his work bio and stopped dead in my tracks. Yep, sure enough he worked under the same institution and department as the first scientist. Hmmm... How should I handle this one? I hadn't been in touch with that first guy in months, and I thought about not mentioning it. But then I decided to let this scientist know about the first scientist so that there would be no secrets down the line. What if we hit it off and he should find out months later that I kept this information from him? Better to be upfront from the beginning. So I told him I had dated his colleague. He said he did know the guy but that they rarely saw each other. He wasn't concerned with details of my past, and we moved on. 

We had our first date. I talked the whole time. He seemed shy and a bit awkward, kind of like you might expect of an overachieving scientist. I wasn't sure there'd be a second date, but there was something about him. He seemed so genuine. We went out again, and this quiet, reserved scientist began to grow on me. He was sweet and affectionate. And so cute. I began referring to him on Facebook as "Cute Scientist." I'd mention him in a post while I waited for him to arrive to our dates. My friends became interested in how things were progressing. I was interested in that, myself. He seemed a bit distant and reserved. I attributed that to his personality and left it at that, though there were times I felt a bit like he wasn't letting me in. I became used to this compartmentalization and convinced myself that it was okay. Our relationship was what it was, and it was actually comfortable. There was no reason to rush anything, I told myself. Why not just enjoy things as they are? After all, you can't push a person to change for you, right? 

Follow Your Instincts

The first lesson I learned in all of this is to follow my instincts. Yes, we all know this one, but it sure is hard to do. However, I did follow my gut in one respect. I was tempted to date only this guy and to stop seeing other people. Dating can be exhausting, and I was tired of allowing myself to be vulnerable, quite honestly. I felt that this man, despite his affectionate side, was not giving himself fully to me. So I knew it didn't make sense to commit to someone who was so emotionally distant. While I may have slowed down on seeing others, I didn't completely close myself off to meeting someone new. Looking back on it, that's one of the things I'm most glad about. Had I devoted myself exclusively to this man, only to have been completely duped into thinking there was a chance at something real, I would have been more disappointed than I ultimately was. Always follow your gut. If something doesn't feel right, it's probably not. 

I did follow my instincts when I started to feel that something wasn't adding up. I dug in and did a little more investigating. More than just a simple Google search. I looked at the people finder sites and took note of the names associated with this man as possible relatives. That's what led me to realize he had more children than he had told me about. There was another name associated with his profile. I thought it was a male name until I began to search for it and came up with a woman's Facebook page. Scrolling through, I saw that this woman had recently had a stroke. He told me once that he had to cancel a date because a friend had had a stroke. Okay, then. I continued to scroll. Then I came to the update I didn't want to see. The one in which she announced her new married name. It really does feel like you've been kicked in the stomach when you see something like that. It's even worse when you see photos of the man you've been intimate with on his wife's Facebook page. It hurt, and it was a disappointment. But I'm so glad I followed my instincts. Always follow your instincts. 

People Are Not Always As They Seem

Deep down, I knew this. I've had so many experiences in which I've come to find out that I wasn't compatible with someone, either a romantic interest or even a friend. There have been times when others have disappointed me or outright been completely different than what they appeared to be. However, this one is the biggest eye-opener I've experienced. I truly believed this man was completely genuine and forthright. That's part of the reason I continued dating him, despite not being able to see him often or to really be a part of his life. When I wrote that blog post about what I want in a man, that whole section on "genuine spirit" was inspired by him. I was so wrong. So very wrong. This man I thought was so sweet and not a game-player like other men had been more deceptive than anyone I've encountered.

Never Allow Yourself to be Second

While I didn't know the entire seven months that this guy was married, I did know that he wasn't giving me adequate attention and was compartmentalizing me into slots of time that fit his schedule. I knew that his time with me was very separate from the rest of his life. I made excuses and allowed myself to settle for what I had convinced myself was our "comfortable routine." I told myself it was his personality to compartmentalize things, that he was a very private person. It's interesting the things we will convince ourselves of in order to avoid discomfort. Having had the last month to look back on the situation and to assess some of my other interactions with men, I've realized that I have allowed this to happen before, that I've accepted whatever time, affection or attention I could get from men on more than one occasion. In fact, it's been a pattern. It's rather depressing to acknowledge this and to admit the truth. It's also freeing, though. It's like now I can re-focus my energy and be aware of my past patterns, moving forward with intention to avoid making those same mistakes. I hope that I can.

So there's my story. It's not pretty. It kind of sucks. I just hope that it will help someone to look for signs they may have missed in a relationship or to go easy on themselves if they've experienced something similar. I'd love to hear your feedback. Has anything like this ever happened to you? What did you learn? 

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