Invalidating Affection

Cooking for someone is probably one of the most spritual and fundamental things you can do in a relationship.   That warm and fuzzy feeling you get when enjoying a meal together prepared at home probably has some serious anthropological roots.   Thousands of years ago ,when we existed as hunters and gatherers, we brought back our kill to the family or tribe and took pleasure in the consumption of an animal which would sustain us nutritionally and even possibly clothe us.   Every part of the animal was utilized for our sustained existence and so it’s no wonder that sharing a meal with someone you care for, references some pretty ancient behaviors  and feels pretty darn good.

However this same connection to food and meal time can also bring great discomfort in relationships.  Fights during mealtime seem especially painful, especially when someone walks away from the setting.  Most people aren’t expecting to fight during a meal, so your defenses and guard are down.  Ever sit at a restaurant in anticipation of someone arriving for a date?   The level of sheer embarrassment and emotional pain is arguably much worse than that same individual not showing up at a theater or other venue.    Now imagine the pain associated with someone that uses meals as a way to completely invalidate your affection?

One of my favorite meals to make for myself…because I’m worth it.

I’ve experienced this first hand and I have to say it’s pretty painful.   I love cooking for those I love and I’ve been in the situation more than once where it’s been brought to my attention during an argument that “I never asked you to cook for me.”   Ouch.  Holy shit that hurts.   Not only are those words showing a great lack of manners and gratitude, but it’s a hurtful and often successful attempt to undermine the love and emotion you put into a meal.    Anyone’s who’s ever enjoyed cooking knows that a part of you and your energy is expressed in these culinary creations whether it be a simple hot dog or a four course dinner.   To have that turned around and mutated into something of an emotional weapon is tortuous.  It’s completely invalidating your affection and something you created from a magical place… your heart.

So how do we prevent such painful experiences from occurring?   You don’t.   I know that may sound crappy but in the almost 50 years I’ve been alive I’ve noticed humans will almost always take advantage of a week spot when it’s to their advantage and they’re trying to defend themselves physically or emotionally.  Unfortunately it’s just human nature.   Even more unfortunate is when you’re predisposed to suffering from this kind of wound because you make yourself vulnerable to it.  If you put your heart and soul into everything, then expect your heart and soul to feel the brunt of criticism, verbal insults and unjustified attacks on expressions of affection.  It’s part of being who you are.  It’s part of having a passion for something others can’t grasp or understand.

“It’s okay to want to do things for people and make them feel good, but not to the point where you make yourself so vulnerable and allow them to hurt you needlessly.”

You might also try changing your perspective and realizing you’re not responsible for anyone else’s happiness except your own.    The next time you make a wonderful dinner, do it for yourself and be willing to share it with others.   They will most certainly enjoy your efforts, but you will enjoy it so much more knowing you did it for yourself…. they simply have your permission to participate.   Yeah! And while your at it, make something special for yourself and hide it from them or better yet, eat it in the kitchen while you’re slaving away, completely unbeknownst to them you’re actually savoring freedom.

I hope you can see and appreciate my humor here.  There are no easy answers, but the middle ground is a good place to start.   It’s okay to want to do things for people and make them feel good, but not to the point where you make yourself so vulnerable and allow them to hurt you needlessly –  always create from the appropriate place.  Everyone needs to realize that when you’re wounded emotionally, part of the blame lies with the afflicted.   In some way or another,  we allowed it to happen… we gave  someone the power to enter our psyche and deliver the offending blow.    Doing things for yourself and allowing others to join in the fun makes it much easier when… and it will be a when,  someone tries to flip the tables and make it seem your efforts were unsolicited.   Not only would they be right, but they can use this little self esteem boost to help carry themselves out the front door and out of your awareness.   

When Mom Gets Old

I’m getting to be that age, you hear it often around the office almost on a weekly basis, someone’s parent is ill or has suddenly passed away.   I’m very blessed because my mom is still around, about to have her 81st birthday.    My mom isn’t in the best of health, and I often worry about her and how’s she feeling.     It’s difficult for her to catch her breath and she’s constantly connected to a variety of oxygen machines, concentrators they call them, and they sustain her life.    When she walks out the door, the gentle hum of the machine she’s carrying can be heard underneath her words.   She’s a talker like me, that’s where I get it from, and I often have to stop her and say “breathe through your nose” so she can get some O2.   You can probably guess I love my mom very much and I don’t know what I’d do without her.

Mother’s Day With My Mom
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Why Are Gay Men So Damn Needy?

I’m sure it’s happened to you before.   You get home after a nice date with a handsome guy, he looked just like his pics online, so that’s a plus right out of the gate.    Sex was pretty much a slam dunk so he’s definitely getting a second try and you’re actually looking forward to it.   You get the usual text message accompanied by some cute emoji…

tonight was really great, thanks for being so cool.”   

 You smile and drift off to sleep as you contemplate how dating really isn’t that bad after all.

The next morning you wake to the familiar routine of shutting off the alarm on your phone, oversleeping, and suddenly realizing you’re late for work.    As you rush to get yourself together and out the door, you notice you have a text message on your phone which must be from the office reminding you of a meeting you’re late for.  In what has become a very automatic set of movements for your fingers, you navigate immediately to your texts and retrieve the poorly timed piece of information…

“thinking of you.”

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Transactional Friendships

I was all psyched out the other day because I thought I invented a new term.    I think my partner Eric’s banking career had something to do with it as I’m constantly hearing expressions and other vocabulary related to finance.   I was going about my business when suddenly “transactional friendships” popped into my head along with the meaning.   Before running off to tell everyone about my cool new discovery and writing a book about the topic I decided to Google it.   Sure enough, the term and the meaning already exist.    I was pretty bummed out but I figured I could at least write a blog post about it.    A book deal would have to wait.

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