Enough with All the Mixed Messages About Love, or My Head Will Explode!

SocalResident when she was anonymous.

It's been a hearty two years of self-discovery since my marriage ended. I've spent countless hours reading articles about dating, books written by psychologists about relationships, and writing about my own experiences. The chronicles were comically detailed in my many blogs about my dating disasters (those where fun, so I guess it did serve some purpose). I wish I had happy stories to tell, and I always did when they showed up. But they were always short-lived. Hence my ability to combine humor with heartbreak.

Signal Doris Day singing "Que-sera-sera!"

So what have I learned from all the dating advice by experts both male and female breaking it down to brain function, how to appeal to the opposite sex, and emotional differences? Absolutely nothing! I'm more confused now than when I started soul-searching the topic of love and finding a soul mate. Why, you ask? Because I haven't seen as many mixed-up concoctions since I visited the local bar.

Here are some of the contradicting bits of advice I've come across over the last few years:

Find your passions and become a volunteer: good, and bad. As a divorcee, doing what you love and giving back to the community was a rule to rediscover yourself. But then I read about how women use this trick to avoid relationships with men. Mars and Venus Starting Over by John Gray, Ph.D. Then, I continued to read about women who need to save themselves from becoming "invisible women" in relationships in Loving Him Without Losing You by Beverly Engel. She says that women should continue to do what they love and are passionate about, regardless of having a new love interest. So which is it?

I think I will continue volunteering in the museum, and freelance writing. No guy is worth giving that up for, sorry, John, you lose that battle.

Play hard to get. Men love a challenge: bad. I wrote dating advice to women about this countless times. By experts. I still don't agree. And then I got my opinion reaffirmed many times by... drum roll.... GUYS! Men actually hate it when women "play games." Look, if you want to play, go hang out at a playground with the other toddlers. Mature people are true to themselves and don't try to "one up" anyone for who is in control of the power. Don't give away all your goods on the first date, but don't pretend like you don't care about a guy when he's on your thoughts all day. And in your dreams. Shoot, he makes you wake up to a cold sweat during the night. Just let him have his crumbs, okay? He'll still pursue you, if you give him a smile or nod that you're "into him."

I think I will be myself, no matter what. Sorry, I'm a great actress on a stage in front of an audience, but I would never try to lead a man on with false emotions. What you see is what you get.

Don't be an open book: good, no bad, no, wait... What? I can't tell a guy who I am, what I think, my likes and dislikes, my opinions about politics, religion or relationships, or, at least, not right away? Who am I trying to impress? And why? I think this goes back to playing games, doesn't it? Why can't I reveal who I am, for real? Do guys really get turned off by knowing the real me? Well then, they don't really want the real me, then, do they? Did I just answer this with a bunch of questions? By goodness, I did.

I will continue being the real me. What you see and feel, is what you get. 100% authentic.

In case you are wondering, this is the real me:

SoCalResident up close and personal.

Don't need men: bad. Actually, that is good, financially speaking. Every woman owes it to herself to be an independent person, even if she is involved with a man. But, *cue the evil organ music* she can lose herself if she devotes too much of herself to a man. That means, if you give up your ability to provide for yourself, you might end up foregoing your own self-worth, which leads down the path of self-destruction. When you lose yourself, you become totally dependent on a man for security, both financially and emotionally. You should only need a man emotionally, so that you can share your life journey with him.

I like my life journey right now. It will take an exceptional man to give up my independence. Which is meager to say the least. But I could use a hug every now and then. And a word of support. And a nudge. And a good lay. Geez, I'm sounding needier by the second, so I'll shut up now.

Let men pursue you: good! Until it turns bad. I was happy on my "man diet" minding my own business, in my own home, not socializing, and not frequenting dating sites. But a curious soul messaged me on Shine (being the happy blogger I am). So I responded in the caring way that I do, and the rest... broke my heart. He pursued me, but he was also married. So at least make sure the guy is available before you "lose yourself" in emotions.

No more chasing after men. Ever. I am a DARN GOOD CATCH. Guys: take note-- you lost a good thing.

I could go on, but it's late, and I don't see the point anymore. My bottom line is: being yourself, and allowing nature to take it's course is your best bet. Think about it: if you do play games and do all the "rules," and go by all the advice, sooner or later, the "true you" will come out and either your new love will head for the hills in fright or stick around anyway. Why not save yourself the time and energy, and just be yourself from the beginning?

Good luck to all of you searching for love. If you want to keep up with me, visit me at:

I miss my Shine Family. You know who you are. If it makes any difference, know that I'm happy.