Dating & Gender

SuicideGirls Radio host and sexpert, Darrah de jour, gets personal while sharing the latest news in dating and gender.

White Girl In A Muslim World

“Now I can see what American culture is and I miss it terribly.”

by Lauren Blagui

I am a white American female, and I have found myself in a situation I never dreamed I’d be in: I married a Muslim, moved to his native country of Tunisia, and had my first baby there. As a little girl envisioning getting married and having kids, I never imagined I’d be living in a third world country in North Africa and having to adjust to major cultural differences while pregnant and then caring for my new daughter.

My husband had been planning on moving back to Tunisia when I met him, so I knew that was part of the deal going in, and I was open to the idea. As we became more serious fairly quickly, the prospect of moving became more of a reality in my life. A year in, we decided I should go to Tunisia to check it out, meet his family, and see if it was really something I could consider.

I spent three weeks in Tunisia and I had a blast. His family couldn’t have been nicer. I still wasn’t sure I’d love living there, but I was willing to try, especially as I knew my husband really had his heart set on coming home to his wonderful family.

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A year later, we took a leap of faith, and moved to Tunisia. Part of the big move was giving up our rented apartment, selling our cars and enduring the enormous stress that comes with uprooting oneself, but with the added element of moving to another country! Knowing that we did not have a home, job, or car to come back to in America was a terrifying feeling. I had lived there my whole life, and now I was starting over in a foreign land where I didn’t speak the language. Immediately, everything negative stood out to me. My ethnocentrism was undeniable. I simply found America to be better in every sense, and I quickly realized that visiting a place is entirely different from moving there permanently.

I was blessed with a healthy pregnancy and an easy delivery (post-epidural, of course). I delivered at a private hospital in town, so most of my nurses spoke English, thankfully. I still encountered major cultural differences, though. For example, they believe spending skin-to-skin time after the baby is born will stress out the baby. I begged for that special bonding time, but they only placed her butt-up on my stomach while they cut the cord, then carried her all the way out of the room upside down, which alarmed me.

A few minutes later, my husband came to me and asked if I’d packed any soap or towels for her. I told him no, the doctor only told me to bring her clothes. Apparently they didn’t have any soap or towels to bathe her with. I had packed three outfits for my new baby, and when they first brought her to me, they had dressed her in all three outfits at once, even though it was 90 degrees outside! They have such a fear of babies being cold, but I was more worried about her overheating, so as soon as I was left alone, I undressed her and did skin-to-skin.

I half-jokingly refer to myself as a “spoiled-rotten American” because we really don’t know how good we have it until we’re put in a situation like this. I knew it would be challenging and I’d have to get used to living without certain luxuries, but it has been a real test. Occasionally the town turns off the water to work on the pipes, usually not for more than a day. But once we went without running water for 5 days with no warning. The toilet was disgusting, the dishes piled up, and going that long without a shower was unpleasant. Another major problem with living here is there is no heat in the wintertime and it gets cold. We have to wear lots of layers with coats, hats, scarves, and gloves at home all the time.

Another thing that bothers me is the pollution. Everyone litters! Trashcans aren’t readily available in most areas, and there is trash everywhere already, so my guess is that people figure—why not? The motorbikes smell strongly of exhaust so it is not pleasant to roll your window down. Almost everyone smokes, everywhere. It’s difficult to avoid it. Coming from southern California, where it is illegal to smoke indoors, this was a huge adjustment, especially while pregnant and then with a new baby.

imageOn the bright side, we live in a farming community. People always give us food from their farms, such as fresh eggs, milk, cheese, fruit, or almonds. And I’ve learned how to save and reuse almost everything. The amount of trash we produce here is a fraction of what it was in the states, partly because all of our food is made fresh at home.

I never noticed American culture until I left. I’ve always envied other countries for having beautiful, colorful traditions of celebrations and folklore. But now I can see what American culture is and I miss it terribly. There are no occasions for costumes or decorations here, which is what I love most about Halloween and Christmas, for example. Here, they don’t seem to find many reasons to celebrate, except weddings-—they are a big deal, but the music is uncomfortably loud so I don’t enjoy them.

Before my daughter was born, I would get depressed sometimes, especially when I would see the abuse and neglect of animals. My husband isn’t religious so Islam doesn’t affect our daily lives. However, the country follows the teachings of the prophet Mohammed and his disciples, and it is taught that dogs are dirty so they are not to be touched. Dogs are either stray/wild (the better option for them) or tied to a tree their entire lives and fed only bread. It is the most heartbreaking thing I have ever witnessed, and it contributes to my feelings of not fitting in here, as I feel like the only one who cares about dogs here.

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However, children here are beloved by everyone. It is the “village raises the child” type of setting. I’ll just be standing somewhere in public, and some stranger will come up, kiss my baby, and walk away. I’ve been given non-stop unsolicited advice ever since she was born, most of it I disagree with completely.

For example, I was told that four months is a good age to start potty training (this from a woman who never had children). I’ve been told that letting my child chew on a chicken bone with meat on it starting at four months is good for teething. And everyone in the world–even strangers–are so fearful of her getting cold when we leave the house, even if it’s hot out. People panic if they see her in a grocery store. They expect me to wrap her in a wool blanket or not to take her out at all.

But I have figured out that the advice they give, while forceful and insistent, is out of love, and they see it as a gift they are passing to me, as it was given to them by their mothers, grandmothers, and aunts down many generations.

I came here with the promise of a strong, supportive family nearby who would help us care for our children. This society is organized for large families. We have property here–an olive farm–and we have big dreams of making a sweet little family business out of it. When the whole family gets together and I see the children helping to prepare food, that is how I’d like to see my children grow up-—not playing video games, but helping around the house, helping at the farm, and playing outside–using their imaginations like my generation and previous generations.

While I have faced many challenges in adjusting to my new life in Tunisia, I try to focus on the positive. It’s interesting how you can get used to something unfamiliar if you just relax and go with the flow. I practice yoga on a daily basis, which helps me get through some moments of discomfort or frustration.

Mark Twain said, “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness…” Since I moved to Tunisia, I’ve noticed how easy it is to judge the way others live. So now I try to be respectful and open to everything I may learn from my new life here in North Africa. I definitely feel that I am becoming a stronger person because of this experience!

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Lauren Blagui grew up in southern California and went to college in Wisconsin as a History Major. She lived in Los Angeles, California for ten years and worked as a website editor and nanny, then moved to Tunisia with her new husband and is a new mother. She currently writes for and teaches English to Chinese students online.

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Married To A Man Who’s Married To His Work

What happens when you find the man of your dreams, and his dreams of success eat up most of the relationship real estate?


Unfortunately, workaholics don’t come with an off switch

Editor’s Note: This article is my point of view as the partner of a male workaholic.The feminist in me feels obliged to acknowledge that no doubt women are workaholics too! But, I’m not talking about them in this piece. Wanted to clear that up ahead of time. xo

 By Darrah Belle

 The most commonly accepted word to describe men who spend the majority of their time working, even to the detriment of other areas in their life, is workaholic. This word tends to describe a man who works long hours, ignoring the concept of balance, in favor of meeting his professional goals and dreams. There is a level of obsession and compulsion that differentiates him from somebody who works long hours to make ends meet or somebody who is simply ambitious.

When you’re in a romantic relationship with a workaholic, you have to figure out for yourself whether your desire for a successful man trumps your level of need for physical and emotional attention, time and affection, or if it’s possible to help him find the right balance to satisfy you both.

My partner Richard is a successful talent agent. He has co-owned his agency for over 25 years. Those around him are equally driven. His passion for what he does and what he creates with his clients is incomparable. Let’s just say his calling found him in his early-twenties and they’ve danced together seamlessly for decades.

I’ve been more whimsical career-wise, and while at times very ambitious, I’ve had probably a hundred jobs and some of them I downright hated. I’ve always been a good writer. But before committing to it as a career, I first tried my hand at acting, modeling, singing, voice-overs, and a slew of jobs like retail sales, babysitting, public relations, massage therapy, radio co-hosting, waitressing, and even being a dominatrix for two days, before realizing that I wanted to switch gears and work in hospitality. Whew! I’m breathy just writing that.

I’ve finally enrolled in school and completed my first class in a two-year college-level certification program. I am SO excited! Especially because career clarity was harder for me to reach. (Or perhaps I needed to have faith that it would come in its own divine time?) It feels so right. I’m super grateful.

Before finding that clarity, motherhood found me. And, it’s my ultimate. My daughter is my everything! I prioritize her without question. Being a mother is the most important role I’ll ever play. Being Daisy’s mom is my calling on the most deep and profound level. I am built to take care of her and she is designed to need it from me. It’s a match made in heaven! For some time, trying to pinpoint a career while being 100% devoted to motherhood seemed like a fork in the road already littered with utensils.

Luckily, after much prayer and after doing some sweat-laden, ninja-type feng shui, I cast off enough old energy to find the truth coiled within me.

Back to Richard and me. In April, we planned a weekend getaway to Las Vegas in the form of a family-friendly jaunt to Sin City. There is an annual rockabilly weekend called Viva Las Vegas that has become a family tradition. They have a rockin’ vintage car show and ballrooms toppling over with vintage clothes, accessories and even baby clothes with a retro bent.

Richard had been working a ton lately and we thought this would be a perfect opportunity to spend some real, dedicated time together doing something we both love: shopping!

Unfortunately, workaholics don’t come with an off switch. And much to many men’s chagrin, neither do women’s needs. My need to connect, cuddle, talk, and spend uninterrupted time together wasn’t met. Sure, there were times when we had a meal and his phone wasn’t on the table, in it’s usual slot to the right of his fork. Sure, we had an afternoon where he didn’t post on Facebook for an hour. But, for the most part, we used our downtime to engage in separate activities: I napped while he gambled; I watched baby while he made work calls; we both updated our social media at the end of the night while laying side-by-side in silence in a giant hotel bed.

When you’re in a long-term relationship it’s difficult to undo certain habits, even with the best of intentions. I am working on being a more direct communicator and I’m practicing it by asking him for more one-on-one time without our cellular devices attached to our hip. I take responsibility for using my phone in bed too. It’s such a mood-kill!


Me and Sara Bareilles (Photo bomb by Darren Criss)

Earlier this summer, Richard made his directorial debut as the creative director and co-producer of The Little Mermaid In Concert Live to Film at The Hollywood Bowl. What a thrilling three nights celebrating him and his latest accomplishment! It was also fabulous to meet the likes of John Stamos (sweetheart!), Rebel Wilson (quieter than I expected!), and to engage in authentic conversation with Tony-award nominee Sara Bareilles, who starred as Ariel. I got to meet the original voice of Ariel, Jodi Benson. Everybody was in awesome spirits and having the time of their lives. Some stars even wrote Richard afterward and declared the project to be among the best in their memorable careers.


Two Rebel Girls

But, what really struck me was how much I truly enjoyed dressing up each night. The first night, I was retro-Ariel. Donning a vintage dress and crazy seashell hat from the 1950s, I rushed into the Bowl on opening night glowing like a lit cigarette. The second night, I was a goddess-y mermaid, wearing a flowy blue dress with spaghetti straps and a complicated feathery contraption on my head that I later learned was called a “fascinator.” The third and final night was my favorite, as I discovered my alter ego, “Bubbles,” a space mermaid. Bubbles wore a cropped pink bob with blunt bangs paired with a long flowing yellow dress. I had major contouring and stunning eye makeup courtesy of Joseph Adivari and Chantel Sewell.


Meet Bubbles!

However, before the show’s debut, I had morphed into somebody very distant from the mysterious and decadent, if shallow, “Bubbles.” Who I’d metamorphosed into was a nagging, irritable and unhappy wife figure. I was lonely and dissatisfied with how much time Richard wasn’t spending with me. In fact, watching the Tony’s recently made me wonder: How does Hamilton star Lin Manuel Miranda’s wife Vanessa Nadal do it? 


Me with Alan Menken, composer of The Little Mermaid

Let me clarify: Richard is always busy. His mind is always going. His foot is always tapping. His phone is always on. Always. My last words most nights is: “Please turn the ringer off.” But, this was different somehow. TLM was an all-consuming project. And, instead of sharing in his excitement and even stress, I found myself leaning into resentment.

He did his best to carve out a couple evenings a week to spend with baby and me. He tried to isolate at least one weekend day for a family outing to an amusement park or the mall or even a date night. Mostly though, he wanted to talk about the show and he couldn’t understand why I didn’t.

I know that a man’s identity is closely tied into his work. Those two things are often braided, so if his work life is going well, he feels happy and content. If not, then his confidence takes a hit. I want Richard to feel good and to meet his calling. I want to honor his purpose and also be considerate of the place in him where the braid of self and work is woven. I also want to honor my own needs, and I need him to as well. That intersection in our partnership is where we are still finding our way.


The three nights of The Little Mermaid at the Bowl were blissful and satisfying to me: a woman who wanted for so long to be an actress and eventually surrendered my will to God’s will. I grieved a while back for not succeeding in acting to the superstardom level I had dreamed of as a child. I unburdened myself from the mountains of failure that I had carried since I was a teen.

Having the opportunity to support Richard without feeling like I was an outsider, or a wannabe or a struggling actor felt really good. (Because I had felt like one for many years.) Instead, I felt whole and real and that I was exactly where I belonged. I was able to express myself in costume, and as a support system for the man I love. I was able to cultivate relationships with strangers in the cast who I can now call friends and who genuinely want to know me more. That felt really good!


Sometimes a girl just needs to twirl!

I was also able to mingle with some of my readers, who complimented me on recent blog posts, and told me how important they were, while describing the personal ways in which my words inspire, encourage and comfort them. That felt really good!

There’s no fancy bow to wrap the unique gift of being with a workaholic, and the heartbreak and understanding and ongoing process it takes to make our relationship last. But it is a gift. No relationship is perfect. Everybody has something! Or else, there’d be no friction!

After the last curtain call, Richard planned a 9-day family voyage to Shanghai, China. We went for the opening of Shanghai Disneyland and stayed at the Four Seasons and Disneyland Hotel. It was a special and unique trip. I’d never been to China, and incidentally, because of something called a HeHe doll, China was obsessed with my daughter!


What came first: The Daisy or the HeHe Doll?

Despite what social media and television may have you believe, every relationship has its struggles. Sometimes you just have to don Mickey Mouse ears, count your blessings and send more love into the world. That’s what we did, and we’re happier for it!

…Follow Your Bliss xoxo

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12310606_10153273537971344_998845647534177497_nDarrah Le Montre is a writer and journalist and devoted mom. Her work has been published by Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, The Fix and nudie blog SuicideGirls.

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FROZEN: A Story About Fertility

rena-strober-egg-789x526Guest writer Rena Strober on freezing her eggs and starting a conversation


[Editor’s note: With Nora Ephron-esque comedic flair, Rena Strober takes heart-wrenching choices and makes them funny! There are many ways to be a mother and various avenues into motherhood. This week, Strober lets us witness her unfolding journey. Enjoy!]

By Rena Strober

Another Mothers’ Day has come and gone. What did I get for this holiday celebrating motherhood? Nothing. It was just another day when I didn’t receive anything from my six frozen eggs, tucked comfortably in a fertility freezer in Encino. I don’t mean to sound needy, but I do check in on them from time to time, and I have made sure they’re sung to sleep to the Frozen soundtrack four times a week. And I do pay their rent! A little gratitude isn’t too much to ask for, is it?

Technically, I’m not a mother of children, but I like to consider myself a mother of other things: I mother my career, I mother a basil plant I recently bought at Trader Joe’s and I mother that spider I didn’t kill in my shower on Tuesday. Instead I let him remain on the empty bottle of body wash where I assume he was reading about the all-natural ingredients. Only a good mother would offer organic body wash. And his life.

But over the past few years, the pang of wanting to mother a child hits me multiple times a week. It hits me as I teach seven-year-old children to sing. It hits me at 4:54 AM when I’m up contemplating all my life’s choices. And it definitely hits me when my niece asks “Auntie Rena, why don’t you have kids?” (Why are kids so honest!?)

Two years ago, I had been sitting in LA traffic when NPR aired a show featuring a book about women in their 30s who were dating the wrong men and rushing motherhood before they were ready. I pulled my car over next to the La Brea Tar Pits and listened intently to every word. I was in my mid-30s; I always knew NPR was for liberals like me, but this time I felt like Terry Gross was talking directly to me.

A girl from my weekly Happy Hour group is the anesthesiologist for a well-known fertility doctor; after three $5 glasses of Chardonnay one night, she told me it was time. The next day I made an appointment with Dr. Boostenfar at HRC Fertility. Mostly because his name made me giggle, but I had also heard amazing things about him.

What’s worse than a first date from JDate? An initial evaluation with a fertility specialist. I bit my nails and picked my polish off because of nerves. What if I found out I can’t have kids, that my eggs are already fried and the only way to enjoy them is in a breakfast burrito? I feared that, although people assume I’m 27, my insides are truer to my real age. Which is, let’s just say, higher.

So I did what I could do: I made sure I looked extra young that day. On my way to the doctor, I listened to the Disney Pandora station and belted out “Part of Your World” (from “The Little Mermaid”) and “Chim Chimminy” (from “Mary Poppins”); I pulled my hair into a pony tail, put on an ironic hip t-shirt from Los Feliz and grabbed pink lip gloss from CVS. Maybe my outsides could trick my insides into looking younger too.

“Wow, you don’t look your age, Rena,” the doctor commented before the exam. “But let’s get in there and see how healthy you are and if you’re a candidate for egg freezing.”

I never thought I’d never find a position more uncomfortable than first date sex but then I had my first ultrasound…without the dinner and drinks. My robe was shapeless and opened in the front, my legs were spread in the most ungraceful position and this “nice doctor” was in no way looking for a “nice Jewish girl.”

After poking around a lot, Dr. B. spoke. “Oh, actually, you look your age on the inside.” What was he doing, counting the rings? Ok, this dose of reality – that although I could act and dress younger, my reproductive organs would tell their own story – shot me into panic mode. “I want to do this, and do this as soon as possible,” I realized. We scheduled my procedure for three weeks later.

The hardest thing to swallow about this whole process was the ”egg-surance” – the extraction and the storage is not cheap, and as an actor in LA, I didn’t have thousands of extra dollars sitting in a savings account. But I did have plenty of chutzpah.

The most expensive part of the process is paying for the medication: $4,000 for the hormones and shots. And so, I turned to the network of women I had collected over the years.

I put together an email telling my personal story of wanting to be a mother but not being in the right place in my life to do it. I spoke of egg freezing and how it has come so far. I then asked that if anyone had leftover fertility medication or knew anyone who had recently been through IVF and that I would trade a personal song and/or latte for whatever drugs they had.

What happened next was nothing short of a Hannukah miracle. The 25 emails turned into 50 which turned into 250, forwarded around the country. All of a sudden I was getting emails from strangers, women who connected to my story and wanted to help.

The next weekend I set out with a Starbucks card and and open heart and made my way around Los Angeles collecting needles, Follistum, Menopur and even alcohol pads. Each door I knocked on led to 20 minutes of honest chat with women about their fertility experiences. Some of these amazing women found success – we talked as a baby sat on the floor next to us. Others never got pregnant but were happy to share their leftover drugs with me. It was a beautiful, deep, feminine bond like none I’ve ever known.

Two weeks later I started with the shots; six days after that, I had six little eggs gently removed from my ovaries and placed in a freezer in Encino.

For the past two Mothers’ Days, as I ordered roses for my own mom, I sat and thought about my eggs– my tiny chances or ”Olafs,” as I like to call them – sitting in a freezer and waiting for the thaw.

Perhaps I’ll use them soon, or maybe they’ll remain frozen forever. But either way, I feel so good about my decision. And beyond my personal experience and because of it, I believe now more than ever that it’s time that fertility and the advances in modern reproductive science become part of our daily conversation. If nothing else, it brings women closer together and for that I am grateful.

This story first appeared at Grok Nation.
MG_7738Rena Strober is a native New Yorker currently living and working in Los Angeles. She made her Broadway debut in Les Miserables and went on to perform on and Off-Broadway for a decade. Some shows included Fiddler on the Roof, Beauty & The Beast, Reefer Madness, Bat Boy and more. She is currently recurring on Disney’s “Liv & Maddie” and has guest starred on “Shameless,” “The Big Bang Theory” and “Adult Swim.” Rena is also well known for her voice work on Disney’s “Penn Zero,” “Ever After High,” “Sailor Moon” and dozens of video games including Fire Emblem Fates, Republique and Zero Escape. When she’s not working as an actor, Rena teaches voice at the Academy of Music for the Blind and is their director of Outreach. Learn more about Rena at: Follow her on Twitter.

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This Is What Dating An Alcoholic Is Like

Hi friends, my article “This Is What Dating An Alcoholic Is Like” was published in one of the biggest recovery blogs today. I would love it if you would read it and leave comments in their site, as this is my *debut* for The Fix. They had me add a couple paragraphs to the original story, so those that have read this article will have newness. I’m excited about sharing this with the world and I really appreciate your support! Please share this with anybody that it might help. XO ♥ Thanks!

This is What Dating an Alcoholic is Like

By Darrah Le Montre  04/14/16

My attraction to addicts is uncanny—I joke that I can find a room filled with 100 people and instantly be drawn to the ones with a drinking problem.


Growing up in a home with an alcoholic parent is a unique kind of rough. As a child, you love this person so intensely and are so dependent on them. Then there’s the inevitable fact that they are emotionally incapable of demonstrating their love in a way that will seep into your bones the way kids need it to. There’s a merry-go-round quality about the systems and functions and habits that occur in an alcoholic home. Soon enough, that merry-go-round becomes a hamster wheel and even after you’ve grown up and moved out, you still run races you’ll never win. And ache for a love deep down in the recesses of your being–in that unfillable void–that you’ll do anything to feel OK and thus you reach out for stuff: people, food, money, status, drugs, anything. Including more alcoholics to love you better.

When I was 18, I moved in with an alcoholic/addict who was verbally abusive and a perpetual cheat. He convinced me I was special and different and I was so desperate to get out of my house, that I shacked up with him and his mother in a two-bedroom apartment in Canoga Park. I was a drug addict and I had recently lost my virginity with him. I was vulnerable in a way that I’ve never been again. I also realized that my asexual tendencies at that time—which resulted from my troubled home-life coupled with sexual orientation shame and simply being a late bloomer—could be quelled by alcohol. I’ve never had a problem with alcohol like I have with drugs, except that I have used it on several occasions as an emotional crutch.

To read the rest of the article, visit THE FIX.

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Committed Relationships Are So Annoying

Single Vs. Coupled—Who Will Win?

By Darrah Belle

Your long-term boyfriend or girlfriend may not give you butterflies anymore, but there are other things that keep you two spooning on Saturday night, right? The Affair flickering on your flat screen, eating pepperoni pizza right out of the box. So… what is it?

Committed relationships are hard for both men and women.

When I’m in a long-term intimate relationship, however, I generally behave like a better human being. I’m calmer, more centered, stable and grateful. That doesn’t mean I’m not eternally restless, sexually frustrated and resentful at being dependent on one penis or one vagina. I am! Not to mention, endlessly comparing my committed relationships to other people. Especially on social media, where women portray their partner as being straight out of mommy porn: chivalrous, always clean-shaven and with low-hangers that never smack them too hard.

Worse yet are girlfriends who constantly complain about their husbands but never do anything to change their unhappiness.

Lately, I’ve been wondering: if committed relationships are so complicated, why do we seek them out with fervor and why do we stay in them?

An acquaintance at a 12-step meeting once said, “I thought I was perfect until I met my boyfriend. Then he held up a metaphorical mirror to my face and showed me my character flaws.” He seemed grateful. We all chuckled. After the gathering, my then-girlfriend and I walked to the car, his words echoing in my head. “I thought I was perfect until…” I couldn’t help but wonder: Did I think I was perfect? I think I did! Not perfect, per se, but darn near it.

That is until my then-girlfriend exposed my shortcomings, including a temper, stubbornness, selfishness and immaturity. (There were more but I’ll stop there.) It’s a lot easier to sail along single and convince yourself that you are Venus incarnate than it is to actually break the mold and see our true selves.

Screen Shot 2016-03-22 at 2.30.25 PMWhen I was single, I honored a strict exercise regimen. Had time to nurture friendships with a squad of girls more loyal than a nipple piercing. I lunched with male friends I rarely see anymore, at the now-shuttered Dolores’s Restaurant. I went where I wanted when I wanted and told nobody most of the time. I dressed more provocatively, let my apartment get dirty and the laundry pile up. I played music loud late at night then snacked on Cheetos and fell sleep high on the couch with orange fingers. I flirted with the guy behind the register at 7-Eleven then went home to binge-listen to Adam Carolla’s podcast. Cheetos dust still glued to my fingernails. [When I was single, I didn’t give AF.]

When I was single, I could travel for a weekend tryst on short notice and not take another person into consideration. I could screw whomever I wanted on any given night without answering to anybody (except my own conscience). This adventurousness broke up the monotony that is built into sleeping with one partner only.

What I didn’t have when I was single is a man who loves me down to his bones and I didn’t have the love of my life: my daughter! While I am often confronted by my own demons including depression I can’t hide from my partner, who detects it from a mile away, I sincerely believe, after all is said and done, we are here for our spirits not our own satisfaction. We are here to wrestle the metaphorical dragon to the floor only to retrieve the gift in his mouth—which takes us to the next evolutionary level, spiritually speaking.

That’s not to say I don’t occasionally chomp at the bit for that perpetual nagging feeling of ‘Will he call or won’t he?’ that comes with dating unavailable men. Even though it was dreadful at the time and nausea inducing, somehow, once you have the support and stability of a long-term partner you do sort of miss the wondering. Especially for somebody like me, who mostly dated addicts and alcoholics, being with somebody who does not have those types of problems is foreign. I got used to the bad boy personality who is also charismatic and could charm the pants off of anybody. That boy would also charm the pants off of me and subsequently break my heart… But I digress…

The other part of a long-term, committed relationship that benefits our spirit is living in an intentional way. I am propping a mirror up for my partner as well, and helping him grow. I am making him a better man. When we are content to commit to someone fully, we are being of service to another human. And that’s just cool. We get to learn how to be gentle, kind, loving and also guide somebody to be a better, stronger and higher version of themselves. By being of service in that way I’ve become a better listener, become more keen at asking questions, and being patient before pressing for an answer (or offering multiple choice answers—girls you feel me?) and this helps me in life too. It’s a win-win!

Being in a committed relationship with one-person forces you to negate the EXIT sign blinking like Beetlejuice’s favorite brothel, and ignore the buffet of prospects you could distract yourself with when the going gets tough. Rather than seek out Ashley Madison, you seek out therapy and 12-step programs and journals and date nights and other intentional activities where you get in and get in deep with another person. It’s hard! It’s not easy! It’s intense and uncomfortable.

Is it worth the fighting, the blanket stealing and the horniness? That’s for you to decide.

If you find yourself unhappy in a romantic relationship, I suggest writing down the pros & cons. If the cons outweigh the pros, consider making a change. That change can include finding ways to voice your unique needs and also discovering what you actually want if you’re unsure. Then share those feelings with your other half. Don’t keep yourself hidden away. Trust me, I did it for a long time. Hiding yourself, making your needs secondary and burying your voice won’t get you what you want. Taking risks and being vulnerable will.

…Follow Your Bliss xoxo

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RELATED: Dating In Your 30s — Is It As Bad As It Seems?

RELATED: How Relationships with Our Pet Friends Change After We Have a Baby

RELATED: From Sex Addict to Monogamous Mom: A love junkie finds true love


Darrah Le Montre is a writer and journalist and devoted mom. Her work has been published by Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan and nudie blog SuicideGirls. Next month, her essay, “This Is What Dating An Alcoholic Is Like” will debut in the recovery blog The Fix.


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Dating In Your 30s — Is It As Bad As It Seems?

How to Choose the Right Man When Your Biological Clock is Ticking Like a 3AM Fire Alarm!

By Darrah Belle Le Montre

dating in your 30sDating in your 30s in Los Angeles (or any big city, really) is the pits. Unique to an arts city like L.A., however, is the bustling beehive of attractive people trying to be an actor, singer, pro-wrestler, whatever. Sooner than later, you realize that meaningful dating is sometimes the last thing people want to be doing. And if you’re a woman who wants to settle down and have a baby, Los Angeles can be among the worst places to secure your future, ahem, date. How do you know for sure if you’re a placeholder until your crush makes it big as a hotshot lawyer, Beverly Hills dermatologist, reality star… Or if they’re actually somebody to invest time in?

Here are a few tips to avoid getting stung right in the kisser!

Many women in their 30s find themselves pretending to want less from a relationship than they actually do. Around 28, I began dating men again after a nearly nine year hiatus. I never believed I was totally lesbian, but I hadn’t had intercourse with a man since I was 19.

I took it slow, rolling in the New Year with a six-week fuck fest with an Irish banker who once drunkenly fell asleep while he was going down on me. Suffice it to say that never happened with one of my lesbian lovers! Still, I was tipsy on my growing attraction to men and followed it like a buzzing bar sign.

My second male lover was a mega-rich venture capitalist embroiled in a custody battle with a mistress, all while maintaining a family on the East Coast. I found this out during our tryst, which lasted brief one-and-a-half months.

Around this time, I met the man who would be my longest relationship with a penis in almost a decade. “Jimmy” and I met at a book signing and he talked my head off before asking for my number outside Book Soup in Hollywood. He wore dirty jeans and a thrift store shirt and was at least ten years older than me, if not more. He reminded me of a drunk in a Charles Bukowski novel on one of his sober days. He turned out to be a bit of a narcissist but he was kind and went down on me often (staying awake the whole time!). After seven months, what he didn’t do was EVER put a photo of me on social media.

His online photo albums were littered with photos of himself in his glory days. Straddling a motorcycle. Beaming a mile-wide smile at his old ad job. Fishing. Skiing. Meeting the president. Not one photo of us broke up the “perennial bachelor” version of his life that he showed the world.

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  • One of the first hard and fast rules of dating in the new millennium is paying attention to the parade of photos your flame rolls out on Instagram and other social media.

What version of themselves do they want the world to see? In my experience, if it’s an overly sexualized one, then they may be hungry for validation from strangers and could have a hard time with monogamy. If they’re always drinking or drugging or holding a gun for that matter, you may have cause to worry. If they have a decent mix of family photos, office picnics and a few nightclub snaps, then you probably have a non-sociopathic, somewhat grounded potential mate. Congrats!

My brother used to tell me there are two kinds of guys out there. “Sex guys” and “sex and more” guys. It was my job to discover which one they were before they broke my heart.

As I mentioned, around 30, I began thinking about my future with a man. This future inevitably involved a child. Given I was fairly new to the dating game with men, I made a lion’s share of mistakes, which, lucky for you, I’m open to sharing! What I did right, however, was read a lot of books about relationships and even went to seminars and weekend retreats where I learned how to ask for what I need in a way that men could understand.

While dining at Café Gratitude one evening with a girlfriend, a brave waiter walked up to me and commented that while he wasn’t my server, he couldn’t help but approach me and tell me I was beautiful. I was flattered and thanked him. I gave my friend “the look” which asked, “Is he cute?” She nodded. The guy sort of hid behind a beam, embarrassed suddenly by his bravado. I read him as sweetly honest. But at that time my picker was shit. He did get my number that night and we would date for two weeks before he broke it off. (The day before Valentine’s Day. Which I spent with that same girlfriend at a downtown art show, because the waiter didn’t “believe in” Valentine’s Day.)

dating in your 30sHe begged me back after a week apart; we slept together and were back in the saddle again.

We did all the stuff a normal couple does: kiss lots in parked cars, have breakfast at diners and people watch, buy Plan B. After a few weeks of this, during dinner, I broached the topic of my future. I told him that in 3-5 years I wanted to marry and have a child. He looked mystified. He said he had zero plans and zero savings to support my desire.

Most women would freak out, back pedal and instantly regret being as honest as I was. But the most striking difference between my 20-something self and my 30-something self is that I felt no fear. I had been supporting myself financially for a while now. I had been happily single for a few years. I was the woman I had aspired to be and wasn’t sure I’d ever have the strength to become.

I thanked him. 

He made me think harder about who I was looking for versus who I was attracting. I started writing about, in detail, the sort of person I wanted to invite into my life and began prioritizing those qualities. For example, I knew I wanted a child, but what kind of father did I want for her? I knew I wanted a non-judgmental person, so why wasn’t I more discerning about who I shared my life with? I needed somebody who had sewn his wild oats (and was totally OK that I had sewn mine too!) and who was ready to commit to me. I needed somebody I could feel like myself with and that who I am is more than enough.Screen Shot 2016-03-07 at 5.44.54 PM

  • Men tell you who they are and they tell you right away.

Listen to men because they are more honest than women about their identity. In fact, if I had taken to heart the man he presented early on, I would have never cast him as anything more than a “sex guy.”

There were a few others that cropped up before I met my fiancé. Including the 24-year-old who routinely asked if he could expect a BJ at the end of the date. And some sweet ones too, like the 55-year-old casting director who I was trying on like a vintage coat but whose sincerity forced me to confront my own truths: how committed was I to finding who I was looking for, really?

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  • The sooner you nail down your inner truths, deepest desires AND are willing to go to bat for yourself, the faster those things will be delivered to you because you will seek them out, work for them, or in the least, recognize them when they appear.

After dating awhile it can feel like you have a wardrobe closet full of ever-ready personalities to pick from depending on who you’re dating and who you think their fantasy girl is.

Dating is hard, but dating while lying is harder. Keeping track of false personas is a lot of work and it leaves you feeling drained. Know thy self and be true to her.

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  • The last and most important rule: If you pretend to be somebody else and you get the partner you lust after, you will be pretending for a lifetime. If you’re honest about who you are, you will weed out the wrong candidates and find your perfect match!

When you stop bullshitting, you lose the bullshitters!


Good luck and Happy Hunting, ahem, Dating! XOXO

…Follow Your Bliss xoxo
dating in your 30s

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RELATED: Confessions of a Former Teenage Christian

RELATED: This is What Dating an Alcoholic is Like

RELATED: How Relationships with Our Pet Friends Change After We Have a Baby

RELATED: From Sex Addict to Monogamous Mom: A love junkie finds true love


Darrah Le Montre is a writer and journalist and devoted mom. Her work has been published by Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan and nudie blog SuicideGirls. 

Comics Credits:

  1. AwesomeSauce3 2. Lonnie Comics 3. “The Truth About Dating” by H. Caldwell Tanner



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This is What Dating an Alcoholic is Like

By Darrah Le Montre

Screen Shot 2016-02-21 at 2.51.10 PM

Growing up in a home with an alcoholic parent is a unique kind of rough. As a child, you love this person so intensely and are so dependent on them. Then there’s the inevitable fact that they are emotionally incapable of demonstrating their love in a way that will seep into your bones the way kids need it to. There’s a merry-go-round quality about the systems and functions and habits that occur in an alcoholic home. Soon enough, that merry-go-round becomes a hamster wheel and even after you’ve grown up and moved out, you still run races you’ll never win. And ache for a love deep down in the recesses of your being–in that unfillable void–that you’ll do anything to feel OK and thus you reach out for stuff: people, food, money, status, drugs, anything. Including more alcoholics to love you better.

When I was eighteen, I moved in with an alcoholic/addict who was verbally abusive and a perpetual cheat. He convinced me I was special and different and I was so desperate to get out of my house, that I shacked up with him and his mother in a two-bedroom apartment in Canoga Park. I was a drug addict and I had recently lost my virginity with him. I was vulnerable in a way that I’ve never been again. I also realized that my asexual tendencies at that time–which resulted from my home-life coupled with sexual orientation shame and simply being a late bloomer–could be quelled by alcohol. I’ve never had a problem with alcohol like I have with drugs, except that I have used it on several occasions as an emotional crutch.

My boyfriend was violent and angry and his family couldn’t stand him. I, on the other hand, was stupidly loyal.

He was the first alcoholic man, in a string of men and women, who would fill my dating diary.

After nearly fifteen years of dating, fucking and loving alcoholics, this is what I’ve come to know about the subject:

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  • Alcoholics believe they are the biggest piece of shit the world revolves around. I didn’t make this up. It’s a clever joke I heard from an alcoholic.

  • Alcoholics feel constantly criticized and fear being controlled.

  • Don’t try to boss around an alcoholic.

  • You can’t make somebody stop drinking. They have to want it for themselves. (Read that several times if you need to.)

  • Your phone calls/texts/emails will go unanswered, unreturned and ignored if an alcoholic is overwhelmed, overworked or feels unappreciated.

  • If an alcoholic cannot handle the topic of conversation, they will ignore it (and you).

  • Alcoholics tend to be self-centered and self-obsessed and immature.

  • Their egos are strong. Stronger than your best intentions.

  • Alcoholics fear they are not going to live up to your fantasy of them.

  • Alcoholics fear failure… a lot.

  • Alcoholics pity themselves.

  • Alcoholics make empty promises.

  • Alcoholics lie, cheat & steal.

  • And they will steal your heart too.

  • It’s not always obvious straight away that you’re dating a drinker. An alcoholic doesn’t always look like this:

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  • In fact, in my dating mind, they tend to be attractive, outgoing, charismatic and rebellious in a sexy way (in Los Angeles, anyway. Think Robert Downey, Jr.) thus your resolve gets weakened more than once!

  • The thing is, even if an alcoholic is in program, and running a decent one, they are still human and imperfect.

  • I will always have a soft spot for alcoholics because the first person I loved was one.


After attending a 12-step program for several years, my ex used to say that I had such a handle on the alcoholic mind that I knew how to “drive” an alcoholic. Not, like, drive them crazy… but I get how to maneuver the car and can even keep four wheels between two lines along those steep corners. If there’s a landslide, I remain calm.

If I had the choice to do it all again, I can’t say for certain if I would choose to date alcoholics the way I have. I know that while dating them and losing fights with them and being heartbroken by them, and in the midst of that hole dug so deep and so dark and filled with so much sorrow I would say “no.” But, once the light shines in, our memories cloud.

My gift is not in knowing how to understand or even “drive” an alcoholic. It’s in the fact that I’ve made peace with my love for people who, in their fallibility, and in their miraculous recovery, have taught me more than any other kind of person. They’ve taught me about judgment, about kindness, about generosity, about spirituality. They’ve taught me about transformation, meditation, prayer and about the tenacity of the human spirit, and ferocious devotion to getting better and staying alive.

So this is my odd love letter to the alcoholics that have touched my life. I love you. I hate you. I love you. XOXO


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RELATED: Asking for Help: Why Is It So Hard?

RELATED: From Sex Addict to Monogamous Mom: A love junkie finds true love


Darrah Le Montre is a writer and journalist and devoted mom. Her work has been published by Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan and nudie blog SuicideGirls. 

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Wanna Stress Less? Do This!


Tips to Help Fend off the Stress Monster and Be More Healthy!

By Christy Harden

The other day I spotted a coffee cup that read, “Stress is Caused by Giving a Fuck.” That’s one take, but I’ve got a different one: Stress is the result of holding expectations that are out of alignment with reality.

What happens when you expect the family to finally get along at the next holiday party and… they don’t? Stress. Or how about trying to get more work done than can be accomplished in a workday? Stress. What happens when we expect things to go well on a blind date and instead the night ends up awkward and strained? Stress.

Even Rachel Had Bad Dates

Even Rachel Had Bad Dates

What would happen if, instead of paying attention to expectations, we were simply open to experiencing what is actually occurring? I’ll tell you what: A lot less stress.

That doesn’t mean we don’t want things to go our way or that we stop trying to accomplish anything. Aim for the stars, absolutely! Follow your heart and live your dreams and also cultivate the awareness that in reality, things don’t always go as planned. Once you accept this, you will experience much less stress in your life.

The key? Realize expectations are only fantasies. An expectation is merely an expression of how you want things to go—just knowing that takes a lot of the kick out of dinner cancelations, rained-out games and vacation food poisoning.

In a traffic jam? Re-frame and replace the stressful, reality-fighting thought of “I have to get to work on time!” with “There’s nothing I can do about this. Next time I’ll leave earlier. Today I can enjoy this ride by talking with a friend/listening to some music/noticing this gorgeous scenery.”

Letting Go

Letting Go

Motivational comedian Kyle Cease sells shirts that say, “I HOPE I SCREW THIS UP!” Why? To remind him that what’s important is the authentic experience, enjoying the moment and responding to what’s actually happening rather than trying to stick with a pre-made plan that may no longer work for him or for the situation—or worse—trying to be perfect. How many times do we forget to enjoy what’s going on around us because we’re trying to say the right thing and appear this way or that in a play to get others’ (or even trickier: our own) approval? Living life from a point of in-the-moment authenticity can be an incredibly freeing paradigm shift.

Remember the old saying “live and let live”? There’s a lot of wisdom there. We can often dial down the stress in our lives simply by taking responsibility for our own thoughts and actions, letting others do their thing and realizing that getting what we want (our expectations), is not always on the agenda.

Awesome resource: Check out Byron Katie’s The Work at for a simple realigning process that questions thoughts and beliefs that deny reality.

Screen Shot 2016-02-13 at 12.42.47 PMGuest Blogger Christy Harden is a Certified Integrative Nutrition Coach, actor and SLP, Christy Harden passionately supports individuals in the discovery of their authentic voice on the journey to health and well-being. Former En*theos professor and author of Guided By Your Own Stars, Christy believes that true health unfolds in the sacred space of reconnection with authentic self, nature and community. Her second book, I Heart Raw is scheduled to be released soon. See or email her at:

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Asking for Help: Why Is It So Hard?

Help! I need somebody. Not just anybody. 


Back in 1965, the Beatles crooned about needing somebody — anybody — to save them from what John Lennon would later tell Playboy was the incomprehensible Beatles fame. “I was subconsciously crying out for help,” Lennon admitted. While most of us will never reach the heights of fame that they did, we have issues and problems that are just as valid, important and needing of attention as celebrities. There are misconceptions about asking for help. Many women and mothers are silently screaming and suffering, but are too proud or unsure of how and when to ask for help.

Sometimes, asking for help can be confusing. I remember being fifteen and a half and first learning about feminism. I was startled by Gloria Steinem’s quote, “A woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle.” I kept moving it around in my head like a lumbering lesson; trying to find meaning in it. Why would a fish and a bicycle be in the same sentence? Is needing a man bad? Do I need a man? Should I need a man? It was so convoluted and I was scared to admit it felt foreign. Instead, I declared it proudly, and then waited to see how the people I loved reacted. My mother thought it was ludicrous. My father resented it. My guy friends laughed. My female friends nodded. The only problem with this quote and my clumsy interpretation of it, was that, it ended up resembling a Rubik’s Cube and I was never fully able to make all of the colors line up. So when I needed help: be it at work after graduation, while carrying heavy boxes of Xerox paper, or worse, when I found myself in over my head as a drug addict, I thought only the weak sought out help. Instead, I happily chirped, “I am woman, hear me roar!” while my back cracked beneath the weight of too many paper reams, or my hair fell out while I spun out on a speed bender.


After I had my daughter, via C-section, I was pretty much incapable of even getting up to go pee in the middle of the night. I had to rely on my partner to come around to my side and grab my elbow and lift me. I remember my hero of an OB tell me, “Don’t be proud. Ask for help.” She was trying to kill that part of me (and, assumably, other women) that would rather hold their pee or bust their stitches than shove their baby-daddies awake at 2am. My stomach was numb for months and my C-section scar took a year+ to thin out and stop feeling like a burn. During that time, I got stuck in the couch like a deer in quicksand more times than I’d like to admit. But, I did ask for help. Because it’s been over a decade since I was a seventeen-year-old drug addict, and it’s been at least a few years since I realized something else: I do need men. And, I do need other women. For help. For guidance. For emotional stability. For maturity. For fun. For role-modeling. For everything I didn’t get when I was younger and for some things I couldn’t embrace before now.

Having struggled with anxiety and depression since I was a child, I have become an expert at hiding or “hibernating” as I like to call it. This worked for a long, long time. I was able to calm my inner storms and control my external environment. Now, it works in limited capacity. Now, I need company, a pep talk, or to be lifted out of my dark room and that’s just the way it goes. What served me before doesn’t serve me now. I need to trust the change and go with the flow of who I have metamorphosed into. I need to honor my current incarnation.


Don’t forget to breathe!

My daughter goes to Children’s Hospital for treatment for a genetic condition that has caused her muscles to develop at a slower pace than her peers. This can be isolating for me because I have trouble interacting with mothers of typically-developing children. I love my daughter more than anything in this life. And, while at CHLA or other providers, we are in a friendly environment for her distinct needs. She’s a trooper and I’m her cheerleader. But, with my mommy friends, we stick out. And, I resent the questioning looks and outright nosiness of people who want to know why she is more petite or not walking yet. I’m still navigating this. It’s hard to ask for help in this area.

After a particularly difficult day that found me in bed in the dark by my daughter’s early bedtime, I hit a bottom that gave birth to a realization. Perhaps, being of service to other moms and their unique situations will help? To put that idea in action, I started a social support group for parents of special needs children. I am hopeful that this will connect me with others that have similar gifts of unique parenthood and I can find out how they interface with other moms. To be clear, I wouldn’t trade my situation for anything, I’m simply learning how to steer the car better.

Speaking of being of service, at CHLA recently, I was in the bathroom when I saw a mother who was struggling with her two-month old baby girl. She was trying to juggle her stroller, the change table, and using the bathroom herself. Finally, she patted her daughter on the stomach and looked at me (she didn’t speak English) as if to say, “I’m leaving her here while I go use the toilet.” I gestured to her that I would watch her daughter. That she didn’t need to put her child in jeopardy. That she could breathe a sigh of relief for a few minutes and trust that everything would be fine. She smiled so big the bathroom’s florescent bulbs shimmered off her teeth.

Whenever I see a mom, a woman — or a man — in need of help (I have rescued a few old men from the side of the street having fallen) I try to rise to the occasion. And, when I need help, especially if I’m feeling blue and can’t seem to navigate the fog by myself, I’m learning to surrender to the divine connection we all have. We are one. And as fabulous as we are, sometimes, we need help. And that’s totally OK!

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RELATED: From Sex Addict to Monogamous Mom: A love junkie finds true love


Darrah Le Montre is a writer and journalist and devoted mom. Her work has been published by Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan and nudie blog SuicideGirls. 







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From Sex Addict to Monogamous Mom: A love junkie finds true love

To Become a Mom, You Must First Stop Screwing All the Boys

By Darrah Le Montre
Edited by Megan Granger

First there was the waiter who lied and said he owned a health food restaurant. He broke up with me while his semen was still drying on my stomach. Then there were the couple of married guys whom I regretfully hooked up with. Though I didn’t sleep with them, I carried on emotional affairs with each for over a year. There was the mega-rich venture capitalist dying to be an actor, who was going through a horrendous custody battle and drank to cope. And of course the recovering alcoholic who was nine years my junior and relapsed after our first fight. Let’s not forget the Australian rock star who did coke off my bathroom

1counter and broke up with me over sushi while he was high. The list goes on and on. But you get the picture.

This barrage of unavailable men whom I pined for again and again proved so painful that I relapsed from twelve years of sobriety, missed work, under- and overate, and began such a strong love affair with my imagination that I took escapism to an out-of-this-world level. I fantasized about a future with these men that was crazy unlikely and would surely have been unsatisfying. Continually, I isolated myself from true friends and family. Bottom line: I stopped taking care of me and did everything in my power to care for those men for whom I was only one of many—an option, not a priority.

I was a love junkie. I was chronically obsessed with a carousel of fleeting romances and heart-wrenching trysts, always ready to saddle up to the next clone of my last “boyfriend.” I used to literally salivate while gossiping with girlfriends about my latest unavailable beau.

None of the men I thought I loved were really there for me, either. I was slipping into a hole, giving too much and needing affection they couldn’t give. But all along, I put on a happy face so they would stick around.

Why did I do that? Of course, I’m sure it had something to do with my formative years, growing up with an emotionally unavailable father, a mother who drinks. However, I tried to take the reins on my life. Always struggling with my weight, I finally got my disordered eating under control and took up running for my sanity. I lost thirty pounds that I kept off for two years. I ate up self-help books like PEZ Candy and journaled and spent time in nature for renewal. But I still chose poorly in the love department, and I still had nobody to call when something really great happened and I wanted a male voice on the other end of the line to tell me how wonderful that thing was.

Making matters worse, I couldn’t take a clue. Men had to practically shake me off of them. Sure, there were guys with whom I was the “unavailable” one, who felt strung along by me, whom played. However, there’s no denying that a stable of guys who had a stable of women on the side were the ones who endlessly attracted me, and it hurts to think that I wasted so much time on them.

That is, until I met my husband-to-be, Richard. How was he different? Let’s start with the fact that he was completely honest from Day 1 about who he was seeing when and how many women he was hooking up with. He let me know ahead of time if he was going to post a picture of himself with another woman on social media—partly because he knew that I wasn’t ready for monogamy and partly because he was. He didn’t want me to get upset that he was seeing other people, even though I was fully aware of it and was unready to commit to more than a couple of dates a week and a few phone calls here and there.

His friends tell me that early on he proclaimed, “She’s special. She’s not ready, but I don’t want to give up on her. I want to wait.”

And I was honest with him about the men I was seeing. Still we went out and had great fun together. He put zero pressure on me to hook up. That alone made him radically different from what I was used to. It enabled me to show him my true self, unencumbered by the vulnerability and web of complications that sex can weave. (The level of honesty we engaged in is perhaps not for everybody, but it was a springboard for our whole relationship.)

He called me when he said he was going to. That was a big one. He returned my calls in a timely fashion, even when he was busy. He was punctual for dates. He was respectful of what I wanted to do on outings. He listened and asked many questions about my life. He was nonjudgmental and seemed genuinely curious about me. When I told him I was a lesbian for much of my twenties, he didn’t switch gears into a lascivious heavy breather the way many others had before him. When I voiced private things about myself in bits and pieces, he didn’t press for more details. He respected the process of getting to know me. He didn’t pry but was gentle.

When I finally told him, “I like you,” he heard me and offered to 2be monogamous. But he didn’t require it. He said he wanted to make that commitment because he knew himself well. He knew his ability to shut down and “sample the buffet” of women in his life when shit got real. He chose to be fully available to me and not avail himself of other women when the going got tough, which the going inevitably does from time to time in a mature relationship. He didn’t run when I was hormonal or angry or irrational or said airhead things (sometimes it shocks me how smart and dumb I can be from one moment to the next).

Is our relationship perfect? No way! Do I say any of this to sound better than anybody else? Hell no. I divulge it because I’ve been through hell and back and I know what a dude who wants—and is ready for—a commitment feels like and what he doesn’t. I say it because I hate seeing people struggling to be seen and heard. Life is hard enough without having to barter and bargain and arm-wrestle for love.

We now have a beautiful baby daughter and live together in a new home we picked out together. I never would have imagined this would be my life by my midthirties. But it is. Through a process of realization, manifestation, prayer, self-love, fate, and embracing my difficult truths, I somehow ended up here. And it was hard-won.

The kind of life I have now is filled with the kind of love I always dreamed of but was unsure I could attain, to be honest. And it has changed my heart. It’s given me confidence I never had. There’s clarity in my decision making, because I have a purpose—my family. Being a mother is the most important role I’ll ever play. Being loved, and wanted, is a feeling I understand by heart now. There’s no dissimilarity between the life I want and the life I have. Living in the present moment is a choice, an act of faith I can fully embrace because I’ve known bitter and I’ve known sweet. Choices made in the past—walking into the fires of dangerous situations and the arms of dangerous men—by the grace of something greater than me, led me to the doorstep of my current life.

In fact, the level of honesty my mate and I share is peerless. And that’s the thing with available men. They don’t run when you show your true colors. They stick around to see what’s underneath the façade—the mask you wear in public versus the true you, revealed only in private.

Would I ever again throw myself at somebody who didn’t want me—be it a friend, an employer, or somebody else? I sure hope not. Despite the rush of butterflies that once followed contact with an unavailable man, those winged things ain’t got nothing on the life-changing impact of love and security.


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Darrah Le Montre is a writer and journalist and devoted mom. Her work has been published by Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan and nudie blog SuicideGirls. 







[Photos by Christopher Medak. Bio photo by Michelle Nunes]

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