Dating & Gender

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

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.

This is What Dating an Alcoholic is Like

via Darrah Le Montre 

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


Did you find this post insightful or funny? Have your own thoughts on Committed Relationships? Leave your comment below!

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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

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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. 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


Did you find this post insightful or funny? Have your own thoughts on Dating in Your 30s? Leave your comment below!

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Be sure to join Darrah’s Insider Club, my weekly e-newsletter!

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

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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. 

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

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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.

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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

~~~~~~~

Liked this article? Please share it! And let’s be friends! Facebook & Twitter & Instagram

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

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

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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. 

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Wanna Stress Less? Do This!

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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 thework.com 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 christyharden.com or email her at: christyharden@gmail.com

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Asking for Help: Why Is It So Hard?

Help! I need somebody. Not just anybody. 

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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.

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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.

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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

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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. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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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Exit a Toxic Friendship in 5 Easy Steps!

Beware energy vampires! We’re onto you!

toxic-friendToxic friends are the worst. They drain you dry, talk endlessly about their drama and always have the most annoying boyfriends. If you’re all but done being a severed ear to a selfish friend, this list is for you! How do you shake these backstabbing creatures from your iPhone contacts list? Here are 5 steps to get to the “delete” button and get rid of a toxic friend!

  1. Decide whether the bad feelings outweigh the good: If they do, be strong in your decision to end the friendship and stick with it.
  2. Take responsibility and be a decent person: Call her up or Sit her down and explain why you are no longer happy in the friendship. *Don’t text her and don’t ignore her. If you prefer to write it out, consider an email, but know that it could be misconstrued and start a bitter back and forth.
  3. Use “I” statements: “I used to love talking with you, but now there’s no give and take.” “I don’t have the space I need to share my feelings because I don’t feel heard by you.” It sounds corny, but it works.
  4. Show Gratitude: Thank her for the good times and the instances she was there for you.
  5. Get closure: Write a goodbye letter (you don’t need to send it to her, but you can). In it, document the good times and your gratitude for the beginning—and the end—of your toxic friendship.

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You may feel great after you let go of a toxic friend, or you may feel guilty. This is the time to do some internal work and reach into your spiritual toolkit to find forgiveness. It may take some time. Try not to overthink all of the nasty things your friend did. Instead, work on manifesting a better friendship compass! Write down what you want in a friend, and then make an effort to find them!

~Best of luck on your journey to fabulous, fulfilling friendships!~

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xDarrahx

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Rules of Engagement

Five ways to make your engagement matter.

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You’re not single anymore and you’re not somebody’s girlfriend or boyfriend. You are engaged! It’s an exhilarating feeling. I’ve been engaged now for almost one year. Both my fiancée and I knew we wanted a long engagement. We’ve been together three years total and plan to marry sometime next year. We’re not in a rush to, and in fact, have really enjoyed being engaged! Here are five ways that we’ve made our engagement a special time—distinct from anything else.

  1. Your engagement is not a test-run for marriage. It’s a special time to celebrate the new commitment you and your partner have made to each other. Whether short or long, it is it’s own thing. Treat it as a gift and an opportunity to deepen your commitment and plan your wedding.

  2. Remember that it’s not about the ring; it’s about the person.

  3. Enjoy the many opportunities you’ll be presented with to say “fiancée” and don’t rush into wanting to be a bride or groom. You will (hopefully) have your whole life to be that!

  4. Breathe a sigh of relief that nobody is asking when you are finally tying the knot. You’re engaged! It shuts people up… for awhile, anyway. 😉

  5. Whether you live with your partner or not, commit to spending a certain number of nights together undistracted by Internet or other media. This will encourage intimacy—both physical and emotional, and train you both to make one another a priority, even when you’re busy.

  6. *Bonus tip: Consider adopting a rescue companion! This is a great way to begin “parenting” together and it inevitably prepares you and your partner for human babies, if you choose to have them!

Soon enough, you will be married. You’ll be happy that you cherished the time you spent while engaged, and hopefully, continue prioritizing each other, by spending designated time together, focusing on just the both of you!

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xDx

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Women and HIV/AIDS: Reality & Hope

New darrahdejour.com contributor Jennifer Sawyer shares information with us about the current state of HIV/AIDS as it affects women in America. 

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Tuesday, March 10, 2015 is National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. Founded in 2006, National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day was created with the intent to bring awareness to women and girls fighting HIV/AIDS all over the world. In partnering with volunteers, the foundation strives to educate the public on two aspects: Prevention methods and the plight of those suffering from the disease.

What You Need to Know

The spread of HIV/AIDS is still prevalent in today’s society, and many women aren’t getting the care they need. As noted by the Center for Disease Control, even though one in four of those suffering from HIV are women, many of those diagnosed will go on suffering without proper treatment.

“Although most (88%) of women living with HIV in 2011 were aware of their infection, less than half of them (45%) were engaged in medical care,” the CDC reported.

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Reasons for the lack of treatment can vary. In some of the less developed parts of the world, the complex medications and skilled care required to fight the disease simply aren’t available. Sometimes, even when medicine and care are available, many patients cannot afford the hefty price tag that comes with them.

Perhaps just as heartbreaking, some women actually make the conscious decision to obtain from treatment, even when help is available and affordable. According to WomensHealth.gov, “Even when they know their status, about 1 in 4 women postpone medical care because of barriers such as family, depression, or threat of partner violence.”

National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day helps give these women a voice, especially the ones who can’t speak for themselves.

SAFE SEX

How You Can Protect Yourself

Avoid becoming another statistic, and diligently practice preventative methods. No matter your age, race, gender, or sexual orientation, if you’re sexually active, you can contract HIV/AIDS and other STIs. When engaging in any kind of sexually activity, it’s critical that you use protection.

As explained in the Safer Sex
Guide from AdamEve.com
, practicing abstinence is the only way to be 100 percent safe. However, using latex condoms significantly decreases the likelihood of the disease transmitting between partners, making it a relatively “low-risk” activity. They advise that condoms should be used during oral, vaginal, and anal intercourse. Always use the appropriate protection during each activity (male or female prophylactics) and use a fresh prophylactic during each intimate act with every partner.

The only way to know for sure that you do or do not have HIV/AIDS is to get tested. If you’re sexually active, see your doctor, and get tested regularly. Visit AIDS.gov today for more information, and see what you can do to spread awareness and support the cause!

Editor’s Note: One of darrahdejour.com’s favorite sex education and conversation sites is Scarleteen: Sex Education for the Real World

Jennifer Sawyer is a full-time student studying Public Health, and residing in Boston. She fills every free moment she has consuming coffee, writing to-do lists, and promoting sexual health in all ages, genders, and sexual orientations. Follow her on Twitter.

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