“Harpo, Who Dis Woman?” (Open Bar Letter)

Dear Bartender,
I have been in a relationship with this guy for 10 months.
For the last 4 months he is working every day or every second day with a woman, doing some art work together. He knew her before he met me but they weren’t in touch for years. Now they meet every day or every other day and he seems so excited about the things they do together. We used to do sleep overs at his house every week but since he met her and started meeting her at his house every morning he wont invite me at his house anymore. I talked to him, saying that she is all he’s talking about and it’s natural for me to want to meet her but he won’t introduce me to her. I asked him why he’s hiding me from her or why he doesn’t want me to sleep at his house anymore, stating that I believe he’s afraid she will see me there at the morning and understand I am his girlfriend. He answered that he has no reason not to want me to meet her, maybe his instincts advised him not to introduce me to her or maybe it didn’t happen for me and her to meet. At a past conversation we had, including other people, he had stated that he believe a man and a woman cannot be just friends for a long time and sex will always happen between them at some point. Do you think he’s cheating? What do you think I should do?

Dear Squeak (The main woman now but not the ultimate love),

First off, kudos to you for trusting your female intuition and bringing your concern to your man’s attention. Many women who are in a relationship for less than a year wouldn’t think they have grounds to do that and that is normally where things go wrong so it’s great that you stepped forward. Now for the pièce de résistance– is your man cheating? I DON’T KNOW. But, let me sit on the other side of the bar and ask you a question. Does it matter? In my opinion, relationships disintegrate way before cheating actually occurs. Why? Because we allow people to disrespect us. If your man isn’t cheating it’s probably likely that he wants to which is why he doesn’t want you and his new friend to meet.

While it’s hard for us to accept sometimes, (just like Squeak in The Color Purple) we may not always be the first choice for the person we’re dating. For instance, lets compare this concept to shopping in a store. Imagine someone (with a fixed budget) picking up a piece of clothing they like in a store and walking around with it the whole time. Now, they are still in search for other things but the item they have feels like a keeper – they know they will get good use out of it; they look good in it; it’s a quality fabric but not high maintenance; it fits well, etc. They are confident that this is the right choice but they are still looking for something else. Why? Because they aren’t totally in love with the garment they have but they know it’s of good quality and they can get mileage out of it so they know they’re making a good purchase. Then, right before they approach the register to buy it, they see a piece hanging in a discrete part of the store that they initially overlooked. They approach it and fall in love. But, they can’t buy both. So, they purchase the garment they love. If we relate this example to your relationship, you sound like the reasonable choice, however, it maybe that you’re not your man’s first choice but instead the person that he was comfortable with being in a relationship with before he came across someone he believes could be a better “fit.” Note, people do this all the time. This is exactly why a man can date a woman for 5 years, breakup with her because he “can’t commit” and then six months later marry a woman he just met. HAPPENS EVERYDAY.

Now, if I’m right, it’s normal for your man to want to keep you and this woman apart because if this doesn’t progress with her he doesn’t want to mess up things with you. So,  you have to decide if you are going to give him the room to make the ultimate decision about your relationship or if you’re going to make it. You have to decide if cheating is the deal breaker or the disrespect that is caused by him altering his behavior around this girl and refusing to allow you to meet is the deal breaker.

So, should you break up with him? It depends. What type of woman are you? What type of behavioral expectations do you have of him? What will you allow? Ultimately, these are the important questions. How you answer them will determine your next move. It’s decision time.

Can you drink to that?

The Bartender

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Players Gonna Play

Recently I was talking to a family member about her love interest. She described a guy in his late forties (her age as well) who expressed an interest in her but shared that he wasn’t the settling kind. It was highly noticeable that she was smitten with him but she asserted, “I’m all set with him. He doesn’t want a relationship and I’m not one of those stupid girls he can play.”

Our exchange got me thinking, “Do some women really think only stupid girls get played?”

Being played doesn’t happen because a woman is stupid. Being played happens when a woman exposes herself emotionally to a man who doesn’t have good intentions. It can happen to anyone and unfortunately it often happens when women can’t recognize their emotional brokenness and fragility.

The most amateur players can identify a woman who is broken and once the cause of that brokenness is exposed (i.e. loneliness, low self-esteem, insecurities regarding appearance, divorce, etc.) that is when the game begins. The goal is for that man to be your object of affection; for you to keep him on your mind. Men do this by showing an interest in you and expressing affection (even on the most mediocre levels). For example, if a man knows you’re lonely he might text you every night at the same time just to say, “Have a good night.” This kind gesture costs nothing. It’s a sweet sentiment that says, “I’m thinking about you” but it also doesn’t reek of commitment. Even if a man told you he didn’t want a relationship but consistently expressed this sort of kind gesture your thought might be, “He likes me and thinks of me often.” A thoughtful action that simple can spark the beginning of being wooed by a player who you already know doesn’t want you.

So, if you want to protect yourself from players, work on bringing yourself to a holistic place where you move past your insecurities and find joy in your single status. Try your best to transition to a place where you are not broken because, if exposed, all women can get played.

Can you drink to that?

-The Bartender

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Make A Decision About Your Relationship And Move On

 

A couple of weeks ago I ran into someone on the train who I hadn’t seen in a while. She shared that she’d just transitioned back to the city after a four-year stint in a different state when the guy she thought she was going to marry failed to solidify their union with a ring. In our discussion it was clear to me that she knew what she wanted and when she believed she wouldn’t receive it, it made sense for her to move on with her life.

My conversation with her had me wondering about all the people who refuse to make a decision about their dead-end relationships. They stay bound to someone who doesn’t make them happy because being alone exposes what they perceive as bad decision-making and overall failure.

I’m sure we all know someone who could fit into this category and the sad thing is, this decision causes self-inflicted pain and confusion. I’m a believer that if a person is honest with themselves and decisive about their relationship choices they can be protected from a ton of future emotional hurt. Many of us keep our hearts and minds exposed to people who simply don’t deserve us because we are ashamed of saying those three words – “IT DIDN’T WORK.” We act as if those three words mean our life is over when they can actually usher you into happiness if you embrace the truth that defines those words for your life.

If it ain’t working, make a decision to FIX IT.

The woman I saw on the train embraced her truth. Her relationship didn’t work out so she decided to accept it and begin the healing process. While I don’t know what the future will bring for her, I’m sure that she will be much happier walking into it.

 

Can you drink to that?

-The Bartender

 

 

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Is My Liquored Lover Cheating? (Open Bar Letter)

Dear Bartender,

If a man leaves the house around a certain time every evening and comes home intoxicated should I suspect that he is cheating on me?

Dear Fearing Infidelity,

I would not assume that my mate was cheating just because he leaves every evening and comes home intoxicated. In my opinion, this is just the behavior of an irresponsible lush who can’t hold their liquor. However, the fact that you would question his fidelity  suggests that this question is possibly missing some intricate details.  With that said, if you’re finding that you and your beau are spending more time apart and your relationship seems broken, there might be a cause for concern. However, based on the behavior you mentioned, instead of assuming that he’s cheating, why don’t you have an open conversation with him about his outings and try to better understand the root of the problem. Does he find his home life stressful? Does he feel like there is a problem between the two of you that he is trying to escape? Is he overwhelmed with work? You need to ask direct questions that will lead to an open discourse regarding his actions.

While conversing, share that you would like to spend more time together and reconnect as you both wind down from each busy day. Inform him that you understand and respect his need to have his own time but would like him to keep his late night outings to a minimum so that your relationship doesn’t get lost in the monotony of life. Remember it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it. So, while you’re talking try to communicate how important he is to you and share that you believe his behavior (coming home intoxicated most nights) can negatively affect his health and well-being and that gives you reason for pause.

In the end, instead of jumping to conclusions, the best thing to do is talk about the issue directly with an open and loving heart. Hopefully that will give you the answers you need.

Can you drink to that?

-The Bartender

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If They’re Not Desperate, It Ain’t Love

Why can’t he just say, ‘I can’t live without you?’”  

So many of my friends have asked me this question after sharing a story of an awkward run-in with their ex-boyfriend who they have tried to build something with to no avail. Sometimes no matter how good a person is on paper and how perfect we think our future can be with our current partner or recent ex, it can’t work. Why? Because desperation is out of the equation.

Real love is desperate. It’s serious. It’s excessive. It has an urgent need and desire to love. When one is faced with losing the person they truly care for, the desire for love alone will make them ill. Love is not “I care a lot for you but I’m not ready.” It is “Let’s do this and figure it out together.”

So many of us waste valuable time staying in relationships with people who don’t recognize our value and truly love us. Don’t be fooled. If the person you are/were in a relationship with can’t say, “I can’t live without you” it is because they CAN live without you…and be totally fine.

Love is a lot of things but what it is not is forced and unsure.

Can you drink to that?

-The Bartender

 

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