Tag Archives: Romance

My personal Adonis (a short story)

I shouldn’t be doing this. But here I am – rifling through his bathroom cabinet. They say you can tell a lot about a man from his choice of pharmaceuticals, but I’m not sure that’s really the scenario in my case. Besides hair gel, a toothbrush, toothpaste and two deodorant cans, I’ve actually learnt nothing new. That should teach me.

I place everything back as I found it and close the cabinet door. A quick peek out the bathroom door confirms that he is still sound asleep. The rumpled duvet covers lie half on the floor, half on the bed and my Adonis is lying on his back, spread-eagled. A sliver of the sheet covers his waist. It actually reminds me of the children’s bible story illustrations of Adam and Eve with a fig leaf over their private parts. That makes me smirk a little as I admire him from my bathroom door vantage point. He really is magnificent: sandy blonde tousled hair, tanned skin, a surfer’s physique.

The thing is, other than how he looks (and now the contents of his bathroom cabinet), I actually know nothing about him. What I do know is that a rowdy girls’ night out last night has, given my current precarious situation, not ended quite as planned.

It’s easier to blame someone other than yourself, so I blame Brendon, my long-time boyfriend of seven years. I conclude that his cheating shenanigans are directly responsible for where I am right now. We are – were – high-school sweethearts; the cliqued perfect couple. After being together for so long, I wanted a ring on my finger to seal the deal.  Yet Brendon was hesitant. Evasive even. I just didn’t understand why. We loved each other, had a stable relationship – so why then? I got the answer I didn’t want when Brendon’s recent activities were uncovered. He had met some girl at work and had been out with her several times. Apparently enough times to have moved the relationship to the bedroom! His explanation included a feeble excuse that because we had met so young, both of us had never really ‘experienced’ different relationships. He begged my forgiveness, but now it was my turn to be hesitant.

A night out on the town was determined by my girlfriends as the best therapy for a philandering boyfriend. Led by our one and only single friend, I allowed myself to be dragged out instead of comfort eating in my pyjamas in front of the TV. Not that I would’ve admitted it, but it was actually quite fun to dress up and act like a single, carefree woman again. My red party heels were pulled out from the back of my cupboard and my favourite fitted jeans donned. Topped with a splash of red colour on my lips and nails, I felt exciting and daring. Alas, the last thing I can confidently recall was swigging down the umpteenth shooter in some smoky club. Where I am right now, how I got here and with whom, I regrettably have no recollection of.

I decide to brazenly do the only thing a girl can do in this circumstance: I mentally channel the image of a stealthy ninja and make a grab for Adonis’ cell phone. Thankfully, no password and I’m in. A perusal of his text messages conclude that, while he is affectionately termed ‘Bud’ by his friends, I’m positive it’s not his name. Another bust it seems.

There’s something to be said of the cruel light of day, and now, as my bravado wanes and the Nancy Drew in me withers, I start to panic. Its morning. I want to go home. Now.

I scramble to gather my clothes, my cell phone and purse and head straight for the exit. I admit that I’m prone to acting first without thinking it through. True to form, only once I’m out the front door do I stop to contemplate my next move. I have one plausible option: phone my BFF Tina. Damn, my cell phone is turned off. Fumbling, I power it up again and, ignoring the flashing red light that signals my battery is about to die, I dial Tina’s number. She answers on the first ring. No pleasantries. Her first words are a half concerned, half irritated question: “Maddie, what the hell happened?”

I feel a big lump rising in my throat and the last of my composure crumbles. I manage to whimper, “Geez Tina, you tell me! I woke up in some strange guy’s bed. I feel …”. I let the words slide. Nothing can accurately describe how I feel right now. She mutters some profanity under her breath. “Ok, ok. Where are you? I’ll come pick you up”.

Another thing I don’t know it seems. I walk a bit further from the spot I’m standing in, turn the corner and see the main gate to the street. A car is driving out the complex and I make an ungainly dash for the gate. I silently thank the municipality for erecting a large street sign about 200 metres up the road. I tell Tina the street name. As the resourceful heroine she always is, she orders me to stay put and wait for her. “You can’t be far, I’ll plug the street name into my GPS. I’m on my way.”

Barefoot, holding my shoes in one hand, my hair dishevelled and my eye make-up smudged, I conclude that I must be a glorious sight to behold! I’m sure Tina thinks the same thing as I climb into her trusty Polo fifteen minutes later. During the animated ride home she manages to fill in a few of my self-inflicted memory gaps and tells me that she left before me last night as she had to get up early this morning. When she tried to phone me and her calls went straight to voicemail, Tina phoned one of our other friends to find out how things went. She found out that the girls had left me at the club with a friendly guy – hopefully the same one I woke up to this morning – when I insisted I didn’t want to go home and they should leave without me. It explains some of what has transpired, but not who my Adonis is and what happened after their departure. Perhaps this is one event I should really try to forget instead of trying to remember.

With much cursing and consoling, Tina finally drops me at home and leaves me alone on condition that I promise to phone her later on in the day. My first point of business is to make a cup of my favourite tea and take a hot shower.

I charge up my phone to check my text and voice messages. In addition to the harried messages from Tina, I have a long-winded message from Brendon. He says he loves me and asks if we can meet to talk things through. He also states emphatically that he believes it would be a huge mistake if I just end our relationship so easily after one foolish indiscretion. Characteristically Brendon – always trying to control the state of affairs and minimise the damage.

I’m contemplating whether I want to call Brendon back after so much has transpired, when my phone rings. I don’t recognise the number but I answer anyway.

“Maddie?” an unfamiliar voice asks.
“Yes.”
“Maddie, my name is Jeff.  We met at the club last night?”
I remain silent.
“You left your watch at my place.”
I balk. Oh boy, this must be my Adonis. Did I really give him my number?
He clears his throat, “You could’ve woken me up. I would’ve taken you home you know.” Now I hear a soft rumble as he tries to contain a chuckle. I’m not sure whether to be embarrassed or angry.
“Why don’t I take you out for lunch today? I like you and we seem to have tons of stuff in common. Based on your quick escape this morning though, I think I might’ve scared you off. How about we start over?”
I think about it and after a short pause, I hear myself say “Ok”. Surprisingly, I am ok with it.
“Oh, and by the way Maddie, we didn’t sleep together if that’s what you were wondering. You were a little wasted and I couldn’t get your address out of you. So I took you back to my place to sleep it off.”
“But you were naked!” I blurt out.
He laughs. “I sleep in the buff.  See you in an hour.”

I’m smiling now – a big goofy grin that crinkles the corners of my eyes. He sounds like a ‘nice guy’ and I sure could do with a ‘nice guy’ around about now. Maybe there is a life after Brendon?  I’m sure I’ll figure it out, but it’s one step at time. This is my first step – and it’s out the door to meet my personal Adonis. Adios Brendon.

~ A short story by Sherrie Dyer-Bracher

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Is love a feeling or a choice?

Every living person craves it. Of course, some will deny it. Some still don’t understand it. Some even have a warped and twisted view of it, while others will live in pursuit of an elusive concept of it.

Consider it a warm and fuzzy feeling or a day-by-day choice, it remains the one thing in life that every living person wants in some form or another.  Love.

Whether it be love for another human being, for a partner, a parent, a child, a friend – we are all capable of love, although our translation of it may differ.  For me, romantic love has always been about ‘feelings’.  You know what I’m talking about:  that all-consuming feeling when you first meet a prospective partner, the way their touch can set your skin on fire, how a simple look can speak of a myriad of future promises … all those happy, excited and euphoric ‘feelings’ of being in love and of being loved.  For a person like me, a person who wears their heart on their sleeve, falling in love is actually quite easy.  But staying in love when the initial blaze has waned is a far harder task.

love-300x287Staying in love requires a directional movement from the conditional love square on the game board to the unconditional one.  Unconditional love is considered true love, and true love has staying power.  It means learning to love another person without expecting anything in return.  It also means putting the needs of that person above that of your own. For example, when you say your marriage vows, you pledge to commit to and love your partner for the rest of your days “until death do you part”. It doesn’t mean loving that person for as long as you still feel loved by them or until that person no longer gives you what you need.  I wonder how many people really know what they’re getting into when they pledge before God to honour, cherish and love their husband/wife for the rest of days?

When the light-hearted, seemingly easy side of love fades, a decision needs to be made.  That decision requires a bit more than just feeling like you love someone, it requires effort, hard work, commitment and an actual choice to love.  It may even require frequent reminders as to why and how to love.

I believe that most of us battle with unselfishly loving another person such as our partner. I know that I do.  I can go a step further and admit that I even battle to love myself; so trying to love another person unconditionally is far more complex that I would like it to be.

Luckily, while love is open to our own personal interpretation of it and is sadly influenced by past experiences and hurts, unconditional love has only one definition and one set of rules:

•   Love is patient and kind.

•   Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude.

•   Love does not demand its own way.

•   Love is not irritable and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged.

•   It is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.

•   Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

(1 Cor 13:4-7)

The last romantic – part 2

I’ve been labelled many things in my lifetime, the most recent of which is “the last romantic standing”. If you’ve read part 1 of ‘The last romantic’, I’m sure you will understand why.

While I now understand that relationships are not by any means plain sailing, surely I can’t be all wrong in the ideal of finding that perfect love connection? After all, doesn’t every teapot have its own lid? ;)

In spite of a failed first marriage and the fact that my second husband is not a romantic by any count, I can’t seem to let go of the idea that the kind of intense love that slays all obstacles in its path and transcends the ugly reality of any situation still exists. I actually still believe in a “happily ever after”!

The pursuit of my very own happy ending has led me down an interesting path – or more of a scenic route really; a path that could’ve perhaps been made easier if I had not fallen in love with a man who is my polar opposite. For example, I am emotionally expressive, he is emotionally reserved. I am communicative, he is restrained. I am a romantic and idealist, he is a pragmatic realist.

Author: Bagande

Being attracted to a partner who does not share the same attributes or ideals is not uncommon. However, the danger lies in the fact that what often attracts us to our partner in the beginning is what can cause contention in the relationship years down the line.

The psychology behind this can be discovered in Imago Relationship Therapy. Imago is the Latin word for ‘image’. The therapy focuses on the belief that we all have a unique image of familiar love that has developed from birth i.e. how we were loved and felt loved, whether positive or negative, by our parents/caregivers and other significant adults in our childhood.

Dawn J. Lipthrott, LCSW, describes it so well in her article, ‘What is Imago Relationship Therapy, anyway?

The marriage

In short, we subconsciously look for a partner who represents the positive and the negatives of the adults from our childhood. One reason is because we want to re-create our past hurts so that we can arrive at a different outcome. This is how seemingly opposite people end up in relationships and marriages without a cooking clue how to address the challenges of viewing life so differently.

According to my own experience, this is how Imago Relationship Therapy has helped – and is still helping – my husband and I to achieve a healthy, balanced and happy marriage. It’s a win-win scenario: a more romantic fairy tale marriage thanks to practical and real solutions.

Step 1:
We had to develop a combined relationship vision. This is now proudly displayed on our fridge and serves as a reminder on what we want to achieve.

Step 2:
We had to acknowledge our caregivers’ positive and negative traits and this meant also remembering buried childhood wounds and frustrations. From there, we could finally see for ourselves how we searched for a partner with similar traits to our caregivers. As our partners cannot give us what we longed for as a child, understanding and recognising this fact is a crucial step in the right direction.

Step 3:
The third step was learning how to effectively communicate and to share our needs with our partner by using tools such as the Couple’s Dialogue and Container Transaction.

Step 4:
Finally, we had to put everything together and self-integrate the aspects of our disowned, lost and false selves to figure out what our true self is. I know it sounds a little weird, but it makes sense when you see how it all fits together.

The last romantic – part 1

Since my early childhood, I’ve been in love with the notion of being in love.

I blame two factors for this old-fashioned romantic frame of mind, the first of which can be attributed to the warm and fuzzy fairy tales of damsels in distress and knights in shining armour told to many a young girl.

English: : Prince Charming meets Cinderella in...My generation, and that of my mother’s and my grandmother’s, have grown up reading these soppy stories. “Happily ever after” is a guarantee and all we need to do is wait patiently for the hero to ride up on his powerful steed and sweep us off our feet.

The second factor to blame is of course Hollywood! I echo the sentiments of my fellow blogger, Laughing.Loving.Eating: “Hollywood: you lie!”. All those classic Doris Day, Judy Garland, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers movies of yesteryear have taken their toll. I become all soft and mushy at the mere suggestion of a man courting a woman. My mind conjures up thoughts of elaborate romantic gestures, public declarations of undying love and perfect moments of pure bliss.

No-one prepared me for the harsh reality of love and relationships. It’s the thirteenth fairy tale never told to little girls: Prince Charming sometimes never arrives, and if he does he’s often late for his appointment.

Relationships are hard work and very seldom a bed of roses. This is what I’ve learnt in my thirty-five years:

  1. Love is an ideal concept characterised by feelings only. Real love is a choice – every morning on waking, you make a choice to love your husband/partner.
  2. Compromise and communication are two key pillars in a relationship. Without either of these, a relationship will never reach its full potential.
  3. Complacency and apathy are stealthy relationship assassins. It takes daily effort to keep a relationship fresh, exciting and harmonious.
  4. Sex can be likened to a candle: the flame burns bright and strong at the beginning of a relationship, but eventually dies down to a small, warm glow … which still, by the way, lightens a room.
  5. Every man has a knight in shining armour in him, but is far from a knight in shining armour.
  6. A husband/partner should never be expected to emotionally fulfil a woman completely. A woman needs good friends to share her life with and a support structure in family and friends to keep her strong and balanced.
  7. A relationship is not defined by how great the good times are, but how you get through the bad times.
  8. A husband/partner doesn’t need to know everything! Sometimes, what you think is insignificant or of no consequence, could actually hurt him or create insecurity if he knows.
  9. You don’t need to do everything together. Having your own interests, style, hobbies, friends etc. is healthy.
  10. Most importantly, learning to love your husband/partner in the way he understands – and vice versa – will make the biggest positive impact in any relationship. Dr. Gary Chapman’s “The 5 Love Languages” is truly an eye opener.
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