Love In Lines, Relationships

[Love In Lines] Not All Men Are Jerks – Vanessa Tai

When a relationships sours or if you’ve been betrayed by someone you love, it’s easy to write off the entire opposite sex as callous jerks. But that’s just a one-way street to Bitter Town. Vanessa Tai suggests another way of viewing the situation.

As much as I love my friends, sometimes I hesitate to tell them about the problems I’m facing with whichever guy I’m dating. Why? Because of the inevitable judgment that will follow.

“He’s such a douchebag.”

“You’re better off without a jerk like him!”

And so on.

Don’t get me wrong, I totally understand why they would say such things. They’re my good friends so they’ll naturally get affronted on my behalf when they feel I’ve been wronged by some guy. I, too, do the same when my girlfriends confide in me about their relationship problems. However, lately I’ve been wondering if this is really the best way to deal with relationship woes. Sure, if you’re all out to have a no-holds-barred sobfest with your best friends, it may help to have them rally around you and have a common “enemy” to hate on.

bridesmaids-movie-quotes-18

But what happens when you’re alone in your bedroom late at night and mulling over the failed relationship? Will you also continue to stew in rage and resentment? Sadly, many people tend to fixate on these feelings of being wronged and this seeps into the way they interact with others. I’m sure you know of people who’ve been hurt badly in relationships and became cold, standoffish, or overly cynical as a result. In fact, I used to be one such person.

However, I’ve recently come to see the flaws in this line of thinking. When a relationship fails, it fails for a myriad of reasons and yes, it could even be because the person you were dating was careless with your feelings. Does that make him a bad person? Not really. If that were the case, aren’t we all guilty of being “bad” at one point or another? The thing is, I sincerely believe nobody (save for the truly callous or sociopathic) sets out to deliberately hurt another person. I believe most of us embark on a romantic relationship with the best of intentions. Nobody wakes up thinking, “Okay, I think I’m gonna hurt so-and-so today.”

It’s just that along the course of a relationship, Life gets in the way. It could be unresolved emotional baggage from the past, or it could be an unexpected situation that throws everything out of loop. The thing is, people are unpredictable, especially when it comes to love. Most people are just bumbling along, trying to figure things out as they go along, winging it and trying to make it all work out. So when they screw up and end up hurting you, it’s most likely unintentional. Nobody is perfect. We, too, have been guilty of hurting the people we love, despite our best intentions.

That said, people are responsible for their actions and should still be held accountable for whatever they choose to do (or not do) in a relationship. I’m definitely not advocating that we condone bad behaviour. However, there’s a difference between holding someone responsible for their actions and blaming someone. For the former, you’re simply recognising this is who they are and how they’re choosing to behave. If you don’t like it, the choice is yours to cut them out of your life.

When you blame someone for their bad behaviour, however, you’re dodging any responsibility of your own. When you blame someone, you’re essentially saying that just because you didn’t like how someone acted, you’re entitled to attack them however you please. I’m sure you don’t need me to tell you how destructive this line of thinking is. Instead of finding ways of improving the situation or even seeking out a way you can learn or grow from it, blaming the other person simply creates a breeding ground for resentment and bitterness.

I reckon a healthier way of dealing with feelings of betrayal (or abandonment, or any other horrible feelings that emerge from a breakup) is to carve out alone time to figure out what you learned from the whole experience. It’s important to figure out why things didn’t work in the past so you can make things work better in the present and future. It won’t be easy, for sure. There’ll be days where all you want to do is scream and cry or burn all his things. Yes, you can allow yourself a period of time to do that if it offers you some form of catharsis. But there comes a day where you have to pick yourself up from the floor and just let go of those feelings of hatred and animosity. Take it from me, there’s really no point holding on to those bitter feelings of being wronged. It will only serve to poison your future relationships and become a vicious self-fulfilling cycle.

Every relationship we embark on is different and deserves to be treated with equal fervour and guileless enthusiasm. Well, that’s what I choose to believe anyway!

Love In Lines is a special under the Relationship section of Material World. The four founders each takes a week in a month to talk about dealing with love from different perspectives. Founder Vanessa Tai talks about navigating the often-confusing world of singledom. Stay tuned for more!

About The Author: Vanessa Tai is a founder of Material World who has previously worked on magazines Simply Her and Cosmopolitan Singapore. Now a freelance writer and a full-time contributor to this website, the 27-year-old dreams of attending every single major music festival before she turns 30. Follow her on Twitter @VannTaiTweets.

Standard
Love, Relationships

Would You Date Someone Who Looks Like Your Ex? – Vanessa Tai

Online dating website Match.com has partnered with an LA-based dating agency to find you potential partners who look like your ex. Vanessa Tai finds the idea creepy, and frankly a little depressing. 

Yesterday, I chanced upon the news that world’s biggest dating website Match.com has partnered with an LA-based “personalised dating service” called Three Day Rule, to pair people up using a facial recognition software. All you need to do is provide them with pictures of your ex and the technology will trawl through the database to search for people with a similar facial structure. (On a slightly unrelated note, I wonder if they’ll accept pictures of our favourite celebs? Haha!)

According to Three Day Rule’s founder Talia Goldstein, “I noticed over the years that people have a type, and it’s not based on ethnicity, hair colour, or body type. Their faces look very similar.”

Fair enough. While I agree that each of us may have a certain type that we go for — whether consciously or sub-consciously — why would anyone want someone who looks like their ex? Wouldn’t it be awkward, not to mention painful? Personally, I prefer to start afresh. Yes, perhaps these sophisticated computer algorithms may determine from past lovers that I have a “type” and perhaps I may even be attracted to these matches, but the idea of having a “genetically profiled partner” creeps me out on so many levels.

Maybe it’s because I still believe falling in love is a spontaneous act, not something that can whittled down to numbers or arbitrary perimeters. While I can understand the rationale behind searching for a compatible partner based on certain set rules, I still think it’s contrived to try and find a match based on a particular “checklist”. As you may already know, even if someone ticks all the boxes on your checklist, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll definitely fall in love with or even get along with them. On more than one occasion, I’ve tried setting up friends whom I thought were very compatible — in terms of work, interests, and values — but nothing ever came out of it. And almost all of them told me the same thing – “There was no connection.”

A great connection is crucial, especially when you're still getting to know the person.

A great connection is crucial, especially when you’re still getting to know the person.

Being able to connect with a person, I believe, is ultimately the most important factor in determining whether you’ll like to continue dating him or her. Of course, later on in the relationship, other factors like timing, being able to give and take, and so on will come into play. But at the beginning, a solid connection is absolutely necessary. In the past, I’ve met guys who ticked almost all the boxes on my so-called “checklist” but there was simply no spark or connection between us, no matter how we tried to force it. Then there were guys whom I never thought I would be compatible with but as it turned out, we had so much in common and so much to say to each other.

That said, I don’t deny that dating websites and dating agencies are still viable resources for finding a mate. However, my point is, algorithms can only get us so far. Love and the emotions that come along with it are capricious and unpredictable. It’s pretty impossible to use science or math to craft “the perfect partner”. And by the way, newsflash: there’s no such thing as the perfect partner. Finding and sustaining love is still about putting in work. We need to work on ourselves by engaging in activities that help us discover our identity and build self-confidence. In addition, we need to continually push ourselves out of our comfort zone to go out and meet people from all walks of life. Believe me, your dating experience will be far more rewarding than if you left it entirely to a computer software.

About The Author: Vanessa Tai is a founder of Material World who has previously worked on magazines Simply Her and Cosmopolitan Singapore. Now a freelance writer and a full-time contributor to this website, the 27-year-old dreams of attending every single major music festival before she turns 30. Follow her on Twitter @VannTaiTweets.

[If You Like This Post, You Might Also Like]

1. The Last Unspoken Rule Of Dating
2. How To Win At Online Dating
3. Are You Using THIS Quote In The Right Context? 

Standard
Love In Lines, Relationships

[Love In Lines] Why You Should Date Widely – Vanessa Tai

Dating several people at the same time can actually help you learn a ton about yourself, says resident single girl Vanessa. 

material world_dating

In my previous edition of Love In Lines, I mentioned I would be writing about why it’s important to date widely. However, as much as I advocate meeting as many people as possible, I also feel like a bit of a hypocrite telling you this. Why?

Because dating is hard.

It’s not easy to put on your game face again and again, answering the same questions about yourself again and again, only for things to fizzle out after a couple of dates. (Trust me, I know.) Yet, time and again, I force myself to put myself out there and go on dates with different guys. Here’s why:

1. It builds up your dating confidence

Going out with someone new is always going to be a little awkward, especially if you don’t know each other that well. There’s a constant worry that you’ll hate each other at first sight or worse, run out of things to say to each other. However, like everything else, dating takes practice. By going out with many different people, your conversational skills will be polished and you’ll be able to better read situations. For example, when I first started casual dating in earnest, I couldn’t quite let go of being stridently independent and “in control” of the situation. So when this guy offered his arm for support during our date (I was limping due to a sprained ankle), I brushed him off abruptly. On other occasions, I would natter on endlessly because I was worried about awkward silences.

These days, however, I’m way more relaxed when meeting new people. I’m happy to take a backseat when it comes to conversations and I don’t turn down gestures of chivalry anymore. I still need to work on accepting compliments more graciously though …

2. It gives you a better idea of what you’re looking for

I know most people have some sort of a checklist in their minds about the type of person they want to be with. Myself included. The funny thing is, the more people you meet, the more you realise there are plenty of “must-haves” that you can actually do without. Or, there may be certain traits that you never realised you can’t tolerate until you actually encounter them. What I’m trying to say is, by exposing yourself to more people, you’re able to better understand yourself and make a more informed decision about who you want to date exclusively. This brings me to my final point …

3. It makes exclusivity that much more special

Not sure if you’ve noticed but monogamous relationships seem to be going out of fashion. People these days prefer to “hang out” with several different people instead of dating just one person. While there are no official statistics for the local dating scene, a recent State of Dating in America report indicated that almost 69 percent of those surveyed were at least “somewhat confused about whether an outing with someone they’re interested in was in fact a date or not.” You can blame it on our increasingly individualistic culture or an evolving set of priorities but the fact is, “going steady” is no longer de rigueur. Which is why it makes it even more special when you meet someone you want to date exclusively and plan for your future together.

Convinced yet? If you’ve been single for a while, take this post as the sign you’ve been waiting for to get back in the game!

Love In Lines is a special under the Relationship section of Material World. The four founders each takes a week in a month to talk about dealing with love from different perspectives. Founder Vanessa Tai talks about navigating the often-confusing world of singledom. Stay tuned for more!

About The Author: Vanessa Tai is a founder of Material World who has previously worked on magazines Simply Her and Cosmopolitan Singapore. Now a freelance writer and a full-time contributor to this website, the 26-year-old dreams of attending every single major music festival before she turns 30. 

[If You Like This Post, You Might Also Like]

1. [Love In Lines] How To Enjoy Yourself At A Dating Event
2. [Love In Lines] What’s The Fuss About Tinder?
3. [Love In Lines] To Thine Own Self Be True
4. [Love In Lines] Deadline For Love

 

 

Standard
Love In Lines, Relationships

[Love In Lines] How To Enjoy Yourself At A Dating Event – Vanessa Tai

Dating events can be corny at best and cringe-inducing at worst. But that’s only if you go with a negative mindset. Vanessa was recently invited to Dating Fest 2014’s School of Love, and she shares how you can have a good time even within a matchmaking setup. 

I admit, I was feeling a little apprehensive before attending this event. Blind dates are awkward enough as it is; imagine multiplying that awkwardness by potentially hundreds of people! Plus, because this was an event organised by the Social Development Network (SDN), it made me think it would be a staid and boring affair.

Boy, was I mistaken.

Photo 2_lowres

Entertainment courtesy of local theater folk.

When I stepped into the Orchard Hotel ballroom where the event was held, I was immediately greeted by bright lights and friendly ushers, who showed me to my seat. The tables were set up Chinese wedding banquet-style, with men and women in alternate seating. I took my seat, put on a big smile, and prepared to make small talk with the other people at my table. You know how weddings can be a tad awkward when you’re seated with a group of strangers? Thankfully, this event was punctuated with witty banter from the energetic host Chua Enlai, and skits from Hossan Leong and friends. In fact, I was so engrossed with some of the performances that I forgot to chit-chat with the people at my table. Oops.

But, no matter. Because the highlight of the event was the mass speed dating segment, which took up a good 70 minutes. It works this way – every seven minutes, a bell would ring and the men from one table would move on to the next table. That way, you’re meeting at least three to four members of the opposite sex every seven minutes. It was during the speed dating segment where I gleaned the most tips on how to make the most of what could have been a contrived setup.

1. Be Positive

To be fair, most of the people I met seemed to be genuinely friendly and upbeat. Having a big smile on your face and being interested in whatever the other person has to say goes a long way in having a good conversation. However, there were a couple of guys I met who were a serious buzzkill. There was this guy who started complaining about the event the minute he sat down at our table. The first on his list of complaints? There was no alcohol served. (Okay, fair enough. I, too, thought it would have been nice if each participant could have one or two glasses of wine to loosen up any tensions.) But then he went on and on about how the setup was too rigid, and how the event was not properly thought out, which I thought was unfair. He was making everybody at the table uncomfortable with his rants, so I said, “Maybe you can send your feedback to the organisers?”

He said, “Yeah I already have. Midway through the event.” Okaaaaayyy. 

Then there was this other guy who threw this question at everyone at the table, “Do you really think you’ll find true love here?” After some of the other participants gave a couple of diplomatic replies about how it’s always good to make new friends, I returned his question, “Do YOU think you’ll find true love here?”

He shook his head and said dismissively, “Nah. I mean, I want to, but I don’t think I’ll strike lottery here.” Okaaaaayyy. 

Like everything in life, if you’re going to participate with a defeatist mindset, the battle is already lost. Yes, the event may not be up to your expectations. Yes, you may not have found what you were searching for. But that doesn’t mean you pull a long face and throw a fit. Why not try and have fun instead?

Participants having a good time at the School of Love!

Participants having a good time at the School of Love!

2. Have An Interesting Story (Or Two) Ready

When it comes to speed dating, you’re trying to give people a good impression of yourself, and every minute counts. It’s almost like a sales pitch, really. Even if you think you’re a boring person with an uninteresting life, surely there are one or two things that you enjoy or are good at. When you talk about something that you genuinely delight in, the excitement in your voice will rub off on the person you’re talking to.

There were a couple of people I met that day who gave monotonous replies to questions, and conversation with them was challenging to say the least. For example, here’s a conversation I overheard.

Him: “So what are some of your hobbies?”

Her: “Running.”

(Silence)

Maybe she wasn’t interested or maybe she was just shy. But a good conversation is all about give and take. Read this post on how you can have great conversations with just about anybody.

3. Be Polite

It’s funny how this even has to be one of the points. But sadly, some of the guys I met that day are still lacking in basic courtesy and social graces. One of them was scanning the crowd even as he talked to us, as if to always have his eye out for someone better. And when another male participant mentioned he worked in an environment with a lot of women, this same guy blurted out, “What’s wrong with the women there, then? Why are you here?”

You may not be the most good-looking, charming or eloquent person in the room, but if you’re polite and friendly, people will naturally gravitate towards you. For example, there was this guy at my table who was smiley and was always helping to dish food for me. While he wasn’t the type of guy that I would usually go for, I agreed to contact him after the event because I thought he was a nice enough guy for me to be friends with. (And I have! We’ve exchanged a couple of emails since.)

At the end of the day, every situation is as good or as bad as you make it out to be. While dating events may not be your “ideal” way of meeting a mate, if you’ve already decided to put yourself out there, why not make the best of it? Smile, be friendly, and be open to possibilities … just see where it’ll take you! 

For a full list of SDN events and services, click here

Love In Lines is a special under the Relationship section of Material World. The four founders each takes a week in a month to talk about dealing with love from different perspectives. Founder Vanessa Tai talks about navigating the often-confusing world of singledom. Stay tuned for more!

About The Author: Vanessa Tai is a founder of Material World who has previously worked on magazines Simply Her and Cosmopolitan Singapore. Now a freelance writer and a full-time contributor to this website, the 26-year-old dreams of attending every single major music festival before she turns 30. 

[If You Like This Post, You Might Also Like]

1. [Love In Lines] What’s The Fuss About Tinder?
2. [Love In Lines] To Thine Own Self Be True
3. [Love In Lines] Where Are All The Great Guys?
4. [Love In Lines] Deadline For Love
5. [Love In Lines] The Fear Of Getting Hurt

Standard
Love In Lines, Relationships

[Love In Lines] Where Are All The Great Guys? – Vanessa Tai

Lest you think this is going to be one of those posts lamenting the dearth of good men, let me assure you – it’s not. This is a genuine call for assistance. Where are all the great guys??? With our increasingly hectic lifestyles, we’re lucky if we manage to squeeze in time to meet our friends and family, so finding time to meet new people and date can be challenging.

There seems to be this preconceived notion that singlehood is synonymous with being lonely, but I’m truly too busy to be lonely. Any free time I have is guarded jealously, and I don’t particularly fancy spending it with somebody whose company I don’t enjoy. But how long can I be busy for, though? What happens when I’m old and arthritic? Wouldn’t I want a loved one I can rely on then (but wouldn’t he be old and arthritic too)?

Please don't let this be me!

Please don’t let this be me!

Then again, it’s not that I have not tried “putting myself out there” (whatever that even means.) I have tried the following avenues of dating, all to varying degrees of success.

1. Getting Friends To Introduce You To Their Friends

Pros: You can take comfort knowing the guy you’re meeting has your friend’s stamp of approval. (That’s not to say he won’t turn out to be a jerk though. I once went out with this guy introduced by my best buddy and he turned out to be grossly chauvinistic.)

Cons: If things don’t pan out between you and the guy, more people will be involved in the post-relationship awkwardness.

2. Group Dating Events

Pros: Even if you don’t find someone special, you may end up making a few good friends.

Cons: Similar to blind dates, the people at group dating events generally give off an air of unease and discomfort. #TrueStory

3. Online Dating

Pros: You get to scroll through literally hundreds of profiles in the comfort of your home, using snazzy algorithms to narrow your choices to people who fit most closely to your ideal of the perfect mate.

Cons: There are plenty of creeps lurking on online dating sites. #AnotherTrueStory

4. Clubbing

Pros: With everybody being a little inebriated, the conversation will flow more easily.

Cons: While I get that people do meet the loves of their lives in clubs and other similar social settings, the fact remains that most people go to clubs looking for something casual. Call me old-fashioned, but if you’re looking for someone to marry or have a long-term relationship with, a club may not be the best option.

5. Engaging In Activities Outside Of Your Comfort Zone

Pros: You get to do and learn something new! Everything else is a bonus.

Cons: Can’t think of any, really.

So you see, it’s not for lack of trying. However, despite my best intentions, it just seems hard to find someone I can genuinely click with. And when I do find that person, more often than not, he’s already attached! But that’s a story for another day.

If you’re reading this and have some ideas on where I can find eligible men (who also happen to be hot hahaha) please drop me a note in the Comments section below!

Love In Lines is a special under the Relationship section of Material World. The four founders each takes a week in a month to talk about dealing with love from different perspectives. Founder Vanessa Tai talks about navigating the often-confusing world of singledom. Stay tuned for more!

About The Author: Vanessa Tai is a founder of Material World who has previously worked on magazines Simply Her and Cosmopolitan Singapore. Now a freelance writer and a full-time contributor to this website, the 26-year-old dreams of attending every single major music festival before she turns 30. Her worst first date ever involved a heated argument on feminism. Follow her on Twitter @VannTaiTweets.

[If You Like This Post, You Might Also Like]

1. [Love In Lines] 5 Things Single People Hate
2. [Love In Lines] The Fear Of Getting Hurt
3. [Love In Lines] Singlehood and Self-Pity

Standard