Ready to Jump Back Into Dating? Here’s What You Need to Know

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Look, dating is hard. I’ve been out of the game for a decade. I know everything has changed since I was galavanting around in cars with random people.

I was not a safe teen.

I recently joined a dating app to play with things a bit. It’s so much different than before!

When you’re ready to start dating, it’s important that you don’t let the changing culture impact your decision to date. Never shy away from pursuing relationships simply because you aren’t quite sure what’s popular, common, or trendy. There are always ways to learn and study modern dating before taking the leap.

If you’re ready to start dating, there are a couple of things you need to know.

Phone Calls Aren’t A Thing

People don’t call each other anymore. Like, almost ever.

Part of it is a millennial thing I’m sure, but it’s not just us! Most people don’t want to answer the phone, especially when driving or at work. Many people – like me – simply don’t feel comfortable talking on the phone that much.

I don’t even call to order pizza. It’s definitely not you.

Don’t be upset if someone doesn’t want to talk on the phone with you. There are so many other ways to communicate, such as emailing, chatting, or even spending more time together IRL. This is an excellent excuse to meet up for brief coffee dates and other lower energy activities, too. Having coffee together will give you a chance to talk and spend time together, but won’t take up the entire evening.

It’s always important for me to be home at a certain time for meds. Coffee dates make that possible.

Get Comfortable Texting

I’m constantly on my phone. Let’s be real – when you have a chronic illness or a disability, using your phone is often a lot easier than whipping out your laptop or sitting at your computer. If you’re anything like me, you’re already a pro at texting and more.

If you don’t spend a lot of time texting, prepare yourself. You might need to be able to make plans completely via text.

When texting, it’s important to be consistent in the style you use. If you’re going to use early 2000s era text speech (“U R 2 cute”), make sure that the person or people on the other end are okay with that. The best thing to do is text like you type – complete-ish sentences with punctuation. Don’t send huge, lengthy text messages when something short, brief, and to-the-point will suffice.

Talk with potential partners about how they want to communicate. There are a lot of messaging apps and systems people might use over texting, like Whatsapp.

If texting creates an accessibility issue for you, be upfront in your online dating profile.

Use Apps!

Finally, make sure you start getting comfortable with dating apps – and which ones fit the end goal you’re looking for. Tinder might be great for hooking up, but isn’t the best for long-term stuff. Most people use apps or websites, such as Badults, to find and meet new people. Again, be clear about what you’re looking for – friends, hookups, or longer-term relationships – when evaluating sites. It’s always a good idea to clarify that in your profile as well.

Dating apps enable you to meet a wide range of people very quickly. If you want to try long-distance dating, you can find someone far away to spend time getting to know. Sometimes that can be a great stepping stone, too, if you’re not ready to go on dates. If dates are what you’re looking for, apps can be the ideal way to find someone who is in your area and available to meet up with quickly.

Most apps let you connect instantly with people who share your same interests, whether that’s music, reading, or dancing. You can look for people who match what you’re searching for and start talking with whomever catches your fancy. You might not be able to tick every box, but you can certainly find someone who likes dogs, enjoys reading, won’t be a jerk about health issues (relatively speaking at least), and isn’t your parents’ age.

Bottom Line

Make sure you head into dating with realistic expectations, especially with health issues. There are a lot of people who are more selfish and unable to commit to us when we might be a little more complicated than the average bear.

You might not find a partner right away, especially if you’re looking for that final relationship. You can meet a lot of interesting, exciting people who have the same interests as you. Finding someone to date can be a fun, exciting experience, so make sure you have reasonable expectations and a great attitude. Chances are you’ll find someone interesting and you’ll be able to get to know them in a fun, casual setting.

This is a sponsored post.

Pre-Black Friday Sale at Vibrant

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I Told A #MeToo Story – And Lost Friends

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TW sexual harassment, victim blaming, #MeToo

Back in February, I started to publicly discuss a sexual predator within patient communities. I’ve brought it up again recently but, sadly, have wound up feeling less supported. I’m not a celebrity, nor do I claim to be, but it seems odd to have people continue to question sexual harassment in the era of #MeToo.

The Beginning

This whole situation started when this man made questionable comments of a ‘playful’ nature that escalated over time. The first time I was on the receiving end of one of these comments, I actually responded very negatively. He responded and said something about how this was just how he interacted with people.

Against my better judgment, I let it go. Part of that was his involvement with other prominent patients and patient organizations. None of those connections should have pushed me to do differently than my gut suggested.

Over the years, this continued and got worse. Incidents took place between this man and other women – especially young women, like those in high school – for years. The fact that this person is in his 40’s wasn’t, apparently, a deterrent to his actions. Most of this was on social media but wasn’t limited to that. He has harassed and cornered young women at conferences and events, making inappropriate jokes and comments. Other patients have tried to step in and help him understand what is and isn’t okay but ultimately abandoned that task.

As I’ve talked about before, I believe that we need more male voices within patient spaces. Even further, we need more voices around queer, trans, and non-white experiences. So why are we allowing people within the first category to make things uncomfortable and painful – especially while excluding those in the former? I just don’t know.

Speaking Out

It’s something that took me a long time feeling comfortable discussing, even among friends. Mutual friends would entertain the idea that this happened and claim to support me and others, but maintain an active friendship with this person. It was beyond frustrating to see, especially when fellow patients echoed similar situations and concerns.

If I’m completely honest, it still feels that he was sided with more often than those of us speaking out.

Something I wrote in February that continues to ring true today, especially in light of the MeToo movement:

People who call these issues out aren’t trying to stage a witch hunt [sound familiar?]. That’s not what I’m after. I’m not vindictive or hateful on that level and, by golly, I have enough going on with my health and my things I’m running and doing that I don’t need the drama. None of us do.

As a society — whether as a whole or as patient groups — we cannot make excuses for sexism or sexual harassment. We must call these issues out. Just like with ableism we experiences [sic] at the hands of people who don’t understand, we have to call out this behavior so that it can be corrected. Ignoring it as a courtesy only allows it to get worse and for more people to be violated.

And again, just like with our illnesses, sharing our stories helps people feel less alone. When I’ve shared my experiences with this person and experiences I know of with people, they have felt redeemed and like their gut reactions to comments or questions have been validated.

#MeToo (unless it upsets someone)

When people began to share their #MeToo stories, I took initiative in posting about this person. I used his name publicly on social media. This was met with a variety of responses from shock to shared experience and more. Unfortunately, it wasn’t long until statements dripping with victim-blaming mentality started showing up.

As a sex educator, I can’t let these kinds of comments go unchecked.

No one’s story about sexual harassment should be policed. A person should be believed, regardless of how much they “fought back” against someone. No one should be met with victim-blaming statements as they speak out about sexual harassment or more.

Could I have handled it better? Absolutely. I could’ve taken the exchange to a private message – though, it should’ve started that way as well. Since I didn’t start it, I don’t feel too much pain over it – especially when victims from various walks of life messaged me about why victim-blaming comments were being made.

People who know me know that I speak my mind – and know that my history of abuse combined with chronic pain is why. I’ve been nothing but forthcoming on how holding in emotions causes me physical and emotional pain. Despite that, I tried for a few months to ignore my gut (yes, again) and continue relationships with people who want everyone to just get along.

TBH Losing Friends Is Okay

After losing several friends during this exchange, I feel better. My pain has gone down in huge amounts. Emotionally, I know that I’ve spoken my truth to the best of my ability. Physically, my pain related to holding in emotions is no longer there. I’m no longer dealing with emotional potatoes.

When combined with other self-care methods, my daily overall pain has gone from sitting at 6/10 to 3/10.

My social media accounts have gone back to what they always should be – a way for me to speak to the world. I no longer sit worrying about how others are perceiving what I’m saying. Between that and the below tweet, I’m back to feeling much better about why I do what I do.

You can share things with others – illnesses, life experiences, etc – but not really get along with them. The people you share XYZ with and those you feel are your friends don’t always overlap – sometimes they’re a Venn diagram. That doesn’t mean you aren’t acquaintances – we just can’t all be friends.

I see friends as people who hold each other accountable for these kinds of comments. Sometimes, that’s not what others think friendship is.

And that’s okay.

Sometimes all you can do is step out and bask in the sunshine of your truth.

photo on Ocean Beach looking out on the pier; the water nearby is so shiny that it's reflecting the fluffy clouds from above

Louis CK Sets An Example?

TW: discussions of sexual assault, harassment, rape, pedosadism, abuse, the fucking patriarchy

As I start writing this, I’m feeling rather… odd. My best friend from college and I are texting about Louis CK’s apology in the New York Times.

In case you’ve been living under a rock or low on energy, stories recently came out about his sexual misconduct. There are several other men who have recently been shown to be serial sexual predators in one way or another. Before getting into Louis’ apology, let’s explore the other most recent high-profile apology – Kevin Spacey.

Kevin Spacey

I had some weird initial feelings about this. I used to like Spacey’s work. When I read what had happened, though, it became clear to me that this was the truth – and a horrifying one at that. I’ve since tossed anything and everything I have with him in it.

on left, photo of a white appearing person with an angular haircut, heavy eye makeup, and wearing a white top; on right, a blue box with light blue quotation mark, white text "There is only one you for all time" - yellow text "fearlessly be yourself" and at bottom middle white text "Anthony Rapp"

Anthony Rapp is one of the most talented actors I’ve ever seen. What he’s most famous for right now is being on the newest Star Trek show. However, he’s been acting since before he hit double digits. He is highly respected due to his Broadway cred, especially having been a part of the OBC of Rent.

Rapp’s conversation with Buzzfeed where he shares a scary underage interaction with Spacey is incredibly raw. As a survivor myself, I absolutely understand the concerns he shares in the piece as well as the empowering feeling many of us have since more and more stories of famous abusers have come out. While we all obviously wish this wasn’t the case, it feels like progress is happening – like we are finally ripping apart some of the privilege white men hold, especially in the entertainment industry. While not the focus of the piece, Rapp shares some signs of PTSD – well, at least signs that I experience. I won’t armchair diagnose, but simply say this is so familiar – and so common – for survivors.

Spacey’s response… There is so much wrong with his statement. I don’t even know where to begin. The victim blaming of Rapp’s feels? It’s something I’ve experienced so much that I literally threw up in my mouth the first time I read this.

Don’t weaponize your sexual orientation, Kevin. You could’ve come out any other time, but only did so in order to distract from these issues. Stars from Billy Eichner to Zachary Quinto called bullshit on this quickly, and they weren’t alone. Organizations including GLAAD decried the situation, angry that many news agencies focused on Spacey’s sexuality rather than his pedosadistic actions… especially as more of Spacey’s victims and their families – like Heather Unruh and her son – come forward.

Spacey is now ‘seeking treatment’ of some sort of nature, though the exact thing is undisclosed. If he thinks dealing with alcoholism or pedosadist tendencies 30 years later will fix this, he’s sorely mistaken.

This statement just played into age-old myths equating all gay men to pedosadists. It’s absolutely disgusting for the queer community. I, for one, refuse to wrap him in our rainbow flag as a gay sibling. Anthony Rapp, on the other hand, will always be welcome in our community.

Back to Louis C.K….

photo of a person silhouetted against a starry sky - white text "THESE STORIES ARE TRUE. Louis C.K."

If you haven’t read Louis’ statement, I highly suggest doing so. I want to preface all this by saying I don’t believe this absolves Louis of his actions nor should it. This apology, though, is far better than any we’ve seen so far – especially in comparison to Spacey’s kinda-BS-statement-thing.

Unlike Spacey and others, Louis acknowledges that the actions he took were not okay. In addition, the sexual advances he made towards these women put them in an impossible situation. He admits that he abused both his power and his fame in his actions, something no other apology I’ve read takes into account.

Something that I’m especially grateful to see is Louis acknowledging his privileges: “I have spent my long and lucky career talking and saying anything I want. I will now step back and take a long time to listen.” It feels like he’s been reading a variety of articles on how to respond to being called out – and acting based on them.

I won’t say that this statement is the best possible one. However, it’s the best one I’ve seen thus far… The recognition of abused power, harm done to many people in the process, and more is something we need to see. I’m sad that it takes people going through horrible experiences for us to see what apologetic behavior should look like. That said, it’s only good in comparison to the shittastic statements like Spacey has made. Louis spent years avoiding these allegations and hiding from them. Clearly, he knew then that these actions were wrong… so why apologize now? Is an apology enough, especially when he doesn’t even actually say he’s sorry?

I just don’t know.

What’s next?

The only people who can accept an apology are those harmed. I can’t say, as someone outside the specific situation, whether or not Louis’ statement does the trick. Regardless of how anyone feels about it, the proof is in the pudding, right? It won’t be until people see sustained changed behavior that the apology becomes fully recognized.

Apologetic words mean next to nothing if you don’t institute the changes to back them up. When confronted about their actions, many abusers will show sorrow or remorse. Frankly, that sorrow is more related to being caught than the harm itself. Each time I staged an intervention for my abusive mother, for instance, tears would flow and hugs would be freely given. Things would change for approximately two weeks. After that, though, the harm started creeping back in.

Most abusers, like C.K., commit harmful acts because of a power trip. That’s why we must constantly keep power in check using intersectional means. The more we work to dismantle what power like this can do, the more people we can protect from serial abusers.

Speak out. Say something when you see something inappropriate. Raise some hell.

Last minute addition:

I found Ellen Page’s recent post on things she’s been through incredibly moving. Please go read it. My favorite part is that she acknowledges her privilege while recognizing the disproportionate amount of abuse BIPOC endure:

Let’s remember the epidemic of violence against women in our society disproportionately affects low income women, particularly women of color, trans and queer women and indigenous women, who are silenced by their economic circumstances and profound mistrust of a justice system that acquits the guilty in the face of overwhelming evidence and continues to oppress people of color. I have the means to hire security if I feel threatened. I have the wealth and insurance to receive mental health care. I have the privilege of having a platform that enables me to write this and have it published, while the most marginalized do not have access to such resources. The reality is, women of color, trans and queer and indigenous women have been leading this fight for decades (forever actually). Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera, Winona LaDuke, Miss Major, Audre Lorde, bell hooks, to name a few.

Further reading: