6 Questions To Ask On A First Date, According To Experts

First dates are nerve-wracking — that’s something everyone can agree on, right? And in the age of internet dating, even though you can find out a lot of information about someone online, for better or worse, you never really get a feel for a person until you meet them. And of course, that is just the beginning! If you’re unsure of the best way to get to know a potential lover from the get-go, there are some good questions to ask on the first date that might help to figure out if you’re compatible.

“A simple question can lead to a conversation that takes its own course, with little effort from either of you,” Dr. Carissa Coulston, a clinical psychologist, and the main author of relationship articles for The Eternity Rose, tells Bustle. For the sake of nurturing an initial conversation, keep things to the basics at first. “Helpful and neutral questions revolve around work or career interests, hobbies, sport, music and family — these are typically non-contentious.”

And what you might want to avoid? Coulston says generally to steer to left of asking about ex-relationships, or probing into any problems that your date might have briefly referred to, like issues they had with their parents when they were a child.

“Of course, these more personal topics can be discussed between the two of you down the track if your relationship should progress,” Coulston says.

Ultimately, you can talk about whatever you want, and you might have much easier and deeper conversations on some first dates than on others. Below, a few experts shed light on some good initial questions that can give you a peak into a person.

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How Do You Know If You’re With The Right Person? Ask Your Partner These 7 Questions

When you get into a relationship with someone, it’s safe to say that you want to make sure you’re not wasting your time. You want to be with someone who understands you, appreciates you, and is someone you can potentially see a future with. But because we aren’t mind readers, it can be hard to determine if your partner is really right for you. Lucky for you, you don’t necessarily need to be clairvoyant to figure this out because there are questions you can ask your partner to see if they’re “The One.”

“On the surface, asking questions sounds like a good idea, however, how you ask is the key,” Richard Horowitz, professional educator and co-founder of Growing Great Relationships, tells us. “Your partner does not want to feel interrogated. Therefore try to ask questions naturally and not all at once and also ask your partner to ask question so that it feels like a mutual conversation.” Through these conversations over you time, you’ll be able to learn about things such as their values, likes, and dislikes, which can play a huge part in whether or not you two may be compatible with each other. But if you’re confused about where to start, here are seven questions you can ask your partner to find out if they’re truly the right person for you.

1. How Would We Handle Worst-Case Scenarios?

Andrew Zaeh 

Sometimes the best questions to ask your partner have to do with the extremes. Christine Scott-Hudson, licensed psychotherapist, marriage therapist, and owner of Create Your Life Studio, tells us that asking your partner about how they would handle things like emotional affairs, illnesses in the family, or even invasive in-laws is a good way to gauge your partner’s views and how they are under pressure. If your partner’s answers show a willingness to work together to figure out a solution, it’s a good indicator that they’ll be a communicative partner throughout the relationship. But if they have hard-and-fast rules about certain things, you can determine if they’re someone who’s right for you. This question is also a good way to determine if your partner is going to be the support system that you need in a relationship or not.

2. Do You See A Future Here?

This question may seem like it would be awkward to ask early on in a relationship, but it can really show you whether your partner can see things progressing. “Many couples notice they have doubts about the progression of their relationship,” Scott-Hudson says. She suggests asking about all the things that may come with the progression of a relationship like what pace they want to move at and when they’d like to meet and involve friends and family members. “These things are best discussed before the couple moves in together or marries in order to prevent misunderstandings and to promote clear and healthy communication.”

3. Do You Want Kids?

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

You may want to become a perpetual dog-parent and never have kids, or you may want to an entire football team as a family. Whatever your preference is, it’s important to discuss it with your partner to see if you two are on the same page. With something like kids, it’s a little harder to compromise on. Scott-Hudson explains that it’s also important to be on the same page about the issue of possible infertility, to determine if you and your partner would be supportive of each other in that case. She also explains that it’s important to take it a step further and ask about how they would want to raise kids, if you both want them. She suggests asking questions like, “In what religion [if any] will we raise our children? Public or private school? Do you expect one parent to be a stay at home parent, and one to work? Or do you expect both parents to work outside of the home? Will they work during high school and college, or be full time students? Is adoption a possibility? Is in vitro a possibility? Is foster parenting a possibility?”

4. How Do You Feel About Your Family?

Andrew Zaeh 

Family can either be a great or a tricky subject for some people. Either way it’s important to learn about your partner’s family and their interactions with them to determine what values your partner grew up with and how they might act in the future. “How they answer will determine their attachment to important people they grew up with and gives you good information about how they will treat you and your possible children in the future,” Dr. Tammy Nelson, sex therapist and sex therapist and consultant for Ashley Madison, tells us. “It doesn’t matter if they are in a positive relationship with both parents, but more importantly, if they have forgiven them for past mistakes.”

5. How Do You Feel About Sex?

Sex shouldn’t just be something you and your partner do, it should also be something that you talk about. “We choose a partner based on physical and sexual attraction,” Nelson says. “If sex is important to you now, it’s definitely going to be important to you later on. Make sure that you both have the same level of interest in sex and you both see it as a priority.” This is also the case if you’re someone who doesn’t want to have sex. Being open and honest about your position on sex and asking your partner to do the same can show you whether or not you two are compatible.

6. How Important Are Politics To You?

Andrew Zaeh 

For many of us, our political ideals are directly aligned with our identities and personal values. Asking your partner about their political affiliations or who they vote for can give you an idea of what they care about and also what they might not be too concerned with. “Strangely enough, we can put up with separate religious or spiritual views and we can handle it if they are terrible slobs as roommates, but studies show that we cannot tolerate a partner who votes on the opposite side of the aisle,” Nelson says. “It might not seem like a big deal now, but if your partner has different values than you, it will matter. Particularly now, at a time when the government is divided so clearly down party lines around things that matter deeply.”

7. How Do You Act After Arguments?

Although it may be hard for your partner to be totally perceptive to how they act after arguments, asking this question can give you an idea of your partner’s behaviors and what they might need from you whenever you have a falling out. Scott-Hudson suggests asking questions like, “Do you like to be left alone? Do you need physical comfort, like a hug or a pat on the arm, when you are upset? Do you need time and space to process your feelings? Do you need me to reassure you that I’m not leaving you, that I’m not going anywhere, or abandoning you?” By asking your partner these questions, you can determine if their behaviors at your relationship’s worst will be something you’ll be able to deal with or not. And if not, you might have to reevaluate whether they’re the one for you.

It might be hard to determine if your partner is your perfect match with a few questions, but these questions are a starting point to bigger discussions that can really show you what’s important to you and your partner and if those values are compatible in the long-run.

 

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The Top of the Stairs

1970 – Philadelphia

I have three sisters. Janice who’s eighteen months older than me, was born in 1961. My sister April, was born in 1966, and Gabrielle born in 1970.

Sometimes when we went to bed and my folks had people over, we’d leave our rooms, and lie at the top of the stairs and listen to our parents downstairs. It was probably just out of curiosity. What are the adults doing downstairs? What are they talking about? Different voices and laughter. The sounds of adults having fun grownup time with their friends and neighbors. Kids don’t like to go to bed. They want to be up and a part of everything. But we could only listen from the top of the stairs.

Sometimes, we’d lie at the top of the stairs in our pajamas listening to my parents when there weren’t any guests over. Maybe we were hoping we’d hear some secret info about what Santa might be bring us this year. But sometimes, more often than not, there was no laughter. Their voices sounded angry with each other. What could they be angry about? We didn’t do anything. We were in bed. We would hear them fight and argue downstairs in the kitchen. I don’t remember what they argued about. It wasn’t so much their words, but the sound of their voices.

If I think back to the sound of our parents voices when we were little, the sound was more important than what they were saying. Children respond more to tone than to meaning. A young mind only has so much capacity for complex emotion. If the voice is soft and gentle, it’s usually followed by a smile and praise. But if the tone is loud and sharp, it’s probably followed by admonishment or punishment.

Like dogs, we learn the difference in those tones very quickly.

When you’re a little kid, and it’s time to go outside, what’s do your parents always say? Go put your shoes on. We’re going. Where are your shoes? We have to go. Because when you’re a kid, you like to run around in your stocking feet. Normally the shoes come off when you got home, because your mom doesn’t want you tracking dirt all over the house.

One morning, my father was getting ready for work. He couldn’t find his shoes. He looked all over and it just didn’t make sense. His closet was always neatly arranged full of ironed shirts, ties, and suits for his job at the bank.

He asked my mother if she’d seen them. Having no idea what had happened, she joined in the search. They finally found his shoes, and several other pairs stashed away behind some boxes in a different closet.

They began to ask us kids if we knew anything about it. Gabrielle was just a newborn so it couldn’t have been her, and Janice and I simply shook our heads.

My middle sister April, who was a very little girl at the time, but always outspoken, took responsibility.

“Why did you hide daddy’s shoes, April? You know he needs them for work.”

“I heard you and daddy fighting last night. I heard what he said to you. I thought if I hid his shoes he wouldn’t leave. You can’t go outside without your shoes.”

Such a simple act, but what an elegant plan for a four-year-old child to conceive in an attempt to keep her family together, and her daddy from leaving.

I’ll never forget that.

 

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Tales of Rock – Awkward Family Photos: Punk and Metal Edition

Today is my birthday and I love Rock, so here’s a fun special edition of Tales of Rock!

I’m sure you’ve spent way too much time scrolling through the amazing feed of Awkward Family Photos. So instead of rolling your eyes right now, just admit you enjoy looking at other people’s terrible photos. And let’s be real – the era of the awkward family photo is going to fall by the wayside soon as generations obsessed with perfect selfies delete anything that shows us in a less than perfect state. Gone are the days where if you paid for the photos to be developed, they went in the damn album to be immortalized forever in your family’s storage. With that in mind, enjoy this little collection of punk and metal angst from the good old days…

 

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6 Ways To Tell That The Guy You’re Dating Isn’t Going To Last

Relationships have existed since cavemen used their clubs to knock women out, drag them to a cave, and claim, “You mine!” Thankfully, so much has changed since then. Yet for some reason, we still let men hold all the power in relationships, just like we did in prehistoric times. We know we shouldn’t give all our power to a guy, but there are plenty of toxic guys out there who aren’t worth our time.

Why would you let a guy call all the shots? Maybe you allow it because you really love him. Maybe you lack the confidence that you need to take charge. Or maybe you just think that there’s no one better out there.

Regardless, spending all of your energy on the wrong guy ends up wasting precious time that you could spend on literally anyone else. Sometimes we become so wrapped up in our feelings that we don’t even realize that our love is unrequited.

So how do you know whether or not the guy you are investing your energy into is worth your time? Here are six glaring red flags that’ll prove that the guy you’re investing your energy into isn’t worth your time:

1. You’re the one putting all the effort into communicating.

In a balanced, healthy relationship, both partners will make an effort to keep the lines of communication open. It’s be glaringly obvious if you’re the one always initiating conversations, especially if you scroll through your messages.

If you’re unsure how a guy feels about you, take a step back for a few days and see what happens. This is your opportunity to find clarity. Does your phone stay silent? If so, he’s not worth your time because he’s not making any effort to communicate with you.

2. You don’t meet important people in his life.

You’ve been dating for a while, but your outings are always just you and your partner, or on occasion, some of your friends. You have never met his friends or family, and he blows off any conversation about them. If your significant other engages in this behavior, watch out, because he may be pocketing you. If you’re being pocketed, get out of the relationship now. Don’t let a guy string you along and then crush you. Men like that are not worth crying over.

3. He’s keeping your relationship secret.

You want to shout your love to the world, but your guy wants to keep things low-key. You have all your dates in relatively obscure places where no one will see you. Even if he claims that he wants to keep you to himself or save money, these secret rendezvous may be a warning sign that he’s hiding you away. If you feel suspicious that he’s hiding something by hiding you, don’t give into his requests for secret dates. You deserve better!

4. You do all of the digging.

When you’re interested in someone, you typically enjoy learning all about them. However, if you’re all of your conversations with your partner feel like a one-sided interview because they don’t bother asking you anything, then they’re probably not worth your energy in the long term.

5. You’re not his priority.

Maybe you’re dying to see a new movie, but he won’t give you a clear “yes” when you ask him to go. Or perhaps he often bails on you at the last minute and gives you a bunch of lame excuses. Maybe you’re the only one who ever initiates plans because he can’t be bothered to spend time with you. If you don’t feel like his priority now, chances are that you never will.

6. He avoids talking about your relationship’s future.

You don’t have to leave bridal magazines lying around your living room to find out your partner’s stance on marriage. But if you’ve invested a good chunk of time into your relationship with someone, you should have a deep discussion about he sees himself in the future and if that future includes you. If he avoids your efforts to casually discuss long-term goals and aspirations, chances are good that he doesn’t see you as a permanent fixture in his life. If that’s the case, get out before you invest any more of your time in him.

Are you fishing where the bottom-feeders hide or where you find the real catches? If your man is flashing neon warning signs and you are ignoring them, your relationship is not going to end well, so don’t be afraid to get out now. You don’t need to club a man over the head to get him to love you. You’re worth so much more than a man who won’t invest his time in you, so if he’s not worth your time, spend it on you and your friends instead.

 

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Couple With 45-Year Age Gap Defend Their Relationship Despite Backlash From Family

A husband and wife with a 45-year age gap have defended their relationship, asking the world why they should have to hide their love.

Stefani Walper, 25, and her 70-year-old husband Don have been together for five years, and even have a two-year-old son called Lachlan together.

The couple met at the bar Stefani works at, when Don came in to drink with friends.

Speaking to The Mirror, Stefani – from Armstrong in British Columbia, Canada – recalled: “I loved him like the second I saw his face. It was super weird because everyone was like, ‘Oh my God, this guy’s like, at least 30 years older’.

“I just thought he was so handsome and he was charming and super flirty. And, I don’t know, it just made me happy every time he came in.”

 

Stef, 25, and Don, 70. Credit: Jiri Bakala/Barcroft Media via Getty Images
Stef, 25, and Don, 70. Credit: Jiri Bakala/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Don eventually asked her out for drinks, and the rest is history – although that’s not to say it’s been plain-sailing ever since.

Stefani, who was just 20 when she first met Don, who is the same age as her late father, said most of her family have been unhappy about the unusual match.

She explained: “My mom was not a fan at all, my dad was not a fan, my brother was absolutely not a fan as well. So nobody was really on Don’s team.

“I had just turned 20, like just. So I think for my side of the family, they were a little bit like, ‘Whoa, what are you doing?’ They thought I was making a mistake, I got myself into a situation.”

By the time the two married a year and a half ago, Stefani’s family had thankfully warmed to Don, but the couple admitted they still get odd looks when in public.

Don said: “People on the street, they do that second take or third take or whatever it is or make a comment if I have Lachlan out for a walk or something and someone says, ‘oh, grandpa’s got the little boy today’, I don’t even correct them.”

 

Stef, 25, and Don, 70. Credit: Jiri Bakala/Barcroft Media via Getty Images
Stef, 25, and Don, 70. Credit: Jiri Bakala/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

But they refuse to let strangers’ judgement hold them back, with Stefani adding: “We choose, I guess, not to hide our relationship because why would you hide yours? Would anybody hide their relationship?”

She continued: “People always told me: ‘I’ll pray for you, like you’re in a really scary situation, he’s gaslighting you, he’s grooming you, you need to talk to somebody and get help and get out; like you’re in a really toxic relationship’.

“And I was like, all right, so here’s a guy who puts gas in my car when he’s got it, puts gas in our car, he brings me home flowers, he puts cute little sticky notes on my mirror, he rubs my feet or my back every night after work.”

It’s a sentiment Don shares, saying he doesn’t think they should worry about anything other than each other and their son.

He added: “I don’t think we have to prove it, we just show them by living your life the best you can and raise our son the best we can.”

 

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We Have Ruined Childhood

For youngsters these days, an hour of free play is like a drop of water in the desert. Of course they’re miserable.

According to the psychologist Peter Gray, children today are more depressed than they were during the Great Depression and more anxious than they were at the height of the Cold War. A 2019 study published in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology found that between 2009 and 2017, rates of depression rose by more than 60 percent among those ages 14 to 17, and 47 percent among those ages 12 to 13. This isn’t just a matter of increased diagnoses. The number of children and teenagers who were seen in emergency rooms with suicidal thoughts or having attempted suicide doubled between 2007 and 2015.

To put it simply, our kids are not O.K.

For a long time, as a mother and as a writer, I searched for a single culprit. Was it the screens? The food? The lack of fresh air and free time, the rise of the overscheduled, overprotected child, the overarching culture of anxiety and fear?

Those things might all contribute. But I’ve come to believe that the problems with children’s mental and emotional health are caused not by any single change in kids’ environment but by a fundamental shift in the way we view children and child-rearing, and the way this shift has transformed our schools, our neighborhoods and our relationships to one another and our communities.

The work of raising children, once seen as socially necessary labor benefiting the common good, is an isolated endeavor for all but the most well-off parents. Parents are entirely on their own when it comes to their offspring’s well-being. Many have had to prioritize physical safety and adult supervision over healthy emotional and social development.

No longer able to rely on communal structures for child care or allow children time alone, parents who need to work are forced to warehouse their youngsters for long stretches of time. School days are longer and more regimented. Kindergarten, which used to be focused on play, is now an academic training ground for the first grade. Young children are assigned homework even though numerous studies have found it harmful. STEM, standardized testing and active-shooter drills have largely replaced recess, leisurely lunches, art and music.

The role of school stress in mental distress is backed up by data on the timing of child suicide. “The suicide rate for children is twice what it is for children during months when school is in session than when it’s not in session,” according to Dr. Gray. “That’s true for suicide completion, suicide attempts and suicidal ideas, whereas for adults, it’s higher in the summer.” But the problems with kids’ mental and emotional health are not only caused by what goes on in the classroom. They also reflect what’s happening in our communities. The scarcity of resources of every kind, including but not limited to access to mental health services, health care, affordable housing and higher education, means that many parents are working longer and harder than ever. At the same time that more is demanded of parents, childhood free time and self-directed activities have become taboo.

And so for many children, when the school day is over, it hardly matters; the hours outside school are more like school than ever. Children spend afternoons, weekends and summers in aftercare and camps while their parents work. The areas where children once congregated for unstructured, unsupervised play are now often off limits. And so those who can afford it drive their children from one structured activity to another. Those who can’t keep them inside. Free play and childhood independence have become relics, insurance risks, at times criminal offenses.

Tali Raviv, the associate director of the Center for Childhood Resilience, says many children today are suffering a social-skills deficit. She told me kids today “have fewer opportunities to practice social-emotional skills, whether it’s because they live in a violent community where they can’t go outside, or whether it’s because there’s overprotection of kids and they don’t get the independence to walk down to the corner store.” They don’t learn “how to start a friendship, how to start a relationship, what to do when someone’s bothering you, how to solve a problem.”

 

Many parents and pediatricians speculate about the role that screen time and social media might play in this social deficit. But it’s important to acknowledge that simply taking away or limiting screens is not enough. Children turn to screens because opportunities for real-life human interaction have vanished; the public places and spaces where kids used to learn to be people have been decimated or deemed too dangerous for those under 18.

And so for many Americans, the nuclear family has become a lonely institution — and childhood, one long unpaid internship meant to secure a spot in a dwindling middle class.

Something has to change, says Denise Pope, a co-founder of Challenge Success, an organization based in Palo Alto, Calif., that helps schools make research-backed changes to improve children’s mental health. Kids need recess. They need longer lunches. They need free play, family time, meal time. They need less homework, fewer tests, a greater emphasis on social-emotional learning.

Challenge Success also works with parents, encouraging them to get together with their neighbors and organize things like extracurricular-free days when kids can simply play, and teaching them how not to intervene in normal peer conflict so that children can build problem-solving skills themselves. A similar organization, Let Grow, helps schools set up unstructured free play before and after the school day.

Dr. Gray told me it’s no surprise that the program, which he consults for, has been well received. “Children are willing to get up an hour early to have free play, one hour a week,” he said. “It’s like a drop of water if you’ve been in the desert.”

These groups are doing important work, but if that kind of desperation is any indication, we shouldn’t be surprised that so many kids are so unhappy. Investing in a segment of the population means finding a way to make them both safe and free. When it comes to kids, we too often fall short. It’s no wonder so many are succumbing to despair. In many ways, America has given up on childhood, and on children.

 

This blog has been dating and relationships for years. Should I start to write some more self help pieces like this?

 

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Heather – The Family

I went on tinder to try to get more dates. This was a couple of years ago. I’d been working too much. I just wanted to have more fun.

I got a message and set up a date with this girl. It’s my 5th date from the site, it’s been fun. But this one girl was like one of those love at first sight moments when we met at a restaurant. I saw Heather and she was perfect. I tried to play it cool but I felt like I could just cut ties with all the girls I’ve dated and just commit to her.

Physically she was everything I could ever ask for and exactly my type. Her personality seemed about a 10/10. About 30 minutes into sitting down, we didn’t even order cause we were just talking. The chemistry was as good as it was with my first love when I was 14. It was perfect, sparks were flying, I thought I was done and ready to commit here.

But then she tells me to forget about ordering food, let’s go somewhere else, and she has this idea. She won’t say much and I like surprises so I didn’t ask much. We jumped in my car and drove to this restaurant about 20 minutes away kind of out-of-town. It was half way up a mountain near a ski resort. I’m familiar with the area so no big deal.

We walk in and her family is celebrating her aunt’s birthday. There was only family and a lot of it, about 40 people. She introduces me and everybody was happy to meet me and really nice. Everybody also knew that she was out on a first date. They were asking her stuff like, “Is this the guy?” “Is this your date?” “Is this the one?” All of the sudden I wasn’t so cool and relaxed. I felt pressure to be on my best behavior. It was high pressure to the 3rd degree. But everybody was nice so that helped. We sat down and I started being questioned by her older sister, her aunt, and another lady that I forget her relation to my date. The mom started kind of defending me and telling them to back off and let me eat. But the interrogating continued. After I don’t know how long they turned to my date and jokingly said, “we approve.” Then I was able to kind of get my bearings for a minute.

I was totally off-balance all night, just tense. I was afraid the back of my shirt would get that a big wet spot cause I felt sweat on my back. So the sister brings her cute little girl and let’s me hold her and she and my date started taking pictures of me holding her, and somebody else’s baby boy as well. I started to feel like the tone of it all was that we were a couple. I kind of felt like I was married to her and these nice people were my in-laws.

After a couple of hours probably closer to 3 hours, everybody was kind of tiring out and everything began to wind down, keep in mind her car is still at the other restaurant down the hill. Then her dad suddenly asks me “jokingly,” what my intentions are with his daughter. Though I can’t remember how he phrased the question. Everybody looked at the table looked at me which is about half the people there.

I guess I was exhausted from all the questioning (I was questioned by multiple people, multiple times) and the pressure of it all cause I kind of lost it. He asked the question, I looked across the table at her, and she told her dad to stop it. Her dad smiles and jokingly says that he’d really like to hear my response, and her uncle (I think) also said he’d like to know (jokingly). I looked at my date and said, “Can I talk to you alone for a minute.” To which her dad laughs loudly and says “I made him nervous.”

So everybody is laughing now and I guess it was a big joke. I stood up in place, kind of, it was one of those long bench seats and I couldn’t push it back cause other people were sitting on it. Then her sister (I think) says, “Oh there are no secrets in this family, speak your mind.” People then laugh again and everybody starts making jokes about not having secrets and this man who married into the family somehow tells me that he remembers being in my place and he says, “Let me give you some advice, the best thing to do right now is speak your mind and be honest.” Then others join in and echo his sentiment, all jokingly I think.

So I looked at my date and she says something like, “You can tell me anything here, we’re all family.” She also I think was joking. But I had started to lose my ability to tell when people were joking and when they were serious. So the dad says, “Wait, I haven’t gotten an answer to my question.” So finally I speak directly to the dad and say, “I’d like to discuss that with her first.” But I REGRETFULLY, laughed as I said it. So her dad says, “I asked you first, I wanna know.” I turn to my date and she says something like, “Go ahead you can tell me, I’m a big girl I can handle it.”

So I said ok, and sat down then took a couple of breaths while her dad kind of quieted everybody down. I started with “I think I made a huge mistake.”

It all spiraled down from there. I said harsh things like that I felt like I was having a bad dream where I was suddenly married. I questioned her intentions in bringing me there. I said stuff like, “What were you thinking?” Yes, I liked you, but I just met you, and right now I know your aunt (I pointed at her sitting next to me) better than I know you.”

I think she was humiliated but I couldn’t stop, the more I spoke the more bad stuff came out, total fucking tail spin. I said I want to find someone special but I don’t want to skip the first 29 dates and skip to date 30 which is what I’d done that night.

Then people started interrupting and chiming in and suggesting that she and I slow down and have a real first date. I wasn’t having it, I was out of control. I said, “No, it’s too late for that, I feel robbed here, I wanted to meet this girl, get to know her, date her, and maybe fall for her, but now it’s like we’re engaged and her whole family is here and there are all these expectations. We skipped the getting to know each other, and dating part so I feel robbed.” Then I said yet another thing I regret. I said “It’s a HUGE RED FLAG (with an emphatic gesture) that I asked for minute alone with you to talk, and this is what I got instead.” I added something like “you’re all great and a great family, but the lack of certain boundaries is a huge red flag for me. I would never let my relationship become family business.”

My date interrupts me at this point and says, “Okay, so let’s talk in private, let’s go outside and talk, I’m sorry I didn’t give you that minute, let’s go outside and talk privately, I’ll give you all night.” She was visibly shaken and I could tell tears were inevitable. I stood up again and realizing that I had insulted all of them I just quietly walked out. I felt really bad cause they were all nice and had nothing but the best intentions for me. They love her, and they were literally telling me that I was good enough which should’ve been a compliment, but I somehow took it the wrong way and spat in their face. I didn’t even drink.

I drove home alone in silence.

 

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Sarah Jacobs: How to Stop Having a Favorite Child

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I’ve invited a guest writer to post an article here on phicklephilly. Please welcome this new talent to our audience. Likes, comments and follows are always welcome!

Thank you, Sarah!

Family dynamics play a huge impact on how children are formed into adults. Research shows that our birth order also has a hand in how we turn out. The oldest child may take on a leadership role in the family, while the youngest may be the most carefree. Extended family members and our interaction with them also adds up into the mix. One other factor also is how we perceive favoritism among siblings. We often see the one who gets away with most as the most favored one, while the one where a much higher form of expectation, be it in academics, good behavior, even in household chores, is often perceived as the more unfavored child.

Though parents may try to deny it, there is always a favorite child in the family. When you read mommy confessions in parenting forums, it is very common to hear mothers admit to having a preferred child. When we think back on our childhood, we often remember a time or two where we feel that our parents may not have been totally fair to us. While favoritism is common, it often shifts from one child to another, depending on who is “better” on that day or time. However, favoritism can be damaging when it is centered solely on one child, leaving the other siblings
with feelings of rejection.

As a parent, you might not be conscious on playing favorites, but the sad thing is, children often perceive it even if parents don’t admit it. Signs of favoritism may include letting a child get away more often than the other children, how you talk and interact also shows which child makes you more relaxed and calm. Your expectations and how you talk about your children to others also shows if there are any favorites. It may not be honestly admitted, but our how we play favorites
will always have a way of showing.

Jeffrey Kluger, author of “The Sibling Effect: What the Bonds Among Brothers and Sisters
Reveal About Us,” cites that the favored child can have problems when they grow up. They might suffer severely when they fail to meet expectations. This is simply because they grew up overconfident, with feelings of entitlement and the thinking that they can get away with anything. While those children who felt rejected for being the less favorite could have unresolved feelings of anger and often feel inadequate.

For parents to avoid hurting their children unintentionally with favoritism, the best way would be to admit to it, and to be honest about it. Parents are just humans and will also have their own set of biases and preferences, and if there is a child that seem to match up with their parent’s personalities, it would be hard not to show more attention to them. Handling favoritism is not denying its existence. It is vital to accept it as a reality and doing ways on how to make it work for you and your children, and not break apart your family.

There should also be a clear avenue for expressing feelings and emotions. Often, when children feel that parents are being unjust, they would clam up and bottle up their hurts inside. This often would flare up into unintentional bouts of anger and bad behavior. Parents should make it a point that children grow up without fear of expressing themselves. Though children might not understand things clearly, having them express themselves will also allow parents to be able to explain the situation better and be able to clear up any misunderstandings.

Lastly, parents can learn more about their behavior towards their children from others. Most parents get defensive when well-meaning people tell them something about how they handle their children. While there might be those that are just being judgmental, there are those people that really do care and are really trying to help. Parents who are open minded and are willing to listen to others will more likely be able to check and adapt behaviors that can prevent obvious favoritism.

Building a family and raising children is a tough job. While having favorites may not be avoided, parents can show their love to their children in different ways, and their love for them is the same, and never less.

 

Author Bio:

Sarah Jacobs is an experienced writer who loves creating articles that can benefit others. Shehas worked as a freelance writer in the past making informative articles and fascinating stories. She has extensive knowledge in a variety of fields such as technology, business, finance, marketing, personal development, and more.

Check out her company here: Giftninjas.co 

 

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Wildwood Daze – 1980 – I’ve Had It With This Town

I love the summer. I’ve been dropped here against my will by some other person. My father. I have no control over my life. I have to go to school at a new school as a stranger. I know you have a problem with my dissatisfaction and depression.

I excel in school and start a band. I thrive in this shit hole you’ve dropped me off with no concept of how that will break your son’s spirit.

Janice is off in college so you’re good. If anything is of kilter your going to lose your shit and that is me.

What did you think was going to happen?

Let’s rip the 17-year-old son from all of his friends and his band from Philly and drop him off in Wildwood, New Jersey. A retirement and resort town the you already know is a deathtrap for young people.

You dropped out of high school to get away from this hell hole. You joined the army rather than turn to crime at 17. You fucking asshole that I love.

I get it. I worked in banking just like you for 30 years. You were making a bunch of bad loans at the Provident in Philly and got out when the getting was good.

You retreated to NJ. your little safe haven to escape, but you never thought of what that would do to the children in your life.

The little ones were fine. April and Gabby didnt;t know any better. But I was a senior in high school. I never got to graduate with my friends at Frankford in Philly. I had a band. You destroyed that for your little escape plan.

But what was that. You replicated your life in NJ as the regional manager at First Fidelity Bank. You’re a great manager and a great man. But you really have a taste for some of your employees, man.

I remember telling you about a girl I met once how I was in a relationship and I told you about how I had feelings for her.

You said, “Why don’t you just move on her”

I said: “Because that would be wrong. I’d be cheating on my girlfriend and that would betray her trust in me.”

You were pleased and happy with my answer.

I knew it.. because you could never be that. I could see it in your eyes you were relived that I wasn’t like you in that respect.

That respect.

Bitch, please.

If you’re unhappy in your liffe, divorce mom and just send the check and leave us the fuck alone. Then you can bag Jennifer Sweeten or as you call her “sweet meat” all you want until her husband finds out.

You’ll figure it out.

 

You and your brother Jack were dropped off here after your parents divorced. Nobody got divorced back then.

Why the hell would you think it was a good idea to drop me off in this shit hole?

Wildwood is a glistening sand castle of magical fun and romance in the summer… and then it turns into a bleak shroud of dark depression where there is nothing going on in the winter. It is a desolate hole of isolation that is impossible for a teenager to escape.

Here I am. I know you and there is a part of you that is me. Some great. Some awful. But you have the chore of raising the shitty you and now the shitty son you don’t understand who is too much like your brother Jack.

So if there were any questions as to why Chaz wanted to load up the ’69 Volkswagen minibus and drive across the country to go live in sunny California let’s put all of that to rest right now.

I love you, you selfish, self-serving prick.

I really do.

Thank you for teaching me to read. Thank you for all of the books. Thank you for your honesty. Thank you for teaching me to ride a bike. Thank you for teaching me how to catch a fish. Thank you for teaching me to drive a car. Thank you for teaching me about wine, art, and literature and film. Thank you for teaching me about women. (To an extent) Thank you for everything.

I’m not going to mention all of the bad stuff here.

All ready did some of that.

 

Time to load of the 69 VW minibus and head to California.

 

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