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Dating & Relationships

Confessions of a Reformed Brazen Hussy

How to get off the emotional relationship roller coaster.

Adryenn Ashley

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Imagine the scariest roller coaster in the world, the kind that takes you super high and then plummets at top speed two seconds later. As you climb to the top, the hair on the back of your neck stands up and your stomach ties up in knots. When you drop, your whole body fills with abject fear, and as you coast to the next climb, you fell depleted, your body in shock, yet oddly filled with anticipation for the next theme park-induced high.

In my teens and early 20s, this was exactly what dating felt like. Roller coasters are often used as a metaphor for marriage, the natural ups and downs, feeling nervous and exhilarated at the same time. For me, the daily roller coaster ride was petrifying, exhausting, and unhealthy.

I’ll be honest… my life was a revolving door of boyfriends. As much as I hate to admit it, I was one of “those girls.” We all have a girlfriend or sister like that, the one who can’t be happy without a man, preferably a new man; the girl that seems to have no self respect or personal boundaries, who will jump into a relationship with pretty much anyone who says what she wants to hear.

I was addicted to having a man in my life, to feeling special and wanted, to what I thought was love. I figured the root cause was growing up without a father, and always longing for male approval. I found out later it was far more serious than that. I fell hard and fast every time, with no thought given to the type of man I was falling for. It’s no surprise that I hooked up with some real losers that any emotionally balanced and secure woman would avoid like the plague. One ex even threatened to have me kidnapped and sold into white slavery!

Once in a relationship, if he didn’t call after a date, I was sure he hated me or I had done something horribly wrong. Obsessively I’d go over every moment of the previous evening to see if I could have done something better. Alternately, if he looked at me with longing over dinner, I would run right out the next day and start trying on wedding dresses, certain we would be together forever. My life was swinging from one extreme to another, always looking for that “high” feeling of falling in love, and always crashing in flames.

Just before my dating life passed the point of no return and entered the realm of The Jerry Springer Show, a miracle happened. I was in a car accident that injured my spine. It’s not what you think, either. I didn’t see the “light” or see the enormity of life and how short it was. None of that. But I did end up in Dr. Michael DeFino’s chiropractic office, the man I credit with saving my life.

In addition to treatments for my back, he tested me for food allergies. Turned out I was allergic to – get ready now – chocolate, sugar, milk, wheat, corn, and potatoes! What else is there, right? Oh, and coffee. Yup. Life was OVER. All my good stuff, the food that kick started my day and helped me wind down, all forbidden fruit now. The treats that nursed my broken heart and quieted my nerves forever out of reach. Who would have thought the foods that I used to help me forget woes and lick my wounds were causing the problem in the first place.

Dr. DeFino told me my food allergies were causing hormonal and chemical fluctuations that caused me to feel extreme emotions. I didn’t immediately make the connection between ice cream and breakups, but I was desperate so I decided to give it a go. I quit cold turkey, and after a two-week period of shock (and grief), the impossible happened. I was calm. I was centered. I was, in fact, happy.

Cutting out sugar, caffeine, chocolate, bread, and the other stuff gave me energy, evened out my moods, and improved my concentration. And the little things that used to set me off into a tailspin or a rageful rant? I just let them pass on by. It was like being reborn and seeing the world through a child’s eyes. My relationships with friends improved almost immediately, and those that were toxic, I let go of easily. Gone was the drama, and in its place was something that had eluded me all of my life: serenity.

When I see the twenty-somethings that end up on the cover of gossip magazines every week, bouncing from guy to guy like a tennis ball, I remember my own roller coaster ride. On cloud nine one day, devastated the next. Standing in the grocery store checkout, I wonder if any these girls have been checked for food allergies! When Brittany hit rock bottom I knew it was more than the stress and pressure of being in the limelight 24/7. I saw in her the tailspin that would have been my life, only ending far worse than rehab.

It seems like such a simple solution, and yet we suffer through our emotional highs and lows, thinking this is just “who we are.” How many other people go through life feeling like they are crazy, but are such good actors that no-one knows but them? It’s a pretty isolating feeling. If only doctors would test for emotional hypersensitivities before putting those people on drugs. It’s worth a try, and the results could be miraculous.

The woman I was then is so far removed from my life now, I can’t believe we inhabited the same body. But I guess in a way, we didn’t. My former body was out of balance, burdened with chemicals and food that caused extreme reactions. Off of the “bad stuff” my body is exactly as it should be; calm and healthy.

Today, I am happily married to a wonderful man, my perfect fit. We have a four-year-old son and a remarkable relationship based on trust, passion, and friendship. You won’t believe me, but we’ve never had a fight. For someone who used to fly off the handle for absolutely no good reason, this is some feat.

I often wonder where I’d be had I not been in that car accident nearly 20 years ago. The sad truth is that had I remained uninformed and unhealthy in my body (and consequently my mind), I would have let my true love slip through my fingers. In fact, I probably wouldn’t have even noticed him, too busy riding up and down at break neck speed with the latest bad boy in a string of poor choices. Sometimes, the answer to our biggest challenge is simple, like changing how and what we eat. Everyone can do that. You can do that. I did, and I’ve been living joyously ever since.

The life I am living now is one that in my 20s I could not even dream up, let alone hope for. Today, I ride the real roller coasters for fun. I buy my ticket, find a seat, have a thrill, and take comfort in the fact that in two minutes, I can get off the ride and hit the carousel.

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Dating & Relationships

Which Housing Style Should You Consider After Getting Married?

Anna Smith

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The wedding is over, the honeymoon was fantastic, and now it’s really time to start your lives as a married couple and create your first home together. With so many options available for your little family, which one is the best place to start your new married life?

Condo

There are several perks of living in a condo to consider. Condos can be apartments in high rises, townhomes, or even single-family homes. With a condo, you’re able to own your home, but there is a condo’s homeowners’ association, commonly known as an HOA, to which you’ll pay a monthly fee. You won’t have to worry about mowing your lawn, maintaining outside structures, or other issues and costs that non-condo homeowners encounter. If you don’t have much of a green thumb or DIY capabilities and would rather own than rent, a condo might be the answer for you.

Apartment

If you weren’t living together before you got married or you’re not yet ready for homeownership, leasing an apartment might be the best way to go for your first home. The shorter time commitment will allow you to get used to cohabitating. It can also give you a better idea of what you want out of your home together. Combining your finances means that you can go into something more substantial and upscale. Still, if your ultimate goal is owning your own place one day, you’ll want to decide what amenities are necessities and what you can do without. That way, you won’t pay for things that you’re not going to use on a regular basis.

Single-Family Home

If you’re ready to buy your first home together, go for it! However, if you want to have your own house but aren’t quite in the right position to buy yet, consider entering into a rent-to-own lease agreement. Signing such a lease gives you the option of purchasing the home at the end of a specific period. It also gives you a chance to develop homeowning skills, like making repairs and doing landscaping, so that you can see if that’s something you can manage. If you can’t buy at the end of the term, it works just like a regular rental without further obligation. This is also a good choice if your credit isn’t as good as you’d like it to be.

No matter where you choose to live, your first place together as a married couple is bound to be unforgettable. Consider all your options, make your choices, and welcome home!

Here’s another article you might like: When Is the Time Right to Buy a Home?

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Dating & Relationships

How to Drink Safely and Responsibly

Anna Smith

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Developing a responsible relationship with alcohol is important, and many adults realize that their own alcohol use is beyond their control or follows an unhealthy pattern. It may be hard to know where you should call the line and how to start setting boundaries for yourself.

In the United States, many adults experience social pressure to drink because their friends do. As a result, even those wanting to cut back or abstain may find themselves drinking anyway for fear of losing friends or experiencing social isolation.

You can address your drinking in a productive way and start drinking safely with these tips. Remember that drinking is a personal choice, and you should always be prioritizing your physical and mental well-being. Do not let social pressure or fear stop you from drinking responsibly and following your own limits.

Drink with Friends

This may sound counterintuitive to the previous point, but you shouldn’t drink alone or avoid people because you’re worried about your alcohol consumption. Instead, you should only drink during social events or with individuals who respect your desire to only consume a safe amount of alcohol.

If you have friends that only want to spend time with you when you are heavily drinking, or they pressure you to drink more than you want to, it’s best to cut ties and start seeking out more positive, respectful relationships. Good friends don’t have to share your boundaries to respect them.

Always Plan a Ride Home

When you do go out to drink, make sure you arrange for someone to drive you home. Don’t use this as a fail-safe, though. You should still be setting a healthy alcohol limit and avoid binge drinking.

Rideshare apps can be dangerous for people who have drunk too much, so you should still make sure that you are alert and aware of your surroundings at all times even when you’re catching a ride home. You may even offer to be the designated driver for your group of friends, so you can go out without drinking.

Eat a Meal and Drink Water

Alcohol dehydrates you, and it will make you drunk more quickly if you drink on an empty stomach. Eat a full meal before you drink, and have a glass of water between drinks. Not only does this make you less likely to get a hangover, but you will also consume less alcohol if you’re taking a break between drinks to consume water.

Drinking water also reduces the intensity of hangover symptoms. Some hangover cures contain all-natural ingredients, like coconut water and ginger-lemon tonics. Staying hydrated is the best way to avoid hangovers or minimize their effects.

Get Help if You Need It

If you want to quit drinking or reduce your alcohol intake but find it difficult, you may want to consider alcohol addiction treatment. Medically known as alcohol use disorder (AUD), a drinking problem can range from mild to severe. In many cases, people need to learn more about alcohol and understand why they rely on it before they can make healthier decisions.

Perhaps you’re afraid to stop drinking because of losing friends or facing social pressures. In this case, talking to a therapist could help you develop healthy boundaries and find ways to meet new people and communicate your desire to drink less in a casual way.

By paying attention to how much you consume, setting limits and choosing your company wisely, you can enjoy alcohol responsibly and feel more confident in your ability to have fun without drinking.

Loved this article? Read this one next: 3 Super Simple Habits to Improve Your Health

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Dating & Relationships

What Menopause Means for Your Marriage

Anna Smith

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Despite being a well-known period in a woman’s life, menopause often takes her and her spouse by surprise. The symptoms can wreak havoc with her physical and mental health, and with the marriage as well. By knowing the symptoms, how to treat them, and taking a few simple steps to deal with it, you can weather the storm of menopause.

Symptoms

The symptoms of menopause are caused by hormonal changes in a woman’s body that occur around middle age. It affects you both physically and emotionally.

Physical symptoms include:

  • hot flashes
  • itchy skin
  • irregular periods
  • night sweats
  • headaches
  • breast tenderness
  • vaginal dryness

Emotional symptoms include:

  • depression
  • exhaustion
  • moodiness
  • confusion
  • loneliness

The brain also changes, with the “mommy brain” unplugging and the communication and emotion circuits seeming to shut down. This all leads to a drop in both communication and sexual interest.

Most menopause symptoms can be managed with over-the-counter menopause relief supplements like Staying Cool (Amazon) or a regime of essential oils. Stronger relief can be prescribed by a doctor if needed.

Complications

If a woman is taking medications such as antidepressants, contraceptives, mood stabilizers, sedatives, antihistamines, or medications for blood pressure, these can contribute to a decreased sex drive. Midlife stresses such as career changes, a suddenly empty nest, caring for elderly parents or the loss of a loved one, can also contribute to a declining libido and a lack of communication.

On top of that, men experience their own midlife changes. These changes are more gradual, less noticeable, and not often talked about. However, declining testosterone can affect his libido, mood, physical condition, and sexual performance. He may also be dealing with midlife stresses. However, because his changes are more gradual and less noticeable, neither of them may realize that part of their problem may be hormonal. Men can also benefit from herbal “male menopause” supplements like TestoTrax (Amazon).

What it all means for your marriage

Lowered libidos can make both spouses feel unattractive, unwanted and unloved. Throw in inhibited communication, and you end up with two people who feel alone and unwanted and can’t talk to each other about it. If this problem continues, both parties may start to consider leaving the marriage.

Communication issues can lead to many things being left unsaid, but it can also contribute to arguments. The sometimes wildly changing emotions of menopause can cause tears or anger seemingly out of the blue.

If you’re willing to take extra measures to ensure open communication with your spouse, you can limit those problems. Working with your doctor and using supplements to treat your symptoms can also help ease the transition from one stage of life to the next.

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