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<editorsnote> Hi, I'm Jen Friel, and we here at TNTML examine the lives of nerds outside of the basements and into the social media, and dating world.  We have over 75 peeps that write about their life in real time. (Real nerds, real time, real deal.) Sit back, relax, and enjoy some of the stories!! </editorsnote>



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#RealDeal: What being a relationship blogger taught me about relationships

Relationship blogger resume rundown:

103 dates in 9 months.

Wing girl for Neil Strauss.

Destination dating ... a lot of destination dating.

Being a domme, and that whole owning slaves thing.

Posts that make me blush to this day. 

Countless pieces of advice to both men and women.

What did I take away from all of this? 

It starts with a "no" and ends with a "thing:" nothing

<tangent> I'm genuinely embarassed now by how black and white I was in certain situations all knowing if I had taken a few steps back I could have been more objective. For that, I am sorry. </tangent> 

Documenting so much of my life for the last four years taught me an enormous amount about people and their darkest desires. By being the girl that posted everything about herself online meant you could meet (who you think) is a complete stranger at the bar and they will immediately tell you their life story because they have read all about yours. It was commiserating to a degree, but there was also an element of "hey, this person gets me" - whether that was good or bad was only indicative of the individual. 

Last week, I spent 72 hours as myself one year ago.

Previously, I had a line for everything knowing exactly how I wanted the conversation to go, and had talking points that I could rattle off like my own name. After all, I had created a personal brand, so to not be able to speak intelligently on the direction for it was a liability.

Somewhere about 10 minutes into my first meeting, I just started laughing. I have to stop, I said. I can tell you what you want to hear from me, but honestly, looking back, the person that created this website needed: 

  1. A hug
  2. A warm fire
  3. The last man on Earth. 

The LAST thing I could be at that moment was my former self ... ahhh it was like nails on chalkboard as each of the sentences escaped from my mouth. 

I continued laughing saying I wish I had listened to the “trolls.” If I hadn’t been so arrogant I could have seen that a handful of them (or more) were actually telling me like it was and I could have come to this conclusion faster. 

In regards to dating I did collect a lot of data (which as everyone knows turns me on more than Magic Mike) - but I still came home most nights and cried placing my headphones in my ears and blogging everything online that I could never:

1) admit to myself

2) say out loud. 

Re-read that last paragraph. I started it off by saying "in regards to dating" and then my brain went to speaking about the data collected. THAT is the disconnect. 

Being a relationship blogger means sourcing your intimate experiences for profit. Whether that is hits on your blog, dollars from advertisers, or leverage for something you see in your eyes as "bigger" - intimacy is for sale, and your going rate is dependent upon how much you are willing to reveal.

No matter how honest your intentions are in the beginning, if it does become popular (to whatever degree) the person morphs like a Power Ranger into a persona ... and then you're fucked (sometimes literally). You are then sucked into a vacuum of bullshit surrounded by people that tell you how awesome you are every day. Guys want to date you so they will be written about, and women want to be you because you were honest with how shitty guys can be and they view you as this poster child for girl power. 


Disclaimer: I say all of this without an OUNCE of disrespect, but an honest evaluation of what I first hand experienced. I could not speak for all relationship bloggers, and more than anything would welcome feedback if anyone dis/agrees. 

My friend joked the other day saying he would date women from OKC or Tinder and know within one “witty” joke if they were on par with him. If they didn’t get it within the first 10 minutes, he would still commit to the additional 50 just to learn something new or garner a story (for his own personal collection)

The Jen, I used to know, he said, lived her whole life for those 50 minutes. 

I laughed knowing he was right, and I also laughed not caring about what it meant.

What are you doing now, he asked? 

I briefly told him about certain projects, but the proudest moment was in telling him that I honestly don't know. I don’t know why I am living where I am, or why I am doing what I do. I don’t know much of anything anymore, but things keep seeming to work out and the fact that I'm dealing with politicians who have read this site and high fived me for just going for it made me laugh. I thought for sure once they read about me they'd run. 

He laughed saying, that’s when you’re really being honest. None of us know, but it takes all those trials, errors, and successes to at least have a better idea of what you think will work. 

He added, the one thing I can commend you for is the art of happenstance. I’ve never seen anyone turn a “I just happened to be here moment …” into so many things. 

That’s the part that is never orchestrated, I added. It really was just all from my heart and just saying whatever I felt. Life starts when I just shut off my analytical brain. It's like in chess, a good chess player thinks five moves ahead -a great chess player thinks one step ahead. 

I like this Jen, he added. 

I smiled but didn't need to tell him that I really like this Jen too. 

It wasn't until last year when I was in a loving and committed relationship that I could understand the value of intimacy and it was in that moment that I realized it was no longer for sale. Our experiences were priceless, and ours only. It's easy to sit there taking loads of "couples selfies" and post them online for the world to see how "happy" you are. Because I was so protective of him I couldn't do it. 

I laughed to my friends in the beginning saying he was a professional liability, but what he did was bless me with this peace that I never knew I had been seeking. We didn't need to go out a lot, we would just watch movies and drink wine until we both fell asleep. For as long as I live, I will never be more grateful to a single person. 

It took the person that I couldn't write about to teach me that I was only blogging so much about my life because I needed to be validated by it. I was like a barking Chihuahua - you could always hear me, but I was all over the place and there's IMHO very little strength or beauty in it ... it's all just noise. 

By being a relationship blogger you do very much in your heart believe you are being vulnerable but the fact remains that you are sitting behind a computer in a room in your house (or coffee shop) all alone. It is a monologue, self indulgent, and any sort of rebuttals are deflected by loyal readers who will defend at all costs because they identify with you so strongly.

You can feel in your heart how lonely you are but what takes a while to understand is the fact that it's the digital walls you've placed around yourself that block out all of the love and light that life has to offer. 

Going back to the initial meeting, the producer then asked, where do you see yourself in 5 years? 

I want a family. I just adopted a dog so I've got one member down. 

After the meeting I thought about it and realized I couldn't ever go back to online dating, and couldn't ever go back to that person that I was. It felt good in the moment because your ego is validated by so many individuals contacting you, but your ego isn't fertile ground. Certainly weeds can flourish, but to grow anything substantial, it all starts with the solid ground you plant. 

I have three of the best friends I've ever had in my whole life down here, and one of them said the most profound thing to me the other week. She's a 10+ year married redneck (her terminology not mine) and with her thickest southern accent she said, Jen, what is it with all these guys you've told me about? 

She mimicked them, "I just felt a disconnect between us." "There is no tangible reason for why we can't be together any more. You'll just have to see for yourself one day." 

Men are simple, Jen. Here is all they need (screenshot from email as I just texted asking again to make sure I didn't forget any of her points)

That's it, she said. Start with that understanding in a relationship and you'll be fine. 

There is no algorithm or mathematical equation that results in your happiness in either self, or relationships. While all of us know that intellectually, there is something comforting in hoping to find out what investment can generate a return, however it's all a defense mechanism. 

Vulnerability and comfort do not live harmoniously, and to truly get anything out of a relationship, you have to let those walls down. Even if your heart PHYSICALLY hurts so bad, and you swear you can't do it again ... trust me, you will. I see today out of a fresher set of eyes courtesy of my loving family, FANTASTIC group of friends, and none of that intimacy could ever be for sale. Blogging about my relationships diluted too much of my own life experience, and I'm worth more than that. 


There are (literally) plenty of fish in the sea. Click to comment on Facebook


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Reader Comments (1)

We are looking for good tips on relationship tips; it helps to deal with different problems that should be arising due to unhealthy relationships. It is quite tough or difficult to be in a relationship apart from blood relation we are unable to deal with other relationship as due to problems like, ego, attitude, dominating and many others. Therefore we need some crucial tips from experts to protect our relationships; through we are able to deal with the different problems easily.

July 7, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDaniel Bowman

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