Ask J-Ro: Getting Back In The Game

Idk what sort of questions you answer but any advice for someone trying to be more confident with boys after a long (5 yr) relationship where I didn’t really realise I was unhappy? I love your Twitter by the way & you seem so confident!

Oh thank you! I dunno about confident, but you’ve got to try and lift yourself up as much as you can don’t you? 🙂

So you’re out of a long-term relationship and you’re feeling a bit fragile, which is completely understandable. Five years is a long time to be with someone with whom you’re not 100% happy with, so naturally you’ll be feeling like your self-esteem has taken a hit. But fear not! It’s just a period of adjustment, so try not to take it all too personally. You’re still the same awesome person, and now you’re in a new phase in your life, which can be as exciting as it is scary depending on what way you look at it!

The most important thing is to carve out a social life for yourself independent of any guys you might have an eye on, so spend time with your friends and any hobbies or things that interest you. Throw yourself into life, have the laughs and focus on being happy in yourself. Have the banter and the flirts with the boys in your social circle if you feel like it, there’s nothing nicer than a bit of back-and-forth with the fellas to boost your confidence with getting back in the dating game!

Make sure you’re feeling happy in yourself whatever you get up to, there’s nobody more attractive than someone who smiles. Treat the guys you meet the same as your friends, after all they’re just people too, and they may not be feeling as confident as they seem. Don’t put any undue pressure on yourself to be super-confident, I don’t think anyone is ever always at the top of their game confidence-wise. Take comfort in the fact that when you really think about it, most folk are thinking the same way you do. Everyone wishes they were more outgoing & confident, the difference is some are better at faking it than others (me included!) 🙂

Most importantly, just relax and be patient with yourself. You’ve got some fun times ahead, and if you nurture the relationships with your friends, your happiness and confidence will flourish and the rest will take care of itself. Hope this helps! Best of luck!

<3

Ask J-Ro: Once Bitten, Twice Shy, Rightly So…

My last boyfriend was really shit and kind of abusive. I’ve been through therapy and am pretty unscathed at this stage. i’ve just started dating this new boy who i fucking ADORE, but i’m very very reluctant to open up about my past- which is weird, as i’m normally v open and honest. what do i do? 🙁
When it comes to opening up about past traumas or painful memories in a new relationship, I’m always of the opinion that you should take your time, trust your gut, and don’t feel pushed into revealing anything you don’t want to. Someone has to EARN the right to access those emotional parts of you that are hidden from public view. So it goes with starting a new relationship. I think you’re right to be reluctant in opening up, and it’s not really to do with your new boyfriend.

It’s fantastic that you seem to have sorted through it in therapy, and come through it ‘unscathed’ as you said. However, that doesn’t mean you’re not still going to be wary as feck about any other man that comes into your life. Being over-cautious and playing your emotional cards close to your chest in the beginning is a defense mechanism, and a natural one at that. You may be ready to move on and found a guy that you adore, but deep down in the part of you that was hurt, it’s understandably going to take a wee bit longer to feel safe and secure.

The outside world these days will tell you that when you meet The One, you’ll click instantly. Like two soulmates bonded together for life, there’ll be no barriers between you and all your mutual emotional secrets and dark sides will be exposed and your worlds will mesh together for blissful eternity…that’s bullshit. All that intense stuff takes time and trust and patience. My advice is don’t worry too much if you’re not opening your soul early on, if it’s looking like it’ll be a long-term relationship that will come naturally in time. Trust your instinct. If you really feel like it’s imperative that he knows about it, you can give him the general gist of what happened without feeling too vulnerable. But don’t be worrying too much. Enjoy the process of a new relationship! You are more than the sum of your past experiences, and I’m sure he’s with you simply because he thinks you’re an awesome person.

So go forth and let yourself be adored, and lose yourself in the buzz of a new relationship where BOTH of you can explore getting to know each other’s pasts and get stuck into making a new future 🙂

Ask J-Ro: New Love Vs Old Insecurities

I separated from my wife a year ago. there’s a girl that likes me and I like her. She has a kid. She fears 2 things, firstly that I’ll return to the ex and second that I’ll reject her because of her son. How can I reassure her that this isn’t the case for either. When I’m with her my world lights up.

I think the first and most important thing is keep talking with each other, but in a productive way. You don’t want to end up in an endless cycle of constant reassurance, because that does nobody any good, and gets in the way of the fun part of beginning a new and exciting relationship. It sounds like she’s playing it very cautiously, possibly from having been hurt before, so I think you’ll have to take it slow, and be patient. You know how you feel, so let her know your feelings and be open about how much you care for her.

Actions also speak louder than words, remember. So show her what she means to you. I’m not talking about grand pricey gestures or anything material like that (although nobody’s gonna stop you if you want to!). Listen to her, be loyal, trustworthy and reliable, be someone she can depend on and who will be around when she needs. If you really see something long-term with her, it’ll be important to make her son feel valued and important to you; but let her call the shots on that one. Once again, it’s all down to patience. When there’s a child involved it can move things along a lot faster in a budding relationship, and force both parties to lay their cards on the table early on to avoid hurt feelings. Build on what you guys have first, and when she’s feeling secure and sure that this is a long-term thing, she may start bringing her son into the equation.

Lastly, mind yourself in it too. There must be balance, so as long as you feel valued and wanted in the relationship too and not spending all your energy on trying to reassure someone, in time it could be something really special for both of you. If down the line there are still some insecurities surfacing, there really is no substitute for a spot of couple’s counselling. It’s a fantastic way of developing tools of communication and discussion in a safe environment. Therapy is not necessarily a sign of cracks appearing, it’s a sign that you’re prepared to do some nurturing of a relationship that really means something to you. That can only be a good thing!

Good Luck!

Ask J-Ro: Pet Peeves

Our neighbourhood cat Simon uses us for our food, he sleeps on our couch, urges us to lavish him with petting and ear scratches as he eats our food then ups and leaves. Are we stupid to indulge this selfish cat in the hope he may one day love us?

 
Pic by Ken Coleman
“In ancient times cats were worshipped as gods; they have not forgotten this.” – Terry Pratchett.
Ah, cats. Bunch of divas, the lot of ’em. Can you tell I’m a dog person? Don’t get me wrong, cats are great while they’re deigning to acknowledge your existence, letting you rub them while they act all snuggly and cute…with the emphasis on the word ‘act’. Don’t let them away with that shit for a SECOND.
Did you ever see Mean Girls? This cat is the Regina George of the pet world. We’re all their adoring fans just throwing ourselves at their feet begging them to love us. Sometimes it works and they’ll be gracious in their mercy by acknowledging your existence; other times they’ll start cleaning their assholes right in front of you, like “This is WAY more fun than you will ever be.”
If Simon was a dude, you’d tell him feck off and get his own food. He knows he’s on to a good thing here. By being a slave to his flighty affections, you’re only enabling what is sure to be a future dictator when The Cat Revolution starts. When that day comes, you’ll be the one shitting in boxes of litter while buck-naked, being filmed every second of your existence in case you do anything worthy of YouTube. Don’t say you haven’t been warned.
In the meantime, take all the cuddles and snoozy cat-purring you can get. You can’t beat animal-lovies when you’re feeling blue. Make the most of his superficial attention and make him work for his food by snuggling you guys like a mad bastard. It’s all about Give and Take, you know.
(Until the Revolution, but that’s for another time)

Ask J-Ro:  No Laughing Matter

Jen, I’ve been a bit down lately due to homophobic comments slipped into normal conversations with a friend. They pass them off as humorous, but it’s still quite uncomfortable to say the least. I only recently started coming out as gay but he makes me feel ashamed of my sexuality. Thoughts?

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First things first; don’t EVER feel ashamed of your sexuality. Your friend is clearly the uncomfortable one, not you. As us Limerick women say about people like that, “He’d want to go away and have a chat with himself”.

You made a seriously courageous decision to come out as gay, and your friends need to have a bit of understanding in how difficult it must have been to take the leap and tell them. In groups of friends, there tends to be a lot of mental categorising of individuals; the funny one, the mad one, the Star Wars nerd etc…and nobody likes it when the balance is upset because it shakes up preconceived notions about who people are. The reality is you’re still you, and you’re still their mate whether straight or gay.

If it’s just the one guy responsible for the homophobic comments, then he’s got his own issues that are feck-all to do with you. Not that it hurts any less to know that. Maybe he’s an out and out homophobe, or maybe you’re his first gay friend and he’s all discombobulated (Been waiting to use that word!). Or maybe he’s not secure in his own sexuality. Either way, totally HIS problem.

Whatever the reasons are behind his obviously shite attempts to disguise his discomfort with ‘jokes’, it needs to be nipped in the bud ASAP. If for no other reason than to save him from losing a hell of a lot more friends down the line if he keeps it up.

Phase 1 would obviously be to talk to him one-on-one, not in an aggressive confrontational way. Tell him you find the jokes that he makes really hurtful, and as a friend he should be aware of what it took for you to come out, and hearing stuff like that won’t help ANYONE who’s thinking about doing the same. If he’s your true friend, chances are he’ll be thoroughly ashamed and won’t have realised he was hurting you. Then he’ll hopefully beg your forgiveness and find another source of ‘comedic’ material. If, however, he gets defensive and says things like “too sensitive” and “only a joke” etc, it means you’ve hit a nerve and he doesn’t like being called to his account for his behaviour. In which case you can move swiftly to Phase 2.

For Phase 2; I would suggest a subtle push of reverse peer-pressure. Have a chat with one or two other mutual mates in your group whom you consider to be loving, supportive friends to you. Let them know that what he’s saying is not funny to you, and is really hurting your feelings. If he’s saying these things in a group, and nobody is calling him out on it, they are complicit in his actions. So a simple request for others to call him out on his crappy homophobic comments – or, worse yet for him, not laugh or find it funny – could be the kick into the Personality Hole this fella needs. No harm for him to know what it’s like to feel real shame.

If he persists in being an insensitive gowl-bag after all that, feel free to tell him go fuck himself. There’s a whole world out there waiting for you to live a fantastic authentic life. Hop to it!

Best of Luck <3