Divorce Sucks

Hey sports fans, it’s been awhile.

My readership will be down quite a bit with this post considering I left Facebook two months ago. I’ll post my thoughts on my Facebook fast in another post, but I’ll say one thing about it now – you should do it.

These last few months have been…well…rough. I won’t regale you with stories of how life sucks or how unfair it is or whatever, but you all deserve to know what’s going on.

I last posted about getting engaged to a beautiful girl named Christine. We ended up getting married last August. In December, she decided she did not want to be married anymore. It was devastating, to say the least.

glass case of emotion

Since that bomb was dropped, my world has been a roller coaster of emotions, from feelings of inadequacy and failure, to anger, resentment, bitterness, and everything in between. For those of you who are/were married, you understand just how much of your life is hinged on your marriage and your spouse. So when that spouse walks out of your life forever, life becomes unhinged. For a while, I truly felt like life had ended. It was brutal.

But life didn’t end.

I was able to climb out of the abyss of despair and depression (too dramatic?) because I realized that my life wasn’t over because Christine left me. Yes, my marriage was an extremely important part of my life, but I had other parts too.

I had (have) my faith, my family, my friends, my job, and of course, my dog. These are all amazing things in my life. Things that I knew if I could hold on to, they would pull me out of any bout of depression. And that’s what happened. They pulled me out. They made me realize that I am a blessed man, a lucky man. My marriage ending knocked me down. And knocked me down hard.  But not permanently. No way.

My dog, Sam, at the lake!

My dog, Sam, has been a great companion through all this.

It still hurts, there’s no denying it. But it has gotten easier. And I know it will continue to get easier. And so, for all of you dealing with anything like what I have dealt with, believe me, your life is not over. Focus on the good in your life. It will do a remarkable job of belying the bad.

Thanks for listening.

-GH-

 

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The Things I’ve Learned Since Getting Engaged.

Christine and I rock the whole engagement thing.

Christine and I rock the whole engagement thing.

There are innumerable articles and books on what men (and women) have learned/noticed/loved/hated/whatever since getting married. But for some reason, no one writes about what it’s like when you get engaged. I’m sort of surprised, actually. Where’s the love for engagements? Why is it that no one appreciates them?

Here’s why the place for engagement love is a black abyss of emptiness: Engagements are usually defined as being mere “waiting” periods for the next stage (i.e. marriage). Well, I say “hogwash!”. Engagements are great all on their own! Yes, they’re cool for being precursors to something better. But my engagement has been incredible for a lot more than just that. I may be in the minority, but being engaged has been unequivocally life-changing for me. And I don’t want to hear the response, “Just wait until you’re married! It’ll be even more life-changing!” Duh, I know. Thanks Captain Obvious. I think it goes without saying that marriage is life-changing. This post is not about marriage. Marriage is like the youngest child of the family – it gets all the attention. Engagements are like the middle child – always forgotten.

Talking with other people, I most often hear how  the anxiety and impatience they felt were the only things they took away from their engagement. If there was one positive thing they could possibly take away from that time, it would be the feeling of anticipation for the upcoming nuptials. And of course I have that same feeling of anticipation. I can’t wait for my wedding either! But Christine and I are experiencing our engagement in a way that isn’t one dimensional at all. For us, it’s been fun, exciting, and above all, educational! Simply put, it’s been straight up awesome.

My life has been completely upended (in a totally good way) since asking Christine to marry me back in February. I’ve been a complete idiot in my past relationships. I have been at some crazy low points where I deserved nothing good and no one special (shocking, I know). I’ve had to climb out of some seriously deep holes that I dug all on my own. So when that moment came, the moment where I got down on one knee, looked into the eyes of the most incredible woman of my entire life, asked her to be my wife, and she said yes, this indescribable feeling of joy swept over me. What redemption! Here is a woman who loves me as much as I love her, an insanely beautiful, talented, special woman who actually wants to spend the rest of her life with me! Whoa! I am so blessed!

This is the exact reason why my engagement is as significant as any other season I will ever experience in my life. This is why I will never see my engagement as “just a waiting period”. Maybe for you engagements aren’t that big of a deal, but they certainly are for me.

OK, enough mushy stuff. Ew. Time to be funny! Here’s what I have learned since getting engaged.

1) Sex is something we can now talk about.
This is something that apparently can’t be talked about with single guys because no one has ever said anything on the subject other than “No premarital sex!” to me before. Now that I’m engaged, it’s like I joined a secret society where sex is freely talked about. But I’m being treated like my dad treated me when I was 10 when he gave me the birds and the bees talk. People, I’m 28. I got this.

Married couples are hilarious too. Hearing them drop hints about how great the sex will be when we’re married always makes me laugh. They clearly have one rule, though – you can’t use the word “sex”. That word is clearly taboo because it’s being replaced with phrases such as, “in the bedroom” or “relations of the intimate nature.” Has anyone else noticed this?

2) Wedding planning can actually be fun and stress-free
I am disappointed in all you married people who complained to me about how stressful your wedding planning was, or warned me that it would be hectic and overwhelming. You’re all wusses. Christine and I are having a blast. We’re doing our best to not procrastinate and stay under budget, and are being rewarded for our efforts. We’re enjoying every aspect of the planning. And it’s so cool seeing how creative and talented Christine is. Pretty much the entire wedding is planned and designed by her.

3) Referring to someone as your fiancée sounds incredibly pretentious
Why is it that it sounds perfectly fine to say, “My girlfriend and I…” or “My wife and I…”, but when I utter the words, “My fiancée and I…”, I sound like a snooty braggart who’s trying to make you feel bad for not having anyone in your life.  I really enjoy referring to Christine as my fiancée so I’m sorry for my obnoxiousness. Wait a minute…no I’m not.

4) No one knows how to spell fiancé or fiancée.
I know, I know. I’m crazy about correct spelling. But it’s time we get this right. If you’re a dude and you’re engaged, you are referred to as a fiancé. If you’re a lady and you’re engaged, you’re referred to as a fiancée. Let’s get it together, people. The word is French in origin and the “ay” sound at the end is indicated by an accent aigu (é). The masculine of the word ends with a single “é”, but the feminine variation adds another “e” (ée). Be smarter, kids! On a similar note, it’s “resumé”, not “resume”.

5) Getting engagement/bridal shower presents is awesome.
I don’t think anything more needs to be said than that, but I will say that Christine and I feel insanely blessed with the generosity of our friends and family. We feel so much love and support, and so we thank all of you! Also, no one got the power drill off the registry. Can someone get on that, please? We have enough towels and plates. Where’s the fun stuff?

presents-presents-everywhere

OK, let’s wrap this up. My advice to all you current and future engaged couples out there is to enjoy your engagement! Cherish it! Take advantage of that time to learn about your future spouse, and for him or her to learn about you. It’s a temporary moment in our lives and that makes it unique. Years from now, when I look back at my engagement, I won’t remember it as a whirlwind of stress and anxiety, but instead as a time of excitement and fun!

“Besties” Have Ruined Friendships

You can tell their besties because their hands are on their hips and their knees are bent

You can tell they’re besties because their hands are on their hips and their knees are bent

There’s a new term making the rounds among young women everywhere.  “Besties”. It’s supposed to be slang for best friends. I am convinced that this new “word” is ruining friendships. As a side note, I apologize to all females because I will be picking on your gender for the duration of this post. Please forgive me. I don’t hear men use the word bestie, and if I did, I would have to dedicate an entirely separate post to instruct them on what words should never be used in their daily vernacular.

When I was a kid, we had best friends. I remember my best friend as a teenager. His name was Matt. His name is still Matt. He’s not dead. We were tight. We rocked. We played baseball and football, went camping, built a tree fort , and drew letters with gasoline in a field and lit them on fire for airplane pilots to see. It was awesome. He has since moved away, but we’ll always be friends.

Just about everybody had a best friend growing up. If you didn’t, then now you hate me for rehashing that horrible time in your life and I apologize. For everyone else, I’m sure we all remember that one guy or girl that was definitively referred to as your best friend. Those were good times.

Then one day someone thought it would be cute to abbreviate best friend with bestie. What a jerk. I dislike that person strongly (my mom won’t let me use the word “hate”). You see, it would have been totally ok if people continued to use the word bestie as a reference to their best friend, but instead people (and by people, I mean strictly girls) have been a little bit too loose in its usage and destroyed the meaning of friendship.

Nowadays, girls are referring to every single female they’re friends with as their bestie. Every. Single. One. Whether it’s someone they have been friends with for years or someone they just recently added on facebook, they’re all besties now.

I believe that the introduction of the word “bestie” is an indication that the modern American culture has shifted from having one close friend as the norm to multiple quasi-close friends being the norm. The influx of social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and the consequential compiling of “friends” or “followers” over the internet has seeped from the virtual world to the real world. Because young Americans have hundreds of “friends” digitally, they’re subconsciously allowing it to happen with face-to-face relationships as well.

Let me enlighten you to what the problem is. There is a fundamental difference between having a best friend and having a bestie. Referring to a group of girls as “my besties” doesn’t make each of these females a best friend to the girl. It instead makes each one of them merely a semi-close friend. None of them are truly the “best” friend. Robin Thicke would agree with me that the use of bestie has inadvertently blurred the lines between acquaintance and friend, as well as between friend and best friend. You can’t tell the difference anymore.

Robin no longer considers you a bestie.

Robin no longer considers you a bestie.

I love that someone considers me their best friend. It makes me feel special and wanted. I’m privy to information no one else is. I’m someone’s go-to person for when they need advice or encouragement. I’m their first choice to share amazing news or an incredible experience. If I were merely a bestie, I’d be one of multiple options. Knowing my luck, I’d probably be 4th or 5th down the line of 4 or 5 besties. The specialness (is that a word?) would be gone. And that’s kind of depressing.

My girlfriend has a best friend. She has resisted the societal pressure to have besties. Christine has a wonderful friendship with a woman with whom she can tell anything and share everything. It’s heartwarming to see and I know that it will last for a very long time. That friendship will certainly be going strong long after this bestie thing has died off. And above all, her having a best friend shows me that there’s hope for humanity after all (I am so dramatic).

How about you? Do you have besties? Are you totally ok with it? Comment below!

I Put the “Best” in Best Man

Best man picMy brother’s wedding was this past weekend. It was pretty nice. The whole thing went very well. No fights, blow-ups, crazy drama, or scandals. In other words, boring. But there were some highlights! The food was superb, the location was excellent, and the best man was inspirational. I may be slightly biased on that last one because, you see, I was the best man.

And boy, did I crush it. I think the whole “best man” role is under-appreciated. The majority of the focus is on the bride and it causes a trickle-down effect favoring the female gender. Everyone thinks of the bride first, which in turn makes you think of the maid of honor, and then the other bridesmaids, and then the mother of the bride, etc, etc. The focus is completely on the women. Meanwhile, the groom and his posse over there just got the shaft in the attention department.

But as men, we just need to take it, right? Real men don’t whine when people aren’t paying them attention! If no one notices us, it means we’re doing our jobs correctly. You can apply that to every situation, including weddings.

So what exactly do you have to do to be a top notch best man? Considering I’m an expert now, I’ve put together a simple list of dos and don’ts. Follow this and you’ll not only be a great best man, but you’ll also keep the groom from getting into trouble.

1) No strippers. I apologize that I have to begin with this, but I’m obligated to. There is a shockingly large number of men who think it’s awesome to have a stripper at the bachelor party. It is not awesome. It’s the furthest thing from awesome. My religious beliefs have a lot do with why I personally disapprove of them, but even if you’re as atheist as they come, real men avoid strippers. Why? Because your need to see a stripper reveals how unhappy and dissatisfied with your life. I’ll try to not to get any more serious, but simply put, needing a stripper is just plain sad.

2) Hold on to the groom’s phone for the entirety of the bachelor party. It’s just better that way. We don’t want any drunken dials to his bride-to-be.

3) Don’t screw up the wedding toast. Say something nice, keep it short, don’t embarrass the groom, and you’ll do great.

4) Keep the groomsmen in line. You got picked to be the best man because you’re close to the groom and you can be trusted to handle things. The groomsmen are just crazy, unpredictable, and probably annoying dudes that the groom had to pick because his bride wanted a lot of bridesmaids. Just make sure they keep their shirts tucked in, aren’t late, and don’t get too plastered, Things should be ok then.

5) Keep the groom busy before the wedding. The poor guy is a wreck. This is one of the most nerve-wracking moments of his life. Distract him with a round of golf the morning of, or video games, or whatever. It’ll keep his mind off of the wedding. Just keep him sober. Please, please keep him sober.

6) Obey the women. The reason this list is so short is because the various women involved with the wedding will be bossing you around about everything else. You can’t screw anything up because those crazy females would destroy you and you actually care about your life.

That’s it. Easy, right? Us best men have a very simple, but important job. You got this, no problem. You’ll be the best best man ever. Just remember to thank your lucky stars that you weren’t born a woman and you don’t have to be a maid of honor.