Love vs. Like – A Fight to the Finish

There are guys I thought I loved but didn’t, ones I thought I didn’t like but did, and ones that didn’t care about me but that I cared so much about I pretended to be stupid so they could feel smart. Of course this wisdom only comes after the fact, when the relationship has melted and run off down the sewer where we discard the good that has become painful and the bad that is ugly but annoyingly illuminating; or at least that’s what we think we do. But here’s the thing I’ve discovered; we never really leave any relationship behind us; we never move on to someone else completely cured of our experience; any attempt we make to hide what the person before didn’t like is fruitless; instead we learn to show our bruises to someone, compare our heart-shaped scars, note our similarities and differences and act according to our feelings. Now I need to insert a point of clarity here – each person in a relationship needs to act according to their real feelings (intuition included) and not the ones they’ve created or embedded into the other person. If you’ve done this, do not – I repeat, do not – beat yourself up! I’ve gotten stuck here many times. I’ve been that person who created reasons why it was okay this other person didn’t call me in X amount of days, or that he didn’t really mean it when he made those racist/sexist comments – he just has a terrible sense of humor that, after some time, I can cure him of. Being real, truthful, honest is the most difficult part in relationships. We hide behind the lies and excuses we say or create to justify staying. Now here’s another point of clarity I need to hit home; you can sincerely love someone and hurt them and they can sincerely love you and hurt you. The severity of the circumstances surrounding the hurt is something only the inflicted can judge and determine if it falls under the he/she’s made a mistake but they’re still a good, kind person category or if it’s one of the, cannot be forgiven to the extent it can be figuratively forgotten variety. (I’ve always thought the saying forgive and forget should be forgive and figuratively forget because we can’t truly forget a hurt unless we have some sort of memory impairment and the literal meaning caused me to spend too much time wondering if remembering a hurt is some sort of sign that I shouldn’t be with this person) So where does this leave like vs. love? What’s the difference? Can you have one without the other?

For me, like is finding someone attractive and enjoying their company enough to want to spend time with them; love is like plus knowing their idiosyncracies, meeting their uglies (bad moods, reactions, etc.) and feeling that all that stuff doesn’t make a difference; love without like is highly-combustible passion. When do you know you’re feeling like, love or passion? Now I hate this answer and I’m really hoping during this blog experience I gain some sagacious wisdom into this area of how do you know you love someone but for right now it’s this – you just know; you are confident there’s no delusion involved. I knew I liked my fiance on our first pre-date (yes, it was a pre-date) and I knew I loved him just four months in while we were out walking my parent’s dogs. I couldn’t tell you when I knew I wanted to marry him but at some point I did and through all of the fights and uglies over the last seven years, the feeling’s survived. Like doesn’t win over love and love doesn’t win over like – rather they’re a tag-team against life’s problems.

 ~ Bride

L-O-V-E.

Ever notice that “love” is a four-letter word? Thankfully, not that kind of four-letter word.

I can’t pretend to argue that I know what love is better (or worse) than the next lucky fellow. That dude Bill Shakespeare had some words on it – a few of them pretty, more than a few a bit baudy – and he didn’t waste time with any relationship or commitment phobias. Suffice it to say, I don’t think I have those, either.

But what I do know is this: the love that I know – the love that I value – isn’t the flowery type or the fine-dining kind. It isn’t movie romance or infatuation on the stage. The love that I value is the kind that you get to come home to. The kind that lets you gripe about a bad day and offers comfort on a worse one. The kind that knows what’s best for you, even when you don’t want to admit it. The kind that counters a foul mood with compassion, heals sadness with laughter, weathers anger with patience, and forgives, forgives, forgives.

Nothing can beat that, and I think there’s something to be said for it.

To me, it’s the B-E-S-T.

~ Groom

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Busting Guts & Building Guns

It’s official:  yours truly has started on a pre-wedding exercise regimen. And not just any regimen, mind you. This is one that needs to work. One with a timeline. One that I’ll actually have to stick to.

Ouch.

Yes, I’m trading in my couple of Hamm’s or PBRs with dinner each night for a pair of gym shoes and an early-morning trip six days a week to the fitness center at Moraine Valley Community College. So far, the results are mixed. I like the folks at the fitness center (shout-out to Ewan, Scottish expat and personal trainer extraordinaire) and I’ve noticed a difference in muscle mass, but it seems the spare tire and accompanying gut just won’t budge. I’ve plateaued after losing about 10 pounds, and any way you cut it, cardio work just plain sucks.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not gullible or desperate enough to jump on the latest diet fad or ingest the newest ancient Chinese herbal concoction aimed at shedding the extra weight. But I’ve got to admit, those grueling sessions on the cross-trainer every morning definitely give me time to wonder:  isn’t there an easier way? Dear reader, your thoughts, tips, and responses encouraged.

As for now, let’s all raise a glass to poor souls valiantly sticking it out on the quest to get in better shape.

Just make sure it’s filled with water.

~ Groom

One of the greatest truths about my body that I’ve discovered is that you can be a vegan and a marathoner for over ten years and still have cellulite. From this I’ve inferred two things; 1) there is absolutely nothing except surgery that will get rid of it and 2) my cellulite really is just as much a part of my body as an arm or leg and it’s time I accepted it.

For anyone who’s about to get married or thinks it’s a possibility at some point, I want to let you know that I’ve come across a few hidden glitches mixed in among all the exciting-preparations-for-the happiest-day-of-your-life. Yes, it’s a time to prepare for a life partnership but it’s also when you start checking in on yourself, noting all those things (physical, mental and emotional) that are okay but not where you’d like them. So now you have to make time for enough appointments to address them before the most expensive deadline you’ve ever had arrives. First, I want to be clear that I don’t think I’m going to walk down that aisle a shining beacon of perfection. All I want is to feel happy and healthy and yes, call me vain if you must, but on my wedding day I want to look, well, good. So, tell me; how do I convince my arms, shoulders and stomach that even though they didn’t really change much over the course of training for five marathons that now, as I’m engaged, it’s time to pick up the slack and grow or shrink as fast as when Alice ate those little cakes after falling down one heck of a rabbit hole? I don’t know the answer but I’ve started looking for it; I make it to LA Fitness a few times a week, unroll the yoga mat twice a week and manage to fit in a couple P90X sessions. I’ve kept up the chocolate-eating but switched in a few more salads. There’s supposedly food out there that when eaten for X amount of time will turn you into a radiant ball of light but I don’t know what it is and all I really want anyway is to have the equivalent glow of a night-lite. I don’t believe in diets; I believe in habits. I know that if I work out four to five times a week and repeat, then I can walk down that aisle one happy, healthy bride.

~ Bride