Proof that Ryan Stephens is right

So I am not allowed to have crushes on guys anymore because I’m old. And married. And not as cute.

Well, still CUTE just not AS cute.

In my opinion, though, I’m still allowed to appreciate, not crush, but appreciate guys from a far. (Mark can also appreciate any guys he would like to near or far. He will have to wait, however, until he is dead to appreciate any gals.)

I really don’t appreciate that many guys, but when I’m on The Internet? Oh dear. Watch out. If you’re a blogging dude I probably have some level of crush, I mean, appreciation for you.

And Ryan Stephens happens to be one of the dudes I appreciate on The Internet. And I’m going to go ahead and cry out “She likes him, too!” and point at Elisa from Ophelia’s Webb (which you should check out her new website, it’s great!). Because I’m apparently still 9 years old.

So when I heard that Ryan was guest  blogging for Jenny Blake at Life After College on the topic of dating, I needed to know what he had to say. Because let’s be for real. He’s a dude and rarely are dudes very good about giving dating advice. Also, he admitted on Twitter that he had two former flames proofread his theory, so I knew this had to be good if they gave him the ok.

And, Dude, I read it, and wouldn’t you know HE IS RIGHT ON.

Go read his theory because it’s worth it, but the long and the short of it is to get into the mindset of “I’ve got a man/woman at home that is the best in the world” because there is something about being in a great relationship that allows you to be a more honest, authentic, real version of yourself.

I have tons of counselor reasons that I think this works, but counselor reasons are boring. Stories, however, are fun. And hilarious…

I was with The Guy I Used to Date from age 16 to 22. That’s a long dang time.

 My sophomore year of college I decided that I wanted to break up for a while to stretch my dating wings and see what was out there. We made some rules about the break up and I ended up breaking the rules which turned into breaking The Guy I Used to Date’s heart. So “breaking up for a while” turned into “Quit calling me”. His words not mine.

I was 19 and BEYOND devastated. I lost 20 pounds, quit going to class, and felt absolutely miserable. You would naturally think that this was because I loved him so much that my world stopped without him. That’s kind of true. But not completely. A lot of what I honestly loved was that I had control. I got to dictate the terms of my relationship with The Guy I Used to Date because I had the power in the relationship.

When I screwed up and broke “the rules” I basically put The Power in a gift bag and handed it to The Guy I Used to Date. This is a horrible thing to say, but I wanted that power back and I wanted it back badly.

So I did what any of you would do.

I made up a boyfriend.

His name was Adam and we met in a history class or something. Adam was great. Tall and athletic with shaggy blonde hair. We spent lots of time studying together and occasionally playing basketball (which really should have been the clue that this dude was imaginary because I cry when I can’t find the remote control much less actually enjoying running around a basketball court for no reason). We even went on a skateboarding trip to Kentucky, People (skateboarding? I WISH I was making that up). Adam was everything I ever wanted in a man and more, and I let The Guy I Used to Date know this. Regularly.

By making up Adam I quickly regained the power in the relationship. The Guy I Used to Date came back and we went back to being the adorable high school/college sweethearts we were meant to be.

Here’s the thing. Before I made Adam up I was a mess. I was calling The Guy I Used to Date all the time and begging for him to try and work things out. I was leaving AIM away messages up with sad faces and quotes about how much it hurts to be in love.

Once Adam came into my life I was forced to chill out. I couldn’t call The Guy I Used to Date all the time anymore. I was supposed to be on dates with Adam! I couldn’t sound sad and whiney because when you’re with a guy like Adam the LAST thing you are is sad and whiney.

Having Adam in my life gave me confidence and that confidence allowed for my “true” self to shine through. That’s a hard sentence to write considering this is a post about MAKING UP FAKE BOYFRIENDS, but I hope you get what I’m saying. I started acting like a normal person and The Guy I Used to Date just couldn’t resist.

If I had not told The Guy I Used to Date about Adam I would have been working Ryan Stephens’ plan to a tee. But I did tell him about Adam because I wanted the added motivation of jealousy on my side. And Mark thinks he has his hands full with me now, could you imagine if he had known me when…

Anyways, I’m giving my relationship counseling stamp of approval for Ryan’s theory and fully condone playing mind games ON YOURSELF. However, I do not recommend making up relationships in order to feed one’s insatiable hunger for power and control over another person.

*As if this story couldn’t get any worse. A year or so after The Guy I Used to Date and I got back together I decided to come clean about the whole “fake boyfriend” thing. When I told him I “had something to tell him” about Adam he started panicking. Was Adam back? Did you go farther with him than originally confessed? Did I want to break up and be with Adam again? No, none of that, dear one, he just wasn’t real. You’re dating a loon. That’s all!

**Oh, and before I get comments about what a horrible person I was/am and how I have no right to be a counselor… I WAS NINETEEN YEARS OLD! We were all stupid when we were 19. I just have a better imagination than most people.

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8 thoughts on “Proof that Ryan Stephens is right

  1. Marie,

    I LOVE this story, and thanks so much for sharing it! I also LOVE the title of this post, but I think that’s an ego thing 🙂 I think your story and many others validate the fact that this approach works – and it works because we’re changing (or at least empowering) the most important person in the equation – ourselves.

    R


    Ryan, loved your post and I thought this title was the only appropriate description 😀

  2. Jenny Blake says:

    Hilarious and brilliant!! I absolutely love that you made up a new boyfriend…and it really sounds like it worked wonders for your self-esteem at the time.

    The fact that BF number one came crawling back? Even more amazing! Never had a guy want me back after breaking up (yikes, what does that say about ME?!) – but even though it worked for you, I like what you said about not employing this for the sake of manipulation. It really is about moving on from blocks about why we’re alone, or why someone left, etc. and turning our attention on a mindset of abundance (even if it’s an abundantly fake boyfriend waiting with open arms at home).

    You and Ryan really are onto something…and it’s fun to be single and able to give the strategy a whirl!


    I cannot wait to hear everyone’s stories from trying this theory out. Even if you don’t find the person of your dreams you’ll probably have tons more fun going out!

    Tuning in to the mindset of abundance is EXACTLY what this is about, and thanks so much for pointing that out. If you’re mind believes that your life is filled with love and wonderful people the spirit you give off is just so much more beautiful.

    And not having any old bfs come back probably says that you guys had good healthy break-ups between two mature people. I was just a nut who should have left well enough alone 😀

  3. LOL! Loved this post. I think all of us have done things when we were younger, that looking back on them now we would say “WTF was I thinking?” Thanks for sharing. Take care, A.


    Oh, it’s so true! And thanks for letting me know there are other formerly crazy young people out there 😀 (the bad part is I’m still alive and there is still plenty of crazy to get out of my system!)

  4. Emily says:

    Between your story and Ryan’s theory, I probably would have been a lot better off in college (and after). I can honestly say that I am never myself when it comes to dating. I’m my “on” self. Even though I wish to get to that comfortable stage, I’m so “on” that we never do. I probably ruin it myself. Time to put this theory to the test!

    Thanks for the story, and as always, looking forward to the rest!


    I think it’s a brilliant theory, I really do. And I totally get the being “on” thing and it’s exactly why I’d hate to meet any of my blogging friends in real life because I know I’d be terribly “on” and everyone would think “What a weirdo”. Ha!

  5. […] McKinney-Oates wrote quite possibly the best titled post I’ve ever encountered. But in all seriousness it’s an interesting read with a hilarious […]

  6. Secret Agent "CT" says:

    LOL!! I remember Adam. He was around near the time we first met. I can remember thinking…is she a genious or do I need to be afraid? lol You are so sweet and funny that I decided you had to be genious. Thanks for reminding me about this!

    Next bring back some old school stories about Sonic… 🙂


    Oh I do need to talk about my Sonic memories! It is, after all, where the fast food fetish was practically born 😀

  7. Connie says:

    Girl I wonder about your wild mind, making up a boyfriend is way out there. Mark really does have lots of treats in store…. at least he can never call you dull…. I could do some I remember when I was young…. but that would be really dull. I will say that I did keep things lively and my Dad had a hard time trying to keep up with who I was dating..I Love your real life stories.


    Oh, I bet your stories are hilarious. The whole getting yourself out of school because you were Mrs. Oates? Priceless. 😀

  8. Monica Evans says:

    If I’m ever single again, I’m totally making up a boyfriend….and a girlfriend. 🙂


    HA! I know! When I was walking down that memory lane I was thinking, “Gosh, those days were fun” 😀

    So glad to know my craziness is shared with fabulousness like you!

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