Mr. Brightside 2 - Standards: Raise the Bar

"Pursuing or having relationships with Mr. Unavailable is symbolic of your need to learn to love yourself more and to set some boundaries and have better standards."

In the last post, you read a recap of my rather disastrous relationship with Mr. Brightside, and how the whole thing ended.

But how did it all start? How did I end up on a date with Mr. Brightside on a sunny Sunday during Labour Day weekend?

So glad you asked...

Step 1 - Go back to online dating.

Step 2 - Lower my bar. 

I created my online dating profile August 31st.

Mr. Brightside messaged me that very day; literally within an hour of my having created my profile. It was feeding time at the zoo and I was fresh meat.

I hadn't had any intention whatsoever of getting back online because let's be honest, online dating is basically internet people shopping; sifting through humans as though they were shoes or jeans, hoping to find one that fits. It is a little bit gross.

Online dating is - more often than not - a long and tiresome process. With its endless messages and often uninspiring first dates that generally make me question humanity as a whole, it was a process I had decided to avoid. The odds are good, but the goods are odd, know what I mean?

I told myself that if I was meant to meet someone, it would happen organically. Somehow, through living my day-to-day life, someone special would come along.

And then...

Enter stage right: Global Pandemic.

Yeah. PANDEMIC. As in cooties. As in bathe yourself and everything you touch in Lysol (or inject it?) in the time of Corona??

Seemed unlikely.

Well, that's what I said in March when we here in Canada went into full lock-down.

But fast-forward six months and I did a sudden about face. Case counts were low; a lot of the COVID restrictions had been lifted and the world had started to adapt to this "new normal."

I had finally found a job (after losing an opportunity in March because of COVID) although I hadn't started working yet.

With one month of freedom left, I decided to give online dating another try.

But this time it had to be different. Clearly my previous approaches hadn't worked, so I needed to do something different.

So what was the winning strategy that earned me a date with Mr. Brightside?

I lowered my bar.

One of my friends who'd consulted a dating coach said that her coach told her she needed to be more open to meeting people. Not to be so picky in the initial stage, and rather than viewing them as dates, to view them as opportunities to meet someone new and have a (hopefully) pleasant conversation.

I decided that I would go out with any man who could spell and who didn't look like a troll - if he asked.

VERY. LOW. BAR. (And yet, so many men still failed...)

Armed with my action plan and lowered expectations, I created my profile. I'm in the habit of putting a lot of thought and effort into writing my online dating profiles, but this time - in line with my VERY. LOW. BAR. I kept it short, fun, and casual.

That was on a Monday, and as previously mentioned, Mr. Brightside messaged me that day. Over the following days, we exchanged regular messages, and when he asked me out for that weekend, I said yes. (Can he spell? Check. Doesn't look like a troll? Check.)

TROLL - Geiranger, Norway

When I first saw him, my heart sank with disappointment as I thought to myself "Nope, nope, nope, nope. Sigh. Oh well...."

First he had lied about his height. (Ladies, whatever height a man has listed himself as online, subtract two inches.)

Second...he kinda looked like Justin Timberlake in the 90's with a head full of fluffy blonde curls, shaved at the sides. He also wore mismatched earrings, and a bright purple shirt (think Barney the dinosaur) that may have accommodated a body he once had but no longer did.

It wasn't a good look for you Justin.

But then we started talking and I felt a comfortable familiarity with him. (Danger Will Robinson, danger!)

So I did what many, many women have done in my situation: we look at this man we're not attracted to but who seems ok as a person, and think "Can I work with this somehow...?"

And then - we make do. We focus on his eyes or a particularly nice smile, something, ANYTHING, so that we can get over the fact that we just aren't actually physically attracted to this man, but can justify continuing to date him because we're lonely / desperate / really hard up for sex. (At that particular time, I would have described myself as d) - all of the above.)

Mr. Brightside had big blue eyes and a very wide smile. (Good teeth.)

So we went on a second date.

Mr. Brightside removed his picture from his dating profile the day after our first date. He later told me he felt right away that this was something special.

I took my picture down after our third date because I kind of felt I should, but not because I wanted to.

And just like that, I found myself yet again in a relationship with an emotionally unavailable man who I wasn't physically/emotionally/spiritually/intellectually attracted to.

"All humans share the primitive instinct that familiarity means safety. Therefore, if you grew up with emotionally immature parents, you may feel subconsciously drawn to the familiarity of egocentric and exploitative people... the people we find most charismatic are subconsciously triggering us to fall back into old, negative family patterns...this kind of instant chemistry can be a danger sign, indicating that self-defeating roles from childhood are being reactivated beneath the surface."

"[My wife and I]...we have the same nature, we have the same kind, the same mind, we have the same commitment, we're on the same frequency spiritually, we're going in the same direction.

But there are a lot of you who are involved in situationships where you're a stallion and they're a donkey...and then you take and put a yoke on the neck of the stallion and then you put a yoke on the neck of the donkey, and then you give them whatever signal you gotta give for them to move forward, and the stallion who's taller than the donkey, and the donkey got a different stride and don't want move all stubborn and that, and you mess around and you break the neck of the stallion, or even both because you tied two unlike beasts together.

Well how can you expect to go in a healthy and positive direction in a so-called relationship when you have tied yourself to somebody that's not even of the same nature, not even the same kind? And I'm not talking about race, no, no... I'm talking about spirit and soul. You got to be of the same nature.

When you look at this person that you have given [your time] to, does this person reflect who you are? Uh-uh, uh-uh. No ma'm, no m'am, no m'am they do not. You're just struggling with broken consciousness and you have tied your sense of value to a relationship... You are infatuated but...the [man/woman]...was never of the same nature. In fact about it you've had to - watch this - you've had to come down. The only way a stallion and a donkey can walk together - watch this - is the stallion got to come down, and the stallion has to slow down.

And now you sittin' there sayin' "What should I do, what should I do?"

Get this yoke off of your neck. Get this yoke off of your neck."

- Pastor RC Blakes - Time to Move On! @9:25

We must be honest about our true natures, so that we can set a standard for what we want, need and expect. This is the only way we can attract into our lives those who reflect who we are inside.

Because stallions and donkeys can never be happy together; the stallion will always know she can do better, and the donkey will always know he can never measure up.

When an Emotionally Immature parent has to think about their child's feelings or make an effort for the child's benefit, the fun may stop. They make it clear that you should want what they want if good times are to continue... EI parents cool off fast when the child's desires conflict with their own. EI parents can also be very generous at times, but with a catch. They often think of their own tastes first and give the child what they themselves would like to get. Their gifts often reflect the parent's interests, not the child's preferences. It's as though they were subconsciously giving to themselves by proxy.

"Be happy you got something."

One of the many destructive dogmas I was fed repetitively throughout my entire life: "Be happy you got something."

I couldn't say no; and I had no right to have standards, expectations or preferences.

I heard it my whole life, like a broken record bouncing over the same groove again and again: Be happy that you got something.

Growing up, my parents would accuse me of being ungrateful if I couldn't appreciate the fact that they got me something, even though it wasn't what I had asked for. They still do that.

"But...this isn't what I wanted."

"Be happy you got something."

"But I what I really wanted was..."

"Be happy you got something."

Be happy you got something.

Be happy you got something.

Be happy you got something.


My preferences were inconvenient to them, and if they made a bit of an effort, and it wasn't quite right (because it basically never was or is) and I dared to say something about it, then they would throw their hands up in the air, exasperated because I was 'too picky.'

"We tried, but you're so ungrateful, and no matter what we do, you're never happy...there is something wrong with you for not being able to be happy about the fact that we consistently get you the wrong thing."

Example: for my birthday every year, my father gets me the cake he likes, not the one I want. When I say "All I wanted was plain vanilla" then both my parents - exasperated - will say "But it's white! We don't know...all white cakes should be vanilla..."

Ask the fucking baker. Just fucking ask. Or even easier, read the little plastic sign that's in front of the cake! But they can't do that. That would be too much trouble because it would mean really thinking about someone other than themselves.

As far as they are concerned, the item they got was the right category - cake - and therefore I should be happy with it.

"Mom, I asked you for clementines, these are nectarines...?"

"Clementines, nectarines, what's the difference? I have other things on my mind."

(For the record, this conversation ACTUALLY happened.)

The item she got was the right category - fruit - and therefore I should be happy with it.

"What you want just isn't important to us, your preferences - frankly - are a nuisance."

BE HAPPY YOU GOT SOMETHING. Is it any wonder then that I learned to settle for ANYTHING? I was just doing what I'd been told to do all my life - to be happy that I got something.

"Beggars can't be choosers, and you are so profoundly unworthy and unimportant that you do not have a right to choose. Just be grateful for whatever you get."

My family made me feel as though I had to accept the scraps of anything I might want; care, time, attention, resources, like a mangy dog accepts whatever is thrown in its bowl. "You can have whatever is leftover, if there's anything left."

I'm having to teach myself now as an adult that I deserve good things, and the best things because in a million little ways, I show myself that I don't because that's not what I was taught. For example, when I open a package of Oreos, I always gravitate towards eating the broken ones. I realize that it's because I haven't felt I had the right to have the whole beautiful cookie; only the broken scraps. It takes a very real conscious effort now for me to reach for a whole cookie and to know that that's ok, and that no one is going to get upset with me, ridicule me, or make me feel like a selfish horrible person for wanting the best for myself.

It makes me profoundly sad to realize that I've been accepting and expecting nothing but broken scraps all of my life.

Mr. Brightside wasn't what I wanted. But he was something. The item I got was the right category - a man - and therefore I should be happy with it. I've been taught my whole life that if I had something, I had no right to be unhappy, even if it wasn't what I wanted, and if I was unhappy with what I had, it was because something was wrong with me.

I didn't question my unhappiness with Mr. Brightside enough to act on it. I knew I was, but I didn't feel I had the right to be. It wan't until I started having conversations with one of my friends who really told it like it is and helped me see the situation for what it was, that I finally realized I was settling for so much less than what I wanted, needed, and deserved.

I committed to being with a man whose standards I met - but who didn't meet mine - because until recently, I didn't feel I had a right to have standards.

Because I was always just supposed to BE HAPPY I GOT SOMETHING.

If you were an internalizing child with an emotionally immature parent, you were taught many self-defeating things about how to get along in life. Here are some of the biggest ones:

• Give first consideration to what other people want you to do.
• Don't speak up for yourself.
• Don't ask for help.
• Don't want anything for yourself.

Internalizing children of emotionally immature parents learn that "goodness" means being as self-­effacing as possible so their parents can get their needs met first. Internalizers come to see their needs as unimportant at best and shameful at worst.

"If you sincerely want to change your life: RAISE YOUR STANDARDS."
- Tony Robbins

Once we raise our bar, it's really really easy to see and say no to the things that don't meet our standards.



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