Saturday, April 30, 2011

Energy Vampires

Leave the suckers for Twilight

We’ve all experienced it at one time or other, a friend who is distraught after a break-up and bends your ear every time they see you with stories of their ex and their biased analysis of why their relationship didn’t work. Nothing much logical or rational passes through their lips. At first you were supportive and understanding, but let’s face it, there’s a limit you can take and after a while it just becomes wearisome and draining. You feel too guilty to say no to them when they turn up dejected on your doorstep. The result is that you start making excuses not to spend time with them and eventually your friendship will start to suffer. These people are energy vampires, feeding off your energy and draining you until you yourself become depressed.

When you go through a break-up you need to make sure that you do not become an energy vampire. Initially there will be a temporary over-charged emotional phase, make sure you pick a friend with vast emotional reserves to suck energy from. But then you need to be kind to yourself and stop it. Admit where you’ve become like a stuck record and amend your behaviour. A good thing for friends to do is to make a pact. You’ll feed off each other up until a certain predetermined point, and then your friend will gently tell you when it’s enough. This requires trust and honesty in your relationship, and you have to listen when your friend says enough is enough. It’s important that these boundaries be backed up with definite consequences, otherwise the energy-feeding will continue.

If you’re going through a break-up yourself you need to sweep your house clean of any and all energy vampires. When you’re a wreck is not the time to be a rescuer and be there for someone else to let prey on you. Physically remove yourself from that person and distance yourself emotionally. If you are already in a weakened state, letting an emotional vampire feed off you will just make your situation worse and cause you to crash.

Not all energy vampires are created equal, and not all of them are in that space because they are depressed after a break-up. Some of them drain your energy for other reasons, but they are just as draining. Unempathetic, narcisstic people who always put themselves first and aren’t really interested in your life can be draining. So can drama queens who thrive on negative energy. Friends who never have a good word to say about anything and constantly criticise every little thing are energy vampires. As are friends who are moody and constantly re-arranging the status order of their ‘best friends’; these are skilled at pitting people against each other and love causing ructions in your social circle. Stay clear of friends who don’t value your opinion as they are also draining your energy.

You need to be surrounded by people who build you up, not drain you. And you need to make sure that you don’t become an energy vampire yourself. You need all your energy to pick up the pieces and get your life back on track.

Excerpt from How to say no to sex and other survival tips for the suddenly single.


Thursday, April 21, 2011

How to know if your man is cheating

Cheating men always leave signs. You just have to know where to look for them and if you have a gut-feeling he’s cheating, you’re probably right. Unfortunately while there’s many good things about technology, one of the negatives is that there are many websites popping up promoting discrete affairs between married and committed people. Finding someone to cheat with has never been easier! All he needs is an anonymous username and a profile and he’ll be inundated with ladies looking for adventure.

To catch a cheater, you need to set a trap. If you find he’s on a website advertising his abilities, you need to find out the name of the website and set up your own profile. When he contacts you for a date, you’ve caught him! Most men wait for you to leave town before they invite their date to your house. If you think this is happening, all you need to do is pretend to be leaving town on business and then sit across the road and watch your house. Make sure you have plenty of magazines to read and snacks to eat. Other men have ‘business lunches’ or have to ‘work late.’ If you suspect this is happening, then you might need to get out your stalker outfit and start following him. There is no need to be overly dramatic and hire a detective. For a start, they are pretty pricey and you’ll be paying for it, not your cheating man. Instead, you might want to do some online shopping. If you are computer-savvy, you can get key logger software to see exactly what he is typing and which websites he visits. A voice-activated digital tape recorder cunningly placed under his car seat will record all in-car conversations. Although a little on the pricey side, a GPS tracking device will help you know where his car is parked every minute of the day.

Another way to catch him, is to pretend you know more than you do. Make as if you have hard concrete evidence of his infidelity. Give him a chance to ‘come clean.’ Tell him that if he continues to lie to you, it’ll make the whole unpleasant situation a lot worse. Tell him he’s got overnight to sleep on it and think about it. Although most men will continue to lie, if you are a good enough actress and can carry off the ruse there is a good chance he’ll confess and give you the information you are looking for. Of course, it can backfire and make him cover his tracks even better.

So, what signs can show that your man is cheating? You find bills sent to a post office box you knew nothing about; the passenger seat in his car has been moved; long blonde hairs on his clothes when both of you are short brunettes; cigarette smoke smell when neither of you smoke; lipstick on his shirt collar; your dog starts to shag his leg; a smell of perfume that’s not yours; turns his phone off when he’s with you; leaves the room and closes the door behind him when he gets a call; cellphone bills that show calls of a long duration; internet browse history shows dating sites or porn sites; credit card bills contain unknown charges; his car is suddenly chomping its way through fuel and becoming a gas guzzler; he suddenly becomes obsessed with his body and his looks and joins a gym or applies a fake tan; his secretary appears to be screening his calls at work; he starts working later; you catch his friends out lying as they cover for him; unexplained receipts in his wallet; out-of-the-norm ATM withdrawals. All of these indicate a change in his behaviour, and that is probably what fired up your gut feeling to start with.

It’s hard to describe the shitty feeling you get when you discover you’ve been cheated on. Chances are, you’ll experience the whole range of emotions from grief to revenge. Your self-esteem will take a serious knock, but think of it this way – you are better off without him, because once a cheater always a cheater. If he cheated on a previous girlfriend or wife with you, there’s a good chance he’ll do it again. A leopard can only change its spots of it wants to, and many cheaters so enjoy the thrill of the chase, the danger of getting caught, that they have no inclination to change their cheating ways. You deserve much better than a lying cheating man.