Chivalrous Acts

Congrats!

I’m a modern girl. I’m independent and I’m single. I have built a career from the ground up, read everyone from C.S. Lewis to Suzanne Collins, can navigate social media with relative ease, and watch New Girl every week like it’s my job.

And? I know I can take care of myself. But hey, call me old-fashioned, too. It’s fine. I can appreciate aspects of feminism, but I prefer gender roles. I like when a guy volunteers to kill a massive spider without complaint, or lift a heavy box in my stead.

I find chivalry to be a gorgeous thing. 

Most women I know are a little like that. We love our modern independence in life and in love, but deep down, we want guys to treat us like ladies. As most women will attest, it’s become increasingly rare. Gentlemanly behavior sets our hearts aflutter. We want to see it, and many of us are waiting on it.

Some men make us question why chivalrous acts have died out. However, other men prove that sweetness still exists. I want a guy to court me a bit. In fact, I’m sort of holding out for that. Someone to sweep me off my feet? No, gosh no. Grand gestures are wholly unnecessary. I just want someone I can count on. I just want him to do little things to make me sure he’s the real deal.

Dating today is tough, and we women always seem to have doubts about the guys that roll into our lives. Does he like me? Are his motives genuine? Can I trust him completely? Guessing means you usually can’t, and confusion isn’t a good thing.

Most women would like to erase that. So if he puts in the time and does the little things, it’s like a screening process for us. He’s more likely to be into us as human beings, not hookups. He’s more likely to be Mr. Right when we’re over dealing with all those Mr. Wrongs. That’s why chivalry is as important now as it ever was.

Here’s to all the women who are looking for that chivalrous, good-hearted guy. He’s out there. These are the things he does to make us swoon. (And to all those chivalrous, good-hearted guys, keep doing what you’re doing. We love you for it.)

Here are a few of the cutest ones that would make any girl swoon:

1. Call. It would be nice to receive a phone call instead of text messages. While a text shows you were on his mind, a phone call is more personal. Call, don’t text a date invitation. Just the fact that you would take the time to actually call a woman to ask her out on a date will put you light years ahead of your competition (of which there is a lot).

2. Offer you his jacket. When the weather turns colder, and you have on light clothing, it’s cute when he offers you his jacket. It’s a sweet gesture.

3. Put your hand on the small of her back when introducing her to someone. This is something I read a long time ago and it stuck with me for some reason. This is a passive sign of affection and isn’t inappropriate in a public setting, but it bonds the two of you together and helps her feel more comfortable.

4. Open the door for her. The door to the restaurant, the car door, the door to the car picking you up. Whatever door is relevant to you both walking through, please do not lose sight of this simple but often overlooked act of kindness.

5. Suffering through a girly movie. When a man volunteers to endure a girly show or movie because he knows you’ll enjoy it, he earns major bonus points. (Even more if he does so without complaining or expecting something in return.)

Women in turn should respect the act of chivalry. I know many women out there who do not want the door opened for them because it makes them feel like their power or independence is somehow being taken away from them. They are aggressive and headstrong in society. It may not be because they want to be, but because to make it in the world, they have to be. This is true. However, can you imagine a world where chivalry didn’t exist at all? Would you want your daughter marrying a man that didn’t show her this appreciation for being the amazing, strong, supporting, dynamic woman that she is?

In short, that’s what chivalry is — a choice. The choice to do the right things, for the right reasons, at the right times.

XOXO
April McManus

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Move With Confidence

Took me to my first baseball game. September 2014.

Took me to my first baseball game. September 2014.

Dear You,

I’m not sure I’m ready to put this into words but I know if I don’t try I’ll continue regretting not putting into words what needs to be said. So, at least at the end of this, no matter how it ends, I can at least say I tried.

In this past two years with you, I’ve learned a lot. About myself, about relationships, being an adult, about love. I’ve learned that I’m the type of person who loves with her entire being. When I love or care about someone, I let my entire world revolve around them. That’s what I did with you. You came into my life at a time when I wasn’t ready for anyone, let alone you. You came into my life and you weren’t a person–you were this entity that I became enraptured with. Your infectious personality, your incredible way with words, your delectable charm–it all seemed too good to be true. I think what it comes down to is I became involved with you before I was ever ready. I didn’t take the time to figure out what I wanted and what I needed from someone–from you, from our relationship. When we started all of this, you made it very clear you didn’t want a relationship. I thought it was because you were scared or you’d been hurt. I know now it’s because you’re not capable of having a relationship—at least not the kind I want.

I’m going to be honest with you because that’s what people who care about each other do. This is something I’ve been dealing with for a long time and it’s gone on long enough because honestly, it hurts too much. It’s not fair. I’m holding on because I hope things will change, which is perfectly reasonable, but I can’t change a person. I can’t change you, and I can’t change your situation. I can only change myself and the situations I choose to be a part of. You choose to let this nonsense continue and I’ve tried to understand and ignore it, but I can’t anymore. If you wanted to move on, you could. If you wanted to change the dynamics of your relationship with these other women, you could. I know you well enough by now to know that when you want someone out of your life, that’s it—they’re out. You have had plenty of time to reevaluate your situation and the damage it does to yourself and other people. Why have you done nothing about it? And I don’t mean making profiles private or pursuing secret relationships because that’s childish. I mean taking action and making adult decisions.

I am choosing to stay in this relationship and endure all of the lies, pain, and absurdity. I want nothing more than to believe every single word you say about it being crazy and her being crazy and all of that. I want nothing more than to continue telling everyone to fuck off—that they don’t understand our relationship. You know why I stay, but I deserve to treat myself better. At the VERY LEAST, I deserve honesty from you. You like to use the reasoning that because I’m not technically tied to you relationship wise (i.e. being your “girlfriend”) but the fact of the matter is we are in a relationship despite the fact that that is not the term you’d like to use. You’ve made it clear I am not to sleep with anyone else or go on dates—I know you do it in jest but we both know some part of you would feel hurt if YOU found out I was sneaking around behind your back. So, why do it to me?

How many times has something like this happened before? Because you know that although I may speak up, I still won’t do anything about it. Maybe I am, as they put it, just a stupid little girl. I know you have feelings for me, otherwise you wouldn’t even bother with our relationship, but it worries me that this is the way you treat people you care about.

What’s sicker is there are times when we’re together and I think nothing and no one else matters—you have this way of making me feel like I am yours and you’re mine. In the end though, none of that compares to the bigger issue here which is completely unacceptable. The issue being I may have those thoughts but in the end, it’s not true. You and your heart do, whether you see it or not, already belong to someone else.

I just want you to realize what I’m worth. I invite you into my life, my head, my heart, my family, my bed. That is all very special, and not everyone I meet is entitled to those things. I’ve given you everything and in return, you’re not even really mine. I’m not trying to make you feel bad, because you know I care a lot about you. I just don’t think you can ever give me what I want and need. A relationship—no matter what kind—falls apart the minute dishonesty comes into play. It is no longer fair to me to allow dishonesty from you when honesty is expected from me. And I know you will read this and not realize where I’m coming from but I do hope you try. You are the most important person in my life. But, I only have one life, why spend it with someone who doesn’t make me feel like the most important person in their world?

Whether you leave me or I leave you, I am going to miss you—this will be something I never quite get over. I’m going to feel heartbroken—like a failure, someone who just couldn’t make it work despite her best efforts. But if it doesn’t end, I continue looking stupid and foolish because I let this happen. But, life sucks sometimes. The most I can do is embrace the heartache and hold onto my pride which I have slowly been losing with each day I ignore the other major relationships in your life. I hate being alone, but I am 100% content knowing that I will not give myself to anyone undeserving. This is my life and I am the most important person in it and for the past two years, I’ve forgotten that.

I love you. I’ve never cared about anyone as much as I do for you. I would do almost anything for you—anything you ask of me. The memories I get to keep as a result of being with you are some of the best I have. You are a fantastic human being with a light about you that draws people into you—but one thing I cannot do is continue letting you lead me down a path of dishonesty. You don’t see it as dishonesty, I get that, but unfortunately that is what has happened. Whether it’s lying about spending time with multiple girls while you’re gone or lying about the “complicated situation,” or telling them I’m a psycho crazy girl with a big crush, lying is lying and it still hurts the people who care about you.

I’ve fought for you in the only possible way I know how—by being there for you and loving you. But I realize I’m fighting a losing battle. You’re everything to me—and I’m not much to you. She won. I do truly hope you read this and try to see it through my point of view—I don’t understand this situation. And if I get nothing from you now, I never will. I want to—I want to know who she/they is, the part she/they plays in your life, if you’re still sleeping with them — so many questions that, until answered, make me question our involvement with each other.

And the sickest thing, and even I have to admit this, is that at the end of the day, I will let this happen. I will turn the other way. I will let you continue having other relationships and I will continue believing your lies. I can act angry and upset and yell and kick and scream but never will I let you go. I can’t. And that, above all else, makes me the most pathetic person I’ve ever known.

I don’t think you meant to ever hurt me—but you have. When someone you care about is dishonest, it hurts more than anything. I want to believe you—I want you to let me in. I want you to trust me and I want you to recognize that I’m here and willing to listen and understand.

But most of all, I just want you. All of you. And in the end, I can only hope you want me, and only me, too.

“Good Girl”

What’s the most romantic thing I could possibly do for myself? What about setting my alarm for the break of dawn and getting up even though it’s oh-so-early and going to sunrise yoga by myself? Really? Really! My best strategy for really making the most of my life is to get really, really good and grounded. Connect with myself. Connect with my feelings and emotions. Connect with my wants and my needs. Connect with my desires.

Now, breathe!

#April McManus
@April McManus

The best thing about starting over is I didn’t look back

Well, hello there beautiful!  Hope all is well in your life.  Pretty sure if your reading this blog then you too are a courageous single mom too. 

 Single mom by choice?!?!  That’s absurd….right?  Wrong!  For me personally, these past couple of years have been extremely busy. Between, the divorce, keeping up with my photography company, learning a new career outside of the home, raising three daughters, 2 year rottie puppy and now blog writing at night on our crazy yet fun lives – I’m stretched a wee bit thin. Then there’s laundry, food shopping, cooking and cleaning to get done. Okay, okay…maybe I’m not really keeping up with the cooking and cleaning part.  And, at the end of the day, I wouldn’t trade it for all the gold in the world. 

Life as a single parent who works outside the home is rewarding and challenging. Life as a single mother who works outside the home is even more-so. I believe I am pretty typical, it seems, of many professionals just trying to balance regular old life.  I’ve tried to organize my days, but a truthfully, a systematic weekly schedule doesn’t work for me right now.

It’s a beautiful Sunday evening. I’m typing this, listening to the hum of the washing machine while Mari is sitting in her bedroom. As soon as I hit publish, I hope to take a quick walk. 

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Optimistic Single Woman