Every girl should have one.
Now you do.

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All you’re all aware, today is Valentine’s Day: a mostly Hallmark-promoted holiday that typically revolves around chocolate, codependence, and sappy romantic staples like roses, teddy bears, and a bunch of other gushy girly mush. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for romance. But come on, let’s get creative, y’all.


However, I notice something peculiar on this particular Valentine’s. Throughout the day, I’ve seen considerable more cynicism and complaints about being single and corporate brainwashing than I have actual sentiments of love.


This leads me to a couple of points. The first being, if you’re unhappy that you’re single, apparently so is everyone else. So get over it.


Second, if you’re among this group of naysayers, you’re only giving power to the idea that today is reserved specifically for romantic love.


The way I see it, today is about universal love. The “love is all you need” kind of love. The “what the world needs now is love sweet love” kind of love. Compassion. Empathy. Giving.


Whether you’re single or spending today with a sweetheart, take time to express love to everyone in your life. Smile extra big at your barista. Maybe even tip them! Call a relative you don’t talk to often enough. Tell your friends how grateful you are to have them. Say “I love you!” to someone who rarely hears it or, better yet, someone who’s never heard it from you.


If you don’t have plans for the evening, maybe spend that time writing notes of gratitude to people worthy of appreciation. They’ll be quite surprised when your card arrives a few days after the “day reserved” for sharing love. Or send emails instead. Or, if you really want to be old fashioned, call them on the phone!


And take time to love yourself. Put down the work and the worries, do something you never get to do. Catch up on that arthouse flick everyone’s raving about that you still haven’t seen. Try cooking a challenging recipe. Crack open that book that’s been sitting on your nightstand for weeks. One of my personal favorite “me time” activities is a home spa night. Mud mask, mani, a hot shower, and lots of smell good skin care products.


Of course today isn’t the only day to give and practice love, but why not think of it as a great reminder and be proactive about expressing it?


I think we can all recognize (and celebrate!) how magnificent it is that the world, at least for one day, prioritizes love. 


After all, it’s the only thing that there’s just too little of.

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@TechnicolorNina asks:

How do you remain friends with someone you love when you know they don’t love you back the same way and you don’t want to lose the companionship in spite of being hurt?



@gocheeksgo answers:

Brutal Honesty Alert

If you think pain and unrequited love is an acceptable dynamic in companionship, you need to stop wondering how you can maintain this relationship and start wondering what the hell is going on with you.

While you could technically remain friends with someone you’re interested in romantically, it will only cause you more heartache.



Therefore, you have two options:

1.) Be glad they’re being honest with you and move on. No romance. No friendship.

2.) Change how you feel about them.

The second option is hard, but not impossible. I’ll show you how below.

        

Unrequited Love

This is a universal experience. Your feelings of adoration persist even after you learn a person don’t feel the same way. Do you know why?

Really, think about it for a minute.

Have you come up with the answer? (Hint: it’s not because they are so amazing.)

'Nother guess?

No, it’s not because you’ll never find anyone who “gets” you the way they do.

Give up?

My theory (and I say this as someone who’s been right where you are) is that you think so little of yourself that you are subconsciously chasing rejection. You don’t respect yourself enough to like someone who might like you back. You’re actually feeding on emotional neglect, enjoying it.

You might say, “how could I be enjoying this? It hurts!”

But think about it, there’s drama involved. It’s like living in an episode of My So-Called Life. It earns you sympathy from friends. Entire advice columns are being written to you by semi famous sub-lebrity Internet personalities!

Most of all, it’s an elaborate excuse to avoid facing something scary: real companionship.

       

Admitting You Have a Problem

Now most people hear this and say, “Nu uh! It’s not like that. I really don’t. No, really. I don’t think that’s what I’m doing. See, here’s the part you don’t understand/I didn’t tell you/that makes it different.”

To this I say, of course you aren’t conscious of your emotional blockages. We’re rarely, if ever, aware of the ways in which we are sabotaging ourselves, but it’s human nature to do so. Can you imagine how awful it would feel, always knowing when we’re preventing ourselves from being happy? That’s where your best frenemy, the ego, makes his entrance.

The ego protects us from realizing what we’re doing because we’re very often doing the opposite of what would be best for us. Overeating, smoking, having another drink. We’re even collectively poisoning our planet! Yet somehow we’re not overwhelmed by the sadness of humanity.

So when you say — “Nu uh! That’s not me and here’s why…” — that’s actually your ego freaking out and hoping the truth doesn’t seep through to your conscious mind. Your ego is putting up a giant defense mechanism because it feels threatened. And it should feel threatened! If you got past the wall and acknowledged what you’re actually doing then… that would mean you’d have to… gulp… change!

That having been said, I totally get it. I did the unrequited love thing when I was in high school. Longing, pining, yearning.

"Why doesn’t he notice me? I’m so good to him! Maybe we can be friends …even though it hurts to be friends… It’s okay! He’ll see one day. He’ll love me if I just prove myself/make myself a doormat/be his personal slave/I don’t care what it takes I NEED HIM!"

And why did I need him? Because he was the only one for me? No.

I “needed” him because he didn’t want me. It actually had nothing to do with him. Could anyone have convinced me when I was 16 that I was chasing rejection? It’s doubtful. But as I grew up, I realized the truth.

After I learned the what, I learned why. Then how to let it go.

For me, the journey started when I truly believed that I deserve to be happy. Unfortunately, some people never grow out of this crippling addiction. Some because they’re never aware. Some because they simply cannot face reality. You already have an advantage over those people.

Look at it this way: if you can admit to yourself that you’re choosing this destructive behavior, you’re one step closer to moving past it and growing as a result.

When you address what you’re really doing and why, you’re past the hardest part. Then you can work on letting it go.


           

Conflict of Beliefs

I don’t like speaking in terms of what “should” be, so I’ll speak from my own point of view. I’ve gone from being Angela Chase, lusting after Jordan Catalono from afar, to having a much lighter and satisfying approach to love and friendship.

If I like a guy, but he doesn’t like me, my fondness for him almost immediately dwindles. Why? He’s not into me! Why would I continue to want someone who doesn’t want me?

Imagine for a second you’re looking to join a new church. (Even if you’re not religious, go with me.) You visit a church that has a nice building, friendly people, and it’s close to your house. This seems like a great church! But during the sermon, the preacher starts condemning something applicable to you. (gay, democrat, female, blonde, whatever it may be.)

You realize, they don’t take too kindly to people like you. Would you still have any desire to go to that church?

Exactly. Your desire would disappear due to a conflict of beliefs. The same applies with romance. There’s a conflict of beliefs when someone doesn’t like me.

My belief: I’m a worthy person deserving of love.

His belief: No, thank you.

Too bad. His stained glass windows were super cute.

A lover who’s really into me is my #1 priority in a relationship.

Sure there are other factors to consider, but if his attraction ain’t there, neither is mine. Homeboy could be a Nobel Prize winning Nordic God, but if he doesn’t like me, then what the hell kind of relationship would I be getting exactly?

Fish. Sea. Plenty. Imma catch one that can’t keep his fins off me. Hmmm, this metaphor might not be the best, but you get it.

       

Write This Part Down

When you begin the journey of self discovery, here are some super simplified reminders for the road:

1.) Respect yourself enough to be most turned on by someone who respects you.

2.) Like yourself. This way, if they don’t like you, you’ll lose interest. Longing/pining/whining is so 90’s. And not in the cool vintage way.

3.) Instead of focusing on how much you like them or dwelling on if they like you, ask yourself: Do I like them?  Why do I like about them? 

Is what you like about them related to how they treat you? Or are you just attracted to their great qualities? Hitler was a genius public speaker. Does that make you want to date him? 



Cliff’s Notes Version

Understand, they aren’t not doing anything to hurt you. To think so is like running in front of a speeding bus and blaming the driver for not stopping in time. If you don’t think you’re worth anything, you are volunteering to be neglected. When you decide for yourself that you deserve love, you will attract healthier companions in both lovers and friends.

Instead of chasing rejection, you will be the one rejecting anything less than reciprocity.

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@BackpackingDad asks:

Dear Cheeks,

My wife and I play “Gay column/Straight column” with the things our toddler son does/likes. Is this messed up?

@gocheeksgo answers:

I’m hardly a child psychologist, so if your kid ends up a total whack job, I assume no responsibility.

That having been said, as someone who grew up with intense feelings of being “wrong” and praying for god to relieve me of my “sinful same sex attraction”, I’d have been overjoyed to know my parents were accepting, whether I was gay or straight.

The gay column/straight column game would have indicated to me that either one was completely valid. I would have felt safe to say, “Hey, so that gay column? I think maybe we should add my crush on Samuel Carter to that category.” I’d have felt safe to tell them. I might have come out at age 12, rather than through tears when I was 14, worried that I needed help.

I think the way you and your wife are raising your son is healthy and, well, pretty hilarious. It makes light of a topic that is treated way too heavily in our society. Granted, sexuality (and the realization of) isn’t a trivial aspect of our lives by any means, but it doesn’t have to be the dark and painful period it is for so many young gay people.

I guess the argument could be made that you’re reinforcing stereotypes… “Theatre? Add it to the gay column” or the notion that “only straight guys like basket ball.”

But let’s say he’s a macho, sports loving, car enthusiast who turns out to be gay. Then he will have learned that stereotypes, while sometimes true, are mostly just inaccurate generalizations.

On the other hand, let’s say he becomes a Shakespearian, floral designing, Streisand fan who is straight. He’ll learn the same lesson about stereotypes and that one’s likes, interests, or sensitivity doesn’t define what it means to be a “man”.

As long as you’re keeping the game supportive and emphasizing that the categories aren’t really any kind of deciding factor, I say why not?

I’m also not a parent (wow, I’m totes outta my field here) but I would think the biggest goals of raising a child are:

 

1.) Making sure he knows he’s loved

2.) Teaching him to love

3.) Teaching him that all people deserve love


In my opinion as a professional gay, your method seems to be a tender and playful way to convey these lessons. 

Blow Them At The Moon: Nominate TeamHusbands 4 The Shorty Awards - Web Show

xof1013:

Sooooo, PEEPS - we have a cheeky NEW mission! (PLEASE RE-BLOG)

From NOW until February 17, 2012, the fans of “Husbands” are putting our best efforts forward to try and get the show nominated for a Shorty Award!!!

A nomination serves as great buzz for the show, in addition to building the…

Source: shortyawards.com

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Yesterday @ruby_shaylyn asked:

If you had to make a choice between having one of your best friends in your life or achieving happiness, which would you choose?


Today, the question has been amended.



@ruby_shaylyn asks:

What if the person is your significant other?



@gocheeksgo answers:

First let me say, when submitting questions, be honest. That way I can answer accurately the first time.

An important thing to keep in mind here is that no one can hold you back. They can be unsupportive or tear you down or keep you comfortably dependent, but you allow that person to do so by staying with them. If that’s the case, you’ve got some real self examination to do.

If there is anyone in your life that can’t stand in the way of your happiness, it’s your partner. More than a friend, they are absolutely an essential person to support you and encourage you to move forward with your own goals and dreams.

Ask yourself the following questions.

As you do, see if you can imagine these famous power couples saying such things to each other.



Does your partner criticize your goals?

"You? President? Ha! I doubt you’d even make it as a community leader."


Are they competitive, jealous, or insecure?

"Babe. I’m the funny one. We can’t both be funny."


Do they not want you to have goals, hobbies, or a life outside of them?

"I win the Oscars. You raise the babies. Got it?"


Are they dependent on you or attempting to make you dependent on them?

 

"My talk show money can take care of the both of us… that way, if ever you want to split up, you’ll have been off the job market for years and you’ll be stuck with me!"


If these couples treated each other in such a way, they would either not be the accomplished individuals they are or they would have split up.

While we don’t know them personally and every couple has obstacles to overcome, they all set a great example of two independent people who are successful in their own right and allow each other to shine.

I’d like to say, a single person giving this advice might seem somewhat out of school. I get that.

However, my single status actually supports my point. I’m single because I choose to be. Most people would rather be in a relationship than not. And sure, I’d prefer that, too. But am I going to sacrifice any element of my own happiness just to have someone around? That’d be a big, “Hell No.” Not only would I quickly grow to resent them, their very presence would annoy me.

Most people love the nestling of a partner. The warmth of someone there, the company, the ease of living with someone who can take out the trash or split the bills or cook dinner.

But listen up: the perks of a relationship can’t be why you get into the relationship. The comfort of partnership is not ever worth giving up what you really want out of life. Making it on your own and never settling for second best will ultimately make you stronger and happier. Would you rather be Mary Tyler Moore or Ethel Mertz? Liz Lemon or a Real Housewife?

The last two guys I dated were fantastic guys. Smart, thoughtful, and both did a great job of showing how much they liked me. They “passed the test,” if you will.

As a result, it was that much more difficult when I had to call it off. Why, if they were so great, did I call it off?

Their desire for a relationship was too intense. They needed a relationship to feel validated, important, worthy. They didn’t want to celebrate life together, they wanted to not be alone.

I don’t want a relationship because the other person happens to want a relationship too. When I choose to be in a relationship, it’s because we feel the improvement of our own lives as a result of knowing each other.

Build a partnership on the excitement and devotion to what you can create together. This means he isn’t just “allowing you” to do whatever your goals may be, he actively encourages you and holds you accountable.

"Didn’t you say you were gonna write a chapter of your book tonight?"

"Um… yeah."

"Well get to it. I can’t wait to read it!"

You want someone who will ask you what you need to be happy and help you attain it in every possible way.

She proposes traveling to places you’ve always wanted to, but never got around to going. He makes sure your tie is straight and wishes you good luck at your meeting. She buys champagne to pop when you close the deal. When you’ve had a day full of people telling you “No, that’ll never work” He rubs your shoulders and says, “Yes it will. You’ll show em.”

If you can’t picture doing this for them and them for you, this person is not your equal. It is never worth settling for someone (who might be a fine person with many great qualities) if they are not lifting you up every step of the way.

A partner is your cheerleader and a leader on their own. The respect and admiration is mutual.

Long before Jay Z, Beyonce was singing about being an independent woman who needed a soldier and whatnot. She had confidence, a career, and didn’t beg to be taken care of.

Her message: step up to the plate, add to the quality of my life, and I’ll give you my best.

If the man can’t do that? I can just see her saying, “S’cuse me boo, I got a Grammy to win.”

A common problem for straight women is that men often feel threatened by a successful woman. Men can also feel insecure that seeking your own happiness outside of him means he’s not good enough. It’s always best to communicate this isn’t true, but in my experience, it’s best to shoot for someone who already understands that. Better yet, someone who thinks it’s sexy when you succeed.

Ideally, you want to grow enough into yourself before merging your life with someone else’s. This will attract likeminded people that think big and get your goals, get you. Together, you work to strengthen one another emotionally, financially, socially, and so on.

If your significant other is holding you back in any way, your regret will grow like a cancer. I’ve seen people wake up at 30, 40, 50 and say, “My god what have I been doing all these years?” Rather than heading down that path, do something now.

Always pursue the journey that will make you most fulfilled, no matter how scary. Most importantly, identify what makes you happy outside the context of a relationship.

Think of it this way: everyone wants a partner. Everyone wants love. Good news, you’re just like everyone else. The bad news? You’re just like everyone else.

Now, aside from love, what do you need to be happy?

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@ruby_shaylyn asks:

If you had to make a choice between having one of your best friends in your life or achieving happiness, which would you choose?



@gocheeksgo answers:

Ruby,

I really don’t know how to give advice any other way than frankly. So, to be frank, this question doesn’t make any sense.

Here’s why:

Your best friend should be someone you share your happiness with. Why would your picture of happiness not include your best friend?

Do they bring you down or resent your success? If so, they’re not really a friend. They’re a commiserator. 

If your happiness doesn’t involve your best friend, then either your idea of happiness needs to be reevaluated or you need to reevaluate why this person is your best friend.

As long as you aren’t hurting yourself or sleeping with her man, she should be happy for your happiness. A friend who isn’t, is no friend at all.