With over 120k Instagram followers, Lala is the anonymous voice helping womankind through every bump in the road. An established sex, dating and relationship educator, she’s had her fair share of relationship drama and shares her wisdom on social media to a loyal army of followers. Every week thousands turn to her to answer their questions, (no matter how embarrassing), and her funny, frank approach to love and relationships has made her the ultimate feel-good guru.
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Last week I spoke about ‘breadcrumbing’ – the term for when someone who isn’t interested in you gives you little bits of attention in order to keep you around or to give you hope that something might progress between the two of you.
I received a huge number of messages from women who said that they were experiencing breadcrumbing from guys who they were sleeping with. So, I thought it would be good to discuss the fact that so many of us end up giving our all to people who give us nothing but sporadic sex and occasional bouts of thrush.
A term often used to describe this type of scenario is a situationship.
A F**kbuddy or a friend with benefits tends to be different, those situations usually don’t involve feelings. They are about two people who like having sex with each other and are both clear that the other doesn’t want more. They are convenient ways to ensure that you can have regular sex outside of relationships (although they can become messy and turn into situationships if one develops feelings and the other doesn’t).
A situationship is defined by the fact that feelings have become involved on one side only. One person usually ends up getting hurt or compromising their own needs in order to keep the other one around.
So, how do we end up in situationships? It usually goes something like this – you meet someone who you find insanely attractive. They will tell you from the start that they aren’t looking for anything serious, you'll be cool with that because at the start you won't have any feelings for them, and you'll think that eventually you'll be able to entice them to love you with your delightful personality and life changing vagina. So, you stay quiet in the hope that soon they will suddenly realise that they do want something serious.
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Or you just don’t discuss what you are both looking for, and you go with the flow, assuming that because you are speaking daily and seeing each other often, that it will just naturally progress into a relationship.
The thing about the start of a situationship is that it always feels like it’s going to be something big, and it always feels like they are just as into you as you are to them.
They are usually really attentive. They make you feel amazing with how much they desire and want you. The sex is always great, and they will stay the night and take you for breakfast in the morning. But the first signs of where this is heading usually begin soon after the first time you have sex.
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After breakfast you will part ways but you won’t hear from them at all for the rest of the day. You feel incredibly anxious because in the lead up to sex they were messaging you loads.
A couple of days later they will get back in touch as normal and you will feel like an idiot for being anxious. You will meet up again, and things will feel amazing, and you will have great sex, and then the same thing will happen again. And again, and again.
The worst thing about situationships is the constant uncertainty about where you stand.
The fact that they see and sleep with you regularly and treat you like their girlfriend when they’re with you makes you think that they have feelings. But the fact that there has been no discussion about how they feel, and that they only really get in touch when they want to have sex with you, tells you different.
So, you start hanging on to tiny things and placing meaning on them to convince yourself that they are into you.
A held gaze, the fact that they cuddled you for hours after sex, the fact that they called you at 2am when they were drunk, the fact that they responded to your comment on Instagram with a heart we begin to convince ourselves that they really do have feelings, they’re just shy, or they have abandonment issues, or they’re just busy, or too proud to admit to how they feel.
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The worst thing is when you feel like you want to know ‘what we are’ but you don’t feel like you can ask because you are worried that trying to force a relationship before they’re ready might put them off.
And it’s even worse when you do ask where this is going, and they respond with a vague, non-committal reply like “We’re not together but I love what we’ve got” or “Labels are childish, let’s just go with the flow” or “You know I really like you, it’s just not the right time for a relationship”. And this is the crux of the problem.
They give you hope. And you give yourself hope. You end up in a committed relationship with a single person. You like them so much that you don’t even want to talk to other people, they become the centre of your world, and you end up compromising yourself and your needs because you want to keep showing them how much they need you.
You start doing ‘wifey’ things, like cooking for them, or buying them things, or becoming a taxi service, because you want them to see how great being with you really is. But this is the worst thing we could do! Because we end up giving them the relationship without the commitment and exclusivity. They get to have their cake and eat it without having to become your partner.
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The key is to stand in reality. Stop and take stock. Are you enjoying this casual relationship that they’re giving you or is it mainly causing anxiety and feelings of not being good enough? Are you constantly wondering how they feel or where you stand? Do you feel amazing when they’re with you but full of angst when they’re is not because you don’t know when they will next get in touch or whether they might be seeing other people? Is the ball completely in their court? Are you allowing them to dictate how things are going? Do you feel like you have to hide your feelings so that you don’t scare them off? Is this really what you think you deserve? Breadcrumbs of their time instead of the whole loaf?
It comes down to how you value yourself. If you believe that you are worthy and deserving of it all then you will not compromise your needs for theirs. If you believe that you are not quite good enough then you will accept people treating you that way. You are more than good enough. Give people the same energy that they give to you.
Stop settling for useless people who can’t see your worth. Expect more, remember your value and who you are. Then elevate higher and reach for the stars to find your equal, someone who wants to match your energy, someone whose feelings you don’t have to question. They're up there. Until then block, delete, move on.
Follow @LaLaLaLetMeExplain on Instagram for more relationship home truths.
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