A while back, after reading Fifty Shades of Gray, I blogged a bit about one of my past dating experiences, which was a complete fail because we both had dominant personalities and neither one wanted to cede and play the role of a sub.  But was it a complete fail?  I learned a lot from that relationship, and I am still friends with that man.  Why? There are lots of reasons, but the main one is that we are both good people and enjoy each other’s company.  We may not be compatible as intimate partners, but there are so many other options besides just that one facet to a guy-girl relationship.

Before I go further, let me start at the beginning.  Until college, everyone called me “Gina” or “G,” and I had the nicest high school sweetheart a girl could ask for, but we parted ways after graduation.  We had different goals and the long distance thing was not for us, so no hard feelings, it was just time to end things– and yes, 20 years later we are still friends.

My senior year of college, I met my husband, who was a blond version of Ferris Bueller– a brilliant daredevil, who made me laugh like no one else.  Unfortunately, after 12 years, we grew apart and got divorced.  Despite our disappointment, we rose above the situation and have managed to peacefully share custody of our son the last 8 years, during which time many have asked me if there is any hope of reconcilation.  Simply put, no.  I loved this man like no other, and yet we are better off as friends and co-parents.  He still makes me laugh like no other, and now I have a mini version of him who is learning to do the same, and that is his greatest gift to me.

On the rebound, I dated the opposite of Ferris Bueller, precisely because that is how rebounds work– the pendulum swings to the other extreme.  The very traits then that attracted me in the beginning, however, drove me crazy after 6 months.  Since then, that pendulum has continued to swing, but not so drastically, and not with many.  (Remember, for girls it is about quality over quantity.)    In 2010, in addition to my own Christian Gray (the Dom in 50 Shades of Gray), I was introduced to the one I’ve dubbed “Jerry Maguire” not just because he is totally non-commital, but because he had me at “hello.”  Obviously his inability to focus was not going to work for me, even though I understood he was raw from his divorce, and because we were both honest with one another, we have also been able to remain friends all these years.

My track record shows how rare it is for me to sever all contact, but if it needs to be done, I do it without hesitation– act swiftly, get it done, and move on.  But before plunging into the next thing, I do find it helpful to take some time to reassess where you are– what are you looking for now?  How does it differ from what you thought you wanted before?  What life lesson did you learn?

From each experience you learn a bit more about others and yourself, including what you want and need.  You also learn more about your dealbreakers, or what you can’t stand.  In order to avoid making the same mistakes, you need to allow yourself some time to process what you just went through.  For me, the added bonus of having these friends from the past is that they can act as a great sounding board.  Guys can smell b.s. and desperation a mile away, and when I want a reality check, they are fantastic at that– among other things.

Throughout all the years, let me just say that it is my girlfriends that have kept me safe and sane.  No matter what, I’ve learned that you don’t ditch your girlfriends for a guy!  And yet, it is guys that have kept me entertained all this time.  Men are hilarious, and my guy friends have really opened up and given me incredible insight into the male mind, which is why I think they are 50 shades of fantastic!

Now stop reading about other people’s 50 Shades, and go write your own sexy story!!!

By Regina A. DeMeo, Esq.