#Adulting With Chinae Alexander

#Adulting With Chinae Alexander

Our advice columnist is back to sort out your break ups, online dating woes, and work life ennui

Chinae is back with the second installment of her monthly advice column, #Adulting With Chinae Alexander. She’s helping Restless readers sort through whether giving up sex for a year is actually a good idea, figuring out if quitting a high paying job is the right move, and dealing with the break up of a long term relationship. #Adulting is messy, but Chinae’s got your back.

I’ve just gone through a break-up with my boyfriend of three years. I thought he was the one, so this has hit me really hard. It’s making it worse that all of my friends are coupled up, so now I feel completely alone as a single woman, and honestly, a little embarrassed. Help?

Oh I have BEEN here. I spent the majority of my twenties pursuing my work and most of my friends were in long term relationships, and half of them married. I think the major thing I’ve learned in any breakup (but especially those big ones) is that you really need to soak in the mourning of it and feel all the feelings. We are so quick to distract ourselves with something else, in my case, it was a flurry of online dates with forgettable men. But in the end, I had to pause and just feel the lonely, feel the sadness, and know that it was the preparation for who I was becoming.

The second thing I would recommend is putting yourself out into the world and perhaps instead of trying to meet guys, meet more friends at your life stage. I made sure to keep close with my friends who were coupled but also incorporated some new friends that could relate to what I was personally going through. Take this time to focus on the things you love, the people that fill you up, and don’t be afraid to pursue new relationships that make you feel understood and seen.

I’m really unhappy in my current job, but am too scared to quit and pursue my passion, as it’s well paid and I worry about losing the financial stability. But I’m just so BORED! I see so much stuff online about following your dreams, but what about when you might not be able to afford it? What would you do in my position? 

DO NOT QUIT YOUR JOB WITHOUT A SOLID PLAN. I know, coming from a millennial person who left a job to pursue their passion this seems strange. Here’s my real advice. We’ve been sold a lie that our job has to be our passion. No generation before us ever really centered their lives around it and they survived and birthed us. Our current culture tells us that we have to do what we love, and I half-agree. Let me explain…I think we totally should do what we love, but it doesn’t have to be our 9 to 5. Side hustles don’t have to become your main hustle and sometimes your passion is forever a hobby. Say you wanna learn photography, maybe you want to start a clothing line, maybe you want to pet more dogs…all valid but it doesn’t mean you should give up your $80k finance gig to pursue a doggy butt scratch business (but I mean, a dream).

Obviously if you feel like your job is toxic or harmful to you mentally, make an effort to leave as soon as possible, but if you’re just bored, I would encourage you to take an inventory of your life and see where you might be able to scoop some extra joy. Then, if you’re still curious about making your livelihood something more enjoyable, start doing some projects on the side to learn more, or do some informational interviews with people who do the thing you aspire to. That might give you more insight on a path to where you desire to go…but the main key is that we all need to stop beating ourselves up for not being totally fulfilled with our work alone. Sometimes it’s just work, and we find our passion point to be our families, our hobbies, our personal life…those are totally acceptable ways to gather energy. Let’s not base our happiness, worthiness, and future on what motivational posters tell us…but rather craft our own path to making a life that feels full.

I’m in my late twenties and am thinking about giving up dating for a year. For the past few months I’ve been using all the dating apps and have had the worst dating experiences imaginable (unsolicited dick pics, dates that don’t look like their photos), so part of me just wants to wipe the slate clean and work on myself. I’m just so fed up… But I also really enjoy sex and don’t want to lose out on the fun part of life. What’s the healthy choice here? 

I get this question a lot and so first of all…you aren’t alone in feeling this way or by having this experience. Dating, especially online dating, feels like this game of numbers rather than connection at times, and that is EXHAUSTING. Trust me, I got catfished once and almost lit my phone on fire because the date was so bad. I digress. Here’s the deal, We want to have everything planned and sorted to protect ourselves from getting hurt. We want to give ourselves rules like, no dating for a year, because at least we will know what to expect. We want to know what the restrictions are on having sex while not really dating but in the end, strict rules don’t function well when it comes to love.

My advice is this, working on yourself is a must. No matter if you’re single, married, dating, or anything in between, making sure you are taken care of as a human is key. BUT I don’t think that and dating have to be mutually exclusive.

What would it look like to take the pressure out of dating and sex? To do it on your terms?

I think the best relief might be to check in and take your temperature on a weekly basis on how you feel about meeting people. If you’re dreading a date, don’t go. If you’re feeling exhausted by a bad date, take a sec and do something for yourself that lifts you up. Anytime you are swiping under the pressure of finding someone, put the phone down until you feel excited and happy to be looking for connection. If you’re wanting to have casual sex, have sex in a safe environment and manage your (and the other persons) expectations surrounding it to upkeep your mental health.

And remember, you are allowed to wipe the slate clean any day, any time you want…and start over by changing your perspective, not your circumstances.

Love this? Check out Chinae’s previous column here. If you have a problem you’d like Chinae’s help with, email advice@restlessmagazine.net to submit your question!

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