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The dating pond. Four fish to cut off your line…

Over the last few months, I have had several of my girlfriends confide in me their unhappiness in their current relationships or horror stories of their dating experiences.  Never the less, I could not begin to imagine venturing out into the dating scene this late in my life considering it was not too too long ago that I was part of that dating scene and enduring the experiences myself.  Afterall, having spent nearly 11 years in the dating pool as a single parent, I certainly have both my horror stories and my heartaches, not to mention some of my really bad dating habits that today make me cringe when I see friends going through the same.  Let’s face it, we have all heard the old saying “there are plenty of fish in the sea”. And while that may be the case, not every fish you might catch will be one you will want to keep on your line.

I don’t claim to be a professional dating or marriage expert, but  I can tell you from many years of experience after divorcing my night in shining armour and having worked as a crisis counsellor in a domestic violence shelter, I have come to realize that feelings of love will often blind a person from the many red flags that scream that we are not making choices that are in our best interest.

For almost 15 years or more, the social online dating scene has taken us by storm. With so may sites and so many participants, it has made it easy to find a date. In my own dating years, I was no stranger to the process. After awhile, one would hope that if you keep meeting the same type of person and it’s not working for you, you will move on and try something different. Right ?

I have had friends share with me their online dating experiences and relationships. I have listened as they have shared their broken hearts and questioned their own beauty because the guy they are madly in love with is not madly in love with them but continue to try and “save” the relationship with hopes that he will come around. As much as you want to be a good friend, sometimes you just have to say it like it is hoping they will eventally figure it out for themselves.  After all, supporting your friends does not mean you have to agree with their decisions.

I would be naive to think we have not all been on one side or another of the dating scene whether it has been us with the broken heart or the friend providing the shoulder. So this blog post has been written for all my BFF’s in life or online that have struggled with finding that one fish that is worth keeping on the line. And while keeping it light hearted, I will share with you four fish to toss back into the sea. How do I know these fish? I have dated them. And maybe dated them more than once until I finally recognized the unhealthy red flags that just were not working for me.

Heck, I remember one of my most cherished male friends who watched as I fished and tossed stating “how do you ever expect to find someone as a keeper if you never give anyone a chance”. However, it was not that I was not giving my dates a chance, it was that I was perceptive to unhealthy signs that made me realize that I was not willing to waste my time or my dates.
So what fish are on is my list which I have encountered or dated and tossed back into the sea of fish. You may just be surprised.

Slime fish image courtesy of Tyler Scott.

Slime Fish

Just by the name you may automatically think that I am talking about the player. However, a slime fish catch looks absolutely delightful and appealing to the taste. Yet, this is your hot mess express that is slow growing in the maturity department.

These fish have no immediate plans on ever growing up and taking responsibility.  Now I am not saying that having a little fun now and again is a bad thing, but this fish is a multiple day a week catch that enjoys being the centre of attention. They may still even live at home and when your dating one, they are expecting to have everything done for them. They will have more “whine” than a vineyard. You will be picking up their slack because lets face it, regardless if they “look” confident and independent, they are far from it and are depending on your maturity and independence to do it all for them. And forget about them taking anything seriously.

In my dating years experience, I have dated a few slime fish. They were easy on the eyes and charming but when it came to maturity and responsibility ꟷ checked out. With temper tantrums and late night partying, how could I seriously keep up with the drama. The slime fish is also selfish and regardless of how they behave, it will be twisted in a way that you will think it was your fault.

In my experience, I have dropped the line and cut this one loose. If I had of been still interested in this catch, I would have fished for it again in its later years when he eventually matured ꟷ by that time he may have moved out from the parents nest and made a few dolla dolla bills of its own.

Pirate Perch image courtesy of Tyler Scott.

Pirate Perch

“Aye me bucco !” This catch of the day wears its anus below its throat. No need for the red flags tagged on this catch. If you can’t see this one a mile away, then please find a friend who fishes better than yourself.
No sugar coating to make this catch come up sweeter and I have certainly fished blindly in my life and have snagged one of these puppies on my line.

Why? Because like most of us who come across this catch think that his rudeness is sexy and his Casanova personality makes him appear appealing. Don’t be fooled. That rudeness is authentic and part of your catch’s self-entitled and arrogant personality.

This player is controlling, perhaps verbally abusive and a cheater. There is always a double standard of rules in the relationship. In my experience this catch will knag at your emotional line and break you down. During my online dating years, I came across several of these little devils. Only after getting to recognize them fairly quickly, I was able to toss this perfectionist perch overboard and hit the gas on my motor boat  quickly before ending up with a broken heart or worse.

Catfish image courtesy of Tyler Scott


I am sure we are all no stranger to the term catfish. After all this catch has made it to the reality TV screen. These online predators are looking to snag your line and have you reeling them in. The issue; some catfish are hard to spot as they look great and can seem like the perfect catch. They are smooth and will have you hooked if your not careful and diligent.  Some catfish are looking for you to give them money, gifts and whatever other items they can emotionally entice you into providing them. You may even feel that you are in a relationship with the catfish because they are so good at what they do , you will be none the wiser until it is too late.

Other catfish are those hiding behind the good -looking pictures (pics that are not their own) and online accounts that have little or no personal information. They always have an excuse as to why they cannot visit or meet up and will seduce you with the profile they are hiding behind. They are most likely looking to gain personal information from you or provocative pictures.
During my online dating years, I was fortunate not to fall prey to the more dangerous money hungry catfish.  However, the type of catfish I occasionally came across was the one who used photos of themselves when they were 10-15 years younger and much lighter. While innocent to some extent, it wasn’t hard to figure out when time came to meet for coffee, the person who showed up didn’t fit the profile picture exactly. With technology and applications that filter pictures today, I imagine the only difference is one may not need to use an old picture as they can “filtre” a current one.

Regardless, it’s all still deceptive and catfishy. My thoughts are to get informed and beware, even with online non romantic friendships; learn how to spot a catfish quickly.

Spotcheck Stargazer image courtesy of Tyler Scott

Spotcheck Stargazer

This catch is similar to the personality of the pirate perch; however, this catch is a little more sneaky in their ways.  They blend in and strike when you least expect it.  They will appear to rescue you from your previous bad relationship but they may have been watching you all along obsessively. They may lure you in with their kindness and knight in shining armour demeanour but they are only interested in one thing. You.

I know what your thinking.  You want someone who is only interested in you and yes, I would agree but their needs to be a balance and the only thing they balance is your agenda.

When you show your independence and wanting space after the rescue, they may become obsessive, stalking and creepy. Checking your phone, wanting to know who your talking to and isolating you from friends and family just to have you to themselves while professing their undying love for you.

I recall dating a Spotcheck Stargazer very early on in my online dating experiences. He was good looking and very attentive. He had children of his own, was a private investigator and appeared to be the perfect catch. He cooked supper for me and came across as very caring. I thought I had hooked a great catch until I began noticing his vehicle following me on several occasions when we were not together. It didn’t take me long to cut the hook and sail away.

While we have all met or dated a fish that is not a good fit for us, you cant expect me to list my toss back fish without at least adding in my favorite catch of the day. And believe it or not, it’s a catch that most give a bad rap.

Shark image courtesy of Tyler Scott

The Shark

Yes, the shark seems to always give a bad first impression. Most would describe them as aggressive, intimidating and scary. However, the characteristics of this impressive fish can be given from another perspective. The perspective of someone who is confident and balanced in all aspects of life. The business owner who is successful. If you looked at sharks in its alternate human form, you would have a different perspective.

In fact,  I have read that some forms of sharks are a rare find. In the world of dating, is that not what we search for? A rare find that stands out amongst the others. Sharks have received a bad rap for years but in fact they are a most fascinating of the datable fish. Sharks are charismatic ꟷmysterious ꟷvaluable. Sharks are balanced.

They are on their own terms which would suggest that as a dater, they are not looking for a relationship based on need. They are independent but like to have an equal shark to spend time with while still giving the other shark space. They don’t need a relationship to fill a void and in my own experiences, those (including myself in my earlier years) looking for someone to fill a void, often choose one of my previously mentioned fish which bring with it an unhealthy relationship.

Sharks are independent and they look for likeminded sharks.  So if your looking for a shark, you might want to make sure the chum in your own personal bucket is on point.  A shark can tolerate seaweed on your fins (baggage/past) but they won’t stick around long if it begins growing moss and you are living it everyday and dragging them down into it.

Getting involved with a shark could be time consuming and if you are serious about wanting to date one; you’ll need to be independent and patient. The success of these sea gems will have them moving all the time as they are go-getters with no time for drama or nonsense. My kind of fish. They have ambition and a goal, so whining about them working late to secure your future together won’t work for them. A shark wants someone who is confident and are driven with their own purpose.

A shark friend of mine once stated “ relationships should stand on their own merit” and I would have to agree. So if you are someone who is in the dating scene, study your sea creatures and don’t be afraid to drop the line now and again. After all, not every catch is a catch of the day. Stay beautiful xo

P.S. All images in this blog post have been created by Tyler Scott. Tyler also created the image on the cover of my book “Eye of the Storm, Personal Commitment to Managing Symptoms of PTSD”, available through Amazon.

The Resiliency Banker—Jacquie B

Mean Girls…7 Tips For Dis-engaging In Their Drama

Last fall, I decided to join a Facebook group created for a product I had become a fan of.  The group was established to provide a safe space for women to share their positive experiences and tips for the product. Since joining, I have witnessed it often becoming a caddy space for internet bullies and mean girls to choose and attack their victims. What has become more disturbing, is watching those victims engage in the negativity rather than dusting if off and moving on.  Like a bad mold, they feed these mean girlsꟷgiving them the powerꟷto continue the cycle.  And, as a result, I have witnessed the unsuspecting victim becoming so worked up in the process, that they end up also becoming an aggressor in the attack.  Heck, I believe we have all been there one time or another.  I know I have.  Overtime, I have recognized my part in the event and decided to find strategies to assist me with disengaging with the mean girl and not allowing myself to continue to be the victim.  I have found strategies for coping with the mean girl’s aggression and aiding my ability to walk away without being aggressive and fighting back at the cost of my own self worth.  Crazy thing is, often I have had no idea I was pulled into it and began participating.  This was one of the main reasons I resigned from my job last fall.  When I weighed all the factors, the cost of a paycheque was not worth my integrity.

Truth be told, we are not immune; and for someꟷ like me, these very mean girls will be sharing your office space and your internet social media space. What I have learned in the process is, it is hard to not want to engage and set the record straight. Or, when the attack is against another person and your wanting to fit in and find yourself unconsciously engaging on the same side as the mean girls.  It’s tough but it then becomes about us and who we are and how we are viewed.  If you weigh all the factors and look at it from an unemotional place (usually takes me a few hours or overnight to get to this spot depending on the mean girl’s attack severity) then hopefullyꟷas I do, disengage with your head held high knowing you have not allowed another person’s control to affect you in such a profound way.

Bullies and mean girls are everywhere.  They are not just in school.  No, they are grown up women still targeting their victims and playing the same games as adults as they did when they were adolescents.  However,  today’s mean girl is quite different than when I was in Jr. High.  Today, the mean girls ammunition has taken a new turn from the nasty notes passed during class with a new angle of attack ꟷ social media. Sad thing is, this behaviour is being displayed by women of all ages.  And if you ꟷ like me, have become a victim of a mean girl attack, having a few gems in your back pocket to disengage may help.  I have gathered 7 of my own strategies for dealing with a mean girl ꟷ sharing with you to hopefully allow you to walk away and stay beautiful.

  1. A mean girl loves a person who they know they can intimidate.  It’s their power trip.  They look for a weak spot and WHAM; you’re their target, and they will use it to their advantage.  They will work their mean girl spirit effortlessly snatching away any bit of over confidence you may exhibit. Keep it balanced and learn to spot them as effortlessly as they have spotted you and balance that confidence.  You don’t want to give her any more power and boost her ego.  I recall as a child being bullied by a mean girl every time I went swimming.  This girl made me so afraid to walk home and often would follow me and intimidate me by placing herself in front of me trying with every ounce to get me to push her so she could start a fight.  I had no idea at the time that what I had learned about as a child in walking way would be no different than what I have learned as an adult.  Eventually, she stopped.  She eventually got tired of my non-compliance with her mean girl rule book and she more than likely moved on to another target.
  2. Mean girls are always right and will NEVER admit a mistake or take responsibility for anything.  In my experiences, I have come to recognize that not every hill is worth dying on and have often let it go without compromising myself along the way.  When your part of a social media group and sharing your successes or ideas, you may be the subject of a mean girl’s attack.  She does not want you to shine in her court.  If your able to recognize the subtle attack comments, you should be able to disengage.
  3. A mean girl does not like to be upstaged.  Remember, she is always right. I learned this lesson the hard way and only puts the mean girl at the advantage to do more harm.  Upstaging threatens her every core of thinking that she is the end all, be all of existence.  If you remember this tip, you should have an easier time in deciding whether you need to be right or need to let it go and move on and know your integrity is still intact.
  4. Avoid defending yourself in the mean girl attack.  This will turn into your weak point and give her more reason to continue in her mean-spirited ways.  She loves the challenge of an argument.  Anything to show you that she is better than you.  Remember tip number 3?  Walk away from the computer and disengage.  After all ꟷ if you remove the oxygen from the fire ꟷ it goes out.
  5. Ask yourself these two questions ꟷ how much bullying can you tolerate and how important is the social media platform you are a part of?  I’ve had to ask myself this question in a much more difficult format as I had to decide if my job was worth the mean girl attacks.  I spent more than 6 months analyzing that question amid being subjected to mean girl comments and, as a staff member pointed out to me “working in such a combative environment”.  I believe it’s the most difficult questions one will have to ask themselves in any mean girl situation as it makes us vulnerable to thinking they have won.  However, today when I look back at not engaging on a social media platform or even deciding to resign from my great paying job, I have no regrets.  Mean girls will be mean girls.  They will find another person to belittle and strip apart and they will continue until they go on their own self discovery journey.  And if they never come to that self awareness, they will continue on the cycle with the next person they feel they can intimidate.
  6. Do your own research. Over the years, I have taken mediation training, courses on dealing with difficult people and even assertiveness training to educate and work on myself in becoming a better version of me.  I am always reading and learning new things; including topics about social media.  One thing I have discovered is so many people today are wanting to be the next big internet sensation.  Let’s be honest here, most of us are looking for the most ‘likes’, the most comments or anything that will boost algorithm and get the attention.  For business professionals, its business; however, for the mean girl, its the stimulation of the drama they can create.  When I read a mean girl comment, I often ask myself a few questions.  Is this a legitimate profile?  Could this person be looking for attention to boost their online presence or cause drama?  In other words, what is the motive behind the comment?  It takes me a few seconds to recognize what is legit and what is not.  In the long run, a few quick questions allow me to process and make choices based on reason and not reaction.  There is a difference between a comment that you may not agree with and comments that are threatening in nature or attacking someone’s character.  Comments I may not agree with, I believe are easier to move on from and not engage.  The other, I believe should be noted, screen shot and forwarded to those whose online position take care of those items.  And in severe cases the legal authorities.  Which brings me to my final shared thought.
  7. Document the incident.  I have had to do this within my job and with online mean girls.  I have learned to weed out what is just a mean comment and what is threatening and attacking my character.  I don’t think I am alone in saving an email or having to use the screen shot tool on a mobile device or computer to capture comments made by someone who has made aggressively towards you.  While it is difficult to confirm who may be on the other end of these comments, I believe having a timeline of the incidents with details and quotes is far better than having nothing.

Mean girls are going to exist.  They will target you, tear you down and work effortlessly and manipulatively to seek out your weak spots.  Stay beautiful and balanced; that way you will not only be cautious about their presence but you will keep your calm spirit should they pounce. xo

“A successful woman is the one who can build a strong foundation with the bricks that others have thrown at her”. -Unknown



The Resiliency Banker—Jacquie B