Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Tired of the Same Lover Over and Over?

The first step to adopting a new pattern for relationships is to recognize what your current pattern is.  Take a moment and go through all of your past romantic escapades.  What similarities and trends do you notice?  Look not only at your partners, but how you related to them.  What caused them to end?  Next, take a moment to clarify what it is that you want in a relationship.  Pay particular attention to the aspects that have repeatedly be unfulfilled by your previous partners.  Now before you go any further, you should determine whether that is a fair expectation.  Sometimes we hold others responsible for filling our needs, yet it is impossible for another person to fill that need.  If it is beyond another’s ability to fill that need for you, then you will have to let it go.  You must first find it within yourself, or else any relationship you enter into is likely to fail just as your past ones have.  If it is a legitimate quality or aspect for a lover to possess, then hold on to that.  Draw up a list of those legitimate qualities and compile a picture of what your ideal partner would be like.  And no, I do not mean their physicality.  I mean what emotional and personality qualities would you insist upon. 

And then ask yourself, “Would this person be attracted to me as I am right now?”  Answer this question with all honesty.  And don’t fixate on things like, “I am too short/tall.  I am too heavy/shapeless.  I am not a model.”  Again, we are looking for ideal partners, not ideal looking partners.  It is only when we seek materialistic, superficial people that we need worry about the superficial, material aspects of ourselves.  Now this also implies that we cannot hold-out for a “Perfect 10” in regards to looks, because we are not “Perfect 10’s” ourselves.  But take comfort in knowing that physical attributes add nothing to a deep, emotional connection that we are seeking.  No, what I mean when I say “would this person be attracted to me right now?” is would your ideal partner be attracted to the kind of person that you are?  You may find that there are a few aspects about your personality that require tweaking. 

I can hear some of you right now.  “I am perfect.  If they can’t love me for who I am, then I don’t want them.”  Yes, I even saw your eyebrows rise and your hand snap in the “talk-to-my-hand-cause-my-face-don’t-wanna-hear-it” gesture.  But let’s for a moment drop any defense mechanisms- after all, they haven’t really been working too well for us so far have they?  Remember that definition of insanity?  We are talking about lifting ourselves to a level of sustained emotional engagement.  The reality is that right now, YOU ARE PERFECT…for getting what you have right now.  And if you want more, if you want something you have not had, then you have to be willing to become something you have not been.  This does not mean that who you have been is wrong.  It simply means that it was not the ideal way to go about getting what you really want.  And more importantly, who you were was perfect for bringing you to the place that you are now.  In this space that your emotional triumphs and tribulations has led you to, you are ideally suited to transform into the person who can achieve that deep, meaningful relationship that you so dearly yearn for.  And usually, it only requires a minor shift of perspective; a slight alteration to the way that we think and feel about the people and environment around us.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Lick Your Love-Rut for Good!

Is your love life in a rut?  Do you find yourself going out on dates with the same kind of person over and over again?  On the surface, they may look different.  They may do their hair differently, or be a few inches taller or shorter, perhaps different color eyes; but ultimately whom they are, how they act, how they treat you always seems to be the same?  Do you keep embarking on the same relationship over and over, even though your partners change?  As I have written about in previous blogs, this is because we tend to keep seeking out other people to fill some need we have within ourselves.  In this article, I will let you in on a little secret about why it is so hard for us to seek out new solutions to filling those needs. 

There’s a very popular quote going around right now that “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again while expecting a different result.”  And as it pertains to relationships, many of us are clinically insane.  Sure, we may abandon one relationship with John to engage in new one with Michael, but the patterns are the same.  At first we are enamored by the thrill of “getting to know” our new romantic interest.  Sure there is a lot of excitement that stems from new discovery.  And unfortunately some people become addicted to this excitement.  But as time wears on, and we begin to discover fewer and fewer traits about our romantic interest, something within us begins to shift.  Those habits or tendencies that they have (which we were all-to-willing to overlook in the beginning of the relationship) begin to grate on us.  Why won’t he just put his nasty socks in the laundry basket?  Can’t he rinse his plate before leaving it in the sink?  And when, oh, when will he ever put the toilet seat back down after he uses it?  Perhaps you guys wonder:  When will she learn to put the seat back up in the middle of the night, so she doesn’t have to complain about me peeing on the toilet seat?  Either way, you get the point.  Over time, as the novelty of the relationship wears off, we begin to nit-pick the habits of our lovers.  Soon, and more damaging stage begins.

As we begin to habitually criticize others, we become less committed to our relationship with them.  We allow ourselves to find less enjoyment out of the shared experiences.  At the same time, we increase the level of frustration we experience as a result of their behaviors.  This allows us to emotionally decrease our investment in the relationship so that when it inevitably ends, we will not be as traumatized.  Ouch!  Now we can walk away, placing the blame on them.  It is only once we have accepted the end of the relationship that we can begin to look at the relationship as part of a larger pattern.  That is usually when you hear yourself asking, “Why me?  What’s wrong with me?  Why do I keep picking guys/ladies like this?”  The short answer is that there is nothing “wrong” with you.  You have simply developed poor patterns as it pertains to looking for a romantic partner.  While that may not be a news flash to you, it is comforting to know that you can always choose to adopt a new pattern. 

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Date a Dork this Valentine’s Day

I was at a restaurant the other day with a business connection of mine.  At the table next to us was a smoking hot woman with the most unassuming man you could imagine.  Their PDA intimated that they were romantically involved, and not in a monetary sort of way.  They seemed to be genuinely and deeply connected to each other.  Upon seeing their intimacy, my colleague said “What’s wrong with her?  She could do WAY better than that guy.”

Now I had to be very conscious about my reaction.  I understood the insinuations of his statement.  It was implied that physical beauty would only be happy with other physically beautify people; that an average-looking guy lacked the credentials to be with a beautiful woman; that my colleague was better looking than him, so he was more qualified to be with that woman; and hey, where was the beautiful woman that he deserved.  If only they weren’t taken by guys like that.

But here’s the rub:  they were genuinely happy with their relationship, while my colleague was not.  For whatever reason, they had allowed themselves to discover what was TRULY important in a relationship, and they went out and found someone they could build it with.  My colleague on the other hand, continued to look at superficial means to find a deep level of happiness.  That’s insane!  But yet it happens all of the time. 

We all know people who are single, yet yearn to have a romantic partner.  Whenever we try to set them up, inevitably they want to know what the other person looks like.  As if how tall someone is has any bearing on whether or not they will do the dishes.  As if their athletic prowess will contribute to their willingness to comfort their lover through their fears.  As if their chosen brand of clothing will support their lover’s difficult life choices.  And yet these are often the most significant factors as to whether the relationship will last beyond a first date.

Sure it’s trendy to state that appearances aren’t important when choosing a mate.  Yet when pressed, most people claim a need to be physically attracted in order to be romantically involved.  But how do we determine what we are physically attracted to? 

We all have a type.  One that is both socially defined, and yet also based on our personal experiences.  Sometimes our type is influenced by our parents or other members of our family.  Sometimes it is a result of our image of ourselves.  But here’s the most interesting thing that has been discovered about sexual satisfaction:

The most influential organ for sexual satisfaction is our BRAIN!

Research has uncovered that most people fantasize during sex.  And activity has as much to do with that fantasy as any visual stimulus.  So if we are in our head (so to speak) during sex anyways, why not share those moments with someone whom you can actually enjoy being with when you are not engaging in sexual activities.  You just might find that you can connect with them in ways that you have been previously unable to with your other romantic partners.  Then watch and discover how intimately you can connect with them during sex. 

I am not suggesting that you go find the most unattractive person you can and have sex with them.  (Although if you do, please tell them that it was my idea and send them to my blog-I am sure they will want to thank me.)  What I am saying, is first figure out what kind of partner you would need in order to have a truly meaningful relationship.  Put physical appearance aside and just look at their personal characteristics.  Once you find them, begin to nurture an open and honest relationship with that person.  You may be delighted in the romance that buds.