Sorry. I won’t do it. I don’t want to work all day at my job and then go home at night and “work” on my relationship. That means I would be working all the time. I go to work so that I can afford to leave work and enjoy life.
The things I do outside of work are supposed to be fun and interesting. Like golfing, or playing hockey...or even coaching softball. These are all fun and easy things to do...
Easy? Well, maybe not in the beginning. I spent a lot of time practicing and developing my skills. I made a lot of mistakes, learned many lessons, but it was worth it in the end. With all the practice it just comes naturally now.
Well, maybe not naturally. I have to keep practicing so that my skills don't decline. If you don't use it you lose it, so they say!!
Let’s use golf as an example. I have to go to the driving range and practice my shots. I have to go to the putting green and practice putting. I watch tips and tricks videos on the internet to see if I can learn something new. I have to update my equipment and keep up with what is going on. I know that sounds like work, but it isn’t work for me...it’s fun. It is just what I do to stay current with something that I love.
Just like everything else I do as a hobby or for fun. If I put in the effort and want to succeed it isn't work at all. I enjoy it...I look forward to it. I want to do it.
Hmmm, let me think about this.
My job takes time, effort and energy, but it isn’t where I want to be all the time, so I consider all my effort to be “work”.
My hobbies take time, effort and energy, but since I enjoy them, I consider all my effort to be “practice”.
So I guess that's the question that I really need to answer for myself. Is my relationship a place I want to be, or a place I don’t want to be?
Based on the above, if I don’t want to be there, then yes, a relationship will be “work”.
On the other hand, if my relationship is something I do enjoy and do want to be a part of, then shouldn’t I be “practicing” my skills, just like with all of the other things I enjoy doing? It shouldn't be work at all.
Another point to consider...when something is work, theoretically, mistakes are not allowed. If I do something wrong at work, there are negative consequences. When I am practicing, I am expecting a certain amount of failure along the way. That is how I get better at something. That is how I develop my skills. I try things out and see what happens, I get feedback and I make adjustments.
So...If I want to be in a relationship, and I want it to last, then I should want to practice. If my partner wants to be a relationship with me, she will want to practice with me. I guess that's the sign we should both be looking for while we are out fishing for a partner. Do we like each other enough to practice our relationship together so that we can develop our skills?
Note to self...
STOP “working” on my relationship. START “practicing” my relationship skills!
Yes, I was hooked at a young age and I have been looking for the fix ever since.
How could addiction be possible at that age? Well, it was easy. It was all around me...every day. It was everywhere. It was in my house, it was at my school, it was at every friend’s house, it was inside every team or group of people that I have ever associated with.
Where were my parents? Well to be honest they were right there...feeding it to me. It’s not their fault though. They were just doing what they were taught....what everyone else was doing. They did what they thought was best. Like most drugs, once I was addicted, once it was a key part of my life, it was then me who passed it on to my kids. Not because I am a bad person, not because I meant them harm, but only because it was, and still is, "normal". It is what was done, it's what is still done now. It is ingrained in our society.
So what is this addiction that I refer to?
"Destination Addiction" Maybe better known as: “I’ll Be Happy When”
When I was 3...I couldn’t wait to be 4.
When I was in Kindergarten, I couldn’t wait to be in grade 1.
In grade 1, I couldn’t wait to be in grade 2...
Every year, I couldn’t wait for my birthday...for Christmas morning...for holidays....
When I was in school, I was looking forward to summer. Then when summer came I was looking forward to being back in school.
In grade 10, I was so excited at the prospect of graduating high school and getting out in the world....of getting a hot car...of finding a girl.....of having sex.....of getting a job.....making money...
Then my thoughts were dominated by what might happen when I did graduate and become independent. Yes, that would be amazing...and yet then when it happened... it wasn’t.....my thoughts were ahead of me again.
I would be happy when I could get my own place....buy some furniture; maybe get a motorcycle...that would be fun! (It wasn’t actually...I sold it after 3 weeks because I was pretty sure I was going to kill myself riding that thing) Maybe I needed to find a partner, someone to share my life with. That would make me happy! I guess I had to find that person.
Maybe I would be happy when I moved across the country to get yet a better job. I accomplished that, but it didn’t seem to be enough. Okay, time to get married...and to settle down.. and make more money to buy all the stuff that I was told would make me happy. Maybe happiness could be found with that new fangled VCR for watching movies, or a space age microwave that would cook my food so easily and make my life happy (well the microwave was amazing!) Maybe happiness could be found with a better stereo system for better and louder music, and that brand of beer that would make everything more fun. Sure I had to spend money, but it was so obvious that if I wanted to be happy, I would need to work harder and smarter in order to get all the stuff that would get me there! I just needed a better job where I could make more money! So I went and did that.
So now it was time to buy a house and start a family........yes....then I would be happy. (Hmm...I am sensing a theme here).
Surely I would be happy when.....
The kids got older and could take care of themselves
When the commissions started coming in on the next new job
When I got a new vehicle
When the house got paid off
When the kids graduated high school
But “happy” still wasn’t there...
Maybe I would be happy when we split up...
When I was finally settled in with my new relationship
When my new partner and I could get things paid off and look forward to retirement...
When I could rebuild my life after being struck by lightning.
When I could function in public again.
When I could start dating again.
When I might be able to find someone to share my life with.
When my daughters would finally see me for who I really am and not through the lens of the past.
When I could rebuild my confidence and self esteem.
Just where was this happiness thing? Why couldn’t I find it?
Sure, I helped raise 2 beautiful girls who are healthy and educated...but what did I really teach them? Did I really just give them the same drug that I was given? The one we all are given.
Want stuff. Go to work. Buy stuff. Realize that happiness wasn’t achieved. Acquire debt to buy more stuff. Work harder to pay off debt. Put off happiness until stuff is paid for...which is never, because we are told constantly that we have to buy more stuff in order to be "happy"!
Am I living my life just to get to the end? To just pay bills and then die? Does my entire life really revolve around working endlessly so that I can pay off the stuff that I have to buy because I am told that if I have that stuff then I will be happy?
You know what? I think it’s time for a change. It’s time for me to help my daughters understand that being happy is not out there. It’s right here between my ears. Between their ears. Now don’t get me wrong, I understand that although money can’t buy actual happiness, that it can buy a certain level of comfort, entertainment and stability that makes finding happiness much easier, and I want that too. What I am talking about is how true happiness has nothing to do with “stuff”. It has nothing to do with image. Happiness revolves around living life authentically and being content with who I am, what I want and where I am going. Happiness is living in such a way that I can be myself and that the people who surround me will have me feeling comfortable and at peace with the world. I must take the time to actually think about what makes me happy and of understanding how to live my life doing those things and living that way.
No matter what my real intentions are, for some, my intentions will be misinterpreted.
No matter how hard I try, for some, I should have tried harder.
No matter how much I achieve, for some it will never be enough.
I must also stop living my life trying to “make” other people happy. Why? Well, mostly because it just isn't possible. I can't force someone to like me, I can't compel someone to see things my way, I can't influence someone in an effort to gain real respect, and I certainly can't "make" someone else happy. Yes, I can do things or say things that I know that they like, but happiness is an inside job. Their happiness is up to them. I stand a much better chance by just being me and making sure that I am happy, because that is when they stand the best chance of seeing the real me and appreciating who I am. I must be authentic. I can't "try" to be authentic, because I now realize that the moment I "try" to be authentic....then I am not. (Think about that one!) Sure, it's possible that they may not like me, but that is their choice. What is far worse is the hypocrisy of me putting myself through constant turmoil trying to get someone to see the real me...and trying to do that by not being myself.
For me to be happy, I need to feel loved, appreciated and respected for who I am. That will never happen if I am constantly putting forward someone that is not really me, in an effort to make someone else happy.
I now understand that if I am going to buy flowers for her, it is important that I am buying them because it makes me feel good to give them to her, not because I have an expectation of her to be happy with me for taking the time and effort to do so. I cannot determine my happiness based on her reaction, or I will constantly be chasing something that simply can never be achieved. I can’t control her actual happiness. That is for her to determine. My goal in life moving forward is to simply be me, and if put my effort there, and stop worrying about “pleasing” others, the right person will come along and see the real me...and appreciate who I am, just as I am looking for someone who thinks the same way to share my life with.
I am battling my addiction. So when will I be happy?
I think right now is a good time to start.
How about you?
I can’t blame anyone but myself. I drank the Kool-aid quite willingly. I jumped into the pond thinking I would catch my lobster and swim to the other side. Nope. That dating pool riptide grabbed onto to me and I have been treading water ever since. It seems that online dating is more of a catch and release program!!
Logically, it would seem that online dating should be pretty straightforward! Put up some pictures, fill out a profile, answer some questions and start meeting those matches! I was hoping to get out and find my match with relative ease!
I have come to realize that it doesn’t work that way. In fact, after a few years of experience and a little thinking, it is fairly obvious that online dating is designed to keep people dating. The dating sites don’t want people to get out of the pond. Why would they? If it works, they would cease to exist. They don’t sell relationships; they just sell the HOPE of a relationship.
And their best tool?
The coffee date....or whatever else you do to meet your attractive stranger for the first time.
Well, that's how it is for me anyways. I suspect for others too. Why? Because I’m just a regular human being who, through the magic of online dating, has come across an attractive (to me) female who is single and looking for a long term commitment. (Well that’s perfect! That’s what I’m looking for). So we sit down and chat for a while....and then it happens. Hormones start lighting up, urges start bubbling to the surface and before you know it we are smitten with each other. (This is it....this is the one!! ). Not based on anything concrete at all, just lust and attachment collaborating to screw up my brain enough to make choices and decisions that shouldn’t even be considered at this point.
Does it happen every time? Of course not. Most of the time, the person isn’t really a match at all (another online dating issue!). In some cases, I really question the sanity of the person sipping their latte across from me.... and I’m sure there were times when my sanity was questioned in return!! Every once in a while though, there is a connection and therein lies the problem. The coffee date gets me into a relationship long before I should, with someone I don’t know, preying on my desire to not be alone and my need for companionship. How does that happen?
Since we are “attracted” to each other, we will likely go on a date. Then maybe another date. Now everyone is different, but the odds are pretty good that somewhere between date #2 and date #8...there will be sex involved. We are both lonely!! We’re both adults. We are just looking for affection and to feel close to somebody, and we are “hoping” for a long term relationship.
Now up until this point, I would not likely have introduced this person to any of my family, nor will I have met any of hers. In some cases, I might meet some friends, but not often. We have only been alone together a handful of times and we don’t want to introduce people too soon...because we aren’t sure yet!! But once we have had sex....things change. Suddenly there is something we need to deal with. Monogamy.
Due to our need for monogamy, it’s not very long after the introduction of sex, that the ultimatum presents itself. Are we in, or are we out. Relationship...or nothing....which is it?
So let’s think about this. I met someone for coffee...and we had some chemistry. I have not introduced her to family or friends; I don’t really know a thing about her emotionally, spiritually or financially. I have no idea if she knows how to communicate effectively. I may have a general idea on her life style, but it is limited. Sexually? Well it seems fun so far...but I have no idea what lies a little deeper. Yet here I am...having to decide whether to be in a relationship...or not. All because of the coffee date, combined with lust, attraction and the need to feel close to somebody.
You see....I didn’t see her from across the room and smile when I heard her laugh. I wasn’t given the opportunity to see her interact with others in her own environment. I wasn’t able to get an idea of her style and how she carried herself. I missed the chance to hear her speak and become fascinated about what and how she thinks. That moment was lost when I could see this woman that I hadn’t met yet walking across the room, as I followed her with my eyes trying to figure out how to get the chance to learn more about her. There was no time to get to know one another and develop something more than lust and attachment.
I need these things. I need the progression. I need the development. I need the period of courting and courtship where I get the time and opportunity to learn more about her organically. I want to learn what she thinks and how she thinks. I want to understand that she has truly moved on from her past relationships. I hope to discover her sense of humour, her personality, how she interacts with others, how she flirts and if there is that sparkle in her eyes when she looks at me...and when we interact.
I think we all need these things.
A long time ago, we got those opportunities. There was nobody online, no cell phones. We met people by going out and doing things. We would meet at the community hall, at a dance, at church, at the local burger joint, or a night club. It took time to get to know someone, to just get their phone number, to learn more about them and to be attracted to the whole person, not just an image and a self written profile that may or may not be even close to accurate.
These opportunities just don’t exist anymore. We need to start creating them.
That is why "A Conscious Partner" was born. We are going to do our part by creating workshops where people can come out to work on themselves. A place where people can interact organically and talk about real things with real people. Maybe...hopefully, they will see someone special across the room, and hear them laugh....and start wondering.......
I am what many might refer to as an “Alpha Male”. I have always been an athletic, confident guy with a dominant personality and the ability to lead. A stand up guy, who will open a door for a lady, help someone in distress, keep in good physical condition, won’t accept help unless I really need it and who doesn’t take any BS. Sure, a true Alpha must also have a certain level of intelligence. Smart enough to judge situations, understand them, and use them to always achieve the best possible outcome for everyone involved, but overall intelligence was not necessarily part of the definition in the past.
Times have changed. The role of the dominant is no longer held by the “bigger” and “stronger” men in the world. Sure, the women will always be attracted to those guys visually, but they are no longer impressed with mere physical dominance, they want to be seduced mentally.
If I want to maintain my spot as an Alpha male, and if I want to be attractive to my potential partners, I need to use my intelligence. I don’t need to be book smart, although that doesn’t hurt, I need to be street smart.... and worldly at the same time! I need to recognize my behaviors and understand who I am. I need to be authentic and real. I need to be transparent and be able to communicate effectively without a hidden agenda. I need to be responsible and be in control of how I think, act and feel. I need to be consistent and live my life according to my personal values, and I need to be able to accept who I am, where I am at in life and how I got here.
I need to be real. I need to be conscious.
If I want to flex something, I need to flex the muscle between my ears. I have to have the common sense to understand what I am looking for in a partner and then be the person that she would be looking for. If I am looking for a fit and attractive partner, that enjoys a wide variety of food, can watch a hockey or baseball game at a pub with me, is easy going, enjoys an active and adventurous sex life and likes to travel, then guess what? I had better be a fit and attractive guy who can help out in the kitchen, can appreciate her interests, is easy going, can be active and adventurous sexually and be ready to go when the travel bug hits.
If I want to be an Alpha Male, then I need to act like one. I am not a Neanderthal. I can’t just go bonk a woman on the head and drag her to my cave. I don’t live in the 60’s when men were just in charge because they were men. It’s 2018. If I want to impress a woman, then I need to be an Alpha Male that fits into the modern world. If I want to be a leader, then I need to lead, but I need to lead in the direction that the world is going.
If I want to find an exciting partner, then I need to be an exciting partner.
If I want to be an Alpha Male, then I need to step it up and be one.
Please consider not putting these comments in your profile.
You are likely scaring away the good guys!
Now you might think by stating this in your profile that you are sending the message to all the "players" that you are a woman who doesn't play games and is ready for a serious relationship.
While your attempt to weed out the bad guys is honourable, the strategy itself is flawed. Just writing those words in your profile will not chase away the bad guys.....and in fact may even attract more of them. Worse yet, if a good guy does read your profile, he isn't reading it the way you might think.
When I see this in a profile, this is what I perceive;
#1 - These words can appear to be written by someone who may be jaded and suspicious of men and might have a negative overall view of both men and the dating process. That doesn't exactly convey a glass half full message.
#2 - That rather than our first meet being fun and relaxing, I would feel like I am going being judged the whole time and perceived as a player until I can prove that I am not....and the only way I can prove that is if I get into a relationship....and I haven't even met this person yet!!
#3 - If I do happen to contact this person and we do meet, and we happen to go on a few dates, if I don't make a commitment, then there is a good chance that I will be negatively labeled as a "player".
#4 - The guys looking for hookups are not likely reading your profile anyway. I have heard numerous women state over the years that they are frustrated because men "don't read profiles". If that is the case, isn't it more important to be sending the right message to those who do?
Besides...does it really work? Have you magically eliminated all of the "players" by posting this in your profile? Or are you maybe making it very clear that you have been played before and now you are unknowingly challenging the players to try again?
I like analogies so I will use one here to help you understand how a guy feels when you write something in your profile about "no hookups".
Have you ever read a profile that said "No Gold Diggers"? If and when you have, how did it make you feel? Is it a message that makes you want to contact that person? Does that comment make you think that this guy is ready for a serious relationship? Of course it doesn't. (Guys, don't put this in your profile. You will scare away the good women for the same reasons above. Also, does it maybe send the message to the gold diggers that there is maybe some gold there to dig?)
The solution? Send the same message in a less confrontational manner. For example;
"I am looking for someone who is "conscious" about dating. Someone who is willing to allow some time to learn and understand more about me as we go and I will do the same for you!
Simple. Positive. Effective.
If you want to attract the good guys, keep your profile positive, use a variety of current pictures and simply ignore anyone that doesn't want to be respectful! If you aren't sure whether or not he is a player, ask him if he can describe what A Conscious Partner is. The answer to that one simple question will tell you who you are dealing with!
In this video, Rabbi Dr. Abraham Twerski sees a young man eating his dinner and asks what he is eating. "I am eating fish" the young man explains, "I love fish" he says.
Does he really love the fish?
When we love something do we kill it, boil it and eat it? If we love something shouldn’t we nurture it, feed it, help it grow?
The young man didn't actually love the fish; he loved what the fish did for him. More importantly, if the fish stops satisfying that need, he won’t love it anymore. That’s fish love.
Fish love is a selfish love. It's about "what can you do for me"? Fish love relationships can be about lots of things; money, sex, politics, image, family, security or even just arm candy. The relationship will function at a certain level up until the point that the critical element ceases to exist and then the problems begin. The relationship may fade away, or it may just become dysfunctional and unhappy.
Real love is different. If you really love someone, then that love never dies. I'm not saying the relationship never dies, but the love itself never dies. There is no shortage of people who love someone that they cannot live with.
Is your relationship real love or fish love?
My triggers are not about my partner. They are about me.
A trigger is that instant of "fear" or "panic" that comes out of nowhere based on something unexpected has happened. It could be anything, like being told that I am going to speak in front of an audience, a car suddenly changing lanes in front of me, or my partner saying to me "Can we talk". It is something from my past that is causing me to react to an event, a situation, a even a comment in a way that might be considered "unreasonable" to somebody without that same trigger. It is an issue, trauma or belief from the past that is presenting itself to me because it has not been first recognized, and then properly dealt with.
My triggers, and my reactions, are MY issue. They are not my partners’ issue. My reaction is based on something that has happened to me that I have not yet taken the steps to heal. In a conscious relationship, I won’t let the trigger control the relationship, I will work with my partner to fix the trigger.
Unfortunately, what can often happen is that I will “trigger", and then act on that trigger in an attempt to coerce or punish my partner. I use my trigger as an excuse rather than addressing it. This type of acting out is likely not the best way to inspire my partner to be more giving, particularly if I am in search of a closer relationship. In fact, it tends to have the reverse effect. Once I trigger and start acting in an unreasonable manner, this creates a trigger in my partner and now there are 2 people acting unreasonably. Does this sound familiar?
Getting over my triggers is a process. It is not going to happen all at once. Initially, I cannot control the "emotion" of the trigger, but I can control my reaction. I can recognize the feeling of a trigger and begin to control what I do about it.
What should happen when I “trigger” is that I should allow myself to feel the knot in my stomach, without reacting to it. It might be an uneasy feeling, or a rush of adrenaline, that presents itself. I need to recognize it as a trigger, and then pause. I need to take a moment to think about what is happening. There is something from my past that is causing me to feel the way I am. What is it? I may not be able to figure it out right away....and that's okay. The key is to recognize that it is something from the past and that it is simply a trigger.
The next step is to put it into perspective. Think about what is happening right now. I need to determine if my feeling or fear in this current situation is justified? Is my partner guilty of what is triggering me, or is my trigger controlling the situation and creating a fear or issue that doesn’t exist? Or maybe it isn't my partner. Maybe it's my child, or my co worker, my dog, the neighbor, the loud noise....it could be anyone or anything.
The goal is to work through the feeling rather than react to it.
Over time, as I recognize all of my triggers and work through them, the intensity should start to reduce and I will start developing a new reaction to these situations. It will take some practice.
It is not my partners’ job to take care of me emotionally; it’s my job. My partner will hopefully want to help, but I must lead the way.
Don’t let the trigger control the relationship. Fix the trigger.
"This is exactly what I always dreamed my relationship would be like."
"I completely understand what just happened. It makes total sense!"
"I am proud of the way we handled that issue and the solution was so simple."
Is your relationship like that? Would you like it to be?
I'm not going to tell you that you can get to that point in 10 easy steps, because it isn't that easy. What I can tell you though, is that one step at a time, you can make the adjustments in yourself that will allow you to build towards the relationship that you thought you would have, and you can have fun doing it!
I just did a quick search and it seems that there are about 5 million blog posts every day. There is a new blog started every second. You can likely find a blog about any subject you can think of with a few keystrokes and a little time!
So why am I starting a blog about relationship awareness and communication? To be honest, I am doing it for me. I am doing it to better understand myself and with a little luck, hopefully have my daughters understand me a little better. I'm doing it so that I can grow as a person. I'm doing it so that I can improve my chances of finding love again. I feel that I have been misunderstood at many points in my life and over the past 5 years of my journey I think I have a better understanding of why. It's not because I have not had the best of intentions, because I have. It's not because I am not a good person, because I am. Where I have lacked is in the understanding of who I am and the execution of my efforts. I have always meant well, but that isn’t how it has always been perceived.
What I also have come to understand is that I am not alone. From what I can tell there are a lot of people out there that feel misunderstood. There are married people that wish they were single, single people who wish they were married. Kids who want to be adults and adults who wish they were kids again. Disadvantaged people that want more money, privileged people that wish they had less responsibility. People working 60 hour weeks so that they can care for their families and their families waiting for them to come home so they can spend time together. Countless people chasing that "moment" when they will finally be happy, while happiness is tapping them on the shoulder trying to get their attention.
Happiness is not a destination, it's a journey. It's not a place, it's a state of mind.
Ultimately, this blog and the website are for me and my journey. It's to better understand myself and to learn how to convey my thoughts so that my daughters and some others might see the side of me that I have kept hidden away. Now if, in the process of exposing my journey, there are others that are able to gather some morsels that will aid them in their journey, then that would be amazing!!