Why You Will Marry the Wrong Person
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By Alain de Botton: IT’S one of the things we are most afraid might happen to us. We go to great lengths to avoid it. And yet we do it all the same: We marry the wrong person.

Partly, it’s because we have a bewildering array of problems that emerge when we try to get close to others. We seem normal only to those who don’t know us very well. In a wiser, more self-aware society than our own, a standard question on any early dinner date would be: “And how are you crazy?”

Perhaps we have a latent tendency to get furious when someone disagrees with us or can relax only when we are working; perhaps we’re tricky about intimacy after sex or clam up in response to humiliation. Nobody’s perfect. The problem is that before marriage, we rarely delve into our complexities. Whenever casual relationships threaten to reveal our flaws, we blame our partners and call it a day. As for our friends, they don’t care enough to do the hard work of enlightening us. One of the privileges of being on our own is therefore the sincere impression that we are really quite easy to live with.

Our partners are no more self-aware. Naturally, we make a stab at trying to understand them. We visit their families. We look at their photos, we meet their college friends. All this contributes to a sense that we’ve done our homework. We haven’t. Marriage ends up as a hopeful, generous, infinitely kind gamble taken by two people who don’t know yet who they are or who the other might be, binding themselves to a future they cannot conceive of and have carefully avoided investigating.

Continue reading here: NYTimes.com

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How to Develop Your Attraction to the Right Person

By Ken Page L.C.S.W., Psychology Today

You know who would be good for you. So why aren't you attracted to them?

We can’t force our sexual attractions. Most of us have learned that the hard way.

Yet, as I describe in my book Deeper Dating, there’s something profound that most of us have never been taught: Although our sexual attractions can’t be controlled, they can be educated. This post will share some ways to cultivate sexual and romantic attraction to people who are kind, respectful—and available. Even if you’re relentlessly attracted to bad-boys or bad-girls, or to unavailable people, you can still develop this capacity. And these are not gimmicks; they are the lifelong skills of romance and intimacy—the very same skills you'll use to keep passion alive in your next serious relationship.

The Attraction Spectrum

Every time we enter a room full of people, we make choices based upon our attractions: Whom do we notice? Whom do we pass over? Deb, a young stockbroker from Chicago, once told me:

“You know, it’s almost magical. I can go to a party, and there’s always one person I’m most attracted to. If I date him, within a few weeks or a few months I discover he has the same emotional qualities as my previous partner. But when I first saw him from across the room, I had no idea at all that this would be true!”

Our attractions are forged in the deep space of our being, born of countless, often unknowable forces. When we encounter someone for the first time, our psyche and heart begin an astonishingly complex scan, picking up obvious cues like physique and facial structure, but also noting myriad subtle cues such as body language, facial expression, the contour of the lips, the nuance of the voice, and the muscles around the eyes. We instantly process this information without even knowing it. All we feel is desire or the lack of it.

Scientists tell us that a silkworm can smell one other silkworm moth of the opposite sex from six-and-a-half miles away. Our mating instinct may not be that developed, but nature has programmed our romantic radar with the sensitivity to find just the right person to trigger whatever emotional circuitry we need to work through.

All of us are attracted to a certain type that stops us dead in our tracks, be it a physical type, an emotional type, or a personality type. Let’s say that there is a "spectrum of attraction," from 1 to 10; the people at the far end aren’t physically or romantically attractive to us at all, but those at the upper end are icons—they’re compellingly attractive, leaving us weak in the knees and triggering both our longing and our insecurity.

Continue reading here. 

CONSCIOUS RELATIONSHIPS 

Written by Shelly Bullard, MFT

"We are approaching a period of time when relationships are ready to go through a major redesign. The current paradigm isn’t working. People are unsatisfied in love; people don’t know how to make relationships work.

And, believe it or not, this isn’t a bad thing. Because when systems break-down, that’s when they change. I believe that’s what’s happening in the area of intimate partnership. The break-down is forcing us to move towards conscious love.

So what exactly is a conscious relationship?

It's a romantic relationship in which both partners feel committed to a sense of purpose, and that purpose is growth. Individual growth. Collective growth as a couple. Growth that makes the world a better place.

As of now, most people get into relationships to satisfy their own personal needs. This might work for a few years, but eventually the relationship fails us, and we end up unsatisfied as a result.

But when two people come together with the intention of growth, the relationship strives towards something much greater than gratification. The partnership becomes a journey of evolution, and the two individuals have an opportunity to expand more than they could alone. Deep satisfaction and long-term fulfillment arise as a result.

So if you’re someone who feels called to take your experience of romantic love to the next level, below are four qualities that characterize what being a conscious couple is all about. Welcome to the path of the conscious relationship. This is next-level love ...

1. The conscious couple is not attached to the outcome of the relationship - growth comes first.

Not being attached to the outcome of the relationship does not mean you don’t care what happens! It also doesn’t mean that you don’t have fantasies about how the relationship will turn out.

What it means is: you’re more committed to the experience of growth than you are to making the relationship “work.”

The reality is, we’re here to grow. Physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. When growth stops, we automatically feel like something’s gone wrong. Because it has. Without growth, we aren’t fulfilling our soul’s purpose.

Unfortunately, relationships today tend to stifle growth more than enhance it. This is one of the main reasons we’re failing at romantic love.

We want our partners to act in a certain way, we repress ourselves to please others, and soon enough, we feel small, oppressed and puzzled about who we’ve become. This, inevitably, makes the relationship feel like a cage that we want to break out of. But the unfortunate truth is: we’ve caged ourselves.

The conscious couple values growth more than anything else because they know this is the secret to keeping the relationship alive. Even though growth is scary (because it takes us into the unknown), the couple is willing to strive towards expansion, even at the risk of out-growing the relationship. Because of this, the relationship maintains a natural feeling of aliveness, and love between the couple does, too.

2. Each person in the relationship is committed to owning their s#*t.

Conscious couples know that we all have wounds from the past, and they understand that these wounds will inevitably be triggered, especially in a relationship. In other words, they expect to feel abandoned, trapped, rejected, overlooked and any other shitty feeling that arises when we bond closely with another person.

Most of us still believe that relationships should only feel good, and when bad feelings surface, something has gone terribly wrong. What we fail to see in this situation is that these shitty feelings stem from our own faulty patterning! These issues are not caused by our partners; they’re caused by our beliefs.

The conscious couple is willing to look at their past and current issues in relationships because they know that by facing these beliefs systems, they can evolve into a new relationship-reality. Dysfunctional patterns will dissolve, but only when we take responsibility for them, first.

3. All feelings are welcome and no internal process is condemned.

In a conscious relationship, there’s room to feel anything. Not only that, there’s room to express those feelings and fantasies to your partner. This is edgy territory… it’s not easy to do. But it’s also one of the most healing things we can experience in a partnership.

It’s rare to be completely honest about who you are, and to stretch yourself to let your partner do the same. You may not like what you hear; in fact, it may trigger the hell out of you. But you’re willing to be triggered if it means your partner can be authentic.

Like I already said, we’re used to molding and changing ourselves to please people we love because we don’t want them to stop loving us! This stifles the love out of our connections.

The only option is radical honesty: revealing parts of ourselves that are hard to share, and letting our partners do the same. This leads to feeling known, seen and truly understood — a combination that will automatically enhance your love.

4. The relationship is a place to practice love.

Love, ultimately, is a practice. A practice of acceptance, being present, forgiveness, and stretching your heart into vulnerable territories.

Sometimes we treat love like it’s a destination. We want that peak feeling all the time, and when it’s not there, we’re not satisfied with what the relationship has become. In my mind, this is missing the whole point of love.

Love is a journey and an exploration. It’s showing up for all varied nuances of your relationship and asking yourself, 'What would love do here?' 

The answer will be different every time, and because of this, you’ll get to grow in ways you never have before!

The conscious couple is fiercely committed to being the embodiment of love. And through their devotion and practice, love shows up in their lives and relationship in ways they would’ve never imagined before."

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Quote of the Moment
Perhaps all the dragons in our lives are princesses who are only waiting to see us act, just once, with beauty and courage. Perhaps everything that frightens us is, in its deepest essence, something helpless that wants our love.
— Rainer Maria Rilke
You’ll Find Love When You Stop Searching For It
 photo by  John Schnobrich

By Marisa Donnelly: I think it’s safe to say we all want connection. Maybe not in this exact moment. Maybe not as the most important, crucial aspect of our lives. Maybe not before we find ourselves or what we’re truly passionate about. But at some point on our journey, we long to intertwine our soul with someone else, to trust, to let them in, to have a person to laugh with, share dreams with, choose and grow with. We all want to find someone to believe in this crazy thing called love with.

But we mess up when we look so desperately for it. When we put our relationship status as the center of our lives. When we spend all our time obsessing over the couples around us, who we’re loving or loved by, where we fit.

We mess up when we make the search for a person take priority over the search for ourselves.

The thing about love, is that it’s a blessing—not a necessary component. We don’t need love to be who we are, and yet, it’s one of the most beautiful things about being human. Where we go wrong, though, is when we think romantic love is everything, when truly, love is all around us.

The problem, then, is not that we’re incapable of finding and keeping love, but that we’re searching for it in the wrong places and making it become our definition, instead of a piece of who we are.

When it comes to romantic love, the heartwarming truth is that this type of love comes to us when we release, relax, and let it happen.

When we stop searching for love, we find it. When we stop analyzing ourselves, changing every little thing, worrying over when we’ll find ‘the one’ or if we’ve fallen apart from them, we discover that love is natural—not forced.

When we quit thinking that we’re running out of time, we find joy in every moment. And the person we’re meant to be with finds us and compliments that joy with his or her own.

We’re not going to find love if we’re continually stressing over it. If we’re discrediting our own hearts because of past relationships. If we’re thinking we’re somehow less, simply because we haven’t discovered ‘forever’ as quick as the person next to us.

Love isn’t something that bends to our rules. We can’t simply wish it to happen. We can’t expect it. We can’t prod, or poke, or push, or make it become exactly what we want it to be. And why would we, anyways?

Love is beautiful as it happens, when it happens. And it will happen. We just have to trust.

We have to trust fate, trust timing, trust God, trust the universe, trust the law of attraction and how it will bring good things to us if we choose to believe.

But stressing yourself out about love? Constantly worrying over who your person will be? Speaking words of unworthiness to your heart, simply because you haven’t found a significant other by a certain time? This is self-sabotage. And will do nothing to help you find the relationship you deserve.

One day love will find you. But you have to be patient. You have to be strong. You have to focus on all that you are, all that life has to offer beyond a partner, so that when you stumble into each other, you’ll both be the best versions of yourselves.

You have to stop searching so desperately for it.
And let it come. 

Serving Love Creates Safety in the World

The theory "Men are driven to make women happy and women desire to wholeheartedly love men" evokes conversation because it's an exploration. It's an idea that has spun many deep thoughts, like this one with Life & Relationship Coach, Bryan Reeves.

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The Real Reason I Chose Unavailable Men by Amy Chan
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I’m ready for a committed relationship. I’m ready for epic love. As Carrie Bradshaw described it best, “Real love. Ridiculous, inconvenient, consuming, can’tlivewithouteach-other love.”

That’s the lie I’ve been telling myself for many years. But micro romance after micro romance, that “real love” was nowhere to be found. Instead, I found myself constantly in situations where I was pining for more time, attention or commitment from men who weren’t willing or able to give it. This was my norm – dating men who kept an emotional distance was my comfort zone. Living there mirrored my childhood dynamic with my parents, and that little wounded girl who learned at a young age “I am not enough” would go through life overcompensating by proving and over-giving in order to win love.

The primal drive to be seen, accepted and loved resulted in me developing many talents – singing, dancing, writing, achieving, doodling – various avenues to win more of that prize I was seeking. I would even bust out my talents on dates – “see me, love me, choose me…” the little girl hoped.

Continue reading at justmytype.ca. 

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CNN: How Many Hours it Takes to Turn an Acquaintance into a Friend
 Friends Christina Weber and Rahul Sonnad

Friends Christina Weber and Rahul Sonnad

Here's an unfortunate little truism, taken from a  recently published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships: "It is not possible to have friends without first making friends."

Look, I'm very much in favor of having friends. I even have some myself! It's just that the making friends part -- the ambiguous zone between meeting someone new and comfortably calling them a friend -- is, if we're all being honest, kind of awful: the small talk, the worrying about coming off as either too needy or too disinterested, the pretending not to size each other up while really sizing each other up.

There's a reason everyone likes to complain about how much dating sucks, and yet we rarely talk about how forging new friendships is just another variation of the same awkward dance.

Continue reading here. 

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A Thought by Joni Mitchell

“I don’t know if I’ve learned anything yet! I did learn how to have a happy home, but I consider myself fortunate in that regard because I could’ve rolled right by it. Everybody has a superficial side and a deep side, but this culture doesn’t place much value on depth — we don’t have shamans or soothsayers, and depth isn’t encouraged or understood. Surrounded by this shallow, glossy society we develop a shallow side, too, and we become attracted to fluff. That’s reflected in the fact that this culture sets up an addiction to romance based on insecurity — the uncertainty of whether or not you’re truly united with the object of your obsession is the rush people get hooked on. I’ve seen this pattern so much in myself and my friends and some people never get off that line.

But along with developing my superficial side, I always nurtured a deeper longing, so even when I was falling into the trap of that other kind of love, I was hip to what I was doing. I recently read an article in Esquire magazine called ‘The End of Sex,’ that said something that struck me as very true. It said: “If you want endless repetition, see a lot of different people. If you want infinite variety, stay with one.” What happens when you date is you run all your best moves and tell all your best stories — and in a way, that routine is a method for falling in love with yourself over and over.

You can’t do that with a longtime mate because he knows all that old material. With a long relationship, things die then are rekindled, and that shared process of rebirth deepens the love. It’s hard work, though, and a lot of people run at the first sign of trouble. You’re with this person, and suddenly you look like an asshole to them or they look like an asshole to you — it’s unpleasant, but if you can get through it you get closer and you learn a way of loving that’s different from the neurotic love enshrined in movies. It’s warmer and has more padding to it.” 

~ Joni Mitchell

 

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It's Time to Be Vulnerable Together
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''I think midlife is when the universe gently places her hands upon your shoulders, pulls you close, and whispers in your ear: 

I’m not screwing around. It’s time. All of this pretending and performing – these coping mechanisms that you’ve developed to protect yourself from feeling inadequate and getting hurt – has to go.

Your armor is preventing you from growing into your gifts. I understand that you needed these protections when you were small. I understand that you believed your armor could help you secure all of the things you needed to feel worthy of love and belonging, but you’re still searching...

Time is growing short. There are unexplored adventures ahead of you. You can’t live the rest of your life worried about what other people think. You were born worthy of love and belonging. Courage and daring are coursing through you. You were made to live and love with your whole heart. It’s time to show up and be seen.'' ~ Brené Brown

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Dating: Setting the Pace Without Scaring Someone Away

"I'm a single male in my 30's. I do a fair amount of dating both through apps and in-person. One thing I really struggle with is the confusing dance that me and the potential partners do around our expectations. How can I be assertive or find out more about where they are at, without pushing them away, or make them feel like I'm forcing them into a situation that is very serious right off the bat?" - Alan (New York, NY)

Esther Perel is joined by Dr. Alexandra Solomon — licensed psychologist and clinical associate professor at Northwestern University, as well as a teacher of the most popular university course on relationships, Marriage 101.

It's difficult to navigate expectations, boundaries and the ambiguity in the early stages of dating and building a relationship.

What are the rules of dating today? Who should take the lead to drive the pace of a relationship?

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The Erotic Solution
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by host Alorah Inanna

Restoring the Union of Wealth, Sex & Spirit,Creating a World of Time, Pleasure & Play

Recently, I heard of a meeting in England at which the world’s wealthy addressed the critical, urgent needs of our times. Issues that threaten our very existence.

Yet there is something that still is not noticed or mentioned, a truth that’s important and must be expressed… and that truth is this:

Until we acknowledge, address and provide for the erotic needs of our society, we will not resolve the fundamental ills of our society.

Sex is the most powerful energy on the planet. It gives us birth. It catalyzes our most important cycles in life. It brings together and breaks apart our families. It forms the foundation of the most lucrative sites on the internet. It powers the world’s fashion, recreation and advertising markets. It causes more family violence than all other concerns. It is the source of our greatest over-population and health care issues.

And yet we ignore it when we educate our children, when we structure our communities, when we consider the causes and solutions to our collapsing World.

I believe that a holistic approach to the world’s global crisis must immediately address the issue of sex and how it can become the solution we need.

A solution that weans us from our addiction to a Production/Consumption Economy. A solution that addresses the roots of our addiction to shopping and eating. A solution that completely alters the Relational Wellness of couples and singles. A solution that restores the Union of Wealth, Sex and Spirit and Creates a World of Time, Pleasure and Play.

Continue reading here on Medium. 

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