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.
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.
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’t–live–without–each-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.
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.
“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
''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
"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?
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.
by Christina Weber
Four years ago in New York City, I went on a second date with a male model. We knew each other through friends of friends. We’d seen each other at events and get-togethers, we flirted here and there, and finally, a year after we met, he asked me out.
The first date was great. He came to my neighborhood — at the time I was in Harlem and on the second date — I drove down to his neighborhood on the Lower East Side. Since I was driving, I made sure to only have two drinks so I could get myself home.
During our meal, we caught up, exchanged stories about what we were working on and the friends we had in common. I had fun and noticed that during our meal, he kept sharing tidbits about his apartment and how much he loved it. As our dinner progressed, this led into how much he wanted me to see his place as well.
I’m sure you know where this goes.
I didn’t really care to see his place. But I could tell he wanted to share it. And at the time, I didn’t feel like his desire to show it to me had anything to do with sex. Although I was enjoying his company, I was beginning to think that we weren’t romantically compatible. Not to be cliche, but I wasn’t intellectually stimulated. I wanted a soul connection. Not sex.
In the end, I decided to see his place. And of course, we made out a little, and eventually, I was done. I didn’t want anymore. I was ready to go home. So I told him, “This has been awesome, I’m going to get ready to leave. Thanks for a great night.”
And his response was to put his hands under my dress and start touching me. I was annoyed, both by his actions and by my own confusion. There were seconds when it felt great, he was touching me in the right place, but when I came back to my consciousness and checked in with myself, I remember acknowledging, “Why am I here? I don’t want to do this.”
Emmy Abrahamson never thought that the love of her life would come in the form of a hairy, barefoot, homeless man. But there was an undeniable spark between herself and Vic Kocula and a decade later, they are happily married with children. What do you think of their love story?