On the 3L’s

I keep taking love quizzes on Facebook and I have had it with them.  “7 Signs You Have Found Your Soulmate”, “50 Ways To Tell You Are in a Healthy Relationship”, “How Well Do You Know Your Lover?” and so on and so forth.  I can’t resist them yet I inevitably finish embarrassed to partake in such things.  What am I, a teenage girl?  So, I came up with my own.  No long list, no quiz.  Just the 3 ingredients I need these days to be happy with a man.  “The 3L’s.”  Believe me when I say that I do NOT profess to be an expert on long-lasting love. But, I certainly am trying and here is what seems to matter most to me at this point:

1. I need to LIKE you.  A lot.  As I observe married couples who are still happy, they seem to have a genuine respect for their partner.  They enjoy and are interested in each other. It isn’t a tolerance of the other only (I am putting up with you because I am committed to you and feel bad leaving you because I said I wouldn’t but I can’t stand you really).  It isn’t a put on for appearances.  They aren’t staying together “for the kids”.

There is a brilliant study that predicts the longevity of marriage in 3 minutes.(http://www.isoulseek.com/sitebranches/relationskills/articles/6signs.pdf)  John Gottman isolated 6 main signs of trouble in paradise but he emphasized that the number one predictor is CONTEMPT. This is a form of anger which can display itself in many ways but the study focuses on body language and tone of voice.  I can vividly recall myself in relationships that were ill-fated and how that type of poison had entered the equation.  This stemmed from a loss of respect somewhere along the way and from that loss of respect I became contemptuous. And rather than leave, we tolerated each other with a seething anger, eye-rolls and a disdain between us that showed itself in condescension.

2. There must be LUST.  I know better than to think Lust is a good foundation for a long-lasting relationship but it is a requirement.  Chemistry, glances across a room, the remnants of his scent, the touch of his skin.  We really are just animals in the animal kingdom and heat between us matters.  I so wish that this factor was less important to me.  I have ended perfectly lovely relationships because I just didn’t feel “it”.  I have met many wonderful men but without that unnameable spark, there is no future.  It’s what all good love songs are about.  It’s what makes the world go round, makes us want to make babies even when it makes no sense.  We do irrational things, wear ridiculously high heels and give of ourselves.  This fire helps us endure life’s little drudgeries which are inevitable.

3. Last but not least, we must eventually and ultimately LOVE each other.  I am talking about real, respectful and gracious love.  The kind of love that may mean that I love you so much, I want you to be happy despite how your happiness impacts me.  “If you love someone, set them free” and other slogans stick around as long as they do because the true teaching of love is not about possession.  I remember hearing this concept when my kids were born-that my kids are souls that I am fortunate enough to care for.  But they are not “mine”.  Love, at it’s best, liberates us and helps make us our best self.  The people I know who are happily married the longest have this in common.   They love each other through all of life’s changes, through their ups and downs and maybe they will make it, “til death do us part”.

I have officiated two weddings.  One, 20 years ago and they are still married.

securedownload-15

*me on the left with the beautiful Bride.  We were 23 years old.  I was trying to look more Adult but look more Amish?

The other was just last year. Below is the moment when I had them read their vows off the iPhone because I had forgotten them inside.  A funny and perfect moment.

securedownload-16

I gave marriage and love a whole lot of thought for both weddings.  I believe that both couples have what it takes to go the distance and one is half-way there already!  The fact that they asked me to officiate (as an unmarried woman) challenged me, humbled me and I dug down deep to find the right things to say about marriage.  I, despite my many “failed” romances remain a believer in love.

I don’t know if I will marry again.  I don’t know if I believe in Soul Mates or forever for me.  I do know that love heals.  I believe we all deserve love.  I know that after having children, I have experienced love in it’s purest and most selfless form.

I am happy with my guy and I feel all 3L’s for him.  And for today, that’s enough for me.

 

Advertisements

On Bad First Dates

True confession-once I realized how much fun it was to talk on Facebook and at the salon about my bad first dates, I sort of started to look forward to them.  Not that I would seek out ill-fitting Suitors mind you.  I just knew that my friends and clients would be entertained.  Of all my bad first dates, this one took the cake.

I arrived at the restaurant first and waited outside.  I spotted him parking his white, American car and could tell from his swagger towards me, this gentleman was not “the one”.  He had a Bluetooth in his ear as well as two phones on his gadget belt and the Khakis were ill-fitting.  Tight, navy golf shirt, belt up too high on his waist, spiky hair gelled to the point of no motion, high testosterone.  How did I end up in this position, you might ask? Doesn’t a Hipster girl screen out guys like this?  When I hastily got back into internet dating the second time around, I forgot my basic rules, one being don’t have a meal as a first date.  And he was my first date back on the market so, we sat down to eat.

Upon being seated, he did a chiropractic adjustment/back crack in the chair that was so violent I had to ask, “What was that?  Are you OK?” and he proceeded to tell me that he was on his way to the Chiropractor after lunch. I took the bait,  asked why.  He asked if I knew the difference between Tennis Elbow and Golfers Elbow, which I did not.  He has Golfers Elbow and went on to explain the intricacies and how hard it was for him to continue to play.  Upon which I naively asked, “Maybe this is a dumb question but can’t you just switch arms?”. This was so offensive to him that he raised his voice and told me that that was like asking me if I can just switch hands to cut hair.  “Well, I  get your point but I don’t cut hair… I’m a Colorist.”  Silence.

When it came time to order he asked me what kind of coffee I drink.  I said, “I like Americanos, how about you?”. He said that he can only drink drip coffee now since getting the INTESTINAL PARASITE.  Oh?

So, how would YOU respond my friends?

A) um, gross (change the subject)

B) I guess you should have a drip coffee

C) Tell me more!

Now, you know from my personality that of course, I chose C.

So, apparently he got an Intestinal Parasite and his main concern was how it affects your protein absorption. For muscle building.  So he worked out extra-hard he explained and then, really-I swear, flexed his muscles for me and said, “I am still ripped though”.

As lunch went on he told me about his crappy childhood (mean Dad), his crappy divorce (took his money), his crappy last job (revolving door salesman, for real) and all the politics of having to “manage up” because of his crappy boss.  After answering a few work calls he HAD to take during our date, he asked me if I minded him telling me all this and I said, “No, go on!  My Mom is a Therapist.”  What that has to do with anything I am not sure but it felt like the right thing to say.

Online dating is not for everyone.  If you are very sensitive, easily offended or have your hopes up high with each date you may struggle.  We all have so little time.  There are hundreds and hundreds of potential candidates for you so it’s important to carefully screen from the get go.

 

Unless you are me and you want a good story.

 

Footnote-last I checked, he is still single.

securedownload

And so was this guy.  Go figure.

 

For tips on how not to date a clown, stay tuned for the pending entry, “On the 7 Types of Men You Will Meet Online”.

 

 

On Truth Circles

I have a memory pending substantiation from my childhood friends but it goes something like this….

 

We are in 7th grade and it’s the end of the school year and my friends and I have been called into a Truth Circle. None of us know exactly what to expect but it’s a sunny day and we gather on the soccer field, about eight of us sitting cross legged.  What happens next is hazy but I believe the Leader of the Truth Circle (one of our 7th grade friends) told each of us what no one liked about us.  I remember some girls crying and I remember acting stoic as I heard my “truth” and feeling relieved that the only “truth” that no one liked about me was my apparent stealing of everyone’s boyfriends (kind of seemed like a compliment?).

 

Many months ago on Facebook, I posed the question to my friends, “What if someone could tell you the “truth” about yourself?  Would you want to hear it?”  The response was mixed.  Some said definitively “yes” and some said “no” and some said that they would like to hear it but it would have to be from someone they completely trusted and in a way they could receive.

 

In theory, this is what we have Managers for at work and Mentors for in our lives.  As a Manager in a corporation, I had my share of giving performance reviews to employees as well as receiving them and I always found it challenging.  Within a corporate structure, how honest can we be?  How do we know that the person giving us feedback really has our best interest in mind?  Are they rationalizing my shitty raise because of the company’s profits or was my performance really lacking?  How will I ever really know given the legal bindings of corporate America?

 

There is a mode of career coaching called the 360 I find intruiging.  It is usually for Senior Management in corporations.  The employee is evaluated and reviewed by everyone around them.  Peers, direct reports, colleagues and those above. This feedback is presented for your higher good by a trusted Coach and often reveals blind spots to help make you a better employee, Leader, contributor and peer to your colleagues.  My client and friend Erika who shared her 360 experience with me said it truly was a game-changer for her professionally and something that she craves again now many years later.  What it taught her by revealing her blind spots helped her become a stronger Leader and also helped her excel as a high performance communicator.  Could the 360 be the modern day and helpful version of the Truth Circle?

 

In the age we live in, we are presenting an image of ourselves in social media at all times.  We are creating a perception of ourselves and marketing ourselves every time we tweet, post a picture on Instagram or post a Facebook status update.  Those who observe us are making decisions and having feelings about us 100% based on the tone that we use in our pictures, updates and comments.

 

Recently Gwyneth Paltrow, bless her heart (as the Southern ladies say when they don’t mean it), found herself in a PR shit-storm for stating in an interview that working mothers have it easier than she does because while working mothers have a routine (9-5 job, mornings at home with our kids), she does not.  14-hour movie set days are so difficult!  We all, every mother (working or not) collectively vomited a bit and solidified what we suspected about Gwyneth.  She’s so deep into Gwyneth-Ville that she does not know HOW she comes across.  I call this Gwyneth Syndrome.

 

As horrible as that 7th grade Truth Circle may have been in the most awkward and uncomfortable stage of life, I wonder if there was a way we could do this for each other in a good way.  If someone could tell you the “truth” about yourself, would you want to hear it?  Would you tell me if I had Gwyneth Syndrome my friends?
Please?

 

The_Self

On Unicorns

In December, I met a man online and we fell for each other hard.  This was not just any man-this was the kind of guy I have only heard about that is usually taken/married/just in movies (picture Jake Ryan as grown man).  Not just smart, funny, wise, interesting, successful, a great Dad, athletic (but not obsessive), movie-star good looking and in a MEN’S BOOK CLUB for God’s sakes.  I kept pinching myself as we went on amazing date after amazing date and I came to label him to my Facebook friends as The Unicorn.  As I have done since I started dating about 2 years ago, I kept looking for the “dealbreakers” but really couldn’t find a bad one.  Dating in one’s 40s becomes a damage assessment game.  Will it be a crazy ex, financial stress, bad kids, STDs, DUIs…basically, I would screen each date like a Private Detective wondering, “How bad is it?”….

 

The only dealbreaker he kept showing me was his fear of love.  Fear of love?  NBD.

 

As it turned out, his fear of love was stronger than his desire to be with me so 2 months in he decided this whole love thing wasn’t for him and we stopped the BF/GF train on the tracks.  As crushed and blindsided as I was, I have always been of the school of, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them” (Maya Angelou) so I did NOT try and persuade him that his decision was a bad one.  I adapted.  We continued to date each other but not exclusively (against popular opinion which was to kick him to the curb) and I started Mission Get Over Him.

 

My mission was futile.  I seem to have the kind of heart that has an on-off switch.  When I love you, it’s nearly impossible for me to stop.  I give my whole heart to what I do and those around me, for better or worse. But I sure did try.  Here is a non-exhaustive list of what I did:

Read self-help books (Highly recommend the book “Attached”.  Brilliant!!!!)

Talked shit and asked existential questions about love on FB  and with Clients (very helpful!)

Wrote in my journal

Cried at night (late night was the worst)

Allowed myself to feel pathetic

Went over old texts to prove I didn’t imagine it

Massage therapy

Consulted a Psychic

Lots and lots and lots and lots of dating

Dated people I thought looked like him (a first and what I consider an all time low and extremely cliche)

Considered a mid-life crisis.  What things haven’t I done yet?  Date a 25-year old?  Visit a sex-club? Why not!

Read extensively about Consensual Non-Monogamy/Polyamory-maybe this is the future???  If I can’t have one relationship, maybe I should have 3 or 5 or 7?  

Made out with new guys

Sang sad songs

 

At one point, I encountered a brilliant 4-year old who was holding a toy purple plastic Unicorn.  Knowing that children are infinitely wise, I asked Josie if she thought Unicorns were real?  She said, “Yes, but they all died.”  And I said, “Why?” Her response was that when the boat came, they didn’t get on it.

 

An apt metaphor.

 

All said, nothing made my love for him go away.  I am sure he felt that when we spent time together but I had let go of any future between us.  Then, at the 5 month mark, my guy decided that he was ready.  I can’t speak for him and how that all played out but I can say that my response was, “Hell yes!” and here we are on the BF/GF train. So is he a Unicorn?  I guess it depends on how you think about it.  Is he rare and mystical?  Yes.  Is he exceptional?  For sure.  But he is a also just a man, with scars and fears and flaws just like everyone else.  It seems childish now to have ever used that label but at the moment, it made a point which is still true.  You don’t often meet Extraordinary.  And when you do, hopefully you are ready for him.

photo (2)