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Netflix and the Demise of True Romance

Netflix Romance

Sharing a Netflix movie doesn’t have to be the highlight of your romantic evenings together. Here’s a way to keep the fires of intimacy burning ever brighter as your relationship matures…

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Remember that feeling when you meet someone special for the first time? You can feel the rush of adrenaline going through your veins and the giddy high of new love. Assuming the other person feels the same way, it is not long before you are ripping each other’s clothes off to experience mind-blowing intimate bliss amidst wonderings of “Is this the one?” And it continues like this, at least for a while. That is until the fires of unbridled passion slowly fade to the point that evenings together watching Netflix become the highlight (and ultimate demise) of your relationship.

Sound familiar? Well, first of all it’s not Netfix’s fault – no matter how addictive some of their shows can be. This progression from wild lust to “Let’s see what’s on tonight…” has everything to do with powerful and ancient forces lurking in each and every one of us. The good news is that this predictable relationship arch is not inevitable. All it takes to keep those ardent fires burning brightly is understanding what those forces are and how to re-purpose them. So, my friend, please read on because there is hope.

Fundamental Operating Principle for Romantic Relationships

I discovered this intimacy principle as a result of the tragedy that turned into the biggest blessing for my intimate life. Thanks to this traumatic experience, I received deep insight as to what really drives intimate relationships. While simply stated, its implications are very powerful:

The way men and women are biologically and culturally “wired” gets in the way of what their hearts truly yearn for, deep abiding emotional, physical and even spiritual connection.

In essence, this biological and cultural wiring is all designed for the propagation of the human species. No matter how sophisticated, educated or refined you may be, this wiring is at work in every romantic relationship. Because it is so ingrained (in our very DNA in fact) it impacts our behaviors and attitudes largely at the subconscious level. And if left unchecked, it will almost always result in the end of the relationship, or at best, an unacceptable settling in exchange for comfortable, if not passionate, companionship. The reason? It is a battle between what we are inherently programmed for (low-level need on Maslow’s hierarchy) and our evolved needs for deeply meaningful connection (a higher level need). Men and women simply express these needs in different ways, especially as the relationship matures.

Now before we explore how to short-circuit this wiring in a way that fans the flames of true intimacy, I want to share how I came to this insight.

Losing One’s Sight to Finally See Clearly

Two and a half years ago I was struck fully impotent and lost my ability to ejaculate as a result of treatments for prostate cancer. For many men, this is a fate worse than death –which is how I felt about it when it first happened. What made it worse was the fact I had just ended a 26-year marriage where the last eleven years we were effectively roommates. To say I saw the cruel irony in all this is putting it mildly.

Six months later I met my current life partner. She is an utterly amazing woman who was very willing to explore other forms of intimacy despite never previously having been with a man who had permanent erectile dysfunction (ED). It was in this exploration of what was possible that the “gift” of my ED shown itself fully.

We’ve all heard of people being suddenly struck blind who then acquire exquisite sensitivity in their other senses of touch, hearing, smell, etc. Something similar happened to me. As a result of losing my ability to be erect and ejaculate, I was able to “see”, for the first time, how our deeply imprinted relationship wiring was getting in the way of true intimacy. My ED effectively short-circuited that wiring in a manner that eliminated the over powering urge that comes with a fully erect penis. Without this distraction, I was finally able to be fully present for my partner and match her sexual response profile (which for most women is very different than mens’). The result is our intimate life has become stronger and more fulfilling over time. We now spend an average of two to four hours every time we make love. Her sexual response to my slowing down and being present is beyond what some very sexually active people consider humanly possible (their quote, not mine).

So – does this mean guys have to lose their penile function to see these kinds of results and avoid the relationship “death by Netflix” outcome? Hardly. As a man, there are some easy steps you can take to circumvent this deeply embedded wiring. And in doing so ensure a relationship that only gets better, more satisfying and exciting (in all ways) over time and take your woman to sensual heights she never dreamed possible.

Four Steps to Prepare for Extraordinary Intimacy

Here are the fundamental conditions I have discovered that seem to be necessary to facilitate consistently high levels of intimacy (emotional as well as physical):

  1. Emotional Intimacy Before Getting Physical – without a deep sense of emotional intimacy as the very foundation of your relationship, the sex will simply start to fade no matter how great it starts out.
  2. Remove Performance from the Bedroom – the idea of sexual performance is a very powerful, and frankly damaging, cultural imprint. Replace performance with “presence” where each of you are fully present in both giving and receiving without goals or agendas. Do this and watch your sex life soar to heights you would never have considered possible.
  3. Ladies First – as old fashioned as it may sound, there is solid reasoning behind this adage. Women often take far longer to “warm up” during physical intimacy than men. This is especially true as women age beyond the childbearing years. Make a practice of focusing on giving to her before thinking of receiving, and you will unleash the tigress in her.
  4. Schedule Your Intimate Sessions – the kind of physical intimacy in store for you may last two or more hours*. This will unlikely be initiated with the typical “come hither” look that starts many a quickie. Instead, it requires planning – you need to set a date and time where you can both experience the full depth of sexual and sensual expression without interruption or distractions.

Think of these as the ground rules for achieving extraordinary intimacy with your partner that grows stronger over time. In next week’s post, I will go over in detail what my partner and I do each time we make love that results in an experience that most couples would kill for.

Here’s the thing – if a fully impotent 62-year-old cancer patient and his post-menopausal partner can consistently have this kind of steamy, sensual experience, you most certainly can as well – in fact, likely much more. And in this scenario, Netflix can become part of your shared post-coital afterglow rather than the evening’s main attraction.

*At this point don’t worry about how you could possibly make love for two or more hours or what you would do –just be open to this possibility as I cover ways to experience this kind of lovemaking (with energy to spare when you are done) in next week’s post.

image: DepositPhotos.com

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How To Destroy Your Sexual Ego

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Jordan Gray says that in order to be an amazing lover, you have to be honest about whether you’re performing or focusing on pleasure.

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You lie on your back. Your chest is heaving with a rapid and full breath.

Your performance was a stellar one and you did everything that Maxim told you to.

You look over to witness her expression and your stomach drops.

Not only does she not look blissed out in a post-orgasmic whirlwind of happiness, she looks upset. Frustrated. Distant.

You reach out to stroke her arm and you notice she pulls back a little bit when you do.

This can’t be good.

So where did you go wrong?

Is Something Wrong?

When it comes to sex, what men tell each other women want and what women actually want are often two very different things.

Porn tells us that we should be pretzeling our lovers into ridiculous positions in order to make them squirt bucket loads of ejaculate that flows out with ease. Our buddies tell us to do this specific technique with our tongue that is guaranteed to make any woman climax in under two minutes every time without fail.

And what we end up with is a sexual situation of the blind leading the blind.

Your Sexual Ego

Your ego, simply put, is your sense of self-importance. Your ego keeps you alive because it makes sure that you are self-interested enough to feed yourself, and keep on living. But when your sexual ego starts playing the ‘look at me’ game too much, then you come across as caring more about how impressive your performance was compared to how much your partner enjoyed themselves.

What You Can Do To Kill Your Sexual Ego

No single sexual technique will ever work for all people (men or women) sexually.

Even though it’s very intriguing to be able to lump women into one easy-to-please category of “Just-do-this-one-thing-and-they-all-love-it!”, the human sexual arousal response doesn’t work like that.

So how do you make sure that you are showing up as your sex best sexual self for your partner, and how do you get rid of your bad sexual conditioning that teaches you to be any one rigid way in bed?

1. Ask Your Former/Current Lover(s) What They Thought Of Your Sexual Performance

While it might not be the easiest thing to send to a former lover, the only way you’re going to get honest feedback about your sexual performance is to explicitly ask for it.

Ask them if they felt seen by you. Ask them if they felt like you ever truly knew them. Ask them how present you seemed when sleeping with them.

Or, if you are in a relationship, ask your current partner for feedback.

There might not be as much value in asking your ex-girlfriend from when you were sixteen years old and your sexual abilities were drastically less mature. But there is validity in asking your partners from the past 5-10 years of sexual experience.

You might be surprised as to what kind of feedback you get.

2. Ask Your Female Friends What Their Opinion Is Of You As A Potential Sexual Partner

Some of the best feedback that I’ve ever received from women have been through my platonic female friendships.

Asking questions like “Based on what you know about me, how do you think I would be in bed?” gift you with such a gold mine of information that will save you years of struggling with sexual performance.

Women pick up on details that most men never stop to think about.

Your sexual energy is portrayed in how tense you are when you hold your fork, how you dance in public, and how well you listen in your conversations.

Your demeanour betrays whether you would be a soft, and patient lover, or a dark, and dominant one.

So what energy do your friends see in you? What are you communicating to the world?

You don’t know what you don’t know until you seek to find out. So ask them! Blame it on this article if you need to.

3. Create A Safe Space For Your Partner To Open To You

Women (like all people) need to feel safe in order to open up emotionally and sexually.

Tell your partner “I always want you to feel comfortable with me in bed. I want to work on our relationship and becoming your ultimate lover so please tell me if I ever do something that makes you uncomfortable. Or if I ever feel less than present I want you to know that you can call me on it so i come back to you. I am always welcome to feedback if it means that it makes me a better person, and helps you feel more seen and loved.”

Is this safe, normal, run of the mill over-breakfast kind of conversation? Probably not.

But depth, combined with safety, is sexy.

4. Acknowledge What Your Greatest Tools Are

Despite what your inbox’s spam folder would lead you to believe, the size of your cock or the amount of ejaculate that you spew (am I the only one who gets these emails?) is not at the top of the list of the value that you bring to the bedroom.

Your three best tools are your eyes (for seeing her), your tongue (for speaking to her), and ears (for listening to her).

Learn to be aware of her in all moments so you can calibrate your sexual energy and performance to what she needs then.

Sometimes she will need you to be gentle and kiss her face lightly. Other times she will need you to hold her wrists down and sink your teeth into her shoulder. But you won’t know what she needs unless you are paying attention.

What Truly Makes A Good Lover?

We can all make improvements when it comes to going deeper in our sex lives.

Stop listening to the half-assed advice from your friends and magazines and start listening to the breath, heartbeat, and rhythms of your partners arousal.

Don’t try to be impressive… just be present.

Jordan Gray gives sex and relationship advice for entrepreneurs. This post originally appeared at JordanGrayConsulting.com

Photo courtesy of DepositPhotos.com

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Four Things You Need to Forget In Order to Chase Your Dreams

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“Is That Sheep Placenta I Smell?”: Remembering the Scents of My Grandfather

"Is That Sheep Placenta I Smell?": Remembering the Scents of My Grandfather

Writer Ian Stansel makes peace with the profoundly terrible stench of his grandfather.

One of the most common refrains heard in any writing class I lead is “Use all your senses.” Student writers, understandably, tend to focus most of their energy describing the visual: the light cutting through trees, the particular color of a child’s bedroom. And often they do this very well. But they too frequently forget that the world is made up of sounds and tastes and smells and textures as well. When I challenge them with an exercise that insists upon greater attention to these details, and they read these short, off-the-cuff passages aloud, eyes widen at the way the world of their prose suddenly appears in fuller relief.

When discussing the effect of smell—arguably the most powerful memory trigger—I often encourage students to push beyond the relatively simply equation of pleasant smell to pleasant experience (or unpleasant to unpleasant). So much energy in writing is created through contradiction and friction. Take, for example, the odor of white vinegar; it is a smell I personally find dreadful, and yet when I encounter it I cannot help but be transported to moments of coloring Easter eggs as a child. The scent of horse manure brings me back to weekends and evenings spent perched on arena-side bleachers watching my sister astride a kindly quarter horse named Andy. More pungent cow excrement takes me to college life in a small Midwestern town when the area farmers would feed their soil in the early days of autumn. That repellent smell carried on the wind and interrupted conversations and study, yet it is now inextricably wrapped up in those happy times.

I know of nothing else that can so quickly and completely remove me from my present and convey me to some other place, whether in memory or imagination. And I have no better example of this phenomenon than the definitive smell of my grandfather.

He came to live with my mother, brother, sister, and I after the four of us moved from northern California (a place forever associated with the aroma of eucalyptus—some pleasant thoughts do have equally pleasant correlative smells) to the near-north suburbs of Chicago. Robert Emmett O’Connell came from a brood of charming, handsome, and vain Chicago Irish. Through his life, most of his particular brand of vanity directed itself on his hair, which, as he moved through his fifties and then sixties, became thinner and thinner—not for lack of efforts to keep it on his part.

Laying in bed or trying to complete homework assignments in the room I shared with my brother, I would hear from the other side of the wall the insistent buzzing of my grandfathers scalp massagers, two grenade-shaped electrical engines that strapped to the back of his hands. They originated sometime in the middle of the twentieth century, at least three decades before we all lived under the same roof. Nightly he mounted them to his hands and kneaded his cranium, would-be defibrillators for his ill-fated follicles.

If his efforts were limited to the massagers, there would have been no problem, and honestly, I might not even think of the man’s hair when he comes to mind. But this was the most passive he would be when it came to retaining his slight mane.

“Goop” was our name for the concoction my grandfather mixed and applied to his scalp. The particulars of his recipe evolved over the decades, but the mixture’s base was always Glover’s Mange Medicine (later renamed Glover’s Dandruff Control Medicine, for obvious reasons). In its ultimate recipe, the goop contained, among other things, Glover’s, vitamin E, and sheep placenta extract.

One of the difficulties in exploring the non-visual senses is that these stimuli become more challenging to describe. How might I make the goop come to life within my reader’s nose? It was a chemical kind of stench, yet also not totally inorganic. There was something of industrial strength adhesive to it, but also rotting tropical plant life and perhaps a bit of wet dog. I fear I must, as my students so often do, fall back on the relative ease of vague, subjective adjectives: the goop smelled profoundly horrible.

One of the most popular stories in my family was of the time when, back in the mid-1960s when my grandfather was both a single dad and a traveling salesman, he brought his son and three daughters on the road with him and, somewhere outside Kansas City, Missouri, cleared the outdoor lounge area of the motel where they were staying. In a rare moment of respite from visiting would-be customers, he’d applied the goop and then visited the pool. It was the talk of the motel. In the lobby, guests would ask each other if one another had smelled that. In my mother’s telling, the management somehow could not pinpoint the old man as the source, but had the pool drained and scrubbed as a safety measure against whatever toxic materials had infiltrated the leisure zone.

By the time we all lived on an expansive stretch of rundown townhouses in Illinois, my grandfather had taken to simmering the goop on the stovetop before applying to his head. The stench would linger in the house for a week. During the warmer months, he would drag his folding lounger out to our tiny, desiccated front lawn and tan himself, the fumes from the goop nearly visible as waving, cartoon wisps emanating from his head. And without fail, this would be where my friends and I, coming home from school, would find him, shirtless and in blue terrycloth shorts, polluting the air of the neighborhood.

These are not my only memories of my grandfather, of course. After the dissolution of my parents’ marriage, he was the man I sat next to on the couch while watching the Cubs on TV, who walked with me to the library to check out books and VHS tapes, who took me on the bus to the half-empty mall where he bought his favorite caraway rye bread. His mood turned sometimes, and he would occasionally threaten me with a belt hanging menacingly from his hand. My mother would dance to and fro between us, protecting me and trying to calm him. These were some of the most frightening moments of my life, not because of the pain he might inflict on me, but rather because of the look of desperate rage on his face. Mostly I remember him as a thoroughly sad man, old before his time, with a past full of secrets, always seeming to be trying and failing to hold on to something fleeting.

My sister and I pleaded with our mother to convince him to stop using the goop, to save us from the social ostracism that was, in our minds, inevitable if the habit continued, but any appeals to our grandfather would be met with the same curt, gravel-voiced defense: “It’s a clean smell.” This phrase, so often uttered, became ingrained in our familial vernacular to such an extent that even now, should we be together and encounter some offending odor—say the reek of a recently squashed skunk or festering trash heap—one of us is likely to say these words: it’s a clean smell.

And yet, as revolting as the stench was, I am now glad for it. Perhaps once every year or two I’ll find myself walking down and the street or working near an open window and I’ll catch a whiff of something unmistakably goop-like. A ghost pungency wafting invisibly on the air. My head snaps up and my nostrils widen. But as soon as I register it, the odor disappears. Was it something from a passing car? From the back of some sketchy-looking restaurant? Could it be—just maybe—that someone else has concocted a vat of Glover’s Mange Medicine, vitamin E, and extract of sheep placenta?

I’ve never been able to identify a source. Instead I simply remain there holding the stench in my nose for as long as I can. I close my eyes. And for a moment, a few seconds at most, I have my grandfather there with me again, goop and all.

♦◊♦

Credit: Image—Dualdflipflop/Flickr

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“Is That Sheep Placenta I Smell?”: Remembering the Scents of My Grandfather

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An Open Letter to My Son Andrew

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Why Did “The Little Prince” Quotes Suddenly Appear After Robin Williams’ Death?

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Jesse Kornbluth investigates this powerful children’s book. 

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When Robin Williams died, my Facebook screen lit up with one quote after another from “The Little Prince.”

I didn’t understand why so many people responded with lines from this book.

And for a good reason: I’d never read it.

Why not? “The Little Prince” is my dream length: 160 pages, 15,000 words. (It was originally 30,000 words, but Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, bless him, ruthlessly cut the text to its core.) It’s also the most popular French book of the last century. Translated into 250 languages. Yearly sales: 2 million copies.

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Check out the book on Amazon here.

Feeling like the last human on the planet to read it, I plunged into “The Little Prince.”

Soon enough, I came upon the lines that had been quoted in Facebook.

One sees clearly only with the heart. What is essential is invisible to the eye.

You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed.

All grown-ups were once children… but only few of them remember it.

But I was puzzled: This is a book for children?

Consider the story, which begins like this (with drawings by the author, which, sadly, I can’t reproduce):

Once when I was six years old I saw a magnificent picture in a book, called True Stories from Nature, about the primeval forest. It was a picture of a boa constrictor in the act of swallowing an animal.

In the book it said: “Boa constrictors swallow their prey whole, without chewing it. After that they are not able to move, and they sleep through the six months that they need for digestion.”

I pondered deeply, then, over the adventures of the jungle. And after some work with a colored pencil I succeeded in making my first drawing. My Drawing Number One.

I showed my masterpiece to the grown-ups, and asked them whether the drawing frightened them.

But they answered: “Frighten? Why should any one be frightened by a hat?”

My drawing was not a picture of a hat. It was a picture of a boa constrictor digesting an elephant.

Because adults don’t understand children — or anything imaginative, really — the narrator abandons his plan to become an artist and takes up aviation. As an adult, he flies everywhere. He has many encounters with his fellow adults — and still doesn’t understand them.

Then his plane crashes in the desert. In this desperate situation, a small person-like being appears. He’s from a distant planet — a strange planet, it’s just him and a rose. Unhappy there, he found a flock of birds to bring him here. And the aviator and the “little prince” begin an adventure. [To buy the paperback from Amazon, click here. For the multi-media CD, read by Richard Gere, click here. For the French edition, click here.]

There are drawings. Encounters with citizens of other planets. A sheep we don’t see. A poignant ending. And after, a lifetime for the reader to ponder the idea of the book, which is both wonderfully French and profoundly metaphorical.

Metaphorical stories are often fact-based. In 1935, Saint-Exupéry crashed a plane in the Arabian desert. He was lost for a week — more than enough time to think deeply about his life, his marriage, his death. In 1940, when France fell to the Germans, he fled to the United States. He was sick and miserable here, unable to accept how quickly France had surrendered. The wife of one of his publishers suggested that a children’s story would divert him. And so he began. He often wrote all night. He called friends at 2AM to read new passages to them. He drew. He scribbled.

Finally, his book finished, Saint-Exupéry returned to Europe and the Free French Air Force. In 1944, on a reconnaissance mission over the Mediterranean, his plane vanished without a trace. France mourned its double loss: hero and writer.

And those Facebook friends mourning a grown-up who never lost his connection to the child within? They knew just where to look.

______

This article originally appeared on The Head Butler.

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How Long Will It Hurt? Divorce Recovery, the Road Back to Happiness

WHOLE-thekiss

By building back yourself, while you are alone, you can re-find your own priorities and joys in life.

___

Today, over four years after my divorce was finalized, I was still struck by a pang of sadness as I was dropping my kids’ bags off at my ex-wife’s house, the old house, our old house. I wondered, “How long will it take before I feel nothing?” But I immediately knew the answer. I will always feel a loss when dropping my kids’ bags off at my old house. The rest, what I do with those feelings, is up to me.

If you jump right back into the dating pool and hookup with a new lover, you might be short-changing your grieving and healing process.

I can sink, as I did in the early years, or I can rise and draw power from the emotional impact and love the sadness indicates. Even sadness is energy. If we let it sink us we can spend days or weeks in a fog of sadness and self pity. And I have to admit, I spent some time there after my divorce. And it’s never quite so difficult as the time you are dropping the kids back at school when you know you won’t see them again for nearly a week. What? That was not in any of my marriage advice books, I didn’t know this was a potential outcome.

Getting over the loss of time with my kids is by far the biggest challenge I have faced in divorce. I thrive on their presence. I cajole, support, nurture, and laugh with them a lot. When they are gone, I don’t have near as much opportunity for that connective joy. And of course, with teenaged children, the off-time communication is less critical to them. It’s still massively important to me, but they are more preoccupied with school, sports, and going steady.

For me, the time I have spent not getting back into a relationship has been invaluable. I believe my inner resolve has been strenghtened. I know my innate joy and passion has returned, and it’s not dependant on anyone else. In fact, that’s the rub. You can’t count on any one else to do the work after your divorce. Sympathy from friends and counselors is fine and helpful, but the “work” is completely up to you.

If you jump right back into the dating pool and hookup with a new lover, you might be short-changing your grieving and healing process. You might be trading in the old failed relationship for a “next” relationship that is built on the same unstable foundation. I think that’s a mistake.

I tried dating again, I jumped on match.com, eHarmony, and OKCupid almost immediately after I was asked to leave the house. It was a miserable experience. There were a few cute women, but nobody that caught my attention expressed any interest in me. Bummer. But I know now, that I was in no condition to date. For me it was about sex, touch, cuddling, nurturing. And those things, in the real world, come with a lot more entanglement than we might imagine.

I want a woman who shows up and knows what she wants. I’ve been very clear when the chemistry and mental acuity was a match for me.

I know now, having had two serious relationships since divorce, that there is no such thing as casual sex FOR ME. Friends with benefits sounds like an interesting concept, but in practice, I always get attached. From that “cheating site” the advice for a hookup-type relationship is to make it 100% about the sex. Don’t date. Don’t go out. Just do it and move on with the rest of your life. Um, that’s not what I’m after.

So here at four years and counting, I’ve had two relationships that lasted 3 months and 4 months respectively. And while neither ended up being the “next” relationship for me, they both taught me valuable lessons.

FIRST RELATIONSHIP

I had read The 5 Languages of Love during my divorce, but it was a bit too late to figure out how to bridge the gap between us with some philosophy. But the information was vital to my recovery. What I learned in my first serious dating experience was how it felt to be in relationship with someone who spoke the same love language: touch. She changed my life. I won’t ever settle for anything less than “touch.” Because it is possible to be in relationship with someone who has a different primary love language, but it’s always a compromise. My first relationship showed me what was possible and it blew the mystery off what had gone wrong in my marriage.

SECOND RELATIONSHIP

This woman taught me that no matter how much you want it, when the other person is not ready, or is unwilling to build up a committed relationship, it’s not going to work. There was no amount of flexibility or compromise I could provide to keep my second girlfriend from breaking up with me every other week. She would tell me she didn’t want a relationship. She would tell me we weren’t going to work out. And I would dive right back in at the first opportunity. Perhaps the physical attraction was just that high. Perhaps it was that she shared my love of tennis, and the cute tennis skirt. Either way, I learned, that no matter how fantastic I think the person is, and not matter how hard I’m willing to try, push, encourage, nurture, if they are not ready, they are not going to be convinced that they are ready. It’s not our job to get the other person ready. Either they are or they are not.

MOVING FORWARD

I want a woman who shows up and knows what she wants. I’ve been very clear when the chemistry and mental acuity was a match for me. I am as transparent as I can be. And so far, I’ve had one near miss. This time it appeared we had a YES on both sides. And then after three fascinating days, she went dark. Again, I could’ve pushed, I could’ve worked my romance. Instead I listened and responded. I asked about what was going on. She said it was a timing thing, and her life had just turned topsy turvy.

I had to accept her word for it and move on. As excited as we both seemed on day two, when the connection goes from 50-50 to 90-10, it’s time to back off and reconsider. It’s in those moments of reconsideration that we can have the greatest clarity. When we stop and ask again, “What do I want?” we have an opportunity to refine and redirect our energy towards what is most important in our lives.

For me, most of the time and energy has been redirected towards being a great dad, and being present for my kids above all else. I’d like a relationship, and I’m still casually working the online dating options, but I’m not in a hurry. The first YES woman, the most recent near miss, had me just a tad nervous. I think that’s healthy. What will happen when SHE shows up?

I don’t know, but I’m excited to find out. Patient to make sure it’s a solid relationship, but I’m ready. I’m asking the universe to “bring it on.”

So, in answer to the original question, “How long will it hurt?” I think the answer is always. But the next part is the critical work for your divorce recovery. What are you going to do with that hurt? Get over it by sublimating your feelings with another relationship? Or are you prepared to dig in a bit, pause, and explore what went wrong? And then by building back yourself, while you are alone, you can re-find your own priorities and joys in life. When you’ve got someone who’s ready to join you in those, and who speaks the same love language, well … I don’t know. Then perhaps the hurt will be nothing more than an old scar that I touch from time to time to remember.

Always Love,

John McElhenney
@wholeparent

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