(1 of 6] 6 Things I Learned About Dating and Love in 2017
I feel dumb all the time.
Because I keep learning such HUGE new ideas and perspectives all the time.
I sometimes wonder how I got this far in life, without knowing them before!
2017 was a watershed year in many ways.
In terms of the dance of the masculine and feminine, the big explosion was #metoo…
Both for the revelation of the breadth of abuse of power and sexual abuse…
And the depth of pain and shut-down that so many women (and some men, yes) suffer as a result…
We are not done with #metoo, oh no….
And my fear is that…
(1) it will go too far into broad-brush painting of men with shame on the one hand and
(2) a reactionary defensive posture by men on the other.
Neither helps understanding.
Neither helps healing.
Neither helps love.
MEN – we men must learn to look at this fire in the face – and come to terms with what is real – and then rise into our deepest nobility in protecting and honoring the feminine.
WOMEN – women must speak out both fearlessly but also with precision.
So that men can and will hear what women have to say.
More on that later.
2018 promises to be a fascinating year.
Meanwhile, let me just give you some of my thoughts on what I learned this year that might matter to you…
Lesson #1: Relationship is PLAY and it is EFFORT but it is not “work.”
In our Smart Daters Academy, we studied Dr. Stan Tatkin’s excellent books Wired for Love and Wired for Dating.
They demonstrate the neuropsychology of attachment – how we trust or don’t trust love, the world and our partners – and how it all goes back to our first 2 years of life and imprinting.
He says something strong:
When we get married, we should say, more or less…
“Do you take this pain the ass to be your wife/husband – with all his/her wounds, ex-relationships, fears, triggers, bad parenting in childhood and anxieties?”
No more starry-eyed beginnings of love relationships any more.
No expectations of perfection.
No disappointment when your partner turns out to be human…
I mean flawed…
I mean human.
This isn’t the 1950’s.
The information is out there.
People have a voice that didn’t used to have a voice.
Things no longer happen behind closed doors.
The internet has given us windows into all those dark rooms of the soul.
But that’s not all bad news…
True intimacy BEGINS at those trigger points when one of you gets angry, frustrated, disappointed, ashamed, crestfallen, reminded of old patterns that hurt.
It doesn’t END there.
Is it easy to navigate these moments of wounding and anger?
Is it work?
Is it effort?
I like to frame this effort as play rather than work.
Specifically, SKILLED PLAY!
As in – “okay, here we stand. Two flawed individuals with our own trigger points, our own defensiveness, our own secret shames of not being enough…. LETS PLAY! Bring it on and let’s use the fire of this moment to heal old wounds.”
With love, people aren’t meant to be convenient.
People are meant to be whole beings – complex, delightful, with deep wells of both pain and resourcefulness.
Play for the win/win.
And love will grow.
Tomorrow, I will talk about a second important thing I learned, this one on how we CHOOSE lovers and partners in life.
Counting Down to the New Year,