Successfully Single

1341 Relax and Succeed - Are we ready for the relationship we seek

It’s a weird thing that many of us have had happen. You’re out there, dating, being a single available person. But it just feels like we keep meeting the same people. And we can’t find one that captures our attention. We’re lonely, but then….

Then we meet someone, and we get swept away and suddenly there are suitors everywhere. While many of us have had this happen, it doesn’t really mean there were a bunch of available people hiding somewhere. Those people show up then precisely because they are subconsciously unavailable.

It’s like there’s a pheromone or something that everyone can smell. We give off some odour of being happily attached, and it acts as an attractant to any member of the opposite sex that is afraid of relationships and is therefore only attracted to unavailable people.

That effect can cause us to wonder if we’re really chosen the right person now that we suddenly see so much apparent choice before us. To avoid that confusion, we must learn to be successfully single. That way the truly available people can find us before the unavailable people do.

Truly available people look scary to those who grew up in homes with terrible or extremely disappointing marriages. Those people often don’t realize they are avoiding commitment, but because they are, all truly available people are to be avoided.

But that is not the case for the people who hold more positive ideas about relationships.

While it may be true that the pots with the biggest bends need to find people with equally bent lids; likewise, people who are lucky enough to have had life experiences that leave them fairly well rounded are also relatively round pots that best suit relatively round lids.


1341 Relax and Succeed - A relationship is not a route to mental health

Unfortunately, relationship desperation –a very real and legitimate impulse for the profoundly lonely, or by women facing the end of their child-bearing years– can cause a fairly well rounded person to come across as a bit hell-bent regarding their own needs. The resulting intense desire to couple-up can lead us to make decisions we later realize were unwise.

As an example, there are people fixers who seek out struggling people to help. But most reasonably healthy people are seeking a partner in life, not a match for their codependency.

We all know that even as healthy people we all offer plenty of challenges to a partner. This means that even solid, well-rounded people are generally attracted to equally solid, well-rounded people. This is the value of being successfully single.

If we want to avoid the unavailable, and we don’t want to attract the desperate, our answer is to see our singledom as something to really invest ourselves in. If we don’t need anyone, then anyone we do accept is there because they add more to our lives than they cost, and we do likewise for them. But to do that we have to be healthy to start with –even while we are single.

Living a single life that leaves us feeling fulfilled or proud or sanguine offers many benefits. It shows potential partners that we don’t need them, we want them. We aren’t damaged and leaning on them in some unhealthy way.

We are human and fallible but we are also strong and capable enough to avoid codependency. And that’s attractive, because healthy people favour of the sort of love that can only be shared by two strong, reasonably healthy individuals who are choosing to unite.

A relationship is not a route to mental health or life stability. But, mental health and life stability are routes to a healthy relationship. For this reason we are all best to learn to see our lives in healthy ways before we’re attached.

We must learn to quell the voices within us that lead us to the desperate feelings that lead to poor choices. Life is too short, we cannot let our egos trip up the joys awaiting our spirits.

peace. s

Romantic Chemistry

Winner: 2015’s Blog of the Year!

If it’s working well you simply shift from a me to an us. That’s what relationships are. The couple is an entity unto itself. The mixture has a personality of its own and it routinely exhibits itself throughout the day, whether the couple is together or alone. But most of us get the management of this fact wrong. At least it’s for good reason.

732 Relax and Succeed - Until we have seen someone's darknessWe start as a baby and there isn’t even a world. Then we can see the world but there is no us—that’s why babies don’t recognize themselves in mirrors. Then our toddler selves develop an identity, and as children we learn about property and ownership and then people start marketing to us.

Due to those influences, for a period of time we become increasingly self-centered human beings from roughly 13 to 21, and then—if we’re paying attention—we grow increasingly less self-centered in about seven to eight year increments, which is why a lot of people find the quality of their relationships improves as they age.

Our first loves are when we are most self-centered. So we’ll believe all the fairy tales and we’ll think our partner is the other half of our pre-written story. In the wealthy world that’s where she’s loved and seen as beautiful; and he’s envied and seen as strong.

But the problems come when you try to turn that fantasy into a life because as soon as the other person doesn’t fulfill their part of our personal story, we tend to feel they’ve us and we break up. That’s why most relationships are so short when we’re younger. Our standards are ones no human could really meet.

This is due to how we choose to think about each other. When we first meet almost all we do is focus on all of the traits that are most important to us, plus however well the new person fills the particular holes left in us by our previous relationships. Any time we think that positively about anything we’ll be flooding our brains with the chemistry for awareness and gratitude and love—and it feels wonderful. But then…

732 Relax and Succeed - Maturity is when someone hurts youLife is busy, right? So life happens. And we get distracted. It used to be work was hidden at separate places and only fun was had together. Now we’re scheduling time together and there’s laundry and bill-paying and errands rather than all the fun. It’s domestic. It’s routine. It’s real.

And it’s disappointing compared to where we were focusing our thoughts previously. That fact means we’ll tend to start blaming the other person for that shift in our thinking, and therefore in our chemistry.

By now we’re focusing more on disappointing things and that’s what we’re talking to friends about, which only serves to lengthen the suffering unnecessarily. Eventually others and we come to notice, and focus on, so many differences that we’ll wonder why we’re even with someone and we’ll leave.

Meanwhile, the original person with all of their original qualities is still there, just waiting to be noticed. The only thing that makes it survivable is that both parties are variably doing it to each other.

When we’re younger we’re more absolute. If this person gets even one thing wrong then they are not our “soul mate” and so they must go. Then after a few painful losses we’re a bit more mature. We are more aware that it’s common for potential issues to arise, so the drug isn’t such a dizzying high at the start and we stick it through at least one of those tough patches.

That’s actually a big achievement for a person –to learn to accept mistakes. At least some mistakes. But after that rescue, we tend to have another good run for a while. But eventually we break up on the second or third trouble spot. Which is fine because again for people that are paying attention: we learn from each of these.

732 Relax and Succeed - The Velveteen RabbitLater we’re older and wiser. Plus as we age we know we both have more invested in our lives with each other so there’s more to lose and less time to make up the difference. Sometimes that makes us stay when we shouldn’t. Other times it makes us try a bit harder to make things work and often times that’s why it does.

I know a couple that get along stunningly well for about seven weeks and then they’re absolutely certain they need to divorce immediately. That lasts less than a week and they’re back in touch with why they fell in love. In fact, they’re particularly good at noticing each other’s qualities during those other seven weeks.

The wisdom that keeps their relationship healthy is half-gratitude and half-patience. Because now when the blow-up happens, deep down they both know that it’s a pattern and that it will go away when they change their thinking. They just have to wait. That’s a mature relationship. That’s people who know how to forgive. That’s what love looks like in the trenches.

It’s not easy being loved. Most of us tell stories to ourselves about ourselves that lead us to believe that we can’t possibly deserve to be truly loved and so we fight against it in strange ways. It’s like a gift we feel is too generous for little old us. But that’s only because we focus too much on our mistakes and not enough on our qualities.

Again, if we’re paying attention and are being introspective about our lives, we’ll learn over time that everyone is fallible and we too are as deserving of love as anyone else. By genuinely feeling that way we become vulnerable and thereby open ourselves up to the greatest sensations of love we will have ever known.

732 Relax and Succeed - Sometimes you forgive peopleWe should enter every relationship knowing that our brain chemistry will naturally shift after seven or eight straight months of thinking wonderful things about the other person. When it changes we shouldn’t panic.

We shouldn’t think something’s wrong with our relationship when all that’s happened is that there’s been a natural and necessary shift to our thinking to suit the relationship’s more mature stage. Nothing can stay new and exciting when we see it every day.

We must accept that trouble will happen but it will always only be as meaningful as we make it. We must remind ourselves that when we’re struggling we’ll want to control our partner’s behaviour—we’ll want to define their role in our life.

As soon as we can sense ourselves doing that we can consciously shift toward thinking about our partner’s many qualities instead. It’s not like they’re not there. We’re not stupid. We were attracted to them for a good reason.

Let’s all be more patient. More understanding. And be grateful. Let’s do those things as much as possible, because that’s as good a recipe for a great relationship as any. We just shouldn’t be surprised if it takes a lifetime to learn how to forgive ourselves for when we fail at that.

Now let’s go create a great day by appreciating the qualities of our partners and of everyone else around us. And don’t forget to include ourselves in there too.

Much love, s

Other Perspectives #68

686 OP-R Relax and Succeed - When you start seeing your worthIt’s a holiday here in Canada so I hope you have the day off and can spend it with your loved ones. In today’s Other Perspectives I discuss that very thing—how to spend healthy time with your loved ones. Because a lot of people have a lot of misconceptions about what a good, healthy, long-lasting relationship looks like.


peace. s