Dear Lover, Please Love Me–Not Just the Good Stuff

The majority of us have experienced falling in love.

We meet. The stars align. DJ Universe plays all the correct tunes on the radio. The chemistry is sweetly perfect and we opt to pursue the dopamine rush, believing that this time it’ll be different.

Only this time, it is 1 person you must rely on in order to grab you, not several.

It is a heady rush.

We, knowingly or not, decide to trust our understanding of the new person…after all, they smell so damn good, say all of the best things, and feel so perfect!


Loving somebody for who they’re requires a good deal of effort, trust, and vulnerability. It’s a depth of emotional intimacy which demands a conscious option.

A lot of us unconsciously decide to fall in love with that we believe they can become. It is so much easier since our attention is always on the ideal future just around the corner and therefore we could willingly ignore what’s right in front of us, in other words, the true and complete character of our recently chosen partner.

We see just what we would like to see and that vision is intently focused on the tomorrows that might never come. They sparkle with such allure!

This is called falling in love with somebody’s potential. We employ creative and stubborn deafness and blindness in our attempt to prevent reality because reality can be difficult. We’ve got a dreamy notion of what we think we need and place about cramming our new love interest within that unyielding framework.

Our understanding is seldom 100 percent aligned with reality. We hold onto all of the terrific things we have learned about them and combine with all of the things we see them capable of becoming.

The facets of the being that make them faulty –and therefore human–are adroitly ignored.

When we meet Mr. or Ms. Right and they inform us that they occasionally become inaccessible, or that the longest relationship they have had has just been three months, we suddenly develop selective hearing.

We believe that we’ll be the one to change them. We’re their one, true love! We’re the medication they want to cure all their ills. If they would only listen to us they would then attain the perfection that’s always just around the corner. Together with our firehose of caring educated on them we can cleanse them of all their defects. They will finally have the support they need to satisfy their potential. All they need to do is think, right?

Maya Angelou said, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” It took some time to understand the meaning of the axiom. For example: if someone tells you they’re perpetually late through action or words you do not necessarily have to kick them to the curb. It’s knowledge from which now you can make an informed option. You may decide you could cope with their lateness habit and consent to make certain compromises, or you might call it a day and continue your search for Mr. or Ms.”Always On Time.” There’s absolutely no blame, shame, or judgment on each side once the truth is on the table. It’s simply information.

Let’s consider the difference between understanding, which by its own definition is:”a means of seeing, comprehension, or interpreting something; a mental impression,” and outlook, which by its own definition is:”accurate comprehension of the relative value of things; a sense of proportion.” Knowing the difference between those two will benefit you a lot of freedom.

Still with me?

As we venture into using perspective rather than perception we can examine our new love in a bigger, more expansive way. The picture is now more in percentage and in equilibrium.

We get to find out who they are right now, at today, as opposed to who they are (which holds zero warranties by the way). We’ll see things that are unsettling, but {} holding the flashlight on them. Light up anything and it becomes less frightening because at least we know what we’re facing.

How would you feel that your lover only loves the nice, fun, sexy, pleasant side of you? It sucks when your loved one holds one to a standard so large as to be eternally out of reach. It is a recipe for failure.

We may safely assume that a lot people struggle with enjoying our own dark, shadow side–our defects. Imagine how much harder that would be when the person who loves us most can not love that side?

If we stay in restricted perception and love someone for just what we choose to see (the simple, fun, sexy, sexy stuff), then we deprive them of an opportunity to perform their sh*t out while at a secure relationship with us. We stand in silent judgment of those.

It’s only by changing to perspective and taking a massive step back to expand our perspective that we can truly find the one we adore in all their humanity–perfections and imperfections vulnerably exposed.

If we choose to open our eyes it will free us to make sound decisions based in the present. We can choose to take their problems as a part of the being; they are, in part, a problem we want to get.

There’s power in knowledge. We get to define our {} boundaries, our requirements, our negotiables and non-negotiables–all based on truth gained from a wider perspective.

We can place ourselves and our nearest and dearest free using a simple shift in thinking.

It starts with choosing to imbue your optimism with raw reality as opposed to becoming a victim of it by staying blind. After all, we all–in our center –want to be loved exactly as we are.


Previously Released on Elephant Journal


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Dear Lover, I Promise You This

You and I, and probably much of the rest of the world, spend an inordinate amount of time avoiding emotional intimacy as it scares the sh*t from us.

We tease each other, we evaporate into our computers and mobile phone displays, we escalate conflictswe retreat into silence, we numb ourselves with T.V., and an infinite variety of different ways to prevent the pain we’ve experienced in previous relationships going all of the way back to childhood.

Loving deeply, completely, and intimately requires us to draw upon our guts in huge ways when confronted with the possible suffering that will ultimately happen when relationships end, whether that be in 1 month, 1 year, five decades, or at the end of our lives.

To experience the deepest love and closeness needs a jump into the unknown. Who, but those that are fearlessly terrified, would dare this act?

You and I are brave creatures still deciding daily how vulnerable we are prepared to be with those we would like to know intimately and people we would like to know us. Just how much are we willing to risk for this thing called love?

Our sometimes indecisive steps will need to be pointed out–not to judge ourselves for moving too hesitantly or needing a new procedure, but rather to admit just how much we hazard for this amount of emotional connection and how much we need to bare our true being to another in the hopes of unconditional approval. It’s a risk worth commendation.

So often we choose to examine what mistakes we’ve made, the failures which mess our hearts, the chances supposedly lost. Let’s, rather, give ourselves the gift of gratitude for all that we’ve done well. We deserve kudos for how utterly amazing we are, for our willingness to lean in the discomfort of psychological nudity.

Let us celebrate how powerful we are–so powerful that we have the ability to surpass our mutual histories and make fresh, ever-changing paradigms together. People who we provide such intimate access will reflect our own perception of ourselves. The purity of this reflection is commensurate with the breadth and depth of trust we present them.

To have chosen a spouse we hope with which to talk about the frightening parts of life–and the fun and lightness–is worthy of applause. I need to admit us for working through a continuous stream of conflicts and choices–their absolute size can, at times, seem overwhelming.

We’re extraordinary in our desires to experience relationships more intimately and vulnerably than any we’ve yet had. Each successive one was a building block upon whose experiences notify (and partly specify ) the upward path of another one.

It’s a very small miracle that happens daily in our decisions to continue to try to find something so ephemeral, so fragile, in the face of all we’ve previously endured. It appears a miracle that we have the guts to set foot on this course more than once given the consequences of failure.

I won’t promise that we’ll remain aware and conscious of what comes out of our mouths.

I won’t guarantee that one day we shall each be free of those internal demons that haunt the hallways of our thoughts.

I won’t promise forever love since there’s only now, right now.

I can, however, assure you that each small step toward vulnerability will bring us both closer to that emotional intimacy we search. I promise to be as clear as I can in my decision to love you daily. I promise to back up my intentions with activities as best as I can. I promise to check the limits of my capacity for emotional investment.

I promise to call you in your bullsh*t, to constantly ask you to appear as your very best self, and to kick you once you encounter self-pity or unconsciousness.

I promise to be compassionate and embrace you once you’re defeated and can’t do this for yourself. I promise to genuinely see your shadow side and understand {} simply a part of who you are. I promise to have compassion for you when you’re hating yourself, to be generous when you mess up big time, and to trust you to recognize your own mistakes when you surface from the depths of hell.

I promise to take on 80 percent when you’re only effective at 20 percent, and to wade with you through your trials and tribulations.

I promise to laugh with you, pick you daily, to risk my heart for you as far as I dare.

I promise to return once I run away in panic, and wait for you once you run away. I promise to let you go if you want something besides what I will give and to allow you to know the exact same for me. I guarantee that nothing will remain the same.

Mostly, though, I promise to be true to who I am so you always know who it is that you’re so bravely picking to be vulnerable to each and every day.

Previously Released on Elephant Journal


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Emotional Intelligence Principles for Long-Term Relationship Success

Before we dig into this profound issue, let’s dive in with a definition of emotional intelligence.

From Psychology Today

Emotional intelligence denotes the ability to recognize and manage one’s own emotions, in addition to the emotions of others. Emotional intelligence is usually said to include three or more skills: psychological awareness, or the ability to recognize and identify one’s own emotions; the capability to exploit those feelings and employ them to tasks such as thinking and problem solving; and the ability to handle emotions, which comprises both regulating one’s own emotions when necessary and assisting others to do the same.

Emotional Intelligence at a Long-term Relationship

There are 3 elements to emotional intelligence.

Are you able to sense your emotions and own them as your own? Yes we get triggered by other people (being cut off in traffic, as an instance ) but tagging and feeling those feelings can take somewhat more effort. When I am cut off in traffic I feel my anger instantly, but I identify feeling and tag it anger. It’s very important to tag emotions as they’re happening, so that you can respond appropriately. In the event the rush hour ass who cut me off, my reasoned response isn’t to respond. I may yell at the driver from inside my car, letting out a number of my own anger. (But another driver can’t hear me. I’m doing them no harm.)

My response to anger (my own or that of my spouse ) is my pick. I can use that anger at the moment to pay closer attention to the way I am driving. I can take that anger with me as I drive to the tennis court for a challenge game and I will release the anger to the tennis balls and topspin crosscourt forehands.

The most vital skill of emotional intelligence is regulating your emotions (self-soothing) and helping others do the exact same when required. If I let my anger in visitors to run my life or ruin my day, I would be letting the feelings to handle me. I decide to shout in my car with the windows up, thus setting my anger and allowing my body express its anger. Concerning self-soothing, I discovered that rush hour traffic had lots of chances to piss me off when I drove without awareness, and I learned that crying in my car was a simple release of this tension in my body when I am triggered by somebody else’s inconsiderate or bad driving skills.

In a long-term relationship, you’re likely to be given lots of chances to be triggered by your spouse. If let yourself be vulnerable you’re allowing your open-hearted existence to be getting at a high level. When this loving action isn’t received you may feel anger, sadness, or indifference. In the case of connections, it is the indifference which we must watch out for. When we recognize ourselves saying”fuck that” I am moving in the opposite direction, we could learn how to recognize that as indifference. Your opinion and activities have minimum effect on me, I will ignore your request, your feelings, and I am going to do anything I want. Indifference is the reverse of emotional intelligence.

As I move into a loving relationship I must fight against my”fuck it” reaction when things do not go my way. I must trust that my spouse can and will get my pain, frustration, or sadness with all the care we have started to establish as an emotionally intelligent couple. When our interactions begin trending towards indifference it is time for an intervention of some type or an end to the relationship. We must hold each other with emotional intelligence, both from the regulation and management of our own psychological bodies, but in attention and care to the WE of the connection we’re trying to build.

When Emotional Intelligence Fails

If we are less connected to our bodies bad things often start to happen.

  • We blame others for our anger
  • We consume or use alcohol to numb our ragged feelings
  • We isolate ourselves, fearing that our hectic psychological state will harm or frighten our spouses and friends
  • We stop trying to process our emotions and get over them and only let them destroy our day, our week, and poison our interactions with others
  • We allow our bodies to move into poisonous shame or burn {} the suppression of our feelings

It’s apparent, being more emotionally intelligent has benefits for both spouses. And it’s critical for any relationship to survive the long haul, which will definitely present opportunities for expansion. Relationships with other people is the only way to construct emotional intelligence. You are able to practice and hone your skills in any connection.

The cashier at the grocery store may seem distracted or mad in a way that begins to make you respond. Identify the emotion (I am getting pissed); two.) Harness the energy (I will say hello and break the isolation); 3) I will control my own emotional response and see the interaction for what it’s (she is mad/angry/indifferent) and I will maintain my calm and joy, just enabling her to be where she is.

In relationships, you can allow your spouse to be precisely where they are, but so as to grow and get closer as a couple, you have got to become vulnerable. You’ve got to recognize the emotion at the moment, exploit the energy coming up in yourself, take responsibility for just YOUR emotions and activities. Then you must let your spouse have and possess their own emotions. And if you will need to request a modification in the events which triggered you, or if these causes become more of a routine in the relationship, then you’ve got to look at ending or changing the relationship.

Failure to Thrive in a Relationship

I read and processed Brené Browns BRAVING for this partner, but things {} progress. We were unable to make progress in our psychological processing. Here is how that looked.

Something would trigger my buddy and their emotional body started to take over. Frequently they would glaze over and stop responding to some queries, apologies, or opinions.

I would attempt to hold the higher ground and start what I called”going meta on the issue” and attempted to regulate my own emotional reaction, but I tried to hold the space for her to just”be where she is.” In this action, I had been hoping to care for my emotions or fear and frustration in getting upset my spouse. I had been allowing her the space to process her psychological experience however she wanted to. I stayed near her and assured her that I had been present, not departing, and dedicated to working through any matter with her.

Progress and Commitment to Change

The problem was, she wasn’t prepared or able to process what was bothering her. Yes, she knew I’d said no to an offer for closeness, but she did not know why my”um, not right now” was so upsetting to her. And at the moment she was not able to get her part of the”trigger” and start processing the psychological moment with me. Rather, she froze and hauled from the present time. Frequently she would be suspended for the whole night. This gave me lots of chances to feel triggered myself. And mostly, I was able to just stay present for her, promising her I was nearby and still loving her.

It’s absolutely normal for romantic couples to activate one another. It is essential, really, for growth to occur, for each partner to allow themselves to feel their feelings as deeply as you can. When a dark one comes up, it’s vital for a person to process this pain with somebody else. In the best-case situation, this processing can occur with your spouse. Another healthy approach to process these upsets would be to operate through the causes with a therapist who will help you determine the deeper emotional wounds which are causing the shutdown or isolation.

But, once the parter proceeds to shut down or react in unhealthy and indifferent methods and won’t have their side of the issue, it may be time for some serious reconsideration. In the event of my freezing girlfriend, I made a variety of spoken and clear petition for her to practice {} mental intelligence with me when these triggers would appear. After the 5th or 6th psychological departure, even after we had had the”I’ll do better” discussion, it was clear that no progress and no commitment to change was being provided. My spouse was miserable with her triggered behaviour, but she was reluctant to check at what was causing her to exit the connection emotionally.

Seconds after we broke up, I asked her,”Do not you think it may be helpful to work through those triggers and psychological shutdowns with somebody who loves you and who’s prepared to work through them with you?”

“Not really,” she said.

At least she was honest.


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