What Being In the Moment Means to Me


I have been asked what living in the moment means to me, and what my internal processes are as to how I reside in the moment. I have been asked how I deal with my own demons.

I like my demons. It is interesting, because to me living in the moment is the only thing to do.

The one thing that actually means anything is right now. Right now as I am writing this blog, I am staring at the hills and the shore, and I am thirsty. That’s all I am feeling at the moment.

Maybe I will have other ideas that come in afterwards. When my girlfriend comes home, I will think about what I wish to do.

You want to dial in that, and realize you won’t really understand what you would like to do until you are in the moment. You could attempt to plan things out, thinking maybe you need to catch dinner or have good sex, but you do not know what is going to happen in the future.

If the telephone rings and I answer that, then a new moment is made, and when I choose to pick up the phone then I shall give that person 100% of my focus in that moment.

It’s crucial for you to see that the moment is all we have. When you are out on a date, the one thing you have right there at that moment is that you and that person looking into each other’s eyes and speaking.

If you believe about how the date will end or how you want the date to finish, then you are not present in the moment. If you are considering what happened with your last connection, then you are not present in the moment.

One more thing about living in the moment and processing it, is if something bothers you then you will need to spit it out at this moment. You can not sit there arguing with your girlfriend or boyfriend and having it not feel right because you’ve got something to say.

If you feel you will need to take the time to think something through and process it, then that is fine. If you feel something at the moment that you wish to share, however, do not bury it.

Living in the moment to me means having the ability to say what is on your mind 24/7, being able to remain connected to where you are at, and being receptive to everything that is presented to you at the moment. It means being able to do everything without letting your mind wander and think.

How many of you have difficulty staying current in the moment?

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Now I played racquetball with a friend. We had a excellent time. She’s plenty of fun, plus she is cute as a button. When it would have bothered me a bit, how pretty she is. I enjoy it as a part of who she is.Our friendship feels as simple and enjoyable as the ones I had when I was 11. Before puberty. This is something I have hated, how women enable men to destroy the simplicity and joy of our friendships.I recall in high school, all of a sudden our discussions began to revolve around boys. I remember school, and with women friends cancel on me as a guy asked them out. The guys seemed to anticipate that bothered me also.And then I moved to South Carolina.Among my acquaintances gave her buddy bad advice on clothing. Another women steered her buddy wrong about a man who would like her. I saw variations of the repeated over and over. Women sabotaging other ladies. Why? They could better compete for guys.Being a student of history, at the South, some of the is an aftermath of the Civil War. So many qualified young men died the contest for a husband became fierce. Southern girls had to compete for men and the culture was molded by that background.However when I think of the — competing for a man — it makes me want to provide a rebel shout .First of all, is a man an item that we must fight, like dogs over a bone? What does this say about us, and how we see men?I do not want men to objectify me. So then, is it fair for me to objectify them? Because of feminism, I {} to look at a man for a resource. I no longer have to get married. I could be with a guy because I love him and enjoy his company, not because I want his money.If I want cash, I will earn it. If I want love… it comes in so many sizes and shapes. There are several ways to love and be loved out the pair bond.If I want sex — there are choices, even for those people who do not want to have sex with a partner outside a committed relationship. We do not need to place men up on a base and ruin our relationships with our women friends. We can behave honorably in our friendships.When I stopped seeing men as a limited resource that I had and started seeing them as human beings I could choose to socialize with — my life changed.I no longer worry when my man has a girl friend. She is not my competition. I really don’t care if she is objectively more attractive than I am. If someone cheats on me then I do not want them anyway. I’d rather discover the relationship wasn’t supposed to be and split up waste my time trying to hold on to something because”I want a man”.My women friends aren’t inferior alternatives to a guy. They are unique people I love and love for themselves. I choose to spend time together because I would like to and I love them, not because I do not have a date.I really don’t compete with girls, besides on the racquetball court or when playing board games. It comes from a place of love, not insecurity. I have deep, meaningful relationships with people and I have recaptured some of the joy I had when I was 10, when friendships were free and effortless.The thing is, guys can screw up female friendships. However, it’s our choice to let them.This post was formerly published on Moderate and is republished here with permission from the author. — ◊♦◊If you think in the work we’re doing here at The Great Men Project and wish to join our calls on a regular basis, please join us as a Premium Member, now. All Premium Members get to See The Great Men Project with NO ADS. A whole list of advantages is here. –Photo credit: Unsplash

The article Men Screw Up Female Friendships appeared on The Great Men Project.

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Doctor NerdLove, I was hoping you could possibly help me with an extremely tough situation I am in.

The woman I have been interested in for the last month, who’s also quite a great friend of mine, has a boyfriend who’s by no means a good human being. The other day I found that he’s cheated on her several times and I have decided that as a buddy it’s my obligation to tell her. I’m not positive if that is the right choice, however, and I’m uncertain how to tell her all. If you could please weigh in on this, I would seriously appreciate it! Thank you so much.

Waiting In The Wings

Well, you asked, but I do not think you are going to like my answer.

Here is what you can do, WitW: you back the hell away.

To begin with, let’s be fair here, only you, me and the Web: you are not doing this from the goodness of your own heart. You did not decide that it is your duty to tell her because you’re that great of a friend, you are trusting that when you tell her she is going to ditch her cheating scumbag of a boyfriend and fly to your arms as the person who helped her see the truth. Which, to be perfectly honest, is a fairly shitty reason to intentionally insert yourself into the middle of someone else’s relationship drama.

However, for the sake of argument, let’s match this out somewhat. Let us assume that I give you my blessing to telling your crush about her allegedly philandering beau or you chose to go and inform her regardless. How, exactly, do you believe she is going to react? Here is a hint: she is going to take it seriously. The only question is that she is going to be pissed at.

And the smart money says it is likely to be you. You might have noticed that people do not appreciate bad news. In reality, we tend to get irrationally angry at the man who brings us the bad news, whether it’s their fault or not; there is a reason why”don’t shoot the messenger” is a frequent term, after all. So you are already starting off with your prospective hunny-bunny ticked off that you are telling her that something is rotten in Denmark.

But then there is another step: why should she believe you? Have you got proof? Have you got unquestionable proof which you could actually show her? Proof that could not possibly be clarified? Because in case you do not, then it is likely to be your word against her boyfriend. And sure, her boyfriend could be an assbag, but he is still her boyfriend. This gives him more credibility in her eyes than you’ve… particularly if either of them know that you have got a crush on her. And believe me, if she does not, he almost certainly does. This will be leveraged against you — you are going to look like you are lying up so as to split them up.

Now let us add another wrinkle to the mix: what makes you so sure she does not know already? You do not say you understand when it occurred, if she discovered before, if he confessed or she confronted him {} they have worked or not. None of which will work out for you how you are hoping.

Let us throw a third wrinkle: how would you find out? Can you prowl through his telephone or emails? Because she is going to need to know… and she is going to need to know why, exactly you’re prying into her company. All this will make a difference, since it is likely to be demonstrating your schedule rather strongly. And if you two are not honest-to-god BFFs — that, from the sounds of things, you are not — it is going to seem like you went digging for dirt, even if we grant that your motives were as pure as the driven snow. And that will bring you right back to that credibility issue.

But hey: let us say that you have the ability to thread all those needles and she dumps her good, scummy boyfriend. Assuming she does not lash out at you for inducing her break-up, she is still not likely to swoon into your arms. She is going to be pissed off at men generally and in no mood for the attempting to be the next in line… in reality, she is probably going to resent it. Women do not appreciate it when men suddenly assume that the window of opportunity is open since they have literally just broken up with someone. She is going to need a while to recuperate and your hanging around so as to help her through this ordeal will begin verging rather seriously into Nice Guy territory.

In short: you have got yourself your fundamental no-win scenario. And you’re not likely to Kobayashi Maru your way through this.

This is not your business. Your becoming involved is just going to add another layer of drama to someone else’s relationship. And even under the best of circumstances, it is going to end badly for you.

Leave it alone.

Hey Doc,

Got a question for you. I am a woman who recently took the initiative and asked out a guy I had some chemistry with. We’re in exactly the exact same fandom world, and finding nice and ordinary people among us is quite infrequent.

I started to reach out to him email a couple of months ago. We had a couple of conversations, where he threw in some remarks seemed like bad attempts at flirting. Not everybody has game, right? But after initiating a few discussions, I decided to let him reach out to me, and he did not. OK. Fair enough. Moving on….

Then I reconnected him in a recent event, and he began reaching out to me with gusto — mails, pictures (clothed!) , etc.. He confessed to basically stalking me on social networking, though he does not actually have a social networking presence himself.

So after a couple of weeks of email flirting, I chose to be a grown-ass girl and ask him out. What I got back was a long, rambling email where he admits to being in relationship with somebody else, but he does not want to lose what”we have.” I have never seen evidence of him with a significant other, and I would be very pissed off if a boy of mine was having this sort of relationship with another woman.

There have been a few short email exchanges because my rejection. He has done all the reaching out — I guess either to take my temperature to find out if I’d still speak to him or checking in to make sure I have not sunk into a huge melancholy (trust me, I have not ).

What’s up with guys and their hidden relationships? Perhaps his rambling was a wonderful way to conceal that he just was not into me? Since I’ll run into this guy at forthcoming fandom occasions, what do I do? Frankly, I feel totally embarrassed and humiliated. I sort of want to tell him to go to hell, but I do not want to be the bitter bitch who hates him because he turned me down. I also need to prevent him, but that gets tiring, also. Trust me, if I had any idea he had a long-term GF or would turn me down, there is no way in hell I’d have asked him out in the first location. What was he doing beginning this sort of connection with me in the first place? Can I bother to keep a friendship that he seems to desire even though I know it will not be enough for me?

Thanks,

There are a whole lot of possibilities here TC. It is possible he was stringing you along because he enjoyed the flirty attention you had been giving him. Or it is entirely possible that once you reconnected, he decided you were cool and wanted to be friends. I can not say for certain one way or another — after all, I was not there, and without depriving you both and reading the transcripts, it is kind of hard to say whether he had been flirting — you say his match seemed kind of weak — and if so, how much of it was just flirting because flirting is fun and how much of it had been flirting with intent. All that being said: I do not believe he had been leading you on, and I do not believe he was deliberately concealing the fact that he had a girlfriend. Considering that you are operating in similar circles — fandom will be a small world, after all — it is entirely possible that he presumed you knew he was seeing somebody. Why didn’t he bring her up when you’re speaking? Well: I have not seen the transcripts, but it is possible that the subject just didn’t come up. I have had many, many discussions with my friends — people both — where we do not talk about our significant others just because there’s no call. It is possible — even advisable — to have a life outside your connection after all.

I also am willing to wager {} no idea you were to him. When you straight-up out him, he suddenly realized that you two were not on the same page and suddenly things got awkward. Or perhaps he had a hint that you liked him but was prepared to ignore it in hopes that you would wind up romantically interested in somebody else and you would not have this nascent infatuation between the both of you.

Either way: shit done got bizarre.

Before I get into what to do about this, I wish to deal with your question about what was he doing beginning a relationship with you whatsoever. Something to bear in mind is that men generally have more emotionally intimate friendships with girls than they do with other guys. It’s a good deal easier for men to open up to girls than it is for other men; regardless of how much people can talk about bromances, being open and emotionally intimate with another dude is still seen as being unmanly. The term”bromance” conveys the”ha ha, it is kind of like you are dating” pointed nudging and also not-quite joking, and men can be uncomfortable with this. Thus, we often seek out closeness from our female friends, who have a tendency to be less judgmental and more accepting of emotional openness. When you look at it from one angle, yeah, it may sort of look like a romantic relationship… but it is about fulfilling an emotional need than attempting to begin an intimate relationship or conduct an affair.

But all that aside, the immediate question is: what do you do now that this is out there, flopping about on the table like an Awkward Turtle? At the moment, you are feeling ashamed and probably a bit angry. Take some time to allow the sting fade along with the anger cool off. As soon as you’ve gotten beyond the immediate pain, you are likely to realize that it isn’t as bad as it sounds . Liking a dude who does not like you back the exact same way is not embarrassing. Getting turned down, while sucky, is not something to be ashamed of. All that happened is that you found out that the both of you were not compatible. In the long run, there is no harm, no foul. It’s tough to see it today, but with time and perspective, this will wind up being one of those things you look back with entertainment among the wackadoo elements of the relationship game.

He clearly expects to keep your friendship. As I am always telling men, one of the difficulties with being at the Friend Zone is that you are choosing to remain there. You state that being friends is not going to be sufficient for you — fair enough, that is a legitimate option. Just do not cure his wanting to be friends like he is offering you the booby-prize, or that being friends is a bad substitute for romance.

If you don’t wish to be friends with him and you do not need to spend the remainder of your time preventing him whenever you may be at exactly the exact same event, then I recommend you be straight with him. Tell him that he is a cool guy and you like him, but you’re hoping for something more.Let him understand that trying to be friends with him would to be painful for you and it is not fair to either of you to attempt to continue things when you are longing for something he is not able to provide you with. And then you simply let matters drift apart. If you happen to run into each other at events, then be polite, say hello and just keep going. If things get awkward, then simply acknowledge the awkwardness. It doesn’t need to be a teeth-grindingly embarrassing situation if you don’t let it be.

Very good luck.

This post was formerly published on Doctornerdlove.com and is republished here with permission from the author.

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–Making friends is hard. Making intimate friendships among men is much harder… and as we age, it is something we want more of. As we age, men generally have fewer and fewer close male friendships, even as we crave it more. While it’s taboo to say out loud — it tends too near being femme for toxic masculinity — guys want the exact same emotional closeness, support and also familiarity with masculine friendships that women have with their friends. Ironically, we do not have this problem once we’re younger; making friends, even close friends, comes more naturally to us when we are kids. However, as we age, we tend to get that ability drilled from us.As friends drift away or lifestyles change as we age, we are left with a growing psychological emptiness. It is one of the perversities of getting older for men our need for emotional intimacy does not change but the sockets we have for that intimacy shrink. Because we fear the consequences of being vulnerable and open to other people, we tend to rely on our intimate partners for psychological needs. Intimacy becomes a thing shared between fans, not involving friends and so closeness between men takes on romantic overtones. Even if the societal condemnation — the implicit”no homo” — is taken out, audiences still tend to translate close friendships between men1 as being intimate.Obviously: people worry that in attempting to make friends, they will be seen as attempting to make a move instead. And thus the skill — and chances to exercise it wither away.And so we wind up in crowds; dozens or even hundreds of relations on social media but no one to prop us up when tragedy strikes.So how do guys relearn how to discover and foster closer, more psychological friendships with other guys?Making friends as kids is almost shockingly simple; we often just fall into it without even thinking. We tend to locate people who enjoy similar things to people we do and boom, job’s done.As adults… it is harder. We do not have as many chances to meet people for the sole purpose of earning friends as we do in school and college. Similarly, it’s tough to find people who are in the exact same basic place we are in existence; even in our jobs, there will be a mish-mash of people just starting out and those who are well recognized and building families. As anyone who’s tried to have a conversation with people 10 years apart in age can tell you: sometimes it can feel as though you’re both talking different languages. Part of what helps foster friendships are such shared similarities and experiences, after all. “Remember you said that the next time you need me to describe how Facebook is not Google, gramps.”More often than not, we are good at making acquaintances, instead of friends — these weak ties and casual relations where we could not really call it”friendship” but can have a conversation on occasion. And that is good, because that is where you start. Making those casual relations is the way you get to know more people. In the end, much as with relationship, you can not always select who you will and will not get along with with 100% precision. You may believe that your coworker is funny and you like similar things, but you and he can simply not click on the deeper issues. Other times, you will meet someone almost randomly and the both of you may get along like a house on fire. You are broadening your social circle, which provides you the chance to meet more people. And while those folks might be casual acquaintances to begin, you might discover that you (and they) change over time as you get to know one another.Locate Pretexts For BondingPart 0f what makes it hard for guys to build closer friendships with other guys is the fact that male friendships are generally focused around tasks, as opposed to on friendship for its own sake. The focus is on the action as opposed to linking; in some cases, linking and self-disclosure is actively disdained except for this explanation. This pretext — the notion that you are coming together to do things as opposed to chat and discuss — helps to diffuse the fear of being too romantic or feminine. You are getting together to drink beers, not discuss gossip and intimacies just like a few chicks! The implicit heteronormativity of playing Madden ’16 with your bro or the violence of Mortal Kombat or Call of Duty makes it okay for a few dudes to hang out together; it is the pretext they could point to, lest they be viewed as relationship.There is no small part why so many sources of surrogate brotherhood will come from the context of being a part of an in-group — particularly one focused around a suitably”manly” pursuit. Fraternities, by way of instance, provide that social pretext which enables their members to let their guard down and foster intimacy. Members of bike clubs will be fine with opening up to their own brothers, since it comes from the context of unquestionable masculinity that allows them feel safer to start up without being misunderstood. Their masculinity and sexuality can not be contested due to these unquestionably masculine-coded actions they share!As much as we might wish to have the ability to find individuals that people can connect with just for the sake of fostering that bond, it is often easier to convert a weak tie to a solid one through shared activities. Finding groups through MeetUp or joining social organizations such as sports leagues, clubs or church organizations are ways of finding people who enjoy the very same things you do and are open to being social. Those commonalities promote that feeling of”we are the same”, while the context of this action helps people feel safe enough to let their guard down enough to bond and share.You may also set your own classes to help foster those bonds and develop these friendships. You become known, comfortable and familiar, an established part of the individual’s life and vice-versa. This is referred to as propinquity; the more time you spend with someone, the more likely you should keep spending some time with them.That is no small part of why it is so much easier to make friends when you are younger; being in college together means you are going to be seeing the very same folks over and over again. They become part of your everyday life, so the outgrowth of your friendship feels effortless and natural. If you think back over your various relationships — both romantic and platonic — you will discover how frequently propinquity has been a factor in them.So in case you would like to get closer with people, you need to spend more time together. However, as we age, it is not always as straightforward as calling your friend and asking if they wish to hang out. That is why it’s far better to have regular, scheduled actions together. Attempting to only freestyle your get-togethers once the mood strikes may feel more natural but it can actually work against you. Due to the vagaries of life, you might have a great deal of contact early on but find it peters out with time. Those long stretches between seeing one another can negate the impact of the brief-but-intense minutes of hanging out together. 1 thing becomes another and before you realize it, you have not seen each other in months, weeks or even years.Regularly scheduled activities, on the other hand, are easier to maintain. When, say, you get a weekly poker night or a monthly get together in a restaurant, it is a lot simpler to make it fit in your schedule. You’ve got advance notice, so you are ready to market it while you make other programs, make arrangements so you’re free that night or {} certain you will be able to be there. And in the event you can not make it one time, then you will know for sure once you’re going to see them again rather than waiting for a time once the fates align for both of you.Small, regular get-togethers are better for building a close, emotional friendship since it keeps things paced and stable, instead of short bursts of intense connection followed by extended periods of disconnect that bleed the psychological momentum.Make The First MoveOne of the mistakes that people make when they are trying to construct a friendship is anticipating perfect reciprocity.Confused? Do not worry; it happens more frequently than you would expect.See, one of the things which frustrates us when we are trying to develop and maintain friendships, especially ones we want would be more intimate, is the notion that it is going to be perfectly equivalent. Occasionally we will hit that moment once we realize that we are the ones doing the majority of the work — we are the one making the programs the majority of the time, we are the ones making the calls for our friends to get together, etc.. And once we do realize itcan often feel like our soul has just gotten a surprising kick in the balls.Suddenly, everything we took for granted is currently up in the atmosphere. Are they our friends? Are they just hanging out with us from a sense of obligation? In a perfect world, everybody involved will be putting in equivalent levels of work in maintaining a friendship. 1 thing that rarely gets brought up when it comes to friendships is that there will be a dominant partner — the person who’s more”accountable” than others. They are generally the planner and instigator and the one who does a lot of the job to get everybody together.This does not automatically indicate that the friendship is unequal or one person cares more than the other; it is simply part of the dynamic of their friendship. We get used to the rhythm as well as the functions and so we do not stop to consider it.Other times, it is less of a case of not caring or not placing the job in and more of easy bitterness and being unsure. All of us tend to assume we are the only people who do not know what they are doing. While the rest of the world has its shit together, we are sitting there, making it up as we go and praying to whatever gods may be listening that no one ever calls us on it. The thing is: everyone tends to feel like that too. Just as you’re stressing what your friend is considering how many times you ask to hang out, they frequently are thinking the exact same way about you. They tend to have the very same anxieties about how other folks feel about them, telling them the exact stories of how they are likely annoying people and do not need to bother them unless they are 100% sure it is ok.As a result: you have two people who have accidentally started playing Friendship Chicken. Now rather than simply taking the initiative, they are waiting for another person to signal that it is OK and make those strategies. And then the telephone never rings and individuals tend to drift apart.To be sure: there are people out there who remain in relationships of all types from psychological momentum and will disappear after the motivating force does. But those relationships have a tendency to fall apart on their own, irrespective of what happens. Individuals who care about their friends will have a tendency to invest in ways apart from simply being the initiator.So, if you would like to keep and develop that friendship, stop worrying about keeping things absolutely equivalent. Worry less about who is investing who cares based on who makes the programs and be The One Who Makes The Aims, particularly initially. But speaking of creating the first move…Be The Friend You Wish One of the sad commentaries of the country of masculinity now is how fearful we are of opening up and requesting intimacy. It is often seen as sign of weakness and men are not permitted to be weak. It’s a”female” trait (nowadays that’s; look through history and you will discover male friendships which were tighter and more intimate than many heterosexual unions ) and men are not permitted to be less than manly for fear of losing their man-card. And god forbid you risk being viewed as flirting with someone instead of just trying to be their buddy. Consequently: we have a tendency to keep those up barriers that keep us apart lest we provide off”the wrong signals”. Even if this means losing out on the {} of relationships we need. Most men have a tendency to look to other people for what is”allowed” or acceptable; by being ready to open up, you are showing them that a higher degree of intimacy is not just okay but welcomed.The key is to go slow. Just like romantic relationships, requesting or offering too much familiarity too quickly is a danger sign; it has been a indication of bad social calibration and emotional intelligence and that is going to drive people off. Instead, you need to build rapport and familiarity with time, with graduated levels of openness and sharing. You’re not likely to tell a stranger your deepest, darkest fears or desires, so why would you do this to somebody you are not always tight with?It is a dance of levels. First, you will need to know to be comfortable with exposure and be prepared to open up only a bit. Simple things like gratitude and telling your friends that you love them, that you like spending time together — if it has been a while — which you miss hanging out together is the beginning. It is a little thing, but it is something lots of men have trouble with. That small gesture — letting your buddies know that you care and they’re important for you — can be enormous. It opens the door to greater intimacies, sharing of service.There’ll be a desire to disqualify the intimacy, to somehow excuse it as no big deal or not to make a lot of it. Resist this. That feeling a part of the social conditioning of not opening up to other guys, something you are actively trying to crack. There is nothing to be ashamed of or to tide off; you are simply being prepared to say what you really feel rather than pretending you’re made from stone or ashamed of your feelings.As you become more comfortable with this level of familiarity with your buddies — and vice versa — then you can open up a bit more. Let them in a little more, share things that you may not share with a stranger but also is not strictly reserved for your closest friends or loved-ones. Be the first to provide support if you believe that your friends need it and to request help if you need it. Offering favors or doing things for them can be great ways of encouraging the friendship. Even little gestures — recalling events that are important to them, sharing links or news stories that they may discover interesting or relevant — can help bridge that gap and invite your friends to open up for you.This is where reciprocation is significant; if your buddies are not returning the exact same degree of intimacy or behaviour, then do not push further. A friendship of one-sided intimacy will not last. Simply keep things at the level until {} more familiar with it until you realize that this might not be that sort of friendship.It can be catchy, emotionally. By mimicking the friendship you need, you are putting yourself out there in a means that may feel uncomfortable at first. But since the relations you have with your buddies grow, the more natural it will feel. Soon you will realize you do not have friends so much as brothers you did not have before.This post was formerly published on Doctornerdlove.com and is republished here with permission from the author. ◊♦◊Have you read the first anthology which was the catalyst for Your Great Men Project? ◊♦◊If you think in the work we’re doing here at The Great Men Project and wish to join our calls on a regular basis, please join us as a Premium Member, now. All Premium Members get to See The Great Men Project with NO ADS. A whole list of advantages is here.–Photo credit: Istockphoto.com

Making friends as kids is almost shockingly Simple

The article Construction A Closer Friendship With Other Guys appeared on The Great Men Project.

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–A critical question for you: how often do you feel lonely? Not spending time but really feeling isolated and lonely. It happens to all of us from time to time — we find ourselves on our own in a time once we’re craving a relationship with somebody. We feel lonely while we move to a different city or when we are between relationships; once we go home for weekends and we have nobody to spend some time with. We might feel especially cut off once we see all those happy couples and groups of friends out and about and having a fantastic time. The majority of the time, isolation is momentary. It is a temporary feeling, something we all know will pass with time. The loneliness that comes after a break-up or a loss compels us to reconnect with other people. But for lots of us, being lonely is something we believe all of the time, a state of being rather than a momentary matter. And that chronic loneliness can hurt us over time.That is not hyperbole. Beyond the health problems that arise from social isolation, feeling chronically lonely causes changes in us about the cellular level that could suppress our immune system, cause inflammation reactions and leave us more vulnerable to disease and disease. So, how do we overcome that loneliness?Being Lonely Is Not About Being AloneOne of the mistakes we make when we feel lonely is that we assume that solitude corresponds with ourselves. Humans are social creatures after all; it is logical that we associate physical isolation with social isolation. However, once we attempt to combat loneliness, we are apt to attempt and fill that void in our life by surrounding ourselves with people in various ways… many of which do not work. As many a victim of chronic loneliness can tell you, it is entirely possible to be lonely even if you’re in a crowd.Among the most common ways people attempt to fight loneliness is, paradoxically, among the least effective: they charge headlong into relationships.On the surface, it appears like finding a spouse would be an instantaneous loneliness cure. You are sharing your life — or at least portion of it — with another living, breathing person! How is this not a solution to become lonely? Well, because the challenge is not too little physical bodies in your immediate proximity, it is a lack of connections. In actuality, in many studies of adults who report being lonely, 62 percent of them are married and knowingly living with their partner. They might be living together, but their lives are different, devoid of intimacy or affection. Oftentimes, they routinely wind up isolating themselves from one another. Having space is 1 thing; routinely spending some time on the pc or XBox while your partner reads in a different room is a recipe for solitude.For people who treat relationships as a cure-all for being lonely, it is a cruel irony; in attempting to prevent loneliness, they wind up making matters worse.The secret to beating loneliness is not about the amount of those people in your life, it is about the quality of your relations with people. Having a huge array of relations with people means very little when there is no substance to them. Having hundreds or thousands of followers and friends might feel like an embarrassment of riches, but they do not feel”real” to us. They just don’t matter if the vast majority of our interactions involve straightforward”likes” or lol’s or vacuous opinions on Instagram posts.You do not need hundreds or even dozens of friends. You only need a few close confidants. Even three or four powerful social connections can make the difference between being alone and lonely.So how can you do so?Find Your CommunityOne of the keys to your experience is that our drive to belong. Even one of the very solitary introverts, there is a need to locate our group, our tribe, as it had been. It is within that community that we are able to discover the people we could connect with. The interests we share with that community supply commonalities with the other members, among the most significant aspects in connecting with individuals . The key, obviously, is to obtain that neighborhood in the first location. Part of the reason we feel lonely is that we are not certain where to locate our people, particularly as we age. It is easier in high-school and faculty , once you’re all but guaranteed to be surrounded by people in precisely the identical place in life as you. As we age, we no longer need that pool to draw from. Those instantaneous commonalities become thin on the ground.Instead, we must rely on other methods of locating our tribe. Social organizations as varied as motorcycle clubs as well as the Juggalos supply us with the identical feeling of brotherhood and community which was fulfilled by fraternities and sports teams.That’s why you will need to contact your passions. The simplest way to find individuals who make up your tribe would be to participate with the things you love. This will require a certain degree of creativity occasionally. If you are into more solitary pursuits such as writing, coding or art, you need to locate groups or associated meet-ups. Maybe an artist’s pub-crawl? Other times you might have to broaden your horizons. If you reside in a smaller city, you might have to branch into areas which are associated with your interests. You may not find plenty of otaku in your region, but there may be groups devoted to studying Japanese or searching Pokemon.Recall: social media can help with finding your tribe, but do not rely on it exclusively. If possible, you need to be interacting with people in person. Try to locate groups that meet face to face, if at all possible.Don’t go in these groups expecting to immediately find your new best friends… but do not sweat it if you do not bond immediately, either. Those shallow social connections are the way you get started fostering new friendships. Even if the people you meet are not your brothers or sisters, then they may be those to link you to the men and women who are.Another thing to bear in mind: you might have to be the one to take the initiative. If a group matching your interests does not exist, you might as well be the one to make it. Taking an active hand in building your neighborhood forces you to become involved with others and join in ways you may not otherwise.In reality, speaking of becoming active…1 thing that the chronically lonely often have in common: their isolation is partly self-inflicted. It is not intentional; more often than not, we do not recognize how we are shutting others out. As a society, we’ve developed a trend of attempting to dodge social situations if they are not just perfect. We pass going for drinks with our colleagues or getting involved in the workplace Super Bowl party. We bond on families and friends’ group outings and bypass meetings and get-togethers we do not need to visit. Sometimes it’s because we do not feel like we relate to our peers. Other times we fear that we would be awkward or out of place. Sometimes it is a matter of energy; an introvert might only wish to manage so much socializing. Other times we simply prefer to do something different.Irrespective of the motives, we end up in precisely the exact same location. In dribs and drabs, we cut ourselves off from others and send the concept of”do not disturb me,” even when we desperately crave these connections. Without even intending to, we have walled ourselves off from the {} who might attempt to associate with us.If you wish to overcome your loneliness, you need to start breaking yourself from the cycle, even if it’s in tiny ways. You need to be an active participant in your own life and the world around you; people will only try so hard to reach you until they presume that this is how you want it. Well… you get it.Just as you might need to take an active part in finding your tribe, you might need to be the one to find the societal ball rolling. Someone’s got to make the first move. It can as well be you. If people are not inviting you to socialize after work — it is not part of the job culture (yet) — it is possible to make the first move and invite people. You may be the one to suggest or arrange events. It’s wonderful to be encouraged, but you can not count on it. Sure… but then you are in exactly the exact same boat you were previously. You have still taken steps to take charge of your life, rather than living passively.Getting involved in your own life means taking risks to be social. You might need to make awkward small talk initially. There might not be anyone you understand well enough to speak to; that is fine. You might have nothing to say… so just listen instead. Ask questions and get other people speaking.And in a worst case scenario: step outside your day to day life. Get involved in a town beautification project. Work with Habitat for Humanity. Force destiny’s hand and place yourself in the path of social events, rather than waiting for them to come to you.1 issue which truly contributes to feeling lonely is cultural; American culture is extremely hands-off. We treat casual touching out of a romantic relationship as bizarre. This is a comparatively recent development also; casual physical affection between friends used to be the standard. However, as odd as it might sound, the fact that our culture discourages platonic touching can induce feelings of isolation and loneliness through the roof. Touch is in fact shockingly important as a way of connecting and communicating with other people, as well as for basic health. Touch stimulates oxytocin production, while hugging reduces blood pressure. Infants that aren’t touched enough become ill and die; they create a condition called”failure to thrive” and stop growing even when they get adequate nourishment. Touch is also vital in adults, for our health and psychological well-being. And adults are generally the most touch-deprived. Some scientists refer to the psychological withdrawal that comes from a lack of touch as skin-hunger — a need for affection and connection with other people that becomes so intense it may manifest in unusual and frequently maladaptive ways.Many intensely lonely folks seem to find simple human contact in several ways. Virtually every sex worker out there’s customers who only need to be held rather than sex. For men and women that want to overcome their loneliness, a bit more casual contact may be the thing that can help make the difference. Due to cultural practices, most friends do not touch outside of short handshakes or semi-ritualized gestures such as fist pounds or favorable shoulder-checks. Individuals that are touch deprived do have choices, however. Massage therapy, as an instance, can be an important source of comfort for somebody who feels signature deprived. Besides the advantages to muscle system, massage can help the body stimulate oxytocin and aleve feelings of strain and tension. In certain towns, professional cuddling organizations provide platonic1 snuggling for men and women who need it. If this sounds strange to you, think about how disconnected people believe there is a market for this service.But in the end of the day, among the most important things you can do to increase the amount of touching you give and receive is, simply, to mimic the behaviour you wish to see. Becoming more comfortable with giving casual touches, whether easy pats on the arm or hugs amongst friends, helps set the tone among your circle and invites reciprocity. Yes, it may feel a little awkward. However, as with most aspects of overcoming isolation: somebody must make the first move. It can as well be you.Reach OutYou might have seen an overarching theme to these hints: you must be proactive. Just as we would like for other people to see that we are lonely and reach out, we can not rely on others to fulfill our requirements. Frankly, the majority of us are caught up in our own bullshit. We rarely notice what is happening with our friends because we are in our own worlds. If we would like to overcome loneliness, we must make the first move and seek out what we want. It doesn’t have to be a manufacturing, nor do you have to connect with everyone on your life. Quality on your connections is a lot more important that quantity. In this, as in all facets in life, you need to be your personal advocate. Asking for what you want can feel awkward or odd, particularly once you crave a relationship with other people. In practice however, it is easier than you can imagine. Attempting to connect with other people is one of the most primal human needs. Put in the effort to boost the friendships and intimacy you need and you might realize that your lonely days are going to be a thing of the past.This post was formerly published on Doctornerdlove.com and is republished here with permission from the author. ◊♦◊Have you read the first anthology which was the catalyst for Your Great Men Project? Purchase here: The Great Men Project: Real Stories from the Front Lines of Modern Manhood ◊♦◊If you think in the work we’re doing here at The Great Men Project and wish to join our calls on a regular basis, please join us as a Premium Member, now. All Premium Members get to See The Great Men Project with NO ADS. A whole list of advantages is here.–Photo credit: Istockphoto.com

Being lonely is not about being alone

The article Why We All Feel So Lonely (And How To Overcome It) appeared on The Great Men Project.

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Can Friends With Benefits Return to Being Just Friends?

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It depends upon the psychological condition of the parties involved. If both parties are on the same page going out as they were moving in, it ought to be simple to transition back to a”non-beneficial” friendship. If one has dropped for another, hoping things would evolve into a commitment, then no.

To see my whole reply, check out the entire article and video post on Digital Romance, ideal HERE.

Also, in case you’ve got a burning question about love, relationship or life in general for me, comment below, or ask me on Twitter @AllanaPratt and only use #AllanaQandA.

A version of the post was previously published on allanapratt.com and is republished here with permission from the author.

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Depends on what you want.

The article Can Friends With Benefits Return to Being Just Friends? Appeared on The Great Men Project.

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Ask Dr. NerdLove: How Do I Get Over Someone?


Hi Doc,

Before Christmas, I met a young woman and I instantly liked her. It was the first time I was going to make my move (late bloomer here) so I was really excited … and anxious of course. I asked a common friend if she is available and it turned out that she was – she broke up with her boyfriend before a couple of months. So I added her on Facebook and I arranged for another beer with all our friends in order to get to know her better. I was planning to move quick but it turned out that she was to leave the town the next day for Christmas and she would return after 2-3 months. I decided to occasionally chat with her on Facebook in order to keep some kind of contact. I noticed that even though we had long and smooth conversations she would never text first. As a result, after some weeks I decided that she had no interest so I stopped texting.

After 2-3 months she returned and we hung out as friends for some weeks. I could not notice any interest signs but I found strong feelings emerging inside me. At first, I tried to ignore them as I always did in the past, because I was anxious of getting rejected and I was sure she didn’t like me. One day after some smooth and playful chatting – thanks to your great new book – I decided to ask her out on a date. The worst that could happen would be her turning me down so what’s the big deal I told to myself. It was the first time in my life that I did such a heroic act. I received no response so I assumed that it was a soft no and I continued hanging out with her as a friend. But after a few days, something unexpected happened.

She began flirting with me and we ended up going out for a date with all the kissing and stuff. We would hang out as a couple for a week. Although I was really happy I started feeling that something was not right. As the days were passing by she started looking uncomfortable. I asked her what the troubling was and she replied that she wanted to end our “relationship”. It turned out that she couldn’t get over her ex and moreover she was planning to leave the town in few months. She said that although she liked me, the timing was not right. She apologized for the pain inflicted and then came the dreadful question: “Can we remain friends?” I was feeling devastated at that time and avoided giving a definite answer.

I decided to take the semi-nuclear option (unfollowed her in Facebook, stop talking with her) and get on with my life. I thought that if I wanted to be a genuine friend I should get over her first. It has been almost one and a half month since then and I am still thinking about it. It was my first “relationship” although it lasted a little less than two weeks. Perhaps I suffer from Oneitis but at the same time, I am thinking about her proposal to remain friends. It is sad that we stopped talking to each other – we haven’t talked to each other since our “break up”. We have a lot of friends in common so things feel a little awkward right now. I stopped talking with some people although we hung out together and had a good time just because they are close friends with her.

The following question keeps returning in my mind ” Should I contact her and try to act as a genuine friend regardless of my feelings or should I take the full nuclear option and let it go once and for all ?”. To be honest the nuclear option seems very brutal to me and at the same time I feel angry with myself feeling messed up about something that lasted only a few days. So, Doc, what do you propose?

Thank you very much for your time.

To Be or Not to Be

***

So there’s a lot to unpack here. But let’s start with the obvious:

We often talk about “The One” or finding someone who’s “right” for us. But when we talk about someone being “right”, we tend to talk about things like shared interests and personality traits. One of the things that we don’t often talk about with dating is how much dating success is about timing. Someone can be amazing and tick off all the boxes for what we want and need in a partner… but if we aren’t or they aren’t in the right place in life, then it just isn’t going to work. It’s frustrating as hell when it seems like we’ve met someone who’s absolutely perfect for us but a quirk of timing means that the relationship isn’t going to work out… but unfortunately, that’s life for you.

The good news is that there is no One. There’s no single person who’s right for you – there are many, many people who are right for you and who are in the right place in life to date.

Part of why you’re hung up on her right now is because of what she represents to you. The reason why you’ve got this nasty case of Oneitis is because she is The One That Got Away, this near-miss at the sort of love you only find in bad fanfic and instant coffee commercials. The arc of “I like her, she’s not interested OH MY GOD SHE LIKES ME, oh no it’s not going to work,” hangs in the air like a lingering fart because you had happiness for a brief fleeting second before it got snatched away. Now she’s less of a person and more of a representation of What Might Have Been. When that’s your first relationship, that’s hard to swallow. Hell, it’s hard enough when you’ve had plenty of relationship experience under your belt, but it’s even harder when it’s your first brush with romance.

But here’s the thing: part of what’s messing with you right now is that you haven’t given yourself any closure. Part of why I advocate The Nuclear Option – unfollowing them on social media, deleting their number, etc. – when it comes to breakups is because you need time to tie off that cauterize that particular emotional wound… and you aren’t really doing that. It’s not about “you left AND NOW YOU’RE DEAD TO ME”, it’s about the fact that it’s much easier to feel, process those feelings and finally move forward when you aren’t constantly being tempted to check on them and reopen the wound. Out of sight, out of mind is a thing after all, and it’s much easier to heal when the person who you’re aching for isn’t symbolically right in front of you all the time.

Which brings us to the issue with “Can we still be friends?” We all want to be able to say “yeah, sure” because friends are awesome and someone we want to date is someone we should also be able to be friends with. But the problem is that it’s hard to be friends with someone who just hurt us. They may not have meant to – hell, it may not have even been their fault – but the fact is that we’re still hurting. It can take time to get past that and get to a place where you can be friends. But if we’re honest… there’s a certain amount of pressure involved to say “yes” immediately. The last thing that anyone wants is to give the impression that the only reason to be with someone is if you have the chance to sleep with them. So a lot of times, we get hung up in the middle – wanting the distance we need to heal but not wanting to send the wrong message or close the door on the future relationship.

That’s where you are at the moment, TBONTB. You’ve stuck yourself in a place where you can’t NOT think about her or move forward because, well, you’re picking at the wound. And the conflict inherent in this limbo is starting to spread out to affect the other folks in your life. It’s one thing to cut ties with your ex; cutting out your other friends just because they’re connected to her isn’t healthy. That’s just going to isolate you further, which is bad. You’re going to need folks in your life who care for you, who you know have your back. You aren’t going to heal if all you’re doing is trying to excise every association of her like some sort of damnatio memorae; all that does is create an unhealthy feedback loop that will leave you always on your guard on the off chance you see ANYTHING that reminds you of her.

You need to close this loop and give yourself some closure. First, while this isn’t strictly necessary – the fact that you haven’t talked to her in a month and change is sending a message, even if you didn’t intend for it to – you may want to send a quick email that says “Hey, I know it’s been a while but I wanted to reach out. I DO want to be friends, but right now this is still kind of raw and I need time to get over it. Thanks for being patient with me.” Then set up a filter so that her emails get sent to a folder, not to your inbox. This solves the bigger issue that you’re struggling with: what to do about her. This gives you the best of both worlds: you give yourself permission to let her go, with the understanding that you can try to resume a friendship if that’s what you want down the line.

But the next step? Forgive yourself, my dude. Getting angry with yourself about how much you hurt is pointless. You can’t control how much you hurt, so instead of trying to tell yourself that you’re not “supposed” to to feel the way you do, just accept it. Let it flow through you instead of damming it up. Accept that yeah, this sucks… but it’s going to suck less over time. One day you’re going to wake up and you’re going to realize that the pain has reduced itself to a dull ache. One day, you’re going to wake up and you’re going to realize that not only does it not hurt any more, but it hasn’t hurt for a while. But that’s not going to happen for as long as you keep telling yourself you’re a loser for caring for someone and being hurt when things didn’t play out the way you hoped. So forgive yourself for being hurt and for loving not too wisely, but too well.

This will get better. I promise.

All will be well.

***

Hi, Doc.

I’m embarrassed to be writing this, because I’m ashamed I’ve let things get to this point.

Nine months ago I had a baby. Between her health issues and my disabilities, it makes the most financial sense for me to stay home and do the 24/7 childcare and house upkeep, and my husband generally works about 50 hours/week. I feed the baby round the clock on doctor’s orders (she can only have small amounts without getting sick, so she needs to eat frequently), and I get pretty busy sometimes.

I’m writing because our sex life has become basically nonexistent… and while I feel fine, I’m worried about my husband’s needs not being met. I’m totally willing and I’ve tried initiating things sometimes, but he doesn’t seem particularly interested.

I’ve seen you write before about how it can be hard for a man to shift back from seeing someone as a mother to seeing her as a sexual partner before, especially if he’s present for delivery (which my husband was) and I’m sure that could be part of what’s going on. However… I also just don’t have much to offer right now.

I’m still carrying some baby weight. I have stretch marks everywhere. I haven’t colored or cut my hair since early in pregnancy. Breastfeeding did not do my figure any favors. Between caring for a baby with extra needs, keeping up with my own freelance work, cooking and cleaning, and dealing with my own issues without the money for medication, I can’t seem to find much time for things like skincare, hair care, or weight loss. I walk for an hour or so every day, but that’s the most strenuous exercise I can really do with a baby in tow when we live ten miles from town and have no car to get to a gym (my husband needs our only running car to get to work).

My point is, I look disgusting. My husband isn’t shallow or cruel, and he has never said a single negative thing to me about the way my appearance has deteriorated, but I can’t imagine the way I look now is particularly enticing. My question is… should I suggest an open relationship? I’m not particularly comfortable with the idea and I have no interest in seeing others myself, but I feel like he deserves the opportunity to have sex with someone more appealing than I am at the moment. He’s a good person who shouldn’t have to put up with this.

I’m trying to get it together for him, but I haven’t found a way yet, and he’s been patient with his gross slob of a wife for too long already.

What do I do, Doc?

Post-Partum Blues

***

So it’s true that some men have a hard time making a mental shift when they see their partner give birth, PPB… but I don’t think that’s what’s going on here.

There’re a couple issues at play. The first is that, come on, you JUST HAD A BABY. Having a child is a massive disruption to your life, especially during the first couple of years. Your life is going to revolve around taking care of the little miracle, and that means that everything goes out the window – from keeping house, to sleep to your sex life. Under the best of circumstances, y’all are going to be stressed and sleep-deprived, which is as hard-core of a libido-killer as you’re likely to find. But when you factor in that your baby has special needs and your husband is working long, long hours? Yeah, that’s gonna throw a major spanner in people’s desire to get down.

But the other issue is that honestly? I think you aren’t being fair to yourself.

Actually, I take that back. I think you’re getting upset at yourself for not being superhuman and holding yourself to absolutely insane standards. I mean, the language you use in your letter is kind of telling: you’re ashamed that you “let things get to this point”. This implies that you should, what, have been able to slip back into your old life exactly like it was before without missing a beat? How in pluperfect hell was THAT supposed to happen?

I mean, yeah we see stories on Instagram and in tabloids about how so-and-so got their body “back” after the baby… but here’s the secret: most of that is bullshit and the rest of it is because they have money and resources to burn. It’s much easier to focus on “getting your body back” when you’ve got the money to pay for a nanny or a housekeeper AND a trainer, or your partner doesn’t need to work like a maniac to keep food on the table so that they can take time off from work and share in the work at home. Being upset at yourself because you weren’t able to “bounce back” like Beyonce or Kim Kardashian or any celebrity mommy is like being upset that you’re not an Olympic athlete; you’re getting upset that you can’t measure up to 1% of the population who have advantages and resources that most of us can only dream about.

And while your husband may feel a little weird about sex right now – and notice how very carefully I said “may” not “does” – I think the bigger issue is how you feel. The way you describe yourself makes it sound like you don’t believe you could possibly be attractive or desirable. That’s going to radiate through the way you act, the way you speak and the way you carry yourself… and that is going to be much more of a turn-off than stretch marks or carrying a little more weight or watching you squeeze out a baby. It’s a little difficult to get turned on when your partner is saying “Yeah, I know, I’m an unfuckable trashfire,” even when that’s not actually true.

And that bit’s important. It’s not helping that you’re making assumptions about how your husband feels, based on facts that aren’t in evidence. Yeah, you two haven’t had sex in a while but that’s par for the course for new parents. There’re so many things that’re gonna get in the way of having an active sex-life right now that have ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with how you look – or how you feel you look, which, I can’t stress enough, isn’t the same thing. You’re drawing conclusions based on how you feel, not on how he feels.

So what do you do?

Well, my first suggestion is that you check in with your husband and have an Awkward Conversation about the current state of your union. It doesn’t need to be a big, dramatic meeting; all you’re doing is let him know that you have concerns and you want to make sure that he’s OK. Then let him reassure you. If he legitimately is ok with things, then do yourself a favor and believe him. Because as hard as it can be to wrap our heads around it: our partners love us as holistic beings. Things like stretch marks aren’t going to be the end of desire; they tend to get folded into our concept of who our partners are. So when he tells you that he’s fine, he still loves you and that hey, it’s a little hard to get busy with the life you two have right now? Take that “yes” for an answer.

(And if you’re really worried, you can always order him a Fleshlight or Tenga and some lube to help ease the pressure until you’re both in a place where you can get down and dirty again).

My next suggestion is see if you can get some help with the baby. I know that “it takes a village” is a cliche… but some things are cliches for reason. If your parents or his parents – or hell, even a family friend – can come and give you a hand, then by all means, do that. Getting a little time for yourself is crucial for new parents. That’ll let you have some effective self-care, even if that just means having a chance for a hot bath, a face mask and some deep conditioning. Easing some of the burden – even if it’s just for a couple of hours – can make a night-and-day difference.

But trust me: this is a temporary problem. It may take a while – kids take a lot of time and attention, especially in the first couple years – but if you two can white knuckle it and hang on, you will get through it. Just be a little easier on yourself and a lot more forgiving for not being Instagram-perfect after such a relatively short time.

This will get better.

Good luck.

This post was previously published on Doctornerdlove.com and is republished here with permission from the author.

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