“In the last couple of months I’ve been through an intense process of transformation.”
This sounds like the beginning of a yet another TLTR (too long to read), self help article, on how to change your life, doesn’t it? Yeap, I am learning how to create catchy headlines. And yes, I love writing long articles, so feel free to go away now if this is not your cup of tea. Or come back later, with a cup of tea and a few free minutes.
Are you still here? Good, how about this one?
“My life has been constantly changing and evolving, my relationships have become deeper and more fulfilling, old connections have been replaced by new ones, my social circle is expanding more and more with like minded people”. Better? “Much better” says my ego. Oh, let’s just get to the point.
Why am I telling you this? Just to brag about how cool my life is now? (Maybe, a little bit, all bloggers are kind of narcissistic, so I’ve heard.)
Now, seriously, it’s because of a feed-back I received from one of my readers. He told me:
“Looking at you and talking to you, I would have never thought you had so much trouble in the past with your relationships. I thought you were always like this, shiny, happy, smiling!”
Hmm, I was surprised. But then again, he was right. How could he have known? It’s not written on my forehead. (thank God for that!) But I can write it here.
Let me ‘splain. No one who seems to have it all together in whatever area of their life, has been like that “always”. Behind any “success” story there is usually a long, messy, painful road of trial and error experiences. I also used to think “Oh, I could never do what he or she does, because they were always like that!” BS! So far from the truth. It’s more like “If they can do it, then I can learn something from their experience and do it also!”
Whereas in the past I would often think of myself as the weirdo in my circle of friends I am now surrounded by people with whom I have a lot in common. I no longer feel misfit. If I do, then I check if I am with the right people or not.
I don’t consider my self as the “black sheep” relationships-wise, anymore. I just change the environment with one that supports me and nourishes me instead of settling for one that’s putting me down.
I am OK-You are OK
In order to be able to do that I had to become conscious of my own value. This has to do a lot with releasing the limiting belief “I am not good enough”. The moment I started feeling that I am OK just the way I am, changed the way I looked at the people around me. Not judging me anymore, means I am not judging others anymore. Or at least, I do it less and less.
So, if I start from the point of I am OK-You are OK, no one needs to feel bad if we are not a match. No one has to change. We just need to find people who are already good matches for us. So simple. Of course I sometimes fall back into my old mindset, but I get up more quickly and dust myself off.
Stepping off the hamster’s wheel
At the beginning of this year I’ve realized I am in a time in my life where I want to explore new and different ways of connecting with men. For many years I’ve been in the roller-coaster of the typical serial-monogamous relationships, with months or years of solitude in between.
I’ve realized that I was repeating the same things over and over again and I was expecting different results. I felt like a hamster on the wheel. I was a good candidate to have my picture being put aside the word “crazy” in the dictionary, as an example, you know 🙂
I’ve accepted the fact that I must have been doing something wrong since I was not happy with the results. Then I started asking questions. What could I do to change?
What could I do to have different results?
I’ve read books, talked to people who seemed happy with their romantic life, did a lot of introspection and I’ve come up with a few answers and insights.
One of the answers I got from a coach, was very simple: if you don’t know exactly how to do it “right” than start by doing the opposite of what you have been doing in the past, and that was obviously not working.
So I’ve started doing this like a game, with no expectations of finding my one and only true love. I’ve made a list with how I would typically behave and act in my interactions with men. Then I chose one behavior and decided to do the exact opposite or at least 80% different, next time I find myself in the same situation. Then I would see how that worked and tweak it or drop it if I didn’t like it.
I thought: this classic model of exclusive, serial monogamous relationships is obviously not working for me. What are the alternatives?
-remain single for the rest of my life? Hmm, I’ll say pass to this one.
-search for different ways of relating and pick those I resonate with? Yeap, this sounds like a plan I like.
The words “open relationships” came to my mind. It took me a lot of courage to admit to myself that this is what I actually want to explore for the next couple of months. Then, the courage to be able to state it in front of my friends or potential partners. A few months later I am still like a toddler learning to walk onto this path.
Every partner is my mirror
A major breakthrough was to realize that all the men I’ve attracted or I attract in my life are my mirrors. And the other way around is also available, I mirror them. So I started to look for the common elements that seemed to keep repeating in my past relationships.
One common thread was the attraction for the so called “emotionally unavailable” men. Men that were not ready to commit for a long term relationship, that were not even remotely attracted to the idea of assuming the husband-father role at some point in the future. And I thought that this was what I wanted and that it was just bad luck that I kept attracting the same type of men. I was in the “it’s their fault, not mine” movie. Sounds familiar?
Anyway, the irony is that shortly after I relaxed and admitted to myself that I am ready to explore a new way of relating with men- (new as in different from the widely socially accepted exclusive monogamous relationship)-I met a man who wanted to commit for an exclusive, monogamous, long term relationship. Isn’t this ironic?
I find it is. Long story short, I found myself caught up in mixed feelings. Half of myself wanted to explore the new way, half was attracted to what this wonderful man was offering me. It took me a few months of inner struggling, of being in an emotional roller coaster, to realize that the decision I took just before meeting him was the right one for me at this time in my life. And that all those other unavailable men I’ve met before were just mirroring back my fear of commitment.
Get inspiration from like minded-people
I still feel I have some inner resistance to exposing these ideas in writing, here, where everyone can see them. But, I’ve decided to walk the path of honesty and sincerity, with myself and with everyone around me. This is a bit scary, but that’s exactly why I feel like I have to do it.
And I am inspired to do so by the life and work of a few wonderful people that have entered my life lately. One of them is Steve Pavlina and his blog. Actually, I had the idea of this blog in my mind for a long time. Reading Steve’s blog and meeting him in person gave me the final nudge to start doing it. So thank you for that, Steve, I am grateful to have met you and that you are part of my life.
Back to to where I am now.
The Relationships Game
In order to change the way I felt and thought about men and relationships, I said to myself that from now on I will be in a game. The Relationships Game. I created the game, I make the rules, I establish the playground, I decide with whom I want to play with or not and so on.
So what happened next? So far, I’ve noticed a few positive effects.
1. The first positive effect is that it took the pressure off.
You know, that pressure related to the high stake of finding The One. We are not in a Highlander movie here, it’s my movie. So nobody has to say at any moment “There can be only one!”. And, oh, no chopping heads off of anyone’s neck, please. No need for that in this game 🙂
2. The second effect is that I now feel like I am an explorer.
I am driven by the curiosity and the thrill of the adventure itself, rather then by the stake of finding a man to marry with and have kids. I enjoy the ride and live in the moment, focusing on the quality of the connection rather then on the projections in my mind.
3. The third effect is that I started attracting new types of men.
By being open to meet and connect with men from this space I’ve attracted completely different men from those I used to. I’ve explained some of the differences in this post here.
Some of the people I talked to about this have asked me: “How about having kids? Do you want to always live like this? “
I honestly don’t know the answer to any of these questions.
I love kids, I would surely want to experience motherhood. I just don’t think that this idea should lead the way I interact with men. I did it before, didn’t work, I stopped doing it.
If I always want to live like this? Again, I don’t know. Always is too vague of a word for me. I just know I want to explore a different way of relating as long as I feel good about it. I am in a no man’s land here, I don’t really know where I am going, and for how long, I just follow my intuition.
What worked well, what didn’t… so far
What I have experienced so far and I feel it’s working well.
I can have multiple connections with people located in different parts of the world. When we are apart we keep the connection via Internet and we keep the doors open to reconnect next time, whenever that might be. In the mean time we each have or allow ourselves to enjoy different connections in our current cities.
However, I don’t know how and if it is possible to have multiple connections with partners located in the same place and in the same time. Especially in the beginning of a new connection that doesn’t work. I’ve found this out while I was still in my emotional roller coaster, a few months ago.
So while I am writing this, I’ve just realized what I am not looking for in a man in my new Relationships Game.
1. I am not looking for The One, or for the Knight-in-shiny-armor-on-a-white horse to rescue me, or make me happy or to provide for me. I don’t need anyone to do that for me, I am responsible for that. And I don’t believe in the myth of The One anymore, I’ve told you in the beginning.
2. I am not looking for one night stands either. These types of 1D connections are just not fulfilling for me, not interested in that.
So what am I looking for? Well, it’s a work in progress. I am working on figuring this out and refining it. I will have a post especially for this. I’ve discovered that the model described by Steve Pavlina on the 4D connections helped me a lot to get some clarity around this subject. A 4D connection is one on each of the levels: body-mind-heart-spirit, you find the article here.
I discovered I have learned a lot by allowing myself to enter in a deep 4D connection even if it is for a brief period of time. In a few days or weeks of deep fulfilling connections with spiritual, like minded and heart centered men I’ve learned and grown more then in years of 2D or 3D connections with men that were simply just not a good match for me.
In the past I thought I needed months or years to be able to connect deeply with a person. Now I’ve discovered that if I am in the heart and start connecting from there, a 4D connection will develop in just a few days. But it is essential to start from the heart and not from the body. Usually if there is a good heart and mind connection, there is also a spiritual one. And the body connection just follows naturally. The reverse way is usually not working. Or, from my experience so far, it didn’t work well.
Like I said in the beginning, I fell like I am going through an intense process of self growth and transformation through my new way of approaching relationships. This means, I am learning as I am walking on this new path. For now I have more questions than answers. The only thing I know for sure is that I want to stay true to myself and to the people around me. And I know I can do this by continuously tuning in with my heart and acting from there.
How about you and your relationships? Do you feel trapped in the hamster’s wheel? Are you happy in an exclusive relationship? Are you opening up to exploring new connections? Feel free to drop a line bellow and share where you are at in your unique relationships game.
Photo Credit: ♥ L i l a c ♥ via Compfight cc