Monday, April 27, 2015

"Healing Partnerships" as Stepping-stones to Healthy Relationships

Ever found yourself in a relationship where one or both of you still needed to heal something from the past? Where you were drawn to someone with a wound similar to yours? I've certainly been there and done that.

At first, you feel strongly attracted emotionally and physically and think this person could potentially be your long-term partner. You are on the same wavelength in SO many ways. Friendship, trust, admiration, empathy, and caring develop and grow. Everything seems to flow so nicely. You fall in love.

Then, one day, you have your first major conflict or disagreement. You see a completely different side of the other person when he or she triggers one of your "hot buttons" from the past--touching a nerve related to something you thought you had healed but now realize you haven't. It could be your abandonment wound, your fear of being smothered by a partner, your unresolved anger about a past partner's disloyalty, your mistrust or resentment about the opposite sex because of a childhood incident with a parent...or any number of other issues.

During the conversation to resolve the conflict by getting to the core reason for it, your "stuff" is revealed, your unhealed wound reopened. Each of you talks about how to deal with this woundedness. You try to be compassionate about the other person's wound, but you struggle to stretch far enough in his/her direction to foster understanding and peace. Finally, though, after talking it out, you feel better.

Until it happens again. And then, a few weeks later, again. Where you once felt so similar, you now feel so different. And disconnected.

It could be that you've attracted into your life a healing partnership--a relationship in which the two people come together primarily for the reason of helping each other heal. Except they don't know that's the reason. 

If, instead, they could see the big picture and the "opportunity" for growth that God/the Universe is giving them, they would understand that "this is all happening for a reason"--and that reason is so they can evolve into a healthier partner for another person down the road. 

Sadly, their healing partnership will be temporary. It will last only as long as it takes them to grow sufficiently beyond it. It will run its course, and the two people will part ways after the lessons they were brought together to learn are learned and each of them has experienced substantial healing.

From my experience in two healing partnerships during my late 40s, I now know that the heart and psyche will attract such partners into our lives, and we will try desperately to hold onto them because we feel safe and understood. Inevitably, though, one or both people will begin to feel uncomfortable and start pulling away at some point--usually within 6 months after the initial connection.

Breaking up with a healing partner isn't easy, but it's necessary. Only by closing that door and moving forward, armed with the lessons learned, will you be able to attract a healthier partner and then get the chance to implement what you learned as you build a happier, healthier relationship with someone new--someone who has also integrated lessons from the past to become a healthier partner.

The wonderful thing is that the healing and growing you've done prepares you for showing up in your next relationship as your new improved self--an emotionally healthy individual now ready to attract a similarly healthy partner and then to forge the strongest, healthiest bond imaginable! 

I can attest that being in such a relationship is AMAZING! You feel more alive, happy, and connected than ever before...and you're on your way to the deepest, most fulfilling relationship of your life. Enjoy the journey!!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Your Best Match Brings Out the Best in You

How do you know when you've met "The One"--that very special person who is just exactly right for you?

In the thousands of articles and hundreds of books I've read on this topic over the last 20 years, one particular "must" seems to appear on every list: that person helps you become a better person--he or she brings out the very best in you and supports and inspires you to grow into the best version of yourself (and always wants the best FOR you), while totally accepting you without judgement, no matter what aspects of you are revealed.

I am experiencing this now in my current relationship. The man I'm with is the perfect foil, the most complementary partner to help me feel:
 - more feminine, beautiful, and sexy than I've ever felt before
 - more calm and patient than I ever thought I could be
 - more alive and happy than I ever believed possible
 - more open and vulnerable than I am with most people
 - more easily able to be fully myself than I could have dreamed
 - more motivated to give affection and love, with no agenda and no unhealthy neediness

Wow! It sure feels good to be with someone who helps me experience all those things AND who enables me to see that all the personal growth work I did over the years to become a healthy partner was worth the time and effort. With him, it is easy for me to show up as the best possible me...but also at times to reveal the parts that I'm not so proud of, without shame. Things just flow in a beautiful, mutually supportive and caring way.

Words can't describe how wonderful it is to be with a man who is a catalyst for this type of healthy, loving connection with myself and, in turn, with him. They say you'll "just know" when you meet the right one. I can honestly say this is true. The warmth, comfort level, and attraction was palpable within the first 5 minutes of sitting down at our initial coffee date after connecting online. And those feelings continued to grow sweetly and steadily with each successive date.

If you have yet to experience this kind of connection, don't lose hope. It can happen when you least expect it. While I had I put the effort into continuing to write new prospects online, I had no expectations about this particular guy. He was nice on email and the phone, but, truth be told, I was more excited initially about another guy I was to meet the same weekend. As it turned out, there was absolutely no "click" with the 2nd man but a really nice connection with the first. I was taken aback and very pleasantly surprised.

You can be too. Never stop trying. Keep on looking. Go out into the dating world with a positive attitude about the chances of magical things happening for you. That was always my approach, and it has led to wonderful experiences and connections. Please don't hesitate to reach out to me if you need help fostering that positive, hopeful attitude. I'm happy to assist!


Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Laughter Is Vital in Relationships

Ever wonder why romantic comedies are one of the most-popular types of movies? I'm guessing there are 2 main reasons:
1) We enjoy watching current or potential partners doing or saying things (or getting into situations) that make them--or us--laugh
2) Laughter is a key ingredient in every successful, healthy relationship, so audience members can relate to couples who laugh together

Experts say that laughter is important to relationship success for 3 primary reasons:
1) It's a tool in the attraction, dating and relating stages of the partnership
2) It creates a positive bond of intimacy & shared experience
3) It helps couples diffuse anger & overcome conflicts & disagreements

But did you also know that laughing reduces blood pressure, relieves stress, prevents depression, releases inhibitions/sexual blocks, improves mood, increases oxygen flow to the brain, reduces physical pain & strengthens the immune system? Wow! How many more reasons do you need for putting more fun & laughter into your life & relationships?!

Which brings me to my main point: if you & your date and/or partner aren't laughing together, your chances for long-term relationship success are severely reduced. You don't have to laugh at all the same stuff, but you do have to be able to lighten up, relax & be playful when necessary...especially when too much conflict or drama threatens to push you apart or cause you to disengage from each other.

It also helps if you can make each other laugh. After all, everyone using online dating mentions "sense of humor" as one of the top traits they're seeking, right? And they're right--it is crucial. I can't tell you how many happy couples have told me they've considered divorce but stayed because the other person knew how to make them laugh. Laughter is a very powerful way to create & maintain a tight bond with someone.

In fact, research on laughter in relationships by neuroscientist Dr. Robert Provine, as reported in his book Laughter: A Scientific Investigation, showed some surprising findings:
1) Women laugh much more than men--126% more!
2) Men are more often the laugh-getters.
3) Men like women who laugh heartily in their presence.
4) The laughter of the female is the critical index of a healthy relationship.
5) Laughter in relationships declines dramatically as we age.
6) Like yawning, laughter is contagious; the laughter of others is irresistible.

So, there you have it. Lighten up & find something to laugh about. It'll improve both your health & your relationships. I'd love to hear your stories about the part humor plays in your relationships. Send me a note!

Friday, April 3, 2015

Change Is Good in Your Dating Life!

Remember the Sheryl Crow song "A Change Would Do You Good"? One of my favorites. Of course, I'm the unusual person who loves change. Most people I meet and coach have some fear of it. Rather than change itself, I think what they really fear is the unknown (i.e., they're not quite sure what'll happen after they make a change).

Fear of the unknown aside, I invite you to consider this: a change really will do you good in many ways in your dating life. Here are a few simple examples:
1) Changing your photo on your online dating profile will attract attention from brand new people who may not have noticed or liked your old photo on the site, giving you more potential dating opportunities
2) Changing up the venues where you go to socialize can help you cross paths with folks you haven't met before--one of whom could be your new boyfriend/girlfriend
3) Changing your attitude about dating (from skeptical to hopeful or from negative to positive) can help you attract more prospects because others like upbeat people

This all makes sense, right? Then, why are so many people afraid of change? Haven't they heard that "when you do the same thing you always did, you get the same results you always got"? Wouldn't it be worth taking a chance on changing things up a bit--even just as an experiment--to see if you get different (and BETTER) results? I think so!!

The April issue of Oprah Magazine has the theme "Are You Ready for a Change?" and includes a great article about starting over again after unexpected change. It tells readers that "When sudden, scary, unwieldy change starts blowing down the doors, you can grieve what's ended and then--however impossible it may seem--embrace what's been set in motion. You can choose to see change as a catalyst, lighting the fuse that propels you into a place that's entirely, stunningly new." 

I love that phrase "stunningly new"!! Isn't it exciting to imagine and envision how stunning the next experience will be--now that you're free to venture forward into new adventures?

The article goes on to say that, when nothing changes in your life, "you have no opportunity to grow, to expand your humanity and the capacity of your heart. You miss out on the essential point of being alive, which is to experience experiences and feel feelings."

I totally agree. This concept applies especially well for those in the dating world who've experienced the unexpected change of a breakup or loss of a partner--as well as for those all-too-common situations when feelings of rejection or frustration set in after a string of dating disappointments. Yes, one door has to close so another one can open. Sometimes, someone has to exit your life to make way for the next, better partner. 

Often, it's only through that drastic change that you got the chance for personal growth that made you a more-evolved "attractor" for healthier relationships. That certainly happened to me after both my marriages ended. And now I've attracted the healthiest partner I've ever been with.

Change is inevitable.It's a waste of energy to try to keep it at bay or to resist it when it comes. Why not just change your mind about the way you'll handle it? It could definitely do you good!