Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Men, here's what you need to do when you take your girl to a party

Some men are utterly clueless when it comes to respecting their date or girlfriend when they are out in public. Their innocent flirting with other women can end up creating explosive consequences. And yet, flirting is a natural part of life, and there needs to be space for it when a couple goes out together.

I like to be with a man who is capable of respecting me and who is conscious of my feelings. How can you say you love someone and not protect their feelings?

Things that will make me feel liked, respected, adored and loved when we
are out in public:

- Walk into the event together. For the first ten minutes or so, introduce me to people. Make it clear that I am your guest by putting your arm around me. (Make me feel like I am valued and that you are proud of me.) After these initial introductions, we can start wandering separately, and maybe come back together from time to time to check in.

- Dance with me at least once during the night. Make me feel like you are actually enjoying this -- not doing it grudgingly just because you "have to." I don't want to spend the whole time with you either, but some time feels good and you're so fun to dance with.

- Make me feel as if you are proud to be seen with me in public. It feels fantastic to hold hands when entering a room, or walk hand in hand down the street together. I love that.

- Put your arm around me once in a while. Touch me subtly. Do something romantic or caring once in a while. Doesn't have to be constantly. It's ok to flirt and interact with others. Just remind me that you still like me and find me attractive, too.

- If we are away from each other for a long time, check in with each other once in a while and ask how we're doing. Are we having fun? Is the party boring? Do we want to leave?

- Try spend as time talking to, dancing and being seen with me and not just other women. (At least 25% of the time--doesn't have to be all the time.) Just remind me that we have an attraction and a spark.

- If you are touching, flirting with me a lot, and also paying attention to others, then I still feel attractive and valued. If you are being really flirtatious, touching other women but you are NOT touching me AT ALL at this event, this makes me feel rejected.

- If exes of yours are at the party, let me know who they are, point them out to me in advance so I know who they are and can navigate the minefield. Introduce me to them to help ease the tension. Maybe I will like them and we'll get to be friends.

- If you are talking to a bunch of people, try to include me too. I want to feel included, not excluded. It feels good to be part of the group and to belong.

- Toss me a compliment once in a while. Or just a smile from across the room. A wink. A glance. This feels great.

- Find ways to make these public interactions hot and juicy for us. Why not nibble my ear, whisper a suggestion or caress me subtly but in a very sexy way -- or pull me off into a dark corner for ....hmmmm?

- If you are going to disappear to go off to have a private conversation with an ex girlfriend, please let me know in advance first and explain why you need to have this discussion right now. Ask why are you having this conversation, which might be tense or emotional, or explosive, at a party, publicly, instead of later, privately. What is the outcome you're trying to create? Be honest with me (and her!) about your intentions.

- Why are you even interacting with exes anyway? Move on. Be present. You're with me now.

- Keep things light and playful, flirtatious and friendly in your interactions...not too overtly sexual. Being subtle is always sexier anyway!

- If my parents, a boss, or an influential person is in the room, be very conscious of how your behavior might be interpreted. For example, if my conventional, Catholic East Coast family is at a party, it would be very rude for you to be seen flirting with another woman or cuddling with her. It will be seen as disrespectful to me. Best to project a very conventional appearance if family / coworkers are present.

- When introduced to my family or friends, make an attempt to impress them and be interested in them.

- Introduce me to exes, when we run into them socially, to help clear tension between them and anyone you are now dating (It's harder to dislike someone you know and see as a human being.)

- If we run into o0her friends or ex lovers socially, find a way to create a conversation where we can all be included. This can help ease the tension between everyone and create friendship. It's hard for me to be friends with others if I am not given the chance.

- If you are alone at a party, event or dance, and I'm not there, be conscious of the fact that people who know us might be there and
observing you.
What kind of image are you projecting? What impression are people getting about your relationship with me and your respect for my feelings? We have to take care of each others feelings even when the other is not present. Taking care of your lover's feelings is a deep act of conscious love.

- Live in the present moment, not the past. Meet new people, have fresh new experiences, don't be stuck in old patterns and be open to change.

- Do you really want to be my date at this party -- or would you rather be alone? Be honest with me about your desires and intentions. Don't take me to a party if you're going to ignore me all night. I have better things to do.


Monday, November 19, 2007

When we lie, we destroy relationships

Two weeks ago, I took my first workshop with the Human Awareness Institute, an organization devoted to helping people have more loving and effective relationships. The workshop turned my life upside down. Tucked in the back of our handouts was this essay by the organization's founder, the late Stan Dale, on the effect of truth on our relationships.

"When we lie, we destroy relationships - both the one we have with ourselves and those we have with others," he says. "The only true foundation a relationship can be built on is trust. So many relationships are falling apart because trust - if it was ever there - is being eroded."

After so many experiences where my dishonesty -- or my partner's lack of honesty -- has destroyed my intimate relationships, I now feel that there is only one way to relate, truthfully, and with blunt, radical honesty.

Trusting And Truthing

An honest look at the effects of dishonesty

by Stan Dale

One of the articles in Friends & Lovers (IC#10)
Summer 1985, Page 25

Copyright (c)1985, 1997 by Context Institute

WHETHER WE'RE AWARE of it or not, we human beings communicate 24 hours a day. Even in dreams we communicate. Even when we don't say anything we communicate. Our relationships are built or destroyed by communication - and there's virtually nothing else involved in a personal relationship except one form of communication or another.

Throughout my life as a husband, lover, father, friend and therapist, I have both experienced and observed the destructive power of dishonest communication. When we lie, we destroy relationships - both the one we have with ourselves and those we have with others. Lying is counter communication. It erodes the very foundation of a relationship. It is a time bomb that will eventually destroy the relationship.

To tell a lie weakens the already weak esteem of the lie-teller. The person to whom the lie is told, whether that person finds out the truth or not, feels the lie's effects. Why? Because lies are negative communications. They take away what is attempting to be built. The only true foundation a relationship can be built on is trust. So many relationships are falling apart because trust - if it was ever there - is being eroded. One more lie; one more time bomb.

Then one day, ka-BOOM! Why? Because communication finally broke down beyond the point of no return. If relationships are communication with trust as their foundations, then honesty is the cornerstone. Dishonesty is a protective device. Lies are protective devices. Lies are told because the person telling them believes that he/she has no other choice.

However, we're being two-faced if we tell someone that we love them - and then also lie to them. There can be no real love without trust. We'd be protecting ourselves from the very person we need never fear. If we don't trust the person we say we love, how can we ever be intimate? How can we ever be vulnerable? And if we can't be intimate and vulnerable, what do we have but a lie?

Lies are protective devices. We think we are protecting the other person when we lie, but in reality we are protecting ourselves. When we lie, we set the time bomb ticking, and the explosion will rip through the delicate fabric we attempt to weave between ourselves and someone else.

There are two basic lies - the overt and the covert. The overt lie is usually spoken. It's a falsehood. Even a little white one.

The covert lie is more subtle, and the most often used. Its telltale signs are usually seen in body language - such as darting eyes, downcast eyes, side-glancing eyes, twitching of some part of our extremities, falre smiles, a deadpan face and so on. In other words, it's something that needs to be said, but isn't. The covert lie is usually more damaging than the bald-faced lie because the other person may never perceive that something is wrong. Reading body language takes quite a bit of experience. If covert lying can be detected, however, we can defuse the time bombs before they explode.

Envision a gorge. The only thing connecting the two land masses is a bridge built by the hands of those who dare to risk. Isn't that the process two people take when they try to establish a friendship? Here are two entities wishing to connect. They put out furtive feelers at first. Then they get slightly bolder the more they feel they can trust.

Each communication, no matter how conveyed, is one more plank in that bridge. The more honestly we communicate, the more we get to know one another, and the stronger the bridge gets. The more we get to know each other, the sooner we can lower the barriers of self protection. We almost always approach the others like knights in armor. Slowly we shake their hand, "checking for weapons" as in the days of old. Then slower yet, we raise the visor to get to "see" the other person.

Why are we so armored? Probably because intimacy is so frightening to us. In reality, it is probably the single most frightening thing we face. The effect of being totally intimate is being totally naked - emotionally, psychically, and possibly even physically. It is to let every part of me connect or touch with every part of you.

It is total vulnerability. Now I am totally defenseless. When we are defenseless, we fear that "now you will walk all over my unprotected guts with your cleats. You will hurt me in ways no other person could."

It seems that what we cherish most, we chase away in so many creative, fearful ways. For every time we lie, hiding our "nakedness," we are telling the other person, "I don't trust you!" Not in so many words, of course, and that's another contributing cause to the downfall of that painstakingly built bridge between two people. After all, who trusts a bridge with loose or missing planks?

We are so afraid of hurting others and of being hurt that we do the very thing that is guaranteed to destroy what we cherish. Every time we lie, overtly or covertly, we drive another nail into the coffin that will hold our dead relationship.

The paradox of being totally naked, vulnerable and intimate is that we are also totally potent. In reality, we cannot hurt or be hurt unless we choose it. Being naked, vulnerable and intimate with someone else is first to say that we are totally naked, vulnerable and intimate with ourselves.

That's the ultimate question: Do we trust ourselves or not? Do we trust that we can handle whatever comes up; or will we run scared, hiding in the tunnel of darkness that is laden with ignorance and fear?

The decision, of course, is up to each one of us. How long are we willing to live the lie? Or will we defuse the time bomb that would otherwise destroy us and those we love?

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

The sinking relation dinghy

Dear ____,

Why are you so armored? Probably because intimacy is so frightening to you. It is probably the single most frightening thing you face.

Why do you lie, constantly to yourself and other people? Because the truth is so frightening to you. Telling the truth means facing the truth of who and what you are.

There can be no real love without trust. We'd be protecting ourselves from the very person we need never fear.

Truth = reality.

Lie = untruth.

False reality. Illusion. Building an Impression. Spin control. Artifice. Creating a story that pleases other people. Making yourself look good in another's eyes.

Our relationship started with untruth. And I just went deeper into denial in order to accept you.

Lying to others ultimately shows that you are not being honest with yourself.
I'm untruthing to myself all the time in order to be with you. You are untruthing to me all the time in order to convince me to go deeper.

We are building a relationship (it' s more of a relation dingy or an inflatable raft with a leak in it than a ship) on this really weak foundation of continual deceit.

You untruth to yourself as you create this illusion. Because every time you pretend, to other people, that you and I are less, you are making us less. You are creating that reality -- less intimacy, less closeness -- with your words and your actions.

Why do you lie? You think it is to protect me, but it is really to protect yourself. The truth, you fear, might make me like you less. The untruth, on the other hand, might trick me into liking you more, supporting you, standing up for you--even loving you.

But is that relation-dingy floating on spin control and platitudes seaworthy-- or just an illusion built on a shaky foundation of illusion?

I trusted you. This was the impression I had--the untruth. The spin. I put that spin in our relation dingy and denied it.

And now the relation dingy has another leak in it, and it's sinking.

This story was created by Brain Dancer in her mind, with the very limited facts that you revealed to me, to make her happy so she would be tricked into going deeper into intimacy with you.

I was totally in denial when I created this story to please myself, instead of looking at the truth. I lied to myself and looked the other way. I created a fantasy that enabled me to continue with the illusion that makes me happy and put that fantasy in my little relation dingy.

"Right now, I'm only sometimes happy with ____, because he is constantly abandoning me for other women/people/priorities/experiences, but he is going to surrender to me, take care of me, and nurture me, and make me happy someday. So I will tolerate all kinds of behaviors that hurt me and make me feel unworthy and abandoned as I wait for him to change and start to give me what I want."

Is there anything you can do for me that will heal this and enable us to get closer again? Or is it time for me to put an end to this painful ride and jump off the "love dingy" and go find a real Love Boat?