Next week is Valentine’s Day and the start of my latest 4-week teleseminar series called Why Love Fades & How to Keep It Vibrant, so love is on my mind!
This is the time of year we love to test (and watch fail) our partners even more than usual. Have you noticed? Thought I’d help you avoid some of the pitfalls I and some of my dear friends and clients have fallen into in the past. Around this (love) holiday season let’s reassess who we are as partners. Are you dreaming about who you want to be as a partner and living into that dream? Are you hunting down your dark side and putting it in check? Are you looking to yourself as your source of happiness and sexy feelings? Is this starting to make you feel nervous, defensive or inadequate? Don’t be.
Take heart in the fact that human culture really hasn’t gotten very “good at” keeping love alive. Note the prevalence of infidelity, the divorce rate and the fact that many cultures still choose arranged marriages as the highest expression of love. So let’s call us all beginners with plenty of cleaning up, learning and practicing to do when it comes to what we at HG call, Hot Monogamy. Here are some of my favorite easy tips for what NOT to do if you want to have a great partnership and also not blow Valentine’s Day.
Don’t blame things on your partner that are your job.
Let’s just say the following things are on you:
– a great plan for Valentine’s Day and getting your partner into it
– your sex life being great
– staying in great, deep, honest communication
How much better will it feel to be the master of your fate in these areas, rather than the victim of your partner’s supposed changes or deficiencies? Take stock of all your current complaints about how your relationship is going and pretend all those jurisdictions are yours. In the Handel Method® we have this wild notion that YOU are in charge of the things you care about most. Why? Because life works way better that way. If you care about candlelit dinners, light the candles. If you care about a certain experience in bed, ask for it and set it up. If you care about a certain kind of food or level of cleanliness, make it happen! You really never know how it will be/feel until you try. I used to think I’d feel better waiting or nudging my partner to take care of my “needs,” feelings and chores. But I was wrong about that. The truth is, it’s so much better being responsible for everything I wanted that he wasn’t psyched to take on. I’m not saying there is no negotiating, of course there is asking for help. But the difference is in your being responsible for the outcome, rather than a victim. (If you are at such a standstill in your relationship that your partner won’t even talk or negotiate, you need triage. That’s a separate subject; see last week’s blog.)
Don’t see their negative traits really easily before owning you have the same ones and/or complementary ones.
Back to your list of complaints about your current relationship. Note all the things you don’t like about your partner, for example: he/she doesn’t communicate, s/he isn’t being honest, doesn’t do what s/he says, is cheating, etc. Now, I hate to say this, but the chances are very high you are committing the same crimes. It’s just how it works. We get into relationships because we are peas in a pod. So before you point the finger at your partner, look at the ones pointing back at you. This is not going to be easy or fun, but it works every time. And it leads to honesty, revelation, forgiveness of yourself and your partner (and maybe even your parents and grandparents and other ancestors, when you realize it came from them!)
Another variation on this theme is when you pick a partner who has the perfect complementary issue to yours and you just keep pressing each others’ buttons not realizing you chose each other for just that purpose, spiritually. In the case of my husband, he was always needing to prove he was good enough, so he picked a woman who kept demanding. And since my issue was never feeling cared for, I picked an insecure man who would always keep trying. Neither one of us was ever satisfied until we caught wind of our dynamic and committed to growing up on both sides of our marriage. He had to man up and take care of himself first and I basically had to do the same, take care of my own needs and not put it on him. Phew!!! I highly recommend this for couples who want love to last and flourish.
Don’t forget you picked them and why.
We tend to be incredibly amnesiac when it comes to remembering that WE CHOSE (and why we chose) our partners once they start disappointing us. We conveniently forget that we picked them on purpose to fulfill something for which we were purposely looking. We invited them in. We forget everything we loved about them specifically, sometimes even turning those traits into what sucks about them. For example, I loved my husband’s generosity, but when I saw him bestow it on anyone other than me, I got jealous and spiteful. Conversely, when I forced myself to remember and appreciate why I picked him, his generosity turned back to me and I could also appreciate the enormous benefits of being with a universally generous man. Please take a moment right now and remember what you first loved: that feistiness, how much he believed his view was the right one, her vulnerability, his strength, her dedication, his loyalty, her sense of playfulness. I promise you all those qualities are still there, you’ve just either gotten into a dynamic that squelched or demonized them, or you aren’t seeing straight. Here is your chance to re-look and re-focus. This Valentine’s Day make sure you:
1) Make it your job to be happy and plan the special day!
2) Own up to your own negative traits and take them on; forget theirs for now.
3) Remember the great qualities you picked in your partner and bring them back up, with great appreciation. Let that be your focus if/when you celebrate Valentine’s Day.
For goodness sake, if none of this seems like a good idea because you are in such deep doodoo with your partner (which is many of us) please revert back to last week’s blog for advice. But if you’re guilty of these above, now’s the time to change your dynamic. If you are already in jail for your love crimes, you need different/deeper solutions. Be honest about where you fall, read the appropriate blog and start to implement the suggestions.
Of course if you need more help, come to the 4-week teleseminar series that starts next week.
P.S.- Come to Why Love Fades & How to Keep It Vibrant. We’ve made it so affordable. Need we say more?