The Illusion of Romantic Love Being The Only True Love To Pursue

Is romantic love sufficient for us to sustain intimate connections?

Ever since we were young, we read stories and saw films that spoke of true love in a specific way – there has to be a journey, a bit of drama, that one person who can turn around our entire existence and voila! what we have is ideal love.

Only that, as the world evolves with greater individualism as well as redefining communities, we the people are confronted with a different reality – that love perhaps comes from the meaning we create in our lives and that meaning can be created in a number of different ways. This is an antithesis to the fluff and blossoms we’ve grown up associating with love, the highest romance of its kind, the only thing that can salvage us. 

One look at the craving for a significant other that many of us hold and we are reminded of Plato’s Symposium, where the philosopher mentions that man originated as a eight-limbed creature, both sexes blended into a whole. Zeus, the God of Sky and Thunder. However was threatened by this truth, since a whole being meant anyone could be stronger than the Gods. And thus he decided that man needed to be sliced into half so that the Gods remained forever powerful.

Now whether you’re someone who believes in mythology or not, you’ll see how a mythological halving can in fact be a metaphorical representation of most people looking for a “significant other”.

In other words, many people don’t feel sufficient if they don’t have a partner in their lives. However, the question is, is that the only way to attain fulfillment and peace in life? 

 

Why do we define love the way we do?

Flip through the pages of the dictionary at home and you’ll most probably discover the definition of love being “an intense feeling of deep affection”.  While that is often quite true, putting it all into the box of romantic love” without looking at emotional nuances and other bonds that aren’t romantic, is closing down on ourselves and limiting the way we actually feel.

For example, you might be jealous that your best friend is spending time with some other friend more than you. Now in hindsight, if you were to process that jealousy, it might have the same elements as it would’ve had in case a lover was spending time with someone else.

The point is that society as a whole has perpetuated the concepts of relationships meaning nothing unless they are long and love being worthy only if it ends in a commitment as serious as marriage. Even as the world today is more accepting of different kinds of living arrangements, be it between lovers or roommates, what remains as a subtext is the incessant search for romantic love.

Now if you look at love, it’s an intense feeling and one that’s so elusive to capture within a single idea. However, the different people I’ve had spoken to specifically on “love” have unanimously agreed on one thing – they don’t exactly know what it is, though they do know what they want out of it.

Happiness, trust, safety, fulfillment and evolution are a few labels that have emerged. 

The Love Tank Theory – How To Make Love Last

A couple’s Love Tank is filled by the frequency of emotional connections and is drained by the ways a couple disconnects.

  • “Our relationship is emotionally dead.”
  • “We never talk anymore.”
  • “My partner is distant, and we never have any fun.”

My inbox is full of emails like this.

These couples often ask, “How did we get here?”

Have you ever had that thought about your relationship?

Lasting love is like taking a lifelong road trip. Many of us get lost during our journey. Maybe we take a wrong turn by saying something mean, and in our own hurt we avoid making an attempt to turn back around to get on the correct road. Eventually, our relationship runs out of gas and we become stranded.

The absence of loving moments of connection may lead you to check into what Dr. Gottman calls the Roach Motel for Lovers. It’s a nasty place where conflict goes unrepaired, you feel emotionally abandoned, and you consistently become so emotionally flooded that it becomes impossible to resolve your issues.

 

The Empty Love Tank

The heart of practically all relationship distress is not conflict, but rather a lack of connection.

Dr. Sue Johnson argues that hostility, criticism, and demands are really cries for emotional connection.

Dr. Gottman’s research highlights how couples with lasting and happy relationships have a strong friendship, intimately know each other, and have more positive moments of connection than negative.

  • 20 positive moments to every negative moment outside of conflict
  • 5 positive moments to every negative moment during a conflict

Attachment research advocates for a secure emotional connection as vital to our happiness, self-esteem, and personal development. This is true in our childhood as well as in our adulthood.

To check this, ask yourself: What is the cruelest punishment in the world?

The answer is solitary confinement; complete disconnection from other humans.

As humans, we are wired to connect with other people and when we are disconnected, we suffer immensely. We feel empty, lonely, and broken.

This is why we must learn how to get the love we need and how to give the love our partner needs.

 

Your Relationship’s Love Tank

In Dr. Gary Chapman’s popular book, The Five Love Languages, he writes that every person has a Love Tank. I would like to propose that every relationship has its own Love Tank.

A couple’s Love Tank is filled by the frequency of emotional connections and is drained by the ways a couple disconnects.

In your daily life, there are events that fill up your Love Tank. These include emotional and physical affection, your partner asking about your day, helping out with laundry, and weekly dates. Your partner’s Love Tank also gets filled up in ways that are sometimes similar, sometimes different.

There are also events that empty your Love Tank such as work stress, an unresponsive partner, conflict that doesn’t get resolved, broken trust, a lack of affection, and other forms of disconnection that drain your energy. Some incidents drain your Love Tank faster than others.

love tank

Some events that empty our Love Tank may be negative at first, but can actually improve a relationship over time. Conflict is a great example. You may have a difficult argument that is stressful and tense, but the end result is a greater amount in the Love Tank than the initial amount drained. You actually learned how to love your partner better and they learned how to love you better—that produces connection to refill your Love Tank.

love tank conflict

During this conflict, you may have resolved an important issue which will bring you closer and create a deeper sense of we-ness. These events may have a positive result in the end, but are still outputs that require inputs, such as a repair, to deepen a romantic bond and fill up a relationship’s Love Tank.

The positive moments of connection must exceed the negative moments of connection to maintain a full Love Tank. Dr. Gottman’s research also validates how negative moments drain a Love Tank faster than positive moments fill it up.

Ditch The Drama In Your Relationship By Breaking The Karpman Drama Triangle

If you are having relationship problems, it may be because you are stuck in The Karpman Drama Triangle

Are your personal relationships strained or combative?

Are you seeing signs of a toxic relationship with someone you thought you could trust?

Do you often find yourself in power struggles with friends or people at work?

If so, you could be playing one or more roles within the Karpman Drama Triangle and not even know it.

But, you can be more aware of — and break free of — these manipulative dynamics and prevent yourself from falling into unhealthy relationships once and for all.

The Drama Triangle was developed in the 1960s by psychiatrist Stephen Karpman. It explains what creates unhealthy relationships between people.

Karpman observed that anytime we feel angry, victimized, or misunderstood, it’s because we’ve slipped into one of three unconscious and disempowering roles:

karpman drama triangle

  • The Persecutor: Plays the role of the bully, criticizing and blaming others in order to disconnect from more vulnerable feelings.
  • The Victim: Avoids making decisions, solving problems, or taking responsibility for their circumstances. Instead, they attempt to get their needs met indirectly — and will blame others if things don’t work out.
  • The Rescuer: The self-proclaimed hero or good guy. If we’re caught up in this role, we try to help others even when it violates their boundaries. We try to rescue others even at the expense of ourselves. Later, we may feel resentful if that person fails to give us the acknowledgment we think we deserve.

 

In an unhealthy relationship, these three roles are highly interchangeable — meaning we may cycle in and out of them many times in a single conversation.

For example, the perpetrator, realizing his outburst has triggered sadness in his target, may suddenly try to rescue that person. And the target, who was moments ago a victim of the perpetrator’s anger, may switch into the role of perpetrator and lash out.

Regardless of which role we play, participating in the Drama Triangle is an exhausting way to live. We may succeed in controlling others in the short term. But in the long run, we deny ourselves the power to create relationships based on mutual respect and joy.

What makes matters worse is that our participation in these dramas is often unconscious. We simply reenact the same scenarios we saw being played out in our families of origin. So, if you want healthy relationships, it’s time to change things.

Here are 3 principles to help you recognize when you’ve fallen into the Drama Triangle so you can break free from it once and for all.

ditch the karpman drama triangle

1. It only takes one

So often, we’re motivated to change our behavior because we want someone else to improve theirs. But this is a trap that puts our happiness in the hands of someone else.

Begin by acknowledging that no matter how anyone interacts with you, you have the power to choose a different response. By choosing to deliberately respond rather than reflexively react, you set into motion an entirely different outcome.

 

2. Your words have power

Our words reflect our dominant perspective and mindset. They are the building blocks that we use to create our day to day reality.

3 Traits of Marriages That Survive Infidelity and how to know if yours is one

If your world has been thrown off its axis by an affair, you may wonder which marriages survive infidelity.

You may wonder how it’s even possible to survive such a gutting of the intrinsic trust in a marriage. And your doubt wouldn’t be unfounded. After all, nothing more completely undermines the most foundational premise of marriage than infidelity.

When your life has been turned inside out by betrayal, it’s only natural to feel confused, ungrounded, and unsure of your future. And that’s true for both the betrayed and the partner who strayed.

If you aren’t ready to sign divorce papers, knowing which marriages survive infidelity can help you assess the prognosis for your own marriage.

Simply knowing that marriages do survive infidelity and even come out stronger than ever can be a ray of hope.

Dr. Joe Kort, PhD believes that the frequency of infidelity is actually much higher than the numbers often cited. He also says that infidelity is the number-one reason people come to him for therapy. In his experience, these clients genuinely want to work through the trauma of infidelity and come out the other end together.

And he would be the first to say that, when these couples do reach the other side, their marriage is stronger than before the affair.

That may sound all well and good in the land of fairy tales. But if you’re in the throes of emotional trauma from an affair, you may not have the stomach for such in-a-nutshell positivity. You understandably want answers. You want to know which marriages survive infidelity. And you want to know if and how yours will be one of them.

Infidelity expert Dr. Shirley Glass emphasizes three qualities that are the strongest determiners of which marriages survive infidelity.

1. Empathy from the unfaithful partner.

Is the unfaithful partner able to be empathetic when the partner that s/he betrayed comes unglued emotionally? Can the unfaithful partner step into the woundedness of the betrayed and bear compassionate witness to the pain s/he caused? And how does the unfaithful partner express that empathy?

It sounds like a no-brainer to expect a cheating spouse who wants to repair the marriage to tolerate the emotions of the one betrayed. But even the offending partner can have a breaking point. It takes a firmly staked commitment to healing the marriage to remain empathetic, especially if your spouse wants you to suffer.

Even the most mutually resolved marriages will experience their share of unpredictable emotions, crying, obsessing, hyper vigilance and flashbacks. The unfaithful partner has to exhibit tireless empathy while also not playing into a perpetrator-victim dynamic.

 

2. Acceptance of responsibility by the unfaithful partner.

How much responsibility does the unfaithful partner accept for the choice s/he made? 

There are multiple and mutual areas of responsibility that will have to be accepted and dealt with if the marriage is going to survive. What is unequivocally imperative, however, is that the unfaithful partner accepts full responsibility for the choice to have an affair.

Problems that existed in the marriage prior to the affair matter and must be remedied. But they don’t absolve a spouse of cheating as a way of dealing with or avoiding them.

The White Knight Syndrome: Understanding and OverComing It

Rescue yourself from the need to rescue damsels in distress. 

Do You Have White Knight Syndrome?

white knight syndrome

I’ve talked a lot about the various subsets of geek guys who have issues with relating to women as individuals, rather than an idolized goddess figure. We’ve talked about the Nice Guy, and the perils of the Geek Girl fantasy. Now it’s time to cover another branch of nerds and the issues they have with regard to women.

You may have encountered them before. Hell, you may have been one of them before. God knows I was, back in my younger days.

They are the ones who dream about being the great hero, riding in on their charger (or motorcycle, muscle car, what have you) to save the damsel in distress. They’re the ones who try to live by a self-imposed anachronistic code of chivalry and gallantry. They’re the ones attracted to the “distressed”, the depressed, needy or damaged women, convinced that they can “rescue” them from themselves.

They’re the ones who don’t realize just how insulting their attitudes are… or how potentially dangerous.

I’m speaking, of course, of The White Knight.

Hi! I represent your fear that if you don’t trick a woman into loving you, you’ll die alone!

If you or anyone you know has ever shown signs of White Knight Syndrome, you’re gonna want to read this.

 

What Is White Knight Syndrome?

white knight syndrome

White Knights are a subset of the classic Nice Guy, with a twist. Where a Nice Guy is passive, hoping that mere proximity and obsequiousness will eventually win a woman’s heart, a White Knight is active, working to “rescue” a woman in “distress”. Unlike an Orbiter, White Knights will actually take an active role with the women they’re drawn to, turning themselves into a combination protective – and – nurturing figure.

White Knights are attracted to “endangered” women, usually women with emotional issues or ones who have histories of abuse, trauma or addiction issues. They frequently have an overly idealized and romanticized vision of the women they focus on, and see them as impossibly pure and good. Similarly, White Knights see themselves as having only the purest of motivations, hoping to “save” women out of a sense of heroic altruism and expecting no reward other than the deed itself.

They are, of course, lying to themselves.

White Knights are frequently virgins or have had very few serious relationships. They frequently have little experience with attracting or dating women and often try to compensate for a lack of game by adopting an antiquated and romanticized code of chivalry instead, with an emphasis on treating women with respect and deference. The White Knight has severe issues with self-worth; he feels that he has little to offer to a woman, so he hopes to prove his worthiness by “rescuing” her instead.

Since there’s a dearth of dragons and ogres to be slain, and most of the trolls are infesting blogs and forums instead of hiding under bridges, White Knights focus on women with issues – usually involving substance abuse, past trauma or chronic illnesses, whether emotional or physical.

White Knights fall hard for the Woobie. Although they will rarely admit it to anyone – or even to themselves – they’re motivated by the hope that by “rescuing” the fair damsel, she will be so overcome with gratitude that she will reward him with her love or at least her body.

male rescuer in relationship relationship rules rescuer rescuer of people in distress rescuing damsels in distress white knight syndrome

3 ‘Love Language’ Communication Skills That Will Strengthen Your Relationship

Do your communication skills need work?

In any relationship, learning each other’s communication or “love language” style is critical to making someone feel heard and understood. When you don’t feel that you’re being heard, you may not feel love.

So understanding effective communication techniques — both verbal and non-verbal communication skills — will help you communicate with your partner better and feel less afraid of talking about your feelings.

If you feel that you’re drifting apart in your relationship because you and your partner don’t talk to each other often, then it’s time to ask yourself “What is my love language?” so you know what method you feel most comfortable dealing with your partner in.

Learning their love language/communication style is also very important. The more you understand one another, the more comfortable, happy, and loved you’ll feel.

To maintain a healthy relationship, you should know how to communicate better with your partner.

There are four parts to the process of communication: The sender (the person communicating), the encoding of the message (how you translate the message from thought into words or text), your channel of communication (how you choose to relay it), the receiver (the person hearing the message)and the feedback.

Communication is said to be effective when the message from the “sender” is delivered successfully to the “receiver” and relayed back through the “feedback.”

This means they both have the same understanding of the message and there’s no confusion over the meaning or intent.

Communication problems are one of the most common problems couples go through in a relationship.

Let’s say you are the sender of the message.

The usual problem on this stage is that sometimes you are not wary with your word choice, tone of voice, or body language. You may say hurtful words, raise your voice at your partner, or point your finger at them while you’re talking.

Not using the right “channel of communication” is also a factor. Channels of communication include writing, like text messages, chats, or emails, phone calls, and face-to-face communication.

Some opt to post their problems with their partners on social media instead of talking to them personally, and this will put your relationship in jeopardy.

Others use chat or text messaging to relay their issues with their partners, which, many times, can cause miscommunication. This is because your partner may have the wrong interpretations of the message since they can’t see your facial expression or hear the tone of your voice.

The “receiver,” on the other hand, should carefully read, observe, or listen to the sender’s message for them to properly decode and understand the message.

If the receiver fails to understand the message, there will be negative “feedback” on the message. Therefore, the communication fails because the receiver is unable to understand the message from the sender.

Here are 3 ways you can better your communication skills, strengthen your relationship, and learn to speak your partner’s “love language”:

1. Choose the right time to talk

It is important to find the right time to talk to your partner — especially when you had an argument.

You and your partner should be calm, not in a hurry, and not stressed when you’re going to have a conversation about an issue.

6 Tips To End Your Dating Dry Spell

Summer is here and company for your sweaty, summer nights is a much needed staple of this blessed season’s successes. Even if Spring threw you for a loop, burying you beneath obligations, tax horrors and overtime at the office, there’s no need to worry.

There’s no better time than summer to get off the couch, go crazy and get your good old groove back.

Get Physical

Start forcing yourself to exercise at least a little bit each day. Whether or not you have time to hit the gym, get into the habit of jogging, hiking, jump-roping, swimming – anything that gets your blood pumping and heart thumping. Endorphins released will encourage an immediate increase in physical confidence, not to mention a general enthusiasm for getting half naked poolside. By investing in workouts designed to strengthen your body, you prompt your mind to believe in your ability to achieve. Mentally, you will feel considerably more capable the more you continue to pursue the pattern of regular activity and this ultimately translates to a feeling of accomplishment and pride that magnetizes women on the lookout.

Be Open

The most important key to dragging yourself out of a dry spell is your ability to become mentally and emotionally open to meeting new people. While many of us might say we are interested in meeting people, oftentimes the energy we emit is quite the contrary. If your thoughts are geared towards the difficulty of finding someone worth dating while you are out pursuing a potential date, the negativity you have focused on will fog any chance of you finding response from fun, positive people. Remember that what you radiate is what you attract. So, the first step to drawing a crowd is being someone worthy of a crowd’s attention.

Life of the Party

How to be a worthy of a crowd’s attention, you might ask? Simply by being energetic and engaged. Many people feel that in order to be involved in a group conversation, they must prove their ability to keep up with the majority’s mental pace and flow. And while it’s always wise to understand the dynamic already at work in a crowd, it doesn’t necessarily mean you must feel inhibited if the subject at hand seems lifeless or incompatible with your current mood. It merely means you are given the fun challenge of turning the conversation towards something you feel at ease with. For example, if a group’s verbal exchange seems deadened and infrequent, simply find a sequitur capable of bridging a random slice of the current conversation with a more scintillating story you love telling.

Be sure to choose a story that warrants subsequent response and conversation, rather than a rambling anecdote that leaves you awkwardly nodding to a silence circle of bystanders. But, don’t sweat if this happens, either. Easily laugh it off with a little comment like, “Well… Gee guys, I thought that story was going to take us somewhere, but I guess I totally dropped the ball on that one. Who’s next?” When making missteps, don’t panic. Make a joke of it, acknowledge the awkwardness and the crowd will immediately feel comfortable.

Stylize Yourself

Choosing a style icon, and shopping one or two items that encourage a surge of excitement and confidence while suited up to hit the town is one of the best things a single man can do for himself. Whether it’s something as small as a new set of cufflinks or something as noticeable as a snazzy new pair of shoes, getting dolled up is a quintessential step in revitalizing your romantic life. Remember, it’s more for your benefit than hers, so choose clothing or accessories that make you feel – as elementary and childish as it sounds, it honestly is the best word to use – cool. If you feel cool, you exude cool. And cool guys, no matter their aesthetic or physical appearance, always manage to get laid.

Ditch Your Doubts

Essential to finding yourself in fun scenarios involving women worth winning is your ability to move beyond your comfort zone. You may not feel all too happy to jump onto the dance floor or drive to some unknown bar out of your neighborhood or take a chance on a couple chicks who convinced you to attend a random house party, but being uncomfortable is often a blessing. While stuck in a rut of what you have familiarized as ‘regular life,’ taking risks is necessary.

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