Friday, July 30, 2010

The Opposites




Dating is all about contradictions.

I call it the Opposites. It’s one of the reasons certain personality types have a hard time figuring this relationship thing out.

Dating is about push and pull. Tension and release. It means things sometimes go in a counter-intuitive direction.

Flirting is often about the Opposites. “Get away from me” means “come closer.” “You want me” means “I want YOU.” Every time a woman has told me “you are so not getting laid tonight,” the opposite has happened.

Then there’s woman who pushes her partner away, not because she wants him to go, but because she wants to know if he has strength enough to stay.

And of course there’s the popular complaint. The only people that like me are the ones I‘m not interested in.

The Opposites are tricky, counter-intuitive, and complicated by the fact that it doesn’t apply to every situation or every person. Worse, some people play the Opposites when they should most be being straightforward.

Sometimes they work in our favor. Sometimes they complicate things even more.

Are The Opposites good or bad? I don't know. All I know is they exist. Before you decide how you want to deal with them, you have to accept them.

The only way to get a feel for the Opposites is with experience. Eventually you get a feel for it and when they do and don’t apply.

And eventually, you will move beyond them, realizing that they are just two sides of the same coin.

-May All Beings Be Sexy

Check out this link for information on how to get Dan's Dating for Shy Guys ebook.

Join The Heart Way Support Group on Facebook here.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Five Days Until The Heart Way Meeting.

Five days until the first meeting of the Heart Way support group. I'm excited and nervous at the same time...kind of like before a first date.

I suppose that's appropriate.

If anyone is in Edmonton and wants to attend, last minute registration is at: thegatewayboyfriend@gmail.com.

-May All Beings Be Sexy

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Sometimes The Ones We Love Fall In Love With Other People

The thirteen words that make up the next paragraph may strike some as painfully obvious. For a lot of us, it’s just painful. I’ve learned to swallow many truths over the course of my love life, but this particular pill did not go down easy.

Sometimes the ones we love fall in love with people who aren’t us.

Worse, there is nothing we can do about it.

Jealousy doesn‘t work. Guilting doesn‘t work. Rules don‘t work. If anything, those things make a person more likely to stray.

The most effective strategy is the one that feels the most vulnerable…trusting them and trusting yourself to know how to be the best partner you can. Failing that, you have to trust that you and your partner have the wisdom to know when to fight for what you have and when it is better to walk away.

But not only that is a tall order, it is no guarantee of success either.

It is possible you haven’t been doing the things you could have to maintain the relationship. It is possible you have reasons for this. Or maybe you’ve already broken up, but you have hopes of getting back together.

Or maybe you DON’T want to get back together. Maybe you just see how quickly they found someone else, and it hurts, possibly even makes you wonder if they already had this other person in mind before they ended the relationship.

Or maybe it has nothing to do with you at all.

It isn’t up to you who your partner falls in love with. In some ways, it isn’t always even up to them.

Sometimes there might be something you can do. A gesture of commitment, a show of support, an ultimatum.

Other times there will be nothing you can do but grieve.

Sometimes the ones we love fall in love with people who aren’t us

I’ve been there. It’s painful. I wish I had more comfort to offer. I won’t ask you to like it.

But sometimes learning to accept it is the next best thing.

PRACTICE

1. Say the words to quietly yourself: “Sometimes the ones we love fall in love with people who aren’t us”

2. Can you accept this is possible? What feelings come up when you do this? Notice them. Give them their due.

3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 five or ten times. If you are in a situation where someone you love loves someone else, do this every day for a week.

See what happens.

-May All Beings Be Sexy

Check out this link for information on how to get Dan's Dating for Shy Guys ebook.

Join The Heart Way Support Group on Facebook here.

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Most Dangerous Relationship Ground To Be On...

...are the times you believe you are 100% in the right.

Beware.

-May All Beings Be Sexy

Check out this link for information on how to get Dan's Dating for Shy Guys ebook.

Join The Heart Way Support Group on Facebook here.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

[Editorial] Dating Ecology: A Woman’s Sexual History



“Men don’t marry women who have slept with a lot of guys.”

I’ve seen this statement in a number of different places. Sometimes it’s said out loud. Other times it’s left implied, but unspoken, which has the potential to cause even more damage.

Now it’s true that sexual promiscuity can be an indicator of other issues. But if so, it’s a symptom, not the problem.

It’s also true that some guys (and women) will judge women based on their sexual history. But their problem with your sexual history is just that--THEIR problem. It sucks, especially if those people are in a position to cause trouble in your life, but it doesn’t make you a bad person.

Damaged goods are in the eye of the beholder. And judgement is ultimately self-destructive (We've talked about Judgement--or rather Non-judgement here).

If you are a guy who decides you won't hook up with a woman because of her past, you're the one missing out. She will be fine. She'll just go find someone else.

If you're the kind of guy with a pattern of sleeping with a woman as soon as possible and then judging her for it, that's a sadder case. You are hurting women, true. Most women will get over it and move on. Some will be hurt and will carry this hurt forward into the future.

But you are still mostly hurting yourself. If the women who sleep with you are damaged, what does that say about you?

I agree that men and women should have standards. If a woman's history means that much to you, that's fine. But recognize it's YOUR criteria. It doesn't make her a bad person. It just means it isn't what you're looking for. Personally, I think when it comes to deabreakers there are more important hills to die on, but that's my opinion.

Other people's choices are not your problem. YOUR choices are your problem.

I’m not encouraging promiscuity for its own sake. There are compelling reasons a woman (or man, for that matter) should make responsible sexual choices. However, “Because some asshole might judge you for it” doesn’t strike me as one of them.

I admit I’m biased on this issue.

I lost my virginity late in life. I was insecure about it, but I’ve yet to meet a woman who has ever made me feel badly about it.

If women are able to accept me for my sexual history, I feel I owe them the same courtesy.

-May All Beings Be Sexy

Check out this link for information on how to get Dan's Dating for Shy Guys ebook.

Join The Heart Way Support Group on Facebook here.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Ready Or Not Here Life Comes

Yesterday I got back from a wonderful weekend to discover my computer had crashed, taking with it my pictures, my music, some stand-up comedy stuff and some writing for this blog.

I'm most distraught about the pictures and the music. The comedy and writing stuff sucks, but I have faith in my ability to produce more.

It could have been worse. My mom and sister bought me a laptop recently so some things were saved.

But it was not the timing I wanted.

What does this have to do with romance? you ask.

Well, because in some ways, losing my computer reminds me of an unexpected break-up.

Break-ups happen and sometimes they happen before we are ready for things to end.

And one of the things that often comes with a break up is the fact that it RUINED OUR PLANS.

So what do we do?

We do what we can. Not what we wanted to, but what we can.

And sometimes we learn that nothing can be done. That no amount of screaming or yelling or phone calls or emails or hounding their friends will be helpful.

So we learn to grieve and we learn to stop ourselves from doing things that will only cause more pain for ourself and the other person.

Do what you can do. No more. no less. And when there is nothing to do...then do that.

-May All Beings Be Sexy

Check out this link for information on how to get Dan's Dating for Shy Guys ebook.

Join The Heart Way Support Group on Facebook here.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

In Search Of Mars And Venus

“Men Are From Mars/Women Are From Venus.”
-John Gray

“Men are from Earth. Women are from Earth. Deal with it.”
-George Carlin


I go back and forth on how different women and men are. Some days I don’t see a whole lot of separation. Other days we seem to be apart on so many levels, I have a hard time conceiving how we get together at all.

There are patterns to the way many men and women behave. I don’t pretend to know whether the differences are cultural or biological, but learning to understand and accept differences helped me in a lot of ways.

I don’t think you NEED to understand the way men and women work to get a boy/girlfriend any more than a bumblebee needs a degree in aerospace engineering in order to fly.

Still the differences are interesting. And taking the time to understand them does come in handy now and again.

Right now, I‘m holding back discussing those differences on this blog. As interesting as they are, such discussions often turn into arguments or veer off onto theoretical tangents. Neither of those is helpful, and besides, there are other places on the internet for such things.

Here we are only interested in helping people become happier and more confident in their ability to handle relationships. Anything else is a distraction.

I encourage people to learn more about their preferred sex. The better you are able to understand and empathize your partner‘s point of view, the more you can work towards mutually fulfilling relationships.

Here are a few things I found helpful when learning. I hope it helps you.

1. Don’t blindly believe everything you read or hear. Just cause somebody wrote it on the internet doesn’t make it true. Read other opinions, especially opinions that are different from yours. Better yet, test what you read against your own experience.

2. Your attitude is important. Approach with a spirit of curiosity. If you look to sex differences as a way to exploit, blame, ‘win the relationship,’ generalize, or justify bitterness, you‘ll find writers who will cater to your needs. Just remember: none of those roads lead to stronger relationships. Travel them at your own risk.

3. Be prepared to accept things you may not like. It is possible that you will learn things about the opposite sex that you don‘t want to believe or wish wasn‘t true. Resist the urge to judge, condemn, or try and change people.

4. Don’t hold too tightly to what you believe. Reality is both simpler and more complicated than any theory. I‘m surprised at how many people confronted with a discrepancy between reality and theory will insist that reality is wrong.

And, finally, the one that’s hard for a lot of people.

5. When it comes to romantic experience, your experience is more important than objective truth. If whatever you believe leads you towards happiness for yourself and the people around you, keep doing it.

Knowledge is wonderful. But sometimes the way to move forward you have to let go and fall into the unknown.

PRACTICE

What are your beliefs about men and women? How different do you think they are? How do you feel about the beliefs you have? How do these beliefs affect your dating life?

-May All Beings Be Sexy

Check out this link for information on how to get Dan's Dating for Shy Guys ebook.

Join The Heart Way Support Group on Facebook here.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Don't Try To Fix Every Issue

My sister--who is happily married--once told me: “Two-thirds of the issues in a marriage never get resolved.”

I’ve never been married or in an extended relationship, so I can’t say whether or not that’s true. One thing I have noticed is conflicts late in the relationship are fought over the same ground as early ones.

A couple I’ve know for years is having difficulties in their marriage. The difficulties they are having now are the same difficulties they had nearly two decades ago. When I think of the reasons my own relationships ended, none of those reasons came as a surprise. The issues were always there.

Does this mean every relationship is destined to fail? Of course not. For every time-bomb that went off, there are just as many things I THOUGHT would be an issue and never were.

Still if you do have points of friction in your relationship with partners or even if you’ve noticed your own issues clouding the waters, be ready to accept that they may never go away.

Even if you do fix those issues, chances are others will come up.

This is a good thing.

Because it frees you up. Once you realize that issues will always be there, you start to notice that IT DOESN’T MATTER WHAT THE ISSUE IS.

What matters is your approach.

Instead of focusing on ‘fixing’ things, focus on how you approach problems. Are you willing to face them? Are you able to accept responsibility for your part without blaming yourself for the things that are beyond your control? Do you want things to work out for everybody involved or do you need to ‘win’ or prove yourself right at the expense of others?

Most of all, are you able to accept differences?

There are cracks and fault-lines in every relationship. Trying to pave them over is futile.

PRACTICE

Search the internet for a topic you are passionate about until you find a piece that argues the OPPOSITE of what you believe. The more irrational and insulting the piece is to your side, the better. Notice how you feel as you read.

Do not respond to the piece in any way, either by arguing your point of view or defending yourself.

For the next few days, continue to look for points of view different from your own. When you find them, make no attempt to change the other person. Also don’t feel obligated to change your own mind or be convinced of anything. Simply listen.

-May All Beings Be Sexy

Check out this link for information on how to get Dan's Dating for Shy Guys ebook.

Join The Heart Way Support Group on Facebook here.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Time for a Change of Heart? Try The Heart Way

The Heart Way

The Heart Way is a support group for anyone looking to improve their love life. Whether you're single or attached, hooking up or breaking up, The Heart Way is where we work on becoming accountable for our own romantic happiness without guilt or blame.

There is no charge but donations are gratefully accepted.

WHEN: 7PM, Tuesday, August 3 & Tuesday, September 10
WHERE: Woodcroft Library Program Room

Space is limited. Email thegatewayboyfriend@gmail.com to register.

Check out this link for information on how to get Dan's Dating for Shy Guys ebook.

Join The Heart Way Support Group on Facebook here.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Big Announcement Coming

The group I mentioned wanting to put together in a previous journal entry is coming together.

Look for the official announcement Monday.

Since the membership on Meetup.com was funded by donations from readers, I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you so much for your support. I couldn't do it without you.

Have a great weekend

-May All Beings Be Sexy

Check out this link for information on how to get Dan's Dating for Shy Guys ebook.

Join The Heart Way Support Group on Facebook here.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Diary of a Gateway Boyfriend: Divorce

I’ve never been married, but I am getting to the age where I am starting to see some of my friends’ marriages end.

I always thought of divorce as a bad break-up. It’s worse than that. Hearing the stories about the legal, financial and emotional fall-out makes me cringe. And it’s time and energy-consuming too, way worse than here’s your CD back. I’m amazed at the strength people have to come through something like that.

What surprises me about the break-up of a friends’ marriage is that it hits ME hard, especially when it is couples I‘ve known for years. Some of them I never knew BEFORE they were a couple.

I tend to idealize those couples. I think of them as the ones that Made It. They’re an example of what is possible for the rest of us.

But in the end, they are as human as the rest of us. Some marriages last; some don’t. It’s not necessarily anyone’s fault. It’s just how it goes.

A relationship can end at any time, even after years together, decades even.

To me, that‘s a reminder to appreciate every moment I have with each partner. Some relationships last only weeks (or hours), some weeks, some years, and some a lifetime. Sometimes you will have an idea how long a relationship will last. But you can never know for sure.

I can never know how long a relationship will last. But I can do my best to make whatever moments we have together worthwhile.

-May All Beings Be Sexy

In other news, the group I mentioned wanting to put together in a previous journal entry is coming together. Look for an announcement tomorrow.

Check out this link for information on how to get Dan's Dating for Shy Guys ebook.

Join The Heart Way Support Group on Facebook here.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Progress, Not Perfection


“What’s wrong?” she asked me.

“Nothing.” The word was out of my mouth before I even realized I was lying.

She looked at me worriedly. I felt sick in my stomach. I want to be honest. But I don’t want to tell her what I’m worried about.

I tried again. “Okay, something is on my mind, but I’m not ready to talk about it yet.”

“Fine,” she said.

The next day I called her and told her what was going on for me. We had a nice talk. When it was over, the problem wasn’t solved necessarily. But she had listened. She had stuck around. And while I couldn’t say how things would play out, I was happy that I was able to take those steps towards building a more honest relationship.

Notice I wasn’t perfect. Even though I value honesty in a relationship, when she asked me what was wrong, my first reaction was to lie, to pretend nothing was amiss.

I was able to go back though, and even if I wasn‘t take the full step and express what was on my mind, I crossed the bridge as far I was able in that moment.

The next day, I went the whole way.

Baby steps. We’re looking for progress, not perfection. I am as fallible as the next person. But I do my best.

I ask nothing more than that you try to do the same.

PRACTICE

Think of a place in the past few days where you’ve fallen short of what you expect from yourself.

1 - Forgive yourself
2 - If possible, do something to ‘clean up’ after your mistake.

If you find the mistake is too big for you to forgive yourself for, don’t worry about it. Leave it for now, and pick one you feel more ready to deal with. You can always come back to things that feel like too much right now.

How did it go?

-May All Beings Be Sexy

Check out this link for information on how to get Dan's Dating for Shy Guys ebook.

Join The Heart Way Support Group on Facebook here.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Feelings 101: A Practice

We’ll do some advanced feeling work in future articles. This post is to get everyone on the same page. It’s an exercise is adapted from my ebook Dating for Shy Guys (which you get free with a 20$ donation to this site--which I suppose isn’t free at all, but whatevs).

At various points in the day (set your alarm if you have to), stop and ask yourself two questions.

1 - What am I feeling right now?
2 - What do I want right now?

There were a couple things that finally helped me get the most out of this exercise.

1 - Not judging feelings or desires as good as bad. “I want a hamburger” is just as valid as “I want an end to ethnic cleansing“ as “I want to kill that SOB who nearly ran me over.” (Though for the record, there’s a difference between wanting something and actually acting on that want.)

2 - Recognizing the difference between what I SHOULD be feeling and what I actually WAS feeling. The temptation is to try and find out the ‘correct’ feeling for any situation and make ourselves feel that. When we put the time in, most of us find it doesn‘t work that way.

3 - Accepting that wants and emotions change. I want to kill the SOB who nearly ran me over now, but in three seconds, I’ll have forgotten the whole episode and will be back to wanting a hamburger. Feelings are the same way. I used to think I could never tell a woman “I love you” because if my feelings changed down the road, I would think that would make me a liar. That’s not true. “I love you” means “I love you NOW.”

4 - You don’t have to DO anything about what you want or feel. For now, just notice it. If you want to take the next step, practice saying what you feel and what you want out loud.

PRACTICE

Work with these questions over the next week or so. I look forward to hearing how things go.

-May All Beings Be Sexy

Check out this link for information on how to get Dan's Dating for Shy Guys ebook.

Join The Heart Way Support Group on Facebook here.