Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Unrequited Love and the One and Done Solution




You know what I’ve changed my mind about? Unrequited love.

I used to think the idea of pining away over someone was romantic. Charlie Brown working up the courage to talk to the Red Headed Girl. The girl in the corner of the gym pining over the popular high school quarterback.

Now I see it as a trap. Emotional quicksand hidden under a bed of sweet smelling flowers.

There’s nothing wrong with having a crush on someone. Crushes are fun.

But when that crush turns to romantic obsession....that's when creepiness, resentment, and heartache inevitably ensue.

But I LOVE him (or her), you might tell yourself about this person. We’re perfect for each other.

No, you aren't. You aren’t in love with this person, because You don’t even KNOW them. Sometimes you may not have even spoken to them at all. Other times this person may be someone who considers you a friend. But just because you're friends, doesn't mean you know them in a romantic sense.

The only way to find out if you are romantically compatible with someone is to go out with them.

And by 'go out with them,' I don't mean going out as friends. I mean doing something together where both of you know and accept there are romantic intentions.

So ask them out already.

The longer you go without finding out one way or the other, the more you build this person up in your head. You cut yourself off from other options. You might even convince yourself you HAVE no other options. You think you’re in love, but you aren’t in love with the other person. You’re in love with the person in your mind.

That person doesn’t exist.

Ask them out. And if it doesn’t work out or they aren’t interested, move on.

Because the other problem with ongoing unrequited love is the tendency to keep getting your hopes up. You grasp for any sign, so even the faintest signal you sometimes latch onto as a sign that the two of you are meant to be together or that he or she is seeing you in a new light.

That’s your brain playing tricks.

Don’t think you’re going to wear her (or him) down. It is highly unlikely they will suddenly change their mind, see what a wonderful person you are and what a fool they’ve been for neglecting you this long. What is far more likely to happen is creepiness, unpleasantness, and resentment, especially if you are hiding your feelings from them.

How do you avoid getting trapped in the quicksand of unrequited love?

Allow me to introduce you to the ‘One and Done” method.

If you are attracted to someone, you express interest. You make it clear. You make it non-creepy (and yes, I realize I’m not telling you HOW to do this, but that’s an entire topic of its own. Fortunately, there are posts about it here and here. You may also find this Just Friends article helpful).

You give them one chance. If they make an excuse--ANY excuse--you don’t ask them again. If they go out with you and they “don’t want to ruin your friendship” or “just don’t see you in that way” or anything else, you do not ask them why. You do not try to change their mind or convince them otherwise.

You move on.

One and Done.

But what if they change their mind? I hear you ask.

Then it’s up to them to let you know that. You’ve done your part. The ball is now in the other person’s court.

But don’t hold your breath. As we’ve discussed in the past, while there is always a chance, these things seldom happen.

One and done.

By doing this, you save yourself and the people you care so much about a lot of frustration, anger, and heartbreak.

-May All Beings Be Sexy

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

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Driven To--and By--Distraction




Last week I bought a video game system.

Big mistake.

I fell asleep at one-thirty in the morning last night with electronic gunshots echoing in my head and digital enemies dancing below my closed eyelids. Fortunately, I was wise enough to get most of what I needed done BEFORE I turned on the console, but I still didn’t get to the bank and missed a trip to the comedy club.

There’s nothing wrong with having fun or downtime. In fact, it’s essential to treat yourself. The problem starts when those ‘rewards’ or little distractions keep you from the life you want or from being the person you want to be.

I know a handsome, likeable, single young man who fully intends to find himself a girlfriend. But every day after work, he plops himself down in front of the television until bed time, even though he doesn’t particularly enjoy any of the programs. A woman I know refuses to go on any dates until she loses four pounds...the same four pounds that she's been saying she will lose for the past two years.

I’m the first to admit, sometimes distractions have their place. When I’m stalling to avoid writing, I often clean my apartment. I sometimes joke that if it wasn’t for writer’s block, my bathtub would never get scrubbed. Yet another acquaintance of mine often uses having to clean his house as an excuse not to go out and meet people.

That’s the tricky part about distractions. Sometimes those distractions are productive. How about the university student who throws herself into her studies because she doesn’t want to deal with her failing relationship? Or the man who keeps his loneliness at bay by volunteering at a food bank? Those are not bad things.

How do we know whether a distraction is helpful or not? For me, it comes from asking myself a question:

Am I doing this because I want to be doing it or because I’m avoiding doing something else?

A yes answer to the first part of the question means I’m on the right track. A yes answer to the second part means I may have to stop and ask myself a second question.

Is what I’m doing taking me closer or farther away from the person I want to be?

I’m willing to cut myself some slack with writing if it means my apartment won’t be in shambles. Ten hours of video games on the other hand? Let’s just say I’m bringing my games to my day job, where they will stay locked in my desk until the end of the week--or at least until I finish this column.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I think there are some dishes that need to be done.

PRACTICE
Take some time to make a list of the distractions in your life. For the next few days, pay attention to your daily routine and notice when you are doing tasks to avoid doing something else. Do you notice any patterns in the types of things you tend to avoid? What about the types of distractions you are drawn to? Are they bringing you closer or farther away from the person you want to be? Are there changes you can make to keep distractions under control?

-May All Beings Be Sexy

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

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Unsaid



It hovers between two people in a bed at night, invisible, but thick and heavy as a blanket. It works its way between lovers, strangers, friends, pushing them apart. It is a silent killer. It is what keeps us from expressing interest in a stranger, stops us from saying the words that will keep our relationships together, and leaves us feeling stifled, isolated, misunderstood, and alone

It is the Unsaid.

Fortunately, the Unsaid has a weakness. That weakness is the Truth.

All we need to do is speak it.

Telling the truth isn’t always as easy as it appears on the surface. The Unsaid has allies: Well-meaning people who believe that you don’t talk about certain things. The fear of how people will react if they knew what we were really thinking or feeling. Those who disguise cruelty as honesty, who claim they’re just being truthful when really they are just out to hurt.

But we can do it.

We are told growing up, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything.“ There’s nothing wrong with weighing our words, but when silence is the default option, we often end up stifling ourselves. There comes a point where we must learn to speak our hearts with confidence.

Times like this I am grateful for my background in stand-up comedy. It taught me to speak without censoring myself, to not be afraid of saying the wrong thing. I learned it is better to say the wrong thing than nothing. Because at least you learn from saying the wrong thing.

The secret to being honest and open while still minimizing hurting others is to speak only for ourselves. Instead of saying, “Why do you always make me angry?” try saying, “I’m angry right now.” For more ’technical tips’ on speaking honestly, check out the post on self-disclosure.

The shadows cast by the Unsaid are long, dark, and suffocating. Fortunately, with the truth at our side, all we have to do is open our hearts and our mouths and turn on the light.

PRACTICE

For the rest of the week, practice saying what’s on your mind out loud. You get bonus points if other people are around and within earshot. What happens when you express yourself more honestly?

-May All Beings Be Sexy

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

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Desire



The other day I found myself unexpectedly, unbelievably horny--and also in a position where I was completely unable to do anything about it.

It was awesome.

Desire is a wonderful thing, but often we’re so busy trying to do something about it, we don’t appreciate it the way we should.

I always picture desire as a woman in black, though I can’t describe what she looks like. Oh, she gives me flashes, a hint of pale wrist, eyes that glitter with amusement, lips that whisper promises. But for the most part, she’s a ghost, always hiding more than she reveals, never giving you quite what you want, but always hinting that it’s right around the corner, if you just follow her.

But when you round the corner, she isn’t there. She’s up ahead, beckoning, and follow as you might, she’ll never let you catch up completely. She’ll tease you. She’ll let her scent fill your nostrils. She’ll slide a finger along your chest. But try to put your arms around her and she’ll vanish without a trace, leaving your arms empty and your hunger unsatisfied.

I love it. She’s a woman of mystery, coming and going as she pleases. Her fickleness only deepens her mystique, inflames my lust to know her.

But as long as you strive to satisfy desire, you will never know her.

That’s the heart of our problem with desire. We don’t really want to know it. Either we want to either satisfy it or we want to make it go away.

Desire flirts with us all. The married man who sees his best friend’s wife in shorts and a loose top eating ice cream on a hot summer day and finds himself unexpectedly seized with wanting to know what those sticky-sweet lips would feel like on his shaft. A single woman with no prospects on the horizon, alone in her apartment, suddenly gripped by an unquenchable need to have someone heavy and muscular and strong on top of her.

Inside her.

It’s a feeling like no other. Yet instead of enjoying it, luxuriating in it, thrilling to those feelings as they tingle along our skin and flutter in our stomachs try to get rid of it.

Sometimes we do it by indulging in our desire. A perfunctory masturbation session. Downloading pornography. Having sex--or at least attempting to have sex--with the object of our desire, even though deep down we know acting on that lust will bring nothing but pain and trouble in the long run.

Other times we do it by trying to get rid of the desire. We try to push it down, ignore it, pretend it isn’t there. We call it bad or wrong. We repress and resent and lie in bed tryng to convince ourselves that we are not lonelier people for cutting ourselves off from what our bodies are telling us.

These things do not work. We can’t deal with desire by making it our master…or our enemy.

The way to deal with desire is to welcome it when it comes. We enjoy it. We pay attention to how it feels. The surge of illicit excitement, the rush of blood and electricity to the cock or clit…these things are reminders that we are alive and sexy, that others are alive and sexy, and that being alive and sexy is a wonderful thing.

And once we’re comfortable with feeling desire, that’s when the real fun begins.

We can start to play with her. Touching ourselves, just a little, teasing desire right back, drawing it out, indulging her and then stopping, making her come back for more. We might even share our desires with our partners; after all, what can be more intimate that knowing what turns our partners on. Imagine our married man, looking at his friend’s wife eating ice cream, suddenly aware of his wife behind him as she leans in close against his back, brushing her lips lightly against his ear as she murmurs, “Mmm, I know what you’re thinking about right now.”

It turns me on just picturing it.

But of course, what turns me on isn’t the issue here. The important thing is your relationship with the things that turn YOU on. Explore that relationship. You may be surprised at how pleasant it is.

PRACTICE

1 - Take some time to think about your desires. How do you relate to the things that make you horny? What turns you on? How do you feel about being turned on by this? How comfortable would you feel sharing these desires with a partner or potential partner?

2 - Before bed or just upon waking--whichever is sexier for you--take some time to bring to mind the things that make you horny. You don’t need to do anything about it. Just feel yourself getting turned on. Pay attention to the way your body reacts, the feelings you experience. Take your time. If you find you need release afterwards, give it to yourself, but take a little more time than usual, and draw things out just a bit more than you’re used to. Or experiment with delaying that release for a few hours, a day, even a week. What do you notice?

-May All Beings Be Sexy

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