Tuesday, December 27, 2011

We Have Assumed Control

One of the big issues--especially in an ongoing relationship--is each person's attitude towards control.

For example, I am a bizarre species of control freak. Whatever is in my control, I want to control completely, and anything out of it, I tend to completely wash my hands of.

Trouble is, sometimes the things I think are out of my control really aren't, which makes me come off as passive.

Or I am so relentless about doing what I set out to do, I become rigid and unspontaneous.

Others view control differently. An example is a person who is terrified of doing anything out of their control. They want to do things their way in their time. They don't want to do anything unless they know EXACTLY how it will turn out.

Needless, to say, this makes it tough in a relationship. Because other people are going to have needs and wants too, and those things are unpredictable.

Other people take their desire for control to the nth degree. Not only do they want to have complete control over their relationships and their lives, they want to have complete control over their inner world.

But our inner world is a messy place. Thoughts and emotions come up without warning. Sometimes we feel contradictory feelings at once or we just don't KNOW what we want.

That sort of thing can be paralyzed if you're the type of person who needs to KNOW.

But you have no control over it.

There are also those people who are terrified to take control of their lives. Maybe they're afraid of what would happen if they took accountability. Possibly, they're afraid of failure.

Possibly they are also afraid of success.

Actually, now that I think of it, ALL these things sound like me, at least some of the time.

But it isn't about me. It isn't about the person you're dating, or the person you want to date or your mother or your father.

It's about you.

How do you feel about control?

Keep in mind, there's no right answer...or if there is, I don't know what it is.

However, if your idea of control isn't compatible with the person you are dating, you will probably have some decisions to make.

It doesn't mean things won't work out (although quite honestly, they may not). It doesn't make either of you bad people. It doesn't mean you have to curl up in a ball in a floor and wish you were a better person and why, why, why can't I do this properly (again, we may be talking about me here).

But your relationship with control will affect your relationship with other human people.

Give it some thought.

-May All Beings Be Sexy

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

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Happy Holidays!

Wishing all of you the best for the season in life and love...and all the best for the year ahead.

-May All Beings Be Sexy

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

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Planning The First Date

I was chatting to a friend the other day about first dates, and that reminded me of this article, an earlier version of which appeared on the Hot Chicks & Strangers blog:

One of the thrills of dating is getting a new phone number. For me there’s nothing like the excitement that accompanies seeing seven digits in looping, feminine script written on a scrap of paper or bar napkin.

Of course, the excitement is quickly crushed by a fist of terror. Oh shit. Now I have to CALL her and ask her out. What am I going to do for a date?

The answer I’ve found is this: Nothing special.

The first date is the easiest date you will ever need to plan. I MISS first dates. Especially after, say, six months, when I am banging my head against the wall trying to knock loose an idea for an anniversary or special occasion(*).

I didn’t used to believe first dates were easy. I wanted my first dates to be unique and special. I wanted to do things for the object of my affections that no other guy would do. I wanted to give her the perfect romantic experience, custom-tailored to her unique personality.

Needless to say, I found first dates traumatic.

I was also making a big mistake. I had not yet discovered the first rule of first dates: The date activity should never be more interesting than you are. The purpose of the first date isn’t to have a great date. The purpose of the first date is to introduce yourself and your life the other person so they can decide whether or not they‘re interested in being part of it(**).

This brings us to the second rule of first dates: The less pressure the better. Most people find first dates stressful, whether you‘re the asker or the ask-ee. It‘s a minefield of potential awkwardness. Who pays? What should I wear? How far am I willing to go? Do I like this person? Does this person like me?

The more relaxed you and your date are, the better able you are to get a feel for each other. Anything that leads to anxiety or self-consciousness--either for you or for the other person--is a step in the wrong direction (**).

I have three principles that go into planning a first date.

1 - Simplicity The machine least likely to break down is the one with the fewest moving parts. I don’t want to worry about parking. I don’t want the “Who pays?“ question to become an issue (***). I don’t want either of us feeling awkward because we’re in an unfamiliar situation. I’ve gone so far as to take women grocery shopping on first dates. Not only is it simple, she can learn a lot about me when she sees what sort of stuff I put in my cart, she has a good idea of my lifestyle (also, she won’t be surprised when she catches me eating pie for breakfast).

2 - Direction. The onus is on the asker to have direction for the date. That means knowing about and/or taking care of things like cover charges, reservations, letting the other person know about any specific dress requirements, etc. I also like to have a follow-up activity in mind for if things go well, even if it‘s nothing more elaborate than a walk, browsing a bookstore picking out books for each other, or a frenzied make-out session in the front seat of her Sunfire.

3 - Showcasing my personality. The best way to do this is by asking yourself, is this something I would do even if I wasn’t on a date? One of the reasons I rarely start a relationship with dinner and a movie is because movies and restaurants don’t do much for me. Stand-up comedy and salsa dancing, on the other hand…those things I‘m passionate about, so I‘ll often share them on the first date.

If the things that you are passionate about are relatively involved activities--skydiving, chef at a five-star restaurant--and that’s something you want to showcase on the first date, you can make an exception to the simplicity rule. However, you must remember the less simple an activity is the more direction you will need to provide to your companion (ie: what to wear, etc.) and prepare accordingly.

One of my favorite dates is no date at all. I just invite a woman to join me for my regular daily routine. If at any time one of us is bored or has other things to do, we bid each other a fond farewell. If not…well, my daily routine ends at my place, and if she wants to join me for smooches and Boggle…well, that’s one more way to learn how compatible we are.

It starts with a number on a piece of paper. But there are no limits on where it goes from there. The perfect date means showing them the one thing no other person on this earth can.


(*) This is assuming your date is a stranger. If you are on a date with someone who already knows you, then your focus shifts to showing him/her a side of you they haven’t seen before.

(**)I know some guys who deliberately set out to make a date scary for the girl, because “adrenaline makes people horny,” and truthfully, there‘s some scientific evidence backing up these guys‘ claims. To each their own, I guess.

(***) My solution is to choose a relatively inexpensive activity. That way she can let me pay for her without feeling uncomfortable with how much I’m spending and wondering what she’ll be expected to provide in return. And if it’s important to her that she pay her own way…well, she can do that too without breaking the bank.

-May All Beings Be Sexy

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

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Breaking the Cycle of Mistrust

Lack of trust is a killer in relationships. We’ve talked about ways to become more trusting in previous posts--this one is my favorite. But what do you do when you’re in a relationship with someone who has a hard time trusting?

Well, I can certainly tell you what not to do. It’s a cycle I’ve seen in numerous relationships including one that recently ended in divorce. It goes like this:

One partner has problems with trust. He or she gets suspicious, uncomfortable, or edgy, especially about what his or her counterpart does when she (or he) is not around.

The other partner knows this. Partner Two also does not particularly like dealing with Partner One‘s mistrust, especially over things that he or she deems harmless. Nor does he (or she) like seeing his partner upset or worried.

So Partner Two starts keeping things from Partner One. Maybe Partner Two doesn’t mention going out for drinks after work or omits the name and gender of the friend he went to lunch with. Maybe he doesn’t mention how much he spent on a particular item. Not big things, Partner Two thinks. Just little things, small things that don’t mean anything, but happen to touch on the insecurities or fears of Partner One.

Partner Two convinces himself (for convenience, Partner Two will be a him from here on in, though he doesn’t have to be) that this decision is for everybody’s own good. He isn’t doing anything Really Bad, after all; all he’s doing is not telling Partner One things he knows will upset her.

Partner Two’s heart is in the right place. But he’s setting wheels in motion that may come around to crush him later.

People know when we’re keeping things from them. Even if they don’t, chances are they will find out. And when they do, the Partner Twos of the world are left with the choice of a) explaining why they didn’t tell Partner One what happened in the first place or b) lying.

Neither of these things does wonders for trust.

So Partner One becomes more mistrustful. Partner Two starts keeping more and more secrets. The more secrets there are, the more chances there are for error or discovery. Partner One stumbles across one. Partner Two lies or is forced to explain himself.

And the cycle continues. Onward and downward.

The solution to dealing with a person with trust issues is not to provide them with very good reasons not to trust you.

The best antidote for suspicion and mistrust is almost always truth. The secret to dealing with trust issues is more communication, not less.

Certainly there are things we like to keep to ourselves or that we are professionally or personally bound to keep confidential. Many of us have things about ourselves we like to keep private for reasons of our own. That’s fine.

But watch out for those little things. Be careful of ideas like ‘protecting someone for their own good’ or ‘not wanting to make waves’ or ‘s/he’d be happier not knowing.’ Treat those types of thoughts as a warning signal.

Yes, sometimes telling the truth makes us uncomfortable. Yes, sometimes hearing truth can upset the ones we love.

But truth also builds trust.

It shows us without a doubt that our partners are willing to be honest with us and not just tell us what we want to hear. It makes it easier to trust them.

Telling someone the truth is an act of trust too. You’re telling that person you trust them to be able to handle the truth. You’re showing you have faith in them to overcome the hurts in their past that have led them to find trust difficult.

Truth builds trust. Trust builds trust.

It doesn’t happen overnight. It doesn’t always come without discomfort. And it doesn’t come with any guarantees--sometimes lies are the only thing keeping a relationship going.

Whether or not that type of relationship SHOULD continue is for the people in it to decide.

Yes, there may well be times when you need to keep something from someone you love.

But you do not want to let it become a habit. This cycle will only bring you resentment, pain, and bitterness.

Truth, no matter how painful, is always better in the long run.

Trust your partner. And then be surprised at how much easier it is for them to trust you back.

-May All Beings Be Sexy

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