Are you at the point in your dating “game” where you feel like it’s just that – only a game, and you’re all gamed out? Or maybe you think that there’s some luck involved – but you haven’t happened into any kind of good luck lately? Maybe you’re looking for a modern version of the traditional “fairy tale” - but a fairy tale none the less.
Let’s be honest, how many of us would be happy with: you meet in re-hab, you have both seen the light, you put your pasts behind you, your souls become one, you get pregnant, move in together, get married, then divorced, but are still really good friends and live semi-happily ever after because your new girlfriend likes your kid and your ex has a better job than you so she didn’t sue for alimony? Or maybe you’re in a third camp: given up on the game, not hoping for luck, and think you just suck at relationships and figure this is as good as it gets. And to make matters worse, it seem like anyone who’s in a relationship is suddenly a relationship expert, coach or guru de jour? Poised and ready to pounce on your temporary lack of clarity or latest relationship disaster, ready to tell you how to get your game back, TODAY, or, if not, for sure in a few weeks!
What Is Your Idea Of A Great Relationship?
I guess it depends on what your idea of a great relationship is:
A) Better than my last one B) Someone who completes me C) Right now, just someone (I really don’t want to be alone)
If this is the best you’re hoping for, statistically, you’re probably just going to get into another relationship that will end up being just like you’re last one. Here’s this “fairy tale” scenario: Another boy meets girl, they get hot for each other, lay on the seduction routine, spend the next three months to ten years finding out who each other really is and then end the relationship. At the least, you’re terribly disappointed, but more likely you’ve probably both had your heart broke! In case you didn’t know, there is an alternative to the ever-popular collective urge-to-merge nightmare.
Like so many of us, I had gone from one relationship to another, measuring my growth each time in terms of things like: Well, this one’s not an alcoholic, or at least this one’s not a sexual deviant, or whew! this one doesn’t do drugs, or at least he’s loyal, or not addicted to porn—and on the rationalizations went until finally I decided there had to be another way. And I jumped ship; the scenic route to relationship enlightenment was about killing me. The first few lessons I learned set in motion a body of work that I live and teach to this day!
Step By Step
First: I decided that chemistry is an indicator of…chemistry and THAT’S all. Sorry Darwin, I decided to go with the theory that the rest of our brain is there for a reason. Therefore I was determined to use it, rather than fall prey to the old brain story that a penis has a mind of its own, blah blah blah. Yeah, I did the math on that and noticed I almost always lost when I made decisions based solely on chemistry—NEXT!
And third: I sought and found the one thing I had searched for, longed for my entire adult life— a great relationship with myself. Like so many, I had believed (or hoped) that when I found my soulmate I would live happily ever after. Until I realized that my soulmate was me. And that’s when my life changed forever!
What Really Makes A Great Relationship?
Now this may come as a shock to some of you, but having a GREAT relationship involves NO TRICKS, NO GIMMICKS. Rather, generally speaking, it involves:
* feeling and healing copious amounts of historical pain (some of which you may have currently blocked out); * knowing who you are and what you want; possessing effective communication skills and a large amount of discernment; * having a daily self-care practice; and, oh yeah, the ability to give yourself everything you want from another person. (You need a real track record of doing all this vs. simply having good intentions of all of the above).
These skills are fundamental to what I call the “ relationship toolbelt.” What I have learned after 28 years on a path of self-discovery and over 25 years working in the personal development industry is that there is a dream that some folks get lucky, the right one comes along and, yes, they live happily ever after. (I have met, uh, no one that falls into this category.) For most of us, if we want the good stuff (and I certainly did) it was about getting real, then realistic and figuring out a plan on how I was going to be successful in this area of my life. I mean, come on—most of go to school for years preparing ourselves to go out and be successful at whatever we want to be successful at, and even then, it escapes so many of us.
Maryanne Comaroto (maryannelive.com) is an International Talk Host and Author, who reaches over a million people worldwide each year in her work. She is the Founder and Executive Director of the Center for Healthy Relationships, based in San Francisco, CA., an organization committed to the science of creating healthy and sustainable relationships. Take part in Maryanne’s upcoming CORR certification telecourse by registering at askmaryannelive.com