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Posts Tagged ‘dating’

Riding High on the Rebound

November 22, 2010 1 comment

Being on the rebound can be healing.

Self help wisdom isn’t inline with this idea. Its consensus is that after having experienced a painful breakup, you should wait until you’re healed to start a new relationship.

It goes on to suggest that if you become an emotional wreck during the early trials of a new relationship – i.e. if you feel insecure and tend to overreact if s/he doesn’t call exactly on time – that your heightened vulnerability is proof that you’re not ready.

Wrong. If you waited 10 years or even 20 to start the next relationship, you might have to struggle with the same feelings. Why? Because time doesn’t heal the fear stored up inside of you from going through abandonment. Instead, according to scientific research, fear incubates over time. It’s the nature of trauma and the post traumatic reaction that most people get when they’ve suffered abandonment.

Fear incubates over time? Does that mean that by waiting to make a new connection, your apprehensiveness can get worse? Yes, that’s what it means.

So the key is to get back up on the horse as soon as you reasonably can. The longer you wait, the more barriers your incubating fears are likely to erect. These barriers can make it awkward to be with a new person. You can become avoidant. Closed-off.

If you’re going to get back out there sooner rather than later, the trick is to keep your wits about you. Yes, go ahead and seek new connections. Depending upon the length and intensity of your previous relationship, this can mean to start looking within 6 months to a year. But don’t clamp on. Don’t become attached to the first person who throws you a life raft.

Don’t clamp on? How do you avoid getting involved when you’re feeling so needy, lonely, and desperate?

Ah, that’s where the healing power is. You meet new people, all the while working on your maintaining your boundaries, adhering to your personal program of emotional self-reliance, performing the work (exquisite self-love) of abandonment recovery.

How else but in a new relationship can you work through all of the changes you’re undergoing as a result of the soul-searching shake-up of having gone through abandonment?

It’s called practicing. And sometimes, as you meet new people and work through your own issues with them, you meet a real one, and you just can ride high on the rebound. If you don’t meet your ultimate partner, at least you’re keeping your emotional wheels oiled.

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Wanting the Unavailable

July 29, 2010 1 comment

Why do  we chase men and women who are emotionally unavailable?

Most people think they are specially equipped with radar to detect the right person – if not at first sight, at least by the second date. but a common bind for many is that you are only attracted to unavailable partners.  Your radar hones in on those who are destined to leave you in the end.  You are caught up in cycles of abandonment.

If this describes your love life, it may be that while you believe you are looking for a relationship, you are in fact seeking infatuation. When someone comes along who wants to be with you, he or she is too easy-to-get to arouse that “required level of insecurity.”  If you can’t feel those yearning, craving sensations, you think you aren’t “in love.” So you keep pursuing partners who offer an “emotional challenge” in order to stay infatuated.

What is this chase all about?

Many people are afraid of commitment — they fear both abandonment and engulfment — and pursue unavailable partners to avoid risking a real relationship.  Another cause lies buried in your early relationship with your parents.  Maybe you felt rejected or dismissed, or struggled to win their approval or recognition.  Now as an adult you’re easily “hooked” when someone pushes these old insecurity buttons.  Another cause is low self-esteem:  You wouldn’t want anyone who would want you.  You place yourself in one-down position to others, making yourself more easily dismissed. You may stay in the drama of pursuing hard-to-get lovers in order to distract yourself from an old wound.

To break the cycle:

  1. The first step is to recognize whether you have this problem.
  2. Question your motives: Are you looking for the emotional high of infatuation or are you seeking a trusting, loving, mutual relationship? In other words are you seeking romance instead of relationship?
  3. Reexamine your values about who is a “good catch.” False notions about love, about what a relationship is supposed to be, and about what kind of partner to choose, may be keeping you outside of love.  Revamp your old values left over from high school — the ones based on looks, money, status and the size of a person’s ego, rather than on his/her capacity for love and connection.
  4. Recognize that these patterns don’t just go away because you’ve become aware of them.  You have to change behavior.  Open yourself to new truths, new values, new experiences, and new people.
  5. Make breaking this pattern a primary goal of self-improvement and therapy.  As you aim toward your higher self, you become capable of mutual relationship.
  6. Be suspicious of your gut — when you feel attracted to someone, it may be because he/she is emotionally unavailable.  Your gut most likely go you into this pattern in the first place.  As you change your values, you’ll learn to distinguish being “attracted” from being “interested” in a truly emotionally reliable partner.
  7. Be suspicious of your notion that you “just haven’t met the right person.”  Maybe the right person came by and was too available — and it turned you off.
  8. Ask your prospective lovers how they ended their past relationships. Reading between the lines, you may be able to spot and abandoner — someone who can’t commit and who blames it on their former partners’ supposed inadequacies and faults in order to justify breaking up with them.
  9. Learn to tolerate being loved.  The feelings of trust, mutuality, and security are different from the intense emotional high of insecurity.  After pursuing unavailable partners, being loved takes some getting used to.
  10. When you find someone who is worthy of trust and commitment, rather than expect love to be an infatuated feeling that “washes over you.” think of love as an action verb that involves conscious choice and caring actions.

Stuck in Relationship Patterns

We all know people who are stuck in patterns. They’re alone and unfulfilled because they keep pursuing unavailable partners. When someone comes along who is genuinely interested, they push him or her away because they feel no attraction. Their lives are caught up in cycles of abandonment.

Why do we keep repeating the same patterns over and over and what can we do about them?

Step 1: Admit that you have the problem. This is an enormous step because it’s so easy to disguise it by telling yourself that you “just haven’t met the right person.” The truth is that even if the right person came along, unless he or she made you feel that old emotional hunger, you wouldn’t be attracted to him or her.

Step 2: Accept how futile it is to go through life being attracted only to unavailable people and running away from people who are genuinely available. Owning up to your pattern will create a turning point in your life.

Step 3: Recognize that you’re not alone. Millions of people like you are caught up in these patterns and don’t know how to get out.

Step 4: Be determined to break this pattern. Determination is absolutely necessary because this is a very hard problem to break. There is a way out, but insight alone won’t change it. You have to actively work on it.

Step 5: To keep you on track, consider seeking help from a counselor, trusted friend, or sponsor. Writing in a journal also helps. Be rigorously honest with yourself and others.

Step 6: Re-evaluate your old belief system about who is a “good catch” and what love is. Many of your values are undoubtedly left over from high school or from growing up with your parents.

Step 7: Once you identify faulty values, discard them. They have become bad emotional habits, so you must challenge them actively in your journal, in discussions with others, and in your everyday life.

Step 8: Redefine what love is all about. Mature love involves not constantly pursuing hard-to-get lovers, but mutual caring, trust, respect, sharing, and commitment. Seek a relationship instead of romance.

Step 9: Be realistic. Change won’t happen overnight. Your body is conditioned to feel turned on only when you feel insecure; otherwise you sexually and romantically shut down. You (and your body) have temporarily lost your capacity to appreciate mutual attachment. It takes time to retrain yourself to respond to new cues.

Step 10: To guide your journey, remain open to your own truth. Being rigorously honest with yourself and significant others helps your higher self to emerge — a higher self no longer stuck in patterns.

Step 11: Take positive risks. Reach out to activities and people beyond your usual circle to practice your hidden interests and capabilities. Become your higher self by sharing your changing values with others.

Step 12: What do you do when you slip back into the pattern? Understand what causes you to be attracted to the unavailable and summon the will to change it.

Why are you love-challenged? Because past heartbreaks have caused your wires to cross. You’ve come to confuse insecurity and longing with love. Your emotional pendulum swings between fear of engulfment and fear of abandonment. Insecurity has become your favorite aphrodisiac. Only you can uncross those wires. Re-examine your values, challenge your old beliefs and relearn how to love.

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