We all have ideas of what we need in a potential partner. Often these ideas are formulated by past experiences, like what didn’t work last time, where it all went wrong. Yep we are analyzing, overanalyzing squeezing our big little brains trying to pin it down so that we can compensate for past shortcomings. We form a correction in our minds for our own patterns or tendencies. Maybe we always choose the bad boys or the bitchy girls, or you know some permutation and combination of our ‘type’. We get back on the scene with our new and improved DATING MANIFESTO! No starving artists, we say out loud to our besties and buddies. No one who drives a motorcycle. Our buds agree: Flight attendants and yoga instructors are a NO GO ZONE. Don’t even make eye contact (obvs no offense to flight attendants #kaleycuocoismyspiritanimal). We know what will be good for us and it’s whole lot of what we didn’t do last time. Or so it seems… And then one fine day *cue choirs of angels* we find ourselves dating that person who for all intents and purposes we SHOULD be dating, but also falling madly in love with. We have so much in common. We have compatible lifestyles. Gasp. They are successful and well liked by their friends. They are charismatic, or fun, or accomplished. Maybe they are NICE and we’ve had a history of not so nice. Or they have a job, even. Or they don’t support TRUMP. They aren’t secretly racist. Or they have their shit together and are basically not fucking psycho. I know, RIGHT? They bring flowers and open doors and remember things we have said in random conversation in a way that suggests they were actually listening. They are sweet and warm and care about both animals and people and our friends actually respect them. Or as that sassy artist Kim summin’ summin’ from the 90’s sang “He’s not really much into entomology, never tries to Calm. Me. Down.”
And so we keep on keeping on.
It’s okay that we are not feeling –oh you know –twitterpated. Or that we are finding stick insects where there should be butterflies and now we are back to entomology that was a quick turn around.
The passion will come, right? The connection. The Je ne sais quois.
If it doesn’t well then that is terrifying. Because what does that say about us???
Are we self hating, masochistic, afraid of intimacy? How gross is it to only like nasty people?
Are we (cringe) immature? Emotionally underdeveloped?
OMG it’s getting hot in here and that hut in backwoods Mongolia is sounding like a refreshing getaway about now.
Maybe we’re not supposed to care about attraction after all.
Maybe we are just superficial dicks. Ego-ists. Elitists.
We sabotage anything good that comes our way.
We should save everyone the hassle. We are not fit for love.
BUT WAIT! Erin is sprinting to your door wearing her sequined superhero cape. Don’t do it. Don’t GIVE UP. Before you call time of death on the future of love, there is a thing. Let me tell you about the thing.
Chemistry is not derived intellectually.
You can’t just put a Mento into a diet Coke and explode into love.
Spreadsheets and formulas are not going to get you there.
Yes it’s good to be aware.
It is wonderful to self reflect and be intentional about your next partnership.
And sure there is something to those bad boy bad girl patterns.
I’m a big fan of nurturing along a connection, of giving it some time before you whip out your black book and jot down your indictments of some innocent match who put themselves out there for you.
But if you’re a month into dating someone and you don’t feel a stirring in your loins when they saunter in the front door, if you are faking ‘em out when they go in for the kiss, if you’re content to clean the hamster’s cage for the second time this week instead of the romantic dinner they’re hoping for, or if it takes 3 glasses of wine to get your flirt on, it may be a sign that you want to want them, oh boy how you wish you did or could, but you just can’t.
Now your well meaning friends who are gonna point the finger and call you crazy and elitist and picky and self destructive can go to H.E. Double hockey sticks. Okay!!? Because here’s the deal.
They don’t have to live your life.
They don’t have to wake up in the morning every day for the history of ever with the urge to chew their own arm off to get out of the trap of a passionless relationship.
They don’t have to feel the GUILT, the pressure and the loneliness of being with someone everyone else swoons over, when you just don’t.
Chemistry is fickle my friends.
And it’s magical.
I really want you to work on your intimacy issues.
I want you to know yourself.
I want you to feel SAFE “in there” you know so that you can let yourself truly sink into a loving relationship.
And I am willing to help you sort all of that out!
But I DON’T DON’T DON’T want you to confuse healthy heart smart choices, with trying to outsmart your heart.
There are terrible outcomes when we deny ourselves…years later when there are lives and children enmeshed.
There you will be sitting red eyed across from me having cried your way through all of your emergency tissues because the simple guilt of not feeling passion is a thorn around which years of scar tissue has formed. And your sweet nice good perfect un-faultable person has spent years dancing around your reluctance or resistance or what is going to feel like crumbs for them, and you are suddenly the asshole for confessing the truth, even if you are actually a loving forward giving partner when you are in a relationship that has chemistry and spark and connection and fascination.
You would not want to wear the shoe on the other foot –NO.
None of us want our beloved gazing into our eyes and saying “I love you baby’ while they cringe inwardly, or cross their fingers behind their back.
No one wants our beloved tallying up all of the reasons they SHOULD feel crazy about us, but instead wish to nominate us for the good pal of the year award, or some other lesser known sainthood.
No one swoons at the end of the rom com to hear the lead actor say “I should love you too! Close but no cigar”.
Sure it’s disheartening putting time and effort and energy and even FEELZ into a relationship that doesn’t get off the ground.
And it’s scary to wonder if you’ll ever be satisfied, or if something is wrong with you.
But settling for good on paper is not the answer.
Paper won’t light your fire.
You’re worth more than paper.
Let me put that in writing.
You’re worth more than paper.
And so are they.
P.S. If you have a friend or loved one who is struggling sometimes a few sessions of support can make all the difference. Reach out and we’ll find the solution that is right for them.
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