Endless love By millzero Ali Nishan Creative Commons

THE LAZY PERSON’S GUIDE TO RELATIONSHIPS For women and men who still believe in love… But don’t have a lot of time to waste. Jed Diamond, Ph.D., L.C.S.W. * THE LAZY PERSON’S GUIDE TO RELATIONSHIPS © Jed Diamond, 2010 * THE LAZY PERSON’S GUIDE TO RELATIONSHIPS Jed Diamond, Ph.D., L.C.S.W. Contents Forward Introduction Part I – Getting Down to Basics 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. Men and women are more alike than different. The differences between men and women are critical. The differences are not what you think. The real differences come from the two organizing principles in life, one dynamic the other magnetic. There are four dynamic functions and four magnetic functions that both men and women must develop. For Men, the dynamic is core. For Women, the magnetic. The sacred marriage of dynamic and magnetic must occur within each person. There are three ways we get close to one another: Social, Sensual, and Sexual. There four avenues through which we express our social, sensual, and sexual nature: Hetero, Homo, Bi and Auto.

10. Homosexuality is a normal way of expressing sexuality for a minority of the population. Part II – Distinguishing Healthy Relationships from Addictive Relationships 11. Healthy relationships are based on an I-Thou experience. 12. Addictive relationships are based on an I-It experience. 13. Addictive “love” results from faulty love maps originating in childhood abuse. 14. To understand healthy love we must contrast it with addictive “love.” Part III – Laying the Foundation for Healthy Relationships 15. In order to have a healthy relationship we must give up the search for happiness. 16. Healthy relationships are based on the experience of joy. 17. Joy can be accessed by applying the four universal healing salves. 18. There are three levels of relationships that must be developed for us to be healthy: Source, Self, and Someone-Else. 19. If we attempt to develop the relationships in the wrong order, we get ourselves in deep trouble. 20. The natural world offers the most direct experience of Source. Part IV – Finding the Love of Your Life 21. There are 5,942 perfect partners waiting for you. 22. To find your perfect partner you must first say goodbye to Mom and Dad. 23. Get all the parenting you need from your inner guides. 24. Become the lover you are looking for. 25. Learn the Seven Dances of Love. 26. Practice the Seven Dances of Love. Part V – Keeping Love Alive and Vital, Now and Forever 27. Love is too important to be taken seriously. 28. There are two alternating flows in healthy relationships: Bonding and Deepening. 29. You can’t keep your relationships unless you’re willing to lose them. 30. Never compromise with your partner. 31. Always insist that your needs be met and never rest until your partner’s needs are met as well. 32. Never try to get your partner to change. 33. Never do anything you think you should do. 34. Always do what you want to do. 35. When you get angry at your partner do not tell them how you feel, first write a Love Letter.

36. Don’t work on your relationship, nurture it. 37. Love comes in three packages. Learn your partner’s preferred wrapping. 38. Find your soul-partner in a women’s or men’s group. 39. To increase intimacy, spend time alone. 40. Don’t rely on love. Schedule time together. 41. Try having sex when you’re not in the mood and abstaining when you want it the most. 42. Talk about money or the fights will kill you. 43. Write your own “love darts.” Modify the others to fit your needs.

THE LAZY PERSON’S GUIDE TO RELATIONSHIPS PLEASE TAKE THIS SIMPLE QUIZ 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. Would you like to learn more about sex, love and intimacy? Would you like to better understand men/women? Are you so busy living you don’t have enough time for loving? Do your meaningful relationships ever turn mean? Does the thought of spending the rest of your life with one person scare you? Are you confused about the differences between healthy love and love addiction? Do you long for the mystery of passionate partnership? Are you discouraged when you find your therapist’s love life is in worse shape than your own? Does reading the latest self-help book have all the appeal of cleaning the oven? Do your relationships seem to demand more and more time? Has your present relationship lost some of its zest? Have your dreams for security and happiness been shaken? Do you hunger for a time when men and women can celebrate their differences and still be equals? Do you have a good relationship that you hope will get even better through the years?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then THE LAZY PERSON’S GUIDE TO RELATIONSHIPS will be valuable to you. READ IT IN AN HOUR, GET BENEFITS THAT LAST A LIFETIME! *

Forward This is one of a series of booklets I have written for people who want to have healthier relationships. When I wrote my last major book, Mr. Mean: Saving Your Relationship from the Irritable Male Syndrome, I found that it takes too much time to get a book in the hands of the readers. I decided to write this series of booklets which I feel meets a number of unmet needs: (1) They are quick to do – from idea to completion in as little as six weeks. You get the information when you need it. (Of course it helps to have been working in the field over the past twenty-seven years.) They contain the most up-to-date information available. Since I often get drafts from colleagues before they are published, I can pass that information on to you. They are not polished and “professional,” but rather rough and personal, and hence “alive.” You can get them with an unconditional money-back guarantee. In this “information age,” books are getting outrageously expensive and aren’t always useful. This guarantee allows you to look them over and return them if they don’t meet your needs. You can respond easily, if you choose, and let me know what you think. I value your feedback and ideas.

(2)

(3) (4)

(5)

*

Introduction: A modern philosopher once observed, “Life’s a bitch…Then you die.” It’s clear to me that whoever uttered these words has had their share of relationships. If life is increasingly difficult and frustrating, our love life is downright tragic. We can’t live with them. We can’t live without them. We can’t live alone. We can’t find help that makes any sense. And even if we could, who’s got time to pursue it? We barely have time to brush our teeth. Modern-day relationships are confusing. We want to know, “What is normal?” Yet, in a society that is increasingly dysfunctional, following the norm is not very helpful. We will find other frustrated and unhappy people to keep us company, but we won’t find the kinds of relationships we long for. A better question, which this book will help you answer, is “What is a healthy relationship?” If you haven’t totally given up on love, but don’t have a lot of time to waste, this book is for you. It is designed to be read in an hour and can be mastered by practicing 60 to 75 seconds a day (the time depending on whether you are a fast learner or a slow learner). The information is based on fourteen year’s experience searching for my “oneand-only” using old love maps from childhood, fifteen years experience being with Carlin (the first healthy relationship I have had), and twenty-seven years experience as a psychotherapist struggling along with my clients to heal the past and find love and joy in the present. Though my personal experiences are of a white, heterosexual, middle-class male, I feel the information will be valuable for men and women of all classes and sexual preferences. The book is divided into five parts. In the first part, Getting Down to Basics, you will learn about how men and women are alike and different, the ways in which gender conditioning limits us, the three ways we express our intimacy, and the four avenues through which intimacy may be practiced. In the second part, Distinguishing Healthy Relationships from Addictive Relationships, you will learn the difference between I-Thou and I-It relationships, the origin of our faulty love-maps, and the twenty-one ways in which healthy love differs from “love” addiction. In the third part, Laying the Foundation for Healthy Relationships, you will learn about the difference between “happiness” and “joy,” about developing your relationship with Source, Self and Someone Else, and the necessity for getting them in the correct order.

In the fourth part, Finding the Love of Your Life, you will learn how to recognize the thousands of potential relationships waiting just for you, how to let go of your parents, and how to practice the Seven Dances of Love. In the fifth part, Keeping Love Alive and Vital, Now and Forever, you will learn how to nurture relationships rather than work on them, how to be close yet free, how to communicate about sex, money, and other thorny subjects without destroying the relationship and the specific information you need for ensuring a joyous relationship that lasts a lifetime. In each section I will offer a umber of “love darts,” small jewels of wisdom, to wake us up, stimulate our thinking and feeling, and guide our actions. * How to Use this Book The only rule is keep it simple and enjoyable. Suggestions include: 1. 2. 3. 4. * Read it through, pick one “love dart” each day and hold it in your awareness as you carry on your daily routine. Pick a page at random and let your unconscious mind guide your awareness. Pick a “love dart” that stands out to you and discover what wisdom it might offer at this time in your life. Pick a “love dart” and apply it to your own life.

Part I – Getting Down to Basics Men and women are essentially the same, differing only in basic plumbing. Men and women are opposites, as different as night and day. This debate has been going on for a long time with passionate adherents on both sides. Sometimes the pendulum of opinion swings to one side. Sometimes it swings to the other. It makes relationships pretty confusing. The truth of the mater is that both positions are right. LOVE DART #1: Men and women are more alike than different. There are basic human needs that all males and females share from birth to death. The first need is physiological. We all require air, water, food, and a stable body temperature to stay alive. The second need is for security. We all must be able to trust in the predictability and safety of our surrounding environment. The third need is to love and be loved. We all require this two-way relationship with other humans. The fourth need is for self-esteem. We all have a drive to feel good about ourselves. The fifth need is for self-actualization. We all must continue to develop our true selves throughout our lives. It’s important to know that if any of these needs are not met, we get sick. Humans will die just as surely if we are not able to love and be loved as we will if we don’t get enough to eat. If we could meet all five levels of need, we would take care of about 90% of being human. These needs are blind to gender, equally important for males and females. Which needs are relatively well satisfied in your life? Which needs are you still working to satisfy? LOVE DART #2: The differences between men and women are critical. Though we are all human, we come into the world in one of two basic models. My colleague Marilyn Volker says that we are either “Penis people” or “Vulva people.” The differences account for only 10% of who we are, but are critical none-the-less. Penis people and vulva people are different in more than our genitals. We think, feel, and communicate differently. As John Gray says, “Men are from Mars. Women are from Venus.” We must learn to embrace and celebrate our differences. LOVE DART #3: The differences are not what we think.

The traits we often associate with men and women are not inherent but are really influenced by our gender conditioning. For instance, females are allowed to be “sensitive” while males are allowed to be “assertive.” Women’s and men’s conditioning, while different, are opposite sides of the same coin. The qualities men are taught they must be are the exact qualities women are taught they cannot be and vice versa. For example, men cannot be and women must be: Tender, feeling, soft, curvy, thin, passive, receptive, nice, sweet, hairless, quiet, giving, nurturing, apologetic. Men must be and women cannot be: Cool, stoic, aggressive, hairy, active, athletic, muscular, rugged, tough, outspoken, courageous, protective. Though most of us don’t consciously believe that these statements are true for men and women, nevertheless they still influence us. Which ones still operate in your life? LOVE DART #4: The real differences come from the two organizing principles in life, one dynamic and the other magnetic. Dynamism has to do with the capacity to initiate, expand, and move out. In Jungian psychology it is associated with the Animus, in Oriental philosophy with Yang, in Shamanic cultures with the energy of the Sun. It expresses the “seeker” part of ourselves. Like the ocean waves that alternately crash on the shore and are drawn back out to sea, the dynamic and magnetic are two forces that are in continual interplay in our lives. Where do you notice the dynamic operating in your life? Where do you feel the pull of the magnetic? LOVE DART #5: There are four universal dynamic functions and four universal magnetic functions that both men and women must develop. According to anthropologists Angeles Arrien, 95% of cultures around the world agree on the following functions. The four dynamic functions are: 1. 2. Words, language, and logic. Deeds, productivity, bringing into form.

3. 4.

Leadership and power. Exploring the meaning of life.

The four magnetic functions are: 1. 2. 3. 4. Vision, intuition, and perception. Beauty, nurture, care, and healing. Honoring the sacred through ritual and ceremony. Organizing, systematizing, and incubating.

We often admire in others, or are irritated by, qualities that are underdeveloped in us. Which qualities do you feel are well developed in you? Which qualities need to be more fully developed? LOVE DART #6: For Men, the Dynamic is Core. For Women, the Magnetic is Core. Here’s how it works. If you are a man, the foundation of your manhood must rest on the dynamic. The core of who you are must be grounded in communication, deeds, leadership and meaning. Developing these functions is your soul work. Once your foundation is solid you can then develop your senses of vision, beauty, ritual, and organization. This is your spirit work. If you are a woman, the foundation of your womanhood must rest on the magnetic. The core of who you are must be grounded in vision, beauty, ritual, and organization. Developing these functions is your soul work. Once your foundation is solid you can then develop your communication, deeds, leadership and meaning. This is your spirit work. How solid is your foundation? Are there functions that need further development? LOVE DART #7: The sacred marriage of dynamic and magnetic must occur within each person. If you were building a house, you would begin with the foundation and work up. You would not build the top floors first, then try and squeeze a foundation underneath them. Nor would you build a house that has only a foundation or one that had only an upper story resting on bare earth. We need both the dynamic and magnetic functions to be human. But the way they are structured is the mirror image for men and women. It’s no wonder many of us have sought the lost parts of ourselves in the other gender, rather than finding them within ourselves. Which functions have looked for in others? Which ones have you felt others look for in you?

LOVE DART #8: There are three ways we get close to one another: Social, Sensual and Sexual. Being social, sensual, and sexual are expressions of our basic human need to connect with others. To be human is to be part of a group whether it is a family, a neighborhood, a club, a tribe, a nation, a world community. We are all social beings. We all need to be touched. The skin is the largest sense organ in the human body. Babies who are not touched sicken just as surely as those who are not fed. The need to be touched is just as important when we are nine, nineteen, fifty-nine, or ninety as when we are babies. We are all sensual beings. Our social and sensual roots allow us to experience the most important of adult needs, the need for sexual expression. The core experience of healthy sexual expression is to create a loving bond between people. We are all sexual beings. Think about your won experience with these three expressions of closeness. Do you need more social connection? So you need more sensual togetherness? Do you need more sexual bonding? LOVE DART #9: There are four avenues through which we express our social, sensual, and sexual nature: Hetero, Homo, Bi, and Auto. When we relate to someone of the other sex, we are engaging in a “hetero” relationship. When we relate to someone of the same sex, we are engaging in a “homo” relationship. When we relate to people of both sexes, we are engaging in a “bi” relationship. When we relate to ourselves, we are engaging in an “auto” relationship. Here’s how it works. We can relate in a number of different ways. I can be autosocial, bi-sensual, and heterosexual, for instance. That is, I most often prefer my own company when I am doing things. I enjoy being touched by men and women. Yet my sexual preference is for women. Another person might be bisocial, bi-sensual, and homo-sexual. That is, they enjoy being social with both sexes, like being touched by both sexes, but are sexual with a person of the same sex. What are the most common ways you express your social, sensual, and sexual self? What are the ways your partner most commonly expresses themself? Are

there other ways you might like to express yourself? Do you think there are other ways your partner might like to express themself? Do any of the modes of expression make you uncomfortable or frighten you? LOVE DART #10: Homosexuality is a normal way of expressing sexuality for a minority of the population. There is a lot of confusion and conflict about sexuality and intimacy. Some believe homosexuality is bad and should be stamped out or at least kept in the closet. Others believe it is good and should be allowed full expression in society. Here’s how I see it. As far back as we can trace human societies there have been people who made love to people of the same sex. I believe homosexuality is normal, healthy and biologically based. Though most of us have had homosexual feelings or experimented sexually with someone of our same sex, it doesn’t mean we are homosexual. If a large percentage of people were homosexual, our species would not have survived. Homosexuals have and always will be a small percentage of the population. Homosexuality is not a problem. It is our fear that hurts others and hurts ourselves. Fears of homosexuality cause most of us, particularly men, to restrict the free expression of our social, sensual, and sexual selves. It keeps us from getting close to other men and drives us to be “hypersexual” with women. Those who, like me, are heterosexual need not worry about becoming homosexual or the society deteriorating because some people express a sexual preference different from the norm. Sexual variation adds spice to the human stew. A would without homosexuals would be a lot less interesting. What are your won feelings about homosexuality? How have your feelings enhanced your life? How have they limited you?

PART II – Distinguishing Healthy Relationships from Addictive Relationships In our society we are constantly looking for love in all the wrong places. From childhood to old age we are told that there is something wrong with us, something missing inside. This emptiness, we are told, can be filled if we buy the right product, which will attract the right partner. As a result we get hooked on intensity when what we really need is intimacy. LOVE DART #11: Healthy relationships are based on an I-Thou experience. I-Thou relationships are grounded in equality and respect. The love that is expressed derives from the communion of two spirits who themselves are part of a larger spirit some call God, Goddess, The Great Mystery, Spirit-That-MovesThrough-All-Things, etc. I-Thou reminds us that we are not alone. I-Thou sees everything as sacred, valuable, and precious. Elizabeth KublerRoss expressed it well when she said, “Life becomes richer when we realize each of us is like a snowflake – absolutely beautiful and unique, and here for a very short time.” We can treat anything as Thou – ourselves, our partner, the plants, animals, rocks, rivers. The “I” that becomes part of a “Thou” is forever transformed. In what ways have you related to others as “Thou?” How did you feel? LOVE DART #12: Addictive relationships are based on an I-It experience. I-It relationships are based on inequality and fear. The feelings expressed are often intense but they are not loving. There is always a sense that one partner is being used. We live in terror of losing the object of our desire, so we manipulate to keep them close. I-It is first experienced as a way we treat the natural world. Our “civilized” society has come to see the natural world as something to be used for the benefit of human consumption. In our ignorance and fear, we see nature as something to tame and control not something to love and cherish. What we do to nature, we do to ourselves. What we do to ourselves we do to others. To change our I-It relationship with other people, we must change the way we treat ourselves. To do that we must change the way we relate to the natural world. The love that it will take to save the spotted owl is the same love it will take to save our troubled relationships.

In what ways have you related to others as “It?” How did you fee? What would you change? LOVE DART #13: Addictive Love results from faulty love maps originating in childhood abuse. I laughed when I saw the bumper sticker, HONK – IF YOU’RE ABOUT TO ENTER YOUR 12TH DYSFUNCTIONAL RELATIONSHIP. Why do we keep making the same mistakes over and over again? The answer is that we’ve internalized, without being aware of it, a faulty love map that leads us in the wrong direction. “Love” addicts are people who want to go home, but like confused homing pigeons, we fly ever faster in the wrong direction. It’s a sad reality of life that most of us were emotionally or sexually abused as children. Even adder is that we have been taught to forget what happened to us. As a result we continue to find partners that recreate the abusive atmosphere in which we grew up. The world is made up of two kinds of people. Those who want to remember and those who try to forget. Remembering what happened is the first step to healing the past and creating a healthier future. In order to survive growing up, many of us buried the painful memories. Retrieving them is a long difficult process. Working in therapy or joining a support group can be very helpful. LOVE DART #14: To understand healthy love we must contrast it with addictive “love.” Since we all have grown up in a society that confuses healthy love with “love” addiction, many of us find it difficult to know whether our feelings are based on healthy intimacy or addictive desire. It helps to look at some of the characteristics of each, side by side. 1. Healthy Love develops after we feel secure. Addictive Love tries to create love even though we feel frightened and insecure. 2. 3. Healthy Love comes from feeling full. We overflow with love. Addictive Love is always trying to fill an inner void. Healthy Love begins with self love. Addictive Love always seeks love “out there” from that “special someone.”

4. 5.

Healthy Love comes to us once we’ve given up the search. Addictive Love is compulsively sought after. Healthy Love comes from inside. It wants to give. Addictive Love comes from outside. It wants to take.

6.

Healthy Love grows slowly, like a tree. Addictive Love grows fast, as if by magic, like those children’s animals that expand instantly when we add water.

7. 8. us. 9. 10.

Healthy Love thrives on time alone as well as time with our partner. Addictive Love is frightened of being alone and afraid of being close. Healthy Love is unique. There is no “ideal lover” that we seek. Addictive Love is stereotyped. There is always a certain type that attracts Healthy Love is gentle and comfortable. Addictive Love is tense and combative. Healthy Love is based on a deep knowing of ourselves and our lover. Addictive Love is based on hiding from ourselves and falling in love with an ideal “image” not a person. Healthy Love encourages us to be ourselves, to be honest from the beginning with who we are, including our faults. Addictive Love encourages secrets. We want to look good and put on an attractive mask. Healthy Love flows out. Addictive Love caves in.

11.

12.

13. Healthy Love creates a deeper sense of ourselves the longer we are together. Addictive Love creates a loss of self the longer we are together. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. Healthy Love gets easier as time goes on. Addictive Love requires more effort as time goes on. Healthy Love is like rowing across a gently lake. Addictive Love is like being swept away down a raging river. Healthy Love grows stronger as fear decreases. Addictive Love expands as fear increases. Healthy Love is satisfied with what we have. Addictive Love is always looking for more or better. Healthy Love encourages interests to expand in the world.

Addictive Love encourages outside interests to contract. 19. 20. Healthy Love is based on the belief that we want to be together. Addictive Love is based on the belief that we have to be together. Healthy Love teaches that we can only make ourselves happy. Addictive Love expects the other person to make us happy and demands that we try to make them happy. Healthy Love creates life. Addictive Love creates melodramas.

21.

Part III – Laying the Foundation for Healthy Relationships Many people would like to skip this part. In a society obsessed with speed, where “instant gratification” isn’t fast enough, there is a tendency to want to “cut to the chase.” Some people say, “I don’t have time to do the groundwork, just tell me how to find the right partner.” I ask them, “Would you rather spend a short time laying a proper foundation or spend a life-time building relationships that continue to collapse?” LOVE DART #15: In order to have a healthy relationship we must give up the search for happiness. Most of us make happiness the goal of our lives. We constantly weigh relationships to see whether they will make us happy. Yet the search for happiness actually takes us in the wrong direction. The dictionary defines “happiness” as a “a happening of chance, luck, fortune.” In other words it’s something that comes upon us from “out there” and thus is always short-lived. In my relationships, for instance, I noticed that I was happy when the woman in my life was doing the things I liked. When she wasn’t treating me the way I wanted, I felt unhappy. I found my life went up and down depending on the way she treated me. It seemed that happiness was like an addiction. The more I had, the more I wanted. When I didn’t have it, I was driven to get it. I never felt satisfied. In what ways have your good feelings gone up and down depending on outside events? What would I t be like to let go of your search for happiness? LOVE DART #16: healthy relationships are based on the experience of joy. Though we often use them interchangeably “joy” is actually quite different than “happiness.” The dictionary definition of joy says it is “an exultation of the spirit, gladness, delight, the beatitude of heaven or paradise.” In other words, joy comes from within and is linked to a spiritual experience that can last forever. Relationships based on joy do not depend on outside events to make them successful. In my relationship with Carlin I have learned that the continual search for happiness makes us fearful of life’s inevitable down-turns. In our desire to protect ourselves, we became afraid to take risks. Embracing joy allows us to accept, and even seek out, the painful places that are necessary for a life based on growth and renewal. When have you experienced joy in your life? How did it differ from happiness?

LOVE DART #17: Joy can be accessed by applying the four universal healing salves. Most of us have had experiences of joy – seeing a beautiful sunset, seeing a child being born, learning that a loved-one survived a difficult surgery, walking on the beach with a lover – but often don’t know how to create regular experiences of joy. They seem to appear out of the blue, a gift from the world of the spirit. Anthropologist Angeles Arrien tells us that there are four universal healing experiences, she calls them salves, that need to be practiced regularly in order for our inner selves to know joy. These four salves are singing, dancing, storytelling, and silence. When was the last time you sang, danced, told stories, sat quietly and listened to the sounds of silence? Do you remember how these salves gave you a feeling of peace, serenity and joy? Many of us have to go back to childhood to remember singing without judgment, dancing to the beat of our own drummer, making up stories that made us giggle and shiver, laying under the stars and listening to the moon whisper our name. How could you bring these healing salves back into your life? LOVE DART #18: There are three levels of relationships that must be developed for us to be healthy: Source, Self, and Someone Else. Source is what some call God, Goddess, The Great Mystery, Higher-Power, Spirit-That-Moves-Through-All-Things, etc. Self is our true being, our inner knowing, our deepest wisdom, the core of who we are. Someone Else is the mysterious other, the lover, our sacred partner, mate. Each of the three must be fully developed. One cannot take the place of the other. We’ll never be able to become ourselves by finding a lover to fill the emptiness inside. We can’t find our spiritual selves through psychotherapy. We won’t find the love only a soul-mate can provide by devoting our lives to a cause or even to God. How would you describe your loving relationship with Source, Self, and Someone Else? Which of the three feels most developed? Which least developed? LOVE DART #19: If we attempt to develop these relationships in the wrong order, we get ourselves in deep trouble. Many of us have tried to develop an intimate relationship with someone else before we had developed a loving relationship with ourselves. We inevitably

hope to get those qualities we feel we lack from our partner. But our partner doesn’t have our missing parts. No matter how hard they try to meet our needs, they will feel frustrated and we will feel increasingly empty. Anger, resentment, hurt, and disappointment follow. It is also true, though sometimes less evident, that we cannot develop our true selves unless we have a connection with Source. Connecting with Source reminds us that we are unconditionally loved and accepted just the way we are. It allows us to look deeply into our wounded souls without being overwhelmed. So the order is Source, the Self, and finally Someone Else. We don’t have to wait until our connection with Source is absolutely complete before moving on to Self and Someone Else. It just has to be complete enough. If we need more work on Source, we will know it because our relationships with Someone Else are problematic. Think back on times you got the three in the wrong order. What was the result? Which of the three do you need to work on at this time in your life? LOVE DART #20: The natural world offers the most direct experience of Source. Although many of us recognize the importance of connecting to the spiritual realm, to what some people call God, there is a difficulty. As small children, our parents were seen as God. If they were angry and judgmental, our view of God will always be colored by fear and judgment. If our parents were distant and withdrawn, we will experience God the same way. Fortunately there is a more direct experience of Source, one not influenced by how our parents treated us. Ever since humans emerged on the planet, the natural world has been the source of spiritual connection. To know God, get close to a tree. It sounds silly, but I have found the most profound sense of safety, belonging and love by hanging out with trees. Trees understand the spirit and the soul. Trees never judge. They never say things like: “I’m too short,” or “My trunk’s too thick,” or “My knobs are too small,” or “I’m not attractive enough.” They unconditionally love themselves and anyone else who will take time to know them. Have you hugged a tree lately? What experiences in the natural world have given you a feeling of connection with Source?

Part IV: Finding the Love of Your Life When we were children we were told that for each one of us there was “one true love.” It seemed so easy then. We just had to wait for Prince Charming. We only had to go on an adventure to find the Princess waiting after we slayed the dragon. But what do we do when our “one and only” isn’t “the one”? What happens when the dream turns into a nightmare? It’s time to wake up and learn that the love of our life is a lot closer than we might have dreamed? LOVE DART #21: There are 5,924 perfect partners waiting for you. Many of us have become discouraged, feeling there just aren’t many good wo/men out there. For those of us who are no longer in our twenties, we are told our chances of finding a mate are slightly worse than being hit by lightening while asleep in our bed on a cloudless night in the spring. Don’t you believe it! After exhaustive research and study I have found that for every person reading this book there are nearly 6,000 perfect partners available to you. And no, they don’t all live on a different planet. They are close by. “Well, how come I’ve never come across them?” you may ask. The reason is simple. We filter almost all of them out. Here’s how it works. We all have a picture of our ideal partner I call the “Dream Lover” or DL for short. The qualities of the DL are made up of the following four parts: (1) What we got or hoped to get from our fathers, (2) What we got or hoped to get from our mothers, (3) Whoever was the “The Hunk” or “Sex Goddess” the culture offered up us when we were eleven to fourteen years old, (4) The aspects of ourselves we think we lack. Check it out! How many good people do you filter out each day that don’t fit our DL image? We tell ourselves the “chemistry” isn’t right because they are: too old, too young, too tall, too short, too rich, too poor, too successful, not successful enough, the wrong religion, the wrong political persuasion, the wrong ethnic background, the wrong race. What is your “Dream Lover” like? What are the qualities that draw you magnetically toward certain people? What kinds of people turn you off, or are invisible to you, because they don’t fit the image? How would your life be different if you cleaned your filter?

LOVE DART #22: To find your perfect partner you must first say goodbye to Mom and Dad. By the time we are twenty-one most of us have physically left home. Yet the majority of us reach middle age and many come to our deathbeds still tied emotionally to our parents. We continue searching for a person who will love us like our parents never did. Every man we are drawn to elicits the hidden question from the depths of our wounded hearts, “Will you love, protect, and care for me, like my Daddy never would?” Each woman whose smile we respond to sparks our hidden desire, “Will you nurture, touch, and pleasure me, like my Mommy never could?” The truth is, however much parental love we got by the time we were twenty-one is all we will ever get from anyone. Demanding that our parents give us more, or that the parent substitutes we seek out as lovers give us more, leads only to heartache, disappointment, and life-time of frantic searching. It’s time we accepted that our parents did the best they could (given what they got from their parents), thank them for what we got, say good-bye to our need for more, and get on with our lives. In what ways have you been looking in others for the kind of love you never received from your parents? How would things change if you said, “Good-bye” to Mom and Dad? LOVE DART #23: Get all the parenting you need from your inner guides. Sixteen years ago I attended a workshop held by a friend. One of the exercises was to contact our inner guides. I thought it sounded pretty hokey but I went along. After getting very relaxed we were instructed to imagine a figure approaching us. As the figure got closer, we recognized that she was female. The closer she got, the more details we were able to notice until finally we could picture how she was dressed, how she looked, the sound of her voice, even her aroma. We did a similar process drawing in a male figure. Once they were close, one on each side, we could dialogue with them. My female guide was Rebecca. She had long black hair, soft and caring, beautiful and timeless. The male was named Guntar. He was strong yet gentle, dressed in the clothes of a Norseman. Though it seemed silly at the time, since then I have called on the presence of Guntar and Rebecca whenever I’ve felt lonely, scared, confused, or anxious. I’d draw them to me whenever the woman in my life didn’t give me the love I thought

I needed. Instead of demanding the love and support form parents or parent substitutes, or stoically going without, I call on Guntar and Rebecca. I imagine that hey hold me, talk to me, give me advice, and nurture. Does the thought of having inner guides seem strange to you? What would it be like to have a ready source of unconditional love available to y you 24 hours a day for the rest of your life? LOVE DART #24: Become the lover you are looking for. I ask people in my workshops and counseling sessions to picture the ideal lover. How do they look, what do they do, how do they act, what are their best qualities? One man said I want a lover who is graceful, humorous, artistic, talented, sexy. A woman wanted a lover who was successful, strong, romantic, sensitive. When the person has their lover described in detail, I make the following suggestion. I’d like you to practice becoming the lover you hope to find. To the man, for instance, I suggested he take a week and practice being graceful. Another week practice being humorous, etc. For the woman, I suggested she practice being successful, strong, etc. I believe that each of us has all the potential to be whatever we want. If we become the lover we think we need, we won’t be so needy. The more full and complete we feel, the more likely we are to find that special someone. What are the qualities you are looking for in an ideal lover? How would your life be different if you possessed all those qualities? LOVE DART #25: Learn the Seven Dances of Love. Most of us are brought up on romantic images of falling in love. From songs, movies, stories, and T.V. we are told that there is a special someone out there waiting for us, that when we find them we will instantly know it, be swept off our feet, and live happily ever after. When it doesn’t work, we rarely question the process. We usually decide there must be something wrong with us or we conclude we picked the wrong partner. A different approach is to understand the seven dances of love. Dance #1: Acquaintanceship The dance of acquaintanceship is to recognize that each person we meet is a gift from the universe. We see each person as a jewel to be appreciated without thought of whether they would be useful to us. Instead of screening out everyone except those few we think have “potential,” we take in everyone we meet.

Acquaintanceship acknowledges and enjoys each person simply because they are a fellow human being. Dance #2: Companionship The dance of companionship is to do what you love to do in the presence of other human beings. Please often tell me they go to places to meet people. Yet when I ask them if they enjoy the places they go and things they do, they acknowledge that they do not. If you want tot see someone who truly understands the dance of companionship, watch a three year old playing in the sandbox with other children. S/he is ecstatic to be alive, to be playing in the sand, and to be with others of its kind. In the dance of companionship, who is there is less important than abandoning oneself to the joy of doing. Dance #3: Friendship The dance of friendship combines being and doing. It is an interaction between two people who want to practice being themselves by doing things together with a partner. Where dance number two can be done with a number of partners, the dance of friendship comes in pairs. We often think of friendship as a process of doing for the other person or having them do for us. It is really a process of being with another and enjoying getting closer to ourselves and another. Friendship is about getting to know ourselves and our partner. Dance #4: Intimate Friendship The dance of intimate friendship involves exploring the underworld. We begin to recognize in the other things about ourselves that we don’t like or accept. Intimate friends hold up a mirror to each other showing us what has been hidden and forbidden. Intimate friends often go through times when they don’t like each other very well or times when they are inseparable. The dance of intimate friendship is to reclaim lost parts of ourselves – to reown our rage, terror, guilt, shame and also to reclaim our ability to appreciate, accept, nurture, and love ourselves.

Intimate friendship is about learning to love and accept the “unacceptable” in ourselves and in the other person.

Dance #5: Sensual Friendship The dame of sensual friendship involves touching. Most of us are touch starved. We never got enough touching as infants, children, adolescents, and adults. Many of us rush into sex looking for the skin contact we never got. Sensual friendship is not a prelude to sex. It is its own dance. In it we relearn to hold hands and rekindle the heat of touching someone we have gotten to know. We caress hair, shoulders, legs, buttocks, knees and toes. To learn sensual friendship we have to practice touching ourselves. Most of us rarely touch ourselves except when we are being sexual or when we are checking out our flaws. “Oh, I just can’t do anything about my hair.” Or, “My thighs are just too big.” In the dance of sensual friendship we touch ourselves and our partner simply for the pleasure that we receive and give. Dance #6: Sexual/Creative Lovers The dance of sexual/creative lovers recognizes that the purpose of sex is pleasure, creation and bonding. As we have done with so much else in modern society, we often distill the process of sexuality and seek only the momentary pleasure. For two million years of human history we sought out sexual partners for pleasure, but also to create children and develop the bond necessary to nurture and raise the children. Those needs have not changed. Though we may not wish to create children each time we make love, the dance of sexual/creative lovers recognizes that creation is always involved in lovemaking. Each act of love creates a bond with our partner and has the potential to create new life – whether the life is child, a poem, a dance, or an affirmation of the rebirth of the spirit. The dance of sexual/creative lovers continually renews our commitment to life. Dance #7: Spiritual/Life Partners The dance of spiritual/life partners recognizes that we cannot truly commit to be with a partner for the rest of our lives until we have gone through the other stages. It knows that the goal of spiritual/life partnership is not happiness, but the spiritual development of each of the partners and the growth of the partnership itself.

In this dance we develop the comfort and security of knowing that the partnership is being held in the embrace of a spiritual presence that teaches each partner how to express and receive ever deeper experiences of joy and ecstasy. Which dances are most familiar to you? Which ones are least familiar? Where have you gotten stuck in the past? With which dances do you need more practice to become an expert? LOVE DART #26: Practice the Seven Dances of Love. For most of us who have been raised on a diet of “instant intimacy” the Seven Dances of Love seem slow, cumbersome, and old-fashioned. The only thing they have to recommend them is that they work. If you are open to practicing them, I offer the following suggestions: (1) Pursue each dance for it’s own value. When you’re practicing “Companionship,” for instance, take the attitude that if you died tomorrow and had only learned to be an excellent companion, life would be worthwhile. (2) Enjoy each dance without planning the next. Intimate friendship and Sensual Friendship, for instance, are not “foreplay” for sex. Each is the main event. (3) Don’t let someone else’s needs change the dance you want to practice. If someone wants you to join the “Sexual/Creative Lovers” dance, for instance, but you want to practice “Intimate Friendship,” stand up for your own needs. (4) Even if you are already in a relationship, it’s wonderful to go back and start over. Take a week and practice acquaintanceship, for instance. Look at your partner through new eyes as a wonderful, unique gift from God without any agenda for where the relationship might go in the future.

Part V: Keeping Love Alive and Vital, Now and Forever Even when we find the right partner, many of us haven’t learned how to keep the relationship alive and vital. Some believe that once we’ve made a commitment to another that’s all the energy we need to expend. We expect to live happily ever after. Others have come to believe that when the glitter and excitement wear off, as we know they must, we are doomed to a life of boredom or frenzied conflict. Being able to keep love alive is an art and a practice that anybody can learn. LOVE DART #27: Love is too important to be taken seriously. For many of us love has become a life or death struggle. We worry that we’re not going to find the love of our life. We worry that once we’ve found them, we might lose them. We want a relationship that lasts a lifetime, but brood about whether they’ll want us when we’re old. We need to find time to laugh at ourselves, to shake our heads and our bellies at the crazy, wonderful, frightening, confusing dance we call love. Carlin often kids me about my attraction for the “cheer-leader” type. I joke with her about her history of being attracted to younger men. Keeping love light has been an important practice for us. What do you do to bring fun into your love life? Can you look back on the pain of the past and see the humor? LOVE DART #28: There are two alternating flows in healthy relationships: Bonding and Deepening Remember the first months and years of a relationship? Everything is new and exciting. All we want to do is to be with our partner. Every look, gesture, habit they display is a source of delight. Life is like a big roller-coaster ride, full of chills and thrills. Then there are the other years. Life settles into a routine and we seem to have traded the roller coaster for the merry-go-round. The ups and downs are rarely thrilling and we seem to be stuck in the same old patterns. We are no longer delighted by our partner. We wonder where we lost the magic, if we picked the wrong partner. The problem isn’t the person we picked or ourselves. The problem is that we’re trying to hold on to the initial flow that leads to bonding when we need to move into the flow that leads to deepening.

At the beginning of a relationship everything is set up so we will bond. The glue that holds it together is made up of equal parts “excitement” and “intensity.” Later we need to learn to deepen. The glue here is “security” and “intimacy,” which can only be acquired as we accept the quiet routines of this phase of a relationship. In this phase, we can lower our guard and begin to let our shadow side come out. We allow our partner to see the things we often hide about ourselves. Later the cycle will reverse and we will hunger for the novelty that will bond us anew. When the excitement wars off, it doesn’t mean the relationship is coming apart. It is now time to pursue the deeper aspects of who we are. Learn to appreciate the excitement of the bonding phase and learn to let it go when it’s time for the quiet and gentleness of the deepening to occur. Is it easier for you to bond or deepen? Are you better at initiating relationships or at sustaining them? How could you move more easily between the two flows? LOVE DART #29: You can’t keep your relationships unless you’re willing to lose them. Relationships thrive and grow in an atmosphere of freedom. Yet most of us spend huge amounts of time and energy trying to ensure that our partner will stay with us. The longer we are together, the more we have to lose, the more scared we become, and the more tenaciously we attempt to ward off the fear of being alone. The truth is as soon as a relationship is born, it also begins to die. The death may occur next week, next year, or seventy-five years from now when one of you has a heart attack. But you can be sure that it will end. If you’re not wiling to face the death of a relationship, you best remain alone. In practice this is a willingness to continually put the relationship on the line. We must have the courage to fee, say, and do the things that feel scary, that might jeopardize the relationship. How many times have we felt, “If I ever told her that, she’s leave me?” Or “He’d never go along with that, it would mean the end.” Each time we tell the truth in the face of the fear, our relationship deepens. Each time we hold back, trying to play it safe, our relationship suffers. In what ways have you held back, played it safe, in relationships? In what ways have you taken risks, put the relationship on the line? LOVE DART #30: Never compromise with your partner.

We are taught that good relationships are built on compromise, a little give a little take. We learn that we can’t have everything we want in a relationship, so for the good of the relationship we must give up a little bit of ourselves. The truth is that compromise is slow death to a relationship. It drains the life-blood one drop at a time. Compromise seems to be a way that can satisfy both partners. In fact, it is a way where both lose a little bit of themselves. It is based on the belief that it is impossible for both people to have everything the need in a relationship. Getting our needs met in a relationship is how we become stronger, more loving, and more healthy as individuals. The fully our needs get met the more we have to give to the relationships. Anything that causes us to sacrifice our needs diminishes us and our relationships. We are taught to think small, to believe we can’t get everything we need. Don’t believe it. You can have it all. Never compromise. How have you compromised yourself in relationships? How did it feel? What was it like when you stood firm in support of your own needs? LOVE DART #31: Always insist that your needs be met and never rest until your partner’s needs are met as well. We often think compromise is the best solution to conflicts because we confuse needs and wants. If she wants to spend a week on the beach in Puerto Vallarta and I want to go to our cabin in the mountains, our choices seem limited. Either I convince her to come to the cabin or she convinces me to go to the ocean – or se compromise. We go to the ocean this year and to the mountains next year. A better alternative can be achieved by flowing these three steps: (1) I ask myself, “What are the underlying needs that my desire to go the mountains is an attempt to satisfy?” For instance, I might need peace and quiet, time to be alone with my thoughts, a place to enjoy the beauty of nature. (2) She asks herself what are her underlying needs that her desire to go to Puerto Vallarta is an attempt to satisfy. For instance, she might need to rekindle the romance in our lives, time to unwind from pressures at work, a place to be wild and have fun. (3) Having identified the needs we both have that underlie our desires to go one place or another, we commit ourselves to meeting our own needs and those of

our partner. For instance, we might find that one place or the other can meet both our needs once we have identified what they are. We might find a third vacation spot that has everything. In rare instances where we can’t find a way to satisfy everything we both need, we might take separate vacations. Despite what we’ve been taught, we can have relationships where all my needs are met and all my partner’s are met as well. Think of some of the conflicts you have had in your relationships. Can you identify the needs that each of you might have had that were hidden beneath your desires? How might things have been different if you’d uncovered the needs and committed to meeting them? LOVE DART #32: Never try to get your partner to change. We are attracted, consciously or unconsciously, to this particular person with all their excesses and deficits. We then set about trying to change the very things that attracted us in the first place and wonder why the relationship falls apart. Nothing good can come from trying to change our partner. Here’s what happens: (1) We push for them to change and they resist. We feel frustrated and our partner feels unaccepted and unloved. (2) We push for change and our partner accommodates. We create a compliant child who we no longer respect. Our partner loses a bit of themselves, feels less valuable, and learns to resent us. People change naturally in response to their own needs and internal rhythms. Trying to change them only mucks up the process. My friend, Arnold Patent suggests that we unconditionally love and accept ourselves just the way we are, in all our magnificence. How have you tried to change your partner? How has your partner tried to change you? How did it feel? How might things be different if we applied Arnold Patent’s suggestion to ourselves and our partners? LOVE DART #33: Never do anything you think you should do. We are taught from infancy on to be good and please our parents. There is an assumption that children must be forced to do what is right, that they wouldn’t do it on their own. As adults the same pattern holds. We become dutiful partners like we became dutiful children. Our relationships either suffer from “terminal niceness,” or from the anger and rebellion that being “good” is sure to create. Have you ever noticed how you feel when you’re doing something you want to do for your partner? There is a heightened level of energy. We overflow with joy and gladness. We can’t wait to do it and we feel light and happy. On the other

hand, when we do something we “should” do for our partner, we feel heavy. The weight of obligation stifles our good feelings. We wish we were somewhere else. Each time we do what we “should” do, we shrink a little inside. We become less spontaneous, free, and loving. It takes courage to break the age-old patterns and stop “shoulding” on yourself. Take the risk. It is good for you, good for your partner, and good for the relationship. What are some of the “shoulds” in your life? What would life be like if you stopped doing what you should do? LOVE DART #34: Always do what you want to do. We have been taught that doing what we want to do in relationships is bad. Again, as with “compromise” and “shoulds,” we are told that self-sacrifice will be good for our relationship, that “self love” is “selfish.” In fact, doing what we truly want to do, following our bliss is the only way for relationships to develop and grow. We are frightened into believing that doing what we want to do will ultimately result in our being abandoned. In fact, doing what we want to do is the surest way to enhance our relationship. By doing what we want to do, we fill ourselves to overflowing. Since meeting Carlin, I have tried to do only the things I truly wanted to do. At first, the old fears of being called “selfish” held me back. But I kept my commitment to the fulfillment of my own needs. To my surprise, rather than making me more selfish, I became more giving. As we overflow with the life-energy that results from following our deepest desires, our partner is bathed in love. The more we do what brings us pleasure, the more we overflow with gifts for our partner. In what ways have you held back on doing things you wanted to do in your relationship? How have you felt? What would happen if you only did the things you wanted to do? LOVE DART #35: When you get angry at your partner do not tell them how you feel, first write a Love Letter. Modern psychology would have us believe that “getting it out, telling the truth, letting our partner know how we really feel,” will create intimacy and improve our relationships. Nice in theory, the problem is that it doesn’t work. Rather than “the truth” bringing us closer, what happens more often that not is that our partner gets angry and we get in a fight or our partner gets hurt and

withdraws. Either way we end up feeling worse than when we began. Over the years, most couples decide to “shove” their feelings and the relationship loses the nutrients it needs to grow. A better approach is to write a “Love Letter.” The idea, developed by psychologist John Gray, is that underneath every angry person is a hurt person; underneath every hurt person is a fearful person; underneath every fearful person is a guilty person; underneath every guilty person is a shameful person; and underneath every shameful person is a loving person. The problem with telling our partner how we feel, is that most of us can’t get through the anger, hurt and other feelings to the love beneath. Writing a Love Letter allows us to express our full range of feelings and get back to the love that is at our core. It works like this. When we are angry at our partner, we go off by our self, get a piece of paper and begin writing: Dear _____________ (fill in their name), I’m angry that … and I want … Let the anger out. Use your won words. Don’t worry about being nice. Let ‘er rip. As you express the anger, also say what you want. After you finish with the anger, go on to hurt, then move on to the other feelings. I’m hurt that you … and I want … I’m afraid … and I want … … I’m feeling guilty about … and I want … I’m feeling ashamed that I … and I want … I love and understand … and I want … A brief excerpt from a letter I wrote to my wife, Carlin, follows (the actual love letter was much more detailed): It pisses me off that you had dinner with Katie and didn’t invite me. I want you to be more considerate of my feelings. It hurts that you want to be with her more than me. I want to be more important in your life. I’m afraid you are losing interest in me. I want us to be close like we were.

I feel guilty that I’m away from home so much. I want to be more available to you. I feel ashamed that I’m so picky. I want to be more flexible. I can understand your need for friends. I love you and I want us to be more trusting. What I’ve found is that most of us are better at uncovering and expressing some feelings than others. Some of us can write page after page on anger, but are cut off from our hurt or fear. As you practice you will expand your ability to feel more. When we finish writing, we often feel more healed and centered. We have worked through our anger ourselves and have only love to share with our partner. Sometimes we can ask our partner to read our Love Letter and share in our experience. This is a process I have used for years. It may seem confusing on paper, but in practice it’s pretty simple. The more love letters you write, the more loving your relationships will become. What you feel, you can heal. All feelings lead to love. LOVE DART #36: Don’t work on your relationship; nurture it. In my years as a therapist, I’ve run into two types of people. One type feels that relationships, once created, never need care. They only pay attention to “how we are doing” when the relationship is on the brink of destruction. The other type of person is always “working on the relationship.” Without work, they are afraid the relationship will wither. Good relationships can’t be ignored and they shouldn’t be worked on. When we ignore our relationships they suffer from neglect. When we work on them, we pick them apart. A relationship is like a beautiful lily. Touch it too much and it turns brown. There are three parts of a relationship that must be continually nurtured: You, Me, and Us. Like flowers in the garden they don’t need to be worked on, simply loved and cared for. Ask yourself at least once a week, “What have I done to nurture myself? What have I done to nurture my partner? What have I done to nurture the partnership?” If you find things are out of balance, let your awareness guide your actions. LOVE DART #37: Love comes in three packages. Learn your partner’s preferred wrapping.

How many times have you been part of a conversation like this? “You don’t seem to love me like you used to!” “You don’t notice the ways I express my love!” Most of us feel we aren’t getting the love we need and most of us feel that love we give is not recognized and appreciated. These feelings can, and often do, lead to our undoing. The problem is that love comes in three packages (at least) and most of us only recognize the wrapping that we are accustomed to seeing. Here’s how it works. Some people feel loved when they hear the right words. When they hear -- “I love you, I adore you, you set my heart on fire” – they “know” they are loved. Other feel loved when they see the right actions. When flowers arrive, a romantic dinner is planned, a special day is remembered – these people “know” they are loved. A third group feels loved when they are touched. A warm caress, a massage, a gently brush on the cheek and these people “know” they are loved. I put the “know” in quotes because we are sure that our partner sees “love” the same way we do and if they aren’t giving us what we expect it is because they don’t care. Most of us don’t realize that love comes in different packages. One person may show their love by bringing home a regular paycheck. Another by saying, “I adore you.” A third, by giving a back-rub after a long day’s work. Which package do you most readily respond to? Which one does your partner prefer? If you feel you’re not getting all the love you want, try asking for the specific form you like and try to expand your ability to give and receive all the forms. LOVE DART #38: Find your soul-partner in a women’s or men’s group. Most of us look for a soul-partner in a person of the other sex. When we do that, I believe we are looking for love in all the wrong places. Though our mates can give us a great deal, they can’t give us the nourishment that can only be found in same-sex relationships. For most of the 2 million years of human history, men and women spent extended periods of time in separate groups. The men might be together for a week or more on hunting trips while the women spent time together closer to camp. The need was not related solely to the necessity for men to hunt and women to gather, but find and practice the soul mysteries related to each gender.

Almost fifteen years ago I joined a men’s group. Not only has it allowed me to know men in a deeper, more intimate way, it has allowed me to get to know myself as never before. The fact that I met Carlin during this time and our relationship has continued to be passionate, alive and vital after fourteen years is an additional benefit. If you’re a man and you want your relationship to be healthy, join a men’s group. If you’re a woman who wants the same, join a women’s group. How do you feel about joining such a group? What are your fears? What are your hopes? LOVE DART #39: To increase intimacy spend time alone. Too much togetherness is a major cause of relationship failure. We need our own time, space, thoughts, and dreams, if we are to renew ourselves as individuals. Only healthy individuals can create a healthy relationship. In a society that confuses togetherness with intimacy, the following suggestions will sound odd, if not downright crazy. First, I suggest that each person have their own space that is private. A room or even a corner will suffice, but it needs to be yours and entered by others only by invitation. When the whole house is “ours” we lose our sense of “mine” and eventually have to escape to find our lost selves. Second, I suggest that each person take their own vacation at least once a year. Being alone allows you to see if you are giving any part of you away for the “wellbeing” of the couple. Often it is only after a relationship breaks up that we realize that we have stopped doing the things we love, seeing people we care about, eating foods we like. The “me” has been slowly sacrificed for the “we.” Being alone also renews your feeling of confidence and power. You member, once again, that you can stand on your won feet without leaning on someone else for support. Third, I suggest that each person have their own bedroom. This was the most difficult suggestion for Carlin and I to follow. Like most people, we shared the belief that separate beds was a sign of old-age, marital difficulties, and a lack of sexual interest. In practice we found that separate bedrooms kept the passion and romance continually alive. When we wanted to make love, we had to entice each other to our bed. We could never take each other for granted.

At times we slept together. At other times we slept alone. The alone times allowed us to follow our own unique nighttime patterns, to think our own thoughts, dream our own dreams. How do you feel about spending time alone? How do you feel about the three suggestions? How would your partner feel? LOVE DART #40: Don’t rely on love. Schedule time together. In the early stages of a relationship finding together time is not difficult. We may have just worked eighty straight hours, but when our lover suggests we come over for a glass of wine, our flagging energy jump starts immediately. As time goes on, the pressures of work, children, in-laws, money, mortgages, shopping, repairs and the million-and-one other details of life begins to weigh on us. “We just don’t seem to have much together time,” is a common complaint that undermines the health of most relationships. Here’s what you can do. Set aside one night a week as “date night.” This is the night where you do something you love together. It may be dinner, a walk in the country, a movie. The important thing is that you each love to do it. Take turns planning it, so you both have a chance to initiate and be creative. Finally, make it such a high priority in your life that nothing gets in the way of your doing it. When the kids were growing up and Carlin and I were both working and the pressures of life pulled us down, date night saved our marriage numerous times. We’d never have kept it going if we hadn’t made it such a high priority. Kids, friends, business associates, and clients often heard, “I’m sorry, you know I can’t do it, Wednesday’s our date night.” Do you and your partner spend as much time together as you’d like? What do you think about a date night? In what other ways can you keep “dating”? LOVE DART #41: Try having sex when you’re not in the mood and abstaining when you want it the most. Next to conflicts over money, sex causes more relationship breakups than anything else. Often one partner wants to make love and the other doesn’t, both do but are too tired, or both don’t and wonder why. Having an affair often seems like an easy way out. Talking is good, but can only take you so far. For the truly adventurous, try enjoying sex when you’re not in the mood. Many of us are so preoccupied with sexual passion and belief that sex must always be spontaneous, we forgo other opportunities. Carlin and I have found great delight in setting regular times to make love “whether we felt like it or not.”

The flip side of that practice is to take a break from sex, again by mutual agreement, even when you feel passionate. We often try and get too many of our needs met through sex. Carlin and I have found that taking a break and agreeing not to be sexual for a period of time allowed us to reconnect with other needs. We found, for instance, that we were trying to get all our needs met for sensual touch, intimate talk, and emotional release from our lovemaking. How do you feel about scheduling time to make love? Are you aware of any resistance? How do you feel about abstaining from sex periodically? Would you be willing to try one or both of these suggestions? LOVE DART #42: Talk about money or the fights will kill you. Most people would rather tell you their most intimate and kinkiest sexual fantasies than tell you their net worth or even how much money they spent that day. As a result, there is more fear, confusion, misunderstandings, and anger about money than anything else. Money is such a bug-a-boo for most of us that we are even afraid to tell ourselves how much we are worth, how much we spent this week, or how much we owe. Only our accountant knows for sure (but who tells their accountant the whole truth?). If the sexual education most of us received as children is distorted, what we learned about money is downright twisted. It’s no wonder we grow up to spend more than we earn, to be in constant terror of ending up poor, to hide our income and our debts, and generally to feel ashamed of our relationship with money. Rather than talk about money, we generally wait until the pressures build up and we fight about money. One of the best investments a couple can make is to take a weekend and discuss their fears, concerns, hopes, and dreams about money. The best resource is a seminar you can take in the privacy of your own home called Transforming Your Relationship with Money & Achieving Financial Independence. You can learn about it and other helpful information at: http://www.financialintegrity.org/. Talking truthfully about money many not sound very romantic, but it may be the best relationship investment you can make. How comfortable are you about money matters? Have issues about money caused problems for you in the past? Would you like to change the way you relate to money?

LOVE DART #43: Write your own “love darts.” Modify the others to fit your needs. I have yet to find a recipe book that will turn out healthy relationships. If this were one, I’d be rich and famous already. The best I can hope to do in this small book is to share some of my experience. I hope you have found it useful. The next step is to develop some “love darts” of your own. If you take a few moments to reflect, you will be surprised at how much you know about what works in your own unique life. *** Look back at the “love darts” I have written and modify them to fit your own experience. Don’t look at them as commandments sent down from on high, but as suggestions from a fellow searcher. Let me know what works for you. I’d love to share your experiences and pass the information on to others. Feedback is welcome. To share your responses with Jed or to get further information on his other books and workshops, please write to: Jed Diamond 34133 Shimmins Ridge Road Willits, CA 95490 Write me at Jed@MenAlive.com Or visit my website at www.MenAlive.com ***

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful