Monthly Archives: October 2011

The Core of Longing

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OK.  This is philosophical.

If you have been following along so far, you know that I am doing some work on myself, which I believe is totally necessary for anyone to be prepared for a healthy relationship – particularly for people like me who are relationship challenged.  The good news is that I have been, for many years, working in the right direction in terms of collecting tools to make a relationship work.  The bad news I have been using them incorrectly. (More on that in future blog.)

Today I want to share a fantastic summary of what I ultimately want in a relationship as brilliantly defined by Charlotte Kasl in her book If The Buddha Dated:

Our longing is also our desire to be known completely. Imagine having your beloved look tenderly into your eyes, knowing all your secrets, having seen you be crabby and sweet, selfish and generous, and still truly loving you. Imagine being able to do the same.  That is the potential of a conscious relationship.

Based on what I have been reading and learning by observation of successful relationships (yes, I actually know couples who are in healthy, functional committed relationships) is that a key ingredient for achieving the above described love is honesty and the ability to express one’s needs, emotions and opinions healthfully and to have those communications be respectfully listened to and vice verse.  Therefore it is paramount that THE man has those capabilities.

In the previous paragraph Kasl describes my second biggest fear (following abuse) in a relationship, what I call the zombie effect:

If you seek only refuge, security, and comfort, you imprison your relationship and the vitality will wane.  Krishnamurti, the renowned spiritual teacher and author of numerous books, wrote, “If in a relationship there is no tension [meaning no deepening of knowledge of self and others], it ceases to be a relationship and merely becomes a comfortable sleep state, an opiate- which most people want and prefer.”

Security will be important this time around but must be one of several factors to consider.  Dear DBT, please keep this in mind.

COMING SOON:  what I am looking for in a man….

Dating Story #1: The Bank Robber

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I thought at this point it might be interesting to explore an example of a bad dating choice.  In the first post to this blog I mentioned dating a bank robber. This is true.  I did go out with a bank robber but here’s the disclaimer: I was ignorant of his bank robbing activities and I was quite young.

I was in my early twenties attending Art school where many of us used creative exploration as an excuse to spend a good deal of  time inebriated and dancing in clubs. One night while dancing at my favorite club, I saw a cute-ish, mohawked and multi-ear pierced guy shaking up a bottle of champagne (the ’80’s drink of choice) and spraying it all over the crowd on the dance floor.  Intrigued by the sheer wastefulness of good champagne, I approached this person and said in my best smiling sarcastic way, “You are either very stupid or very rich.”  The guy replied, “I am very rich.”  Artsy and rich! An irrisistable combination to a former Prep turned Bohemian.

Somehow I convinced Bankrobber Boy that if he was into wasting perfectly good champagne that he should prove it by buying enough for me to bathe in.  He agreed and purchased two or three cases of whatever the bar had left  (some swill water variety since he had earlier bought them out of Dom) and one or two drinkable bottles plus a slab of lasagna for sustenance.  We ventured to the place where I was house sitting for a friend and proceeded to pop plastic champagne corks and fill a bathtub (I did add a bit of hot water for comfort). Mostly clothed we got into the tub, drank one of the decent bottles and ate the lasagna.  That was the beginning of our short dating relationship.


When I asked Bankrobber Boy where he got his money he gave me the same line he had given everyone else we mutually knew; he had inherited a ton of money from his grandfather and was now able to draw from a substantial trust fund.  I knew lots of people from private school who had large trust funds so it seemed perfectly logical.  I figured he was just going nuts with the novelty of having “real” money for the first time to use at his descretion. It happens.

We met a once or twice more for dinner then he asked if I would like to go on a trip with him to somewhere fabulous- I fail to recall the exact destination but remember it was wonderful like an island someplace with palm trees, white sand and blue water.  Always being game to travel, we made some sketchy plans about a departure date in the next couple of weeks.

A few days later he dropped by the  boutique where I worked.  Dressed in his usual cut off pants, big T-shirt and combat boots (it was the ’80’s and he was “cool”), he wanted a suit for something or other.  I set him up with a Hugo Boss blue plaid jacket and black pants, belt, shoes, shirt and tie.  Once the ensemble was altogether he asked me to hold it for him in the dressing room while he went to make a withdrawal from his trust fund.

He returned about twenty minutes later, paid for the suit in cash asking me to keep all the coins from his change (he didn’t like the noise of rattling change in his pockets he told me), changed his clothes and asked for a bag for his old clothes.  We chatted for a minute about out travel plans and he left.

That evening on the local news a story appeared about another local bank robbery.  The fourth in the last six weeks or so. Downtown very near my place of work. I thought nothing of it at the time but would soon realize that I had unknowingly helped Bankrobber Boy escape  by selling him a change of clothes.

One week and a dinner date later, just a few days we were supposed to leave for wherever it was we were going, breaking news interrupted the mid -afternoon.  Another bank robbery.  By the six o-clock news the guy had been caught and all seemed safe and right again in my little town until Bankrobber Boy failed to call me about our trip. (Ahh, the days before internet, cell phones and texting) I asked around and soon learned that he had been arrested as the bank robber of all five  banks!

I never heard from him again and for all I know he is still in jail.

Well, folks, that is dating story #1.  Hope you enjoyed it. More to come.

The Dating Brain Trust begins to form

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A few days ago I sent out invitations to the future members of the Dating Brain Trust and, I am happy to report, there has been a great response!  People seem very eager to help in this project which is at once thrilling (great to know so many people care about my welfare and want to help) and slightly pathetic (they agree that I need the help).

At any rate, I am grateful and very excited to get this project started to see how they do.

Their first task is to define the parameters of the Dating by Committee project.  There are three “rules” so far:

  1. The Brain Trust should be anonymous.  Their identities should secret so that followers of the blog are kept free from bias (as in: “Well, of course your mother would tell you that!”, or “Your ex-boyfriend is just jealous.”)
  2. The dates will be labeled D1, D2, D3, etc. (Assuming I go on multiple dates- you see I really am an optimist) to protect their identities.
  3. The Brain Trust will overrule public opinion.  Sorry, followers, but these people know me and that is part of this experiment.
Obviously, other parameters need to be set.
I invite you and the members of the DBT to start putting forth suggestions regarding how this concept should work.
Ice Breaker Question:
Should this project be marked by a timeframe or a certain number of dates?  In other words, should this project go for a certain length of time like 3 months, 6 months, a year? or should it be for 12 dates, 30 dates, 50 dates, etc.?
Looking forward to your comments.
In the meantime I will continue to wax poetic on things like my personal dating issues, guys I have dated in the past (don’t worry guys, no names will be included) and what I am looking for in a mate.

The Big Sell

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When I was a small child, I was inundated with messages about love and romance via classic fairly tales as interpreted by Walt Disney.  I was relentlessly exposed to stories of handsome princes rescuing beautiful princesses in various states of peril (endless sleep, a deathlike sleep, trapped in a tower by a witch, enslaved by a mean step-mother).  Intentional or not, some grooves were carved into the vinyl of my concept of finding a mate that have yet to me melted down or scratched out.
One is that romantic love is true everlasting love and that love at first sight is the only way to know it is real.  In all of these fairy tales the love interests fall for each other immediately upon initial meeting.  Yes, that can happen.  You hear stories all the time from couples that they knew he/she was the ONE the first time their eyes met.  But that is lust people.  Lust can grow into love but it is not everlasting love.
I cannot count how many times I thought I found love at first sight and -newsflash- it didn’t stick.  I had a lot of fun with some of those people until we discovered that there was nothing substantial on which to build a true lasting relationship. Time was wasted, opportunities may have been lost , and someone always got hurt while we were preoccupied with all that fun.
Romantic love fades and there has to be more than that initial rush leads you to believe to keep things going.  (But don’t think that you can allow the romance to fade completely either because that is certain doom.  More on that in an upcoming post to be titled, 27 proposals.)
Another message learned was the idea that love conquers all.  After twelve years of loving someone I thought I could fix/help/heal if I loved them enough, I can tell you that love alone cannot conquer all.  Things like financial harmony, good communication, satisfying sex and common goals and common interests while maintaining your individuality play a huge factor in the long term success of a committed relationship.
I know that I don’t need a man to be “awakened”, fulfilled or otherwise to be happy as Snow White, Sleeping Beauty or most other fairytales suggest.  I am generally a happy person as I am. I  actually adore living alone.  But I also generally enjoy being part of a couple, caring for someone and being their biggest cheerleader.
My friend David Robbins once described his search for a mate thusly, “I just want someone who’s got my back and I’ve got theirs.”  I want that too, a partner to work with rather than a prince or a project. But first I have some fairytale unlearning to do.
I plan to begin with a book given to me by my friend Julie titled, IF THE BUDDHA DATED by Charlotte Kasl and a 12 step relationship program (seriously).
 I am determined to get it right this time.
*image courtesy of google images

Here’s the deal

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Have you ever played that game “Mystery Date?” If you’re not old enough to remember, this was a game geared towards tweens in the late 1960’s in which girls tried to win a date with the right guy. There was a bowling date, an ice skating date, a beach date, a prom date, and a dud. The door on the board opened and a picture of a guy would appear. When I played this game a long time ago, my favorite guy was the dud. He was a little different, scruffy and I thought he was hot.

What this tells us is that from early on, I picked the losers out of the line-up. It’s not that they aren’t great guys, but they’re not great for me.

I have chosen to date a continuing stream of duds — alcoholics, drug addicts, a bank robber, an axe murder, one married man, a foot fetishist, economically challenged and/or unemployed men, and several who have been emotionally unavailable. I can’t wait to tell you some of these stories.

I’m at a place where I understand my strengths and weaknesses. In short, I’m a great woman who has made some bad choices and it is clear that I need help with my choices. That’s why I’ve created the Dating Brain Trust.

Photo credit: Yahoo Images