Sunday, September 30, 2007

The tick box for possible partners

I know now who to avoid when dating but how do I identify possible future partners. I never did continue the internet dating, I found it a bit too intrusive and impersonal. If you are like me and enjoy social situations and the actual act of talking, the internet can be rather limiting. Unless you date a friend or work colleague, when meeting someone new the initial connection is likely to be that of physical attraction and little more. The majority of people are confident, funny and uplifting in social environments especially if large quantities of alcohol are involved and, once numbers have been exchanged, you now need to establish whether you are actually compatible. The following options can prevent time wasting on those all important 'getting to know each other' dates:

1. Prior to the date email the person requesting a full medical and family history, vital statistics and future aspirations

2. Ask on the date a series of interview questions with a therapist standing nearby analysing the answers

3. Take all you close family and friends on the date letting them assess possible future candidates

OK , this in itself means you will be avoided so we need to look at a subtler approach. I met a girl several years ago, we had one of those fantastic dates then she treated me terribly. I never saw her again but she played on my mind. I spoke to my therapist about the one night stand saying she had ticked all the ideal partner boxes. The therapist asked what boxes did she tick? and my response was she was attractive and had a similar job to me. So now we know I am looking for someone who treats me badly, is attractive and works in a large company! Not someone who is loving, kind, respectful and (if you have followed the other blogs) has the 'Wink Factor', the vital trait for me is we can bore each other rigid talking about business! Why did I waste so much thought space over her? Oh yes, because she rejected me..

My ideal partner tick box
  • Open, confident, loving, caring, stable, with a fantastic sense of humour - all those positive traits I find in my closest friends
  • Spontaneous, to wake up on Saturday morning be dragged out of bed and then taken on an adventure
  • Someone who can be trusted with my emotions, they won't play games or manipulate
  • Respectful of my bubble! That sounds really dodgy but isn't. A friend refers to an individual's life and all it encompasses as a bubble and whoever you allow into that bubble should treat it with respect or they are out
  • God damn sexy in every aspect. Neither boyish or overly feminine but just them and confident with it
  • And for me they need to be 100% gay. You'll be surprised how many bi people there are out there, they will probably find a man, leave you and get married. If they don't you're likely to send yourself mad worrying that they will

Unless your tick box is unrealistic and only fictional characters can fulfil the requirements then trust your gut instinct when it comes to starting a new relationship. If they do not tick the majority of your 'carefully thought out' partner boxes they are probably not right for you.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

The bit in between

I have moved swiftly from the break up, the five steps to help you through, to who to avoid whilst dating but what about the bit in between. The following update is a jumbled string of sentences that don’t amount to much. This is the moving on process, what I refer to as the 'relationship recovery' process.

A best friend recommended a therapy centre. She’d known me from childhood and was justifiably concerned that I would live my life in a constant state of highs and lows. I was almost insulted at first but being trusting of her I phoned and went.

The first trip was an assessment from the director of the centre and his conclusion was; stick to the recommended alcohol levels and other than that I was fundamentally fine. My inner self was stable, my family background was very loving and I was successful in almost all areas of my life. But, and there’s always a but, I wanted to have a successful long term relationship and for whatever reason I kept choosing the wrong people so this is what my therapy would be focussed on.

To get the most out of my sessions I decided on some objectives: to feel inner calm, strength and to really understand myself. Have you ever stood somewhere and felt total, true inner calm, even if only for a moment. Where the world seems to stop, you can hear a pin drop and clarity overwhelms you. You are in tune with the surroundings and yourself, inside and out and the world becomes an amazing place. That degree of awareness can't last, we still have to work, read the news, face our fears and live our daily lives. However, there is a lessened inner calm and strength that we can carry around daily, I just needed to find it!

A friend went to Australia on a spontaneous trip following a break up from her long term girlfriend. The plan went as far as buying a flight, packing a rucksack and turning up at the airport. When arriving in Australia the spontaneity was not as exciting and the ‘oh shit’ set in. She was alone, uncomfortable and miles away from her life. It soon changed and the following months were fantastic. It was on this trip she experienced the feeling of true inner calm. Whilst walking around Uluru with the sun rising, all the guilt, insecurity and failures disappeared and being her was ok, inner calm took over. Yes, that was me but that story is so corny I cringe and have to pretend it was a ‘friend’.

The extremity is; I have often had an unexplained emotion, a knot in my stomach that overwhelms me and is followed by heightened anxiety and panic that I find hard to deal with. I overreact becoming irrational and impatient; this often results in disastrous decision making. I have associated this feeling with love, anger and anxiety however I now understand these feelings are that of the fear of rejection. This is the text book psychotherapy I have previously tried to deny, how can my failures in relationships be an output of a very loving, stable childhood? But it is and of course this fear originates from what I believed to be insignificant childhood incidents and emotions filtered from people around me. Childhood incidents are not solely responsible for my adult behaviour, I am an adult and I make my own decisions, but they are intrinsically connected.

We all have a fear, however, some do not associate their fears with the emotions they feel. Anxiety is a perfect example. Next time you feel irrationally anxious, what are you actually scared of? Is it a fear of rejection, loss, failure, abandonment that is heightened by the situation you are in? Anxiety is an emotion attached to the fear not the other way around. If you feel anxious or out of control about a situation maybe ask yourself why?

There are certain events and relationships I should have walked away from but I stayed to avoid others and myself experiencing that sense of rejection. I will always be faced with people, situations and emotions that make me feel out of control, uncomfortable, irrational, high or low but if I learn why I may feel this way then I can step back and choose how I react. You know what, this clarity, self awareness and inner calm only costs me £40 a week!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Who to avoid when you start dating

I have been talking to various people about how you know who to avoid when you start dating again and the response is you can just tell, this as some of us know is not true. You would never expect to go on a date with someone who has previously stalked you over the internet, changed their profile, phone number and email address so they can continue to talk to you without you realising. Then steal your credit card to find out where you lived, worked, what you bought and where you hang out? This did not happen to me but it did to someone I know.

My experience was very different and much subtler, I went out with someone with such low self esteem that my personality, life and lifestyle seemed to cause her pain. I had spent 30 years building what I considered to be a full and successful life. I was almost comfortable with myself, I had good friends and family, had travelled extensively; I had a good job and owned my own flat. What I was proud of she appeared to dislike and I was very much in love so I tried to change to make her happy. Of course this did not work, and how arrogant of me to think it would. The clich├ęs is correct ‘you have to love yourself before you can let someone else love you’. That statement did apply to us both, I was far from perfect and made many mistakes. See female therapy part one if you want to know the outcome!

I recently joined a lesbian dating/chatting website and I realise it’s crucial to have a level of understanding about what I am looking for before I start. What is my type? And more importantly who should I avoid at all costs? The internet experience started off promising and is now steadily moving downhill. We start chatting, getting on well, finding out we’ve lots in common and then out come the photos and I have to experience that sinking feeling because they just don’t seem to be my type. Picky I know but sometimes you have to be, even if it is a bit shallow. The worst thing is I have lost track of who I have messaged so I may be accidentally stalking someone and not even know it.

How do we know when someone should be avoided (and please be forgiving of the numpties who accidentally stalk you, they could be like me and forgetful)? I would recommend you ask the following when meeting anyone new:

1. Do you like animals?
2. What is your favourite film?
3. Have you ever parked outside an ex’s house just to watch?

If the answer to question 1 is a definite no to all animals, then run away, there is something odd about a person who does not like any animals. I think it shows an overly controlling personality and lack of emotional sympathy and empathy for anything that breathes. If the answer to question 2 is 'Untamed Hearts' I would also recommend you turn about quickly and keep on searching. There is no psychological reason it just comes from experience! If you need to know the answer to question 3 then you should probably be avoided or go now to therapy.

If, however, you share common interests, have similar moral values and are sexually attracted to each other then go for it and have fun.

I have previously mentioned a type and for me that’s a beautiful women who has the ‘wink factor’. Someone who is comfortable with themselves and their life; she is funny, confident, open, loving and caring. Not jealous and very trusting. So where does the wink come in...I’m at a works do or a party and Ms Right doesn’t know anyone, I look across the room and I see her talking comfortably to a group of strangers, making them laugh and she looks over at me and she winks. That wink symbolizes someone who has the all the qualities I listed above .This person would like my life, treat it with respect, want to be part of it and vice versa.

I am happy to say I have more now than I had at 30 years old because at 33 all those dislikable elements in my life are still there and I have a much greater understanding of myself, people and who to avoid.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Therapy for females who like females

It's September and I'm wondering what has made me decide to write publically my thoughts on female relationships, gay women, therapy and matters of a less serious nature? The answer is I have no idea but why the hell not. Starting with a bit of background about me; I am in my early thirties and several months ago came out of an unsuccessful relationship and have since been on a journey of some description, which I feel like sharing. To summarise the last few years, I was in a relationship that made me unhappy, with a women who I had little in common with, who appeared jealous of my life, hated my past and blamed me for everything including the lack of world peace. On the other hand she was incredibly loving, intelligent and knew exactly how to make me laugh.

My life changed when a lovely friend paid for me to see an executive coach, we did not even talk about my partner, however the fog was lifted and I knew I had to get out of my relationship. Why? Because it was too hard, we were not compatible and we could not make it work. It was May when we finally split, it was unpleasant, hurtful and we can safely say we will not be friends! But I am not here to write about my relationship I am here to explain what happened next.

Recently a man told me a story as he believed it would help me understand where I was at in my life. This is his story....

' A man walked down a street and fell in a hole, he tumbled down and down, spiralling out of control and kept falling. About 2 years later this man crawled out of the hole, let out a sigh of relief and promised he wouldn't fall down it again. A while later the man walked down the street and falls into the hole, he once again spirals out of control but this time about 6 months later he crawls out. Thank god he thinks, he didn't fall so far this time.

A few months later, walking down the street he falls into the hole, this time he knows his way out and a few weeks later out he gets. He brushes himself down relieved and pleased he got out so quickly. Sometime later the man walks down the street, falls into the hole and jumps straight out. After a few months the man walked down a different street! '

He was right, I am now walking down another street. There were things I needed to do to get myself started. I had to look at my life, get over my relationship and try to figure out how on earth I keep falling down the same hole and making the same mistakes time and time again when it comes to women. The easiest way to start figuring this out was to do 5 simple things.

1. To get over the relationship I firstly slept with someone else.... which was a fantastic distraction but probably not the most healthy thing to do

2. To understand myself I went into therapy and it's fantastic. I go weekly to a centre in London and I talk for an hour and my therapist sorts me out.

3. I learnt to trust and rely on my friends & family and I mean my proper friends who know me and understand me, i've got rid of the crap and by doing that I suddenly find new people in my life and feel much more open to new friendships.

4. I learnt to like myself. I realise sometimes my thoughts and emotions are unexplainable and irrational and cause me pain so I am learning now how I deal with them

5. This is the really important step, it lasts a while and allows you to fully deal with your emotions, it supports you in life decisions and focusses your attention on what is important and valuable to you.... this is to get drunk and smoke alot!