Childhood Games Defining Our Current Relationship Filter

The dynamic between each couple is unique.  One partner may be dominant for a percentage of the time and the other the remaining.  We all know that couple where the woman wears the pants and has the guy by the short and curlys.  Or the abusive relationship, where the woman is uncomfortably submissive.  It’s a pleasure each day to be able to observe the differences and similarities in the interactions of people.  Online can be a skewed window, whereas watching in person people interact there are so many lessons to be learned.  I have often found myself stating that I never want to be that woman, or I would never treat my man like that especially in public.  There is a skillset that is learned from early on for interacting with people, and choosing who we have relationships with.  We have learned the ability to quickly filter and sort through millions of people in our lifetime and arguably keep about 150 on a more than just an acquaintance level.
To learn the basics we as children are socialized with other children.  So much of preschool and kindergarten is guided sharing, and playing nice, societal moulding.  As we progress to recess the boundaries get pushed further to higher energy games of tag, and red rover.  I recently had a conversation about the pros and cons of banning the aforementioned games in the school yard.  We both remember the how dangerous the games could be, but ultimately felt that these social connections learned from these simple games far outweighed the consequences.  For example, take Red Rover, you have two rows of people facing each other with hands held.  If the kid from team A runs and breaks through the arms of two kids on team B they get to take a player back to their team A.  If they don’t break through then they become part of team B.  In a very short amount of time the team has to reach a consensus and strategize the person they would like to run towards them into their arms.  There are many variations, do you want the really weak kid who won’t break through but is then a weak link on your team or do you risk the strongest player on their team not being able to break through and thereby strengthening your own team.  The other team has a choice too, they can decide which pair of people to try and run through there by trying to secure their own stronghold in dominance. 

This is a very simplified explanation, but a few really interesting things to consider.  The speed with which kids are able to make these decisions is amazing.  Kids are able to make judgements in a very short amount of time and work together as a team for a common goal.  Not only are these very snap decisions, but looking back I very rarely remember a time where one team absolutely dominated the other team consistently.  The original teams are picked with two captains who alternate their picks in a very democratic process.  Almost always the teams started fair and ended with a similar outcome.  Now imagine not having the opportunity to learn these skills at such a young age.  Imagine walking into a room without these basics and trying to pick out the person of most value to network with.  This is the new reality we are walking into, where kids are no longer allowed to play these very important socialization games on the playground, and thus when they grow up these skills will take much longer to learn. 

I am very curious to watch the power struggles of this next generation and to see where our society will take us by opting for the safety of our children over making them sound and whole human beings.  There is a price to pay for every decision, but I wonder what this will be on making those connections with a possible spouse.  Just a little blog hopefully to get you thinking about what has defined the social skills you have today and how you may have learned to filter those around you in such a necessary way.

Dating: The How To…. If She/He Has Children?

I have reached a point in my life when I now have a few very close single friends who have children, and most recently found out that a friend is dating a man with a child.  Aside from that being a really scary reality check, I know that there are many questions out there about this topic.  So I thought I would share a bit about my knowledge on this subject.  Please be pre-warned that I am very passionate about a few points I will bring up and I will do my best not to point fingers in the process.

I was raised by a single mother for over half of my childhood.  Although things weren’t perfect one thing looking back that she did incredibly well was to ensure that any dating she did, didn’t involve me.  She is still a very attractive woman, who has told me a bit here and there about her dating life now that I am an adult.  As a child though I was kept in the dark.  She always put me first and foremost, very similar to the powerful women in my life who are raising children of their own.  With this being said, there is one incident that I hope will raise a bit of a warning, and I write it again trying not to point fingers.

My mom and dad divorced when I was less than two years old.  I lived with my mom full time and saw my dad without any real consistency.  My mom explained that she couldn’t be with my dad, and in my eyes that meant that every time he came around it was for me and me alone.  Being an only child this meant that my mom lived only for me, and my dad lived only for me when he was around.  When I was eight (or thereabouts) that spell was broken.  I walked upstairs to kiss my mom before school and found her and my dad asleep in bed together.  I vividly remember the shock and wave of emotions that overtook me.  I went to school and I think I even got in a bit of a fight but its a little hazy.  That moment when I realized that I now had to share my parents, and that they could have a relationship that wasn’t all about me sent me into shock.

Here’s the thing though, both my parents really thought that this was a great thing for the family.  My mom who had protected me all those years didn’t have a clue how much this upset the precious balance of our divorced family.  And I had no idea what these feelings meant at the time, or why I had them.  I do know very shortly after I received my first puppy, I wonder if this was related in any way?  At any rate this traumatic event set into motion my extreme empathy for all children who have divorced parents, and really gives me a passion for the subject. 

When I was recently told by a friend that her new boyfriend had a young child I very quickly gave her some words of advice.  I asked her, “please don’t rush to meet the kid, as it complicates things”.  In a new relationship its all about getting to know the new and potential partner.  Statistically the relationship will not last more than a few days or weeks.  It takes a lot of time and a bit of luck to really find someone who is a potential for a more long term commitment.  But when you rush to meet the child too soon that can really skew the natural process.  In most cases the kids are really cute, and amazing.  The innocence is intoxicating and you see the other person in a whole new light.  A person living for their child, a very tender and incredible sight.

I personally would have a hell of a time walking away from that, or not letting this invade my thought process for a long term commitment.  Introduction of children into a new and budding relationship is just not fair.  The feelings now go beyond anything superficial and become about family.  You have been given a pass to overlook certain characteristics of this potential suitor because you now see them in this most amazing environment.   Our instincts to toss out, and be a picky as we can become less than accurate.  This doesn’t even take into consideration if the child is older and sees you as this new and exciting person.  Adults must remain adults in this situation, as the child lives free hearted or vicariously through a new and unique situation. 

As for dating when you have a child, being that I don’t have any of my own, all I can say, is that it is your responsibility to protect your children from an adult environment.  Date, get laid, have fun and live your life, but keep your child first and foremost. Sheltered from the dating life that is no place for a young child.  Place boundaries on adult time and the undivided attention that you give them when you are home.  Try and be a real person to them, this will help so much when they are teenagers.  Again, my mom did an amazing job with this and I love her so much for being a real friend and mother when I needed her.  And sometimes when I didn’t think I did.

Dating… The How To?

So I was listening to a Dan Savage podcast this morning, whereby the caller said that he had forgotten how to date.  This is a very common statement that I have heard time and time again and if I have used the same line in the past, let me apologize right here and now.  I am very sorry for ever saying that I have forgotten how to date.  Let me tell you why.

Last night I was having a conversation with a dear friend and we were discussing past relationships.  Dating of course came up and I mentioned that I really didn’t start dating until university.  On a side note, my parents both asked me if I was a lesbian all throughout junior high and high school because I never brought guys home or dated, thanks mom and dad!  I had one major relationship that ran its course through many dating scenarios (which I will save for a later date) over an 8 year period.  But that really I was not super informed when it came to dating and made many many mistakes along the way.  The guy I was talking to looked shocked and asked such a simple question, which to paraphrase was, “well how can you be blamed, did anyone ever teach you how to date or be in a relationship?”  Crap!  I know for a fact that was never sat down by my parents and told how they dated, what worked or didn’t work.  I of course had the birds and the bees talk when I was 6 or 7 and that was a very funny story in itself.  I recall the horrible time my mom first asked me if I was sexually active, also a hilarious story that I can just finally laugh about now.  But nothing on dating.  

How can we possibly be successful in finding a mate if we are never taught how to date?  Doesn’t it seem strange that the only tried and true method is trial and error?  I am positive that within my family alone there so much wisdom and knowledge about how to date.  But the only stories I grew up hearing were about how the current spouse was met.  And this is why I must apologize for not knowing how to date.  I was not taught, it was through trial and error that I found any male in my life.  Realizing this, its almost laughable that we are able to find anyone compatible on any level.  Thank goodness for the aid of dating websites.  At least those sites allow you to ask and answer question about the people out there, but when it comes to meeting them, sink or swim!

The typical relationship out there is a failing vessel.  Not only do many relationships fight true happiness (whatever that may be for each individual), but we do not have the tools to meet the best possible mate in the shortest amount of time.  There is so much knowledge that our parents learned, or even our grandparents that just seems to be a taboo topic.  Or maybe its just a detail they would rather leave out.  The perpetual cycle that they weren’t very adept at it, so they were great full to leave the dating scene as soon as possible.  A very common sentiment, that rush to leave the dating scene as it is too big and scary.  The safety of a relationship, which I might mention was not on my how to list either.  

So please, if you have a family, try and break this cycle.  Teach your children that dating isn’t so scary, it can be a lot of fun and an amazing way to truly learn who you are before you say your I do’s.  Keep the next generation as informed as we can so we pass on knowledge and not just our baggage, even if it is embarrassing.

Liars or Cheaters?

I have felt complete blind rage a few times in my life.  Each instance resulted from deception or outright being lied to.  Just thinking about the few moments that this happened I can feel my blood pressure rise.  To me there is no worse feeling that having someone respect you so little that they would lie to your face.  As well it raises so many unanswerable questions, why are they lying? For how long have they been lying?  What else is really going on? And so on and so forth.

So that being said, I dislike being lied to, obviously.  I have a hard time giving anything but a direct and honest answer as a I result.  I have adapted a defense mechanism to keep me from being too direct and honest, and that is I do not open up to a lot of people. But that is just me.

Now onto point number two, the cheaters.  No one likes a cheater and the emotion felt when I felt cheated on is heartbreaking.  Now to play devils advocate.  It is interesting that there are men out there who claim that if they are honest about their promiscuity then they are not really cheating.  Which if you go by the letter of the law, is actually correct.  Cheating is an act of deception, and if there is honesty, then poof, no cheating.  So then where does this leave us?  Well it leaves us in a vernacular nightmare. 

Deception is a swift killer of all relationships.  So how do we define acts of sex outside of our partners in a way that isn’t 100% negative?  Oddly the English language offers nothing to that point.  We have a very black and white definition of our societal roles in a committed relationship and personally it is difficult to break through this when the language itself binds us.  Open relationships are one way of bringing about communicating the wants and needs of people outside the sphere of cheating on your significant other.  But let us be honest, not many of us have much experience with being open.

So what is a person to do?  Start with honesty, it’s the first step to continue our sexual evolution.

Are you ready to start your own questioning journey? Contact me today for personalized coaching!

The Womanizing Male on our TV

For the last few years we have seen a gradual shift in the media and the goings on of the average male.  Now I am not the most up to date on celebrity gossip, however I know that we are living in a world where cheating men make headlines.  And the frequency is ever increasing, we as a society are fascinated by these womanizers.  There is rarely a day when we do not hear of the mistresses of Tiger Woods, or the child of Arnold and his housekeeper.  These men are socially tried and convicted in the eyes of the populous.  It is portrayed as scandalous, shameful, and we tisk about how they could do that to their families, etc.

On the other hand, isn’t it interesting how a womanizer on TV in this fictional world is glorified?  For example, Mad Men, Californication and Nip/Tuck are a few series where the men are complete users of woman, yet loved by almost all?  This dichotomy of the real and fictional male and our reactions to them.  The real life politician cheating on his wife, deplorable! The fictional writer who has to break up with three woman at once, hilarious.  Why is there an underlying love of the character, but the real life situation is scary?  Does the real life just hit a little too close to home?

How many relationships have not been plagued by some sort of indiscretion? Some mis-understanding or plain outright nookie on the side?  I would argue that there are almost none where this underlying human urge does not take over at one time or another.  How as a society do we bridge that gap between what happens in real life, and the sheer entertainment value of the exact same scenarios on TV.  People are not evil for being that which makes us human.  Our sexuality and desire to be attractive plays a huge role in that.

Woman love to hate the womanizer on our prime time, and hate to love the man sleeping on the couch.  The parallels are there, and they are real whether society wants to admit it or not.  But individuals need to start recognizing the similarities and learn to find peace and happiness from just living and loving the best we possibly can.