After ending a 5-year relationship with my son’s father (who I was never able to fall in love with) several years passed before I decided to get seriously proactive about going for what I want the most and finding out what prevents me from having it. Love (of course!). I read many dating books including yours, wrote a great profile to call in the one (as you all say), got beautiful pro photos taken and had a fair amount of success in dating (for over 2 years), in the sense that I dated regularly and almost always was asked out again and again. I had several men who wanted very badly to make me their girlfriend.
I also got clear on what I have to offer as well as what kind of man I want, making lists and a vision board, etc. Then I met Aks. I loved his profile and pictures and wrote him back right away. We immediately had a flow in our emails and texts, like no other. We had a great first date and became exclusive shortly thereafter. I was very attracted to him and felt that he well suited what I had looked for in a man. We waited for quite a while to have sex, as the tension built in me.
Fast forward 9 months. I now have a man who would do anything for me and does. He adores my son and my son adores him. He is kind and generous. This man is 14 years my junior and although I initially had concerns, they no longer exist for that reason alone. Although he has/had a great deal to learn in the bedroom, he is eager to learn.
That said, it does concern me that he never wants to spend any time apart and would prefer to be together 24/7. I enjoy time alone. Although he has a great job, he does not have any passions or extra-curricular activities outside of work, or any friends that he wishes to spend time with. His main focus is my son and me. Every woman’s dream, right?
You’re as confused as anybody else who confronts an ambiguous world without clear-cut answers.
Yet here I am…again, same pattern, new dynamic. I am not feeling in love with this man. I appreciate him, feel that we are good companions and think he is very attractive. And, as I said, I am not thrilled in the bedroom nor am I having feelings of desire. (But, we are openly working on that.).
What do I need to learn about myself to break this pattern? I practice yoga and am a massage therapist, so I am in tune with my body and my heart. Can you help me to crack this open and could he still be the man for me?
Thank you Evan! You Rock!!
I appreciate your self-aware question, Jennifer. I particularly like the fact that you’ve done your work and are still open to what you can’t see.
So here’s what I see:
You’re a searcher. Yoga. Massage therapy. Self-help. Spirituality. Calling in the One. In tune with your body and heart.
Sounds lovely. But if you read “Why He Disappeared” you would know that all good qualities come with bad qualities. So what’s the downside of being a woman like you? Since you’re not here to tell me, I’m going to go out on a limb.
Searchers are always dissatisfied, which is why they keep searching. They try different religions, different self-help courses, different hairstyles, different names, all in the name of personal growth, and yet they never really find what they’re looking for. Their joy is in the searching, experimenting, and somewhat faith-based belief that there’s meaning behind the search, and yet they tend to be less happy than, say, my wife, who has never tried any of this stuff.
You say you’re in tune with your body and heart, but are you, really? Does a woman who is truly “in tune” spend five years with a man she never loved and nine months with another man who is going to end up on your searcher scrap heap? I don’t think so. You’d like to think you’re aligned and self-aware because of all the work you’ve done, but you’re as confused as anybody else who confronts an ambiguous world without clear-cut answers.
Sorry if I’ve slightly misrepresented you; I’m doing the best I can here. But I think I can tell that your pattern (and problem) is twofold: first, that you’re looking for the “in love” feeling, and second, that you’re addicted to searching. Your belief that there’s something more than what you have right now with your boyfriend IS the problem, not your boyfriend.
I know. You feel the way you feel. You think you should be “in love” and have that heady “in love” feeling. Well, I’ve written about the difference between love and “in love” here, and even made a half-hour video about how chemistry can be an illusion.
But if that doesn’t do the trick, I’ll appeal to a higher power: Wikipedia
When I get clients, Jennifer, who feel like you, I make them come with me to Wikipedia and read aloud:
Psychologist Erich Fromm maintained in his book The Art of Loving that love is not merely a feeling but is also actions, and that in fact, the “feeling” of love is superficial in comparison to one’s commitment to love via a series of loving actions over time. In this sense, Fromm held that love is ultimately not a feeling at all, but rather is a commitment to, and adherence to, loving actions towards another, oneself, or many others, over a sustained duration. Fromm also described love as a conscious choice that in its early stages might originate as an involuntary feeling, but which then later no longer depends on those feelings, but rather depends only on conscious commitment.
A few people “just know” when they meet their soulmates. They fall “in love”, get married, and stay together forever. It’s a lovely narrative, and a particularly rare one. You know what happens more often?
Being “in love” is just a feeling, like getting drunk or stoned or dizzy.
People fall “in love”, get married, and get divorced even though they “just knew” they were “soulmates”.
What I’m suggesting – per Erich Fromm – is that being “in love” is clearly not enough to sustain a relationship. Being “in love” is just a feeling, like getting drunk or stoned or dizzy. Real, actual, enduring love is a commitment to the commitment, the desire to make your partner’s life better every single day. By giving that kind of love, you are more likely to receive that kind of love.
Sounds to me like your boyfriend is feeling the first type of love – the irrational, tingly, all-consuming kind. Sounds to me like you are feeling the more realistic, lasting kind of love – the one based on character, kindness, consistency, commitment, and appreciation. Your boyfriend will eventually see your flaws the way you see his. You’d better hope that when he does, he doesn’t become disillusioned with you because his “in love” feeling has turned into the softer, deeper, tolerance that is the mark of all successful marriages.
I could probably agree that your boyfriend can up his bedroom skills, develop a life outside of you, and understand that you need alone time. That’s not what your question is about. The onus is upon you to recognize that the only issue here are your unrealistic expectations about what you’re supposed to feel. You already have what is tantamount to a happy marriage with a devoted man. The question is whether you’re going to squander it in search of a higher feeling, which will likely draw you to a man who is not as devoted.