Falling in love is grand. There’s that spark of aliveness and vibrancy, energy, passion, and epiphany, like everything has fallen perfectly into place and just makes sense. Life seems so full of meaning and beauty and purpose. To encounter another…
We tend to think of falling in love as something that happens between two individuals. If we fall in love, perhaps we're lucky enough to have those feelings reciprocated and build a lasting relationship with this person, maybe get married, have kids, form a family, you know, all that conventional stuff (not that that's the only way to do things). Then, upon this path, life inevitably happens. The stress and challenges of partnership begin to slowly nudge out the grandeurs of early romance and, at periodic junctures, it's not uncommon for some folks to wonder, "Hmmmm, have I fallen out of love?"
Last week I wrote about restaurants, this week it's food trucks. I must be hungry, unsurprising perhaps since I did spend the week prior on a juice fast. Nonetheless, since food is something we can all so easily relate to, it simply makes for a bounty of irresistible metaphorical uses. And thanks to the recent food truck revolution (especially here in Austin), what I'm about to say about human beings, using food trucks as a metaphor, will hopefully quickly resonate as true with you.
I've been feeling a bit like a restaurant lately, which is an uncomfortable thing to admit. I'm not used to comparing myself to buildings, much less ones that serve food, especially considering that I am a notoriously poor cook. Nonetheless, it dawned on me recently just how perfect this metaphor is to describe a phenomenon that I believe is fairly common among people in general, not just me.
Relationships are the stuff of life. Quite literally, nothing in the universe exists that isn't in a relationship to a whole bunch of other stuff, not to mention (indirectly) everything else in existence too. Of course, we homo sapiens, when we discuss relationships, we're usually referring to the face-to-face, human-to-human variety, which are by far the most complicated of them all. In this article, I'll explain what makes our interpersonal interactions just so mischievously difficult, and what to do about all those threesomes in which we keep unwittingly finding ourselves.
People are always changing, flowing through shifting emotional states. As we morph throughout time, one of the things that fluctuates is our desire for emotional--and physical--closeness. This phenomenon can really complicate relationships! Your partner might not want to cuddle or have sex or share a meaningful conversation at the exact moment you do, or vice versa. You might want to feel closer to someone who doesn't want closeness, or want more distance from someone who seeks greater closeness from you. An important question then arises: What's the best way to manage these ever-shifting desires for closeness and distance? Here's what I tell clients.
Conventional wisdom is great for creating ordinary relationships, but creating extraordinary relationships takes extraordinary means, means that replace conventional thinking with a less conventional, more out-of-the-box approach to connecting. In this article, I quickly debunk the top 10 relationship myths I see most often in couples counseling.
Imagine that you are about to embark on a long-distance, solo motorcycle ride across the Mojave desert. The trip is bound to be grueling and, if you know anything about motorcycles, you can be certain that your vehicle is going to break down, probably multiple times, during your journey. Since you’re going on this adventure alone, not knowing how to make repairs along the way would put you in serious peril. In fact, you’d be wise to cancel the trip entirely. However, if you are skilled in the art of motorcycle maintenance, then no problem! You can fearlessly set forth without reservation. When dilemmas and challenges arise, you’ll know just what to do to get yourself back up and running.
Relationships are a lot like this. Although it might look like you are going on such an adventure with a partner, in truth you are going alone. You are still you, a separate individual setting out on a journey that, at times, may be grueling and will invariably present you with an assortment of unexpected challenges. Anticipating anything else would be like trusting that your motorcycle will flawlessly traverse the Mojave without encountering a single hitch. The odds of that? Zero.