LOVE AND DATING TIP #1: Do not fall in love with the idea of falling in love

One of the greatest mistake we make when it comes to dating the opposite sex is that we do so because we are in love with the concept and idea of falling in love.

Maybe you watched a romantic movie or finished a romantic novel, or you just came from a conversation with friends about romance and you have this bright idea to start dating someone because the idea seems good and right. If that is the case – don’t!

The idea of falling in love might give you some good vibes but once you start dating someone you need to count the cost. Not the financial cost (though that is also important), but rather the relational cost of entering into a dating relationship.

Any relationship requires sacrifice and commitment. Hindi tatagal ang isang relationship sa goosebumps at kilig. You need to commit to a person – not just an idea of falling in love.

So huwag magpatulak dahil napanood mo lang si Sarah at si John Lloyd or dahil lahat ng barkada mo may girlfriend na – pag isipan mo mabuti kasi love is not a game. It is a decision. Dahil pag ikaw sinagot ng nililigawan mo – it takes more than kilig to go to the next level. Your relationship will be tested.

Grow in love with a person, don’t fall in love with the idea.

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That Thing Called Love

Written by Kendra

love heartWhen I take a look around me, my friends tend to fall in one of three camps. Happily coupled having found the right person, coupled on schedule (having secured the job and the house –the next notch on the belt was to get married–so they found someone and they did) and finally, single, like me.

It never bugged me that I was single until I made the very silly mistake of falling in love.

I’ve been in love exactly one time. When it happened it was a coup de foudre, a bolt of lightning, that I kept telling myself could not possibly be real. He was too cute, too nice, too funny, too smart for it to be mutual. But the more I got to know him, the more I liked and it was at least on some level, mutual.

Darkly humored with his feet on the ground, a nice counterbalance to my head in the clouds, we liked enough of the same things (Sci-Fi, mocking politicians) to make it wonderful, and disliked enough of the same things (his love of sports, my stance on drug policy) to make things interesting.

So naturally we messed it up.

I’ve been wondering a lot why so many of my friends– smart, interesting, successful in their own ways–are reluctantly single. And why Mr.X and I couldn’t make things work.

And I think it’s because, well, we think, too damn much. This Huffington Post article touches on it, but while their author narrows it down to very specific reasoning, I think many of us reluctant singles are guilty of a special brand over thinking.

We think love should come to us when we’re ready for it and when it doesn’t, we freak.

Like the guy who dumped a friend because the stronger his feelings for her became the less he was able to deal with them. He hadn’t been looking for love, you see, and to stumble across love when it wasn’t a part of his plans was not something he could do. So he ran.

Another ended things because she was scared at the idea of starting a serious relationship when her life was in flux; she wasn’t sure if she could be what he wanted her to be, but never bothered to give the poor guy a chance to articulate what he wanted out of the relationship.

Too many of us walk away from potentially great relationships – because we fear being unsettled, because we don’t have the degree/the job/the paycheck that we feel we need to “get serious”. The universe has its own timeline, and one that is often better than we could create. The trouble comes, however, when the universe serves us up something amazing and we walk away (time and time again) out of fear, or because it doesn’t mesh with some vague timeline.

There’s no guarantee that it will give us such awesomeness again, so when it does, we shouldn’t worry so much about the details. Just go for it.

Life and love are not a series of connect the dots… now if only I could remember that. 😉

– See more at: http://www.stratejoy.com/2009/09/that-thing-called-love/#sthash.GRTZPkSM.dpuf

Love & The Single Girl

Written by Nikki

I’m still figuring out what love means to me.  I’ve only been in love once; it was young, my first, and – not to take anything away from it; it was real and it held strong for years – I don’t know what it takes to have mature, marriage-worthy love.

I almost wrote about that first love, fleshed out the whole story and all its lessons, but then I realized that’s the past.  That’s affected my thoughts on love, but that’s not who I am now.

Now, I’m a single girl, about to turn 30 as she watches all her friends get married and have babies. It’s a weird, in-between place to be, but it’s not a bad place.  Despite what most movies and parents that want grandbabies and our recently married friends may tell us, ladies, it’s ok to be single, it’s ok to not want things in the standard time frame and no, we’re not old maids.

And by the way, I am so sick of movies and books portraying any woman single over 25 as being a workaholic in a high-paying glamorous job, as though a job and a relationship are the only things that validate a person and if by that age you don’t want babies, well, you must be career-obsessed.  Get with it, Hollywood; show me some real women who can’t be summed up in two words.  Can I get an Amen!?

Although I’ll admit, sometimes I let it get to me and I do feel like an old maid; that has definitely been a factor in my QLC.  When I’m a third or fifth or seventh wheel in a mob of couples, I freak out a little bit that I’ll end up alone, working a crappy job in a crappy apartment after a long string of sad endings, friends shaking their head in pity while I dress my cats like kids and wait desperately in bars.  God, please, no.

So there’s a polar division in me; as I stand in the pews or proudly in a bridesmaid dress, beaming on friends upon friends taking vows, I feel two opposite truths:  I want to get married.  I’m so glad I’m not getting married.

From my past relationships, I’ve learned the art of missing, the beauty of companionship, and how to know when it’s not right.  I’ve jumped in over my head and I’ve waded, waiting, cautious.  I’ve learned to recognize what’s not good for me and what my deal-breakers are.  All of those relationships have ended, and that’s a good thing.

I was never the little girl planning her wedding; it never even occurred to me to think about it until the past couple years, when I was suddenly snowed in with save the dates and RSVP cards.  Complaining to my mom (oh I’ll admit, I have my moments of weakness – “Whyyyy is everyone getting maaaaarrrriiiieeed???  I’m soooo left ouuuuut!!), she snapped me back to reality:  “Nikki, if what you wanted was to be married, you’d be married by now.”  Touche, momma, touche.

It’s not marriage I’m looking for, it’s a love that makes me believe in marriage.

I’m not jealous of people getting married; I don’t look with envy at the glinting diamonds or the fluffy white dresses.  But when I see my friends – of both sexes – that are excited about getting married, who, after years together, are giggling with joy, no nerves only giddy tears, as they vow forever, that sparks a wonder and a pang of selfish sadness in me.

They know who they are and have found the person who balances them.  I know not everyone who gets married is that self-aware or perfectly matched, but these friends I’m talking about are; they’ve gone into it with eyes open.  They see the challenges ahead and believe it’s worth it.  Forever is a long time, and they’d rather spend it together than anywhere else.

And you know what?  Until I have that, I’m OK with never being married.  In fact, I’ve decided if I’ve never been married by 40, I’m throwing myself a huge damn party with all my friends and family (because, really, when else in your life but your wedding do you get everyone you love in the same room?) and I’m even going to register for gifts.  All right, maybe I stole that a little from Carrie Bradshaw, but…  :)

Also, until then, I am so grateful for and contented with all the other forms of love I DO have in my life. The friends that I know I’ll have forever.  I’d vow on that.  My family, cheering me on no matter how far from them life takes me.  My love for travel: the thrill of the new, independence, and exploration not just of place but of self, and my love for performance: the thrill of collaboration, creating a show like giving birth – painful, joyous and alive.  My love of Thai coconut chicken soup (my mouth waters at the thought!) and Ben Gibbard from Death Cab for Cutie (talent crush to the max!) and the feeling of the wind singing in my hair as I bicycle down a hill (sqwoooooosh!!).

But the most important love I’ve found is the love I have for myself.  Slightly cheesy but deeply true.

I like my own company.  I’m not actually lonely at all.  Yes, it’d be nice to find a great big Love, but I don’t need it to be happy.  I love who I am, and who I am is, partially, a product of all those “failed” relationships; I don’t regret any decisions I’ve made.  I don’t have the high-powered job and I don’t have the guy, but, damnit, I’m ok with that.  I am just fine.

Although, if I ever do start dressing up cats and calling them my kids, please stage an intervention.

My dad said to me once, after I told him I’d broken up with my most recent boyfriend-ish guy, “you’re so lucky to have had all these experiences.  You will be more ready than most for a forever relationship, when you find it.”  I think he’s right.

To all the single ladies out there who aren’t waiting for some guy to “put a ring on it,” I say rejoice with me.  We are sure of ourselves, of what we want and who we are, and we will not buckle under societal pressures.  We will be thrilled for our friends that chose different lives from our own, and we will be confident in ourselves; we will trust that we are exactly where we need to be, right here, right now.  Now put your hands up!  Whoa woh woh oh oh oh…

– See more at: http://www.stratejoy.com/2010/10/loveandthesinglegir-2/#sthash.27hUkCNR.dpuf

Thoughts on Love

Written by Heather Rae

Have you ever wondered how different life would be if you said I love you more, gave more hugs, told people what they meant to you without a second thought?  I have.

Perhaps it’s just me.  I’m an introvert.  And I tend to be shy.  So I often keep my thoughts to myself.  I let them run around a few times in my mind before I ever let them out.  And by then, they’ve been edited.  Sometimes, I really wish I wouldn’t do that.  I wish I would say the things I’m thinking without censoring myself. I wish I would be open, completely open, with the people I love.

For that matter, I really wish I would tell the people I love that they’re part of that circle in the first place.

There are a few in my life that I’m totally and completely comfortable being all sappy with.  I tell them I love them every chance I get, I hug them at every opportunity, I let them know how much they mean to me.  And I’ll let any random thought that comes to mind slip out without a second thought.  But those people are few and far between.

Actually, I’d limit it to one.  Make that two.

But then there are others, those that I assume must know how I feel.  I don’t need to say it.  They get it.  Whatever. I wave it off as a whatever, like it doesn’t matter.  But it does.  Think about it.  When someone takes the time to tell you that you mean a lot to them, to say that you matter, how does it make you feel? I don’t know about you, but it makes me feel pretty damn good.  I smile.  I’m happy.

I don’t assume that everyone has this issue, this inability to speak their mind, to release their feelings.  But I’m pretty sure I’m not completely alone in this either.  There is no lack of song lyrics that tell you to say what you need to say or ask how come we don’t say I love you enough.  And it often takes a large scale tragedy to wake us up and cause the phone lines to fill with calls home, people asking — are you okay?  And by the way, I love you, I really do.

Perhaps I’ve been thinking about this a lot because I’m in the process of moving, to a new city and a new state. And it’s far.  The last time I made a long distance move, I moved close enough that I could get back home by car.  It wasn’t that big a deal.  I knew if I got home sick I could hop in the Civic and be in the midst of visiting loved ones in four hours.

Because of this ability to drive home on a moment’s notice, I’ve developed two basic groups of friends.  I have my community of friends in the Los Angeles area, a place that I now call home (even if it did take six years for me to utter that phrase).  And I have my community of family and friends in Las Vegas.  Although not everyone is super close, most people aren’t that far either.

But this time I’m moving 1,200 miles away.  I won’t be able to drive back when I’m home sick. I’ll have to buy a plane ticket and make real plans.  That sounds easy enough.  But I’d bet we can all remember times we let friendships fall and relationships wither because someone moved.  It takes more effort, it becomes complicated, and eventually, it drops to the wayside.

I really don’t want that to happen.  And I certainly don’t want to leave with words unsaid.  I don’t want to leave friends not knowing how much they mean to me, not realizing that in the grand scheme of my life, they really matter.

And so, in my last couple of weeks in L.A., I’m giving myself an assignment:  tell everyone that matters that they do, in fact, matter to me.  And be genuine.  And real.  And honest.

Of course, this plan of action is easier said than done.  Genuine?  Real?  Honest?  We so often spend time hiding our feelings; it can be hard to dig out the truth.  But I’m going to do this — cross my heart, hope to die, stick a needle in my eye.  I figure the returns will be well worth the investment.

What about you?  Is there anyone you need to say I love you to?

– See more at: http://www.stratejoy.com/2010/06/thoughts-on-love/#sthash.GRvy4Jlg.dpuf