Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Van Halen Knows...But How Do You?

Our brains can be so pesky when it comes to making decisions that are really matters of the heart.  Not only am I trying to divide between what I feel and what I think I should feel, but I'm also attempting to treat things with a bit of logic.  For example, when you're dating someone new, it's never divorced from recent experiences.  If you have a habit of dating hard-drinking, philandering musicians and are totally stoked on a new guy who earns a regular income and is gloriously free of tattoos and groupies, you could be stepping into the trap of denial or you could really be breaking free of your pattern.  Herewith, some bumbling tips on how to get some perspective and find out what (and who) you really want by sifting out the noise and listening to your gut.

As we dive into our thirties, there's an increasing pressure to pair off for relaxed movie nights, couples dinners, and regular sex.  Even in my twenties, deciding to leave my boyfriend was a terrifying prospect; the night before I broke the news, I went to a keg party and observed my future dating pool of overgrown boys with frosted tips, no depth, and disproportionate egos.  I drank way too much as I admitted that this crew of supposed young men weren't the bottom of the barrel, but that girls were lining up to date them.  Resigned to my fate despite my very real misgivings, I told my boyfriend that I just wasn't there with him anymore.  This was an easy call, as I see myself as someone would rather go it alone than be with someone they weren't crazy about.  My mother's advice on this was that you should never put yourself on a dating pedestal; if you really care about someone, you know that they deserve to be with someone who feels as strongly about them as they do about you.  This brings me to my first tip: Listen to your mother, father, older coworker, or anyone wise and experienced.  Do not listen to people who say bonehead things about "just finding someone who will be a good [father]" or "passion is fleeting and it's commitment that's important."  Aspire to being truly happy because chances are that if you're reading this, you're not the kind of boring, frigid, unimaginative person that settles.  Move at your own pace and if your goals and timing are different than the majority, so be it.

My second points seems obvious to me, so please bear with me as I possibly insult your emotional intelligence.   Keep your friends close.  If you're in a relationship, stay connected with your single friends and engage in social activities separate from your partner.  It's much easier to make time for one-on-one bonding, wild nights out, and uncoupled weekend adventures when you're single.  As a single person, try not to get too reliant on one friend that you do almost everything with.  This person is your platonic life partner and if they couple up, you could end up giving their mate's friend mediocre head just because it seems like the thing to do.  

There are lots of things that I don't say out loud to anyone, or even write down.  These thoughts are often disgustingly superficial or just weird, like not wanting to date someone who doesn't have a degree or wondering if the guy I'm seeing is just my male counterpart and I'm really just masturbating.  Okay, I've said similar things out loud, but my friends are often very understanding as I'm probably just putting into words their own strange hangups and worries.  Anyways, my point is that you need to be as honest with yourself as possible if you're going to see clearly.  If this means writing down a list of pros and cons that includes embarrassing items like "has a cottage, "amazing tits," or "good in bed but not mind blowing," get 'er done.  Then burn it, goddamit, because you're a judgmental, shallow prick.

The last element of recognizing the "background" for  your feelings is to compare this relationship to previous ones.  I find that reflecting on past events is useful in terms of recognizing the things that you are potentially projecting onto your current situation.  This is especially useful if you have the tendency to seek out drama, pursue partners who are unattainable, or close yourself off emotionally to avoid getting hurt.  You'd think that my attraction to charismatic drug dealers with Attention Deficit Disorder would have been apparent before a trip out west that was somewhat of an "August R., This is Your Sex Life!" opened my eyes, but that's what it took.  Despite being stimulating, inspired individuals, I could finally see that I'd never be as important to them as I discovered that I wanted to be, and that I'd probably been choosing them just for that reason.

My next suggestion is fun and a little scary.  Introduced to me by a friend who visits a holistic healer, it's called muscle testing and may or may not be as accurate as a Magic 8 Ball.  Here's the basic idea from an article I found:

Kineseology: The Tool for Testing  

The easy way to try this is to get a friend to help you out.  Raise your dominant arm to a 90 degree angle at your side and have your friend ask you a couple of yes or no questions that they already know the answer to.  Questions you answer truthfully should result in your arm staying rigid; focus on keeping your arm rigid.  Try answering a question with a dishonest answer and your arm strength should falter.  I've found this uncannily accurate, but in the worst case scenario, it acts like a coin toss.  You know when you flip a coin to make a decision, then end up just doing what you wanted to do all along?  I bet you eanie-meanie-miney-do!

So, if you're not sure about how you feel, listen to that upward lilt in your voice when your friends ask you if you're super into your most recent GOM; chances are good that an uprise in pitch means that you're lying.  Listen to your wise, hopefully experienced elders and don't "should" yourself into thinking you need to partner off.  Have a network of friends who make your life awesome with or without a partner.  Get honest with yourself about outside influences so that you can figure out what your instincts are telling you.  Listen to "When It's Love" by Van Halen, followed by a great deal of Fiona Apple.

These are just guidelines in case you need to decide between two lovers, your GOM is antsy for a verdict on your future, or you wonder if you need to break from your current partner.  With any luck, you have all the time in the world.

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