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Can love hold you back?


hexaemeron

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I've been reading lots of threads lately and this thought sort of popped into my head. It seems like some people (men and women alike) are so focused on finding love at any cost, through any means. I have to wonder if people who are so entirely focused on love are making it impossible on themselves to realize their full potential in other avenues in their lives. Job, friends, volunteering, interests, hobbies, etc.

 

If all you're focused on is finding love and getting married, could it be possible that what you present to the world is "I want love no matter what" instead of "Here's what I can offer you as a healthy, well-rounded partner?"

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I think you are right in that people look to find someone who wants to be with them rather than working on themselves and seeing if there is anyone worth being with.

 

Sort of putting the horse before the carriage. Here is this 'bf/gf' hole in my life, I need to find someone to fill it for me. Rather than going about your life, and if you happen to find someone you like THEN thinking about if you want to date them.

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When people are so focused on finding someone, anyone, to have a relationship with, there are elements of the co-dependent in them. Statements like the following, tend to infest their vocabulary:

  • Soulmate
  • The one
  • Someone to complete me

Plse, plse, complete yourself before entering into a relationship. Your partner is not responsible for making you happy.

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I think most people just have a ridiculously romanticized idea of what relationships are like. When I was younger and had never seriously dated anyone, most of the allure was the mystery and the fact that I had no experience. Some of the people that I notice who are obsessed with finding an SO or getting laid are usually people with no experience. The reality can never live up to the hype, but the hype can be so consuming for some people that literally every decision they make (whether it's their job, haircut, or t-shirt for the day) comes back to "will this impress a girl/guy/whatever?"

 

Even if other people are oblivious to the desperation vibes (unlikely), I'm just curious how people like that don't recognize the enormous burden they're putting on a potential SO. "You are responsible for my happiness." That's a pretty steep thing to expect.

 

All I know is I'm not that envious of most relationships. There are so few people that approach it the right way with the right frame of mind and still retain an identity outside of the relationship. I think love probably holds you back more often than not. My ex girlfriend almost dropped an opportunity to go to MIT to stay closer to me post-high school. I knew she'd resent me for it so I told her to go, but man...who in the world would consider tossing that opportunity out the window? Especially for me...lol. I think love becomes like a religion for most people in the sense that over time it becomes rules, routine, and structure instead of love anyways. "Can't linger on the opposite sex for longer than two seconds, remember never to compliment another woman in any way, do this, think this, feel that, why are you so blah blah blah."

 

I can honestly say that I don't care if I experience it again or not. It doesn't last anyways.

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But finding and being in a less-than-healthy relationship is such a great distraction to keep you from dealing with your own crap! I mean, if you're still unhappy with someone else around, you've got a really convenient target to blame your misery on, which means you never have to work on your own character flaws and closet skeletons, right?

 

What's not appealing about someone who is looking for a partner to fix them/heal them/make things better/change their life?

 

Silly me, spending all that time in therapy contemplating my own navel....

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But finding and being in a less-than-healthy relationship is such a great distraction to keep you from dealing with your own crap! I mean, if you're still unhappy with someone else around, you've got a really convenient target to blame your misery on, which means you never have to work on your own character flaws and closet skeletons, right?

 

What's not appealing about someone who is looking for a partner to fix them/heal them/make things better/change their life?

 

Silly me, spending all that time in therapy contemplating my own navel....

 

Funny how that works, isn't it? I never thought of relationships so directly being used as red herrings, but it makes total sense.

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The people that are looking for someone to "rescue them" from themselves, job, family, whatever, are the people that probably end up getting divorced or fall out of love the most. There is no substance to these relationships, it's a fairy tale factor... "save me, love me, we'll live happy forever". When you look at the person 20 years later, and they don't have any hobbies, interests or friends, therefore unable to hold an interesting conversation with you anymore, well I think that is why so many marriages end. We all need to develop ourselves constantly, even if we are in a relationship.

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This thread is basically a sign of the times. So many people have failed at relationships that they start to go into denial about the importance of finding and having a mate. Instead of embracing relationships, they demean their value instead. It's a defense mechanism.

 

The pessimistic side - love will hold you back if you love the wrong person.

The optomistic side - love will make your life great if it's with the right person.

 

As far as work to be done, women have no work to do on themselves. The only "work" required is just essentially making yourself available to come into contact with men. Men have a lot of work to do however when it comes to learning how to meet women and manage a relationship. I see a high percentage of failure in their efforts.

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This thread reminds me of some thoughts I had several months ago about this very topic...and I wanted to make a thread called, "Relationship as a Byproduct". (Obviously, that thread never manifested, ha.)

 

I totally agree with your premise -- and am not sure I have much to add except to say how much I heartily concur.

 

My thinking about this notion of a "byproduct" was that people so often see love in a relationship as a GOAL, and perhaps, if it ceased to become a goal and the whole paradigm shifted, some of the desperation I see in the dating world and the dating forum here would transform.

 

Sure, it makes sense to broadly say, "I'd like to be married one day." But the future, the one day, is made up of individual bricks. And I see these bricks as the building of the edifice. You can't just come up with a finished structure without laying it down, brick by brick. And those bricks might be a checklist of sorts:

 

-- have I cultivated friendships and a social life that is sturdy, healthy and sustainable?

-- have I developed tools and resources to emotionally handle my life in times of loss?

-- have I developed the character qualities within myself that I hold as standards for a quality relationship (like am I loyal, am I honest, am I considerate, am I faithful, etc.)?

-- have I cultivated interests and abilities that will give this partnership substance, and something to share/exchange?

 

And above all: (this is such a kicker) -- would I date myself?

 

If a person can't answer these things in the affirmative, it should be back to the drawing board. Back to re-fitting the bricks. I think it comes down to making yourself relationshipable in an internal way, without asking "What will come of this?" and "Will this pan out? Will I find that person?" The goal would be to make yourself the person you'd like to meet, the person you'd want your son/daughter/sister/brother to be with and to be the person who could walk alone in this world without an SO and be worthy of one.

 

You are patiently willing to keep this strong fabric you've made there, for the time another crosses your path. And the opportunity to share a loving relationship is just a byproduct, an outgrowth, of all that construction.

 

Hey, I'm glad for the opportunity to post these thoughts, even though I never made that thread.

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I think people settle to much these days.

 

In my opin you should work on yourself to find what will make you happy, what are you looking for in a mate, what long term plans do both of you have for the future. Alot of times these questions dont come up until your either in long term or married.

 

I know people change everyday but I think for the most part thier values and personality traits do not.

 

I think people are way to consumed with having a perfect mate, nobody is perfect but what is it that you can live with and grow with. Its way to easy to say Im finished I want a divorce, to me one part of being married is accepting that there are two people in the relationship, you both may have differant opinions or thoughts.

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Relationships are about enhancing your life, rather than making you happy. When you look to someone else to make you happy, instead of fueling the relationship in a positive manner, you're sucking the energy from your partner.

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I don't actively set out to get a person, but when I do find someone, and fall in love, I admit I do lose myself. I find myself doing a lot of things out of character and I am not sure why. Definitely not the right way to proceed in relationships.

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Some of the people that I notice who are obsessed with finding an SO or getting laid are usually people with no experience.

 

Actually, I find there are so many people who have had lots of experience who desperately try to find someone new the minute their relationship ends. People who have had serial relationships, people who have been divorced...they are the ones who are often desperate to find someone new at all costs. Also, they are the ones who are often obsessed with finding a sex partner if they can't find a real relationship. They can't be alone so a fake relationship is better than nothing to them.

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That all gets at putting a focus on being "the right person"/a good partner rather than finding "the right person"/a good partner.

 

But I have always seen/heard far more books, articles, talk about "finding" rather than "being."

 

Which is kinda getting things backwards (IMO), because if the focus is on "finding" it's mostly out of our control. None of us can dictate how others should be or make them be like we think they should. However, all of us can control our own thoughts/actions/beliefs -- our "being."

 

It does require more effort to control and shape one's own "being" than to sit back and try to tell others to change....and humans are notoriously lazy, so perhaps this sad state of affairs is not all that big a surprise.

 

Personally, I think it's all part of some big, secret plot to keep the masses unhappy and easily manipulatable/controllable. (and I'm only partially kidding when I say that...)

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I agree with putting focus on self but also, more importantly, understanding what drives you, as an individual.

 

To use an old cliche, one person's trash is another person's treasure.

 

We all have different tolerance levels for crap and for ourselves personally, we all have issues and baggage of some kind. If anyone believes themselves to be perfect, I will openly state that you're not terribly self-aware.

 

So, what are your needs and what are your wants? Consider your needs non-negotiable and your wants, potential throw-aways.

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It does require more effort to control and shape one's own "being" than to sit back and try to tell others to change....and humans are notoriously lazy, so perhaps this sad state of affairs is not all that big a surprise.

 

Very true.

 

And it is also much easier to change the more superficial attributes (just as easy as it is to blame them) when it comes to "self-improvement" and think that this will then make you more of a catch. I am certainly not going to knock things that we do to enhance our appearances, self-esteem and sense of image -- such as working out more, getting a new hairstyle, improving a wardrobe, etc. etc. These things are integral to feeling better about ourselves, and can have a profound affect on feelings of self-confidence. But all too often, there is this "I need a boob job" or "I need a new car" or "I need to be more fat/thin/conventional/unconventional" mentality of self-improvement that only nicks the surface. You can cut your hair differently, change your attire, lose weight, get ripped, get contacts or even get plastic surgery that you feel has enhanced you and still be lacking all the fundamentals that I listed, which still means you're still not really seeking in the right way. The focus is so often wrong, because it's much easier to change these things -- the outer shell.

 

And even that's hard to change, for most, so it just goes to show how hard it really is to "be the person" you want to put out there.

 

(I don't even think when you get into a relationship, the work is done, hurrah, end of story, btw. It's ongoing.)

 

BEING is hard work.

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LOL....your comment on my post is a perfect example of how we all come from our own perspectives.

 

I could be a poster child for therapy, having spent the better part of my late 20s-to-late 30s with 2 or 3 time a month visits to the shrink trying to figure out how to be a happy, healthy, decent human being. I was thinking of all that mental work when I wrote my post.....not stuff like losing weight, wearing make-up, getting a tan and fake boobs. That stuff never even crossed my mind.

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LOL....your comment on my post is a perfect example of how we all come from our own perspectives.

 

I could be a poster child for therapy, having spent the better part of my late 20s-to-late 30s with 2 or 3 time a month visits to the shrink trying to figure out how to be a happy, healthy, decent human being. I was thinking of all that mental work when I wrote my post.....not stuff like losing weight, wearing make-up, getting a tan and fake boobs. That stuff never even crossed my mind.

 

Well, I was also speaking from my perspective -- and it's the exact same one as yours. So, we're definitely speaking the same language!

 

I hope what I said wasn't misinterpreted. I was thinking of a lot of the pep-talk feel-good modes of self-improvement you hear about on the airwaves, and see here when people are trying to "better themselves" to find that "one". The things they focus on. I was extrapolating to these kinds of mentalities/individuals when I wrote my post -- not directing it at you.

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Well, I was also speaking from my perspective -- and it's the exact same one as yours. So, we're definitely speaking the same language!

 

I hope what I said wasn't misinterpreted. I was thinking of a lot of the pep-talk feel-good modes of self-improvement you hear about on the airwaves, and see here when people are trying to "better themselves" to find that "one". The things they focus on. I was extrapolating to these kinds of mentalities/individuals when I wrote my post -- not directing it at you.

 

Yeah, I kinda thought you got it...but you at least had the prescence of mind to realize some people who read it would "superficialize" it....I didn't.

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