Betrothed, yet Attracted to Another

I love my boyfriend, we are getting married soon. Sadly, I am also attracted to another guy, a colleague of mine. How do I take away the attraction? — Anonymous

Dear Anonymous, If the attraction to someone (who is not your betrothed) is strong enough to make you wistful, you need to consider (at the minimum) postponing your wedding date. This unnerving attraction probably does not mean your colleague is “the one” for you. However, it is an alarm screaming your fiancé might not be “the one” either.

Remember, you can love someone but not be “in love” with them. When you are ‘in love’, it is as when you are inside anything (you are surrounded by it; enveloped). It is all encompassing. That’s why people often refer to lovers as “being in their own world”… “only having eyes for each other”… If you do not feel this way, just days/weeks before your wedding, you need to take pause and figure out why.

There is nothing wrong with loving someone – yet, not being in-love with them. However, it is wrong to take a vow to be faithful to someone, when you doubt your desire/ability to do so. It is better that you realize it might be time to take a step back, before the wedding.

Don’t you find it interesting that you referred to your soon-to-be husband as “my boy-friend” (not as “my fiancé”)? Take a pause. Take time to think about what your true feelings are for this man – before you make possibly the biggest mistake of both your lives.

There will probably be many people who will be upset by you putting things on hold. Explain to them that you need to do what is best for both you and your betrothed – for the long term – not just the day of the wedding. You should know, at this point in your journey, there are no easy routes. So try to determine what’s best for you both, and get going.

You might figure out you simply had a slight case of pre-wedding jitters. Then wedding bells will be a-ringing! If not, you will be saving a lot of people from a lot of heartache – in the long run.

I wish you clarity in your decision. Good luck!

Mail-Order Bride.

I am engaged to a beautiful Russian girl whom I met via a Russian marriage website. We spent three amazing weeks together in Russia and will be married in my country in December. Is it a good idea to tell her that if she ever cheats on me, even only once, that she’s going back to Russia? – G. Terry

Dear G. Terry, Well, it seems as if you have doubts as to her sincerity. It is in fact, hard to imagine what would motivate anyone to advertise themselves as being willing to marry someone on the other side of the globe (to be willing to leave their home, family, friends, culture – all physical and emotional security behind) – for someone whom they don’t really know. In fact, it is almost inexplicable.

Let’s think about this. The entire endeavor is a huge gamble on her part.  What could be worth so much to risk everything? Certainly not love. If she is as beautiful and amazing as you say she is – she can easily find love at home (which would have the added benefit of not having to give up the rest of her life). Correct? What could the motivation be? A passport? Money? Or (much worse), perhaps someone is coercing her into “selling” herself? All of those possibilities are more plausible than her being on the hunt for true/everlasting/undying love.

Her motivation to marry you is not love. This could be the reason you fear infidelity. Maybe you felt a lack of true emotion when you had intimate moments (during those brief few weeks you were actually able see her in person)? I think the fact that you are having doubts shows that you haven’t completely lost your mind. Anyone, I reiterate anyone, can act amazing for three weeks. This is most especially true if they have a dilemma and they see you as the best solution available to them.

All that being said, if you truly believe you love this woman, what is the rush? Marriage is supposed to be forever. Right? If you have waited your entire life for the right woman, why do you have to get married in one month’s time? What difference would one year of dating really make in the span of an entire life? Spend time to get to know this woman better. Have her come to your country for several weeks. See how she fits in with your friends and relatives. Do not marry her until you trust her enough not to doubt her intentions. A marriage without trust is no marriage at all.

If you already know in your heart that her intentions are not pure, do not go through with your marriage plans. Either way, I wish you both the best of luck.

Missing WordPress

At the end of the summer, I was offered a Q&A newspaper column regarding Love & Life. I have been working hard to get it off the ground. It’s almost ready to take flight. During it’s incubation, I’ve been missing the WordPress community. I look forward to being back & seeing what everyone is up to!

Refocus your Focus!

All of us have priorities, things we must focus on. Deadlines we must meet. But as we spend our days hyper focused on achieving whatever it is that is at the top of our to-do list…. Much of life (life happening all around us) seems to blur into the background – even when you think it is not. Even when you think your juggling really well; your eye, on all the balls… in reality, you ultimately drop one or two.

And what do we lose focus of most often? Things that are not a priority? Yes. But we also tend to lose focus on things that are a priority (usually things that are going so well… we simply feel we can relax a bit). Unfortunately, these are often our most important relationships.

Recently, my youngest started developing a nervous tick. Almost unperceivable at first, yet it went from 0 to 90 (becoming a chronic tick) in less than 2 weeks. It developed at such an alarming rate, that my child’s teacher, assistant teacher and myself all sought each other out (in a bit of a panic) to discuss what course of action should be taken.

My youngest has a learning disability, so he has had a lot of attention from me & help from tutors, therapists… to prepare him for school. After years of work & due to the fact everything was going so well, the tutors, teachers… and I all changed our main focus to more urgent priorities & BAM! Something happened to trigger his stress tick, but none of us had been focused on him enough to know exactly what. I took my eye of the ball so briefly, and one of my most important relationships immediately began to suffer.

During the same time period (not a coincidence), I had just gone back to work and was pushing myself to prove myself after being out of the workforce for a number of years. I spent far too many hours staring into my illuminated computer screens… and started developing mild headaches… Since I was trying to reach a deadline, I ignored my bodies warning and kept working until I got the job done. I pushed myself so hard that I ended up having a horrific migraine last Friday that lasted 72 hours through the Memorial Day weekend.

I reached my goal. However, I was so focused on my work, that I dropped two balls (my caregiver relationship with my son and my relationship with myself/my health). I ignored the warning signs (the mild tick and the mild headaches). I simply thought I had more time before I had to address the problems. Due to my delay, mild problems became chronic.

How often do we ignore (relationship and/or health) warning signs in our lives? We are all so busy, and our to-do lists at times seem endless… relationships (& health) often suffer because of it. How do we stay focused on all that is important to us? We don’t. However, we can address ensuing problems in our relationships as soon as they pop up – not waiting until they become chronic situations.

I know how to take care of myself when I get out of whack. So I do (although I shouldn’t) sometimes drive myself harder than I should. However, seeing my son out of whack for the first time – helped me refocus my focus on the most important things in my life. It was no mere coincidence that my son developed a nervous tick at the exact same time I went back to work. Everyone in a relationship (household…) affects everyone else. My son did not hear me speak or see me behave in any stressful ways… he simply felt the stress I was internalizing.

I dropped everything over Memorial Day weekend to right my wrongs. Thank goodness I was able to find a natural remedy for my migraines – and am back to work no problem. As for my son, we had a number of long talks. I am no longer multitasking in his presence. If he is “present” – so am I. His teachers are glad to report that his chronic tick is now no more than an occasional nervous twitch.

If I want my home to be healthy and harmonious, I have to be a model of health and harmony – not just outwardly but inwardly (physically, mentally & spiritually) as well. If your harmony/health is not deep – your energy/vibration will affect others/your relationships in negative ways (despite your outward well intended words and actions and/or your ability to “appear” healthy on the outside).

Pay attention to all that is important to you… when you notice something going astray – act as soon as possible. Don’t be afraid to face a problem or change the status quo. The less damage that is done, the easier things will be to rectify. When you do fall off the wagon (so-to-speak), don’t be upset with yourself. Simply do your best to regain your (physical, mental and/or spiritual) harmony again – ASAP. If it is done quickly enough (without too much harm to those around you), your relationships should get back on track (after you say any needed amends of course:).

If life has simply been too hectic to manage, and, issues in an important relationship do become chronic… Again, do not waste time feeling guilty and/or beating yourself up over the situation… Refocus your focus and face it head on!

In love, everyone needs to be “masculine” & “feminine”…

I had always been extremely extroverted, an overachiever, a triple A+ personality type, extraordinarily (materially) successful (even in my early twenties), blah, blah, blah… I was very “yang”. However, my marriage to my childhood sweetheart was an absolute mess! My husband was uncomfortable with my increasing success… No matter how much I tried to save our marriage, sadly our marriage was lost…

As time went on, my personality seemed to only attract alpha (yang) males. However, once in a committed relationship, they did everything in their (mighty) power to snuff out my light, always wanting the limelight for themselves & expecting me to take a backseat to their lives. After a while I thought I must have been doing something wrong.

I thought that I simply needed to work harder at practicing unconditional love. I had been researching psychology, philosophies, physiology, eastern philosophy, religion…. And, as we often do when we are trying something new, I made a mistake – a BIG mistake. I mistook the idea of the “feminine principle” (yin) as all I (a woman) should try to emulate in the hopes of creating harmony in myself and in my relations with others (especially my partner).

The semantically complex compound word “yinyang” simply put means “opposites”. Exact translations of “yin” & “yang” separately are: “shady side of the hill” & “sunny side of the hill”. Yin (the “shadow” side) represents the passive female principle in nature (defined by Chinese philosophy as: soft, wet, flowing, dark, mysterious… submissive); yang, the assertive male principle in nature (defined by Chinese philosophy as: rigid, dry, solid, visible, evident… dominant).

I had found the Chinese Taoist yin principle: “be like water” very helpful in handling rigid business colleagues. The principle believes that water is stronger than stone (simply look at the grand canyon). When dealing with a “rock”, one must learn how to go around the rock, to wear it down, to reach one’s final destination/goal… It actually works very well. Not wanting another failed marriage… I thought maybe there is more to the power of the innate “feminine” principle & that it was certainly worth a try.

YinYang

Since I had an extremely dominant male, I thought all I have to do to make our home harmonic is practice the yin principles. For the sake of peace, for the sake of my children, I’ll simply be the yin to his yang… I thought, “No one is perfect, so I should continue to try to love unconditionally – this time using the yin principles…” Surprisingly, ta dah! I actually found the Chinese Taoist yin principles to be very helpful guidelines in learning to love unconditionally. I was actually able to master unconditional love… I must say it gave me an inner peace and an ability to be happy like I’ve never known. My inner (mental & spiritual) life was now bliss. However, in time, it took a great toll on my physical & material well-being (my yang so-to-speak).

What was I doing wrong? “Such a great theory!” I thought, “Why isn’t it working?” I had a beloved Zen master (who sadly moved back to Japan), who told me for years, “Why are you trying to be a saint? You are not a saint. Stop trying to be one!” Zen masters always speak in riddles… so I never quite understood exactly what he was trying (repeatedly) to make me see. I would think, “I like being a good/loving person. What’s wrong with that?” Plus, I loved Zen meditation (a yin/feminine principle) – it was great for maintaining my mental well-being.

Later, I studied with a Sufi master (who is sadly back in Turkey), he would say (also repeatedly), “You have to be a warrior! You must learn to fight! Even Jesus was a warrior!!!” I never understood why a Sufi master would be referencing Jesus, but o.k. Whatever works I thought! But it didn’t work on me; I wanted to be as “loving” as I could be. Plus, I had never been happier, I loved being connected to my spiritual (yin/feminine) side – nothing bothered my inner peace.

Then at a New Year’s party. The hostess had hired a psychic as entertainment for the entire event. Everyone was letting her read their palms, cards or something… Anyway, late in the evening I finally acquiesced. I sat down and the woman looked at me and said, “You are a very loving person.” I can still feel myself swelling with pride, surrounded by a number of guests watching the “show”. Then, in front of all those people the psychic said, “No. No. Wait. You could be a very loving person, but you don’t love yourself. Until you love yourself, you’ll never be a truly loving person.” I was mortified! What a slap in the face. My swelled ego burst. I got the message this time – loud and clear!

How stupid I had been! The harmonic yinyang principle was never about separating yin & yang (the opposites). It was never about being a compliment to someone else… It was about being the compliment to my self – being everything (passive & aggressive, soft & hard, flowing & solid, shadowy & clearly visible, mysterious & evident, submissive & dominant…) all in one. Every person has to be a lover and a fighter. The key is to train oneself to know when (and how much of) each principle is required. The mastery is being able to do that well enough to use all of the principles in only a constructive way (that is what the dots in the symbol represent — when one aspect becomes so powerful that it is about to take away from/become destructive to the other — it is time to change focus/strategy) .

At first I was too assertive (yang without enough yin). Physically and materially at my peak, but my inner self was a mess. Then I became too passive (yin with not enough yang). My psychological and spiritual life blossomed –  while my finances and body were devoured by my spouse. Now, I am able to know exactly when to be assertive and when to be passive, which is needed when & how to utilize just the right amount of both. Am I happy? You bet I am! Am I at peace? You know it. Do I know how to get my needs met without bulldozing others? Un-huh. Do I love myself? Yes, I do. Am I a loving person? I think so (but I might want to get the number of that psychic)!

An Interesting Side Note:
The earliest recorded English usage of Chinese Taoist/Daoist “yin and yang”, is cited in the Oxford English Dictionary as: 1671 – yet we are just now starting to understand their true meaning. Talk about being lost in translation!

Let’s be clear…

There were several comments yesterday that made me feel I must clarify some points:

Some were worried that I might make people question their actions. In response: Yes. One intention in yesterday’s post was to suggest people question what they are now being told is a norm through the mass media capitalizing on the promotion of S&M (the subject raised in the film 50 Shades of Grey): hurting others intimately and/or letting others hurt you intimately. Even though some readers believed really hurting/injuring someone grows trust, respect and communication… studies have shown that in fact they have the exact opposite effect on a relationship.

Forget all the misleading mass media hype that it’s “playful”. Try to think of it in other terms. If you love your child, would you want to experiment with hurting them to build trust? Would it give you pleasure to hurt them? Would it give them pleasure? No, of course not! We have to be careful in confusing the trend of accepting/loving everyone for whom they are (which is a good thing), with accepting/allowing people to do what ever they want to us in the name of “love” (that is a bad thing).

Some inferred in comments to yesterday’s post: as long as it is consensual…it is ok to hurt others. Is it? There are many people in this world who think they are not worthy of being loved… Some people would prefer a destructive relationship to no relationship at all… The thought of being alone is unbearable for many — so they are willing to put up with all kinds of abuse… There are many reasons why someone would consent to being hurt — but none of them are healthy. No one should be abused, whether they “ask for it” or not. Just like, no one should be raped, even though many perps say their victim “asked for it”. People need to learn to love and respect themselves enough to tell their abusers, “No!”

Psychology is a relatively new science. There is so much psychiatrists/psychologists/therapists don’t know about what makes us “tick”. However, older sciences have proven that pain is the body’s alarm system. The sole purpose of pain is to alert the mind/person that there is something wrong; something needs to be addressed/attended to/resolved immediately. That is a fact. Pain = Something is Wrong.

Anger, not love, motivates people to inflict suffering on others (history is ripe with examples of this fact). Self-hate/lack of self-respect is what allows people to let others abuse them. Get rid of the anger and/or self-loathing. Experiment with love. For your own health and well-being… for all of us: love is the answer.

“50 Shades of F _ _ ked Up!

Lately, I’ve noticed throughout our media many S&M/dominant/submissive spin offs from “50 shades of f_ _ked up (as the character Christian Grey so aptly put it in the film 50 Shades of Grey). There is no beauty in a S&M/dominant/submissive relationship. If there is no beauty, there is no harmony. If there is no harmony, there is no love. Why has “50 shades of f_ _ked up become such a phenomenon?

I watched a review of the film, in which a number of women thought it was great that we had a film that “promotes women exploring their sexuality”. Did I miss something? In the film, Anastasia was an adult virgin (so sexual experimentation was most definitely not her focus). Secondly, Anastasia refuses repeatedly throughout the film to allow the character Christian to perform any of the (deviant) sexual acts that truly turn him on (acts that are painful and/or degrading). Until the last sex scene, when she allows him to have his way (since up until this point he has been controlling yes… but to her confusion he has also been loving and romantic). When he does actually show that he derives pleasure from hurting her, she immediately leaves him. This film was not about sexual experimentation, as much as it was about becoming strong enough to stand up for oneself , how to set sexual boundaries & how physical and sexual abuse as a child can severely warp a person’s mature lovemap.

The movie showed a man who admitted he was “f_ _ked up” (who revealed why: having been born to and spending his early childhood in the home of woman who was an abusive drug addicted prostitute… to later (yet still an impressionable adolescent) be sexually victimized for another 6 years by yet another “f_ _ked up” controlling sadomasochistic woman… (it is not a big surprise that the character’s mature lovemap is deviant). In juxtaposition to the deviant lovemap, the movie portrays a young lady: pure and innocent, who although she did not come from a “perfect” home, she had always had a loving father figure in her life & hence a mature lovemap that sought the same in a partner. Innocent young lady, full of insecurities, struggling financially, trying to find her place in the world, gets sidelined by a more powerful/older predator, who is (outwardly) extremely confident, able to take away her financial woes, and tries to manipulate her understanding of where/what her place is in the world. Although innocent enough to be temporarily intimidated into doing things that made her feel uncomfortable…. She quickly grew aware of the depth of her lover’s unstable mental health… and after trying to love him unconditionally… quickly left for the sake of her own physical and mental well-being. In summary: (surprisingly) there where some good messages in the film.

Unfortunately, our mass media has decided once again to focus on the shock (selling/$) value of the film (promoting the negatives, the deviant). The music industry, magazine covers, fashion… are making visual representations of S&M/dominants/submissives part of our everyday world/norm. Sure, a lot of the media tries to make the S&M cute and playful – news flash; there is nothing cute about S&M. The film and media can give it trendy names “dominant” “submissive” but it’s all S&M (properly defined as sadism & masochism: gratification, especially sexual, gained through inflicting or receiving physical or mental pain and suffering). Why are we promoting pain and suffering? Why is our culture’s latest trend an attempt to promote (and an embracement of) extremely unhealthy relationships? So sad.

We should be promoting love! If people are bored with the missionary position and want to “experiment” with their sexuality – why can’t it be physically & mentally (spiritually) healthy (loving) sex? Maybe because it takes a lot longer to master the art of inflicting love? The Kama Sutra, Tantric Sex, Taoist Sexual practices all about inflicting love. That should be our cultural trend. There is nothing healthy in receiving pleasure from hurting someone else (or receiving pleasure by being hurt by someone else). If this is what you seek, stop reading desirable love immediately and seek professional help! Sex should not be something that you have to heal from… it should be (in it’s own right) a healing (as is all love) experience. Go experiment with love!