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!

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!

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.

Drop Your Baggage!

How can you receive love with all that baggage?!? The only way to receive love is with an open heart and open arms. If you want love in your life, drop your baggage. All of it! Forgive and let go. Not for the others involved… but for yourself… and for the people who truly want to love you. You can’t receive love if no one can get close enough to touch your heart.

What is “Emotional Baggage”?

Most of us have heard it before:  “I met this great new person, but  it doesn’t seem like it’s going to work out- they’ve got too much  baggage to be in a relationship right now.”   What exactly are people talking about when they say “emotional baggage?”   Generally speaking, this term refers to our emotional memories-  particularly the more painful ones, which shape how we see ourselves and  others, and influence how we conduct ourselves in relationships.  In  other words, our past experiences and relationships have a profound  influence on the types of people we are drawn to, and also on how we  think, feel and behave in our present relationships and interactions.   Emotional baggage can also arise from other identity markers such as the  racial/cultural, religious, or socio-economic status into which we were  born/raised.

Does emotional baggage prevent you or the person you’re dating from happiness and success in your relationship? 
Learning from past experiences is a fundamental part of growth and  maturity.  However some people internalize past negative experiences and  develop irrational fears/behaviors that prevent them from fully  participating in new relationships, often imposing this past onto  innocent newcomers.  Instead of serving as protection from the original,  painful experience, emotional baggage can lead some people to recreate a  similar dynamic within their new relationship, in an effort to overcome  their past.  Others allow their emotional baggage to serve as a shield  from engaging in emotional intimacy in a new relationship, out of fear  that their past will repeat itself.  For many, these are unintentional  patterns that may not be orchestrated on a conscious level.  Quite often  it’s our friends and family members who call these patterns to our  attention, hoping to break the cycle that keeps us from enjoying  satisfying relationships.

Examples of statements that reflect one’s emotional baggage:
“I’m sure he’ll cheat on me, just like my last boyfriend.”
“Women can’t be trusted.”
“If I share my true feelings with him, he’ll just use this to take advantage of me.”
“I’m not ready to be close to anyone right now. I’d rather just  ‘hang out’ with someone rather than have a boyfriend/girlfriend. ”
“Marriage never works out for anyone. It’s just what people do to give themselves a false sense of security.”
… etcetera… etcetera.

Help yourself break the cycle.
Taking a thorough inventory of your romantic past can help you in  determine any patterns that reflect your unresolved emotional baggage.
1.)  Make a list of the romantic relationships you have been  involved in and the major issues that occurred within each them. Are  there any commonalities?  These patterns will help you discover where  you should begin to heal yourself.  It’s important to know that you are  not at fault for all of the problems in your relationships, but  if you notice that the same types of issues arise in your failed  relationships, then it’s time to take a closer look at how you  contributed to this pattern.
2.)  Acknowledge your emotions.  Begin by identifying  strong feelings you have in response to people who’ve shaped how you  relate to others. Don’t blame yourself for harboring painful emotions  from the past.
Allow yourself to feel and express emotions you have learned to avoid.   Find closure by sharing your feelings with someone safe, or writing  them out in a private journal.
3.) Remind yourself that your feelings, while genuine, are not  necessarily accurate in predicting the feelings and behaviors of others.   Make an effort to accept people at face value, and allow them to show  you through their actions who they are; let their patterns of behavior  be the biggest indicator of who they’ll be in a relationship with you.   Learn from your past but recognize that every situation and every  relationship is different and unique.
4.) Accept that sometimes you may need outside/professional help.

Determine and set limits on how much ‘baggage’ you’re willing to accept from others.
We all have our own complex set of issues that come into play we enter  into new relationships.  Does that mean we have to accept other people’s  emotional baggage just to be in a relationship? Yes and No.  We can’t  expect to get close to others without being exposed to their past  emotional challenges and insecurities. Listening and being supportive is  a way to better understand who they are and how they will likely behave  in a relationship with you.  However, it’s also important to set  clear boundaries with yourself and them regarding what you’re willing to  accept, and for how long.  Understandably, a person with trust  issues may be initially guarded in a new relationship and have low  expectations for others’ reliability. However with time, if this person  is unwilling or unable to build their trust in you after you’ve shown  yourself to be trustworthy, this likely means your relationship with  them will remain unfulfilling, or worse, toxic.
Don’t waste time hoping and willing people to change when it comes to  dealing with people’s emotional baggage.  Remain true to the  characteristics you seek in others, and continue to explore and heal  your own baggage in order to have the relationship you want.

Continue reading on Examiner.com Dating 101: How to handle emotional baggage – yours and theirs. – Oakland Mental Health | Examiner.comhttp://www.examiner.com/mental-h… Dr. C. Villarreal