Archive for October 17th, 2010

October 17, 2010

A counter-intuitive map to greater intimacy…

by Rod Smith

It is counter-intuitive, I know......

Work on yourself, not the relationship

Distinctness (uniqueness, separateness) usually facilitates greater intimacy rather than distracts from it. Couples often think a relationship needs more “glue” (togetherness, common interests, more time together) when, in fact, a relationship might be better served by each person finding a more interesting, more adventurous, a more distinct individual life.

If you cannot be distinct and have the necessary self-awareness to be alone, it is unlikely you will be able to withstand the togetherness-pressures of a truly powerful, intimate, equal, and respectful relationship. He or she who cannot hold his or her own without a partner, will feel overpowered, overcrowded, or consumed when in an equal, respectful, intimate relationship. This is true unless he or she, in the name of love, gets lost in the relationship and “disappears”. Under such circumstances the “weaker” party will experience the relationship as a take-over rather than as a shared, mutual, adventure.

To work at your distinctness:

1. Express your opinion even if it is contrary to what your partner expects or wants to hear.
2. State what you want and don’t want even if it places stress on the relationship you have.
3. Maintain many and diverse non-romantic friendships.
4. Pursue interests outside of your romantic relationship even if your significant other has no interest in the same endeavors.

October 17, 2010

Dating a divorced woman with children…

by Rod Smith

It is counter-intuitive, I know......

Hold back and listen

Postpone meeting the children for as long as possible. Give time to enjoy and know each other without the children. If each of you cannot do this (let’s say she perceives she is unable to be away from the children and you feel somewhat obligated or compelled to include the children in the dating process) then she is not ready to date, and you are not ready to accommodate a woman and children into your life.

When you do meet the children keep out of her relationships with her children. Withhold your opinions (insights, guidance, discipline) if she is not parenting as you think necessary. No matter how much she asks for your input, or how much the children appear to need or love you, if you get prematurely entangled you will ultimately come out second best.

You are at your most helpful when you support, empower, encourage the woman to tap into her internal resources to be fully the mother she is able to be. She has to do this without you if she is ever to be comfortable sharing this with you.

Withhold your opinions about her ex-husband, visitations, her finances, how he treats her or how he treats his children. This potential minefield predates you and you will be better off as a couple if you regard it as none of your business. A relationship built on trying to correct the injustices of her past will not bode well for your future.

Your distinctness (separatness) is more important than your necessary ability to bond with the woman and her children. When the time comes and bonding with both mother and children is necessary, your distinctness will be a life-saving necessity both in the immediate and in the long-term future.