Guest Column: Dating Tips for Dogs and Divas

by Dr. Kai  Swigart

As a shrink who doubles as a dating coach, amidst a smorgasbord of other disenfranchised diadems; a pauperized prince who has himself emerged from the shackles of scurrilous servility a salubrious singleton; I find myself resistant to the balancing yoga posed by my own advice. Although for some a belletristic blueprint, and others a boring blather; I seek to guide, to foster healing through my words. As singles interested in dating, enchanted entrepreneurs pursuing enamored elicitations; when devoid of deeply fashioned loving bonds; we are advised to share our dinners, dances, doors, and dispensations with not one, but many bright-eyed, bushy tails. In other words, until we find that special someone, with whom we wish to share it all, we are advised to place our eggs in many baskets. Now this is good advice, if down there in those cracks and crevices, if  down there deep inside our hearts, we’re not connected.

Undercurrents

sometimes, even when we’re already in a committed relationship, we may realize that we have met that special someone. If we are honest and responsible, we will acknowledge this to ourselves, and then file it away for a day that may never come. If we have ongoing contact with them, then we may redefine them as a friend, like a brother or sister; in order to love them in a way that is appropriate. This is honorable, while we, or they, are still in a relationship. But what happens if we both become available? Have we conditioned ourselves to believe that they are only friends, that he or she is like a brother or sister, and that is that? But what about those memories that keep tickling our fantasies, that are pumping up our hearts with inspiration? Should we just ignore them, pretending they’re not there, or should we pull them out and dust them off, our long, lost diamonds?

Issues

And then there were issues. What if we doubt ourselves and our worth, see ourselves as a victim because  of our poor choices and the abuse of others, or cannot trust because of things that we have gone through? Such perceptual frameworks may represent inadequacy, control, victimization, and trust issues. Those with inadequacy issues often want to be with someone they feel superior to, so they can pretend to be in love without becoming vulnerable. By engineering a “relationship” that supports their issues, they have a built-in way to gratify these issues. But do they want to strengthen their issues, or share love? Sharing real love requires vulnerability, right? They can feel superior, be a know-at-all, always try to prove themselves; and usually feel successful. But all they have succeeded at is strengthening the problem. This problem is a dark, destructive ego that will maintain the patterns of superficial, disingenuous relationships that leave them feeling empty and unfulfilled (which they can then blame on their partner). Similar patterns could occur if we had control, victimization, or trust issues. We could, and probably would choose the things that satisfied our issues. For instance, in a relationship, we might not only select a mate that we feel superior to, but also one that we could control, blame for our mistakes, make ourselves the victim of, and distrust. This would maintain our issue-based belief systems, keep us feeling self righteously superior, unfairly treated, and justified in our distrust of our companion. But these perceptions would not be based on truth. They would be based on issues. Do we want to keep feeding the problem, and continue re-creating unhealthy relationships in our lives; or do we want to accept ourselves, forgive ourselves, and learn to love ourselves so we can learn to love, respect, and trust another? I guess the main point here is that feeding issues, like ignoring the undercurrents described above, could keep us from taking that needed plunge into the arms of real love. The choice is always ours

Eminence and the Approach-Avoidance Dance

When we, or they,  are not single or available, it is sometimes easier to express our love for them. This may be because we, at these times, do not have to risk becoming vulnerable. When we are both available, and eminence tickles our fantasies and pushes our buttons, our fears kick in and choreograph the dance. We might treasure them, respect them greatly, and long for their companionship. But our fears may scream at us that we can’t trust them, that when we hold ourselves up to them we come up lacking, or that they could not really love us the way it seems. These are, of course, our own issues haunting, taunting, and flaunting their indulgence. But, despite our fears, we might hesitantly decide to take the risk. When we do, the resulting vulnerability may distress our sensibilities, prompting us  to take a step back, at least in terms of openness of expression, or frequency of contact; until we are again inspired by that sweet, abiding truth. So we may reach out, share deeply and vulnerably, and then retreat into the safety of our shell. In and out, back and forth, until, at some point, we learn to love and trust. This dance commonly occurs for people with trust, inadequacy, and victim issues; and for those who are highly sensitive or evolved. If this is happening, just keep dancing until you love and trust yourself. Even though it will seem much scarier  at first than the superficial, unfulfilling relationships we control; the ones in which we do not feel vulnerable; it will help us learn to love ourselves, and then to love another; and believe in unconditional love and trust. There may be no greater human joy than this. Just keep dancing.

How have you handled situations like these? Can you relate to the approach-avoidance dance? If so, which moves have helped you most?

2 replies
  1. Kelly
    Kelly says:

    People speak of love don’t know what they’re thinking of
    Wait around for the one who fits just like a glove
    Speak in terms of belief and belonging
    Try to fit some name to their longing…
    People speak of love don’t know what they’re thinking of
    Reach out to each other though the push and shove
    Speak in terms of a life and the learning
    Try to think of a word for the burning
    You keep it up
    You try so hard
    To keep a life from coming apart
    And never know
    What breaches and faults are concealed
    In the shape of a heart
    I… I guess I never knew
    What she was talking about
    I guess I never knew
    What she was living without
    People speak of love don’t know what they’re thinking of
    Wait around for the one who fits just like a glove
    Speak in terms of a life and the living
    Try to find the word for forgiving
    You keep it up
    You try so hard
    To keep a life from coming apart
    And never know
    The shallows and the unseen reefs
    That are there from the start
    In the shape of a heart.
    jackson browne, ‘In the shape of a heart”

  2. Kelly
    Kelly says:

    “Tell them that you’ve gone to find a person
    Someone you lost track of long ago
    Tell them that it’s someone you need worse than
    Anybody else you’ll ever know”

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