The Object of Your Attention

I feel like I’ve suddenly discovered the key to a long lasting, healthy relationship. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve been listening to so much Abraham Hicks lately or if it’s just the result of becoming a healthy, more mature adult, but either way it’s as if suddenly a lightbulb has gone off in my brain and I hope to never treat my relationships the way I did in the past again. 

And here it is: do not make your partner the object of your attention. 

Meaning make yourself, your career, and your interests the focal point of your life and have your relationship be secondary. I know this sounds crazy. But all of the problems, at least for me, always exist when I’m putting too much attention on my boyfriend and the relationship. That’s when I start expecting too much and appreciating nothing and suddenly he becomes the source of all of my issues and unhappiness. 

I have severe ADD and SO MUCH excess energy. I can multitask 7 different things at once. My brain is a calendar and can categorize everything. I LOVE to be busy and have lots of things on my plate. I have a desperate need to be stimulated and challenged. Imagine what happens when I look to my partner to fulfill all of those requirements for me. 

My life is always going to have a huge compartment that needs to be filled up. I don’t like being alone for too long, I can’t stand not having upcoming events or social engagements, I go crazy if I’m not doing something creative everyday. So it becomes a constant pursuit to make sure I’m doing enough of all of those things, not only because it fulfills me on every level, but because it takes my full attention away from my boyfriend. 

The very best example of this is to look at how men treat relationships. It’s very seldom, at least in my experience, that a man over the age of 25 makes his girlfriend the center of his universe and the main priority of his life. Men have an innate desire to hunt and gather, aka work, so usually that takes the main precedence slot. The nice thing is that most men want to work hard and build a career in order to support a woman and/or a family, but they aren’t spending their days pining and overthinking over how it’s affecting the relationship directly in that moment. 

Men and women are different, I get that. Women are more emotional and tend to obsess about their lovers, (errr wait, maybe that’s just me?) and the more time we spend with them and the more energy we put into the relationship the more we want. Ammiright, ladies? We’re putting this insane amount of effort into showing them we care about them and that they have all of our attention and we get pissed if they’re not doing the same. We have this “attachment vibe” that is hard to break. 

And when things get to that bad place, people always tell you to “focus on yourself” and to “let go of the attachment” as if it’s some easy thing that we can suddenly wake up and just decide. But with time and a constant shift in the mindset, it can become more of a habit. The easiest thing to do is treat your life how you did while you were single. Not sitting around and waiting and hoping that some man will fill up your time and energy. 

We are not kept women who need to hide behind our men or become too focused on them and what’s going on in their lives. Independence is the key to growth and self-sufficiency. What happens if the relationships suddenly implodes? No one should be in a relationship constantly thinking about that, but it’s a very real outcome that would leave a dependent person in complete and utter shambles. 

I’ve been almost forced to learn how to function in this way since my boyfriend and I are currently long distance. I never would have chosen this as my current situation but, here I am, and I can either deal with it or end the relationship because of the neediness and separation anxiety. At times it gets too hard and I get to the bad place of wanting to be done with it all, but then I remember why I’ve stayed for so long and how much I love him. And once I decided it was worth it to stick it out I constantly shifted my mentality to focus on subjects that did not have anything to do with him. It has made me so much happier overall and it’s done wonders for the relationship. I’m not so focused on what he is or isn’t doing for me, how often he has texted me that day, or when he’ll be back in LA and for how long. I’ve let go of the control I so often want to have and it’s been like an orgasmic release for me mentally and emotionally. 

Before I made that shift I was in such constant despair and even broke up with him for 2 months because of it. Because of my jealousy that he was making something other than me a priority. Because he was following an impulse to further his career. Because he was doing his best to create a better future for us. What a monster. 

During my PMS week I always go back to my old ways of thinking and verbally abuse him in my head. But as long as I continue to understand that those feelings are fleeting and do my best not to express them to him, my relationship will continue to flourish. One day we will be together all the time and I will think back to when I had this space and freedom from him and miss it. 

The reason most people think that a relationship works best when the man is more in love with the woman than she is with him is because this mentality comes NATURALLY in that situation. The woman focuses on herself and her life because she doesn’t care what he thinks as much as she did with her emotionally unavailable ex-boyfriend with whom she always walked on eggshells and felt a sense of neediness and desperation.  

This is not to say that we shouldn’t put any effort into our relationships. Every relationship requires work and balance. But the most successful my relationship has ever felt was when I was being as SELFISH AS POSSIBLE. Try it and see how it works for you. It’s not about games or manipulation, it’s about the freedom and peace that comes from the perils of attachment. 

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Emotional Detachment

I’ve been working a lot lately on detachment and not allowing myself to be ruled by my emotions. I hate letting other people have so much power over me and how I’m feeling at any given time. What other people say and do says so much about them and says practically nothing about me, so why would I let it affect me so deeply?

The other night I was at a bar with a friend whom I’ve had a very complicated relationship with. She assumed I was going to watch her dog while she was away on vacation and when I said I didn’t want to do it (because she wanted me to stay at her place in the deep valley, which is 45 minutes away from my work, friends, and life) she called me a “selfish asshole.”

I’ve never watched her dog in the history of our years long friendship so I had no idea why she assumed I would suddenly be up for the job. Not only that, but to stay 45 minutes out of my way for free was a tall order to ask of anyone. So I had no idea why she reacted that way. It definitely received a, “woah” response out of me, but it ended there. I didn’t let it affect me and I continued on drinking with her for a couple more hours.

I was really proud of myself for having let that comment slide so effortlessly when in the past I would’ve responded much more angrily and I probably would’ve changed my whole attitude for the rest of the night. But I just brushed it off and let it go.

I know my friend wouldn’t want me to say yes to that favor just to ease her stress and yet feel resentful and angry for being made to stay out so far away from my apartment. And I didn’t want to agree to something that would make me feel unhappy just because my friend wanted to save a couple bucks.

So I learned a double lesson in that moment. When you ask someone for a favor, you should never tie any expectations to the response. And when you disappoint someone and they call you a name, remember that it says so much more about them than it does about you.

However, after I had patted myself on the back several times for that interaction I wondered how I could translate that to my romantic relationship. In friendships it’s so much easier to feel less attached to outcomes because you aren’t intimately involved with those people. Detachment tends to become a much bigger challenge when you are opening your heart so fully to someone spiritually, emotionally, sexually, mentally, and physically.

I started to wonder if it could be possible to interact with my boyfriend in the same way I had interacted with my friend. Could I have zero expectation when I ask him to do things? If I want to hang out with him and I ask to see if he’s free and he says no, sometimes it sends me into a deep spiral of fear and distress. Partly from past stuff and partly because I allow the fact that he isn’t available to suggest that I’m not a priority because he isn’t ready to drop everything for me like I usually am for him.

And as I type it here now it seems so pathetic and sad. When he is out of town for work and he doesn’t have the opportunity to say no to me I am happy as a lark. So in essence what I’m upset about is the fact that my boyfriend doesn’t do everything that I say and want whenever I say that I want it. My desire to control him and his actions is terrifying and will do nothing but upset me every time.

Sometimes there are larger things that I ask of him, such as coming home with me for Christmas, that when he says no make me think that he doesn’t value our relationship or see a future. I mean, can’t he just sacrifice a couple fucking days simply to make me happy? But see what the problem is here? I’m allowing his actions to either make me happy or not happy. What will happen if I go home to see my family and I’m by myself? I’ll have an absolute blast playing 19 rounds of card games with my brothers and sisters in law. Would I miss and feel his absence? Definitely. But I don’t have to allow his non-presence there affect the entire relationship or suggest that he isn’t invested in me.

And the danger of implying those things is that he will want to get further and further away from me. Because he feels as though he is walking on eggshells and that everything he says and does affects my happiness. That is too much pressure for anyone to handle and the only natural thing to do is to pull away as to not constantly give someone so much disappointment caused by you and only you.

It’s not a change that will happen overnight but it’s one that I’m willing and ready to accept and work on. I alone am responsible for how I feel. I can blame it on him all I want but the only thing I can change is myself. So if I am committed to him and this relationship, which I am, then I need to zen the fuck out and be happy regardless of his actions.

Friends With Benefits

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Friends with benefits sounds like the most amazing idea ever, in theory. You get to have sexy time with someone you already know and like on the reg and you don’t have to deal with any of the relationship b.s. that normal couples face. You can focus on yourself and your career and when you go out with your girlfriends you can meet up with the FWB and have amazing, sloppy sex at the end of the night and not even have to stay over and spoon with a hot, sweaty body (unless you want to, of course, which is your choice!) AMAZING! SIGN ME UP! 

But if you think you can make that kind of a relationship work for the long-term, then you are either fooling yourself or you’re a robot. Because inevitably feelings are going to get involved and it’s very rare that it’s going to end well. Most of us are not sex addicts or animals and consistent intimacy with someone is bound to do weird things to your heart and brain. In the best case scenario (which never happens, trust) you will end up in a serious relationship, but in my experience that usually involves a breakup first. Because how else can this evolve? One will try to define it and the other one will freak out because they liked the way things were going, so quit trying to label it, they’ll say. The former will feel insecure and start acting out and playing games and cause more fighting until you’re both left empty and exhausted. 

Being stuck in that “grey area” purgatory is enough to drive even the most sane person absolutely fucking nuts. Even if you feel like you will never develop an attachment, you will. Even if you feel like you won’t care if they turn you down to hang out because they have plans already, you will. Even if you think you will be fine if he/she doesn’t answer your text within 24 hours, you won’t.  

I’ve had many experiences with this kind of a relationship and it’s emotionally draining and miserable. You’re stuck in a soul sucking vortex where you check your lover’s social media every hour and try to will them to text you all the while failing to concentrate on your tasks for the day. You feel so lucky and slightly fulfilled if you even get one interaction a week. You think that when they compliment your hair or give you a ride somewhere that it’s THE NICEST THING EVER! But then you don’t hear from him/her for 4 days and it sends you into a anxious spiral where you do nothing but listen to Adele and drink wine to calm down and numb the hurt. And suddenly you feel like you might actually have serious emotional problems and you start googling cheap therapists. But I am here to tell YOU and MYSELF that you are not crazy and you deserve SO MUCH BETTER THAN THAT. 

I’d like to think that the real man or woman that you’re meant to be with will not require so much work, especially emotionally. For whatever reason that person is not for you or the timing is off or they haven’t gotten over their ex yet, blah blah blah. Maybe you are the person that doesn’t want to take it to the next level for those reasons. But for the love of god, then be alone and stop dragging other people through your shit. 

What’s even worse about this kind of circumstance is that maybe you didn’t even find that person very attractive or like them that much to begin with and suddenly everything they do and say is adorable and sexy because your hormones and oxytocin tricked you.

If you want to have a bunch of sex, fine. Do it with different people who aren’t close friends and make sure they know the parameters ahead of time. Or better yet, date someone and see if you like them first and then have some sex. If it doesn’t work out, then end it. Don’t keep getting physical. I have made this mistake so many times, so learn from me! 

If you’ve managed to make a friends with benefits relationship work, develop into something more, or end nicely then kudos to you. But you are most definitely an exception and obviously lying. Just kidding. I’d love to hear about your experience. 

Now if you’ll excuse me I have to get going on my Monday night single girl routine of Netflix and vegan food.

xx