When I go on dates or meet prospective people to date, I get slotted into the category of “you would be a great friend” but not the “this is the romantic partner for me” category. I don’t understand why. Do you have any advice?
Be grateful. The universe is doing you a huge favor by screening out the drama queens before you waste time and energy on a relationship with any of them. Drama queens (and kings) are people who rely on conflict (internal and external) and the hits of adrenaline it provides, to ensure they remain the center of attention. When you meet someone and feel a spark, it’s usually a warning that you are facing unfinished emotional business from your past. The spark, or electrical charge, is just your nervous system recognizing a personality pattern similar to your mother’s or father’s. That’s right, a spark is your body’s way of saying: “Look! Here’s an unhealed wound ripe for tending.”
Unfortunately, most people are not spiritually awake enough to understand this opportunity for healing. Instead, they launch into dating the person who they believe has lit the spark. Why? They imagine that a spark means they have met their soul mate. This idea convinces them to hold tight through the inevitable extremes that accompany the roller coaster emotional lives of drama-addicted personalities. What they should do is end the connection and engage in the psycho-spiritual work of healing their old wound. That means scheduling an appointment with a talented psychotherapist. She or he can be a useful guide on the journey through painful memories from childhood and adolescence. Disinfecting wounds from the past can strengthen relationship skills for the future. In other words, former spark-seekers will learn the value of friendship and begin to approach relationships accordingly.
Thankfully, you already understand that being a “great friend” is the ideal foundation for romance. Your work, then, is patience. Eventually, you will meet someone who is wise enough to know that romance ebbs and flows, but a relationship based on friendship ensures enduring love.
Every Labor Day weekend my husband’s family organizes a big camp-out. My mother-in-law calls everyone and tells them specifically what to bring and doesn’t take no for an answer. Most of the weekend is spent telling stories over long meals about the Labor Day weekend trips when my husband and his siblings were children. This is incredibly boring and a huge waste of time, but I don’t know how to get out of it. My husband feels my pain but isn’t willing to rock the boat with his siblings and parents. Can you think of an acceptable way for me to opt out of this experience without disrupting family dynamics?
Book a fabulous cabin or a room at a spa within an hour’s drive of the campsite. Spend the first half of the weekend camping with your husband’s family. Then give them a wink and apologize for stealing your husband away but say that the two of you need private time. Slip away to your rented nest and enjoy the rest of the holiday. The anticipation of something fun will make the first part of the weekend tolerable. If your husband buckles to family pressure and opts out of joining you, smile and let him stay. Consider the room reserved and paid for; proceed forward with your plans. Try not to abandon your family for the entire weekend, however. Although the tradition feels stale to you, support your husband. If resentment threads through you while dining, shift your thoughts. Focus on appreciating your husband’s delight at the retelling of old family tales. Eventually, this yearly ritual will be emotionally manageable for you.