@BlueBlood_elia tweeted that line this week. We weighed in with our opinions, some of them were profound while others were flippant. I have many single women friends and I ask myself the same question sometimes. A single friend of mine recently posted on Facebook, how she just wanted a man “who would show up and stay”. I thought this was just a women’s issue until @DirectorSolomon tweeted the following:
The responses ranged from hilarious to heart-breaking. My response to him was that this kind of stuff makes men skittish (nervously shy away from commitment) and for every girl that cheats on a guy there are dozens of single women who are searching, sometimes desperately, for a man to love them.
It is not easy to find love, not just in this one, but in every generation. My parents have been married for over 40 years and even they have close friends who never got married or went through multiple divorces. This is not a new problem, but it’s a sad state of affairs.
Dr. Caroline Leaf, a neuroscientist says we are “wired” for love, i.e. drama, stress and heartbreak etc. are not a natural state of affairs and they literally change our brain chemistry. Human beings are made in the image of God and God is love. Her approach is both biblical and scientific. Check out her YouTube videos, she’s phenomenal. By the way I’m no expert but I see many people in pain and have experienced some pain of my own in the past from bad choices. Are you in the swamp of despondency when it comes to love? if you are single and searching think about the following issues.
Who Are You and What Do You Attract?
This is the principle of ‘As within, so without’. Your visible reality is a manifestation of your thoughts. Thoughts can become unconscious and habitual if you hold them long enough. Ok you don’t believe me. Think about it. Your constant thoughts create habits and patterns of decision making that have brought you to this point. Think back to the decisions you made in your last relationship, when it started, why it ended and how it ended. What were you thinking. How would things have been if you had different thoughts about the person. By the way, ending a relationship is not always a bad thing, particularly if it is not good for you.
Consider these questions:
The first question is who are you in the relationship equation? What are your needs? These needs are based on the story you tell yourself when you are on your own. Your story is so very much a part of you, you don’t realise it’s there and it determines your every move. This story is created by habitual thoughts from when we were children and trying to make sense of the world. This background story shows up with you in every situation and causes you to make automatic decisions that determine the outcome of a situation. Are you:
a) Mr. or Miss Right-Now. i.e. not looking for a serious relationship. The background story is most likely because you need a temporary escape from the pain of physical, emotional or sexual abuse and want someone to make you feel attractive and blot out the pain. In this case love and sex are the addictions of choice. This is a typical addict’s profile. Zoleka Mandela’s book When Hope Whispers is an excellent example, where she talks openly about her journey back from addiction. Psychologists have coined a term called limerence, which is the emotional high you get when you are in the early stages of a relationship. This had been investigated and identified as changes to brain chemistry that happen when you are in love. So you can be addicted to love and change partners frequently to feel like that over and over again.
b) Mr. or Miss I’ll-Make-Him or Her-Right-For-Me. This background story is , I’ll change the person into my ideal partner because I’m perfect or I’ve worked so hard to be this person and my partner needs to meet my unremitting standards. Deep down, the story is that I need to control every situation so that I do not get hurt or taken advantage of. Many abusers fit this profile because their abusive behaviour comes from a place of unacknowledged raw pain.
c) Mr or Miss I’ll-Make-Myself-Right-for Him or Her. The background story is, I’ll be whoever my partner wants me to be, because I feel so unworthy and unloveable. I’ll do whatever it takes to have them in my life because deep down I don’t believe that I deserve to be loved. Many victims of abuse fit this profile.
d) Mr or Mrs Married-But-Available? No need to state the obvious. However any of the first three background stories apply. Infidelity is really is not just about sex. Emotional infidelity is just as devastating for the spouses. However for infidelity you need both motive and opportunity. Temptation presents itself based on your background story. James 1.14 says each person is lured and tempted by his or her own desire. And if you have a motive from your background story, e,g. a) ‘I need sex as a temporary relief from my pain or stress ‘, you will find an opportunity to be unfaithful whether it’s your next door neighbour, a colleague or on Oxford Street.
The second question is who are you attracting when you look for Mr or Miss Right? Is it
a); b); c) or d)?
Let’s do a little bit of relationship arithmetic, shall we? In my relatively short life, I’ve learnt the following from observation and experience. A mismatch of the four doesn’t work, that’s pretty obvious right? But, a perfect match of any of the four needs does not make for a fulfilling long-term relationship either. A coincidence of wants should make a perfect whole right? No? Why is that?
a+a = one night stand; booty call or ‘friends with benefits’. It’s ok if you both walk away unscathed. Sometimes one person ‘catches feelings’ eventually. Then there is awkwardness or drama if you still bump into each other. Or you have another another hook-up for all the wrong reasons, because you’re lonely, bored or drunk.
b+b = a prison without bars of nagging, manipulation, physical and or emotional abuse. There will be a prison break eventually. I guarantee it. You cannot change a person. A person needs to change by themselves and have really good personal motivation for doing so.
c+c = an illusion, a game of smoke and mirrors. This one ends in tears without fail. That sounds like the lady in @Director Solomon’s tweet. She probably made herself over for them and played the two guys, then picked the first guy who popped the question because she just wanted to get married. That is not genuine love, if she loved her fiancé, she would not have cheated on him until a week before the wedding. For the other guy, it’s like showing up for training every day, not knowing that there are trials in progress or there’s a scout watching.
d+d = a perfect storm. Refer to a+a, only add trauma for your children, depression, the drama of divorce and or suicide or murder to the mix. The truth is someone is always playing the other person in an extra-marital affair, not just the spouse. Very few extra-marital affairs, studies say only 10% end up in marriage and many of those marriages end in divorce because of a relationship built on a shaky foundation of deceit.
So How Do We Find Love?
We know what doesn’t work. So what does work? Actually, that is the wrong question. The answer is that you don’t search for love. When you do, you will be disappointed because you will invariably look in the wrong places based on your mental programming, the background story. The truth is that there is no formula for finding love. Love finds you. You have to be the person that someone will fall in love with. The real you, the one that you are behind closed doors, when none is looking.
These are just a few examples of what repels love. If you are bitter, twisted and resentful, that will eventually drive love away. If you are jealous, angry and controlling, you may hide it well but eventually the mask will slip, the person will see the real you and disappear from your life. If you are clingy and desperate because you need the other person to make you happy, then, what you fear most will happen, the person that you live will leave you, because the relationship is too much work. Being happy is your own responsibility, not that of the other person. What are you willing and able to give? You cannot give what you don’t have. To attract the love, you want, change your background story. Martha Beck’s book Steering by Starlight has great advice. Dr Caroline Leaf and Iyanla Vanzant also have some great Youtube videos on that subject.
Attractive vs Loveable
There is a difference between an attractive person and a loveable person. An attractive person takes care of their external appearance, good skin, a good hairstyle, apparel that suits them, smells great and has the right toys, car, cellphone, handbag etc. They know what to say, how to flirt, when to stop and when to make a move to get you interested in them. They make a great first impression even without saying a word. A woman’s reaction to them is: “Damn! He fine! So hot I gotta fan myself” (sic). For guys, well, let me not speak for them.
A loveable person is genuinely interested in the other person. To do that, you have to forget your ego, how you look, sound etc. and focus on the other person. Get to know their heart. Spend more time talking. The club or a party is a great place to meet, but not the best setting for you to truly get to know someone. Decide whether this is someone you want to spend time with. If they are not, it’s ok, move on, you can still be friendly, or not. It’s your choice.
A loveable person may not generally make a great first impression, but they make a lasting one because they make a connection from the heart. People can tell the difference between someone who is genuinely interested that they can trust with their feelings. The typical reaction to this type is, ” I really like this person, and it’s not just for their looks.”
Here are a couple of suggestions for letting love find you. Don’t limit yourself with pre-conceived ideas about who or what true love looks like, or what he or she does for a living or what car he or she drives. A person can get an education, a better job, buy a car, or buy designer shoes and acquire certain skills. A man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions (Luke 12:15). However a person cannot buy a good heart. They cannot be honest, show up for you and show affection and concern consistently if it is not from the heart.
Make the Circle Bigger
Meet more people, more often, make that circle bigger. Spice up your life. Go places and do different things, things you enjoy and you will meet like-minded people. Don’t keep to the same boring weekend or work routine. We spend to much time with the same circle of people and never create opportunities to meet other people. Or when we do, we find reasons not to get to know them because they are not from our little universe.
Next time you meet someone, talk less, listen more, and listen with genuine interest. You may not make a love connection but you can make a lasting one, which who knows could grow into love, or lead you to the love of your life. Do this often enough and I believe love will find you. Finding love is easy. Keeping it is hard. I’ll save that for my next post. Until then, stay attractive and be loveable.