Monthly Archives: October 2016

Signs That Point to Yes

We are all emotionally needy to some degree in relationships — meaning simply that, during a difficult time, we need more emotional support than usual. We all long to be understood, supported, loved, and accepted.

It’s OK to reach out and ask for help — sometimes. And that’s okay. Yet, being overly emotionally needy — too demanding, clingy, annoying, fragile — can spell trouble for your relationship.

A person should be able to stand on their own, tolerate aloneness, and manage their own ‘stuff’ for a healthy relationship to exist. How we go about expressing our needs has a lot to do with our personality and our attachment style — our style based on how we learned to relate to our parents and how emotionally available they were…or not.

There are 3 styles of attachment that help create how secure or insecure we feel in relationships: secure, anxious, and avoidant.

Secure people present themselves as warm and loving and were most likely raised with caregivers that were consistently caring and responsive. Avoidant people often come across as dismissive, often minimize closeness and were raised in an environment that was less emotional and one in which insecurity and neediness were not tolerated.

However, people with an anxious attachment style are the ones that present and who are seen as overly needy. Some of the key characteristics are:

•Minimizing or denying their needs and look to others to fill their emotional gaps and emptiness in a way that often becomes manipulative.
•Worrying about their partner’s love and ‘search out’ for all the mannerisms and nuances that might indicate that their partner doesn’t love them.
•Emotionally overwhelmed and will reach out and ‘need’ their partner more to make them feel secure or constantly remind them of how they feel.
•Insecurity and oversensitivity to any slight.
•Had parents (or a parent) who was inconsistently nurturing. This created inner angst and turmoil and contributed to their anxiety — especially around relationships.

However, this often leaves their partner emotionally tapped out and overwhelmed by their neediness. They are worn out. And yet, anxious people do the very thing they fear the most will happen — they push their partner away. Their behaviors are counterproductive, yet hard to stop doing in the moment.

For the other person, there is nothing they can do to help this person. You cannot encourage growth, compliment them, or reassure them — enough. They have an insatiable and exhausting emotional ‘neediness.’

The Dating World

Dear Sara: I just read your article about conquering the fear of rejection and continuing to put oneself out there. My question: How do I know whether my status is a stigma against putting myself ‘out there’? Why is a female widow viewed as unavailable?

I am a widow, and almost every [time] I get into a conversation with a man, I get asked the question, why haven’t I found someone yet? I try to carefully explain that it has taken me time to grieve and to accept going forward with my life after my husband of 29 years passed, but regardless of how politely and positively I explain my past, there is an awkwardness that creeps into the conversation that makes me feel like the man is pulling back, like there are red flags going off. Please advise your thoughts and opinions on how a widow restarts a journey towards a new relationship. — Thank you, P

Dear P: It’s puzzling that the men you’ve met so far want to know why you haven’t found someone yet. Obviously, you did find someone and you clearly were able to have a strong, lasting relationship with him. Far from working against you, it seems to me that should work foryou.

My guess—and honestly, that’s all is—is that these men are possibly threatened by your late husband’s memory. Most people who are in the dating realm are there because none of their past relationships led to lifelong love. That’s not true for you and your late husband: You two truly were “Till death do us part.”

That might be intimidating to some men. They might worry that they will always be compared unfavorably to your departed spouse.

So I think you were very wise to take time to grieve, and to explain that you have done so to the men you date. Of course, it’s important to let anyone new in your life know that you aren’t trying to replace your late husband, but you are ready to move forward.

But after that, any inadequacy a prospective suitor might feel is his problem.

Instead of seeing your situation as something that puts you at a disadvantage, or as a problem you somehow need to fix, I suggest you view it as a useful filtering device, one that can save you time and energy. If a man worries that your experience in a loving, nearly 30-year marriage has given you a standard or two, good. If he senses that the memory of your loving husband will prevent you from taking any of his nonsense, then let him take his nonsense elsewhere.

Are you guided by fear or love

How often is the question, “What is loving to myself and others– what is in my highest good and the highest good of another?” the question that guides your actions? Is there something in the way of you asking this question? What is the fear that gets in the way of loving yourself?

Ethan’s fear is that “If I’m open to love, I will be weak and then easily taken advantage of. I might lose my sharpness in business and then lose money. Business people will see that I’m a soft touch and run right over me.”

Alexis is stuck in her cycle of anger at her husband. In her mind, she knows that her controlling, blaming anger is pushing him away, yet she fears that “If I let go of the control, he will end up making a fool of me. The only way I can be safe from him doing something behind my back, like having an affair, is to keep a tight rein on him.” Alexis’s husband, Noah, has been staying away more and more, and coming home later and later. He doesn’t want to be around the anger. The more he stays away, the angrier Alexis gets. She is terrified to let go and see what will happen. Having a huge abandonment issue, and not doing the inner work to take care of herself, she is very afraid he will leave her. Rather than risk this, she keeps doing the very thing that pushes Noah away, while her fears continue to grow.

Each of these people are terrified at losing something – losing themselves, losing the other, losing face, losing money, losing power. None of them have the faith that if they are open to loving themselves and others, they will be supported by the vast power of Spirit. None of them are willing to risk opening to love and seeing what happens. As a result, they cannot create a strong enough connection with their spiritual guidance to know that their fears are not based on truth, but on their false beliefs.

Two things would need to happen for them to change:

They would need to be willing to risk having their worst fears happen. Until they are willing to find out whether or not their fears are based on truth, they will be stuck avoiding them. When they finally say, “Okay, if I’m abandoned, made a fool of, taken advantage of or completely controlled by another, so be it. Living this way isn’t working so I’m willing to see what will happen if I open,” then they will be open to learning and loving.

When they decide that the spiritual journey of becoming a loving human being is more important than whether or not they are hurt, rejected, controlled, or made a fool of, they will open. As long as they believe that the earthly journey of getting and controlling is more important than the spiritual journey of learning and loving, they will stay stuck.

Your soul remembers your spiritual journey. Your soul yearns to love and share love. Your soul yearns for the lightness of being that comes from opening to love. If you diligently practice inner Bonding, you will eventually connect with the deep desires of your soul and open your heart.

Things to Remember on Your Date

Think dating is difficult? Try dating with a five-year-old or fourteen-year-old watching your every move. Suddenly your romantic life is immersed in the morals, values, and integrity you’ve established for your children. Can you hold fast to them or are you just talking out of the both sides of your mouth?

Every single parent must remember they are showing their kids how to date: what to look for in a man or woman, how to act, how to be treated, is sex before marriage ok, is a lot of sex with a lot of different people before marriage ok?

Children notice a strange man in mom’s bedroom, they notice a half naked woman in the kitchen in the morning. They’ll quiz you incessantly about your date, did you like the guy, do you think you might get married to that woman. They’ll also be loaded with opinions about your dates: be ready to hear not that just “he’s nice” or “she’s pretty” but “he looks mean” or “She doesn’t like me, I can tell.”

So there are some proven suggestions for loving, caring parents who for one reason or another find themselves back in the dating game.

  1. Ask yourself — how important are your kids to you? This is a serious question. “I love them to death,” isn’t a serious answer. “I love them so much I’m willing to put off any relationship for a year or two or three,” is a serious answer. I’m not saying that’s always necessary, but sometimes it is. God put the destiny of these young children in your hands, you can’t be willing to throw it out the window for the first good-looking regional manager that walks into your life.
  2. If your first relationship ended in divorce, remember your kids probably still love their parent. They don’t want to hear how much nicer this new woman is than their mother. For awhile they won’t want to hear how much more you love this new person.
  3. You don’t have to, in fact you shouldn’t, introduce every date to your kids. This will only confuse them and let them build up false hope about a person they unexpectedly like.
  4. Let every date know you have kids. This will eliminate future complications with prospective partners who absolutely aren’t ready for the responsibility of kids.
  5. Do not let your kids find half-naked strangers roaming around your house in the early morning.
  6. When you feel a relationship has become serious enough to introduce the kids, keep everything low key. Maybe a picnic or trip to the zoo with young kids, so the focus isn’t on “the new person.” Older kids can be tougher or easier depending. Sometimes, if the parent is a widow, they just want their parents to be happy. Other times, if they are children of divorce, don’t expect them to love the new person overnight.
  7. Remember, somebody can be a fun date and suck at being a mom or dad. The more you’re around them, the more you’ll be able to tell.