The Elusive LTR
A few mornings ago I woke up hugging one of my pillows again (at least I wasn’t humping or punching it). As I lay there thinking about how long the other side of my bed has been empty I remembered a question that a good friend of mine had suggested that I take to The Shower Team.
His question was, “How do I line up better with a satisfying long-term relationship?” As I continued to cuddle my pillow it felt more and more relevant and so I did the only thing I could think of to do in that situation, with that topic fresh on my mind . . . I headed to the shower . . .
On this topic perhaps more than any other, the difficulty that you often experience is tied to the mixed messages—the competing or conflicting signals that you are offering on this subject in your experience. We have also observed that the longer you hang around on the planet, the more mixed your vibration or your signal about this becomes.
On the one hand you diligently and repeatedly declare your desire for a partner . . . and we know that your desire is genuine. We feel your sincere wish for companionship and passion and mutual enjoyment of your life with another. But on the other hand, you also tend to develop increasingly strong desires for independence and freedom and for living your life on your own terms.
In addition, you begin to create the equivalent of a shopping list for the mate that you want . . . as though you were ordering from a catalog . . . or you put a series of qualifiers in parenthesis around your statement of desire: “I want someone to share my life with but I don’t want that and I don’t want this and I don’t want that . . .“
You tend to approach this particular desire with an increasing specificity and with increasingly mixed feelings—to the point where it is no longer primarily the satisfaction of a relationship that you are focused upon but rather it is your concerns about the degree to which any relationship could actually meet your increasingly strict criteria. And in this as in so many of your stronger desires, you also tend to spend much more time noticing that it is not there than you spend in eager, delicious anticipation of it coming.
So—what to do? We are not suggesting that you give less thought to what you want or implying that you are being too picky or selective. What we are suggesting is that you give more time and more attention to enjoying your desire for a relationship than you typically spend questioning or fretting or analyzing that desire. Try to focus more deliberately on the joyful or playful or otherwise compelling aspects of being with someone. Instead of treating this as a puzzle or a riddle or a problem to be solved, approach it as a game you enjoy playing or a movie that you like to watch over and over.
What we are really encouraging you to do is to begin living now as though what you want were already present. “But how can that be?” You might ask. “How can I live my life now the way I would if I were happily partnered?” And we say, “Well, what would be different besides having another body in your bed?” What is it that you think is going to be so great about having someone around in the first place? Really stop and think about that. Think about why you want this so much and what you’re going to get from it and then look very carefully and thoughtfully at how you can—and we promise you, you can—begin to have some of that experience in your here and now—even before the mate materializes.
Why wait? If you truly want this dream mate to show up then you have to pave the way. And this means beginning to live the live that you want to share with a mate. It means being the person you want this mate to love and desire and want to be with. It means taking your attention off all the things you think this relationship that is yet to be will make right for you—and making those things right for you where you stand. And in the process, you make yourself right for the relationship that you seek.
Until you put yourself in the right place and the right frame of mind—a place where you are living the life and being the YOU that your future mate will adore—then you more than likely would not really want the ones who might show up in the interim. Be the you that you look forward to being when you are with the one you want . . . and the one you want will find you soon enough.
How do They keep telling me to love me—let me count the ways. Guilty as charged about the shopping list. I’ve been adding to the list of desired, if not required, traits for my future mate for as long as I can remember. It never occurred to me that I might give at least as much thought to how I want to be as I give to how I want him to be.
I can always count on The Team to make it all about me. Even when I think it’s all about someone to love me. And that leaves me willing to give my role in the pursuit of the elusive LTR a lot more thought. And it leaves me feeling, for the moment, completely focused on becoming an even more lovable me.