Sunday, 14 July 2013

Change Your Magnet

Ok, so here’s my latest theory on relationships. Would it be true to say, we only behave as well as our partners expect us to?

This week I was musing on previous relationships and realised how few of my exes are friends and that deep down, with some of them, even though I know it’s not productive (or fair), I still hold them accountable for how things transpired between us. “If he’d been more mature…”, or “if he’d stood up to his parents…” blah blah blah.  

But when I really considered the key plot points in each of these narratives, I wonder, did my expectations, not their behavior, dictated what I got in those relationships?
Perhaps people only offer what’s expected of them and it’s only when our expectations change that they take action. Either adapting or getting packing.

And is there any truth in the notion that who we are and how we think dictates what we receive? Is that perhaps the reason why, though the emotional legacy of all my partnerships is the feeling of ‘being let down’ actually what I should have done is taken a stand for my expectations.

Many of us simply put up with ‘stuff’' possibly because we think that's just the way things are. I went out with a guy who had appalling conversational skills. One time, after a prolonged silence he barked at me, "well? Start a conversation!". This witty repartee kept me interested for longer than you would think because sadly, I adored him and it never occurred that I should expect more.

Often, us girls think we are standing our ground. We tell the guy all the things we want like help out around the house, him to be more open, drink less, eat more healthily but if we only talk the talk and fail to follow through in deed, that sends the message we were never really serious. You know what men call this consequence-free repetition of demands? Nagging and if we do not stand by our expectations of what and who we expect our partner to be, we only have ourselves to blame when they fail to deliver.

When I look at my own history, I know the reason I didn’t do this was because I didn’t value myself highly enough. Subconciously, I didn’t see myself as worthy of a guy who could be an amazing partner to me.

I truly believe we are master attractors for what occurs in our lives. The good the bad and the extraordinary. And what defines that, are the fundamental beliefs we hold about ourselves and the world around us.  
This isn't about what we 'know' but about the orientation from which we live our lives. These deeply-held tenets are often implicit in our conversation, 'you know me I'm always unlucky' and hey presto more unlucky situations materialise. Or ‘people are so unfriendly’ and then we focus on all the antisocial behaviour around us, ignoring all the random acts of kindness. We 'know' intellectually there are good people and bad people but our orientation (in this example), is to expect the worst because that’s the fundamental belief that informs our existence.

We are, too often, unaware of these emotional drivers so how do we escape them? Luckily, with some of these modes of thinking we simply outgrow them. Some need external expertise drafted in, such as a therapist and some we swat away with a copy of The Power of Now, The Road Less Travelled or a borrowed copy of Feel The Fear. Either way, the magnet that we are draws people and circumstances to us that indicates where we’re at and if where we’re at is, ‘men don't treat me with respect’ or ‘I never meet strong, supportive guys’, then that's what we get. We need to change the magnet. This is why therapy is not just a middle class indulgence like pitta bread or recycling (I’m pretty sure no one recycles in Newham. They just use the bags as free bin liners), it’s vital.

And the surefire measure of changes in your magnet is what you seen when you do an honest audit of where your life is now compared to say, five or ten years ago.  What is here now that wasn’t before? What negativity has been shed and what new positive aspects have been ushered in. Is there less drama, more time with the kids, contentment at work, whatever it may be, these are the markers that show the magnet has changed. And if there are less positively charged parts of your life you’re unhappy with, that seem to be on a repetitive cycle, perhaps it’s time to address them.

After the collapse of my last relationship I took on honesty audit and could immediately see the organising patterns that had repeated through four of my previous partnerships. How had I not seen this? I guess, sometimes things so close to our face are hardest to see.

This is what had me devour all those dating books, took me back into counselling and led me to reconcile with my dad.  

In Act Like A Lady, Think Like a Man, Steve Harvey tells ladies to wait a controversial 90 days before getting horizontal with the man. I wholeheartedly agree (from now on). Not only does it show the guy you value yourself, but it also offers the chance to really get to know him deeply without having surrendered too much of yourself. During this period, women should be vigilant (as should the man). How does he fit with my ethos, my world view, do we share similar tastes, politics etc. Can he meet my expectations…. (and what are they) I think this is the most important part of any relationship and I can see how I’ve balls this up - so many time! Once I master this, then I’ll know I’ve really changed my magnet. And then, and only then, do I want to hear from Bradley Cooper. 

Addendum
Last night I dreamt that Bradley Cooper tried to get me into bed. He said nothing was going to happen but it was obvious it was his ploy to get the cookie then clear off! Without hesitation I said, "no" and left. The magnet is changing :)

5 comments:

  1. Hello Andi,
    I had decided not to comment on your blog so as not to put off my would-be actress daughter from reading it, as I thought she'd find it useful. Unfortunately, I'm having as much success as you had in speaking to your niece about relationships - so here I am.
    Regarding relationships, love is blind to many things; but the diversity with which people perceive the same thing never fails to amaze me. We are mostly hugely sensitive to very subtle differences in actions and attitudes; and we are mostly very poor and slow at recognizing the changes that we want if and when they start to happen.
    I don't think you can afford to spend the rest of your life analysing the rest of your life. I think you're going to have to give up and just to live it at some point. I suggest that you practice living a happy life - open to the good things, and a little less sensitive to the things you like less.
    Good luck,
    Peter Catherwood

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  2. Self-reflection is the very thing that has made my life infinitely better and shouldn't be considered mutually exclusive to happiness. If life is good then a seize the day attitude is appropriate but where you feel stuck, disempowered or inhibited your methodology may not work. This may be a time when a more considere approach is applicable. Further, being reflective doesn't mean paralysing yourself with analysis, it means taking stock, something I think we humans do not do often enough. So thanks for the suggestion but I do live a happy life and think my sensitivity is not a hindrance but a gift. Andi

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    Replies
    1. FYI
      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-24444431

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  3. Touche.

    Damn it!
    I must be projecting again.

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  4. Hey Andi...

    Very interesting the above....come out on a date with me, and I promise not to even mention it for 90 days...not unless you mention it first...but try it, you might like it?? Andy x (bucksbronco@yahoo.com)

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