Relationships

"It's not you. It's me." She said while sipping from her In'N'Out cup. "We can still be friends, maybe even date when we're older." She then grabbed her Kate Spade purse, pushed the half eaten double-double with cheese and extra animal sauce away and walked out the door only to step into her new boyfriend's used Honda Civic waiting in the parking lot. Greg. Goddamn Greg. 

With that, life slapped me across my 16-year-old face (twice) and would for many years to come haunt many of my future relationships. First "loves" tend to have that effect. Since then I've come to believe the following:

  • Don't seek happiness in relationships
    • Pursue others out of earnestness and not out obligation or desperation
    • Don't take rejection personally
    • Be comfortable in your skin
    • Choose to see the world in terms of compatibility and incompatibility. Then take it as your job to find the compatible.
    • Being an emotionally functional human adult is actually a difficult endeavor
    • But if you want to date an emotionally functional human adult, then you need to be an emotionally functional human adult
    • It's a radical idea, I know
  • Don't seek love in relationships
    • There is more to love than people
    • There are different kinds of love
    • While love can exist and be greatly heightened as a result of a relationship, it should not be the source of it
    • Seek self-love first
    • If love must be about a person then know this...
      • A relationship based on love is one in which each partner allows the other to be what he or she chooses, with no expectations and no demands. It is a simple association of two people who love each other so much that each would never expect the other to be something that he or she wouldn't choose for him or herself. It is a union of independence, rather than dependence. 
  • Meaningful relationships are difficult to maintain
  • Date...a lot
  • Reject the first 37% of people you date
    • Watch TED Talk below on "Optimal Stopping Theory" applied to dating (start at 7:25 mark). After watching the video and if interested in applying the theory check out this post.
  • Do not expect a single person to fulfill all of your needs
    • Likewise, do not enter a relationship with a person who expects you to fulfill all of their needs
  • Act on third order consequences
    • 1st Order: You are attracted to the other person
    • 2nd Order: You are attracted to the other person and you are compatible
    • 3rd Order: You are attracted to the other person, you are both compatible, and you are clear about why and what you hope to gain from entering into a relationship
  • Do not confuse attraction for compatibility
  • Be clear about why and what you hope to gain when entering into a relationship
    • Too often, people get into relationships simply out of convenience 
  • The best way to meet someone else is to not need to be with someone else
  • Learn to end relationships when they need to end
    • Do not prolong a relationship, remember that time is your most precious resource
  • You just got dumped...(borrowing from Mark Manson)
    • Feel the pain like a sprinter feels the burn of a last lap. Feel it! Accept its presence. Yes, it exists. Yes, it's intense.
    • Your mission is to prosper without him or her, to be independent. The way you handle this will determine if it becomes a great personal story of overcoming adversity or a permanent emotional scar.
    • Accept it 
      • You should never accept someone who doesn't want to be your partner
      • Your worth has nothing to do with their approval of you
    • Do not blame yourself
      • Guilt over the past and worry over the future are both useless emotions that inhibit our ability to live today in relaxed confidence
    • Preserve your attractiveness 
      • Public enemy #1 is to overreact
      • Most people will behave out of anger or anxiety; both forms of unearned worship
    • Be cool and focus on what's in your control 
      • Not what they're doing
      • It's not about them anymore, it's about taking care of you
      • Success here is defined by the degree they don't affect your emotional state
      • Don't interact with them until you can be relaxed and confident about it
    • Do not chase 
      • Not only does this drive them away, but it reveals a neediness and desperation
      • He or she is who they are, and you shouldn't try to change them
      • Respect their choice, and don't be deluded into acting like they are the only one for you
    • Do not be jealous 
      • Don't compare yourself to the people they talk to and date
      • Their choices reflect only on them, not you
      • Your self-worth is more important here, how you feel about yourself for yourself, not compared to some random other sap
      • Jealousy is a result of allowing something out of your control to dictate your emotions