Sunday, September 27, 2009


Anonymous' Comment: "...I in no way feel satisfaction in making my mate unhappy. The satisfaction comes when they are happy to make me happy and vice versa. Sometimes that means making sacrifices. Aren't relationships all about making sacrifices/compromises?"

I am motivated by the desire to make someone happy. When a person has captured my interest, I want them to have something within them that causes me to want to step outside of myself and give more. But, I also want them to see something in me that will cause them to do the same. I recognize that there is a breakdown in that thinking. A person should not have to do something or be some way in order for me to be more of who I am.

"The satisfaction comes when they are happy to make me happy..." Hmmm...what exactly does this mean? Once we peel back the layers of the "story" about what relationships should be and eliminate all of the romantic notions about what it means to make someone happy, an undeniable truth remains. Someone cannot make us happy, they can only share in our happiness.

When we want someone to want to make us happy, we still want what we want; we just want them to be happy doing it. This thinking has nothing to do with having consideration for the other person; rather it is about us wanting them to want something for our own selfish gratification. Some would argue that they are not asking for something that they are not willing to give, but this is bartering.

This kind of quid pro quo can constitute a relationship, but is it love? Love in its purest form is giving without the expectation of getting something in return. At the moment that we expect something from love, we are no longer in a place of being loving. The concept that we have of love can be used as a tool to help us achieve what we want, or to feel a certain way, but love as a simple way of being requires nothing. Ironically, when we are loving, people around us are naturally inspired to share in the things that we appreciate.

In love relationships, how do we recognize when we are using love as a tool to get what we want? How do we begin to recognize in ourselves when we have turned the corner and have gone outside of love?

Sunday, September 20, 2009


We often expect men to make certain sacrifices for the "good" of the relationship because in our "story" that is what love and commitment are all about. As women, we make certain concessions and go out of our way to prove our love. We demonstrate through our sacrifices that we are worthy of his love and we believe that he should do the same.

For a number of us women, one way that love and commitment are measured is by a man's willingness to do something that we want him to do even when it is clear to us that he doesn't want to do it. We get some kind of satisfaction in knowing that he has made himself unhappy to make us happy. Now this may not necessarily be the intention, but if we were to take away all of the superficial reasons behind why we have made his compliance meaningful, we would see how in some way our self-worth is tied to a story about how we maintain power in the relationship.

Of course, in love, there is sacrifice, but the distinction here is choice. The difference is in the person choosing how to express their love and commitment and our ability to accept that without making judgments about whether or not it is "good enough."

Where did the belief "if you love me, you'll do what I want you to do, even though you don't want to do it..." come from and why do we buy into it?

Why do we get tricked into thinking that sacrifice, as we narrowly define it, enhances the relationship? What role does obligation and sacrifice play in making the relationship "good?"

Sunday, September 13, 2009


In our discussions, we've discovered something about ourselves. We found out that in seeking a relationship with a man, we have created a character image of a man and our image of him rarely changes. This role comes complete with a costume, props, character breakdown and pre-written lines; and the accompanying story has a pre-determined "happy-ending" that more often than not ends with a ring, two kids, a house and a dog!

We spend our time looking for an actor to play the part and it doesn't matter who he is, or what he does, what his beliefs are or even what his expectations are for the relationship. You see...we believe that all men should follow our script. And, when he doesn't we ask ourselves "what's wrong with him?"

But more than that, we like this script, this script comforts us and when he doesn't follow it we think "what's the point?" The whole point of the script is to follow the script. He is supposed to sweep us off our feet, love us unconditionally and know exactly what we need and what to say at the right moments...

But then we figured out that we had bought into a story and we started to question ourselves, we began challenging ourselves and challenging each other asking:

Oh, really? And how realistic is that? Who made up this story and why have we adopted it as our own? If we look around at other people's relationships...I mean really look, do we see this fairytale story playing itself out according to our expectations? How many people follow a script that other people write for them?

And we asked ourselves "did we?" Do you?