Monday, December 31, 2012

Some New Year's Support

Family fun at Christmas
OK...I'm going to do something just a little different. So, let me refer you to my discussion at Dialogues... then drop me a note. 

Have fun, be safe, and be smart.

Happy New Year.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Are you still "kissing all those frogs?"


People will ask me, "What's so bad about kissing all the frogs on my way to finding 'Mr. or Mrs Right.'" Actually when you're on the upward swing in a developing relationship it really doesn't feel like it matters much; so the issue just isn't on the radar. Right--I think you know what I mean? But when for whatever reasons a relationship you had great hopes for starts to fall apart, then the personal disappointment and confusion you feel triggers those painful thoughts, "Why couldn't I see this coming earlier--why do I feel so bad and how could I be so stupid?!"
A Smarter Romance IS the antidote to these draining yo-yo emotional experiences. That's not a promise that you won't have any relationship disappointments doing SR dating. But it is to say that you'll be much more aware, and generally long before you dig the deep emotional holes. You'll know that the relationship isn't going to work and you'll know exactly why it will eventually come apart. Your disappointment and pain won't approach those previous heartbreaking proportions, and that's completely cool.
Suppose you really don't want a committed relationship right now; you're too young or you are focused on some important personal or career development goals, etc. That's cool, too. SR will help you find the guys or gals who will genuinely support your goals and your timetable--some enduring friendships that won't confusingly short-circuit Y-O-U. You'll be able to say with confidence, "Thanks, but no-thanks, Froggie!" Wow, is that a refreshing thought or what?!
Do you want to know more? Email me about a Smarter Romance seminar in your area, SmarterRomance@gmail.com. In the meantime have fun, be safe...and be smart.




Monday, March 26, 2012

The Mysterious "Stink" of "Group Think"

A few years ago my wife and I adopted a plan to get and move our family to a small acreage. This idea was born in a desire I thought was somewhat unique. Given my personal background, values, etc., etc., I assumed our plan just wasn't something everybody wanted to do. Our reasoning for doing it was well- conceived and reasonable, and it appeared to us it was doable.

So as we began to execute our plan we got to the point where we put our home up for sale. It soon sold. We enthusiastically moved to the next phase of our plan--finding and purchasing a small acreage. We had a small time-window to make a deal. It was at that point where we discovered the general popularity of "our" idea. There were so many other people just like us doing the same thing, or trying to do it, that the availability of small acreages--and their associated costs--had become highly competitive.

We were very surprised to realize that "our" idea wasn't unique at all. We were members of a large cultural cross-section of people who were thinking exactly the same way we were!

Our plan and our subsequent effort wasn't "right" or "wrong." But the assumption we made in thinking--that that we were "different," "special," or "unique"--was completely goofy and very mistaken! We were merely ordinary folks acting like so many other similarly ordinary folks just like us.

Since that experience I've come to realize the power and influence of what I call "group think." What I mean by that is that people find themselves with an idea to do something that they sincerely believe they've independently conceived--it's uniquely their own thought and/or desire. It's an expression of their own, personal individuality. Probably not!
If we'd learn how to examine it carefully, we'd probably realize lot's of people are doing it, too.

My Dad used to say to me, "Any old dead fish can float down the stream, but it takes a live one to swim up the stream." Then he'd suggest I give an idea what he called "the smell test" before I acted on it.

There is a whole lot about contemporary dating and courtship--and about contemporary perspectives on ROMANCE in general--that really "stink of GROUP THINK." Consider just a few examples:
  • the belief that a lot of dating experiences with a wide variety of partners will better educate you about what you'll really need in an eventually committed relationship;
  • the idea that many sexual experience(s) in dating will provide you the helpful clarification you need in preparation for a future committed relationship...or...
  • the idea that if you're not sharing yourself sexually with your boy or girl friend, then you're really messed up and he/she won't like you!
  • the thought that if you're not dating before you are____(you fill-in the age), then there's something seriously wrong with you!
  • the idea that men and women...at their core...really do want the same things from a relationship;
  • the idea that everybody dates;
  • the thought that if you don't like the dating process there's got to be something wrong with you!
  • the perceived n-e-e-d to live together before marriage;
  • the growing persuasion that commitment to one partner forever is probably "old fashioned."
  • Etc, etc.

Some real, objective, and evaluative homework about these ideas and beliefs will quickly demonstrate they are false, false, false! Try it for yourself! These and so many more just like them fail a careful smell test; they "stink of group think." They don't and won't ever lead people to have healthy thoughts about themselves, nor do they promise healthy and enduring relationships of any kind.

If I had done just a teeny little bit of homework--for example, if we had just talked to a realtor about the availability of acreages--we would have been much better prepared for the "what came next." Do you have thoughts, questions...observations...about "group think stink." Drop me a note. In the meantime have fun, be safe and above all, be smart!

Dick

(PS: So why are these ideas so common and why do they seem so popular? I'll address that next time.)

Friday, February 17, 2012

Post 1970 Dating Dynamics...and Water Safety

There are all kinds of dynamics in the dating process. Of course its dynamic nature is what makes it so fun and exciting...and even scary! It can excite and challenge us at many levels... intellectually, emotionally, physically, and spiritually! Consequently, it's fun....a-n-d it's a lot of work.

I meet dating people on both ends of the age spectrum who enthusiastically report their dating adventures. In just about the same breath they also comment about how "heads-up" they work at dating to achieve what they really want from their experiences. Almost invariably those people generally aren't interested in any one-time or "flash-in-the-pan" dating experiences.

In recent years dating has become BIG BUSINESS in the United States. I'd suggest that has really happened since the late 1970's. That's not to say that dating wasn't important before, but something "took off!" in the mid- to late 1970's and into the 1980's. After that it didn't take long for the rest of the copy-cat Western mindset world to start catching up. Why? Because where there are physical, emotional, etc., dynamics like the one's we were discussing above, there's the potential to move beaucoup money around...the "moo la la"...."Dollars and cents, baby!" (PS: FYI, I've got nothing against big business.)

Why am I saying this? Well, just to remind us all that where there's BIG BUSINESS there's marketing. Where there's marketing there's the potential for sales. Where there's a sales potential, there's a potential for significant manipulation. Where there is manipulation there is innocence lost; the potential for disappointed people and "buyer's remorse."

"Buyer's remorse" can translate the real-life, end-product experiences of previously dating couples--couples who eventually realize disappointment, painful relationship failures, divorces, broken-up families, and step-parent households. Since the whole purpose of Smarter Romance is to avoid those heartaches--for all concerned--there's great merit in distinguishing the REAL vs IMAGINARY in the dating process; what's REALLY SUBSTANTIVE vs what's really just SMOKE and MIRRORS; and what's SAFE 'n SECURE vs what is RISKY 'n DANGEROUS!

When I was a small boy my mom was a Water Safety enthusiast and a Certified Water Safety Instructor. Early in my life she was concerned about my presence around water. She knew how a merely casual, one-time visit to the stream or lake could become sadly life-changing. She helped us kids realize how dangerous open water could be! But she "put her money where her mouth was" teaching us all how to swim--and I mean REALLY SWIM! She taught us some relatively simple principles and rules to govern our presence around water, and we learned to work at being good, safe swimmers. So, we all became excellent and smart swimmers and divers sharing a healthy life-long respect and appreciation for the water we loved so much.

There is an interesting analogy between water safety and the dynamics in dating. As a culture we're perilously inclined to place high priority on being around and enjoying the "open water" of dating--especially and including the casual stuff (--a quick trip to the stream's edge)--WITHOUT our culture ever TEACHING, or even suggesting to us, that there are important insights and skills we can and should learn, and prioritize, to insure our safety around dating's OPEN WATER.

Smarter Romance's skills are about loving life, it's experiences, and it's promises. Make them part of your life-skill set.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

"...just tickling the frogs..."















That "tickling the frogs" phrase was used by a young female celebrity in a recent interview I heard.
It was her reference to all the one night stands she's doing on her way to someday finding "Mr. Right." Her implication was, of course, that her many sexual experiences--her "promiscuity"--will eventually lead her to the "right guy."
I believe she's got good intentions. Her response was a friendly, spontaneous statement made in a very impromptu T.V. interview format. She gave her viewing audience a glimpse "behind the curtain" into her personalized plan for finding her "Mr. Right."

Clearly, the West's 21st Century's Romance Development "plan" for finding and enjoying a mutually committed relationship doesn't offer a Gold Medal recipe. If there's any type of protocol for the process and spirit behind today's behavior it may be well-defined in phrases like, "If it seems right...do it," "To each his own," "Practice makes perfect," "Whatever floats your boat," "Different strokes for different folks," or, "Just makin' my way as best I can," etc.

But do you, like me, find it curious that THE process for finding a durable, satisfying relationship with the opposite sex is a mystery?
We get the distinct impression that finding a mate is a new and recent phenomenon--something so new that we've not yet figured it out completely. Sure, I agree that the "opposite sex" is typically viewed mysteriously by it's counterpart, but that's not what we're talking about here. The implied assumption in all this is that there is no proven, fail-safe perspective or process for lovers to find real confidence or security in the courtship--it's an every man or woman for herself situation.

OK, I can understand why and how that kind of thinking might be necessary on the deck of the sinking Titanic, but it makes no sense when we're discussing an issue that's part of the bedrock of civilizations, of marriage, family, and of cultures in general. This is stuff that's been unquestionably common experience for a long, long time. So, l
et's get real! The actual reason we're told finding our "Mr or Mrs. Right" is a 21st Century mystery process lies in the fact that "forces in our society" actually want it that way." Mystery in dating and romance serves some personal, commercial, political, or institutional purpose; somebody benefits from the inherent confusion!

Do you remember how the Wizard's "power" was broken in the movie, The Wizard of Oz? Take a lesson from the movie, then don't allow yourself to be fooled. There is no mystery when it comes down to an appropriate protocol for finding your own Mr. or Mrs Right. An adventure? Yes. A quest? Certainly. But must it be a mystery---NO!

The simple tools, insights, and skills in Smarter Romance are all you'll need or want--"frog tickling" is not required. So, whether you're casually dating or you're completely serious to find a committed, durable, mutually satisfying and happy relationship, there are some comparatively simple and time-proven means to make it happen for you.

So, what are your thoughts and questions?

...and until next time have fun, be safe, and be smart!

Dick

Monday, December 19, 2011

So, What Do You Want for Christmas?

Do you have a pretty serious and fun relationship going with a special someone this holiday season? The season's opportunities for special events with your respective sets of family members can provide a real treasure chest of information for both of you. If you're invited into some part of your partner's family festivities, you should consider yourself very fortunate. The dynamics of your partner's family can offer some special insights into the "how" and "why" of your special someone's future holiday plans and experiences--and maybe your own!

While you're there, what should you be l
ooking for; to whom or what should you give any special attention?

So, you might find the s
uggestions (below) helpful. But, before you attend the event with your partner, be prepared to jot some personal "soon after the event" notes to yourself. These will be valuable to help you remember your specific, personal thoughts and feelings in response to the questions below:

What's the TONE?
  • If this is a general family gathering, something your partner's family does every year, observe who attends, what kind of a mood is the family in, and is there any one person, or several people, who seem to set the tone for the rest of the group?
  • As best you can, describe the group "tone" you felt. Use your own descriptive words and phrases and be as specific as you can about what you thought you observed and felt.
  • If some of the family members do not attend, maybe you can get some information--ask some questions--to find out what those family members are doing, or maybe where they are, and whether their absence is unusual--or maybe it's typical for them?
  • How well do you feel you "fit" into the tone of this family group--that's to say, if you were able to be around the family watching and listening "like a fly on the wall"--how would the dynamics of this group experience feel to you over time

Where's the LEADERSHIP?

  • Who appears to be the principle organizer (or organizers?) of these kinds of events? Is this the same person--or the same people--who seem to set the tone for the group?
  • What is your partner's relationship to, and what do you think is the level of comfort your partner has with the organizer(s)?
  • Does your partner have a specific role and responsibilities? What are those responsibilities, and does your partner like these responsibilities? How can you tell?
  • How well do you think your partner accomplishes those responsibilities?
  • If your partner is NOT the organizer--or one of them--do you think the organizer(s) agree(s) with y our partner's assessment of his/her role? do you think the organizer(s) would agree with your assessment of your partner's role? What are your thoughts?

What are the ROLES and RELATIONSHIPS?

  • What kind of a role does your partner appear to play in the family, and--as your partner's guest--how does your partner contribute to the tone you believe you hear and feel?
  • Are these people in this family group "all alike" or are they all "completely different?" What is your opinion of them as a group? Individually?
  • Be yourself; don't be somebody you're not. Engage with people the way you normally do and observe what happens, how people respond to you, and how that feels to you.
  • Among the various members of this family group, who do you suspect you can relate to the best? The least? Why? What's going on for you (inside) as you respond to these questions?

OK. Have fun with this. If you do get a chance to attend each others family events...it's even better--icing on the proverbial cake!

I highly encourage you to find some "together" time after the holidays when you two can sit-down and share your respective observations--your answers to these questions--with one another. In and of itself, the experience of your sharing what you saw and felt can be a really valuable experience for your developing relationship. Among other things, it will give you some first-hand insight into each others family and help you sample some of the dynamics there. It can help you explore how you feel about them, personally, and then how well and how comfortably you can discuss your experiences, feelings, and perceptions with one another--as a team. I use the word, TEAM, because it accurately represents what you may become--together--in the not to distant future. (And how does that thought feel to you?)

Until next time...have fun...be safe...be smart!

Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

If You're Looking for a Committed Relationship...



Here are seven questions
Smarter Romance will answer for you. If you're looking for a committed relationship, these are the questions you should be thinking about and the ones your dating experiences should be progressively answering for you. It's not too early and just about never too late to start your Smarter Romance adventure:
  1. What are you doing or what have you already done to assure yourself you will have a durable and satisfying marital experience? (Be specific!)
  2. How are you preparing yourself right now to find the "right" partner for you? (Be specific!)
  3. What do you expect your partner will have done to help assure a durable and satisfying marital relationship with you? (Be specific!)
  4. What do you believe are the key factors a person must consider when it comes to preparing oneself for a marriage relationship that promises durability and satisfaction? (Please be as specific as you can.)
  5. What level of competency must be established around these key factors to realistically assure you that your relationship will be durable and satisfying? (Be specific!)
  6. How are you going to know--unquestionably--that you and your partner share these competencies? (Be specific!)
  7. How can you practice your marital "crash landing" skills before you get married to insure your confidence in your relationship's survival when things get really tough? (Again, be specific. Can you offer some examples?)

For your information, not one of these questions can be correctly answered with a response like, "We'll live together before we get married." Why? Because it doesn't work. (Click here.)

Let me know what you think about this. Leave your comments, below, or email me at smarterromance@gmail.com. Believe me, if you're looking for a satisfying, committed, long-term relationship--one your children will thrive in and your friends will envy--Smarter Romance dating is what you want today!

Have fun, be safe, and be smart!