All posts by Mark Groves

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Are You Unlucky In Love, Or Is It You?

It seems a challenging thought doesn’t it? To admit that when our relationships have trouble and/or end, we are the common denominator. Most of us project the causes of our relationship woes on our partners… “The relationship ended because he/she ________ (insert reason).” It was them, not us… right?

It would be idealistic and perfectly comforting to our hearts and our minds to think it’s always them. And, if we’re being honest about it, that’s how most of us live, that our partners are always to blame and they are the ones who don’t understand us. I mean, we’re all perfect communicators who have done the work and we never instigate fights, we only respond emotionally because of our partners… Right?!

Wrong… Oh, how we have it so, so wrong.

One of the most powerful moments of transformation anyone can experience is finally taking responsibility for themselves. Because, the truth is that we choose the partners who are in our lives. So if we chose them, are we not responsible for what we choose? I mean, if I order dinner, I don’t then blame someone for bringing me a steak even though that’s what I literally just asked the waiter to bring me.

If we’re willing to take the same accountability with our relationships and look at our partner choices through a wider lens, a deeper understanding, we can see that they are a mirror of what we believe about ourselves. Think about it: If we believe we aren’t worthy of a less than average partner, then how can they actually exist in our lives?

Spoiler Alert: They could not. We wouldn’t allow it. So, on some level, we have to believe we deserve them to keep them in our lives. This is because our external world will ALWAYS be a reflection of our internal world (what we truly believe about ourselves).

Humans are the ultimate tricksters though. We love to play games with our realities, so instead of actually processing and accepting that we are also responsible for our relationship outcomes, it’s easier to project blame on others. But what we don’t see is that the consequences of living in that state are vast. To deny responsibility is to live as a victim.

“They tricked me.” “They just didn’t know how to communicate.” “They cheated.” “They lied.” They, they, they, they… blah blah blah.

You know what projecting blame onto others does?! It takes our power away. Actually, when we’re a victim, we give our power away. You want to be powerful and get the relationship you say you want? Take back your power.

A simple change is to shift the story from “Why did this happen to me?” to “How did this happen FOR me?”

There are 3 reasons it’s so challenging to move from victim to creator:

1. It requires us to admit we’ve made mistakes. The first thing that happens when we take responsibility for our lives and accept that we choose everything is that we look back upon our pasts and we review all of those choices we’ve made.

We look back and we think to ourselves, “Wait, if I choose everything why would I choose things that hurt me? Why would I have chosen to hurt other people?” This is where most people stop, because admitting that we haven’t been so great, hurts, so it’s easier to go back to victim state because that makes life and our pasts so much easier to process and put behind us. But this easing of the pain is only on the surface, deep in our hearts we know the truth, and it’s this truth that leads to depression, anxiety, sickness and pain. And this is why we continue to choose the same people and the same patterns, we keep choosing the same things because we live in the illusion that these situations and people keep happening to us.

Stay the course, process your past from the eyes of creator and feel the pain of your choices. Look at the past through the lens of self-compassion and accept that you were doing the best you could with what you know. Now you know better, what does that demand of you?

2. We are afraid to process our emotional hurts and our traumatic memories. We all have pasts. We all have childhoods that weren’t ideal and we all have had people take a crap on us and say things that scathed. Often we’ve done the same and we’re not proud of who we’ve been at times. But till we can take an honest look at who we’ve been and who we’re currently showing up as, we will never be able to change our lives. It requires radical honesty with ourselves to take an accurate audit of our hearts and our emotions.

Emotions scare us though, and we’ve been taught that sadness and negative emotions are bad. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. Emotions are information. They are neither bad nor good, they are an invitation for us to grow and change and expand and become an amazing human being who takes accountability for our choices and uses emotions as fuel for that transformation. You are a deeply feeling being who wouldn’t know love without the pain, who wouldn’t know what feels good if you didn’t know what hurt felt like. You, are a effing powerhouse if you let yourself be. You are fire, and you either let yourself burn and let yourself love, or you use negative emotions as a reason to protect yourself and lash out. But realize, that everything you do to protect yourself from being hurt, also protects and prevents you from feeling and being loved. You choose.

3. We don’t like the mirror. Looking at our partners and our pasts as valuable information of how we’re showing up can hurt deeply because we ask ourselves, “What would I have to believe about myself to keep this situation/person in my life?” Mirrors can hurt. They remind us that we’ve always felt like we weren’t enough and people have failed to show up for us. They remind us that we have put the belief that we’re lovable in the hands of others. That we let the way other people treat us determines whether we believe we are great and worthy of great love.

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The first and most important step out of the cycle of choosing people who will never be able to love us is to accept that it’s because, deep down, we don’t believe that we’re lovable. This is the common baseline belief that every human has to some extent. The second is to realize it’s not our fault that this is our common belief. We have been raised in societies, cultures and religions that say we have to fit into a box and be ______ and ______. And if we’re not, then we won’t be loved. The message that is sent is that we must hide our true selves and our true essence. We are programmed through evolution to conform or we will be kicked out of the tribe.

What we don’t realize is that today we can find people like us. We can find weird and wacky human beings who want to love the way we do. We can choose our own spiritual practices and decide that the principles with which our families are founded on are not in alignment with what we want. We get to decide if our life will be a true and authentic expression of our hearts.

You are so much more than just person born into a family, a country, and a religion. You are unique and you have so much love to give. The catch is that till your life is an expression of your deepest truths you will be the birthplace of your greatest fear, rejection. So you will choose people who reject you too. That’s why when we take responsibility for what and who we choose, when we become the Gods we’ve been taught to praise, we begin to realize that the birthplace of deep and unconditional love, is the love we give ourselves. It’s in accepting ourselves that we find people who love and accept us unconditionally too.

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Maybe Instead Of Shaming The Divorced, We Should Be Learning From Them

“What are your deal breakers?”

I asked a friend recently as she was talking about re-entering the dating world. She replied with absolute certainty, “Well, I definitely don’t want to date anyone who has been divorced before.”

“Why?”

I asked… curious as to the belief system surrounding this decision.

“Because people who have been divorced don’t know how to make relationships work.”

WHOA.

Almost half of the wedded human population will find their way to this land of the forbidden. That’s a large number of people to remove from our potential dating pool. I mean, for the most part, it’s not where people intend on ending up when they walk down the aisle. Sure, how a relationship ends tells a lot. Did they cheat? Lie? Perfect. Valuable information. How *any* relationship ends is information we can use to understand the person in front of us. The fact that there are divorce papers present adds zero value to what being in a relationship means to the person sharing their heart with us.

But we’re merciless. We shame the divorced. We put them in a box and tell them they don’t know how to make love last and how to create relationship success. Like “being married” means that?!? Because of these messages, we attach our self-worth to our relationship status. But the problem with this is that our relationship status is zero percent correlated to how great of a human we are or how great a relationship is.

But it’s hard to escape these thoughts because we have been sent messages from society, religion and/or media (which are all often synonymous) our whole lives that divorce is bad. As a society we’ve come up with a scale to measure how great we are at love. So, based on our metrics of measuring relationship success, we would rank our worth based on this listing (top to bottom…best to worst):

▪Married

▪Dating

▪Single

▪Separated

▪Divorced

We hear people say, “I never want to get divorced”, instead of “I want to learn how to have thriving and amazing relationships”. In the first statement, our intention is focused on avoiding an outcome. So, instead of building the habits and rituals to have a great relationship, we avoid the conversations that may break us up. Ironically, these are the same conversations that will strengthen and build our relationship, if navigated correctly. The other statement demands of us the foresight and effort into creating and maintaining a great relationship. Wow, how our perspectives are so skewed. Ironically, we get what we focus on…

See, the reality is that divorce isn’t the problem, unhealthy relationships are. And there are plenty of people, regardless of the whether they’re married or not, who are in unhealthy relationships, including relationships with themselves. The consequence of the messages we send about relationships, is that we reward people for staying in unhealthy ones. We shame relationships for ending, yet the real issue is not being dealt with. We need to teach people how to have thriving and healthy relationships. The way to create safe and secure attachments is to have a relationship environment where we have the ability to speak our truth and feel like ourselves.

A lot of people who chose to leave their relationship, not just those who divorce, made being their authentic selves their priority. Not to mention that they’ve put what is true for them (needing to leave a relationship), ahead of their ego and their desire to please society, culture and religion. Now that’s a quality that I would love in a partner.

What about the people who were left in their marriage? Who didn’t make a choice but found themselves alone and starting all over?

I can honour and respect anyone who goes through a breakup and is willing to look at their role in the relationship. They then use this valuable information to build a newer and stronger version of themselves. These are the kinds of partners we want! Resilience and grit are unbelievably attractive qualities, as well as someone who embraces their growth and sees their most painful life experiences as learning opportunities. Talk about sexy! The greater challenge that the divorced face versus someone during a breakup, is that we vilify divorces, so often people end up feeling ashamed, depressed, and hurt because they’ve been put in a box, a box we’ve created.

We need to cut the bullsh*t. We should run an anti-bully campaign for the whole world. We need to remove our judgments of others. We don’t know their journey. We don’t know what goes on behind the closed doors of their houses. We don’t get to judge them, because we are not them. We need to spend less time analyzing and criticizing other people’s relationship choices and start to look at our own. We need to acknowledge and be critical of the narratives we’re subscribing to that have us becoming the things we choose in our lives. What often happens is we pressure other people to do what we’ve always done, because that makes our choices and our lives make more sense. We’re afraid what their decisions mean about what we believe. Maybe them staying unhappily married means we can too?

Let’s learn how to have thriving relationships. Are we talking about the things that matter in our relationships? Do we understand why we lose our temper and what triggers us to put up walls and withdraw during emotional conversations? Does our partner feel loved and appreciated? Do we? What’s our relationship like with our kids?

As for dating people who are divorced, I can’t be the only one that sees the massive flaw in our general logic?! The divorced offer qualities that someone who has been to the depths can offer. They know what it’s like to get to a place that doesn’t feel great and to try to do something about it. They know how to talk about the things that matter and they know what it’s like to challenge the status quo. They have put the freedom to be themselves ahead of compromising their happiness just to keep everyone around them happy. The divorced don’t deserve to be called the divorced, they should be called human, because that’s what they are. Just like everyone else, they have made mistakes, said the wrong thing, chosen the wrong things, and get to choose and find someone else to love them for everything that they are, just like they’ll do for their partners.

We need to stop shaming them, because we are them, they just had to sign some extra papers and probably spend a little (lot) more money.

Originally Published on Thought Catalog

she left, breakup, divorce, relationship advice, mark groves vancouver relationship coach, positive psychology

Love Her Before She Leaves You

“I had no idea things were that bad. When she left it was such a shock.”

Was it really? Because I’m sure there were signs lonnnnnng before the bags were packed and a trail of smoke led out your front door. This is a common feeling for men; that we didn’t know she was going to go, till she did. We didn’t hear her all of those times when she cried and didn’t feel heard or understood. We didn’t understand just how unhappy she was, and now we clearly do as she’s no longer in our life.

Don’t shoot the messenger, the research supports what I’m saying; women initiate divorce far more than men do. It’s not like this is a shock right?! A lot of the clients I work with have male partners who aren’t interested in attending coaching with their partner. Women have a more attuned emotional barometer to the relationship. And men, although not happy that their partner is dissatisfied with the relationship, are okay with the relationship just continuing as it is.

I’m guilty of this naive ignorance. I remember when I was in my early twenties talking to my dad once and telling him about my frustrations with my then-girlfriend. She had expressed to me some things that she needed for me to do better and I responded with, “If it’s so bad, why don’t you leave? You have it so good.” Wow. What an arrogant and poor response. It hurts me to even type it because I’m sure, in that moment, I completely devastated her emotional safety and told her that her needs weren’t important. What a message to send.

When I told my dad this story and what I said, he was appalled (for good reason). He said sternly to me, “Wow Mark, she’s telling you how to love her.”

Eff. In that moment my heart descended into my stomach. I needed to be better. That wasn’t how I wanted to love. And that definitely wasn’t how I wanted my partner to feel in being loved by me. There are many moments in relationships where we are being invited to love our partner. We often think these are the big things like the anniversaries, the birthdays, and the holidays. But this couldn’t be further from the truth. Our invitation to love others is always in the many moments in between the ones we think are important.

John Gottman, who’s a relationship guru that studies marriages, calls our invitations to connect with our partners “bids”. This could be something as mundane as one person reading the paper and declaring out loud, “Hmmmm. That’s interesting!” They’re not just making a remark. In that comment is a request to connect. In that moment we have a choice, to either “turn towards” or “turn away” as Gottman calls it.

Just how important is responding to these bids?

In the research these interactions have an incredibly powerful effect on how our relationships fair and whether or not they will last. Couples who only turned towards bids 33 percent of the time were divorced in a six year follow up. The couples who were still in magical bliss after that same six year period responded to 87% of bids.

Wow. This is profound. Gottman can predict, just by observing a couple’s interactions, whether a couple will divorce with over 94% accuracy. This is regardless of sexual orientation, whether they have children, or their socio-economic status. So, in essence, our words and how they’re delivered, literally do shape our world.

I don’t know about you, but as a man, and a human, knowing just how powerful my words and actions are and how much they can transform the world, I’m not okay with being mediocre. I want to take responsibility for my actions, the words I choose, and how I operate in all relationships, not just romantic. As men (and women), we need to be better. We need to be committed to learning how to communicate how we’re feeling so that we don’t demonstrate those unheard feelings with anger, withdrawing, frustration and words that scathe.

Of course the challenge is that we (men) have been generally cultured and socialized to not share our feelings and frustrations. We’ve been told to not use language to communicate our fears and feelings because only pussies and sissies do that. When we engage in emotional conversations, we don’t have a toolbox filled with as many words and as much emotional fluency that can articulate the range of things we’re feeling. But, the best thing about all of this is, we can learn how to.

It takes admitting that our relationship may not be so good and that we can, in fact, get much better at communicating and understanding how to have our partners feel heard. You know how women generally want to talk about the SAME thing over and over and over and over? That doesn’t happen when they feel loved, appreciated, heard and understood. And the truth is, if you love a woman like that, she will almost always give you that same love right back.

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Now, of course it would be simple if women always communicated effectively and told us what their ACTUAL needs and feelings were. So women, you’re not off the hook. You’re in a relationship with a man. And as Alison Armstrong says, “Men are not hairy women.” You need to learn how to speak his language. You need to learn that men are not broken humans who don’t have any emotional intelligence and aren’t capable of hearing you. We are different, and you also need to understand how the male brain works and that we process emotions differently (due to socialization). It’s actually on you to communicate your needs, fears and thoughts clearly. Your partner doesn’t have a google maps to your brain and heart, or even better yet, your vagina. (Although all of those things would be nice)

So, man or woman, straight, gay, whatever…We all need to begin to realize that behind every tantrum, frustration or complaint, is always an unmet emotional need. So, for example, it’s not about the fact that we left the toilet seat up AGAIN (it is funny when they fall in at 2am), it’s what leaving the toilet seat up means about them (the message they receive): they aren’t important, they’re not a priority, their needs don’t matter… etc. We need to learn how to understand what this need is and see that she (or he) is not just trying to play catch when she throws her shoe at you. She has a hurt, a wound, a fear, and what is happening is triggering that pain point. This is why communication is paramount to successful relationships.

I write this to men mainly because the emotional impact of a breakup/divorce is greater on us. This is clear in the research, as we see that men are generally more emotionally dependent on their partners. When men were asked who they would go to if they were feeling depressed, 71% of men selected their wife whereas only 39% of women selected their husband. When we lose our partners, in a lot of ways we lose our support system. Our happiness and the health benefits of relationships are also larger for us…so when we lose our relationship, often those emotions go out the door with her.

Of course hindsight is 20/20, but it doesn’t have to be.

We don’t see just how important she is, till she no longer is…with us. We don’t see how much love actually matters to us because we’re too busy watching the game. Our needs matter too, but we have to love her always, not just when we’re about to lose her. Not just till we get her back. Not just in the moments we think matter, because all moments matter.

Love and relationships require effort. We might not always understand her, but she just wants to know that we’re trying. She wants to know that our efforts match our words. She wants to know that her well being matters as much as our own. She wants to feel safe in our arms. She wants to feel loved always, not just when it’s convenient.

So love her before she leaves you. (and him too ladies).

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Maybe We’re The Generation Who Actually Have Relationships Right

“Congratulations on your seventy-fifth wedding anniversary! Tell us, how did you do it?”

To that the old couple replied, “Well, we got married at a time when people took relationships seriously. We didn’t walk away from love at the first sign of trouble. We take the commitments we make to heart.”

This is a story we love to perpetuate in the media. Memes are shared on Instagram and Facebook all the time that speak to how the generations of today are doomed and that they don’t know how to love.

There are a lot of mixed emotions on this subject.

First, adopting the point of view that a relationship ending is a failure makes being in a relationship more important and celebrated than being true to ourselves.

We also start to live the narrative that all relationships need to last and that leaving even the worst of relationships means we “don’t take our commitments seriously.” We don’t see the impact of the belief systems we form just through the inundation of information and belief structures that get shoved into our psyche through media, religion and culture.

Relationships of today are very different. Before the 19th and 20th century people didn’t marry for love. And even a lot of the marriages of the mid twentieth century were based on bread-winner models. They were born of necessity and dependence. Couples stayed together, because, well, they had to. So, if we say that the people of today leave relationships too soon, one could argue that in a lot of the relationships of the past, people stayed too long. It wasn’t until the divorce act that this changed, and people (especially women) could leave because they actually wanted to.

Also, in general, what we want from relationships has changed dramatically too.

We want love, support, nurturing, and companionship. We want partnership, freedom, and independence within the relationship. And along with these higher standards, we also have more options than ever before.

Of course, there’s a positive and negative to having more options. One, we can hold the bar higher as to the types of people we’re agreeing to enter into a relationship with. Because of that, our relationships today can give us more than they ever have.

They, if navigated and nurtured properly, can allow us to thrive, love, and connect, in deeper and more profound ways than we ever have. On the flip side though, more options can mean more difficulty making choices. It can mean that, in the face of having to do the work, we may choose to opt out and start fresh with someone more exciting, beautiful, and with whom we share less history and emotional baggage.

So how do we know when we should we stay or leave? Are there times when we should stick it out, and other times when we should pull the chute? What determines whether we’re taking our relationships seriously or not?

If we have mustered up the strength to leave someone who no longer fulfills us, or have seen our mother or father escape an unhealthy relationship, we’ll likely believe we want and expect more from relationships, and that leaving when compelled to is ok.

Because of this, there’s really no magical answer. 

Of course it’s a romantic ideal that all relationships, if navigated perfectly, will result in lifelong marital bliss. But, if we’re being honest about it, most relationships won’t last forever where both people are still very much in love. So, knowing that fact, what is the ‘right’ thing to do? Does it make it all hopeless?

Relationships of the past and today share one very common challenge: No one has ever taught us how to exist in and maintain great relationships. For this reason alone, most of our interactions in romantic affairs throughout history lack the consistent rituals that separate great couples from mediocre ones. Our attention is often misguided though as we focus on people leaving, but divorce isn’t the problem–bad relationships are.

So, no matter our age or how “seriously” we supposedly take relationships, what makes for a fulfilling relationship is the result of the two people within it. And further that, we are the only ones who know the answer to what we should do when it comes to love. We are in charge of our outcomes and how we show up. All we can ever know is what our truth is and be congruent with that. If we’re not happy in our relationship, it’s important we voice that and then put in the proper plans to get our relationship back on track. But that doesn’t always work. It’s important to invite our partners to grow and change with us, and if they decide not to join or participate, that’s ok.

Because, if people won’t meet us where we’re at or where we’re headed, then leaving is ok too. We can’t give our lives away because we’re afraid someone else thinks we’re not taking our commitments seriously.

At the end of the day, our commitment must always be to ourselves. To speaking our truth and honouring our hearts. We cannot choose our lives and how we love based on the opinions and expectations of others, because they will always give us advice based on their lens of the world. And no one really has any clue what they’re doing. Because if they gave their life away to unfulfilling love and relationships, they’ll want others to do the same. Then it makes their choices and existence seem safe.

One of the most challenging things any and all of us will ever have to do is to accept and realize that there is no “right” way, and only “our” way. Because from that space we can see that we are free to learn, grow, and make mistakes. We’re free to choose one thing, and then decide on another. We live from a place of learning rather than a place of pleasing.

Maybe the secret to seventy-years of wedded bliss is not expecting that we have to achieve it, but instead subscribing to learning how.


Originally Published on Thought Catalog

What Your Partner REALLY Wants For Christmas

Let’s be honest, buying gifts for others can suck. Often sucks. Almost always sucks. I remember when I was younger I really struggled with finding a gift for my dad. Man, he was so hard to shop for. He is one of those people that if he wanted something, he would just go buy it. On top of that, he’s a publicly declared minimalist… He wore the same pairs of shorts for what seemed like twelve years, only to be replaced because of the risk of getting charged for indecent exposure. Thanks to new shorts, he’s still allowed around playgrounds.

The imminent approach of any holidays has a direct correlation to a rise in our blood pressure. Whether it’s for Valentine’s Day, Christmas, birthdays, whatever holiday it may be,  buying the perfect gift is something that can cause a lot of stress, right?! Especially when it comes to our romantic partners.

We want a great gift to be thoughtful, unique, creative, and for it to mean something. That’s a lot of pressure isn’t it?! And, of course, when we ask our partners what they would like, we’re more often than not, met with the incredibly irritating reply, “I don’t need or want anything, it’s fine.” Ha. I’ve fallen for this one. It’s total BS. It’s like a trap just waiting for us to take the bait. We only make that mistake once. That’s when we hear after, “I know I said I didn’t want anything, but I didn’t mean it.” Ok great, now we’re saying things we don’t mean.

And to think, all we had to do was get them something…anything, really!

So in the land of relationship booby-traps, how do we satisfy the list of things from above that make a great gift, and make it meaningful?!?

The research is very fascinating on this subject, because when we look at buying a gift, we usually consider a material gift, like a purse or a watch, versus an experience, like a vacation or a thoughtful day planned out.

Gifts, i.e.  material things, are instantaneously gratifying. We get a spike in happiness and well-being when we receive them, but that feeling doesn’t last long (hedonic adaptation). And soon, that purse that cost more than any rational human should pay for a bag, becomes the emotionless container to carry all your partner’s stuff for them. That watch just reminds us of how late we’re running to pick up the our lovely partner who was supposed to make time stand still.

So what’s the secret to a great gift? Firstly, I don’t want to dismiss the value of a material gift. If it’s something that we’ve wanted for awhile it can be very gratifying and mean a lot. In order to buy a great gift listen to the things your partner says in passing, the little cues when they mention or reference something he/she would like but they’re not explicit about. This type of gift serves two purposes, (1) It indicates you listen even when you don’t have to, and (2) You care about the things you hear in those moments. The ability to hear things and take note is a great sign of thoughtfulness and will have your partner feeling both cared for, and appreciated. Now those are two great feelings that nurture and foster great connection.

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So now that we’re done defining what makes for great material gifts, let’s look at what the research proposes will win their heart, and having them feel all of the elation that great partnerships provide.

Experiences, bar none are the greatest gifts. Here’s why:

  1. They are new. They are novel. Adventure is sexy. People love feeling loved. Material gifts are one small second of bliss,  experiences are a smorgasbord of those moments. And the very cool part is that you’ll be associated with this novelty and newness. A passive way of stimulating the same neurotransmitters that are associated with love. That’s right, your partner will fall in love with you all over again. Think of the “honeymoon stage” we are all made to believe is only at the beginning of relationships. Maybe it’s only at the beginning because we stop doing new things? We can literally trick (or is it a trick?!) our hearts and minds into seeing the person differently.
  2. The emotions the experience produces can be relived. WHAT?! Wait. That’s right, this is the gift that can keep giving. Let me give you an example. Let’s say you took someone on a day trip to the mountains. You packed a lunch, you drank wine, you went for a hike, you humped in the bushes. Whatever. Fast forward six months and you’re sitting on your couch together… You say to your partner, “Hey! Remember that time we did that amazing day trip to the mountains?! We ate great food, we rolled around in the bushes… How fun was that?!” And boom. You’ve just released the emotions associated with that experience. Want to add more? Ask them, “What was your favourite part about that day?”

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In Psychology we call this savouring. In essence, it’s allowing someone to relive a moment and to actually get their physiology to replicate that moment and that experience. You’ve just changed their chemistry with your words. You’re basically a God. If you want to be really good, before you have the experience, you can ask them. “What are you looking forward to most about _________ (insert awesome idea here).” Anticipatory savouring… that’s next level.

So, if you want to be the ultimate gift buying baller, you could combine the two. I don’t want to give away the farm (and give away my future ideas to my lady), but one thing that is brilliant is to plan a special day when they get a gift that matters and an experience that matters. True love and connection isn’t built on “stuff”, it’s built on shared moments.

Ultimately, the secret to giving great gifts is making them meaningful. People just want to feel loved. They want us to pay attention to the moments between the perceived important ones. They want us to care and listen even when we don’t have to. They want us to recognize the little things that light their heart up.

It doesn’t take money to be a great partner, it takes care and attention, and, at the end of the day, effort. Demonstrate that you care, and they’ll know you do, they won’t have to ask or wonder. It doesn’t matter what our words are if between our words and actions there’s a disconnect.

As Maya Angelou said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Let the emotional intention you have guide where you invest your time and money… and you’ll find your partner’s emotions will follow suit.

Relationship advice, Dating advice, vancouver, nyc, positive psychology, relationship, coaching

Do You Know Why You Enter Relationships?

If you had told me at 25 years old that the purpose of relationship was to create a partnership, one which invited each other to become our greatest selves, I wouldn’t have understood what you were saying. I thought we just fell in love, whatever that meant, and then had a family and stayed together forever.

Maybe happy, maybe not.

I didn’t see that my partner was an invitation to my evolution.

Most of us blindly choose love, and a lot of our decisions in relationships come from subconscious drives. Most of the time this works for a while. Till it doesn’t. And often, at this point of heartbreak and emotional rock-bottoms, is when we start wondering why we’ve done what we’ve done? We start to question if we’ve been doing it right all along.

We wake up to the fact that we haven’t really been in control. We’ve been picking relationships and what we think are partnerships to satisfy lists, the beliefs we were taught through religion, culture, and society. And on top of that, a lot of us have chosen to participate in relationships to escape our loneliness. We were taught that being in a relationship is rewarded over being single. We were told that marriage is the ultimate destination.

The sad part is that, under all of those pressures put upon us, no one teaches us how to get this relationship/marriage we all seek. “They” don’t tell us what composes great relationships. They don’t teach us how to understand our psychology and why we may choose the things we choose. How to evolve past our pain and wounds…and how to take control of our relationship choices so that we stop choosing love that satisfies those around us, that saves us from ourselves… And instead how to choose love that nurtures our souls and contributes to our growth and evolution.

It’s important to note that not everyone is going to wonder. For some people this subconscious choosing is enough. They don’t want more. And they don’t have to.

But for me it’s different. For me I wanted to understand what love means for me and why I want to share in a partnership. And I remind you, as I remind myself, that those who don’t want to look within will be the ones criticizing our desire to grow into our hearts. They’ll want to hold us back from finding great love and partnership. It’s not because they’re mean or they have bad intentions, it’s because the choices we’re making become reflections of their greatest fears; to leap into the unknown and pursue our hearts. Choices they haven’t made.

So let them do their thing, while we do ours. It’s not our job to tell others what they should want from relationship, and it’s imperative that we do not stay small or withhold our hearts so as to have them feel safe.

It’s our job to dive deep towards what our soul calls for, and in doing that, it invites all of those around us to do the same.

relationship advice, dating advice, positive psychology, nyc, vancouver, mark groves

Relationships offer a window into our “stuff”. They trigger us because they invite us to grow. And even more importantly, they have a purpose for us, and that can be different for everyone.

So, I ask you to consider this:

What are your ultimate goals/intentions for why you’re entering(or in) a relationship?

In order to enter into and be in a relationship, are you becoming who you think you need to be, to be loved? Or do you get to be yourself?

If you are changing who you are at your core, why? What parts of yourself do you not accept? Are they things that are out of alignment with your integrity?

How do you want your relationship to make you feel? How do you want your partner to feel?

How committed are you to maintaining that relationship environment?

What is the role relationships serve in your life?

If we’re already in a relationship, then the answer to these questions allows us and our partners to navigate our relationship in the direction of what we both actually want. It offers the opportunity for us to co-create a partnership that has us both feeling fulfilled.

If we’re single, then once we know these answers we can choose people who share a similar vision as us. We seek people who seek what we seek. By setting intentions, we guide our awareness to identify these people, and let the ones who don’t have the same intentions/desires go.

Love is only blind if we let it be. Don’t let it be.

dating advice, relationship advice, nyc, vancouver, couple, breakup, relationship coach, keynote speaking

Maybe Life Isn’t About Getting Money And Bitches

When I was nineteen I was so in love. And like it seems to always happen with great relationships at that age, she went away to college. When she was leaving we had that standard conversation about what the relationship was going to look like, but at that point in our lives it almost seemed doomed to fail. Two people in their late teens, both embarking on the initial steps of creating their schooling and careers, in two different countries. A hard time to make promises, especially ones with such a fleeting feeling as love can sometimes be. So we framed the relationship in a way that we would be allowed to “see” other people, we would just communicate when that happened(Great plan right?!).

So, in the car she went, and go she did.

Being that I was still home, everything around me still reminded me of her. It was torturous. And for her the excitement was never-ending: new school, new people, athletic fame. My heart was attached to the familiar, and hers was exploding with novelty.

The days turned into weeks, the communication was less and less. And then finally she came back for Thanksgiving. Except, she brought her “friend”, the handsome running back with the perfect smile.

I had Thanksgiving dinner with her and her family, and that “friend”. And in hindsight I can’t believe I actually sat there as I was being disrespected with each bite.

I’m not sure how naive I really was back then?!? I believed in the best in people, but I also failed to see the truths that were right in front of my eyes. I skipped the red flags to avoid the pain. Pain that was clearly very imminent to any onlooker.

She would (obviously) go on to date this guy, and I would remain in a crumpled heap of resentment. Resenting myself mostly, for not having a backbone to tell her that her way of being didn’t make my heart feel so good. That she was being sh*tty. But I was so afraid to lose her before that moment, that I let sh*t slide. Sh*t that should definitely not have slid… Sh*t that should’ve been picked up, bagged, and tossed.

A lot of what happened was my fault. I didn’t call her to be better. I didn’t have the tools to challenge her to grow.

Not many people know this, but it took me almost two years(more than that actually… you’ll see) for me to get over this experience. And by “get over”, I mean for it not to haunt me. For her face to not appear every time I closed my eyes. I thought I had known heartbreak before this… but I can honestly say that this was one of the most painful experiences I’ve ever had in my life.

As heartbreak can often do, this one would change me in more ways than I would ever have imagined.

I began living life as a different man. I hid my heart. I started to drink more. And I became lady crazy. I don’t mean kinda crazy, I mean they were like a drug to me. I wanted all of them.

I figured that if being a great boyfriend and being kind and loving got me heartbreak, then I was done with it. I decided that I would do everything I could to not let another woman hurt me. I decided that it was time to start accumulating status, money, and ladies. I set the goal to make 100k/year and to have a porsche, a house, and a plethora of female experience.

With my new goals in mind I hit the bar scene eager and naive. Only a couple of weeks after my devastating breakup, on halloween, I did two things I had never done before: I made out with a girl on the dance floor, and brought a different girl home… to my parents’ house. Who was, ironically, dressed as a devil.

I had never done this one night stand thing before. But I did know how to talk shit. So, I talked about all of the crazy sex-fuelled stuff I was going to do to her, and then when I went to have sex with her, I had another first, it was like putting a marshmallow in a piggy bank. One. Night. Stand. Fail.

And I wish I could blame alcohol, but that had never affected my performance. I’ll tell you exactly why: because I was stepping outside my integrity and who I was in my heart.

But that didn’t stop me. I would be committed to this new way of life. My solution to my new found emotional erectile dysfunction would be to drink the anxiety away. To anesthetize my heart, and to win the acclaim of men around me for my skills with the ladies. I would not only get to experience the “love” of many women, but also become an incredible story teller.

It’s interesting to look back at this time, because, to be honest, I didn’t know what I was doing. I couldn’t consciously see why I was doing what I was doing. I just knew it didn’t feel good in my heart. But it definitely felt good in terms of novelty and orgasms.

But it had become part of my identity. To be a ladies man and to be celebrated for the things I saw in rap videos.

relationship advice, dating advice, couple, vancouver, nyc, mark groves, positive psychology

I got asked recently, “Who do you think you need to be to be loved?”

And wow. That floored me. Who I’ve thought I needed to be has shifted for me as I have grown up.

When I was in my teens it was being funny, athletic, kind, and a good man. Striving to help others, and always being sensitive and empathetic to those around me.

After my breakup though it changed. I did something one should never do: I made someone else not choosing me mean that I wasn’t good enough. Since I didn’t feel like I was good enough as I was, I chose to become someone else. I abandoned parts of my true self to ensure I got the love of others. I became who I thought I needed to be to be loved. Because I thought who I was, wasn’t good enough.

In the last seventeen years I have had so many amazing women in my life. Some of them (obviously) shorter experiences than others… Shit, I’ve even had a fiancee. I’ve shared laughs, cries, travel, adventures, heartbreak, and learnings that I would never take back.

Through all of it I see that I have had women who are willing to show up for me. To love me. To choose me.

But I couldn’t see them then. I was so busy running from love that I didn’t see it sitting in front of my eyes at every turn.

It killed me when I realized this recently, but I haven’t let anyone love me in seventeen years. Seventeen effing years. Sure, I’ve been in relationships. But I never  actually let anyone *in*. Mostly, because I thought if I let someone love all of me they would hurt me. They would leave. They would make me heartbroken.

It’s flawed logic isn’t it?

To ask for love and not willing to be heartbroken. Knowing that the depth we love is always met with an equal and opposite potential for heartbreak.

Also, to be in a relationship with the purpose of seeking love and affection, yet never allowing anyone to give it to us. And on top of all of that, expecting others to love us when we haven’t even taken the time to love ourselves.

I now see that the journey is always inside our own hearts first. I see that the amount of love we have for another is limited by the love we have for ourselves.

So I’ve journeyed within. I love hard. I live in the space of absolute authenticity now. I am me. That’s it. I write and speak on the subject of how humans connect because it’s my favourite. To help people find and see their truth so they can then connect better with others. I write about my journey because I’m not afraid of owning my sh*t, and I hope you may see parts of yourself in me so you may learn without making the same mistakes I’ve made.

I do not regret a moment of my past. I do not regret a single relationship or a single decision, and I would take every second, every fleeting romance, and every heartbreak just as they came. They have taught me so much, and any deviation wouldn’t have brought me where I am today. To a place I am extremely proud of.

In the last four years I have been going through an “unbecoming” of sorts. I recognize that no amount of money, ladies, cars, houses, or “stuff” will ever be able to replace authentic connection and showing up as who am in my core. We chase and accumulate these material things to avoid ourselves. To avoid actually showing up unapologetically and saying, “I trust that you’ll love me for me, and if you can’t/won’t, that’s ok, because I’m amazing how I am and if you won’t, I will find someone who will. I am not willing to become someone else to be with you.”

Here’s what I know to be true:

Show up for the world. Show up for you. Let go of all of the bullsh*t and just allow yourself to be who you are. No one is going to give you permission. No one is going to make you. If you truly want to love and build partnership, you have to let yourself be you. You have to stand in your truth. You have to remove the layers of who you think you need to be to be loved, so that you can love all out.

I feel like I’ve just been born again. Definitely not as a virgin though. But more so as me. To fall in love. To be given another chance. To actually give another woman a chance. To focus on being the good man I know I am.

dating advice, relationship advice, nyc, vancouver, couple, breakup, relationship coach, keynote speaking

Maybe Life Isn’t About Getting Money And B*tches

When I was nineteen I was so in love. And like it seems to always happen with great relationships at that age, she went away to college. When she was leaving we had that standard conversation about what the relationship was going to look like, but at that point in our lives it almost seemed doomed to fail. Two people in their late teens, both embarking on the initial steps of creating their schooling and careers, in two different countries. A hard time to make promises, especially ones with such a fleeting feeling as love can sometimes be. So we framed the relationship in a way that we would be allowed to “see” other people, we would just communicate when that happened(Great plan right?!).

So, in the car she went, and go she did.

Being that I was still home, everything around me still reminded me of her. It was torturous. And for her the excitement was never-ending: new school, new people, athletic fame. My heart was attached to the familiar, and hers was exploding with novelty.

The days turned into weeks, the communication was less and less. And then finally she came back for Thanksgiving. Except, she brought her “friend”, the handsome running back with the perfect smile.

I had Thanksgiving dinner with her and her family, and that “friend”. And in hindsight I can’t believe I actually sat there as I was being disrespected with each bite.

I’m not sure how naive I really was back then?!? I believed in the best in people, but I also failed to see the truths that were right in front of my eyes. I skipped the red flags to avoid the pain. Pain that was clearly very imminent to any onlooker.

She would (obviously) go on to date this guy, and I would remain in a crumpled heap of resentment. Resenting myself mostly, for not having a backbone to tell her that her way of being didn’t make my heart feel so good. That she was being sh*tty. But I was so afraid to lose her before that moment, that I let sh*t slide. Sh*t that should definitely not have slid… Sh*t that should’ve been picked up, bagged, and tossed.

A lot of what happened was my fault. I didn’t call her to be better. I didn’t have the tools to challenge her to grow.

Not many people know this, but it took me almost two years(more than that actually… you’ll see) for me to get over this experience. And by “get over”, I mean for it not to haunt me. For her face to not appear every time I closed my eyes. I thought I had known heartbreak before this… but I can honestly say that this was one of the most painful experiences I’ve ever had in my life.

As heartbreak can often do, this one would change me in more ways than I would ever have imagined.

I began living life as a different man. I hid my heart. I started to drink more. And I became lady crazy. I don’t mean kinda crazy, I mean they were like a drug to me. I wanted all of them.

I figured that if being a great boyfriend and being kind and loving got me heartbreak, then I was done with it. I decided that I would do everything I could to not let another woman hurt me. I decided that it was time to start accumulating status, money, and ladies. I set the goal to make 100k/year and to have a porsche, a house, and a plethora of female experience.

With my new goals in mind I hit the bar scene eager and naive. Only a couple of weeks after my devastating breakup, on halloween, I did two things I had never done before: I made out with a girl on the dance floor, and brought a different girl home… to my parents’ house. Who was, ironically, dressed as a devil.

I had never done this one night stand thing before. But I did know how to talk shit. So, I talked about all of the crazy sex-fuelled stuff I was going to do to her, and then when I went to have sex with her, I had another first, it was like putting a marshmallow in a piggy bank. One. Night. Stand. Fail.

And I wish I could blame alcohol, but that had never affected my performance. I’ll tell you exactly why: because I was stepping outside my integrity and who I was in my heart.

But that didn’t stop me. I would be committed to this new way of life. My solution to my new found emotional erectile dysfunction would be to drink the anxiety away. To anesthetize my heart, and to win the acclaim of men around me for my skills with the ladies. I would not only get to experience the “love” of many women, but also become an incredible story teller.

It’s interesting to look back at this time, because, to be honest, I didn’t know what I was doing. I couldn’t consciously see why I was doing what I was doing. I just knew it didn’t feel good in my heart. But it definitely felt good in terms of novelty and orgasms.

But it had become part of my identity. To be a ladies man and to be celebrated for the things I saw in rap videos.

relationship advice, dating advice, couple, vancouver, nyc, mark groves, positive psychology

I got asked recently, “Who do you think you need to be to be loved?”

And wow. That floored me. Who I’ve thought I needed to be has shifted for me as I have grown up.

When I was in my teens it was being funny, athletic, kind, and a good man. Striving to help others, and always being sensitive and empathetic to those around me.

After my breakup though it changed. I did something one should never do: I made someone else not choosing me mean that I wasn’t good enough. Since I didn’t feel like I was good enough as I was, I chose to become someone else. I abandoned parts of my true self to ensure I got the love of others. I became who I thought I needed to be to be loved. Because I thought who I was, wasn’t good enough.

In the last seventeen years I have had so many amazing women in my life. Some of them (obviously) shorter experiences than others… Shit, I’ve even had a fiancee. I’ve shared laughs, cries, travel, adventures, heartbreak, and learnings that I would never take back.

Through all of it I see that I have had women who are willing to show up for me. To love me. To choose me.

But I couldn’t see them then. I was so busy running from love that I didn’t see it sitting in front of my eyes at every turn.

It killed me when I realized this recently, but I haven’t let anyone love me in seventeen years. Seventeen effing years. Sure, I’ve been in relationships. But I never  actually let anyone *in*. Mostly, because I thought if I let someone love all of me they would hurt me. They would leave. They would make me heartbroken.

It’s flawed logic isn’t it?

To ask for love and not willing to be heartbroken. Knowing that the depth we love is always met with an equal and opposite potential for heartbreak.

Also, to be in a relationship with the purpose of seeking love and affection, yet never allowing anyone to give it to us. And on top of all of that, expecting others to love us when we haven’t even taken the time to love ourselves.

I now see that the journey is always inside our own hearts first. I see that the amount of love we have for another is limited by the love we have for ourselves.

So I’ve journeyed within. I love hard. I live in the space of absolute authenticity now. I am me. That’s it. I write and speak on the subject of how humans connect because it’s my favourite. To help people find and see their truth so they can then connect better with others. I write about my journey because I’m not afraid of owning my sh*t, and I hope you may see parts of yourself in me so you may learn without making the same mistakes I’ve made.

I do not regret a moment of my past. I do not regret a single relationship or a single decision, and I would take every second, every fleeting romance, and every heartbreak just as they came. They have taught me so much, and any deviation wouldn’t have brought me where I am today. To a place I am extremely proud of.

In the last four years I have been going through an “unbecoming” of sorts. I recognize that no amount of money, ladies, cars, houses, or “stuff” will ever be able to replace authentic connection and showing up as who am in my core. We chase and accumulate these material things to avoid ourselves. To avoid actually showing up unapologetically and saying, “I trust that you’ll love me for me, and if you can’t/won’t, that’s ok, because I’m amazing how I am and if you won’t, I will find someone who will. I am not willing to become someone else to be with you.”

Here’s what I know to be true:

Show up for the world. Show up for you. Let go of all of the bullsh*t and just allow yourself to be who you are. No one is going to give you permission. No one is going to make you. If you truly want to love and build partnership, you have to let yourself be you. You have to stand in your truth. You have to remove the layers of who you think you need to be to be loved, so that you can love all out.

I feel like I’ve just been born again. Definitely not as a virgin though. But more so as me. To fall in love. To be given another chance. To actually give another woman a chance. To focus on being the good man I know I am.

love, dating advice, relationship advice, couples, feminism,

Maybe You Don’t Have A Man Because You Don’t Need One

“I don’t need a man.”

I have always found this statement rather disheartening. It’s a phrase that is often expelled from the lips of a spiteful woman.

Its roots are in the wake of a feminist movement that saw many women left abandoned. Wives and mothers who dedicated their lives to family, only to be left without a career, their own money, and their husbands often withholding child support in order to control and manipulate.

I get it, the “breadwinner” marriages of the mid-twentieth century had few winners. Patriarchal relationship structures communicated the role of women to be one of servitude. “Dedicate your life to your man and your family, and he’ll take care of you, meanwhile you’ll compromise everything, including your own identity.” Sounds like a crap deal to me.

So, here we are, in the wake of a necessary feminist movement, with messages that swung the pendulum in a totally different direction. Men and women, who experienced and/or observed the devastation from relationships of the past, communicate to their daughters messages of strength:

“Never depend on a man.”

“Be independent.”

“Never need a man.”

“Take care of yo’self”

It’s important to honour that these messages are absolutely necessary and important. However, when these messages are not clarified, they are left to be interpreted by the receiver… unfortunately that receiver is often a child who lacks the intellectual maturity to ask questions and look for more direction.

Left unexplained, what we often hear are messages like:

“Never open up to a man.”

“Never depend on anyone.”

“If you ever feel like you ‘need’ someone, you’re giving too much.”

And of course, with these messages comes the conundrum:

We are all human, so, inevitably, we fall in love.

And, in turn, we want to give ourselves to the relationship, but there is just something holding us back and we begin to feel the devastating consequence of a message of strength gone wrong.

We live our relationships from the place of:

“Never let your man feel like you need him.”

And that’s where we are today, in a space where often (not always) women are taught to not need a man and when they’re in relationships, they are incredibly scared to do or say anything that could communicate they are vulnerable and want to depend on their partner.

Although that fierce independence is brilliant and inspiring, taken to the extreme it has negative effects on an essential component for relationships:

If our partners don’t feel like we need them, why would they stay? Why would they want to feel vulnerable and give themselves to the relationship?

Men are creatures of purpose. We want to provide and have a role in a woman’s life. We want to be able to love our woman. And when that woman communicates either directly or indirectly that she doesn’t need us, it hurts.

What we hear is that we don’t fit. We have no purpose in her life.

In addition to that, a large percentage of women are out-earning their partners. The role of man’s purpose as a provider in the relationship has shifted. A man’s success and identity have been evolutionarily rooted in being the provider, and when that role is no longer available, men seek to find another role in the relationship and/or in other areas of life.

Let’s be clear, it does not rest on the shoulders of a woman to create purpose for a man. However, it is important that each person create the space for their partner to find and experience purpose, even if that is within the relationship. The challenge is that we need to develop the awareness to step past all of the messages and identities we’ve been taught of what it means to be a “man” and an “independent woman”. 

When we adopt these identities we often have an incredibly hard time gaining deep and connected long term relationships… because most men are still driven and rewarded based on archaic ideals, and most women have moved past old roles and into the role of the masculine… leaving no space for a man to love and appreciate his partner, because she’s now the provider, the parent, and she doesn’t need no man to take care of her.

There’s no space for a man, because women are being that man. 

breakup, relationship advice, dating advice, couple, love, inspiration, positive psychology, positive relationships

So what do we do? Women are the new men, and men have no clue what the hell to do. Where does that leave relationships?

This isn’t about just women. This is about what messages, identities and roles we’re creating and subscribing to as humans. It is our responsibility to take control of our own hearts, and together, regardless of the combination of gender, we need to create relationships that work for us.

We need to step outside of what society, culture and religion have taught us, and create relationships and identities that align with who we are as individuals, and how we want show up to the relationship.

We need to stop trying to be so tough and actually let people in. Men and women need to create space in their lives for each other. And although it is so empowering and beautiful to observe women so rooted in their purpose and taking over the world, women can do that and still be loving and maternal. Falling and being in love doesn’t give a woman’s power away, it actually makes women more powerful. 

We need to see our relationships in the same way we see businesses. Much like a corporate culture, we design our relationship environment, including how we want to feel and who we want to be within that partnership. Relationships today are partnerships, and partnerships require shared agreements and intentions. By discussing and coming up with these agreements and intentions together, we allow ourselves to create the relationship we want. We become the creators of our reality. 

And at the end of the day, if we want great love and great relationships, we have to let people love us. Again, we have to let people in. Till we do that we’ll always be loving with half our hearts. And I don’t know about you, but I’m too full of life and love to waste it settling for “safe” and “comfortable”. I want to be able to depend on my partner, and her feel needed as well.

Let’s get better, together. 

relationships, dating, relationship advice, communication, emotional intelligence, positive psychology, couples, baby boomers, senior citizens, love, old couple

Are We Ever Too Old To Find Great Love Again?

When we get to our seat on a plane, it can feel a lot like a game of Russian Roulette. We never know who our future seat mate might be. We can’t predict how soon those headphones will need to go on because we’ve ended up beside one of the most boringly verbose people on the planet.

Although those are the types of people I normally get, recently I had the pleasure of being seated next to the combination of two of my favourite things; a woman and an interesting conversation about love.

Allison was the woman’s name, and she began to tell me the story of how, at 92 years old, her mother decided to get married again.

Wait?!? What?!? At 92?! What’s the point? My curiosity couldn’t resist more inquiry…

Allison continued with the details her mother’s never-ending love story. Her mom had been widowed in her mid 60s, and remarried not long after. That marriage would run over twenty-five years, with her husband passing when she was in her late 80s. Then, once again, the path to wedded bliss would emerge at the tender age of 91, when she met her new, would-be husband.

When her family advised her that she should maybe wait to get married again out of respect to them, she sharply responded, “I hardly have enough time left to be concerned about other people’s feelings. I’m getting married, I might be dead in a couple of months.”

My new friend told me that when she spoke to her mom’s new beau, he told her,

”Your mother is the love of my golden years.”

Wow.

Now, a wedding story on its own may not make for very exciting news, but this one was special. Because it reminded me of something we often forget:

We are never too old to desire, create, and establish loving and thriving relationships.

It’s an odd belief system we’ve developed; that once we’ve gotten to a certain age we might as well just pack it in. We’ve made it this far, why stir the pot and ruffle everyone’s feathers, right?  A desire for more will stress out our families and our romantic partners if, all of a sudden, we want a thriving relationship. Date nights are things young people do and/or people whose relationships need work. We don’t need sex, it’ll probably just aggravate our old sports injury anyway, and an orgasm at this point might give us a heart attack.

Single people are suffering from a similar destructive belief system. With the majority of our population entering their 60s, there are many people who have given up on love because they feel they may be too old to deserve it now. Why start a relationship at the end our lives when we’re so close to the finish line?

positive psychology, relationship advice, dating advice, relationships, baby boomers, marriage, dating after sixtyLet’s do some math:

If the average person lives to the age of 79, then by 60 years old, we have 19 more years of life.

Nineteen years is a LONG time to just exist. Shouldn’t knowing that we only have 19 years left be a good reason to want to shake things up and create the life we want?

Are we ever too old to want dreams to come true?

Having healthy relationships has been linked to having longer and healthier lives. To further that, research has also shown that having sex and great emotional support systems can lower the amount of inflammation we have. People in bad relationships actually heal more slowly than people in great ones. Do you hear that?! Hostile relationships actually hurt us. Imagine the benefits a thriving and healthy relationship can do for our heads and hearts?!

Does this mean that we need to enter relationships to be happy? No. I’ve written about why being a happy single person is equally as good as being in a thriving relationship. Simply put, happy people have happy relationships. And because of that, relationships are a pretty good barometer of how we’re feeling inside.

So, how does one find love these days?

Before the advent of online dating, our ability to find and seek romantic partners was limited by geography and also the small number of people willing to challenge the social norms of dating and seek relationships past a certain age. With online dating, we have SO much more opportunity. We can have coffee with people all over the world via Facetime and Skype. We can find other people who want what we want by simply choosing it from the dropdown menu on the search engine. We can even decide that we just want to go out and have a roll in the hay.

I’m not saying we need to enter into a relationship to thrive. I’m saying that as a global community we need to encourage the exploration of our hearts, our sexuality, and continue to always grow and thrive as individuals and improve our ability to connect with others.

Maybe when we start to understand just how fleeting life is, we will begin to realize that we deserve love during any and all of our years.

Maybe, just maybe, we will see that our capacity and desire for love is not determined by our age, but by our willingness to choose it.

Our lives actually might depend on it.