Friday, April 23, 2010

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Relationships...

... (but were afraid to ask.)
That's the title of the lecture I went to see tonight, facilitated by relationship coach, Will Limon.

The main reason I went to the lecture was because I thought it would make good blog material (I am all into become a big love expert and meeting all the local relationship gurus.) I figured I already knew "everything I ever wanted to know about relationships" and (as my friends can attest) I'm never afraid to ask! But I still got a few tips, and I always like learning more about communication and relationships.

"It all comes down to how you relate to yourself, understand yourself, and portray yourself to other people," was one of the key takeaways. "Your relationship with yourself is the only one you're guaranteed to have for your entire life."

Yes, yes... the whole relationship with self. I remember during the post-divorce "self-help years" thinking if one more person told me I have to "love myself" I was going to throw up. I did all the positive affirmations and gave myself nice little self-esteem pep talks all the time. But I don't think I really "got it" until I wrote The Laptop Dancer Diaries. I never expected it, but the self-discovery from forcing myself to overcome my insecurities and writing about it, has really helped me figure out what "loving myself" means. It's just this confidence and security of being OK with all your wonderful talents and faults and quirks and idiosyncrasies. It's about knowing that people love you, not because of how smart or beautiful or rich or [insert adjective you wish you were] you are...they just love you because you are you and they see that you're not trying to be someone or something you're not.

So... back to Will and the lecture. He asked us to write down three things we want in a relationship. He had us call some of them out... Respect, Trust, Intimacy, Love, Laughter, Communication... Then he explained that "Relationships are behavior." He had us describe the behaviors associated with each of the words. For example, what behaviors would we have to see in a relationship to know we could "trust" a partner? Or what type of behavior would indicate "respect?" Will talked about articulating what behaviors we would need to see in order to demonstrate the traits we're looking for in a relationship. We paired up and described the behaviors associated with a trait and our partner tried to guess the trait. (Being an experienced "Taboo" player this exercise was a no-brainer for me and my partner and I were able to guess our traits with record speed.)

Will said that intimacy is a bi-product of how we behave. As our behaviors demonstrate the traits in a partnership that we each look for, we start to gain intimacy.

The other tip Will gave us about intimacy was the Master's and Johnson definition: "The exchange of vulnerabilities." If only one person is being vulnerable, then you don't have intimacy. You have to each be sharing your vulnerabilities in order for intimacy to be established.

So, there's today's love lesson: Love yourself, look for the behaviors of the traits you want to see in a relationship, and exchange vulnerabilities.

I'd like to close in reminding you that even if you are interested in being intimate with someone, it may not be appropriate to blab all about your personal stuff to them, before you really know them. It is really much better to just get it all out of your system by either writing a blog or embarrassing memoir.

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