Ghosting is the worst. Here’s a look at an ever increasing, and an ever disheartening, trend in modern relationships.
Photo by Tirachard Kumtanom from Pexels https://www.pexels.com/photo/bench-countryside-couple-dating-450050/
This year I was working for a company that had a bit of a shorter Christmas closure period, so we only had a week or so off. It was certainly enough for people to get enough of a break from the work calendar, get some things done (I took 100kgs of old junk out of storage to the tip, I feel like such a man), and spend time with people we love. Coming back from break is the usual question of “What did you do over your break?”. It’s the grown up equivalent of show and tell, and listening to everyone’s experiences is always a joy at the start of the year. Continue reading
The song says it should be the most wonderful time, but for many, Christmas is the most difficult time of the year.
Can you believe the year is almost over? How amazing is that. If you’ve already read my Year in Review, you’ll already know that I felt like I lived a whole lifetime in this year. That’s not necessarily a good thing, but I’m glad I am where I am finishing this year.
Here comes Christmas. It’s a time of lots of presents, increased financial pressure, a few extra days off from work (or a few weeks if you’ve taken more time or work in education), and the worst drivers on the road all out there at the same time. Seriously, every day this week on the way into the office I have been behind multiple people who have been drifting between lanes on the highway or at dangerous merging locations. Must be on the nog a bit too early. Continue reading
It’s not me, it’s everyone else who’s crazy! Or are these the words of ignorance? It’s time to ask – are you the problem in your relationships?
Source: Castle Rock
I wrote towards the start of the year about one of the most frequently used break-up lines in history – it’s not you, it’s me. At the time it seems so easy to use, and yet in the postmortem of our relationships we may find there was more to the death of the relationship than we initially acknowledged or heard about.
I think blame shifting and blame laying are very common practices across all sorts of relationships. I’ve been in a number of meetings where an employee, a contractor or a project gets thrown under the bus for a greater perception that they have been holding things up. I’ve had scores and scores of male and female friends and acquaintances discuss how there’s just no one good enough for them out there, whether as a group of friends or as a love interest (bit painful being told they don’t know anyone who would make a good friend!). We all know those who seem to always have frustrations with the people in their lives. Continue reading
Everyone wants to be loved, and yet so many times, love is the hardest thing for us to express and receive. Here are 10 reasons we withhold love from others, and maybe why they withhold it from us.
I like to climb the nature reserve next to my house every Saturday morning, and yesterday I was joined by a friend of mine. He’s a pretty smart guy and likes asking questions about things he already has good ideas about in an attempt to learn more about it. Yesterday he asked me what my thoughts were on what it means to guard your heart. I shared some thoughts from a post I wrote quite a while ago about the topic, but it got me thinking on those lines again yesterday. And then last night I saw a few posts on social media about what our parents were like “at our age”, and about our desire to avoid human interaction, like the ones above.
Our society really has become obsessed with independence. For all the talk of people wanting to find a significant other, of finding and falling in love, in being adored and cherished by others… we sure do find it hard to love others. I’m not saying that to be judgmental – just as an observation of a truly prevalent difficulty in our society. Looking at posts like the above and seeing the millions and millions of people who reshare, tag all their friends, and relate and go “omg this is me”, I couldn’t help but feel sad that these sort of posts are as relateable as they are.
Love is one of the most wonderful things a human being can ever experience. Unfortunately, it’s also an area of our greatest pain and frustration. As a result, it’s quite common for us to withhold love from others, and for us to feel like others withhold love from us. So I thought this time around I would have a look at some of those honest, painful and sinister reasons why we do this to each other.
#1: Love is scary
To be seen as you really are, to be cherished, to have someone stay… that’s a scary idea enough on its own.
And perhaps even more scary is, if you put yourself out there – if you communicate your affection, if you give the best of your heart to your wife, if you tell your man how you really feel, if you talk about the love you have for that person… what if they don’t love you back? What if you decide that you will stay with someone through all the things they do wrong, and they don’t decide to stay? What if they misuse your affections? What if they take advantage of your kindness? What if what if what if?
The what if’s usually win out when it comes to love. We end up remaining afraid of the very thing that’s meant to set us free.
#2: Love is new
For some of us, all we’ve every really known is a life where it’s just about us. We make dinner plans for ourselves, we see the friends we want to see, we’re used to managing our schedule the way we want to manage it. So when love comes our way, we withhold our expression or our response. It’s unfamiliar territory. My career, I can control that, I’m in charge there, I’ll throw my effort there. My hobbies, man I’m good at my hobbies, I’ll keep my effort there. Casual sex, that’s easy, no strings attached, no heart things, I’ll keep my effort there. My pets, my housework, my volunteerism, my whatever. We like safe, predictable, familiar.
But to open the door to your heart is something many of us have never really done before. We’ve only ever engaged in our relationships with half our heart involved. Or less.
To love with all our hearts is unfamiliar and so we don’t always know how to go about it.
#3: Because we don’t recognize the right types of love over the wrong types of love
Sadly, our society is dominated by people who have “loved us” in all the wrong ways, and to quote Bon Jovi, many people give love a bad name.
My Fair Lady is a very popular and beloved musical that’s doing the rounds in Brisbane at the moment. I had never seen it, and to find out what I’ve been missing, I watched an adaption of it online a few weeks ago. I couldn’t believe it. The story centres around an abusive, angry, selfish professor trying to teach a cockney woman to live a life of class. Sure, it has some endearing moments, and the professor ends up falling in love with the woman, but there is no pay off – he doesn’t change, he remains angry and abusive towards her.
We call that love?
And yet when we see love in our own lives… from the right people, from people who genuinely care, from those who aren’t harsh, from those who aren’t abusive, we fail to recognize, receive, or reciprocate when we see the real deal because we have grown accustomed to its cheap imitators from those who claim to be loving.
#4: Our personality type
I’m pretty introverted, and it can be very easy for me to give into my introverted, introspective nature and keep all my thoughts and affections to myself. So when people tell me they struggle to demonstrate love to their husband or wife, when they say they don’t know how to go about asking someone out or maintaining a growing relationship, when they feel down on themselves because their parents never said that they loved them because of “personality”, I can understand that notion, as my tendencies are inclined to be the same as those who withhold.
I think the real issue here is that good intentions aren’t enough. It’s amazing to hear of how many well meaning, love filled people do not actually express it in a way that their partner, their new girlfriend, their children or their family can understand or receive.
They say love unrequited is one of the most damaging things in life. I think love uncommunicated is perhaps just as bad.
#5: Our family of origin
On that note, if you grew up in a family where people didn’t hug each other, where no one used the words “I love you”, where people routinely belittled each other at the dinner table, even a home full of violence or abuse, you are more likely to withhold your love from others.
One things psychologists frequently discuss when counselling people in these areas is the impact of your family of origin. Why? Because patterns and cycles repeat themselves. The traits of the parents, the marriage, the treatment of children and extended family all perpetuate almost without end, until someone gets the help they need to break the cycle.
Are you repeating a cycle of withholding love?
#6: We don’t know how to balance career and relationship
Can you study and love at the same time? Can you be striving for promotion at work while also building a family?
Many people in our generation can’t. I have heard many of my older mentors attribute this reality to selfishness. You know… they’re probably right. We don’t really know how to put anyone besides ourselves first at times. My dreams, my goals, my aspirations, and no one better get in my way.
Unfortunately, we get to climb the heights of success, only to realize we have no one with us there to celebrate it or share it with.
#7: We don’t understand it ourselves
Man, love is confusing. Especially our own love. Why does this person have so much of my attention? Why do I find myself shifting thought to them continually throughout the day? Why am I deferring my own needs or desires for the sake of others?
Love messes with our sense of control. Even though we are still fully in control, its sway is powerful and makes us feel like our decisions aren’t our decisions any more.
#8: Because of what happened last time
Once bitten, twice shy. If you’ve had your heart broken to whatever degree, it can be an abhorrent, frustrating, brutal idea to even consider loving someone again.
You can’t give from what you don’t have. And if you don’t know you’re loved, if you don’t have strength, energy, capacity, willingness or desire within yourself, how will you ever communicate it to someone else?
Love must come from a source higher than ourselves if it is to be faithful, constant and true. I have to know inside myself that I’m loved, I have to feel it and be consumed by that reality myself before I can successfully open up my heart and love another in return.
Great, great message I heard about this by Steven Furtick that you can watch here. Best 40 minutes of your life if you feel this way.
#10: Because we don’t think we’re worth loving
Are you worth the effort? Are you worth people going out of their way to love you? How does your heart feel about those questions?
You are worthy of being loved. Not because of what you’ve done… man, if it was because of what we’ve done, I’d be screwed.
It’s because of who you are.
You are enough to be loved. You are enough for someone to wake up in the morning with you on their mind. You are enough for someone to pour out their whole life, just to see you smile.
Do you know it? Do you know you’re loved? Do you know you’re worth loving? Because if you don’t, you’ll never be able to give to others the way you want to. You will always have something holding you back. Even with your best intentions, without a clear understanding of your own value, you will never be able to instill in others a clear value of theirs.
Then you’ll know what a great love you carry yourself, and what a great love you have to give to someone else.
There can be many more reasons we withhold love from others, and that they withhold love from us. These were 10 that I’ve been thinking about. How about you? What are some reasons you’ve seen for why we withhold love from people?
When it comes to relationships, it’s either someone you don’t know, or someone you do. Here are 6 pros and cons of wanting to be friends first.
In movies in general, there is an extreme bias towards the tall dark handsome stranger, or the bubbly new girl who sweeps you off your feet. You know, she’s going through a hard time, he’s giving up on dating and love, then all of a sudden, in through the doors walks this perfect equation that answers every concern. Attractive but distant, unknown yet mysterious, this magical stranger is the answer to all the hopes and dreams of the person involved.
I guess then it makes sense why in life we may prefer the idea of putting all our dating hopes on a stranger. When they come blowing through the door, then “we’ll know”. And maybe we will. Continue reading
The most common breakup line of all time. Here’s what “It’s not you, it’s me” really means.
I’m amazed sometimes at how willing people are to be open about their love life online. It’s not even really that direct all the time – it’s usually through the form of resharing existing posts or those Insta-poem things, tagging friends in memes about how they reject every girl or guy, or sometimes even writing long comments about the state of their marriage or relationship (sometimes even tagging their husband/wife/partner in their negative comments… yikes). I think all someone would need to become an expert in human psychology would be to sit online and watch their own news feed or tags and see all the different quirks of the human experience come rushing in.
And when it comes to breakups that you may hear about online, see in person, experience yourself, or enact with others, there is only one line that stands head and shoulders above the rest:
February 14th is one of the most introspective and hated days of the year. Here’s why you might still be single for Valentine’s Day.
I can always tell Valentine’s Day is approaching one of three ways. One – all the shops are going nuts with cards, flowers, chocolate, adult toys, and romantic movies. Two – all the restaurants are saying how much more expensive they’re going to be around that day, annoying if you want to make any plans around that day, romantic or otherwise. Three… everyone constantly tagging everyone in memes about how they’re still desperately single for Valentine’s Day.
But instead of trying to stave off the Valentine’s angst with weak attempts at humour, why not take the opportunity to have a look at the reasons proper? Here’s 8 reasons why you might be single for Valentine’s Day. Continue reading
This is definitely one of the biggest complaints that people have for the opposite sex, for coworkers, for so called friends and for those gone by. Why are people so immature?
I think it’s always interesting to consider how there are two sides to every story. If you know two people who are having a disagreement or a falling out, chances are, like me, you end up hearing the complaints on both sides of the fence. He says that he wishes she would just grow up and stop playing so many emotional games. She says that she wishes he would stop being so immature and starting taking responsibility like a man. He’s annoyed that he can’t demonstrate any sort of consistency in his behaviour. She’s annoyed that her friend seems to still act like she’s 5 years old.
You ever been there? Probably. That’s probably how you ended up here. The truth is, we’ve all been in this place before. Continue reading
With an increasing shift towards a pansexual gender fluid way of life, perhaps we are introducing a new challenge whilst trying to address an old one.
Another day has gone by and another slew of events have happened all around the world. All eyes are fixed on the United States election, with everyone awaiting more alleged illegal activity uncovered featuring Mrs Clinton, or another derogatory comment from Trump. There’s the destruction being wrought by the horrible Hurricane Matthew. In Australia we’ve had the death of the proposed plebiscite on gay marriage in our country.
Oh yeah, and all the news outlets were quick to report on Miley Cyrus once again commenting on her life as a pansexual. Continue reading
Empty promises, false hope, so close but so far, yet just enough to keep you going… Is someone leading you on?
I think one of the most repeated experiences I’ve seen over the last month or so is the number of people who have gotten hurt through the channel of being led on. You know, being led on. Thinking there was more there than there really was. Having your heart further in the relationship than the other person. Starting to fall in love with someone or already all the way in, when they’re thinking about how quickly they can distance you from their lives.
I think most people have been on the receiving end of this form of torture, and in truth a lot of us have also been its harbinger in someone else’s life. Don’t act coy with me, you remember that time in high school, or that girl at church you showed questionable levels of interest in when you wanted to stay friends, or the guy at work who’s got the wrong idea because you gave him a whole lot of the right idea. Continue reading
The love advice that used to work so well doesn’t fully apply in a new world. Here are 7 dating pressures that didn’t exist 30 years ago.
This past Sunday night I went out with one of my favourite couples. They’re great leaders and mentors to probably hundreds of people (no exaggeration), and I’m fortunate to call them friends. Something I’ve really enjoyed in the last 10 or so years is branching out in my friendships beyond my age group. Being in my 20s, it’s very rewarding for me to not just stick to people in my own set of life experiences, but those who are further ahead. And this couple in particular is winning in so many areas of life that they truly are two amazing people to learn from in a whole lot of areas. Continue reading