I lived the majority of my life with a "passion trumps all" mentality.
I would pass on any relationship that felt "ordinary" or predictable. If anyone was totally into me, I had an allergic reaction, immediately running the other way.
I also chose ambiguous relationships where I never had any kind of conversation to figure out where I stood with a guy and, therefore, made lots of assumptions.
Often, when I wanted commitment, he would agree, but his actions never matched his promises.
I never wanted to seem too intense or be that "crazy girl," so I kept quiet. But on the inside, my stomach was always in knots.
Quick flashback: I had ended a five-year relationship and met a leading matchmaker in New York City, who was looking for single gals. I was a total newbie -- fresh on the market from my broken engagement. She sped me through years of therapy in her informative intake and told me she had a great guy for me -- a relationship-minded guy which, to me, sounded like code for "boring." I quickly flashed to a life of predictability and void of excitement.
"But will we have chemistry?" I asked.
She replied, "I know you love passion. It's clear after knowing you for one hour. I promise that if you keep going for the smooth dude, you will be 40 and single."
Well, cut to me: 40 and single.
The matchmaker (now my best friend) set me up with many good guys, but I always returned, saying, "I just don't feel any connection."
My friends labeled me as "too picky" and I justified it as "not wanting to settle."
The truth is, no one could convince me. I was on the chemistry road to nowhere. So, how did I finally get off the road?
One day, the matchmaker told me she had found someone, but his relationship readiness was not convincing. Her advice: "You are exactly what he needs, so if he is ready, it will be perfect. If not, don't stay for the sex."
Well... I stayed for the sex.
I stayed (two years) thinking that I could love him into commitment. Wrong, so wrong (cue the horrible sound accompanying the wrong answer "X" on Family Feud).
But I had to OD on my pattern. Doesn't it suck that we often only grow from intense pain and disappointment? But this relationship was a turning point, and for that I am grateful.
I had a come-to-consciousness moment when this guy (who was now about to marry another woman) called and said, "I will never love anyone as much as you. If I could have one wish, it would be to go away with you and snuggle like only we do."
I was slightly horrified, and, yet, oddly flattered that I rated so high. Not good. (I know this.)
Obviously, I did not plan on "snuggling" with a man days before his nuptials, but I did come from a family where my dad cheated, and my mom took him back many times. You might say my threshold for nonsense is way too high -- and you would be correct.
Most women would hear something like that from a man going to his bachelor party, and hang up the phone and never answer his calls again. I never saw "bachelor party" guy again. Instead, I landed on the green couch of my therapist.
Dr. Kim -- the oracle (totally a Matrix reference) -- leaned forward in her chair (always code for something profound is about to happen) and said, "You know that good sex doesn't mean a good relationship? You know that, right?"
"What do you mean?"
She repeated, "Good sex doesn't always equal a good relationship. Good sex equals good sex."
I asked (in the most childlike way possible), "Am I supposed to live in a loveless, boring relationship where I have no desire to have sex? I'd rather live like a monk."
"No, that is not what I said, Di Ana, that's what you heard." She always gets me when she says my name. She's good, real good.
I softened, "But he is the most amazing snuggler in the world."
"Do you want a relationship?"
"Well, all I am saying is you confuse the two."
"Well, maybe." I recoiled. Truth is, I do confuse amazing sex for amazing relationships all the time.
A fulfilling sex life is important, but it cannot be the only reason you stay with someone.
I honestly believed that if I loved these men enough and was an incredible partner they would eventually commit. But you have to be able to see what is happening vs. what you wish would happen.
- When someone doesn't want to commit: walk away. You can't love someone into commitment.
I found a whole new level of passion when I started dating relationship-minded men. Who knew? It is far from boring; the connection that develops from reliability, trust and communication is exciting.
Once I realized this, I found such profound freedom. Now, when I date a man and the chemistry is off the charts, I do not go into fantasy mode.
If we have an effortless connection, I let it be just that -- effortless. Instead of analyzing his words and the way he tilts his head while saying them, I wait to see if his words will match his actions.
In short, I look for no rules and no games. I choose to see what is, while enjoying every minute with someone who is committed to taking the ride with me -- bumps in the road and all.