If you want a successful, long-term relationship, Daniel Dowling says you need a plan.
I have a glaring issue with relationships that I just can’t get past: Nobody plans for them! We plan meticulously for our careers, hobbies, playtime, baby showers, manicures for our dogs, and anything else that we want to succeed in. But, strangely we forget to do the same for relationships; the gateways to new life.
We’ve been conditioned to hope and pray for the right one to come along, but that hasn’t worked out. Follow me for an article and I’ll help you plan for the relationships you desire and deserve.
Sex is one small but important chunk of the love pie. Everyone is interested in it, of course, because the survival of our species depends on it. In case you didn’t know … Sex is a good thing!! But, like all other good things, the goodness depends on your plan for using it. If you are itching to get sexy before you really know of a person’s commitment, character and quality, chances are there are many more creative ways for you to get to know a person and for them to get to know and love you unconditionally. You get to know more about yourself, and more about the partner that you could potentially spend a lifetime with. Win win.
From my experience, sex before marriage is harmful because it distracts couples from the qualities that lead to lifelong commitment, like trust, respect, morals, beliefs, mutual goals and needs. As a wise man once said, “If sex led to fulfilled marriages, everybody would still be married!”
So, I say yes to friendship, yes to respect, yes to marriage, yes to setting appropriate boundaries, and yes to human connection. Mostly I say yes to a plan for your successful relationships. When respect is part of your plan, you can feel good about saying no to everything else and sleep like a baby; no insecurity or jealousy required.
Friendship is respectful always, and the highest evolution of friendship between a man and woman is marriage. Respect is maintained throughout, but the context changes as your appreciation, admiration, devotion and commitment to each other increases. What would be respectful for a couple after two years of committing to each other will not be respectful for a couple of two months.
As far as I’ve learned, you must have a boatload of personal knowledge and commitment in a relationship before you can get physical… if you want to love unconditionally. If you couldn’t love someone for a lifetime based on the friendship you’ve built, something logical and terrible happens. You become chemically bonded with someone who may not turn out to be the diamond in the rough you thought he or she was. And when you find out objectionable traits after you’ve give yourself away physically, your love becomes conditional; you want them to change to suit your needs. That is is the biggest relationship killer known to mankind, and I call it PPE (premature physical engagement–yeah, I spent a year in the army so I get to use cheesy acronyms.).
PPE leads to distraction from the spiritual, mental and emotional connection that is the foundation for lasting love. It effectively blinds you from the qualities of a person that you really need to become familiar with if you expect to last a lifetime together. If you don’t care about those qualities, please stop reading: you’ll be wasting your time.
Education: The Antidote
Through all of my education, I never learned a speck about real relationships. So, I had to educate myself deliberately and intensively. I refused to take part in the paradigm that offered brokenness and temporary pleasure as the best it gets, because I had observed others do better. I had an inchoate sense that what we call normal wasn’t the best I could achieve. I had seen and experienced too much misery and heartache that came through blindly accepting what we’ve been taught, so I committed to a different way.
Until we have revealed the depth of our character, commitment and creativity, sexual desire is more appropriately funneled into less extraordinary pursuits than sex. Whether that be a writing a song, crafting a painting, plumbing toilets, or whatever it is you are passionate about. There is no limit for what we can do with our sexual energy. But, it is entirely up to us to harness that energy in ways that build up our relationships.
If we choose not to educate ourselves and plan for a better application of desire, we have nobody but ourselves to blame for the train wrecks and disasters that we are so accustomed to. Not biology, not society, not “human nature”, not our genetics, and not anything but ourselves.
Until you’ve discovered the depths of a partner’s commitment, character and creativity, I believe you cannot trust that they will be able to lovingly raise the children that come through physical love. If you are prematurely physical and new life comes, you won’t be prepared. When you aren’t prepared, new life does not get what it needs and what should be a miracle and a blessing is perceived as an inconvenience. Pretty messed up.
Imagine being a newborn and knowing that your parents neither wanted you nor had the capability of caring properly for you. Newborn babies can’t say, “WTF Mom and Dad?! You should have prepared for me!! I don’t deserve this shit!” But I can. WTF?
Also, when you haven’t built faith in your partner’s commitment, you open yourself up to separation and divorce (contrary to popular belief, it is a choice). Divorce isn’t luck of the draw. It comes when couples don’t know enough about each other to successfully commit for a lifetime. When divorce happens, children lose their faith in love and rebel against it. In that case, a physical display of affection would not have been making love, but making war.
The antidote to all of this is relationship education. Relationship education is the systematic approach for determining what actions and beliefs a person needs to adopt to successfully relate with another person. Generally, this is about what you do, not what you don’t do. Do make meaningful connections with another person that reveals your character and content. Do concern yourself with your partner’s morals, character, habits, beliefs, and goals. Do create connection through acts of kindness and selflessness. Do plan for habits that build character and intimacy in relationships.
But, the don’ts are extremely important too. Do not allow any interaction that would degrade your human connection. For women, this is important stuff, because men who engage in pornographic viewing will weaken human connection. This is because they have trained themselves to make transient connections with pixels on a screen, which are distinct from real women. Real women have real needs and complex emotions that pixels don’t.
So, as a man: How are you going to prepare for a real woman? And as a woman: How do you want a man to prepare for the real you?
Questions for your potential mates
After having been pornographically trained, men become unable to attend to the depth and emotional nuances of a real woman. Their commitments are not to the relationship and meaningful connection with her, but to the pleasure that they have learned to associate with her form. The difference is internal vs. external.
For this reason, the first question you should ask any potential dating candidate is: Do you watch porn?
If he or she answers yes, then tell them exactly why you cannot relate with him. Educate them, and let them know about the real connection that all humans need, and how to practice that. If you suspect that they are lying, run quickly. *I realize that mostly men watch porn, but 1/3 of porn consumers are women. That is a substantial number.
A second question should be: Do you believe in lifelong and committed love?
This is an important one to ask long before physical affection, because a man who is high on your love drug might fool himself into believing that he wants lifelong commitment with you, when he really only cares for the pleasure. That would be a man who threatens your ability to meaningfully connect, which is a disaster in the making- run quickly from those types. If your lover doesn’t believe in lifelong and committed love, then your capability of growing in love and intimacy is automatically restricted. If your partner doesn’t believe in it, then he or she also doesn’t believe that children have fundamental rights to secure and loving parents.
Another question could be: “Why, precisely, do you want to relate with me as a woman (or man)?” Or, less robotically, “What do you want with me? Where do I fit in your plans?”
This will be disarming to a man, because he will have never heard it before. Many people do not have plans for relationships other than to satisfy a temporary desire to feel good. It’s an honest question though—“What do you want from me? What do you hope to achieve through relating with me?”
Tell him you’ll see him again if he can come up with a decent answer. Let your potential partners fully understand your plan for relationships so that they might come up with their own. Don’t have one? Make one. What are you waiting for?
In this human experience, our success is contingent upon planning. Need an example? We have turned our world into a giant dumpster that seeps toxic sludge out of every orifice. Mass wildlife die offs. Oil spills. Floating islands of garbage the size of Texas … Do you think we planned this? Heck no, we just got greedy and refused to plan better. Because we didn’t plan more holistically, and because of a focus on instant gratification, our success is gravely threatened.
This same myopia has infiltrated our relationships. Need an example? High divorce rate. Oodles of unwanted children. We’ve adopted the insane idea that harmful behaviors in relationships are “normal”, and so we are thrusting headlong off a cliff! (End rant).
The only thing that can reverse this pattern of short-term gratification and long term devastation is: A plan. It’s like my wise older brother told a struggling sister—“You don’t need a man, you need a plan.” The more specific your statement of purpose is, the greater your chances of success in achieving it. The more detailed your steps and resources are for attaining the goals in your purpose, the more desirable your outcome will be. You can’t plan everything because life is uncertain, but you can plan and practice your response to the unknown.
Get a Plan
If you don’t have a plan yet, this one is fail proof:
If you find yourself attracted to a relationship for anything other than what you have to offer and grow through, then rework your inner world to see what you have to give instead. That way, no one can take love away from you. That way, everything you receive will be a gift.
Unconditional love is the only way to love someone for who they are, not for what they give you. So if what you do in relationships is conditional, stop doing it. If you have an opportunity to give freely without expectation, do that instead, then look for more opportunities. Best place to accomplish that is a friendship. And when you’ve been best friends with someone for so long, one day you’ll realize that you couldn’t imagine spending the rest of your life with anybody else; you’ll want to give all of yourself to them. Then you can get married, and have all the wild and crazy sex you want. It will only get better as you give more of yourself to each other.
Originally published on DowlingWriter.com.