There are four signs that healthy love is moving closer to you and that you are learning the deepest lessons of self-love. Stay tuned to the Deeper Dating Podcast to find out what those four signs are.
Hello everybody and welcome to the Deeper Dating Podcast. I’m Ken Page and I’m a psychotherapist and a coach and the author of the bestselling book Deeper Dating.
And today I’m going to be talking about four signs that show that healthy love is on the way. This week and every week I’m going to share with you the greatest tools and skills and insights that I know to help you find real, sustainable, beautiful love, and heal your life in the process because the real skills of dating are the skills of love and the skills of love are the greatest skills of all for a happy and rich life.
And if you want to learn more about the work that I do, the courses that I teach and this entire approach, just go to deeperdatingpodcasts.com. And there you’ll receive a free gift of an eBook of some of my most important ideas. And you can also get a transcript of this entire episode and all of my other episodes.
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Let me just say as well that everything I share on this podcast is educational in nature. It’s not medical or psychiatric advice or treatment. And if you’re experiencing any serious psychological symptoms, please do seek professional help. And by the way, if you like what you’re learning here, it would be a wonderful gift if you could subscribe and leave me a review. So thank you so much for that.
In doing the work that I do, I have found that there are four conditions that when these conditions appear, they really forecast the advent of real and healthy love. So when love arrives, that feels like magic. It feels like a kind of gift of fate and love. But as a talk about in my book, Deeper Dating, we can invite that luck by approaching our dating life in a different way. So if you find that these shifts are happening for you, be really, really encouraged because you’re practicing a path of wisdom and you are well on the way to finding the kind of love that can last.
Losing Your Taste On Attractions of Deprivation
So the first one is that you lose your taste for what I call attractions of deprivation. It’s so easy to get attracted to people who sometimes can commit and other times can’t, or people who treat us wonderfully and then they diminish us or demean us or stop showing up. And these relationships, these almost relationships are really usually highly charged and they’re gnawingly addictive.
They’re like a slot machine. They keep us coming back for more. We just long to kind of get it right to finally make the changes we think we need to make, change ourselves, change the situation, change the environment to get our partner to love us. We struggle to fix ourselves and improve ourselves. We struggle to fix them and improve them. We play hard to get and then we get needy. We try giving more or we practice giving less. We try to be funnier and wittier and more successful or more in shape so that the person we’re interested in will finally want us as much as we are wanting them.
So I call these attractions of deprivation and we all have a circuitry where that can really turn us on. That can be super, super exciting because the almost triggers are inadequacy feelings are our loneliness that we maybe have felt our whole lives, our sense of need, all those things and the desperation attached to those things get triggered by these relationships. So they feel like love, but really they’re pain.
Concluding a Dead End Era
And at a certain point, and usually because we’ve experienced tremendous pain, we start to lose our taste for these relationships that chip away at our sense of self-worth.
And that’s a really good thing. It is the marker of a deep and important change. One of the four changes that I’m talking about here. It’s when you find you just can’t stomach the thought of being hurt or deprived like that again. And that’s a great thing. And when you become less sticky to these kinds of attractions, a dead end era of your romantic lives is finally coming to an end. And that’s when you can begin the real work of intimacy, which is cultivating your attractions to relationships that truly feed and nurture you. And that’s the greatest wisdom of all for anyone seeking love.
So here’s the next sign.
You find that kindness and availability become more important to you.
So what happens is as you lose your taste for attractions of deprivation, people usually experience, and I talk about this in other episodes, a kind of a temporary void in our dating life. We know we don’t want the pain of past relationships, but nothing else maybe seems as exciting or maybe there’s a period of hibernation that comes when we make these changes and we just need peace from the tumult of relationships.
So it’s a kind of quiet period that could feel a little odd and strange. Like, all right, I gave up those negative relationships and those negative attractions, but nothing new is coming.
The Birth of Attractions of Inspiration
But in time and sometimes with help after we make that choice to say no to attractions of deprivation, little by little we start to look for and we actually start to notice our attractions of inspiration. And when that happens, it’s a huge and positive sign.
So those attractions are based on an essentially consistent quality of shared kindness, generosity, and emotional availability, which is an amazing and wonderful experience. Sometimes these kinds of attractions unfold a little more slowly and they get richer as time goes on and they make us feel love and not that itch of desperation. There’s a sense of peace that goes with them, but that doesn’t mean that these relationships are boring because when we are with someone and there’s a quality of availability and goodness and decency and we’re sexually and romantically attracted to them, that’s pure joy.
That is the state that we want. That’s the state of peace. That’s the state when the people around us who love us say, “Oh, finally I feel really good about this person that my loved one is with.” And we can measure the quality of our lives by the relationships of mutual inspiration that we have cultivated.
That’s almost, perhaps, the greatest measure of the quality of our lives in all arenas and research backs that up. When we’re younger we get trapped and maybe not so much younger. We get trapped by drama so easily. But when we make this decision and make this shift, what happens is we change, our attractions actually begin to change and we cultivate a taste for the beauty and the goodness of these kinds of relationships. And that means that we are well on the way to the kind of relationship that we dream of.
The Wonders of Attractions of Inspiration
When you’re in an attraction of inspiration, the joy that you feel doesn’t come from a sense of, uh, dramatic, repeated conquest, or a momentary kind of validation. It instead comes from this essential quality of contentment that we feel with our partners. And we don’t feel consistently bigger than our partners, or smaller than our partners. In some very basic way we feel, and I love this expression that they use in 12 step programs.
We feel “right sized”, but most of us have never been taught that these kinds of attractions of inspiration have their own trajectory and they need to be cultivated and nourished in different ways than we might be used to. They thrive on honesty and risk and vulnerability and goodness and kindness. And it may seem at times that they’re not as exciting as the drama of the other kind of relationships, but they’re ultimately so much more so because there’s a thrilling risk available in these relationships.
And it’s the risk of revealing who we really are. And if we take that risk with our partner and we find that we’re accepted and embraced, the erotic charge, the emotional charge, the romantic charge of the relationship deepens and intensifies. And these are the people who deserve to see the real us; our tender self, our wild self, our kinky self, our unshared ideas, our creativity, and the depths of who we are.
And by the way, that is why attractions of inspiration in some strange way are the scariest relationships of all because we know we’re truly at risk with someone like that.
The Role of Fear
So our fear does lots of different things to save us from the risk of true vulnerability inherent in these relationships. And the best strategy, which kept me single for decades, is tricking us into fleeing by saying back to the hunt. Next, there’s got to be someone better out there, someone hotter or someone, whatever-er, or someone more exciting.
But if we don’t flee, we may find that that fear passes, I call that the wave of distance. And when the fear passes, and it does, it always really does pass. If you don’t try to suffocate yourself and go further than you want to go or flee all the way. The fear passes, that wave of disinterest passes and a clarity comes about who this person could be to you.
So if you find that at this point in your journey, you are truly and consciously with primacy seeking these relationships and ignoring or saying no to the thrill or the stickiness or the addictiveness of your attractions of deprivation – celebrate. Because you really, really are on the path to the kind of love that you’re looking for.
Okay. So the third one is that you become willing to give up what I call your flight patterns. And I say this all the time, everyone has fear of intimacy. If you’re breathing, you’ve got fear of intimacy. All of us, single or coupled in a great relationship or a not so great relationship, flee the heat and the risks of true intimacy. Everyone does that. Any single person who wants to find love, as well as of course anybody in a relationship who wants to deepen their love, would do so well to become a student of their own flight patterns.
Different Ways To Flee Intimacy
There’s so many different ways to flee intimacy even as we’re seeking intimacy and it’s an act of wisdom and empowerment to recognize how we consciously, unconsciously, semi-consciously flee intimacy. Like staying home and watching TV every night, or endlessly, endlessly looking for love online but not really taking action to stick with the quality people and develop something. Or just being online all the time anyway, not going to places where people with shared values can be found and folks, that is a powerful way to meet people and I know it’s hard.
I know it’s difficult, but getting out there and finding events, meetups, gatherings, even if you do this online and find communities online, although in person is so much better, with people who share your values. Or wasting time on your attractions of deprivation. Or not showing your real feelings, playing it cool. Looking for hookups instead of dates, looking for hookups and dates, whichever comes along, drinking too much on our dates.
All these different ways – getting angry, getting frustrated, shutting people out, going into seclusion and dropping the ball. These are human things and we all do them. What’s greatness is recognizing that we’re doing them and saying, we’re going to make a change. And this is something I have found and I talk about this a lot. If you want to get a really big bang for your buck in your journey to transform the way you’re looking for love, hit this one folks – notice your flight patterns and consciously change them. You will get such a big bang for your buck.
Shutting Doors To Acts That Drive Love Away
When you start shutting the doors to those actions that kind of indirectly keep love away, when you make that conscious decision, new doors will open. It’s kind of the way the world is made and it’s an amazing, amazing thing. But yeah, it’s an act of bravery to do that. And there’s a certain point when we feel like, okay, I really mean it now that I want healthy love. I realize time is ticking and I’m getting tired of living and sleeping alone.
Little note here, this is not true for everybody. Some people are super happy living solo and some people are super happy being in a relationship but not living with or sleeping with the person. So I want to make room for that as well. But so when we’re willing to let go of our flight patterns and when we find ways to meet people who share our values and when we only have second or third dates with people who hold the promise of becoming attractions of inspiration, then things really change.
So here’s another, leading with your authentic self. So leading with who you really are may seem on the surface like an easy thing, but it is not. Because we get the most wounded around the places we care the most, around the places where we’re the most real.
And those are the parts of us that I call our core gifts. And because those places of our deep authenticity are so vulnerable and because most of us have incurred multiple profound wounds around those core gifts, we tend to either suppress them or create a kind of airbrushed version of ourselves for the world to see.
Treasuring the Gift of Authenticity
But those versions of ourself lack the vigor and the soul and the magnetism of our authenticity. So we find that we’re less successful in attracting the very kind of people who would accept and treasure us for who we are.
So this is something that I have really found to be true. The key is not simply in accepting our authenticity in all its humanity. The key is in treasuring that, naming it as a gift in all of its imperfection, timidity or excess. We have the right to honor our core gifts and to only choose people who do the same.
And when we do that in a non-defensive way, our world begins to change. And that’s when we somehow find ourselves dating people who accept us for who we are, people who are kind and generous of spirit and available. And I can’t explain why this happens, but when we take the steps I described, I’ve seen this occur so many times that I accept it as a real truth. As we do that we find ourselves meeting and being attracted to the kind of people who we could really build a happy life with.
But instead of helping us embrace these core gifts, the singles world teaches us how to dishonor them in ourselves and in the people we date. It’s like those ugly fun house mirrors, the prevailing singles culture flashes these distorted, haunting images of who we are supposed to be, how we’re supposed to look. How we’re supposed to act. And they’re really images of what our own flaws and inadequacies feel like to us, as well as the inadequacies of the people we date.
A Culture of Unkindness
Because we are holding them to some kind of strange cultural standard that has an ugliness in its desire for impermeable confidence, perfect glutes, perfect abs, et cetera, et cetera.
There’s an inhumanity to that. That is devastating and that’s part of the culture of unkindness that really does tend to exist in the dating world. And the solution to find our self-esteem doesn’t lie within the hall of mirrors of those fun house mirrors that distort who we’re supposed to be, and who other people are supposed to do.
The solution does not lie in that horrible hall of fun house mirrors that tells us what’s wrong with us, what’s wrong with other people. What we need to fix about ourselves, how we have to act more confident, how we have to play it cool, how we have to be this thing that is other than who we are. And then to add a little more craziness, but we have to be authentic and natural at the same time.
The solution is not to find our self-esteem in that land of fun house mirrors. The solution is to get out of that place and to find a better path.
The Path That Guarantees Love Is On Its Way
And these four things that I speak about are a better and wiser path. And as you take them on, you will feel better about yourself. You will feel more peaceful about yourself and almost miraculously, you really will find yourself meeting people and having mutual attraction with people who treasure you for who you are. So thank you for listening and I look forward to seeing you on the next episode of the Deeper Dating Podcast. And once again, if you like what you’re hearing here, it would be a tremendous gift if you could subscribe and leave me a review. See you next week. Thank you.
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