Listeners bring their most pressing questions about falling in love with your best friend, sex, dating and relationships to Ken–and get his personal direct advice in Ken’s Q and A podcasts.
Once a month, Ken answers your personal questions about love, dating, sex and more. Today’s questions include:
What Do You Do When You’ve Fallen In Love With Your Best Friend?
Early Dating: How Do You Know If You’re Going Too Fast or Too Slow?
How Do You Discover Your Greatest Gifts In The Heart of Your Deepest Insecurities?
Q&A with Ken: In Love With Your Best Friend, Pacing, And Discovering Your Gifts
What do you do when you realize you are falling in love with your best friend? Or you meet someone new, you’re excited, it seems really, really good and you start wondering when should we have sex for the first time? How often should we be texting? How often should we be speaking? How many dates should we be going on? It’s a question of pacing and finally, how can you discover your greatest gifts right in the heart of your deepest insecurities? To find out the answers to these questions and more, stay tuned to this question and answer episode of the Deeper Dating podcast.
Hello and welcome to The Deeper Dating Podcast. I’m Ken Page, and today I’m going to be answering your pressing questions about sex, and love, and dating, and intimacy.
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Every week on this podcast, I’ll share the greatest tools I know to help you find love, and keep it flourishing, and heal your life in the process because the skills of dating are nothing more than the skills of loving. And the skills of loving are the greatest skills of all for a happy life. And you can also find the whole transcript of this episode on deeperdatingpodcast.com.
And if you’re interested in applying these ideas in a deeper way to your own intimacy journey, go to deeperdatingpodcast.com, sign up for my mailing list, and you’ll get a free gift of an ebook that I’ve written, and you’ll learn more about the many different projects that I’m involved in, and the work that I think other people are doing that might really inspire you as well.
I also want to say that everything I share in this podcast is educational. It’s not medical or psychiatric advice or treatment. And if you’re experiencing any serious psychological or psychiatric conditions, please seek professional help. And by the way, if you like what you hear on this episode, it will be a fabulous thank you if you subscribe on Apple Podcasts or elsewhere, and left me a review. So thank you so much for that.
What If You Fall In Love With Your Best Friend?
Okay. So we’re going to dive in with the first question, which is from Sophia in Berlin, and here it is.
Sophia: Hi Ken. My name is Sophia from Berlin, and first of all, thank you so much for your work, I like your podcast and your book and everything. I really, really appreciate everything you do and it really impacts me in my dating journey. So thank you so much for that.
My question relates to attracting unavailable people. So that’s a pattern within me that I recognized a few years ago and I thought I got over it. Turns out that I haven’t. So recently I really had to admit to myself that I have romantic feelings for one of my best friends and really admitting that to myself and also to some close friends felt like a big revelation and a big activation and really emotionally important work for me.
As it turns out, he’s not romantically available to me or maybe not romantically available in general at the moment. So in some way I’m playing that pattern again and I wanted to ask you if you have any tips of how to deal with this kind of triple heartbreak. Letting go of the idea of him and me as lovers, of the heartbreak of being scared that I will lose him as a friend, and just the internal heartbreak of having that pattern show up again that I thought I had dealt with. Thank you very much.
Ken: Thank you so much Sophia for your kind words and for this rich question that captures so much work that you’ve done in your own journey. I want to say something about these different heartbreaks. The first heartbreak I want to talk about that you mentioned is this one of discovering, oh my gosh, I am still enacting a pattern of attracting and being attracted to unavailable people.
The thing that I want to say about that is it’s such a huge deal to understand our patterns in dating, our unhealthy patterns. I really recognize how disappointing that was to find out that this pattern is still going on. But I do want to say some things about that. The way that this works, the way that this shifting of really, really entrenched relationship and attraction patterns happens is, it doesn’t happen automatically.
I think of it like a giant ship at sea that needs to turn. It’s going to turn, but it’s going to turn really slowly. That’s what it’s like to actually change the architecture of our attractions. The way that this works is, I think, when we grow it’s not so much like a circle where all of a sudden we’re in the same place, again, assuming we are growing.
It’s more like a spiral that you end up in a kind of a similar stuck issue vicinity, but there’s more of a sense of elevation or compassion or less of a sense of attachment. There’s some growth, some greater wisdom, even though you’re encountering similar things. I think that we do revisit the same patterns in more refined ways, with deeper insight and understanding if we’re really doing the work of growth.
A Shift In Your Attraction Process
So in this case, it sounds like you have fallen in love with someone who is a deeply available person, even though not romantically. And I wonder if that’s progress for you. If the kind of people that you’ve been sexually and romantically attracted to in the past have been people who haven’t had that beautiful quality of presentness and availability, that it seems like you have with this friend. If that’s the case, this is progress. It’s showing a shifting in your attraction process, even though it’s a stepping stone, and it’s not there yet because he’s not available.
So that’s just one thing I think to think about if there’s a shift in the quality of you being able to fall in love with someone this wonderful, and who’s obviously this caring and solid as a friend. Marianne Williamson said it really well. She said,
“As we grow emotionally, it’s like our friends become more like lovers, and our lovers become more like friends.”
And you have joined the two together, which is no small feat. So I want to acknowledge that as a really, really kind of important piece of this. When our sense of goodness and connectedness and our sense of Eros and turn on and love and attraction meld together, that’s a really, really good thing. Even though the final piece of the availability is not here yet.
I also want to acknowledge that you had lived in a relationship, a friendship with this person, not owning, not even to yourself, that you were in love.
You Have the Right to Ask Questions
The bravery, revelation, and growth of being able to admit that, is hard and painful as it is. Even to talk to your friends about it. And then braveness upon braveness to be really direct with this friend, which I think is fabulous. Damn, that is brave and really important.
I want to say something else about that, too, that you have the right to ask more questions, if you need to. Don’t think that you just need to be over this because it is profound and deep. You might want to ask those hard questions like, “Are you saying that you are just not looking for a relationship at this point in your life? Or are you saying that you don’t have those kinds of feelings toward me or that kind of attraction?” That’s an important question.
That’s one to understand and to know. And any other questions that you need to ask or things that you need to share. It’s not going to be easy for either of you, but the more you do that, the less you will suppress your needs. The more chances that this friendship can survive.
Finally, I want to honor the grief here and the kind of openhearted sadness because you have done the work of opening your heart. That grief is hard won and beautiful, it’s a sign of progress. And my guess is, in the future, you’re not really going to be open to anybody who doesn’t have that quality of presentness, availability, friendshipness, as well as your attraction to them, as well as their availability.
You’re just probably not going to do that again because you know this piece of the blend that’s missing. So we wish you luck, and if you ever want to report back, feel free to do that.
Next is a question from Jenna.
The Perfect Timing
Jenna: Hi Ken. My name is Jenna. My question for you is about pace. If it’s someone that I’m into and they seem interesting and into me, they are kind and possess the attractions that I should be attracted to and I’m being my authentic self, where does pace come into it?
Ken: Thank you Jenna. This is a really rich subject. The subject of pacing. Pacing is such a big deal. Pacing is so deeply about authenticity and finding our own authenticity. All of us have such richly different languages of pacing. When we need to go slow, when we need space, when we’re thrilled and excited and we want to dive ahead and take a risk and connect and go deeper.
When we want to have sex, when we don’t want to have sex, when we want to have gentle sex, when we want to have wild sex. When we want to hold hands, how we want to hold hands. The speed at which connection happens, the speed at which you meet each other’s families. There’s so many issues of pacing, and each of us has our own language. So it’s really important to listen to each other’s pacing.
There are some general thoughts that I want to share. The first and major one is the depth and richness of the issue of pacing, and how it’s as important for us to tune in and think, how slow do I want to go? How fast do I want to go? How am I afraid? How am I thrilled and excited? How am I greedy and wanting more? How am I insecure and kind of in a clutchy place because I need reassurance? There are so many questions about pacing and it’s just a rich thing.
Don’t Have Sex… Yet!
There’s a wonderful poem that goes something like,
“There’s so much to still be done. We have not yet found clothes that fit like the wind, or shoes that fit like the sand.”
I don’t remember the exact words, but the essence of that poem is saying that we need to grow in our ability to create containers and space for being who we are, and to give our loved ones the same.
So this all, by the way, sounds great. You described all of the attributes or many of the attributes of an attraction, of inspiration that’s mutual. So three cheers for that. It’s fabulous. One thing I would say is don’t have sex too quickly as a general rule. Because sex without the attendant sense of safety, and intimacy, and growth, and connection is like miracle growth for our fear of love.
Here’s what happens, we have sex too early, and I’m not saying this is always true because so many relationships begin with wild sex and continue just great. But I think in general it’s true. So what happens is if we have sex too early, we would usually kind of in response to that, either get needy or want to get the hell out of Dodge. That happens for many of us really often. We have sex too early, and it feels like a message of love. Our genitals are involved, our heart is involved, our soul is involved, and we’ve already passed the courting stages.
Developing the Spark of Potential Intimacy
And those courting stages are so important. In that courting stage, which is so rich and so important, we develop the spark of potential intimacy. And I want to read something that I wrote in my book, Deeper Dating: How to Drop the Games of Seduction and Discover the Power of Intimacy.
When you build muscle through exercise, your body creates new capillaries to feed that muscle. When you create new love, something similar happens, new neural pathways, emotional pathways, new rituals, and sense memories, and needs get created. As you start to care more deeply about someone, invisible tendrils begin to grow in your thinking, in your sexual imaginings and longings, in your growing sense of dependence and connection to that person. Your psyche, your sexuality, and your heart begin to create attachment to that person to make him, her, or they your own. You become specialized in that person in so many ways.
So that’s what happens in courting. The feelings grow closer and closer while the primitive fears reduce more and more. As you get to know the person, experience a sense of safety, and have the chemistry build. So in that way, I encourage a little more slowness. But I want to say something else too. If you are excited about this person, really excited, and you suppress that excitement, you will be dampening the beauty of the potential. You don’t want to overwhelm that person. You do not want to turn it into needs and demands.
But if you’re thrilled about someone for good reason, you could tell them what you care about, about them, what you’re excited about, about them. And in fact, the research shows that …
Playing hard to get is not an effective way to build healthy love. What is, is to let somebody know.
Kind of like, you’ve been maybe around the block, you know what you’re looking for, and you know that there are people out there that have it, and this is someone who has it. That what you’ve been looking for are qualities this person has. That’s an aphrodisiac. And there’s been solid research on that as well. So don’t squeeze down your excitement because if you do, it’s going to turn into either numbness, coldness, or neediness.
So give yourself room for the joy, the excitement, the delight of having found somebody that’s wonderful. In sex, and in dating, find your pacing. This act of thinking, what’s the pacing that feels right for me is a holy act. It’s a fabulous act, and it dignifies your nature, your personality, and everything about you.
So if you can let go of all of the things that tell you this is what it’s supposed to look like, and you kind of find your innate pacing, and also help your partner do that, and notice your partner’s innate pacing, you will be deepening this bond in rich and wonderful ways.
So our next question is from Soraia.
Revealing Our Deepest Gifts
Soraia: Hi. It’s me again, Soraia. So the second guiding insight I had recently, that was really powerful, was, I’m taking tango classes at the moment because it’s just a passion that I found one year ago, and it’s just changing me. It’s helping me on so many different levels. I’ve been feeling quite lost for the past two years after I broke up with my relationship. I just want to start dating again, see people again, but nothing has happened for two years, and I sometimes feel very lonely.
So it’s a kind of, I’ve been a bit lost. One of these days, I left my tango class and my tango teacher was going to the tube with me, and we started talking. At some point, the tango teacher just said something about me. How he felt, how he saw me as as a human being, as a person. And that was the most powerful experience that I’ve encountered recently. He told me that he felt that I was very cheerful and smiley and have amazing, very powerful attitude, always supporting people, having very positive energy.
He said, he felt that I was a very intense person. That the passion I put into tango, I put in everything in my life. And I have to say that I was crying when he said this, because for so many years, people tried to put my volume down. And by reading your book and looking at the core gifts, I found that intensity and passion is one of my core signatures, everyone that knows me, knows that I’m like that.
Our Deepest Insecurity Reveal Our Deepest Gifts
Soraia: For so many years, everyone‘s telling me to put my volume down or my intensity down. My ex-boyfriend, my ex-partners, my family, my friends. And then suddenly there’s someone saying, “No. That intensity, that passion is one of your beauties and you shouldn’t. You should treasure it, you should just honor it and do something really beautiful with it. Because that’s who you are and that’s how people love to be around you.”
This suddenly really changes me and now I am just trying. I mean, a moment in life. This happened like last week. I want to find ways to rescue that person that I am. And I felt really lost in the past two years, but I’m trying to meet myself again and cherish that kind of core gift that is so important for me, and that really is who I am.
So thank you so much. I just wanted to tell you this guiding insight that was really amazing. Thank you.
Ken: Thank you, Soraia. That’s really just wonderful, and thank you so much for sharing that with us. I want to talk about guiding insights because I’m not sure everybody knows about what guiding insights are. They’re an important part of the journey for anyone who wants to turn their search for love into a wisdom adventure.
I’ve got a lot to say about what Soraia said because it captures the fact that …
Our points of deepest insecurity, reveal our deepest gifts.
It’s a rich, rich, and important part of all of this work. So I’m excited to share both those pieces with you. Soraia shared two different questions. The first was she shared an experience actually with guiding insights. So guiding insights are those moments of intuition and clarity.
Marching Orders from the Soul
In our intimacy journey, there are moments when life just takes us, they’re like marching orders from the soul. And we can cultivate our own guiding insights. We can make it happen. We can tune into our guiding insights. Certainly, those precious moments that we get our guiding insights, what we can follow those marching orders. I speak a lot about this in episode 24, which is all about guiding insights and how to find them, how to use them, and the value, the power, and the beauty of them.
So Soraia’s second guiding insight is one that she speaks about here in this question. Soraia, what you shared is really beautiful and one of the deepest and most amazing insights that I have ever experienced in my decades of work as a psychotherapist.
The most precious of all is that the places where we are the most insecure, the most unsure of ourselves, the most kind of embarrassed or awkward about who we are, are the places of our deepest gifts. What I call our core gifts. We often think we need to hide those parts in order to find love, but the truth is that they are the bullet train to finding and living love.
Soraia spoke about one of her attributes which is intensity. And often our core gifts are gifts of sensitivity, where we feel so tender, too soft or vulnerable for the world. Our gifts of intensity where our truth telling feels too intense, our generosity feels too intense, our passion for living feels too intense. People take advantage of us with these qualities. Also, the world often doesn’t understand them. People neglect them, ignore them, don’t know how to treasure them.
Discovering and Understanding Your Core Gifts
Soraia has not had the experience until recently of people saying, “That is what I love best about you.” And in my book, Deeper Dating, and in my workshops and intensives, the hugest piece of this entire journey is the discovery of those core gifts, both through the things that feed our heart the most and the things that hurt our heart the most. And actually if you go to deeperdatingpodcast.com, what you can receive is the first two chapters of my book Deeper Dating. And in those first two chapters, you actually learn a process of how to discover your own core gifts. So that might be something that you want to do.
But the other piece about our core gifts, for example, this quality of passion and intensity. When we are not taught how to see these parts of ourselves as gifts, we tend to do one of two things. We either suppress these parts of ourselves or when they get suppressed too often and we’re just kind of too pissed off, we act out these qualities. We don’t know how to temper them because we haven’t learned how to see them as our deepest gifts. And so we don’t know how to cultivate them and help them grow up. And often we have a lot of car crashes around our core gifts. So we think that we need to push them away, but we cannot push them away because they are central to our being.
And I want to say to everyone who’s listening, if you think about tender, and important parts of you that you feel have not been understood in your life, have not been honored, have left you feeling like an outsider. Those qualities are some of the most central qualities of your being.
How the Field Shifts
And when you learn how to honor them and dignify them, name them, and cherish them, your intimacy life will change. And amazingly, you will find yourself meeting people who treasure these qualities instead of either denigrating them, taking advantage of them, or just missing the point completely.
And Soraia your experience of having this happen with your tango teacher is an example of how the field shifts when we begin to honor and treasure those parts of ourselves. So you can ask yourself, every time you say, “Oh, I’m just being too sensitive.” Shift that question to, “How might there be a core gift of profound sensitivity here?” Every time you might think, “I’m too much, I’m too intense.” You could instead think like, “what is my kind of genius here? What is this unique quality of passion that may be a lot of people in the world don’t understand?” And then what you’ll begin to do is look for people who do not deprive those gifts of oxygen, but enjoy them, honor them and respect them.
And as you find those people, and as you learn to claim these core gifts in yourself, your world changes. It’s an amazing thing. The parts of ourselves that we think we need to hide hold the most beautiful parts of our being. And when we try to suppress them, it’s actually an act of quiet violence against our nature, against our being.
The Wiser Journey To Love
So there’s something really rich here and really revolutionary, which is the parts of ourselves we’re the most timid to reveal hold our most powerful and rich attributes, which I call core gifts. So thank you Soraia so much for sharing that story. And also talking about guiding insights. Because for you, there was a guiding insight here, which is that this part of you is a treasure, and you do get to embrace it, and it does hold your genius.
Now, that does not mean that we don’t need to grow these qualities. Because our deepest immaturities surround our greatest gifts because we’ve never been taught how to raise them up into full adulthood and maturity. That can only happen though when they are essentially honored, dignified, and cherished. That’s the wiser journey to love and it changes everything.
So, thank you all for listening to this episode, and I look forward to seeing you next week. And once again, if you’d like what you heard, please, it would be so appreciated if you subscribe and leave a review on Apple Podcasts or elsewhere. See you soon and thank you so much.
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