<![CDATA[Maze of Love - Maze of Love Blog]]>Thu, 23 Apr 2020 09:40:18 -0400Weebly<![CDATA[Rethinking Chivalry]]>Mon, 28 Jan 2019 18:14:51 GMThttp://mazeoflove.com/maze-of-love-blog/rethinking-chivalry
Some have suggested that we are in a bit of a conundrum when it comes to chivalry in the age of #MeToo, #TimesUp and the broader feminist movements that are going on in the world. 
Some of these same people believe that women have become so independent and demanding of equality that men wanting or trying to do chivalrous things is near impossible. From their lens, women will shoot down any attempt at someone holding the door for them, offering to pay for dinner, or anything of the sort. Such statements are little more than generalizations. There are some women who completely poo-poo chivalry just as there are some men who are only chivalrous because they believe that they will get something (read: sex) out of it.  

Fact: Most women want equal and authentic relationships.
Fact: Equal relationships can existed side-by-side with chivalry.  
Fact: When true chivalry exists, it is not a mere act (holding the door open, etc.).

True chivalry includes the actions and attitudes that occur before and after the act. This is where women can sometimes be skeptical and therefore bothered by chivalry. Say, for instance, a guy offers to pay for the meal of a woman he is on a date with and she declines because he has eluded to wanting to spend the night with her prior to making said offer. Let's also add in the detail that this is their first date and she has no interest in going home with him or any man on a first date. She may decline his offer to pay and walk away from the date loving and longing for chivalry. Meanwhile, he's talking to his friends about how he is fed up with trying to be chivalrous with unappreciative women.

I remember growing up, one of my favorite quotes was 'practice random kindness and senseless acts of beauty'. When true chivalry exists, it is random and senseless in the most beautiful of ways. You don't do a chivalrous act in anticipation of getting something in return. You do it because you feel in your bones that it is right, you feel good about doing it, and, most importantly, the person you extend it to is comfortable with you doing it. To the latter, people should practice empathy when trying to understand why someone else may not be as accepting of a chivalrous act. For instance: 
  1. Have they been burned by seemingly nice acts that came with hefty price tags? They may be skeptical of chivalrous acts. 
  2. Have they been trying to be taken seriously in other aspects of their life (job, local community) only to have their gender and everything that comes with it (chivalry, for instance) pose a problem? They may be over correcting by rejecting chivalry.  
  3. Are they grappling with who they are and what that means both as their individual self and as part of the overall women's identity movement? They may be exploring what chivalry means to them. 

The alternative to being empathic is to stop chivalry altogether or judge women who may question it. Like every other literal thing in our world, chivalry may need to evolve and they who bring it for the right reasons will have no problem evolving with it. If some women find that having a door opened for them is disrespectful, rather than judge their thoughts, a confident and evolved person will listen to understand the concern and find other ways to give. This is emotional intimacy. This is being present with the very people we want to know, to cherish, and to spend our time with. 

Chivalry is only dead if it was born out of sexism and a desire to use it as leverage for men getting what they want. Otherwise, it is a beautiful that will grow from love and understand with the rest of the beautiful people in our beautiful world. 

<![CDATA[I Can't Make Anyone Love You]]>Fri, 18 Jan 2019 01:56:10 GMThttp://mazeoflove.com/maze-of-love-blog/i-cant-make-anyone-love-you
The Thought Catalog published an article titled "How To Use Psychology To Make Someone Fall In Love With You Again Post Breakup". As you ponder such a headline, I'll give you one from the long distinguished media group known as Time magazine. Theirs is titled "How to Make Someone Fall In Love With You". As a long-standing relationship coach, I don't know what bothers me more: Media outlets publishing
irresponsible fodder or people falling for it out of desperation or ignorance. Either way, I need you to understand that I cannot make someone love you, though I am often asked.

Imagine someone who was dating or married to their now ex for several years and whose entire span of happiness rests on whether they can get back with them. And so they think.
  • Would it be responsible for me to help them figure out how to make their ex love them again?
  • What if their ex will only love them again if they are willing to be someone they are not?
  • What if their ex will only love them again if they are willing to tolerate things like abuse and cheating?
  • What if the hope they have for rekindling with their ex makes them someone who they are not? 
  • How much time are they wasting by focusing on something that will never truly happen, and what opportunities are they losing along the way?  
What should I do in this situation? What would you do in this situation?

Imagine another situation between two people who have never dated because only one of the two is interested. If the interested one has put themselves out there and tried every little thing they could think of to make the other person love them, should I intervene? Would it matter if I did? In the Bonnie Raitt song "I Can't Make You Love Me", I can feel the heartache when she sings the line "you can't make your heart, feel something it won't". Not only is it powerful, it is also true. A disinterested person has their reasons and whatever they are, they cannot make their heart feel something it doesn't feel.

This true, if sometimes heartbreaking reality, brings me to another relationship mantra I dwell on. People are not shallow simply because they don't find someone attractive. We cannot invent chemistry. We cannot will ourselves to be attracted to someone if they simply don't meet our physical, intellectual, or emotional needs. 

So no, I can't make you love me no matter how hard I try or how much you're willing to pay me. Even if I had a magic love potion that only the relationship coaching god's had access to, I would not help you make someone love you. You would be cheating your pride, your integrity, and your self-confidence all the way to fake love. We all deserve and should want equal and authentic love and there is nothing authentic about a love that does not come from two consenting, willful, and mutually happy people. 

When you see the headline or hear the words that someone can make someone love you, turn and run the other way. 
<![CDATA[Don't Read My Mind, Read My Heart]]>Tue, 15 Jan 2019 02:20:32 GMThttp://mazeoflove.com/maze-of-love-blog/dont-read-my-mind-read-my-heart
I have long heard people say something to the effect of, "just talk to me, I can't read your mind". They generally say this out of frustration to their partner who is similarly frustrated with them for being out of touch. Are they? Or, is it true that we cannot read our partners mind and thus they have no right to be frustrated with us? 
This is one of those questions that has a 'yes' followed by a 'but'.
Fact: We cannot read our partners mind.
Fact: If our partner is expecting us to read their mind, their expectations are unrealistic. 
Fact: Despite the two aforementioned facts, there is an important phenomena in successful relationships called awareness.

John and Janine are at the store and she has picked up the same sweater three times because she really likes it. If you look closer, she's looked at the price tag before shaking her head and putting it back on the rack. Three weeks later, it's her birthday and as she begins unwrapping a gift from John, he says "if you don't like it, I kept the receipt. I just didn't know what to get you." Janine is frustrated. John, at that moment in time in the store, was not very aware. 

Mark has been acting out of the ordinary for three weeks now. He is less talkative and a lot less active than normal. What's more, he has been spending a noticeable amount of time looking at job sites. But noticeable to who? Erin gets home work later than Mark and she goes right from the door to her home office to respond to e-mails before taking her nightly soak in the tub. One night, Mark is triggered by something Erin says and they fight. Erin wants to know what has changed all of a sudden. Mark is asking himself, "where have you been?"

Awareness is key. We do not want our partners to read our mind, we want them to read our heart. To wake up to how we feel. To know when our mood has changed. To be mindful about what we like and what annoys us. This is what relationship are supposed to be about. I often talk to clients about the intimacy PIE (Physical, Intellectual, and Emotional) and the importance of having healthy doses of all three. While the physical is often the most exposed and discussed aspect of relationships, it is the emotional connection that makes or breaks them. 

Find your emotional connection with your partner. If you are convinced you have one, look deeper. Search their heart and search their soul. If you have a strong relationship, you can do this while you are on the phone with them or even when texting with them. Allison Kraus sang the indelible song lyrics 'you say it best when you say nothing at all'. This is so true. What can you tell about your partner when they are not talking and yet still emoting. People emote all of the time. Even you.