Tips for Couples to Achieve a Long-Lasting Intimate Relationship

“We come to love not by finding a perfect person, but by learning to see an imperfect person perfectly.” -~Sam Keen

Before I married my wonderful husband, I dated a lot of men. For most of my 20s (and even my early 30s) I had a perfect fairy-ideal of what romantic love was, probably because I was an actress and loved drama back then.

It took years for me to realize a relationship is not a romance movie.

At some point in our lives, we may believe that love should be like the kind of romance we see portrayed in films, television, and novels.

For some reason, I always thought my romantic relationships were less if I did not experience this kind of fairy-tale relationship. Maybe this is why I kept meeting frogs.

At times, I bought into the belief that if I had a relationship with the perfect prince, then all would be well in my life. I thought, Now, I will be safe forever.

In truth, I did marry a prince—but a prince who is also human, who has faults and issues just like every person, no matter how wonderful he is.

At some point I grew up and learned to let go of the crazy metaphor of romantic love in order to find true happiness. Yes, I was disappointed to realize that the knight riding through the night to save the damsel in distress is a fallacy. It’s a bummer.

But, let’s look at it in this light: We all saw Romeo and Juliet and Titanic. Why stories like these make our hearts sing is that the love is unrequited. Unavailability fuels the romantic expression.

This kind of romantic story can only work when there is an absence of the lover. Sometimes, they have to die in the end in order for their love to fit into this romantic view. Or, we eat handfuls of popcorn, waiting to see if they live happily ever after, and we rarely find out if they really do.

The romantic love fantasy is really a substitute for intimacy—real, connected, vulnerable intimacy.

So then, how do we make relationships work and stay happy?

We begin with the understanding of what pure love is, and then redefine and update the romantic fairytale into a healthier type of love.

Here are 10 ways to create true intimacy, find pure love, and be truly happy in your relationship:

1. Use relationships to teach you how to be whole within.

Relationships aren’t about having another person complete you, but coming to the relationship whole and sharing your life interdependently. By letting go of the romantic ideal of merging and becoming “one,” you learn as Rainer Maria Rilke says, to love the distances in relationship as much as the togetherness.

2. See your partner for who he or she really is.

The romantic tragedy occurs when you view the person you are in love with as a symbol of what they have come to represent, the idea of them. When you realize that more often than not you don’t really know your partner, you begin to discover who they are and how they change and evolve.

3. Be willing to learn from each other.

The key is to see the other as a mirror and learn from the reflection how you can be a better person. When you feel upset, rather than blame your partner and point fingers, remain awake to what has yet to be healed in yourself.

4. Get comfortable being alone.

In order to accept that love can’t rescue you from being alone, learn to spend time being with yourself. By feeling safe and secure to be on your own within the framework of relationship, you will feel more complete, happy, and whole.

5. Look closely at why a fight may begin.

Some couples create separateness by fighting and then making up over and over again. This allows you to continue the romantic trance, creating drama and avoiding real intimacy. If you become aware of what you fear about intimacy, you’ll have a better sense of why you’re fighting—and likely will fight far less.

6. Own who you are.

We generally grasp at romantic love because we’re yearning for something that is out of reach, something in another person that we don’t think we possess in ourselves. Unfortunately, when we finally get love, we discover that we didn’t get what we were looking for.

True love only exists by loving yourself first. You can only get from another person what you’re willing to give yourself.

7. Embrace ordinariness.

After the fairy-dust start of a relationship ends, we discover ordinariness, and we often do everything we can to avoid it. The trick is to see that ordinariness can become the real “juice” of intimacy. The day-to-day loveliness of sharing life with a partner can, and does, become extraordinary.

8. Expand your heart.

One thing that unites us is that we all long to be happy. This happiness usually includes the desire to be close to someone in a loving way. To create real intimacy, get in touch with the spaciousness of your heart and bring awareness to what is good within you.

It’s easier to recognize the good in your partner when you’re connected to the good in yourself.

9. Focus on giving love.

Genuine happiness is not about feeling good about ourselves because other people love us; it’s more about how well we have loved ourselves and others. The unintentional outcome of loving others more deeply is that we are loved more deeply.

10. Let go of expectations.

You may look to things such as romance and constant togetherness to fill a void in yourself. This will immediately cause suffering. If you unconsciously expect to receive love in certain ways to avoid giving that love to yourself, you put your sense of security in someone else.

Draw upon your own inner-resources to offer love, attention, and nurturance to yourself when you need it. Then you can let love come to you instead of putting expectations on what it needs to look like.

These are only a few ways to explore real intimacy. How do you create a loving connection in your relationship?

Curated by Erbe
Original Article

Where to Find the Ultimate Man-Who Owns Their Stuff

Sexy Conscious Awake MEN: Who We Are, What We Want and Need From Women

Do you ever wonder if the kind of man you dream about actually exists or if he’s a figment of your imagination?

For those of you who have never met him, of course you do!


Modern men have made the men in romance novels and fairy tales look like urban legends.

Most men, strongly, believe that women want men to be more like women, while most women cringe at the idea of dating a man that acts like the female in the relationship.

Truth be told: most women think they want the Ultimate Man.

A man who can protect and provide. A man who is masculine but not macho, open, confidant, humorous, amazing in bed, great at fixing shit, thoughtful, respectful and loving.

It’s as if the Ultimate Man is the answer to most women’s dissatisfaction with dating fragmented men. (Men who have pieces of what women want and a whole hell of a lot of what women don’t want).

If it’s true that most women are looking for the Ultimate Man, where the fuck are these amazing men?

Do they actually exist? Are they who we want them to be or think they are? Or are most women living in la-la land about what is and isn’t real?

Where Are The Men You Are Looking For and Who Are They?

The kind of men most women are looking for are the stuff of fantasies.

Let’s face it, even the most amazing men are flawed. All men, no matter how evolved: fart, burp, stink, have bad breath at times, forget shit, don’t know how to read minds, and will get old and have saggy balls one day.

For all you ladies looking for Edward Cullen or Christian Grey, vegetarian vampires don’t exist, and bondage is way sexier in fiction.

At some point women need to step away from the fantasy of men and come back down to reality where the real men you are looking for exist.

The kind of men you are looking for are: Sexy-Consciously Awake Men.


Sexy-Consciously Awake Men can grow lasting and healthy relationships with women.

These men stand out from the rest in two very key ways:

  1. Their great capacity to LOVE women for all that they are;
  2. Their level of personal accountability (they own their shit, they are capable and they show up).

Consciously Awake Men aren’t concerned with titles, labels, or ways people define them. They know who they are. They live for the truth. They live in certainty and can navigate the unknown with a sense of curiosity instead of fear. They make decisions from clarity. They’re self-assured, confident, and don’t need to protect their image.Their actions speak for themselves.

“What you feel at the core of a conscious man is that he’s found something worth fighting for, even dying for. He has faced death – death to self, death to desire and death to all forms of ego gratification. The paradox is that losing his fear of death is what creates a man’s ability to be completely open to love.” Graham R White

We can practically hear you ladies shouting: “yes, Yes, YES!”

Of course you are looking for this kind of man. We don’t want to burst your bubble, but we also don’t want to lie to you. So, while the thought of being with a man that has a deep love for women might make you reminiscent of Prince Charming, Consciously Awake Men are not your knights in shining armor. And they’re definitely not coming to save you. They won’t hunt you down and chase you to prove something to you. This is not to say they won’t try. Men like this will put in more effort than you have ever known, but you have to reciprocate or else what is the point?

These men are not interested in offering a princess a fairy tale. These men are waiting for their Queen to appear so that they can welcome her into their kingdom. Do you feel the difference?

These men want an equal-not a girl who needs saving.

It’s because of this that life with one of these men forces you to grow in ways you never knew you could. These men are MIRRORS. They won’t take on what isn’t theirs. This means your insecurities and trust issues are yours, not his. He’s different in that he won’t run away. He’ll hold space for you. He’ll dive into the fire with you. He’s not scared. But you can’t be either. Or you won’t last.

Dealing with your shit, confronting your shadows, your suffering, your fears, your pain; that’s no small task, BUT HE’S DEALT WITH HIS AND WILL CHOOSE A WOMAN WHO’S DEALT WITH HERS.

But it’s the only way we-as humans-will ever fully experience the magnificence of unconditional love.

So, ladies, if you want a man of this caliber you’d better put on your mud wrestling suit, darling. Things are gonna get dirty.

What Do Sexy-Consciously Awake Men Want From Women?



Consciously Awake men want women who, first and foremost, know themselves. These women are drop dead sexy. It doesn’t matter if they’re dramatic or high maintenance.

The Consciously Awake MAN loves women for all that they are. He rides the waves of emotion, loving it. But these same men cannot and will not be with women whose first inclination is to seek out a man and hide behind him. They don’t want to fill your emotional gaps. They’ll walk away. The Consciously Awake Man doesn’t seek relationships to hide out or to lose himself in. He looks for a relationship to connect on the most intimate levels imaginable. He looks for a relationship to take him to places he can’t go on his own.

“Sexy-Consciously Awake Men are everywhere, most of you just can’t see us. We are mirrors. Without full acceptance of who you are, as you are, in your entirety, you will never see us. In the reflection we provide you will see yourself fully. In order to see us you must be able to see beyond yourself and your emotions. If you feel good, we’ll amplify that and if you feel bad, our presence will amplify that too. If you can’t embrace that and thank us for it you’re not ready to have us in your life. We hold the entire planet in our hearts and that means that we can handle you and your emotions, the question is can you?” Paul Cooper


In other words, to be with a Sexy-Consciously Awake Men you MUST:

1) Love yourself. Fully. Completely. Unequivocally.

(Meaning, don’t try so hard to be someone you are not. Everyone is imperfect and flawed, but you are one of a kind, and what you have to offer no one else does. If you don’t love every square inch of you, how can you ever expect someone to love all of you, if you don’t?)

2) True love requires you to know your worth. Insecurities are fine. Own them. Making your problems about your man is unhealthy. You cannot stand in your love if you are sinking in fear.

(Meaning, don’t project your bullshit. Own your experience and stop looking to someone else when you don’t want to take responsibility.)

3) Loneliness is not a good start to getting into a relationship. You need to be a 100% YES (do you hear us, not a partial yes, 100%) on your own. A 100% YES doesn’t mean “happily ever after with 2.2 kids and a white picket fence.” In other words: This relationship serves my highest good. This relationship facilitates my growth. This relationship is built on trust and respect, not dysfunction and co-dependency.

(Meaning, relationship is about evolving and growing. It is about staying present and engaged. If you need someone to be something for you, you are in relationship to escape accountability and that house of cards will come crashing down. There’s nothing worse than your reality dismantling, because your relationship is an illusion.)

Who Are The Kind of Women Sexy-Consciously Awake Men Desire?



There are women an Evolved man simply passes over. There are women who he engages, maybe for the night. There are women he connects with for a season, and then there is one remarkable woman that he chooses who is ideally suited to him for the journey.

~The Woman He Passes Over:

  1. She lies to avoid being embarrassed.
  2. She creates drama rather than owning her own truth.
  3. She uses deception and plays games.
  4. She’s negative, jealous and petty.
  5. She makes life up because she’s not proud of who she is.
  6. She projects her fear and issues onto everyone else.
  7. She attacks when she’s feeling vulnerable or unloved.
  8. Her need to ‘know’ outweighs his right to privacy.
  9. Her position changes depending on the argument.
  10. She’s looking to be rescued but won’t save herself.

~The Woman He Engages For An Evening:

  1. She keeps her attitude in check, unless someone provokes her.
  2. She looks after herself, except when it’s inconvenient.
  3. She’s close to family and friends, but they’re a lot of drama.
  4. She has high standards for a man – higher than for herself.
  5. She’s a whole lot of fun – but very little substance.
  6. She’ll drop everything to help a friend – and expect a man to drop everything for her.
  7. She willingly takes him into her body, but her heart is closed.
  8. She’s a woman who has enjoyed the world – but knows very little about it.
  9. She knows there’s something deeper, but hasn’t pursued it.
  10. She wants to know she makes a difference, but she’s afraid to make a change.

~The Women He Takes For A Season:

  1. She knows what she wants, and she’s making it happen.
  2. She’s responsible for herself and any children she has.
  3. She’s made a commitment to look after herself and it shows.
  4. She’s close to family, except the dramatic ones who she avoids.
  5. She has high standards for herself, her friends and men.
  6. She has good friends who support her and also give her space.
  7. Her body and her heart are ready to meet his.
  8. Her life demonstrates she’s aware she’s part of something larger.
  9. She takes on life with purpose and intention.
  10. Who she is makes a difference and people tell her so.

~The Women He Partners With For The Journey:

  1. Her standards are clear and she refuses to settle.
  2. Her family, friends and community turn to her for wisdom.
  3. She makes looking put together effortless, even if she’s busy.
  4. She sets clear boundaries and not even family will cross them.
  5. She is the standard that others look to for inspiration.
  6. She has the kind of friends that few have intimate access to.
  7. Her body, heart and soul are open to exquisite partnership.
  8. She has taken on the responsibility of leadership.
  9. Her purpose is clear and her intention creates ripples of change.
  10. Who she is creates an ideal synergy in partnership with one very particular magnificent man.

Graham R White

Women: If you REALLY want to know what MEN want from you, you need to take a seriously long look at the things men reflect to you, because you are the one sabotaging your love and the only way you are going to get the kind of man you think you want is if you literally understand why you behave like this and then STOP doing the things that keep men like this from you.

What Sexy Consciously Awake Men Need to Commit?



When these men are ready to join forces with a woman, they look for women who have integrity. You need to do what you say and say what you do. You need to not be confused about major things in your life and know what you seek. You cannot be the kind of woman that sits on the fence. We want action and passion. We refuse to collect cobwebs waiting around for life to make your decisions for you.

Being Consciously Awake means practicing self-awareness, keeping high standards for yourself and for your life, and playing in the fires of your soul. When we do that, as men and women, we want our partners to be on the same path. Otherwise, we end up being a therapist for our partners, missing out on the deeply balanced emotional connection we crave from our significant other. And as far as men are concerned, we get it, ladies. You want and crave a remarkable man. But we want to know, are you the type of woman a remarkable man is looking for?

So, Women, If You Are The Kind Of Woman Who Is Looking For A Man To:

  1. Save you
  2. Rescue you from being alone, so you can hide out in relationship
  3. Give you everything in life without you having to work for it
  4. Looking for a fairy tale
  5. Make you feel better about yourself than you actually feel about yourself

If any of these ring true—then you are not looking for a remarkable man. Frankly, you don’t deserve him. But-more than anything-you’re trying to ESCAPE. And as long as you are trying to escape the responsibility you have for your own emotional well-being, and happiness, you will find disappointment in men at every turn.

If you’re looking for a Sexy-Consciously Awake Man to be your true love, the power lies in your hands. You may want to give away that power. These men want you to own your power. Seriously. STOP giving away your power, women. You have the power to create KINGS in men.

What does this look like in action?

It means you stop lying to men and yourselves. If you feel something, feel it and speak your truth. Don’t hide. Don’t run. Allow yourself to be uncomfortable, knowing you can grow. Don’t allow our bullshit to disconnect you from what you know to be true in your heart. Don’t be afraid for the relationship to end.

Remember: live in reality and cut the bullshit. Allowing yourself to succumb to fear kills your hopes, dreams, romances, and possibilities.

Know your worth.

These men will tell you’re beautiful in a way you’ve never known. These men will put their energy into you. You will feel it in their touch, in their presence, and how valued you feel. But this takes you deeper in love with yourself than you already are. These men aren’t here to make you feel worthy. They’re here BECAUSE you’re worthy.

Love these men.

FULLY. Even if it scares the living shit out of you. That means holding us to a higher standard when we aren’t showing up. Call them to be bigger than they are. They need your support. This is also unconditional love.

But it’s met on the other side with a deep respect. Don’t call them out because you want to put them down. Call them out because you want them to be even more magnificent than they already are.

If you can do this for yourself, you’ll have won their hearts.

XO, Sam Hershberger and Kelly Marceau with excerpts from Graham White of (What Evolved Women Want) and Paul Cooper of (IAMPAULCOOPER).

Much love to Graham, Sam and Paul, and all that you contributed to make this article come into existence. It would not be what it is without you. I LOVE and RESPECT all of you.

If some of you ladies read this and you want to find this caliber of man and you don’t know how or you don’t know how to become the kind of women a man like this would want contact me. I can help you bridge the gap.

Note to the reader: I am now providing services for women and men who want to live awakened lives. I am offering this due to the heavy demand of my fan base to go beyond writing into something much deeper. If you feel that you are constantly repeating patterns and never getting exactly what you want from life or your intimate relationships I have formed a team dedicated to showing you the truth of who you are, so you can embody your truth and lead a powerful existence. YOU DO NOT HAVE TIME TO WASTE. YOUR LIFE IS PRECIOUS. Your hopes and dreams matter. My WORK WITH ME page is under construction, so if you want to work with me and the team CLICK THIS LINK for more info on what we do and why. We are here for you, if you are willing to show up for yourself.


Curated by Erbe
Original Article

The Sex Addict

I realize now that all I wanted was a connection.

My name is Amanda, and I am a sex addict.

Or I was, until I had sex with a famous-dude-I-can’t-name-but-let’s-call-him Dustin Shmieber. Millions of girls all over the world would kill to be where I was. You actually don’t have to kill anybody, but there are certain steps you have to take. Legally. It’s for his safety. Or whatever.

Step 1 – You must say “yes, Dustin Shmieber, I will have sex with you,” out loud, in front of a witness, usually his entire crew of security guys.

Step 2 – You must wait until Dustin Shmieber gets in his vehicle and drives away to wherever it is, you guys will be meeting up later.

Step 3 – You must relinquish your cell phone, your wallet, and your ID, and allow a bunch of giant men to search you for any recording devices or weapons.

Step 4 – You are then blindfolded and put in a different car, and driven to an undisclosed and mysterious location. No one tells you where you’re going, or how you’re getting back. And naturally, you, the young, innocent Shmelieber that you are, don’t think this is weird at all.

Step 5 – You’re taken, blindfolded, into the building where Dustin sits and waits somewhere…it’s kind of funny, I just imagine him crouching like Gollum and waiting… and you are told to sign a legally binding contract saying that – if you have an STD, he is not responsible, and if you get pregnant, he is not responsible, and it is your duty to find treatment and/or an abortion at your own expense, he is not responsible, and you cannot contact him in any way whatsoever, because he is not responsible. It gets better. You cannot tell anyone, in public or private, what happened in that room with him, or you will be the responsible one who is sued to death. You have to sign. Then, and ONLY THEN, are you allowed into a room alone with the Shmiebs.

Even I, the frantic sex maniac that I am, should find this a little bizarre.

But this was different. This was Dustin Shmeiber. Adored by millions. Girls wanted him. Boys wanted to be him. I just wanted to be on him. But when I finally got in that room…I saw only that this creature was more alone than me.

My name is Amanda. I don’t like sex as much as I used to.

I realize now that all I wanted was a connection. As fucked up as that situation was, I got what I was searching for. That night, when I looked into his face, I found myself there… and it was heartbreaking. It doesn’t matter who you are. A million adoring fans is worth nothing, if you do not love yourself. Loneliness does not discriminate. In any relationship, sexual or otherwise, you are the one you need most. It’s never too late. Love is power, and it’s all in your hands.

My New Year’s Resolution: Real Human Connection

It’s so much more rewarding to say hello and share a laugh with someone than to beat your last level of Candy Crush.

You know when you’re talking with someone and you zone out for 30 seconds and come back only because you’ve realized she’s stopped talking and you have to say something to acknowledge that you’ve been listening (which you haven’t) and now your only option is to nod, say “mm hm” and pray that you didn’t just call your friend fat or tell her to quit her job or get a divorce? Yeah. That’s the worst. It’s called not being present, and we could all use a lot of work on this, especially in this day and age where people snapchat while they’re on a date.

I live in NYC. I take the subway daily. Often, I look around and observe my fellow commuters, hoping to make eye contact with, or smile at, someone. What I’ve noticed more and more in recent years, is how rarely people actually look up when they’re on the train. It seems people would rather focus their attention on their phones than interact with another human being. I find this incredibly unfortunate, as human connection is such a basic need in life. It’s so much more rewarding to say hello and share a laugh with someone than to beat your last level of Candy Crush.

I’m not sure when it became such an endeavor to engage with other people. I want to say it was around the time that smart phones surfaced, but I know they’re not entirely to blame. Truth be told I think not being present is a bigger issue. It’s a choice that we actively make to disconnect in our daily lives. We are all so very busy. We pile more and more “stuff” on our plates because we think we need to fill every minute of the day with something. We don’t. Constantly multitasking, we’ve convinced ourselves that there’s just not enough time. There is. We text while we drive, email while we walk, and scroll Facebook while we eat. The problem with multitasking is that, as with most things, the more we practice it, the easier it becomes.

Group of four friends laughing out loud outdoor sharing good and positive moodWhat would be the worst thing that would happen if we didn’t look at a text message while in the company of a friend? Or check for new emails at a red light or while working out? The text/email would still be there right? It might go unanswered for an hour, but for that hour we would have been in the moment and enjoyed time with a friend, driven safely, or had a great workout! We might have connected with another person, and fulfilled the basic need of human connection that smartphones simply can’t replace.

Have you ever been on a date with someone who checked his/her phone several times during your conversation? Have you been on a date with someone who didn’t? Who would you prefer to date? When we refrain from looking at our phones, we send a message to the person we’re with, that his/her time is more valuable than our screens, and that’s a pretty great feeling. The guy who chooses to make his date feel more important than his incoming email, will 9 times out of 10 get a second date, and that’s the goal, right?

I once read that you should put your phone down for an hour a day. Whether you silence it or turn it off is up to you, but you can’t touch it for an hour. I also suggest leaving your phone in your purse (or pocket) when you’re having dinner with a friend. Whatever you do, just remember that you never know whose day you might be making by simply saying hello. It’s the safe choice to avoid eye contact and go into zombie mode playing Sudoku. The alternative is so much more rewarding. As with everything else we practice, if we really work on staying in the moment, it’ll become second nature, and we’ll be able to truly connect with people and possibly form a lasting connection; and at the very least, we’ll know just how to respond to our friend when her story ends.

Leaving Behind Drunken Trysts: A Fabulous Single Gal’s Guide Towards Meaningful Connections

2016 really shook me up. It was the last year of my twenties, but by the way I was conducting myself, you would’ve thought it was my last year of life.

Fabulous Single Gal in the City

I was your average twenty-something millennial—I went out (a lot), I drank (a lot), I partied (way too much…way too much). It seemed like every week there was a new guy flavor in my life and that was just part of being a “fabulous single gal in the city” (barf). As a person who lists “actor” under “career title” on her tax returns, I made my own schedule and adhered to no real boss ever. In turn I had no health insurance because caution is for chumps. I was constantly hungover and almost prided myself on being a classic Gen-Y fuckup. “Poor me! But this is my journey, fam! Yolo!”

I turned 30 in October, and my siblings threw me the surprise party to end all surprise parties (I still have one huge helium balloon wandering aimlessly around my apartment ceiling…still). I did what felt like the appropriate amount of drinking and drugs. Woohoo. Fun all around. Honestly, I still think the party was a great time and the hangover seemed worth it.

Drunken Trysts

Underneath all that I was dealing with some inner turmoil—four months earlier I went back into therapy to try to begin the process of curbing my self-sabotaging tendencies. As charming as that looks on “Girls,” it was really starting to take a toll on me. Especially in my love life, which seemed like an endless string of short-lived, drunken, reckless, infatuated trysts with emotionally unavailable men. It was all slowly eating at me, edging me toward certain destruction. My therapist started to subtly point out how the common theme in all of these problems was my drinking habit, to which I said: I’ll never stop drinking. You can’t make me.

I had been making half-assed attempts at cutting back on alcohol since the end of summer, which only resulted in heavier binge drinking on the weekends. At that point my alcohol tolerance was so high that I’d drink to the point of browning out or blacking out, because I didn’t feel that drunk even after four or five drinks. It was normal for me to drink a lot, and drinking was how I connected to people, romantically or otherwise.

Love and Obsession: How to Tell Them Apart and Leave One Behind

I’ve been the target and I’ve been the obsessed and neither of them feel great.

Scenario One: You can’t stop thinking about him.  You go to sleep thinking about him and wake up wondering what he’s doing.  When you wake up, you already have a message from him saying that he can’t stop thinking about you either.

You’re in new love!

Scenario Two: You can’t stop thinking about him.  You go to sleep thinking about him and wake up wondering what he’s doing, and hope you’ll see him soon.  You feel like your connection is so strong, you’ve just got to be together.  You think you’re in love.

You’re not.  You’re obsessed.

Obsession and unrequited love can seem extremely romantic, and are frequently romanticized in works of fiction.  Love stories like The Princess Bride, Pretty in Pink, Edward Scissorhands and The Notebook all have love stories that originate in one-sided obsession. In many films, this single-minded pursuit is rewarded by the return of that love.  In real life, that could happen, but more frequently it does not.

Music is rife with obsession- in Late Night, Maudlin Street, Morrissey (the OG romantic obsessive) says “I could list the detail of everything you ever wore or said or how you stood”- Stevin Merritt’s The Magnetic Fields lets a girl know that he’s just a fan who remembers every dress she ever wore.  Pretty much all Evanescence songs are about obsession or stalking.  Look out for fans of that band.

If you’re not loved back, obsession can lead to unhealthy attachment, stalking, or just profound unhappiness as the obsessed person refuses to let go of the object of attachment, perhaps believing that they have no power to do so, and missing out on other possible partners while they are blinded by their pursuit of one.  In the circular logic of obsession, the obsessed person will sabotage new relationships to self-fulfill their belief that they can only be happy with the object of their obsession.  “SEE, THERE IS NOBODY FOR ME BUT CARLA!”

Real love is much more practical than people think- attraction is magical and capricious, chemical in many ways, but in the day to day, love is something two people make together with words and deeds, because they are attracted to each other and care for each other, and it’s not something you can do with yourself.  Like the tango, it takes two.  If you say to yourself, “If only they knew how much I loved them…” you can stop right there.  You’re not in love, you’re obsessed.

I’m Not Really Obsessed, Am I?

Sometimes the slide from normal crush to unhealthy obsession feels gradual, and you might not even notice- but if you’ve been interested in a person for a while, you’ve made your interest known, and it’s not returned- it’s time to back off and try to leave that idea behind.  You’re not in love, because you don’t really know this person.  You’re imprinting on some traits you like and filling in everything else with information of your own making.  You’re in love with an idea of them, and that person you think you love likely doesn’t exist.

I’ve been the target and I’ve been the obsessed and neither of them feel good.  If you know someone cares for you and you don’t feel the same way, you feel pity and guilt and can feel like a failure for not feeling the same way.  If you’re obsessed with someone who doesn’t care for you, it feels like you’ll never care for anyone else.

A friend of mine was telling me about going to a wedding of a woman he was obsessed with, and how he thought it was important that he go and support the bride, even though it made him want to collapse as he stood in a room of happy people watching her pledge her eternal love for another man.  He spoke about his feelings for her, the length and depth and passion of those feelings, and it would be easy to assume that she was an ex lover, but they had never been anything more than friends.  This didn’t keep him from feeling betrayed, from being miserable, and from cutting other dating pursuits short because they failed to measure up to her, his impossible goal.

OK, I’m Obsessed.  How Do I Get Out?

You might think that you’re stuck obsessing over someone, because they’re perfect for you and WHY DON’T THEY SEE THAT?, but you control your own mind and thoughts and feelings.  You do!  You can let go of obsessive thoughts and feelings and make healthier choices.  Try the following:

  1. Distance yourself from the object of your obsession, don’t go to places you know they are, don’t stop by their coffeeshop, etc. etc. If you’ve been stalking them on Facebook (which is sort of like an obsession machine in of itself), consider hiding or blocking them until you feel more clarity.
  2. Don’t feed your obsessive thoughts.

Humans love being sad, or feeling sorry for ourselves- it is pleasurable to scratch that itch that makes us miserable.  We also love being in love, and sometimes obsessive thoughts can feel like that, you can get a little shot of endorphin thinking about them. What if you see them today? Will they pursue you?  Etc.  But you do control your thoughts.  Your thoughts are made by you.  When you start thinking about the object of your obsession, try to let it go.  Replace it.  Have a thought or phrase handy ready to replace it, like a mantra.  It can be something or nothing, it can be a nonsense phrase- just have something ready to reset your unhealthy thought cycle.

  1. Distract yourself- with a new hobby, book, or activity.  Go to the gym and concentrate on yourself.  Don’t let idle thoughts go to the person.

Think of this as practicing good mental hygiene, keeping your brain clear- you’ll be amazed at how quickly you retrain your brain to stop dwelling on one person- and one day you’ll see them at the Trader Joe’s and be surprised at how ordinary and non-magical they seem!  You’ll be more open to meeting people who like you back, and whom you can find something real with.