Archives for the month of: March, 2012

It is essential for couples and would-be couples to establish safe ground for the relationship to thrive and this is done through building trust, affirming each other, investing enough time for each other for the relationship to blossom, and keeping agreements.

It is important that communication be unambiguous (read as: no mind games). When we try to employ tactics to test the other instead of being up front and engaging in discussion, this might eventually backfire on us when our partner gets exhausted with trying to figure us out.

Inasmuch as we need assurance in order to move forward and escalate our involvement with the other, we must understand that the other may need the same assurance too–this is assuming that the feelings are mutual.

As adults, all carry our inherent vulnerabilities and emotional injuries into the interaction and we would naturally be extremely hesitant to expose our vulnerabilities andante be honest about what we need or want for whatever reason. It is only by knowing that one is in an emotional sanctuary that we would even think about letting our guards down and opening up.

The first step in moving towards this direction is endeavouring to be transparent with each other about our hopes and requirements for the potential or current relationship, more importantly the needs which we feel have not been met by the partner. It is not to say that we should take every vaunted feeling in this conversation as gospel truth since these are, at best, our personal truths and at worst, biased opinions.

We must keep an open mind–enough for the partner to respond and share their truths and perspectives without feeling defensive and without becoming accusatory or antagonistic.

Safe ground is not a sterile passive place where it becomes by default ‘safe’ because nothing is happening and both people are so polite to each other and adverse to conflict that nothing gets brought out to the open and discussed. Furthermore, the emotional safe ground is not considered safe by virtue of an absence of emotions but rather characterised by a welcoming attitude to possibly messy emotions. It is where both people can bring up their most awkward sentiments and not feel contempt or judgement from the other; but instead, be able to find affection and acceptance.

Establishing this emotional space is no mean feat… It requires true gumption from both parties and the ability to take the risk of being authentic and even vulnerable. It also requires consistent input and upkeep from both parties to keep the space safe for each other. It is only upon establishing and maintainibg an emotional safe ground that the relationship would have a respectable chance at thriving and remaining healthy–definite not for the faint of heart. People who like to play it safe need not apply.

(c) Niconica 2012

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When we fancy someone enough, we are fully capable of generating an extrapolated love affair with them in our minds. We can easily skew their undetermined responsiveness to our bids for attention as reciprocity of our feelings when they could be viewing it merely as friendship.

Unless there is a direct declaration of interest from the object of our interest even if they may appear to possibly be flirting with us, they still have the element of deniability where they can claim that all was done in friendly fondness or whatnot even if these statements sound like excuses.

We must keep in mind not to escalate the love story we are weaving in our minds with every deniable interaction with the object of our intense affections because unless more solid indications of affection arise… Notes, SMS, FB, Twitter, and MySpace messages are merely words which can be misinterpreted or misunderstood.

A self-generated love affair might sound preposterous but it is very real and it can happen to the best of us when we are in the throes of infatuation and the conclusions we draw might be biased and unsound and lead us down a potential painful road. Avoiding this is easier said than done, of course, but we must attempt to be vigilant and not allow our feelings to lead us astray.

(c) Niconica 2012

We all fear rejection and for good reason. It comes as no surprise that we are slow to accept the fact that we have been rejected by someone. Our sense of self-preservation causes us to deny what is happening. This coping mechanism while immediately kind is ultimately cruel to us.

We must get past that denial and eventually realise that rejection by any other name is still what it is: rejection. If we try to sugar coat it and whitewash it, we merely prolong engaging in the appropriate stages of grief as we bid our frustrated desires goodbye.

This is the only way we would learn to heal and move on: by staring reality in the face, feeling the pain, and eventually coming to grips with it. There is nothing to be gained by prolonging our stay in a situation where we are not welcome, nor should we desire to do so.

(c) Niconica 2012

As adults who have had an accumulation of significant life events, we learn to hone our self-preservation skills. Presuming we are of the non-sadomasochistic persuasion, we would be inclined to protect ourselves from harm and this applies too in the realm of romance.

After having been burned a few times, we might have told ourselves that we would never let ourselves be in the position where anyone can inflict pain upon us again. This is wishful thinking of course, but it serves to comfort us at the moment we make this resolve.

We tell ourselves that we would never meet anyone who would elicit in us the same dangerous intensity which we have felt for the people who have broken our hearts and we believe that our broken hearts would never mend again. Life has other plans though.

Just when we aren’t looking, love creeps up on us and surprises us and reminds us none too subtly that we are not immune to its powers. This is when our defense mechanisms come into play and we start negotiating with ourselves how far we will allow ourselves to go. This is done subconsciously with the interaction with the beloved as both do the dance of reaching an understanding that one’s feelings are safe with the other and vice versa.

This understanding is theoretically easy to reach and it would involve both parties communicating their intentions and assurances to each other. However, when both parties have had pasts where they have been badly hurt or emotionally damaged, reaching this understanding can be a challenge in and of itself as both grapple with their own better judgement as to whether to reenter the arena of a relationship which has been so far considered a minefield as far a romantic memories go and the well-honed instinct for self-preservation kicks in.

How can two people attempt to reach an understanding when so much baggage stands in the way. While grappling with the romantic need to connect with the beloved and the instinct to protect oneself, mixed signals would inadvertently be sent and misunderstandings would naturally arise. It, then, becomes further of a challenge to reach an understanding.

If they are lucky, somewhere in the push and pull, there would be a precious moment of revelation way before the situation escalates to a
point of no return, that they are able to convey to each other that: “I know that you have been badly hurt before, so have I, but if you are willing to give us a chance, I assure you that you are safe with me and I will endeavor to be the person whom you can trust and feel safe with.”

And then perhaps, we would be able to witness the rare event of seeing two porcupines hug.

(c) Niconica 2012

When we have the unfortunate situation of falling for someone who simply is too popular and out-of-reach, it should not take too long for us to get to the point where we should plead “no contest” and back out of the game entirely.

What may have seemed to us as deeply meaningful gestures imbued with possibilities for reciprocation might have been just a walk in the park casual and charming manner which they are accustomed to treating their adoring fans.

When we see that there are simply too many people vying for their attention and that they are only dishing out token efforts for our wholehearted bids for attention, we cannot help but be realistically discouraged and hopefully this leads to taking ourselves out of the running for our own good.

(c) Niconica 2012

When we have been badly hurt before, we have the tendency to play it safe and engage in a myriad forms of defense mechanisms and this caution serves us only up until a certain extent.

When we have recovered, it does not pay to continue hiding in our shells and letting life and opportunities pass us by. It pays to step out of our comfort zone to give life and love a chance.

As adults, we learn to down play our interest in someone and engage in all manner of retractable gestures of flirtatious remarks so that any time a rejection might come up, we can easily wash our hands and spare our egos that what we said was meant in a merely friendly or playful manner.

We learn to watch the other person and mimic their cues and give an equal and proportionate response so as to not give our position away. While this keeps us safe, it also keeps us where we are.

This is not to say that every single unstudied and unregulated impulse must be indulged in and yet when we err on the side of caution, we may be safe but yet we might be missing out on a possible avenue of experiences.

(c) Niconica 2012

It’s hard to negotiate the muddled and vague waters of possible romance when we don’t know where we stand with each other.

Varied, mixed, and inconsistent signals add to the melee while we straddle the line of safety where we do not want to risk rejection and/or risk the friendship.

When both parties are playing it safe and unsure as to how to proceed, there is a risk that a romantic understanding won’t come into fruition.

It is essential for both parties to come to an understanding as to how they feel for each other in order to proceed but there are times where safety and fear of rejection becomes the overriding sentiment and it puts everything on a standstill.

Until we know where we stand, the tension will continue to build up.

(c) Niconica 2012

We know when the object of our affection is keeping us at arm’s length and there is nothing we can do about it. Delayed responses to our bids for attention are exactly what they imply–that they are not interested.

It’s hard to accept but we must somehow accept the painful truth and deal with it somehow. We must learn to keep them at Arm’s length too while we lick our wounds and recoup our energy. Maybe eventually being in contact with them once again won’t hurt so much.

Meanwhile, we should prioritize self-preservation.

(c) Niconica 2012

We know the significance and relevance of evasive maneuvers as employed by the starships in Star Trek and as such, it is also applicable in the realm of love and romance.

Evasive maneuvers are helpful when we would like to discourage unwanted romantic advances and at the same time evasive maneuvers can be employed to shield our heart from hurt in cases of unrequited love.

When it becomes obvious that the object of our affections is simply not into us, we must act in the interest of self-preservation and avoid contact as much as we can in order to recover our equilibrium. It is easier said than done of course but it is necessary.

There is a tendency where our better judgement is compromised and we might mistake a plain friendly or polite gesture for something more than it is and this would just lead to more pain for us since if we follow this natural tendency, we basically are going down the rabbit hole of entrapment, despair, and heartbreak.

Distance is required so that we may recover and the only time to be in contact again is when we would be unaffected by their presence or their actions, where their simple gestures will not be misinterpreted and skewed by our hopeful hearts.

Meanwhile, we would need to recover and find a way to shake off the love bug and it can only be done through minimising contact with the object of our affection.

(c) Niconica 2012

It’s not often that our romantic interest in someone is mutually requited do we must learn to exist in the limbo of what I shall call “Romantic Friendship” where it’s not merely as straightforward as a typical friendship but exists with romantic interest for or from one or both parties.

I say one or both parties because it is possible that both parties are interested but for whatever reason, the feelings should yet be sublimated and perhaps the time is not right for declaration–and often in this case one or both are unsure whether the other party feels the same way and as such, are keeping their feelings under wraps until the cost is clear to express them.

Romantic feelings within the context of a close friendship when one-sided or seemingly one-sided poses a serious threat to the friendship and it is not an exaggeration to say that the terrain is rocky in such a case and should be negotiated with care lest things get too awkward or convoluted.

In such friendships, since outright rejection may significantly hurt the other and therefore compromise the friendship, a lot of things remain unsaid and possibly can turn into an endless symphony of misunderstandings and care must be taken in both deciphering the signals given by the other and in expressing one’s own position.

Until such a time when the situation is ripe for resolution where there is a clearing of the air or where the feelings naturally fizzles off, considerable strain is present in the friendship.

Non-response to SMS messages, emails, calls, invitations and/or other overtures must not be disregarded. Non-response or a very delayed response should be considered as messages of disinterest in pursuing any romantic avenues. In this case the interested party must desist from putting the friendship on the line.

In the case of the object of desire, care must be taken to not hurt the other’s feelings but yet at the same time be firm and kind in letting the other down easy or transmitting the message that one is disinterested in taking the friendship to the next level while at the same time not being cavalier about the other’s feelings and using their interest to go on an ego trip.

In the case where both people are interested, care needs to be taken in observing whether the friendship is ripe enough to move on to the next level. Discussions of expectations should be part of the initial conversations after feelings are admitted. Note that the admitting of feelings clearly is crucial for mutual interest to be fully valid, otherwise, the situation is just a glorified game of guesses and assumptions and jumping to conclusions can be lethal to the friendship.

The terrain as such is complex and fraught with dangers but without completely excluding possible rewards. We must be vigilant in not reading too much into what is said and done unless a proper declaration is made because we could easily wind up being hurt and/or looking like a fool and putting the friendship on the line. Good luck!

(c) Niconica 2012