Take it from me. I am a pro. These steps are intuitive and if you do one, you will find you can roll into the next. Stay with this program and you will achieve a disastrous and unfulfilling relationship. LIKE MAGIC!
Step One: Attach to Outcomes
What my problem was? I got too attached.
No, not to people, relationships, or jobs, but to outcomes. This is the clincher. If you’d like to feel that life is trapped in the trash compactor of a Death Star, nurture your attachment to outcomes.
I’d like to tell you that I would only attach to relationship outcomes, but that’s not true. It turns out, that if you’re good at attaching to outcomes, you’re good at attaching to them all.
Here’s how I did it, but you can add your own variations to this dance move to make it uniquely yours.
Start off by wanting something very much. There’s nothing wrong with wanting something very much. Buddha very much wanted enlightenment. MLK had a dream. This of itself is not bad.
Get a vision. Get a vision of what your life could be like if you had this outcome. This also is not bad. This is where you’re trying on the idea for size, checking to see if this is something you’d like to commit to.
For me, I was a single mother. I never intended to be a single mother, but we’ll get into that another time. I longed for a fulfilling relationship. I wanted to model that for my children. I longed for help. I was exhausted. A relationship could relieve me of that longing.
Longing is heavy. It was clear what I needed to do. I needed to fall in love. Ride off into the sunset. Experience a full night’s sleep and a little extra financial security. Pronto.
Step Two: Out Think Love
Now that you have an outcome you’re attached to, you must drive like mad for it. This will allow you to sacrifice your judgement a little at a time. DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP.
Set aside your understanding of what a relationship actually is vs. what you want this one to be. This will allow you to ignore things like gut hunches or red flags that a romantic prospect might be sending. Instead, focus on whatever benefits you think they can offer your outcome. Forgo fulfillment.
Here was my special variation: I would get involved with men that were more attached to me than I was to them. I loved them, yes, but they brought less to the table in relationships. Less experience, less insight. Less presence. We didn’t connect in the heart-tripping, deep ways I longed for. But they were starry eyed. Starry eyed is good, right?
It works better if they’re more attached to me than I am to them, right?
No. No. Not exactly, but good try, Mel!
Again and again, I got involved in relationships with the person attached to me and I attached to the outcome. BTW, them being attached to me didn’t mean they were faithful…or kind.
Remember, ignore those red flags. Involve yourself with someone who writes you pages of poetry, and emotionally berates you.
Step Three: Work On Being Tough
Anything worth doing is worth fighting for like it’s a flat screen high def TV on Black Friday, right?
This is where you’re gonna have to reach down deep into your bag of true grit. If you’ve followed the instructions correctly, you should have
1. Attached to an outcome.
2. Chosen someone who doesn’t have all the equipment for that outcome. But they reward you in one or two ways.
At first, when your lover behaves badly, it will confuse you. You may think they’re going through a phase. You may even think this is an opportunity for you to get closer and work things out together.
Goooooood. Gooooood. Those are wise principles applied to a foolish pursuit. I was an expert at this. You are showing much potential, grasshopper.
Don’t let little things like lack of emotional fulfillment or bad behavior bother you on a deep level. Don’t be a spoiled brat and insist on things like a healthy relationship. If, like me, you don’t know what a healthy relationship looks like, you’re ahead of the curve.
What you know is that you’re tough. Like a foot callous. Or a callous somewhere else. You’re not one of those high maintenance people. This is where, if you like, you can switch to “ride or die” mode.
True love has to scare you. It envelops you with warmth, kindness, and connection. It scares you because it’s a gorgeous tidal wave that sweeps across your life and makes it more whole. It’s daring. You have to be open and vulnerable with this person. You have to trust fall a thousand times.
You can’t accomplish this kind of love when you’re attached to outcomes. They’re at cross purposes. But you can replace that heart pounding affect with a relationship that scares the shit out of you.
Scary thoughts like Are they cheating on me with that person they’ve been inboxing at 3 am? or How can I ask them to return my calls without pissing them off and scaring them away?
Tough it out!
Step Four: Bring On The Romeo
This is where I break the tough news to you. To commit to an emotionally unavailable man, it will take practice. You have to keep thinking that the other person is the problem. Or that your “bait” is the problem. Or that “all the good ones are taken.”
Eventually, bad relationship choices will be your coping mechanism for all your bad relationship choices. You can play this in grand style, or you can be like me and do it with a little bit more subtlety and finesse.
I liked to live with an aura of romance and success surrounding me. Enter the affairs, the unavailable men, the hopeless long distance situations with exotic Idiots. At least that’s what these guys looked like to my friends after about 3-6 months of my complaining. (Another coping mechanism.)
I call these men Romeos. Romeos are a special breed of emotionally unavailable types.
They must take you by storm. Rush into your life. Call you not quite at stalkerish frequency, but as frequently as he can without landing in stalker zone. He should monopolize your time. He’s got to push you into a whirlwind romance.
If he were to take his time, you’d get a chance to see clearly that she or he’s a loser. They rely on momentum to sweep you off your feet with all the grace of a wrecking ball. Real available folks have other commitments that they take care of, too. If they have the time and energy to run you over, it’s because they’re abandoning something else. Then they abandon you.
But you just stay attached to that outcome, okay?
Step Five: Mistake Freak Episodes of Goodness For Potential
Here’s a life-hack to committed hell. You have to REALLY believe that he’s going to become emotionally available anysecondnow. I’ll show you how to convince yourself.
Every time he calls you, it must make your heart pound. Mostly because you’re shocked, it’s such a rare occurrence.
You will mistake the heart pounding for love… It’s really just shock. Like someone just jumped out of your closet with a kazoo, blowing the Star Spangled Banner.
Guys who don’t call you or make time for you and yet call you their “woman” are the kazoo guy…only creepier. Women who treat you like dirt and have time for every one else are creepy, too.
When he does happen to tell you how he feels, take it as a sign that everything is about to change or could change. Miraculously.
You must feel so starved (and kazoo-stunned) for his attention and affection that you completely forget anything you have to say to him. In fact, stunned silence and overwhelming bliss are the only feelings you’re allowed. He loves you so much that he’ll never call you.
You go from quiet desperation to wild happiness with a side of ego stroke. It’s the pendulum swing that gets ya in the long run.
Convincing yourself that things will change will cause you to weather most storms alone. You will come up with all sorts of ways to not count on him. Not counting on him is an important part of being able to stick it out with an emotionally unavailable man.
If you make the mistake of counting on him, he’ll disappoint you, bewilder you, and possibly enrage you. Which may make you drop his pathetic ass and deal with loss.
What we want is to suffer. Why feel the pain of loss when you can feel the lingering suffering of attachment?
Step Six: Get Good At The Cycles of Extreme Good and Extreme Bad
Become autonomous over things that should be shared with a significant other. This may lead to cheating as a coping mechanism. Or partying all the time. The key is to make decisions that you wouldn’t make if you were in a healthier state of mind.
Here’s where you get so caught up in the up-down cycle of your relationship, you forget what outcome you were attached to in the first place. Your life spins in a coping and hoping cycle and the center of that spinning wheel is Romeo + You. How romantic.
I’m not one for drugs or a lot of alcohol and I’ve never been. But you’re free to cope in whatever way you choose.
Me? I spent gobs of money on my wardrobe. Somehow I’d attached my appearance to my only hope of success. This was because my Romeo was only good for telling me how gorgeous I was, but not good for things like…I dunno…friendship. Conversation. Company.
I spent money I didn’t have on meeting Romeo in exotic places. I spent time venting to friends during the downside of the Cope/Hope cycle.
This will keep you treading water like nobody’s business. Go ahead, use up that extra energy you would have for self nurturing, ’cause who wants that? Tweet about independence and confidence so that you never catch on to how shitty you feel.
Inquire Within Upon Everything
But seriously. We become so entangled with the horrible feelings of romantic failure, that we miss the opportunity to see how we created it.
Then, in the most revolutionary moments of our emotional life, we miss the big picture. The power to change our life is not in finding the right Romeo, but in changing our understanding of ourselves.
If you change one, you will transform the other. If you fail to change your own patterns, you’re gonna go from one Romeo to the next (or whatever your romantic scenario is.)
So how to undo this program?
Start at Step One. Acknowledge that you want a fulfilling emotional life. Detach from your ideas on how to get there even if they’re good ideas. This is the hardest step for me every time. Maybe it will be easy for you.
Step Two: meet love on its own terms. Acknowledge all the ways you try to cheat love. For example, a lot of us try to cheat love by trying to skip out on working on self-love. Others try to to rush in and forgo mindfulness. Others will settle for bare minimum.
Still more think that attractiveness or money making will get them through the parts they’re a total asshole.
Every time you invest in not meeting love on its own terms and doing the work, you’re investing in failure.
Step Three: instead of working on being tough, work on being open. Don’t let your doubts or past experiences hog the mic of your life.
This doesn’t mean be a fool. It simply means go to all those areas in yourself that have become jaded by what you’ve experienced so far. Pour some tenderizer on there. In order to experience life and love as you want it to be, you have to let go of the way it has been. Open up.
Somewhere in this article I mentioned a kazoo. Get your kazoos here.
That is all.