I’m over you, now what! 4 Things to consider before your next Relationship


“There’s plenty of fish in the sea” “you deserve better” “you’ll find someone else better” “you were never right for each other” Who has not heard these quotes, while they’re well intentioned, why do they not make anything actually better? I’m not sure if this is the season for it, or why, but I keep seeing posts about people going through heart break. While I’m currently not in a relationship, and it’s been several years since my last one, there are a few things that I’ve noticed that seem to help people around me get over their loss. “Get Over” their break-up isn’t the best way to phrase it either, deal with it in a healthy way is probably a better way to look at it. The truth is a break-up will always hurt, even years after, we learn how to not let it affect us the same way. I don’t claim to be a relationship expert, or even a novice for that matter, these are just a few tools that I’d like for you to consider.

Love yourself first

A friend of my told me this a few months back and it has stuck with me since. “You want to understand yourself, not know yourself.” Meaning that knowing something is more as if you’re accomplished all that you can, while understanding is more of a evolutionary process. Loving yourself first is important because of the EGO. When I say your ego, I don’t mean the small voice that convinces you that you can lift that large obstacle, or that you can overcome anything that get’s put in your way, or that you’re more beautiful than others think you are. I’m talking about that voice that tells you “you’re not good enough” “you’re not beautiful enough” “you will NEVER accomplish that goal you set out to do.” This life as we know it is filled with both positive and negative, and when it comes to the EGO, people generally think of the positive side and forget the negative. If you’re constantly having negative self-talk, there isn’t a person in the world that will make this magically stop. Additionally if you’re looking for someone to “complete you” or “make you better” you typically aren’t confident about yourself. Loving yourself first means that you don’t let negative self-talk dictate your day. We all have those negative feelings, some people learn how not to take it seriously. Loving yourself first means that you put your well-being first, by putting yourself first you ensure that your needs are also met. What I’m not saying is to not be loving and kind to others, but imagine a scale if you will. If helping someone is going to come at a far greater negative impact to you, perhaps you should reconsider helping them. Loving yourself first means that you set realistic boundaries, that you are open and honest about your well-being, and that you don’t let others take advantage of you.

What’s your Compass

“I believe in honesty, even when no one is looking”

“I want to have 2 kids, a boy and a girl”

“I believe that my wife should have a choice whether she wants to work or not”

“I want a partner that shares my faith”

“I want a partner that will help me be a better version of MYSELF, and me HER”

My list is much longer, but those are some of the things that are important to me, and I’m looking for someone who has a similar list. Then together we can help each other accomplish our life goals, being together is mutually beneficial. I’m well aware that some couples might not have the same exact goals, but lets’ look at an example for comparison. Lets say the husband wants to be a Doctor, and he wants to help impoverished people, his wife in turn wants to be a Lawyer, who also helps impoverished people. While they don’t have the same career goals, can you see how they can still accomplish their overall goal together? He can provide medical services, while she helps with legal and equality issues for the same group of people. The two of them together can form an organization that helps people.  While this is a hypothetical couple, it illustrates the point well, they don’t have the same specific career goals, but by partnering they can help actualize their full potentials. Simply put, that person helps you accomplish YOUR goals, without diverting you from your path. By knowing where it is you want to go, you can help identify the person that will be the right co-pilot for you, given your goals.

WHY matters more than WHO

You meet someone, they’re attractive, you share a few things in common, and you also feel sexual chemistry. “Wow we have so much in common, would you like to go on a date?” While this is ok for a first date, having a long term relationship should be way more complicated than that. What are their life goals, what are their core values? Do they want to have children, how many do they want to have? How are they going to help me accomplish the things I’ve already set for my life? Have you ever broken up with someone, and then think to yourself “Wow they were totally wrong for me!” If that was the case, why were you together for months, why together for 5 years; worse yet why were you about to marry that person? Psychologist have coined the term “limerence” or “the honeymoon phase.” They both refer to the stage where you’re infatuated with someone, and it’s partly because of the chemical reactions taking place in your body. You find them highly attractive, even though you don’t share everything in common, you feel as though you do. While somethings should be red-flags, you’re willing to overlook their flaws. Scientists have said that this could last anywhere from 6 months to 2 years of a new relationship. While I’m not saying that those feelings aren’t real, what I am saying is that your body is having a chemical reaction, one in which you don’t have much control over. Forming a life together isn’t a small step, but if it’s based on only your physical attraction and sexual chemistry, you’re in for a huge surprise! At some point in your relationship, that insatiable attraction you felt in the beginning will fade, your animalistic sex drive will also fade. That is why it’s important to base you decisions on “the why” you’re with that person, that’s why your compass and life goals matter. That way your relationship won’t be based on just physical attraction and sexual chemistry.

Golden Rule of Relationships

I’m sure everyone is familiar with “Do unto others as you would like them do to you!” For simplicity, lets say that you like your coffee black, with no sugar or cream. Let’s say that your friend likes their’s with some honey, 2 sugars, and 5 creamers. If you’re getting your friend coffee, would you get it the way you like, or the way they like? If you bring them a straight black coffee with nothing in it, they’d probably spit it out in disgust. So why is it that when you’re doing something “nice” for someone you are more likely to bring them a black coffee, after-all that’s the way YOU like it, why can’t they be more thankful. While that’s a very basic example, it’s the way we tend to view our relationships. When you give someone something , you tend to give them something you’d like, and then you wonder why they never used your gift again. When it comes to relationships, I think the Platinum rule should apply, “Do unto others as they would like done to them.” Should you treat everyone with honesty, respect and love, of course you should. At the same time there are times where you have to consider their preference before you do something. This is why I believe that open and honest communication goes a long way, and why we should spend time actually getting to KNOW people. This is especially important if we’re going to be in a committed long-term relationship with them. A great resource I’ve found is learning about The 5 Love Languagesif you find that you don’t agree with anything I’ve said so far, I hope you’ll at least consider this resource. This is probably one of the biggest obstacles facing most everyday relationship, those that aren’t somehow dysfunctional.

While these are just a few snapshots of things to consider, realistically your list will be much longer. You have to consider aside from your physical attraction and a few things in common, why are they in your life? How is this person helping or deterring you from YOUR goals. If you’re planning to be in it for the Long-haul, there are soo many things to consider. The point is that you have to base your decisions on some intangible goals also. By loving yourself first you will have room and energy to devote to loving someone else, rather than learning to love two people at the same time. By looking at what’s below the surface, their values, beliefs, and life goals, you can make a better choice of who will be best for YOU. Why that person specifically, what do you have to gain by having them in YOUR life? Finally having open and honest communication about the things that matter most to you is essential, how will you communicate what’s important to you? It’s a scary thought, but do you have the courage to walk away if that is not the wisest relationship choice for you. Better yet, what if you can know this relatively soon in the relationship, so that you don’t have to experience more pain and heart break after a life together for years.

Just a few thing to consider, I’d love to hear some feedback. What’s on your list, what will you do differently to ensure that your next relationship lasts for the long-haul? Do you have the courage to ask the tough questions? Are you heading into your relationships with all your wits about you?

What Happened to Forever After!!

Lost Love

It was a brisk Fall Evening, when we first met. As most romances start, these days anyway, we met online. We were drawn to each other because we were tired, tired of fake profiles, tired of people not being who they said they were. Why do people always fluff up their profiles so much. There was something about you that immediately attracted me when you responded. I remember that feeling of electricity, that spark that seemed to bring my world alive. Our conversations were fun, I can’t seem to remember what we talked about, but it didn’t take long to suggest to meet in person. I was surprised that you said YES so easily.

As I got ready to head out the door, I was in a rush, but it was a rush of excitement, will you be as charming as you were in your messages. Then it hit’s me, will you look like your pictures (I know it’s vain of me, but looks matter to me)? Thankfully I got there without getting into any accidents, I was soo eager to meet you. Your City was familiar to me, but I had never explored it, I remember checking and double checking the directions. Then my worst fear hit, I went into the place I thought was where we’re meeting, and it looked nothing like you had described. Fearing that I had it all wrong, I rushed back out in a panic, but as I rounded the corner, there you were.

Although it was a cool Autumn day and it was a bit cloudy, it seemed sunny to me, or at least inside my heart. Your smile was bright and infectious, and even from a distance I can already feel your friendly carefree personality. You seemed just as I had pictured you, by now we’re only inches apart, we hug, and I knew it, there was something about you!! The date went exceptionally well, and I don’t use that term very often. While your personality was fun and energetic, I was able to be myself. I didn’t feel I had to change the way I talked around you, sometimes being from a different country will get me into trouble, I talk kinda funny when I’m nervous.

Whatever it was, I didn’t feel that way with you. As things go, the evening had to come to an end, but we didn’t want it to end, we were caught up in the moment, the excitement, electricity and chemistry had the best of us. Against our better judgement, we kissed on the first date, and then there was more. Our relationship started off fast, like a race-car driver going with his foot to the pedal all the way.

I was cheated on in my last relationship, so I didn’t want to rush into anything new, my plan was to be cautious. With you though caution was a word you saw around steep curves, it didn’t apply to us. I always enjoyed spending time with you, there was a comforting nature about you, you cared and you showed it. Whether it was something simple as cooking a meal for each other, or our walks along the beach. I lived my life by lists, and schedules, I’m not sure you even owned a watch. Time with you seemed to be about that moment, even the times we never got around to doing what we planned on Sundays. We could always just relax and enjoy the quiet time. I like that about you, that you could relax and just BREATHE. Then it happened, you whispered those 3 words. I’ll admit now that I was taken aback, I’m sure I heard you, but I asked anyway “what did you say?” Maybe I was afraid to commit, maybe I’m still afraid to say that. You always made fun of me because when you asked me I always said the same thing, “We’re getting to know each other, and I’d like to keep doing that, “We’ll see how things go!”” Was it too good to be true, why did you seem so comfortable with my answer, in retrospect I know that you weren’t completely honest with me.

I’ve always approached things cautiously optimistic, some would probably say I’m just scared, but it’s ok. Fast forward a few months, and like all relationships, things start to level out, and I start to ask myself “Is this the person I want to build a life with?” The simple answer was no, do I continue on, do I become one of those people that are in a relationship, but they’re unhappy? For me the answer to all of those questions were no.
In retrospect, maybe we should have talked about it first. In retrospect I know I was selfish, I was only thinking about myself. Once I told you I wanted to end our relationship, just like our start, once I said those words there was no turning back. I spent a year blaming and not forgiving myself for hurting you. Now I’ve been working on me. I’ve heard that the best thing to do is to work on myself first. It’s been 2 years now, where did the time go? While I did hurt, I’ve had so much growth this year. Unfortunately my growth came at the expense of your hurt. For that I am sorry, hurting another person goes against my core. Now I know what I want, hopefully I’ll make a better decision next time, I’ve learnt to ask more questions in the beginning.

6 Reasons Why Men Must Give Up Pornography

Shame seems to be a big part or the Male Sexuality, we are sometimes controlled by our adolescent sexual urges, and there sometimes seem to be no cure to quench our lustful urges. While we all share this problem, we also all struggle with healthy ways to react to it. As I had talked about in recent posts, we’re currently looking at Male Sexuality in my Church, and it seemed to be a theme on my mind the past few weeks. Here’s an interesting article about the effects of pornography, I’d be lying if I said I’m not sometimes tempted to indulge in the private release of a short video. Bryan brings up a good point in his article, with the addictive nature of porn, we need more stimulation and different kinds of videos as we continue to watch it. Taking us away from interacting with real people. In essence we continue to look to unnatural ways to deal with our sexual tension. Taken in contrast to some of the other things he talked about, “learning how to not react every time we’re sexually aroused”, a clearer picture begins to be revealed. Acknowledging that we have these sexual urges, we must also learn how to harness them. As a young male as I learn more about my sexuality, I can learn how to treat women differently, with respect, and not as objects of my sexual frustrations. This knowledge can lead to a more authentic healthy relationship, that takes sexual interaction to a higher plane, to experience a higher level of sexual chemistry by knowing my partner on a different level.

This Wild Waking Journey

Note: a shorter version of this blog was recently featured on “The Good Men Project.”  It’s been reposted/shared 35,000+ times on Facebook in only a few days. It’s proving controversial. To be clear, I do not promote sexual shame or banning pornography. This article is intended to invite men into a deeper conversation around how we express and experience our sexuality, particularly in regards to online pornography.

source: http://bit.ly/THVman source: http://bit.ly/THVman

In my boyhood teenage days of yore, using pornography required patience, even imagination.

One of my early adventures with porn occurred on weekday afternoons when I got home from middle school. Before anyone else arrived, I would sneak into my parents’ bedroom closet with a small foot stool. I have no idea how I first found it, but resting atop the center ceiling panel, just inches from my horny little brain, was my step-father’s erotic treasure trove of betamax video tapes with titles like “The Oriental Babysitter” and “Taxi Girls.” I’d…

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Has becoming a Man become an Unreachable Goal!!!

Struggling Man

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about what it means to be a Strong Man. As my 34th Birthday came and went, I find that the topic had not faded away, but instead become a bigger part of my consciousness. As it has been in the past, many of the thoughts I have are either addressed in other posts, or is the topic of discussion in Church.

What proceeds isn’t meant to chastise anyone, I’m hoping that this topic can be a prompt for a conversation; a conversation between men and the women in our lives. All I ask is that you keep an open mind, and hear what I say with a voice of Love. Thought it’s important to start with this disclaimer, didn’t want my words to spark anger or any kind of resentment!

A recent conversation with a friend reminded me that my struggle isn’t unique, as males we face constant pressure to be a Man (not quite sure what that even means). Although we face pressure to provide, to show strength but still be passive, to NEVER fail (failure is a sign of weakness). We are told these Stories that we eventually believe, and they become our mantras; but we’re never thought how to cope. I seem to be a bit of a tri-fecta unmarried, no children, and no substantive financial successes (money, nice car) to show for myself. But how has my manhood become about that? I’d like to point out that those things I listed aren’t everything, and although it’s not verbalized, EVERY man knows that he’s measured by those things.

Living with Bad Role Models!

Whether you’re religious or not there seems to be a scarcity of good role models. In the Media we see Athletes who are strong and great at their physical accomplishments, but we also hear of stories of infidelity or rampant divorce. In the movies we see the Man who can get multiple women in bed, idolized as “The Man” What about the stories about the many who’s a father, a husband, a lover, a friend, life long companion all wrapped up into one person? Why are those men not idolized? Even in the Biblical times, we read stories of Men like David, who was a great Leader, but who was also plagued with depression and feelings of inferiority.

Talking about problems is seen as a Weakness!

I saw a story about the recent recession and how families were dealing with it. One of the men made a statement that has stayed with me, he said “They would rather see me die trying to stay on my White Horse, than to see me fall” What he meant was that to maintain the facade of having it together, even though it’s obvious he doesn’t. He said that his wife and daughters don’t talk to him about the struggles he’s going through to to maintain the view that he has it together. The truth is we don’t have it together, we men face immense pressure to “Be a Man” We’re expected and in most cases required to be a provider, safety and security are our main priorities. I challenge you though, sure men don’t generally talk about their problems, but in many cases part of the problem is that others aren’t willing to have the conversation.

The R Word feels like the Kiss of Death!

Yes I’m talking about that “R” word, responsibility. While being able to provide and care for those around you with financial support is important. It has become the defacto response when not wanting to face fear. As Jim Carrey said To find peace you first have to let the Armour go and stop worrying about what will happen if people see you without your armor. I’d replace the “R” word, with the “V” word. No not that “V” word, I’m talking about vulnerability. We all have weaknesses, we all fall short, but the great thing about vulnerability, is that it frees us from fear. Without Fear we can have hope and faith instead. Fear keeps us in a state of inaction, it prevents us from moving and bettering ourselves. Faith and hope on the other hand are action oriented, they entice us to do better, to not take the status-quo as an acceptable pathway.

Keys to become an Agent of Change

Now that I’ve painted a picture of doom and bad role models, how can you possibly change. My Pastor Steve suggested a few specific things you could do, his were really great so there’s no need for me to invent something new.

Use your Strength for Good

Reject Passivity- As males we possess a kind of strength, and we should lead that way. When a problem arises don’t default our responsibility, don’t use “Ask your mom” or “I don’t do that kind of stuff, why don’t you plan that honey” We must be an active participant in decisions, the women around us are counting on us to make decisions, don’t become complacent. Now what I’m not saying is “I’m a man and I need to make all the decisions (while pounding my chest like a cave-man)” There’s a difference between compromising on a decision and making all the decisions. Compromise fosters harmony, and allows both people to have a stake in the decision making process.

Take Responsibility- Not the same one from earlier, but take responsibility for your actions, don’t blame others’ for what you do. Take full ownership of your action, and leave it up to others for theirs. Something I learnt this year I think is helpful here, “Always do my Best.” Each day I will do the best that I’m capable of, the caviat here is that if I can only do 50% then that’s what I’ll do, I won’t beat myself up for not being able to accomplish 150%.

Lead Courageously- We’re expected to lead our families, so lead with confidence and courage. If you feel you lack those skills then pray for them, and actively seek out opportunities to improve. For single person like myself, it doesn’t take a family to lead, and I can still lead in my everyday relationships, whether work, friendship, or others.

“A wise person hears the Truth, and adjusts his behavior to the truth. A foolish person hears the truth, and adjusts the truth to his behavior” – Unknown (well I hear my Pastor Steve say it on numerous occasions)

The Truth is constant, it shouldn’t change, therefore you should change to the truth rather than the other way around. For example, we know that smoking is bad for your health. A wise person will say, smoking is bad for my health and since I would like to live longer, I will have to stop smoking. In contrast a foolish person will say, well I don’t smoke that often, and I probably won’t get cancer for awhile anyway, so I’ll smoke till I die. Sorry smokers, it’s the first example I could think of, and there is Scientific evidence to back it up so it seemed a great illustration. As the truth becomes exposed to us, do we change our behavior to reflect the new truth, or do we find a way to maintain our current behavior, and model a truth that reflects our behavior. As we navigate our lives as males, which are we living, as a wise person or a foolish person?

As I stated in the beginning, this isn’t meant to chastise anyone, but it’s more about starting a conversation. As a man I face immense pressures to be a certain way, and while it may not be entirely true, I feel that women around me expect those things of me too. You may argue that it’s not true, that you do not expect those things from your men, but have you ever talked to them about it? If you ask what is a Man, whether it’s from a man or a woman, you’d probably get very similar answers. This pressure has lead to depression, suicide, and men are literally killing themselves to maintain this persona. I hope you use your words to build up and strengthen rather than tear down and humiliate, do it with and for Love. Men speak to the women in your life, let them see the real you, let them see what you’re actually struggling with. For the women, talk to your men, and be willing to get rid of the “Knight in Shining Armor” persona, I’m not saying that your guy isn’t going to save the day. But this is real life, no one rides a white horse, maybe a white Prius!

As one Season ends, so another begins!

Starts and Finish

I started to do something different before bed this past month, I’ve started to let music play as I slowly drift into sleep. Aside from being relaxing it’s a good way to calm my mind, and to shift my thought to other things. As I was slowly drifting off last night the DJ was talking about something that made me sit up and listen more closely. I’m paraphrasing here,Life is a constant cycle, death doesn’t mean the end, even the seasons change, so we should learn to acknowledge that some of the struggles in our life will change to triumphs.  As I said it made me sit up, because she was right, although life is sometimes a struggle, in most cases it’s not a perpetual struggle.

Death doesn’t necessarily mean the end, sometimes in their death people can also bring us amazing stories that are the catalyst forWinter to Spring change. Take nature for example, the death of a plant sometimes means it’s a chance for re-birth. A plant may die, but then it’s seed is reborn into another plant. Or perhaps the winter is brutal, and is the coldest in history, but eventually comes the Spring, and flowers bloom again. I feel that this represents the constant struggle many of us face in our daily lives. Sometimes situations are so brutal or heartbreaking, but eventually the Spring comes, eventually there’s a new beginning. This past year has been interesting for relationships, I’ve seen many relationships around me end, and I’ve even ended one myself. As one relationship dies, we emerge as a new person on the other side. Just as the old plant died off, and a new plant emerged, it’s got some of the old characteristics, but it’s also a plant that’s different. Our past relationships are not who we are anymore, we’ve learnt great lessons from them, and the parts of us we don’t like, have now been transformed into a new creation.

As the weather gets better, I see people starting new relationship, a part of me is jealous, but then I realize something important too. Life is about living, it’s about going out and being bold, and not being afraid to fall on your face. It’s also about having the right people around you; it’s about having the right people on the bus. So while Spring is in the air, and new love and relationships are being sparked, I commend those with the courage to step back out there. Those who are bold and are willing to be vulnerable, often are the ones who get to experience true happiness. There’s a certain kind of confidence that’s attractive about someone who’s not afraid to live. When you’re not afraid to explore, to make mistakes and find new adventures. There’s something about you that makes others want to be like you.

Life Elbert HubbardI like that quote because it gets at the larger point of my message, no matter what you’re facing, something else will come after that. It’s up to you what happens next. As life throws you hurdles, will you let them crush you, or will you step over them and continue to move. One of the valuable lessons I’ve learnt this past year is to continue to move forward. Of-course life is sometimes hard, but those who are truly happy have figured out that it’s not about what life throws you, it’s what you do with it after it slaps you upside the face. Here are some tips I’ve learnt form “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz:

  1. I will be Impeccable with my word– I’ll use my words to speak truth and to build people up. I will not use my word to speak lies or bad things to myself or others.
  2. Don’t take things personally- I will not let the things others do effect my behavior, especially negative things. Recognize that sometimes others are hurting, and they project that hurt onto me. So that’s why it’s especially important to not take every single action from others as a hit against me personally.
  3. Don’t make assumptions- There’s an old saying “when you assume, you make an ass out of you and me. Misunderstanding are a central part of life, we all see life through various lenses, it’s inevitable that we will sometimes not see things the same way. That’s why it’s very important to ask questions, if you’re not sure of someone’s intentions, ask them what they meant. If someone says or does something that’s hurtful, tell them, it’s very likely that they didn’t even know they hurt you.
  4. Always do my BEST– Life is hard, and some days you’re not at your best. Learning to accept my limits and recognize that I have them free’s me from blame. When I say doing my best, I mean doing the best that I’m capable of. So if today I feel like laying in bed all day because I’m tired, that’s ok take the rest. When I’m rejuvenated tomorrow, then I’ll have the energy to do more, rather than doing 10% today and maybe 30% tomorrow; instead I’ll have the energy to give 100% tomorrow.

Tomorrow starts a new day, how will you define tomorrow? Are you still thinking about yesterday, is it stopping you from going out and living? Yesterday may have been a brutal winter, but eventually the spring will come. Don’t let your past define you, learn from your mistakes, and let them transform you into a new creation. As we celebrate Easter this weekend, I know that not everyone is religious, but Easter isn’t about Easter Eggs! It’s a celebration of the death and resurrection of Jesus. Even if you’re not religious or believe in God, there can be a valuable lesson to learn there. Death doesn’t have to be that, it’s also an opportunity for re-birth, for the resurrection of a new creation. So how will you be re-born, how will you change from one season to the next? Life is about living, let’s all go out and live tomorrow.