The meaning of life is love. Not just the feeling of love, but transformation into love. An Everything relationship, i.e. True Love, can only arise when you open your heart fully and keep it that way. And it’s living with your heart wide open that empowers you to transcend the experience of love and become it.
Certainly one of the more controversial holidays/observances, Valentine’s Day for some is an awesome day, as it’s one when love and romance are more in the public conscience than they are on most days, and there’s undoubtedly something cool about celebrating your own personal romantic glee on a day when so many others are doing the same.
It’s probably fair to say that those in a great relationship probably look forward to V Day more than do those in a relationship they wouldn’t characterize as “great,” and, almost surely, especially more than those who aren’t in a relationship at all. Although a certain contingent of those in great–or even Everything— relationships may take a dim view of Valentine’s Day, some lamenting it’s a fabrication of the jewelry industry, the chocolatier mafia, or the greeting card cartel. Or feeling it’s disingenuous to make special one day a year when expressing one’s love, desire, or both for another is encouraged, because that’s something that should be done all the time, effusively and extensively.
You won’t catch me arguing about that. One absolutely, positively should constantly be expressing one’s love for one’s partner, open heartedly, expansively, authentically, and eloquently. With no expectation of reciprocation. Because the act itself is the reward. You’re lucky enough to feel all these amazing things and it’d be a disservice to your partner and the relationship itself if you chose to keep those feelings to yourself. And constantly means daily, bub–even multiple times a day. In person, via text/IM, on the phone, via love notes tucked into lunches, taped onto coffee mugs, by your actions, your energy, etc., etc. The possibilities are endless.
Undoubtedly some guys reading this post raised their eyebrows during the preceding paragraph. Here’s the deal: expressing your feelings, your heart, your love in genuine, full, fearless, fun ways, frequently, is not inherently in conflict with manliness, with masculinity. Expressing fear-based insecurities like need, jealously, clinginess, possessiveness–decidedly unmanly.
Even though I revel in the constant expression of my feelings of love, I definitely don’t look askance at Valentine’s Day. Not at all. As someone lucky enough to be in an Everything relationship the last 2+ years, tomorrow will be my third Valentine’s Day with the love of my life, Lien. Nothing overly extravagant about our plans: dinner at a nice restaurant, a box of her favorite pastries, some flowers. To us Valentine’s Day ain’t about the “things,” it’s about celebrating and honoring how absolutely lucky and happy we are, feelings that continue to grow in strength each and every day, and that we celebrate and honor every day.
There’s not a romantic relationship out there that won’t benefit from the partners being open-heartedly expressive with one another. If you’re already there, congrats! If you’re not but you’d like to be with your current partner, then let go of fear and speak from your heart.
If you’re in a relationship you’d like to exit because you’re sure there’s a better romantic reality out there for both of you, maybe it’s best not to open-heartedly express those feelings on Valentine’s Day. (harsh, a bit…) But seize the opportunity to clarify your feelings and thoughts and start taking definitive steps toward that new reality.
What if you’re not in a relationship at all? No reason to feel “left out.” Get over yourself and let that person you’ve had a secret crush on know how you feel. Or take time on Valentine’s Day to work on your definition of your ideal partner as the first step toward manifesting that reality for yourself. And as part of that envision how the two of you will be celebrating future Valentine’s Days together.
The “Love is…” single-pane, syndicated cartoon that’s been in major newspapers for decades is sometimes schmaltzy, sometimes not terribly on target, but occasionally gets it right in a way that resonates.
Here’s one from Saturday’s LA Times that hit the mark for me:
The empowering, heartlifting, ongoing individual boost one experiences as a result of an Everything relationship does indeed make everything–and anything–seem possible, achievable.
So Everything as we define it here, with a capital E, most certainly begets everything.
Online news media and social media were abuzz earlier this month when news broke of the end of mega-successful romance author Nicholas Sparks’ 25-year marriage.
An article on The Huffington Post culled tweets expressive of the sentiment that if Nicholas Sparks, the mind behind culturally impactful books (and movies) like The Notebook, Safe Haven, Nights in Rodanthe, The Lucky One, and so on and so forth–who had previously cited his relationship with wife Cathy as inspiration for his work–was giving up on a relationship, then True Love must be dead and buried.
Frankly I’m amazed that so many expressed the sentiment of feeling cheated somehow because Sparks’ literary output had had a positive impact on them, perhaps giving them hope that a relationship like those depicted in his books and films was out there somewhere for them, but now, since his own marriage proved not to be an Everything relationship, that somehow undercut the hopeful and optimistic message underlying his overall body of work.
Responding, then, to the question posed in the title of this post, does Nicholas Sparks’ divorce say anything about True Love? In a nutshell, hells yes it does! It says that True Love is alive and well, thank you very much. After 25 years and probably a ton of practical reasons to remain together: kids, finances, and, in this particular case, public perception, Nicholas and Cathy Sparks recognized that their relationship had run its course. It was not a True Love relationship. Not an Everything relationship.
Why? Because one simply cannot have had a True Love relationship. If it voluntarily ends, regardless of the specifics, it fell short of True Love. By acknowledging this, by accepting that a better reality might well be out there for both of them, romantically speaking, Nicholas and Cathy Sparks are totally and unequivocally validating the lure and desire for the most vaunted relational state possible for us as human beings–you got it: True Love.
True Love knows no age. It becomes possible when the circumstances of one’s life–one’s understanding of one’s self, one’s contentedness with the individual completeness of one’s life, and one’s precise definition of who and what one wants in their ideal romantic partner and relationship–set the stage for it.
In Nicholas Sparks’ case, his relationship with and marriage to Cathy was good enough to inspire him to hypothesize great, True Love romance and express it in ways that spoke to millions and millions. Ultimately, it perhaps even spoke to him and Cathy, helping them realize that “good enough” is a far cry from True Love, from Everything. And now they’re both free to pursue that for themselves. With all that they experienced and learned from each other, about what they want and don’t want in their respective Everything relationships, helping refine their visions of their ideal relationships.
From where I stand people shouldn’t take the Sparks divorce as the death knell of True Love. Quite the opposite: they should take it as convincing validation that True Love is alive and well, thank you very much.
It’s possible that, on occasion, I can get overly semantical about figures of speech, phraseology, etc., but I’ve had something on my mind since falling head over heels into my relationship Everything: why in the hell did the expression “hopelessly in love” become a fixture in the vernacular of romance?
Well, we’d certainly have to assign some responsibility to rock band Journey, whose song “The Party’s Over (Hopelessly in Love)” hit #2 on Billboard’s Mainstream Rock chart in 1981 and sort of blasted the concept far and wide.
So what’s my beef with the expression? Well, because it’s such a complete negative (is there really any way to construe positivity out of the word “hopeless” ?), quite simply I think it doesn’t apply whatsoever to an Everything relationship–a powerful, heartlifting reality that speaks of unbounded positivity and hope, not hopelessness.
When you’re experiencing your Everything, one thing you’ll notice is that expectation regarding your partner and relationship is replaced by hope (a topic for another post). And that the purity and open-heartedness of hoping is a consistently amazing, energizing, enlivening feeling. How? Well, because you inhabit a blissful state of ongoing hopefulness that your continued offering of your unique gifts perpetuates your and your partner’s Everything. Again–in a way that’s entirely free not only of expectation, but of need.
And the best way to continue enjoying your Everything is to give fully of yourself and your unique gifts, hoping that they’ll be received and cherished by your soulmate.
So the purest, truest relationship you can aspire to is literally plastered with hopefulness. Constantly. And hopefulness is, of course, the antithesis of hopelessness.
Hopefully someone’ll drop a song called “Hopefully in Love!” that describes an existing, thriving relationship.
Why do people “cheat” on their partners? Pretty loaded question, that. While this post will tackle the subject from an intellectual perspective, a high percentage of adults (myself included) have direct, and therefore a subjective/emotional experience of this widespread reality.
Stats vary quite widely but the median indicates that over 50% of both men and women–at least those who’ve participated in surveys about infidelity–have been unfaithful at some point in their lives (men 57%, women 54%).
What gives? Since it’s pretty rampant, lots of ink has been devoted to the topic, ranging from the sensationalistic (think Cosmopolitan magazine) to the more psychologically oriented (Psychology Today). Given the near parity across the gender line, it’s clear that both sexes are looking for something outside their relationships in roughly equal numbers.
Let’s take the example of a married man–hell, let’s even give him a couple of young kids–who comes on to female coworker, much to her dismay since she’s a) not interested and b) feels the experience is more proof of her theory that men simply can’t be trusted.
Why would the guy do this? Well, while it’s likely that he finds his coworker attractive, there are probably hundreds if not thousands of possible specific, detailed “reasons,” with dissatisfaction or unhappiness the root cause of the vast majority of them. Even if you advance the idea that the guy’s self-sabotaging/self-destructive, why is he that way? More likely than not because he’s unhappy or dissatisfied.
A closer look at “unhappy or dissatisfied” is necessary here. Someone who is either of these things could be 1) individually unfulfilled or dissatisfied with their life and generally satisfied with their partner and relationship, 2) individually fulfilled and satisfied but unhappy or dissatisfied with their partner, or 3) individually unfulfilled/dissatisfied and unhappy/dissatisfied with their partner.
In the case of #1, someone who’s unfulfilled in their own life may very well look outside of themselves hoping someone else will provide that sense of happiness and fulfillment. While they may be satisfied with their current relationship, they may simultaneously feel that someone else might “make them happier.” Truth be told this dynamic probably applies to a seriously high percentage of the planet’s adult population whose basic needs for food, shelter, etc. are met and who are in a relationship. So, unwilling (typically subconsciously) to take responsibility for their own contentment/fulfillment/happiness, they look to others to provide it.
In our example, the guy probably feels his wife is no longer “making him happy.” As long as he continues to look outside of himself instead of within for his happiness and fulfillment, he’ll never enjoy an Everything relationship. Without making that inner change, he could successfully woo his coworker, fall for her and vice versa, leave his wife and marry her…and then find himself contemplating repeating the cycle after the novelty and excitement of the new relationship wear off and he again feels unhappy/dissatisfied.
With respect to #2, this is someone who’s individually fulfilled and happy but feels their relationship is lacking and probably doesn’t have the potential to improve. Those in this category remain in their relationships for reasons like financial security, fear of the unknown (better the devil you know than the one you don’t…), fear of being alone, the misguided sense that staying in a relationship you and very possibly your partner are unhappy with is “best for the kid/s,” and the equally misguided sense that ending the relationship would be more hurtful to their partner than ending it and giving everyone a chance at a better reality. Rather than being willing to throw “everything” away by having an affair, those in this category are actually hoping to find their relationship Everything. If they were enjoying Everything already they wouldn’t be making sexual/romantic overtures to others, or accepting them. It’s as simple as that.
#3 is pretty self-explanatory. Someone in this situation is individually unhappy and unfulfilled and dissatisfied with their relationship. The old adage “the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence” speaks to this person.
While the above suggests relationship satisfaction and longevity are probably the exception more than the rule, given the general amount of dissatisfaction floating around these days, as mentioned above there is one type of person who wouldn’t consider cheating on their partner, and probably only one type of person: someone who’s in an Everything relationship.
Those lucky enough to have found their True Love and Everything fully feel that there is literally nothing more they could possibly want from a romantic partner. Every aspect of an Everything relationship fires on all cylinders with a constant twin-turbo boost. The upshot: no one in an Everything relationship would be unfaithful to their partner. Under any circumstances. Including any scenario where there’s no way their partner would ever find out about their infidelity.
The words used to describe the act of a romantic partner looking outside their relationship for something more are primarily pejorative: Cheating, Betrayal, Infidelity, Unfaithfulness. While the act undoubtedly may cause one’s partner pain and sadness, I’m wholeheartedly of the opinion that staying in the relationship causes much greater pain and sadness, as continuing to exist in a non-Everything relationship denies everyone a chance at a better reality. So it’s wrong to paint the person who chooses to look outside a non-Everything relationship for their chance at Everything in a wholly negative light, since they are acting in the best interests of everyone involved.
Ideally when someone comes to the realization that their current relationship isn’t their Everything and never will be, they decisively and compassionately bring that relationship to a conclusion, after which they’re free and clear to pursue their Everything. When that ideal doesn’t happen, it’s typically because the person looking outside their current situation is impacted by fear, as covered a few paragraphs earlier.
But having the awareness that your current relationship isn’t and won’t ever be your Everything yet remaining in it, that’s a decision that deserves the pejorative “cheating,” as you are actively cheating your partner, yourself, and any children you and your partner have together out of a better reality. While the ideal “better reality” would of course be an Everything relationship, in actuality even being alone for a while, perhaps taking the time to define what your Everything relationship specifically looks like, is better than remaining in a non-Everything relationship–for all concerned.
None of this means that I condone stepping out on one’s partner. What I condone and encourage is not dragging out a non-Everything relationship out of fear. If you are certain you don’t and never will have Everything with your current partner, compassionately, lovingly bring the relationship to a close so that they, any children you have together, and you yourself can connect with a better reality.
Welcome to Destination Everything, a blog focusing on one of the most amazing things it’s possible for us to experience: romantic love. Info about the motivation behind the blog is available on the Mission page.
I’m extremely curious about people’s perspectives on relationships, love, and romance–regardless of relationship status, i.e. in a relationship or not, in love or not, currently enjoying bliss with one’s soulmate or looking forward to meeting that person. As such, I’ve put together a short questionnaire, the responses to which will enhance the content of the blog and factor into a book series that will begin publication in 2018 and a companion reality TV series.
If you’re interested in anonymously (only first names and ages will be used) sharing your thoughts, I thank you in advance for taking the questionnaire. Rest assured no contact information will be requested.
And by all means feel free to forward this post to anyone and everyone you think would be interested in participating! Depending on the particular pathway through the questionnaire and the time devoted to the occasional non-multiple choice questions, it should take around ten minutes or so to complete. Many thanks!
➡️ Start the Questionnaire! ⬅️
Everything, the sum total of your specific, no-compromise desires in a romantic partner and relationship, is not simply going to land in your lap because you made the effort to define and visualize it.
It’s virtually certain that to experience Everything you will have to live up to your utmost best, pushing through to the edge of your authentic expression of yourself, fully present, free, and fearless. Hoping but never expecting. After all, it’s Everything or Nothing, right? Not Everything for Nothing.
In fact, it’s only when you’re fully willing and able to give everything that you’re ready for your Everything.
Up till the time my soulmate, Lien, and I started living together, in addition to our constant daily interactions, every week I emailed her a proposed schedule for our time together for the upcoming week, covering the broad strokes and leaving plenty of room for spontaneity. A fixed component of this email involved a continuously expanding description of our Love.
I realized that my weekly addition of a new descriptive for the nature of our Love resulted in a pretty awesome, extensive characterization of the type of Love that’s representative of Everything:
Undying, ever-expanding, deepening, soul-stirring, all-encompassing, once-in-a-million-lifetimes, written-in-the-stars, head-over-heels, heartlifting, permasmile-inducing, sparkle-in-the-eyes, tingly-all-over, awe-inspiring, perpetually electrifying, knows-no-limits, mind-blowing, off-the-charts, beyond-belief, perfection-surpassing, elevating and energizing, mutually mesmerizing, constantly steamilicious, spellbinding, laws-of-physics-defying, limitations-of-language-proving, absolutely positively Ahhhhmazing❤️, Schmoopilicious, shout-it-from-the-rooftops, ever-rejuvenating, way-better-than-Nicholas Sparks-novels, ever-yummilicious, Everything/Forever, if-we-could-bottle-it-we’d-be-trillionaires, über-profound, astoundingly magical, pulse-quickening, must-have-more, utterly breathtaking, beyond-all-measure, ever-blissful True Love!
“Seinfeld” fans may have taken notice of “Schmoopilicious” above. It’s my conjoining of the term “Schmoopie” from the absolutely hysterical “Soup Nazi” episode of that phenomenal series with “delicious.”
This is an example of what’s possible when it comes to imagining the Love of your wildest dreams. My experience of Everything, to which the asterisk in the post’s title refers, exceeds my wildest dreams by leaps and bounds. Individual results are likely to vary, but be equally astounding.
I’m constantly humbled and profoundly grateful to be enjoying Everything. And I wholeheartedly encourage you to do the same. Is it really as easy as dreaming it and visualizing it, and being unwilling to settle for anything less? All I can say is that it since it worked for me there’s absolutely no reason whatsoever it shouldn’t work for you.
Know who you are and where you’re going in life (both of these are essential, since the more precisely they’re defined, the better you embody someone else’s Everything), then define your relationship Everything and unfailingly manifest it. That’s the only way to make it happen.
So you’ve met a phenomenal person you’re quite romantically excited about and vice-versa, and things are off to a strong start. While there are infinite possible ways to meet and begin a relationship, once underway there are only two possible eventual outcomes: you either end up together forever, enjoying Everything, or you don’t.
While there can be myriad variations of and details associated with “you don’t”–all those whys and why nots–there really are only two underlying scenarios that can lead to that outcome. From the guy’s perspective, they are:
Wrong girl, Right time
Wrong girl, Wrong time
Completing the spectrum of scenarios that either lead to Everything or don’t, from the standpoint of a guy seeking his Everything, the desired outcome is obviously:
Right girl, Right time
Anyone who thinks in a symmetrical/completist manner may wonder if a possible variation is missing on the non-Everything side, namely Right Girl, Wrong Time–the culturally ingrained “the one who got away.”
There isn’t. Quite simply, if you don’t wind up together in a lifelong relationship characterized by True Love, she was not the Right Girl for you, period. No matter that you were together for a few years, were married, have children together, etc. She is not the one who got away. The Right Girl does not “get away.” In other words, having your Right Girl is fully synonymous with having your relationship Everything. Except in the case of an untimely passing, one cannot have had Everything.
Each of the two non-RR scenarios has variations:
- In WR, you could realize she’s not your Everything, or she could realize you’re not her Everything. Or both of those things could happen. This could occur soon after the start of a new relationship, or after a lot of water’s gone under the bridge. In either case, you are ready for your Everything—she’s just not it.
- In WW there are a few permutations, from her being the wrong girl at the wrong time from your perspective to the opposite, to a mix of those.
RR is quite straightforward. It is, simply, Everything in both directions, i.e. True Love. Crack out the Cristal and toast to your mutual good fortune!
Zooming in a bit on the concept of Wrong time, there can obviously be a range of considerations that make the timing component unfavorable. You or she could be dealing with a health issue, an emotionally all-consuming family situation, a period of intense financial difficulty (this characterized my situation for several years, during which, in addition to having scant resources for dating, I also questioned the likelihood of an RR situation arising for me). It also sometimes happens that you meet a potential soulmate while either you or she isn’t entirely unattached, relationship wise.
For guys, it should be fairly evident that the most difficult scenario is the version of Wrong Girl, Right Time where the sense that she’s not the right girl comes from her, not from you. Regardless of the specifics of a given WR situation, though, the result can be a dynamic where you, she, or both of you are biding time, i.e. hanging onto what you can of the relationship while you, she, or both of you keep an eye out for what’s next. We’ll cover the perils of biding time in a future post.
While the WR and WW scenarios are sometimes easily identifiable, or manifest quickly, it can also take time for what you thought/hoped was a RR relationship to resolve into either WR or WW. This can take mere weeks…or decades. Basically, those of us looking for Everything may view new relationships through RR-colored lenses–we so very much want to find our Everything!–especially in cases where we haven’t precisely defined the nature of the Everything we seek.
Similarly, RR can also take time to congeal. In cases where RR becomes the outcome, sometimes you may know it in your heart of hearts from early on but that awareness is not as quick in coming for her, vice-versa, or you both arrive at that conclusion, and not always simultaneously, after being together for a while. There’s no preferred path to RR. Here, as in most things, results trump process.
While the “True Love at first sight” version of RR is clearly the most unabashedly romantic and whimsical, RRs arising from that rather rare circumstance are functionally no different than RRs that take a bit more time to manifest.
Since Everything can’t be forced, it’s best not to over-analyze your relationship to the point where you suck all enjoyment out of the present moment, and/or apply undue pressure on your potential soulmate, yourself, and the situation in general. Because by doing so you run the risk of turning a potential RR into a WR. Instead, be true to yourself and follow your heart. If she’s your Everything, and vice-versa, this approach will yield positive results.image credit: http://www.sharonebardavid.com