The other article on Lesbian Connection that hit me between the eyes was about relationships.
""Where are all the 'real' women?" "I just want someone to be honest and authentic!" "No one I meet knows how to listen and go deep!""
"We offer dating and relationship classes for women, and it's amazing how often we hear this kind of thing from the Lesbians we work with. We have some good news, and some bad news. First - what you find out there is pretty much always a reflection of what you're bringing. Now the good news - when you learn to show up with the beautiful, deep, vulnerable, self-responsible "realness" you seek, you can often magically elicit that same level of authenticity from others. (No, not from everyone. But from many women - more than enough!)"
"For example, years ago I went on a first date with a woman who seemed promising. She was a writer, she was smart, she was funny, and I was attracted to her. But something wasn't going quite right. She just kept talking and talking. Every time I made a comment, or tried to interject something about myself, she'd launch into another story."
"At first it was okay, because her stories were interesting. But as this went on, I started to wonder: Does she always just go on and on like this? Is she really conceited, or is she just nervous? Does she just not like me? What gives? And as more time passed I thought: If this is how it's going to be, I don't want to date her. What's wrong with her? Doesn't she notice she's hogging all the conversational space? Why doesn't she know how to listen? Does she even know I'm here?"
Then, after a while, a familiar litany started up in my head: What's wrong with me? Why do I always end up with women who don't know how to listen? Maybe I am too picky. Maybe I'm destined to be alone. While all these thoughts, fears and frustrations were going through my head, on the outside I was nodding, smiling, being polite, saying "Mmm-hmm," and still trying to get a word in edge-wise about my own life, too."
"What I was not doing was - being real."
"I wasn't taking the risk to tell my date what I was really thinking and feeling. That means I was giving up at the starting gate and not even giving her the chance to go deeper with me. And I wasn't sharing with her the authenticity that I longed for."
"How many times have you found yourself in a similar situation? And how many times have you broken through it by getting more real yourself? If your answers are "a lot," and, "none," you're not alone! Most of us simply don't know how to be that honest, especially with someone we don't know well. Yet how are we ever going to get to know someone well, if we aren't honest with them? It's quite a conundrum!"
"So let's take a look at what I might have said on that date: "You know, I'm starting to feel really confused and kind of sad because I find you attractive, but it feels like our conversation is just going one way - and I'm really not sure why, or how to change that."
""You've got a lot of great stories, but I would really like it if we could switch gears and talk about what's going on between us right now. I'm finding myself starting to have some familiar thoughts and feelings that are keeping me from really being here with you.""
""I was really looking forward to this date, but I feel like something isn't going quite right for me in our conversational flow, and I would love it if we could talk about that together and try to change it. Would you be up for that?""
"You'll notice that in each of these statements, I used "I - language" - that is, I'm trying to talk about what I am feeling, rather than make accusations or assume I know what's going on for my date. When you make I - statements, it's easier for someone to hear you - and it makes it less likely she'll argue or get defensive. And, most importantly, by talking about what I feel and want, I am being vulnerable and real. I am offering my date the chance to go deeper with me - if she's able and willing."
"As I said before, some women won't choose to take you up on that offer. But some will. And for most of us, all it really takes is one!"
"Fast-forward to when I met my partner, M. I can still remember a few key moments when I took these kinds of risks, and she followed, and we ended up connecting much more deeply, because of it. Sometimes it was by e-mail (which for some of us is easier). In fact, that's how I first told her I loved her! But other times it was in person. Once, it was when we were in bed and things just weren't working well for me. Another time, I was having some doubts about whether we should keep seeing each other because I was afraid she felt more for me than I did for her. And every time I took the risk and told her - in an honest, vulnerable and present-moment way - what was happening inside me, she met me there. And that's a huge part of why we celebrated our eighth anniversary - and why we keep growing and going deeper together every day!"
"And it's also a big part of why we started our website (http://www.consciousgirlfriend.com), in order to help Lesbians who are struggling with relationships, learn how to create deep connection. We offer coaching, retreats and classes, such as "Communicate and Be Heard," and, "Take Charge of Your Relationship Destiny.""
Found this an excellent article, and I would like to make some comments.
Feel the writer was engaging in what I call "emotional masturbation," also known as "diarrhea of the mouth." Most of the time, this is caused by runaway anxiety, and R. did an excellent job of supporting her date to get a grip on her anxiety, instead of stressing her further by trying to get a word in edgewise.
The other comment I have is that R. is a butch, and her partner is a fem, and butches have to be sensitive to how fems perceive a relationship. Fems, are, by nature, more sensitive than butches, and expect butches to gently lead the relationship. Forgive me, but it is the butch's job to pleasure the fem in bed, but I applaud this butch for having a conversation about it, instead of breaking the relationship off.
In my opinion, I find people (not just Lesbians) don't give a relationship a chance to bloom, looking for every excuse to break it off, for fear of intimacy.
How do I get past this? Building friendships, sometimes for months and even years, to build emotional safety for both. As I am getting older, I realize I have to speed it up a little bit. With the love of my life, we were friends for two years before we became romantically involved, and we slowly went about it. Not a big fan of Internet dating websites, as I use touch (in the respectful way) and touch is my major communication tool.
Highly recommend Dr. Gary Chapman's book, "The Five Languages of Love," even though it was written for Straight people.