Saturday, April 27, 2013

'Love Lessons' by Paramjit Kaur

We have the great honor to have guest blogger Paramjit Kaur share her experience and view point on dating with us.  Paramjit Kaur is an esteemed author and brilliant writer in general.  You can connect with her on her blog  Finishing Foreign

Love Lessons
By Paramjit Kaur

“What is the clicking thing, you keep talking about?” The woman said to her daughter then turning to her friend, “I don’t understand, every time we introduce her to a nice boy she spends five minutes with him and then says, ‘we just didn’t click mom’. In our day there was no ‘clicking’ we just got married.”

This could be an excerpt from a Bollywood movie script but it was actually a conversation that took place in a kitchen in London in 2002 when I was visiting family. The girl whose name I have since forgotten was in the process of having an arranged marriage.
Thirty-three and single, no arranged marriage for me, as an Indian woman I have past anyone’s expectation of ever getting married. Never mind my successful career, education and the fact that I have written a novel that will be published; in the Indian world’s eyes I’m a lost cause.

In my eyes, I’m one tough cookie! I haven’t folded under the pressure of culture, family and constant ridicule. Instead I have created my beautiful life and found freedom to find love.
Finding love isn’t easy and can feel nearly impossible when you’re lost between the Indian and American cultures. From all the bumps, bruises and scars I have earned on this journey there are also so many love lessons.

Sometimes you just have to cross the line. After spending most of my life keeping my dating life from the world, keeping my heartbreaks and even my joy to myself  I realized that’s exactly how I behave in my dating life. Half in and half out; never 100% committed to anything except keeping my “good Indian girl” facade up as a shield. Until I realized that I was never fully committed to anything but a meaningless facade (FYI dating doesn’t make you a bad Indian girl) I couldn’t be in a successful relationship. Crossing the line from the safe world I know of tragic relationships to a world of possibility, now that’s exciting enough to make my stomach summersault!

It’s the moments and memories that matter. There is something to be said about all those beautiful moments that I can reference when things don’t look so bright. Laughing that real full laugh in a bar across from the man I loved, a walk at the Berkeley Marina, a first kiss at Coit Tower, the list can go on. Love, like memories, doesn’t fade, it changes shape and takes on new forms. Those memories of love, they matter and those moments make me the woman I am today. They remind me of the times when I was open to the possibility of loving and being loved and therefore know love is possible and that there are more memories to be made.

Trust your intuition. For a long time I ignored that nagging feeling that was telling me “something’s not right.” Trusting myself was probably one of the hardest things for me for a myriad of reasons, and something that I still struggle with today.  Once I started trusting myself is when I finally realized I could trust the people in my life. Knowing what I want in a relationship and trusting that little voice inside that says “this isn’t it” or “RUN” has really put me in control of my (dating) life. I have stayed in disastrous relationships because that nagging feeling wasn’t a “good enough” reason to leave. Today I trust the most important voice, mine.

Dating and the relationships we end up in are colored by our life experiences. I am grateful for all the lessons that have helped me brave the journey to finding the love that is meant for me.

As for the girl in London, I think had I been paying attention she was teaching me these lessons way back then. She had hilarious stories of the men her parents had introduced her to, she trusted her intuition and she for sure was crossing the line every time she said “we just don’t click.” I never did find out if she got married and if so, if they clicked. 

As always, please leave a comment and let us know what you think, or share your experiences with us!   Cheers to your dating!

much love & aloha

Monday, April 22, 2013

What Works & What Doesn't - An Interview with a young, hip, attractive, single Man

I believe everyone's point of view matters; seeking to understand each other, whether we see eye to eye, is pivotal in creating partnership (romantically or platonically, personally or professionally).  I asked folks to share their point of view on dating.  Today you hear from a single, male who is established, available and dating.  I asked him a few questions..... here is what he had to say:

1) What works for you?
-To me, there isn't (and never will be) anything sexier than a woman who demonstrates that she's a good nurturer.  I'm a real A type personality and the feminine strength of a good woman is nothing that will ever be anything less than sexy.  I LOVE women who expect to be treated well.  Let me be a man, and I'll treat you like a woman.  Don't expect to pay for dinner, enjoy the doors held open, and appreciate the fact that I think my job is to take care of you...  unless you let me treat you like a woman, I'll never feel like a good man.

2) What doesn't work for you?
-There is a line between feminine strength, and acting like a dude.  If I wanted to date a man I would.  I like women, so act like one!  Don't feel like it's awkward if I pay for a meal or do something spontaneous and nice.  I don't expect you to sleep with me just because I paid for a meal, it's just how it makes me think I'm taking care of you.  If you're with me, don't worry about anything.  When you do, it's unattractive.

3) What can a woman do on a first date to set a man up for success (planning, etc)?
-Look your best.  Don't over do it, but put your best foot forward.  We want to be proud of the woman we are with, so do your best to present yourself on a first date like you are the arm candy (although you're obviously more than that).  We want our friends to tell us that our girl is hot, when we are on a first date, it's one of the first thing a guy thinks about.  AND don't over analyze everything!  Just enjoy the experience and let yourself be you. That's what we want to see.

4) What has helped you in your journey to get clear on what you're looking for in a relationship?
-About a thousand dates that ended in a disaster!  Mostly my fault...  :)
-I dated one girl once who was just in a different place in her life, but nobody has ever let me treat them as well as she did.  Her letting me be a gentleman was such a gift; it gave me a lot of clarity on the kind of woman I want.  She and I are still great friends.

5) What have been 3 of your top 10 dates?
-Honestly, I'm real easy.  1) Coffee and a conversation is probably my favorite.  I enjoy conversation and listening to people, learning about their stories, and          finding out what drives them.  Learning about a woman's PASSION in life is what moves me.  With that said, I have had a few coffee conversations I really enjoyed.  2) Walking around Santa Monica with a girl I used to date was awesome, just people watching and what not.  3) A nice dinner with unique food where we both experience something new.

6) Suggestions/Pointers/Tips for the Fellas on dating
-Guys have swag; Men have class.  Be a man and take care of your woman.  Respect isn't optional, honor who she is (even if it's not going to go anywhere).

As always, I love to hear your thoughts on the matter.  

Much love & aloha

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Every Relationship Ends

"Is this the person I'll share Happily Ever After with? Could this be The One?" I see many people go into dates and relationships with these thoughts foremost in their minds. Everything their potential partner does is colored with this filter. And it hides a single sobering yet freeing truth.

Every relationship ends. Whether by choice, incompatibility, or old age, no relationship is permanent.
This lets us reevaluate what relationship means. Frequently, the desire to have a partner in perpetuity hides a fear of being alone. When we have an underlying belief that we are not enough to love ourselves, we seek someone who completes us, even though we are the only person who can do that.

If we see ourselves as beautiful people who can enjoy the presence of another without needing it, then recognizing the impermanence of relationships is freeing. It relieves us from the pressure of making something work that just isn't. It allows us to enjoy what is happening with our partner, and make plans for tomorrow, while helping us accept if those plans go awry.

Every relationship has a purpose. In some cases, a relationship will teach us how to see the world a little differently, through our lover's eyes. Or it may teach us about ourselves. Every relationship we have can help us expand what it means to be in a relationship, so that the next relationship is that much richer.

But once that purpose is fulfilled, the relationship ends. We can feel it. The cord snaps that holds us together, and the feeling dies. Once that happens, the relationship changes. There's no longer an attachment. Friendship can come next, or a simple farewell, but if we try to sustain it beyond that point, resentment grows in place of the love that's absent.

This isn't to say that we should simply look for short-term flings. We may end up in a relationship that lasts for the rest of our lives. The key is that the length of the relationship is secondary to its breadth and depth. Each relationship teaches us more about relationships. And, at some point, we might hit a relationship that will last until death does us part. But we won't know that until we are in it. We'll go from relationship to relationship until we hit the one where we say, "Oh. I guess I'm done."

But as long as we are looking for a relationship to last forever, we'll be disappointed regularly. It shows up after we don't need it. And that happens when we're happy with the one relationship we'll always have: the one with ourselves. Until that point, our relationships can only help us learn more about ourselves, helping us reach that point.

So it's alright for relationships to end. They have to, to create room for better relationships.