Love Connection

I went to lunch with a client of mine recently.  I was there to persuade him to take a chance on a girl that I knew was interested in him.  I’m pretty good at persuading and instigating…(especially in a game of truth or dare- I even have a marriage match that started with a good ol’ round of dare!) – but my client was not budging.  I was perplexed.  Currently his dating options are very limited.  He doesn’t have much experience in the dating arena (or any actually) – so I felt this girl was a great step (one date…no biggie!) in the right direction even though he wasn’t super attracted to her.  I never ask anyone to ‘settle’ – however in the kindest of ways I try to help them be realistic and understand the law of equality.  Sometimes that’s a little sketchy and I try to be sensitive to that – I’m not out to lower anyone’s esteem.

In talking more with him I saw that he was going through a stage many young single adults go through.  The stage of not really caring about our dating life at all.  I have seen many friends decide they are “over it,” “tired of being so good,” or just “ready to date outside the church” feeling it would be so much easier.  You know what? – I agree.  Lots of times I’m over it, I’m a little exhausted by the seemingly lack of desire for a girl that’s trying really hard to be good, and dating outside the church would definitely prove to be more fruitful, fun, and esteem building!  But just because I’ve thought it, doesn’t mean I dwell or act on it.  I regroup, pull myself together, and remind myself how great it feels to be in a mutually loving relationship headed towards the Temple.  My positive memories of great past relationships are a huge factor in my belief that I will have ‘it’ again someday and the wait will be well worth it.  It’s easy for me to have faith in that.

It wasn’t so easy for my client to share my belief, vision, and confidence in a better future.  As I tried to help him re-frame and reinstall hope in his dating pursuits he looked at me and said, “Tristen do you think that it’s a possibility to never connect with someone in the way you’re talking about?”  Without hesitation I told him, “No- we are here to form and build lasting eternal relationships.  It’s a central focus of God’s plan.”  He replied solemnly with, “Well, I think I’m the exception to that rule.  I’ve never connected with anyone.  Not my family, not a girl, not a friend.”

My heart ached.  Yet…at the same time I was so relieved to have figured out why my persuading skills seemed to be lacking.  This was an easy fix!  I saw the problem!  No wonder he had no desire to take a girl out…let alone one that wasn’t super hot.  He’s never experienced the joy that comes because of loving relationships!  He’s never been attached to someone, sacrificed for someone, or lived for the happiness of someone else –  so why would he care?!  Geez- I wouldn’t either.  But the best part is…all these things can be taught!  You can learn how to get to know people.  You can teach yourself how to sacrifice, be vulnerable, and put effort into the lives and happiness of others.  We are here to build meaningful relationships, and we will be helped and guided to do so if that is our desire!

Now the men reading this might think I’m off.  I know they want to say that if the girl was hot enough he could be motivated.  But I hate to break it to you…you’re wrong.  You are especially wrong when we’re talking about a member of the church that has a testimony and a foundation of some deep rooted principles.  Why do you think so many LDS single guys date and date and date all the hot girls but will never really commit to them?  Because if the hot girl has no depth or they can’t connect past her good looks at 2 in the morning – they realize deep down they don’t want to be stuck with that for eternity.  He’ll just keep having fun with her but no real desire to have true commitment.  I believe this is just one of the many reasons we have strayed from a culture of real romance and courting to a culture of hooking-up.  People have to connect on a deeper and more mature level to build a lasting loving relationship.  If you connect with someone, the motivation to do all that’s required to build that relationship can follow.

So from that point of realization with my client, we  stopped our focus on dating and started our focus on how to build meaningful relationships – with family, with friends, and eventually with some women.  I have full faith that as he begins to experience life connecting with people he will go from a ‘clear’ to a ‘Claritin clear’ kind of life.  He will begin to see the world with a whole new vision.  This guy hasn’t even started living. – but now I can hardly wait to see what the future holds for him!

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8 Responses to Love Connection

  1. Jessica says:

    Truer words were never spoken. Well said amiga!

  2. Jake says:

    Hey Tristen, good article!

    I definitely agree with you on how most guys just go for the hot shallow girl but then never really connect with her and therefore never really commit to her – meanwhile the poor girl is wondering what she’s doing wrong… The ability to connect below the surface is a major requirement for any healthy relationship! Those that understand that concept are always going to be happier than those that don’t. I’m nowhere near perfect either, so I also have plenty to learn. Life is full of lessons for us all.

    Thanks for sharing,

  3. JHNebeker says:

    I can’t speak for all men, but I think a key for some mid-single men to “make a connection” with a woman is to allow ourselves to NEED her emotionally. It seems that as we grow older and remain single, we develop an emotional autonomy that coincides with our temporal autonomy. Many men view relationship prospects in concrete, almost transactional terms, ie: “what do you have that I need?” I acknowledge that this sounds selfish, and I believe it is. Nevertheless, it is a mindset that must be overruled in order to allow the right feelings to take root, kind of like preparing your heart for a seed ‘a la Alma 32. I think men need to realize that a union between a man and a woman is greater than the sum of its parts, and that “being in love” is not an self interested, intellectual exercise.

    • Tristen says:

      I totally agree. I’ve come across this multiple times in my getting to know potential clients. You’re a step ahead of the rest in recognizing the issue and seeing where perhaps you can become more vulnerable in a relationship. There are definitely pros to being in a relationship at a more mature age…but the emotional autonomy that just seems to come with age can be a huge con in my opinion!

  4. Loren says:

    Hit the nail right on the head Tris….I come across this all the time. Guys say they can’t find someone bc they’re busy with hot chicks who have no substance. Its a good thing I’m the exception to the rule and I’m a hot chick with substance :)

  5. Trish says:

    You have amazing insight, and quite a way with words!! Thanks for sharing your gift.

  6. Jenn Hoff says:

    Oh my gosh this is so so so true! I was JUST dating a guy like this…. who I really want to send this article to… hmmm. Anyway, you really have a gift with this stuff. I’m so glad I found your blog! And I really needed those words today: “I regroup, pull myself together, and remind myself how great it feels to be in a mutually loving relationship headed towards the Temple.” I have a hard time dating because of my physical limitations, and it can get very discouraging! Thank you for writing that little sentance just for little ol’ me today. :)

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