Let’s face it, relationships are a big stress and focus for both men and women. We grow up searching for the right one, then when we have a relationship we often struggle with making right.
Alison Armstrong started studying men so she could understand why she couldn’t find the right man. As she says, men taught her a tremendous amount about not only themselves but life. Out of exploration, she developed a course to teach women about men. Today her company teaches men and women about each other along with how to create the relationship they want.
A powerful podcast
In this podcast [see: Alison Armstrong on Chris Howard’s Mentor Circle Call] she shares the gold from her seminar on relationships. She claims that there is no such thing as a “relationship.” A relationship is just people relating. I agree that once we focus on the process, the interaction of relating frees up to be present and enjoy the other person. It is true our obsession with the prefect relationship trips us up. Yet, I do feel as Robert Bly describes in his poem, there is a third body created. The relationship has a life or some would say a Spirit of its own. I do believe it can serve us to honor that third body and I agree with Alison that we create the best relationships when we are being in the moment relating.
She claims that the fixation on finding the One is a scarcity belief that creates stress in our “search” and our desire not to blow it. Whenever I leave the focus of the moment and my experience to perform, not only am not present, I am sabotaging my relating. My focus shifts from experiencing to doing it right, judging if the other person is doing it right, and hoping.
For men she is the one because he chose her. As men, we take all of her – the whole package. We aren’t looking at changing her. On the other hand, according to Alison women being the adaptors by default accept qualities on a case-by-case base. Eventually the woman can enter a state of grace where she surrenders to accepting the whole man.
Knowing she is the one
Men usually in the first 15 minutes know. Alison learned from men that we see the possibility of the relationship at the beginning. From there we are coloring in between the outlines of the coloring book. Her warning to both sexes is to understand when a man says I could marry you he is saying if everything goes as expected it could happen. The woman often hears that, as he will marry me.
The limits of investing
The more we invest in working the relationship, the more we feel we need to hold out to get a return. When we are present, in the moment and in our bodies, we are not in the relationship for the investment, we are just in it.
She claims women fall more prey to being trapped by their investments through all their sacrifices. Alison sees women investing, a code word for denying their feelings and needs for a future return. Men she says give and get what they want.
The importance of renewing
Alison warns both men and women about the tendency women have to “drain their tanks” as they run themselves out often working to do it right. She says that men are more likely to have renewing activities. I agree with that. Yet, I see woman more likely to have renewing therapies. Either way, both partners need activities outside the relationship that gives to them.
The key – who you are?
A key to a successful relationship for Alison is how you feel in the relationship. Being with your partner, does it have you loving who you are being? Does being with him or her move you more to being the person you want to be?
Another quality to look for is finding a partner who has what you don’t have. For example, I want a woman who is femine. As a man, femininity is not a quality I have. However, if I wasn’t being masculine, as David Deida points out, the woman would by default fill that quality. To have the relationship you desire you must embody the qualities that you want, or maybe some of the qualities you don’t want your partner to have.
It is a sorting problem
I love Alison’s encouragement to be out there. It’s not a finding problem, it’s a sorting problem. If you are clear, consistent and congruent with whom you are that vibe will go out to everyone. Yes, you will repel some, but the ones who are your match will be drawn to you. We are trained to please which makes no one happy in the end.
Three keys to finding a relationship
Alison gives three foci for finding a relationship.
- First, be clear about what you want. What is your purpose? Do you want a friend, lover, partner or a wife? Know what you want and speak it.
- The next is, what are you willing to give and what would be an honor or desire to give? The complement, what do you need or want to get and happy to get?
- The third are your deal breakers. What can’t you live with and what can’t you live without? She claims men are better with these boundaries.
Not being your best
She warns particularly women about being on their best behavior. Often for the first three months of a relationship, the person is putting their best face on – then there is a blowup and the truth comes out. Once the person feels safe then the deeper feelings and wants come out.
Alison covers a lot ground in her hour interview. I attempted to do her justice in my review of her talk. If you want to decrease your learning curve for a relationship I would strongly recommend you consider what she is saying. Listen to the podcast, buy her CD’s and DVD’s – we have and they are great, or just take her trainings. Let us know what you think.