Always Finding the Wrong Person? Here’s Why


I have a lot of friends who talk to me about their being unable to have a good relationship. Now, these people are all single but having a good relationship is for both single and marrieds of course. But to have that good relationship there are certain things which must be true first.

 
Everything which follows is dependent upon your ability to be completely honest with yourself first, and then with the other person. Without honest, a failed relationship is guaranteed. The first thing you need to do is to take stock of yourself. What is your self-image? How do you truly feel about yourself? Do you love yourself? Do you even like yourself? If you even feel a little bit of negativity about those first questions, then you should not even attempt to date.

 
One of the first things you need to come to terms with is the fact that you are not perfect. Every member, without exception, of the human race is flawed. The person in the successful relationship has either fixed those flaws or come to terms with them as simply being a part of you that you cannot easily fix, that is, if they are repairable. The worst thing you can do, absolutely, is to deny a flaw you know you have. It is also dishonest which breaks the first rule: total honesty is an absolute.

 
Another part of taking stoke of yourself is to admit to those things in your past which have been hurtful to others. But knowing those things is not enough. You have to take a step back and find that character flaw that caused you to do what you did. Then you must go about fixing that character flaw so that it does not repeat itself. Lots of people admit to character flaws but it is on a small subset of them who actually do something about it. But once you have successfully taken actions to either eliminate or reduce that character flaw, you must seek out the party you offended and make amends. That does not mean you simply apologize. You tell the person about the character flaw and that you have either fixed it or are working on it. Then you get to apologize.

 
We called such misdeeds “the wreckage of our past” and to be successful in the future we must clean away that wreckage. Ah, but then there is that person you wronged who you have entirely lost track of and have no way of contacting them. In this case, the simple act of repairing the character defect is all that is needed.

 
By this time, you have realized your imperfections and worked on them. But there is still a lot of work to do. People who have truly successful relationships have taken care of their physical, mental, and spiritual health.

 
The physical part is the easiest. You simply visit your primary care physician and attend to any physical problems that are brought up, weight, diet, medications, etc. By doing what I have suggested previously you are dealing with your mental problems. But here’s the thing, you must have a confidant who you trust implicitly and relate to that person all the things you are doing. This does not mean you need go to a therapist, but it does mean you are talking with someone who will give you well-reasoned, thoughtful advice. It also means that this person will tell you that you are falling short of your goal, who will have the courage to not only tell you that they do not think that you are being entirely truthful but will suggest how to be truthful. This person is also the person who is going to help you exorcise those demons inside you that you have been too scared or too embarrassed to relate to another person. When you courageously push through these things, good mental health is almost a guarantee.

 
Spiritual health is by far the most important and most difficult part of being an entirely healthy person to maintain. Spirituality does not have to be a part of religion and for my purposes here, it does not. Spirituality comes when you have successfully finished those things you I talked about before. It means that at the very least, during the worst of times, you will know absolutely that you are a good person, that you are doing your best, and that you are always seeking out the next right thing to do. How do you know the what is the next right thing to do? Sometimes it will be obvious but many other times it will not be apparent. At such times you try to think it through, seek out another person’s opinion, or, if it is something that requires immediate attention, then do what in your heart you think is that right thing. But if you find it was not the right thing, have faith that in trying something different a second or even a third time, is perfectly acceptable. The key here is allowing yourself the right to be wrong.

 
Once you have a good relationship with yourself then you are ready to make a foray into having a relationship with another person. That relation also starts with complete honest and progresses into the area where you feel like this person is your best friend. When attempting a relationship, always have a short list of things you consider deal breakers. For example, mine was that I would not date a smoker. Another might be that the person must the same religion or same politics ideals as you. If you do not do these things, your chances of a healthy loving relationship is nearly impossible.

 
There are people who look absolutely gorgeous or stunningly handsome on the outside but when you find out what’s on the inside, you see not just a horribly flawed person, but someone who is truly mentally and spiritually sick. Such people are always a bad choice.

 
You may say to me, “but I’m not beautiful or handsome.” What’s on the outside need count very little to not at all for the person you want to be with. This assumes that you are taking care of yourself, physically clean, well-dressed. Think of it this way, the most intelligent people in the world are highly sought after but all that intelligence is hidden from view. The beauty of the intelligence only shows itself when the person speaks on his specialty. This applies to you because whatever is going on in your insides comes out when you do some, say something, feel something.

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The Rules of Life


Whatever happened to manners, common curtesy, thoughtfulness? I do not know where it went but we need it back, and we need it back right now!

When I was a kid and had received a present, Christmas or birthday, my mother sat me down at the dining room table and had me write out a thank you note to the person who had given me the gift. It was a small thing but at the time I did not realize how important it was.

RULE 1: ALWAYS BE GRATEFUL

That thank you letter was an acknowledgement of a kindness given. It was a curtesy demanded of people who desired to have good manners. So what is curtesy?

There was a time when men would stand up at the dinner table when a woman came in to sit down. A man would hold the door for a woman to walk through. There was a time when you spoke to your elders using the word “sir” or “ma’m.” It seems like much of that has fallen by the wayside.

Americans are in a rush, all the time and everywhere. But why? I do not know. But here’s something to chew on. If you live 15 miles from work and the average posted speed is 45, that means it will take you about 20 minutes to get to work. Now today’s American is in a rush so he is going to try to average 55 miles an hour for that 15 miles to work. How much time does he gain from going 55? A little over 1 minute. Yup, that’s it, one minute! But that extra 10 MPH makes that driver more dangerous on the road. It is likely he will take chances along the way, rush a yellow light before it turns red, cut off another driver, or worst of all, cause an accident.

RULE NUMBER 2: NEVER EXCEED THE SPEED LIMIT

Now it would appear that rule 2 is meant for the previous paragraph and it is, but only in part. There is a speed limit to living life. But it the case of life, you can neither live it faster or slower than the clock allows. But some people believe that have to push as hard as possible to get where they want to go. To be who they want to be. That person will try to get things done in half a day that normally takes a full day. Are they moving too fast? Speeding? Possibly. Each person needs to check his stress level. A train can go into a curve traveling at a rate of speed greater than the tracks can handle. The tracks become overstressed and fail. People do the exact same thing. Stress is not a normal state of living. That you feel stress for an extended period of time is proof positive you need to slow down.

RULE NUMBER 3: BE A GOOD FRIEND

Okay, so if this were a question it would be a trick question. Being a good friend to the people we know is easy. The people I am speaking are those people we do not know. If you live in a city environment, as I do, you can easily come in contact with a thousand people every day. Most of them we simply pass by without a thought. But occasionally someone catches our eye. Their eyes meet our eyes. At that point we become their brief friend. We smile, nod to them, and maybe even say ‘good morning’ or ‘good afternoon.’ This is what friends do for one another.

Recently I have exacted a demand of myself. Whenever someone asks me how my day is going I must answer with a smile and say energetically, “I’m having a marvelous day! How’s your day going?” I have found it absolutely amazing the positive response I get. I believe if I do that enough times and on a regular basis, sooner or later I am going to run across a person who is actually having a crappy day but my positive energy will lift them just enough to smile for a moment and possibly allow them to feel a little better. But is that not exactly what you would do for a friend?

RULE NUMBER 4: BE INTOLERANT OF INTOLERANCE

The United States of America may be the most diverse country of any in the world. I would not be surprised if we have at least one person who represents every country, every race, every everything in the world. We probably have a member of every religion here too. But just between those two things Americans seem to generate an awful lot of intolerance, bigotry, racism and xenophobia. Do not allow yourself to be drawn into the trap the likes which Donald Trump is making popular. We are both bigger and better than those whose small minds speak poorly of others. We need to recognize that all people, regardless of who they are, share common fears, desires, and interests. My years of living have taught me that whatever you fear, whatever you have done, whoever you are, you are just one of many who feel the same things, want the same things, fear the same things.

RULE NUMBER 5: NEVER LOAN MONEY ANYONE; GIVE IT TO THEM

Few things cause more resentments and hard feelings than money which is lent out and not repaid. Every now and then someone will ask me to loan them some money. I tell them I will not loan them any money but will give them some money with just a single provision attached. That provision is that they promise when someone asked them for a load they will give that person some money. I tell them once that is done, their debt to me is paid but the must never tell me of it. This is just the “pay it forward” concept someone else came up with.

RULE NUMBER 62: DON’T TAKE YOURSELF TOO SERIOUSLY

The world does not revolve around you! Ever hear that saying? Well it is true! But here is the really good news: the world does not know you exist. That means when it rains, it rains on everyone, not just you! When you are stuck in a traffic jam and will be late for a super important meeting, just look around you. Everyone else is stuck in that same jam and one of those people may be a doctor who is desperately needed to save a life.

The world was here billions of years before we were born and will continue on billions of years after we die. In time we will all be forgotten. That is neither a good nor bad thing, it just is. If you want to know how to live, take trip to your local park, sit on a bench, and watch the squirrels. Each of them lives entirely within a single moment in time. They scurry around to find food. Hide in the branches to escape the wind and rain. And when they sense danger, as we do, there is that little place in their brain that yells at them to run, same as us. But have you ever heard of an unhappy squirrel. No. And you never will. They simply adapt to what is going on around them and move on.

RULE NUMBER 0: EVERY DAY YOU WAKE UP IS GOING TO BE A GOOD DAY, CONSIDER THE ALTERNATIVE

How To Know If You Are in a Healthy Relationship


Not every relationship comes to an end but many do. Marriages, lovers, friends, all have a time in their life when they realized what was once a great relationship simply has ceased to exist. The smart person is not afraid to recognize such a situation and do one of two things. First, they can reach out to the other person and after telling that person they believe their relationship has died or is in its death throws but that they want to see if it can be resurrected. Or, they can simply walk away after telling the other person that their relationship is over and they have no desire to fix it.

Of the three above mentioned relationships the marriage reigns supreme, of course. That relationship seldom comes to an end because the actions of one person accounts for 100% of the problems. I believe that most have somewhere between a 60/40 and a 50/50 responsibility. To me that says most relationships, at least within that range, are repairable and with a minimal amount of pain. But then there is that relationship where one party accounts for 70 to 80% of the issues. Still, the partners in such a relationship should seek outside help and get an unbiased assessment of where they stand.

I think it likely that when a relationship hits the 70% plus fault it is probably time to call it quits. For some reason women are predisposed to hanging in there, their usual reason being “for the kids.” To that person I would say, your unhealthy relationship with your husband, or your wife, is hurting your children more than you realize. And by keeping the marriage alive via life-support only exacerbates the pain the children feel.

For the most part, children love both their parents equally and want both of them around all the time. But children are very poor judges of what is good for them. That is one of the reason we are legally, if not morally, bound to the care of our children. And since children are like sponges, taking in everything they see and hear around them. But when those things are negative, they tend to believe that those negative things are the way the world works. That of course is simply not true. That is a relationship that necessarily needs a great deal of work to get it fixed or the couple needs to think of their children and separate.

We tend to take what we learn about relationships we have in our teens and twenties as how things “have to be.” It is my experience that most of those conclusions are not only wrong, but are so wrong the put in jeopardy the success of all future relationships.

The most important part of a relationship is honesty and trust. Now that might sound like two separate things, and they can certainly be taken separately, but in a relationship they must be held as one principle with neither being more important to other. To the contrary, the one relies upon the other for success. We trust people because we know we can count of their truthfulness with us. They are also reliable but that is the second most important factor.

There are two kinds of relatable truths: the easy truth and the tough truth. The easy truth is: “I’m sorry honey, I went out with Jason even though I promised you I would never do that again.” The tough truth is: “I don’t think our relationship is working anymore and I think we need to separate.”  The good news about each statement is that unto itself, each is truthful. The simple truth of each statement should lead to an exhaustive examination of the relationship at that point of time with each party coming to a meeting of the minds.

People who truly care about one another know exactly what little things thrill their partner. That known, they do a good job of doing one of those little things on a regular basis. They realize it a mistake to take their partner for granted.

The good relationship has each party in tune with the other. They instinctively know when their partner is not feeling well, is hiding their feelings, or is troubled in any fashion. They also know they hold a responsibility to reach out to their partner immediately upon the realization of the trouble.

And the killer to any and all relationships is the answer to the question: “Is your relationship largely based on sex?” If the answer is yes, make certain the other person is in the relationship for the same reason because if they are not, then the relationship is by definition based on a lie. People have purely physical relationships all the time but that is only good when it is mutually agreed upon.

The good and strong has three equally important parts: physical, mental and spiritual. If any of those three are missing, cut your losses and move on.

The Sucessful Relationship


A young friend of mine told me this morning that his fiancé moved in with him last week and that they are getting married in two weeks. They have been together for some time now so there in nothing rushed in what is happening. But he could not wonder what the future holds for him. His most basic question, one that many people struggle with, is “why me?” He wonders why she wants to spend a life with him. I told him it is because she really likes what she sees and that he gives her everything she wants. Now I have to admit that I speculated a bit on that point because I have never met his fiancé. But Adam is a really good guy and I believe my assumption to be a safe one.

He then asked me how long I have been with my wife. I embarrassingly had to stop and think about that for a second and decided that telling him how long we had been together was even more important.

My back story is one of too many failed relationships prior to the one I am in now. There are many reasons for those failed relationships and good deal, probably 90% or greater, are the result of my decision making. That decision making is more than just who I chose, but how I acted, what I said, what I did and a plethora of other things during those relationships. My failed relationships spanned from a few days to many years but finally I got my head out of my ass and took note of what I had done wrong. The things I had done wrong can be boiled down to a few basic truths: dishonesty, disloyalty, fear, doubt, and insecurity. And I can wrap all those things up by saying, I just did not know how to talk or to relate to people, not just women, but everyone.

I told Adam that probably the most important thing in a relationship has to be honesty. And that honesty has to start well before the marriage. This is where fear always crept into my psyche. I feared that if I was totally honest about what was going around in my head then certainly the woman I was with would go running for the hills. What I failed to do was consider that that might have been the relationship saver rather than killer.  The other relationship killer, absolutely, is resentment.  Resentment is the poison you drink while you wait for the other person to become ill.  But in truth resentment is simply the surfacing of our own shortcomings that we either deny or are unwilling to overcome.

I think we human beings have a natural amount of insecurity which shows up in our lives in a variety of ways. I feel badly for women because they are bombarded with the commercial world’s definition of beauty. They compare themselves to the reigning queens of beauty in music, on the silver screen and in the advertisements of the magazines they read. I can tell you from personal experience that I have known any number of women who were truly gorgeous on the outside and either hollow or some other negative characteristic to the core. Then I know a lot of people who are absolutely gorgeous. Most will never turn a head but what springs forth from them is a beautiful heart. True beauty is an inside job. Now this is not to say that physical attraction should not play a role in a good relationship, it does of course! But that can only be the start of things. There is a natural progression from that point that must happen.

I stated in an earlier post that you should marry your best friend. That is, this is the person you talk to freely and easily. The only time you edit your speech is to be politic about what you are saying without sacrificing honesty. Honesty is the bedrock of all good relationships. Partners who have been together a long time not only know their mate’s good qualities but also their shortcomings. All human beings develop a host of shortcomings. Those who desire to better themselves reduce or remove those shortcomings as much as possible. I like to use the common shortcoming of jealousy. I call it one of the two most useless feelings any person can have, the other be resentment. But I chose jealousy here because I firmly believe it can be entirely defeated. That is because I believe jealousy is a measurement of an individual’s insecurity. The secure man takes pride in other men admiring the woman he is with. In fact, if he could, he would invite it. He also does not worry that his wife is out with friends some of whom may be male. This is also the trust aspect of good relationships, you trust your mate no matter what.

I suggested to Adam that, if he had not already done so, he talk to his fiancé about his fears and his insecurities. I explained that everyone has them and anyone who claims they do not is a liar. Not only does your mate need to know such things so (s)he knows what is going on with you, but has the right to know such things. I think it an obligatory part of successful relationships.

To this Adam said he had always seen himself a “the rock” in the relationship. I asked him why since, as I explained, a rock never moves forward. I suggested he look at the relationship as mutually supportive as you move through life so that when one or the other has a weak moment you have all the support you need in your mate. They instinctively understand and are ready. They have you by your arm ready to hold you up when you stumble, which you will!

Society today in general seems to have a lot of trouble listening. When someone is explaining something to you not only is it polite to quietly listen until they are done, it is crucial to understanding one another. Some people just cannot seem to help themselves and interrupt the other person by talking over them before they are done. This has the effect of turning a nice discussion into a confrontational one. It is always best to hear the person out, take breath, literally, and then in considered terms, respond to what they have said. At the very least this shows respect for what has been said. That is particularly good when you find yourself in the position of having to disagree with what has been said. What is at work here is respectful consideration. People like to think what they say is of value but when they are interrupted it says just the opposite and who wants to be disrespected? In a marriage as soon as one party starts thinking the other does not respect them, it does not bode well for the future. It is then that questions of commitment and love also come into question.

I think it wise to take, at the very least, a mental snapshot of the person you are marrying or otherwise entering into a long term committed relationship. Remember the reasons that got you there, why you found that person so attractive. Those things you find attractive will not change much except in a positive direction. A good heart is always a good heart, it does not change. A kind, caring, considerate, deeply committed and honest person also does not change and those are the qualities that take you through the years. Outer beauty fades, sex drive fades, and energy level fades among other things. But that is to be expected and that happens the successful relationship realizes that just being with that other person makes their day. Their love is shown in a thousand other ways and even though they feel extremely comfortable in the relationship, they have also committed themselves to always working on it. But when everything and everyone else seems to fail us, we can count on our loved one because we know for certain they are always there for us.

Navigating Relationships in Your 20s


As human beings we are social creatures by design.  We are not meant to be alone and certainly not meant to live alone.  Somewhere around the age of 12 we all experience the desire to be with a special someone.  Unfortunately, schools do not teach us about friendships and relationships.  We learn by watching what other people do, what our parents do, and, unfortunately, what we see on television and the internet.  The last two, of course, are absolutely the worst places.  Still, we all seem to get into relationships that are doomed from the start.  Women, unfortunately, settle for “Mr. Right Now” instead of waiting for “Mr. Right.”  Men look for someone to take care of them, someone to replace mom.  We men will never admit to that but it is true.

Life is all about priorities and choices.  Young people, myself included when I was young, I am 66 now, seldom prioritize anything and are prone to bad choices.  Also, life is messy, just accept that truth and do not worry about it.  As much as you might think you do, you definitely do not know what someone else is thinking about you, never assume.

I recommend that all young people stay in school as long as possible.  Getting well-educated for young people must be priority number 2.  That assumes that priority number 1 is taking care of yourself and whatever that means.

It is not just young people who find the concept to self-care illusive, it is older adults as well.   I believe the most basic element to solving absolutely any problem we have or will have is that we keep a very sharp focus on taking care of ourselves.  Those basic things include eating healthy, annual visits to our primary care physician and dentist, regular exercise, and even something as basic as dressing ourselves.  The old cliché’ of dress for success is true.

That done we need to have a plan for our future.  This is also a self-care issue.  Until we finish the highest level of education possible or necessary, our education has to be priority number 2.  Few people at age 18 know what career they want to pursue.  Even some of those who think they do really do not.  What I recommend is that high school seniors who are undecided do one of three things: 1) take a year or two off from school and enter the work force while you discover yourself, 2) join the military, 3) when you enroll in the college of yourself do not decide upon a major, go as “undeclared.”  During the first one or two years in college there are more than enough courses all college students must take to qualify for a degree.  Those courses almost always are enough to fill a freshmen year and at least in part a sophomore year.  And during that first and second year discover what truly thrills you.  Discover what your dream career is and then ask questions of college advisors what it takes to achieve the highest level in that career.  With a few exceptions, physicians, lawyers, nurses, and some others, your course of action will probably not be obvious.  But regardless of what college you attend, there is someone there who can give you the advice you need going forward.

I have a B.S. in computer science and a masters in U.S. History.  The latter degree came from an extremely good university and I pursued that degree because I really like U.S. history.  But had I had my senses about me after I finished my time in the army, I was 21 at the time, I would have pursued a career in astro-physics.  At the time I would have complained that I sucked at math.  But the truth was simple, I did not know how to study and overcome obstacles.  Math would have been tough but manageable had I had a plan.  When I retired at age 58 I was sprinting away from a 30 year career because I simply could not stand going to work anymore.  I made a lot of bad choices and did not have the courage to pursue my dreams.

Between the ages of 18 and 25 young people are usually absolutely obsessed with being with that special person.  And unfortunately this obsessions becomes priority number 1 in their life.  In my priority list here it does not belong even in 3rd place, still too high.  But relationships in general do belong in place number 3.  One of the craziest ideas people have is that they should never date a friend for fear of ruining a friendship.  I believe people who think that way have only a tenuous hold on what makes a good relationship.

Our most important relationships necessarily are with our family of birth.  Our parents and siblings are our first relationships and given all the years such relationships exist, should be our best.  Too many times, however, that is not true.  Sometimes it is for good reason but I think that is the exception rather than the rule.  Young people, myself included at the time, think our parents do not understand us.  It is a ridiculous thought but prevalent.  What we all need to do is put forth whatever effort is required to understand our parents, where they came from and from that why they are who they are now.  There is no substitute for understanding.  Within the family unit one of the most common negative emotions felt is resentment.  Resentment, along with jealousy, is one of the most useless feelings we all have.  Resentments are founded in fear, doubt and insecurity and serve no good purpose.  When you feel a resentment ask yourself why and what happened to make you feel that way.  Then take good honest look at yourself to find the role you played in developing that resentment.  That done, let it go, get over it.  Resentment is the poison you drink while you wait for the other person to fall ill.

I have three daughters.  When she was in high school my eldest daughter came to me and complained that she did not have any friends, that no one liked her.  I knew that could not be true and asked her if she had one good friend.  She responded that she did.  I told her that she already had all the friends she needed and to not worry about anyone else.  She later told me how good that advice was when she suggested to her younger sister that she come to me about friendship advice.  It is my belief that people should practice being a friend and how to have friends prior to moving on to something more serious.  That is not to say you should not date, you should.  Just refuse to commit to anyone before you are ready and certainly not before you have the friendship concept down cold.

It is at this point people oft times find themselves interested in a good friend for a more serious and intimate relationship.  If you still feel you cannot be intimate with that person for fear of ruining a good friendship then I suggest you still do not have the friendship concept down.  Why would you want to be in an intimate relationship with anyone who would not also qualify as a best friend?

Try to avoid getting married before you are 25.  Considering 50% of all marriages fail, why not wait it out as long as possible?  I am not saying you cannot find that right person prior to 25 you can.  But when you think you have that right person in your life make sure you ask and answer the tough questions.  You want someone who is secure, devoted, monogamous, honest and who, when you are not engaged in sex or having a conversation with, you can sit quietly with and enjoy their company fully.  This is also the person who, when you are about to do something dumb, will lovingly suggest you consider your options.  This is the person who is not jealous, always courteous, thoughtful, and loves you when you are at your worst.  This is the non-judgmental person with whom you share your greatest fears and who knows all your shortcomings and loves you all the same.  But even my short list here suggests that you must be willing to invest a serious amount of time in the relationship prior to agreeing to marriage.

The long and short of all this is simple, make sure you can exist happily on your own before you make a commitment to be with anyone else.  Sometimes even with our best efforts relationships fail.  And when they do, do not be that person who has to scramble to find a place to live, to feed yourself and otherwise take care of yourself.  Do not be the person who will have difficulty in making ends meet.  Do not be the person who thinks because the relationship failed you are a failure too or that you are unlovable.  And definitely do not be the person who, on the heels of that failed relationship, quickly jumps into another because you feel desperate, lonely or anything else that puts you in a negative light.  Without being annoying or narcisstic about it, always consider yourself a catch and that whoever might want to be with you should be lucky to have you.

Who Do You Love?


Today is Valentine’s Day and millions of women are getting roses, diamonds, and lots of other goods.  Men, well, we get a card.  There seems to be some inequity there but, there is not!  I do not have any idea how this day began but it is a pretty nice thing.  But, it also truly is something we should practice everyday.  I try.

I have a very special love for my wife, and a different, but equally as special love for my three daughters.  I have been able to reconcile that age-old question about loving one best.  I love them all equally but differently.  I do not have a favorite.  Each of my daughters is special in her own way and endears me to her in that particular way.  My love for each is shaped by how they endear me which means comparisons are ridiculous.  I sent each a Valentine’s Day card to each.  And my wife gets her own special treatment too of course.

But what about all those other people in my life who I love but do not send cards to?  Where it may be all right to give a card to some, it would be inappropriate to give one to the rest.  That does not mean I have misplaced love.  It simply means it is a different sort of love, one which attempts to respect boundaries.

For some reason my thoughts today went all the way back to when I was in the 8th grade and thought I was in love with one of my classmates.  She was a wonderful person then and is the same today.  I have seen her in recent years and although I do not feel that childhood love, I see her in a very kind light.  She was important at a particular time.  My high school girlfriend gets more consideration.  I know I loved her but I was never in love with her, an important distinction.  Her kindness, gentleness, and understanding have allowed me to keep nice memories of those days.

Then there was my first true love.  I was 21.  She was absolutely wonderful, and even though we were engaged, briefly, to this day there is no doubt that we had a mutual love that was really good.

After that there was a woman who came into my life briefly.  She was in it for only a year but it was a troubling time for me, and a time I was far from home.  She was not only beautiful in appearance, she was particularly beautiful inside.  Try as she might, she was unable to get me to stop taking myself so seriously and have a little fun.  Nevertheless, she stole my heart.  But the relationship was never more than friendship, and not one “with benefits,” as people like to say today.  That is, unless you consider having such a person as a dear friend a benefit, which I do.  She had a heart as big as all outdoors, and she had a personality that attracted nearly everyone she came in contact with.  Once our ways parted I lost contact with her, but that has changed with the advent of facebook, and we have reconnected.  That feels good, just to make that connection, again, with a really good person.

Then there was my former wife.  Even though I married her for all the wrong reasons, I married an extremely good person.  She is a great mother.   She has a huge heart, is generous to a fault, and is a great person to have as a friend.  We are still friends and I value her friendship much more than most other people I know.

There are other people in my life now, friends, who are very dear to me.  I value their friendship hugely.  Those particular friends are ones I consider special, and who I would do most anything for.

My point is, I love all these people.  Some of them even though many years have intervened.  And there are plenty more who I have not mentioned here who I still feel strongly about in one way or another.  All these people either have made a difference or are still making a difference in my life.  I love them, all of them.  Today is a good day to remember each of them and be grateful.

I suggest any who read this take a little time and consider those who have made a difference in your life and consider the idea of having some love for them.  Having well placed love for another person is never a bad thing.

Kissing Frogs, and Other Bits of Wisdom


Because of some of the organizations I am a part of, I know a lot of people of all ages.  I frequently hear women bemoaning their inability to find Mr. Right.  Too many of them get tangled up with “Mr Right Now” and of course they get a lot of heart ache and heart burn.  I like to tell them, “You know, you have to kiss a lot of frogs.”  The implication being that one day they kiss the frog who turns into their prince.  But some of these women decide they will opt for a “bad boy.”  I am not sure why they do that except that maybe they believe a bad boy will add excitement to their life.  That sort of logic escapes me but those same women who are bemoaning their inability to find Mr. Right have this weird attraction to bad boys.  I tell them, bad boys are bad news!

I never found much of any attraction to a “bad girl” but I can see how in fantasy such a person might be fun.  But she is definitely not the girl to marry.  In that respect, and even though I have been married more than once, I chose good women.  I look at my former wife and I see a wonderful person who was a very good mother to our children.  We are good friends today, and I love that.

Every now and then you will hear the question arise, “should you ever date your best friend?”   My response is an emphatic, “Of course!”  But that needs to be expanded just a bit.  My mistake, when I was younger, was to be looking for someone to marry without considering other more important things.  I have come to find that the person you marry should rise to the level of best friend long before you marry her, or him.  If that person you are with does not have that status then they are not someone you should marry.  The glow of early relationship and then honeymoon wears off.  Once that happens what are you left with?  Well, you better be left with your best friend, a person you want to be with and who you enjoy being with.  This is a person you are always comfortable with, and in whom you put complete trust in.  That means, when you cannot speak for yourself she will instinctively know your wishes and follow through.

There is another part to this that needs consideration.  That is the part where you love yourself, or at least like yourself, and not in a narsistic fashion.  Every person has a certain energy about them.  This is not some sort of new age philosophy.  To the contrary, it is fact.  As individuals our moods affect those we come in contact with.  People love being around happy upbeat individuals and move away from depressed morose individuals.

Before we get into any sort of love relationship with a person we need to feel good about ourself.  I can tell you from personal experience that if you are feeling weighted down by life then you need to get right with yourself before you bring someone else into your life.  I have never been big on loving myself but these days I really do like myself.  I do not worry about who likes me or dislikes me regardless of their reasons.  The world is no against me in any regard.  I am responsible for making my own happiness happen, and when I am bored or unhappy, then I need to fix that first before continuing on.  I can, and do, ask for help in that respect sometimes and that is a good thing.

Last night I heard a man say, “On your way to wonderful, you will first come to all right.  When you get there, look around and appreciate where you are because you will likely be there for a long time.”  That was Bill Withers who said that.  In case you do not know who Bill Withers is, he is a successful singer who wrote and sang songs like, “Just the Two of Us,” and “Ain’t No Sunshine.”  For such a successful celebrity, I was struck by his absolute humility.  Such a man, i believe, bears listening to and so i did.

I am living in “all right” and really enjoying myself.  At times I get moments in wonderful and always feel extremely fortunate.  I have a great life.

To bring all this together, I am suggesting those of you considering a relationship with someone or wishing for a relationship with someone, do an inventory of yourself and you condition.  If you cannot in totally honesty say that you are completely satisfied with where you are, where you are headed, and who you are, do not consider a romantic relationship until you can say all those things.  Have lots of friends, have lots of dates, but stay away from commitment until you can not only give that person a person you  really like, but a situation you live in that you also really like.