We always get to create (and recreate) our rules for dating and relationships. 

The topsy-turvy time of the pandemic has provided an interesting new context to be dating and relating, liberating us from all kinds of social constructs around what is and isn’t possible. The dirty little secret, however, is that it’s always been up to each of us to choose and create the rules for dating & relationship — 2020 has simply pulled back the curtain and laid bare things that have always been true. In dating and relationships, each of us gets to decide what the rules are – there’s enormous freedom and joy in that, along with responsibility.

You get to make the rules. 

Sometimes it seems like the rules are being set upon us and it’s hard to break free from them, but whether we’re dating, in a new relationship, or married for decades — we get to decide our own rules.  Back in March, when shelter-in-place was new &  the 2020 No-Man Diet was coming to an end, one of the women on the group call was talking about stepping back into dating and wondering what it would look like now, given the nature of things. I said to her, “you get to decide!!!.”  From where and when you meet, to how often you talk on the phone, to when you have sex — you get to decide. 

This is true of long-term relationships also. 

Once we get in a relationship, it’s easy to think the way things are is the way they have to be.  We also often assume the way things are is the way the other person wants, simply because things are continuing. We forget that we get to create & recreate our ongoing relationship on a regular basis as well. It can be hard to tell what we want sometimes, because things are constantly happening and most people rarely take the time to reflect on whether we like things as they are, or whether we want them to be different. So often when I work with couples & they do take time to reflect, they end up realizing they both want things to be a little different — often even in the same ways as the other person! 

Single or in relationship, taking a pause benefits us immensely, 

It takes a certain kind of a pause to gain a panoramic view that allows us to look at how things are really going. If we’re attracting the same person, or getting into the same kinds of relationships,  or if we’re really happy with every aspect of our long-term partnership – we rarely take the time to stop and reflect deeply and ask how we ended up here. Obviously there are always other people involved, but it’s important to personally inquire into:  Whether we set boundaries or not?  Did we know what we wanted?  Did we actually ask for it? Did we allow things to go unspoken?  Did we assume we could or couldn’t have certain things?  Etc. 

Taking a pause enables us to:

Detangle all the places we habitually relate. 

Most of us have long-standing patterns in how we relate to people — both in long-term relationships and in dating (or how we do being single). It’s a significant task to begin to detangle these, and takes more than just a weekend workshop or an hour of journaling. The first thing we need to do is uncover what our habits are – honestly & without judgement.  Even if there are no conscious habits you can think of, there are nearly always unconscious habits we operate under. So ask yourself:  What are the conscious and unconscious patterns you might have been operating inside of in your dating or relationship life?  Only after taking an honest assessment can we even begin to choose whether these are the ways of relating we want to continue. 

Almost all the women I work with have chronic background tapes that take up a lot of energy and life force when it comes to partnership. Tapes that run in the background like: Am I attractive?  Are they married?  I wonder if they want kids?  Am I too much?  How should I sit/stand/walk/talk so I am most attractive in this moment – and this one & this one & …..?  

When women step into the 3-month container of the No-Man Diet, they begin to untangle their habits and patterns of relating. Once detangled, they have a chance to determine how they want to relate going forward. 

Create & Recreate the rules along the way. 

Yes we create our rules, and every step of the journey is another opportunity to recreate them again. We start with a lump of clay and begin to sculpt, then eventually realize there’s things we like and things we don’t, and we sculpt more. As humans, we are always shifting and changing – as are the people in our lives – and when we operate in this way, we give ourselves & others real permission to be who & what we already are. 

Taking a step back, pausing and setting aside certain kinds of relating for a legitimate length of time allows us to lay the foundation for the kind of relationships we truly want. The No-Man Diet is only offered once per year, if you’re interested in participating, sign up here: https://kendracunov.com/no-man-diet/

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