Anthony Carter

Soulmates and Other Lies

Filed By Anthony Carter | April 27, 2011 12:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Living, The Movement
Tags: failed relationships, long distance love, love, sexual chemistry, successful dating for dummies, successful relationships

I have a wonderful friend who is constantly getting dumped because the women he goes out with don't feel that special spark. He is straight.

soulmate.jpgI have another friend who dumps people after dating less than two weeks because he doesn't feel that "spark." He is gay.

It makes no difference. None of us understand what is required to make relationships last and work. I am often baffled by the concept of sparks and chemistry. Sparks are based on feelings. Feelings constantly change.

If things are constantly changing how in he world can you base a decision on them?

Watch a young child in the course of a day. He will cry, fret, hate everybody, frustrate himself and you, tantrum and laugh uncontrollably. This can and does occur within the space of one or possibly two hours. Which emotion is real?

All of them.

Which one at any given moment do we decide is how this kid really feels about us and the world. None of them and all of them.

Like so many adults, if you give children what they want, they love you to pieces and shower you with hugs, kisses, and kind words. Like so many adults, if you refuse them, say no, these same little cherubs can quickly become hell-spawn, grumbling and plotting your death.

Which set of emotions do we listen to and how do we determine what is real or not? Hopefully, we are doing some serious thinking about the fact that the only thing that has changed is our response to their request.

Yet, like the aforementioned friends, we want to base our most precious relationships on how we feel and how the other person "makes" us feel.

This is grown-up love?

When my friend recounted his tales of woe regarding women and the spark, I said maybe you should try dating adult females. My other friend would do well to let something get to the one month mark before deciding to pull the plug.

What is going on here?

Real, close relationships take time and a lot of energy over an extended period of time. One date is not indicative of a future together or the rationale that this will never work.

Whenever I hear a man mention anything about a click, spark, or soul mate, I want to set myself on fire and run screaming out of the room. All of this nonsense is brought to us by movies and TV.

When I have met people that just set me on fire upon our initial meeting, it absolutely ended in disaster. Having one cup of coffee and a two-hour conversation is not nearly enough info to make a decision.

What is the rush?

I don't believe in these hard core dumb-ass rules: don't call too soon, wait three days, let them call you. What is this a battle strategy or an opportunity to get to know another human being?

Save all the strategic maneuvering and plotting for Scrabble or a heated game of chess.

Do not make a decision 30 seconds in then reach for the panic button. In contrast, the relationship that lasted the longest (eight years) was one where the attraction grew slowly and steadily.

It grew based on conversations and letters. It was long distance with me never physically seeing him until Thanksgiving 1999. Even when he tried to persuade me to share photos, I refused.

I stated that I felt like I was having a very rich experience and was not willing to let my eyes and mind deceive me.

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"... mention anything about a click, spark, or soul mate, I want to set myself on fire and run screaming out of the room."

yep. me too. as anytime anyone has said that to me its been disastrous

At 55 I have come to believe loving someone is a skill you cultivate, getting to know the many layered richness within someone. Obviously there will be some people with whom it is easier to feel connection, and stronger, more immediate connection. But real love requires time, investment, regenerating interest, and much patience, and there is no substitute that works.

My longest was 36 years, and did not end with her death...

" I have a wonderful friend who is constantly getting dumped because the women he goes out with don't feel that special spark. He is straight."

Your discourse seems to cover the sencond friend who keeps dumping, but offers no solutions for the first who was always getting dumped. I was in the first person category. I am also straight, but transgendered. What I didn't realize was that while I was straight, I had a lot of efemminate bearing, that pesky ole problem some transgender people have with not being able to act masculine/feminine to match their birth sex. So while I looked & dressed the part of a man, I had so many innate feminine traits that women were not attracted to me. Particularly in the midwest where strong father figures are the dominant trait for men and women look for this in a husband. I have many examples I could tell of dating and not giving the woman the spark she was looking for. And these were all women I had talked with and danced with for many hours over months of time before I asked them out.

It wasn't until I did a self evaluation, and decided to move to another area of the country where women were more independant, looking less for a strong father figure and more for a sharing equal that I was able to find the woman I finally married.

So, my suggestion for the friend that keeps getting dumped, evaluate the attitudes of the women in the area where you are dating. Determine what they are looking for in a man. Self evalute your own characteristics. Compare your characteristics to the women's desired mate characteristics. See if there is some changes you can make. If you can, do so. If you cannot (because they are immutable characteristics beyond your control), then start researching where you would find women looking for the characteristics that most closely match you. Move to that area and start dating those with higher probability of desiring your own characteristics.

In my case, I determined a more independat type of woman, looking to lead on her own or at least not wanting a strong father figure. I determined that the type of woman would be well educated, lived a good distance away from home, most likely would be divorced but at least very independant. I determined that California would more likely have this type of woman than the midwest. So after having asked out over 60 women in 7 years in Wichita Ks., having actually gone out on dates with 28 of them, several seriously, including dating one woman for over 1.5 years but she not interested in marriage again, I left Wichita on my 30th birthday & moved to California to find a wife. I met my future wife 2 months after moving to California, by way of another woman that asked me out but decided I was not her type and she introduced us. My future wife lived 4 hours away, 4 hours away from her father and was very independant from her father. She had a masters degree, had never been married, was 31 (1 year older than me), we dated for 7 months before I proposed, and we married 9 months later.

I agree, there's a lot of magical thinking when it comes to love.

What I think is more important than "spark" is whether you make a good family with the other person. Not necessarily kids, etc., but just living together is a family and you have to be able to feel good about that choice, that you're free enough to do what you need to do, that both people support each other, that they have enough in common to put up with one another.

Of course, none of that can be discovered over an initial coffee or sex date and it makes for terrible Meg Ryan movies (in a thrilling plot development, Meg Ryan discovers that both she and her new man like to wake up at the same time in the morning!).

Anthony Carter | April 28, 2011 11:01 AM


I love you. Thrilling plot line... hysterical.. You get it. What is most important is that you have the same or similar values. The magic comes when you can truly see the other person and don't hold that against them...