Problem-Solving a Relationship

We are trained problem solvers. The more educated a woman, and the more professional experience she has, her success depends on her ability to solve problems. So in the corporate world, to manage a project, to create results, we must overcome obstacles, communicate until we resolve a situation, manage our deliverables. So, we get into a relationship, enjoy it for a while, and then we need to know where we stand.


We have a problem, and uncomfortable, unknown situation. What is he thinking, where is he going, how does he truly feel, does he see commitment, when will we iron out all the details, how will we proceed? A thousand questions spinning in our heads. I need to solve this to reach my goal, therefore I must get to the bottom of this relationship situation.


Have you ever been awake at night with a mind that just won’t shut off? And the urge to know the next step, and the next step, and the next step is driving you insane? The need for reassurance that all will be well, the need for confirmation that he is on the same page, the need to know what will happen next. We have all been there. But a relationship is not a problem, and it’s certainly nothing you can solve. If you are in a relationship with a girlfriend, do you agonize over the next step of the friendship? Do you worry she might have her eye on other friends, or where is this friendship going? Does it have to go anywhere? After all, where could a friendship possibly go?


This agonizing feeling of needing to find a solution is exactly what brings this flowing relationship to a screeching halt, not because he is disinterested, but because she is taking apart the whole car, looking for the problem. Where is the problem? Is it me? Relax, you don’t have a problem, you have a relationship. You don’t need to spec out every minute detail of it. You won’t be judged on the uncertainty of a situation, nor forgetting to tie a few loose ends. You can’t possibly draw up an outline and manage the other person on his follow-through. ‘He didn’t meet my deadline, so I must schedule a face-to-face meeting to hash out our differences’. Unfortunately, in a relationship you don’t get a bonus for completing the project on time, making sure it meets all expectations.


What is killing our relationships? Problem solving. Everything we know about relationships is teaching us to treat it like every single aspect of it is a problem. And every single uncertainty makes us question our validity as women.  Regardless of the source of dating information, whether it is a psychology textbook, a cheap dating manual, or a yoga journal of enlightenment, every single source of information insists that there actually is a problem, even if there is no evidence of one. By now we all know the dangers of being caught by surprise by that unsavory situation, of having missed a sign or a red flag, a potential relationship pitfall, that just didn’t catch our attention. You should have been more diligent, you should have been more proactive, you could have been more aware, what’s wrong with you?, and if you only spotted one of the 12 Top Relationship Red Flags, you could have prevented this months ago.


Relax, you don’t have a problem. You are creating one by bringing in your team of relationship mechanics, the girlfriends, to help you look under the hood, take this whole thing apart and help you decide what needs to be fixed. Ask any woman who has been in a relationship about how to fix it, and she has her own service manual, which has almost always lead to a serious break down.


What do I hate the most? When someone is trying to fix me. Why? Because I am who I am and either we fit, or we don’t. The purpose of dating is to see whether we fit, and what aspects of each other’s personalities, habits and interests we can enjoy the most. Is there a goal? Never, because as soon as someone sits me down, tries to get me to specify how I want to be treated so he/she can deliver better results, my eyes glaze over and I mentally check-out. I don’t need you to be anyone other than you, and I want to see the authentic you, not the you that’s trying to be more compatible with me. I want to see all your flaws, so I can effectively determine if I can fall in love with them, not to see if you can repair them.


There is this mass hysteria about dating, as if the world is in peril and the structure of our civilization is collapsing because people no longer want to repair relationships. No one wants to work on them, fix them, collaborate on them, invest in them, strengthen bonds, firm up commitments, sign iron-clad contracts.


But is there really something wrong with people who’d rather be more relaxed and allow the relationship if there is one, to flow naturally? After all, a river is borne from a trickle of a few rain drops. It cannot flow if we start building dams, dikes and levies, long before those few drops have formed a stream, and time, nature and weather conditions, allow it to flow. ‘But I want a guarantee that my trickle will lead to something meaningful down the road! This isn’t working for me, I need to know now!’ Well that’s how you kill it, you harp, and push and prod, until your insignificant other has no choice but leave long before he or she has had a chance get comfortable in this new environment.


But understand, a relationship is not a project that must be managed. Sure, some people would rather have certainty, so they negotiate their contract until every single aspect is hashed out, until they are protected by all sorts of guarantees, until they have an iron-clad agreement. Did this project culminate into a soulmate, or a willing participant? Most people, when they reach the altar have negotiated a contract with a willing participant, someone who needs certainty and commitment as much as they do, someone who is just as fearful of solitude, old age and infirmity as they are. They are standing at the altar with a project deliverable, not a soulmate. That’s okay for some, but not okay for people who are complete.


By now I have been in enough relationships to know that they must flow before they can grow and become ripe enough for us to squeeze any juice out of them. By now I have been instructed by many partners on their way to the altar that I must make promises, meet expectations, demonstrate tenacity and show performance so they can feel certain that I adequately complete them. No.


I’m okay not completing you. I am okay not meeting anyone’s expectations but my own. And if I fail at meeting my own expectations I am okay with that too. All I care about is that I am enjoying myself in each and every moment. Sometimes, there’s a beautiful man by my side, and sometimes I am taming lions in Africa all by myself. The experience is just as blissful when I am swinging in a hammock with a gorgeous body attached to a beautiful mind, as it is when I am sipping wine and watching the sun set alone.


One thing I know for sure is that I do not need a willing participant. The world is full of people who are looking to join me because what I’ve got looks exactly like what they need. And I do not need to pre-define the scope of a relationship, seek out a reliable partner, outline the next steps, schedule talks, receive daily updates, perform regular system checks, and repair glitches before they become an expensive breakdown. By now I have fired many potential mechanics or partners for managing me like a problem that must be solved.


Rest assured, I will not meet your expectations. And if you approach me with an agenda, I’ll tear it up and throw it in your face. I can smell an agenda before the applicant opens his mouth or shows me his resume.


And I am sure most self-aware humans don’t want relationships like these. That is why we are rejecting them, and finding contentment in uncertainty. We are, in fact okay. There is nothing wrong with us. Yes, we are perfectly healthy, happy and in love with life. When we keep our minds and hearts open, we attract the most life-altering people and experiences. Rather than try to spot the 12 Top Relationship Red Flags on the first date, we hook up, we explore, we see if we mesh. If we do, we start to flow, if we don’t we hook up a few more times, than find yummier candy elsewhere.


Love is not a problem.





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One Response to Problem-Solving a Relationship

  1. Chezale says:

    Amazing post!


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