Something that I have become increasingly aware of in the past six months, and become increasingly better at recognizing and changing, has been my tendency to focus on a relationship role and attempt to have someone fill it, rather than letting my relationship with that person do its own thing.
This really started happening last January when I decided I really wanted to date women. I really wanted a girlfriend. I don't think there is anything wrong with this desire (I still have it as part of my "ideal" relationship configuration). But where I went sort of wrong was my focus on the very specific image of what I wanted that to look like, and focusing on all of my energy in trying to make whoever was "available" to me fill that role, despite knowledge, signs, or communication that that person was not interested in or unable to fill that role. This tendency of mine really took a crashing nosedive during the summer, when I was so focused on the creating a specific relationship that I did not pay attention to the fact that I wasn't really feeling that relationship with the person I was so desperately trying to create it with. The chemistry, communication, trust, and honesty were all lacking, but I tried so hard to make it work anyway, because dammit I wanted a girlfriend. Recipe for disaster? Yes.
There can also be a tendency for me to focus on end goals: I want to feel that way, I want it to look that way. I compare myself to others. I stop paying attention to what feels good for me and I stop living in the moment. I start listening to what other people want, thinking I need to want that for myself. Ironically, if I focused on my present moment and what sounds satisfying and healthy for me in that moment, I would probably also experience those other things eventually. But in not relaxing, I completely shut down, unable to move anywhere with my feelings.
I went on a date with a woman last week; it was the first one in three months. Great conversation, really fun personality. No chemistry. What do I do? Finally take a deep breath, remind myself chemistry is rarer than we are led to believe, and am honest with myself and her. Platonic dates sound great, romantic ones not so much.
This all takes a great deal of honesty, and it's work to be that honest with myself and with others. But extremely worth it and I feel grateful to have the capacity to take this kind of personal work on.