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boy am i glad i'm not at the front-end of dating. it probably wasn't until my thirties before i felt like i had any kind of proper sense regarding everything i was asking for in a partner AND how to competently determine everything that was being asked of me. in recently talking to a young person (who wasn't my child) who was dejected, sad, and hurting my mind raced with where to even begin.

in the end i told them i was sorry they were feeling the way they were and this was definitely something all parents wished they could spare their children but it's just not possible. this is a boulder that each and every one of us has to push up the hill themselves.

when you think about it for a few minutes, it's easy to pin the challenges down.

a healthy relationship is about effective communication.

effective communication requires clarity, order and reason and when talking about everyday things we can all manage well enough. but when affairs of the heart becomes the subject, emotion elbows its way to the front and takes over the podium. this almost always leads to embarrassing and uncomfortable and sometimes regrettable moments/memories.

when first starting out, both people are just learning to speak the language, which means you have about a dozen words in your vocabulary and can only use them in short, disjointed bursts.

we've all learned our language from different teachers, namely our parents, and in plenty of cases those mentors are still not entirely fluent or effective speakers themselves.

because of the different ways we are wired, we all get excited about and focus on different parts of the language. (1)

as with all languages it will take decades to become fluent.

as with all languages, there are different languages. some will speak in beautiful, endlessly flowing words full of want and passion (e.g. troy) and others will speak with a rigid, utilitarian precision (e.g. marty). if these two folks decide they want a relationship, there will be extra homework. there will also be some D's and F's in the mix.

(1) i still remember how excited i got when bella finally answered my question of "why is it so important that you have a boyfriend so soon?" she said, "because she wanted someone to love her who didn't have to love her". when i shared that with a professor friend of mine who teaches sexual health to young people she agreed that bella's answer to the question was well ahead of her years in understanding and maturity. i concurred, proud and excited about my daughter's acumen. my friend pumped my brakes adding that it would serve her very well EXCEPT when the person she is in the relationship has a differing agenda (e.g. love vs. hookup). talk about tossing a big needle in my big, innocent bag of balloons.

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