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Jan-02-2013 12:25printcomments

Dating Dynamics: The Image Maze

Love is more a path than a destination. Hence, we must all tread with caution.


(SALEM) - As the Year 2013 rolls in, those in the Singles Scene have the chance to dump their guilt complex once and for all and bury it with the old year. Yes, old habits are slow to be shed, but finding a happier, healthier future requires some letting-go. The bane of dating is Neediness. Can one say it more clearly? If you have been brainwashed--that is, persuaded--by your circle of friends that you must cling to whomever you've dated in order to "count" as a human being, you are causing yourself serious harm.

Love is not the same as Dependency. The latter is more like an "interpersonal addiction". Very often, early dates are characterized by that best-foot-forward approach, which amounts to trying to hide or deny your personal flaws. You may fear the discovery of the Real You. That pervasive fear of instant rejection holds you back and you wear a mask of sorts. Dating is your masquerade party.

But then in a moment of non-pretense, the hidden side of you makes an appearance. Then what? In all likelihood, your partner feels cheated. Honesty went down the drain. You seem like a fraud. As a penalty for your propaganda, you now get the pink slip. Any semblance of trust has vanished.

And without trust and respect, the relationship is on the rocks. I've now been married for 31 years and dated extensively for many years before that. In the 1970's my curiosity of matching single folks led me to create the Brunchlovers League, a rather unique singles organization that had over 200 persons on our mailing list. We'd meet at a variety of restaurants for Sunday Brunch and invite an interesting guest speaker, chipping in for his or her meal as an incentive. Occasionally we'd visit historic sites or go museum-hopping. Our emphasis was more on discussion and the arts rather than purely pairing off. We felt almost like being an extended family. So what makes a relationship get a solid foundation and endure over a long period? We've found that the real test comes when you jointly or individually face setbacks. No violin strings or roses. Just pure guts and gusto. The capacity not to get instantly angry and fly off the handle is crucial. That simply drains energy in the wrong direction. Let's get down to problemsolving and to defining the options. Sometimes defering action till later on is your best decision. Take it gradually, with mutual respect and understanding that people do differ. Love is more a path than a destination. Hence, we must all tread with caution. That's the Heartbeat Beat in action.

Roses to hide behind. Community Writer Barry Lee Coyne brings to our readers stories from his combined career of journalism and gerontology, and explains that these paths shaped his values. Lee Coyne once worked for The Civil Service Leader in NY State and covered the Legislature. He has also done features on mediation and arbitration, and believes in healthy skepticism. This writer-therapist often views the world as the masks of comedy and tragedy placed upon the scales of justice. For him, optimism inevitably wins. "Lyrical Lee" has traveled to 30 nations aboard and was once a press intern at the UN. His first published article was in The NY Daily News in '59, dealing with the need for integrity in public office.

He also launched the nation's first tele-conference on health education for shut-ins, created the Eldermentors project in VA to pair retirees with immigrant students needing role models, and was the main catalyst behind CCTV's "Public Public" panel show here in Salem. Lee received his BA in International Relations and an MSW in community organization. He currently serves as a member of Salem's Library Advisory Board. To send Lee an email, please write to this address:

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