And then you look for some sort of master formula that will take that list of Pros and Cons and give you one definitive answer: Yes or No. It’s efficient and scientific.
Or is it?
In my recent forays into love, I have found that this Pro/Con way of dissecting a decision doesn’t always work well. Let me explain. When I started dating my current beau, Joe, I opened up my Pro/Con list, true to form. Each time we would hang out, I would take careful notes and then update my list accordingly. For example:
- He shared a beautiful story about his childhood. Pro. He is open to sharing himself and being vulnerable. That is great.
- He took me to a “lame” restaurant. Con. After all, what if that means that he doesn’t have good taste in food? That would be a bummer.
In the early weeks of our relationship, I assembled this list as a way to determine if I wanted to commit to dating Joe long-term. It was a mixed list, my choice wasn’t obvious and I wavered back and forth.
There is a problem with this strategy. By the very act of evaluating Joe, I was keeping myself distant from him. An observer with a clipboard. So long as I held that clipboard, I was destined to stay on the surface of the relationship, and thus make decisions based on the surface, too. I really didn’t have any way to gauge what it would be like to be in love with the man, because I wasn’t going to fall in love with him so long as I was evaluating.
My coach, Handel Group founder Lauren Zander, stepped in. She recommended that I put down the Pros and Cons list, and give myself seven months to just love the man. I call this a love internship. During this internship, my job was to create a world with Joe that was uniquely us and play in it. To go deep and understand him for everything he is, and accept it and love it and see how his uniqueness plays out with my uniqueness. That, she said, is the true test. Save the analysis and voting for AFTER the seven months. Because then, and only then, will you really know what it is like to be in love and in partnership with the man.
And so I did. Let me tell you, folks, it is a completely different world over here. I found that when I stopped evaluating the man and just enjoyed him, I started seeing an amazing depth and beauty to him. By not putting the “good” and “bad” labels on him, I was able to just be with him. He felt the shift, too, and felt safe to open up even more. Before I knew it, I was madly in love with Joe in ways that had seemed unfathomable at the beginning. Yes, it turns out that there was a lot more to the man than my surface Pro/Con list had found.
I am now a believer in the 7-Month Love Internship.
Now, I am not saying sign up for this internship with just anyone. I initially chose Joe because he satisfied a list of things that I had to have in a partner, such as: wants kids, is intelligent, has a big heart, is ambitious, and interested in growing as a person and as a couple. He also didn’t have any of my deal breakers, which included: travels excessively for work, smokes, wants to “settle down” abroad.
A list of must-haves and deal breakers is a good way to decide who you will date and who you won’t. But the key is that you make the list BEFORE you meet potential dates, as opposed to nit-picking them on-the-fly.
I can honestly say that if I had followed my Pro/Con strategy with Joe, we likely wouldn’t be together today. I wouldn’t have seen the depths of what is possible for us when we are connected and in love. And boy, would I have been missing out.
Where are you making a Pro/Con list where you might be better off taking a Love Internship? Your relationship? Your job? Write me a note and share.
Ready to design your Love Internship? We can show you how. Register today for our Calling All Couples teleseminar this Thursday, June 6.