Reid Mihalko is a self-proclaimed “Sex Geek,” often asking his clients, “Are you dating your species?”
What Mihalko is getting at in his stream of consciousness blog post using music as an analogyis this: If you’re a Jazz lover, why are you still dating Classical lovers?
The idea is to give yourself permission to figure out what music makes you happiest, seek out people for whom YOUR music is also THEIR music. As he says,
We’re not taught that relationships can look lots of different ways and we’re not given the cultural permission break away from “classical music,” so we end up starting a band with the drummer in high school because they’re the only kid in town who has a drum set!
In order to date your species, identify these three things:
- What kind of music (relationship) makes you happiest
- Who loves playing that same music (where do they gather – their “watering holes”)
- Is the kind of “band” YOU want to start a good fit with the band THEY want to start?
If you were choosing a workout buddy, and you hate bowling, you probably wouldn’t choose a buddy who LOVES bowling, who constantly focuses on where she’s going to put her next bowling trophy, and who thinks any other sport is stupid. What would be the sense of that?
Yet, all the time we date great people who are bad fits for us and try to tough it out and make due… That’s the old thinking (the classical music thinking – see his post for more).
In order to answer Mihalko’s question, you need to discover what exactly your needs are. Try these questions to help narrow your focus:
- What kind of relationships have/haven’t worked in the past? And why?
- Am I best suited for monogamy or polyamory?
- What are my sexual preferences and boundaries?
- On a scale of 1-10, how open am I to sexual experimentation? (1 being not open at all)
- How much am I willing to sacrifice in a relationship? I’m thinking in terms of values, time, money, space, etc.
- What are my non-negotiables? (Things I am unwilling to accept to change)
- What are my goals in life and what role do I see my partner playing in them?
- How would I define a loving relationship?
In my practice, it’s very common for women to discuss how their past relationship disappointments stemmed from not having certain needs met. In hindsight, they discover how they should have expressed those needs right from the start. Not to recommend handing a partner a list of requirements on the first date, but more like taking a very forward and frank perspective, right up front, might have left them feeling more satisfied.
This is supported by the notion of transparency–revealing one’s vulnerabilities and sharing both positive and negative aspects of the self to a partner. Stepping outside of the comfort zone, allowing yourself to feel vulnerable.*
Mihalko goes on to explain that shying away from divulging your quirks, needs, fetishes and preferences for fear you’ll “scare her away,” is exactly what you should do. He asserts that the scary topics of conversation are the ones we need to have most.
Because, if she runs away, she clearly isn’t the right person for you.
The idea is that we should be honest with ourselves and our partners, unless we want to struggle unnecessarily. Unlike our parents’ and grandparents’ generations of finding and holding onto a good mate until death, the contemporary culture has much more to consider–professional development, personal empowerment, and sexual liberation for instance. “Death Due Us Part,” is just a little bit antiquated.
*Check out Brene Brown on more on vulnerabilty