7 takes on falling sanely in love

I never write listicles but this does seem like a pretty good format for summarizing many of the ideas that I’m going to be talking about in my upcoming course The Mating Dance: finding your center in courtship. It starts on Tuesday and there are only a few tickets left so check it out and sign up if it resonates with you!

1. Falling in love is about answering a question: are we a fit?

This question is more important than making the relationship succeed in any particular way. If you try to make the relationship become something in particular, but it doesn’t want to be, you’re inviting a world of suffering.

Put another way, the question is: what does this relationship naturally want to be? It might be that you’re totally fit to be intellectual companions or business partners, or you’re fit to be hot late-night lovers, but not fit to be spouses. And if you’re looking for a monogamous marriage to raise kids in, then any sexual or romantic relationship that obviously isn’t going to become that is uhhh… kind of in the way. But the intellectual companionship could be wonderfully supportive of that.

The fit question therefore also requires that you’re clear enough on how you want to live and raise kids and so on, that you can connect with someone else who wants to live that way. Or you need to make sure that you and your mating dance partner think similarly enough and are very capable of resolving differences, so that you can navigate that stuff.

2. A healthy relationship means that both of you feel like enough, the whole time.

If you don’t feel like enough for the other person, or you feel like they’re not enough for you, then back up until you both feel like enough. It’s not that you can’t challenge each other, but you don’t want to be feeling like every day you’re failing to live up to who the other person already expects you to be.

Some “too close” warning signs:

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The Mating Dance: an online course on falling sanely in love

Have you done enough “dating indefinitely” and you want to get real about courting?

Or do you know a friend (or couple) in that situation: they’ve started seeing someone, and they’re serious about figuring out whether it’s a fit and not wasting time if it isn’t?

If so, I’ll encourage you to check out (or forward to them) my new online course, the first cohorts of which start next week:

The Mating Dance: finding your center in courtship

This course is not for most people, but fortunately most people don’t read my blog.

It’s for people who are asking the following questions and aren’t satisfied with platitudes or simple heuristics as answers, but instead want something they can ground in their sense of “I can tell for myself“.

Is this the right person? Are we moving too fast? Are we hesitating because of some generic fear of commitment or because there’s something we can sense isn’t a fit? Can we resolve this conflict or will it follow us forever?

These kinds of questions are what this course will help you learn to answer for yourself. I don’t have the answers—I have an approach for finding your own answers and helping your partner find theirs.

Mating Dancing as a kind of Non-Naive Trust-Dancing

The Mating Dance is my first group offering where I’ll be sharing the practice of non-naive trust-dancing with people. (If you want help in a different context, you can book a 1-on-1 or 1-on-2 session with me here.)

I’m really excited to be doing this! I’ve already sold 30% of the tickets, and I’m hoping I can make more of my living from helping people have marriages as delightful as my own.

It turns out that the Non-Naive Trust Dance theory that I’ve been blogging about for the last 4 years makes more intuitive sense to most people when applied to courtship than other topics. In particular… in NNTD Q&A, I posited that maybe NNTD doesn’t matter that much except for people who are trying to do leading edge cultural stuff or dealing with some big trust repair situation.

But over the last year as I’ve gotten married and started to talk to more of my friends about their courtship processes and the kind of trust needed to create a stable bond between life partners… I’ve come to realize that even a relatively ordinary courtship demands a level of skill in non-naive trust-dancing that is (currently) extraordinary. And without this, many relationships end up getting stuck partway in the mating dance, unable to move forward or abort, or they end up committing despite major foundational issues.

Said one friend who read some of my writing on mating dances:

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A portrait of Malcolm Ocean

I'm Malcolm Ocean.

I'm developing scalable solutions to fractal coordination challenges (between parts of people as well as between people) based on non-naive trust and intentionality. More about me.

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