Life Check Yourself Episode 386 Can You Change Him? with Chris Gillis
Marni and Chris put the relationships of the contestants on reality series, Love Island, under the microscope to see how their interpersonal dynamics mimic dating IRL. Diving into questions like how to recognize a real connection, and what dating etiquette dictates, the duo ponders the meaning of love in the 21st century. Much of the way in which the contestants behave towards each other on the series is an imitation of our own actions when we’re falling for someone, or trying to suss them out. It’s about knowing when and how to let go; and whether or not the person in front of you is actually interested. Defining the context of your relationship seems relatively easy in theory, but when feelings are involved, things inevitably get a little messy. And nowhere is that more apparent than on Love Island.
Takeaways from this episode:
- How to earn back trust
- Have appropriate expectations
- Beware of the self-fulling prophecy
- Should you forgive him?
- Don’t shut down
- Have the exclusivity conversation
But I Thought We Had a Connection… [02:56]
Dating is, for the most part, all about figuring out what you want and how the person in front of you is responding to those wants. Is it reciprocated? And if it is, what actually is it? A lot of us fall into the trap where we feel a connection with someone, and then realize the other person is out there dating while we’ve decided to give them all of our attention. At that point, we start second-guessing whether the connection was real.
But at the end of the day, having the conversations that matter are what will guide you in the right direction. When you’ve not discussed being exclusive, or if it’s early on in the relationship, that’s when the lines sometimes get blurry. That’s not to say that the person in front of you is a bad person or doesn’t care. And that’s also not to say that you should invalidate your own feelings. What’s important is looking at the intention behind that person’s action; it’s figuring out why you felt hurt by a particular behavior, and get clear on what that means for you. Because it’s then that you’re able to understand the context and the nature of that relationship, and what boundaries should or shouldn’t be set.
Instead of the rules of the game, I like to say the context of the world that dating is. It’s a culture in and of itself.
Dating can be messy, and it has its own set of etiquette that’s different from relationship etiquette. While Cassie and Claudia had a connection on the series, they went into Casa Amor with the understanding that they would see what happens. Meanwhile Cassie flirted and kissed someone else. But does that mean their connection wasn’t real?
While some women might feel uncomfortable going on different dates with other people when they’ve felt a connection with a person; it doesn’t necessarily mean that if the person doesn’t follow suit, that they don’t care. What’s more is that it’s important to go on dates with different people, because it’s a learning curve. It’s a chance for you to find out what it is you want (or don’t want) in your own relationship. And it is possible to have several connections with several people. But the goal is that you’re searching for the best kind. And when you limit yourself, you end up missing out on understanding what you actually need and what works best for you.
It’s about taking the time to see those through, and figuring out which is the best connection for your actual relational needs: your intimacy, your emotions, your mind. Because not all men are going to meet all those requirements. And that’s why we have non-negotiables.
Every Little Thing That We Do, Should be Between Me and You [12:40]
Dating according to what other people expect from you is not only exhausting for you but for your partner as well. A lot of the time, we somehow become more concerned with what the people around us think of our relationship, and how being with that certain person will reflect on us, rather than how we feel about the relationship itself. It’s that energy where you’re more interested in what your parents, your friends and your general environment think of your relationship.
Chris emphasizes that men, for the most part, already find dating confusing, without having to bring outsiders into the mix as well. It inevitably complicates things.
We can’t solve one side of the rubik’s cube, don’t be a million-sided rubik’s cube.
And this happens in the dating world, where you’re not just dating your partner but a whole other set of people who indirectly dictate how you’ll act and react within the confines of the relationship. You could end up missing out on something potentially great if you don’t learn to tune out all the white noise.
In The Doghouse [20:46]
A lot of people are guilty of this behavior where they’ll get hurt and just shut down. And rather than talking to their partner, they’ll end up withholding and stone-walling the person in front of them
It’s an easy pattern to fall into. It’s almost like they’re punishing the person for their behavior, and then waiting for them to come back with a grand gesture that proves how much they actually want them. Rather than just confronting the person.
It’s so easy. It’s important to acknowledge that’s the safe place, we go down-under, we dive out so that we’re protected, and it’s silent, it kind of clears out the noise, and it’s a temporary respite from that scariness.
Most of the time it’s because you need clarity on the relationship. It’s more important though to be honest with yourself, and dissect what you felt when XYZ happened and why you felt it. And communicate it to the person involved.
Will was a great example of the knight in shining armor who realized he’d hurt his partner, and wanted to make it right. On the other hand, his partner did verbalize her feelings without necessarily adding blame. However, you choose to communicate your feelings in that situation though, it’s important to resolve the issue before diving back in.
To just feel the chemistry or that pull with someone without dealing with the core issue is why we end up getting in these ruts over and over again.