Enjoy this encore release.
For a long time, I have had the pattern of always wanting to have someone to think about.
I haven’t always wanted to be in a relationship. At the moment, for instance, I am really enjoying being single. I have a lot to figure out, I’m not sure where I want to be living next year, I have studies and activism and my job taking up all my time. This is exactly how I want my life to be right now.
It’s just that I have this habit, you see. When I think about the future, and the fact that eventually I want to have a life partner, possibly children, definitely a family of some sort – I like to imagine that future. I like to imagine how my future partner will treat me and surprise me and excite me, how I will do the same for him, how close we will be and how happy. When I imagine that, I like to put a real man into that image. Someone I already know. I put him there to function as a placeholder.
It wasn’t until recently that I realised that these “placeholders” were actively sabotaging my enjoyment of my singleness. Try this on for size. If I attach a specific man to my future vision, then all my ability to imagine my future family, relationship, and home, are all dependent on that man’s active participation. Suddenly I find myself thinking about that man repeatedly, almost obsessively, wondering where he is, will he call, is he interested in me? The irony is I wasn’t particularly interested in him to begin with, but I had to have someone to think about, and this particular man was convenient. Suddenly I’m acting like the whole world revolves around him. This goes on for a bit, then I find someone new, and completely forget about the previous placeholder.
The other issue with this is that in the past when I haven’t been able to find a placeholder I’d take some poor unsuspecting man from my past and put him back in. All of a sudden I’d trick myself into thinking I had feelings for him again. I wouldn’t let myself get over him wholly until I could find a new placeholder for my visions. I haven’t been able to get over a man, even if it genuinely hurt to think about him, unless I could find another placeholder.
So I had to do something about this. Luckily, identifying the pattern turned out to be half the battle.
It occurred to me that when I imagine my future life, whenever there are kids in it, I never imagine them as anyone specific. Of course not, because they aren’t born yet. If I can do it with my kids, I can do it with my partner, too.
From there it was a simple matter of being patient with myself. When I started thinking about a man, I asked myself honestly, am I genuinely thinking about this man, or am I using him as a placeholder? More often than not, I found the answer was the latter. I would then start imagining a man based loosely on this particular placeholder and my past placeholder, pick and choose bits and pieces and throw in a few extra character traits, things I would like to have in an ideal partner. This helps visualise what I really want while breaking the spell, or as Tony Robbins calls it, interrupting my pattern. A quick way to move from a real person as placeholder to an imaginary person as placeholder is give him (or her) an exotic accent, change his name (or even just don’t give him one), change his appearance even a little (I always imagine my life partner with long dark hair…mmm), and then imagine him doing something that your placeholder would never in a million years do, but that you’d like your life partner to do.
Was your placeholder a metalhead, but you prefer disco? Imagine your life partner taking you out dancing.
Was your placeholder a workaholic, but you have a thirst for adventure? Imagine your life partner surprising you with a trip trekking in the Himalayas.
Was your placeholder irresponsible? Imagine coming home one evening to find a note from your life partner reading “darling, I sorted out the bills and went around to Bob’s house to collect the new sofa. I got you a booking at Spa Heaven tonight, go treat yourself.”
There are no limits here. The more fun you have with this the more effective it is. Give it time, because the instinct won’t fade overnight, but given that this exercise is such fun, who cares how long it’ll take?
As an added bonus… when you meet someone who could actually fulfill your deepest hopes and dreams, I think you’ll be ready for him.
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Sadie Fulton is a 23-year-old with a massive vision for the world and a million different avenues she pursues to help get it there. She grew up traveling and has developed into a full-time activist, full-time lover of humanity, part-time musician, and she is now training to be a life coach. Above all, she wants to reach people and bring on a new era of love. If you want to share with her, get her perspective on something you are going through, or anything else at all, send her an email at sadie.fulton *at* gmail.com.