Back in my early 20's I was emerging from an insecure shell of incredible low self esteem and socially awkward challenges. I was an attractive guy and many of my buddies were surprised that I wasn't always out with the ladies.
In truth, if a woman didn't completely throw herself at me it probably wouldn't happen. I absolutely had no game!
However, as I grew more confidence I began dating in earnest.
Then I got involved in the music business and that really changed my life.
I saw just how disposable relationships really were. I saw how the game was being played by both sexes and I wanted that life style too! If only for awhile.
My best friend and I had a music management company that promoted "Battle of The Bands" to night clubs to assist with increasing business on their slowest night of the week.
It was a great business model as the bands would bring their loyal entourage and fans to hear them play. The club wins, the bands get exposure and their fans get to see them live on the big stage.
What this also did was put me in a place of high status. I worked the lights, hung out at the DJ booth with the club owner and on occasion I was pushed out of my comfort zone to actually introduce the bands. It was a rush that I really liked.
Plus, it put me front and centre for women to notice me. Not hard as I am 6'-4" and in decent shape.
Soon it was a banquette of very forward beautiful women approaching me to go home with them or give me their number.
I still didn't have much game but I was learning as I went.
Soon I realized I had gotten sucked into the whole scene of partying with bands, bar staff and home parties until dawn.
At the height of this debauchery I met a lovely woman that worked at one of the bars we showcased our bands in and we began to date.
It was only a couple of weeks when after a great night of passion, she looked at me longingly and said, "I love you."
In that moment something came over me...the insecure, needy, nice romantic guy that ache to hear those words left the room and some cocky douche bag rock promoter wanna be showed up.
I waited a couple seconds and all I could think of was the title of Night Ranger's '83 hit Don't Tell Me You Love Me.
Yes! Wait for it! And I actually said it!
As I got out of bed to get a drink of water I actually turned to her and said in the most cool and sexy voice, "Don't tell me you love me...Baby, I don't want to know."
I couldn't have been more out of character and inauthentic to who I really was in that moment , but I actually found myself feeling very powerful.
It felt strange having this duality.
She was devastated and in tears when I got back to the room.
I was now two people Dwayne and Night Ranger guy.
As she lay there sad and vulnerable I couldn't believe how cold I was. I sat on the edge of the bed and said, "Look Hon...Love is deep and wide and I think you are fantastic but to be in love so early in our relationship is a little premature."
Wow! That sounded wise and really on point considering how little practice with real love I had. Where this stuff was coming from was beyond me.
However, it was her reaction that followed that blew me away!
She sniffed loudly and wiped her mascara soaked eyes..."You are right! You are so right!
I keep doing this to myself...(sniff) I tell guys I love them too fast and get caught up in stupid relationships that I eventually run from...It's not love...I think I just love the idea of being in love..(sniff).
Thank you for being so honest."
I comforted her and it felt really good to hold her. As the real me really wanted back!
Then suddenly she pushed me away hard and said, "But you didn't need to be such an asshole with the fuck'n Night Ranger bullshit!
I love that song!!
You ruined it for me!!"
"Yeah that was such a dumb ass thing to say!"
We then burst out laughing and joked about my dirt bag behaviour. We then got back to enjoying the rest of the night together.
We dated for another month and then I moved closer into the city. I never saw her again.
The point I am making is, love is not something to run from or give away at the cost of something deeper within.
Love at its core is the strongest energy in the Universe.
Thankfully, I have grown and evolved much since then. I have made it my life's work to understand the world of men, women, love and relationships.
I learned many years ago that you want to work at having so much love for yourself that you have enough to give to another.
Like this girl, many men struggle with saying "I love you." too quickly for all the wrong reasons.
Or when they hear it, they jump in hard too without being truly honest with their feelings.
It's great to love freely, but you have to distinguish the difference between unconditional love (Give that sh*t away freely as often as you can.) and conditional love - this is where you tell someone you love them with a hidden agenda.
That agenda might be to; stop the loneliness, for sex, for financial gain, for manipulation, to usurp your power over another.
There are those that say love hurts. Love is painful and creates misery. There's a whole genre of music and romance novels to back it up.
That's not love!
If you think that is love you are doing it wrong.
Heart ache, feelings of loss and sadness are the absence of love.
Love is the good stuff, the hearts-a-flutter stuff, the stuff that makes you dig in and perceiver. Love is the power that makes 1 +1 =11.
My wish is that when you say, "I love you." You actually mean it. You feel it at your core. And the person you say it to receives it in the spirit in which it was given.
I am a real fan for love...real love.
Be kind and open your heart to those that need to hear it.
Be grateful to those that need to say it and need to express it.
If you gave your love more freely and unconditionally you just might be a much happier man.
Remember, this is not stupid crazy Valentine's Day kinda love.
It's the love that comes with compassion, foresight and from the remarkable man within.
It starts with you!
You've got this!
Oh and good luck getting the Night Ranger song out of your head!
Remember, you are not alone on the journey...I've got your back!
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