Table of Contents
- My Story
- First Stage: Embroiled In Relationships
- Second Stage: We Begin To Claim The Beauty Of Our Hearts
- Third Stage: Attractions And Relationships Of Inspiration
How Deep Friendship Paves The Way To Deepest Love
Single People: Building Your Family Of Creation
How to build a family of creation in this world that supports you, nourishes you, gives you meaning, and helps you find the love that you’re seeking or deepen the love that you have already? Stay tuned to this episode of the Deeper Dating Podcast.
Hello and welcome to the Deeper Dating Podcast. I’m Ken Page and I’m a psychotherapist. I’m the author of Deeper Dating and the Cofounder of DeeperDating.com, a site where single people can meet in an online environment that’s inspiring, kind, fun, and respectful. Today in this show, I’m going to talk about building a family of creation for single people. This episode and every episode, I’m going to share the greatest tools that I know to help you find love and keep it flourishing and heal your life in the process because the skills of dating are nothing more than the skills of love, and the skills of love are the greatest skills of all for a happy, rich life. If you want to learn more about the deeper dating path to real intimacy, just go to DeeperDatingPodcast.com and you can sign up for my mailing list, get free gifts, learn about how to use these ideas to transform your own intimacy journey, and see transcripts of every episode. I also just want to say that everything I share in this podcast is educational in nature. It is not medical or psychiatric advice or treatment. If you’re experiencing any serious symptoms, please seek professional help. Finally, if you like what you’re learning here, I would love it if you could subscribe and leave me a review. Thank you so much for that and let’s dive in.
I would love to talk about, and this is for everyone, this is for people who are single, people who are coupled, but specifically, I want to talk about building a family of creation in the world for people who are single and looking for a relationship. This is a huge subject and one that I have a lot of personal relationship to, and as a psychotherapist, one that I work with people around all the time. This is important on so many levels because the deepest skills of intimacy that we’re going to use in our relationship, our romantic relationship, are learned through all of our social relationships. The big things of making a different kind of decision about who you’re going to choose to be with, about learning how to choose people who really feed your soul, attractions of inspiration in the friendship arena, and then getting through all of the roadblocks, obstacles, dilemmas and fears of closeness, and all the patterns that come up. We learn that by building love in our life. That helps us profoundly make better choices about who we’re going to end up committing to, and living in the relationship with the person that we commit to in a richer, deeper way.
I just want to say something just a little bit about my stories. I could start way at the beginning, but where I’m going to start was arriving in New York City to go to graduate school and being a gay man, and discovering this buffet, this banquet of sex, the search for love, infinite varieties of playground type of ways to hook up and connect. In my eyes, all the time, looking for what I really wanted, which was a relationship, but you might not have known that from the things that I was doing on a regular basis because that’s what I was brought up in. This was like the gay men’s crazy life of the ‘80s. Anyway, I did this for a long time, and my goal was to find love. I devoted a lot of time to my profession. That was very exciting to me and I was passionate about that. I devoted most of the rest of my time to this beautiful world of this gay, pre-AIDS blossoming of queer culture, which was fun, sexual, magical, and empty in a lot of ways at the same time.
Slow down, connect to your feelings, and discover yourself.CLICK TO TWEETI did this. I was passionate about it, passionate for years. I just didn’t want to even leave New York City on the weekends and I was driven. I was driven to find love, and I failed at finding love, but there was so much excitement that I kept doing this. At a certain point, I committed to a deeper path of healing and that involves therapy. That was also when I was getting trained as a therapist at the same time, and I went into therapy. One of the most amazing things that happened to me at that point was that I discovered, because I slowed down and connected to my feelings enough, I discovered that as filled as my life was, it was really empty. As much time as I was spending looking for love, I was spending no time building love, except maybe with the wrong people like the club people or whoever it was that I felt had what I wanted at that time. When I entered into deeper therapy work, workshops, groups, and this kind of deeper training, I discovered an emptiness that was so great. This is when the shift in my journey away from shame and away from emptiness began.
I remember being in a workshop, and I was touching on a loneliness that was so huge that I didn’t let myself even feel it. I remember at one point, deep tears came out. If you ever saw a kid who got hurt, they were so upset and so shocked that their mouth was wide open, but no cry came out because the tears were too big at first to find traction. I remember feeling that way, and then I remember the tears just pouring and pouring out. This was a good thing. This was a huge healing. I was beginning to recognize that I had not built family in the world. I had not built community, and the beautiful people who I could have had that with didn’t interest me enough. This is just my story. It may not be your story, but maybe pieces of it relate to you and are useful, because that is when my deeper, richer journey began to change.
I began to think of the people who I adored and who felt safer to me, who I had not really spent much time with for years as I was in this search, looking for love and in this kind of crazy world that I was in. I began to reach out to those people. I realized how hungry I was for family, for people to just connect with, live with, be stupid with, have fun with and do nothing with. None of those were parts of my New York City life, so I began to reconnect with people who were very precious to me. I’m going to come back to this because this connects to, I think, one of the greatest ways that we can start building connection and family in our lives. As I did that, I started building connections in other ways. I had a wonderful support group of other therapists. It went on for twelve years, and it was infinitely nourishing to me. I decided that I was ready to have cats, which you might think is kind of crazy at 30 years old, but that was very big for me. That was another moment of revelation that I could take care of these pets for me at that point, because I had been stunted. It was a very huge, deep, and emotional thing. It was a milestone. I still remember it.
I started a support group for chronically single therapists, and I realized how important connection and family was. All along this journey at the same time, I was looking for relationships. As I learned the lessons that I described, my friends changed. I began to choose what I call attractions of inspiration for my friends. I did not realize that that was the heart and soul of what was going to change my entire search for love. It happened with friends first, and then I started noticing that the guys that I was dating had more depth, had more decency, had deeper traction in goodness and authenticity that I was used to with the people that I was hanging out with. I realized how great a hunger I had for family.
Reconnect with people who are very precious to you.CLICK TO TWEETAt one point along the way, this is something I’ve talked about a bunch, but I saw Almodóvar’s movie, All About My Mother, and I left the movie, and I was very shaken. It was about someone who found a path to meaning after great tragedy through building family in different ways in the world. That’s how I experienced it. I left the movie and I thought, “What’s going on inside me?” My next step in building a family without a partner was to become a dad, was to adopt a child as a single dad. This was something I dreaded so much for so many years because I thought that would be the ultimate stamp on my eternal singlehood if I did that. Most of my friends were not dads at that time. I felt like I was at this long table of people and they were all eating rubber chicken at a banquet, and I hit this gloppy, gooey, glorious chocolate dripping sundae that I was eating. That’s what it was like to be a dad for me. It brought me incredible joy and moved me into a state of family, which I had been so longing for.
That led to meeting my husband and his children, and building a shared family together and meeting so much of those needs, but it didn’t happen the way that I thought it would happen. I thought I was going to find a boyfriend and that boyfriend would become a lover. We didn’t have husbands yet in those days but life partner, that was what I thought. I found that I had to dig my own well, and that well was building a beautiful family. Looking for the people who were deep with their authenticity, deep with their integrity, deep with their goodness who truly loved and appreciated me, and building a world with them.
That was anathema for me because I thought it meant moving away from the thing that mattered the most, which was finding a relationship, but God knows that was what moved me toward that. Many of you know this wisdom. I didn’t know it much at all, but if this is any help for those of you that maybe think that you really just need to find the partner and then family will come after that, that for most of us, the great lessons of love are learned in building a family of creation in the world, whether we have a partner or not. I just want to say another thing here with that veer, because your search, our search for a healthy, beautiful and inspiring family of creation, is an absolute mirror for finding your one, finding your beloved. It’s not different. Marianne Williamson said this so gorgeously, and I love this quote. She said, “As I grow emotionally and spiritually, my friends become more like lovers and my lovers become more like friends.”
I would go as far as to say that the journey to build a family of creation is the very foundation that’s essential for everybody who is on an intimacy journey, whether they have a partner, whether they don’t have a partner, but definitely those who are single, this journey to create a rich family is where we learn our lessons. Many of you know this already, but I just want to share a couple other things. One is that in my decades of being a therapist and doing this work, and this is something I’ve talked about in another podcast, I see a three-stage process that encapsulates and captures the wiser intimacy journey. The first stage, we are embroiled in relationships with people that maybe irritate us or frustrate us, or don’t meet our needs, we try to get them to, it doesn’t work that well. Maybe they’re abusive. Maybe they take advantage of us, but they’re not the relationships where our hearts say, “This is family. This is home. This is good. This is safe. These are beings I respect and trust.”
‘As I grow emotionally and spiritually, my friends become more like lovers, and my lovers become more like friends.’ – Marianne WilliamsonCLICK TO TWEETThe great truth, I think, is that it’s only with those people that we find a real foundation and find real happiness. Those are the people we need. We have people we don’t have a choice. We need to be with them, their family, but in terms of family of creation, that’s it. Those are the choices we must make. Anything else is almost a waste. I don’t want to say that old relationships should just be junked, but they might need to be revamped, changed, healed, shifted or maybe let go of. Anyway, the first stage for many of us is to be embroiled in relationships like that, including romantic relationships, what I call the attractions of deprivation.
The second stage, which I have been fortunate enough to witness huge numbers of time in doing the work that I do, and doing the teaching that I do. The second stage as we begin to claim the beauty of our hearts, our authenticity, and our real selves is that we begin to lose our taste for those people. Literally, we start losing our taste for them. It’s not as exciting, entrancing, sticky, itchy or endlessly engaging to try to pull those people along or get them to be different, or try to be more like them because we think we’re just too sensitive. We lose our taste for that, and then there’s this weird second stage often, which is pretty empty. It’s like nothing is going on, but something is going on. The deeper shift is happening underneath. The seedlings under the earth are just beginning to move, because this is a vast shift when we lose our taste for attractions of deprivation. Stage two is marked by a weird kind of emptiness like, “Where are my people?”
Ramakrishna, the great Saint Ramakrishna who was given his temple that later became a great center of spiritual development in India, he used to do this thing. He would go up onto the steps and he would actually call out, “My own, come to me.” That was a practice he did because he knew that his life was empty of his people, and then his people began to come. That middle stage is an odd one, but it passes, and people who feed our souls start coming into our life when that becomes our intention. That is a fabulous, amazing thing. The same stages happen in our search for love, and so then as the second stage moves into the third stage, and the third stage is having a life that’s filled with attractions and relationships of inspiration.
What happens is, and it’s almost unnoticeable, as a therapist and a coach, I really usually have to help people begin to notice that their field is really shifting at this point, that these new relationships come up. All of a sudden, you’re meeting friends who don’t disturb you in those same ways or shake you up, but instead feed you and nurture you. You begin to notice that there are people who speak truth like you speak truth, or care about goodness like you care about goodness, or care about integrity like you care about integrity, or whatever the things are for you that you feel that wonderful feeling of these people are my spiritual home in the world.
You notice it in little ways like you’re in class and there’s someone next to you, and they’re just really nice. They’re interested in maybe hanging out. You don’t even notice that as a thing, but I’m encouraging you to notice that as a thing, because as you do this journey that begins to happen, and then that happens more and more, and your life, little by little, becomes more populated with these beautiful people. Is this quick? Is it easy? No. Is it slow? Is it frustrating? Often, but it is beautiful and foundational and precious. The more it happens, the more your life becomes populated with these new relationships and then you are in stage three. Going through these stages with your friends moves you into going through the exact same stages if you do it consciously in your relationship. Sometimes that’s harder because when you’re talking about sex and romance, it’s easier to get sticky with those old paradigms.
Those are the three stages. The next thing I want to say is I want to talk about how can you speed that process up? What is the quickest, smartest way to begin to fill your life with family of creation? What I have found to be true if you really want to speed this up is don’t start from scratch. Look at your contacts over the last number of years, and see who has a quality of goodness, a rock-solid quality of goodness combined with integrity. Who interests you by the way that they choose to live their lives? Who has an essential generosity of spirit? Every one of those people are gold. They’re your tribe, maybe not perfectly or exactly, but essentially and in really big ways. Those are the places to go back. I know that for me, I gave those relationships short shrift for a long time when I was on my crazy search for just a relationship. Start with those people because you probably have them in your life already, and build the connection and build the sense of family.
Another thing that’s wonderful that I talk about all the time is to have a learning partner. If there’s someone who’s single, who’s willing to do the deeper work, who has all the qualities I just described and is willing to do the richer, deeper work of intimacy, become learning partners with them. Meet once a week in person on Zoom. Laugh, bitch, complain, but share your growth and support each other in your growth. It’s this act of bringing family to our worlds that makes our world so much more meaningful. This is such a rich journey and I’d love to hear from people what your experience is with this. You could just go to DeeperDatingPodcast.com and press Ask Ken. I’d love to hear your stories too. For all of you, the great treasure in looking for love and looking for a family is to choose and find those people who feel like home, and have those qualities of character, goodness and decency, and to build your home there. Good luck in your journey. Thanks for reading. I look forward to connecting with you on the next episode.