“How do you define successful relationships, and what does it take to achieve that success?”
I want to start off by answering the second part of the question first. In my opinion, the very best way to achieve relationship success is with experience. Let me say that again, but this time in bold:
Nothing will prepare you for starting and maintaining a great relationship like having been there before. This can and should include gf-bf relationships (if you’re straight) and regular friends with both sexes. If you’re a guy, make sure you’re making friends with other guys. Also throw in a healthy amount of business networking, some FB relationships, dating, a sprinkling of one-night stands, and hell, why not a few threesomes.
The point is, you want to understand how people work, and more importantly, you want to understand how you work.
In pickup, which is at the cutting edge of social dynamics, experience is gained through fieldwork. You MUST spend an extraordinary amount of time in-field, making approaches, socializing, and attempting closes before you get really good. I don’t want to go into a detailed definition of what good means, but suffice it to say if you’re really good, you’ve likely done over 1000 approaches, and probably over 3000. This means you’re going out 5-7 days per week and approaching women every single day. With this kind of volume, you can get very good at pickup in 2-3 years, possibly less if you have a mentor. Consider that most men interact with 100-200 women in their entire lives! Imagine meeting and interacting with thirty times that number. You’d probably know damn near everything you need to know about the opposite sex. If you use this knowledge correctly, you would be an awesome LTR partner. You would understand people at a very deep level because you’ve interacted with so many of them.
(Oh goody…approach #1563 and #1564!)
Go On A Bunch Of Dates
If you’re not into pickup, I highly recommend dating a ton of people to get the experience. Figure out what you’re attracted to, what you need, and what you want. I’m a big believer in going on dates even if you’re not totally sure about the other person. Go on dates, run your game, and see how she reacts. See how you react. Really figure out what your dealbreakers and dealmakers are. This will drastically increase your emotional intelligence. This makes it so your future girlfriend doesn’t have to endure your emotional and social growing pains. Oh yeah, if you’re dating, you’re going to get flaked on and there will be a plenty of starts and stops. Don’t sweat it. You want the experience.
What’s the big drawback of going on a lot of dates? Time, energy, and money. If you’re going on a lot of dinner & drinks dates, stop. Instead, meet for 2 drinks or just cook dinner at the house. Try the David Wygant thing and go to Target and goof around. If you can find chemistry at Target on your first date, you’ve probably found a keeper. Just have fun, but don’t put a massive investment into every date.
Long Term Relationships
If we’re talking about LTR’s, then put several LTR’s in the bank before embarking on your one (possibly) final LTR, that is, marriage. Incidentally, before I got into social artistry, this was the model I followed. I was a serial LTR guy, maintaining a gf for about a year, ditching her, rinse and repeat. I’ve had 8 LTR’s and I still don’t consider myself very good at them. I’d say just above average. This is one big reason why I got into pickup, because I wanted to make quantum leaps in my ability to connect with the opposite sex, and I didn’t want to be 40 before that happened.
Serial LTR’s are probably the riskiest way to get experience because they’re such big investments. Big investments mean big mistakes. Yes, you want to have a few LTR’s, but too many and you risk spending your entire life learning what you could learn in one year by dating a lot or getting into social artistry.
What Else Should You Be Doing?
As you’re banking your experience, you should be talking to your peers and getting feedback. You should also be reading, both books and websites (start with honeyandlance.com). Getting this expert knowledge will cut down on your fuckups and massively reduce the time it takes you to master your relationships. Instead of spending a year in a shitty relationship trying to figure things out, you could reduce that down to a month. Hell, a week! Beware the risk of reading too much: spend four times as much time in-field as you do reading (credit Sinn), otherwise your knowledge is wasted.
What else does experience do? Once you have enough experience, you’re no longer insecure. You cross the threshold and realize you can always make friends, get partners, and get sex. If you have enough sex, you realize it’s not such a big deal and it doesn’t run your life. This is incredibly powerful, because it frees you up to pursue your true life’s purpose, which should be something other than to just get laid. You also realize that you can always get love and that love is replaceable.
When people refer to their past as baggage, I like to call it experience. Experience is generally a good thing, provided you’re learning from it and doing better the next time around. You want that baggage, because it provides the foundation for your future relationships. Endeavor to keep your fuckups to a minimum and do your best not to completely screw over your partners. Wear a rubber. Don’t get knocked up.
What Is A Successful Relationship?!
My definition is really simple. For me, a successful relationship is one that enriches my life and allows me to give value. Value can be in any form: friendship, sexual fulfillment, emotional support, love, good times, business, whatever. My definition of a successful LTR is a bit more involved, and includes a fair amount of attraction, but it boils down to the same thing. Value. Does it enrich my life in some way? If yes, then it’s successful. This makes it so my relationships are not just about finding love or a “soulmate.” I’m perfectly happy making friends too.
Credit TD and Real Social Dynamics for introducing me to these concepts.