Man Cures Himself of Acute Love Sickness From Whirlwind Foreign Romance. He SLAPPED Himself!
Get SLAPPED: Self-Love and Personal Power…Enacted Decidedly
The man is in this story is me. It’s a story of how I became love sick and cured myself — in short order. And ridded myself of considerable pain and hurt. Busting bogus beliefs from the ghosts of my past were identified in days instead of years. It’s a bit of a stretch to call what I had a relationship because it was 14 days from start to pause. Whatever it was, it was turning me into a pile of pathetic mush because I became delusional….again. But I saw my delusion quicker than ever before, stepped into the pain, and in it, I found the answers I needed to cure myself.
I hope by sharing this story, you find a nugget or two to help you in whatever stage of relationship you are in, including looking for one. There’s hopefully inspiration here for men and women, in particular men, to dive deep into a relationship (a new one or existing one) not knowing how you will be received. As well as learning to train yourself on how to recognize when your mind does a‘bait and switch’ on you. I would love to hear your SLAPPED story; please share.
My Personal Victory Speech
I texted the following to my two male friends I used to be in a men’s group with and whom I share most of my drama with a week ago Monday.
This is what personal empowerment feels like. Go get some smoothies (called sucos here in Brazil) with the woman that as of last Friday night I was a pile of mush around to say goodbye, for now, after chatting for a while about our crazy romance. I arrived composed and left oozing self-love. We agreed we’re on pause rather than over.
I felt pure fucking personal power for getting through the pain and hurt of opening my heart to someone who didn’t quite feel the same. I did in less than three days what took me three years to do with my ex-wife; which was be true to my feelings and walk away from a situation that was a mismatched—and an emotional cover up.
The Setup: Arrive Brazil to Give a Talk on Inspiration and Getting Crazy at Carnaval 2016.
The reason I started my life as a digital nomad in Brazil is because I was asked to come here by a dear Brazilian friend I know from WDS (World Domination Summit) to speak at a small one-day conference geared toward people who want to level-up their life.
So I arrived in Rio and roamed around for a couple of days and then we drove to Sao Paolo where the conference was taking place. I met this woman, who was my friend’s right hand for organizing the conference, the night before the conference when we went to the venue to set it up. I thought to myself she’s cute….and very bubbly.
Conference was awesome. I did my purposely unplanned talk with no visual aids right before lunch; more on this in an upcoming post about embracing ‘I Don’t Know’ and living in the present.
Then I spent the afternoon dancing in a skirt and reenacting human evolution from an amoeba to a jumping and twirling dancer. That evening at the staff hangout, and for a man who’s generally oblivous to a woman’s flirting, I was 99% certain there was flirting going on. Or maybe I was misinterpreting the friendliness of Brazilian women? What the fuck do I know? The last year of being single after 14 years in back to back marriages was a dating diaster. To say I’m out of practice and a bit desperate is an understatement.
After returning to Rio, Carnaval was coming up. There’s two Carnaval experiences: the blocos aka known as the street parades which happen all over the city in various neighborhoods and can reach crowds in the millions. Some are officially sanctioned and some are not. And then there is the competitive Carnaval that occurs over two nights on a street that is akin to an arena. I went on the second night from 9p-6a and had a sweet box seat near the judges stand. This experience cannot be described in words. Most important to this story, however, is that Carnaval is all about fantasy and fun for a full week, in a country and part of the world that is very comfortable and open with sexuality. At Carnaval that energy is even higher—plus it’s crazy hot outside. There’s a lot of skin showing, body touching, alcohol (not for us), and lots of dancing.
Our First Kiss and Getting Interviewed on Brazilian National TV
This woman invited me to a bloco; one which I had been recommended by others to attend. And earlier in the week, she invited me to a meditation session at the local Buddhist monastery, but I was on a date. Oh yeah, I was hitting up Tinder and happn (dating apps) here like a banshee. And I had more action in my first week here than I did all last year in the United States; some of the women even paid on our dates! And the activity is still going strong. Point is, Mr. Clueless had a clue for once. I’m something different here to many of these women; beyond the foreign factor, the digital nomad aspect on my profile fascinates them.
This bloco started early and she picked me up wearing a great and sexy costume. I went costume-free because they’re not really my thing. Turns out my sans costume was in fact a tourist costume and got me interviewed on national Brazilian TV. After the bloco, nearly 7.5 hours later, we were walking to get lunch and stopped to watch another bloco from afar. I wasn’t comfortable to make a move; so I asked if I could kiss her. I’d been beating myself up in the hours beforehand to just kiss her. At the bloco, our bodies were smushed up to each other for hours on end in the massive crowd and yet I couldn’t get the courage to kiss her without asking first. I have issues. Or maybe it’s because this was the first kiss with another women, besides my ex-wife, in ten years. Yes, ten fucking years since I kissed a ‘new’ woman.
The kiss was well received. And all of sudden we we’d gone from mashed up hot and sweaty bodies at the bloco to kissy-kissy, huggy-huggy. It was very nice. I saw her the next day for a fun adventure that included visiting my first favela and a concert in the one of the big plazas downtown. We were dancing, kissing, and having a great time. A day passed and we saw each other again in the evening for a bit; she took me to a small outdoor ceremonial drumming and dancing event that was very cool. We were enjoying each other’s company and I was edging toward delusion.
An Almost Perfect Little Romance
After returning from a post-Carnaval getaway away from Rio in which we had almost no communication because I had no cell service or wifi, we got together right away. She invited me to see her apartment, which turned into a lovely sleepover—one where I slept on the couch. But it did include some cuddle time in which I silenty cried from feeling such joy and having a long-term unmeet need of physical touch realized. I guess you really can’t call it a walk of shame if nothing really happened between us, but I walked ‘home’ to my Airbnb from her place on the other side of town. It took me all day. I walked 16.5 miles in $2.50 Old Navy flip-flops. I was on Cloud 8.
I was beginning to fall, fast and hard. I knew it. I felt the confusion coming on. I reached out to my men friends for counsel and advice. And all the while, I was still initiating and responding to crushes, winks, right swipes, matches, and ‘super’ likes on the dating apps.
Transition from Fantasy Romance to Reality
The next day we got together in the afternoon at her apartment. I suggested we meditate before having a co-working session. What a fun afternoon. I felt inspired; our rapid romance was my muse for living in the moment, embracing the unknown and a bunch of other woo-wooey crap that I couldn’t actually do when push came to shove. The day turned into night and we went out for an evening walk high above the coastline overlooking Ipanema Beach.
I’d been doing a pretty good job fortifying my delusional relationship foundation; enjoying the excitment of a foreign romance with a much younger-than-I Brazilian woman. And I was unconcsiously trying to stay in this fantasy-state by avoiding learning more about her as a person. This changed on our evening walk when she told me some of her personal history which was wonderful to learn—and which began to chip away at my delusional underpinnings.
I slept over again, on the couch. I was really into this woman and wanted to be more into her (if you get my drift). It wasn’t happening for reasons she explained and I said I understood; but I didn’t in hindsight. I felt alone. I felt rejected. Where was my official, stereotypical Brazilian romance, complete with unbridled passion?
In the morning, before she got up I broke something of hers. And I felt awful about it. From which I got a sinking feeling. Once she got up and we were playing house together by having breakfast, I crossed over. I crossed over into the land of insecurity. I couldn’t, as I said I would try, live moment to moment with her. I wanted to know if ‘it was me’. I was moving deeper into delusion despite us transitioning from fantasy to reality. Because I didn’t like the reality.
When she dropped me off in town that morning on the way to an appointment she had, I began to experience deep heartbreak, longing, and loneliness. That evening I wrote her a long text (due to our language barrier, we communicate best through writing; she reads English just fine but only speaks it a bit). In this text I tried to convey how I was glad we transitioned from fantasy to reality, how much more we have to learn and share about each other, and how I was on board for living moment to moment, even though I wasn’t sure how to do this and not become attached. In re-reading this text as I write this, I see my desperation coming through. I see my confusion. My thinking I was falling in love when that’s not what was happening.
She received my text, acknowledged it and said she would write back the next morning, And she did. A lot. She revealed more history that foreshadowed an unconscious fear in me that paralleled my last marriage. She was consistent with her perspective on her pacing (physical) preference.
And I dropped into full blown fear and desperation. My Airbnb was up that morning and I had no where to go. In a now riduculously unrealisic attempt to allay my apparent ‘love sickness’ I ask if I can stay with her. My functional delusion was now running at 100%. She of course says no. And that was exactly the right answer. I was moving way too fast. I was avoiding some other, way bigger stuff, and using her and our little romance as a cover.
One Last Try—The Big Play: Here, I Offer You My Heart. Or How To Scare a Woman Away
After getting ‘rejected’ again for not being able to stay with her, I booked an Airbnb for four more nights. I wasn’t quite ready to leave Rio. No wait, I didn’t want to leave Rio at all. I wanted to jump right into the middle of this woman’s life—and be regally welcomed. Her life is full: she has her business, her home, classes, friends, family, and interests. She has infrastructure here. What do I have? Two bags and no plan. And a great fucking track record for jumping into relationships very quickly and then staying in them for a while, inluding getting married. I’ve spent the one-third of my life living with women; I’m good at it. It’s familiar to me. It’s a skill I guess.
We saw each other that night. This was after twenty minutes of panic due to a language miscommunication and not being able to find her (her phone was dead). Once I found her and settled down, I kicked it into high gear. The brewing confusion, desperation and fear of the last couple days—and the whole transition to becoming a nomad—caused me to have an emotional meltdown. I cried like a baby in her arms.
And then, without any forethought, I made the ultimate offer. I offered up my heart. I told her about the dating apps, but a Don Juan I am not. I’d halted using them, because delusion is very effective at creating monocular vision. I told her I’m one-woman man. I told her my life has no rules. I also told her I knew what I was doing was risky and to please return my heart if she does not want it now or any time in any the future. Because in my last marriage the one thing I wish we’d done was end it earlier. We limped along for three years after we initially talking about divorce. I was too scared the marriage. I told my Brazilian love interest that in any and all future relationships, time can no longer be stolen from one another. And this was about to happen, of my choosing; I just needed to hit the bottom of the barrel first.
So as we strolled along the Ipanema Beach promenade I conveyed that nothing was stopping me from spending my time in Rio rather than traveling as I had intended. Wrong! She was my cover. My first three weeks travelling internationally after becoming intentionally homeless in October 2015 based in Rio were relatively easy. I had my WDS friend, her family, and her network. Without any of that I would been chewed up and spit out by Rio and Brazil for that matter.
Desperation Repels People—Especially in Matters of The Heart
And so the subtle but discernable distancing began. The next day we barely texted all day. Let me clarify. I texted plenty. Strategically sending her pics of us from the prior week at the bloco to remind her how awesome I am—and how great we could be together. But I began to feel her pulling away. I went too far. Too fast. My desperation, cloaked as the volatile throes of a burgeoning love affair, was now becoming clearer. The desperation that caused me to want this woman to accept my insane request to make me a priority in her life—after barely knowing each other—was masking crippling fear. That’s what desperation is, some fear(s) being masked. It’s a mind fuck, unless you can catch it and shut it down.
Bottom of the Emotional Barrel—The Fastest Part is Right Before You Crash
We were supposed to see each other that evening with our mutual WDS friend and her husband to see some live music. And we did. It was nice. We sat close and kissed and fawned over each other. And again, as we went to say goodbye, I was desperately hoping she wanted me to come home with her. Not. Waves of self-induced pain and suffering ensued. Internal temper tantrums of not getting what I want—not sex specifically, but more phyiscal closeness and life integration—raged, and I thought to myself I cannot sustain this much longer. [By the way my Love Language is physical touch at a 9/12. The others are all 5’s or lower]. She texts to let me know she got home safely that evening and thanks me for the company. Uh-oh. The ‘company’? Is something getting lost in translation here? Where I come from that’s a sinking relation-ship.
The next day we were supposed to have plans for what I thought was to spend the day together. I’d been stewing since getting ‘rejected’ the night before. And I’d been awakening to my fears. She and the Universe were on to me.
I move into ‘wait and see’ mode…..nothing happens. I journal about what I can now see coming around the corner. I text her around noon. She writes back without any mention of our plans. At 5pm she says a friend is in from out of town and she’s going to hang out with them. Boom. The blowoff is official.
Time to Get SLAPPED: Self-Love And Personal Power Enacted Decidedly
Since the final rejection the night before, I’d begun and accelerated my transition to Self-Love And Personal Power Enacted Decidedly in earnest. It was time to open up, lean in, and welcome the fear. Welcome the old hurting causing the new hurting. So I’m journaling thoughout blowoff day. I used to journal at times of distress. These hand-written journals are some of the few things I’ve saved in storage because the writing is hilariously delusional and someday I’ll share it to help show others that you can indeed rewire your brain. It’s full of ego-based blabberings about how I am right and ‘she’ is wrong or mistaken.
Now, as a nomad, I journal digitally (and more regularly, not just in times of distress) and reviewed my entries from the past week and I saw the growth, the greater clarity, the maturity, and the self-compassion. I could see the internalization and personal accountability instead of my old default of extreme externalization and blaming.
Over the course of the day, I let everything rise up, which was often, and realized what was going on. There were two specific things:
- The mismatch of the relationship pacing, despite this woman being so different from my ex-wife in all other ways, was too similar. Even though the reason behind it was totally different, the effect and impact for me was the same. And I realized I can not accept this at this point in my life. Connected to this was a power issue. I believe power between people is real and there was a power imbalance, even at this early stage. And it felt like witholding to me. While I’m not looking for empty casual encounters, I want fireworks, perhaps not the grand finale up front, but definitely not sparklers. I’m an intense person. I know this. And I am looking for a woman who will welcome, embrace, and know how to tame my intensity. Perhaps it is this woman, but not now. If I had a user manual, there’d be pages of warnings and precautions. There’s an idea—individual user manuals for relationships.
- The other (and probably more important) realization I had was I was using the crazy-like desire to make the relationship take off like a rocket to avoid me having to actually travel. My little nest in Rio was comfortable and it could have been a lot more comfortable if I could get this woman to drop everything and completely receive me. All of the shit I proclaimed to the world publicly about how awesome my life was going to be as digital nomad felt like a sham. I was craving rootedness because I was fearing really going ‘out there’. I thought leaving the USA was the big jump. Nope, it’s getting out into the unknown—on your own. It’s figuring shit out on the fly. It’s barely being able to commuicate. It’s getting lost in a new city in a sketchy part of town at night because your Airbnb host put in the wrong address on her profile. It’s missing buses and nearly getting stranded in remote towns. It’s meeting incredible and helpful people. It’s seeing beautiful sights. It’s the growing awareness of how bizarre it is that the world is so big and small at the same time.
And so this day’s morphing journal entry turned into what became my ‘pause’ (not a breakup) text to her, including the offer to meet her to discuss it. I sent it the next day after finishing the day settling in with my released fears and subsequent desperation and welcoming back my personal, sovereign power that was being rapidly restored despite my fears to leave the nest and go into The Heart of Darkness.
She acknowledged getting the text and said she would respond the later or the next day because she was working. And she did. She doesn’t hate me. That’s good. She was interested in getting together. So we did. And I was free. And I am free.
The Anatomy of SLAPPING Yourself
There’s not much to uncover here. It’s all about awareness. Nothing more. Awareness of when you’re going off the rails in the midst of being sucked into an emotional vortex. It’s something I call Mind Taming Training™ and you can get there by partaking in any and all of the known avenues: meditating, journaling, drumming circles, karmic angel wing cleaning…..whatever the fuck you can think of where you become simultaneously aware of
- Open your heart, reveal your desires and fears despite not knowing how it will be received by another person.
- Love hard—life is too short to dip your toes. Fuckin’ dive deep.
- People don’t find other people attractive when they are needy, desperate, expectant or acting from fear.
- Think of yourself as a living experiment. Emotions are data. Awareness turns them into information. When emotions are getting the best of you, there is information to be gleaned.
- Let all your shit bubble up. The harder you try to contain it, the likelier it will all blow up from the suppression pressure. Sit with your shit, feel the pain and confusion, and tune in to the message it has for you.
- Do whatever you can to train yourself to become your own observer; watching yourself spiral, seemingingly out of control, into an emotional chasm. Watch this process with curiosity.
- Self-Love is the beginning, middle and end to a happy, fulfilled life. It is not other people who can provide this for you. We are each capable of being our own sustainable Self-Love factory—where the raw materials get continuously resupplied only from within.
- Personal Power is akin to thinking of yourself as a sovereign nation. What are your ‘personal’ policies for running the United Egos of You? What are your diplomatic and foreign policies for dealing with other people? How do you govern yourself? It comes down to personal integrity. Personal Power is what attracts people to come visit the great state of You.
Back to My Regularly Scheduled Program
Just over a week ago I left Rio after four weeks of being there. I have gone into the Heart of Darkness alone but not lonely. I was scared but courageous. It was a momentous day. Leaving the nest of Rio after nearly 4 weeks was one of the more difficult things I have done in a while. The leap was symbolic as much as it was real. I’ve been to a one-of-a-kind botanical, art and architectural version of Disneyland, spent four days getting to and swimming in waterfalls in a national park in the Brazilian Savannah, and walked 14 miles in Brasilia, the nation’s capital, a planned city of modern architecture.
I literally went into The Heart of Darkness on an impromptu 10-hour Man Date with my new friend Jack who invited me on an twilight-into-night outrigger canoe paddle on the Rio Cipó. We talked about deep shit. And paddled in silence listening to strange and wonderful sounds, seeing the silhouettes of birds and bats, watching the beautiful fireflies. It was magical. Because it’s not really the Heart of Darkness, it only seems that way when you frame the unknown with fear and worry. What I found is a vacillation between light and dark that I am teaching myself to embrace. Darkness gives way to light.
I chose myself despite the crushing pain I was experiencing and I am so proud of myself for leaning into the hurt and doing something about it. This is courage. It’s empowering. I highly recommend it.
This experience has been transformative and was, after all, one of my greatest intentions beginning the journey of Purposeful Homelessness: getting myself in, through and out of circumstances where I previously lost my way or melted down.
I’m doing my work. I’m present to it all—the fun and not so fun feelings. And I’m flourishing amidst the confusion and fear. I’m choosing acts of Self-Love which yield Personal Power.
Now go on and get SLAPPED! And tell me about it.