Tag Archives: seeking real love

Fierce Love – What You’re Looking For

Screen Shot 2016-09-06 at 5.56.38 AMLove is complex and relationships are a disaster, unless you find someone who can mirror back some of your favorite qualities. What you are looking for (what I was looking for and found) in your next relationship is fierce love. A love that never gives up. NO. MATTER. WHAT.

When you find it you will know. My fiancé and I professed our intentions to be in a relationship, not “date,” early on in our courtship. And one of the qualities we first noticed in the other person was a tenacity, a desire to BE IN A RELATIONSHIP, and one that will last. We’d both been married before. (She without kids, me with two.) And after our first weekend together, aside from the sore muscles, we noticed how our faces and abs were tired from laughing all weekend.

Sure the initial bliss cannot last. After 6 months or so the burning desire was fulfilled and we settled into something more realistic, more like real life. And as we talked about what we wanted we were lucky to be surprised by our similarities. And one similarity stood above all others. In our previous marriages we had both been the partner who fought for the relationship.

Imagine being in a relationship with another person who was going to fight to keep the relationship healthy and moving forward. Imagine.

Nothing is easy in relationships. (After the honeymoon phase the mundane sets in and that’s where you get your real tests.) You take each other for granted. You do things that piss the other person off. You have to compromise in ways you had forgotten were necessary during your “single” period.

Fierce love says, no matter what, I’m IN. I’ve done this before, I know what I’m looking for and you’re it. But you’ve got to let me know you’re in it for the long haul as well.

Well, we’re both fighters. Imagine our optimism when we’re both fierce about fighting for our relationship to work. Sure, we go through out rough patches, a disagreement, an angry word, but we come back stronger and more committed each time. There is no growth without risk. And if you have the risk of your relationship covered up, you can grow and expand the boundaries for both of you.

That’s what we want. Ascendant love. Moving ever higher together. Fearlessly attacking the discord as it arrives unwelcome and unbidden. And we move through it with the other person, knowing they are going to stick around.

Be fierce in your love and fierce in your anger. They are two sides of the same coin. And when you are committed, the fierceness becomes the glue that keeps your relationship together.

Sure, we’ll have challenges tomorrow. And we’ll procrastinate and avoid for a little while, but we’ll come back together with a fire and rage that says, “You’re mine.”

Fierce is good. If love is what you’re looking for, look for the one with fierceness in his/her eyes. Always.

Always Love,

John McElhenney

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The Three Essential Elements of Love


It is easier to say what didn’t work than to count up the things that did work. Especially as we arrive at the end of yet another relationship (dating, marriage) it is more common to identify the things that broke down. But in focusing on the positive aspects of what has worked in the past, you might be able to focus your attention there. Looking for the positive as opposed to looking out to avoid the negative.

Here are the three essential elements of love, in my experience thus far:


Calm Center.


There you go, those are the keys to love. Let’s take them one by one and see if we can illuminate what makes love blossom in the company of someone with these qualities.


You know it when you feel it, and you recognize it when you see it in another person. There is no faking inner joy. Positivism can help, but the peaks and valleys of life puncture positivism all the time. The joyous person, stumbles just like the rest of us, and they tend to get back up quicker and with a hopefulness that accelerates their recovery.

I would love to have you along side me, grooving to your own dream. And together we can bond and thrive in support of our mutual time together and our individual dreams.

We are all looking for joy, both in our lives and in the relationship with another person. If there is a huge imbalance in the levels of innate joy there will be trouble ahead. And maybe there are highly joyous people and people who are comfortable and fine in a more medium joyousness. Perhaps I am asking for someone to match my highly-activated happiness. And maybe it’s more important to understand your own energy and set-point of joy, then you can align yourself with a similar inner smile.

What demonstrates joy? How do we recognize this joyousness?

Smiles that light up the eyes are a good start. But even from a distance, if you are tuned in, you can feel a joyous person enter a restaurant. It’s an amazing recognition. And when you see it, feel it, taste the hint of joy in the other person, you can no longer do without it. I remember standing next to a date at an art reception and being rather painfully aware of her self-consciousness and over-thinking, while being a bit blown over by a woman, several groups of people over, who I recognized as a fellow radiator.

Perhaps not everyone radiates at the same intensity. If you are a highly joyous person, like myself, perhaps anything less will be painful and disconnecting. I know that I seek joy above all else in my next relationship. I will settle for nothing less.

Calm Center.

All the tumbles in life and we all deal with setbacks and interruptions in our own ways. If there is drama in our lives we can either respond with more drama, or urgency, or we can pause and reevaluate. I am a slow down and observe what’s going on type. When the drama hits from outside my life, I do my best not to respond in kind with more drama. I have always scored very low on the “sense of urgency” scale. It’s one of the things, I think that drove my then-wife crazy. She always felt she was the only one responding with the appropriate action.

But I’m not looking for any more drama or urgency in my life. The world brings out enough of that in our lives without us contributing to the frenetic pace. Calm centering is one of my super powers.

I’m almost always hopeful and joyous about this new journey. As a single dad I have more time and more complications than when I was married.

If your partner is also a centering person you might have a better chance at finding that inner peace together, in spite of the drama around you. Listen to their words. Listen to how they express the frustrations of the day. You want to hear a lack of victimization. You want to hear a simple pragmatic approach to getting the tasks and chores of life accomplished without struggle. Sometimes there will be frustration and energy, that’s okay. But what is not okay is the needless amplification of the urgency of any issue.

“Is someone going to the hospital?” If the answer is no, then you can take your time in the response. And, especially in dealing with your ex-partner, the pause is your friend. They no longer respond within minutes, they no longer have to. So you too have the option to wait a bit before responding to any request. Time is on your side. Not manipulative time, but time to pause, reset, think, and respond.

It is always a good idea to get your center before responding to a dramatic or urgent message. Again, unless there is a fire or someone needs to go to the hospital, the urgency is probably falsely constructed to illicite a response. Give your response, on your time, by taking a moment to breathe and think about what you want as a result.


What keeps you up at night? How are you envisioning your life beyond the daily grind? Do you have goals that transcend your role as a parent or worker bee? If you don’t this might be a good time to figure out what other goals you can put out there for yourself. You need bigger goals. Call them life work, hobbies, or passions. You need to have some bigger ideals and bigger visions for your own life.

And seeing that passion in another person may be the final critical element I look for. I want a passionate partner. I want to be a cheerleader for your dreams. Of course I am sensitive to your needs and goals for your kids, but I’m most interested what warms your synapses in the off times.

Tell me about your dreams. What are you passionate about?

If we can find the balance of these three traits between us, perhaps we can build “what’s next” together.

I have a few things that I will slowly reveal to you as well, as we get to know each other. But I don’t want to overwhelm you. I don’t want to brag or show off with what I’m working towards. But it’s one of my most prized accomplishments. Sure, I love my kids. And I am clear that they are the priority in my life, way beyond my ultimate dreams for myself. BUT… They will grow older and no longer require my utmost attention and nurture. What will I be doing after they are gone?

Retirement is not an option for me. The time gained in divorce has been a boon to my big dreams. (This blog, for example, is a direct result of having the additional time when I don’t have my kids.) So as I continue to move through my life, I am growing my bigger dream. I am gathering momentum as an artist, writer, musician, and poet. I am happy with my alone time. I would love to have you along side me, grooving to your own dream. And together we can bond and thrive in support of our mutual time together and our individual dreams.

I’m almost always hopeful and joyous about this new journey. As a single dad I have more time and more complications than when I was married. And if we can find the balance of these three traits between us, perhaps we can build “what’s next” together.

Looking for a together partner, and a partner who is together already.

Always Love,

John McElhenney

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image: imogen heap – pop tech 2008, kris krüg, creative commons usage