Part of fearing responsibility for a woman comes from not knowing what you, as a man, are supposed to do over the course of relationship.
Even leading a good first date is beyond the capacity of many men today, let alone leading a relationship. But I’m no different: I had to cobble this knowledge together myself—and even today I learn on the fly.
Ten years ago, I’d congratulate myself for keeping an affair going for an entire two weeks. Clearly, my self-trust was so low I couldn’t imagine me keeping a relationship on the tracks, long-haul.
And yet… I was never exactly a low achiever. I didn’t struggle socially. And neither, I imagine, do you.
How did it all come to this—this lack of leadership clue?
In this entry, I lay out the journey of how I became confident—truly ready—to lead a feminine woman into a growth-oriented relationship, and beyond.
If confidence and leadership with women are things you want, so you can create the kind of intimate life you always dreamed of, below you’ll find full resources to help make this a reality for you.
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What Happened to the Music?
We all know that, in tango, the man leads his woman through the dance. But what is it, exactly, that leads the man? Has he perfected a kind of performance, in which he fires off routine after routine? Is each dance a careful choreograph, so that his leadership is pre-ordained and picture-perfect, like that of some teen pop-idol? From where does a lead source the direction of his leadership? Well, from the music, of course. It’s easy to think that some men just ‘have it’. But we all follow a greater pulse. No man leads from a vacuum.
If men were successful at keeping their marriages together in the olden days, it’s because the rhythms he danced to were clear: tradition, religion, society. Everyone worked the same hours, worshipped the same Gods, fought in the same trenches. It was as good as predetermined how a marriage would unfold: the structure kept it together—family, priest, lord and temple. A man was simply head of the household, and of larger things he seldom had to think.
The structure of our culture then changed. Once, twice, and to the point where there remains NO cultural instruction for where, how, or even if a man should lead his relationship. In a way we’re like babies in a basket: dropped onto this earth without instruction. If you didn’t have a positive, conscientious father figure around you as you grew up, who led his relationship into devotion and into depth—you likely have little ingrained idea of how to take responsibility of a relationship now. There is no philosophical or structural training that ever let us know how. The best you probably received was ‘be nice, be yourself, and don’t hurt her feelings!’
Or the opposite, ‘all women are crazy—just pick one!’
We live in a cozy generation—Netflix and chill and X-box in the mancave—and we don’t transport our women much further than that. Luckily, enough women are similarly self-responsible, so you figure out relationship—divide the dishes, the cat-food, the diaper-shifts—as friends.
But back to the dancefloor. What is your music, in the absence of grand tradition? What guides and propels your vision; how do you lead?
All around me I see a kind of DIY-relationship, polyglot world, where anything and everything goes, and it’s all up to your design. The ‘liberated world’ the ‘sixties dreamed into being! In such an environment, the best way to navigate the terrain is to hear yourself; to listen to your own fiddle; to follow the subjective truth within. Decide for yourself, what is goodness! what is beauty! Surrender to one’s truth; one’s own inner bliss! Everyone today has become a God or a Goddess, and here we all are, gathering relationship data—feeling into ourselves—all deciding. Trying to figure out the form.
We’re single. (But that’s ok with all these travel plans!)
This melée we’re all in—the spiritual soup of making a God of your personal truth—doesn’t offer solid guidance as to what makes a relationship high or low, destined for bliss, or based on impulses and self-absorption. Many in the DIY-relationship world, from what I’ve seen, learn to communicate well… but their lives and their loves tend to tread water. Diverging desires; intimacy as consumption. Good intentions abound, but when I love you, but I love me more, and when I only follow through on my commitments when I feel like it, there’s often a slowness in true grounded growth.
Empires, families, are not built on ‘what I feel today’.
It’s a burden, to figure out how to make your relationship thrive, how to take the space you need as a man, while also building a career in today’s world. If I didn’t take off on a deep sabbatical, and make Ars Amorata my full-time work, perhaps I’d never have figured it out. I might still be tumbling through the land of women, my course determined by my feeling and the four winds.
But I did stumble across a framework that helped me. The Ars Amorata Essentials helped me attract and relate far better with women, but it didn’t give me an overall structure for keeping a relationship together, nor creating a base that would transform us over the long-haul.
That required a deeper exploration.
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Building a Leadership Philosophy
Now what the Ars Amorata did do was that it fired up my relationship life. Since it helped me initiate all kinds of relationships, it quickly showed me exactly what kind of shadows, addictions, incapacities, selfishness and heart-closures festered inside me. By showing up fully with women, I got to know my dark side, and all the ways I would unwittingly hurt women. This relationship-as-mirror learning was brutal. Good job I had friends and morbid humour.
Honestly, I’d say it took me another four or five years to integrate the leadership capacity—the skills I never saw growing up—to keep a smart, vibrant woman happy at my side. And I’m learning still.
What’s my leadership philosophy? Well, first I realised that simply ‘speaking my truth and following what I feel’ might lead me to walk around in impulsive circles, so I took on a healthy dose of self-skepticism, a view that things might kick around my unconscious that could be destructive and pull even the best of relationships apart. I then immersed myself in all the most ‘evolutionary’ fields around me at the time—teachings that seemed to advance the conversation of human flourishing and love. I must have studied with twenty different mentors. And sure, every teaching has its blindspots (as does ours/mine).
But here’s the main gist of what I learned: if you mix tantric-polarity work, with psychological safety and trauma-awareness, with intimacy work, with adult development, you start to see how a human can grow in continually-expanding awareness and love. Yes, I want more expansion and love tomorrow than I already feel today. And there are maps that can help you get this—and I gave everything to get my hands on them.
These many incremental paradigm shifts, which built into a whole personal philosophy about relationships, attraction and love, changed the way I saw women—and their potential—in this world. Almost every woman I’ve dated, since about 2014, have been devoted to their own evolution. I don’t mean they bought an Eckhart Tolle book and did a yoga class once. I mean women who have a library of practices and lifestyles they continually engage in. Women who don’t tolerate for a second the detached and often-cynical hook-up culture of today. A couple like this can really take off. Since I had this kind of worldview, I never looked back.
Interestingly, when I know a woman is devoted to personal evolution for her ends, I know she is accountable in love. This actually gives me the sense of safety that I can trust her… that no matter how dark the shadows, nor the creeping in of power dynamics, etc., we can always talk openly about our experiences. This allowed me to relax so much more, and—for the first time ever, I think—trust the process of relationship.
Here’s what I mean about personal evolution. In every relationship I start, and throughout the relationship, I’m looking for four things:
1) Waking up: she doesn’t have to be a committed Buddhist, but she is interested in altered states of consciousness, in spiritual qualities. She has an orientation towards that which is beyond the ego, and commits to embodying more wonder, beauty, compassion, gratitude, love.
2) Growing up: she’s aware that maturity doesn’t simply happen, and engages in a life journey that involves some tough confrontations with reality. We move through different life phases, lose many things, unlock new gifts, and become vaster human beings. This means discovering that you’re a new person every few months—always changing—and sharing the bizarreness and sometimes dislocation of that. She’s never stuck in behaviours she should have outgrown five years ago.
3) Cleaning up: simply put, you take responsibility for your part in fights, relationship drama, the pain you inevitably cause. Every loving couple goes through many dark nights, and understanding how you cause or contribute to pain (based on your psychology, defences and previous wounds) is essential in taking responsibility for your part of things… and not just blaming all fault on the other.
4) Showing up: she has a vision, a dedication, in her life, that she continually wants to show up for. Because she gives herself into a personal devotion, she’s always moving, always growing. If you get with a woman who wants life (and material things) to simply come to her without her showing up, get ready for a life of constant deflation and resentment!
Now, I’m writing this to you in a technical way, but my dating process is extremely relaxed and fluid. I never ‘interview’ along these four lines, but I sit and I smile and I notice. These four ‘big green flags’ pop up on some internal radar. If a woman doesn’t already have a genuine interest in these four areas, I would not consider her relationship material. Maybe that sounds harsh to you, but I raised my bar.
Turns out it’s abundant up here, in the land of the high bar. And there’s a lack of good men.
Understanding this kind of ‘integral relationship’ was my chief interest for a few years, and having this as a deep framework—a structured, leadership music, if you will—gave me the courage to initiate, lead, and maintain my relationship. Without these maps, I would have been bouncing off the walls in the dark. After learning about these four dimensions, I now had plenty of conversations I could have when things went off-course… and I could always bring about a new vision for my woman and I to expand into deeper ecstasy, closeness, and clear-seeing.
So, in short, yes, I follow the music of my inner truth, second-to-second, as my relationship evolves. But I have fundamental structures beneath me that orient us both towards greater self-evolution—towards greater truth, beauty, and goodness, as it were. My sense is that ALL my clients and brothers intuit and yearn for this kind of relationship… they just don’t know the framework, or that this possibility exists.
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A Deeper Ease & Delight
What I shared just above changed my relationships and my life.
These days, though, I see things a little differently.
A full-scale ‘evolutionary relationship’ places a certain stress on human growth, and that’s fine (and motivational) when you still have a subtle belief that you’re unworthy—that you’re not quite ready. To believe that your relationship has to always grow along multiple dimensions, and that you expect that continual effort of yourself and your partner, is, surely, work. While I needed this leadership structure to start my relationship, and to build deep inner awareness and security, I admit I relied on these dimensions as a compensation for a feeling that I hadn’t quite arrived—or that I didn’t know I quite had what it took to keep a great relationship going yet.
Regardless, this inner relationship paradigm kept me in. It was good for me to follow that structure for so long.
Lately, since early Covid I guess, I hit a place on my journey where I realised that I didn’t have to be the engine of my own continual transformation. That if I did nothing, I’d actually evolve more quickly. At that point, my relationship became much more simple. Rather than continually grow, it turned into something where we ‘walk the path of life together, being naturally transformed along the way’.
You might smile at this orientation as simple, obtainable, freeing and wise. Even old-school and traditional. You might think it entirely lacks the rigour of what it takes to become great. But if my woman and I are stubborn and closed to change—if we think we’re beyond humbling or humiliation—this ‘walk the path of life’ mindset can have us stuck or liable to fall into some arrogant blind-spots. By thinking we’re too awakened and that life is, in the end, simple, we might collapse back into irresponsibility, and by-pass the little destructive things we do along the way that erode our mutual love and trust. Deep ease is earned, I believe. It’s because we first gathered the resources within and around us that we can continue in a more effortless way.
To touch back in with the previous entry, in this kind of relationship, we both take total responsibility over ourselves. Psychologically, it’s fifty-fifty: I won’t take on the heavy lifting of someone else’s growing up. And yet, like a gardener tends to his plants, I take responsibility over the long arc of the relationship. I may never control pestilence or drought, but I can tend to the conditions that create a happy garden, pulling out weeds before they grow too big. You see your qualities as a gardener by observing your woman’s flourishing over time.
And it touches me right to my core to think that a woman might feel this way about me.
It should make a man happy, to tend to his garden. It takes continual attention, but it’s hobby-like, and engaging. If you’re like me, your best relaxing moments take place in the garden. Watching sunset. Reading a book. Lighting up the barbie with friends. Jumping in the pool (if you have one).
Now, there are a number of men ‘taking responsibility’ for their women out there today. But without the nuance and insight to walk an evolutionary path, they tend to go a bit alt-right. A bit old-school and rigid around gender roles. When I look at the neo-traditionalist conversation taking place online, I see a new domestication of women (home-making yoga goddess, anyone?), and a moralising rigidification among men. Maybe you sense what I mean.
But without a paradigm, without a tradition, without structures and forms, men simply don’t know how to assert wise leadership. As I said at the beginning, if you were born outside of traditional values, you will never have seen the two-thousand years of ‘best practice’ that had so many marriages stay together. Some among us rage against the tedium of traditional relationships, but if you erase all your tradition, you’ll have no building blocks for stability.
One thing I believe we all need today are places of belonging (including places specifically for men), where we can discuss all these things, pool resources and mutual support, and create new paradigms of leadership on the fly… paradigms powerful enough, and nuanced enough, for these times.
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Take a moment to pause, and consider:
— What are you getting from this journal post today?
— What is your music when it comes to leading women?
— What is your vision for your next relationship? To which dimensions, exactly, will you take her?
— What is your fuel, your propulsion, for leading a woman?
— What are your needs, desires, preferences… your deal-breakers, your standards… your absolute craved-for North Star?
If you’ve read me this far, why not sit with a journal for twenty minutes each day, over the course of the next week, and write your answers to the questions above.
Awareness is everything.
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Self-Love & Dark Humour
Let’s be honest with ourselves here (and laugh together as we say this):
If you do your very best right now to learn all you can about relationship, you will still screw up your next one…
… but not to the extent that those screw-ups are unworkable in the course of intimacy itself.
Learning a perfect relationship game is impossible. A wiser move is to surround yourself with great resources, so that when you enter rough water, help is always close by.
On the other hand, if you do what you can now to prepare deeply for your next relationship, you will surpass your old selves in so many beautiful ways. Even in those first few weeks, the sense of self-forgiveness is immense. I kicked myself for making so many ‘mistakes’, especially in the first year of my relationship. And yet, every week I had a moment of sitting back and thinking ‘wow—I’ve never been to these great heights before’.
That spirit of wonder is self-affirming. So much of my healing came from this.
You will never have perfect relationship game. And neither will any woman (no matter what she might try to claim!)
Maybe love is like white-water rafting. You don’t wait for the current to stop so that it’s easy to stick your canoe in. You ready yourself in a moment, insert the tip, and just go!
As long as you get the basics, you will always course-correct.
Evolving in relationship is all about leading, being there, transparency, loving… in a way that’s a categorical improvement on what you’ve done before. You make amends for any mistakes, and you join a conversation—like this one, among men—where we’re all here for each other. The men I work closely with are all walking this way.
In a future part of this series I’ll talk about embodiment, grounding, and working with the saboteur in relationship. Staying clear and in-tune with yourself, while awash in the world of a woman, is the ultimate relationship tool we all need.
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Would you like my guidance to ready yourself for your next meaningful, intimate encounter?
Together with my partner Adelya, we’re offering a limited number of 2:1 mentoring programmes so you can have the embodiment—and the philosophy—you need, to lead a feminine woman in an ‘evolutionary’ romance.
Imagine coming into our home, and having our total support… which will echo throughout the rest of your love-life.
Contact me here to find out about this particular mentoring opportunity.
Or, if you’d like private 1:1 guidance with me, click the image below.