I had a strange dream a few nights ago. It might seem odd for you to read about a dream of mine, but I’m sharing it because something happened in that dream that I hear from my clients happens in real life, even though it’s never happened to me.
I was hanging out with this woman, who seemed nice. (I wasn’t involved with Ruth in this dream.) I knew she was interested in me, but I wasn’t all that sure about her. So we hung out for a whole day, and toward the end of the day, we went to a party. At the party she was really flirtatious with me, which felt good, even though I wasn’t sure about her. Toward the end of the evening, I was sitting down, and she came up to me, kissed me, started making out with me, then took my hands, and put them between her legs.
And what happened in my mind was the fascinating part. In my mind I thought “Oh, I guess now I’m in a relationship,” and felt a sense of both interest and resignation. I still wasn’t sure I really wanted a relationship with her, but she’d initiated a kind of sexual intimacy, and somehow, in my dream head, this meant we were in a relationship. Then I woke up, thankfully!
Now, this was a dream, of course. But I have heard this sort of story from women I’ve worked with. Has it happened to you? I’ve talked to women have gotten into relationships because the other initiated sex, then, of course, being sexual for lesbians often means instant relationship. Women have gotten in relationships when they weren’t sure, or even when they didn’t want to, for fear of hurting the other person, or for other reasons.
And, of course, if this had been real life, and I hadn’t spent much time with her, or had the time to assess whether we had compatible relationship visions, or whether she had the skills to navigate conflict, and build intimacy, this relationship likely would have been a complete disaster, pretty much from the get-go.
That’s why we talk about slowing things down, way down. First, to make sure you have important conversations about communication and relationship vision. And also, to make sure you can know, not just by her talk, but by her actions, that she has the skills to navigate conflict and build intimacy.
We have a great tool for assessment, which we call “CATCH.” The question is, is she a CATCH? (And are you?) A CATCH is someone who:
Has Compassion for herself and others.
Is Aware of her feelings when she feels them (or soon after).
Can Tolerate her feelings without shutting down, blowing up, or self-medicating.
Can Communicate honestly, without blame, criticism or defensiveness.
Is Happy to learn and grow.
These are the keys to real compatibility, and healthy relationships. And these are learnable skills, if one is Happy to learn and grow.
We talk a lot about CATCH in our 12-Week Roadmap to Conscious Dating and Lasting Love. And I also do a lot of coaching on CATCH, so if you need more support, it’s here for you.