Getting Ready for a Loving Relationship
Spring 2017, Church on the Hill Annex, Lenox
For: women of all ages, single, divorced or widowed, who are longing to create a deeply loving and compassionate relationship and want support to move forward towards that goal.
The cost for the series is $215 if paid in full by April 17th, $235 after. Please email or call Ani to register.
READ ANI’S BLOG ABOUT THIS WORKSHOP
Getting Ready for a Loving Relationship
by Ani Nadler Grosser, Co-Director, Center for Compassionate Relationships
I recently heard a conversation between Terry Gross, host of NPR’s Fresh Air, with author Rebecca Traister, whose new book All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of the Independent Nation has become a best-seller.
Traster provides statistics about the tectonic shift in relationships in the last 50 years. For the first time in history, single women outnumber married women. According to Traister today only 20% of Americans are wed by age 29, compared to nearly 60% in 1960.
One of Traster’s statements really stood out for me. Single women repeatedly told her “I have not met someone who will improve on the life I already have.” In the 1960s when I was in my 20’s, my M.O. was to want men to want me; now women ask “Do I want him?” This is a dramatic shift for both women and men. It is a positive and empowered shift. When women are conscious of what they want in a relationship, they are much more likely to choose wisely and to do their part to make it succeed. That is also “cleaner” for men, who want to be accepted and loved for who they are, not only for what they’re being expected to provide.
It was a very different world in May, 1966 when I was about to receive my MSW from Boston University and was excited to be getting married a month later. I remember when a male student in my graduating class suggested that getting my MRS was probably more important to me than getting my MSW. I was deeply offended. I told him that I was determined to create a meaningful career and a relationship. Although my “starter marriage,” ended in divorce 10 years and two small children later, I enjoyed parenting as I also pursued my career.
After the divorce, in my 30s I did a lot of personal and spiritual work. Finally, at age 39, I felt I was an independent, self-accepting, self-aware and more conscious woman. That’s when I met my soulmate, Bill. We have been together now for over 35 years and enjoy a relationship which sparkles and delights both of us. Our relationship is magical because we have learned to create and nurture the magic. I know from my own experience that having my own life and a respectful, loving and romantic relationship are all possible. Bill and I believe so strongly in loving relationships that we now mentor other couples at our Center for Compassionate Relationships.
Because of my own successful experience, it makes me sad when terrific and loving women give up on creating romantic partnership. Many tell me “all the good ones are taken, so why bother.” Or they go back to old beliefs that there must be something wrong with them, “I’m too _____ fat, old, strong, independent” (fill in the blank) which contributes to resigning themselves to eternal singledom.
While it is true women no longer need men to complete them, provide for them financially, or protect them from danger, in softer moments, many confide that that they would like a relationship. It’s not that they can’t handle life on their own or even because they are lonely. Many single women have wonderfully rewarding relationships with friends, family, adult children, nieces and nephews. It’s because they yearn for romance, to be cherished, to share life and to grow old together.
In the annual Spring workshop I‘ve been leading over the last 5 years for single women who want to focus on their love life, I have been encouraged. I see that the structure and support of the workshop empowers women to take seriously their desire for a relationship and to begin to prioritize this need. The workshop fans the flame of desire for relationship and encourages participants to courageously face the pain of past disappointments and still go forward. Many women have started to date, several are in committed long-term relationships. One married her soulmate.
I’ve learned that the hardest step is the first one, acknowledging that “voice within” that says “being in a committed and loving relationship IS important to me, even if that’s never been part of my life experience.” When we acknowledge a desire, we inevitably have to feel its lack and what comes up are all of our past failed attempts, along with the heartbreak, pain and grief we have gone through when relationships have not worked out. Having a loving relationship sounds good, but it always asks us to heal old pain, and believe we are worthy of being deeply loved.
The purpose of the weekend workshop is to energize your desire for a romantic relationship, to acknowledge any ambivalence, to identify internal obstacles to self-love, receptivity, and dating, and to create an action plan to move forward. I even offer a session on internet dating.
Friday Night at the Movies
Location: 715 East Street, Lenox
Cost: $15 per person per evening
Fall 2016: Dates to be announced.
Open to individuals and couples
Each evening features a 10-15 minute clip from a film which highlights relationship issues, such as presence, dealing with differences, conflict, reactivity, passion, expressing needs, expectations and disappointments.
After viewing the movie clip, we reflect on the issues raised, how they might apply in our own relationships and learn tools to handle the issues more skillfully.
There is limited seating, so please pre-register:
Email us or call 413-637-2868
Women’s Healing and Empowerment Therapy Group
For the past 15 years Ani has been facilitating women’s groups. These groups offer each member support to find her own voice and to live more fully and courageously. Women of all ages and at all stages of life can benefit, especially at times of life transitions. Group size is limited to 8 members. These are on-going groups. After an initial trial period, participants are asked to make a minimum of a 6 month commitment to the group. All groups meet at the East Street, Lenox location.
Current Group meets once every two weeks:
Thursdays, 9:30-11:30 am
Cost for per 2 hour session is $40.