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What it means and looks like. What I knew and what I did.

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Host: Dr. Lindsey Doe
http://www.youtube.com/sexplanations

Directing/Filming/Editing: Nicholas Jenkins
http://www.youtube.com/thelonelydirector

Titles: Michael Aranda
http://www.youtube.com/michaelaranda

Executive Producer: Hank Green
http://www.youtube.com/hankschannel
Following last week's Sexplanations on Lee's six love styles, one of you wrote: "My love style is predominantly Mania. I knew this would happen. How do I make it stop?" You're two-thirds of the way done, one-third to go.

(Intro)

My answer is not a prescription. This is my response of my knowledge and my experience. Your story will be unique.

I too was predominantly manic. Take all these statements:

[1. When things aren't right with my love and me, my stomach gets upset.
2. When my love affairs break up, I get so depressed that I have even thought of suicide.
3. Sometimes I get so excited about being in love that I can't sleep.
4. When my lover doesn't pay attention to me, I feel sick all over.
5. When I'm in love, I have trouble concentrating on anything else.
6. I cannot relax if I suspect that my lover is with someone else.
7. If my lover ignores me for a while, I sometimes do stupid things to get his/her attention back.]

True, true, true, true, true, true, and true.

Step 1: Awareness, knowing that this is where you are. I remember learning about Mania, and the excitement, relief, and then torment that ensued. I remember thinking, "This is my love style, I'm one of six. Okay, I know this now," but then wondering, "Does it have to be this way?" Even if I tested Mania and fit the description, did this have to be my life?

I reviewed other love styles and theories; Sternberg's theory of triangular love was helpful and popular. But I decided that no love style was superior. Couldn't I just love healthier rather than fitting into a love style?

This went into my brain as hope and awareness, but I needed more in order to change. I needed to accept my reality in order to alter my reality.

Step 2: Acceptance. No more denial, shame or thinking that this isn't your reality. There is a problem.

If I denied my patterns and fought the truth, I wouldn't be able to grow from that. It'd be like planting the seed of good intentions in the soil of dishonest imagination.

Alright, so the inventory was that my relationships looked like theme parks, but they didn't have to. I had these amazing better-than-romantic-comedy highs, but despairing, traumatizing lows. It looked like kicking men out of my house and then chasing after them.

I saw other people loving differently, I saw reciprocity, and peace, and independence, but I didn't know this love. The thought of a weekend apart was like puncturing my lung. Long distance relationships: unfathomable. I would rather deflate your tires so you couldn't leave me.

I remember this image, staring at it like someone looking through a telescope at a planet. There are 3 parts: honeymoon, tension building and then an episode of violence, and I was looking at it, finally being able to see what had been there all along.

It was like someone had just gone and mapped out my relationships, so my eyes shifted down the spiral and then AHHHHHHHHH!!!!

As time passes the honeymoon gets smaller and the violent episode gets larger. I didn't want this for me, I didn't want any kind of violence, nothing emotional, psychological or physical. I didn't want the violence.

It's important to note that not all Mania relationships are violent, though 3 out of the 6 combinations are difficult and 2 are dangerous, so they're high odds.

As unhappy Lindsey, I continued to love. It was as good as it was bad, and I didn't have solutions. But I wanted them. This is where I imagine you are, dear Sexplanateer.

So I began. I started with accepting that indeed I needed change and help, and I told others. I told my partners, I told my parents, I told my friends and others struggling from Mania. I wanted to tell people that I was struggling from violence as a way of accepting my reality. I wanted to know that this was my baseline that I could grow from.

I sought out people who wouldn't tell me what to do, but instead would share their experiences of love, manic or not. I believed I could change, because I knew the stories of people who had. They also taught me how to act differently.

Step 3: Action. Act loving, not afraid. Act trusting, not controlling. Self care. An easy way to do this is to make a list of the actions that look loving and then to get feed back from others.

When my partner seemed aloof, I'd take a bath or call a friend. When I wanted to make a big mess so that there was a honeymoon to clean it up, I would journal instead. I acted like other styles, storge, pragma, eros, and I acted with courtesy and humor. I acted my way into better loving, with support, one day at a time.