4 rules of finding love and keeping it by Erin

Ali here to start! I have a hilarious and lovely article on love for Valentine’s Day by Erin! Also thanks to her gracious husband. Enjoy, because this lady is as smart as she is delightful xo ali (on Vali-tine’s Day!)


I feel I must start off by saying that I am not a doctor. I am just a human being with experience in heartache, euphoria and the real deal (true love). I did get my husband’s permission to publish this on the interwebs (because I do disclose many of his habits here.) or as he said (with a cute smile) after making a few edits, “I grudgingly approve.” He also said, “You’ve only been married for under 2 years.” He sure knows how to discredit a person high on her pedestal of all-knowance! So, I’m not a pro, I’m just like you, human. These rules came to mind in the middle of the night when a friend of mine was dealing with some heartache and I wanted to help, even if it was to just make her smile and laugh for a moment or two.

4 Rules of Finding Love and Keeping It

I hate rules when it comes to love. I don’t think the human heart follows rules…it simply can’t. It just feels what it feels, no explanation. As my friend’s daughter said to her, “The heart wants what the heart wants, mommy.” So true.

You can list the wants and want-nots of a future partner, like so:

  • No slobs
  • No bald dudes
  • Must be no younger than 27 and no older than 33
  • Must have a big fancy job
  • Big boobs only
  • Nice ass
  • No white dudes
  • Blondes only
  • Rich
  • Must be at least 5’9”
  • etc.
  • etc.
  • etc.

But rules like this can eliminate the best guys/gals. It’s like the couple looking for a house with no carports but garages only. They could have let go of their dream house only because it had a carport and no garage! What they didn’t know is that the sellers included a credit toward turning the carport into a garage! If the buyers didn’t spend the time and get this information they might have never found their dream home! (This is a true story from the bloggers at young house love dot com.) So…maybe that is rule number one:

RULE 1: No Rules (ha!)

There is this romcom with Simon Baker and Sanaa Lathan called “Something New”. It’s about a white guy and a black gal who fall in love. She had all of these rules and he didn’t fit into the mold of her “ideal” partner. But she loosened up and threw out those “rules” and fell in love with this atypical guy who she never in a million years thought she would fall for. I know, it’s just a silly movie, but it is SO TRUE!

Ask yourself what is more important, a partner that has no hair on her/his back who is mean to you or a partner with a hairy back who loves you, respects you, listens to you, understands you, makes you laugh?

I’ll take the hairy back every time, hands down.

RULE 2: Fuck It

Fuck it, as in, “eh, don’t worry about it” or “stop trying so hard to make something happen”, not as in, “be slutty”. I know it’s been said a gazillion times about how when you stop looking for love it will magically appear on your doorstep. It’s kinda true. Instead of actively searchingsearchingsearching for “the love of your life” (I dislike that term too. I’m all about impermanence. I’m not saying I plan on getting a divorce; I actually hope I get to be married to my fella ‘til the day I die but things change. I’m not saying that I will give up easily if things ever go awry; I’ll fight for my love with all my heart, but if it can’t be worked out it won’t be the end of the world (it may FEEL like it tho, for awhile).

I believe that you can find love in more than one person. If I die before my love does I hope he finds another love (if that is indeed what he wants.) I guess if you add an “s” to love then the statement would ring truer: “the loves of your life”.)

Anyhoo, what was I saying? Oh yeah, instead of searchingsearchingsearching…STOP.

Find something else to do that’s more productive. Do something you enjoy or learn something you want to know more about. Learn how to knit. Take a dance class. Hang out with your pals. Backpack around Asia or Europe or the United States!

Go to circus school.

Get a certificate in massage therapy. Take a creative writing class. Go snowboarding. Grow a garden. Run a 10K. Learn to meditate. Have a monthly game night with your friends. Go to a movie by yourself. Start writing in a journal. Learn how to cook or swing dance or rock climb. You get my point.

Seek out what you enjoy, what you love to do. New experiences and challenges help you to grow. You’ll become wiser. You’ll even learn more about yourself. Perhaps you’ll learn that you’re uncoordinated, or that you have a knack for languages, or that you have a way with words, or that you’re afraid of heights. It’s exciting to learn more about yourself. The more you know and accept about yourself the better the foundation you will have to help conquer the world. (O.K. that’s overly dramatic, but you get my drift: solid foundation=good stuff.)

Plus, you never know what might happen while you’re NOT searchingsearchingsearching and instead learning about yourself/building a strong foundation. You just never know. You may wake up one morning with big ol’ love sittin’ right on your doorstep.

RULE 3: “Fart Proudly”

Ben Franklin said that.

The first time I went over to my now-husband’s house when we were dating, he let one rip. I don’t remember what I did. You know, I probably said, “Did you just fart?” and he probably said, “Yep.” Now that’s some clear cut communication if I ever heard any.

Anyway, what I do remember is thinking, “Huh. This dude farts proudly. He doesn’t give a hoot (or a poot) what I think about him for farting proudly.” His proud farting wasn’t gross, he didn’t fart and then laugh like Beavis or Butthead. He just farted…human nature. No big whoop. It was oddly…comforting. It was at that point that I knew I could be myself around him.

You shouldn’t have to hide any part of yourself from your love. They should accept you for who you are. This rule is also about confidence in yourself. You gotta have some kind of confidence to fart (or insert other possibly taboo or embarrassing topic here) and not worry about being judged. (When I first moved in with my huz I actually would not poop in the same building as him for 2 months or so, but he just kept farting and I eventually let it go. It’s a fact, everybody poops.)

By the way, confidence is HOT. Hotter than a hot fudge sundae drizzled all over James Franco’s (or insert other hot celebrity crush) deltoids (or insert other hot body part).

Yeah, so, I like shoulder muscles…and that says a lot about my relationship with my huz ‘cause he doesn’t have NBA shoulders and I still love him and I still think he’s hot. If someone loves you they will accept you for who you are.

Of course nothing is perfect, or this black and white, that’s why listening, understanding and verbalization are important. That brings us to rule 4.

RULE 4: L.U.V.

Aw, luv!!!

Listening, Understanding, Verbalization.

It really should go Verbalization, Listening then Understanding but that acronym is V.L.U. which either sounds like a university or an illness and it’s just not as cutesy as L.U.V.!

This is a three in one rule but these 3 really do go together.

Vee…Verbalization:

Sheesh. So important.

Talk about your feelings and thoughts in a constructive way. Don’t be mean. Use “I” statements like, “I feel hurt when you tell me my ass looks big.” Rather than, “You are mean when you tell me that my ass looks big.” Don’t just tell someone they are mean, but instead explain to them how you are feeling when they are being mean (although you don’t need to necessarily say that they are being mean, it is already implied when you tell them that you are hurt or upset, etc.) No name calling.

I called a boyfriend an asshole once to his face. Yeah, he was being an asshole but it didn’t help the situation because a) He didn’t know WHY he was being an asshole (boys(and sometimes girls) need things explained to them) and b) I was name calling!

We shouldn’t call our loves names.

(Unless they are names like honey-pie, pookie-burrito, gorgeous pants, or monkey-butt…those are all active terms of endearment in my household.)

“I” statements are very important and a constructive way to talk to people in potentially heated conversations.

It’s also good to clean the slate. I don’t know about you but for me if something is bothering me and I don’t express it it will stew and morph into this heavy knot in my gut. Relationships have ended because of this knot. It’s like getting kicked in the tummy by a horse. Sometimes I can get this feeling in an instant. Sometimes it takes time to build up. No matter what, when I feel it, I wipe the slate clean a.k.a. untie the knot a.k.a. tell my honey-pie about what’s bothering me.

I am a knot-free lady and happier for it!

Elle…Listening:

This is what you do when the other is talking to you and expressing their feelings. This, of course, is also important. No one likes talking to a brick wall. Make eye contact, nod every now and then. If you disagree with what your love is saying then maybe say, “May I interject?”

Sometimes the discussion might be heated and you might not find a place to get a word in edgewise. Just listen and breathe. You can also say something like, “So what you’re saying is that you were hurt when I told you that your ass looked big and that you would appreciate it if I either said you look perfect and beautiful in those pants or say nothing at all…am I hearing you correctly?” It’s good to repeat back what the other person said to make sure you’ve understood them.

It’s also good to apologize if you’ve hurt your love. It’s not about winning points it’s about tending to hearts. Be kind to your love, be…understanding.

Ewe…Understanding:

This is extremely important. Someone wrote in one of our wedding cards something like,

“May you be understanding of each other.”

Sounds like a boring and typical statement right? Well, I thought that was very good advice. My huz and I are very different in many ways but I know him pretty well and I try to put myself in his size 13s every now and then.

He is a pack-rat (a little annoying) and kind of a control freak (annoying). So keeping our house clutter free is practically impossible because it requires him to be there to help make decisions on whether we can get rid of things or even move something from one part of their house to the other part of the house. Many times I move things but I never get rid of things without asking him first. Moving things isn’t permanent and can be easily moved back plus he usually agrees with my decisions on the placement of things.

I would be pissed if he got rid of my red sparkly yarn or my ceramic cat without asking first.

So fair is fair. Once you get rid of something it’s gone forever. Not worth fighting over; have some respect for your love and ask first. I understand that he has a pack-rat problem. All I can do is use my verbal skills and say,

“Monkey-butt, if you acquire one more bicycle I might have to leave you.”

(Starting a sentence with a term of endearment is really helpful, it softens the situation a little. Although I don’t recommend using ultimatums, unless they are humorous and both parties know that it is a joke.)

I’m not afraid to tell him how I feel about things. I am pretty bossy. I told him that if he buys a shirt he has to get rid of two, so he has to REALLY like the shirt in order to get it cuz that means two out the door! Or if I see that he has two of the same book on crop circles I will say,

“Gorgeous-pants, you have two copies of ‘Crop Circles: The Bones of God,’ is that just in case an alien swoops down after a hard days work in the crops and needs to see if he got his pattern right and can borrow your extra copy?”

(Never overuse sarcasm because it can become a cancer but sometimes it can lighten the situation.)

I must confess, my husband doesn’t own two or even one copy of “Crop Circles: The Bones of God” but I used it only as a funny example.

He does, however, own two copies of…

  • “Tapestries in Sand”,
  • “Zbigniew Herbert, Selected Poems”,
  • “Roadside Picnic”,
  • “Power of Now”,
  • duplicates of several J.G. Ballard paperbacks as well as
  • duplicates (and one triplicate) of some Bruce Sterling paperbacks.

Anyhow, he knows that I am annoyed when I see that he has 2 copies of a book (WHY!?) My hope is that revealing my knowledge of him owning two copies of a book will make him realize that he might have a problem and hopefully the second copy will go into our next donation bag. OR maybe – you never know – he doesn’t even realize he has two copies. (That is likely. He has almost bought his own shirt back at the thrift store before. D’oh!)

It’s like planting a seed in his brain; just let it root and eventually a little leaf will spring up and he’ll think it was his idea to get rid of some shirts and books and bikes and hummingbird feeders and cheese graters.

I’m tricky like that.

So here they are:
4 Rules of Finding Love and Keeping It

RULE 1: No Rules

RULE 2: Fuck It

RULE 3: “Fart Proudly”

RULE 4: L.U.V.

Of course everyone and every relationship combination is unique and everyone has different experiences. These are just some things that I have learned since my very first heartbreak at the tender age of 3. (His name was Max and he was probably in his early 20s. He fed me fresh cucumbers and he would spin me around. I would wait at the top of the steps for him almost everyday until the day he came home holding some other girl’s hand (she was more age appropriate for Max too). I didn’t talk to him after that…and then he moved. My mom said he moved to San Francisco and I said, “Where is that?” and my mom said that it was the place with all the boats. When we went to San Francisco one weekend we visited Pier 39 where all the boats are docked and I remember standing up on the fence scanning the boats to see if I could spot Max. I never found him or saw him again.)

Imagine how many more broken hearts I’ve had after Max. A LOT. And each time I learned more about myself. So, look up! Toss out your list of rules, fuck it and go exploring, fart proudly and you will find luv and keep it!

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6 thoughts on “4 rules of finding love and keeping it by Erin

  1. I LOVE this post. And not because I read it on Valentine’s day when I was filled with love-induced glee. I love this post because it’s ALL SO TRUE. Erin is hysterical! Four stars!

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