Introducing “The Butterfly Method” to Survive the Storms in Your Relationship

how to have a successful relationshipPeople will judge you for trying hard.

I did it just the other day. I was standing in line at Walmart. The line was moving slow, and I couldn’t help but notice something.

Walmart had invested in 30 cash registers, yet only two of them were open.

I snickered at how stupid Walmart is. Then I remembered something.

I’m standing in line because they accomplished something difficult. They managed to give me the best price in town. And still make a profit.

Maybe they’re not so stupid.

Maybe having only two cash registers open helps them keep prices down.

They try hard. I have to admire that.

But a lot of “cool people” snicker at those of us who try hard. Giving up and being pessimistic is cool to these people.

Sorry, but that’s not my definition of cool.

Cool is trying hard even if you might fall on your face. Cool is trying again even after you’ve failed several times before.

Cool is the boyfriend who still holds doors open, tells his girlfriend she’s beautiful, and offers to carry things for her while showing respect. Those are real men. They try hard.

Don’t be afraid to try hard. You’ll attract the kind qualities you build up in yourself.

If you want a man who will try hard, someone who will overcome obstacles in the relationship so he can keep loving you, then look for this one quality: Rejection of cynicism.

Someone who’s not afraid to openly talk about what he wants. Someone who’s not too cool to try. Not too cool to admit some things are worth caring about.

But should you always try hard?

They say life is a balance between holding on and letting go.

Caught in a windstorm, a butterfly may have to release its grip on the branch it was clinging to. Or else its wings could be torn off by the intensity of the wind.

The butterfly must go with the flow. Allow the wind to take control. Stop resisting.

But that’s not the same thing as giving up. When the wind dies down, the butterfly can resume its journey.

I was amazed when I first learned that monarchs migrate thousands of miles each year to gather at a specific location in Mexico. They seem too delicate for that long journey.

But somehow, they manage. Apparently, they try hard. One day life might blow them off course. The next day they’re moving toward their goal again.

Trying hard says something about you. It says you value something. Something is meaningful enough to be worth your effort.

how to have a successful relationshipYou’re not too cool to embrace something good… even if it’s hard to achieve it. Even if you fall on your face a few times.

Even if you sometimes have to let go and let the wind blow you off course for a while.

Relationships are among those things I value. I think it’s worth trying hard to have a brilliant relationship.

If you read my blog, you probably agree. And in my mind, that makes you special. So I encourage you to look for a man who shares that special quality.

Find meaning. Embrace life. Try hard.

Always on your side,

James Bauer

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51 thoughts on “Introducing “The Butterfly Method” to Survive the Storms in Your Relationship

  1. Deb said:

    Hi James , I have met this wonderful man. What I didn’t know was that he has had 2 bad marriages and did not want to get serious. But his profile stated otherwise. After around 4 months we had a discussion about not wanting to get married.( This was ok with me I am not looking fot marriage. But I do want to be in a lovng relationship.) He told me he really liked me. But he said that he pushes people away and gets cold when he gets to close. Right after that I felt him pushing me away. He eventually broke it off. He still texts me once in awhile. What do you think about?

    • James Bauer said:

      Hi Deb. That’s a painful story, and I understand why you wouldn’t want to just give up on a relatioship that had so many things going right.

      Yet I find myself wondering if you would really want to pursue a man who has a pattern like this in relationships. You could try to “fix him,” but in my experience that rarely goes well (unless he is the one asking you to help him change).

      I have heard of people offering that as an invitation though, “Do you like this pattern? Is it something you’re comfortable with? Or would you rather than I fight for this relationship and see what’s possible if we work together to overcome your pattern of running when things feel serious?”

      • IRENE LIPPITT said:

        I would find someone else without so much baggage… I know how you feel, been there – done that. But I knew when to shove him over the cliff and find another… Amen.

  2. Leah said:

    I’ve been married almost 32 years. I have been happy, with a couple of falls. Nothing serious. We have both been faithful and trusting. A month ago, my husband and I were handling a lot of stress… in our jobs, our families and our health. We had a very big blow up! Words were nasty and I punched a wall… literally. I have been feeling my husband pulling away for a couple of years. He has hormone imbalances -low T, low thyroid. Both are being treated but yet his desire and affection have gone. He started sleeping a lot more… and moved slowly out of our bedroom. Saying I was too restless and he was not sleeping well. I understood. As time moved on, I was becoming more and more anxious and lonely sleeping by myself every night. I started pushing for answers… and pushing more… until he BLEW!! He screamed at me- I love you- but I have no feelings in my heart of desire or affection for you any more!!! I nearly died. He was finally telling me the truth, It was heartbreaking. That night I did not sleep at all and he locked his door. Saying he was afraid I would come in and hurt him!! I gave him a couple of days to cool off and he did not- I asked one more time- Is there any hope for us? His answer was NO!! So I asked him to leave. I cannot be with someone who does not want me. He was so angry and asked if we could just live separate lives under one roof??? I said NO!!! I cannot take that rejection and he left. Here I am, reading all your messages of hope but I am running out of hope. I am having anxiety and panic attacks. I’m not sleeping or eating. I have had thoughts of ending it right now and splitting our things, YET… That is NOT what I really want. I love this man. He is a good man, a good dad and a grandpa. I don’t think he realizes what he is giving up yet… I’m fighting and trying all your suggestions. He is just beginning to speak with me now. He still says he needs more time… SO, how long should I keep trying?? I can’t wait too long as I will need to make some house repairs and sell our home. I can’t afford to live here alone and I do not want to… I cannot maintain the property -especially in the winter. I just wonder how long to wait…
    TY, LEAH

    • James Bauer said:

      Hi Leah. I’m saddened by the pain this relationship has put you through lately. You two have shared a lot of life together, and I understand why you would not want to give that up… even with the severe turbulence you have recently faced.

      It strikes me that you may be looking at this situation in a binary way, meaning you have only allowed yourself to consider two options. Either or.

      Chip and Dan Heath describe this common problem in their book, “Smart Choices.” They say the most important thing you can do when trying to make a tough decision is to broaden your options to avoid either/or thinking.

      So here’s my challenge to you in this dark time. Generate a list of 10 ways you could buy more time. How could you prevent the house situation from forcing you into a premature decision about a 32-year relationship?

      • Leah said:

        Thank you for your fast reply, I really appreciate your time and suggestions. I will read the book and make the list right away, I know I want my relationship to work. I am reading your relationship rewrite now, Thank you very much!

      • James Bauer said:

        Sorry, I got the title of the book confused with another author’s book on decisions. The one I meant to point you toward is called “Decisive.”

  3. Vanessa said:

    Hi James.
    As always I value your advice. I’m so glad I took the opportunity to work with you. I’m improving my relationships and improving my life. Thanks with all my heart!

    • James Bauer said:

      That’s awesome, Vanessa! Way to go, and thank you for your encouraging words.


  4. Michele said:

    Hi James,

    I appreciate your perspective. I’m definitely someone who is willing to try harder for something worthwhile. There is a guy that I’ve been interested in for the past 4 months or so, and he is aware of my interest and seems to reciprocate. After a few weeks of flirting I gave him my phone number. He didn’t call, and when I saw him next he said he was glad I gave him my number, but that he didn’t feel that he was in a place in his life where he could start something. He mentioned work goals as a hindrance. So now I continue to see him and we have flirtations, and I have even used some of your suggestions relating to the hero instinct in the hopes of moving him closer to wanting to be in a relationship. Specifically I asked him to walk me to my car at the end of my work shift (there was a recent burglary just down the street), and I complimented his ability to organize a group of people and make a situation run more smoothly. He seemed to respond well to these things, but still things have not progressed. I guess I am struggling because our flirtation has been going on for months, and I have a hard time with the waiting and not seeming to make any real progress. Do you have any recommendations for how to get him closer to taking the plunge into a relationship?

    • Tracey said:

      Hi Michele,

      Your post reminds me of Module 5: Why Men Say, “I’m just not ready” of His Secret Obsession. The lesson in that section is pretty profound.
      Maybe re-read that section of HSO and see if you can gain some insight.

      I also think you might benefit from this report by our dating and relationship expert Amy Waterman. It’s called Help Him Ask You Out.

      Tracey T.

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