I am a judgmental man with strong opinions and very few solutions; the human equivalent of a check engine light: quick to alarm, short on details, and of no real use in a crisis. It’s not that I don’t want to help, but my broad sense of superiority is undercut by my narrow range of expertise. This has no effect on my confidence, or willingness to give advice on any subject, but the end result often borders on negligence. There are three categorical exceptions: Lifting stuff, Night Hammocking, and Adult Romance.

What qualifies me to give romantic advice? Nothing, and everything. I’ve been happily married for a decade, but I mostly lucked into that. When was single I did okay, but I suspect that was passable looks propping up unsound game theory. On the surface my romantic expertise seems another empty boast, until you consider my profession; I am a personal trainer. Ninety percent of my job is identifying correctable patterns and repairing flawed decision making; that is the whole of human behaviour and I have been cheating the world by not sharing my findings in a public fashion. That changes today.

Sam The Turtle’s Complete Guide To Romance

Sort yourself out first


If you go fishing with an unstrung line, in a boat with a hole in it, it doesn’t matter if the fish are biting, you are unlikely to catch any and drowning is a distinct possibility. Now you might argue “ What if I bail furiously the whole time and jab at the fish with my rod? If I find the right spot on the lake it might work”. It might, but you also might want to consider that an empty line is the least of your deficiencies.

Luring someone into your shitty, self defeating, life will not undo years of poor decision making, it will just shit up theirs. And then they will leave, because why wouldn’t they? To you, this will become emotional proof that people are shit and the world doesn’t want you to be happy. On some level you are correct. The world does not care about your happiness, because you are not the worlds problem. The world is your problem. Your happiness only really matters to you, and you are the only person with agency in your life . You can spend all of your energy qualifying the unique bullshit of your situation, but you are not going to convince the universe to issue a rebate. Take responsibility and move forward.

So do only happy people deserve love? Nope. No one deserves love; it is not an award for good behaviour, it is a circumstance between two people. It is not a fair thing. Almost nothing is. The only guarantee in life is that you get to try. So try. Or don’t. Lost of broken, desperate, people have active sex lives. You don’t need to be a whole person to date, but when you don’t handle the problems in your life you become the problem in someone else’s.

Can’t I just find my soulmate?


Look, it is hard enough to find a mind and body that you can vibe with, without having to consider the romantic preferences of an inexhaustible spark. If your soul actually has a mate, it has had/will have infinite time to find it. The material half of the dualistic problem has maybe fifty years to get something cooking, eighty if you’re nasty. Prioritize your time accordingly.

Or perhaps you are speaking less metaphysically and just mean love at first sight.

Love at first sight is the equivalent of flipping open a book, reading a random paragraph, and then leaping up onto a table and to declare  “This is a perfect book written expressly for me. I shall read no other”. You might be right, and as long as you snap that book shut, you will never have to justify the parts that didn’t move you, or discover that you misread the parts that did. But now you are trapped on a table, arguing the merits of a book that you are too afraid to read, in a room full of people that just want you to stop shouting. Get off the table, start at the beginning, and if the book still seems interesting, buy it. Investing in the idea of a thing denies you the opportunity to experience of the reality of it.

But what if I am dating someone good and my soulmate appears”


I don’t know, what if I’m riding a talking horse through the meadow and a Unicorn trots up and asks me to go on a quest? I could apologize to the talking horse for wasting it’s time, accept that it will not like me, and then leap astride the slightly more magical being. Or, I could decide that I have formed too meaningful a bond with the talking horse to trade it in for a chance at a glorious death on a crazed and frothing unicorn. What I don’t do is invent an unlikely scenario to justify my paralyzing inability to commit, as nobody wants to be ridden by a coward.

To be continued in : Part 2,  Who do I date and where do  I find them