Shoeless in San Diego – Editorial
Roadblocks on the way to love
THIS AFTERNOON, JUST AS I WAS ABOUT TO TAKE MY children to the park, a reporter from a British tabloid knocked on the door of my home in southern California. Notebook in hand and pen poised, he said that he had just interviewed three women who had made several allegations about my behavior, the most serious of which seemed to be that I wasn’t sufficiently “romantic.” One of these women was a former girlfriend with whom I simply was not compatible, and the other two had vigorously proposed themselves as partners for my personal love experiment, but I had politely turned them down. I told the reporter that he might want to think twice about the credibility of his sources. I also told him this:
His presence on my doorstep showed how easily good intentions can go awry. In my June editorial, “Editor as Guinea Pig: Putting Love to a Real Test,” I suggested a simple, sane approach to mating and said that I was going to try it out: With help from counselors, I’d work with someone I barely knew to master essential relationship skills and create lasting love. I was seeking personal happiness and hoped to help others along the way. Since then, women have turned up seeking publicity or money, but very few seem to have a sincere interest in either me or my concept. And, it seems, a few women with grudges are determined to prevent me from trying my experiment at all–unless, of course, it’s with them.
His visit, I told him, also highlighted another problem. When I made my proposal, I naively assumed that if anyone paid attention, it would be to the concept, not to me. But my privacy has now all but disappeared, and it isn’t certain that I or my family can cope, or that a would-be partner would want to. Others are now trying the Love Contract. Will I be able to, as well, or will this shoemaker go shoeless?
Robert Epstein is editor in chief of Psychology Today, university research professor at the California School of Professional Psychology at Alliant International University and director emeritus of the Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies. He earned his Ph, D. in psychology at Harvard University.
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