Tuesday, December 8, 2009

New LifeLube Column: Dating and Mating with Alan Irgang!!!

Ask Alan about love, romance, and relationships (and anything) else here!
*All private information is kept confidential

This is my inaugural column for LifeLube. As I sit here staring at a blank screen wondering what I can say to you, reader, about the vast subject of love, romance, and relationships, I am feeling a bit overwhelmed. There is so much to tell you. As a psychotherapist for 15 years, I have devoted much of my practice to the mystery of love. How to find it, sustain it, give it, receive it, savor it, lose it, and on and on. I have learned a lot over the years from my clients, countless books, articles, seminars, and from my own personal struggles with it. Yet I always return to the question, "Why is love so difficult?" The resounding response that repeatedly occurs to me is simply, "LIFE is difficult. And LIFE is LOVE. Therefore, LOVE is difficult." (Ah yes of course, the Transitive Property of Mathematics!)

OK, so let's start with the premise that LOVE is difficult. Now where do we go? It's deplorable that in our culture, our education curriculum includes so little to prepare us for Life's most important experience. Yet we sit through endless class periods of subjects that might be cool to learn about, but offer no real guidance about the things that really matter. "Oh that, dear students, you'll have to learn on your own. We don't teach that here." As an adult, I complained about this, quite vocally out loud for a long time until I decided to do something about it. So years ago, I created a coaching class of sorts for gay men about navigating the challenges of dating, romance, and love. It was wildly successful and well received. Knowing I was on the right track, I began offering it to people of all genders and sexual orientations. Over time, I came to realize that regardless of the diversity inherent among all of us, we are all looking for the same thing: To love and be loved. Together, through the sharing of experience, and learning new ways of thinking about and creating love and romance, we can unlock the mystery of the greatest challenge and most rewarding gift of our lifetimes.

So, I offer this forum to you, the seeker of Love. This is your place to ask a question, seek advice, or simply to see if you're on the right track. Know that you are not alone and that your curiosities will be shared by countless others who can relate and identify. Here we can create that class that we should have been offered in school and learn from each other. I eagerly look forward to hearing from you...

Alan Irgang, LCSW is a psychotherapist and “dating coach” in private practice in Chicago. He is also on the faculty of the Loyola University School of Social Work where he teaches graduate level courses in Human Sexuality. Alan has been in private practice since 1998 and has been facilitating groups for singles about dating and relationships for six years. Check out his website www.alanirgang.com for more information about his practice and his upcoming seminars for singles. Questions may be submitted to Alan at lifelube@gmail.com; all private information will be kept confidential.

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