Monday, December 24, 2007
Friday, December 14, 2007
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Monday, December 3, 2007
One question I had to answer when I began being open to relationships again was, "Do I even like men?" Now, I wasn't questioning my sexuality, I knew that I am basically heterosexual in nature. What I was questioning was my belief that decent men existed. How many times have you heard someone say, "There aren't any good men left" or "All the good ones are married", or even "I hate men!" These statements are usually made by women who have been hurt in the past, and feel they are open to relationships, but in reality are not ready yet.
So, how does one learn to like men again when they have been hurt before? In my healing process, there were several practices I used. First, I spent time with men who were safe, and not available for me to date. One of the best people I hung out with during this time was my brother. I certainly was never going to date him, but he was a great person to go places with, play and watch sports with, and enjoy his male energy without the fear of being hurt. He is a wonderful guy, (and by the way single), and he showed me that no matter how much I said "Men are dirt!", that I was definitely not 100% correct.
The next thing I did was join a twelve step group. This group usually had more male participants than women. This was during the time where I was learning to love myself, and I was committed to staying single. What happened was, that as I listened to the honest and heartfelt sharing from the men in the group, I realized that men can hurt, love, care, feel, and grow, just as the women in the group did.
I was also on a co-ed softball team during this time. This was a good place to see men in all their testosterone's glory, and witness men who were able to accept me as part of the team, and witness a few men who did not. I made friends with some of these men, who are still good friends of mine today.
From all of these experiences, I learned that men are not so different than women (Oh, I know they are very different in some ways, but here I am talking about basic human nature, not male-female stuff). Men may express their feelings differently than women, but they do have them. Men also get hurt, struggle to find the right women, and become fearful of opening up to the opposite sex.
I also learned that men can tell if you like men or not. Really nice guys will not usually ask a man hater out. Men could tell that I was not open to them, and consequently I didn't get attention from the type of men I would have wanted to date. Once I got to the place where I no longer feared, disliked, or looked down on men, there were men who were ready and willing to get to know me.
If you have man issues, and you are not able to see men as inherently okay then try these steps:
- Find men to hang out with who are safe, these might be family members, people you work with, part of an organization you are a part of, anyone who you can enjoy without any sexual tension.
- Join a support group, there is Codependents Anonymous, Al-Anon, or try a local therapy group that is focusing on communication, relationships, etc. It is good to be able to witness men who are willing to express their feelings.
- Practice being open to men as decent human beings. When you find yourself thinking negative thoughts about men, ask yourself "Is this really true?" Come up with instances where you have met men who are kind, generous, and loving. If you can't find any in your personal life, consider movies you have seen, books you have read, public figures you know that are kind and loving.
- If you get really stuck on this issue, work with a coach, a counselor, or someone else who can help you get to the limiting beliefs that are keep you from being open to men.
I hope that this has helped you feel better about men in general. If anyone who reads my blog has other ideas and comments, I would love to hear them.
Monday, November 26, 2007
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
What happens if you have invested a lot of time in a relationship you have the discussion, and your partner absolutely does not want the same things you do? This is a difficult question. Usually by the time this happens you have built a strong foundation of love for this person, and it is difficult to believe they do not feel the same way you do, or want the same things in life.
Before getting to this place, I asked you to be really clear on what you want before having the discussion, and to be confident that you will be okay whatever the outcome. But doing that in reality is much harder than in the planning stage. So let's look at a specific scenario, and work on possible ways forward. Suppose you want a committed relationship that is exclusive and leading towards marriage and children. You have the discussion with your partner and he wants to continue dating, and is open to being exclusive for now, but wants to see what the future brings before making a big commitment. You feel really let down by this, but came to the discussion prepared for any options. After more discussion, it becomes clear that this is as far as he will go. Here are some suggestions for working with this, without going straight into "he doesn't love me, or he doesn't want to commit to me" mode.
- Give yourself some time to think about and absorb this turn of events. I would suggest taking as long as you need to do this. You can let your partner know that you need some time without making it seem like punishment, by being open and honest about your needs.
- Make sure to take inventory of the relationship and notice all the good things, and no matter what the outcome, what you have learned from this partnership.
- Talk with friends, an advisor, a coach, others that you trust to listen to your issues and give good feedback if you ask for it.
- Decide whether you are able to continue on in the relationship without a commitment for now. Then the next step will logically come from that decision.
- If you feel you want to go ahead and see where things go, then let your partner know that you want to continue in the relationship, and that you will let them know if you get to a point where that no longer works for you.
- If you feel that you cannot continue without a commitment, then you can discuss that with your partner, and let the relationship go if necessary.
- Whatever you do, continue to practice the good self care and loving yourself first that you have learned along the way.
If you stay connected to who you are and that your life is good with or without a partner it is much easier to be okay with any outcome. Continue to be kind and loving to yourself, and to your partner in any circumstance, and the best outcome can occur.
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
One of the hardest things to do is stay grounded when you have finally achieved your goals. You have spent some time enjoying your relationship, seeing where your path has led you, and are in a relationship that is on track with your essential self.
At this point, there is sometimes a let down, as we have spent all our time planning for this moment, and now that it is here we aren't sure where to go next. This can also happen when the answers we got in our discussion weren't what we were hoping for. You may still be committed to seeing where the relationship goes for the time being, but you are back to the great "not knowing". I actually hate the great "not knowing". This is where you are sure you want to keep moving on, but the future is an absolute mystery. Learning to stay in the now, and enjoy what is happening this moment is difficult for most and particularly for people like me!
One thing that can help is to allow a certain amount of each day for dreaming and future tripping. For me, this is during my morning walk with my dog. I allow myself to build my own castles in the air, and I work hard on visualizing myself living the life I want. To make this a more concrete action, you can allow yourself to dream, and then write down all the details of your ideal future. Include all types of description, including smells, sounds, sights, textures, so that you will have a rich detail of what that future looks like. Better yet, create a collage or picture board of what you want to bring into your life.
Once you have spent you dreaming and scheming time for the day, whether it is fifteen minutes or an hour, then put it away. Come back to where you are right now, and try to be completely present in your relationship, your career, and all other parts of your life. Be sure you don't miss what is happening right now. As John Lennon said, "Life is what happens, while you are making other plans." So although planning can help you attract what you want into your life, make sure you live your life too.
Monday, October 29, 2007
Okay, so now you have had the discussion, and guess what, he feels the same as you do, or at least he is on his way to feeling as you do. What now? First of all, take some time to enjoy where you are. When you started this whole adventure you were not sure how to love yourself, let alone love someone else. Now, you have gone through a huge transformation. Let's look again at the steps along the way.
- You worked on yourself to figure out why you chose the kind of partners that you had in the past.
- You really began to look at who you were, and spent some time loving yourself completely.
- You made lists of what you wanted in a mate, and you sorted that list into what was really important for you to be in a relationship with someone.
- You made yourself as authentic, open, and available as possible.
- You let your friends, relatives, and co-workers know that you were single and looking for dating opportunities.
- You got out there, and tried dating, and didn't write off the types of men you had in the past, and you had some fun while you were at it.
- When you met someone you were interested in, you made sure that they had many of the qualities you were looking for, and if they had a lot of qualities you didn't want, you let them go.
- You stayed authentic to who you are throughout all of this, and you allowed some mystery in your romantic life.
- You gave it time to let the relationship unfold, rather than forcing it into your time schedule or agenda.
- You decided when the time was right to move forward in the relationship, and you allowed your partner into you heart, and let him know where you wanted to go.
- You prepared yourself for the outcome of this discussion, by being ready to accept his hopes for the relationship, and know that you would be strong no matter what the outcome.
And now you are ready to more forward and begin the relationship of your life. What next? The next step is called "acting as if", and this step is used to attract and build what you want.
First however, I want you to take this next week to reflect back on how far you have come, and enjoy it all. This is your chance!
Monday, October 22, 2007
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Once you are clear on your End Game, it is important to share it with your partner. Again, I am assuming that this is a relationship that has been building for some time, and not brand new. Even if you know before you ever date someone that your long term goal is marriage and children, it is not a good idea to bring this up on the first date!! Or second or even the tenth. Building a relationship takes time and needs to be somewhat free flowing. Otherwise you may find that the relationship becomes derailed by expectations about where it is going.
However, once you have a built a relationship and figured out your End Game, it is good to discuss this with your partner. I know this can feel risky, and is often difficult to bring up. So there is another step before the discussion. This step is being ready for what your partners End Game might be. Sometimes you already have a good idea from talking and getting to know each other what your goals in life are. Still you might want a committed long term relationship and he may want to continue a more open relationship, or maybe just the opposite. One of the things I found helpful was to consider what I would do if my choices for the future were completely different than my partner's. I was clear that when we talked, I wasn't at the point where I wanted to make any sort of ultimatum.
In fact, let's talk for a minute about ultimatums. When I was struggling in a previous relationship a wonderful woman I knew, who had been married for over twenty years told me to never make ultimatums in relationships unless I was absolutely prepared to follow through with the consequences. This was great advice. I told my partner at the time, that I wasn't going to make an ultimatum to him, unless I absolutely was sure I meant it. And considering where the relationship was headed (straight down the toilet!), he knew I was talking about splitting up. He agreed that if and when I came to the decision, he would willingly leave because he knew I meant it. This was a lot better way to do things, then when I would get frustrated and ask him to leave and then give in and take him back later!!
So when I was ready to present my End Game to my partner, I really thought long and hard about what I wanted, and what I would do if his future was compatible with mine, and what I would do if it was not. When I did discuss the future with him, I was clear about what I wanted, and I was also clear that if he wasn't thinking along the same lines, that I would be just fine. I also let him know that I was still wanting to continue our relationship as it was, until such a time as we decided either together or individually that it was no longer working for us. Quiet authority works better than ultimatums anytime!
Next time I will talk about how to script this discussion for those of you who have never done anything like this. It can help to have a clear plan before this big step.
Monday, October 8, 2007
Once you have met someone who you are attracted to, and want to have a long term relationship with, it is good to consider what your End Game is. What I mean by this is what are your hopes and goals for the future. Not everyone wants to end up married, or monogamous for that matter. Look at the relationship of Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell, they have chosen as their End Game to be who they are as individuals and not get married, but to enjoy each other as long as they want.
For me, the End Game I wanted was marriage. I wanted the security, monogamy, and commitment of matrimony. When I started getting to this point in my relationship, I wanted to be clear of what I wanted. My past history had shown me that if I wasn't clear, I might not get anything near what I wanted. (I also want to say that I had been married in the past, but to people who were definitely did not have what I wanted in a relationship, so once I found someone with the right qualities, I knew I would do whatever I could to make it work.)
I had been in a couple of long term (if you consider four or five years long) relationships prior to meeting my husband. In both of these relationships, I had gone into them without considering the End Game. I dated for a period of time, then we moved in together, and then after around four years we split up. One of the things I found was that it was easy for us to split up when we weren't married, and that marriage was hard to commit to when you had every thing but the marriage certificate already.
When I started looking at the End Game this time, I knew that I did not want to live with my partner without the commitment of marriage. I did not want to break up with him, if he wasn't ready for that commitment yet, but we would need to keep our home lives separate, and keep dating, until we either decided to make that commitment, or decided to move on. When we had been dating for a couple of years, and skirted the issue of where the relationship was going a few times, I decided it was time to let my partner know what my hopes for the future were. Now, I know that many women feel that this is up to the man to do, but many men and especially nice guys often need the subject broached for them.
So I asked him is we could talk about our future, and he brought up the need for us to live in the same place. At that point, as difficult as it was I let him know where I stood. I let him know I loved him and wanted to be with him, but did not want to live with him without the commitment of marriage. Thankfully, my partner was happy that I wanted that kind of commitment, and we got engaged about four months later.
So your assignment this week is to consider your End Game. Is marriage what you want, or would you prefer something more free flowing? Do you see yourselves living in the same house or staying in separate residences? Are there children in your future, or are you happier with your Labrador retriever? What does your relationship look like in five years, ten years, twenty years? Begin taking a few minutes a day to visualize the possibilities until you have an idea of where you want to go, and next time we will talk about making it happen.
Sunday, September 30, 2007
Monday, September 24, 2007
I know that if you have waited a long time getting ready to be in a relationship, and especially if that biological clock is ticking, it is hard to go slow. Many of you want to have him hog tied, and on the road to marriage and babies withing a short period of time. I think you'll have a better chance of this happening, if you don't lay all your cards on the table. Remember my earlier post about desperation, this may be a good time to reread it, if you are feeling the urge to push the relationship too fast.
I found that if I wasn't always available, and had plenty of interests and pleasures in my life, that I had a certain mystery about me. My future husband kept coming back time after time, because I let him pursue me for quite a while. As we got to know each other more, I slowly let him into other parts of my life. What I tried to do for myself throughout the first year we dated, was to really enjoy myself and be authentic when we were together, and to not be invested in the outcome. By that I mean not concentrating too hard on whether we would end up together for the long haul.
By doing this, I allowed our relationship to unfold in a way that made me feel safe, to trust him, and to really be open and ready for a long term commitment. By not being fully available to him, whether it was about dating or about sex (which by the way can be really hot, if you keep it mysterious for a while), or about getting too involved in each others families, I allowed myself to have the security I needed. By the time I was ready to tell him I loved him, and move into a much more serious phase of our relationship, we had built up a good friendship, as well as a relationship. This may not have happened, or we might have not even stayed together, if I had jumped in with both feet from the beginning.
So my suggestion this week is to allow yourself a little time and mystery in your relationship.
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
I just read over my last post, and I was wondering if the word boundaries struck a chord with anyone? I know that most of you have worked hard to love yourself first, and in doing that have set some good boundaries along the way. Sometimes when we are faced with a new relationship, it becomes a whole new ball game where boundaries are concerned.
One coaching trick that I find works well for setting boundaries is the Body Compass, designed by Martha Beck, PhD. Our bodies are great predictors of what is right for us. They can also be used as an easy lie detector, but that is another story. To use the Body Compass takes some practice. To get skilled at using it, try to do it often.
- First, picture an event in your past that has been painful for you. Close your eyes and focus on this event. Then check out your body and see what you feel. Is there tightness anywhere. Are you feeling tired, or sore in any part of your body? Do you feel like you can't breathe or can't talk? Notice whatever you are feeling in your body, and what it feels like for you.
- Now picture an event from the past that was very happy for you. Again close your eyes, and remember everything that happened. How is you body feeling now? Does it have more energy, feel lighter, and freer? Notice whatever your body is feeling when you remember this happy event.
- Once you get used to knowing the difference between how your body feels when you are happy and when you are unhappy, you can use the Body Compass in any situation.
- When you are faced with a situation that is uncomfortable, and you are not sure whether you should set a boundary, or what that boundary should be, you can use this exercise. First don't make any quick decisions. Let your partner know that you need time to think about what you need to do.
- When you are alone and have had some time apart, check in with your body about the choices before you. Your body will ALWAYS feel more energetic, and freer when you are making a choice that is right for you.
Our happiest times are usually when we are being our most authentic self. Our unhappiest times are often when we are trying to fit the mold that someone else has designed for us. You can learn to be authentic and to have a relationship that is loving and right for you.
Monday, September 10, 2007
Okay, so let's say you meet someone, and you are interested in seeing where it will go. What now? First of all you need to really be clear on what you want. Is this person someone who is relationship material? Remember that list you made of the qualities you wanted? Take a look at it, and see if they have what you are looking for. If they have some but not all of the qualities, it might be worth dating them a few times to see where it might lead. If they obviously have qualities that you don't want, and few of the qualities you do want, don't continue seeing them. I can hear you going, "What? I spent all this time looking and now I find someone who I'm attracted to, and you say I should let them go?" Yes, I am saying you should let them go, unless you are capable of having a completely fun, expectation free, relationship with them. Because if you give up what you really want in a relationship to pursue someone who is not right for you, you will end up back here reading my first blog again. Save yourself the heartbreak!
If the person you have met has many of the qualities you want in a relationship, then move ahead and date them. Remember in my post about Internet dating when I talked about setting the tone for your date. Well I want you to continue doing that. Let me explain in a few short sentences what I mean by setting the tone.
- Take things at a speed that works for you. If you want to go out for coffee, and he wants to take you away for the weekend, go out for coffee. Someone who really likes you will respect your boundaries in dating. If they don't, they may not be right for you.
- Be open to new possibilities however. Say he wants to take you to the opera, and you would rather go to a Nascar race. Be open to the opera, and suggest a race another time.
- Take intimacy slowly. I know, again you are going to think I am a prude. I happened to come of age in the 70s, and was a part of that whole do your own thing generation, and have never been pegged as a prude in my life. But what I found is that if I respect myself and take intimacy at a pace that works for me, when we do become intimate, it is much more satisfying.
- If a person treats you in anyway that is not acceptable to you, you need to let them know that their behavior is not acceptable. If a person is really interested in you, they will be willing to listen, and they will respect your boundaries. If they do not, then let them go.
Alright that is enough to think about for now. I know that these are hard steps to take, so let me sum it up in a few words. Check in with yourself on a regular basis to see how you are feeling, and let the relationship unfold in a way that feels good to you.
Monday, August 27, 2007
Monday, August 20, 2007
Last post I talked about meeting my husband on the Internet. Considering my earlier statements about the Internet not being a good dating ground I am a little embarrassed. But you have to realize it was an accident!!
To begin with, I originally saw the Internet as being a fun place to meet men. I could have some very interesting and exciting discussions with people, and not have to follow through unless I felt like it. I joined a couple of online dating sites and checked out men in my area. I talked to a few, but they seemed to want to jump too fast into intimate details about me and my life. I was cautious, as I still believe everyone should be about opening up about personal details. When I did meet someone, who lived in my small rural area, we talked for quite a while getting to know each other. I found this very exciting (actually I now realize my inner Cinderella was still fantasizing about happily ever after!), and enjoyed the ability to get to know someone without the physical constraints of actually meeting. It was apparent from the way he wrote back that he was feeling the same way. This went on for several months, and then we decided to meet. We met and frankly our meeting was a big dud. All those expectations we had built up by talking so long fell flat when we actually met in person and had no chemistry whatsoever.
In talking with a good friend who had a much longer history of Internet dating, she told me that she had met over a hundred men and was still looking for mister right. I don't know about you, but I didn't want to go through that torture at all. Five years later, this same woman is getting ready to go to Morocco to meet a man she has been talking with for two years. Then one of the women I worked with met someone on the net, promptly left her husband, and had the guy move in with her on the night that they actually met in person!! I decided after a few more months of lackluster discussions that the Internet wasn't for me. I would wait until I met someone in person and we could judge all areas of chemistry, and I stopped looking on the net.
What happened was that I met a guy in person who I thought was really interesting, and we started the getting to know each other. Then one day I got an email from one of the old match sites, that said someone had written to me. I checked it out and the guy said that he thought we had a lot in common. I looked over the profile, and not only did he live close to me, but he liked to play golf and do outdoorsy things. We began talking by email, and so I had two men that I was interested in at the same time.
As I was getting to know my Internet fellow, I decided to follow certain rules in Internet dating. For any of you who are currently using the Internet or want to start, I would suggest the following:
- Be honest about who you are on your profile, and provide a good picture of how you look on an everyday basis, not one of those mall fashion shoot pictures. People who are attracted to the real you, will be more suited to you.
- Don't give away any personal information, such as full name (I used a pseudonym to start), address, telephone number, or work place, until you are sure that you would want to actually date the other person. I would suggest a first name, and a phone number after you are interested, and are considering meeting. I wouldn't give out your address or work place until after you have met, and feel safe.
- If you are interested, and he is writing regularly, consider meeting. I found that I couldn't really gage chemistry or what a person was truly like without meeting them. If you wait too long it is easy to build up an unrealistic attachment, on your part or his, and you will be disappointed.
- Meet only in a public place for coffee or a light meal such as lunch. Make him come to you, and to a place you are familiar with. Never go to another town, state, country, planet, etc. to meet someone. If they are into you, they will meet you on your turf. Drive your own car and meet them at the restaurant. You set the tone of how you want the date to go. If at any time you feel uncomfortable, excuse yourself and leave. A good trick is to have a friend call you about half way through the meal at a predetermined time, and you can use them to excuse yourself if you have to.
- Again keep the meeting on your terms. Whether or not you shake hands or hug or don't touch at all is up to you. When lunch is over if you had a great time suggest another meeting in a public place. I know some of you are going, "Wow, this woman is such a prude!" Believe me, I'm not. If you learn early in a dating relationship of any kind to set good clear boundaries for yourself, the relationship has a better chance of progressing.
But that is another post down the road. I'll talk to you next time.
Monday, August 13, 2007
Saturday, August 4, 2007
Now this may seem really simple to a lot of you, but at the time it was new territory for me. I began writing down what I thought was important in a relationship. I knew that I wanted someone who was funny, dependable, and who had many of the same basic values that I had. I wrote and edited this list, and ended up with several columns. I found that I had a column for things I hoped for in a partner, that would be great to have, but not an absolute must. I had a column for characteristics that were extremely important and necessary for a long term partnership. The most important column was for the things I was no longer willing to accept in a relationship. I didn't want addiction, unavailability, current court dates, no job, and my favorite, needing fixing in some way.
The second point that Susan Page made that I found valuable was that not every one I dated needed to be a future marriage candidate. She suggested that some men were acceptable as dating material, but not relationship material, and that some who were boyfriend material, were not necessarily marriage material. What a concept!! I could go out on a date with someone for fun, and not worry about whether it was going anywhere. I could have a boyfriend without having it become a long term relationship. I really began to open up to dating as an art form. I let people know, friends, family, etc. that I was available, and I began dating men who I hadn't considered before. And the best part of all of this was that I was so comfortable with myself and my life that I had fun, did not jump into any relationships, and really enjoyed meeting new guys. The other great thing is when you feel good about yourself, and are open to dating, the men just seem to appear. They can tell you are not desperate, or heartbroken, or angry at men in general, and they love women who know what they want.
So the next step is to begin that list. Ask yourself these questions:
- What are the qualities I would want in a long term partnership?
- What are the things I would like to have, but that are not absolutely necessary?
- What are the things that I don't want in a relationship?
- What are the absolute deal breakers, the things I never want to have in a relationship?
And then begin to do a little dreaming everyday about what that relationship and that partner would look like. Keep picturing it, until you have a clear idea of what is important to you, and then start making the dream happen in your life.
Friday, July 27, 2007
I know a lot of you are going, "Oh, my God, what does she think, I can wait for ever to be out there finding the right person". I understand that there is a lot of press given to how difficult it is too find a relationship as we get older, and biological clocks do tick, whether we like it or not.
What I know is that you can do the work now, and be ready in time to find and love a nice guy. Or, you can not do the work, and still be one, two, or ten years older and still making the same mistakes and be alone. When I used to worry about this, I had a good friend who loved to tell the story of her Aunt Irene who went to Hawaii at the age of 80, met a man on the plane, fell in love, and they lived happily with the time they had. Now I am not suggesting that you have to wait till your are 80!!! But the fact is, there is no deadline for love, there is no point where we run out of time to have the life we want, and the universe is out there for those who are willing to find it.
Now let's talk desperation. Have you read the book, "He's Just Not That Into You", by Greg Behrendt. I think Greg is right on about many things. He talks about men being able to sense desperation, and then they run from it like the plague. I can't count the women who I have met, who believe there is a timetable, and they have to be married and have children by a certain point in their lives, or they have failed miserably. Don't get me wrong, it is perfectly okay to want marriage and family. But when our time frame is getting short, and we are desperately trying to find and marry, and mate with a person on our agenda, men do sense it, and they do run like crazy.
Desperation is a turn off. I didn't like it when I met men with similar agendas. I believe if we take the time to get clear on what we want in our lives, build the life we want as a single person first, we can then attract into our lives the kind of people who are right for us. The one thing we can't control is the timetable. To find the relationship that works for you, you have to feel like you are a whole person, who would have a good life, with or with out a partner.
Timing is not everything. Being authentic to you is. Be willing to give yourself the gift of time.
Friday, July 20, 2007
Friday, July 13, 2007
So, what is the first step to finding not only the right person, but having a relationship that lasts?
Well, for me, it was dealing with my "broken picker"! Most of you are wondering if I am talking about harvesting fruit or finding men. I am talking about the men I picked. I think it was in a support group meeting where I first heard the term "broken picker", and someone was telling me that I had one. I thought they were nuts!! I knew that I went into every relationship expecting the best, and thought each one would work out. The person clarified the fact for me, that I was the person who picked, not necessarily in correct order, men who were unavailable, who were not going to commit, who were not always faithful, sometimes had addictions, and rarely had jobs that would support themselves, let alone a family. Subsequently the determination, that my picker was broken.
Now, up until this point in my life, my belief was that the problem lay with the men, and that somehow I had nothing to do with these relationships not working out. What a shock to find that it was about me after all. And why, you ask, did I pick people who were destined to break my heart, leave, or more commonly drive me to leave them? Well, a lot of it was because of a guy, Martha Beck, PhD, the well known life coach, (and my personal Coach Trainer) would call, my Inner Lizard. All of us have a part of our brain that goes back to the days when we were still crawling around in the primordial soup, and today scientists still call it our Reptilian Brain.
This is the part of the brain that tells us when to run if we are in danger, or stand and fight if running isn't an option. It is also the part of our brain that learns to recognize certain people, who we feel a strong emotional response to. This often begins with our parents or other caregivers who raised us. When I've had a strong emotional response to people in the past, I often thought it was charisma or intense attraction, what I didn't realize was that my Inner Lizard was responding to them, and not necessarily in a good way. It took me a lot of work with counseling and coaching to realize, that I was intensely attracted to men, who my Inner Lizard recognized as having some of the traits of my father (eeeuuuu!), and that my brain wanted somehow to heal our relationship through my relationships with men.
Now not everyone out there has a broken picker. And some people have them in varying degrees. What my picker did, was lead me to believe that I was intensely attracted to the wrong men, and that I wasn't that attracted to the right men. I did meet some very wonderful men along the way, but I would usually not stick around. So having a broken picker was a problem, but it didn't stop me from meeting decent people. Once I recognized this fact, I could learn to fix the problem.
So the first assignment along the path of finding and loving a nice guy, is learning to make peace with your Inner Lizard. This is accomplished first through committing to being single, while you work on your relationship issues. Now, don't run, it sounds really difficult, but the first key to having a keeping a relationship with a whole, healthy, human being is being one yourself. So, ask yourself a few questions:
1. Do I have a lot of turmoil in my relationships, whether they are with family, friends, co-workers, or romantic in nature?
2. Am I still working through childhood issues with my parents?
3. Am I often angry, tearful, moody, or depressed?
4. Do I use any substance to the extreme?
5. Am I truly available to be in relationships, or am I still in one that isn't working, grieving one that has recently broken up, in the middle of a divorce or separation, still in love with someone from the past?
If you answered yes to any or all of these questions, the first step is to work with a life coach, a counselor, or other program to deal with these specific issues. Martha Beck says, "you've got to live it, to give it". That means that to be in a relationship with a healthy person, you need to be a healthy person. For myself, I spent a couple of years working on building the life I wanted, and learning to be great alone, before I was ready to love a nice guy.
I would be happy to work with you to do the same. This may take some time, but not as much time as it will take if you do nothing. So start today, with me or someone else, because he is out there waiting, and wondering when he will find a nice girl.