The truth is this, the man (or woman) who you dream of — the one who makes your heart pitter patter, the guy who is still interested weeks later, even though you haven’t had sex, the one who calls the next day, instead of vanishing after telling you he hasn’t had this much fun in years — this guy, will not randomly end up talking to YOU at Starbucks today. Unless, that is, you have done some serious work to prepare yourself for his (or her) arrival.
That said, I hear women and men consistently tell me they are, “ready for a relationship.” In fact, I said it myself for three years. I told myself, friends, and family that I was really enjoying myself, having fun dating, but if the “right” guy showed up, I would totally be “open to a relationship.”
Heard that somewhere before?
The truth is, I wasn’t ready. Not even close. Here were the signs:
1. I kept meeting the “wrong” guys. Let’s see, they were nice, good-looking but not wanting to make a commitment. They were super hot, but too young, too focused on their career or super not interested in dating a divorcee with three kids. Or, they were really nice but I wasn’t attracted to them for a myriad of reasons. I went speed dating. Online dating. I had a blind date with Chuckie, who my friend’s friend said was “successful and amazing.” What she didn’t tell me was that Chuckie would reveal somewhere between the appetizers and entree that he “felt sorry” for the stripper he had been recently dating so he gave her $10,000, to help her “get back on her feet.” Needless to say, Chuckie was not a match. I met the 43 year old hot guy (At Starbucks, actually) who had a foot fetish, which only became clear to me when on our 2nd date he wanted to see my closet. It wasn’t until I broke it off with the the nice teacher guy I dated for three months who happened to conveniently live 400 miles away that I realized I was just not ready. Then, the question became why.
2. I was really enjoying my independence, something I had never experienced before, and it had become very, very safe. I had been married at 22 years old, a wife for 17 years, and had never before lived independently. And now, I truly enjoyed being in control of my life, my children, my travel plans, the remote control, my weekends and my bedroom. I enjoyed deciding when I would exercise. When I would see friends. And when I would hit an evening yoga class, eat cereal, and watch 10 episodes in a row of “How I Met Your Mother.” I remembered hearing a friend of mine tell someone she was spending her weekend sans kids traveling to her boyfriend’s parents home on the East Coast to attend a Bar Mitzvah. I thought, “Holy cow. This is the last thing I would ever want to do with my weekend. ick. bleck. ugh.” I was not ready.
3. I began to wonder if I enjoyed my freedom, or was just terrified of losing it. Because I had never before had an interdependent relationship, I began to fear that it wasn’t that I enjoyed my independence, but that I was mostly afraid of losing it. I didn’t know if I could mesh “my” life with the life of another person. I didn’t know if I could still feel strong, secure and love myself if there were a man in my life to shlep the suitcases up the stairs or pump my gas. I wanted a relationship, or so I thought, but at what cost to me? Clearly, I wasn’t ready.
And then, suddenly, I became ready.
When my mother died it hit me. Suddenly, I knew the truth. She had been married to my father for 45 years. I knew then that although hooking up with hot guys had been fun, and quite frankly developmentally appropriate for a divorcee who married at 22, and that it had been quite empowering to take my three daughters camping in the wilderness solo, this was the ultimate truth; I didn’t want to leave this planet without experiencing these things:
- true, unconditional love
- becoming truly empowered by my vulnerability, and
- what it would be like to participate in an interdependent partnership.
“Yikes,” I thought. “This is a tall order.” Then I remembered the vision I had created for my life. A vision I had been working on diligently since December, 2006 when I did the Hoffman Process. I remembered how hard I had worked to become authentic, real and independent. And I knew, that the relationship I had with built myself was now secure. Safe. I knew that it was now my time to become ready.
What I learned that becoming ready to be in a relationship was a process. Hard work. It was a time when I had to dig deep, ask for help. Get support. And become educated. I beefed up my investment in coaching and therapy. Attended workshops. Did my homework. And then, months and months later, when I had cleared my plate, the Dating Fast in full force, I knew I had truly become ready.
It was three weeks later that I met Jem, The Brit.
So then, are you ready? Are you willing to go to any lengths–to do the work necessary to become prepared for your Starbucks moment? Come find out next Tuesday, November 17, at a workshop I’m hosting, “5 Ways to Totally TRANSFORM Your Love Life for 2010.” Your vision — your relationship –is waiting. To register go to: