It’s almost time for New Years Eve, and for those of us who find ourselves single again after the end of a marriage or long-term relationship, the way we feel about this particular night can be a billboard-sized reflection of how we currently feel about the life we are living. For some, it’s a time to reflect upon the ups and downs of 2009, ultimately filled, nonetheless, with hope and excitement about the possibilities a new year brings. For others, it can lead to sadness, victim thinking, and the onset of a pity party extraordinaire. Take a few moments today to pinpoint the types of thoughts you are having this week. Are you sending out Pity Party invites, or celebrating YOU and the fantastic opportunities to be created in 2010? Today’s guest blog is written by Dignity Dater, Tambre Leighn. Tambre, widowed in her mid-thirties, has had many reasons to wallow in self-pity, yet she made 2009 her year to deep dive into the Dating With Dignity 10-Step Process to Manifest Love. The results are phenomenal, and as a witness of all she has created this year, I’m sure you will be inspired by her journey. Here’s to creating a life you love….Tambre style. Enjoy…
When I walked down the aisle wearing my fairy princess dress and married the love of my life, dating was not something I imagined would be part of my future…then again; neither was being widowed in my mid-thirties.
In my twenties, I dated to meet someone with whom I could build a life. Someone to share dreams with and to partner with when life’s challenges came along. I had a pretty steep laundry list of what I wanted in a husband. At the same time, I loved my career in the film business and wasn’t in any particular hurry. So I waited patiently (sometimes) for Mr. Right….and he was worth it.
During those dating years, I recall asking a friend who had no intentions of marrying what the point of dating was if not to find a life partner. “It is a way you get to know you better,” was his response. I filed it under interesting point of view – not applicable. My focus was getting to know the other person to see if we were a good fit.
Six months after my husband passed, I forced myself to get back out there. I felt I thrived more within a committed relationship and I loved being married. If I wanted this again, clearly I was going to have to date. I spent the first several years dating as if I was in my twenties again with the agenda of meeting someone with whom I could build new dreams. It took courage and, at times, a very good sense of humor to jump back in. I’d often console myself that each guy who wasn’t a fit brought me one closer to someone who would be a great match.
Eventually, I saw a pattern. I’d be flying high for the first few weeks after meeting someone feeling like I could finally be happy again…if only…if only it worked out – then I’d come crashing down when He stopped calling or revealed something about Him that turned Prince Charming into a frog. I saw how my happiness was dependent on the hopes of a new relationship. In reality, it was simply an attempt to fill the gigantic hole left in my life when I lost my husband. Not only was it a huge weight to put on someone else, it showed me that the life I was leading was not enough.
After being widowed, I often wondered when I would get my life back. It was a wondering that usually happened after one of my man crashes, after hope collided with the reality that, once again, this guy was not The One. Then, one day last fall as I drove along the freeway with the sun streaming in, I realized – this IS my life. I was starting to love parts of it again and I saw other parts that needed changing.
I went on a Dating With Dignity “Dating Fast,” put the focus on me and considered the following.
1. I took an inventory of my current life. I looked at my dreams and goals outside of being in a relationship. I realized that when I am doing something meaningful in my life; something about which I am passionate, I bring much more to the table in a partnership. How can you take steps to realize your ow personal goals, whether it is traveling more, learning a new language or advancing your career?
2. I identified activities I enjoy that also have a social aspect to them….things that helped me answer the question, “…so, what do you do for fun?” Then I made the time to participate. It added balance to my life, and put me in an arena with like-minded people. For me, taking up salsa dancing changed my life.
3. As I moved through the Dating With Dignity 10-Step process, I identified my relationship goals. I took a close look at WHY I wanted to date or be in a relationship. Trying to fill an empty space was not the right reason for me. Be honest with yourself. If you need to do some personal work to get clarity, and become complete about past issues, then take it on knowing it is part of your path to being ready to date again.
Going through these steps allowed me to consciously create a life I loved. After doing an inventory, I took up salsa dancing, something that had been on my list, which connected me to a vibrant, active group of new friends. I chose to return to school to train as a life coach so I might use my experience with loss to help others through challenging transitions. Most importantly, I was able to shift my why about dating from needing to find someone to fill a hole.
Dating the second time around is a very different experience, especially now that I am able to come at it from a grounded, aware place. I am clear that, for the moment, I enjoy my freedom and not being accountable to anyone. I want time to simply be happy living this new life I’ve created. My focus is on building my new coaching business, studying dance again and writing.
These days, I date to have fun…for now. And, as my wise friend tried to explain years ago, I date to get to know myself better. Having options takes the pressure off and it seems like being a woman who is okay with open dating is like a breath of fresh air for men. Most of them are pleasantly surprised when I make it clear I’m not willing to get into anything monogamous for at least three months – that I prefer casual dating and they won’t be The Only One.
I have much less of a tendency to hurry things when dating openly. Different dating experiences give me a chance to see what is and isn’t a fit for me in my new life. I need time to get familiar with what kind of man will fit this new evolution of Tambre. I need time to really anchor my new life and to have fun. And I trust that with each new self-awareness I gain, I move closer to being ready to once again share my life with someone.
Tambre Leighn, M.A., C.Ht, is a former professional athlete and award-winning filmmaker with more than 20 years experience in the film business. She has diligently pursued studies in the healing arts with a focus on the mind/body connection including hypnotherapy, Reiki and spiritual psychotherapy. Tambre recently launched her coaching business (coachingbytambre.com). As a dedicated life long learner, Tambre has amassed a wealth of training and experience that benefits her coaching clients. Her goal is to help others create lives filled with passion and lived on purpose.