I love love. I love the idea of love. I love being around friends who are in love, and I have always been fascinated with friends who are in long-term, happy relationships. However, I have never (yet!) had a truly successful, loving, and honest long-term relationship with any man except for my 4-year-old son and my grandfather. To be completely honest, my longest relationships outside my family and friends are with yoga and vegetables, and even they have their ups and downs.
Suffice it to say, one of my deepest desires is to find true love. The kind of love where you are partners, friends, lovers who laugh together and know each other’s most intimate secrets, and you grow old(er) together. But, honestly, I haven’t REALLY done much about it. What I have done in lieu of dating is to make up a lot of excuses as to why I don’t date. You name it: there are no good men in Florida; the apps all have jerks; I don’t have enough help; I don’t have enough time; no one is interested in a woman with a 4 year old; and the excuses go on and on.
So, flashback, I had been in Florida for about 8 years, divorced for 4, and I wasn’t dating at all. Sounds a little fishy for someone so in love with love, right? What was the real reason I couldn’t find one date to go on? According to my friends, there are people with far less personality than me that find love every day…
So, I decided to start investigating.
I got with my coach and she told me I was being an asshole. OK, fine…that’s just what I heard. What she really said was that, given my results (uh, none), I must either:
1) Not really want to be in love and am not admitting it or
2) I am gay and I should have a sexual awakening and/or
3) I am most definitely being a hard core brat.
She also told me that I had a deep (and dark!) theory about men, one that I was not admitting to myself: I don’t trust men. I hated her for saying that because I like to believe that I really like and trust men. She said, “You wouldn’t have chosen the men you’ve chosen if you liked and trusted men. Your picker is always aligned with your theory and your theory is that men are assholes and not to be trusted.”
Allow me repeat that. Might as well, as my head couldn’t stop repeating it: “Your picker is always aligned with your theory that men are assholes and not to be trusted.”
She was right.
Unless I came up with a new theory, I was going to keep hating men, finding ways to not trust them, keep proving my theory, and picking assholes. I had to ask myself what my truth REALLY was.
At HG, we have a principle for nearly everything. I decided to try a few of them out in order to get to the truth. I started with what we call a purge. It’s like throwing up all of your deepest, darkest thoughts on paper. I wrote for about 45 minutes on the topic of love and men. Turns out, no surprise (at least not to my coach!), I had some dark shit on it.
I honestly didn’t even realize how much stuff I’d stuffed away.
As it turns out, I didn’t trust love at all and I definitely didn’t trust the man I divorced or the ones I had been dating (or rather, actively avoiding dating). My picker was out to prove my theory that men couldn’t be trusted because those were the men that I kept picking. I was getting away with hating men and not trusting them. If I hate men and don’t trust them, I certainly, wisely, don’t have to be in a profound relationship with any of them, be vulnerable, or ever risk getting hurt.
I was rendering my theories bulletproof.
It was so much easier to be a chicken and skim the surface of love, not tell anyone my truth, and look like I was trying really hard. By dating assholes and untrustworthy men, I didn’t have to say or do anything differently, because it was all their fault, not mine. Only it wasn’t true. There I was…lying, making excuses and pretending that I was giving it my all. The story I was telling myself was that all my friends met their partners by sacred chance, and I had done it ALL. I had been on all the dating apps and, hell, I have even been a spokesmodel for one of the dating websites! I had decided that all of these things worked for other people, but not for me.
And if I believed that men were untrustworthy and assholes AND I was not the “lucky” sort of person that finds love, then I could blame luck and timing and never see my own fingerprints on MY love life’s crime scene.
Obviously (and quickly!), I had to come up with a new theory and plan to find love and start telling the truth about what I was and wasn’t doing about it. I also had to start telling the truth to the men I was dating by saying exactly what I was looking for. THAT was the especially terrifying part for me, but the piece of the puzzle that literally shut up all of my old bad theories.
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My new theory: Men are amazing and I love them.
I made a promise to go on the apps 30 minutes a day, have fun, write at least 3 nice men nice messages, and go on at least 2 dates per month. I had to be engaging and honest. I had to follow my rules for at least 4 months and put in a self-imposed consequence (being single, lonely, and righteous about my old theories no longer qualified as a good consequence). My new consequence was to take a friend to dinner and tell them why, which was good because it also forced me to go out.
The irony wasn’t lost on me: in order for me to TRUE-ly find love, I had to get honest about it. I could no longer fear it or be angry with it (or men! I needed to love them too). Otherwise, I am just wasting my time, my coaches time, and lots of blow-outs, fabulous outfits, and very good makeup. Simply thinking about love without taking actions to back it was just that: wishful thinking. It works for a little while, but without the right actions in place, it falls apart. Using The Handel Method of promises and consequences, I created a whole new momentum to make my dreams come true.
I’m still in the process of finding love, but I am a whole lot closer and far more honest about my adventure.