I was in a tumultuous marriage for 13 years. My first husband and I met when I was 16 (10th grade) and he was 19 (out of high school). Our differences and personal immaturity caused us to be unhappy for much of our marriage. The revelation for me came when I finally decided that he was ‘just fine’ as he was but not ‘fine enough’ for me. So, I asked for a divorce.
Over the next five years, I started my own business and dated married (or otherwise unavailable) men so that I didn’t have to deal with my ‘real feelings.’ Then I created a list of what I truly wanted in a relationship.
For my next five years of dating, I kept refining that list. Over the next seven years I was in three long-term relationships. In each one, I would eventually realize I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life with this man and would end it.
“I used the Internet for dating. This was very beneficial because it required me to create a profile with information about who I am and what I want from a relationship. My relationship metaphor became – whoever ‘central casting’ sent to me was a reflection of what I was asking for. With that in mind, I paid attention to the traits I liked in each man and emphasized these even more in my thoughts and my profile. When I saw traits I didn’t like, I would look inside to see how I was ‘asking’ for that trait and then work on healing that part of me. The top things on my list were high integrity, accept me for who I am, kind, even temperament, and a man who loves his family.
My final step was to attend a seminar where I received two fabulous pieces of information:
- When you are so immediately attracted to a man that your ‘panty hose roll up and down’ (my words), RUN in the other direction. Alternatively, give the man you feel comfortable with a chance. Because typically, when women are hugely attracted to a man, they feel obligated to not be their ‘authentic’ self.
- Men fall in love with women who are being their authentic selves. When women are altering themselves and trying too hard, men typically don’t fall in love with them. But, when a women is with a man who she feels relaxed with (usually women acquaint this with only being friends) the man will have the opportunity to fall in love with her.
Six months after this class, in October, I received an e-mail through an Internet dating site from Tony, the man who would eventually become my husband. I thought he was nice looking but not sure he was my type. We e-mailed a few times and then met for lunch. From the moment I sat down, I felt incredibly comfortable with him. After lunch, I called my girlfriend (our normal ritual after a new date) to tell her I felt comfortable but not attracted. However, because of what I had learned, I was definitely going out with him again.
I have learned, and accept, that I am a ‘one-step-at-a-time’ person. I need to feel comfortable with each step before I take it. In August I fell in love with him and on our one-year anniversary he asked me to marry him, and I effortlessly said yes. We were married last June.
It has been a fabulous 26-year adventure of being single and learning so much about myself – it has included everything from an archeological dig to learn about the past, a present day of tending my ‘internal garden,’ and a space adventure of moving into the future.
I now have an amazing partner traveling with me on my journey. One of our big challenges has been merging two very full households into one – honoring each other’s important treasures and supporting each other as we let go of physical things we no longer need in our life together. I’m very proud of how we are handing this challenge together.
Today, I also feel fortunate to have a vehicle for sharing my relationship experience with others. Two years ago I started my business as a Dating and Relationship coach, The Perfect Catch. I’m honored to be a guide for fellow travelers as they seek the love they desire and deserve. Being in this role affirms my own life lessons and gives me the opportunity to continue to improve my relationship with myself and others.
Thanks to Christine for sharing her story, Tony will be sharing his story in a few hours on site, so be sure to visit back here to HappilyBlended.com.