Monday, April 12, 2010

She's Doing All the Right Things But Still Not Meeting Anybody

Hi Terry,

You always seem to lift my spirits when facing the ups and downs of the dating world, so here it goes.

I've spent a lot of time visualizing, learning about deliberate intent, and have even gotten into creating a vision board to help my dreams and desires manifest. While it has been a fun and enlightening adventure, nothing seems to be advancing in the right direction. The guys I'm meeting are far from pursuant, let alone resemble any of my written list of what I really desire in a husband. I know the pursuit shouldn't be one-sided, and when a truly worthwhile guy comes along, it will be perfectly evident.

I just find myself losing hope that there really is someone for me. My question of "when" is starting to become "if." Of course, a mom who relentlessly pushes for grandchildren and a son-in-law isn't helping, I guess. Would love to hear your advice.....thanks Terry


P.S. Is it weird that along with all this I'm also having a recurring dream (or maybe nightmare!) that my ex-husband wants to get back together...I divorced him due to his being abusive. I'd say this could be a subconscious signal trying to get through to me, no?

Hi, K.-

Visualizing, writing lists, etc. are very effective methods, but only if you're doing them in a relaxed manner. I suspect you're working way too hard.

Two things jump out at me from your letter: Your mother wants you to get married and have children. You've already been married, and to a man who abused you.

So, you can push all you want (via visualization, etc.), but if you're ambivalent about getting married (and, seriously after your experience, what woman in her right mind wouldn't be?), you're probably not going to get married.

I'm no psychiatrist, but clearly you've been burned. It really, really, really doesn't help when your mother (or aunt or best friend) pushes you to get married because she wants something out of the deal, in this case a son-in-law and grandchildren.

With all due respect, it's a mistake to make one's happiness contingent on another person's actions, and that's what your mother is doing here. Make me happy: Get married. Give me grandchildren. You owe me.

But since we're responsible for our own happiness (and, no, this is not selfish; you make the world a better place when you're happy. You light up the air when you're happy. You attract better friends, jobs, men, etc.), let's concentrate on you:

What if I told you right now, "Listen, K., a husband and children just aren't in the cards for you," could you be happy?

Would you make the decision right here and now to live a joyful life despite the change in plans? And if you were to make that decision, how would you feed it? In other words, what things would you do to ensure your happiness every day of your life?

-Would you travel?
-Take up a hobby or language you've been putting off, which would surely lead to other opportunities?
-Would you take up a cause and become an active volunteer or advocate for it?

I encourage you to write another list. This one would include everything you hope to achieve,do, and enjoy during your time on earth.

And then start doing them, one by one. Let this be your life.

At the same time acknowledge the fact that you (rightly) harbor fears about men and relationships. It might help to look at those fears head on. Ask yourself if you have to attract men like your ex-husband. Is it possible that a man exists with much better qualities? Is it possible he could love you, and you, in turn, him? Look for examples of people in happy relationships (because the media are full of examples of people in unhappy relationships).

In a very gentle manner, feel yourself in such a relationship. What does it feel like to be loved, for example? Don't push here. Allow yourself to feel loved, despite evidence to the contrary. What does it feel like when a man you love slides up from behind you and puts his arms around your waist?

Carry that feeling around with you.

Please take the pressure off yourself about achieving someone else's goal. There are absolutely no guarantees in life for any of us. You could push yourself into another bad marriage, only to end up having a sick child and a husband who's not up to the challenge of caring for him or her. This stuff happens.

Here's the bottom line: Enjoy your life. I never met anyone worth dating until I made a decision to stop dating until I met someone worth dating. I went on trips by myself. I went to the movies by myself.

I had some really, really good times by myself. I learned that what Abraham Lincoln once said is exactly right:

"Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be."

Be happy. And carry the feeling of being loved around with you.

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