The Common Dating Blunder that (Formerly) Kept Me Single
The Common Dating Blunder that (Formerly) Kept Me Single
By Katherine Wong-Velasco, Laura Doyle Certified Coach
I started dating when I was twelve years old. I thought I was the expert on men! I had twelve relationships before meeting my husband. However, they all had a way of not working out.
I made a wish that I would settle down with a good guy before I turned thirty. But my thirtieth birthday came and went, and nothing happened.
I usually hit it off with a guy quickly then broke up with him just as quickly. We had sex before becoming exclusive. And I always had what I called the “fear attack”: fears of being abandoned, being alone and being unable to love again.
These fears made me a controlling person. Not long after dating a new guy, I started organizing his life by cleaning his house, folding his laundry and stocking up healthy food in his fridge.
Controlling made me so exhausted. Even though I was the one volunteering to do all this, I felt taken advantage of. Very soon the resentment kicked in and overwhelmed me. I brought negative energy into the relationship and made it fall apart. After each breakup, I’d meet a new guy, and the cycle would begin again.
I did not know about the Six Intimacy Skills™ or what it meant to be feminine. I thought the worst thing was that I was a nice person and wanted to honor love and integrity. But the fears stopped me from being my authentic self, and I would do something to destroy every relationship.
The struggle was real.
The fear was real.
The pain was real.
And my fear of being alone forever was very real.
I was no different from any woman. I craved love, a sense of belonging and knowing that I am, in Laura’s words, “desired, cherished and adored.”
Like many women, I got my dating advice from girlfriends and gossip magazines. But what I heard and read were not so practical. When I started losing hope about my ambition to get married, I even went to see fortune tellers in the hopes of finally getting some good dating advice. I was really desperate!
I wanted to try a different approach. After breaking up with a man who had cheated on me for five straight years, I felt very sad. I went to a bookstore after work and headed straight to the self-help section.
The Surrendered Single got my attention! Since I valued efficiency, I skipped straight to the chapter that seemed most practical for my situation: “Accept Dates with Men You Normally Wouldn’t Go Out With.” I could see it was compelling advice, but that idea was a tall order for me!
I had always thought that I had to look for a man with a background similar to mine. He had to be well educated and ambitious. He had to be equally or more successful than me. He had to fit this certain mold, a mold shaped by my fears and my social and cultural upbringing. This mold was another way I was controlling.
I tried to control not only the types of men I’d go out with but what the dating outcomes should be. I expected to be liked by every man who invited me out. I tried hard to please them and show them what I thought a typical woman would be. I couldn’t be my authentic self and worked really hard to become someone I was not so I wouldn’t be single anymore.
It took me a long time to allow myself to accept dates that I never would have accepted before. But going out with men outside my mold wasn’t that bad! I always survived. It was actually fun to meet different types of men and learn about their stories. It was also easy to focus on having a good time with these guys without controlling whether we could get married in the future. One of the biggest benefits was that I didn’t need to clean anyone’s kitchen anymore.
After trying some different strategies like online dating and matchmakers, I attracted the most wonderful man (one I wouldn’t have dated before). He became my husband, and I can finally tell a different love story.
I now practice the Six Intimacy Skills every day. Some Skills are relatively easy for me; some require daily practice. I still make mistakes here and there. I am a mere mortal and sometimes go back to the old controlling pattern.
For example, I unconsciously tried to protect my husband from getting sick by insisting on making vegan food for him, even though he didn’t like it! I also bought him different supplements and put them on his side of the bathroom. Of course he hadn’t asked for the supplements. Later, he explained that I worried about him too much. He couldn’t breathe. He felt his lifestyle was controlled by me.
I took the children with me so he could have some private time. But I became resentful because then I had no private time for myself. Sure enough, I was being controlling because I was afraid again. What if my husband gets over stressed? What will he do to reduce his stress? What if he thinks that I am not the right person to talk to and goes looking for other women?
Interestingly, none of the fears were realistic. At least I haven’t seen them materialize.
What I have seen are amazing results from practicing the Intimacy Skills! Not long after we got married I became pregnant, and shortly after our first child was born, our second was on the way. I was afraid that we would lose our dating lifestyle. But my husband definitely remained a fun lover and caring husband! When I express my desire to have a night out, he takes care of everything, from the booking to arranging babysitting.
He always tells me what he dreams we’ll do together, regardless of how old we are. We’ve already travelled to exotic places and moved around the world for diverse life experiences. While relocation can be scary and unsettling, I practice receiving with every chance that I have, and he is my hero, best friend and mentor.
If I had never surrendered, I would still be complaining about why I was single. The irony is that my husband is like most other men, who are truly sincere and serious about romantic relationships. And, like other women, I own these feminine gifts to make me my best self.
Do I still face challenges in my marriage? Yes, for sure. But what am I afraid of? My fears of having an unhappy, unhealthy and uncontrollable husband used to look so real to me. Were they realistic? Probably not. Are staying afraid and trying to control him again worth breaking our intimacy and peace? Definitely not. My fears don’t stand a chance now that I have these Skills!
I hope my story, including the silly things I did and the mistakes I made, empower you to have an intimate and peaceful relationship. It is possible for you too.
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