Finding love again

How I learned to believe in love again!

Laura & Rasta Xmas-2012-CROPPEDWhen I lost my career as a librarian in early 2004, I was 49 and divorced with no kids.  Lucky me, I was given five months warning that my life was about to change dramatically.  The career I had counted on for decades for my bread and butter was about to disappear before my very eyes.

I became totally focused on “What’s next?”  The rational, practical, librarian side of my brain, told me to go get another job doing exactly what I had always done.  But since there were no openings in librarianship, and I had been dying to try something completely different for years, I decided to go way out on a limb and try a new experiment.  I slowly gathered together enough courage to follow my heart this time.  I switched to plan B.

Plan B was what I really wanted to do.  It was my heart’s desire to open my own version of a non-internet-based matchmaking service.  I figured: “Why not?”  I certainly needed a date and a job!  I had a graduate degree in counseling psychology, why not use that background and experience to change my life while helping others find love?

I also felt personally frustrated with the current dating scene.  I didn’t see how I was ever going to find love again, especially if my only option was through the internet.  I figured there must be millions who felt exactly the way I did, all looking for a safer, more personal alternative.

Little did I know that my new business venture was unconsciously nudging me towards an illuminating personal journey, the search for a new belief in love.  At that time I was unaware that my deeper purpose was to find a way to get unstuck from my decades old, negative beliefs about love.  It seems my inner wisdom was determined to guide me towards a rejuvenated approach to love and life.

Luckily, the love goddesses were smiling!  My friends and I had a hilarious time thinking up some “not ready for primetime” names for my new service, names like Desperate Daters, Horney Toad Dating Service, Cynical Singles, Relationship Retards, or the Do U Believe Singles Club.  After much laughter and kidding, I settled on “Intriguing Possibilities,” and opened for business in the spring of 2004.

In contrast to online dating, my own approach was completely personal.  I met with each new client, both men and women, individually for an hour or two to fully grasp their history with love, and then find out what they were looking for next.  Of course I performed background checks, set up an exclusive database, and then started providing get-togethers for members to meet and mix.

By owning my own dating service, I quickly learned the first major problem with these kinds of pursuits.  They focus all of their energy on finding you the right date, rather than helping you find a more positive perspective on love in general.

But with so many of us traumatized by past betrayals, or stuck mentally in a space of, what feels like, permanent cynicism or defensiveness in the face of love, finding another date is not the answer.  I quickly learned how many of us now see love as an unrealistic illusion.  I also discovered the folly of going through the motions of searching for romantic love, when you feel so wounded inside from past disappointments.

Through interviews with hundreds of midlife singles, I found that most of us have a back-story which strongly impacts how we see ourselves, and what we deserve when it comes to love.  You know, those bad experiences from decades ago, when you felt so ashamed and rejected, and you knew that love was not for you.

Perhaps it was some extremely painful experience with unrequited love which convinced you to never give your heart again.  Deep down in your unconscious, lurking quietly, you may have persistent and unfriendly voices which repeat over and over again to never, ever trust another again with your heart.  Sometimes it feels like a permanent certainty that you do not deserve to meet someone who has the potential to love you unconditionally.  Or perhaps you feel like you have done everything you can to improve yourself, but everyone else seems damaged beyond repair.

It is essential that each of us re-visit our abandonment or betrayal stories, and especially the lessons we think we have learned from them.  How has your perception of that story changed over the years?  How about the deep and abiding shame you may feel from previous breakups?  Has your self-concept changed since then?  Do you need a reality check?  Does that old rejection hold far more power than it should in your present world?

Mike and Laura Lee October 2005 smallI wrote this book to help you get beyond past shame around your own experiences with love, see how much you’ve grown, and finally go find the kind of love you have always dreamed of.

Forgive yourself for any past mistakes, trust your inner wisdom this time, and change your heart and mind when it comes to love.

This is what 50-year-old love looks like!  I did.  You can too!

Where to find love today?

believe in love heart handsDid you know there is a dating site for “Farmers Only”?  Who knew?  Their slogan: “One dating site that aims to help you find a date quickly, so you won’t have to wait until the cows come home.”

Loved this story about a woman farmer looking for love in all the right places!   She started seeing/dating a dairy farmer who lived more than 3 hours away, and two years later they were married.

Once ridiculed as the last resort for losers, online dating has exploded in the past few years!  Why?  Because it works sometimes, like it did for me ten years ago!

Since dating sites first launched, the two biggest ones: Match.com and eHarmony — boast a combined 151 million users.  And newer, niche sites are allowing people to weed through those numbers to find exactly what they’re seeking.

Helen Fisher, a biological anthropologist and ‘love expert’ I quoted often in my book says,

“Psychologists know that we tend to gravitate to people who are from the same socioeconomic background, same level of intelligence, same level of good looks, same religious and social values and somebody with the lifestyle that you’re used to.”

The best part was the male farmer’s response at the end of the CBS piece.  When asked how he knew she was the one, he said “Because she kept coming back!”

That is often one of the most important factors in your love decision.  Finding someone who thinks you are terrific can be the best kind of aphrodisiac!

 

How love saved my life

flowers for the one I lovePicture this:  Divorced for four years, living on part-time wages, I walked into work one day and my boss tells me he’s canning me.  This was my life ten years ago.

At age 48 I had not ever received a bad job evaluation, and I hadn’t gotten one on that job either!  They were too lazy to do evals.  They chose instead a surprise attack from my boss, one very unhappy man.

I spent months looking everywhere for another job, but there was no demand for librarians, especially those about to turn 50.

What did my absolutely irrational inner wisdom tell me to do?  Start my own local offline dating service of course!  And why not?  I figured I needed a job AND a date!

I struggled with that one for a few months, watched “Risky Business” as instructed by my intuition, and finally went with the line: “Sometimes you have to say what the fuck and make your move!” 

I surely had no idea what I was doing, but going with my rational mind hadn’t worked out so well… why not take a chance?

Come to find out, I attracted a number of very cool older women to my specialized service, but few truly cool men.  The solution?  Use the tools available, like Match.com (this was way back in 2004!) to attract some great dates for my cool women.

I put up a very broadly-worded profile and waited.  One very kind fellow responded with the online title “Tall Guy.”  We e-mailed once or twice, talked on the phone a bit, and since he lived only ten miles away, set up a date for Saturday.

The rest is history… marital bliss history that is!  We spoke together for TEN HOURS on our first date, and that is exactly how I found the person I had been looking for my whole life!

scan0012I tell you this so you can see how listening to the sometimes irrational messages from your intuition or inner voice can lead you exactly where you want to be.

But first you must do your homework.  Begin to focus on exactly what you desire most.

Before all of this came about, I spent months realizing that I didn’t particularly want to live the rest of my life without love.  I found the courage to admit that one great love was all I really wanted, while still harboring plenty of doubt that love was in my future.

Only by switching from a shortage mentality to a positive belief in abundance, and then focusing like a laser on what I wanted most before I died, was I able to attract authentic love into my life.

ABUNDANCE is how we live in each moment.                                    The choice to be open.                                                                                    The choice to entertain the possibility that we can have, create and attract what we truly want.

Focus and Manifestation

I learned far too late in life, that what I focus on grows!

Surround yourself with peopleWhen I start really looking for something I usually find it.

Not always in the form that I expected, but these days I can usually manifest what I decide is a priority for me.

Why is this?  Because focus leads to creativity.  Finding the courage to make a solid commitment to any goal, focuses your mind and body.  Because you have found a focus, your mind and body will now seek out solutions everywhere.  Our minds are amazing that way!

This would suggest that if you cannot find the kind of love you seek now, you have not made the commitment necessary to achieve that goal.  Why?  Perhaps because you feel too disillusioned with love from past experiences.

We have all experienced abandonment and betrayal.  It may be impossible to get through life without these experiences.  But do you blame yourself for others’ betrayal?  Did you screw up and drive that person away, or did they simply lose interest?

In most cases when love does not work out, it shouldn’t.  See this as an opportunity to love yourself even more, because you are now ready to find someone SO MUCH BETTER FOR YOU!

Begin to focus on your best traits, your uniqueness and inner beauty.  Appreciate how much you have to offer others.

What you focus on does grow, so grow great feelings about yourself TODAY!  If you find you need some help in this department, go read: How To Believe In Love AGAIN!

 

My best relationship advice EVER!

Of course I hate to admit it, but I have received some of my best relationship advice from Dr. Phil.

And why not?  He’s been studying relationships and giving advice forever!  I especially enjoy his shoot-from-the-hip, direct style when giving advice.

OK, the first time I remember his advice it was:

“Past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior.”

When we are young we HATE to hear this.  Does this mean my crappy boyfriend who is always treating me bad will never change?  The short answer is YES!

I had a basically abusive boyfriend all through college.  He was a jerk.  Then I contacted him through the Internet around age 50, and guess what he said?  His wife still thinks he’s a jerk!

Waiting around for your significant other to change is always a mistake.  If you are healthy enough to know you deserve better, than go get it!

In a new article about Dr. Phil and Robin, he shares another key piece of relationship advice.  This took me FOREVER to learn:

YES“Don’t waste your time talking to people who can’t say yes.”

Most of my early relationships were with men who could never say anything positive about being with me.

They also couldn’t say anything near YES about the future of our relationship.  It seemed that yes was not a part of their vocabulary.

That’s why meeting Mike at age 49 was SO REFRESHING!       Mike has always been so positive about us and our future together.  I finally found a ‘yes’ man who felt as lucky and happy to meet me as I felt about him!

scan0012My favorite line out of Mike’s mouth ever was at our wedding:

“Meeting you is the best thing that ever happened to me!”

The Longest Date: Life as a Wife

the longest dateIf you are looking for a quick read by a very funny lady, who didn’t marry until age 40, (except for her earlier ‘practice marriage’ to a man who turned out to be gay) don’t miss Cindy Chupack’s new book: The Longest Date. 

In the midst of describing many hilarious real life experiences, Cindy inserts a few jewel-like observations and excellent advice for those of us who chose to marry later in life.

If you don’t recognize her name, Cindy is famous for writing such popular TV shows as ‘Sex in the City’ and now ‘Modern Family.’  Her forte is talking about things that most people won’t discuss, and sometimes in great detail!

For example, Cindy describes her apparent inability to act as a dutiful nurse when her new husband has a cold, as channeling her “bitchy inner nurse.”  How’s that for honest?  And I can so relate.  Some of us are not born to nurse others, that’s all there is to it!

Cindy also makes a few great observations about marriage that struck me as too true.  When her new husband helps this nice Jewish girl decide to buy a Christmas tree, she summarizes with: “And marriage, for better or worse, means you have a built-in enabler”… to help you break all your parent-installed, internal rules.

A second quote that reminded me of my first marriage:         “Marriage takes you places you never dreamed of going, places someone else dreamed of going, and the annoyingly persistent other dreamer is your spouse!” 

But Cindy’s best marriage advice?  “I was  lucky to be able to choose the man I wanted to marry, instead of the man I needed to marry.”

Thank you Cindy for a few LOLs and a great diversion from my own marriage!