Where did you come from? How did you appear? You are exactly the warm, deep, beautiful, compassionate woman whom I’ve been waiting for my whole life!

Recently, Angela, a Meet to Marry Method™ client, shared her story of meeting a wonderful man. He said those exact words to her!

But she nearly missed him.

You see, at 44 years old and 10 years divorced, Angela (a real person, but not her real name) had been in relationships that didn’t fulfill her. She was stuck in habits that tripped her up. She was clinging to baggage that cluttered her heart.

Angela is tall, beautiful, smart, and self-aware. She’s a therapist and a mother. “I am a very busy and successful woman who has sometimes used her career as a defense mechanism. I come from a very complicated family of origin that I feel protective of and don’t want to share with men. I don’t easily open up, but when I do I feel like I reveal too much sometimes. The time I have spent dating has not been fulfilling in terms of long term prospects.” Angela found herself pursued–and sometimes involving herself–with unavailable men, alcoholic men, men who couldn’t hear her or meet her needs. Yet, she continued to take the crumbs, although she knew she wanted and deserved so much more.

She dreamed of building a loving partnership with a grounded, caring, compassionate man–rather than continuing to attract men who needed to be saved, who were incapable of offering her what she needed.

Despite having done great work on herself, Angela was so frustrated of her dating reality. Angela joined Meet to Marry intending to change all that. And, she did.

Here are the three ways that Angela cast off unfulfilling relationships, ditched old habits, and let go of useless baggage to make space for healthy love:

1. She closed the door to the “old familiar.”

After clearing out her inner space and blasting through her blockages to love, which was the first phase of the program, Angela started dating in a new, healthy, and empowered way. She learned how in phase two of the program.

A new man (we’ll call him Jake) entered her space and wanted to be with her. However, when she shared with him what she wanted and needed, she just felt like Jake didn’t hear her–even when what she was sharing was simple. He couldn’t meet her needs, and she realized they were in a toxic dance. This was just like in the past. Although she felt a strong tie to him after a several-month relationship, she knew she had to close the door on the “old familiar,” and on Jake. This was truly painful for her. But on the other side of this door was the promise of true love.

2. She created boundaries.

Angela had an army of well-meaning but toxic people in her world, and she needed to create boundaries between herself and their bad advice. Her friends and her 12-step program sponsor were critical of her choices, offering up bad advice that would only help keep Angela stuck in the past, doubting her new healthy choices. When Angela felt pulled toward giving Jake another chance, one friend encouraged her to do so, saying “the heart’s gotta have what the heart’s gotta have.” Well, that’s a little like encouraging someone with diabetes to eat cake–the whole cake.

3. She separated the past from the present.

Sometimes we’re attracted to what’s comfortable, rather than to what we want and need. It was like that for Angela. She had never experienced healthy love, and she never witnessed it while growing up. Her father, though kind-hearted, was emotionally unavailable, and her mother was volatile and unpredictable. Angela was in a cycle of recreating her past and would not have recognized healthy love if it had shown up. Once she realized that she was not her past, she could shift her thinking. She built up the muscle to create new, healthy love.

Using tools like forgiveness, acceptance, self love, and generosity, Angela closed the door to the past, her childhood, her old boyfriends, and her toxic friends. Angela recognized that she had choices: When she and Jake split up, she asked herself if she needed time to mourn that loss. She might have focused on her sadness, her regrets, and what seemed like her destiny to repeat the past. Instead, she chose to focus on the new skills she was learning through Meet to Marry. This was exactly when she met her new guy, the one who asked her “where on earth have you been?”

After meeting him, Angela confided in me that “he’s healthy, emotionally available, self-aware, financially secure…he makes me laugh, I feel my emotional needs being met, and we share a worldview and want the same things!” Plus, she laughs, “he composts!”

This is what we long for, isn’t it? Finding true love–even after years or decades of disappointment.

Which of these three ways will help you make sure you’re not missing The One? Feel free to share your thoughts on the Meet to Marry Facebook page or by email to bari@meettomarry.com.