I went on a great first date this past Saturday night, after talking on the phone and immediately knowing this man was someone I would like to go on a real date with. Since our date, I’ve found his personality traits to be wonderful, we share a lot of the same visions and goals, and he’s obviously done a lot of his “inner homework”—that is, he’s incredibly mature about himself and relationships. Besides all of this, I’m also attracted to him because he makes me feel taken care of and cherished (already), but not over the top.
Now, even knowing and feeling all of this, my mind still keeps going back to the guy who I ended it with last week. And yes, I’ve come to realize it’s because he’s something I can’t have (it’s apparent to me he’s not in the right place to seriously date).
So how do I focus on this new, “healthy” guy and give our budding relationship the attention it deserves, without the “hope” in the back of my head that the other guy (who never made me feel cherished) will miraculously get his act together.
Crazy how we operate sometimes isn’t’ it? We meet someone wonderful and yet we’re thinking about the one who didn’t want us. . . who wasn’t available. . . and we continue stepping back into that tortuous, frustrating “fantasy land” that will land only keep us imprisoned, far away from our dreams.
So often we’re attracted not to what we want and need, but rather to the ones who can’t possibly love us the way we want to be loved.
But we pursue it anyway. . . to many of us, it feels like an addiction.
When I was dating (before I consciously made the requisite “shifts” and met my husband), this was me! Stuck in a pattern, so well conveyed here, for 15 years, putting myself in situations with men who I thought “needed me,” guys who I believed it was my job to fix or guys who didn’t even like the best parts of me (but I was committed to changing their POV!).
Yes, I too was an attraction magnet to emotionally unavailable narcissists or people who couldn’t love themselves enough to express a healthy love toward me. And do you think that kind of “love life” sucked? Geeeez!
What I eventually discovered (through a lot of study, self-reflection and consultation was this: there was virtually nospace within me for healthy love. The cause was within me. I was stuck in a pattern of my own making, dating unconsciously. It was chemical attraction: “they” (similarly unhealthy people) chose me and I was in.
I had blinders on.
As a matter of fact, if my husband would have crossed my path back then, my reaction would have been, “Boring!”
Why? With him, there was no chaos, chasing or mystery. He was healthy!
How unfamiliar that was to me!
Here’s a new flash: When we’re dating unconsciously, we are actually attracting people who reflect our fears and limitations, instead of our possibilities.
We don’t have to be slaves to our unconscious attraction or addiction to the wrong ones.
If you want something new and different in your love life, you have to say NO to the wrong thinking and YES to getting on a new path to what you want.
And that takes courage and a whole new perspective.
Here are few ways to make it happen:
Take responsibility for your thoughts and feelings, and challenge them with reality.
When you start to think about someone from the past, know that your feelings are not facts. Facts are facts. And the fact is this person isn’t emotionally available (for whatever reason), and thinking about him/or wishing he or she were different is just plain fantasy. It’s like a child, throwing a tantrum, jumping up and down and yelling, “It’s not fair!” or “If only he/she would . . .”
Don’t allow the past to “run” your present.
Sometimes when we don’t feel lovable in the present, it’s because of something that happened in our past (i.e., upsetting instances during our childhood, any rejection, abandonment or traumas, etc). You may know intellectually that you’re lovable, but chances are that understanding is not fully integrated. Know that you’re an adult and you’re here now (not a child back then anymore), and regardless of your past, you can create a healthy, loving future.
Be in reality.
Write down the things that were missing in the relationship with the person you broke up with, and ask yourself if it makes any sense at all to focus on someone who couldn’t meet your needs. Don’t allow yourself to go to “fantasy land,” thinking maybe the one who couldn’t meet your needs magically will. Because it’s virtually ceratin, he/she won’t.
Close the door to the “wrong” ones.
Does it logically make sense to focus on someone who is emotionally unavailable to you? Of course it doesn’t, but sometimes we do it anyway, right? Why? On some level, it’s simply because it’s “familiar.” Daddy or Mommy didn’t give us the attention we wanted as a child, so when someone we’re dating doesn’t, it’s familiar. And we like the familiar (because we’re in our “comfort zone” with it). But we must break that pattern and move towards real and healthy love. Know this: If he/she was the right one, you’d be with him/her now.
Choose the one you’re with.
You know the Crosby, Stills and Nash song, “Love the One You’re With,” yes? There’s wisdom to that song title. If you’re with someone who is amazing, someone with whom everything seems to line up, focus on it. Why? True love is active. So choose you and your vision first, and put your energy and focus on what’s real and resonates.
There’s an expression I share with my clients: “Don’t go to bad neighborhoods.” The same is true with our thoughts. Sometimes our thinking takes us to “bad places.” When this happens, my suggestion is to step right on past them into an “inner space” where you feel safe and protected. Take refuge within yourself, in a sanctuary of silent awareness and thoughts that reinforce your self-worth and self-love, as well as a vision of enjoying a healthy, supportive and loving relationship.
If you can relate to this post, I’d say it’s always a good time to make that shift toward a new, more courageous, non-fantasy perspective. . . Choose it today! If you have a question about dating or relationships, email firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll do m best to answer. Here’s to clarity!