We heard two cautionary tales from “conscious girlfriends” who found themselves trying to date women who turned out to be… not so conscious, and a lot of hurt and confusion ensued. Unfortunately, women don’t walk around with signs on their chests saying “Not So Conscious.” So we want to tell you what you need to look for in order to avoid this experience! (Identifying details have been changed to protect privacy.)
Story #1: Marla, a Conscious Girlfriend in her 30s, flew 1000 miles to meet Joyce, whom she’d met online. They’d been emailing and Skyping for about a month, and the signs were good. They seemed to “get” each other intellectually and culturally, and both admitted to feeling hopeful about their connection. In fact, Joyce had bought a plane ticket to spend Thanksgiving with Marla, but when Marla had an opportunity to go west in October instead, she took it.
Their first evening together seemed to be going well. But then Joyce broke out in hives – literally. She suffers from some debilitating skin conditions, and ended up on steroids, sick in bed.
Marla was compassionate. She’d known about Joyce’s health issues, and was glad to spend time by Joyce’s bedside. But Joyce became quite distant. After a somewhat awkward next day making small talk, Marla flew home – where she got an email from Joyce saying that they weren’t a romantic fit.
Marla was pretty hurt. Getting a brush-off by email after a cross-country trip felt bad. And then, confusingly, Joyce continued emailing Marla, expressing sadness that their relationship “wasn’t meant to be,” and complaining about how lonely her life was! But she never said why she had decided they weren’t a fit.
Story #2: Sandy, a Conscious Girlfriend in her 50s, met Kai walking at a dog park near her house. They felt an instant attraction, and then found out they worked in the same field and shared many interests. It seemed meant to be!
Wisely, they were taking things slowly, so they went out on a few dates over the next few weeks, but didn’t kiss or get physical (though they did say a few flirtatious things to each other.) Then, out of the blue, Kai told Sandy she just wanted to be friends, not date.
Sandy was confused. “What happened? I thought we were both clear that we were exploring a potential romantic relationship!” she said. Kai responded, “Yes, I did feel that way at first, and you’re really a great person. You’re so much more ‘together’ than I am. If we get involved, I’ll just disappoint you.”
When Sandy told us this, we actually thought it was potentially a good sign. At least Kai was conscious enough to realize that she was feeling scared and unworthy (well, sort of, though she wasn’t expressing it in self-responsible language.) We suggested that the two of them do one or more coaching sessions together to work with Kai’s fear, and Sandy’s triggers around it. (Understandably, Sandy was feeling rejected and struggling not to take it personally.)
At first, Kai agreed. A couple of days later, she changed her mind. Then the next day, Kai said, “OK, let’s give it a try.” By this point Sandy was having her own doubts, but they scheduled a coaching session. But then, a few days before the session, Kai backed out again. “I’m sorry. It’s just not the right timing for me. You’re better off having me as a friend.”
Sandy felt like she’d been on quite the roller coaster. All of this in just three weeks, without even a kiss!
So, what’s the moral of these stories? And how can you keep the same thing from happening to you?
Well, we admit we only heard one side of each story. We don’t know what was going on from Joyce or Kai’s perspective. But from what we can tell, it goes right back to CATCH, our acronym that covers the most important characteristics any woman needs to have in order to be a real “catch” (in other words, be able to make a relationship work.)
The sad truth is, women can have all kinds of other amazing characteristics without being “catches.” They can be cute, sexy, beautiful, handsome, or hot. They can be smart, witty, charming, brilliant, accomplished, artistic, spiritual, endearing… and have all sorts of things in common with you. You can have great rapport, and even a similar relationship vision – and if she’s not a “catch,” it still won’t work.
(Regarding vision: Everyone, when asked, will say she wants “healthy communication.” We guarantee it. We’ve never met a single woman who said she wanted “unhealthy communication!” But wanting, alone, doesn’t get you there. That’s why just saying “Do you want a relationship with healthy communication? Me too!” is not enough of a Conscious Girlfriend assessment.)
We don’t want to leave you hanging, so we’ll tell you now what CATCH stands for. These are the essential ingredients a woman needs to have/be, in order to be able to have a healthy intimate relationship.
C – Compassionate toward self and others.
A – Aware of what she feels, when (or close to the time when) she feels it.
T – Tolerates her feelings without shutting down, blowing up or self medicating.
C – Communicates honestly and compassionately, without blame or self-blame.
H – Happy to learn and grow!
From what we can tell, neither Joyce nor Kai had all of these characteristics, and that’s why things went south. So, to avoid the hurt that Marla and Sandy went through, you need to find out if she’s a catch BEFORE you let yourself start falling for her other good qualities.