Last year, we coached a woman we’ll call Cindy. When she started, Cindy was still trying to heal from a horrible breakup about a year and a half before. She’d given up a lot (including a rent-controlled apartment in San Francisco – and if you live in the Bay Area, you know what that’s worth!!) to move in with this woman – and then the woman broke up with her just a few months later.
Cindy had been dating a little, but she kept seeing some of her ex’s qualities in the women she met. One woman was controlling after just a few dates. Another seemed to have a mean streak.
Cindy knew she didn’t want to repeat those patterns – and she realized that in order to avoid them, she needed help.
Step One of our seven-step Dating Plan involves Making Peace with the Past – and this was a very important step for Cindy. She had a lot of self-forgiving to do. Why? Because she’d seen her ex-partner’s patterns from their very first date, when her ex had showed up an hour late. So she had to really look at what had made her ignore her intuition, go head-on into denial, and fall madly in love with someone who spelled disaster for her from the word Go.
Then she had to learn to love herself – even the messy, vulnerable, needy parts of herself. She’d come to realize that without self-love, there was no way she’d be able to find someone who could give her the love she wanted, needed and deserved.
It took a few weeks, but she got through that piece. Whew!
Then we moved on to Step Two of the Seven-Step Dating Plan, which involves Getting Clear on Your Needs, Wants, Strengths & Areas for Development as a Partner. Cindy realized that even though “open, honest communicator” was high on her list of things she wanted in a partner, she herself wasn’t always so good at communicating. For instance, when a partner said something that hurt her feelings, she would usually try to “look cool” and say something tough and sarcastic, rather than expressing her hurt. This helped her feel less vulnerable, but over time, it also made trust and connection impossible in her relationships – because she was carrying such a backlog of unexpressed pain.
Cindy also realized that she tended to try to please her partners. For instance, if a woman she was dating said, “How about we watch the baseball game on Sunday?” she’d say yes, even though she really didn’t like baseball. Then she’d feel upset when her partner didn’t make the same kinds of “sacrifices” for her – but she’d never even communicated that she was making a sacrifice!
It took a few more weeks of coaching, and Cindy put in some time on her own too with the worksheets and audios we gave her. But soon, she worked through her old habits and became able to communicate clearly – just as she wanted her next partner to be able to do with her.
These are just the first two steps of the Seven Step Dating Plan – but we think they’re enough to start giving you an idea of how and why a Dating Plan can change everything!
By the way, after working with us for just three months, Cindy met a woman who truly had the qualities she was looking for. They had a few bumps in the road early on, but we helped Cindy get through them in ways that strengthened, rather than weakened their connection. And now they’re going strong! It’s so exciting to read Cindy’s Facebook posts and see how happy she is!