More and more of my friends and clients are tired of online dating and are willingly choosing to remain single. Yet, it is not the choice that comes with empowerment and exhilaration, it is the choice that comes from exhaustion and hopelessness.Read More
“Sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.” - Marilyn Monroe
From Breakup to Breakthrough
Through the years, I have worked with many clients who sought to get over a breakup and “move on” as quickly as possible. The thinking is that if we wallow in our pain for too long, we will miss opportunities. As I have gone through my healing journey, with the last portion of it as a single woman, I can tell you that being single allows you to explore what it is you need without sacrificing your spiritual and emotional development for the needs of someone else. In fact, I believe that all parents and married couples who go through a spiritual awakening while in relationships should be given a medal - it is the most exhausting, taxing and emotional experience one can go through!
If on the other hand, you start the process while you are single, you can not only grieve the part of you that is not currently in a relationship, you can begin to actually get to know yourself. It is in the process of re-discovering who you really are that will eventually lead you to the RIGHT relationship.
As I talk about extensively in my forthcoming book, Toxic Insecurity, the estimates of how much trauma our culture has experienced are astounding. Add in that you may carry the trauma of your family through the generation and the estimates of who has been touched by trauma skyrocket. Conservatively we are looking at 50-60% of the population. In other words, we all have a lot of healing and emotional work to do before we meet the right person.
Growth Not Perfection
Does this mean that we need to be perfectly healed before we get into a relationship? Absolutely not. It does, however, mean learning to not abandon yourself in a relationship so that you can continue on your journey. Many of the relationships along the way will be karmic in nature - they will appear to help you with your spiritual development and push you along your path. It is, however, your responsibility to learn to recognize the signs that someone is choosing to join you on that path or is not ready. This is where many of us get caught on our journey and why being single rather than married to the wrong person is truly a blessing in disguise.
Our culture teaches us to be attracted to narcissistic people. They display a false sense of confidence, they are usually financially successful and they appear to run the world. Underneath the exterior, however, is someone who could never meet our emotional needs because they struggle to even identify or own their own. Narcissists appear to teach you valuable lessons along your journey. If you are paying attention, you will quickly learn that these personalities are attracted to you and your rising light simply because they have an unconscious wish to do the same but are actively choosing to not do the work.
A Narcissist is your Opportunity
How many times have you thought that someone was NOT a narcissist because you saw potential in them? I have. And while those people may not meet criteria for a personality disorder, the self-involved behavior is a sign of emotionally unavailability. It does not matter for what reason, it simply signals that this person - even if you have had past lives together - is not ready in this current life to wake up and assist you in your growth. It is this realization and learning that make karmic relationships vitally important for our overall development.
Some of us, however, are not so lucky. We married the narcissist and may be going through a nasty divorce. We may have married the narcissist, divorced, and refused to do our work so we ended up marrying another one. Taking the time in your single status to actively work through your spiritual and emotional development is the only way to stop the merry-go-round of toxic relationships.
When you are single, you can choose to go on a retreat. You can choose to go to therapy. You can choose to go to yoga or a healer. You can choose to meditate. You can choose to spend time with like minded friends. You can choose all of these avenues of healing without fear that someone you are responsible for is going to disapprove.
So why is it that so many of my single clients simply refuse to continue living via the status quo?
You have spent your whole life being told by your family, community and culture that being brave and doing what it is you need to do to take care of yourself is a stupid idea. You’ve been taught to value your finances over your emotional and mental health. You have been taught to value status over taking a radical inventory of what you actually value in life. Stepping away from everything you have ever known to give yourself the space for a reboot is not easy. I have, however, looked at my client’s successes and realized that the ones who are ready to embrace their exploratory nature and take chances, are the ones rewarded with finding their soul purpose AND a life partner.
I promise it can be done. I’ve done it on more than one occasion!
Ever since I was old enough to understand crushes and relationships, I have relied on any and every sign that could point me towards how my relationships were going to unfold. From Linda Goodman’s zodiac sagacity to the hundreds of Cosmopolitan quizzes, anything that I thought would calm my nerves was always scattered on my desktop. By the time I reached my twenties and started pursuing the men I had swiped right on, I was perplexed by how to quickly ascertain the data I needed to make the best decisions in my love life.. Surely the actual stories of these men were deeper than the modest amounts of information on their dating profiles. I mean I’m not sure that the fish they held with heavy pride, quotes derived from popular/ rap music, and/ or links to their creative instagram pages were all that helpful? Several dates, many drinks and a few failed relationships later, I decided it was time to figure out how to extract the information that I needed in less than ten dates. While I’m still trying to find my Mr. Perfect online, I thought I would share my step-by-step guide to tackling the real Tinder experience.
Eject the Stigma
Just because you’re on a date with a stranger from a dating app, it does not make you any less than your girlfriend who met her love in a cafe or amusement park. Congratulate yourself for expanding your horizons and for putting yourself out there. The judgement from society can wait! Enjoy that rush of adrenaline and wash it down with some wine.
Leave your Rating Scale Behind
You’re nervous, you’re excited, you’re scared. Don’t worry! I guarantee he is too! It doesn’t matter what either of you are looking for- you’re doing it together- as absolute strangers! If he dropped a fry or spilled a cup of water, give him a chance to clean his mess before you bring out the judgement police within you. I, too, once tried to end a date as soon as he spilled his wine on himself. Thank goodness I didn’t! After all, my patience was rewarded not only by a pity glass of wine from the waiter, but also a great conversation towards the end of my night with him.
Your Past Doesn’t Predict your Future and Neither Does His!
Talking about all your missed connections will probably ensure you miss this one too. Moreover, asking him about his horrible Tinder experiences will not prevent him from using your date as an anecdote for his next one. Be present in the moment and focus on what he brings to the table. Discussing your pasts will only make room for biases and preconceived notions that will end up driving your date towards a dead end.
The Sun and the Mood Can Guide you but It Isn’t a Magical Formula
Every date with a stranger has always brought up one very important question in my mind:“Is his sun sign vicious? Does his rising sign guard behaviors that I can’t see? Oh god- I hope he’s not a Gemini!” While all these factors can tell you the overall strengths and weaknesses of his character, we have to exert some patience. Why are we so hasty to want to know the end point before we even begin the uncovering process? Where’s the chase? In the end, their zodiac can’t really prove if they’ll make you a mean steak on your next date! (Actually, their sun signs will never give you an accurate picture at all. You would need todo a full birth chart analysis and I’m not sure that’s really appropriate for a first date!)
They say there are many fish in the sea. Reeling in too tight will put you at risk of snapping your line, losing out on possibly the biggest catch of your life! Hook, line and sinker with all your heart! The only control you have over the process is the quality of bait you show up with on your date! Don’t worry about how they come off, just give them the best version of you!. Online dating, like all other kinds of dating, is a trial and error affair- you’ll find what you find as soon as you get out of your head and into the present moment! So go tinker with Tinder and socialize like the Bumble bee you are! You never know who you are going to meet!