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My Story

I’m sharing my story so you understand why I became a Dating Mindset Coach. Too many of my amazing single friends have gotten so frustrated with dating that they simply quit. Hopefully my story will give you hope, inspiration, and some practical tips to keep you going!

At age 44, I became a divorced, single mom while working as a full-time teacher.
It was a time of deep reckoning – how had I contributed to what went wrong in my marriage? What did I want going forward?

I took about 18 months without dating to sort out my head and heart. I read dating books, listened to the (horror) stories of divorced midlife friends, and got a realistic sense of the daunting task ahead.


While I knew I was capable of living a happy life on my own, my heart whispered, “I an extraordinary love!”


Yes, my heart craved a passionate, fun, devoted life partner. I could picture us walking and talking in the park with young people checking us out and saying, “I want THAT kind of love!”

So, I set out into the forest (just kidding - a forest would have felt so much less scary than the modern dating scene!)


A nerd by nature, I began by reading books and articles to get the lay of the land.

The last time I'd 'dated' (if you can call 'just hanging out and maybe we are a thing now?' dating) was when I was 25 years old. Pre-cell phones. Pre-internet. Pre-mom body.

Well, books and articles only get you so far.


I created some basic safety rules to protect myself and especially my daughter. (She would NOT meet any men until I found THE one - a boundary I highly recommend) and off I went!

I set up a profile on a few different sites. What helped me keep a level head? I knew I was dating for CHARACTER above all else.


My first practical strategy was to meet for coffee. During daylight hours. Having texted my best friend my plans and location just in case. See? Safety protocols!


Once the ball was rolling, it became a process of tuning in to my instincts, and setting up horse blinders to protect me from my own idiotic tendencies to fall in love immediately. How did I do that?


One of the dating books I read advised keeping a spreadsheet (I know - sounds cold and calculating but it's actually warm and calculating - ha! Because my goal of finding an extraordinary love was worth applying my focus and reflection.)

The other advice that saved me from becoming a romantic film stereotype was dating more than one person at a time. I would not fall in love with Monday Ralph if I knew there was a Thursday Joe waiting in the wings.


It's a really savvy move for us romantic types. Making notes in the spreadsheet immediately after every date kept the pro-con observations front and center rather than glossed over.

At one point, in the first six months or so, I took a dating break. It can get exhausting bringing your open, vulnerable self into the fire hose blast of other people's psyches!



THE LIST

As I enjoyed the quiet and got back in touch with what brings me joy, I lit a candle and wrote out, in detail, exactly what I wanted in a partner. It took a couple hours - and I came back to it the next day to see if it felt complete. Yup. I tucked it away in a file folder and did not look at it again.


There's something about clarity that brings opportunity and sharpens your ability to recognize it.


Over the 18 month period I was dating I treated it as professionally as a second, full-time job. I hired sitters for my daughter, kept the spreadsheets, improved my 'brand' and marketing in my online profiles.


I met in-person with 70 men. I'd say about 60 of these were one-off coffee dates. Often within 5 minutes I could feel whether a person was someone I would invest more time getting to know.


There were a lot of men carrying brokenness – sorrow from time lost with their children, bitterness at their ex, a passive sadness as their lives seemed to fall apart. It takes a lot of courage and strength in your own heart to respond with empathy but also set your own clear boundaries.


The ten men with whom I had second, third dates and beyond stretched my understanding of their journeys and my own. I learned from each one - about my own blind spots, about flirtation, intelligence, guardedness, my own cognitive biases and errors, and new avenues of sexuality (oh yes, that's a thing! And you can be sure this Hermione Granger did research into that topic, as well, in partnership with her trusted GYNECOLOGIST!)

The make-or-break moments come when both people are vulnerable enough to allow sincere intimacy.


All the while, the spreadsheets continued. I never showed them to anyone.

A dating spreadsheet can be like a best friend, except filtered through your highest values. Or maybe it's like your older, wiser self peeking in at your present life and weighing in.

One night, when everything felt up in the air, I spotted a profile that made me smile. Here's this guy on stilts (goofy!), standing next to a small plane (geeky!), and writing about how interviewing his father later in life helped him understand him better (wise!)

I felt drawn to learn more and we chatted a bit by text.


A few days later, his profile disappeared. I carried on dating the Ralphs and the Joes, learning about men, learning about myself, hitting plenty of bumps along the way, but that's how you grow.


About three months later, his profile popped up again.


I texted him and we met at a comedy show. He thought it was as friends. I thought it was a date. We laughed at all the same bits in the show. He was a gentleman and walked me to my train. I kissed him before scurrying off. That's when it turned into a date for him, too.

He lived a good 50 miles away, so a lot of our courtship was via email.


We liked each other. We made the effort to travel and spend time together. In between, we sent flirty emails and texts.


After a few months I decided to throw a challenge at both of us: how about we answer 276 questions by Dr. Robin Smith from the book Lies at the Altar? I mean, what dating couple doesn't want to reveal their innermost, profound thoughts on heavy subjects over a five-month period this way? So fun, right?


Actually, yes.

Very much yes.


Every time I saw an email from him answering about five or ten of the questions, I felt a nervous thrill. Was I about to find the red flag I feared? Would we be incompatible regarding religion, money, politics, the causes we care about?


When I read his answers as well as his responses to my own thoughts, and discovered they were aligned, it was like another part of knitting looped together. If you are a knitter, you know the satisfaction when stitches line up, creating a just-right fabric. That's what we were building - a connection that wove together neatly, stitch by stitch.


I'm actually glad we lived so far apart because our connection grew deeper week by week.

Fast forward to us engaged (he proposed by tapping himself into the final scene at one of my improv shows. I know, right?!?)


He’s about to move in, and I’m making space. I'm rooting through my file cabinet for something and find The List. I feel immediately nervous – what if I’ve compromised? What if I’m way off track now? I took a moment, sat on the floor, and read my list. Scanning my words, my body is filled with a sensation like bubbles, sunshine, and harmonic music combined. My fiancé embodied every single thing I was searching for!

Wow.


We are now married. I'm 58, my daughter moved out seven years ago and is living her independent life in Los Angeles with great pride.


The global curveball came at us, too. During the pandemic, my husband and I quarantined together 24/7 for a full year. What revealed fractures for other couples only confirmed how well-matched we were.


While the world became more uncertain all around us, we had each other to turn to. We kept each other's spirits up. We took each other on ‘quarandates.’ I felt gratitude every day - even the crappiest days were better because our partnership gave me a baseline of safety and love.


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