Navigating From Insecure Attachment To The Awkwardness of Dating

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Even as you make strides in your own growth, you experience hiccups.

You find yourself in a ‘same old situation,’ but feel differently, with fledgling confidence in your newer tools. With growing assurance what may have felt impossible in the past, can still make you choke a bit as you state your truth.

Remember to be prepared for people not hearing you; it’s okay.

Speaking your truth is not done to convince someone of what they should do (conditioning will tell you otherwise); it’s supporting yourself emotionally. Whether it’s early in dating or stepping into a relationship, if it’s not working it’ll be clear pretty quickly, just by observing the ensuing dialogue or reaction after you speak.

Recently I was at dinner with someone.

No shooting stars; just enjoying my time with him, thinking he was really nice. And he IS nice. On our prior dates we casually talked about a variety of topics including what we both wanted in dating/relationships. It was cool.

This dinner turned out to be not so cool.

I felt as though I was on a date with someone totally different. The conversation did not flow, there was a huge interest in the food, but other than that not much laughter or further exploration of any deeper topics. In the past it would’ve stopped me cold from addressing something important to me. I’d have looked for the right time to speak and kept quiet if I didn’t find it and then ‘gone along’ with whatever happened afterwards.  As an ex-people-pleaser, it was finding courage to speak about intimacy, and get really uncomfortable.

In my heart, I had to express how I’m not rushing a physical relationship until I really get to know somebody, and I’m confident we’re headed in the same direction (I don’t care if anyone agrees or disagrees with my actions, it’s how I feel in taking care of myself emotionally). I stated this and it was acknowledged verbally, but not physically.

It was very clear we were on a different page.

As we drove after dinner, I realized what I said was for my ears only.

Is he bad? No.

This isn’t to pick his behavior apart. It’s to illustrate how difficult it can be to navigate saying something that another person may not want to hear. It can be very uncomfortable.

Many women (and some men) find themselves in the middle of somewhere they don’t want to be, by keeping quiet and making excuses, so they don’t hate themselves. You’re afraid to upset someone, but when action happens as a result of your silence, it is NOT what you want, and you blame yourself (and them too).

Insecure attachment holds you with a fear of loss. You’re used to it, but you want to avoid it, and when you’ve been wired this way for so long, it can be tough to speak the truth.

With insecure attachment as a basis for your conditioning, you try to exert control over others’ behavior. You refuse to listen or see reality as it is. And you’ll cross someone else’s boundaries. Someone with true confidence isn’t controlling or trying to prove anything; secure people respect themselves and others.

I stood for myself because my values matter. In setting the foundation for a HAPPY long-term relationship, you don’t want a tug-of-war, or a struggle for power.

Sometimes in speaking your truth, it’s challenging to be consistently connected to your heart, especially if others are resistant. You can’t control them.

I know what it feels like to not say the truth of how you feel out of fear, and have someone disregard it when you do speak.

Clarity around attachment is huge. A warm body will not do. What you’re looking for changes as you feel more secure, yet it can feel like a foreign land, especially when you can’t tell on the first date beyond whether he or she might be nice. It’s why I go slow, not protective, so I can stay in the rhythm of my own emotions. If I try to keep up with someone else’s desires and ignore my own, it will end ugly.

Insecure attachment has conditioned us to not trust ourselves, the world or others. So to trust yourself means going thru the discomfort of not pleasing someone else and not controlling the events outside of you by pretending to fill a role. Instead you must speak your truth.

The awkwardness of dating can make you feel you have to compromise to get what you want. YOU DO NOT compromise at that stage unless you want to repeat the same ol’ relationship. Always see reality as it is, not as you wish it.

Attachment can keep you on a merry-go-round.

Not just in dating someone who is ill-suited to a partnership with you, but repeating the relationship over and over with them, continuing to try making it work where it was never meant to go. It’s the fantasy, which deludes you from dealing with rejection or abandonment. I can’t tell you how many times I saw red flags in the past with others and kept dating them. I was ATTACHED! It then kept me in the cycle of breaking up and getting back together. Insecure attachment will keep you believing a fantasy. You keep going around and around hoping they have changed (cuz you fear there may not be someone else).

Stop for a moment in whatever dating situation you’re in and ask what you truly believe without bullshitting yourself. What’s YOUR truth? Remember, it is always okay to be where you are, even if it is hell. You can’t navigate from where you are not.

There are NO rules of engagement with how you should act or what you should do to develop a relationship. I really believe when it’s the right person, it’s the right person. It’s not necessarily magical, but there’s an ease to it. Everyone I know in a healthy, secure relationship (even those who had insecure attachment in the past) experiences ease.

In my dating life, the above scenario was another opportunity for me to trust myself more, instead of beating myself up. It was a chance to remain open and aware of what I want for myself. We are always at choice in keeping the old patterns alive or speaking then acting by taking a risk to stick with the truth of what we want!

Interested in learning more about attachment? Listen to this podcast.

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Gone Bananas!

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Yup, it’s my new favorite breakfast, lunch and dinner. Okay, well maybe not dinner, but it is just a perfect blend of chocolate and banana frozen together for a very satisfying flavor explosion of ecstasy in every bite. Mmmmm, mmmmm GOOD!

This post isn’t really about my one-item smorgasbord. It’s about going bananas! Or something like that.

I woke up today, after having a fun little get together in my backyard last night. I have a very cool fire-pit and wonderful space to entertain. But I am getting off topic here. Where was I? Oh yeah, waking up.

I did my meditation, which is guided, because for me I need something to focus on and I tend to pull them off YouTube, which is great unless you get the commercials about something violent as you’re trying to listen to the birds, and nature.

I spent a leisurely morning trying to figure out a FUN way to write this post. I couldn’t think of one, so I recorded my latest podcast.

You see this blog post is supposed to cover goal-setting. And it just sounded so BORING, that I couldn’t wrap myself around it (I am giving away a real fun worksheet, yes it really is fun–you can download it below). To be even more honest, I have been in a place of HUGE ambivalence and resistance around some of my goals.

Do I really want what I say I want?

Let’s see. I do. Sorta. Well, let’s take one of my goals. I do want a relationship. And then I don’t.

I want one for some amazing reasons, truly I do. But, my ambivalence is in my laziness and my resistance is in the effort to actually make it a big focus in my life. I have a dating coach who has been listening to me dig my heels in about having ease around meeting someone…you know just having him show up on my doorstep (though that could be a bit scary, considering what would you do if someone showed up one day and said “Hi, I’m your new relationship!” LOL)

I love the idea of kismet, just meeting someone out of the blue. It’s happened before, I would love it to happen again.

Anyways, so back to the point of this blog: my resistance and ambivalence to my goal. Here’s the thing. When we (notice I said “WE”)….have a goal, there is bound to be some resistance and ambivalence. And to get clear, it is to determine if the competing issue, as in my case: my laziness to making an effort to go to singles’ parties, show up in places single men might be and continue with my online foray into the wonderful world of dating has a stronger value than my actual deep desire and goal of a happy, healthy relationship.

Of course, this comes after determining if this is an actual goal I want for myself, which it is and I can thank my little worksheet I put together! Yes, you can use it too and figure out if your unreachable goals are really ones you want or get some clarity on what’s standing in the way to get to em’, just click to download. (it’s free)

I know my competing value of laziness was super strong when I discovered it, which would explain my current dating issue (talking to men online and losing interest or not following through, because I made a decision quickly, so I could basically remain in ambivalence.) and as the days have gone by since my dating coach cornered my on my b.s……I am growing less lazy.

I am feeling less resistance and actually started looking around for how I can work at this (with ease) without making it into a second job. I am committed to the desire for a relationship, and that’s the key for everyone. Make sure your commitment to what you want is bigger than all your excuses!

Yes, it really is…just make it a bit bigger than the resistance and stay connected to the journey! Even when you feel a total disconnect, trust yourself to get back in the saddle, because you will, if you really want it! And it’s okay to have days when you have just gone bananas!

Oh and don’t forget to download this free worksheet. It helps!! Really. I figure whatever helps me can help you too.

Click to download, in case you haven’t yet!

The Impact Of Being Honest

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Most of us live in stories.

Heck, as human beings, we love a good story! One we relate to in some fashion, whether it’s our own experiences or something fantastical making the impossible appear real.

The issue with the stories we tell ourselves is their limitations. We may not dare to stretch beyond the confines of it, because it’s scary, or we feel unworthy or somehow undeserving.

And we stay stuck.

I had a multi-nuanced stuck story around dating, just like most of the b.s. we feed ourselves.

I always thought I was different, a bit odd–hard to love. In contrast, even though I was weird, I was special and unique. For years I thought I was perfect (measured in what I gave to others–not because I believed I was amazing), and on the other hand, I felt I was easily discarded and so on.

All the contradiction represents how I had a great deal of it in my self-evaluation. My story stemmed from a place of unworthiness, judging myself harshly (as I used to do); holding everyone and everything to a crazy-ass expectation!

Can you relate?

So… this story around dating.

A deep epiphany: People meet you exactly where you are with yourself.

I saw myself on a past first date. I was engaging, nice, interacting  (Hell! I was in sales for years, I know what to ask.) and usually asked out on a second-date. It was my goal. Make it so they liked me…and then I’d hook em’!

Hahahaaaaaa…I laugh at this image now (I sure wasn’t honest back then)!

The b.s. here: I could show up as emotionally unavailable (It’s exactly where I was, ahem!) and lo’ and behold after the guy was done chasing me….it turned out he was emotionally unavailable too! What a surprise! Not.

That epiphany hit home on a very deep level, people meet you exactly where you are, so the next time you want to finger point, put your finger back in your pocket.

My story was based in fear.

The fear of engulfment, rejection, losing independence, not believing I was lovable (prove it!) and so on. Lying kept me stuck in this vicious circle for years.

I didn’t realize I was lying, it was just the story I always told myself. Until I came to realize how lonely, disappointing and draining it was to live and date this way.

Man, I was so scared!

It’s no wonder I talked myself into half-relationships, or soulmate situations with high drama! Staying in this heightened state of pain with few euphoric moments kept me in the biggest lie! The biggest story I could tell myself, so I was the victim and the heroine at the same time…

And the biggest lie was this is all I deserved.

It was unlike a movie with its romantic drama, it didn’t get tied up in a neat little happy ending!

It was an unraveling leading to an amazing awareness!

Until, I started to accept my b.s. stories around “I’m meant to be alone,” or as a friend said to me years ago,”I think you’re here on a spiritual journey and aren’t meant for a relationship.” (Um, our greatest spiritual lessons come from relationships–staying alone actually keeps us stunted in our comfort zone)

Do you get what I’m throwing down? Do you get our lives are based on our choices, our perspective of ourselves and what we deserve?

As I started working with my dating coach last week, I found I’d already moved into deeper awareness. Just the act of hiring her, committing to me, lead to this epiphany, (it was before my first appointment) something I heard a million times, but never really got emotionally.

The impact of being honest about my past way of dating, lead me to the discovery of choice, empowerment and re-weaving of what I thought was possible for me.

As I took more responsibility for my part and how I acted in fear, I could see the contrast of what is now feasible by trusting myself. Trusting the Universe with my conspiring feelings, lead to my visual: anything is truly possible!

Want to be released from the prison of limitation? Commit to changing your story! Find a way. Allow yourself to question everything.

Perhaps, like me, you’re ready to really do it honestly? Deconstructing the story? Scheduling a discovery session with me can give you insight into whether you’re really available to change or you want to stay stuck in your story a little longer.

Click to book a complimentary discovery session.

Do You Treat Yourself As Someone You Love?

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Awhile back I was outside walking and doing my visualizations, etc. on the items I am manifesting in my life. It’s been interesting to observe my own thoughts as they have shifted from obsessing about certain areas of my life (love and money), to a very balanced overall desire for fulfillment across the board.

As I thought about how I shifted from years of making all desires about love, more than anything else I thought to myself, “I am ready for a life partner.”

I continued with, “I will love him as I love myself.” Whoa Nelly!

What?

That statement made me stop. It was an emotional epiphany and gave me pause. It lead to the next question, ” Do I treat myself like I would treat someone else I love?”

Oh yeah! And as the answer washed over me, opening all sorts of doors inside of me,  I realized if I don’t treat myself in this loving manner, at some point I will treat the other person the same way, I treat myself.

How Do You Treat Yourself?

I looked back at my most recent relationships, at some of the men I had recently dated, and asked myself not how I treated them, but how I treated me in the process.

Wow! Did that illuminate my love for me! I have come a long way from self-rejection, dislike and self-hatred when I was young. Now I’m in an on-and-off relationship with loving myself.

I do spend a significant amount of time connecting to my value, pleasing myself and emotionally taking care of me. But in the past? In the past I had been like the evil stepmother in Cinderella!

I dieted and exercised to the point of making it an obsession for years… stringent, depriving, unloving and wanting my body to do what it didn’t want to do! Does anyone see the love in that statement?

I worked like a dog. Pleasure? What was pleasure?

I took care of my kids. Not only were they first, I allowed them to be everything. Oh man, so not good!

I hid in my work, in things which would distract me from loving myself. I ALWAYS felt empty and wanted to feel validated.

I was a class A asshole to myself! I appeared to have it all together, but appearances, as we know, are deceiving.

I could be really cruel, and as I stood on the street that day during my walk, I saw how I had treated some of my previous partners. I gave to them from an empty well, expecting each of these guys to refill it. To give me what I demanded without giving it to myself. It was their job.

Where the hell did I get the idea that my emotional well-being was someone else’s duty?

I was raised to believe it. All I had to do was look at the relationship with my mother and continue to see it out in the world. When I turned on the TV or saw a movie or heard a song wailing away about ‘being done wrong’ by someone (not cheating–but someone feeling like shit because someone was not giving them what they wanted!). As I write this, I thought of that old song “Wedding Bell Blues” by the 5th Dimension.

Bill, I love you so, I always will
I look at you and see the passion eyes of May
Oh, but am I ever gonna see my wedding day

I was on your side, Bill, when you were losin’
I never scheme or lie, Bill, there’s been no foolin’
But kisses and love won’t carry me till you marry me Bill

I love you so, I always will
And in your voice I hear a choir of carousels
Oh, but am I ever gonna hear my wedding bells

I was the one who came runnin’ when you were lonely
I haven’t lived one day not lovin’ you only
But kisses and love won’t carry me till you marry me Bill

I love you so, I always will
And though devotion rules my heart I take no bows
But Bill you’re never gonna take those wedding vows

Oh, come on Bill, oh, come on Bill
Come on and marry me, Bill, I got the wedding bell blues
Please marry me Bill, I got the wedding bell blues, wedding bell blues
Marry me Bill, I got the wedding bell blues

Hmmm… do the lyrics speak of this woman taking care of herself? Loving herself? Nope, she talks about feeling entitled, showing how he was first (not her) and he OWES her! Right?

She has no love for herself. She thinks by being a welcome mat for someone else, she can cajole the guy into thinking he owes her enough to marry her!

And if you were Bill, wouldn’t you keep running?

Dig Deep and Look at Your Expectations

Back to the street corner. Would I now, in this moment, expect somebody to refill what love I didn’t give myself?  I didn’t draw a hard line with myself, which is a huge improvement. Instead I realized how I had mellowed and wasn’t perfect (thankfully, I no longer take a toothbrush to the floorboards).

As I continued my walk,  I started running through my day and asking if each choice I made was toward pleasure, toward my goals, or in opposition. Did I practice self-care in the way I would like to care for somebody else? Did I make sure to have happy moments, or did I intend to keep attracting somebody who doesn’t make choices that are happy?

I really dug deep. I tend to pay attention to my choices. Are they life-expanding or life-shrinking? A lot of questions my friends, but if we really start to dig deep and look at our expectations, we will find how we treat ourselves to be surprising at times.

It’s okay if we don’t love ourselves all the time. We have all been raised with some sort of self-sabotaging beliefs, which we hold ourselves accountable for, to the degree of our awareness about our relationship with ourselves.

We have to communicate clearly with ourselves, not shirk away from our own treatment. And still live fully into accepting all that is lovable and not lovable inside of us. When we practice this self-accepting behavior, we start to show up differently. We stop treating others as a threat, especially when we want them to give to us now, and feel they won’t! Or we need distance or we want to go off feeling sorry for ourselves. We can find a kinder, more loving way to move through our relationships… especially the one with ourselves.

How do YOU treat yourself in relationships… past or present? Do you treat yourself the way you treat your partner? Please share…

A date..

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I was sharing this with a friend last week and thought I’d write it here.

I’ve been divorced for years and ran hiding for several of those years from any sort of serious commitment (even though I did live with someone). I’d say I’m thankful, this was the case–because I apparently needed all those lessons about myself, ones that included a lot of pain and a lot of struggle.

I am pretty happy being single these days and so, I decided to go on a date.

This meant applying make-up and wearing a top that matched my pants (rather than my wonderful workout wear I run around in most days), in fact the thought of gussying myself up, almost made me cancel…can you say l-a-x? 😉

Now, I don’t picture my future with 12 cats as my steadfast companions; I’d like to be partnered up! Single or in a relationship, my attitude is life is short, so it’s time for lotsa travel, fun and exploration in this world.

And really, intimacy, sure does sound nice!

So, I set an intention. I actually set it across the board in my life. I realized I had been a world class struggler! If there was a challenge….boy oh boy, sign my ass up!

I decided my intention was to only enter dating and relationships (and life) if it was easy; came to me with ease, consistency and stability. Meaning, it requires absolutely no struggle. Even though I’m lazy about getting dressed up, once I do it, I love it!! Why? Because I love my boots!! And the date after all, was supplying me with a chance to wear them. 😉

I met this dude for the date at a wine store tasting.

I knew intuitively even before arriving that I needed to not focus on if he was gonna be a “superstar” and really just take notice of what I liked or learned.

It was meant to be a short date, a meet and greet, if you will. Thanksgiving was arriving and with it the hustle and bustle, so we agreed to keep it short.

I met the guy at the door, he had already ordered himself up a glass of wine…he still was shaky, but did manage a smile and a difficult hug (ease?).

What did I like so far?

That this wine store had “WINE.

Secondly, I liked the ambiance.

He walked me around and said he had a wine group he hosted there, enough so that the owner came over to us. Found the third thing I liked, 2 of the three owners own one of my fave wine places in Silverlake.

First thing I learned, was just because someone has their name on a wine label as an importer, doesn’t actually mean he’s an authority on what actually tastes good.

I fell in love more with Castelvetrano olives, once again!

Learned not all Beaujolais Nouveau are created the same…hmmm, what else?

My date explained how he brewed his own beer and now he loves wine. No more beer brewing for him. his reasons were many, starting with his ex-wife. She bought him his first brewing kit and decided she hated the smell of beer brewing, which he mentioned with a bit of disdain. Hmmm. He said beer brewing was a bit frustrating, cuz you get one little speck of yeast in it or your bottles smell like bleach and you’re screwed.

I also liked tasting one of my favorite things: manchego cheese.  

Now I did pay attention to how the conversation flowed or didn’t in this case.

We had hiking in common. That was good. Ummm….what else?

After talking to the sommelier, I learned I may just embark on a new hobby, becoming a sommelier!!!  “How fun!” Perhaps, I could become a level 1 or 2 just to take my curious self on a new adventure!

Anyone wanna join me?

So..as you can see, I learned A LOT and I liked A LOT.

I’ve learned to take a chance by saying yes, even when I much prefer staying in my yoga pants! I always know I’ll learn something or find something to like, and my date did teach me a couple of things too! He was a nice guy, just not for me and with my intention of ease, our conversation and the no chemistry meant, without a doubt, it did not fall into that category.

It still wasn’t a bad way to spend an hour. 🙂

In the garden of dating hell

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Not really. It isn’t hell. It’s a test of belief in oneself.

We all have the best intentions for ourselves and future relationships.

The idea of this “improved or very stable” version of ourselves in the context of romantic involvement with someone we love is a wonderful thought—or for some, a fantasy.

And the older you get the more it may just be a fantasy. To get out of one’s head and actually live in the moment when it comes to dating is a major challenge.

It’s how we see ourselves in our minds versus the actual experience of dating.

We forget how insecurities can overpower and overwhelm all good intentions. How wonky vulnerability can feel, especially if we’re older and have a lot of bumps and bruises under our belts.

We can spend time alone “working” on a new, improved version of this self only to find that the battle begins when we come into contact with someone we’re attracted to who could possibly fall into the future mate category. Just the thought brings out the monsters.

And there are two sides to the monster coin.

The first is our recognition that we’re done with approaching dating in the way that didn’t work for us in the past. Great! So, how do we stop the following monster repeats:

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  • >> Ending up with someone we’re sorta attracted to that pays us any attention. Thank God!
  • >> Forcing our will on someone to be with us because were so damn lonely.
  • >> Becoming needy in fearing abandonment, and being in such a hurry, we attract the same person over and over again.

Whew! No more lonely Saturday nights.

The second monster is the actual date progression. We start talking to someone online, or maybe we met them while out and about in our lives; it could even be a blind date. However we met them, when the conversation starts, the insecurities come roaring in…does he like me? Do I like her? Did I say the wrong thing? Maybe that was TMI? Ugh.

All of this head chatter is what does us in, it’s not necessarily the other person. We act out an entire relationship in our brain.

The biggest monster of course, isn’t on the coin, it stands alone with its face stamped on love currency.

It’s the self-sabotage that comes from self-protection.

Our insecurities start to build a case against the person to protect us against getting hurt.

“Was that a red flag?”

“They said this, but then contradicted themselves by saying that.”

“I always get hurt, I cannot let anyone get under my skin, because I lose control of myself.”

“If I act in this way, it will ensure I remain in control.”

There’s a long list of thoughts, which our head formulates about our current dating situation. Unfortunately, it influences our actions. It influences how open or closed we are to another. It makes us do things against ourselves and it makes us act weird.

There are people who cannot handle being alone and others who don’t know how to break out of it. And each one sabotages what they truly desire in their heart.

How does one stop the monsters from running—or I should say, ruining—one’s dating life?

1. Recognize your insecurities.

See them, feel them, allow them to come out and play. Understand we all have them and it’s okay, as long as they don’t lead you. 

If you can’t be alone without the attention of the opposite sex,stop, take some time alone and stop focusing on a gal or guy. Focus on you. What do you do for your own joy? What are your goals that you are waiting to achieve until that person walks in the door? Can you be happy now with just you?

If you’re stuck in a rut of being alone, check out the insecurities that keep your heart under lock and key. Stop looking at the opposite sex as being the force who will be in control of your heart, if you let them in your life. Find control of you and know that even if you lose control, it’s okay. Just recognizing your own process is half the battle.

2. Stay in the present moment.

When your thoughts revert to past times or you find yourself reacting to a situation with far too much emotion, realize you are not here, you are elsewhere. And on the other end, get out of the future. Do not live in “what if.” The place to calm an anxiety or worry is by being as fully present to now as you can be.

3. Don’t settle.

If you have been in a past relationship in which you settled or learned how important certain characteristics are to you, then recognize it and don’t just fall into something, because you don’t want to be alone. All you’re doing is ensuring future unhappiness or being alone at a future date.

4. Go slow.

If you’re in a hurry to get the finish line–before you really have a chance to get to know someone—then ask yourself, why? Do you just want a warm body? Do you need attention so badly? Or is it the fear that this is the last person who you may be attracted to and is available? Any of these thoughts are normal. It’s if we allow them to steer the ship. Take your time in getting to know someone, pace yourself, so that you can stay emotionally present in the moment.

5. Have fun and be spontaneous.

Yes!! Have fun!! Stop thinking and start living. Be you. All the time. No regrets, no second guessing, just pay attention to how you feel when you’re with someone. Are you digging you?

You can also read this post on elephant journal.