Edward did not have a happy track record when it came to emotional and physical satisfaction in relationships. His marriage was based on an appearance of love, but it was service oriented. You know the old routine—you bring home the money and I will cook and clean for you and that’s about it. Twenty-five years of it. By the time Edward left his marriage he was so emotionally and touch starved that he had no idea that he deserved love or that someone might find him desirable. He certainly had never felt desirable.
As his coach, I created with him a game plan that started with helping him discover what he loved to do. What gave him pleasure and satisfaction with and without a partner? Each week he tried new things. We set up ten new events or activities with the purpose of him discovering himself, things like driving to Sheboygan and walking on the beaches alone. He used to love to dance when he was young and had not been dancing in twenty-five years, since he got married. His assignment was to go dancing at a variety of different clubs and to begin experiencing and noticing the difference in the energy and types of people each place attracted.
Next up was ethnic restaurants and trying exotic foods. Then interesting and mind-expanding events like spiritual and metaphysical meetings and classes. Edward soon found that his mind had always known many of these spiritual truths but he had never been around any other people who talked about them. He had stayed rigidly involved and committed to a traditional church and again was in service to that particular religious community. He began to enjoy going to different churches and discovering interesting and stimulating people with views of life that were true to his soul. He began resonating with completely new types of people, many of whom in the past he would have held various judgments against because they were different. Now, he was realizing that deep inside he was more different than he had ever given himself permission to be. He began to enjoy life and laugh and have fun and love people. His profound compassion for people was finding a place in the world and he was beginning to radiate love. This, of course, made him a much more desirable man.
Love Lesson: When we find out what makes us happy individually and we begin to treat ourselves every day to doing the things that make us happy, we stop depending on someone else to make us happy.
Edward began to feel “in control” of his life. He no longer had to work all week long to hand over his paycheck and hope his wife would give him a crumb of affection. He was getting hugged and loved every Sunday at church and every night when he went out dancing. Edward was creating a great new life. But, he missed having someone to come home to and take care of; his basic nature is monogamous and nurturing. He really loved having a home and one woman to love.
In coaching, we began to set up a way to evaluate and identify what he valued about each new woman he was meeting as he was going out dancing. He had a few six-week intense discovery relationships and the most important thing he discovered was himself.
One time he choose a woman who mirrored back to him exactly what he used to be like. He was always very compassionate and orderly and clean, but there was a time in his life when he was emotionally unwell and he became fearful and compulsive. His natural compassion and past experience with himself helped this woman as she faced a scary physical problem and he totally supported her and tended to her needs. In this, however, he recognized how he was in his marriage, in a cramped and fear-filled space, and he also saw the red alarms of totally surrendering himself to taking care of another.
I suggested that he keep some perspective on his needs and to continue to date another woman who he was very attracted to because she was so bright and bubbly and fun. It didn’t take very long for him to realize how much healthier and happier he felt with the woman who was bubbly. She was happy with her life because she felt fully in control. She knew what she liked and she gave herself permission to do it. She had her own home and had created a very active and fun filled social life with healthy people who enjoyed and appreciated her. This gave him the chance to compare the old Edward with the possibilities of the new Edward he was creating.
One day we evaluated the things about his mother and his sister and his former wife and any of the women he had dated that he found positive and appealing. We created a list of very desirable characteristics that he would like to have in a relationship with a healthy and attractive woman who desired him and wanted to create a life with him. Within five days of separating from the woman who mirrored his past fearful self he met a woman that fulfilled everything he desired. They are now engaged and living very happily together. She completely appreciates his profound spiritual depth and knows just how to lighten him up with her wonderful sparkly laughter and help him to play more.
Edward, like us all, deserved everything that is good in life. In spite of twenty-five years of being neglected and rejected, he maintained his finest quality of always looking for the good and the beauty in everyone. He is a tremendously compassionate man and the woman who spends the rest of her life with him will be very lucky and very loved.