Pretty loaded title, no? Bit degrading too, maybe? Well, I used to be that girl, so I think I’m allowed to say it. Who am I kidding? That girl is still inside me somewhere and if you grew up without your dad, maybe read on or listen to the second episode of my podcast: Bitch, Breathe! Little Girls with Daddy Issues here.
Anyway, why am I talking about this? Let’s start with the obvious just real quick: I grew up without my father, my whole life. He was out of the picture before I even came into it. “So far so good”, I always thought. “Can’t miss something you never knew!”, I thought. My mom was a great mom, though not always an easy relationship either (episode 3 of the podcast about moms and daughters, coming soon!). Family to me was a group of 2 people versus 3 or more. End of story.
I lived with that philosophy for a good twenty-something years. But when my second marriage ended and I, for good measure, followed that relationship up with a rather self-destructive 1-year romance (total misnomer), I figured, I’m going to have to take a good look at some of my unconscious beliefs and choices, if I want to stop dating a certain kind of guy. You know the type: successful (or at least s/he says s/he is), charming, takes really good care of all those little needs you have, treats you like a queen, promises lifelong fidelity, wants to marry you two weeks into the relationship, you are the answer to all of his*her prayers. Must I spell it out? Ok, l will: Narcissists welcome, little girl all alone over here!
So, what do we do to stop that tired and clichéd pattern? How can we make a conscious choice and, more importantly, BE ATTRACTED to an equally conscious and kind partner? Well, I don’t really have just one answer for you there. If I did, I’d be a best-selling author and rich (working on those). What I do have, are a few tools that I developed after several years of soul searching and exploring, of doing the inner work to love myself and act accordingly. Maybe you call bullsh…but maybe, just maybe, there’s a way out of this repetitive dating and mating fiasco. Here’s what I propose:
- The Slow Burn
At the beginning of a new relationship, try not to text and talk and see each other as often as you feel the need! I understand at the beginning there is this exciting obsession with the other person but what if you put time and space between you, you can observe not only your own behaviour but also his, without the hormonal madness driving the addiction-related frontal cortex of your brain. Really step back, take a meta-perspective, and see what can only be seen from a distance. Basically what I’m saying, it is if you feel the need to text and to call, ask yourself why you’re doing that. If it is just because you need a thrill, maybe just refrain. Wait. Do things you love Don’t answer the second you receive a message! Meet people whose company you also enjoy and let this new person simply be an addition to your already interesting life. As one of my spiritual teachers likes to say: You have enough light all by yourself. Thank you Rachel!
- This Does not have to Work
This particular tool was absolutely key for me. And to be honest it isn’t even my invention! I was talking to some friends and telling them just how anxious I was about this new relationship I was having and I was obsessing over what he had, or had not written in his texts. At some point my girlfriend said: “Ricardia this doesn’t have to work. This may not be the only person you’re ever going to date. There could and there will be others, if there need to be. So why don’t you just try to enjoy it?” Pause. Ouch, that’s true. Isn’t it good to know that this person does not have to be THE ONE, for me to BE HAPPY?
- Get Uncomfortable
Yes, this does not sound like a whole lot of fun. What I came to realize though, was that I was going to have to find a way to open up towards this new person and explain that I feel a little anxious about this new relationship sometimes. In my case, I would just share some of my insecurities and see what he said. You don’t have to tell him the full scope of the bad relationships you’ve had, unless you feel it is time to do so? It may well not ever be that time, if it isn’t aiding you in moving forward. But sharing what concerns you is a great way to build trust and to make yourself vulnerable, I found. It also positively changed the way my partner began to interact with me as well. Win-win!
What are some of the ways, you have been able to make more conscious choices in your dating life? Do you identify with the little girl with daddy issues or is that totally not how you would describe yourself? Let me know in the comments section and thanks for reading! Sending love!