Fear of intimacy

relationship, marriage, husband, wife, dating, therapy, psychology, self-helpRecently I came to the stunning realization that I have been pursuing unavailable men as a way of avoiding intimacy. The conclusion was reached with the help of a therapist, but not in some earth-shattering way. She made an offhand remark, almost under her breath, while I was describing to her yet another crush of mine over a man whom I knew was attracted to me but was unavailable for a relationship (he had a girlfriend). The words she spoke rocked me to my core but they should have been so obvious: “maybe you have a fear of intimacy,” she suggested.

And with those words the habits of a lifetime came clear to me. I have consistently sought out emotionally unavailable men, including my ex-husband, because they did not require of me to get close to them in any meaningful way. And the bonus is I got to blame it all on the them! I learned from another therapist (I”m not seeing multiple therapists – this was at a retreat) that the feeling of “longing” I subject myself to with unavailable men is a “yearning for Daddy” and is extremely common among women with emotionally distant fathers. Bingo! Talk about an empowering discovery. Now I am done with fantasy relationships or hoping for more from men who are not capable of sharing their hearts or even their time. I am learning so much from my slow return to the dating life. If a man takes three days to get back to me, that’s information, a preview of the level of attention I can expect to receive in a relationship with him. And guess what? It’s simply not enough.

Feeling your feelings

Right now I’m in this place where I’m feeling my feelings. Feeling my feelings? What? Well, I’m learning how to observe my emotions without judging them and even taking information from them that might be useful for me as I move forward on my journey. I used to do everything I could to stifle my emotions; I found them inconvenient and annoying more than anything. I didn’t understand that anger could be anything other than rage, so I was afraid of it and stifled it until it came out in inappropriate ways.

Now I know that anger is the body’s way of providing information and making it difficult not to act. Anger may be telling you that your boundaries are being violated and you need to establish them more firmly or let go of a person or situation that is repeatedly trampling on those boundaries. Anger has generally been a sign to me that I have not been treated the way I deserve, that my feelings were being minimized or invalidated, and I used to accept that and move along. Now, I insist on being treated with dignity and know that my feelings are worthy of validation. I have a right to my feelings! We all do and there are no good feelings or bad feelings…they just are.

Now, if I share my feelings and someone tries to tell me I’m overreacting or I don’t have a right to feel that way, I begin to question whether that person is a positive force in my life. Maybe they need to deal with their own problems around feeling their feelings. Me, I am seeking out others who can be honest and forthright about their emotions, who are not afraid to tell the truth about how they feel, and who will not make me feel bad for having a feeling that might be “inconvenient”.

Setting an intention

relationship, marriage, husband, wife, man, womanI’ve set an intention and it’s a big one. I’m afraid to put it out there but I know I have to if I have a hope of it coming true, or “manifesting” as they say in the spiritual/law of attraction community. The book I bought by Katherine Woodward, Calling in ‘The One’┬áis an amazing course on clearing away obstacles to love and, like everything else, it all starts within. I’ve recently completed a ritual in which I wrote on little pieces of paper all the blocks to love in my life that I intend to clear…and then I burned them! I’ve never done anything ritualistic like that and it was really empowering and symbolic and I felt like it created a shift inside me. I am more relaxed and grateful since that exercise, anyway.

The next step is to set an intention for your love life. The author used her own example of being 40 years old and never married and setting the intention that she would be engaged by her next birthday, which at the time was only eight months away. She chose a supportive friend with whom to share her intention so she’d have a witness to keep her on her path. Sure enough, the author met and became engaged to her great love about a month before her intended date. It sounds like a miracle but a Course in Miracles says miracles happen every day and I believe that’s true. Our thoughts are incredibly powerful and in fact determine our reality.

I was surprised at how incredibly difficult and humbling it was for me to set my intention. I realize how concerned I am with what people think and expressing my intention to another person was difficult because it left me open to the vulnerability of another person knowing my hopes and dreams. I realized in that moment how much I hated to share my innermost feelings with another person and that is exactly the thing I need to embrace in order to find love. Vulnerability is my key word and I need to be open to it if I am to live the life I imagine and desire.

So my intention is that I will be engaged to be married by August of 2012. A few months ago I did the Passion Test and one of my five passions was to be “married to an amazing man”. Now it’s time to get serious about making that happen. As difficult as it was, I called a trusted friend and told her my intention. Contrary to what I had anticipated she did not a) laugh at me b) pretend she didn’t hear and change the subject c) tell me all the reasons my intention was ridiculous or d) ask if I was drunk. Instead she replied “I think it’s important to have an intention for what you want in your life…so that’ll mean a Spring wedding.” So, now I have my witness. My part is to go forward with this intention and actively engage in behaviours and activities that will bring it closer to fruition.

Have you ever set an intention?

Published in: on December 12, 2011 at 4:18 pm  Comments (2)  

Not a love match made in heaven

dating, relationship, man, single woman, match.com, internet

Well, I’ve called in one and it definitely wasn’t The One! I’ve told you guys that I’ve been reading a book about learning how to love and accept yourself so you can draw in a lover who is just right for you: law of attraction type of stuff. At the same time I’ve done the unthinkable (for me anyway) and signed up for an internet dating service (it’s a big one: maybe you can guess). The response has been kind of spotty with lots of winks and “likes” on my photos, the occasional email exchange without any follow-up and one guy who was totally randy and only wanted to talk dirty all the time. His second email to me read: “I really want to get naked with you. Am very attracted.” He even invited me to check out a “hot picture” of himself that he took for me… so we may have been entering Wiener territory, I’m not sure.

Then a cute, younger guy sent me a very nice email. The age difference was significant so I wrote back and mentioned that I am ten years older than his upper limit on his profile so he may have made a mistake. Perhaps that’s my low (let’s call it developing) self-esteem talking but I just wanted to be clear. He wrote back and said “No mistake” and he’d like to get to know me better. He asked for my phone number right away but I wanted to wait until I knew him better for security reasons. I want to stay true to my new boundaries and not bust them up all over again looking for the approval of a man.

After a few pleasant exchanges he asked once again for my phone number and I obliged. The very next morning he sent me a text saying hello. I thought that was nice although wondered why ask for my phone number if you’re going to continue typing. I also have a boundary with men in which I don’t exchange text messages. Although I was tempted to return his text again because I feared he might go away if I didn’t, I held fast to my new rule and reminded myself that I deserve a nice good morning text without being obliged to return it. Also, I want to start as I mean to go on. If I have set a boundary in which I don’t engage in texting with men, I must send the right message from the beginning.

Later in the day he phoned me and I got a voice mail message which sounded very nice. He said hello and asked me to call him back when I could. At that point I was off to pick up my children from school and spend the remainder of the evening with them. So I made a mental note to call this much younger man about 9:30 after my children were tucked in bed. Right in the middle of bedtime rituals, my phone rang again and I had the feeling it was him. I was on my way to the phone but got there on the last ring and missed the call. Immediately, a text came in that read “What was the point of this?” This, less than a day after I have given him my phone number.

I really wanted to ignore him but I know how that feels when you think someone is playing games with you (although I’d usually wait at least three days before getting upset about it!) So I called him back expecting him to be a little sheepish or embarrassed, even apologetic. All the men I’ve dealt with do their best to keep their cool. Instead he was mad and started in on me right away. All of a sudden, I knew what it felt like to be a man! And it didn’t feel good. I have read so many dating advice books that say “always let him know you are happy he called” and now I know why! It feels crappy to call someone and have them be mad at you. I’m not sure if I ever did that to a man before but I’m never going to do it again. I’m taking it as a really good lesson, and in case you haven’t guessed, I told this young man we’re not a good “match”.

Do you have any interesting internet dating stories?