...and other secrets to moving on from the devastation of a broken relationship!
There can be no true chemistry in a relationship without self-esteem, and when my relationship of six years was officially over, mine was destroyed. I was absolutely ready to be single for the rest of my life.
Here’s the lie I told myself: My relationship fell apart because my boyfriend took me for granted. The truth? I didn’t let the bastard go when I should have because I was scared of saying no when he was being a jerk. I took myself for granted. I let myself down.
That lie created a mindset based on never letting a man take advantage of me like that again. I obsessed over the injustices, held on to every little resentment, and drove myself crazy because I couldn’t get through a single conversation without bringing it up.
It created an incredible amount of defensiveness in all my relationships. And I was absolutely clueless about that fact.
I listened to all the dating advice coaches - I had my vision boards, my lists of qualities, of how I wanted to feel with a man. I journaled my feelings, went on practice dates, and generally prepared myself for the triumphant experience of winning that new and something better man I’d earned the right to be with after all those years of suffering and pain.
I based everything on making sure that never happened again, and I was basically setting myself up for meeting someone who wasn’t like that guy.
During this time I meditated every day on bringing someone new into my life. The carnival of chaos that came out of those meditations culminated in an extended period of grey-area dating - juggling three different men who were emotionally unavailable and generally non-committal. Any time I pulled away they would come running back, professing love and the desire for a deep relationship. But as soon as I reciprocated they would disappear.
It was maddening, so I returned to my meditations, vision boards, and lists. Revising, revamping, and further preparing myself for my soulmate to show up. But all that happened was that these three men kept coming back.
The cycles didn’t stop until I was able to understand what was really going on - I just wasn’t ready for a relationship. I didn’t trust myself, and had completely closed down. I chose these men because they were never going to work out! It was an important experience that helped me let go of all the games I had been playing with myself and admit the deeper issue at hand.
It was totally bizarre, but after that I went through a period of time where all of the men from my past seemed to show up with the same message expressed in different ways, “It’s been a while, but you’re always on my mind. You mean so much to me. Let’s connect soon.”
I followed up in earnest with every single one of these men, exploring what was meant and what their intentions were in reaching out. And it became incredibly clear over time that these men were simply using me to boost their self-esteem. They knew I was someone would never be rude or dismissive to them, that I was the girl they could always count on to help keep their fantasies alive.
This compressed experience taught me something new about this very old and soggy dynamic - that I didn’t enjoy these interactions, but I felt obligated to reciprocate. I felt responsible to them for the attention and affection. But no more!
Once I stopped engaging in this nonsense these men dropped like flies, creating all sorts of space in my life for freedom, pleasure, and a chance at meeting someone who was actually ready for a dynamic and healthy romantic partnership instead of just an ego boost.
And that’s when the last of these men showed up. I wasn’t going to be seduced by the typical nod and wink tactics from him any more than the others. But this one didn’t run away. He kept coming back for more, until eventually we had worked ourselves into a full-blown adult relationship with communication, honesty, understanding, and commitment. Who knows if it’s going to work out, but without all that old baggage I sure am able to enjoy it a lot more.
I trust and believe that my time of being awkwardly single prepared me for something more than ‘the perfect soulmate’. It gave me time to clean up a lot of things that had been hanging around and dragging me down, so that now there’s less clutter in my relationships, and I’m not worrying about it so much.
P.S. The sex is amazing!!
Stop listening to your dating coach and get real
Your typical dating coach will tell you that you’re single because what you're doing is wrong. And if you believe that advice, all it does is whittle your self-esteem down to a mere nub, pretty much ensuring that you’re going to stay that way. That means they get to keep on dishing out the same old advice, like "sure-fire ways to get and keep a man" or “the rules of dating” - which keeps this perpetual motion machine going for eternity. Meanwhile somewhere someone has to be figuring things out for real, right?!
In my work as a Bodytalk practitioner I see lots of single people who are looking for their perfect soulmate, who want to put a stop to the madness of singles mixers, online profiles, matchmakers, and blind dates. They are looking for something different - an authentic approach to being available for intimacy.
I also see lots of people who are in relationships and are tired of the typical powerplays, manipulations, and toxic behavior that rule the dynamics of people who are there for all the wrong reasons. And they are also looking for that authentic approach to finding greater intimacy with their partners.
The experience is the same whether you are single or in a partnership - the fear of being alone is something we all have to contend with, and if you let it overtake your choices it will only serve to create a sense of misery and loneliness.
Until you get real and address the underlying fears that drive you, there can be no lasting intimacy, vulnerability, or authenticity in your life.
If you are single, understanding what drives you is how you can sustain that period of time until a good partner comes along, and will help you gain confidence and keep a sense of self-esteem that lasts!
Here’s the truth - it's not your fault that you are single. And it's completely fair that you keep trying and it hasn’t worked out yet. If you do the work and keep putting yourself out there, you absolutely will be successful. I see it over and over. My role as BodyTalk practitioner is to help hold the space for healing the imbalances that are preventing success until there is success. And it always works out! You only need to find a good partner once.
In a world of broken relationships why are we made to feel like holding out for what we want makes us defensive, difficult, or broken? Relationships are always lot of work, and finding a good partner is just the beginning.
If you are in a healthy relationship you have found someone who brings a balance of personal challenge and pleasure to your life. The more you embrace that experience, and take personal responsibility for your part, the more you will see the rewards - within yourself as well as in the relationship.
Being present and adaptable is the only strategy to cultivate pure chemistry, and chemistry is the key to satisfaction. It's irrational, it's elusive, and it's different for every relationship.
There's no amount of playing out pre-scripted scenarios that is going to win you that passionate, mind-blowing sex soulmate that you long for. But good sex within a healthy relationship is completely available to you if you're willing to figure out what you like, what you need, what your issues are, and engage in every moment without worrying if you are doing it ‘right’.
If you make a commitment to live your life in this way, you will always be happy, grounded, present, and satisfied regardless of your relationship status. Now doesn’t that just feel much better?
In this four-part series I'll share my experience of leaving a broken relationship, rebuilding my self-esteem, finding a new way to love myself, and how the process of rebuilding can bring you into places and circumstances you never imagined - but better!
Shelley Poovey lives in New York City where the grass is is green and the girls are pretty. She teaches online courses on developing intuition for people who are ready to do more fun and interesting things with their lives, and with better tools for keeping it real. She also sees clients for personal coaching with BodyTalk. Her website is www.bodyattunewellness.com.