Dear Nina: I've read your book, Temptations of the Single Girl, and I'm getting ready to read Be Your Own Dating Service and I really need your advice. I'm 43 years old and until a year ago, I have never been in a relationship, and I mean never. I wish I knew why, people tell me I'm attractive. I have had some weight issues, which could be one reason why men weren't attracted to me.
It hasn't been from my lack of trying. I've known and liked different men over the years, but I guess I just wasn't choosing the right ones because they never reflected those feelings back to me, and I've never been asked out.
When I was 39, I had LapBand surgery, lost 80 pounds in a year, had a tummy tuck and a breast lift, and went blonde. Shortly after that, I met my first boyfriend and we were together a year before he suddenly ended the relationship. After 8 months of grieving, I'm ready to move on and find a new love.
In your book, you emphasize how important it is to truly get to know your potential love and one way to do that is to ask a lot of questions about past relationships. I'm experiencing extreme anxiety over how I'm going to respond when that person starts asking about my past. If I tell them the truth, I know they're going to think something is wrong with me…how can I be in my forties and never had a relationship????? I already feel like a freak and really need help on how to handle this. Thanks so much for your time and assistance. — Maggie
First of all, I want to acknowledge you for all that you've accomplished in turning your life around — way to go!! Many women in your position would have given up. But you are persevering, and that is the key to success in any area of life. Now to your question.
I suspect that weight was only part of your issue in the past. Experience has taught me that barriers to relationships are on the inside, and those need to be addressed along with the confidence issues from being overweight. Your "make-overs" and subsequent weight loss helped you gain some confidence which helped you attract a man. Great progress, but your insecurity about telling your story tells me that you still have work to do on the inside.
Here's the bottom line: when two people meet who feel good about themselves and have something to offer one another, they connect. Their "stories" are simply that — their stories. Sharing your stories brings you closer because you understand one another better. Is it possible you'll meet men who judge you to be unworthy of love because your experience is minimal? Yes, and those would be the wrong men. BTW, you HAVE had a relationship — don't discount that. A lot of men would see it as an asset that you haven't been around the block a hundred times with various other men.
What you need to focus on is anchoring your worth as a woman: the unique gifts that you bring to the world, what you have to offer a man (your loving heart, the ability to be devoted and committed, etc.), and your vision for a joyful life with a special person. Yes, tell your story, in "sound bites" at first, on a more detailed level as you get closer to a special man. Don't sacrifice your authentic voice — it's essential for a healthy relationship.
I would suggest that you utilize a good therapist and/or life coach to help you anchor these things, and let go of the limiting beliefs that may be holding you back. I have a great life coach on my staff. She is trained by me, the only Certified Singlescoach. You can get more information and sign up by clicking here.
Stay on your path, Maggie! My sense is that you'll be happily in love soon, as long as you understand your worth, refuse to settle for crumbs, and hold out for the banquet.
About the author: Nina Atwood, M.Ed., LPC, is a nationally known psychotherapist, author of five self-help books, and frequent expert media guest. Read Nina's transformational books; for women — Temptations of the Single Girl: The Ten Dating Traps You Must Avoid, and for men — Date Like a CEO: Leadership in Life and Love for Men. To successfully date online, get Nina’s $0.99 cent eBook Internet Dating for the Savvy Single. Get loads of free advice at singlescoach.com
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