About 12 years ago, a very nice, 55 year old exhausted woman came to me with a very special request. She was a nurse and she worked 12 hour night shifts in the Emergency departments of two hospitals. She told me a story of her life so far. She had married as a virgin 30 years prior. At 17, her husband appeared to be attentive, attractive and good husband material. As their relationship progressed, her husband’s attentiveness evolved into very controlling, emotionally unavailable, demanding, jealous behavior. Because she was of the generation before the baby-boomers, she accepted that her marriage was for life and that she would just have to live with the abuse as long as it wasn’t physical. Because he didn’t work, they struggled financially for many years and just recently their 3 adult children had left the nest. After a serious battle with spine and brain cancer, he had died about a year prior, leaving her with several hundred thousand dollars in medical bills. That explains the two jobs and exhaustion. Rose asked me if I would help her to get married again, but this time she wanted a man who would take care of her.
I agreed to coach her as long as she was willing to do whatever it took to grow her awareness and self-esteem in order to raise the bar for potential suitors. So we began our journey that started with an assessment of Rose’s current status.
She was overweight, out of shape, with gray hair, thick glasses, very little self-esteem, and absolutely no knowledge of dating, men or sex as anything but a marital duty. The first thing that we did was shop for clothes and some basic makeup. We planned a fitness regime that included a nutritional plan. I told her she needed to stop working so much and get a different job that didn’t require her to work every night because it would be difficult to meet potential men partners working nights. Most people socialize in the evenings because they have daytime jobs. She changed jobs and began working as a critical care transport nurse for an ambulance company. She was then on-call 10 -24 hour shifts per month and had approximately 20 days per month to pursue a relationship.
She was very excited about the future prospects and decided that she was ready for a man. She first chose the mechanic that she and her husband had patronized for many years. He was a coach of her grand-daughter’s softball team. She began to pay attention to him. Unfortunately, though he was appreciative of the chocolate chip cookies and new attention he was receiving; he was not interested and didn’t produce results for her. In truth, he didn’t really acknowledge that she was alive.
This took a few weeks for her to realize on her own. When she finally got that he was not it she was able to declare NEXT!