It was a lot of money, but I hoped the reward would be worth it.
When I was 42, I thought I'd met the love of my life. But at that time, all new relationships would make me anxious. I'd been disappointed in love so many times that I started second guessing my choices in men.
I hoped Christopher would be different. He was my age, and like me had never been married. He lived in San Francisco and was visiting Los Angeles for a week. We spent most of that time together.
When he left, he promised to call and come back to see me within the month. I had only known him seven days, but our time together had been straight out of a love story. I'd tasted what it's like being with a good man, and I wanted more. Thus began my first (and last) long-distance relationship.
When he didn't call after a few days, I got scared. My anxiety got the best of me, so I picked up the phone and called him.
He was distant. He confessed he'd run into an old girlfriend. She thought they should give their relationship another chance. He wasn't sure how he felt about her and was confused about our situation; he really liked me and didn't know what to do. He said he needed time to think.
I should have ended the relationship then, but I didn't. I was overcome with the fear of losing him. There was only one thing I could think of to relieve my pain—I called a psychic.
She assured me Christopher was indeed my "soul mate". He cared for me deeply and would make the decision to be with me soon. I clung to her words desperately. They gave me hope.
Christopher made plans on two different occasions to come see me. Both times he cancelled at the last minute.
A year flew by and I was still waiting for Christopher. He continued to make hollow promises and I continued to believe him. But my interest in Christopher only grew stronger.
Then a friend excitedly told me about a reading she had with a psychic named Lola. I felt an old familiar pull to relieve myself of the pain of my uncertainty. I wanted answers about my future with Christopher. So, I called her and made an appointment.
When Lola opened the door a small shock of fear ran through me. She was an imposing woman who filled the doorway. Something about her put me on alert. But then she smiled warmly and ushered me into her living room. Everything about her was intense, especially her eyes.
I felt that she was sizing me up. Her commanding presence made me feel vulnerable. Before I knew it, I was telling her everything about Christopher, my years of bad luck with men and how desperately I wanted to get married.
She abruptly brought our meeting to an end, informing me that she would meditate on my problem and call me the next day.
She finally phoned me back two days later. She told me she had good news, so I hurried back to see her.
When I arrived, she declared that beyond any doubt Christopher was my soul mate. I wasn't with him because I had a "curse" on me that had been passed down from my ancestors. Once this curse was lifted, I would be married to Christopher in no time.
I didn't believe in curses, at least I didn't think I did. But what if she was right and this explained my inability to find a husband?
I had no need to worry, she told me, because (of course) she had a foolproof plan to counter my curse; she'd take care of everything psychically and promised to get Christopher to me within two months, guaranteed.
All I had to do was give her $5,000. Cash.
I was desperate, but not so naive to hand over money without some kind of assurance. I asked if she would she return the money to me if he didn't come to LA in that time. She looked me in the eye and said, "yes".
I couldn't get to the bank fast enough.
Three days later, Lola had a beautiful storefront office on Sunset Boulevard, paid for by yours truly.
Meanwhile, I waited. I continued to talk to Christopher, but nothing changed. I didn't dare tell him about Lola and her prediction.
As time was running out, Lola cautioned me to remain patient. She also dropped hints that if things didn't turn out as she predicted, it would be my fault, not hers. If I didn't have faith, it could keep him away.
I tried desperately to believe she could do what she promised, but my better judgment started to emerge.
The two months passed—and Christopher did not arrive at my door. I called Lola and for the first time got her voicemail. The woman who always picked up the phone when I called was suddenly unavailable.
I went to her office unannounced, walked in and asked for my money back.
She said she'd done her job and that he was still coming to LA. She then pushed me out the door as another client was coming in. She promised to call later and explain.
She never called.
I knew my relationship with Christopher was over. I wrote him a good-bye letter and told him not to call me.
My relationship with Lola was over as well. I'd never get my money back and it was my own fault. I had fantasies of throwing rocks through her window for deceiving me. But in the end, I knew I'd deceived myself and created my own suffering.
I'd let desperation take the place of common sense. I chose wishful thinking over truth. Most importantly, I'd asked someone else to tell me what was true for me, something only I could know myself. It was time to move on. I chose to think of my $5,000 not as a loss, but as a sign to the universe of just how much I wanted a partner. I made a solemn promise to myself; I would never again let anyone tell me who was right for me.
That promise changed my life. Two weeks later I met my future husband. This time I didn't need a psychic to know he was my soul mate.
Virginia Clark is a relationship coach for single women. This is a condensed version of a chapter from her book It's Never Too Late To Marry.