As the change of seasons is occurring, a crisp Fall nip is in the air here in beautiful Bucks County, PA. When this journey began with relationship coach Lori Ann Davis who appears in the series called Radical Dating, it was Springtime, and blossoms were ripening and opening on both the trees and in my life. I was excited and a bit nervous about developing more than a casual interest and leaving to random chance, the prospect of meeting someone with whom I could create a long-term partnership. As a therapist, journalist, minister, and presenter whose work is all about relationships, I questioned how it could possibly be all theoretical. When I examine my life, I am grateful that I have wonderful family and friends who are my treasures. I get to do work that I love. I have exciting adventures to go on. I have a seemingly never-ending source of inspiration. I am taking better care of myself than ever before, following a series of health crises. I am aware of all the love that surrounds me, even if I don’t always take it in. And in the midst of all of that, there is this overarching, “and yet….” (she sighs wistfully) I desire a partner to share this with me.
A few days ago, I watched the debut of Radical Dating and a few thoughts came to me immediately. One was how proud I was of my friend Betsy Chasse who created it, as I know it will help many who are welcoming the love of their life, and I clapped my hands with giddy delight and thought, “That’s my Lori Ann doing one of the things she does best,” when she appeared on screen. It was one of those moments that occur often for me when someone I know shines. It’s like being a proud mama. The Yiddish word for that is ‘kvelling.”
I was also taken by how much the women who were featured, sounded just. like. me. They each had full, rich lives that they didn’t want to relinquish as a trade-off for partnership. That has been a long time fear. Since being widowed nearly 19 years ago, I have worked hard to re-create the woman who used to be a chameleon and co-dependent caregiver in the erroneous belief that she had to earn love, or at least, not lose it. I have let go of former inhibiting habits in favor of life-enhancing ones. I am surrendering the role of peacemaker-at-all-costs. The challenge I have faced is that there is still this lingering thought that there is something wrong with me or this picture that after all of these years, I have yet to meet someone with whom I could see co-creating a lifelong partnership. I question if this person is really out there. I have engaged in ‘almost…not quite…’ relationships and in some cases, created dear friendships as a result. I have walked away from unhealthy interactions, proud that I didn’t let them linger and learned what I didn’t want as much as what I did want.
That was the theme of my most recent session with Lori Ann. She asked me a pointed question about whether I was sure that Universal Law was reliable, that when we cast out there into the world, what we desire, it will eventually show up in some form or fashion. Since I am a visionary who has manifested objects, money, opportunities, connections with resources and people at the speed of thought, I told her that I did indeed believe. So, what was so different about this one concept? My answer was that I had no control over when he would show up. Her guidance was to hold fast to my vision and keep moving in the direction where we would eventually come together. My ‘yes, but’ mind protested that if I was to plot a course for a trip, I knew that the destination wouldn’t move and that I would likely get there at a particular time unless there was the occasional detour, accident or construction. Most times I arrive at my destination when I think I will. It doesn’t feel like that on the relationship journey. I suppose that the answer is to enjoy the ride and the sightseeing along the way. She encouraged me to have a casual attitude about it, with the trio of concepts, “Don’t know when don’t know how don’t know who.”
I admit that over the years, I have put the welcome mat out and then pulled it back in. I have left the front door wide open and then closed it and hid behind it; sometimes bolting it shut and stacking furniture against it, fearing I would re-create the worst from my past. I have laughed at the absurdity that my radar and Spidey Sense would be that offline to ever permit that. I have gotten better at spotting dysfunction as soon as it shows up.
I told her that after a long day at work, it would be lovely to have a partner who would have cooked dinner and was there for me as we shared a relaxing evening of mutual pampering. Instead, I thought, after taking care of clients all day, what if I still needed to be ‘on’ once I got home to take care of him? Although my husband did do the cooking and was nurturing, for many years, I took care of him following the diagnosis of Hepatitis C.
I shared a story with Lori Ann about a couple I married many years ago. He had just purchased his first home as a single man. He walked in the door once the deal was done and papers were signed. He tossed his keys on the kitchen table and called out, “Hi, honey, I’m home!” to no one who was visible but clearly waiting in the wings to greet him since soon after that, he met the woman who would become his wife.
I agreed to engage in the same ritual, so for the past few days, I have been doing that when I enter the house. Soon, I anticipate that my sweetie will be there to answer with hugs and smooches and a “Welcome home, I’ve been waiting for you.”
This post was previously published on huffpost.com.
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welcome home, dating, relationship, love, life lessons, radical dating