Yay! I am now a graduate of the Fit4Love dating coaching program and I think I am the perfect poster child for this course. While I’ve only been on one date, I feel so prepared and confident which is definitely NOT how I felt when I started this back in August. More specifically:
- I’ve stopped blaming myself for my divorce. This is major progress. This is something I’ve struggled with for a long time because I did initiate my divorce. My coach, Sheila Paxton helped me understand that the blame was something I was holding over myself. Through the various instruments used during the program I came to see that I lost respect for my husband because of his behavior. He was responsible for his behavior, not me.
- I’ve opened up. I get into conversations more easily now and I’m more approachable, more friendly. I credit smiling for this and it’s like a daily dose of medicine. Smiling just makes me feel happier.
- I have more confidence. I am who am and I can honor my talents to the fullest. I don’t have to downplay them to make myself attractive to others. It’s hard to explain but I feel more relaxed, more at ease, more comfortable.
- I know my values. The basic premise of Fit4Love is that compatibility is highly correlated to being matched on values. I think people often use ‘expectations’ to describe values and then talk about setting expectations too high and having to lower them when they get frustrated with the dates they’re getting. I’ve learned that I lowered my self-expectations/compromised my values significantly over the past twenty years and the end result was losing myself. Not going to do that again.
- I’ve learned about intentionality. The women I’ve interviewed who seemed to thrived the best after divorce, are those that recognized they had choices, that they had control even when the rug had been pulled from underneath them. They made conscious and deliberate choices. The same applies to dating. I love this because it’s very empowering, for me. I have control. I can be the chooser. This is a very different model than the culture in which I was raised.
- I’m comfortable talking about dating. Given all the conversations my coach and I have had, I’m now armed with the language of dating and don’t feel clumsy talking about it. I’ve been able to tell friends that I’m ready to date and to ask them to introduce me to any single friends they think I’d get along with. Then when they ask me, what I’m looking for, I have my values all ready instead of being vague and saying, “Well, you know, someone like me ..” So far, everyone I’ve asked has beamed at me, congratulated me and said they’d be happy to help.
- I’ve learned the interpersonal skills I use in other settings apply to dating and practicing those skills will bring benefits all round. It’s not that I don’t have the skills but more that they’re a little rusty.
I’ve also learned the importance of having a dating vision. Unlike back in my twenties, it doesn’t mean making sure I have a date every weekend. It doesn’t mean feeling anxious because I don’t have a date. I have a rich and full life as a single woman. I’m very comfortable with being alone and I also enjoy socializing. My vision of dating is about enjoying the journey of meeting new people with shared values and eventually, meeting a gentleman who I can’t imagine living without.
I’m enough of a realist to know that it may take some time and I may get frustrated by that. When that happens I’m going to come back here and read this, remind myself that not having met ‘the one’ doesn’t meaning compromising on my values, it means managing my expectations around dating.
Even though the formal part of the program is over, my coach has given me a lifeline … I can email her or call her anytime and that’s very reassuring. I’ve also downloaded their RU4Me iPhone app which helps you objectivity compare dates to your values, not only spotlighting mismatches and red flags but also highlighting areas where more conversation is warranted.
Oh .. I’m so looking for this …
Disclosure: Fit4Love has waived the fee for my participation in the Fit4Love program but Fit4Love has no editorial influence or rights over the posts I’m writing.
Photo credit: joshbousel