I have been proposed to 9 times (one of them quite seriously on the first date and several others within a few weeks). But I wasn’t in love with most of them. I have also been married twice and engaged a 3rd time. I didn’t manipulate, lie to, use, or lead on any of them. With both of my divorces I took nothing and got nothing… financially. What I did unknowingly do, however, was put on a façade of “perfect,” one that made men drop to their knee thinking they had so easily found the “ideal woman.” Because that’s what I was putting out and putting on. But I am truly far far from perfect. And my saying all of this to you is by no means an attempt to show off. Keep reading. I’m about to get real. (Find out ALL about my experiences, plus LOTS of dating advice so you don’t make the same mistakes in my new book “Screwing The Rules; The No-Games Guide to Love“)
When we first met, I was fun, spontaneous, happy, passionate, adventurous, nurturing, dedicated, interesting and interested. We had deep conversations during which almost every guy revealed secrets that they “oh my God, I’ve never felt comfortable enough to tell anyone that before…” I loved making my man happy and creating an environment of safety and trust within which he could be wholly himself.
I shared too. A bit. But I had what I called a “false bottom.” I knew how vulnerable I was willing to get, but didn’t expose the true grit, the pain, the weakness, the shame that lay just beneath what I allowed to be seen.
These guys felt that they were in love with me. But they weren’t. They were in love with the idea of me. The flawless me. The façade of me. What was interesting was that when I eventually rediscovered my self, became firm in my core values, confident in my vulnerability, and unafraid to expose my truth from date one, my relationships shifted. They became more meaningful. I could tell that men were falling for me- the real and raw me. And I was falling in love with them too.
We all have a façade. We put it on and out for public consumption as a protective mechanism. It’s a side of use, but it’s not who we are at our core.
And I’m not the only one who does it. As a dating coach I see this every single day. New clients will come to me wondering why:
- They continue to go on first dates that never lead to a second because they just don’t feel anything for the guy.
- After 3-5 amazing dates, during which they may have even had sex (and it was good!) he mysteriously is over her and ends it.
- They are in unequal relationships within which he feels much more deeply for her and she’s just “not there yet.”
- They have never truly been in love.
With every single one of these clients I ask “do you get raw on the first or second date?” in other words: do you open up, reveal your true self, get a little vulnerable, connect through stories instead of surface level bullshit?
And do you know what almost every single one of them say? “No.” Why?
-Because she doesn’t trust him yet.
-He hasn’t proven himself yet.
-He doesn’t deserve that type of emotional intimacy yet.
-Or some have the same reason I did, the same reason that kept me emotionally distant and shut down: “I don’t know who I truly am or how to open up.” And that is both sad and scary. It’s also common. Many of us have walled up and shut down due to old emotional scar tissue, the remnants of unhealthy relationships that conditioned us to hide ourselves in order to be “well behaved” or avoid a fight. After years or sometimes just months of the learned behavior, it became ingrained as we lost our sense of self, and sometimes even our self worth. As I did.
My two marriages occurred when I was still young- 21 years old and then again at 24. I was playing by “the rules” of dating and relationship engagement. My husbands were both good men. They just, in the end, were not good for me at the time. But then I entered a string of extremely unhealthy relationships that left me unsure of all I had before “known” to be. Including the definition of me. I shelled over, iced up, became cold and vacant. I knew what to do and how to act in order to turn guys on. But I left one very important element out of the equation: me. It’s not that I intended to hide who I was. I had no idea how to show it. I had learned to withhold my dirty “truths,” my weakness, my fears, my failures, my shame. And instead I presented the perfect façade, still with an understanding that in order to get men to open up- which I wanted them to because I wanted to truly know them, I needed to be “vulnerable” too… to an extent.
And after this long lead up let me tell you the crux of the problem: Because my heart was closed, I was unable to fall in love. If you don’t decide to open your heart- and the most direct route to heart opening is through showing vulnerability, then you will not be able to feel for another.
You are also not allowing yourself to be truly loved. Because it’s the quirks, the overcame obstacles, the HUMANITY that make people truly lovable and allow others to deeply and authentically fall in love. Sure, men are attracted to confidence. But it’s “weakness,” or rather vulnerability, that they fall in love with. This is also the reason why so many women who put on “perfect” in the first 3-5 dates end up dumped for “no reason.” The actual reason is that they were forgettable. They weren’t layered and multi-faceted. Really, they were too perfect!
Still men and women continue to be lured in by these facades every single day, thinking they have found the unicorn- the perfect person who is fun and nice and adventurous and hot and loving and nurturing… all the time! They are “never” challenging or emotional or sad or angry or shut down or “normal”… ever! Isn’t it grand?! No. It’s not. It’s fake.
So Screw the Rules, drop the façade, enough with the manipulative games. If you want to find real love, get real, get vulnerable, get raw- even on the first date.