Do You Struggle With Online Dating?

Do You Struggle With Online Dating?

I sat in front of Emma. She was a white-haired lady with a colorful hat and vibrant blue eyes. I was ready for a new relationship, and, being an introvert, I needed advice on how to find him. Emma looked at me. She said, online dating in is the way to go. I was skeptical. Online dating? Really? I had never done this before. I took a deep breath and decided to go out of my comfort zone and give it my best try. How can I judge it if I never tried it?

Experiment with Online Dating

Over the next months, I gave my best try, and I was creative. I used different platforms and read articles on how to use it the best way. I do not know how many hours I spent there looking at the profiles and trying to find a connection. Often, it was impossible. I felt bored. The two phrase description did not really give me any hint or any excitement to talk to the man behind the profile. I got more and more frustrated. I didn’t really find a way to connect with men in a meaningful way. The conversations were superficial, sometimes confusing. If these are the only men out there, I’d rather stay single.

When I evaluated my progress after several months, It was not all negative but I had only one positive experience: I went on a date with one man and we had a good conversation, however, there was no spark. Overall, I had lost interest in looking at any profiles at all. I had a sense that it was just a waste of time.

Is Online Dating Really True to You?

Was online dating really the right way for me? Did it really feel true to me? My inner voice said clearly no. In many ways, it contradicts my personality. I hate chatting and small talk, and I do not have the time for casual dating. What other options do I have to meet new men? I have met my ex-partners either at work or at some leisure activity I love. This way, I got to know them first before we went on a date. I don’t think that we can force when we will meet our partner. People come into our lives and we have to get to each other before we can decide whether we are a good fit for a relationship. It takes time to get to know somebody. People may wear masks for the first couple of months, but the true face normally shows up after a while. I do not want to have an illusion but a real experience.

How would you love to meet new people?

My introvert’s dream would be to meet my partner on a bench during a walk. However, this is an unlikely option. I definitely will not meet him while sitting at home. Therefore, I decided to become more active because I am committed to making my dream of a relationship a reality. I brainstormed activities I really love that allowed me to meet new people. Important was that I enjoy the activities. I came up with the following list:

  • Volunteering
    I enjoy volunteering, and I am passionate about causes related to animals and helping people. It is also an opportunity to meet new people and the good thing is that we have something in common.
  • Meetup and sports groups
    Meetup and sports groups give me a chance to select groups that fit my interests. While I am not good at small talk, I like groups that encourage deeper conversations. For me, that’s a good way to meet new people and have conversations in a meaningful way. Altogether, I am more likely to meet somebody who has a similar interest here than on an online dating platform.
  • Public transport
    I use public transport to protect the environment. While it is not as comfortable as a car, it gives me the option to meet people. I had some nice conversations on the train.
  • At a coffee shop.
    I now work in a coffee shop. It is better than sitting at home and it is an opportunity to meet people.

What feels true to you?

Overall, there are a million ways to meet a new partner, and online dating is just one option. Important is to find an option that feels true to you. Some of my friends love to go to bars, others are excited about online dating. I am not. Love will find us when we do what we love. There is no right or wrong way. There is not the only way. I encourage you to check in with yourself to find the best strategy for you. We are all unique so what is suitable for me may not be suitable for you. However, I know that you can find a way to meet new people when you listen to your heart and trust your inner voice.

How would you love to meet new people?

Do you want more tips? Read this article.

Blame May Damage Your Relationship

My colleagues and left the fairground. My feet were hurting. I was happy to feel the sun on my face and to leave the noise of the exhibition hall behind me. My phone was ringing. I picked it up. “You left a rotten mango on the kitchen table,” my partner yelled at me. I felt irritated about his blame.

Do you think that blame could ruin a relationship?

His phone call wasn’t the warm welcome I had expected. What was he talking about? I had left the mango in the kitchen because he liked them. I took a deep breath and said, “It was ok when I left.” He continued yelling. “And you didn’t clean up the apartment. It’s full of cat’s hair.” His voice was full of contempt. He was partially right. I had left on Sunday without having cleaned the house completely. I did not have time for it. Who has set up a rule that I have to do everything on my own? My inner voice whispered in my ear. I started to feel angry but I did not bother to say anything. I did not see any sense in it. He continued yelling. I hung up How long will he continue to blame me for everything? I asked myself silently.

Constant blame ruins a relationship

This blame game had been going on since a couple of years. I felt a sense of powerlessness. Three months ago, I had asked him to go to couple’s therapy and he had refused it vehemently. That night in the hotel room, I cried myself to sleep. I couldn’t take the blame anymore. I had taken it long enough. That night, I decided to leave him despite the pain and heartbreak the separation would cause. Blame is toxic for a relationship and constant blame damages a relationship. When he blamed me, I felt disconnected from him, I only understood everything I did wrong but I never got a sense what I could do better. After our break-up, I started to look for healthy ways to communicate.

Promise yourself a no-blame policy

Nowadays, I have promised myself a no-blame policy in my relationships. It is mutual. I don’t blame others, but I take care of my emotions and communicate them assertively. What are my unmet needs and desires that are hidden in these emotions? This helps me to communicate properly and keep my boundaries intact. If somebody blames me, I ask them to stop, give them empathy and inquire about their feelings and what they really want. This helps me to understand them better. It also gives me a choice – I can decide whether I can give them what they want. In the end, I don’t want to mess up other people’s lives but create something with them that makes their life more beautiful. For me, that’s what relationships are all about.

Will you promise yourself to refrain from blaming?

Do you want to read more? Check out my memoir “A Brave, True Story.

 

Do You Know Your Boundaries?

 I felt tense. It was early in the morning. I moved around on my chair to relieve my tension. The trainer gave the instructions for the next exercise. I knew I had to say ‘no.’ What would people say about me? What if I was the only one who didn’t want to do this exercise? I wasn’t sure what would happen. I just knew I had to communicate my boundaries.

Do you know your boundaries?

The day before, I had started another coaching training. We had made a new experiment to let go of a limiting belief. The instruction was: Yell as loud as you can. I don’t like yelling but I gave it a try. After that, I felt confused and full of doubt. It just didn’t feel ok to me. The instructors insisted that we would do more of it the next day. That night, I didn’t know how to handle it and meditated to find my answer. The answer was simple – just say no if you are supposed to yell again.

How can you empower yourself?

The next morning, the instructor told us the rules for the next exercise, “Yell at another participant who sits still in a chair without reacting to your words.” She looked at the group of about 40 people full of expectation and asked us, “Who will be the first one?” I did not want to do this. Yell at other people is a no go for me. Although I felt scared, I spoke up and said, “Sorry but I will not participate in this exercise. I do not want to yell at other people.” I felt relieved and thought that I was done. She looked at me disapprovingly and said, “Have you considered this thoroughly? If you don’t do it, you will never achieve the goal you have.” I didn’t like that she pressured me and I could feel how I shrank in my seat.

My inner conflict started again. My goal was important to me. I really wanted to accomplish it. My anxious part became afraid. What if the instructor is right? She felt tempted to change. I felt the eyes of the fellow participants staring at me. It would have been so easy and comfortable to say yes and fit in well into the group, but it just didn’t feel true to me. I chose to not give in to the pressure and took a risk.

I looked at the instructor and said, “No, I will not do it.” My tension released and I was relieved. I was proud of myself that I had resisted being nice and adapted. I had respected my boundaries and felt a new sense of empowerment.

Why are boundaries important?

Healthy boundaries are essential for healthy relationships. Unfortunately, many of us have never been learned as children what boundaries are and how to keep them intact. In my childhood, my boundaries have been continuously violated. As an adult, I learned to feel them and to set them in a healthy way. This has greatly improved my relationships and my sense of well-being. Boundaries are personal. They describe what is ok for you and what is not ok for you, or what you are willing to do and not willing to do. They are deeply personal, which means that my boundaries are likely to be different to your boundaries. And that’s perfectly ok. Important is that you become aware of your boundaries, explore and and respect them. Don’t allow other people to override your boundaries. Your boundaries protect yourself from emotional harm. Having healthy boundaries is an act of self-love and self-respect.

How aware are you of your boundaries?

Do you want to read more? Check out my memoir “A Brave, True Story.

5 Wrong Reasons to Say ‘Yes’

Saying No

Learning to say ‘no’ was one of my greatest obstacles for having a joyful and authentic relationship. My struggle originated from my childhood where I had experienced dysfunctional relationships. As an adult, I repeated these unhealthy patterns in my romantic relationships. I often said ‘yes’ when I should have said ‘no’ and I gave in easily if my partner expressed different needs.

How often do you say ‘yes’ when you should say ‘no’?

Initially, I thought that it was the only way to show my partner that I loved him. However, I paid a price for being nice and submissive: I abandoned myself and lived up to my partner’s expectations. I also felt increasingly resentful towards my partner and myself. The longer the relationship lasted, the more frustrated I became. I lost self-respect and my sense of worthiness and my partner lost respect for me.

Do you experience a similar dynamic in your relationship?

Over the years, I noticed the negative impact of my behavior and decided to change this. I set my intention to become assertive and to be authentic in my responses to my partner’s requests. Achieving this goal wasn’t always easy. There were many voices in my head that motivated me to say ‘yes’ for the wrong reasons. It took me some time to understand the differences between saying a heartfelt ‘yes’ and saying ‘yes’ out of the wrong impulse.

Can you differentiate between a heartfelt ‘yes’ and a ‘yes’ out of a wrong reason?

If we grow up in dysfunctional families, we are likely to have learned a distorted truth about saying ‘no’ and we tend to say ‘yes’ due to the wrong reasons. Saying ‘no’ is often labeled as unloving, so we learn to deny us and put the other person first. This imbalance causes major problems in our relationship. The truth is you’re your needs and your partner’s needs are equally important. Here are five impulses that caused me to say ‘yes’ when I should have said ‘no.’

  1. Saying ‘yes’ because I wanted to receive more love.
    My inner child had learned that she would only receive love if she did what people asked her to do. She learned to say ‘yes’ to receive the love and attention she needed. As an adult, I learned to give my inner child the love she needed. I also understood that I can’t influence whether my partner loves me or not, I can just show up as I am and allow him to get to know the authentic me. Do you say ‘yes’ because you want to be loved and accepted?
  2. Saying ‘yes’ because I feared punishment.
    In my original family, there was a constant threat of being punished if I didn’t do what the adults wanted. As an adult, I had to use courage to say ‘no’ despite my fear of punishment because it was deeply rooted in my inner child. Do you say ‘yes’ out of fear of punishment?
  3. Saying ‘yes’ because I wanted to avoid conflicts.
    In my childhood, I experienced conflicts that were perpetuating and unsolvable. As a result, I avoided any type of conflict and gave in immediately if my partner wanted something different. It seemed an impossible task to stand up for my needs and find a solution. The first times that I stood up for myself I did it with shaking knees… but once again, to respect myself I had to learn to go through a conflict and to trust that we would find a solution that fits us both. Do you say ‘yes’ in order to avoid a conflict?
  4. Saying ‘yes’ out of guilt and shame.
    My family relationships were manipulative and based on guilt and shame to keep the family functioning. It took me many years to get completely rid of this dynamic. Guilt and shame are destructive emotions. If we say ‘yes’ based on guilt and shame, we tend to over-give and to deny ourselves by putting other people first. It took me some time to learn to say ‘no’ instead of ‘yes’ when I felt guilt or shame. However, it was an important step to fully reclaiming my power. Do you say ‘yes’ out of shame and guilt?
  5. Saying ‘yes’ out of any sense of duty or obligation.
    In my past relationship, I became a perfect cook even though I dislike cooking. I mainly did it because I thought it was my duty as a woman. What do you say ‘yes’ to out of duty and obligation?
    All those times when I said ‘yes’ out of the wrong reasons, I said silently ‘no’ to being me. I also said silently ‘no’ to my power and my joy. I now say a heartfelt ‘yes’ for the joy of giving, and I say ‘no’ whenever my inner voice tells me so.

What experience do you have with saying ‘no’? I’d love to read your comments.

What If You Always Attract The Wrong Man?

Do you always attract the type of man you don’t want?

Have you ever wondered why this happened?

Let me tell you my story:

Growing up in a dysfunctional home I had a very clear picture of what I did not want and after each failed relationship my list grew longer. I was very clear about what I didn’t want, but I did not have a clue about what I did want. I focused on I don’t want an abusive man, I don’t want a man who doesn’t respect me or I don’t want a man who doesn’t love me.

 What is your list of “I don’t want it anymore”?

At the time, I did not know that the subconscious mind does not understand the word “no”, so I attracted what I did not want. Then came that day in Taiwan, listening to my colleagues’ stories of their fabulous relationships, I could hear the love and respect they had in their voices when they talked about their partners. One of them had met his partner just six months before. Now he said with all the confidence in his voice, “She is the woman of my life”. While I listened to them I knew that I wanted my partner to speak the same way about me and vice versa. That day, I started to define what I really wanted. I searched within myself and asked me, What do I really want? I allowed myself to dream big and go beyond the relationship schemes I had learned from my parents. There is no need to repeat my parents’ destiny. My vision of a fabulous relationship has five pages. It is a precious guide to choose the right man to spend my life with. Having this clarity is an act of self-love towards myself.

So, how about you?

Change your focus; define the relationship you want in a positive way and your subconscious mind will automatically change the radar and will attract the relationship you want in your life. It will also help you to quickly let go of partners that do not fit what you want or need. Sit down now and write a love-card about your ideal partner and your ideal relationship. As soon as you have written it, stop telling yourself what you don’t want and allow yourself to talk about what you really want.

For your unique love-card think about the following areas:

  • Your ideal partner: What is he or she like? What are their main traits and characteristics? What is their profession? Their hobbies? What do they like/ dislike?
  • When you are together with your partner: How does this make you feel? What activities do you do together? How do you spend your time together? What do you want your spouse to say about you and your relationship?
  • Your relationship: How does your relationship make you feel? What do your friends say about your relationship? Do your friends see this as the relationship you have always wanted to have?

Write down everything in a positive way; focus on what you do want and what you need. Be honest with yourself and write from your heart. Avoid clichés or any negative role modeling that you have learned from your past. Never forget: You can now create the relationship that you have always wanted!

The first step to be in a fabulous relationship is to have a clear vision about what it means to you and to focus on it. Allow yourself to feel how it would feel like to be in such a relationship. There is no right and wrong. Your vision is as unique and beautiful as you are.

Are you ready to take the next step? Check my program “Create Your Vision of a Fabulous Relationship.”

I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment below.

Do You Try to Fit In Or Do You Belong?

Behind the house, there were some hills covered with green grass and huge trees that gave shade when the sun was hot. The air was clean and fresh. I took a deep breath; it felt like a blessing after having spent all summer in Barcelona’s sticky and humid heat. I was in the south of France. My first holidays since three years. There were about ninety people, most of them were French; some Spanish or German. I would spend the next ten days with them to meditate. I had never seen them before and felt nervous and insecure. How would it be to stay together for such a long time? How will I manage to cope with this situation?

The bell was ringing. 6 am – it was time to get up and go for the first meditation. I awkwardly crawled out of my dormitory bunk, brushed my teeth and went downstairs to the temple where we meditated. I smiled at the people at the entrance. They returned a grim look. I sat down on my zafu – the meditation cushion – and meditated. Some bird’s song broke the silence every once in a while. Then, the sun rose as an amazing red ball shining directly into my face. It was a beautiful morning.

After the meditation, we went for a silent walk. I just felt happy and light. I could feel the smile on my face. The people around me walked with severe faces. For a moment, I thought whether it was inappropriate to smile. Nobody else seemed to do it. The following days, I always had a smile on my face while the others were distant and grim. I started to feel guilty and questioned myself. Was my smiling appropriate? Was there something wrong with me? Did I need to be serious because everyone else was it? One part of me feared to be criticized and rejected. What should I do? I went for a walk alone. From a distance, the people were small little dots. Why should I give up on smiling? I couldn’t find a reason. I was enjoying the meditation as I always did. What was the worst thing to happen? Maybe I’d stay alone for the retreat. I could cope with this. I decided to stay true to myself and to resist my urge to adapt.

Two days later, I sat down at a different table for breakfast. I looked at the people who surrounded me. The energy at the table was joyful. We couldn’t talk, yet we communicated with eye contact and smiled at each other. From that day, we spent each meal together. On the last day, a lovely elder lady from this table came to me. We hadn’t talked a lot because I couldn’t speak French, and she only spoke a little bit of Spanish. She gave me a flower and said, “Thank you for your smile.” Suddenly, I was very happy that I hadn’t listened to my fears. I didn’t connect with many people but with the right ones. And I had released my survival strategy to fit in that has accompanied me since my childhood.

What are your survival strategies to fit in?
Sometimes, we learn difficult lessons in life, and we try hard to fit in. We also live in a society that tells us that there is only one standardized way to be or live. I was used to adapting and fitting in. Many years, I believed that it was the only way to be accepted and appreciated. I feared to show up as I was. I gave in to the pressure of my family or partner and fulfilled their expectations. However, with this strategy, I didn’t allow myself to experience true belonging. I also didn’t allow me to be happy. Belonging requires showing your true self, even if your knees may be shaking at first. You can never control what the other person will do. They may like you or hate you. That’s up to them. But the people who like you as you are, are the ones you belong to.

This retreat also taught me another precious lesson. Maybe you can’t see the right people at first but if you stay true to yourselves and show up the right people will find you. The nice French lady stayed in contact with me and sent me a picture she had painted that showed my smile. I felt very grateful for this present. And we are all looking for lasting bonds that nurture and support us, aren’t we?

How about you?

  • Do you want to belong?
  • Where do you still work hard to fit in?
  • How could you change this?

Do you fit in or do you belong? I’d love to read your comments below.

Do you want to read more? Check the article Do you enjoy the beauty of the moment.

Are You Hiding From Love?

Last year, when I was writing my book, a miracle happened. My friend – a man who had always meant a lot to me and who I fully trusted – told me that he had left his relationship. I had never dared to hope that this might happen. We knew each other for 13 years. He knew my secrets and what happened in my relationships. He knew that I valued honesty more than anything – and I counted on his honesty.

After his separation, he started to contact me frequently. He told me many nice things like that he always felt an emotional bond between us. His words sounded real and genuine to me. One day, I decided that I had to take the risk and dare to love again. I asked him whether he wanted to visit me. And he did. I spend the most wonderful week in my life with a man. It was fluent, just like a miracle.

Then, he flew home, and I was in heaven. Two weeks after his visit, he told me that he had visited me because he knew that he’d receive my love. I didn’t understand what he meant. Then, he started to give me many mixed messages and disappeared. He never called to tell me his truth. He just disappeared. I was shaking. It wasn’t so much about losing a relationship; it was also about losing a friend I had deeply trusted in the last 13 years. Don’t get me wrong, I understand why he did it. He was in pain, and he was weak at this moment, and he knew that I would give him love. Maybe this week helped him a bit through his crisis. I’ll never know, and it’s not important.

After his withdrawal, I started to heal my heart – from flower essences to Reiki, phone calls with my friends, and being shaken by sadness and anger. I wanted to forget this story as fast as possible. Just another love affair – a nice week… why should I care? That was the label I wanted to give it. After three months, I thought I was over it….

About a year later, I wrote a story. And I described a scene of a woman hiding from love, singing the song I am through with love. When I read it again, I suddenly knew it wasn’t about this woman. It was about me. My heart was still closed. I started to look for a reason. What made me hide in my apartment?

What makes you hide from love?

Some days later, I wrote about my book, and I said that my book was about my greatest defeat. The word hit my soul. Greatest defeat?! I rarely ever use this word. How was this possible? Why had I chosen this word? I have achieved great things in my life, and I have overcome many adversities. Why did I feel defeated? What was I really writing about? And suddenly, I remembered the final chapter – the story about my friend’s withdrawal. Tears ran down my face.

What pain do you need to acknowledge?

That day, I acknowledged my pain. I had wanted to ignore it. I had wanted to make it small. I had wanted to avoid it. And it was still there – I felt betrayed. Betrayed because he never told me what he was really after. Betrayed because he hadn’t been honest with me (at least, that’s how I read it). Betrayed because he never cared to give me a final call to say good-bye. If I’d hold on to this feeling, I’d hide forever. I didn’t want that to happen. He was just one experience, and there are many great men out there. I stopped working. I went to the harbor, sat down with my pain and cried. I felt relieved. Some days later, I felt how my heart started to open again. I’ll dare to love again. The right man will come when the time is right.

What is the pain are you ready to release?

If you have been deeply hurt in love, acknowledge your pain and let go of it when the time is right. Allow your heart to heal. I can’t tell you how long it will takes, but it is possible. To love means to take risks. To love means to let go of control. To love means to be vulnerable. In the beginning, you’ll never know how the story ends. However, if you never try you won’t find it out. Love is outside your comfort zone. And with all this risk, dare to love again. There is a man out there, who wants the same as you, who will give you the love you deserve. It will happen when the time right.

What do you need to dare to love again?

I’d love to hear from you. Just leave your comment below.

Do you want to read more? Check the article How to become a relationship heroine.

Dating Frustration? Find some refreshing perspectives on finding a healthy relationship!

Do you know this frustration when you date people, and it always goes wrong? Here is the story of a good friend of mine and some dating advice that will give you some new thoughts about dating.

My friend is a beautiful woman with long blond hair and wonderful blue eyes. Some years ago she went through a painful relationship that ended in a difficult divorce. She has close friends but does not have a family to protect her in difficult times, so having a relationship was really important for her and she started for a loving relationship with a wonderful man.
First, she met a guy from Scotland while he was visiting the city. He went back to Scotland. My friend faced all her fears to give their relationship a chance, and she went through some hard months until she was ready to open up for him. She made it, but he gave up after six months because of his fears.
Then, she became acquainted with the second man, listened to his problems and was curious to understand him, open to accept him as he was. Again, she trusted him and faced her fears. It failed because he withdrew.
A few weeks later, she got to know the third man. The beginning was perfect, he wanted to see her and spent a lot of time with her. After some weeks, he was not sure what he wanted. She accepted his doubts and gave him freedom to sort out what he wanted. After two repetitions, she let him go.
In the beginning, she simply felt desperately sad when it did not work out, yet she used every attempt to connect more deeply with herself, defining what she wanted and needed. When the third attempt didn’t work out, she went to her doctor by some coincidence and he looked into her blue eyes and said: “You are just too nice.” She was angry about this comment, later she saw the truth of it.

As a result, she started to take good care for herself and acknowledged that life is more than just having a relationship. There are so many facets in addition to having a healthy relationship. She established new goals for her life and re-connected with a long forgotten dream and started a two-year training to be able to follow the career of her dreams. She created her own happiness inside herself. She has defined clearly what relationship and partner she wants. This guides her to take the right choices and helps her to set limits. She has increased self-esteem and each day she loves and embraces herself more.
She moves forward with her life while she never gives up on her dream to have a healthy and loving relationship.

Finding the right partner is not a simple dating “game”. You will meet people who are not ready to give you what you want or they simply can’t. That’s not about you; it’s about them. You can’t change the other person. You can only focus on what you want, have healthy boundaries and take good care for yourself. In the end, you are not looking for anybody, but for a good partner to share your life with. You are worthy with or without a partner. You deserve to be loved, honored and respected.
Happiness or fulfillment does not depend on having a relationship or not. You can find it inside yourself. So, if you meet a partner who is not ready to give you what you need or want, move on. Don’t allow desperation to control you. A good partner for you is already out there and you both will meet when it is the right time. Meanwhile enjoy your life as a single, enjoy your freedom, explore new hobbies, do all that you always wanted to do.
Connect with yourself. Explore your spirituality. Start your personal growth process. What are your passions? What are your dreams? What are your strengths? What makes you special? Your life is precious. Being a single is a phase of your life that has many benefits, being in a relationship has others. Embrace this phase of your life and make it the best phase ever.

What are your experiences with dating?

I’d love to hear from you. Just leave a comment below.

Do you want to read more? Check the post What does your soul yearn for?