I’m back to continue my story of how I got from “there to here.” Last time I shared my Big Lesson #1: You DO need a stinkin’ man.
I finally learned that our “I don’t need a man, I just wanta man” mantra is a story we tell ourselves to keep us from feeling completely crappy when we don’t find love. It’s a cover-up. It’s a sham. And it’s one Big Thing that keeps us single. (That self-fulfilling prophecy thing is powerful!)
I don’t know about you, but I started liking boys at age 12 and I must say that I snagged some damn cute ‘boyfriends.’ Steve, Kelly, Dennis, Danny…all super cute and popular.
For a moment in time, they were each mine and I was the girl boys liked.
Somewhere around age 16, something changed. Maybe it was my body changing or my hormones going into overdrive, but suddenly there were no more cute boys for Bobbi.
No more boys…at all.
I was either invisible or treated just like one of the boys. I wasn’t the girl with a date to parties or football games. My date to the prom was the boyfriend of one of my gay friends. (I heard he later ended up in jail.)
I knew exactly why I was dateless: I wasn’t cute enough.
While my girlfriend were all adorably skinny, I was short, had big thighs, and a more than generous butt like my mother. (I guess also had a pretty big mouth. Surprise!)
In the 70s I started soaking in some of the skewed messages of the feminist movement. Men are all shallow. Men don’t respect women; all they want is sex. Men don’t want to have to work hard by being with an intelligent woman.
I was still relatively dateless — definitely boyfriend-less — but now I had even more proof that I wasn’t the kind of woman men wanted to marry.
(Did you believe that too? Maybe still do?)
Before I knew it, I was a smart, successful, over-40 spinster boss-lady who was carrying a bunch of extra pounds, had a lot of heartbreak, serious addiction and a Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis behind me.
Yes, I even had the requisite cat! Oh, and let’s not forget the daily boat load of mommy drama.
I was everything men didn’t want! Heavy stuff.
My feelings about my seemingly endless single-ness alternated. Sometimes I was sad. A lot of the time I was mad. And I was embarrassed.
For such a smart woman I was SO clueless!
Enter Anne…my trusted teacher.
She set me free!
And it was SO SIMPLE! Not necessarily easy, but damn simple.
I learned that two things were going on — things I had complete control over — that were keeping me single.
Here’s what came first:
Damn that Anne! She forced me to challenge my truth. (Have I mentioned how much I hate being wrong?)
She told me to take a long hard look at the women I knew who were married or in a committed relationship.
Were the coupled woman I knew all dumb and sans baggage or were they smart, successful, and laden with their own life stuff? [Smart and successful…all of them. With health situations, screwy parental and child situations, financial challenges…all that crap we collect along the way.]
Were they all beautiful, thin, and young? [To me they were beautiful. But they certainly didn’t belong on any magazine covers. They were all ages, sizes, skin conditions, type of hair…all the stuff that I figured men used to define beauty.]
Did the men I know love their really smart, baggage-laden, average looking partners? [Most definitely. Yes.]
Anne also told me to look around at couples I didn’t know and could only observe. Do that for a few weeks, she said.
What did the women LOOK like? How were the men being with them?
Ha! I thought I had proved I was right. I saw the typical man-with-skinny-young-blond-woman thing! But that was in some very specific towns around where I lived in the LA area. (Ahem…upscale Orange County, mostly.)
But everywhere else…
I saw women of all shapes, sizes, ages and levels of accomplishment who were coupled with men who paid attention, showed affection, and seemed genuinely happy to be in their company.
Their men seemed kind. They were accommodating. They wanted to make their woman happy. They were obviously happy to be in their company. A lot of couples were holding hands.
Many of the women I looked at were with men who, at first, I considered ‘not good enough’ for me to date.
But after I paid attention to how the men treated their women – how they seemed to go out of their way to please them and make them happy — their men started looking quite appealing.
Yep, give me one of those. I’d date them for sure!
The “I’m not good enough, men are jerks and don’t want me” belief was being chipped away…
Doing this exercise actually did piss me off.
And it made me really sad.
All these years of believing that men didn’t want me because of how I looked, how old I was, and how smart I was…it wasn’t true.
Once forced to look through new eyes, I started seeing evidence of that all around me. (As a note, after being married all these years I continue to see happy couples everywhere; couples that include “imperfect” really smart women just like me.)
Here’s a really important piece of the story:
My truth affected my behavior around single men in a really BIG way…for decades!
If they didn’t want me, why try?
Why take the risk of being hopeful, putting myself out there and being vulnerable to their rejection (which I ‘knew’ would come)?
How many opportunities with nice men did I miss because I assumed they would never want me?
What about the (few) men who showed some interest? I questioned it. I challenged them. They had to climb my “Wall of I Dare You.” (Which no decent man chose to climb. That’s tomorrow’s story.)
Hanging on to the belief that men don’t choose women like me gave me a 30-year excuse to stay safe from rejection…
and stay single.
I know now that even though I thought I was trying for years, I really wasn’t.
I had so many excuses and reasons why it was a waste of time. I held myself back; my real self.
I didn’t go after what I wanted most in life!
Remember in my last email I talked to you about self-fulfilling prophecy? I was LIVING that for literally decades until Anne gave me the opportunity (aka forced me) to look at contrary evidence.
Men suck, my thighs are too fat, I’m too smart to be loved…that was my truth…and I did all I could to be right about it.
Being right is not always what you want to be, girlfriend.
I want you to do the same exercises Anne gave me.
Observe the couples in your life, as well as those just out and about.
- Are the coupled woman you know dumb, simple, and baggage-free or are they smart — even successful with a bunch of grownup crud?
- Are they all beautiful, thin and young?
- Do their men show commitment, respect, and care for their women?
Then, look at the couples you don’t know.
What does the women LOOK like? I want you to RATE HER APPEARANCE on a scale of 1 (yuck!) to 10 (a freaking model!).
What is the average? What are you seeing? (Yes, give yourself permission to act like a rude, insecure teenager and rate women’s looks.)
After you’re done, ask yourself this question:
So…that’s my Big Lesson #2: It’s Not the Size of Your Thighs!!
Your value as a woman is tremendous regardless of your size, shape, or age. And grownup men KNOW this, sister! They are looking for a woman like you.
Next, I’ll share My “There to Here” Big Lesson #3: Your Wall of I Dare You.
Watch for the post here on Friday!
You have my love and support!!
PS: If you’re relating to my story…if you’re discovering you have some old stories that you’ve used for excuses…if you want more help in freeing yourself to pursue your dream of love…
I have your back!
This Saturday I’m going to share a new small-group coaching program that includes a lot of Bobbi-time. “Over-40 Love School” is based on my 6-Step Find Hope and Find Him system that has led so many of my private coaching clients to amazing, committed, grownup relationships.
Your investment for Over-40 Love School is less than what my private clients pay; about the price of a really nice one-week vacation. To be sure you get my personal attention I am limiting the group of women and half the spots are already taken. So watch for the post on Saturday!!
If you are serious and want to jump on the opportunity early, SEND ME AN EMAIL and briefly tell me what your life is like today and how you think I can help you. (As much as I’d love to hear your complete story, please limit to where you are now and why you think I’m the coach who can guide you to love. If I think you’re a good fit I’ll send you more information.
Read post 1 here: Ever Say “My Life is Great…BUT…?” (Let’s take care of that But!)
Read post 2 here: You DO Need a Stinkin’ Man, sister