Being stood up is the worst.
It happened to me more than once when I was online dating, and each time I was completely dumbfounded.
I’d been texting and talking with a guy, looking forward to meeting him, and then… he didn’t show. No call, no excuse, no “I’m running late”. Nothing.
It can make a person feel completely insane, sitting at a table in a coffee shop, watching the time tick by. Your date isn’t answering your texts… it’s like he doesn’t exist.
Or you don’t.
That’s how I felt each time it happened. Like I was not enough of a person to warrant someone’s time. I can still remember the awful feeling. A deadness inside, numbness covering up the mistaken feeling that I must not be worth showing up for.
Sometimes the guy would pop up a few days later with some half-baked story about why he’d ghosted, trying to get me back on the hook again.
Of course, wanting to prove I was worthy by showing how understanding, caring, and laid back I was, I’d give him a second chance. And of course, he would bail again.
What a crock!
The truth is, it was easier to be “understanding” than to decide I was worth more. It was easier to accept shitty behavior than to stand up for what I deserved.
If you, too, find yourself making excuses for guys, ask yourself this… Do you want a relationship with someone who makes you their top priority?
If so, consider how they are showing up (or not showing up) from the very beginning.
Do they take a long time to answer when you message them? Do they cancel dates, or no-show and then offer all kinds of excuses? Trust me, this is not an opportunity for you to show how understanding and “laid back” you are.
This is the time to show up for yourself and say “NEXT!”
When someone values you, NOTHING will keep them from being there. And you’re worth it.
You got this.
In college I had the fun experience of living for a year with pretty much non-stop panic attacks.
The term "adulting" wasn't a thing yet, but I had a lot to learn about it, nevertheless. Most of my time was spent wishing for a relationship with a guy who wasn't that in to me, hanging out with exciting people I couldn't keep up with, and getting myself to art history class.
Fortunately, at some point during that year I happened upon a book that pretty much saved my life. It was a little Zen book called, simply, The Depression Book.
The premise of the book is that a lot of our suffering is actually the result of a process. De-pressing emotions is a thing we do. And we can choose instead to take time with ourselves to vent our emotions, like letting steam out of a pressure cooker.
I know this sounds pretty basic, but these days it’s almost a revolutionary concept. Take time out of our crazy-busy lives just to feel? Cry a little, comfort ourselves, and heal from all the little wounds we pretend don’t affect us as we power through our days?
Yeah, I don’t know about you, but I need this revolution. I need time to stop and feel like shit for a minute, and then let it go.
My favorite quote from the book is this, “We are sentient beings, trying not to feel. Living beings, tensed up against life.”
I recently decided I would start again to practice the kind of meditation recommended in the book. It helped cure my panic attacks in college, so how could it hurt? So for 1/2 an hour a day, I've been focusing on feeling the sensations in my body, accepting how I feel, journaling about anything going on, and then letting it go.
Almost immediately I felt a difference. Then yesterday I had this little moment of feeling completely carefree.
What?? I don’t know about you, but a spontaneous moment of carefree-ness in my world is EPIC.
If you, too, would like a little more lightness in your life, I recommend this ½ hour a day practice. Climb in bed with your journal, plug 30 minutes into the timer app on your phone, relax, and feel.
It’s amazing how much lighter you can feel when you let yourself be heavy.
P.S. The Depression Book by Cheri Hube is worth its weight in gold, but available on Amazon for only $9.99! Get it here.
A couple years ago I was at a retreat in a small artists’ community. Two of the women in our group were locals, and they started talking about their love lives.
One said she wasn't trying to date, because everyone knew there weren’t any single men in town under 80.
The second woman told us how she'd met her 30-something new boyfriend a couple months ago, at a nearby bar where they danced under the stars.
What?? We were all amazed. How could she have met this great young guy in a town with only octogenarian single men??
Well, of course the lack of single men wasn't the truth. Both women had heard that. One just decided she didn’t have to believe what she’d heard.
There’s a term for letting social myths hold us back, and it’s called “Story Fondling”. How easy is it to get caught up believing in lack? Especially when it masquerades as a commonly held social truth. But the real truth is that we all get love. Your guy is out there, and find-able!
Here’s an example of a story I always loved to fondle, “All the great guys are already taken.”
Of course this isn't true, but believing it made me feel slightly, temporarily better about my single status. It wasn't my fault! So of course I didn't need to put myself out there; I wouldn't find anyone single!
After the initial high of story fondling, though, I always found myself drooping again. After all, fondling a story gives you no power at all to change your situation. It leaves you stuck.
Eventually I changed my story. I started thinking, "Of course there are available single guys out there! And I'll find mine if I just keep an open mind."
OMG, doesn't that feel better??
Would you like to get unstuck right now? Pick your favorite story about why you can’t find love.
Rather than letting this thought bring you to a full stop, try turning it on its head. Talk back to it. There are so many other thoughts that may be more true than the original, and open up your path to love.
No more story fondling! The world is full of opportunities to find your love. You got this!
A friend of mine has an awesome love story.
For ages, she was convinced dating was not worth the trouble. She’d endured some truly disastrous online dates and hadn’t met anyone she wanted to see twice. She’d attended singles events and a couple times met a guy she was super into, but not one who stuck around. She was just done.
Then one January she decided to hell with it, this was her year to have fun. She decided to do all the fun stuff she’d been putting off. She toured waterfalls in Costa Rica. She went on hikes and bike rides she’d always wanted to do at home. She started digging the hell out of her life.
6 months into her year of fun and bam, her guy showed up.
So start having more fun and you’ll be married by summer! Haha, that's not exactly what I'm saying. We all know there’s no “quick fix” for finding love. But what if there's a magic formula?
Half way in to my friend’s year of fun we were getting a cup of coffee and she told me she was considering going online again. I asked her: Are you ready for whatever shows up? Are you ready to choose what feels most like love, no matter what? I don't know, she said, but I'm wiling to try. BRING IT.
3 *days* later she met her guy. Literally. 3 days.
It doesn’t always happen that instantly, I know. It can be scary getting back out there again, not knowing what you'll encounter. You might fear you’re not ready for more love lessons. But you don’t have to be ready. Just willing.
Be willing to see what wants to show up. Be willing to use each encounter as another opportunity to choose what feels like love.
Is this “The Secret”? The “Law of Attraction”? Maybe. I’m not exactly sure how those work. What I know is what I’ve seen over and over. Shower love on your life + be willing = bam, magic.
If you’re feeling stuck because no one is showing up, or you’ve found a guy you’re afraid is not going to commit, try following the magic formula. Plan a little adventure for yourself. Get moving and shaking and doing something you’ve always wanted to do. And then say a little prayer of willingness.
You won’t have long to wait.
P.S. If you want to be willing, but something is holding you back, coaching can seriously help. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll set up a session at my introductory rate. Let's make some magic.
Many moons ago I was hot for a guy who was absolutely gorgeous. We went out a few times, and then one evening he and his best friend came over to play board games.
His friend wasn’t as conventionally handsome as my date and didn’t spark any interest in me. But when he said he needed to go home to eat, I absolutely COULD NOT let him leave. I proceeded to make him (and NOT my date) dinner! (Yep, I ended up in a relationship with the friend and not the supermodel, LOL).
As love-seeking women many of us have a secret fear. It’s so terrifying we may even stop dating altogether to avoid it. Our secret fear is that we’ll have to date guys we don’t find attractive, if we ever want to find one who adores us.
I’m sorry but, NO thank you!
On the path to true love you will surely end up on a date or two (or many) with guys you don’t feel attracted to. Especially if you’re dating online, it’s hard to know what you’ll encounter in real life compared to someone's profile!
If you’re not feeling it, you don’t have to “give him a chance”, or waste your time trying to make him into the man of your dreams.
But sometimes, like what I encountered on board game night, you’re just not sure. You feel neutral. You’re not turned off, but more like, you’ve barely noticed someone, or maybe you think they’re not your type. Or even – not that you would judge! – not quite up to your standards.
These are the guys who might surprise you. These are the ones you might consider spending a little more time with.
Here’s another example. I am an OBSESSED fan of Bachelor in Paradise. If you’re as hooked as I am, you might remember the season with Evan, the “Erectile Dysfunction Doctor” and Carly, who after kissing him for the first time – in a kissing contest, no less – declared herself completely grossed out. Like, she was NOT having it.
Cut to Evan being rushed to the hospital and Carly right by his side, finding herself inexplicably attracted to him after all. Now they’re married with a cute little baby girl and madly in love.
If Carly had taken some time to check in with her intuition as Evan was pursuing her she might’ve found a small voice telling her to look again. Sometimes a strong “NO” is actually just a fear response to something that's going to shake up your life.
I don’t believe you have to clear every mental block before you can find love – there is a partner out there for you right now! But sometimes we have blocks that cause us to skip over someone with potential. That’s where checking your intuition can help.
The easiest way I’ve found to check my intuition is by reading my “Body Compass”. To do this, ask yourself a yes or no question about a decision you want to make, and then feel into your body.
How does it react? Do you feel expansive, warm, open? Or constricted and tight, like maybe you want to cry? The body will never lie to you. Let it lead you toward what feels good.
By checking your body’s physical reactions, you can trust you won’t miss an opportunity with the man of your dreams, OR stay too long with someone who just isn’t right. You got this!
OMG, what is more crazy-making than a guy who is constantly texting you, sweetly asking how your day’s going, flirting and being funny… and then he NEVER ASKS YOU OUT.
And it can go on for weeks!
According to the inter-webs, this phenomenon has a name, “breadcrumbing”. Author Jessica Bennett describes it this way, “Breadcrumbers… communicate via sporadic noncommittal, but repeated messages — or breadcrumbs — that are just enough to keep you wondering but not enough to seal the deal (whatever that deal may be). Breadcrumbers check in consistently with a romantic prospect, but never set up a date.”
If you’re a woman looking for a committed relationship, the problem with being on the receiving end of Breadcrumbing is that it can FEEL LIKE you have a boyfriend.
Here is someone giving you so much attention you can’t help but feel special every time a message comes through. The idea that this guy could be messaging another woman the same way seems highly unlikely, if not impossible. I mean, why would he take the time to ask how your day is going unless he genuinely cared? You know, like a boyfriend??
Especially if you really like the guy and aren’t dating anyone else, dealing with this kind of behavior can make you feel completely nuts. You trust the guy because of his repeated contact, so why the hell is he so difficult to pin down?
It's perhaps even worse when you go on an actual date and have a fantastic time, only to not hear from him, or have another date set up afterwards. And then a week later… the Breadcrumbing starts up again.
I don’t know about you, but I say enough of the power inequality. The SECOND you recognize Breadcrumbing is happening I want you to recite to yourself, “Breadcrumbing is for the birds!” and RESIST the urge to invest more energy.
And a simple way to put an end to this nonsense before it gets too far along is to determine for yourself two things, before your heart gets involved with a guy.
1. How do you want to feel?
If secure is one of the feelings you’d like from your future relationship, then you can choose not to rely on any one guy for attention and care until you’ve spent time together and had a conversation about being monogamous.
I know that sounds super simple, but it’s so easy to get swept up when tons of romantic attention is coming your way. Consider keeping your desire for trust and security at the top of your mind.
2. How available do you want your guy to be?
Do you want him to reply every time you text? Do you want him to jump at the chance to see you when you bring up hanging out? If this is what you're looking for and the guy you’re interested in isn’t doing those things, NEXT.
Of course we can’t control others or keep ourselves safe from breadcrumbers without dropping out of the dating scene altogether, and we don’t want that! The key is to keep checking in with ourselves about how we want to feel, and whether or not we're getting all that we deserve from the guys we're dating.
Breadcrumbing is for the birds, sister. You got this!
In my 20's I dated a guy for about 6 months, stayed messily involved with him for a couple years after that, and then continued to believe he was the love of my life for another decade. OY.
After that first 6 months he pretty much went off in another direction, which was my cue to look elsewhere for love. There were a lot of reasons I ignored that cue (I’m a stubborn Taurus, oxytocin is REAL, I liked the way he made me feel when I had his attention, I believed we were soulmates, he had excellent taste in music, LOL).
But the main reason? I had something to prove to myself. I didn’t realize it at the time, but that’s what it was. I needed to prove to myself that I was worth this guy’s commitment.
The truth is, I was worth so much more.
It wasn’t until I finally got super fed up with being single that I was able to see how pining for him was keeping me stuck and alone. I deserved a great love!
Are you currently pining for anyone? Even if you're out there dating, is there someone in the back of your mind or the front of your heart you just can’t shake?
I’m here to tell you if that guy is not showing up for you, he is not your love. And it’s time to let him go.
On some level you may have made him the gold standard of your self-worth. But this is where you have a very powerful choice to make. You get to determine what you’re worth.
If you decide having a man in your life who adores you, wants to be with you every single day, thinks he’s the luckiest guy in the world to have you, and who truly makes you happy… if you decide you’re worth all of that, then let the old guy go.
Give yourself the gift of standing up for your self-worth. Close the door on that old story and open the door for real, true love to appear. You can do it.
Trust me, the new guy will be soooo worth it.
P.S. Have you claimed your free Valentine gift yet?? Reply to this email and let me know whether you'd like a Love Tarot reading, or all the dets on your Venus astrological sign. I can't wait to give you a hint toward your new direction in love! Happy Valentine's Day. <3
A friend of mine went on a trip recently with a newly divorced woman. Their itinerary was full of exotic sights, but the woman was so obsessed with the married guy she was seeing back home she barely noticed her surroundings. They stopped to picnic next to some epic architecture and she sat there asking, “Do you think he’ll leave his wife??”
Ack! Can you relate?? Oh my gosh I went through something like this so many times. I just checked out on all the life happening around me, caught up in anxiety over some barely there guy.
It happens to virtually all of us at some point, getting involved with an unavailable guy. If not married, maybe he’s obsessed with his work, vocal about “not wanting a commitment”, preoccupied with an ex or a needy family member, or some other version of unavailable.
Besides missing out on all the good happening in our lives right now, this situation creates all kinds of drama. If we're not obsessing over the guy, then we're lamenting the lack of good guys, or blaming ourselves for ending up here.
We know better than to get involved with someone unavailable… so why the hell did we, and what do we do now?
Well honey, I’m here to tell you this did not happen because you have some fatal flaw, or a tendency to self-sabotage. OR because there are no good guys out there!
In my experience, when you’re drawn to unavailable guys it’s because you are unavailable.
What?! I know, crazy, right? But true.
Look closely and you might recognize yourself in one of the many, less obvious, versions of unavailable…
Maybe you don’t believe anymore that there’s a great guy out there for you. Or you could be thinking you need to fix some part of your life before you’ll be really ready for a relationship.
Maybe you’re craving total independence but believe you’re *supposed to* have a boyfriend. Or deep down, you could be afraid to let someone that close into your world.
Am I ringing any bells?
If you’re in any way involved with an unavailable guy, please consider taking some time to get out your journal and do a little soul searching. The reason for your obsession lies within you, as does the power to be free of it.
The great news is that once you identify the ways in which you’re unavailable, and what you plan to do about them, your obsession with the no-good-for-you-guy will vanish.
And that’ll open the door for what you really want, whether it’s time alone, a relationship that develops slowly, faith that someone meant for you is on his way, or something else entirely.
Girl, it’s time to leave those scrubs in the dust.
P.S. If you're feeling stuck and not sure what's keeping you unavailable, consider a coaching session. For the next month I'm running a Valentine special, "Clear your blocks to true love!" This is one phone session for $75, with follow up homework and emails. If you're ready to get your love life moving forward, give yourself a Valentine gift and hit reply. Let's make a date to start clearing your path to love! <3
Ah, the eternal question.
(It's morphed a bit into "to text or not to text"... or to IM or not to IM, but you know what I'm talking about).
First of all, let me state the obvious. We’re empowered women and we’re certainly not going to follow any rule that says we can’t make the first move, or contact a guy any damn time we like.
We can say “Hi.” We get to flirt and show our interest. Hell yes, we can lady-up and give out our phone number.
Here’s the thing though… once the ball is in someone else’s court, we know instinctively if we go over there and get the ball we’ve actually ended the game.
You know it’s true, sister, that guy you’re interested in needs the opportunity to pick up that ball and decide to play the game. Because when he chooses to reach out and ask you out, he’s investing, and he’s moving things forward. That’s what creates the dynamic energy we’re looking for.
It sucks though, because waiting for the ball to be thrown back can leave us feeling like anything BUT empowered women. We may even feel powerless and anxious, which can lead our minds to coming up with a hundred reasons why it would be perfectly fine and normal to text him or call.
Maybe he’s shy! Maybe I didn’t make it obvious enough I was interested! I’m a modern woman and I know how to make things happen. I can text him if I want to!
I’m gonna argue that when thoughts like this are running through your brain, it’s not actually your bad-ass side talking. It’s your primitive lizard brain that wants to know NOW what is UP, so she can keep you safe from potential rejection.
So when you’re feeling that impulse to text or call or IM him, consider instead taking a moment to feel into your energy and check in with yourself.
Are you *really* having a girl-power moment, about to smash the patriarchy with your bold action? Or are you, quite possibly, having just a little difficulty sitting with the totally normal human emotions associated with a fear of rejection?
If it’s the latter, take some time to breathe and chat with your "inner lizard". Let her know you understand her impatience, but she (and you) will be happiest when you see evidence that there’s some interest coming from the other side, so you’re just gonna go for a run or a walk or a bike ride, and take good care of yourself while you practice patience and let go of control for a little bit.
It’ll be okay, and the exciting energy of mutual interest will have a chance to percolate. Adventure awaits!
And if you don’t hear from him, you can check in with yourself as often as you like, to see what the right move is. Moving on, reaching out, it’s all part of the dance.
You can trust yourself to know the next step.
P.S. If you haven't yet, get yourself signed up for the goddess (and master Life Coach) Susan Hyatt's free Miracle Week! All this week she's sharing daily prompts for 12-minute actions you can take to create miracles in your life. It's so fun! Sign up here; it's not too late to have a week full of the kind of miracles that can happen when you take gorgeous care of yourself. And you'll love soaking up some of Susan's sparkly energy, too!
We all have relationships that don’t work out – there’s no way around it. Unfortunately, when finding love is taking forever it can start to feel like it’s somehow our fault.
I don’t know about you, but I beat myself up over relationship fails for years. Any time a guy disappeared or didn’t want to commit, I'd blame myself for not being able to make things work.
A sample of my brain crack: If only I’d been more together, that addict would’ve reformed into the best boyfriend ever. If only I had better boundaries, that hot and cold jerk would’ve been begging for time with me. If only I’d been stronger, better, wiser, or more “chill” … oh man, all the energy I spent trying to change ME!
All so some guy would magically transform into Prince Charming.
What the actual heck!
If you’ve had thoughts like that, please take it from me, it was never your fault things didn’t work out. It was just the wrong guy.
You don't have to change a single thing for the right guy to stick around.
Fortunately, you don’t have to fly blind in your search for the right guy this year, either. And you don’t have to listen to a whole lotta conflicting dating advice. There's something very simple you can do. You can turn inward, and check your intuition.
Now, you may fear your intuition has let you down in the past. You’ve gotten caught up in the rush of a crush, or stayed too long with a so-so guy because you thought it made sense. Well good news! There’s a tool you can use to help your intuition’s truth ring louder than your logical mind or raging hormones.
My favorite tool for checking my intuition is adapted from Martha Beck’s “Body Compass”. Just a few steps, but it’s literally life changing. Here’s how it works.
First determine what your question is, in relation to whatever guy you’re dealing with. For example, “Should I keep hanging out with (insert name here)?” You’re going to check your body’s physical reaction to A. making the decision yes, and B. deciding no.
Close your eyes and breathe deeply. Then say to yourself, “Keep hanging out with him”. Now tune in to your body… What reactions happen in response to that decision? Do you feel expansive, warm, maybe a big exhale? Or do you maybe feel a tightening, or upset, or even like crying?
Once you’ve identified your body’s reaction, shake it off and take another deep breath. Then say to yourself, “Stop hanging out with him.” What response does your body have when you decide that way?
Isn’t it amazing how your body speaks??
Listen to what your body has to say -- she knows what’s up. Following your intuition will guide you gracefully past the wrong men and toward the right ones. AND, I guarantee it’ll make you feel like you just discovered your very own super power!
Here’s some homework to try in the next couple weeks -
Invite your intuition along the next time you go out. Kind of like a chaperone, but more like a sweet fairy godmother, or a best girlfriend.
On an upcoming date, or the next time you’re out interacting with guys, plan a little “girls’ trip” to the restroom. The “girls” involved will be you and your intuition.
Go through the steps I outlined above and listen to what your body compass has to say. Then consider following her sweet wisdom. And remember, if the response is neutral, take that as a sign to keep moving forward with getting to know the guy until the message is clear.
I hope you’ll drop me a line and let me know what you’re discovering!
Jen Mallinger is a trained Martha Beck Life Coach. A former boy chaser, hopeless romantic, survivor of the dating desert, and highly sensitive intimacy avoider, she is now married to the greatest guy ever. She loves sharing insights and action-steps for those looking for love and reciprocity in relationships.