No matter who you are, or how many therapists you’ve seen or workshops you’ve attended, everyone experiences fears and insecurities around relationships.
So tell me, could my closet-fears be yours too?
Have a read and let me know in the comments at the very bottom of the page.
So here we go..GULP…
A few years ago I came to a hard and brutal realisation – after over a decade of coaching men and women to overcome heartbreak, to love wholeheartedly, and to learn to love themselves completely, I was suffering myself, and more so than I wanted to admit to.
At the moment of this realisation, I was in a similar situation to many of my clients and community of women, I was single and I deeply wanted to attract a gorgeous man into my life, BUT I was also… unknowingly… scared of commitment!
Yes. Me. The woman who writes about love and passionate heart melting intimacy was struggling.
Why? Because I had my very own fears attached to the very thing I wanted. Sound familiar to you, even a little?
So… How Did I Get To This Fearful Place?
You see, over the past few decades I’ve been in a handful of relationships. A few were really very good, sure, they didn’t work out for a number of reasons, but nevertheless, they were healthy on most levels – basically, there was no good reason for them to cause any fear of commitment.
But along my path to finding a truly compatible partner and authentic love, I also invested some time in relationships that took more out of me than anything they gave back. Let’s call them unhealthy relationships…
Early on in my life, I learned to walk away from the unhealthy ones, though I still experienced the pain of them in some way.
Pretty simple, I believe in giving a relationship a chance to develop, often it takes some time to work out if this person and you are a match, and because this “working out” period is unpredictable it can be challenging and pull on the heartstrings!
Also… in between these relationships, I also dated a lot…
I’ve never been into hookups or casual affairs, yet I went on many dates. While most of them never got off the ground, some of these dates did get somewhat more serious, though for quite a long time no matter how many men I met, none of them felt right or something always went “wrong”.
Prior to this moment of realising that I was not in great dating-shape, I was largely a dating pro! The highs and lows were not a big deal to me, because even though the dating journey can be difficult at times, I didn’t take my eye off the prize (that being love)… While many of the people around me seemed jaded by love, I kept soldiering on in my quest for a truly compatible life partner!
While many of the people around me seemed jaded by love, I kept soldiering on in my quest for a truly compatible life partner! In fact, my friends and colleagues would often be in awe at how resilient I was and how optimistic I remained.
The Creeping Despair
BUT… unbeknownst to me, I was starting to slowly lose my faith in the very thing I was so passionate about, both personally and professionally. There is nothing quite like the pressure of being a dating coach, to have the perfect love story!
YET, the dark truth was I was crumbling inside and my eternal and unwavering optimism for finding compatible love had begun to wilt away…
As much as I didn’t want to admit it to myself, secretly, a biting feeling of despair had started to take form within me.
You see, I realised that the last two relationships I’d been involved in had taken their toll and I had started to doubt if I would ever find a good man for me. I questioned if I would ever meet someone who would be able to truly love me in a healthy way, and I doubted if there were any healthy-minded relationship ready men in the world!
My sparkling feeling of excitement for love had turned into feelings of loss and grief — hmmm, fertile ground for commitment phobia!
For the first time in my life, if I’m honest, it felt like my resilience for navigating the trials and tribulations of new love, and finding real authentic love, was largely gone. I simply didn’t feel that I could keep picking myself up, and I felt that I couldn’t invest in another relationship that failed.
My feelings of sadness and loss didn’t come from a feeling of lack of lovability or worthiness. I felt extremely worthy of a kind and mindful love, and I knew I deserved it, but my relationships with the last two men I dated ended with deep sorrow.
I seemed pretty resilient at the time, though through reflection each of them had changed something within me. One of the guys I had dated had a mental breakdown while we were together. Even though it was not related to me, and it happened while he was traveling overseas (without me), the circumstances were in many ways devastating, which saw a sudden end to the relationship with many unanswered questions.
The next person didn’t mean to mislead me, but he turned out to be incapable of having the kind of relationship I wanted, a truly committed relationship. Even though they wanted what I wanted they were categorically not able to give what any healthy relationship needed.
Basically, even though both of these men wanted what I wanted they were categorically not able to give what any healthy relationship needed to thrive, not with me or anyone else at that time.
What Went Wrong?
Both these men loved me dearly and I believe they still do, though they weren’t good for me. While I wanted a healthy man who was ready to love, they wanted me as an escape to their already unhappy life…
Heck, I immerse myself in this topic daily with work, I can talk about relationship readiness until the cows come home, which means from day one I was mindful of this and was trying to work out if both of these men were truly relationship ready and available…
Which means, when I started dating both of these men (at different times), from what they had both shared with me, they presented as relationship ready, but it turned out they were not. They actually didn’t know themselves well enough to know what they were or weren’t ready for, which meant that in some way they were lying to themselves and to their own hearts, which felt like they were misleading me.
They were ready for someone to take them out of their internal doom and gloom, they wanted to be adored and valued, though they weren’t fully able to give and care about another person. They were needy and unable to give anything much back.
Even though I continued dating after these relationships ended, I no longer trusted myself to choose a good man for me. I no longer trusted my judgment, and inadvertently I developed a fear of commitment. And worse, I started to lose interest in my work.
So instead of being excited to meet Mr. Right, I was silently terrified of the pain and terrified that I would not survive another failed affair of the heart. I was not giving any man a real chance because I was scared that if it did not work out, if I chose another broken winged man, that I would not get back up again – because my very own little wings were struggling to keep me up in the air.
And here is where the struggle was – I was not 100% conscious that these feelings were brewing inside of my big heart – it wasn’t until I found myself sitting on my couch with silent tears running down my face, probably for the tenth time that week, that I beautifully recognised that I was in fact, not in great shape emotionally….
That day I knew I had to draw a line in the sand — If I was to invite a good man into my life again, then I needed to heal the corners of my heart that were questioning love and even humanity!
Because that’s where my sadness and despair came from – I felt that most people were not able to love mindfully. I believed that most people had their heads in the sand. I felt that I would never meet someone who was evolved enough for true heartfelt intimacy.
I had lost a lot of my emotional fortitude and energy… and the big ugly truth was; instead of manifesting love, I was creating more heartache.
The Road to Reclaiming Myself
So how did I break this cycle and step back into the light? This is how I did it!
1) I Stepped off the Treadmill: Firstly I had to STOP. I got off the dating treadmill and gave myself a well-deserved break. It was time to stop looking for love so to speak. The only way to find my way back was to take a break from the very thing I wanted, yet was scared of. It was time to gently reassess what I truly needed, wanted and valued.
2) Picker Audit: I reassessed how I was picking men – consciously and unconsciously. Everything you need to know to work out whether someone is a good match or not is not always on display when you first meet them. But there will be SOME signs. Trusting when something “feels off” is really important. I always feel or sees the signs early on, though I was hoping for the best and not getting the best. It was a pattern. I was giving men the benefit of the doubt that I really should not have.
3) I Accepted My Fears: Instead of pretending that I was okay, or pretending that I didn’t have limiting and in many ways disempowering and repressed feelings about love and men, I had to accept these thoughts and feelings. I had to know my internal gremlins and be kind to them to release them.
Maybe you have some of these too? Maybe you have beliefs about yourself and/or relationships that result in you attracting what you don’t want…
Perhaps your sensitivity is that you want to be seen, yet you feel the man you’re with doesn’t SEE you. Maybe you believe that no man ever truly commits to a woman (or you)? Or maybe you believe you don’t have enough time for love?
If you ask yourself if these statements are true, then you’ll probably come to the conclusion that these beliefs are in fact stories in your mind – they’re interpretations of situations that are not accurate, and only serve to isolate you from love, versus, invite love in!
Of course there are men capable of love and commitment, and of course you deserve the most beautiful relationship. But to attract what you want, you must first make peace with your stories. This is what I did and, honestly, it feels great!
I’m back to my normal self and back dating again, and even though I still have to navigate my sensitivities – I’m stronger and more at peace and clearer than ever about who I am and what I truly want.
In fact, recently I have met a lovely man who’s authentically in a good place for a relationship, we’ve been taking it slow, our connection is getting stronger and stronger, and it feels really safe to spend time with him! It feels good 🙂
Men want to love and be loved just as much as you do, and they desperately want to share their deepest and most soul revealing feelings with you. When you know how to unlock your heart you will know how to unlock his heart.
Don’t be scared of commitment! Life and love is one big learning experience and ever evolving – so embrace the highs and lows and be true to your heart.
~ Nadine x
P.S. Please scroll down and tell me about your journey too.