Blindsided

Amy was completely shocked by Lewis' behavior on their date.

Going out on a first date is easy. You can go out on 20 first dates and pretend, “OK, I’m putting myself out there,” and never fully commit to opening yourself up. First date, smirst date. It’s the third and fourth and fifth dates that are most impressive; it takes moxy to show you’re brave enough to find true love. You have to take a risk to put yourself out there, knowing that you may very well get rejected by someone. Otherwise, don’t complain that you’re the serial dater who never gets a meaningful relationship but goes out on a bunch of first dates until you’re 50 and you’ve never been married. There’s nothing that brave about a first date. Talk to me after the third. That’s when things start getting interesting.

Commitment-phobes and control freaks, hear me now. You MUST come to peace with showing a little vulnerability at some point or you WILL NOT find true love. Sorry, folks, there’s no way around it, even if you think you are clever enough to pull it off. Believe me, I’ve tried. I know how uncomfortably terrifying it is to open yourself up to someone and not be in control of whether that person might hurt you. It’s a chance all of us have to take, but my message is clear: we can still accomplish this, without handing over our full hearts and risking our self-esteem to someone we just met. You’ve got to have a strong enough self-esteem before you start dating. From there, it’s all about setting the pace, trusting yourself, and enjoying the possibilities that are in front of you. Then you are in control. So stop trying to control everything else. You can’t, and in the end, who the hell wants to? Is that any fun? So some of you are nodding and probably at the same time baffled as to why I would have been so insecure during my salsa date with Lewis as to bring up his not being in touch with me after our first date. I wasn’t exactly clear-headed, and I needed “Matchmaker Amy” by my side, since this time it was MY heart involved. Regardless, I am pretty proud of myself for being able to recover and move past it with Lewis, which led to a great night. In fact, it led to two great kisses by the end of the date!

When I got home, for the first time I realized that if I want a chance to be happy, I cannot freak out. I have to remain calm, secure, and open to the possibility of something with Lewis in order not to screw it up again. I obviously got a second chance with him, so I was determined to change my attitude and go into our third date looking forward to our finally getting a chance to be ourselves. Instead, I was completely blindsided.

After our kiss goodnight, I thought that things were moving along fine. As soon as I walk into the diner, I noticed that Lewis is being a bit cold, somewhat distant, and acting nervous. He had teased me about being “stiff” the other evening, and how I need to open up and “get out of my comfort zone.” Now here I am, looking forward to a great date and suddenly it’s Lewis who is acting distant and stiff.

My heart was sinking. It became evident in the first five minutes that he was planning on a confrontation, to pick at my faults and criticize everything I had done wrong at salsa. What happened to the guy who walked me to my door, spun me around for one last twirl, and kissed me good night before I walked upstairs? Is this really happening?

The moment I finally mustered up the courage to admit when I’m wrong and open my heart up to this guy is when he decides to completely shut me down? I can’t tell you how painful it was sitting at the table with him. The knots I had in my stomach. Lewis certainly didn’t seem like he was planning to let up. It just felt cruel and not the same guy who had danced the night away with me the date before, who had been so forgivingly sweet for my stupid remark. I don’t know who that person was, but it hurt me in a way I have not felt in a long time. I had to just leave, I couldn’t take sitting there in front of him. I felt belittled, embarrassed, and hurt, and I just didn’t know what else to do at that moment. It was one of the worst nights I’ve had in a long time. I couldn’t have in my wildest dreams guessed my third date with Lewis would end up like this.However, I’m starting to realize the same advice I give clients is exactly how I need to coach myself -- especially in this instance. Somehow I have to be able to transfer what I know to myself, to heed the advice I give to others. It’s unfamiliar territory, looking at my own dating life rather than my clients’. It’s not as easy to maneuver as I had originally expected.

Like hell I’m going to let Lewis or this pain stop me now! I must get back up on my feet, and show my clients I can do the very same thing I would force them to do. I have to dust myself off and somehow get back up -- even though there is a deep pain, and a part of me that wants to say, “Screw this,” go back to working non-stop, and ditch this dating thing all together.

The temptation to do that is terribly strong right now. But I know in my heart, I can’t give up. I’m NOT a quitter. I tell my clients constantly that they deserve true love, but that they’re going to have to work to find it. I’m learning the hard way that the same is true for me.
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Self Sabotage?

Amy Laurent is ready to let her guard down with Kevin.

So things have come full circle for me; I find myself sitting here and thinking about some of the things I’ve gone through and finally trying to understand what has been holding me back with my own personal dating goals.  Not by any stretch of the meaning am I used to focusing so much on my own issues or emotions.  After so many years of ignoring those issues and just focusing on helping my clients, it’s sort of a scary and uncharted territory for me.  Yet, as I’m sitting here I’m recognizing that for the moment I am HAPPY.  Do we all deserve to be happy?  Maybe my answer for myself is finally yes. 

So let’s be honest.  I’m not used to a guy like Kevin -- he’s supportive, complimentary, and overall POSITIVE.  What the hell do I do with that?!  It’s a little bit strange for me to be around someone so nice, but at the same time there is no way I can let this set me back -- I’m sick of having anything good fall to pieces and not making good decisions in the name of self-sabotage.  I would NEVER let a client screw this up for themselves.  So why don’t I recognize that I deserve that very same consideration too? I better not screw this up now only because I’m used to young, condescending a-holes. 

The majority of my day of course has me reverting back to work (sorry, I can’t help it, baby steps!) and the fact that I still get my ultimate joy from seeing my client Tim Sykes and Lauren together.  They are truly ADORABLE; I just knew they were going to hit it off and were a match.  Tim has really started to grow on me since that first day I met him, and nothing would make me happier then to see him happy! I will make sure that happens for all my clients, but yet with Tim I feel I have really taken him under my wing.  He’s finally following ALL of my rules!  I am a proud mama hen, and he and Lauren truly seem happy.  I love it.OK, now back to Kevin and the fact that when I got home from work there was a package waiting for me.  Not only is Kevin super sweet (which I’m trying to embrace), but now he sends me a gift before the second date?  Argh, OK I’m struggling here and keep hovering my thoughts between “this is the most thoughtful thing anyone’s ever done” to “OMG this is weird, maybe I shouldn’t go out with this guy?”  But I stop myself.  Why?  Because I refuse to sabotage myself for once in my life when something good is happening for me.  Isn’t that part of my past insecurity of “I’m not good enough” that got me into a bad relationship with AB and completely being the kind of withering, meek girl in front of Lewis that is not excusable for any woman?

I’m really starting to think that I’ve avoided my own happiness and dating by hiding behind my work and throwing myself full on into my clients for so many years because some twisted part of me WAS worried I wasn’t good enough.  I gave consideration to my clients’ happiness, but why haven’t I given that same consideration to myself?  Have I really been treating myself so poorly and beating myself up? And if so, then for what reason?  Things are going to change, and they’re going to change NOW.  My eyes are wide open, and I probably will never be the same after these past few months. 

So damn it, the pajama pants are cute, and I’m going to own this and accept someone giving me compliments and being really sweet to me. You know what? Because I deserve it. There. I said it. I’m finally allowing myself that, because I am worthy. I finally get it.Seeing Kevin for the second date was probably one of the most special and happy moments that I’ve had in a long while, and I’m really proud of the fact that as frightful as it is for me, I’m staying open.  I’m not running away, doubting myself, feeling like I need to please someone or that I have to change who I am in order to be liked.  Sure, we all have flaws and things we need to work on.  I tell my clients this every day and force them to confront the very obstacles that keep setting them back in getting who they really deserve in a relationship.  Well now Amy is finally good enough and worthy enough to take Amy’s own advice for once.  Thank god, something is finally changing.

After the bumps and bruises, one can start to realize change is good.  I am left with so many thoughts after this date with Kevin and the incredible kiss that felt wonderful. My head is spinning right now, but I feel like I’m alive again.  And it’s OK to be human with these emotions.  In fact, it’s really NICE.  I feel like something that was shut off inside of me (without even knowing it) has suddenly been jump-started and is alive again thanks to Kevin and this whole experience.  My stomach is filled with a warm sensation and I literally feel like someone flipped the on switch.  It’s as if some little part in me I’ve ignored for a while is coming back to life.  It’s a bit emotional for me, and I am thankful.  I’m HAPPY.

Oddly enough, sitting in a silent room right now with all of this feels good.  I have a sense of hope and the realization that good things can happen for me.  I’m finally contemplating what it is that I really want for my future and what it really means to be happy.  I’m excited about the future and what it might hold for me.