After my divorce, I couldn’t wait to be in love. But I was like a bull in a china shop – I couldn’t wait to date, and I dated just about anyone who asked me out. Even worse, I wanted to date people who DIDN’T ask me – yeah, I was one of THOSE girls, giving my number out to anyone I thought was cute (I don’t recommend this, no one called me).

But I learned something about myself while dating – I started to fall for guys too easily – perhaps even after a few dates. It reminded me of my first kiss in 7th grade. Paul was his name – and my friends arranged a time for me to meet him after school. We met in a romantic spot – under the school stairwell that smelled of urine and stale candy wrappers – and he greeted me with a warm, loving salutation of, “Hey, wanna kiss?”

I said, “Sure,” and he slipped his tongue in my mouth a couple of times, and then he ran off.

That’s when I knew. I was going to marry him. I was in love.

But he dumped me 2 days later in Spanish class, via a note passed to me by 5 kids, who all read it before I did. (But to give him credit, his break up was in Spanish. His mom would be proud.)

Yep, and at 35 years old, things weren’t all that different, sadly. After a few dates and a kiss at my front door step, I assumed the relationship was perfect.

But the truth was, I wasn’t just looking for love. I was looking for someone to rescue me. And it took me a lot of heartbreak to figure that out.

So how do you know if you’re needing to be rescued? Here are some clues:

On the second date you’re wondering if they’ll make a great parent or step-parent.

When you text, “Thanks for a great night,” and they don’t respond immediately, you start to panic and worry that they don’t like you. So you check your phone incessantly until they do.

And when you finally get a text back, “Thanks, I had a great time too,” you read the text 50 times, trying to squeeze more meaning out of it.

Or if you don’t get a text at all, you feel like you’re in middle school, rejected once again. To the point where it ruins your day and you can no longer concentrate.

When you’re finally dating, and you’re beginning to fall for them, you make plans for the weekend, but the plans may not be finalized, so you obsess whether they will truly happen. You’re so looking forward to your plans, but when you get that text, “Hey, my kid is sick and I won’t be able to hang out this weekend,” you don’t trust the facts and you wonder if you’re being blown off. You stalk their Facebook to find evidence of them telling the truth, and you’re pretty much unraveled because your plans for the weekend have been broken.

When they’re mad or upset with you, you do anything to change and make sure YOU don’t do anything more to piss them off. You take full responsibility for the relationship, and make excuses as to why it was likely your fault. You find a way to rationalize the fall-out because you’re worried that you’ll lose the relationship.

I could go on and on with this list – but do you see the pattern here? If this is you, it means you feel you’re not in control, and you feel like you’re their yo-yo or puppet. And the painful truth is this: you’re afraid of being alone.

And when you’re afraid of being alone, it means there is something deep within you that you resent. You can’t stand being alone with that thing you resent, so only another person can make that thing you resent go away – but only temporarily, until that person is gone.

By the way, that list above is from personal experience – I did this too, I admit it. It took me a long time to figure out what I resented about myself, but here it is, in all its glory:

I resented that I was divorced.
I resented that I was a single mother – embarrassed, even.
I resented that I had no money, and eating off of chipped plates from Ikea, at 35 years old.

But I got sick of this resentment. It did not serve me at all. So I changed my outlook from resentment to resurrection. So what if I was divorced? So what if people judged me for the lack of nice plates and cutlery? So the hell what!

Once I stepped into my “so what,” oh my God, it set me free. I no longer cared for someone to rescue me. Because I learned to rescue myself.

And so can you.

So how do you know when you’re ready for love? When you no longer NEED it.

Being ready doesn’t mean you are getting something from someone. It also doesn’t mean you are giving something to someone. It means you are exchanging – equally, harmoniously, and without be attached to the outcome of the exchange.

Rescue thyself, and love will follow. I promise you!

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