This week's question comes from Kelli:
Hello to you both,
I love reading your Love Notes Weekly – thank you so much to you both for sharing all of your insights!
Here is where I've become stuck in the dating world: after leaving a relationship of 6+ years, I have found myself in a position where I'm not entirely sure what I want. I've become very good at dating a different variety of guys, very good at being open and warm and flirtatious with men, yet when it comes to the point where we need to ‘define' our relationship, I've developed a pattern where I then abandon the relationship out of fear.
On the one hand, I think this may be due to myself and the guy not being a good ‘fit' – this has happened on more than one occasions, so I have lately been halting casual dating. For awhile I was really into dating more than one guy at a time, casually, to experience different types of relationships, and I may have been too liberal with the types of men I have dated. But generally speaking, I find the point of rejection – whether it is upon first meeting a man, or after a few dates – the point where I ultimately freeze up. I end up feeling incredibly guilty at my chronic fear of being able to commit to a man.
The pattern is such where I can easily find men who want to date me, and commit to me – but once they get to that point where they express this, I lose interest, and become terrified of commitment.
I don't know if this is common or if it is a symptom of some type of attachment disorder or what have you – but I know I am capable of a loving, intimate, healthy relationship with a man, as I have been in one before. I am just sometimes so afraid of a new one not working out, and all of the heartache that comes with that, that I freeze up when it comes to making a decision around commitment or exclusivity. And lately, I've lost interest in dating altogether as a result.
Curious if to you both, it sounds like I have just not yet the right man yet, or if it sounds like something deeper whereby I have doubts around knowing what I really need.
Thank you in advance for any insight,
Thanks for reaching out to us. We have some insight into your issue and know that you can move through this.
First off, great job noticing and identifying the pattern you are stuck in. Fear is an interesting emotion. Sometimes fear can show up because it is an intuitive response to a situation that isn’t safe – either physically unsafe or emotionally unsafe. Other times fear shows up because it is part of Your Love Imprint™ and is actually blocking you from the thing that you truly desire. The key is being able to identify the difference.
Because this fear has been having the effect of blocking you from moving forward with any of your relationships, and has even led you to stop dating altogether, we are taking an educated guess that this issue is part of Your Love Imprint™.
This is where you can start doing some reflecting. Is this fear familiar to any experiences from your childhood? Did you ever feel this fear when interacting with your mother or father (or both)? Is this fear present in any other areas of your life?
The depth of the emotion you describe lets us know that your reaction is not hysterical, it is historical – meaning that it is a strategy that you learned at an early age to feel safe. This strategy is operating at a subconscious level, which is why it is difficult for you to end the behavior.
We want you to know that you are not broken. There is nothing wrong with you. You just learned a strategy for feeling safe that is not a useful one. In fact, it is keeping you from the thing you most want – love!
This same fear is also blocking you from getting clear on what you really want. If you could see what you want, then you could create it. The fear keeps you from seeing what you really want and therefore keeps you safe from the rejection that you most fear. (Ironically, it leaves you feeling rejected because you can’t maintain a relationship.)
This speaks volumes about how complex we are as human beings. We are not wired like the light switch on the wall. You have a complex strategy that has been in place for some time and it is keeping you from what you want in more than one way.
Our advice is to lean into the fear instead of away from it. Fear is a force field that points us toward our highest and best selves. When we move away from the fear then we continue to stay stuck where we are. When we lean into the fear then we are rewarded. (This is only true when there is no danger present. There is nothing life-threatening about you committing to a relationship, and yet your response is as if there is.)
Get out there and start dating again and when you meet a guy that you think you could develop something deeper with and the fear shows up, tell him, “I would like to continue this relationship and I feel a lot of fear around doing that.” Expressing the emotion will release the block and move you into deeper intimacy with your man.
It might be that all you need is to express the fear and the entire strategy will shift. We’ll hold this possibility for you. It’s also possible, that there is more inner work for you to do so you can release the fear for good, and create the relationship of your dreams. Our program Your Soulmate Blueprint(TM) can help you release that fear and get really clear on what you want. You can read about it here:
We are here for you. Keep us posted on your journey and let us know if there is anything we can do to support you on your path to love.
Love and Abundance,