Stephanie Livingston–Psychologist

Archive for June, 2012

Long Shot: beating the odds to love

by on Jun.10, 2012, under manuscript excerpt

INTRODUCTION
Morgan sat on my couch, three months before she was supposed to get married. Instead of being happy and excited she appeared more annoyed with her situation. She was in conflict because she was not sure if she should go through with it. She was 28, attractive and worked as a pharmaceutical representative. She was engaged to a great guy, by most peoples’ standards. She did not exhibit any emotion, but just presented the facts as she understood them. She apparently had thought about this for some time, but still could not resolve her feelings about the whole thing. The wedding plans were set. Guests had already purchased airplane tickets to attend, and her parents had spent thousands of dollars to make her day like a fairy tale. Her mother’s position was, “Get over it, your father isn’t perfect either. You need to hurry up and make a decision, or I am going to stop continuing the wedding plans.” Despite all of this, Morgan just could not pretend that she was happy, when she was not. She had discussed her concerns with two girlfriends who gave her opposing views, which only confused her more. Her married friend said that she was just having cold feet, stating that there are always things you are not going to like about your mate. While her friend, who was recently divorced, said, “’Be true to yourself. If you don’t feel a connection with him now, what is the likelihood that you will feel it later.”
According to Morgan, her fiance`, Dave, was the most eligible bachelor in their social circle. He was kind to her and loved her unconditionally. Her parents loved him, her girlfriends were envious, and on paper he looked perfect. He was attractive, intelligent, and a successful banker. She could not understand why she could not make a decision. He had all the things that she thought she should look for in a man, except that she did not feel connected to him. He did not make her laugh, they rarely talked, and he wasn’t passionate about anything. Her doubts had been surfacing for some time and after four years of dating, she found herself in bed with his best friend, shortly after they got engaged the year before. She had always been attracted to his friend because he was more laid back and fun to be with. She even thought that she had more in common with her own best male friend than her fiancé. They were able to talk for hours and she felt like, “he got me.” Morgan was not sure she could live a lifetime with a man who did not “get her.” But, on the other hand she was also afraid that if she broke it off, she may never get married and have children. Both scenarios were frightening to her.
Dating is like a horserace, there are Fillies—who are young, optimistic (i.e., glass half full), and energetic single females, with all the promise of winning the dating race to having a loving relationship; Long Shots, who still have a chance for marriage but the odds are slowly moving out of their favor because they are conflicted. They are vacillating between optimism and pessimism, because they are either older, too picky or have begun to settle into a negative mindset about men; and Nags, who are pessimistic (i.e., glass half empty), have resorted to a life of bitterness and resentment and may even be living with regrets about missed marrying opportunities. Morgan is a Filly, for now. She is in her twenties, the prime marrying and childbearing years, is engaged, and well on her way to realizing her dream of having a husband and family. However, she is afraid that this man may not be the total package—her Prince Charming. But, on the other hand if she does not marry him, she could easily turn into a Long Shot—in her thirties, unmarried, no children, with a growing pessimism about ever getting married and having a family. And worse yet she could succumb to being a Nag—growing older, with regrets about the one who got away and never finding anyone else who might meet her requirements.
Many women struggle with this dilemma of whether or not they should go with the imperfect guy, who does not exactly meet their expectations, or take the risk of not ever finding anyone who does. They do not want to end up spending years looking for that guy who has just the right package, only to find that he does not exist. But in many cases, that is exactly what happens. To Morgan’s credit, she is trying to figure this out before she gets married, even though the wedding is only a few months away. Some women never get to the point of engagement due to the fact they have rejected these imperfect men outright, because they did not meet her expectations. Most women have men in their lives, who are interested in them, they just don’t won’t those men or don’t even give them the chance to see if there is a possibility. Are you struggling with finding the perfect man and getting frustrated that there just aren’t any good men out there? It’s not that there are no good men to date, it is sometimes the filter you are using to determine what a good man is. Maybe this time you are the problem, not them.
If you are not already a Filly and want to become one, at least in spirit and mindset, if not by youth, this book is for you. People want committed relationships at all ages and although a woman in her forties or older may not be looking to have children, her chances of finding a mate will still be affected by her mindset. If she has a Nag mindset, her odds of winning the race will be significantly diminished. This book will help you to develop the characteristics of a Filly, agility, speed, and spirit at any age:
* the AGILITY to understand what drives your behavior, while learning to make the necessary thinking and behaving adjustments.
*the SPEED to develop efficient use of your time and energy
* the SPIRIT to get motivated to take action by instilling optimism and mental clarity

Time and time again female patients and friends of mine are asking the same question, “Why am I not married, or at least in a serious relationship.” Women are eagerly looking for answers to the plight of their single status. Women of different races, ethnicities, socioeconomic status, educational levels, and family backgrounds are all struggling with the same issue—“Why Me.” The answer is the same—looking in the mirror.
In writing this book, I have attempted to shed some understanding on why there has been a shift in our dating and marriage patterns and to provide a program for women of all ages who are considering finding an intimate relationship. This approach involves working from the inside out rather than the outside in. Many self help books that use the outside in approach focus on dating tips, or how to know when a man likes you. The inside out approach focuses on self-reflection and how your own internal issues may be interfering with finding and keeping a mate. This book will help you to know when you are the problem and what to do next.

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