On my own again, in an apartment I couldn’t afford by myself.   The apartment manager was very understanding when I told her what had happened, and she let me out of the lease with no penalty.  I moved to a more affordable complex about a mile away.   I had met a girl who needed a place to live for 6 months, so she moved into my second bedroom.  This worked out well for both of us.

I still had my job; things could have been much worse.  My church friends surrounded me with love and made sure that I kept busy.  Gary didn’t have the guts to show up at that singles group, so our paths never crossed again.  The divorce was simple, in that we didn’t have children or own any property.  Although he had borrowed money from my mother, that loan and all other loans were in my name (because his credit had been so bad).

I felt taken advantage of, because I came out of the marriage with all of his debt, in addition to what we had borrowed to buy furniture. But that wouldn’t have kept me married to him.  To say “it’s only money” sounds trite, but the lesson I learned was to not ever be that trusting and naive again.

After almost a year of recovering, I began to date Jim.    Both of us just wanted to have a fun, casual friendship.  We became good friends, first, which I liked.  I saw only one red flag – he didn’t have a job.  He didn’t seem worried about it.  He seemed to have enough money.  He lived in a nice apartment.  Since we were just having fun,  and not in any hurry to get serious, I decided not to let that be a deal-breaker.

He owned a 42-ft sailboat and took me sailing several times out of a Long Beach marina.  He taught me what I needed to do to help him sail.

Jim called me every afternoon and asked me what I wanted for dinner.   He totally spoiled me by cooking great meals for me every night.  I was gradually falling for him, but felt no sense of urgency.  I didn’t know anything about his finances, but knew that I didn’t make enough to support both of us.

One afternoon I didn’t receive my daily call.  I called him around 4, and he sounded weird, asking me if he could call me back.  I learned later that evening that his ex-wife had asked him to come home, and he hadn’t hesitated.  I was shocked, since he had been divorced 2 years, and we hadn’t even had a disagreement.

I hoped that he would change his mind, and realize that the relationship we had was too good to give up.  One good thing that came out of losing that relationship – I lost approximately 30 lbs. and had the best figure I’ve ever had!

I finally accepted that I had to move on when they remarried.  Ironically, his re-marriage didn’t even last a year, and he came back to the church singles group.  I went out with him on one date, but it just didn’t feel right.  (And he still didn’t have a job…)

Another learning experience.

I dated several more guys, but kept it light-hearted and fun.  One memorable date was a trip to 6 Flags Magic Mountain.  I had no idea, until I got there, that almost the entire park was roller coasters.  I hate roller coasters, because I literally get severe motion sickness.  Not a great idea for a first date…  However, I didn’t say a word and prayed a lot.  Miraculously, I managed to get through the day without throwing up.  We went out a couple more times, but I think he wanted something more long-term than I did.

With my rejuvenated trim figure, I decided to try video dating (they didn’t have online dating yet.)   It was interesting, but not fruitful.  I was “requested” by quite a few guys, but when I went in to view their videos and read their profiles, I just wasn’t attracted to them.  Most of them were too young – why would I want to date a 21-yr-old?

I did go out with a couple of nice guys,  and we had pleasant dates, but no sparks.

Then I saw Chet’s profile – he had the perfect looks and perfect resume.  He seemed to be just what I had been looking for, on paper.  On our first date, I learned that he even had the perfect car.   I was so disappointed to discover that he had no sense of humor and might have been the most boring person I had ever met.  I think I went out with him on 3 or 4 dates, hoping that he would warm up or let his hair down or something.  Never did.  I gave up on him.

One guy, Doug, sent me 3 dozen red roses at work, before our first date.  Boy, did he score huge points!  My expectations were high.  The date was okay, but not great.  I asked him why he had sent the flowers, and he said that he wanted to do something he had never done before.  (A pretty expensive gesture for one date, if you ask me.)

The dating service offered a seminar called “How to Meet the Man of Your Dreams.”  I immediately signed up, thinking that HE might be at the seminar.  Guess what?  No men at that seminar.  (After I thought about it, why would that title attract men?)

However, I met Camille, who professed to be a “romance coach.”  She offered one free evaluation session, and I wanted to be evaluated. I met with her, filled out a short questionnaire, and was astonished about what she told me about myself.    As it turns out, she was a life coach, but had customized her title for the dating seminar.

When I learned how expensive her real sessions were, I about fell out of my chair.  But, my mother had just died, and I was hurting in emotional ways that I had never imagined.  I had inherited $1500 from Mom (after Gary’s debt was paid).  Camille charged $1500 for 10 hours of coaching.  Feeling sorry for me, she offered me an additional 5 hours for paying up front.  I believed that my mother wanted me to be happy (but just had never known how to make it happen), so what better way to spend my inheritance?

Camille’s sessions didn’t last an exact amount of time (like the usual 50 minutes).  Our first session lasted 3 hours, and we completely resolved every issue that I’d had with my mother.  I was exhausted but felt wonderful.  I no longer felt guilty about being such a horrible daughter.  I was able to forgive her for all wrongs that I felt she had inflicted on me.  It was amazing.  I praised God and thanked Him for helping me to find Camille.

When I showed up for the 2nd session, she asked me what I wanted to work on, and I said, “Men.”  The obvious place to start was with my father issues.  The good news is that we made some progress over the next 12 hours of sessions, but the bad news is that even today, I still have trust issues in romantic relationships.

I started working with Camille several months after going to work with those 2 “hazardous” guys.  Working with her, combined with the Black & Decker goals workshop, made me realize that I needed to make a change.

That was the primary accomplishment of those 12 hours – preparing me for change…







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