What did I get from coaching? It’s February, and yet another 7-year relationship bites the dust. Of course, it is absolutely not my fault! It’s just that, once again, I’ve picked the wrong woman to invest in.
One day soon, I really will find that special someone who will truly love me. And I’ll know this because she’ll do what I want when I want, and will automatically know all of this without me telling her. What I’m looking for, in fact, is a selfless mind-reader. I can say this now with tongue-in-cheek, but this was how I actually thought about my relationships; ‘Real love’ is this way. It just isn’t fair I’m on my own. I’m unlucky in love — poor me.
And I would have continued to be oblivious to this state of affairs, but for the fact, I finally took up a friend’s long-standing suggestion to get some coaching. Wow, did things start to move! I noticed the constant commentary in my mind about how life was going – FYI it rarely came up with a positive conclusion! I realised that I usually heard a lover’s happy recollections as a criticism because I just wasn’t good enough. And perhaps most importantly, I started to see the strategies I used to get love and prove how much I was loved.
History repeating itself
New relationships would always be amazing. We were ‘together’, life was great, and the world was a wonderful place to be. And then the doubts and negative thoughts would creep in. Is this too good to be true? Could this fantastic woman, really love me?
To test it out. I’d throw little hand grenades into the relationship. If she learned to deal with my minor overreactions, I just threw in bigger and more volatile love bombs! When my ex- mentioned how much she missed her annual two-week holiday to the Caribbean – the one she used to take with her ex-husband – I would hear this as why can’t you afford to take me? I’d get upset, we’d argue, and then I’d throw in my hand grenade – I’m leaving! When she cried and begged me to stay, I knew she cared, and all was good. Eventually, of course, she had enough of the histrionics, and the relationship exploded – as had all the others before. I was upset, but I was right – there you are you see, I knew she didn’t love me!
My insecurity and a constant need to feel loved meant I had found a sure-fire way to get my partners to prove it. The people around me knew it, but I genuinely had no idea that my failed relationships were largely down to me.
A deeper understanding
This insight changed my world. I started to notice when I was about to drop in an incendiary comment and found that I could stop myself from pulling out the proverbial pin. It wasn’t easy at first, but the more I held back, the more I saw my partner’s genuine affection for me. And I learned to be with her simply because she added something wonderful to my already satisfying life, not just because of my need to feel loved.
With my hand grenades all but deactivated, I soon found what I was looking for, and in August 2013, I married my amazing wife. I don’t need to test her love, and she doesn’t have to do anything to prove it to me. I just know it’s there – and she does too.