How I Found
The Perfect Mate
Prowdr relationships are all about “Living Inside Out.” We lead with our hearts, share ideas, inspiration and solutions on how to be better humans every day within all our respective relationships: friendships, intimacy, family, ex-partners. It doesn’t really matter what kind of relationship it is or who you choose to make your partner, your friend or your family. We’re all in this together as one inclusive world, taking care of each other, so we can enjoy each moment and thrive in everything we set out to do so we can live life just a little bit better every day.
Not only will you figure out what game you were playing all along, you’ll have a desire to quit it and start a new pastime that’s clearly got something to do with mountain climbing and extraordinary views.
Relationships are always my favorite topic, especially intimate relationships. There are plenty of easy ways to meet people: online, a bar, shopping, blind date, etc. However, finding the perfect mate is never that easy. At Prowdr we’re more interested in helping you find the perfect mate—the person you want to share your life with, grow old with—otherwise we would have launched a dating-service site and focused on ten ways to have a better orgasm or five reasons your dating life sucks.
There are plenty of media outlets delivering superficial advice to your dating dilemmas. At Prowdr, we felt compelled to take a leap forward and tell you there is more than a quick fix to dating when you are interested in finding the one person who will change your life. We decided that rather than continue to guide you through the mental gymnastics of dating, we would offer some real advice that will take you on a journey that is fun, challenging and proves to be profoundly real, if you are looking for true love and a meaningful relationship.
In high school, I had a boyfriend from freshman year until my junior year. I loved him, because he was such a gentle soul, respectful, loving and kind. He was my first. (I hope my parents are reading this, LOL). He was my best friend. He was the first person who told me I was gay, and I thought he was out of his mind. When I first heard those words out of his mouth I was defensive, but deep down inside I knew he was right. Within six months, I had begun to explore relationships with women, and the rest is history. I have him to thank for helping me come out at such a young age.
I’ve had some wonderful loves in my life. I can still, to this day, look back on those experiences and say I learned so much, and I’m so grateful we are still connected in some way.
However, I took a strange detour in my forties and entered into a relationship that went horribly wrong. I imagine, however, there are many of us who have at least one of those. And I, like many of us, never thought I would choose an abusive partner. I never even knew what that looked like, nor did I imagine I would tolerate allowing myself to be abused. And even though it was verbal and emotional abuse, it was still abuse. It was a rough eight years. I left and got help, and it took me two years for the dust to settle before I got back on my feet and got myself a coach.
Specifically, a dating coach.
Why a dating coach and not a therapist for this particular area of my life? I’d seen a therapist for many years, whom I love, and who has helped me through some hard times, but I was older now and I wanted to understand myself and examine what it would truly mean to have the perfect partner in my life.
I knew, then, that I wanted one person in my life to love and who was a perfect fit for me.
I found my dating coach Marnie Nir at Handel Group. We started working on me. She helped unravel “my lineage,” and she gave me an invaluable exercise that to this day I recall as the most productive thing I did that helped me find the love of my life.
Marnie took me down the path of Yikes! Namely, the ridiculously obvious, but upsetting, nauseating realization that I’ve been dating my father, acting like my mother and perpetuating my family’s patterns when it comes to love.
Does some version of this hit close to home for you, too?
Many of us, of course, at some point in our lives, have had that oh-no moment. But not all of us do something about it.
She told me I would continue the cycle, unless I did something a bit more productive than shake my head in disbelief. I needed to roll up my sleeves and get down to work to change my approaches, conceptions and behaviors regarding my love life.
I was game and way done with the games (mental gymnastics, in my case). How about you?
With Marnie’s help, I was able to shine a light on the way I was repeating lineage and holding myself back in love. I found my sense of humor, and lightened up enough to see my fingerprints on my love life’s crime scene.
How to Find Your Dream Relationship
Marnie had me do several things (besides cackle with her…eventually). Possibly the most effective assignment she gave me was the very first assignment Handel Group gives to all its clients. She had me admit (in writing!) what I deeply wanted out of a relationship. Mind you: Not what I didn’t want—that would have been an easy list to write (See nothing like the last eight-year relationship)—but, instead, I had to write down every last thing I truly wanted. Like it was the last love I’d ever have. Because, it was.
This exercise wasn’t about me fantasizing about what a relationship should look like, but rather, telling the truth about who I was going to be in my dream relationship and as equally important, who my partner was going to be. I looked at everything from sex to communication, to how we travel, to how we handle finances. I had to be clear on what was important to me and what I wasn’t willing to settle for or step over, like I had in the past.
Ask yourself: What is my dream relationship? And tell the absolute truth. As Marnie put it: Imagine yourself standing on top of a mountain looking down at your life one year from now, three years from now, five years from now. Write down the entire experience of what your life would be like (in detail) and tell the absolute truth.
Have I mentioned, tell the absolute truth? Can you tell what part of Marnie’s instructions (rightfully) struck a chord with me? Fascinating, no? Or better yet, incriminating…
Now remember, you’re at the top of the mountain looking down. Who are you with? What are you feeling? Don’t think about getting up the mountain—how you get there is the work. Because yes, if you want a great relationship and want to be a great partner—it’s work. But the work is not only extremely rewarding, it’s r-evolutionary and heroic.
10 Questions to Answer in Your Love Dream:
1. What does it feel like to be with your partner? (i.e., Are you walking around giddy, free to be completely yourself, profoundly supported, fun, prowdr, etc.)
2. What does your communication look like and sound like? (honest, thoughtful, intense, snort-laugh-inducing, etc.)
3. How’s your romantic life in detail? How often do you need a romantic gesture from your partner? How often will you make a romantic gesture to your partner? How big or small do you need them to be? (candlelit dinners, bubble baths, spooning, hand-holding, public displays of affection, etc.)
4. Are you free sexually with your partner? (i.e., ask for anything, share fantasies, etc.)
5. What’s your home life together like? Do you travel well together? Do you spend the majority of your free time together? Is it important for you to share many of the same interests or are you comfortable having different interests and doing things independently on occasion?
6. Do you have children? Do you want children? Does your partner? No, really!!
7. How do you handle finances? Do you make investment decisions together? Do you keep your finances separate and with full transparency?
8. How do you see yourself resolving conflicts with your partner? Are you happily honest? Do you talk about everything? Do you handle the hard conversations with love?
9. What do you expect from your partner when things are difficult for you? An honest opinion? A supportive shoulder to cry on? Advice? Space?
10. How do you champion each other’s dreams? What kind of actions do they take to help you achieve your dreams? What actions do you take to help them?
Obviously, besides daring yourself to dream, there’s other deep work to be done. There’s a lot of delving into your own life (and into your parents’ lives!) and seeing what game you’ve been playing when it comes to dating, sex and love. Not only will you figure out what game you were playing all along, you’ll have a desire to quit it and start a new pastime that’s clearly got something to do with mountain climbing and extraordinary views.
Brook Altman is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Prowdr.com. To learn more about how this extraordinary LGBTQ lifestyle website came into being, check out Welcome to Prowdr.
Check out our Relationships section for other great posts like this one on Prowdr!
Interested in relationship or dating coaching? Check out HGLife.Coach to learn more about coaching options. And check out the new book from Lauren Zander, HG Co-Founder and Creator of the Handel Method.: Maybe It’s You.