It's often the inner obstacles that trip us up when online dating. It's not the circumstances but, what our minds do with what's occurred. With the departure of a man who we feel connected to, many women will look to ourselves as the cause.
We could use this as an opportunity to grow by looking at what our mind is doing post departure. Often the backing away triggers an old belief which has calcified as an inner obstacle to our successful online dating.
Instead of pondering the why of the sudden and seemingly random disappearance, we could stick with what happened. The fact is that he backed away, reason unknown. Not our fault.
We could then ask what we think about ourselves when this happens, often repeatedly. Do we believe that we're too old, too young, to heavy, too skinny or other cosmetic variations of our core belief of being unworthy?
When a new man's delayed phone call triggers my old fear of loss, a memory surfaces. I am tripping across a rocky garden, my 9 year old's feet swimming in my mother's high heels. Excited to share my new found popularity with the boys after our move from urban Brooklyn to rural upstate New York, I call across the garden.
"Mom, I'm going to the movies tonight with Vincent Gooler."
She stops pulling weeds just long enough to turn around and snarl, "Over my dead body." Days later, experiencing her first major bipolar episode, she tells me that she has died. She covers our mirrors in the Jewish tradition of mourning and grieves for her own death. And mine.
After her hospitalization, the mother that returned was not the familiar one. She appeared ghostlike, a diminished version of her former self. Confused, the belief that began forming in my child's mind was that I had killed my real mother.
Decades later, using the tools I'd been taught, I am able to stop myself from reacting to my false beliefs of not being enough thus causing this new man's departure. I am grateful for the inner work. I am now able to comfort and empathize with my inner 9 year old, telling her the real truth:
Mom experienced a manic episode. She felt as if she had died. That we had died. The disease had caused her delusions. No one was to blame. You are very worthy and deserve to be loved.
As my mature self, I am reminded, once again, how old patterns that create anxiety can keep us from continuing on our journeys. Before doing the inner work, I might have withdrawn but, not today. Instead I celebrate having avoided the number one obstacle when online dating: our own unhealed, younger selves.