In both dating and all of life, I believe in striving to be positive and kind. My hope with anyone I meet is that things are always just a little bit better for me being involved with them, even if they didn't have the hoped-for outcome. Life is too filled with disappointments, critics and nay-sayers to not remind people of why you value them. I believe if you think something positive about someone, you should certainly say it.
Even though the majority of the men I've met during my post-divorce dating haven't gotten a second date, there have been quite a few that piqued my interest enough that I wanted to see if there was relationship potential. Regardless of why it ended at some point, it doesn't change the fact that I thought enough of them to spend time with them in the first place. Out of that gratitude, even though our journey is ending, I like to remind them what drew me to them in the first place.
Selfishly, I am also a person who likes closure therefore I like to tidy up anything else I need to say. Now, all of these more significant players have remained friendly with me and I am grateful for this. I don't have any interest in being dramatic. Sure, I could have told the man what I didn't appreciate about him but what good does that do besides create enemies and people you want to hide from if you see them at the grocery store? I have no interest in that at all. And I believe that if I put out authentic kindness into my dating all the time, then not only will it be returned to me, but eventually it will bring the same kind of love I'm looking for to me.
A goodbye letter is therapeutic for me and helps me get my thoughts organized for my own peace of mind. Often the letters are filled with emotion and exchanged back and forth for a better understanding of each other, even if it doesn't change the results. But overall, my number one goal is to thank them for what they contributed to me along this journey. Each man, even the first-date-only ones, has helped me better define what I AM looking for and brought me to the man who exceeded my hopes and dreams. So remember, these are not failures, they are stair-steps to the goal at the top of the stairs. The partner you've been wanting. I promise that partner is out there going through the same ups and downs and looking for you, too.
Even the one-date-only men got a thank you text and a polite message saying I didn't feel we're a match and wishing them luck on their search. I do believe there is someone for everyone, probably many someones. It can just take a while to find them. Some of these same men have come to call on me to ask for dating advice and this would not have happened if I did the popular "ghosting" (Like I wrote about here) or told them exactly why I didn't think they are a match. I promise, if you are positive, you will attract positive people in your dating life! Whether you believe in karma, the law of attraction or the golden rule, it's just true.
I am sincerely grateful for each of the lessons I've learned. From the first man, who patiently guided me as I got to get my dating feet wet in a very safe place to the strong, silent type who helped me find a quieter place in my life after living in unrest for so many years. From the preacher man I was extravagantly cared for by, albeit briefly to the man I learned aspects of vulnerability from who guided me to open myself up, without fear. These men all made me a better version of myself, bred confidence in me and have helped me become a better catch and dating coach.
Of course the one-date guys have taught me some interesting, yet invaluable lessons which I happily pass on to clients. These men include vice principals to farmers, vice presidents to welders, truck drivers to PhDs, all looking for love, (and/or sex). I learned first and foremost that texting or emailing too long before actually meeting can be a big mistake. The longer you talk, the more of a fantasy person you build up in your mind where rarely do your expectations match reality. Several taught me to not be too picky from the get-go. You can't always judge a book by its cover, or a man by his poor attempt at a dating profile, and that my dear friends, can go EITHER way.
I also learned there are some really GREAT men out there who are amazing catches, even when they aren't right for you and possibly for the most ridiculous reasons. I learned that there are men in open marriages or men that are openly looking to cheat who make no apologies about it. I learned to identify almost right away the men who really just want sex, no matter what else they tell you. And these things have made ME more confident and wise, more trusting of my instincts from the start and that, each one is one step closer to true love!
So I encourage you to be honest, open and positive not just to the men you really like and are most hopeful about, but even in the saying goodbye. Be kind. There are too many people in this world who aren't and then be kind to yourself. Remember each time you practice the art of a kind, positive goodbye, you are one step closer to an amazing and future-changing hello!