Two years ago I was in a really bad relationship. I was stuck, extremely anxious and slightly depressed. I felt so far from where I wanted to be. I wanted to have, or at least be on the road to having, a family with a man who was going to be a really good father and husband. I didn’t see my boyfriend as the kind of man I wanted to marry, but like all relationships it had to run its course. I felt two steps behind single and I didn’t know what to do.

Flash forward two years to May 19th, 2015, the day I got engaged! If you’re wondering if it was to the guy above, the answer is no. By the grace of God, with a lot of patience and a TON of inner work I was finally able to let him go. I went to weekly seminars on dating, sought counsel (individual and couples) and read every book on relationships there is. It wasn’t always easy and it definitely wasn’t always pretty but the diamond on my finger is proof that it was worth it.

The night my ex and I broke up I signed up for I knew that I had to keep myself distracted to avoid going back to him for the 27th time. I figured I would get to dress up pretty, go on some dates, and hopefully get a bit of my confidence back. From there, I literally dated anyone who would ask, within reason. If the guy seemed like a total creeper, I declined. But other than that I was pretty much game.

I went on a date with a guy who had about ten drinks during dinner and invited me to a wedding (not ours, thankfully). Another guy talked about his mom the whole time. One texted me a picture of his cut hand on my way to meet him as his way of canceling. I never heard from him again. And yet another stopped calling after I wouldn’t sleep with him on date three (good riddance).

The point is, I dated. It wasn’t always fun, but it was quite entertaining. Clearly most of these guys were not going to be my guy. But I put myself out there and taught myself how to date.

I’ve realized most women don’t actually date until their late twenties to early thirties. When they get to this point they don’t even know how to date. By no fault of your own, if your life looked anything like mine, then you’d go to a bar, meet a guy, hook up, hope it worked out (it never did) and do it all over again a few weeks or months later. Going on an actual date and being courted (WHAT?!) just wasn’t what we did.

Now you that you’ve passed through that stage you may find yourself single and ready to find love that lasts. However, the game has changed. Gone are the days when you want to spend hours at the bar, hoping to meet a cute guy who has “potential.” You have your routine. You go to work, then the gym and spend your evenings comfortably on your couch. Your weekends consist of brunch with girlfriends, some of whom may be engaged or married, dinner with your parents and perhaps quite often, a Saturday night alone. Maybe you’re on Match, Tinder or some other site, but all the guys who email you seem like either a total creeps or complete losers. You don’t want to just go out with anyone and you aren’t interested in wasting your time (who would be?). But every week that passes you feel more and more in despair about your love life and how it’s going to end.

Well my dear, take it from me when I say that dating is where it’s at. It’s not always fun, and definitely not always sexy but it is the means to an end. Had I not been open-minded when I signed up for Match, perhaps I would have never met my fiance (ahhh I love calling him that).

When Scott first messaged me he was too young and lived too far for my liking. But he seemed like a nice enough guy, so sure, I would go to dinner with him—why not? Our first date was nothing magical (be aware of feeling too much too soon) but we definitely had a connection. I felt really really comfortable with him. It was a lovely surprise.

In order not to put all my eggs in one basket I even went on a date or two with different guys after meeting Scott. But at that point we were on date two or three and no one else compared. I knew I wanted to see where this would go and lo and behold, 20 months later I’ve gone from dating to diamond.

Looking back, I realize that I didn’t necessarily think I would meet anyone online, but I knew I had to learn how to date. Relationship expert Dr. Pat Allen calls this “duty dating”: when you go on dates with men that you aren’t particularly excited about, simply to practice the art of dating, because indeed it is an art. In her book Getting to I Do (my number one tool to finding love that lasts) she teaches you not so much how to find “the one” but rather how to avoid all the guys who aren’t. Her teachings have been a Godsend to me and I continue to go to her weekly seminars.

If you don’t already have the book I can’t encourage you enough to go get it. Without Dr. Allen, who knows, I might still be chasing unavailable men who led me on, only to break my heart once we became intimate. However, thanks to what I’ve learned through Pat, I can now say I am happier and more in love than I’ve ever been.

If you’re feeling lost and hopeless then please know that there are tools out there to help you find a man who is ready to find you. Drawing on the Getting to I Do process, I’ve helped a lot of women find love that lasts, including one who got engaged just a few months before I did.

You deserve lasting love with an incredible man. You deserve having your dreams come true. If you’ve had no luck at all in love, please know that all of that can change. Dr. Pat Allen’s work has resulted in thousands of marriages and will continue to create many more. Together let’s make yours be one of them.

If you’re ready, I’d love to help you.




*image courtesy of Micah Camara