Just when you think you’ve got things handled…

Oh crap!
My dad issues are affecting my dating life!!

I mean I was aware I had some “dad issues” but I I thought I had worked through those in these past few years. And, please don’t get me wrong I love my dad! I think we get along quite well now, but apparently there’s some stuff I gotta look at…sigh

Let me take you back to last week’s date that triggered all this…

I was finally meeting up with the Canadian librarian who I had met on Tinder.
We had been exchanging messages for a couple of weeks over the holidays, as we were both were busy traveling or booked with family in town, so it was finally time to meet up.
Our messages had been light & easy, starting off with the usual asking of the basics. Where we then moved into more witty banter. 
His flirting had an intellect to it that sparked my interest.
I’ve always found an educated man to be sexy. He doesn’t have to know everything about everything but if he’s got a passion & loves to share his knowledge in it – hot!
I was really looking forward to this date.

Pre-date giddiness, feelin pretty
We were meeting up at a small lil neighborhood wine bar he picked, which sounded casual & cozy.
I always love to let my girlie side show & decided to go with a dress & heels.
Always heels!
LA is a city overrun with short men & I gotta know early on how high a heel I can get away with, cuz I ain’t giving them up 😉
One thing I have learned from my Tinder dates, if their pics are mostly waist & up, they will be shorter than me…they have ALL been shorter than me.
(This may be where Tinder falls short since their stats aren’t listed, its kinda a crap shoot)

Sure, yeah, you can make the argument of falling for their personality is more important but if you can’t get attracted while bending down for a kiss, I’m not sure you ever will.

Ok, so yes, he fell into the shorter than me category, but possibly eye level without heels, so not giving up hope yet.

We get our glasses of wine. He’s a white wine guy. I’m a red wine gal.
Maybe we’re the opposites attract type?
We start picking up & elaborating on conversations we had messaged about.
I quickly notice with every comment I make I am corrected.
But he’s backing it up with facts & data, quoting obscure books & references, so kinda hot, right?
Have I mentioned he’s a librarian?
I’m soaking up new information, I’m learning while on a date ~ very cool.
Until it keeps happening, with every topic! Even fashion!
I’m getting triggered, my combative-ness is starting to come out…not pretty Carlie, take a deep breath & hear him out.
I was trying really hard to not shut down mid-date. Yes, I had pretty much written him off as potential at this point, but I might as well enjoy the night, right?
But then I’d hear myself argue something back to him, like I had no control over my mouth!

Managed to survive through the conversations with a couple of glasses of wine & as he walked me to my car, he leaned in for the kiss – either he was on a different date than me or he get turned on by debating where he always wins.
I cringe to admit I kissed him back, seemed a quicker way out & as I pull away he suggests we do this again – seriously????
he says its up to me to invite him out & plan the evening
(I will leave my rant about gender roles & dating for a future post).
I say ok & quickly hop in my car, figuring I just dodged a 2nd date.

Of course he reaches out a couple of days later via text & I find myself even being combative & snarky in my responses. He does not bring out my best self!

Cut to a couple of days ago & I’m sharing this experience with my therapist
(yes, the therapist thing is happening now)
& in doing his brilliant job of holding the mirror up to me & making me actually look, he shows me how this gentleman’s behavior was triggering my childhood reactions of dealing with my dad – who is always right…
And I reacted exactly how I used to as a child – dammit!
Instead of just listening, I was immediately forming judgements based on my past & writing him off.
Maybe he was anxious & was trying to impress, he suggested, but how would I know that if I’m not giving him a chance.
I cannot keep shutting down if its not how I “expect” it to be.

Sooooooo, I’m giving him a 2nd chance…while I currently feel this is against my better judgement, by Tuesday I will go into this open-minded, if anything for the practice & the experience of staying present

Christopher Reeve said “either you decide to stay in the shallow end of the pool or you go out in the ocean.”
I’m learning how to swim in the ocean, no more shutting down & playing it safe in the shallow end.

**Other Player’s Update**
Going into the new year I was looking forward to meeting up with a couple of other suitors too, here’s their latest…
The Restauranteur – has been benched due to a hernia, we’ll see if he comes back swinging.
The Second time Around Guy – has also been out of play due to family health issues which took him out of town & between juggling when he’s got his kid’s, I feel we may never get that 2nd date in. We chat, but missing the in-person connection…

In the meantime, I’m just gonna hang my heart out there & go enjoy life!
Have a great week!!


Hope your’s is off to a great start!!

Thought I’d share my horoscope for the year ahead, cuz it freakin rocks!
Even though I don’t put much stock in them, I enjoy reading mine every now & again, especially when they say gooooood things – thank you Refinery 29 😉
Illustrated by Emily Forgot

Pisces (February 19-March 20) You are in for one heckuva year, Pisces, so get ready. Romance, possible fertility, and even continued education is on your cards in 2014. Take this time to define your life and call your own shots, instead of letting others dictate your actions. The first half of the year will be exciting, but by July, things will have thankfully died down so you can settle and take it all in. The four eclipses this year will reshape your life in more ways than one from your mindset to the number of stamps on your passport.”

Woot woot!!

Ok, so last month I claimed 2014 as the year I was going to date fearlessly in my search for  love…
What does that mean?????
I’ll be honest my heart is racing a lil & my palms are sweaty as I type this.
When I had this brilliant plan, I hadn’t quite thought through the whole “facing my fears” part, hmmmmmm, on second thought…

Nope, no I’m gonna do it, I’m sticking to the plan!

Step 1 to dating fearlessly, one has to figure out what fear(s) are blocking her progress in the love dept.

For the first time ever in my 39 years , I’ve been actively casually dating, no one specific man has had all my attention & I’ve been enjoying it ~ I will say it is quite fun having such a busy social calendar.
Getting to know different personalities, trying on different like/dislikes, learning about a new restaurant or activity ~ all good!

Throughout my 20’s & most of my 30’s, the concept of dating was lost on me. 
Finding dates seemed impossible, online was hit or miss back then,
flirting? phffftt, what was that?
If I had a date, I was nervous & awkward.
2nd dates were not common.
So I’d just sit back & swoon over the men who weren’t interested, daydreaming of love…
This then lead to the long stretch of throwing myself into my career.

A few years into that & tired of being alone, I decided to make some changes and take a good long look at myself
~ my thoughts, my beliefs, my patterns ~
I was ready, I wanted to find love.
I got me a dating coach & got to work!
Yes, I was that clueless when it came to relationships & needed guidance.

My amazing coach, Marni*, after much work got me back out there dating 
& almost instantly a quality man showed up!
Magic I tell ya, when you’re in the right space!
I had never experienced the fun & the joy of dating until him. The excitement of getting to know someone, reveling in their stories & sharing your’s, the rush of connecting to another soul, letting down of your walls & revealing your true self.
It was the most wonderful feeling.
I finally knew love.

It was amazing how easy it could be ~ why had I struggled so much before?
Why am I struggling again?
Am I struggling now? 

Lately I’ve started going for runs, a slightly shocking activity for me, 
but I’m really enjoying it. I love the feeling of strength & possibility I get while out on my run.
Music pumping, the sun on my face, the freedom in the moment.
So yesterday while doing a lap it hit me, this moment of clarity!
I’m too afraid to let myself be vulnerable again!

vul·ner·a·ble: adj    capable of being physically or emotionally wounded or hurt

I am struggling within myself to let my guard down.
While these dates & men are great, I’m not letting them in…or letting them see the real me.

AM I willing to expose myself & my heart again?
Could I handle the pain again?

I want to say yes! Yes, I’m willing to let go of my fear!
Yes, to being open to the possibility of falling in love again.
But will I let down the safe walls I’m hiding behind?

I’m scared.
(funnily enough I’m willing to be vulnerable here with you, on the page, but in life? Oh boy!)
But I’m willing to try.

So the new goal going forward on these dates ~ share myself!
Be vulnerable!

Keep ya posted after this next round of dates 😉
Wish me luck 

*I wanted to give a shout out to Marni Battista & her program, Dating with Dignity – she’s changed my life & if you’re looking for love I couldn’t recommend her more! I’ve talked about our work together in posts on First Love at 37 if you want more in depth to the story. Thanks Marni!! xo

To hope or not to hope…

 hope:  a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen…

I’ve been in a real introspective state these past few weeks, a lot of questions to myself ~ who am I? who do I want to be? what makes me happy? what do I want out of this life?

And through this personal interrogation, I have found that I’ve been quite happy over this past month ~ I’ve finally got my groove at work, my social life has kept me booked, I’ve been working out, finding a new love for my body & an appreciation of it’s strength…
So of course this daily joy has me questioning it 😉
Ha! Can’t a girl just be happy? 

What really got my mind whirling was the sudden burst of tears this week at a picture of a friend’s beautiful newborn baby girl ~ what is with me & this river????
I mean, I’m happy, right?
Life is good, things are falling in to place, I’ve got a good job, my business is taking off, I’m surrounded with amazing friends & family ~ why is this adorable cherubic face bringing me tears?

Since the break up, I’ve been going back though the things Marni, my amazing dating coach, has taught me & thinking about my “wants” & my non-negotiables.
What I dug down to was something I’ve been afraid to say out loud for a long long time…
If I admit to wanting this & it’s not in the cards, can I handle the pain?
Is it easier to play it safe?
Or does that hurt more now, knowing my true feelings?
Can I ignore them? Will they go away if not encouraged?
Or do I just put it out there??!!!

Ugh, I know the answer to that one…you can’t have what you don’t ask for, right?
I’ve always been the ambivalent one of my friend’s, on the fence about my feelings on this, indecisive mostly, but it’s time to be honest…
Oh this makes me nervous…

Ok, here it goes, I long to have a family, to be a part of a unit (as a friend eloquently termed it), to have people to care for, to love, & to worry about.
My definition is still vague as to what exactly that is for me ~
~ it could be just be me & him
~ us & a fish, a cat, a dog, whatever
 ~ us & a baby
~ us & existing families
I’m open to it all, whatever the Universe brings my way
(please, please bring it my way, feeling vulnerable here now that I’ve put it out there…)

Some of the moments when I felt truly content during this past year’s relationship was the rare times I got to take care of him. I got a rush going to the grocery store & planning a dinner to cook for him ~ it scared me, who is this girl? I don’t like to cook, don’t even know how, but I wanted to for him.
I wanted to embrace it, but sensed it may have scared him too, it was maybe too relationship-y.

Ok, well back to the unleashed faucet of tears, which made another appearance tonight as I watched one man explain his realization of his purpose here on earth to be a father & the joy it brings ~ thank god the room was dark & the spotlight on him, I was a mess!!

My hope has been waning lately. 
The reality is it may not happen for me.
And I should be prepared for that, but I’d much rather plug my ears, close my eyes, & lalala that thought away…
 I know I should keep the faith, but sometimes its hard.
Inching towards 39, is not in the prime dating bracket, men worry about the ticking clocks, its too much pressure, I get it.
But I can’t worry about them, I’m just going to ask for what I’d like & see who sticks.

Here’s to hoping!!
Cheers, xo

Time to be real with myself

RKO RADIO PICTURES SUSPENSE: Cary Grant plays a spy in love with a woman (Ingrid Bergman) who he assigns to seduce a Nazi in Alfred Hitchcock’s Notorious. / handout
 Okay, a lil re-cap where we left off since its been a while ~
He’s in Australia for another week.
I’m in Los Angeles, struggling with trying to be strong & not go full-on into  heartbroken mode…I want to hold true to the love I know I have for him, but how long does one do that without looking foolish? Really?

When I saw this picture from the film “Notorious”, it immediately grabbed me. I could feel this deep love they had for each other & yet there’s a sense of longing, of wishing their obligations weren’t pulling them apart. 
Neither wanting to let go, but knowing it must happen.
His close embrace soaking up her essence, hoping to remember her softness, her scent.
Her quiet resolve to the situation, letting these last few minutes be precious…its moments like these to me that is love, not the showy bits but the quiet connection bits!
(I really must go watch this movie now!)

Ok, back to us..
So we started to communicate a lil more via email after our 11:11 re-connect. Slowly.
A short email here. A polite response there…
I think we were both kind of feeling each other out, neither sure where the other stood & afraid to state it ourselves…

During his time away, I began to dip my toe back into the online dating pool, purely to test the water ~ was it warm & inviting? chilly? leaves floating in it?
I did a bit of updating to my profile, added a pic on a day I was feeling particularly pretty 😉 Did a lil “shopping”…but no one was catching my eye.
Now I know it was way too early to seriously consider power dating again, but I needed to gut-check myself & see if it peeked my interest at all ~ it didn’t! 

Realizing my heart was still invested with him, I made the decision to let him know.
Our emails were okay. He was always saying nice things. They just missed that connection I knew we had. They were safe.
 Seeing his name in my inbox, I would get a rush of excitement to read it, only to feel “eh” after reading it…why?
What was at the root?

After reading back through our emails from that week, I knew my sterile, simply worded responses were creating what was being mirrored right back to me! 
Here I go ~ playing it safe AGAIN!! 
Goddammit all this work on myself & I’m repeating old patterns!!! UGHHHHH!!!
Why would he respond with the loving words I longed to here if I was giving him “hi. how are you?”…oh I can be so silly & stubborn!

I decided it was time to crawl out from behind my walls, expose my feelings, be raw, be naked, be free.
Okay, well baby steps…I climbed out on the limb via email (while I knew he was on a 15+ hours flight back)

I told him how much I had been missing him, how I had been holding back & why. I bared myself & it felt good!
My heart raced as I hit send, but I felt a calmness too, I guess I knew even if his response wasn’t what I hoped to hear, at least I said what I felt, I mean ACTUALLY said it, I’ve NEVER done that!

I woke the next morning to the sound of a text.
He just landed & got my “wonderful” email – (I took that as a good sign). 
Jet-lagged, he was off to bed. 
I was off to work, with a smile on my face. I had a good feeling. 

** I must give a shout out of thanks to Ms. Marni Battista, my dating/life coach, who without her I’d just keep on repeating my same old sh*t – thanks for holding up the mirror & making me take responsibility for the life i WANT to live!!

Online dating follies

Why wasn’t I paying attention
in chemistry class?

So to catch you up ~ I had hired a dating coach, Marni,  who turned out to be more of my life coach at the beginning – we got my life in motion, launched a new business, left my time-consuming, life-sucking job, starting doing more things I enjoyed, caught up with friends…I got to a really happy place.

Time to tackle the dating arena now! Online she sent me.
I was a lil hesitant about it, based on past experiences, and also the fact that I feel its just a weird way to meet a potential mate (cuz of course, I’m still stuck on the “swelling music in the background as your eyes lock for the 1st time in a random meeting at the coffee shop” hoopla)

First round ~ match.com ~ 3 month subscription, bring it, I’m ready!
I come out “winking” like a mad woman at any somewhat decent profile.
No responses…okay, that’s alright…
A friend tells me I should just LOOK at their profile, so they see I checked them out & then let them be the 1st to make the move, you know you don’t wanna come on TOO strong & emasculate them…blah, blah, blah…
Hmmmmm…was beginning to think I’m checking out all the fake profiles posted to entice quality women in…
I start taking it personally – NEVER DO THAT! (but its kinda hard not to)

So, I’m telling Marni about my non-progress & she suggests okcupid.com. She’s got clients having success there & its FREE! Sign me up!
I give her a look at my profile, eh I kinda passed. She gave me a “B”, but I’m an “A+ overachiever” kinda gal, so we tweaked away until we got to a profile that was a shining me (it helps to have an outsider’s perspective of you, just sayin)
Then I got schooled in the “you don’t just wink!” (then why is it there??), you send them a quick lil message commenting on something you’ve read in their profile  – these are the obvious reasons why I need a dating coach!

Second round ~ okcupid.com ~ First I gotta say, ladies there are some QUALITY men WITH jobs on this site – check it out!
I was a message fool! Once I was shown the way, I was out of control, chatting up all sorts of types of guys – I was actually having fun!
Then…I get this really funny, interesting message in my inbox from someone I hadn’t approached…he was handsome, witty, had a job, was TALL (hard to find these days in L.A.). I was definitely intrigued.
The only thing holding me back was that he had kids, I wasn’t sure where my maternal instincts lied, but that could bring a dimension I wasn’t sure I was ready for, I mean, ex’s & all…eh
But of all the conversations I was having, the ones with him were the most interesting.
Ok, talked myself into it, meeting up for 1 drink couldn’t hurt ~ it’ll just be a fun evening out =)

Our FIRST date was set – 6pm(????) on a Thursday @ The Griffin… 

The Journey begins…

Ok, growing up as a lil girl all the stories I was told included this fair maiden being rescued by her one true love, her knight in shining armor, her Prince Charming…

Do you think this did a lil damage? Skewed my perception of “love” in some sort? Of course!
I fell hook, line & sinker for this fairy tale, and spent my life on the search for my “one true love”
“Snow White & the Seven Dwarves”
“Cinderella” meeting her Prince Charming
The kiss from her true love
to wake “Sleeping Beauty”
Saved by her Prince – “Enchanted”

Cut to 34 years old, sitting in a dark theater with my mom, catching myself smiling ridiculously while watching “Enchanted”  – ahhhh love, full of songs & birds chirping…yes, I was still on my search…

I still believed…kinda…

Now don’t get me wrong, I’d had my fun, my flings, my hopeless crushes, my unrequited loves, but had not yet been swept off my feet by a man on a horse.
And I was holding tight to this belief that that was how it worked – thank you Mr. Disney.

I tried my hand at online dating, personals in the paper (before the dawn of match.com), blind dates, & my favorite, speed dating.
Sometimes fun, sometimes painful, sometimes a really great story to tell the girls over cocktails.
I even flew to another country to find my prince, only to learn he lived at home with mom!! (a detail I would have preferred to know before boarding)

All of this endless searching lead me to a phone call about getting over a break-up, (which I was not really trying to do, I was trying to get over a CRUSH) & I heard the guest host speaking about how men can sense your energy, no matter how dolled up you got, they could sense my desperation – OH NO! (& so true!)

Cue my new dating GURU – Marni Battista. I knew I had to work with her after she called me out on all my goo after taking the D-Factor (Date-ability) test.


Now having worked with Marni for over a year, I have come to be the happiest I’ve been in my life AND wouldn’t you know that’s precisely when HE road in… 

Our story begins…