Sure, we all want and need love, and many of us feel unfulfilled and lonely until we find that “one true love” we feel will make our lives complete.
In our last feature with Dr. Mitch Tepper, “The Secrets to Self Discovery”, we made an offer to provide one winner:
“Individual coaching services to help you with your online dating profile. He can help you write or review your current profile and choose a dating platform that best matches your desire because many services such as OkCupid, Match.com and eHarmony use different approaches. He can help you to express what you value in a partner and what you have to offer in the best way. He will also spend a few review sessions with you and recommend your best photos.”
We selected a wonderful young woman who eagerly applied. For purposes of this article, she will remain anonymous. The first call was scheduled, but things did not go as we had originally planned. Boy was it an enlightening journey though, and a rollercoaster of emotions that many other men and woman experience under similar circumstances.
Before she even had her first session, she wrote this:
“I have been thinking about this project for quite a while now, and I’m not sure that I want to continue with it. I realize that I am constantly looking for a man to validate myself and I’m extremely guarded and damaged right now. I would prefer not to at this point in my life. I am so sorry. I am just so burned and completely disgusted by all men. Basically, I think that this should go to someone more deserving, someone who really wants this. I am incredibly honored that I was given the opportunity to work with you. It’s not even so much about me worrying about getting hurt again, it’s the fact that I have zero interest in getting to know new people. I actually starting to think that I might want to be single the rest of my life. It just seems like a lot of work, way too complicated, not for me, and I would rather expend energy working on building a fun and fulfilling life for myself.
“For example, in my dream world, I would continue pursuing my goals, finish a degree, travel, and so a million other things. I simply could not put the energy into a relationship with a man if I want to do all of those things, and truthfully, I have finally realized that I want those things more than I want a relationship with a man.
“I think I have been so focused on finding love/a man because it’s easier to get wrapped up in that (love) rather than focus on my goals, which are much harder.”
Dr Tepper agreed that he wanted to help her in this direction, to focus on developing herself at this point, and respecting her decision to hold off on the dating coaching. First, Dr. Tepper wants her to be “at peace with herself and her body”.
A few days later, she wrote that she wanted to keep the door open to dating in the future. “I am still focusing on my life, and the things I’m interested in first and foremost. That way, like Mitch said, I won’t be attracting the wrong type of guys just because I want to be with someone.”
Every day on social media I see and get messages from girls on wheels expressing similar hurt. I wanted to see how the Dr. could be a source of compassion and wisdom to those who are struggling to find their true selves, and learn to love who they are and respect what they have to offer a partner.
So, I requested a change of focus, and to write about “How to find the love you want…and you may be surprised where it’s been all along.”
What are the Foundations of Love?
So, following is our new interview with Dr. Tepper, which we hope will serve this young woman and many others who are at this stage of their lives:
Dr., what is the foundation for love? How do we ready ourselves to attract the right, compatible energy, and how do we know when we are truly ready?
I think Aretha Franklin had it right when she said R E S P E C T. The foundation for love is respect, and to quote another classic by The Staple Singers, “If you don’t respect yourself, ain’t nobody gonna give a good cahoot, na na na na.” So, a loving relationship is based first on mutual respect. After that, I would add admiration, then sexual attraction. For long-term success, sprinkle in a little kindness, compassion, and forgiveness.
To get ready for love, we need to come to terms with ourselves in the context of our changed body, changed roles, and changed interpersonal relationships. Easier said than done, I know, but we all need a roadmap toward success.
We need to accept what’s broken, focus on what we still have to offer, and identify things we do like about our bodies. Trust me, resilience and resourcefulness can be aphrodisiacs, and scars, worn proudly, can be sexy! Dealing with a disability can build character if you allow it to. It can enhance your creativity, your patience, your sense of humor, and your acceptance of others’ imperfections. It can also help expand your sexual repertoire.
How do we know when we are ready?
Like the lyrics to Bad Company’s “Ready for Love” say, “We may be wondering where our life is leading, but we have to keep rollin’ on to the bitter end, finding out along the way, what it takes to keep love living. Times were hard but now they’re changing, you should know that I’m not afraid.” We are ready when we are no longer afraid of living alone, when we are seeking a partner because we want a companion to complement our life, not because we need one.
What are some signs that show we are not really ready to be in a relationship that is healthy?
If your main motivation for love is the need for validation from somebody else, you may end up finding sex in all the wrong places. When you are willing to compromise your core values just to win over a partner, you’re not really ready. When you tolerate/rationalize a verbally or physically abusive partner’s actions by telling yourself you deserve it or you cannot do better, you’re really not ready.
How can we prepare to bring our best selves to the game of love?
- Take care of yourself as much as possible:
- Get the necessary sleep, exercise, and good nutrition that your body needs.
- Take part in activities you enjoy.
- Make a list of your best characteristics.
- Make a list of the things you value most in a partner.
- Seek help for mental health related issues.
How do we go from defeated, hurt, and insecure to winning, strong, and self-realized?
Hire me as your relationship coach! Seek objective advice from someone you know and trust. Look for successful role models.To hire Dr. tepper as your one on one Love and Dating coach:
15 minute free consultation
90 minute initial session $150
50 minute sessions $100
30 minute sessions $60
Discounted packages and sliding scale available
How do we handle rejection and stay in the game?
I always say the best way to handle rejection is to inoculate yourself against it. What that means is that everyone looking for a relationship should expect rejection. Sometimes it will be about your disability, but there’s a myriad of other reasons people get rejected in the dating game. Rejection still may hurt, but you have to allow that logic to rule over your emotions.
- Disability Tour Operators Deliver #AccessibleTravel - July 28, 2017
- Being Seen: The Long Road Toward Inclusion - June 25, 2017
- Education and Exposure is Key to Bias Against Disabled Mothers - May 14, 2017
- How to Train a Service Dog: Part One—Finding your Match! - May 7, 2017
- The Kindness of Strangers - April 23, 2017
- PUSHLiving Podcast 013 | So you Wanna Dance? Marisa Hamamoto Infinite Flow A Wheelchair Dance Company - February 2, 2017
- PUSHLiving Podcast 010 | Ethan Ruby The Crash, Coming Back from His Darkest Days to Fortune and Love - December 7, 2016
- Einstein - October 18, 2016
- Part 4: Woman with Disabilities: How Accessible is the Road to Motherhood? - June 23, 2016
- “When You Roll with Life, You Know People will be Watching” An Interview with Cutie Courtney Cirabasi - May 7, 2016