Romance Scams: 4-Part-Deceit-Game-Plan Exposed

Spot the Scam: Protect Heartbreak & Bank Account

The deceit devastated her.

Emily, a middle-aged 60-year-old kind and giving woman lived a comfortable life—But lonely since the death of her husband 5 years earlier.

A romance scammer entered her life and ripped her undisturbed world to shreds. The emotional tyranny scared her soul— leaving her humiliated, embarrassed and broke.

How Did it Happen?

The scammer preys on vulnerable hearts—Women who long for love and connection. They look for a man to make romance with. A man who loves unconditionally.

A man ready to share lives together, cuddle in the cold, smile through April showers, tee off on summer days, and drink apple cider raking autumn leaves.


Arrogant, smug man
Handsome narcissistic suit proud young man looking himself in the mirror

So when a smooth-talking scammer comes along, sensing her need, he reaches into his playbook of word-charming lines to make her fall in love with him.

He whispers darling words, sweet promises, charming compliments—and she becomes putty in his hands.

Emily, though educated and financially secure never thought she’d find love again …But here he is. By my side. Now.

She embraces him wholeheartedly because, …internally she’s convinced, “This is my last chance…”


Otherwise, she’d pictured herself as a little old lady in a rocking chair playing solitaire—alone. No more happy dreams. Only hopeless solitude.

Life in this vacuum sucked.

AGE. “The mirror is no longer my friend,” she cries. “More wrinkles, hair loss, baggy eyes. Crinkly turtlenecks. My youth faded and men don’t compliment me anymore. I’ve become ‘invisible’.”

MENOPAUSE. Mood swings and padded waistlines deteriorate self-esteem.

But—No worries. I’ve found someone who loves me!

She let her guard down and FELL HARD.

He pounced and she became engulfed in a whirlwind romance.

Now he initiates his 4-part game plan:

  1. Ascertain Weaknesses
  2. Gain Trust
  3. Initiate Control
  4. Promote Isolation

Determine Weaknesses

It started innocently enough. Just internet friends.  We shared thoughts. Laughed a lot. He says he thinks we could become soulmates. …I relaxed.

From the start he asked many questions to get to know me deep inside. I REVEALED EVERYTHING—the good, bad, and the ugly. He listened to my every concern. At last, someone cares, someone reads me, someone values me. Someone loves me.

 I’m thinking: “I can reveal desires of my heart because he cares and only wants what’s best for me.”

He’s thinking: Ah, now I know all her weaknesses.

Do you think I told him enough to move on to step two? You betcha.


Gain Trust

Scammers send their target a constant stream of affectionate emails, texts, and direct social media messages–affection for him grows.  Especially since he’s a “businessman” interested in helping me build my portfolio.

I mean, he really cares, doesn’t he…

She’s thinking: He’s lovingly helping me, how I do love him.

He’s thinking: Yeah Ho! I have access to her bank account.

Initiate Control

“Where’ve you been?” he asked if I wasn’t available to answer his calls. He questioned where I‘d been and who I was with. After all, he was worried. He didn’t want any harm to come to me. Couldn’t I tell he really loved me? Soon I was accountable to him for every move I made. (Just so he wouldn’t worry).


I’m thinking: “He cares so much. He just can’t wait to talk to me.

He’s thinking: CONTROL.


Promote Isolation

The final step was isolation. “This is when he manipulated me into cutting off friends and family”, Emily said. After all, why do I need them when I have him? He urged secrecy… until the right time.

No problem–I fully trusted him.

I didn’t confide this situation with anyone. Therefore, without feedback from others, I was under his complete control. The art of manipulation had worked. That’s when he asked me to marry him—

But first…

red flag depicting dangerLove blinds us even when red flags wave wildly in our face.

  • “I’m finishing the last phase of my building project, if you will help me …
  • “I need a new phone to continue talking with you if you will help …
  • “Help me pay travel expenses to come see you…

You get the picture. It’s all about MONEY.

Decrease yours. Increase his.

Do these scams work?

According to USA Today, Feb 16, 2022:

The FBI issued an alert last week about victims of romance fraud losing $1 billion in 2021. Similarly, romance scams reported to the Federal Trade Commission rose 80% in 2021, with victims losing $547 million.

Many articles detail what to look for and step to protect yourself


I offer one solution not covered: SELF LOVE

Once I gained her confidence, I asked, “Emily, how could you allow that to happen?”

Glistened eyes met mine. She shrugged searching for the right words.

“I love him.”

I waited for further explanation, but …

That was it!

The heart vetoed all rationale. Reminds me of the warning of its often-dangerous power of irrational justification. I want what I want at any cost.

“The heart is more treacherous than anything else and is desperate. Who can know it.” Jeremiah 17:9.


Love is first an inside job. Without love of self-first, one cannot confidently give and receive love. Only when we fully realize who we are and accept ourselves can we understand how to integrate the love of someone else into our existence.

Yikes! I hear you moan, “Is this going to be a Self-Esteem lecture?”

Well–hmm–sort of…

What are you afraid of? Self-exposure can be frightening because many women feel inadequate, unworthy, unimportant. They would rather become dependent, exploited, dominated, or subservient than rely on their own worth. This is not overly implying weakness. But enlightens that introspection helps us define our inner selves.

It’s necessary because …

Self-doubt is what makes the romance scammer’s life EASY.

When our inner selves are strong and resilient, bold, and gutsy, scammers can’t scam.

Women hedge dating scams by preparing themselves for successful dating by first becoming self-assured, confident, and positive. Now you’re in a place to receive real love.

The Call for Relationship Education

It’s never too late to learn how to date successfully—especially if we need to build our self-esteem to the level that we’re the prize. Not him. He should be giving to us—Not we to him (this stranger we barely know).

And learn how to assert ourselves—even if we don’t feel pretty, or overtly sexy, or too old, or too tall or too short, too fat, or too thin. Whatever excuses hold us back from insisting on the love we deserve.


Relationship education includes how to position yourself as the prize; challenging him to catch you for his soulmate. Here’s a skill to the pursuit. Learn its magic to lead you to the altar.

When your confidence shines through, your chances to find love and romance can kick into high gear. You’ll be able to spot the scammer and pitch him to the curb.

Upcoming articles will feature articles training on Relationship Education. You’ll never be scammed by a romance scammer not now. Not ever.

Please leave a comment. Let me know your thoughts.


  1. Complete the opt-in form to receive a FREE checklist
  2. Look at Book I here: Book I- What 99% of singles don’t know about selection, but should!
  3. Please COMMENT. Let me know what’s on your mind, and the subjects you’d like to see addressed. I’ll answer.
  4. Continue to check weekly for posts that inspire and encourage your journey to find true love with your soulmate.

Donna Patterson

P.S. If you find this interesting, please pass it along to friends. It’s Much appreciated.



How Racial Intolerance Crushed My Bittersweet Date to Smithereens

Two beautiful people robbed of love

They kissed in the moonlight but sadly squashed by light of day

Photo by Good Faces Agency on Unsplash

Look for the three clues that prompted Pete to call me. 

Part 1

It was a sunny St. Patrick’s Day in Atlanta, Georgia, in 1991. I arrived early, parked my car, and waited.

Shortly a blue pickup circled and parked. From a distance, he looked at me, jumped out of the truck, and cautiously approached, head cocked, his eyes questioning whether I was the one — his blind date from the classifieds.

Thinking the same, I watched this incredibly good-looking man draw close. Rolling down my window, I gazed into engaging teddy-bear eyes. Thick chestnut hair from his sculptured face painted with a full mustache, full lips, and a deep cleft in his chin.

“Donna?” he asked.


He smiled, revealing deep, dangerous dimples. No way, I thought, this can’t be real — he can’t be my date!

“You’re beautiful,” he said.

“So are you,” I replied.

And so we met, Pete and I.

Momentarily we stared at each other. Sure, we had “clicked” over the phone, finding common-ground chemistry — but we were unprepared for this stirring physical attraction between us.

“Follow me,” he said.

For a clearer picture of what triggered this meeting and its full significance, let me back up to the beginning two days earlier.

Settled in Atlanta for six months now, I was ready to meet single men. Scanning the personals in the Atlanta Constitution I read the following ad:

SWM, 37, 5’10, handsome, seeking company of an older woman for fun and friendship.

I was 48. That description fit me. No restrictions noted, so I wrote a note that read:

Dear younger man, I read your ad with interest and am a little curious why you specifically ask for an older woman. As I see it, there are three possible reasons:

  1. You’re a gigolo looking for good times and money (Sorry, don’t have any)
  2. You’re a mama’s boy looking for a mother figure (No can do)… or
  3. You recognize the air of confidence, pizzazz, style, and loving wisdom of an older woman that translates into a beauty uniquely her own (Now, we’re talking!)

I’m new to the area, down from Ohio, and would be interested in talking with you. I’m 48, petite, very attractive, interesting job, a pocketful of insights, a woman of color, and if that’s no problem call me and let’s see what happens.

Sincerely, Donna.

Photo by Julian Hochgesang on Unsplash

Two weeks later Pete called apologizing for the delay in answering. He had been on vacation and had just picked up his mail and called me immediately after scanning my letter.

“Where did you vacation?”

“Antarctic,” he said. “It was a wilderness tour, just an Eskimo guide and me. I stood alone in a part of the world few men have ever stood. There with nature, the Arctic animals, the cold, and me. We conquered temperatures at -20° below in a tent with a kerosene heater.”

Photo by Hans-Jurgen Mager on Unsplash

Pete continued to describe his trip so vividly that in my mind’s eye I saw seals gliding across the ice, stood in awe of majestic glaciers, heard polar bears roar, and lived like them outside my tent foraging for food.

“I’m originally from Alabama,” he continued, “a true southerner through and through.”

Hmm, quite liberal, I thought.

“Tell me about life in Alabama,” I asked.

He related stories, and we talked and laughed for more than an hour.

I glanced at my watch. “Oh, Pete, I have a 7:00 pm meeting. I’ll return home around 9:30.”

At 9:29 the phone rang, and we picked up right where we’d left off not missing a beat. A half-hour into the conversation, we agreed to meet for drinks, Friday after work at the Marriott’s sky-high restaurant overlooking downtown Atlanta.

We would meet in the parking lot of Wendy’s outside Buckhead and I would follow him into the city and park.

“Fine,” he said. “Oh, by the way, I have a question. I reread your letter and what did you mean you’re a woman of color?” 

My heart sank.

“You’re kidding,” I replied.

“No,” he said. “It’s an expression I’m not familiar with.”
(remember this is 1991)

I froze. Should I break this “charm” — this charged connection — this interchange of wit and wonder with this stranger who had, in just one hour, become my friend? …

“I’m black,” I simply stated.

The line fainted.

I waited. One second. Two seconds. Three seconds.

Slowly, stammered words whispered, “I didn’t know… I mean I wasn’t aware…”

Silence again.

I waited. One second. Two seconds. Three seconds.

“Donna, I’m so sorry. I was caught off guard. It never occurred to me…”

“Pete, your ad simply said ‘woman’. It didn’t specify race, so I responded.”

Silence again.

I continued, “Come to think of it, I thought you were mighty liberal for an Alabamian.”

At that, he burst out laughing and began to pull himself together.

Photo on Pixabay

“Again, I apologize. Thank you for not hanging up on me.… Really, I’m not prejudiced; this is just something I’ve never encountered. To be truthful, my family back home in rural Alabama hates black people. But I’ve come to know some damn decent people on the job here in Atlanta.”

“Well,” I said, “now you really have something to write home about.”

He roared like a tickled tiger.

Composed now, he said, “We’ll still meet Friday just because you’re such a nice person and I’d like to meet you.”

“Are you sure, Pete?”


“Tell you what, call me at work Friday before we meet and let me know for sure.” That was my way of giving him an out.

Did you notice the two clues that prompted him to call?

  1. He scanned the letter. Didn’t read it carefully.
  2. He wasn’t familiar with the term: WOC.
  3. He had no reason to believe a black woman would respond.

Part II — The next post will answer these questions:

  • Why did he prefer an older woman?
  • What was his date with Donna like?
  • What prompted a moonlight stroll in the park?
  • How did the date end?
  • What’s next?


    1. Complete the opt-in form to receive a FREE checklist
    2. Look at Book I here: Book I- What 99% of singles don’t know about selection, but should!
    3. Please COMMENT. Let me know what’s on your mind, and the subjects you’d like to see addressed. I’ll answer.
    4. Continue to check weekly for posts that inspire and encourage your journey to find true love with your soulmate.

    Donna Patterson

    P.S. If you find this interesting, please pass it along to friends. It’s Much appreciated.

Why Value a Good Friend who Listens & Consoles when Lover Dumps You

Tears for love lost, tears for future love

A true friend responds to frantic calls even at midnight

Photo by Caesar Aldhela on Unsplash

A good friend to walk you through depressing times is “priceless.”


Good friends are vitally important to your mental health and to the quality of your life. To live and to love are inseparable from each other. Friendship is an opportunity to love, to learn about yourself, to mature as a human being, and to open up to the full experience of life.

Julie’s best friend, Meghan, was there to listen. To hug and support. To walk her through her loss of love.

Friends endure ups and downs. Agreements and disagreements. Anger and love. But always respect that allows disagreement without censure. Support without hesitation when the going gets rough.

Let’s tune in, shall we?

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

Julie’s Frustration

It was a lovely evening, late October. Colorful autumn leaves danced. Julie had prepared his favorite dish, chicken paprika, in her lavish Victorian kitchen. After dinner, they moved to the living room to talk and relax. Then, out of the blue, it happened.

Another argument — she couldn’t believe it — an argument that swooped down from nowhere! The words sharp and angry. Irate words that severed something this time… an unraveling love between them.

Raising fingertips to her left temple she massaged the pounding pain in slow circular movements. She felt helpless as she watched their love unwind like runaway thread spooling across the floor. Through narrowed eyes, she glared at Joe as he raged on.

Veins in his forehead pulsed raging red.

“Why are you staring at me like that,” he said bolting from the couch, cursing why he had even bothered to come. Julie grabbed his arm pleading with him to stay and talk it out. He didn’t hear. He didn’t want to hear. He released her grasp, grabbed his jacket, and walked out, slamming the door.

She felt her heart plunge — like the drop from a roller coaster. She steadied herself against the couch holding on tight, knuckles taut, heart racing, waiting for the drop. The knot in her stomach struggled to untangle as she lowered herself onto the couch and cried.

Depression overwhelmed her. Too many nights of wearisome arguing were taking their toll. This last argument was even more frustrating. Joe had blown up a simple comment into an unrecognizable complexity. The more she tried to explain, the angrier he became. There was no meeting of the minds — no comforting hug of compromise.

6:15 a.m. rolled around fast. Julie reached over and turned off the cell phone alarm. Stumbling to the bathroom she looked into the mirror and puffy red sleep-deprived eyes stared back. “Oh, great!” She splashed cold water over her face and hoped for the best.

“But I love him,” she whispered. “Isn’t love worth fighting for?… but, is what we have real love?”

Even having to ask that question made her light-headed. She set the cup down and reached for her phone. She needed to talk. Intimate talk. Soul-to-soul talk. Talk like best friends talk. She texted Megan to dinner.

Megan has always been there. Even responding to frantic calls in the middle of the night while Julie mourned into her willing ear. Woman to woman they have supported each other as best friends do — rehashing every lover’s spats, reliving every situation, restating every argument, revisiting every fight, repeating every misunderstanding.

Each trying to understand her respective man, trying to find answers, trying to find comfort. Tonight, they would act as reciprocal sounding boards… again.

Megan arrived at 5:30 p.m. right after work. When the door opened Megan stared at Julie Shannon’s beautiful porcelain skin washed empty and smeared mascara that painted her eyes like a panda in distress.

“Umm, that bad, huh?”

Julie dropped her head, turned, and walked back into the kitchen to dish up the Chinese food she had ordered in. Megan went to hang her jacket in the hall closet and from the dining room heard Toni Braxton wailing “Another Sad Love Song”.

“Not good,” she muttered. Pouring a glass of wine from the bottle set out on the table, she attempted small talk, but Julie wasn’t biting.

Setting the serving tray down on the dining room table, Julie motioned for Megan to help herself. Megan filled her plate with shrimp-fried rice as Julie walked over to the blinds. Grabbing hold of the tilt wand, with a twist, she closed out the rest of the day.

The room, now cast in shadows, was like her mood, like dark music, like a broken-hearted moon.

Julie stared at the food but decided against it. Instead, she poured a glass of wine, sat down on the couch, and crossed her long shapely legs. With nervous fingers she twisted strands of lustrous chestnut hair as she stared into space, her eyes conveying wounded thoughts.

Megan sat on the couch opposite her. Julie sat still. Silent. Defeated. Not at all like Julie in crisis. Most of the time, she speaks her mind, adamant about digging in, probing for answers — tenacious in seeking the truth. Even argumentative in playing Devil’s Advocate.

But not tonight. Leaning forward, Megan caught Julie’s attention and looked directly into hollow eyes as she waited to hear all the details.


Let’s talk.”

Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash

“Oh, Megan, it’s the same old story. Look at me, I hate to whine but I’m a success at everything but love. None of my relationships have worked out.

She took a deep breath; her face contemplative; her tone serious, “I’m 35 years old now and it’s time. I’m ready to settle down. You know — ready for a family, a husband, and children. I want someone special to share my life with. But the past few years my relationships have all fallen apart.”

She paused taking a sip of wine, looking down at the floor in deep thought before continuing. “This time though,” she said looking up again, “I just knew Joe was the one. Now, I don’t know. I’m not sure. I love him so much, but he’s driving me crazy. All we do is argue. Why does he make life so complex?

We argued again last night. This time I think it might be over.

“Why is he rejecting me? Is it my fault? What am I doing wrong? Why do all my relationships end?” Megan listened as best friends do to give Julie all the space she needed to vent.

“You know,” Julie began again, “it wasn’t always like this. When we first met, Joe understood me. We shared our innermost thoughts and goals. I’d reveal my dreams and he would listen.

I was so excited that I’d found someone who actually paid attention as if my dreams were his own.” She looked away, then back, her voice low. “I fell deeply in love with him. I thought he was my alter ego, that he’d be the one to share my life with.”

She looked down again, twisting strands of hair. “These last months, though, he’s changed. Now, my ideas are, as he puts it, ‘unworkable.’ Whatever I suggest isn’t good enough. Recently I made a mistake, you know, it happens.”

“Anyway, he more or less said, ‘I told you so,’ as though I were roundly incompetent.” She shrugged, “I was so excited to receive the Regal House interior decorating assignment, but he said I was ‘in way over my head.’”

Pausing, she reflected a while and continued, “Maybe I do bite off more than I can chew. After all, I did go way over budget. Maybe he was right. Maybe I shouldn’t be so aggressive in going after what I want.

“Maybe that’s why he’s been so critical lately from my new hairstyle to my choice of books. Seems I can’t do anything right. He nitpicks everything I do. It’s insane.”

“Julie, your career does take up a lot of time,” said Megan in her soft-spoken sweetness. “Maybe Joe feels you have changed too. Maybe he feels neglected.”

“Neglected?” Julie shrieked with clenched fists. And that’s another thing; I exert myself to please him. I stopped working overtime because he complained I didn’t spend enough time with him. I supported the mayor’s agenda because that’s his political agenda.

I dropped additional classes because he didn’t think it was necessary. I’ve even prepared his favorite meals on weekends when I was dead tired. Now after all that, we’re at ground zero. She sat in silent frustration.

“I’m scared,” she whispered. Panic flashed in her eyes.

Photo by Amanda Dalbjörn on Unsplash

“Something unexplainable happened last night and I’m afraid of losing him. Before he left, when I got the courage to ask point blank ‘what’s wrong with us,’ he turned and said us? — as if everything were my fault. I don’t know. Maybe it is. I’ve called him several times, but he’s not returning my calls.”

She rocked back and forth faster and faster as she poured out her grief. “Oh, Megan, I’m so confused. What’s wrong? Joe loves me; I know he does. So why doesn’t he let me in? Why can’t we just love each other? We’re drifting apart. I can feel it. I see it, but don’t know what to do. Maybe it is something I’m doing wrong. Or maybe I don’t want to see it.

If only I knew what to do, maybe I could make things better. Doesn’t he know how much I love him? I’ve tried everything I know to make him happy. I don’t know what else to do. How can I make it right?” Suddenly, she clasped trembling hands over her face.

Megan jumped to cradle her. “Oh, honey, I didn’t understand things between you and Joe were so bad. Come on, let it all out. Julie pushed away. Don’t you understand? I don’t want to cry anymore. I am so tired of this.

I’m just a girl looking for a boy to love me. That’s all. I’m tired of sobbing to my best friend in the middle of the night. I’m tired of crying when hearing love songs on the radio, or seeing couples holding hands in the park. Sometimes I’m so depressed I barely creep out of bed.

Hour after hour they continued. Finally, Megan exhausted and feeling anguish for her young friend stood up and said, “Maybe that’s the problem! She looked upward as if beseeching gods of wisdom.”

“You care so much about Joe. I mean, his every concern is your concern. You bend over backward for him. I’m listening to you and you sound like me years ago… everything’s about him — What about you?”

Turning to Julie she said, “I’m asking you what I wish someone had asked me when I was young and in love: What makes you happy? Do you deserve this kind of treatment? I mean, what’s Joe’s problem? Is he seeing someone else? Is he trying to break it off? Does he really love you? What’s going on?“

Julie looked at Megan and shook her head unable to answer like someone had asked her the final Jeopardy question. “Well,” she flustered, “You know . . . just to be there for me. I, I, mean . . . just to love me. Someone I can count on. What do you mean?”

Both fell silent. Finally, Megan said, “I don’t know either. All I know is that we give and give and give and still it might not work.” Gesturing, she continued, “I gave Marc three beautiful children, hosted all his dinner parties, kept a spotless home, and prepared home-cooked meals. Why I even prepared his bath water after a hard day’s work. She paused, her voice low… still, he left me.”

“Julie,” she pleaded, “Don’t let that happen to you. Don’t give your all to be let down.”

Touching Julie’s arm Megan asked, “What are you going to do about Joe?”

The blank stare was torturous.

The moral of this story: Hug. Your. Best. Friend for her support.

Photo by Omar Lopez on Unsplash

Lack of Self-Love Causes these 5 FEARS

Even though we all need love and crave love from others, ultimately, we’re all responsible for our own happiness. Love is first of all, an inside job. Love of self gives us the confidence we need to give and to receive the highest level of love in return.


Lack of self-love causes low self-esteem and leads to certain fears:


  • fear of self-responsibility – many feel that if only they had a boyfriend or a lover, or a husband, then everything would be fine. That our happiness depends on an external force. Not so. A suitable companion can certainly enhance life, but we must find happiness with or without a mate. It’s not someone else’s responsibility to make us happy. It’s our own responsibility.


  • fear of aloneness – no one wants to grow old alone. True. But it happens. So realizing this, live your life aware of that possibility and make things happen for yourself. Reality is that each of us is alone anyway in the sense that no one else can think for us, feel for us, live for us or give meaning to our life except us–it’s an inside job!


  • fear of unworthiness – that no one loves me because I’m not smart enough, pretty enough, slim enough, and so forth. When you love yourself and live your life with purpose, you will never feel unworthy of love.


  • fear in desperation – can cause women to latch on to wrong choices. Even if he is compatible, desperation can cause her to smother him, and then love dies.


  • fear of taking a chance on love. Afraid of being afraid.


Love of self, on the other hand, is positive and rewarding:


  • Self-love provides confidence in relying on your own inner resources to make you happy. It builds high self-esteem that is very appealing to everyone you meet.


  • Self-love provides confidence in accepting aloneness, which allows acceptance of your lover’s aloneness. You won’t fear losing him. You allow him ‘space’ and love grows.


  • Self-love provides confidence that by being the best you can be you will attract your best match. You’ll find the one who will accept you for who and what you are as a confident individual, resulting in a rich, rewarding, and balanced relationship.


  • Opposites, for the most part, should never marry. The chances that their differences will clash are very great. Differences in couples should be because one is male and the other female, not in the sense of being at odds with each other.


  • Differences should inspire growth and ignite excitement.


  1. Complete the opt-in form to receive a FREE checklist
  2. Look at Book I here: Book I- What 99% of singles don’t know about selection, but should!
  3. Please COMMENT. Let me know what’s on your mind, and the subjects you’d like to see addressed. I’ll answer.
  4. Continue to check weekly for posts that inspire and encourage your journey to find true love with your soulmate.

Donna Patterson

P.S. If you find this interesting, please pass it along to friends. It’s Much appreciated.



Did Juliet Tame the Womanizer: Why or Why Not and Lessons Learned


Photo by Joey Nicotra on Unsplash

This is the continuation of “Can You Tame a Womanizer.

Part II

Later, tossing in bed, my emotional turmoil continued. “I must confront him, to see where this relationship is going. What if he gets angry? What if he refuses to answer? Am I asking too much from him?” These and other questions exhausted me until I drifted off to sleep.

“Juliet,” said Larry strolling into her office, “I hear you’re seeing Stu Malone.”

“You have a problem with that?”

“No, no, don’t get me wrong,” Larry assured her. “It’s just that he’s quite a womanizer, and I didn’t think that was your type.”

My face reddened as I awkwardly changed the subject.

The next evening Stu called and invited me to Supper club 5 Friday night. It had been almost two weeks since I last heard from him. I called, texted, and left messages, but he hadn’t returned my calls.

I was practically going out of my mind with worry. Is he seeing someone else? Does he love me? Where is this relationship going? I can’t sleep. Can’t eat. Something has to give. I will confront him. Friday night I will find out where we’re going.

When he picked me up, my heart leaped at the sight of him. “Hi,” I said hoping to sound calm and casual.

Throughout dinner, he talked of his recent business dealings and apologized for not keeping in touch. “Too busy, caught up in his work,” he said. Taking my hand in his, he continued in his sexy baritone voice, “Lady, I’ve really missed you.

“Here, these are for you.” He presented me with a dozen long-stemmed red roses. “For the loveliest lady in the land.”

Photo by Anastasia Zhenina on Unsplash

“Oh, Stu, they’re beautiful.” I picked one out, closed my eyes, and smelled its fragrance. I hugged him, thanking him for his thoughtfulness. “How could I have doubted him?” I thought scolding myself.

“He was busy. I need to be more understanding, more trusting of his feelings for me. No need to confront him now. He loves me,” I convinced herself.

“Let’s go back to my place,” he whispered.

Alone with him, I ardently wrapped her arms around his neck as he drew me close. Caught up in his arms, we danced to the pulsating rhythm of Sade. Oh, the smell of him. The touch of him. So close. And the intoxicating kisses — nothing mattered but feasting on him.

I was his captive under his spell, totally caught up in the magic of Stu Malone. Slowly, he unzipped my dress.

Suddenly, the phone rang. Checking the caller’s I.D., Stu cursed under his breath and ignored the call. A few minutes later, it rang again. His left eye frowned. He glanced at me. “Another woman,” I thought.

Even as he resumed holding me, the spell was broken. Common sense prevailed. Noticing the change, Stu, looking into my eyes, said, “Now baby, don’t go getting yourself upset over nothing.” He nuzzled my ear and whispered, “Let’s love the night away.”

“Stu,” I forced myself to say, “Are you seeing other women?”

Tension surged like a fireball between us before he spoke. “Like I said, don’t go worrying your pretty head about anything but you and me and tonight,” as he ran his fingers through my hair.

“But that’s just it,” I pushed him away. “I do worry about more than just tonight. I want a monogamous relationship. Exclusivity. Something with a future. I need to know where we stand. This is important to me.”

His eyes riveted on mine. Taking a deep breath, he replied, “Baby, a man’s a man, you know that.”

“Stu, what does that mean? Am I in your future? Do we have a future together?”

Photo by Abbat on Unsplash

His voice bristled. “To hell with all these $#$% questions! No one woman pins me down,” he snapped. Taking her in his arms again, he whispered, “now pretty woman, let’s love, not fight.”

“No, Stu,” I stammered, struggling against him. “I need to know. I’m serious about you and need to know whether you are serious about me.”

Abruptly, he let me go, “I don’t have time for this bullshit! You’re either with me tonight, or you’re not!”

At that remark, I saw that in response to my honest openness, in response to my heartfelt plea to know his intentions toward me, he’d turned the tables to make me feel guilty for asking.

He offered no words of consolation. No words of comfort to ease my mind. No reassuring promises. Nothing. He simply implied that if I didn’t respond to him and his wishes tonight — that it would be over.

Is this how the love of my life would respond to me? Is this man serious about me or does he simply want to play? Am I going to see him only when he wants sex, and it’s convenient for him? Do I see a reflection of myself in this man? All these and other questions raced through my mind.

It then dawned on me we’d never spoken of anything serious. I had not listened to the unspoken. The spoken revealed sexual attraction and good times. The unspoken, revealed by what was not expressed, indicated that sexual attraction was all there was to this relationship on his part.

I had been caught up in only what I wanted to believe — my dreams. Not dreams we both shared. I stared at him while this realization registered.

I hadn’t tamed the womanizer.

Quietly I pushed him away, and said softly with tears in my eyes, “Goodbye.”

Lesson learned: Never ASSUME. There is no substitue for indepth intimate conversation to clearly define true intentions. If he’s not willing to open up to express honest intention, what basis is present for building a relationship?

Also, what was he telling her when he said: “a man’s a man, you know that.” Was that a lifestyle she was willing to settle for?

Her Self VALUE told her NO!

Juliet had taken on someone who knew how to manipulate her heart for his own selfishness (he grooved and used). She knew of his reputation — But decided to play HIS game anyway hoping to win. Instead she tangled with a womanizer — And lost… She should have chilled and passed.

The next post explores WHAT a womanizer often uses as his main leverage to capture hearts and HOW and WHY women must void this trap.

What’s next?


  1. Complete the opt-in form to receive a FREE checklist
  2. Look at Book I here: Book I- What 99% of singles don’t know about selection, but should!
  3. Please COMMENT. Let me know what’s on your mind, and the subjects you’d like to see addressed. I’ll answer.
  4. Continue to check weekly for posts that inspire and encourage your journey to find true love with your soulmate.

Donna Patterson

P.S. If you find this interesting, please pass it along to friends. It’s Much appreciated.

Women: Can You Tame a Womanizer? Let’s Explore the Good, Bad, &Ugly.


Ready to gamble? Are you holding a full house? Better call Saul…

Photo by Jens Lindner on Unsplash

He’s drop-dead gorgeous, exuding magnetic charisma.

His reputation precedes him.

No problem. Because I’m a badass myself and can match whatever he throws down… sufficiently capable of taming this womanizer.

Wanna bet?

Photo by Ilya Pavlov on Unsplash

My name is Juliet, and I’ve been around. I’m well educated and financially secure. As a renowned interior decorator, I’ve traveled on assignment to nations far and near.

I know a thing or two about living.

At 35, I’ve dated a range of good, bad, and ugly men from all walks of life. This is my story of when I tried to domesticate a Casanova.

Spot the red-flag telltale signs you’re getting played.

Here is Part I

It started when my boss, Larry, strolled into my office. “I have another assignment for you.”

“Oh, no, Larry, I’m too busy. Give it to Kelly.”

“I realize how busy you are, but I promised my friend the best. And you, my lady, are the best. This project is for Stu Malone, owner of the Malone Auto Dealership. He has just bought a mansion in Montrose and wants it decorated in a unique blend of African relics and memorabilia.”

“He wants it to exude subtle power and elegance with a definite African flair. He’s got style and money and wants the best. Besides, I already promised him you.”

“Larry,” she frowned with hands on hips, “How could you? Without asking. I’m only one person, you know.”

Larry said nothing as he watched her pace back and forth angrily. “Ok Juliet, I owe you one.”

“All right, but let this be the last time you pull this on me. I won’t bail you out the next time,” she said, frowning at him.

An hour later, the phone rang. Julie picked it up, and a rich baritone voice crooned over the other end of the line. “Juliet Jones, this is Stu Malone. Larry Ellis says you’re the lady who will transform my home into a warrior haven.”

“I aim to please,” I responded in a sensuous flirtatious tone. Not like me at all talking to a client. But his mesmerizing voice begged for that kind of response. “I wonder what he looks like,” I thought throughout the rest of the day.

We set a consultation for 11 a.m. the following morning at his house.

It was a beautiful spring morning in early June when Julie drove up and spotted a sleek midnight blue Lexus LX 400 that stood guard in the circular driveway. The house was situated among prolific shrubbery and flowers. Beautifully landscaped, it was a hidden hide-a-way. I rang the doorbell.

My heart skipped a beat when Stu Malone, dressed in jeans and a royal blue silk shirt, opened halfway down his chest, and opened the door. He was beautiful. What an odd term to use, she thought, to describe a man.

“Glad to meet you,” he smiled as he reached for my hand. As his fingers closed over mine, I felt powerful sexual electricity. Quickly I withdrew my hand and, averting his eyes, walked in.

“I was just having brunch on the patio. Thought we could relax awhile and talk so you can get a feel for who I am and what I am trying to accomplish here. Please join me,” he gestured toward the patio.

She followed him. He was built like a Greek god, boasting broad shoulders and narrow hips. His hair was neatly cut in waves that framed his striking face and accentuated a strong jawline.

The magic, though, was in his eyes. Piercing black. They were almost commanding, demanding his will. He was one of the most attractive men she had ever met.

When they reached the sliding glass doors leading onto the patio, Stu beckoned me ahead. As I passed, I could feel his penetrating gaze. His eyes followed my slinky walk and scanned my slender body in close assessment.

I wore an off-white silk blouse and matching slacks topped with a red blazer. “Nice, very nice,” he smiled in recognition of understated chic.

“I fancy myself quite a cook,” he said, setting a serving tray on the table. “At least with bacon and eggs,” he teased. Julie felt rather uncomfortable. Not because he was bi-racial. She had other black clients.

But because she was alone with a bi-racial black man, she found him extremely attractive. It was quite unsettling. As this thought raced through her head outwardly, she hoped she appeared very calm and businesslike.

After brunch, they toured the house and discussed decorating ideas. He was very certain of what he wanted — the quintessential bachelor pad this side of the East Coast.

He chuckled deep in his throat and continued gesturing with a clenched fist. “I want it to personify strength while reflecting a subtle African flavor. Understated yet defiant.” Cocking his head to the side, he raised one eyebrow, “Are you up for this?” he challenged.

“Don’t sell me short.”

I agreed to draft some designs and get back for further consultation.

In the ensuing weeks, I met Stu regularly. The ideas and layouts were coming along nicely. The African artefacts I acquired were stunning, depicting manly strength and character.

And his personal appeal grew even greater the more I got to know him. He was intelligent, decisive, witty, and easygoing in a laid-back magnetic manner. His presence made her feel excited and alive. I eagerly looked forward to our meetings.

Yes, I had to admit to feeling a strong attraction to him. The idea of interracial dating, though, had never entered my mind. I felt apprehensive but knew deep inside that I would see him personally.

One artefact he desired most was a processed tiger-head rug that would be the centre of interest in the den. Then one day, a curator called and offered the tiger head for a handsome price. No problem. It was exactly what Stu wanted.

“Stu, you won’t believe what I’m holding,” I said, stroking the soft fur.

“A million-dollar check from The Publisher’s Clearinghouse,” he teased.

Juliet laughed, “You’re nuts. But it is something just as exciting. It’s the tiger-head rug!”

“No kidding. When can I see it?”

“I’ll drop by the house after work.”

“I won’t be home until about 8 p.m. or so,” he paused, tell you what, “I’ll stop and pick up some wine and cheese. This calls for a celebration — the dedication of the Malone den!”

“You’re on!”

Photo by Daniel Frank on Unsplash

Bold prints and golden hues boasted richness. Prolific wild plants exuded lushness. The tiger-head rug shouted power. Altogether the room radiated a subtle yet powerful, warrior-like atmosphere. Stu was very pleased.

“A toast to the decorator,” he said, lifting his glass to hers. We talked, laughed, nibbled snacks, and slowly sipped wine as Miles Davis blew mellow jazz in the background.

The atmosphere was magically hypnotic.

“More wine,” he said, filling their glasses. Their eyes met. Yes, more wine. Yes, more music. Yes, oh, yes. Gently he touched me, gathering me into his strong arms… I melted.

Dating Stu was the entrance into a different mindset. Looking at the world from an African-American viewpoint. Stu was a leader in his community and was invited to chair and speak at many social events and functions.

I felt celebrity-like as I shared with him the music, dancing, laughter, soul food, and rich heritage of his life. It was a heady experience.

Stu knew how to woo a woman. He made me feel celebrated. “I need a beautiful woman on my arm at all times,” he smiled.

Stu was shrewd and manipulative in business, and soon she learned these characteristics spilt over into his social life. People, especially women, always the centre of attention, catered to his every whim, and he thrived on it.

I loved the attention too, and got caught up in a whirlwind of good times.

“So much to do and only one lifetime to do it in,” he laughed one evening after a hectic social affair.

The first couple of months of the relationship were exhilarating. The chemistry between them was hot, the sex electrifying. But by the third month, Stu began cancelling weekend dates in favor of weekdays. Sometimes he simply didn’t even show up. No call. Nothing.

When asked what happened, he snapped, “No one checks up on Stu Malone. Just be glad I’m here now.” Stunned, I backed off. On another occasion, I called his home, and a woman answered. I hung up. Frightful feelings of jealousy and insecurities overwhelmed me.

Photo by soulmate matcher

Thoughts of him filled my every hour. Shocked by the intensity of my emotions, I felt emotionally trapped, unable to function without him in my life.

What have I allowed to happen? I’m losing control. My emotions are wild. My hands trembled like a panicking rejected woman.

Red-Flag — He had other women and refused any discussion.

Part II discusses what she does to confront Stu and his response.


Opposites Attract—But Should They Marry?


Commitment Denied! How Long Will You Accept 2nd Rate Love?

What’s your love worth?

Does he love you ENOUGH and how to find out…

Photo by Ryan Moreno on Unsplash

So he hasn’t proposed yet. What’s the problem?

Imagine you’re deeply involved in a sexual relationship with a man you really love. It’s been a couple of years, but he continues to hedge on marriage.

He does love you…

But is it ENOUGH?

Why is he comfortable as is?

Why no sense of urgency?

Photo by Samuel Raita on Unsplash

Do you really want to understand his hesitation… Or… Are you afraid to rock the boat? To fight for what you want — marriage and family. Might he get upset and storm out if you push the issue?

An excerpt from Soulmate Matcher’s book II book tells the story of what Julie did to gain commitment. She used a ‘pull-back’ method. Let’s see what she based it on and if it worked. Why or why not?

Why Rock the Boat?

Photo by Artem Zhukov on Unsplash

Julie’s ready for marriage, but Dave is hedging.

Julie feels their two years involvement gives her the leverage she needs to expect full commitment. The relationship was at its peak. The more time she allowed beyond two years, the more time would descend to the downside of the peak.

She would lose leverage. She was in for the fight of her life right now, while the leverage was on her side. The burning question — Did Dave really care? — did he love her enough?

Subtly, she backed off. Gradually not so available. She planned other activities. If he needed his time, she would let him have it. Six months, she decided to herself, maximum!

Soon, Dave questioned her lack of availability.

photo by Soulmate matcher

“So much to do, honey,” she said. “Maybe we’ll do lunch soon.” Carefully, she limited their contact. It took all her will because she desperately loved him.

“Yes, I love him with all my heart. I can’t help that. I can’t help how I feel about him, but I can control what I do about it,” she said aloud. “And after all this time, he will not take me for granted!”

After a few weeks, Dave worried. Julie had always been there for him…


Now he wondered if she’d lost interest. Could there be another man? Confused, he phoned. “Julie, we seem to keep missing each other. Let’s get away, fly to Florida for a few days, and relax on the beach.”

“Sounds heavenly, but I’ve been on a treadmill the past couple months and really can’t take that much time away. Tell you what, let’s spend all day together this Sunday and I’ll prepare your favorite dinner and dessert.”

Photo by Douglas Lopez on Unsplash

The dinner went well. They ate, talked, and laughed — just like old times. Julie loved seeing him again. He was wearing his favorite “Cowboys” T-shirt. She loved the feel of him when he’d hugged her to say hello. She loved the smell of his aftershave. She loved looking into his teddy bear eyes. She just loved being with Dave, the man she adores.

After dinner, he said grinning, “Come, sit on the couch. I want to tell you about my new promotion. I’m promoted to vice president of Consumer Sales, North West Division.”

“Oh, Dave, that’s wonderful! I know how excited you must be. You’ve often mentioned the potential of expansion to the Northwest,” she replied, kissing him on the cheek.

“Yes, I have. And I’ve worked hard for this promotion. In fact, I need to talk to you about just that.” He wrapped his arms around her. “I’ve missed you, lady,” he said, holding her close. “I want to keep you in my life.”

Releasing her, he continued, “the job will move me for an indefinite period. It could be three years or more while we get the new store up and running.”

He paused and took her hand in his. “You are the love of my life and it’s important we stay close. I thought I could fly out one weekend a month and you could fly out one weekend the next month. You’ll love Seattle, it’s green and beautiful,” he smiled.

Photo by Gabrielle Henderson on Unsplash

Julie felt faint. She closed her eyes for a moment. “So,” she said, opening her eyes into narrow slits, “let me understand this correctly.” Staring at him, her voice trembling, she continued, “So, you want to play house, one weekend a month, every month, for who knows how long… is that what you’re suggesting?”

“You don’t have to state it like that!” he said defensively.

Julie took a deep breath and asked point-blank, “Dave, do you love me?”

“My god, Julie, you know I do.”

“Then why can’t we both move — as husband and wife?”

Dave inhaled deeply, closed his eyes, and said, “Julie, we’ve discussed this before. I’m just not ready. I need a little more time. Honey, can’t you please understand?” He reached to hold her.

photo by Soulmate Matcher

She quickly pulled back. “How much time?” she asked in a voice eerily quiet. “A month? Six months? A year? Five years? What?”

Shaking his head, he walked away. “I don’t know. I know I love you. But frankly, I resent your trying to pin me down to a specific date. When the time is right, I will let you know,” he said sharply.

An uncomfortable silence stilted the air. When Julie spoke again, her voice got louder. “Dave, I need to know. I want marriage. A home. Children. If these aren’t your intentions, please be honest and let me know now! So I can get on with my life.”

“Is that an ultimatum?” he glared at her.

“Call it like you see it.”

With purpose, slowly she pulled away. Basically, she kept him at bay. Started involving herself in other activities. Standing firm for not being taken for granted any longer.

  • No sleepovers
  • Not readily available at his beck and call
  • Not willing for weekend rendezvous
  • Not playing the role of a wife without the ring
  • Involved herself in other activities.

The next post addresses how she dealt with the fear of losing Dave if she held out regulating their previously active sex life. Stay tuned to learn Dave’s reaction. And how Dave learns a valuable lesson on the meaning of love.

What’s next?


  1. Complete the opt-in form to receive a FREE checklist
  2. Look at Book I here: Book I- What 99% of singles don’t know about selection, but should!
  3. Please COMMENT. Let me know what’s on your mind, and the subjects you’d like to see addressed. I’ll answer.
  4. Continue to check weekly for posts that inspire and encourage your journey to find true love with your soulmate.

Donna Patterson

P.S. If you find this interesting, please pass it along to friends. It’s Much appreciated.

Relationship Quizzes: Do You Remember



Find answers in each named segment


Dr. Tracy Braun

  • What is the Tri-fold bond that defines romantic love?




  • How does each segment affect a relationship?




  • What does acceptance of individuality mean?




Love is First an Inside Job

  1. Why is self-love the greatest love of all?




  1. How can self-exposure be frightening?




  1. How does low self-esteem sabotage relationships?




  1. What is the meaning of self-responsibility?



  1. In what sense are we each alone?




  1. How does acceptance of aloneness cause love to grow?




  1. What suffocates love?



Love is a Mirror Image


  1. In harmonious relationships, the differences are merely in what sense?



  1. What is the source of excitement in relationships?



  1. What effect does completing differences have on relationships? Explain.




  1. What effect does defeating differences have on relationships? Explain.





  1. What differences exist in your present situation?





  1. How do differing energy levels affect a relationship?





  1. How are you and your mate’s energy levels in sync? How not in sync?




  1. Why should opposites seldom marry?




Love is Mutual Appreciation


  1. What does “Mutual Appreciation” mean?




  1. How could “Mutual Appreciation” show in your relationship?




  1. What is the advantage of self-disclosure?




  1. What do we want most in a relationship? Why?




  1. How do we reach out to become ‘visible’?




  1. How do we know when our mates ‘see’ us?




  1. Does your current mate ‘see’ you now?



  1. What is the key to finding your soulmate?




Love is a Reciprocal Process


  1. What do humans ask of romantic love?



  1. Assess a past relationship—how did it measure up to the definition of romantic love?




  1. Assess your current relationship—how does it measure up to the definition of Romantic Love?



  1. And what have you learned from this assessment?



Julie’s Diary II

Julie’s Diary

Ÿ  The most important thing I’ve learned is that love is a reciprocal process. You give your best; you deserve the same in return. I’m never settling for less than what I deserve in a relationship again.

Ÿ  Mutual appreciation is the key to attaining a balanced relationship. Mutual appreciation gives me the right to free expression in an atmosphere of respect and acceptance. It means my partner won’t launch into a lecture, condemn, attack, or withdraw from my openness.

Ÿ  Reaching out beyond my center, like my Big Sister relationship, has opened the door to self-expression in ways I never expected. I have something valuable to share. It has enabled me to open up more with confidence and more purpose.

Ÿ  Love promises us a haven of understanding. Understanding is what we seek most in a relationship. That means bonding on the most intimate emotional level. It’s finding our soulmate. Like seeing ourselves in someone else. We see ourselves through him.

 The Three Elements of Romantic Love are:

Ÿ  Understanding the Tri-fold bond of love—passion, emotional support, spirituality.

Ÿ  Accepting our own aloneness and individuality first and accepting the aloneness and individuality of our partner.

Ÿ  Loving ourselves self-first and then expressing this love in a way in which our partner can see and respond. If he sees you and responds in like manner, you have the basis for a solid relationship.


Julie ends her no-win relationship with Joe and embarks on a new dating strategy. An enlightened understanding of herself propels her to choose future dating partners based on purpose and direction. She needs to find a man most like herself—this is the man most likely to offer her love, romance, and commitment.

But, first, complete the “Do You Remember” exercises. These exercises reinforce lessons learned in previous chapters. Putting your thoughts in writing helps clarify specifics. And makes application of the principles easier to incorporate into your own life.

Love is a Reciprocal Process

Love is a Reciprocal Process

The telephone rang. “Julie! Good to hear from you,” said Megan. “Lately, we’ve been strangers.”

“Don’t worry, we’ll make up for lost time, my dear friend,” Julie replied. Dinner at seven?”

The sweet scent of incense mingled with an aroma of fresh-brewed coffee and tantalizing food met Megan as she entered the door.

“Hi, smells wonderful. What’s for dinner?”

“Would you believe roast pheasant under glass?”

“Ah, don’t think so!”

“How about homemade chicken soup and salad?”

“I’ll buy that,” said Megan, laughing. “No one ever accused you of slaving all day over a hot stove.”

“Not in this lifetime,” replied Julie.

Their smiles and friendly banter reflected a deep friendship and understanding of each other. As they ate, Julie revealed her dealings with Dr. Braun.


Megan asked at last, “So, how do you view your present relationship with Joe considering this information?”

“I see two things I was unaware of,” Julie explained. “First, we both suffered from low self-esteem. But because he’s successful in the business world, I didn’t recognize his emotional insecurities. It’s like a man to cover his uncertainties with a facade of toughness. Only when you’re aware of what to look for do you recognize it.”

“For instance, remember I mentioned the coldness of his childhood. Well, it seems he still feels unloved and unworthy of love, even though he wants it and craves it. When I reach out, he pushes me back. Later, he demands reassurance like a toddler and becomes possessive and jealous. And if that’s not enough to drive me crazy, he’s always ‘testing’ me.

He makes self-deprecating remarks, then waits for me to reassure him of my love. But when I do, he erects barriers. He will instigate arguments over nothing and continually criticize me. I ask myself, ‘Would a person with high self-esteem behave this way?’

“Now I know the answer. These last couple months I’ve discovered so many issues we never thought to discuss before becoming involved — Issues we don’t agree on now and probably never will be.”

Shaking her head no, she continued, “It’s evident he doesn’t see me. And in no way do I see myself reflected in him, either. We’re not in tune at all.”

Reaching for another roll, Megan said, Perhaps you’re right, Julie. And I remember our last discussion, how you were so frustrated with him. That is unbearable, I know. But don’t be too hasty. Being alone is not so great either. Around about midnight (you know what I mean), I still long for Marc even though he betrayed me.

It’s hard to find a good man these days. Sometimes we have to look past the bad times and think about the good times. Besides, you have more than a year’s time invested in this relationship. Now that you understand the reasons better, maybe if . . .”


  “Maybe nothing!” Julie interrupted. I’m exhausted. Worn out. When love is ‘right’ you don’t experience roller coaster, merry-go-round confusion. You just don’t. Remember when I experienced that awful feeling after one of my arguments with Joe?

It terrified me. I’ve since learned it was my self-esteem that toppled and crushed me. Joe’s words and actions made me feel worthless, helpless. I panicked that he was rejecting me… I’m never going that route again!

Julie threw her napkin down on her plate and stood up, gesturing, “What you’re suggesting is that I ‘settle’ — That perhaps I won’t find anyone else. Consider that Megan. That’s a trap. If I continue to settle, then I become a prisoner of fear. Fear of accepting my aloneness. Fear of accepting self-responsibility. Fear of reaching out for what I deserve.”

She paused and looked straight into Megan’s eyes and said, “Think of your own situation. What happened? You tried. You hung in there …”

“But my situation was different,” Megan argued. “We were married, and I was committed to him.”

“Different?” Julie’s eyes flashed stinging darts as she continued, “I, too, was committed. In my heart, I was as committed as if I were married. The only difference here is that your husband was unfaithful. And you shut your eyes. You ‘settled’ and it still didn’t work.”

Megan flinched. Julie looked away. Shaking hands refilled their cups. Finally, Megan answered, “I guess it all boiled down to my own insecurities. Particularly as I aged, I became obsessed with youth.

I was constantly dieting, on the edge of paranoia about my weight. I even had Botox treatments and plastic surgery to keep my youthfulness. Still, she choked, “he wanted a younger woman.”

“So, whose insecurities are we referring to here, yours or his?” Julie challenged.

“Actually, he never said he wanted a younger woman, but he was always comparing me to the young professionals at the office,” Megan answered. He was always pressuring me to complete my Master’s degree and start a career. But I enjoyed creating a pleasant, loving home for him and the kids more than anything else.

That brought me pleasure. I felt fulfilled. I wanted to be like Barbara Bush, not Hillary Clinton. Why couldn’t he understand that? He always wanted me to be like someone else.”


             “Ah, so that’s it!” Julie said. “He didn’t accept your individuality. And over the years, other problems grew from his non-acceptance. Love is a reciprocal process. Each partner must accept the other for who they are.”

“Oooh,” says Megan, understanding for the first time. “I see. Had he seen me as an individual, seen my uniqueness, and accepted and appreciated my being, my talents, my gifts, instead of insisting I become like someone else, we might have made it.”

Shaken by this realization, a tear trickled down her cheek. And she sobbed. Julie reached over and drew her close, resting Megan’s head on her shoulder. Comforting each other, they cried. Sad tears for lost love. Happy tears for a new understanding. Anticipatory tears of hope for love to come.


Love is Mutual Appreciation

It was the third Saturday of the month, Julie’s day to spend with Taylor. In a short time, they had become special friends. Julie planned to take Taylor on an excursion to the Art Museum and Inventor’s Place.

Last month they toured Stan Hywet, an old mansion owned by former rubber tycoons. Taylor’s big brown eyes glowed with wonder as she gazed into the distant past of period wardrobes, antique Persian rugs, intricate woodworking, and elaborate tapestries. She drank in every word of the estate’s history from the tour guide. And her inquisitive mind raced as she asked hundreds of questions.

Julie smiled in recollection. How wonderful to reach out beyond herself to help a child grow and expand her mind, she thought. Today would be special, too. And they would top it off at Wendy’s with hamburgers and fries, Taylor’s favorite treat!

The next day, Julie worked out at the spa—another one of her goals. She’d been procrastinating for months. How good it was to feel alive, energetic and, yes, happy even though her date Friday night with Joe had been typical. She shook her head in resignation. Somehow, we keep missing the mark, she thought, but I will not let my ‘lover’s limbo’ keep me down anymore. Somehow, I believe it will all work out.

“Dr. Braun,” she began at her next session, “I feel my understanding of how successful relationships work is falling into place. However, I still don’t have all the pieces of the puzzle put together yet. I still don’t have a handle on my situation. I now realize Joe and I don’t exemplify ‘mutual appreciation’. The relationship is, or I have allowed it to become one-sided, and I must work on that. But… how will I know when the balance of love is right?”

“Oh, you’ll know,” said Dr. Braun. It happens in stages. First, you’ll start feeling comfortable and confident with yourself and will emerge free to share yourself with others. Like what you’re doing with Taylor. Like a star that takes center stage because she has something valuable to offer and convey—her thoughts, feelings, and ideas.

A word of caution, though. In a relationship, this doesn’t mean that your partner will automatically agree with everything you feel, think, or want. Mutual appreciation’ simply extends to you the right of free expression in an atmosphere of respect and acceptance. It means your partner won’t launch into a lecture to condemn you, attack you, or withdraw from your openness.

Creating this atmosphere of mutual ‘opening’ springs wide the door of reciprocal self-expression. It allows you to reveal previously sealed exchanges and unlock the treasure chest of intimacy pledged to us by love’s promises.

One promise is that we’ll find understanding. Understanding is what we seek most in a relationship. How many times have you asked Joe, ‘Do you see what I mean?’ You are asking if he understands you. You want him to see you, to understand your inner psyche. You want to become psychologically visible to him.

This piercing vision into another’s soul invites profound bonding. It is an incredible experience to ‘connect’ mentally and emotionally with another human being! To meet someone who thinks as we do, who notices what we notice, who values the things we value, whose morals are in harmony with our own and who responds to situations as we do. We see ourselves through him.

It’s like seeing our reflection in a mirror. This mirroring of ourselves in another is the key to finding our soulmate. Mutual visibility is as important to love as the sun is to flowers. As water is to life.

“What do you mean? I’m not following this,” said Julie.

Couple sharing dinner“We reach out for this ‘connection’ with our lover by how we express our personality, by how we behave toward him,” the doctor explained. It is expressed by things we say and do and the ways we say and do them. We know when he sees us by his like-minded behavior toward us. By how he looks at us. By how he speaks to us. By how he responds to us. If his inner-self, from his own base of aloneness, is in sync with our own, then we see each other. The balance is right. We connect.

In your relationship, ask yourself, ‘Am I visible to my lover? Does he see me?’ If his behavior toward you portrays a distorted mirror image, if you don’t see yourself through him, something is wrong. You’re fighting an uphill battle.


Romantic love is a maze of complexities. Yet we humans ask love to transfer us magically into paradise. We don’t realize what a mind-boggling task romantic love takes on as it struggles to merge two separate personalities into one harmonious entity that shows love in equal balance. Believe me, it’s not done with the wave of a mystical wand!

Nodding in agreement, Julie said, “Oh, this is much more complex than I ever imagined. A shot in the dark at this and you fail.” Pausing, she reflected on what she had heard and continued, Let me see if I understand what you said.

What you’re saying is that many more couples could succeed in their relationships if they understand the Tri-fold bond of love. That is — passion, emotional support, and spiritual strength. And that they must accept their own aloneness and individuality first and accept the aloneness and individuality of their partner.

Let’s see… And they do this by loving themselves first and expressing this love in a way their partner can see and respond to. And, oh yes, the key here is if he sees you and responds in kind, you have the basis for a solid relationship. If not, the relationship probably won’t work. Finally, there’s that matter of having or at least understanding the differences in energy levels.

“Whew!” Julie collapsed in her chair.

“Congratulations!” exclaimed Dr. Braun. “You have just passed Love Fundamentals 101.” Julie stood and embraced her, squealing like a high school girl who accepted an invitation to the prom.

Dr. Braun laughed and said, “Now you’re ready for the college program.” Julie’s shoulders slumped, feigning exhaustion.

“Seriously, Julie, there is considerably more to learn. This first phase was an overview with the emphasis on preparing yourself for successful dating first by becoming self-assured, confident, and positive. Love is first an inside job. Now you’re in a place to receive love.

As we move forward, we will discuss how men and women approach dating differently and the six stages of the dating process. I’ll introduce two profiles to complete. One is your Personal Profile. It defines who you are, and from that understanding, you will develop the second profile. This is your Selection Profile that helps paint a picture of your best match.

This Selection Profile thus becomes your guide to finding your soulmate.

“I want to know NOW!” Julie stomped her foot in silly giddiness—so happy to have found the source of answers at last.

Dr. Braun raised her left finger to her lip in a gesture, smiled with a twinkle in her eye, and said, “In due time, Julie, in due time.”



Julie’s Diary I

Julie’s Diary Review

            Even though we all need love and crave love from others, ultimately, we’re all responsible for our own happiness. Love is, first, an inside job. Love of self gives us the confidence we need to give and receive the highest level of love in return.

            Lack of self-love causes low self-esteem and leads to certain fears:


  • fear of self-responsibility – many feel that if only they had a boyfriend or a lover, or a husband, then everything would be fine. That our happiness depends on an external force. Not so. A suitable companion can certainly enhance life, but we must find happiness with or without a mate. It’s not someone else’s responsibility to make us happy. It’s our own responsibility.


  • fear of aloneness – no one wants to grow old alone. True. But it happens. So realizing this, live your life aware of that possibility and make things happen for yourself. The reality is that each of us is alone anyway in the sense that no one else can think for us, feel for us, live for us or give meaning to our lives except us—it’s an inside job!


  • fear of unworthiness – that no one loves me because I’m not smart enough, pretty enough, slim enough, and so forth. When you love yourself and live your life with purpose, you will never feel unworthy of love.


  • fear in desperation – can cause women to latch on to otherwise wrong choices. Even if he happens to be compatible, desperation can cause her to smother him, and then love dies.


 Love of self, on the other hand, is positive and rewarding:


  • Self-love provides confidence in relying on your own inner resources to make you happy. It builds high self-esteem that is very appealing to everyone you meet.


  • Self-love provides confidence in accepting aloneness, which allows acceptance of your lover’s aloneness. You won’t fear losing him. You allow him ‘space’ and love grows.


  • Self-love provides confidence that by being the best you can be you will attract your best match. You’ll find the one who will accept you for who and what you are as a confident individual, resulting in a rich, rewarding and balanced relationship.


  • Opposites, for the most part, should never marry. The chances that their differences will clash are very great. Differences in couples should be because one is male and the other female, not in the sense of being at odds with each other.


  • Differences should inspire growth and ignite excitement.


The takeaway: The more two people are alike, the greater are their chances for happiness together.


Love Is a Mirror Image

Love Is a Mirror Image

“Chanelle,” Julie called her Admin, “bring a pad and pencil. I want to review safety schedules.”

After the meeting, Chanelle remarked, “I take it the sessions with Dr. Braun are going well. You show more pep in your step.”

“They’re going just fine. In fact, I’m dashing off now to a lunch session. Take messages; I’ll return to the office by 2 o’clock.


“Julie, over here,” beckoned Dr. Braun from a far corner table. “Come, you’re the first to arrive.”

Julie sat, warmed by the autumn sun that streamed in through the windows. Outside, she could see shoppers scurrying around to the various shops in the strip mall a short distance away.

“How are things going?” asked Dr. Braun.

A server walked over and handed Julie a menu. After scanning the lunch specials, she answered, “My relationship with Joe remains strained. But personally, I feel great. I’m filling my life with meaning beyond my own little world.

I’ve become a Big Sister and work with a disadvantaged child from the Exchange Street Shelter. Taylor is my little girl. She’s so sweet, and smart too. Just the other day she…”

Dr. Braun listened attentively.

“Why, you’re beaming! And you differ greatly from the young woman I met just a few weeks ago. You act more comfortable, more confident, more in control.”

“Accepting self-responsibility for my own happiness definitely has its rewards,” said Julie. “I’m no longer waiting for Joe to make me happy. I’m reaching out grabbing happiness in ways I’ve never dreamed. And you know what, it’s working!

“I still hope Joe and I get back on track. But until that happens, I’m finding other ways to be content.”


Three others, Marlene, Barb, and Carolyn, walked up to join them.

“Hello, ladies,” said Dr. Braun. “Please, welcome Julie.”

After introductions and ordering food, the women made mental notes of each other. And Barb, eager to begin, spoke. “Oh, I am so excited to discuss this session. You know, after five marriages and divorces, it’s about time I did it right,” she giggled. “Tom, my new boyfriend, is just madly in love with me and says he wants to marry me and live with me forever.

You know what they say, the sixth time is the charm.” She rattled a clanking charm bracelet. “Don’t you just love the title of this session, ‘Finding your soul-mate.’ Don’t you just love that word soul-mate? It says it all, don’t you think? Why just the other day I…

“Barb!” interrupted Carolyn, “that was last month’s topic. You were ill and missed it, remember?”

Carolyn, a widow, appeared very laid back, serious, and observant. “To get the ball rolling, why don’t we invite our guest to start,” she gestured toward Julie. Our topic today is ‘Should Opposites Marry?’ “

“No, no, I’m just an observer today.”


“I’ll start,” said Marlene. She was wearing a striking gold necklace. Tall and beautiful as a model. “I’m at the point of using the profiles to assess the ‘inner’ man. It’s so important that you find someone like yourself. Opposites may attract, but they should never marry.”


Turning to Julie, she explained, “You see, Harry, my ex-husband, was a conservative, quiet, reserved, a homebody. He had no close friends except his father. Basically, he was a good man. I knew he would be a responsible good breadwinner.

I, on the other hand, was young and full of life, loved people, loved to socialize, loved fine dining, loved to dance, and have a good time. I attracted him for those reasons. And he attracted me because he was smart, had an impressive degree, and had a promising future.


“It started off fine. After about six months, though, he complained. He didn’t like my friends. We spent too much money on entertainment. He didn’t feel like going out. He simply wanted to stay home, grab a pizza and watch Net Flix.

So that’s what we did. After a while, I felt imprisoned. Suffocated. He would not change and neither could I. We were making each other miserable. Five years and one child later, I had to leave.

“Yes,” piped up Barb, “whoever you are, no matter what your personality type, even if you’re a deadpan, you’d better find another deadpan to marry.” Everyone laughed.

Continuing, Marlene said, “Now I use the profiles to find my kind.”

“Your kind? Wait a minute, am I looking for a clone?” Julie asked.

“Explain complementary differences, won’t you Marlene?” asked Dr. Braun.

“Sure,” Marlene continued. “No two people develop in the same manner. One person is outgoing, the other introspective, one plans for the future, the other sees things more immediately, and so forth. People are different.

“There will be differences for sure, but,” she paused, shaking her finger for emphasis, “differences merely because one is male and the other female. Not in being at odds. The issue is whether the differences between the two complete or defeat. Differences should inspire growth, add excitement, broaden perspectives, and challenge potential. This results in a richer, fuller, more complete life.”


“For example,” said Carolyn, “before my husband became ill, we shared many exciting, adventurous times together because we were different in a complementary sense. He was very outdoorsy. He loved camping, fishing and nature walks. Until he came along, I never appreciated or participated in those activities. But together we enjoyed the best times of our lives in the great outdoors.

“Conversely I introduced him to country music. In time, he enjoyed it. I even taught him to line dance and then you couldn’t keep him off the floor. So our differences allowed each of us to grow in new areas and we delighted in the interchange of experiences. Our life together was greatly enriched.”

“Glad it worked out that way for you. My husband, number three or was it number four,” began Barb absentmindedly, “at any rate, he drove me crazy! Our differences were downright irritating. He never did anything I wanted, and I sure wasn’t into his scene. You know that is what they call incompatibility.

“When you live with someone, day in and day out, if your differences clash, your life together is nerve-racking beyond imagination. You’re ready to climb the damn wall. Those differences make you plain miserable. I felt drained, got tension headaches, and irritable—Oh my! There was this constant tug-of-war. Made me downright mean most of the time. I lived on Maalox and Tylenol.”

Barb slumped in her seat. Carolyn reached over, embraced her and said, “Maybe with what you know now, you won’t make the same mistake with husband six.”

The women eyed each other as if saying, Please, I hope not!


“I’m continuing these sessions with Dr. Braun”, said Marlene, “because I had to clear my head from my divorce. Now I have met a wonderful man. But, I wanted to be sure this time. Jim and I appeared compatible, had a good love life, shared same goals, had same perspectives and practiced same religion. Yet, we argued like you wouldn’t believe, especially in the mornings before work. In time, we discovered our problem was out-of-sync energy levels.”

“What?” everyone yelled.

She looked at Dr. Braun, “Now jump in if I’m not telling this right.”

“You’ll be fine,” replied the Doctor.

“Even though we quarreled over the simplest things, deep inside we loved each other and so we sought counseling,” Marlene said smiling at Dr. Braun. “We found that differences in energy levels can surface in relationships and cause problems. Many times, people don’t even recognize what is causing the problems.

Anyway, some people are more energetic than others in physical, emotional and intellectual ways. They move, feel and think faster. Others react totally opposite. They’re slower and show lower levels of energy.


“For instance, Jim bounces out of bed early in the morning raring to go. Energetic juices fuel him for upcoming activities. I, on the other hand,” she nodded, feigning sleep, “can hardly blink one eye open even after my third cup of coffee. We found out that our temperaments, speech patterns, body movements and emotional responses either clash or harmonize with our mates.

If they clash, she clapped her hands, “we could be in for big trouble. Somehow mysterious friction generates. Temperaments are often out of sync. The faster one feels impatient and the slower one feels pressured. Out of frustration, the faster one becomes yet faster while the slower one becomes still slower. Each tries to force the other to adapt to his pace. And since that’s not likely to happen, these differences can wreck a relationship.

“Luckily, Jim and I sought help and could recognize the problem. We are finding ways to work it out.”

“Good for you,” Dr. Braun hugged her and everyone applauded.


red flag depicting danger“A couple other red flags,” Carolyn interjected, “are personal habits and use of money. If one of you is very talkative and the other quiet, there’s big potential for problems. One will crave conversation; the other quiet and solitude. What if one is sloppy and the other meticulously orderly? One likes a cool room to sleep in the other wants it near 75 degrees.

Or one is slim and diet conscious and the other lets their weight get out of control? Does one prefer nutritious food and the other junk food? Does one like alcohol and the other abhor it? Over time these differences could be trying.

And especially problematic are money problems. Disagreements about how to handle money can destroy a marriage. One wants to save money; the other spends everything they get their hands on. One is a risky investor; the other is ultra-conservative. One is generous to others; the other is selfish and keeps the money for personal use only.

Conflicting views like these may be deadly to a relationship. Better get these issues recognized and settled before moving ahead.

Barb snapped her fingers and sang, “A smooth and easy thing and all the good things that it brings.” Lou Rawls sang that in ‘Lady Love’, she said. “It’s an oldie, but I love that song. She summarized that generally, opposites should never marry. Their differences probably won’t gel.*


*Note: Not that opposites never work, but do you want to work that hard? It can be an uphill battle.

Our best match would be someone who reflects us as much as possible. Don’t you just love that song?” She looked around the booth at each one, and then said in an uncharacteristically serious tone, “Couples whose differences complement, whose rhythms and energies click, whose relationship feels ‘right,’ will move along in harmony like a ‘smooth and easy thing.’ “

“Well, what do you know,” whispered Carolyn to Marlene, “she’s not a complete airhead after all.”

The session concluded with Dr. Braun stating that each couple has differences. Key questions to keep in mind are: Are these differences tolerable? Are they mutually enriching? Do they complement your union?


“Question, please,” Julie interjected.

“What if these differences are intolerable — then what?”

“There are two answers to that question,” Dr. Braun responded. “If you’re dating, you have discovered a viable reason to end the relationship and move on…”

“But what if you love the guy,” Julie blurted out, her voice anxious. “Maybe his ways irritate you, but you love him regardless.”


Dr. Braun looked around the table to gain everyone’s attention, then asked, “How do you think love can grow and thrive in an environment where all a couple does is argue and fight because their differences aggravate each other? I mean serious, angry aggravation, day in and day out.

Remember, you cannot change the other person. That is why it’s imperative to identify your best match upfront and allow enough time for his true personality and traits to surface. Believe me, they will!

This insight allows you to consider whether marriage to this individual is in anyone’s best interest. This gut-wrenching decision, as painful as it may be, can help avoid separation and divorce later.

If you’re married and then find differences intolerable, decide whether you want to stay together. If so, you must focus on the good qualities your mate has. Do not nag, belittle or berate his differences. Rather, stress the compatible areas of your life together. It’s not the best situation, but it is doable with adjusted thinking that dwells on the positives. Learn to tolerate the give and take of day-to-day interactions with each other.

“We,” however, Dr. Braun smiled, “are all here to avoid getting ourselves into that situation in the first place, aren’t we ladies?”

“I’ll drink to that,” Barbara shouted.

Julie found the session enjoyable and informative. Later, she made entries in her diary from the handouts Dr. Braun distributed.


Love is, first, an Inside Job

Love is, first, an Inside Job

Two weeks pass and Julie feels confident she has absorbed the definition of romantic love and its implications.

“What appealed to me,” she said, again in Dr. Braun’s office, “were the words ‘mutual appreciation and acceptance.’ Applying it to Joe and me would mean that Joe would recognize my value, my judgment, my significance.

I feel good about that because I deserve appreciation as his partner. And I deserve to have the love and respect I show him extended in return,” she said with conviction.

Dr. Braun smiled, “Yes, Julie. You’re on the right track. Love is a reciprocal process.”

As they continued talking in this positive vein, Julie started breathing rapidly and perspiring — her eyes betraying a hidden fear.

“What’s wrong?” Dr. Braun reached for tissues from the box on the table. Handing them to Julie, she said, “Something we’ve just said is troubling you. What is it?”

“I don’t know. The strangest feeling just washed over me. I felt dizzy, disoriented like I felt that night when Joe walked out. That night when something frightened me inside.”

“Something like an anxiety attack?” asks Dr. Braun. “Did you develop feelings of doubt concerning what you deserve from your relationship with Joe? Are you doubting your self-worth? Do you fear his rejection?”

Staring at the picture on the wall, Julie tapped the arm of the chair, her mind racing in conflicting directions. “Of course not! She raised her voice. “I feel good about myself. I’m a professional competent woman.

It’s just that men don’t readily make commitments today. You can’t rush them. Joe’s very busy you know. Maybe he gives me all he can. Maybe I should be more understanding. More tolerant. You know, I have put on a few pounds, maybe if . . .”


“Stop that right now!” said Dr. Braun. Her face wrinkling in dismay.

“Do you realize what’s taking place here? Do you? Initially, you felt so confident and voiced your right to be loved and appreciated. Suddenly, whether you believe it or not, you questioned your worth. You said ‘Am I worthy enough? Am I attractive enough? Do I deserve his time? Am I as important as his other activities? What right do I have to ask more from him? Isn’t his career more important than mine?’

You’re putting him on a pedestal and convicting yourself to lie at his feet, willing to take whatever scraps of time and attention he offers. Is that what you want?

“How can you expect Joe to appreciate you if you don’t appreciate yourself? You are second-guessing your values, your judgment, your significance. If you second guess yourself, how can you expect he would do any less?”

“Are you suggesting that I am somehow my own worst enemy?”

“Julie, let’s talk first love and then you answer that question yourself.


“First love is self-love. Without the love of self-first, one cannot confidently give and receive love. Only when we realize who we are, and accept ourselves, can we understand how to integrate the love of someone else into the rest of our existence.”

“Oh, no. Don’t tell me this will be a lecture on the value of self-esteem.” Julie shook her head agitated. “I’ve read the self-help books and some of them are helpful, but I thought these sessions would be different. Don’t take offense, but I don’t need this. Besides we’re in the here and now. Right now. And I want to deal with the essence of today. Not looking back twenty or thirty years ago to my childhood.”


Leaning forward, looking straight into Julie’s eyes, Dr. Braun said, “OK. Let’s talk reality here and now. The reality of Julie Shannon. Who are you deep inside? What makes you tick? What are your goals, strengths, talents, perspectives, ideas, likes and dislikes? What would you need in your life to balance out your weaknesses and promote personal growth?


“Here,” she handed Julie a notebook. “As a first step, I’d like you to take this and develop a self-profile.”

Julie looked at it and placed it on the table. She stood extending her hand and said, “It was nice meeting you but I think this was a mistake,” she turned and headed toward the door.

“What are you afraid of, Julie? Dr. Braun called out. “Self-exposure frightens because the vast majority of people feel inadequate, unworthy, unimportant. They would rather become dependent, exploited, dominated or subservient than rely on their own worth. Is that true in your case?”


Julie spun around. “Are you implying I’m weak?”

“No, Julie. “She walked over and touched her shoulder. “Please sit back down. We’re two intelligent adults seeking answers. The only way we find answers is to question ourselves and not fear the answers. Remember I told you we start with the basics. Now take a deep breath and relax.” Julie settled down as Dr. Braun continued.

“I mentioned self-love is the first love of all because often lack of self-acceptance causes desperation. This desire for love at any cost can blind one into settling for so little in return. Desperate people latch on to someone, sometimes anyone, whom they feel will make them happy.

They do this because they fear self-direction. They fear the responsibility of relying on themselves alone. That’s self-deception. Because finally, we are all alone anyway. Each one of us is alone.”

Woman rages against dating rules“No one wants to be alone,” Julie said, her voice rising. “I mean there comes a point when we all want to find that someone special–not become little old ladies, alone, sitting in rocking chairs with nothing in life but bingo and the ‘The Price is Right.’ That image frightens me.”

“Nonetheless,” Dr. Braun continued, “whether we are a couple, we are all alone. Each one of us is alone. You see, before being a couple, before marriage, each person was a lone individual. And even after becoming a couple, you remain a lone individual. You can run, but you can’t hide from this reality.

“When you emerged from the womb, attachment to your mother was severed by the cut of the umbilical cord. You entered the world alone, no longer attached to another human being. You are separate and distinct. Separate and alone.

“You are separate because life’s subsequent experiences and exposures molded your uniqueness. You are unlike any other living being in the universe. Your perspectives, your sensitivities, your contributions, your talents are all exclusive. There will never be another you.

“You are alone in the sense that no one can think for you. No one can feel for you. No one can live for you. And no one can give meaning to your life but you. No one! That fact may terrify but it is the reality.”


Julie cocked her head, eyes squinting.

“Julie, I can see by your facial expressions that this thought of aloneness troubles you. Let’s talk truth here. Look deep inside and ask yourself this question: “Am I holding onto an unhealthy relationship with Joe just to have a man? Because you fear being alone?”

Julie shuddered and bit on her lower lip.

“Sometimes,” Dr. Braun continued, “this fear causes otherwise secure women desperately to grab hold of a man as if waiting for rescue by him. Not necessarily for financial support, but for the love we all desire. Now that I have someone, they reason, everything will be all right. I am loved. And then they will do everything possible to hold on.

Sadly, if the balance of love isn’t right, the woman craves seeking his approval, demanding constant attention. And settling for so little in return. When that is the case, the relationship heads for failure because her level of self-esteem is too low.”

“Wait,” said Julie. “I’m telling you, I don’t suffer from low self-esteem. I have the utmost confidence in my talents and abilities. “

“I’m not referring to you per se, but try to understand what I am saying in the context of your reaction today. Often, women feel confident about their jobs or careers, but when interacting with the opposite sex, they are not so sure.

Love can be complex and sometimes when people become emotionally involved, they can lose their bearing. All reason flies out the window, especially when in danger of losing the object of their affection.

They can end up doing something or saying something they wish they hadn’t, even making fools of themselves in their own opinion. All that turmoil and stress can adversely affect their level of self-esteem.


Our level of self-esteem affects every aspect of our life. It affects whom we choose to fall in love with and it affects our behavior in the relationship—for better or for worse. Those with low levels of self-esteem drain life from the other and sabotage love because of their lack of self-confidence and internal insecurities. The partner picks up on insecurity, and in time, the relationship collapses. Without an even balance of self-esteem between both, love cannot survive.


A person with high levels of self-esteem accepts that no matter how much love and caring exists between two people, each is responsible for themselves. The mature person is not waiting for a savior and does not place unnecessary, unhealthy burdens of dependence on her lover. She is confident in her own ability, worth, mind, and judgment. She remembers she is the prized partner.

Pausing now, Dr. Braun leaned back in her chair and gestured broadly. Her serious tone gave way to her signature upbeat tempo and radiant smile.

“Aloneness is positive because it enables you to become confident and self-reliant. Aloneness entails self-responsibility, relying on your own inner resources for happiness rather than looking for someone else to make you happy. Happiness, some say, is an ‘inside’ job. When you accept this responsibility for yourself, you build self-esteem.”

“When individuals in a relationship accept their own aloneness, wonderful positive adventures into intimacy blossom. Because she accepts her aloneness—that allows her to respect his aloneness. She appreciates his need to be alone sometimes. To be occupied sometimes. To be preoccupied elsewhere sometimes.”

“She does not become obsessed with the fear of losing him. She allows him ‘space’. And this ‘space’ generates an atmosphere in which love thrives. Allow space and love grows. Smother space and love dies.”

“So, the first step is to recognize your aloneness. The second step is to learn to love this unique individual you have just discovered—YOU! As you love yourself, your level of self-esteem rises. And your chances of finding love increase tenfold.”

“Ohhhh, tenfold?” Julie mocked. “You promise me a tenfold increased chance at love?” I’m going to hold you to that!” They laughed.

“Seriously Julie,” Dr. Braun picked up the notebook and handed it to her. “Work on these two profiles. First, develop a profile that describes you. We will then use it later in the selection process to identify the man most likely to offer you the love and commitment you desire. Completion of these two profiles is key to the Selection Process.”

“Why not?” Julie said, accepting the notebook.

“Take your time to complete it. Give it some serious thought. Let’s meet again a month from now to discuss the importance of the ‘Selection Process’.

They embraced and, as Julie reached the door, Dr. Braun asked, “How do you feel about group sessions? On the last Thursday of every month, a group of four or five meet for lunch at the Olive Garden on Howe Road, the one on the north side, up near Chapel Hill Mall. The topic for discussion asks ‘Should Opposites Marry?’ Interested?”




Relationship Counselor: Dr. Tracy Braun

Romance—Its Tri-fold Bond

“Good morning, Julie Shannon? I’m Dr. Tracy Braun,” the doctor said, extending her hand. “Please sit.” Julie sat on an off-white couch covered in rich floral prints. An abundance of plants and flowers enhanced the rich decor.

“Your office is lovely.”

 “Thank you,” Dr. Braun smiled. “Coffee?”

 After introductory chitchat, Julie felt comfortable. Dr. Braun’s easy banter and infectious laugh drew Julie. It was like giggling under the covers with your best girlfriend, confiding your secrets, at a childhood sleepover.

 “Julie, what do you hope to gain from this session?” Dr. Braun began. She listened intently as Julie poured out her heart explaining her frustrations, bouts with rejection, anxieties, and disappointments with Joe.

She then probed Julie for her definition of love, feelings about herself, feelings about how this relationship has affected her well-being, feelings about past relationships.

And finally, her understanding of the dating process — Her expectations, her role, her partner’s role, and her knowledge of the steps and stages of relationship development necessary to get what she most wanted — marriage.


“Umm,” Dr. Braun said, “I understand your frustrations because, as you spoke, I could see you are missing vital information on defining romantic love. What IS and what it IS NOT — what it depends on for growth, and how to transition through stages of the love process to grow from passion to genuine love.

Without this crucial knowledge, your frustrations will continue in an unending cycle. It happens to women young and older, rich and poor, black, white, yellow, and red over the world.

“Fortunately,” she said, leaning forward, eyes sparkling, smile bright, “I have Good News for you. We will turn your depression into sunshine and your tears into joy. All it takes is basic knowledge and the application of relationship development skills. I’m here to help you get that education, and I’ll entertain your questions along the way.


 I start at the beginning even with definitions you might consider elementary, but it’s because I want you to see how the entire process works from A to Z. This way you have a roadmap to figure out how to get back on track should you take a detour.

 The Love Development Process is to:

  • Recognize what love IS and IS NOT. Then learn the four aspects of love and how to weave them into the relationship. And emphasize the synergy between Romantic (Eros) and Principled (agape) love
  • Appreciate the definition of first love
  • Develop a Personal Profile that defines your inner core
  • Develop a Selection Profile that defines your best match
  • Understand the importance of the Selection Process
  • Learn how men and women approach the dating game differently
  • Master the six stages of the dating process, recognizing yourself as the prized ‘partner in kind’ as you and your partner work through each stage step by step
  • Trust the power of time as your best ally
  • Grasp the true meaning of commitment
  • And Walla! Invite me to your wedding day!


Once you understand what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, and how to do it, the dating game and its secrets open wide before you, and the veil of mystery disappears. You’ll enjoy dating as never before because you will understand your role, where you want to go, and how to get there.

It’s a simple process to learn. But depends on you to execute step-by-step to benefit yourself. And as you apply this information, you might turn around your situation with Joe. We’ll see.

Julie raised her eyes brows, impressed by this start.

Looking over her notes, Dr. Braun continued, “I see that much of what you have experienced past and present results from today’s freewheeling ‘do your own thing’ attitude toward relationships. Women of the 21st century think there are no ground rules. That they are free to do as they want and feel. Any time. Any place. Unfortunately, such thinking often leads to disastrous, unfulfilled relationships. Unfulfilled because this is not the way to undertake a relationship if you expect to win love.

 “While there is no single magic formula to follow, there are definite ground rules that apply. Again, the primary skill is the ability to understand the distinct differences men and women have in their approach to love development, starting with dating and playing within these limits. Not fight against them. I base these differences on human nature’s design that never changes. And because of this, there are ‘do’s’ and ‘don’ts.’

 “Don’t worry though,” she smiled, looking at Julie’s puzzled frown, “I know this information is new to take in. But in time, you’ll understand it and be on your way to a loving relationship.”


Julie settled back in her chair and concentrated as Dr. Braun continued. “You won’t learn everything in a couple of sessions. But during the first several sessions, we will discuss love of self, the selection process, and stages one through three of the dating process. Once you date again, whether a rekindling effort with Joe or with someone new, we will move into discussing stages four, five, and six.

First, since the need for love stands at the center of our needs, we need to understand its four components: (storge’) love between friends, (philia) love between family members, (eros) love between a man and a woman. These three are vital in a relationship. For instance, you want your partner to be your best friend, your ardent lover, your closest relative.

       hearts and candles “There is, however, a fourth love more important than the others. It is (Agape’) or “principled” love. This is love guided by principles of what is right and in the best interest of the family. It is love that has an unselfish devotion and sincere concern for the lasting welfare of the mate and family, along with an active expression of this concern. Practicing this unselfish love enables couples to cultivate an intense love for each other.

“What makes agape’ love greater is that agape’ is the glue that holds relationships together in the ‘bad’ times. And there will be ‘bad’ times. It’s what enables couples to continue putting up with one another and forgiving one another freely if either has a cause for complaint against the other.


Agape’ is the love that never fails because it looks out for the interest of the other. We’ll talk in more detail about agape’ later, but for now, let’s begin with defining romantic love.

“Romantic love is indeed that special chemistry poets write about. That lovers dream about. But Oh! So much more. It’s a Tri-fold bond. Romantic love is a bond of:

1) verbal/sexual passion,

2) emotional support, and

3) spiritual strength between two people who each recognize the uniqueness of the other person and appreciate and accept each other’s uniqueness.

             “That’s quite a mouthful,” Julie laughed. “I understood the first part about passion. Passion’s no problem between Joe and me. We have a fantastic sex life. It’s just the in-between times that are so frustrating.”

             “So, I see you discovered what many find out later. That good sex alone cannot sustain a relationship. Sex is important—in its place. The rapturous abandon of passionate sex can be hypnotic. Even addictive. Sometimes obsessive. Indeed, profound ecstasy is necessary for preserving intimacy. Without it, you cannot attain the deepest level of bonding.

            But, as important as sex is, relationships relying primarily on intoxicating caresses and frenzied orgasms for survival will fail.

            “Consider this. Too often couples who experience consuming sexual passion early on assume it must be love and live together or marry. Predictably, serious problems surface after the honeymoon is over.

They wake up one morning, look at each other, and discover a stranger in their bed! Their values and interests differ; future goals and outlooks collide; personalities and temperaments clash. Worse yet, they have nothing to talk about outside the bedroom.”

Julie nodded, “Yes, I’ve seen that happen to couples. Especially the young. I guess good sex is necessary, but it is not enough. More is needed.”

Dr. Braun held up a finger for emphasis. “Here’s a vital point. Did you notice that when I mentioned passion you automatically assumed sexual passion? In the early stages of dating, passion should be non-sexual passion.

Passion now is the intense attraction you feel for a person you have just met that serves to introduce this man and woman to each other. It’s there to see if there is enough interest in each other to establish a foundation to build a relationship on.


Later, as the relationship develops and moves through the stages, the attraction in stage four can become sexual passion. But not until then! This is where most women fail miserably! We’ll discuss it later.


“Getting back to Joe—did he give emotional support? That’s the second bond, emotional support.”

Twisting in her seat, Julie replied, “Sometimes. But,” she continued, avoiding eye contact, “not always. Many times, when I needed him, he wasn’t there. Sure, he was there physically, but not emotionally.”

“He didn’t seem to know what I needed. Sometimes I needed to talk. I wanted him to listen, to be there for me with a hearing ear, an understanding smile, or a big hug. Instead, he shrugged me off. Do you know what I mean?”


Couple sharing eye love over drinks

“Absolutely,” replied Dr. Braun. “What you wanted from Joe in your time of need was tender compassion. The compassion showed by the giving of himself—his time, attention, energies, and thoughts closest to his heart, in response to your need. Whether the need was spoken or unspoken.”

Julie leaned forward. “That’s it! That’s what I want from him. I want Joe to sense what I need.” Leaning back again, she replied, “But that doesn’t seem possible for us. We love each other, but somehow we’re not communicating at that level.” Excited, she rushed on, “All right, so give me some ideas on how to make this happen.”

“In due time, Julie,” the doctor said. “For now, let’s continue with understanding the third bond. The spiritual bond.”

“No, that won’t work,” Julie interrupted. “Joe is not religious. He has no interest in organized religion.”


“That’s a common today,” said Dr. Braun. “But let’s talk about it anyway from a broader perspective. We’ll look at spirituality from a religious and non-religious aspect. For instance, many couples find common strength to endure the trials and tribulations of love and marriage through a strong faith in God. Their lives revolve around Bible principles that guide and direct them. This unity of purpose cements their bond.

“Others, like Joe, are not religious. Spirituality is not important to them. But Julie, organized religion aside, can you think of any valid reason for incorporating spirituality into a relationship?”

“Not really. I mean, I’ve never considered it.”


Gesturing, Dr. Braun stood and explained, “Let’s liken spirituality to building your dream house. You want one that is structurally sound, solid, secure. A home that will last a lifetime and be passed down to your children and grandchildren. It all begins with laying a solid foundation set deep for strength and support.

“Why is setting a firm foundation so important?”

“That’s obvious,” Julie answered, “Because everything else hinges upon the stability of the foundation.”


“Exactly! And so it is with relationships. Any relationship of substance begins with establishing a solid foundation. There has to be some semblance of spirituality, such as moral and ethical values, honesty, kindness, goodness, love, faithfulness, self-control, peace, and so forth. Without such, upon what do you build?”

“Touché,” said Julie. “I’ve never considered spirituality from this standpoint. But I guess you’re right.”

“This spirituality goes hand-in-hand with the principled love (agape’) we spoke of earlier. Looking out for the good of the other in the relationship. Some food for thought, at any rate,” said Dr. Braun.


“Another cup of coffee?”

“Yes, please.” Julie settled back and crossed her legs, eager to continue.


“The closing phrase of romantic love states it’s a bond that recognizes and accepts each other’s uniqueness. That means each one accepts the other for who he or she is as a person. The ‘good, the bad, and the ugly’. Their strengths, weaknesses, talents, goals, fears, biases, courage, idiosyncrasies.”

Julie laughed. “That covers an awful lot of territory.”

“Yes, it does,” said Doctor Braun. “And we’ll discuss it next session. But for now, I want you to meditate on the definition of romantic love. Try to understand its meaning down deep inside. We will develop insight into each phase of the Tri-fold bond in the weeks ahead.”

“Here, she said,” handing Julie a binder. “This contains the material covered in this first session. We’ll add relevant material to it in the months ahead.”

“Thanks, I can’t tell you how eye-opening this first session has been. See you again in a couple of weeks.”

Later that night, Julie read the material and wrote summary notes in her diary.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.