You may have heard the expression "You teach what you need to learn." I am being reminded of that as I write this. I base my dating expertise on over 20 years of experience, along with hundreds of books and articles I’ve read along the way. When I write my weekly column, I am using my intellect and can easily see both the problem and the solution. I know the dos and don’ts of dating and relationships. Unfortunately, it’s not so easy when you are the one experiencing something firsthand.

I find myself in a situation that has caused me a lot of mental and emotional anguish over the last several months and the situation is at a crucial point. I am angry with myself and embarrassed. I should know better, but, like everyone else, I let my emotions get the best of me. Let me explain.

I came out of a long-term relationship about 6 years ago. Since I had been out of the dating world for so long, I was unfamiliar with the scene I was about to encounter – players. At first I didn’t understand what was going on, but once I caught on, my motto was, "If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em." Meeting a player is like meeting a vampire. They "bite" into you, and before you know it, you’re a player too. I learned how to have sex without emotional attachment, how to conceal my feelings (if I had any) and to never let the other person know I was too interested. I would proudly boast that I’d played with the best and brought many players to their knees.

Something happened at a party earlier this year that finally changed all that. I met someone I was attracted to and luckily he felt the same way. As we talked, I found myself leaning into him, because I wanted to touch him, even if it was just his elbow. As we hugged and stared at each other, I felt something I had never felt with all those players. Of course, it wasn’t love, but whatever it was, I knew that was what I wanted to feel, and that it would never happen if I continued to be a player. That weekend, I decided I would wait for the real thing – no more playing. The guy never called me, but that’s OK. I feel he was brought into my life in order for me to have this realization.

When you make a decision with 100 percent commitment, I believe the universe moves in order to make that a reality. A month after my epiphany, I met someone who was unlike anyone I’d met before. He was someone sweet, thoughtful and caring – a gentleman. We soon started dating and that’s when my troubles began. Don’t get me wrong. The problem was not him, it was me. After having learned to put up a wall in order to survive the world of soulless hook-ups, I was in new territory. I had no idea what to do with a nice guy. I found myself having negative expectations, when there was no evidence that I had anything to be concerned about. I had what I call: Post Traumatic Dating Disorder. Even before our first date, I was anticipating that he would not show up. Every time he actually called when he said he would, I was surprised. I thought I’d died and gone to heaven when he came over to stay with me one night simply because I was upset about something and he didn’t expect to have sex. …

To be continued next week …

REMEMBER: Love inspires, empowers, uplifts and enlightens.

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