Sheri’s WOW Factor. Matchmaking client’s journey into love…

Sheri came to me seeking partnership in April of ‘08.  A Manhattan Beach home owner, she’s beautiful, tall, highly accomplished, confident, and secure, I was interested in her and inspired by her from the get-go; she’d already done plenty of inner work, and had just completed Alison Armstrong’s Men and Marriage workshop.  My Dream Client.
She did make me nervous though, as her search criteria was super challenging – at 39/40, she was seeking marriage and kids with a tall, fit, youthful, handsome, intelligent, highly successful, generous Jewish man with lots of integrity.  He’d be in his late 30’s/early 40’s (I noticed that she really favored the younger, hotter guys), he is at least 5’11, and he is ON GO for marriage and family.  She was disillusioned with online dating, was “done” with the player types, and wanted to be with an equal, an accomplished professional who would be comfortable with a highly successful woman.

This is a tough match to make, as this man we’re describing is typically asking me to introduce him to women in their late twenties to early 30’s.  This super hot young, studly guy is in the prime of HIS dating life, and figures he’s got one shot at doing marriage and family right. Nervous watching his pals’ tortured divorces, he’s afraid to rush things, so he’s inclined to max out his age limit at around 35, so he and his imaginary sweetheart (whom he’s also…not yet met) will have years to court, have a long, sensible, relaxed engagement, a few years of marital bliss with plenty of travel, fun, and adventure together before diving into diapers and strollers.  This all complicated by the fact that HIS super hot late twenties/early thirties target is in the prime of HER dating life, with plenty (and I mean plenty) of suitors.  Some of the men Little Miss Young Hottie is dating are actually good prospects, but many are not – they’re more the bad-boy player types but…they are alluring enough to capture her attention, too often wasting her time – time that she doesn’t yet realize is so precious…She doesn’t yet know how dramatically different dating will be for her in just a few short years.

Oh, this stuff is so tricky…

There were sensitive moments and some challenging conversations as Sheri and I engaged together in her search. Some of the men I’d really wanted her to meet I wasn’t able to lasso for her (most often just a matter of the visuals – a guy is either hot for a woman or he’s not) and she had some suitors I liked a lot for her, but…alas they didn’t pique her interest.  One of the clients I’d introduced to her had every single quality on her must-have list – and she liked him enough to give him a chance and a second date.  For her, that was a lot but…well…he wasn’t game for a second date, claiming he didn’t experience enough of the “wow” factor to pursue her.

Most of my female clients aren’t coming to me hoping for lots and lots of first dates.  They’re looking for an instant fix, a short-cut to relationship, a quick and easy perfect, fabulous fit. Sometimes it happens just that way, as it did for my clients Maggy, Claudia and Paulette – each glided effortlessly into a magical love story early on in their search process with us.  But, well, this is rare. What’s more common is a series of suitors for our female client to try on first and lots of lessons for her to learn.

In the twenty plus years I’ve been guiding love seekers, I’ve determined that dating is a series of “misses” until the right fit happens.  In Sheri’s case, I was frustrated that she wasn’t giving me (and some of the men she was turning down) more chances to play with, try on, and settle into that perfect fit.  She was frustrated at times that I wasn’t able to simply deliver the ideal suitor with the snap of my fingers.

But what’s special about Sheri?  And what worked for Sheri?  She kept looking within, she trusted me, she allowed for the possibility that maybe she had some blind spots that were keeping her from seeing and seizing opportunities.  She never stopped being positive. Even when frustrated, even through rejection and disappointment, she kept communicating with me, and she always gave me the benefit of the doubt.

If I’m ever pushy in trying to get my client to stretch, it’s often with a woman who wants to become a mom – I’ll never forget the pressure that this desire places on dating and the love search process for a woman.  I have shed those tears.  Emergency surgery at age 27 left me fertility challenged, which lead me to the dating service where I met Mr. Ferman.  We are thankfully blessed with two boys who are now teenagers and the light of our lives.  For women who want to be moms, well, I push them a bit harder to stretch and look closely before turning down a suitor, potentially closing the door on what might be a fine opportunity for marriage and family with a man I know to be truly wonderful.

So, fast forward.  It’s a year or so after Sheri and I engaged in her search together. She is currently in love with a man she’d dated a couple of years ago but had “tossed back”, having determined that he wasn’t enough of this or that for her.  She’s really happy with him and in her email messages to me there is a sense of calm and peace that truly warms my heart.

She gets it now; a matchmaker’s job is more than just delivering the perfect man, on a silver platter, with a bow around his neck and an engagement ring in his pocket.  She understands now that the other necessary and powerful element of our process is the coaching and guidance, the little reality checks along the way.

It’s really, really tough to tell a woman that the guy she’s interested in has passed on the opportunity to meet her because he’s hoping to meet her younger sister or that his type is more “Angelina” than “Jen” – and sometimes, even though I make a sincere effort to deliver the sometimes not-so-great news with sweet sisterly love, there are times when the client reacts with emotion, and literally wants to shoot the messenger, which well, unfortunately, is…me.

But Sheri didn’t do that.  You know what she did?  She communicated and she engaged fully with me in our dialogues. Today I went back and studied each and every email she’s ever sent to me.  There are lots of them.  Each one has a very positive tone, even when she was making reference to a disappointment.  She was open to learning from our coaching and introduction process.  She realized early on in our search that favoring the younger, hotter thirties guy was problematic, and she relaxed her upper age limits a bit.  She wrote, “I sooooo enjoyed our coaching session!  I learned a lot about myself with you; I have been shooting myself in the foot by attracting/being attracted to such young men!  I got a reality check about my age.  Thank you for having the courage to have this discussion with me.”

I say, WOW.

So, so, so many women dismiss a man if he doesn’t pursue her in just the way SHE wants him to, or if he seems less than fully ready to commit at that moment in time, when she feels she is completely ready.  She’ll cross him off her list, she’ll shoot off to him a nasty email, she’ll delete him from her phone, un-friend him on Facebook, she’ll get all “pissy” about him and she’ll kill him off…FOREVER…, labeling him as a commitment-phobe, uttering under her breath “all men are pigs, isn’t there a decent man left on the planet…” all that yukky self-defeating, negative commentary that she doesn’t realize is tarnishing her own wow factor…

But Sheri didn’t do that.  Mid-way through her six-month search with us, she shared with amazement, “I’m developing patience, I am learning so much about myself, and I’m having fun with this process, watching my love life unfold.”

Patience.  Oh, my goodness gracious, this is so hard for us girls, especially when we feel ready NOW for love to happen. I find that for a guy to really show up for a woman as a serious suitor, two things need to be present for him — Attraction/chemistry and timing.  The timing in HIS life needs to be just right before he will invite a woman into that life. Alison Armstrong helps us understand that men are internally motivated – an idea has to be his, coming from within, in order for it to be a real possibility.  So a woman can tease him, flirt with him, chase him, or a matchmaker can try her darndest to light a fire under this guy, but unless HE is motivated by interest and attraction and unless timing in HIS life is right for building a relationship, well… ain’t nuttin’ gonna happen.

Sheri wrote to me about her experience of having been our client, having her love life studied under a microscope by dating experts.  Throughout that six month period of time and afterward, Sheri continued to grow, stretch, and explore. She found herself over time making better choices – she ditched a bad boy whose mesmerizing allure had served to clog her pipes for years (who she later learned would rather eat glass than get married), and she was being careful to involve herself only with men whom she deemed were indeed available and sincerely seeking relationship. She did extensive therapy, she lost weight, and she continued to develop her WOW factor, both internally and externally.  She reported to me that she’d been dating “better men” than ever before in her life.

Throughout her time with us as a client and afterward, Sheri kept exploring, deepening her understanding of herself. She worked with an energy therapist who helped her dissolve some of the blocks that she learned to see had been hindering her.  She was delighted at how open and accepting she was becoming, blossoming into a more loving and lovable person. Often surprised, she watched herself being drawn to some men who were actually “off type” for her – one man not as tall as she preferred, another whose frugal spending habits would have knocked him out of the running a year prior. She was delighted to see herself giving men more of a chance.  The reward, she said? “I’m finding as I get to know the guy, he becomes more and more attractive to me!  I never realized how much I was limiting myself by quickly dismissing a man without scratching a bit further to get under the surface.”

Sheri sent me an email last week, attaching a photo of this man she’s dating exclusively. This man had 100% of the criteria she was looking for!  They’d met a couple of years ago on a trip to Israel and they dated for a while. He’s her age, lives in Boston, and they’d shared some great moments and plenty of chemistry.  But at that time there were elements that she felt weren’t exactly perfect, so she had pushed him aside, hoping to find a more ideal fit.

About Mr. Boston?  She now writes, “He was pursuing me from the time I met him, but I had SO many things blocking me, try as he might, he couldn’t get to me. I had an expectation of how he should pursue me, and that killed it. It is also true that he has matured and stepped up as a man during our time apart, but the real thing I learned on my journey and I’d want to convey to all single people is the inner work that is required to cause a shift in dating, and to generate different results. I had to do a load of work on myself, and it was worth it!  It’s hard for us to see the truth. We want the package, but unless we’re willing to look at our own package, realistically and truthfully, we can’t improve, and we can’t attract that ideal partner. Julie, you helped me see that attraction, chemistry AND timing are all vital ingredients. I dated well over 30 men last year, each with a particular story and each with his own package.  I now attract, and am attracted to, healthy, available men. Mr. Boston and me?  Neither of us is perfect, but I see that we are the perfect packages for each other. We are now living together and sharing our lives with two puppies, and are on our journey to marriage and creating a family together.”

I am so very happy for Sheri.  Her clear vision, her persistence, and her willingness to look, from a different point of view at her dating patterns and behaviors produced for her the result she was seeking. I remember so vividly the rock solid, positive determination she carried with her throughout our process, through both the highs and lows that come with the territory called … dating.  She KNEW she’d find him. She worked on developing patience, understanding, flexibility, and acceptance, and she kept her spirits positive throughout, elevating herself above the undercurrent that so very often kills a woman’s wow-factor and, as a result, her chances (negativity, bitterness, disappointment, anger, and resentment.)

From my perspective, Sheri is a pure example of how clear intention, perseverance, and
Consistent positive energy can generate the intended result.  She approached her personal love search with seriousness, but with a spirit of adventure and a curiosity that enabled her to look again and again at her decision making process.  She turned over lots and lots of stones, investing her time, energy, and resources in the process of bettering her odds and bettering herself. She was smart to always keep her bridges clear and the doors open with current and past love interests, and voila — love ignited – for Sheri and Mr. Boston on their second go-round with each other.

I hope her story inspires you as much as it inspires me.

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