Cheering each other on
“I met this guy when I was on the downward spiral of a breakup. Sparks definitely flew and I wasn’t expecting to be wow’ed so quickly. The problem is, I am starting graduate school and he is finishing up one more semester in college…five hours away, and taking his LSATs. I’m wondering: Can you meet your half-orange and the timing can be all wrong? Or is my half-orange someone else out there?” —M.
Thanks so much for writing. My short answer: Of course it’s possible to meet your half-orange and have the timing wrong! That’s what happened with me: I knew my now-husband as a kid and dated him briefly in our college years, but I wasn’t near ready for the real thing when I was 20. But it doesn’t mean that if you think this guy is your half-orange, that you should, say, wait around and sit tight for four years until he’s ready to be with you.
As the genius Marianne Williamson says, relationships are assignments. (Note: She talks a lot about God, but believes that every God is who we decide it to be, from a being to an energy in the universe, so if you’re not religious, don’t let that scare you off! Your God can be whomever or whatever you believe.) In her book Return to Love, she says this:
“He appraises who can learn most from whom at any given time, and then assigns them to each other. Like a giant computer, He knows exactly what combination of energies, in exactly what context, would do the most to further God’s plan for salvation. No meetings are accidental.”
In other words, every relationship is meant to teach us something—either about ourselves or life or what we want or what we don’t. And whatever happens with this guy (who you either still think is great, or you’re totally over him by now!) you’ve connected with him for a reason. Maybe it’s to learn that you can feel those sparks and like him with your mind as well. Maybe it’s to help heal your last break-up. Whatever you learn, this relationship is right for you right now and that’s the most you need to know. If he’s meant to be your true other half in life or marriage, that will happen, and you won’t feel like you’re pushing for it or pining for it. The right relationship feels natural, like an extra limb of your body, easy and good for you.
So, I hope that helps. And I thank you for writing and following the blog and reading the book. I hope it has helped in the way you look at who you date and at your perspective in life overall. Just remember that everyone you meet and every experience you have is preparing you for that right relationship. So if this isn’t the big one, it’s a vital step along the path to the big one.
“I met an attractive and intelligent woman and we seemed to be hitting it off. Then I commented that she had a ‘really nice hourglass figure’ and she told me I was being inappropriate and–WHAP!–she slapped me! Should I send her an apology note?” —K.
Well that’s an odd exchange for sure! In short, I guess I’d say it can’t hurt to email her to apologize, but you shouldn’t expect her to write back with a chipper reply.
I can understand her finding the “hourglass figure” compliment not 100% flattering, but if you were truly complimenting her, I’m surprised it turned out that way. I’m guessing it was a “you had to be there” moment in which perhaps your tone wasn’t coming across the way you meant it. Or, perhaps she had insecurity issues about her figure to start with that led the conversation to go so haywire. I mean…a slap?! That’s very strange. So I’m guessing she thought you were making fun of her or messing with her in some way. That’s what a slap would be for: if she was sensing disrespect. In your version of the story, I don’t feel that you were disrespecting her, but her version might be different. These “He Said She Said” stories are tough!
So, that all said, if it makes you feel better to email her and apologize for inadvertently hurting her feelings, I think you should go ahead and do it. It sounds like one of those things that might eat at you if you don’t. But expect that she might ignore it or even give you another “verbal” slap. Who knows, it could turn out great, but just don’t expect it to. So I’d keep it short and sweet if you send it. Do it for yourself and not for what you expect from her in return.
And I guess this one goes down in your books as a reminder that when you compliment a woman next time, you keep it entirely, completely, utterly positive!
“I’ve recently met a guy who’s unlike anyone I’ve ever met He’s kind, funny, smart, respectful, handsome and goal-oriented. I don’t want to ruin a possible long-term relationship with him by having sex too soon. But how long do I wait?” —T.
Thanks for writing. What a great question! And I’ve got a short answer for it: There is no time line. I think waiting is a great way to separate this relationship from others by making it clear you take it seriously and want to develop a personal relationship before a sexual one. As far as when to call it, I think it will truly be something that you will know when you get there. The same way that you were able to realize that this guy made waiting worth it, you will get to a point where you realize you’ve waited long enough.
The reason that I can’t give you a specific answer is that if you force yourself to stick to a “this-many-days” or “this-many-weeks” it could feel false by the time you reach your mark, because every relationship develops differently. So by tuning into your gut and how you feel about your personal relationship, I think you’ll better be able to tell you’re ready. They say about love “When you know, you know.” I think the same will happen here.
“I have a hard time believing there IS a guy out there for me. I mean, who would want a woman in her mid-thirties with basically NO relationship experience. How do I stay focused on a positive outcome when I’m plagued by doubts?” —B.
You sound just like my friend Parker! (She’s in the book). I totally get that “just believe it” is so much easier said than done. But the issue isn’t in believing there’s a great guy out there, it’s in believing there’s a guy out there who will like [insert all that negative stuff you said about yourself]. So how do you stay positive? Well, you do a quick review of what makes you so awesomely dateable. It’s time to look at the reasons you would date you.
If you were a guy, why would you date yourself? Just as you would if you were trying to set up a friend of yours with a cute guy, set up yourself. What could you say? Literally take out a Post-It and write 20 reasons. Yes, twenty. I’m talking about “How good my chicken soup is” and “How awesome I am at badminton” and “Well, I am a pretty great kisser.” Be as over-the-top praise-worthy about yourself as you can be, because only you’re seeing this. And this will act like horse blinders for those plaguing doubts—doubts are not allowed in this exercise. Because when you’re focusing on the great stuff about you, it will start to be more logical that a great guy out there might be into you. Who wants to date a woman like that? Smart people, that’s who.
The point is, we each have the ability to focus on whatever we want in life, no matter our situation. Focus on the good stuff, and you’ll be surprised how much there is.
I hope that helps and I wish you the best in continuing to work on all this. Remember: it all starts with you. It’s not about the guys, it’s about you. If you believe you’re worth dating, then you’ll be able to believe there’s a guy out there smart and lucky enough to snag you.
“A women I was friends with, but adored, began seeing someone. I thought she knew how I felt about her. I still think she is the right partner for me in life. I have begun reading ‘Half-Orange’ and I am finding it very useful. So I wrote a very simple, sweet letter expressing my true, honest feelings and mailed it this morning. What are your thoughts?” —E.
Wow, I so know that sickness in your stomach you got from seeing your friend move on—and also from feeling a well of regret that perhaps she did so without knowing how you felt. I think, in the big picture, there is nothing to regret about sharing how you feel about someone. I have been through a few of those “had feelings for good friends” relationships, and for me, none of them panned out. But boy, did I spend years working on that whole panning thing.
In retrospect, the moments I am most proud of in those friendships are the times I came out with it, confessed my feelings and was honest. One of them played out like a movie scene on a NYC street corner with me crying my heart out asking why he didn’t love me back. The next day, I had a moment of “Uh oh, that was embarrassing,” but that passed quickly when I realized how utterly free I felt. There was nothing left to be said! I’d put it out there and now it was ours to work with.
The way I see it, the worst thing we can all have in our relationships with others is uncertainty. Those moments or months of not knowing. That’s what wastes our time and our energy as we try to navigate what we don’t know. I hope that now, as you say you feel more positive and more in control having read the book, this does help you. I’m glad it made you write that email. For whatever happens, at least now you know where you stand. Either you’ll just be friends for now, or her eyes will be opened. Either way, you win! You get to move forward knowing where you stand with this one person.
And, hey, if she’s not into you, you can use your energy opening up to the rest of the world and a woman who does want to love and adore you and feel the way about you that you did your friend. Also, you also never know how life works; even if it doesn’t happen now, life can put you two in one another’s paths again when it’s more right. Who knows, right? That’s the joy of it all, that you can’t force feelings with people, but you can control how you feel and who you are. And you being positive and happy in life right now, regardless, is the best thing you can do.
I hope that through the book, you, like I learned to do, to keep living in the moment and be happy for now, not the future. That you can be open to the right love for you, not just one particular person you might hope it to be. You may hit bumps along the road, but now you know there’s a reason for that and a lesson in life and love to be learned from it. Each person we meet takes us one step closer to the person we should best be for our half-orange relationship. And we still have the ability to control the way we see and feel about what happens to us. So here’s to choosing optimism.