Unlucky in love? Time to meet the Love Mentor   8 Dec 2013

Julia Charles

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To some, it would appear that I’m living the dream. Professional Kiwi living in London, with a great apartment, great friends, great career, globetrotting lifestyle – so on the surface it may seem like I have it all. But one thing was missing... “So, Julia – when are you going to meet that man?”... “Wow, you’ve got everything going for you – how can you still be single?”... “Don’t you want kids? You’re not getting any younger you know”...
Now, let me be clear – I’m not one of those women who thinks you need a significant other in your life to be complete. I’m also not this crazed, workaholic career-nut that my friends and family seem to think I am. I’ve always had an abundance of men circling around me – but I either haven’t been remotely interested in them, or if I have been, they certainly haven’t been interested in committing to me.
At a business networking event recently, I was introduced to the “Love Mentor” – Elizabeth Sullivan. Beth – a fellow successful New Zealander living in London – is an NLP Master Practitioner, qualified Relationship Coach, and Clinical Hypnotherapist. She uses all of these skills in her work, which is centred around helping women who have been focussed on their careers find love and achieve romantically satisfying and lasting relationships – whether they’re single, or already in a relationship.
Despite always being surrounded by men, I had been single since September 2010 – and figured I had nothing to lose, so Beth and I exchanged details. However prior to our first session, I started seeing someone. Beth was delighted for me, and encouraged me to embark on a course of coaching with her anyway. By my own admission, I had a tendency to sabotage relationships with decent men. I was yet to identify why or where it was coming from. But every time I seemed to be close to that “next step”, I would do my best to drive the man away. Emotionally charged, I would suddenly morph into an angry, insecure and borderline psychotic b****. And it always had the desired result – he would be unable to cope with it, and would leave. As painful as this always was, it was somehow easier than balls-ing up myself, and confronting the “next step” – either ending the relationship, or, finally letting my walls down and truly letting him in. And there was a certain amount of satisfaction in being able to say to myself: “I told you so. You’re doomed. Look at you; the way you behave. You will be alone forever. You don’t deserve love anyway.”
I’ve been well aware for a long time that to be in a successful loving relationship, you must first of all love yourself. Self-loathing is a common trait in women nowadays, but with me, it had become dangerously destructive and played a major part in forming my core beliefs about myself. So Beth had one question for me...
“Are you really ready to change this?”
Yes. Yes, I am. And so our sessions began.
Through my short time with Beth, I was able to step outside myself and look back in – by using a different filter, I started to see a completely different perspective. Beliefs I had about myself and assumptions about what others thought of me were shattered. One of the first things I became aware of, was the real reason for my exhaustion. Yes, I was juggling many different projects and other commitments – but what was really wearing me out was the fact that I was operating from the opposite energy of what is natural for me. I thought that to be successful, I had to be strong and dominant. I thought that to make my father proud of me, I would have to be “the best” – top of my class, top in business, financially minted – again, operating from a place of dominance and assertiveness. And for the first time, I realised I have been doing this my whole life – and it hasn’t been working. I have been trying to be someone I’m not.
Beth asked me how my relationship was with my father. I started to fidget in my chair. At a glance, there wasn’t really anything WRONG with our relationship – it just wasn’t where I wanted it to be. “I try so hard”, I explained, “but I never seem to be good enough or say the right thing. I feel like such an outsider. He gets on fine with my step-siblings and their families – but with me, things are always awkward.”
Now for years, I have been trying to analyse the relationship I have with Dad. Have I neglected him, focussing too much on Mum instead? Am I too much like my mother, and that gets on his nerves?
The truth is that it’s really much simpler than that. It suddenly became apparent that I was being who I thought my father wanted me to be, rather than just trying to be myself, and seeing if he liked that person. My father is a strong, dominant individual – so my way of relating to him was to be a strong, dominant individual. With no balance there, it’s no surprise that the relationship hasn’t been working. Beth challenged me to start relating to him from my softer side, and to see what happens.
She also suggested I address the issue in our communication with each other by changing the language I use. Until Beth brought it to my attention, it had never really dawned on me that there is a 40-year age difference between my father and I. A massive generation gap. I was always expecting Dad to automatically understand where I was coming from, but really, it would be difficult for him to do so – we really are from different times. Instead of wanting him to change, how can I truly accept and love him as he is? How can I express things in a different way so that he will understand what I really mean? So we don’t have a lot in common – but how can we have fun together? Ultimately, what it boiled down to, is how can I change in my actions to transform the relationship with the man who means the most to me?
It started with something small. It was brought to my attention that my house was full of pictures of my mother, but there was not even a single picture of my father. Beth gave me some homework: to put up a picture of my father before our next session. Sounds simple, right? You would not believe the resistance in my life to delay such a simple task. It was two weeks later – and the night before our next session – that I finally went to sort the pictures out. Even then, I tried to make excuses – for example, that there were no frames in the shop that would suit my decor. But I pushed ahead and had two photos framed. The difference such a small gesture made is astonishing. Because ultimately it wasn’t about putting a couple of photos of my father up. It was about changing my heart, and my attitude. Subsequently, my relationship with my father is gradually changing.
I then applied more or less the same questions I had for my father to my new relationship, which, perhaps unsurprisingly, had started to fail early on – for no other reason than that I believed it would, and that I didn’t deserve him. I had started to fall back into the same tendency of sabotaging the relationship before it had even gotten off the ground. But this time, I was aware that I was doing it. And I made the conscious and courageous decision to learn from my previous relationships and allow myself to see where this one was going. At worst, what new learning could I gain from this relationship?
How can I build a good relationship with him? How can we have fun together? How can I change my actions and transform this situation? How can I get to know him?
Different relationships (father and partner), yet the same questions – with the same results.
Of course it’s a long process, but Beth has helped me by giving me an awareness of how I am wired, as well as teaching me how to relax, have fun and most importantly – be in the present moment. She’s taught me how to celebrate successes, rather than focus on negatives. She’s shown me how to advance all areas of my life through asking solution-focussed questions at all times.
Plus, I’m in a relationship with someone incredible – and I’m HAPPY in it – which has my family and friends rather perplexed.
I don’t know what the future holds, but I do know that I’m at the start of a wonderful, exciting journey. Stay tuned – I’ll update you with my success in relationships!
Perhaps the Love Mentor can help you too... visit www.lovementor.com to find out.

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