Are you trying to make the wrong shoes fit?
Last week was an interesting one for me. I returned to L. after spending a week in Chicago, mulling over a couple of conversations I'd had with a client while I was there. I asked him if I could share his story with you, not using his real name and details of course, as I felt there were some lessons here that would benefit my readers. He gave me his permission to do just that.
So, we'll call him Jim for the sake of this story. Now Jim is a very fortunate man. He's fifty, fit and financially sound. He divorced eight years ago, has grown-up kids and a couple of young nephews he loves as if they were his own. He owns his own business which he's built from the ground up, and which makes him a VERY good living.
He plays golf, is passionate about cars, and takes vacations in Hawaii and the Caribbean. In short Jim lives the kind of life many of us would love to be living. But of course something was missing. Love. Jim needed to fill the space in his heart, so out and about he went to find a soul mate. He met women online and offline; through dating agencies and friends; through well meaning matchmakers and at professional gatherings; at the theater and even on a plane once. Jim dated some lovely women, but the problem was that none of them was PERFECT. Jim by now was so set in his ways, that he didn't know how to make room in his life for another 'real person'--he had an image in his head, his dream woman, and none of the real, emotional, flawed HUMAN people he met, seemed to measure up to his 10 out of 10 vision of perfection. And then he met her. Picture perfect, young, fresh, flawless.
He fell hard, just like those avalanches I was talking about last week--completely, chaotically, loudly and MESSILY. Anyone caught in his path got swept away. She was the ONE. Jim moved heaven and earth to woo this delectable young lady, with the face as smooth and beautiful as a piece of fine porcelain. They started dating. At first all went well. Jim swept her off her feet with lavish dinners, trips to the Spa, weekends away in Vegas, and even a surprise trip to Paris. He bought her gifts, jewelry and flowers every week. At first she seemed to enjoy Jim's company as much as he did hers. They would talk intensely, laugh at each others jokes, have fun and of course make crazy 'passion.
' But before too long, within a matter of only a few weeks, Jim noticed some troubling signs. She's was irritable with him, seemed distracted--bored even. She's make excuses not to see him on certain nights, and when she did, wasn't as affectionate as before. And her demands got greater too. She was unimpressed with the one carat earrings, and under-whelmed with anything that wasn't from Prada, Channel or some equally prestigious brand name. Jim started trying harder. More expensive gifts, more exotic trips away, a credit card with a $25,000 limit, and even a sports car. He took more time away from his business, a day here and there, and then a week, or even two. He'd go in late in the mornings, but was struggling to put his heart back in it at all.all he could think about was her, and the creeping dread that he was about to lose his dream.
He started driving by her house those evenings he wasn't with her, snooping through her pockets when he was. Jim got more desperate, she got more dismissive and disgusted with him, and the whole thing spiraled into a car wreck of a situation. She left him of course. And Jim is still paying a heavy price. Not only did he spend tens of thousands of dollars trying to buy her affection, but he let his business go downhill too, and is now desperately trying to get back to where he was before he met her. It's going to take a long time. Lots of customers are not generous with second chances as Jim is discovering. He let himself go as well, physically, emotionally and mentally. His confidence is battered too.