Words cannot express how grateful and appreciative I am for having the opportunity to work with Jen and her Seven Steps to Love program. Before I met Jen I was actively dating. My desires and goals for the past 4 years have been to “meet the one”. I was constantly going on first dates and had been involved in 2 short-term relationships in between. I thought I was doing the right thing, but I kept struggling with meeting someone that I could truly connect with as a long term partner. And then I met Jen and so much changed for me.
I really appreciated the program and the structure and guidance it provided. The program and exercises really helped tap into my past relationships with family, friends, and exes. By going through the exercises I was able to identify patterns and experiences that have significantly impacted my approach to dating. For example, I realized from completing Step 1 in the program, that as a child I had a difficult time expressing emotions to my family – specifically feelings of being sad or upset. I learned that I was repeating this same pattern in my existing relationships. The same discomfort and unease I had in expressing these emotions to my family, was the same reservations I had in opening up with my partners and even friends. I do not believe I would have ever come to this realization on my own (regardless of all the self-help books I have read etc.). Following the structure of the program and taking the time to do the exercises, really helped bring these things to the forefront.
In addition to completing the 7 steps in the program, having Jen as a dating coach throughout the program was instrumental to my growth and development. Jen’s supportive, honest, and open-minded nature, provided a safe space to articulate my needs and desires. I felt extremely comfortable opening up and being vulnerable in her presence. I found Jen’s input to be extremely insightful and helpful in not only giving me dating advice, but also in helping me to identify how my previous experiences and upbringing have impacted the type of men I was attracting and dating. Jen held me accountable for what I was looking for, while allowing me to work at my own pace and comfort level. In addition, to the one-on-one coaching sessions, Jen always made herself accessible if I needed a quick check in over email or phone about an upcoming date or dating question I was having. These coaching sessions were extremely valuable throughout the entire process.
Overall, I learned how to take control of the dating process and go after what I wanted without allowing myself to settle for anything else. My approach to dating has forever been shifted from this experience.
In reflecting on my experience, I realized that Jen’s program and approach is exactly what was missing from my dating plan. I learned how to view dating in a new way. For one, I learned what it meant to date with a purpose. Following Jen’s approach to the first stage of dating (ie. the first 3 dates) provided me with a whole new perspective on the men I was meeting. My approach changed from focusing on drinking dates as a way to get to know the men, to shifting my focus to day dates. I realized how much I was using alcohol as a crutch in dating (ie. being reliant on a drink to help me get through a date). By meeting in more natural settings such as coffee shops or going for walks, provided me a space to weed out men much quicker – I was able to discern whether there was a connection or not much earlier on, which ultimately saved me time.
I also learned how to find my voice through the process. In my past dating experiences, I have struggled in knowing how to express my needs and desires. I was worried being open and honest with my feelings would turn the guy away or push them to leave me. I also struggled with how to express what I wanted in a clear and direct way. With Jen’s help, I learned how to communicate my needs, concerns, and emotions to my partners in way that allowed me to take some control and ownership over the dating process versus being reliant on the man to lead and guide the relationship. For example, on my third date with Tom (the man that I am exclusivity dating now) – I told him that I was looking for a long-term relationship, marriage and starting a family. And I asked him how he felt about that! This was something I never thought was possible in the past! Jen helped me identify what my non-negotiables were in my long-term partner and gave me the confidence to express them. This was one of the most empowering experiences I ever had in dating and continues to help guide my relationship with Tom today. He even expressed a month later, how attractive it was to have a woman have the confidence to say what she was looking for so early on. In addition, having the ability to express my needs from the onset also helped weed out men who weren’t looking for the same thing.
In addition, developing my love relationship plan as part of Step 3 was a very insightful process. It provided me the space to articulate what I was looking for in my long-term partner in more detail then I have done previously. Instead of just creating an endless list of attributes, I took what I learned from my past relationships (more specifically what worked and didn’t work) to help guide what I needed and wanted from a long-term partner. My list evolved from focusing on height requirements and physical appearance, to a relationship that centered around open communication and vulnerability. After creating the love relationship plan, I began using it as my tool kit for the men I was meeting. This helped me hold them accountable to what I was looking for.