eHarmony | The 20 Percent

When I first laid eyes on him, all I could see was this blinding golden light following him like a shadow.  I’d never seen the light emanating from a man before.  Ever.  There he was, walking towards me on that dark night, emblazoned with golden rays. His arms, outstretched, to hold me after months of chatting through email and phone conversations – and me preparing to shove a bottle of water in his hand – because of course, I thought, he must be thirsty after a two-hour flight.

Ugh… a loss of cool points for that and so many other reasons to follow over the next year.

I was knocked off balance by my desire for him.   He was everything I wanted in a man, mate, and life partner.  6 feet 5 inches, 210 pounds of a broad chest, strong arms, taut waist, narrow hips, long-legs, funny, kind, and a mind that screamed Ph.D.  Yes, his Ph.D. was conferred to him in, of all things, computer science. It wasn’t just the books with him either. When we met, he held about 10 patents related to WLAN… fewer drop calls in the network.  He was the modern-day god of time and space. The new millennium doctor that every mother wanted her daughter to marry, including mine.

Shango God of Thunder and Lightning

He would’ve been Mr. Right for some, but for me, he was Shango – god of lightning and thunder, all for my consumption.

Oshun divinity, femininity, fertility, beauty, and love.

If only I could stop drooling long enough to get a hold of myself and reclaim my dignity – I could have been his Oshun.  

There’s a lot to be said for curbing one’s appetite.   Wearing emotions on the sleeve, I would later learn, is not a good way to start an intimate relationship.

So, when I finally came to grips with the fact there was never going to be a  “we,”; I decided it was time to get over my broken heart and stop whining about my unrequited love.

I marched right over to the eHarmony dot com and began to answer what felt like a minimum of 50 questions on this sterile website that was a vanilla version of where I first met Doc Shango.

Black Planet dot com was the perfect website to meet and network with like-minded people.   I wasn’t there to meet a man, I told myself initially when creating my profile.  I was new in my town, and I was ready to network in this online community to get real-life results. It worked too.  I met an exciting sorority sister who set me up for a great gig.  I met a man from Omega Psi Phi, a national fraternity, who hooked up my social life in Chicago, leading to more opportunities.

I thought I’d be clever and weed out the “riff-raff” by posting a law of motion as my tagline.

“for every reaction, there’s an equal yet opposite reaction.”

Seriously, I thought, how many people know Newton’s third law – let alone care.  Those traveling my wavelength would be in the know, and those were the people I wanted to meet.  My plan worked too – this man answered with “Newton’s first law, eh” in a message.  I looked at his picture, and I thought he’s not a bad mark.  I responded with a snark, “Nope. Please don’t tell me the doctor in your handle is for Ph.D. in physics?”

Oh yes, I was so cool in the beginning. So cool and endearing that over the next few months of nonstop letter writing and conversations – he invited me to his family reunion …sight unseen.

I had him.

I declined.

I hadn’t traveled to meet any man, and I wasn’t about to start. They traveled to meet me, I told myself.

And then, just like that, it was a wrap. He came to me.  I lost control of myself. Eventually, I lost his interest. I couldn’t figure out what happened.

That is until I signed up for an eHarmony profile about a year and a half later in 2005.  My results revealed…

a photo of screenshot from eHarmony
Unable to Match You at This Time

eHarmony’s algorithms knew what many of us don’t realize – what we do in our professional lives, we do in our personal.  Sometimes those things don’t translate into wedded bliss.

Everyone has a set of subconscious wants and desires that drive their choices and attitudes. ~eHarmony

And those subconscious wants allegedly landed me in the 20% of relationship seekers they couldn’t match.  I did, however, receive an eHarmony’s personality profile report that outlined general patterns of my values in five different sections.   The personality assessment urged those who received the report to use it as a tool for self-discovery.

Here’s one trait that stood out.  One that I experienced in my professional life but worked to shield myself from the fallout.

You may be rather emotional; that is, one will generally know how you are feeling, whether good or bad, because you let others know your moods easily.

I got the sense, the 20% were those who tried to control themselves, failing miserably, while their emotions run amok.  But I digress.

The report provided a rather extensive  snapshot of one’s

  • emotional values,
  • natural behavior,
  • communication traits,
  • strengths and personal characteristics,
  • and basic, subconscious wants.

Of course, when you want to meet someone new, you’re not interested in a computer-generated report telling you why you suck.

And although it didn’t,  here it is 12 years later, and like the profile report suggested – now I understand how my personality traits work for me when I’m in control and against me when I’m not.

And a man with a golden aura walking into my life was a sure-fire way for me to lose control, and since I’m not Beyoncé, I did my very best to avoid looking crazy in love and ended up looking just plain crazy.

Trying to control, contain or suppress emotions, especially in a closed container, also known as the human body, is the very definition of an explosion.

Messy.

So instead of shutting down, I release and use those emotions to help me achieve my goals.

Besides, shutting down or controlling emotions is the death knell to personal and professional relationships.

Thank You for reading!

You Don’t Know My Life

Some are reluctant to invite others into their lives because many confuse invitation with intrusion.

The invited RSVP with their beliefs and ways to intrude upon the one who asked them in.

Except,

an invitation and a welcome doesn’t ask for guidance nor does it imply the invited is equipped with the wisdom to advise another’s walk.

An invitation is an offer to be present.

An occasional, daily or even a lifetime of conversations doesn’t give insight to someone’s life.

Behavior and habits doesn’t inform a life; it informs the outsider of the lived experience and responses to them.

Trigger those responses you learn of weakness.  Exploit those weaknesses and you reveal yourself.

If someone invites you into their life, it’s an honor. Relationships are for shared experiences.

You are required to bring 3 things

  1. open ears to hear,
  2. open mind to learn,
  3. open heart for the journey.

You don’t know my life.  You don’t need to know.  The invitation humbly requests your presence to witness.

Ghosts of Relationships, Past

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it,”– George Santayana (1905) Reason in Common Sense, p. 284, volume 1 of The Life of Reason

Laura was living the life of her dreams. She’d just signed an employment contract with one of the most prestigious legal consultancy firms in U.S.  She’d settled all her debts and her credit rating was soaring by the minute.  Laura signed a new lease for a condominium that overlooked New York City’s Central Park.  Life couldn’t be more perfect;

“except guys from my past are calling and emailing me,” Laura said.

She said it wouldn’t have been so weird, if she had spoken to these men recently. But she hadn’t.  Laura said the last time she heard from any of them was right before she graduated law school 2 years prior.

After a bit of brainstorming, something I said or asked triggered Laura’s memory of what we believed caused these men to return.   Laura said she had been thinking about the one that got away.  Timing wasn’t right for them to be together. Now that she had returned to the city, she wondered if the right time were now.   When she called his number, however, she found it belong to someone else.  Now that Laura was ready for a future with him – she’d realized “there was no open door”.  The one that got away, had moved on.

Aha moment.

“When you look back and long for the past, you open the door for the people and things, you left behind, to return to your present.

We realized Laura’s hopefulness was like a beacon of light over an open door  to those she’d thought she had shut out.

Laura admitted she felt a momentary rush from all the attention she was receiving from those would-be suitors from the past.  She also knew how each man would behave too.  Laura said she counted on one of the men not showing up for a date they’d planned. She said it was his modus operandi. Laura wasn’t surprised when he didn’t call to confirm. She already knew the outcome of his- story as sure as if she had written it.

With all the exciting changes in her life; Laura returned to her comfort zone.  It was as if she was sitting on the couch watching old films or television reruns. The only difference, it was Laura’s love life that was on repeat.

“Those who cannot remember the [lessons of the] past are condemned to repeat it,”– George Santayana

As writer and philosopher George Santayana is quoted, along with my update; it is important to remember the lessons.  People, activities and events of the past, however, are unwelcome in the present.   What we’ve left behind was left there for a reason. We must honor that decision.   The past has its place, as does the present and future. It’s best to keep them separate.

The past, however, is not a place to live.  It is only in the present where we get our chance to create our life.

In addition, to her vocation as an attorney, Laura is also a writer so she immediately understood the power of words becoming “flesh”.

Instead of looking to the past to find a mate, I suggested that Laura use her imagination to create a life that she would enjoy living with her yet to be determined life-partner.

In creating ideal situations, it stands to reason; Laura’s ideal mate would materialize in her life.  He would present himself because he’d be walking the same path as she.

There would be no reason for Laura to look back.  Her mate would be by her side.