Every relationship leaves us with new standards, boundaries and trust issues. While we hope to have a healthy relationship in the future, we are afraid of getting too excited. The past teaches us that high standards lead to disappointment. In I Can’t Believe I Dated Him, relationship expert Jackie Viramontez explores how doubt, empathy and regret are showing up for for a different reason than what we might think.
By embracing the power of our emotions, laughing at our imperfections, and being courageously authentic, we transform relationship issues into opportunities. Viramontez’ seven choices, empower women to break up with the wrong men and to celebrate the right ones. We never again have to ask:
If you are tired of dysfunctional relationships, I Can’t Believe I Dated Him is a practical guide to experience a relationship grounded in confidence, emotional intelligence and authenticity.
|Publisher:||Morgan James Publishing|
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.40(d)|
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
Relationships Are Like Computers
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Feelings are opportunities to rebel against the voices that tell us we are destined for less, so we can upgrade into our truth.
I couldn't believe it was happening again. I had spent five months in the dark, reading clues that something in his personality had changed. When I finally asked him, "Did you ever cheat on me while I was gone?" his hesitation gave him away.
"It's funny that you never asked me that until now."
Funny is not the adjective I would have chosen.
Four hours later he must have found his cajones in a drawer and mustered the courage to walk them over to my place and tell me what I already knew to be true. He had cheated on me. While I was studying abroad he let a few too many drinks and his sloppy dance moves lure one of my classmates into his bed.
Relationships. We crave them from our first Disney movie and detest them from our first heartbreak. We date winners, losers, winners who look like losers, and losers who convince us they are winners. No matter what we learn from relationship to relationship, we seem to bring the patterns with us, unfolding as the same issues in different contexts, and with different men. This was not my first boyfriend to cheat and lie. There had been three others who had convinced me to trust them, only to prove my initial intuition correct as I caught them red-handed in their pool of deceit. For years I thought there was something wrong with me, ashamed that I could be so naive, as if they could see gullible written on my forehead. Did my psyche have a sadistic love affair with feeling betrayed and manipulated? Or, did I just have poor taste in men?
Years later, happily married to a man who only uses manipulation to coax me out of a funk, I have a different theory. I've worked with hundreds of women and I have seen the same themes within their relationships.
Problems Are For You, Not Against You
Women are taught that relationship problems are patterns they should avoid. The theory that problems are inherently "negative" is harmful in two ways. First, this attitude teaches you to blame yourself when relationship difficulties strike. Secondly, it robs you of the higher purpose waiting within your issues. My theory is that relationship problems, like betrayal, heartbreak, and jealousy, repeat themselves for a different reason.
"Negative" relationships patterns don't show up to blame you, shame you, or punish you. What if you assumed that God, or whatever higher power you acknowledge, doesn't send problems your way so you will "fix" yourself. What if you assumed that your higher power is more interested in loving you then fixing you. Then, you can assume that problems exist to bring you into more wholeness, not more striving and self-editing.
Like an allergic reaction, the external rash is not necessarily the problem. The rash is a signal to deal with a bigger internal issue. In the same way, relationship problems are not so much a problem as a signal to deal with more important internal matters. Your current relationship problem is not happening to you, but for you. It is a signal, a signal that will bring you into more health and wholeness if you listen to it.
When I found out my boyfriend was cheating on me, I was not being punished for poor choice in men. I was not being called to "fix" anything about myself. I was getting to see a conversation I had carried in my gut for over a decade.
I have an identical twin. I always felt the constant pressure to prove that I was different, unique, worthy of being chosen. I didn't want to be better than her; I just wanted to be valued as an individual. I wanted to be loved as an individual, not as a joint venture that men could flip flop between whenever a few drinks blurred their vision. In the same way I felt written off by kids and teachers as just "one of the twins," I felt written off by the boyfriends who treated me like just another girl. I felt they couldn't see the difference, or didn't care to, like I had no unique value that stood out enough to honor monogamy.
These outdated conversations had hurt me for too long. When I was cheated on, I heard these voices slam against my mental door again. I could either believe the voices, or I could see the moment as God pushing these voices into my face and asking, "Hey kid, do you want to carry these with you anymore?"
Every relationship obstacle holds an opportunity. Will you complain about the "rash"? Or, will you hear the signal, acknowledge unhealthy internal conversations, and bring them into the light where you can see them, deal with them, and let them go for good? Patterns of insecurity, fear, despair, and defeat are opportunities to rebel against the voices that tell you that you are less. When these voices manifest in your relationship as tangible issues, you get a chance to look them in the face and say, "No thank you. I'm going on from here without you."
In the same way that healthy couples assume they are for each other and not against each other, you can assume that issues are here to help you, not to hurt you. Feelings are signals showing up to guide you, not to sabotage you. Your biggest relationship problems exist for you, not against you.
He Won'T Change, But You Will
Imagine the following: A client comes to me because she can't decide whether to stay with or leave her boyfriend. She spends hours motivating him toward his career. She goes to all his gigs. She supports him financially when work is slow. In return, he does nothing, except flirt with other women. Despite the one-sided relationship, she sees his potential. She talks to him about his potential, but every time they talk, he changes for a week or two at most. Then he inevitably goes back to his old ways. The potential exists, but only in doses. Every time she thinks about leaving, she hears an old voice in her head say, "Don't be so needy. He is as good as you will get. Be grateful for what you have. Other girls would be happy to have him." The voice sounds more like her mom's than her own.
Her mom worked three jobs to pay for her three little girls. When my client grew out of her clothes, she walked in ankle length pants for months before asking her mom to take her to the store. Being made fun of at school was better than the guilt trip she would receive if she asked mom for an appropriate size. The voice that said, "You should be grateful. You should feel guilty for wanting more," had been playing in my client's mind since childhood.
The outdated conversation kept her with men who were not treating her well. Some might call the pattern an issue. Instead, we approached the pattern as an opportunity, an opportunity to clear a conversation that she didn't want to carry into any new relationship. She broke up with him the next week, didn't feel guilty about it, and never felt more whole in her life.
The process wasn't pretty. We didn't photograph her trashcan of tissues and post it on social media. Courage is rarely pretty. Courage is the badass, un-photogenic choice that no- one else sees but us. She didn't come to me for a pat on the back. She came to me so that one day her kids could look in the eyes of a mother who had the backbone to run her own life, instead of being at the mercy of her emotions.
She had to face her habits, her fear, and her own expectations, but she eventually brought fear into the light where it could no longer run the show. Living in line with her truth required conscious and consistent decisions that sometimes appeared illogical, scary or uncertain. She continued to stay in the light when relationship baggage arose, changing the way she interacted with guilt, shame and doubt. It wasn't as easy as taking a pill, but she found her truth on the other side.
The Computer U.P.G.R.A.D.E
When the "Upgrade Now Available" window appears on your home screen, you don't freak out and say, "Oh my God, not again! I have so many bugs and fixes I can't believe it!" No. You click, "Run Upgrade Now." You watch as your computer enters a new level of functionality and ease. Upgrades never imply that the 1.0 version is bad. Upgrades imply that the 2.0 version is even better, with new systems, new software and new tools that will make the user experience more fun.
Relationship obstacles are like computer upgrades. You don't have to upgrade to 2.0, but you will have a tougher time downloading new and improved experiences if you don't. You are the computer, and as you evolve, you need to upgrade your internal software. You need to upgrade your perspectives and expectations to improve your current experience.
For a moment, bring to mind your biggest relationship obstacle. Tune in to how the obstacle feels in your body. Imagine that the tension you feel is the sound of an upgrade notification pinging against your heart. "Upgrade now available," the tension says. The ping isn't notifying you of something wrong you need to fix. The ping is saying, "Oh, man, do I have the upgrade of a lifetime. Would you prefer to hit upgrade now, later, or wait until tomorrow?"
How Culture And Evolution Keep You Stuck
Most women click "wait until tomorrow." The upgrades are better, but the outdated programs are familiar and wired into you by culture, biology, and psychology. Over the course of my private practice, I've observed five motivators that keep women trapped in old relationship patterns, and hesitant to upgrade:
Thanks culture: Its normal to judge certain patterns as "bad" and other patterns as "good". You tend to label patterns that create fear, insecurity or doubt as "bad" patterns. You slot fear-inducing patterns in the "upgrade later" category because you don't believe that an upgrade is even possible. Since you believe you can't upgrade, you learn to ignore the "bad" feelings, falsely thinking this will make you feel more of the "good". In chapters 03-09 you will learn that fear-based emotions like doubt and uncertainty are not bad at all, just misdirected gifts that are in need of an upgrade.
Thanks brain: Your brain is hardwired to give more attention to negative experience than positive. That is why you can have ten great dates and one bad date and write all men off as unavailable or selfish. You fixate on the ugly aspects of your relationship movie, fixated on what is not working instead of what is working. Don't worry, there is nothing wrong with you. Your brain is wired to focus on the negative because avoiding the negative keeps you safe. Unfortunately, focusing on the negative in relationships only makes it worse. Later in this chapter, I will suggest my favorite tool to teach your brain a new habit of focusing on the positive instead of the negative.
Thanks evolution: Your prehistoric ancestors needed to avoid danger in order to survive. The better they were at seeing dangers, the longer they would live. The faster they detected an obstacle, the faster they could avoid it, reproduce, and pass on those stressful genes to you. Your fight or flight response, which existed to keep them alive, now stays busy distracting you with your own relationship drama. That is why you are quicker to see relationship obstacles, than the equal number of relationship opportunities available. You will learn more about the hardwiring of your brain and the purpose of fear and stress in chapter 02. For now, go easy on yourself as you practice a new way to thrive.
Thanks media: Turn on any television and see that Americans are socially bred to think that difficult, codependent relationships are normal and inevitable. Why would you think to upgrade? The media normalizes drama. There is a saying that most men settle for a tolerable level of misery and call it happiness. You are not created to stay stuck in a tolerable level of misery. Your relationship is meant to be an expression of love, not a broken reflection of pain and insecurity.
Thanks patriarchy: All problems have emotional roots. Meaning, a breakup isn't bad unless you feel sad about it. Rejection isn't bad unless you feel hurt by it. Although emotions are inescapable, you are never taught how to navigate them. You are only taught which ones are good, which ones are bad, and how to ignore or stifle the feelings that you don't like. Here is a short lesson in patriarchy and its impact on the current state of emotional intelligence:
Emotions are feminine (a=b)
Femininity is weak (b=c)
Emotions are weak (a=c)
We should suppress weak things, like women and their natural gifts of emotion, intuition and empathy. You never learn the higher purpose of fear-based emotions. Instead of responding to how you feel by upgrading your situation, you feel stuck in a feeling for an indefinite season of time.
Your Feminine Gifts
You are not created to stifle and suppress your emotions like a 15th century man: tame and train what you do not understand. Each emotion has a life-enhancing role it wants to play; you just have to be courageous enough to face the unknowns, meet the wild you might not understand, and let each teach you a thing or two about how to love. When you face emotional and relational "obstacles" with a gentle attention, you find a storehouse of untapped gifts.
When you stop judging some emotional patterns as good and other patterns as bad, you find a freedom that "fixing" will never bring. In chapter 02, you will explore the purpose of "negative" emotions. In chapter 03, you will learn simple steps for upgrading your worst relationship issues into opportunities. In Chapter 04-10, you will use that formula to upgrade the seven most common emotions that sabotage relationships. You will learn how to respond to your feelings productively, proactively healing your relationship status as you go.
The Purpose Of Feelings
Do you battle with self-worth, perfectionism, doubt, boundaries, fears of neediness, control or people pleasing patterns? You've come to the right place. This book won't teach you how to get rid of these patterns. This book will teach you to respond to common obstacles as opportunities to step into your strengths. I'm writing this book to remind you that your relationship issues are actually signals reminding you of a very surprising opportunity, and opportunity to leave a legacy with your love life.
When I think of the potential opportunities lying in fear-based problems and feelings, I bring to mind Rudy. Rudy was my childhood nickname. Rudy has severe anxiety. She walks around with OCD from age 8-15. She hits light switches, closes and opens windows, and spends 30 minutes washing her face every day. She spends hours painting her bedroom ceiling with hypothetical death and disaster.
Fear, when I didn't understand her, wreaked havoc into my twenties. While doctors tried to prescribe pills to mute my angst, my parents and a few cutting edge practitioners helped me find the skill set in my fears, a skill set that was actually trying to empower me, my relationships and my future.
Think of emotions like employees. Every employee has a unique personality and skill set. All skills have a light and dark side. For instance, the same anxieties that plagued Rudy became skills I now use. Fear is good at being responsible, detail-oriented, and forward thinking. In the past, I used these skills to work myself into a panic. Now, I use the very same skills to plan adventures with my husband and fix issues when they arise. When you learn the healthy side of your emotions, you will eliminate the majority of the frustrations they currently create.
Before you move on to the next chapter, take a moment to scan your relationship story. When you face an obstacle, what is the main emotion you feel? For instance, if a partner betrays you, do you feel angry, or insecure, or do you feel ashamed for having chosen him? The emotion you tend to feel points to a skill set you're destined to use. The feeling, whether doubt, jealousy or fear, is waiting for you to embrace its healthy skill set.
I made a quiz to help you identify the core feelings at the root of your relationship frustration. You can take the quiz by visiting: www.TheUpgradedWoman.com. Simply enter your name and email, click subscribe, confirm your information, and take the quiz that comes with The Upgraded Woman Toolkit.
The quiz will identify which emotion is ready for an upgrade in your relationship. Then, Chapters 04-10 will guide you to hear the message this emotion is sending. Once you listen, you will cut relationship issues of at their core, so you can head into a more peaceful relational future.
The truth is, problem free relationships are possible if you view problems differently. What if problems are opportunities to upgrade? What if problems are simply side effects of misunderstood emotions? Would you see them as a problem? Probably not.
Understanding The Problem Doesn't Change The Problem In order to utilize the healthy side of your emotional employees, you will have to make conscious choices, every day, around how you approach fear. It is easy to say you will make healthy choices right now, but in the heat of the moment, action becomes more difficult.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "I Can't Believe I Dated Him"
Copyright © 2017 Jackie Viramontez.
Excerpted by permission of Morgan James Publishing.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Part 1 Should My Relationship Be This Difficult? 1
Chapter 1 Relationships are Like Computers 3
He Won't Change, But You Will 6
Your Feminine Gifts 10
The Purpose of Feelings 11
Understanding the Problem Doesn't Change the Problem 12
Tap Out of Fear 13
What to Expect 18
Chapter 2 Feel The Feels 19
The Truth About Your Emotions 21
What is Your Emotional Strength? 23
Chapter 3 Upgrade From Obstacle to Opportunity 25
Conditioned You vs. True You 27
The U.P.G.R.A.D.E Formula 28
Fear is a Flight Attendant 31
Every Woman Should Be a Buffalo Woman 38
An Upgraded Woman's 7 Commitments 42
Part 2 It's Complicated 45
Chapter 4 Uncertainty: Is This Fear Or Intuition? 47
Addicted to Control 51
Plug Into Uncertainty's Message: Where Have I Lost Control? 52
Release Certainty to Find It 53
Enjoy Your Saving Grace: Surrender 61
Roadblocks on the Route to Surrender 61
Enjoy the Ride 62
Chapter 5 Doubt: I Don't Want To Settle 63
Plug Into Doubt's Message: What is the Right Choice? 67
Monsters Under The Bed 68
Remember Your Intention 70
Develop Your Skills 73
Enjoy the Saving Grace: Courage 74
Roadblocks on the Route to Trust 75
Can I Trust Too Much? 77
Chapter 6 Empathy: He Just Has So Much Potential 78
When Empathy Becomes An Achilles Heel 80
Plug Into Empathy's Message: What is Real Potential? 81
Hoiv Much Compromise is Too Much? 83
Enjoy Your Saving Grace: Respect 89
Roadblocks on the Route to Respect 90
Changing The Past 91
Part 3 Single 93
Chapter 7 Shame: I Feel Like a Fool for Dating Him 95
Plug Into Shame's Message: What Have I Rejected In Myself? 100
Self Punishment Doesn't Change the Past 102
Be Magnetically Authentic 106
Enjoy Your Saving Grace: Rebellion 108
Roadblocks on the Route to Rebellion 109
Performance As An Identity is Fatal 110
Chapter 8 Insecurity: I Hate That I Care What He Thinks 111
Why do I Care What He Thinks 114
Plug Into Insecurity's Message: Where Am I Putting my Worth? 115
Rebuild Shaky Foundations 115
Who Do You Worship? 118
Acceptance Moves Inside Out 119
Take A Tip From A Cupcake 121
Enjoy Your Saving Grace: Honesty 123
Roadblocks on the Route to Honesty 124
Adopt A Lineage Mindset 124
Part 4 Dating 127
Chapter 9 Anger: Why Can't I Control My Temper? 129
Anger's Stereotypes 132
Plug Into Anger's Message: What Have I Lost? 134
Real and Historical Lack 135
Common Losses That Trigger Anger 136
Own Your Deserving 141
Enjoy Your Saving Grace: Empowerment 145
Roadblocks on the Route to Empowerment 146
Let Anger Call Up Real Men 147
Chapter 10 Judgment: I Can't Stand When He 148
The Evolution of Judgment 151
Plug Into Judgment's Message: What Is Bad? What is Good? 152
Judgment Heals 152
The Shadow Self 156
Partners Are Supposed to Push Your Buttons 159
Enjoy Your Saving Grace: Curiosity 163
Roadblocks on the Route to Curiosity 165
A Rare Breed 165
Chapter 11 Leave A Legacy With Your Love 167
The Healthy & Unhealthy Sides Of Your Emotions 172
Emotional Freedom Technique Tapping Chart 174
About The Author 177
Thank You 179