Editor's note: This article is the final installment in a four-part series. Think you missed a week? Get the full recap!
Read what dating expert Sherry Amatenstein taught iVillager Kirsten this week -- and how it can work for you, too.
First, the fun facts about Kirsten:
iVillage name: Kim427
Favorite TV Shows: Third Watch and Friends
High Heels or Flats? "I have to wear high heels to work, so I prefer flats"
Chocolate or Vanilla? Vanilla -- she's allergic to chocolate!
Dream Car: Convertible Saab 900 Turbo
Dating Dilemma: "I always meet men who need me to fix them!"
A Whole New Love Life
"I can tell a real difference in me from a month ago," Kirsten says. "Recently I filled out a survey about single moms that asked, 'If you were going to get married again, in what order would you place the qualities you're looking for in a mate?'" She said in amazement, "The survey listed money, security -- things I used to think I needed in someone. I realize now I can get those things for myself. All I need from a partner is for him to love me."
"For the first time, I feel a sense of feminine power."
She has had other revelations as a result of our work together. "For the first time ever, I feel a sense of feminine power." That sense helped her ace one of her homework assignments. "I was with a friend in Las Vegas this past weekend. First, I flirted with the cab driver on the way to the hotel. Then at the casino I walked up to an attractive-looking man and asked him advice about how to bet." That evening Kirsten and her friend had dinner with her "pickup" and his friend. Kirsten's take on the date: "It was fun!" I instruct her, "You have to continue flirting now that you're back home. Don't consider flirting a vacation activity."
On the next page: Kirsten gets 6 easy homework assignments that will work for you too!
Out with the Old
Kirsten flushed her Romantic Resume down the toilet -- and with it her "old" persona. "The most helpful thing I've done this month was to write out my patterns. Until you're literally slapped in the face and forced to confront the way you've been conducting your love life, you just keep doing it. As I wrote on my Romantic Futures List, I am now looking for a man who can give as well as take."
She's at the tail end of the stop/erase/replace exercise. "I'm not so negative with myself any more. I'm starting to believe all the positives my friends and family have been telling me -- I'm strong, I'm pretty, I can do whatever I want. Four people independently told me I have so much on the ball I should go into politics!"
Setting New Rules for Romance
Kirsten's goal is not to kowtow to a romantic partner. "I'm starting to stand up for myself. My boss, who I've known for years, asked me to do some extra work. I said no. He was shocked but backed down. I'm also going to put my foot down with my ex-husband later today. He was supposed to pick up our son this morning and was a no-show." I congratulate Kirsten and tell her to write a romantic scenario of a typical interaction with a partner -- with him starting to make an unfair demand on her. Only this time she'll refuse and have him accept her decision.
As Kirsten knows, these exercises, plus her daily journaling and affirmations, are essential components of her maintenance or Future Action Plan. I say, "You've done great work and I'm so proud. But the only way not to backslide is to make a conscious effort to keep on a positive behavioral track." Kirsten thanks me for my help. "You've been my cheerleader. I look in the mirror now and see someone wonderful who deserves a wonderful partner." Amen!
Homework That Can Work for You, Too
- Notice men noticing her and flirt with those she'd previously thought out of her league
- Have a ritual to destroy her Romantic Resume
- Finish her Romantic Futures List
- Get positive feedback from friends and family
- Continue stop/erase/replace behavior modification technique
- Create a Future Action Plan
Other single women are sharing dating downfalls and solutions on Sherry’s message board!