You Got Yours…I Got Mine




“Maybe you and I were never meant to be complete
Could we just be broken together?
If you can bring your shattered dreams and I’ll bring mine
Could healing still be spoken and save us?
The only way we’ll last forever is broken together”

Excerpted from “Broken Together” performed by Casting Crowns


Most of my life I thought there was a man out there who was better than the one that was in my life.

Someone with a mother who hadn’t criticized and judged him , a father who loved him just the way he was, a man who still believed in love and who could show up with everything necessary for a healthy and happy relationship. Is it too much to ask??


Years passed, my relationships began blissfully and ended sadly and still I believed that Mr. Close to Perfect just hadn’t appeared yet. Maybe he would be in the next round of “Matches for This Week”.


It takes as long as it takes to learn something, but thank God I finally got it! Everybody that has lived as long as I have is battered and bruised and comes with an array of gashes, scars and a few gaping holes in their souls. And guess who’s among them?


Often people who are single say they are looking for a healthy partner with no baggage. Most want to begin with a clean slate, but it isn’t gonna happen. We are all like famous paintings hanging in the Louvre, each of us with layer upon layer of old “paint”, the product of countless ” failed”attempts. 


Successful relationships are possible and well worth the courage it takes. We grow them only when the soil is forgiving and the gardener is compassionate. Before we can expect someone to love us as flawed imperfect people, we MUST learn to love and accept our own imperfection.


Don’t get me wrong. There are many people who are unable to create and sustain healthy, functional relationships. And there are people who are toxic and unhealthy for us. No amount of love can change them. A therapist, maybe. It’s the man or woman that has the health and humility to see their part in past relationships that didn’t work, can see the need for changing something in themselves so that they get different results, and most of all a DEEP DESIRE to do the work it takes together with a partner who wants that very same thing….a loving, nurturing relationship with a foundation of trust and the guts to stay when the urge to run feels like a case of poison ivy.


Stop looking for perfection in a partner. If you are one of the lucky ones and find a special someone with whom you want to share precious time on this Earth, cultivate compassion and summon the courage to dig deep to make it work.

Does this sound like something you’ve done and maybe are still doing in your search for love? If you’re ready to do the work to get rid of this roadblock so that you can find someone to share the next fabulous chapter of your life…Call me at 510-817-4242 and let’s do a Strategy Session together so that next time this year, you’re happy looking in that mirror!

Donna Bailey, MS

Coach, Speaker, Writer, Expert in Dating and Relationships for “Grown-ups”

Donna’s Big RED Chair   510-817-4242

We’re All in a Delicate Condition




We dove in! Took a deep breath over and over. Hung our hearts out to dry. Drank enough coffee at those coffee shops to need a teeth whitening…and we prayed, cried, gave up in despair, picked ourselves up, dusted ourselves off… and we met someone who looks just like the picture online and in our minds. Now what?


There’s enough oxytocin flowing to fill a koi pond and when you spend time together, it feels as if time stands still. Eager to know this new person, you begin to ask him/her about life, love, children, work, plans for retirement, favorite foods, whether they want to thrash Donald Trump. The questions help you make some sense out of so much you don’t know.  Our minds want to evaluate, gather data and make judgments. Bless that mind’s heart. It’s working so hard to keep us safe. You gotta love it. And, you gotta watch it.



Meeting someone new that you feel attracted to feels like a miracle. It’s wonderful to finally have someone open a door, put his hand on your back when you cross streets and send you texts and photos of his dog. You want to connect, feel close and connected and one way human beings develop intimacy is through sharing stories.  But how do we know which stories to share and when the right time has arrived for sharing them?


When you meet someone new, remember that discovery takes time. Each person has history and by the time we are over 50, we’ve lived, loved and felt the pain of loss over and over. We are tender and more reticent to open ourselves to being hurt and disappointed yet again. It doesn’t mean we aren’t ready for love, simply that we are human and need to be treated with great tenderness.


I know that urge to want to know everything and to share everything that will help create the intimacy and closeness that I love in relationship, especially for a storyteller like me.  It’s tempting to ask or reveal too much too soon or to ask the new person in my life to share his history before he’s ready.


When you hear yourself sounding like an FBI agent during an interrogation, or you see them looking at their cell phone right smack in the middle of a sentence, it might be a clue to stop and assess. Think of you and that other person as tulips in Spring. All tucked in, closely guarded for a reason…they need time before they are ready to open. Human beings open when they feel safe and ready and not one of us has the same conditions for that to happen. So, better to take it slowly and one step at the time. If it’a match that has a chance to grow into more, the soil of trust will have been created on which a foundation can be built.

Are you tired of watching sunsets alone, waiting to open up your heart? Ready to do whatever it takes to find someone special to share this next amazing chapter of your life?
Give me a call to get started before the New Year arrives!  Call me at 510-817-4242 or email me at to schedule a Complimentary Strategy Session. We can do this together and by spring, those tulips may be ready to open!

Donna Bailey, MS

Coach, Speaker, Writer, and Expert in Dating and Relationships for “Grown-ups”

Donna’s Big Red Chair


Every Couple Has Their “Deal”



Written awhile ago, but such an important issue…here it is.

Just like most things in life, in the area of love we often think that our perceptions of others and their relationships are spot on, inarguable and just plain “the truth”. It’s our ego gone wild! And yet, we do it all the time.


In the past few days I have seen and felt this all-knowing”ness” in myself and in some of those nearest and dearest to my heart. Part of me understands why we hold on to our beliefs…they keep us feeling safe, create a false sense that we are in control, and most of all, that we are righteously RIGHT. And, you know what? It only serves to keep us stuck, unable to look at ourselves as creatures who not only are capable of change, but are changing every day that we live. It’s unavoidable, not only because we have new awareness but also because life itself changes us and anyone who isn’t changing is dying.


Not that long ago, I was in a relationship with a man I really adored. Romantic, aesthetic, brilliant, creative and deeply sweet and carrying his boxcar of baggage. Me? Pretty much the same description would apply. And our baggage felt incompatible, so we said “goodbye”, intending to move on.  The goodbye didn’t feel so good so we kept circling overhead like a hawk, feeling each other even in the absence of words.


Time passed, but the memories of how much fun we had together didn’t. I was “dug in” on my issue until one day, I wasn’t any more. One day as I was walking around my favorite open space, I heard a hawk overhead, easily seen against that bright blue sky and I felt my heart soften. It was as if I could breathe more deeply as tears ran down my cheeks. Something had shifted. I knew that I had let go of my relentless grip on him and on my need to have it my way. I realized that the issue truly wasn’t a deal breaker, and that indeed, I really didn’t need to hold onto it any longer. What mattered was that there was a man with whom I shared so many wonderful things and had always enjoyed spending time. And, I remembered that life is short, promising us only a second at the time of immortality. All I wanted was to share some more of it with him.


My sweet friends held my hand through the roller-coaster ride. There when I cried, yelled and did a “designer version” of this man that would make anyone say, “Good-riddance!”, they passed the Kleenex box and stopped short of sticking pins into him or burning the poor man in effigy. They were there for me and I couldn’t have done it without them.


Then, I told them I wanted to be with him again and that something had changed in me and this was what I wanted to do, not as the same woman that said “goodbye’ but as a different woman now who was ready to just show up and live day to day because my life was both full and perhaps, shorter than any of us knows. And, before me appeared a fire-breathing dragon!  “ARE YOU FU—ING KIDDING? That can’t be true. You are just compromising yourself. Can’t you see you are making a big mistake? ” And, my heart sank. Not because I thought they were right, but because what I needed from my friends was trust. Trust that I was one smart cookie. That I might know what I felt and wanted. And, most of all, that if I was making a big mistake,  it would be OK and they’d love me right through it. I wanted to share the joy I felt in my “shift” to opening up to love again. And, most of all, I wanted to know that it was OK if this was one royal screw-up.


I’m a believer that every couple has their “gig” and that nobody but the two of them can understand what their agreement is. From the outside, it may look like a match made in hell. We may wonder what on Earth they see in each other, why they stay together or tolerate that kind of behavior. I’m here to tell you that only they can know that. Our job is to be there to listen and to trust that there is something there that we can never truly understand. So, instead of standing in judgement, stand by those friends while they work out what relationship means to them.

Still looking for that special someone with whom you can share this next amazing chapter of your life?
Done with traveling alone, sleeping with your cats and wish you could share the next sunset with someone special?

Why not call me at 510-817-4242 or email me at to schedule a Complimentary Strategy Session that might just lead you right to their door!

Donna Bailey, MS

Coach, Speaker, Writer and Expert in Dating and Relationships for “Grown-ups”

Donna’s Big Red Chair



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