It Takes as Long as it Takes


How long does it take before you realize that you need to change something in your life that hasn’t been working for you? You can see it causes you pain, that you aren’t happy, that he/she isn’t going to change and yet after months and sometimes years, you’re still doing the same thing, choosing the same kind of person to date, or swimming in a pool of hope that he/she will change now that you’re back together. 


A few weeks ago I met a man online. You know the drill…cute, tall, owned a sailboat, charming and witty. Now, in all fairness, I am sure there are men out there who are all these things, and healthy enough to have a nice relationship. “I just haven’t met him yet”, Michael Buble sings. That Sunday afternoon, I went to meet the guy I hoped would be all that, and not a member of the tribe of the self-absorbed. We don’t know much from a profile or emails or beautiful writing…it’s all in the pudding of meeting them and even then, until a crisis occurs or the pink cloud disappears over time, we really can’t know.


He hadn’t given me much information except he’d be there doing some work for the Board and asking me to “just text me.” So, I did…and nothing. After 15 minutes, I sent another, “I’m here.” About 10 minutes later he appeared…no apology for my waiting, and he turned and started up the stairs to the bar with nary a word except, “this way.” Two glasses of Chardonnay and an amazing view of the estuary later, all I could hear was HIS voice. On rare occasions, you could hear mine trying unsuccessfully to say something. And, it was so beautiful there and his sailboat was going to be fun! He got up, talked to other people and would return at will and continue “Did I tell you about me?”


After about two hours of this, I was still enchanted by the romance of it all. Really???  Yep. It felt familiar. I understood this kind of man, and worse, this kind of treatment. My escape was to imagine the fun we’d have later.  Speaking of later…it was time to head home, so he walked me out the door and gave me a kiss followed by, “I’d love to see you again.” Of course, I said,’I’d really like that.” Really??? Yep. And I meant it.


Driving off and making it alive onto the freeway, I was high from Mr. Charming, my imagination of what would happen on the next date was like a runaway train into Fantasyland. And then, it hit me like a load of bricks. Out of nowhere, it seemed, I said right out loud, “NO!!!! You aren’t going to see him again! Not him or anyone like him ever again!” And a door closed. A door that had allowed men unfettered access to my sweet heart who didn’t deserve me. My heart swelled up on that drive home and it wasn’t congestive failure. It was the self-love that I’d been compromising, not because I’m not smart, or aware, or that I’m totally screwed up. My heart knew for the first time that I was worth loving and being loved by a man worthy of me.


The next part isn’t a straight line either…making changes when you know what’s good for you. Mr. Nice Man may not come complete with fireworks and massage oil. He may come in a truck, or bring you a cup of tea and look quite ordinary. You may feel the warmth and safety he brings when he says, “Let’s take our time and get to know each other.” You need to practice being ready to receive, talking about what you love and  imagine what it feels like to meet someone who cares about you and wants to make you happy. It sounds great and it is, but how long will it take before you’re there?? Be loving and patient, compassionate and kind to your sweet self because for all of us it takes as long as it takes to learn a new way of loving.


Are you tired of watching sunsets alone, and of meeting the same kind of person over and over again? If you think you’re ready to do whatever it takes to find the next love of your life, I can show you how to begin again.

Call me at 510-817-422 or email me at for

A Complimentary Session

Donna Bailey, MS

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

Donna’s Big RED Chair



Why Do We Jump to Conclusions?


Before you jump…think!

There is no place where hair-trigger decisions are made faster than in the smorgasbord of online dating. Some of it is unavoidable because it’s a bit like condensed milk in there. Everything about us poured into one page? Really? And those photos are either winners or killers because there is truly a scientific reason for attraction, so we can’t blame that on ourselves when we look, then can’t hit “NEXT” fast enough.



But, let’s look at why we keep jumping to conclusions and some of the things that my clients have told me over the years…

“If he hasn’t been married by now, there’s a big problem.” Hmmm…could be. I have certainly experienced a few men who hadn’t been married and had emotional issues that no wise woman would or should put up with like rage, extreme jealousy, addiction issues.  And then, there are men and women who lived with partners for long periods of time and didn’t drink from the Holy Grail of marriage, but did have great long term relationships that ended amicably.


“Looks like she cares more about her dog than the man in her life.”  Boy, Howdy! Those dog photos can send folks into some very strange places. I once dated a man who was bitten in the butt by a woman’s tiny Bichon while they made love. Now, you gotta give that conclusion-drawing to him, right? There are men and women who seem to be able to love and adore their dogs, but lack capacity for intimacy with other humans. But, most of us who love dogs really would rather kiss another human goodnight. 


“I don’t want to date anybody with grandchildren. They are always with them.” This is a tricky one, as is when we find someone who is sharing a home with an adult child now (or the adult children never left home). Many things can mean families re-combine in later life. The economics of where you live can mean share a home or leave the area and family and friends. And, there are people, both men and women whose joy comes from parenting and re-parenting grandchildren…and so many others who love their grands, and still want a vital, adventurous life of their own. So, be aware that pictures do not tell you one single thing except the gene pool is still active. 


Perhaps the reason we jump to conclusions rests in the fact that finding love is scary. It’s “safer” somehow to look for reasons not to fall in love, or not to take the risk that real love requires. Our old memories are powerful. We associate new people we meet with our past losses and pain. Thinking it probably won’t work can protect us from the inevitable pain of losing love again. And, I’m sure I’ve done it…passed on or pushed someone away that might have made me very happy.


Try something new next time you meet someone. Pay attention to those voices that are certainly there each and every time you have a phone conversation or meet for a drink or coffee. If you find yourself attracted to them, look at what about that person makes you happy and comfortable. Then, when you suddenly see something in them that makes you jump out the starting gate, perhaps prematurely, try to stay put and ASK THEM a few questions to check your hunches.  It’s a fatal flaw in new relationships and in long-time partnerships…WE DON”T ASK! Let’s change that with courage and a deep belief that imperfection is what we will always find in ourselves and someone else. Expectations, movie-versions of love, Disney-versions of romance…all set us up to fail. Questions asked with curiosity and an openness to listen will help us navigate this crazy ocean of love.


If you’re tired of watching sunsets alone, have room for someone in your life and are ready to do the work it takes to find them…I can show you how.

Call or email me for a Complimentary Session and if we’re a match, I can help you find Love in 90 Days!

Donna Bailey, MS

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

Donna’s Big RED Chair


I Met Him in an Uber

I didn’t think twice that afternoon. Money was no object. By gosh, I deserved it!  I called Uber.  Michael arrived in a gas-guzzling but beautiful Yukon. To my tired body, it  looked like a stretch limo.


He was about my age, African American man with a big smile and a voice so welcoming that I didn’t care how long it took me to get home, he’d get me there…yes’ Ma’am! And the young woman who was sharing the ride… OK, so I did at least use the Uber X to split the cost. “I’m from Patterson”, he told us. Seems he had gotten up very early, driven to two airports and decided since he was in the City, he’d make a little money before heading home where he pays 1500.00 per month to rent a 4-bedroom, 4-bath house.  When the young woman told him that her San Francisco studio apartment in a building built in 1904 cost twice that and he almost ran off the road,  it was clear that he truly hadn’t spent much time in the City.


She got out at her ridiculously costly bedroom, and the two of us headed out toward the Sunset. He’d never seen Golden Gate Park, the Bridge or the Great Highway that runs along the Pacific shoreline. So, while I became a tour guide, he asked me about my day…how sweet was that? I told him my “real job” was a coach and that I helped people find love. “How ’bout couples?”, he asked. Then, he began to tell me about his 30 year marriage and how his wife wanted him to show her affection…not sex…affection. He said, “I’m not good at that. I never saw my Mama and my Daddy show any affection. They didn’t show me any affection or tell me they loved me, so I don’t really know how to do that either.” This sweet big-hearted man was SO lovable, and yet he had no idea how to give his wife what she wanted but he truly wanted to make her happy.


So, we talked and I gave him a Reader’s Digest condensed version of what women want and need, how it feels to be a man and feel you never can get it right, and the yearning both women and men have just to be heard, understood , touched and loved. It was new information for him and he ate it up, hungry to learn how to show his love to her.


The ride was almost over. He had learned why he needed to listen and not fix things. How much she needs to talk and why. How he can take baby steps to just touching her on the shoulder, or giving her a hug without any expectations. He even planned on bringing her flowers. He knew she might be surprised at first or think he’d gone mad. But, this man wanted to change, to learn and grow in ways that would make his wife happy. That after all is all he had ever wanted.


I wish I could have been a mouse in the corner of his living room when that weary man returned to Patterson that night, flowers in hand and maybe put them in a vase for her the next morning. Who knows what happened to him. But, I know what happened to me. I was so happy when I got out of that Yukon. See…I had given to someone something so important to my life. The gift that I have to bring to this world had been used. That’s what makes us all happy. Giving our gifts to someone who is just waiting for us to come into their life, sometimes quite by chance in the most unlikely places and ways. Thank you Uber, for sending Michael  to pick me up in every way!


Do you want to know more about how relationships work? Improve yours, or perhaps find someone with whom to share this next amazing chapter of your life?

Give me a call or email me to set up a Complimentary Session so we can find a way to bring more love into your life!


Donna Bailey, MS

Coaching, Speaking, Writing and Expert”ing” in Dating and Relationships for “Grown-ups”

Donna’s Big Red Chair



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