Love imprint

Why I Don’t Want to be “Special” Ever Again



When I was barely walking, my Daddy chose me to be his special little girl. Any three year old is the center of the universe because that’s what 3’s are about. And, when parents are doing their job, they love them through it and teach them that though they are precious, there are others who share the world.

As they grow, the child feels her uniqueness and how she fits into a shared universe.


My “specialness “was different. Sadly, Daddy never felt special, loved or accepted for the wonderful child he was. He married a beautiful woman who needed the kind of love her parents couldn’t show her either.  Their marriage was rife with trouble from the beginning. It included my father’s alcoholism, and my mother’s lifetime of battling depression.  Two people desperately looking for someone to save them, give them what they longed for. Someone to fill the holes in their sweet souls.


My Daddy took me everywhere, even to the bars where I sat on high bar stools being fed pickled eggs while he gambled. Every night when he’d come home from work, I’d look forward to sitting out on the back stoop with him while he told me about his day…more than any 4 year-old should know. And, not a day passed that he didn’t tell me he wouldn’t want to live without me. Imagine that little girl feeling so important and “loved”.


Like many things in my life, I didn’t realize how a seemingly good feeling of being special was setting my relationships with men up to fail. There were many factors in why I struggled in those relationships, but I now know that I continued to seek that feeling I had as a little girl with each man I met. It was a set up for them, and for me. The good news is that over time, I did learn the difference between the need to feel “terminally special”, and real love.


Do you find yourself saying, “I’m looking for someone special”. Perhaps you feel, “He makes me feel special.” It feels wonderful and in healthy balance, it’s nice to get those flowers, have him pick up the check, or get a text asking how that meeting went you were worried about. That kind of special is fabulous. But there’s another kind that is deadly to relationships.


“You complete me”…a line from the movie, “Jerry Maguire” got into our souls and there’s no lack of reinforcement every day in our music, romantic comedies, books and magazines. But, here’s what happens when you need someone to complete you…


When we single someone out as the source of our happiness, it comes from the belief that we’re not enough, empty or that our own life is dull, meaningless or perhaps painful. Then, we give that person the responsibility or power to save us from our sense of wanting and lack and we then turn over our sense of happiness to them.  When they do anything that doesn’t make us happy, it’s their fault. Do we know we’re doing this?  No. It feels normal to most of us, but the pressure on our partners to make and keep us happy is a burden nobody should have to bear.  The fatal flaw in “you complete me” thinking and feeling is that if someone has that much power to make you happy, you have also given them the power to render you incomplete and unhappy when they leave or don’t do things that make you happy every time you feel you deserve it.


I have been in relationships with men in which that pattern with my Daddy was the operating system. They made me very happy, I did feel special until their behavior turned cold and genuinely emotionally abusive. Even though that was painful, I often stayed in the relationships too long, put up with things no woman should…all because I loved the intensity I felt when they made me feel special. They knew how to do that really well. My little girl self remembered how wonderful it felt but I had to learn that the price I paid was too high. Specialness is rather like a drug. I had to learn one day at a time that I was special with or without a man in my life. I am enough whether alone or in relationship. And, that though I miss being in relationship, I remain complete while I open myself to love that I’ve yet to discover.


Real love happens when two people bring whole selves to each other. And yes, they do special things for each other. They also make mistakes, can hurt each other and are highly imperfect much of the time. And, they don’t assign the role of “Happiness Creator” or “Savior” to one another. Both have responsibility for their own happiness, and are always mindful of how their behavior affects their beloved. When things create unhappiness…they talk about it.


Don’t allow yourself to reside on a pedestal and be aware if you’ve put someone else up there. Pedestals topple and someone gets hurt every time. Keep your feet on the ground except when you tango or feel the wind in your hair when he surprises you with a weekend getaway. That’s really special!


If you’re tired of watching sunsets alone and want to find a completely wonderful person to share this next amazing chapter of your life, I can show you how!

Call me at 510-817-4242 or email me today at

We’ll plan a Complimentary Session to talk about how to bring a wonderful love into your life!


Donna Bailey, MS

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

Donna’s Big Red Chair


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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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