Corporate Wellness

My Solo Dating Adventures: Date # 4 (Exploring Codependency)

codependency mindfulness self awareness solo date solodate thank you divorce Mar 27, 2023

Start in the blue print to read where my IG post left off.

I was nervous walking into my solo brunch date but walked out feeling full of confidence and energy (the energy might have been the late 😉).

I decided to attend brunch for this 4th solo date at Otro Café in N. Phoenix because the food is sooo good, it’s lively and is a total hot spot for dates and friends to get together Sunday mornings.  I wanted to get out of my comfort zone because that is where growth happens.  Like a yoga class I literally felt the shift.  This solo date shift took me from self-conscious to empowered in about an hour.

I also didn’t bring any “shields” for myself such as a book or notebook and only engaged with my phone for a few pics and to answer one message (might be a good practice to leave it in my purse all together…maybe next time).

I people watched, chatting a bit with the bartender, and practiced enjoying just being with myself.

I will tell you a few things I did do as to not push myself too far out of my comfort zone as b/c studies show that if something is just too hard or just too much of a change, we are way less likely to stick with it.  I selected Otro b/c I had brunch there just the week before with a dear friend so I knew I could sit at the bar with is more comfortable for me solo and I knew that if I went a bit earlier in the morning, I wouldn’t have to wait a long time to be seated.  Eventually I’ll try a solo date at a totally unfamiliar spot, but that’ll be worked up to! 😊

What goes hand and hand with this solo dating journey are Morning Pages and both are activities suggested by The Artist Way written by Julia Cameron.  I started this fun journey as a way to unlock new levels of creativity and did NOT expect or want to be looking at relationship patterns and behaviors that are unhealthy.  I especially didn’t want to look at my co-dependency energy and behavior because I have already done so much therapy and work around it!

The Morning Pages have taken me deep into reflection along with the growth I am receiving form solo dating.

Anyways, I had an opportunity this past week between solo date # 3 and # 4 to engage with my co-dependent behavior and it surprised me because I thought I had worked through it.  Here is a reflection from my journal:  we all have parts of ourselves we want to repress, hide and keep tucked away from the world and especially ourselves, but we must acknowledge those parts of ourselves and give them a voice to speak.  We must learn to love that part of ourselves too. 


I did not think that my solo dating journey would have anything to do with me looking at romantic relationship patterns, but now I know of course it does because the solo dating is providing a pathway for me to develop a healthy relationship with myself and of course once we start to do the work the universe meets us halfway and loves us so much that it provides opportunities to further our growth.

After my divorce I dove into yoga and meditation, but I also dove headfirst into 3 new relationships (one right after another) before I realized I was the common denominator for why my relationships were not working.  Google Thank You Divorce if you want to watch my TedX on this and here is a 2023 update: My ex-husband and I did not stay together, but definitely grew a lot and became committed to doing the best we could at co-parenting and building a healthy friendship.

Anyways after those relationships failed relationships, I sought therapy and did a deep dive into my codependency tendencies.  Codependency can present in a lot of ways and some of my landmark codependency behaviors are abandoning myself in a romantic relationship, forgetting my needs and focusing solely on the other person’s needs or requiring them to meet my needs that I can meet myself.

I also learned that when I was in codependent relationships, I only defined my feelings by what someone else was feeling and couldn’t even recognize my own feelings.

My biggest codependent trait is stepping into the role of caretaker which provides a false sense and is very disempowering to both in the relationship.

When I found this behavior flaring up this past week I was shocked, angry and really annoyed at myself because I thought I had “fixed this” (the irony is fixing is such a codependent trait of mine), but I committed to working through it and while the behavior of codependency is alluring, comfortable and addictive it took all of my inner resources I have built up to pull away from the engagement, reflect and work myself through these steps below.

As a side note I was also able to acknowledge the valuable parts of my codependency behavior which is knowing how to “fix” and “caretake” and the awareness I have gained through mindfulness work reminded me to direct my caretaking skills back onto myself. 

Here is what I did: 

  • I first was able to notice I was being ambushed by my co-dependent behavior based upon how I was showing up and engaging with another.
  • I literally feel exhausted (after the high from engaging in this behavior, which is INTENSE, familiar, and somewhat dramatic) and practicing breath work becomes difficult because I’ve given my life force away and I literally cannot take the deep breaths I am accustomed to taking.
  • Once I realized this, I turned to my yoga practice which helps me turn my energy back to myself and focus on myself, my needs and what I can give to myself (vs. trying to get my needs met by outward sources).
  • I also doubled up on my meditation, chanting and journaling.
  • Another helpful strategy was to look to my healthy, functional relationships. My mother set such a wonderful example of being a loving, supportive presence in my life and she also really values her friendships.  She has always modeled cultivating healthy, long-lasting and supportive female friendships.  With that said I can look at my healthy female friendships where I don’t engage co-dependently and understand healthy relationship behavior to transfer over to my current or past romantic relationships.

In my meditation this morning it struck me that I wasn’t giving my codependent self any space to speak or be heard.  So, I decided to personalize her by giving her a name (Rebecca….my middle name) and an age…19.  Then when I went to my morning pages, I let her speak through that process.  It was like a play:

Me:  Hey Rebecca.  I’d love to hear from you.  How are you feeling.

Rebecca:  Fine (all pouty).  No, not Really.  You never let me have any fun.

Me:  What would be fun for you?

Rebecca:  To have a wild, intense love affair and forget about all the boring stuff you make me do.

Me:  That’s interesting, but Rebecca you are really fun and cool and I want to spend time with you and get to know this part of me better.  Can we spend time together instead and try something different?

Rebecca:  I guess, sure.

Me:  What do you want to do?

Rebecca:  Something not dorky.  The Botanical Gardens was boring.  What are you my Mom?

Me:  Ha!  We are the same.  Just trying to get to know this part of me.  I guess I am the Mom part of us.  What would be fun?

Rebecca:  Let’s surf!  Now!

Me:  I will plan that for late Spring/Early Summer.  Right now, what do you want to do?

Rebecca:  Dance.  You use to love dancing.  Lets dance more.  Lets move more.

I went on for more lines but the point was this conversation made me feel so integrated and whole.  I fed this energy in a positive way, created a really fun, energetic playlist reminiscent of my club days and switched up my home yoga routine for a dance party for one.

I realized there was this part of me that needed to come out and play and there was also this part of me trying to keep my codependent energy under lock which just breeds shame.  This dialogue helped me to understand another need of mine I was trying to meet elsewhere.  The need is to have fun, intensity, adventure and I know I can met this need from my responsible and sensible self by setting up solo dates that are fun and engaging in other activities “Rebecca” deems fun. 

The Aha! is knowing that I have the tools to set up fun outings for myself vs. trying to ask someone else to fill this need.

Here are a few other codependency traits from two of my favorite books.

Facing Codependence by Pia Mellody that resonate with me:

“…operating in extremes.”  This is what I love about yoga….it teaches us how to find the middle.

“….other-esteem….esteeming oneself from work, degrees, how well we perform, behaviors and opinions of others.”  Meditation helps one to self-esteem. 

“.…difficulty setting boundaries…”  awareness tools like mindfulness help to define our needs and set fluid boundaries based upon our needs.

Codependent No More from Melody Beattie

“….initiating relationships with people who are not good for us , and avoiding people who are good for us…”   Look at the healthy relationships and transfer those behaviors to the relationship traits to a romantic partnership (such as moving slowly vs. jumping right in).

“….suspending your needs for your partners needs….(when it’s not needed).”  Resourcing yourself to meet your own needs.

“….dependent upon another’s approval for self-worth and identity….”  Meditation is a beautiful antidote to this one and has really allowed me to get to know myself.  My solo dating is really helping to strengthen my own self worth and to seek approval only from myself.

I’m looking forward to solo date # 5 to see what arises!

Photo from Unsplash

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