Opening up to love can be very different for nurses. You have a unique life and may attract the wrong sort…as in a leech…more easily.
But take heart! There is someone out there for you, too.
Here are some tips to make the process of finding your soulmate easier.
1. Have faith that the right person is out there and don’t settle. Even when your life might look like a “dating desert” with no one in sight, remind yourself that though you’re not meeting a lot of people outside of work, love is not a numbers game. It can show up at any moment from an unexpected place.
Leslie, an RN in a busy neonatal nursery, was surrounded by women all day at her job. She almost never met anyone eligible and had to give herself pep talks to stay positive about dating. She met Brad through mutual friends when she dropped into a party after work. They clicked right away and are now engaged.
2. Beware of leeches. Those in the healing professions can easily attract the emotionally wounded, drawn to your nurturing energy. Tread cautiously with anyone who drains you or tends to take without giving. Get good at saying “no” to someone who does not feel like an equal. Hold out for someone who cares for you, is comfortable with himself and lifts you up. The love of your life is giving and makes your life easier.
Susan didn’t understand why coming home to her live-in boyfriend made her even more tired after a stressful day caring for patients in an ICU. In working with me, we ascertained that he drained her because of his need for emotional caretaking. The two eventually broke up and she saw a pattern of inviting needy men into her life. She learned to say “no” to anyone who didn’t feel easy and fun, and eventually she hooked up with Greg, a man who rubs her feet when she’s exhausted and makes soup for her when she’s feeling under the weather. “The best part is that he doesn’t lay a lot of heavy emotional baggage on me. He’s upbeat and doesn’t need much from me but my company.”
3. Look for someone who fits in with your life. Because you have unusual hours and a stressful job, someone who also has a busy schedule, similarly unusual hours or is even in medicine will be the most compatible with you. Alternatively, a mate who is willing to fit into your life, nurture you, support you and offer understanding for what you go through would be ideal.
One busy LPN hooked up with an EMT whose ambulance often visited her ER. He perfectly understood the demands of her job and the crazy hours because he had the same experience. One day, he devised a “fake emergency” that everyone in the ER was in on and proposed to her on the doorstep of the hospital on bended knee.
4. Don’t force yourself to get out after a long, hard day. You won’t be in the right frame of mind to attract love. Remember there’s no rush, so have patience and only go out when you feel rested. There are also other avenues for meeting someone. Try Internet dating (you’re already online if you’re reading this!), which allows you to weed people out before spending your valuable time with them.
Elise met boyfriend Jack online when she was too tired to go anywhere after work. And Victoria met future husband Michael while staying home—he was a neighbor in her apartment complex. Julia had so many bad experiences going out when she was drained that she vowed to stay home until she had some energy. On one rare occasion when she got out to an event, she bonded with Dan. She was in the right frame of mind to flirt and the two are now dating.
5. Remember your unique advantages because confidence is the ultimate aphrodisiac. You’re good at meeting strangers and chatting them up. You’re emotionally sensitive to others’ needs. You’re smart, capable and adaptable, all highly desirable characteristics in a mate.
Lisa, a nurse who read my book, decided she wasn’t seeing herself properly. Plagued by insecurities, she began a list of self-appreciation, cataloging all of her good qualities. She also started to be picky, quit over-giving and went slowly with anyone she dated—all self-honoring dating behavior. “I basically stopped being a doormat and became hard to get,” she laughs. This newfound confidence produced a flurry of interest in available men; she is now dating a few and may settle down with the one she likes the most.
Remind yourself that you are a real catch. Self-esteem is the universal attractant, and if there were ever anyone who deserves to feel special, it’s you!