Growing up, I used to think boys were dumb and horses were awesome. I understood horses and trusted them, but boys… not so much. I remember feeling like I should be playing the games my friends were playing with boys–like passing notes where you check boxes to determine relationship status–but when I tried it, it was awkward and confusing.
I was much more comfortable at the barn or in the dance studio–where things were natural, fun, and relaxing…places where there happened to be no boys. But it wasn’t until I got my first boyfriend in 7th grade that I became conscious of what I didn’t trust about boys:
I was terrified of being hurt, in all the different ways I could be.
So I broke up with my boyfriend after a day, and didn’t go boy crazy until college, when I gave up horseback riding because my dance teachers pressured me to, and then gave up dancing because I was tired of dance teachers dictating every aspect of my life.
I had a lot of fun going out with different men, dancing in clubs, and I’ll be honest… I loved all the attention I was getting. But it all came to a screeching halt when I was drugged and date-raped.
The dating world was suddenly dangerous and out of my control. But I wasn’t willing to give it up altogether, so I decided to pick one guy, hoping that would keep me safe.
My choice was a superhero-hot guy, we’ll call him Trent, and I quickly fell in love. He was going into the US Air Force, and as my dad had been a Marine, I knew military people to be honorable and trustworthy. Still, I became obsessed with the idea that he would cheat on me. I made us both miserable by constantly asking questions like, “Who was that calling you?” and “Where were you last night?” and “Do you think she’s prettier than me?”
It was the WORST.
Shortly after boot camp graduation, Trent broke up with me. I was absolutely devastated. One afternoon, during a particularly dramatic sob session (to the tune of “My Heart Will Go On” by Celine Dion), one of Trent’s friends came into my dorm room. He urged me to just get over it, because Trent had been cheating on me for our entire relationship. WTF?!
I was shocked, humiliated, enraged—I had all the feels.
In a sense, knowing the truth made things easier, because then I could just feel mad instead of sad, but I still couldn’t get the visions of him hooking up with other girls out of my mind. And on top of that, I believed that I must have deserved to be cheated on because I wasn’t good enough for him. Ironically, I was always great at coaching other people in love — quick to tell my friends how wonderful they were and how they deserved to be treated like queens.
After that, I dated guys who were much less hot (and were all hot messes, too). There was the alcoholic-guy who used to pee in his bed, the sketchy guy who insisted on making out to Nine Inch Nails in the parking lot of Joe’s Crab Shack, and the secretly-did-coke-with-my-roommate-guy. #winners🙄
And then my father died.
Soon after, my mom told me that he’d had an affair (with their best friend, no less) when I was five years old. Hearing that news crushed me. I was furious at my dad for cheating and furious at my mom for forgiving him–it should have been a deal-breaker.
My belief in “true love” was shattered. This was proof that all men were trash and never to be trusted.
Over the next couple years, I stopped putting effort into my relationship with my boyfriend at the time, until our relationship faded away. Meanwhile, I had been talking for hours every day to a good friend named Seth (whom I’d also dated many years earlier), about love, the law of attraction and how the Universe works. (If you’re familiar with the story of Little Women, he was my family’s Laurie…)
When Seth moved to the same city I lived in, he wanted to rekindle our romance — and even though I had reservations because our friendship was so important to me, I threw caution to the wind. I’d always had feelings for him, and we had a solid friendship and he was super close with my family, so what could possibly go wrong?
A couple month later, it came out that he’d been cheating on me, and I almost couldn’t believe it. I was in so much pain, I felt like I was dying. After much pleading (on his part) and much vacillating (on my part), I finally decided to go over to his house, despite everyone telling me not to. I planned to go over there and lay into him and make sure he hurt as much as I did.
But when I got there, Seth was sitting on the floor crying. He looked broken. Even though I knew we weren’t going to get back together, I sure as hell wasn’t going to leave him there alone. I sat down and held him while he sobbed and we stayed in that room for days… processing, eating pizza, and crying together.
At one point, we broke out into that spontaneous laughter that had made our relationship so special. I started to believe that we could at least have our friendship back. With time, I came to realize that Seth’s own inner demons had caused him to act out and misbehave, not me. He hadn’t been unfaithful because he was a terrible person who didn’t respect me. He was in pain… and people who are hurting, hurt other people. This was a crucial part of what allowed me to get over my own pain and heartbreak.
Seth committed to working on his wounds, and he committed to earning my trust back, too–whatever it took. Every time I was upset, angry, insecure, or feeling the need to interrogate him about some detail of the incident, he was completely open and forthright. Never once did he say, “Get over it already.” I went from being angry and hurt to inspired about his willingness to grow, and take responsibility for his actions. It was both of us being willing to “show up” and work through our stuff together that allowed me to really heal from my trust issues.
Ultimately, I decided to give “Seth & Jana” another chance–and I’m SO happy I did. A couple years later, we moved in together and got married soon after. Then Seth reunited me with my first love—horses—when he bought me riding lessons as a birthday present. A year later, Seth and I traveled down to meet my own new horse, Jove, on Valentine’s Day. As soon as I saw him, I knew my life would never be the same.
Jove taught me so many of the critical lessons that have become foundational to my work as a love coach, like that every person has their own internal wisdom (and it’s best to listen to it, instead of relying completely on the guidance of others) and that relationships can be like a beautiful “energetic dance” instead of an awkward, confusing game.
I went on to earn a number of certifications to enrich my practice, including: life coaching, Reiki 1 and 2, Equine Facilitated Experiential Learning (EFEL), Law of Attraction, Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) and Getting Through Technique (GTT).
I use a customized blend of these methods with my clients to help them clarify what they truly want in love and then celebrate with them when it shows up.
My philosophy is that the solution to any relationship problem you’re experiencing is already inside you–and it’s one of my greatest passions to help you find it. If I had listened to all the outside advice people gave me during that painful time in my relationship with Seth, we wouldn’t be happily married right now, and I would still be terrified of being cheated on.
While many dating experts insist that you have to play games to “land” a man, I disagree. The only way create a healthy, fulfilling relationship is to understand the energetic dance that leads to true love. And while many also cite the law of attraction as a reason to ignore anything that feels bad in your love life (and focus only on the positive), there’s a name for that. It’s called “spiritual bypassing.” In order to get what you truly want in love, you have to dive into — and engage with — the relationship challenge you’re experiencing right now (instead of running away from it) and find the wisdom that will allow you to move beyond them.
Whether you’re single and wanting to attract a partner, or in a relationship and wanting to fall in love with your partner again, I’d love to help you create the magical love life you deserve. It all starts with a free consultation.