I was at Blog World Expo in 2009 with Mind of Moms when I wandered alone into this enormous dining room for lunch — that’s when I spotted a table where a woman with a lovely smile was sitting. I sat down and she introduced herself as Gwen, Global Digital Communications Manager at Ford Motor Company (pictured below).
Gwen’s positive attitude and intelligence impressed me. We stayed in touch by email (she even hooked me up with a smooth Fusion Hybrid to test drive for a week!). Then, Gwen mentioned that she was writing a dating and relationship manual for young women: If It Walks Like a Duck…and Other Truths My Mother Taught Me.
“I dealt with a lot of crap in past relationships,” Gwen says. “I eventually realized that in order to attract healthy and real love, I had to love myself enough.”
The tricky part was the fact that Gwen had never pegged herself as a woman who lacked self-respect. “I always thought I had a healthy amount of self esteem. But then why would I let someone mistreat me over and over… like cheating, emotional abuse and intentional toxicity?”
“I decided that I would love myself enough to reject bad relationships,” Grace says.”I stopped making excuses for these guys and started requiring that I be treated right.”
Gwen adds that sometimes self love takes a lot of hard, deep work. “You need to heal past wounds that have been left open, such as a bad relationship you never got over, abuse as a child, growing up seeing your father mistreat your mother… in these cases, seeking professional help can be vital.”
In the meantime, Gwen noticed a Newsweek cover story about “Plenty of Fish,” the free online dating site. She called a single friend of hers — who’d had trouble finding love — and told him that he might want to try it out. “Eventually, he agreed to join, with one stipulation,” Gwen says. “I had to join, too.”
Gwen logged onto the site out of curiosity, but she says she wasn’t really looking for a relationship. Yet, while browsing, one man’s profile caught her eye. “The description he wrote was grammatically correct — and unlike many of the other men on the site — and he looked professional.”
Gwen wrote to him first. “He responded the next day and we immediately began what I call a ‘two and a half month phone and internet courtship.’ We talked exclusively online and on the phone, no less than seven hours a day, every day. Yes, seven hours every day for two and a half months!”
Eventually, Gwen and Endion met in person — and what they felt was real. “We dated for six more months before he popped the question at the Ethiopian restaurant where we had our first real date. It was like a movie: his entire family showed up, seemingly out of nowhere, and surprised me. I tearfully and joyfully shouted ‘Yes!’ The entire restaurant stood up and clapped for us.
“He was the first man I met who reminded me so much of my father,” Gwen says. “My Dad used to tell me: ‘If you’re dating a man, and he cannot treat you as well as or better than I do, then you need to find another man who can.’ ”
Gwen and Endion got married last summer — and they’ve since had an adorable baby boy!
Gwen has offered to give away a copy of her book If It Walks Like a Duck…and Other Truths My Mother Taught Me to one of my readers. Here’s how…
One of Gwen’s top tips to finding love is making a list. “A lot of people shy away from making a list of requirements you want in a mate,” Gwen explains.
“But I say: Make the list and decide what really matters to you. First, list every single trait you want in a mate. No matter how important or frivolous you think it is, just write it down. Attractiveness is just as good as, say, having compassion in this case. Once you’ve written everything down, go back through the list and ‘star’ the traits that are absolute requirements.
Here’s how to enter to win Gwen’s book:
In the comments, please share one of the *starred* requirements on YOUR list… which trait is an absolute requirement for you?
[The contest will be open until midnight PST, April 18, and the winner be chosen by Random.org]
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