My Conscious Dating Journey
"Conscious Dating…you mean, I had
choices? David Steele seemed to think I did.
This looked like a recipe for success –
and I was convinced enough to give it my best
shot. Oh, all right, I was desperate..."
see that scene in The
Mission where Robert DeNiro, playing a penitent
slave-trader and murderer, hauls a great trail
of clanking armour and other metal paraphernalia
up a vertical cliff-face? Well, that was me.
No, I hadn’t murdered anyone – not
that it hadn’t entered my head. But by the
time I embarked on my Conscious Dating adventure
I was dragging along a history of:-
- Husband number 1: Mr “He’s
- Husband number 2: Mr “Close
My Eyes and Hope For The Best.”
- And finally Husband number 3:
Mr “What The Hell Was I Thinking?”
All of which explains my bumper sticker at the
“My next husband will be NORMAL”
Ah, Normality; if only it was that easy
to find. All I ever wanted was to be part of something
that some sane adults are trying to get away from-
being a boring old married couple. But at 45,
this seemed further away than ever.
Perhaps the clanking was giving me away?
Yes, I did have friends who thought I was insane
to try again. But as Clint Eastwood would say:
“There is only one way to have a happy marriage,
and as soon as I learn what it is I’ll get
married again.” Yo, Clint! I don’t
believe in living together, so my unfortunate
dating life turned into serial murderous monotonous
monogamy, as I married one after the other and
ended up with cloned domestic tyrants. Next time,
however, would be different. I had it all figured
out. When I met him, I would immediately hand
over half of my assets. Then with that out of
the way, we would divorce, start dating and then
get married. It had to work – I was out
this time My Fairy Godmother (MFG) showed up.
I was in my office, half way through a game of
solo Scrabble when she slid in on a moonbeam,
overshot the window sill and demolished my game.
Time had not been kind to her – even by
candlelight, she was plump, wrinkled and cranky.
She was also 45 years late – but I knew
my luck was about to change. I clutched her in
a headlock and demanded she do something about
my woeful relationship history. Once she’d
staggered over to the computer and Googled ‘Conscious
Dating’ I let her go. Conscious
Dating…you mean, I had choices? David
Steele seemed to think I did. This looked like
a recipe for success – and I was convinced
enough to give it my best shot. Oh, all right,
I was desperate.
Hmmm- let’s see…‘Dating
Unfortunately, for me, this needed no explaining.
Dating had not only caused my assets to be divvied
up three times already, but I’d already
taken on a gambler, a religious crank, a pill-popper,
a mummy’s boy, and a rage-aholic. And that
was just my second husband. Add to that a womanizer
and a cop with a Hitler complex and you can see
why my children begged me take up an easier addiction.
‘Being Single Is An Opportunity!’...
Ah, now this one I had a running start on. I
had spent the previous two years working my way
out of co-dependence. The impetus was a writer
who stated that most co-dependent women never
break free and eventually die of their addiction
- usually from chronic stress. As a woman who
does not shy away from challenges (see above,
under ‘Dating doesn’t work’)
I tackled this head on. People don’t develop
co-dependency on their own – criminal treatment
of a child belonged in court, so that is where
I went. Desperation to get my life on track gave
me the courage I had lacked for 35 years. Yes!
It was the first time I had ever owned my life.
Scary – but as they say, life is not a dress
Now, what to do with my new-found freedom? I
glanced over at my fairy godmother, who was rubbing
her neck and watching me warily from a safe distance.
“Come on,” I demanded. “Out
with it. What’s next?”
She waved her wand and magic words appeared:
‘First Principle of Conscious Dating:
Know Who You Are And What You Want’
Of course! Make an inventory, write a life plan
and go from there. Easy. Time consuming, but easy.
Ok, this is me, this is where I am going, and
this is what I want, this is who I need …
After two hours I had …(drum roll)…My
Life in Three Pages! MFG was dozing by now, looking
for all the world like a garden gnome in drag.
“Next!” MFG startled then scowled,
eyed me suspiciously and grumbled something about
a slave-driver. The wand glowed – and across
the room the scattered Scrabble letters came clattering
‘LEARN HOW TO GET WHAT YOU WANT’
Sounded good. I knew I needed to get a handle
on this whole dating business.
She was mumbling again.
“We’re talking politics?”
“Sue, don’t coo”.
“You want litigation?”
“Sudoku. SUDOKU!” she shouted as
if I was hard of hearing.
I scratched my head. Resisting the urge to shake
her, I decided to go with it. Sudoku is Japanese…it’s
difficult…it’s frustrating –
perhaps that explains her demeanor. No wait, Sudoku
is …….a NUMBERS GAME!
Of course! The marriage market is a market like
any other. Finding the right person comes down
to a numbers game. Ah, now that I understood.
Somehow I had spent a decade working in recruitment
and never realized the similarities. Advertise,
cull, interview, trial. Standing in front of my
jobseeker groups I would tell them – you
have to make 100 contacts, to achieve 10 interviews,
to get 1 job. Pace yourself – it will happen,
IF you put the work in. Want to recruit a life
partner? Scout, Sort, Screen
By George, I’d got it!
MFG was fidgeting by now. Clearly she thought
my time was up. But escaping wasn’t going
to be that easy.
“Fairy”, I said, “we can do
this the hard way or the easy way. It’s
“No it isn’t” she cried petulantly
as she clambered to get away. “It’s
I grabbed her by the scruff of the neck. “Come
on now. Tell me what’s next!”
“It’s your choice.”
“Are you going to tell me, or not?”
“I told you already. It’s your choice.”
I squeezed a little harder. MFG squealed. “Ow!
But I did tell you” she whimpered. “It’s
YOUR choice! IT’S YOUR CHOICE!”
With a loud snap the scrabble tiles sprang to
action, fashioning the words: “HOSE TO BREECH”.
Quickly they pulled apart and reassembled: “BOTH
OR CHEESE”. It was almost there. Come on,
I whispered, come on! And then there it was….
”BE THE CHOOSER”
Be the Chooser. Ah, what a novel idea! This was
a concept easy to like. Waiting for a prospect
to interpret your interest correctly and then
make all the right moves is like hopping into
a taxi and expecting the driver to guess your
destination. Sort of like “I am woman –
hear me drop hints.” What a relief to see
an end of all the waiting, hoping and nail-biting.
Bless you David Steele, bless you, bless you,
‘Oops, sorry Fairy dear.’ I put her
down gently. ‘I was getting carried away.
Don’t you think this is great?’
‘Huh!’ she sniffed. ‘Well,
it may work for you, but this dating caper has
brought me nothing but trouble!’
‘Well, I’m 480 years old next birthday.
I don’t know how many ads I’ve put
into the Fairy Tale, but all I end up with are
either fairy penguins or worse, fairies that aren’t
interested in girls, if you know what I mean.
Abra-catastrophe! I just don’t know what
I am doing wrong!” She started to wail.
“But why don’t you try Conscious
Dating for yourself?”
The wailing stopped abruptly. MFG fixed me with
a very hard stare.
“Because it’s outlawed for the likes
of me, you moron!’ she snapped. “It
doesn’t work if you’re off with the
MFG now had soggy patches on her tutu, mixed
with the remnants of her fairy bread dinner. She
really looked in quite a state. But since it had
taken 45 years for her even to show up, I wasn’t
going to let her go until I had everything I needed
to know. Despite appearances, she was starting
to soften, volunteering grumpily: “For that
silly question, you will have to guess
the next step.” She flourished her wand
dramatically then threw it against the bookcase.
A worn hardcover book flipped out onto the floor,
the pages whirred under the quivering wand and
stopped abruptly at a page containing a peculiar
“What does it say?” I bent over
the book, and read aloud the caption: “Off
with their heads!”
Well? Could these characters have found someone
to love them? Why, no, the Queen of Hearts needed
a heart. Her victims needed their heads. Exactly.
So… I must ‘use my heart AND my
Yes, I could see that now. When you first marry,
you marry for love. All the ideals, hopes and
dreams of youth converge on that single day when
you pledge “I do – for the rest of
my life”. And you mean it. Your love will
conquer the world. You will grow old together,
smiling and holding hands and looking more alike
every year. After all, you have so much in common:
1) You are both young, and 2) You are both broke.
You just know that life will get better and better.
But life has a habit of getting in the way of
our best laid plans. One day you wake up and it
Second time around, with seven years of singlehood
in between, I took the plunge again. None of this
‘fall in love’ business. That is what
did me in last time. Nope, head decision –
I will fall in love after the wedding.
Except shortly after the wedding my hubby was
captured by aliens. In his place they left a look-alike
that snarled, sulked and frequently ran home to
mother. My final ultimatum was to choose between
his temper and me. WARNING: do not try this at
home if you have fragile self-esteem. My subsequent
remarriage was a triumph of stupidity over commonsense
– reminiscent of Groucho Marx’s claim
of having worked his way up from nothing to a
state of extreme poverty.
OK, so I’d tried using my heart, then my
head, then nothing at all. Now Conscious Dating
was telling me I could learn to use both. At the
same time. I could do that.
Suddenly a wild shrieking ensued from the window
sill. MFG had attempted to leave surreptitiously,
but in her haste had knocked over a candle. She
was frantic, crazily hopping all over the room
and dripping wax as she went.
I started patting her down: “Now, Fairy,”
I murmured in as calm a voice as I could manage,
“I know that you are upset, and also on
fire, but please let me explain something to you.
You have to stay here until you have delivered
all the information – then you can go, I
She looked at me wordlessly. “We’re
almost done, aren’t we?” She nodded.
Her wand, hovering just out of reach, glowed each
of the colours of the rainbow in quick succession,
then flew across to an ornate mirror on the far
“Just show me who he will be!” I
pleaded. But all I saw was my own reflection.
The image divided, divided again and then began
to swirl like a kaleidoscope. Torrents of ethereal
color poured out of the glass. Then, the mirror
showed no reflection at all and the wand wrote
Like Attracts Like
HE WILL BE AS YOU!
Yes! My own experience was proof of this. My
last husband had turned up when I was ill, out
of work, and broke. He was so bad he should have
come with a warning. To get a quality mate I had
to be a quality person in as many ways as I could.
Suddenly my shaggy Lhasa Apso puppy barged through
the door. He’d heard the ruckus and, eyeing
FGM suspiciously, began to create one of his own.
FGM clambered awkwardly onto my head. “Does
he eat fairies?”
“I guess he could acquire a taste for one”
FGM hastily popped the end off her wand. Out
slid a scrap of parchment. “Last ones!”
she announced, as I shooed the canine out.
“Fairy, it’s blank.” “Hold
it to the light. The more you look, the more you
see…” she intoned mysteriously.
“Full instructions appear later!”
Be Ready And Available For Commitment
Create a Support Community
Gain Relationship Knowledge and Skills
Be A Successful Single
MFG was looking much calmer now – almost
comfortable in fact. “If that is everything
you can go now – I guess you have things
to do.” “Mmmmm” She proffered
a long white quill loaded with swirls of coloured
ink “Sign here” indicating the side
of her wand. “Head office,” she mumbled.
“Need everything in writing. Besides,”
she added almost proudly, “Just one more
happy ending and I’m in the running to win
I scribbled my signature, but she didn’t
move. “Say, that gives me an idea…”
“Huh? Oh no!”
“Well, you don’t think I’m
just going to leave you to it now, do you? I admit,
I thought you were quite a hopeless case at first,
but you seem to be picking it up… besides,
I’m not jeopardizing a date with Danny DeVito!
Look, it’s all right. I won’t get
in the way, I promise. You won’t even know
“But…all this will take quite some
time. It won’t happen overnight...”
"Yes”, she nodded sagely, “but
it will happen!”
Somehow I knew she was right. He was out there.
But it wasn’t time to find him just yet
- I had some practice to do. So over the next
18 months I honed my skills – always making
it clear to a prospective date that I was open
to, but not seeking, a permanent relationship
at that time. What can I say? I got good at it!
And it was fun. Knowing I had choices and that
I could attract the kind of man I was seeking
was liberating. My HR skills paid off handsomely
as I ‘interviewed’ one candidate after
another. I learnt what I liked and what I didn’t;
how to spot the red flags that indicated a second
round interview wasn’t warranted; and how
to care for my own best interests. Careful vetting
of my (largely) internet dating contacts meant
I never had an unpleasant experience. So many
men – so little time!
But one day I felt I was ready. As I logged in
one evening, I closed my eyes in a quick prayer:
“Lord, I have done enough dating and I am
ready. Tonight lead me to the one I have been
looking for all along.” That's when I found
David. From first contact he was besotted and
determined to have me. In true Conscious Dating
style, I placed him on the list of ‘possibles’
and kept meeting other people! I was still learning
to like safe, normal and sane, and it took longer
than I had thought. But each time I wavered I
would go back to my essential requirements of
a mate – this kept me on track and ensured
ultimate success. And I was diligent about guarding
my own heart. No commitment of any sort until
all the information I needed was in! Luckily,
David is a man who relishes a challenge. He showed
remarkable patience and wisdom in adapting himself
to my dating schedule and didn’t panic even
though it was another ten weeks before I removed
my profiles from the dating sites and said, “OK,
let’s give this a go.” I was willing
to walk away in a heartbeat if necessary –
something totally beyond me before I learnt Conscious
Dating, but so empowering now knowing that I could
do it. But he never gave me cause to doubt him
in any way – and in the end, love won out.
David was not the one I thought I would love,
but he was the one I needed to love. I had finally
developed a taste for a sweet, kind man who just
wanted to love me till death.
Almost two years later we tied the knot to the
joyous chorus of our guests: "We your family
and friends now pronounce you MARRIED!”.
The joy of that day has only grown with the passage
of time – together we have faced many of
life’s challenges and continue to adore
and cherish one another. My husband is a quiet,
loving man not given to displays of strong emotion.
During courtship he was a man who loved constantly
- as freely and devotedly as a child. He continues
to be a quiet, loving man not given to displays
of strong emotion.
Despite the saying: ‘No man is worthy of
your tears – and the one who is will never
make you cry,’ there has been just one time
my husband made my heart ache, and that was the
morning after our wedding. We’d reached
“Wildernest” our honeymoon mountain
retreat, unpacked our things and stopped to breathe
deeply of the cool mountain air. Outside the bellbirds’
calls echoed from peak to peak; morning mist was
still rising from lush rainforest gullies. Here
I could feel a gentle peace casting solace over
the fierce joy and solid assurance his love had
brought to my life. I reached for his hands and
finally told him – told him so he surely
“You know, I really DO love you.”
His eyes brimmed with sudden tears and I felt
ashamed. It had been a long journey for him, with
no guarantees his love would be returned, but
he chose to love anyway. This was the man I needed
– he had proven it endlessly over the two
years since we’d met, and unfailingly in
the years ever since. As I say to my darling husband
now: “Sweetheart, of all my husbands, you
are the most recent!” No really –
he’s a keeper, this one. In fact, though
it’s taken 4 weddings, he is the only real
husband I have ever had.
“Hey Toots!” MFG was perched on a
low wall, swinging her legs and idly watching
as the lovers walked hand in hand off into the
sunset. She startled at the booming voice addressing
her and turned sharply to see its source...
“Rocky” he said, offering a gnarled
hand. “Ferry Godfarder to da gen’leman.”
He doffed his green feathered cap, then self-consciously
dusted down his garish shirt and worn breeches.
Rocky nodded in the direction of the disappearing
figures. “Look like dem two’ll do
fine widout us now.”
“Hmmmm” FGM said absently, staring
dreamily at Rocky like she’d never seen
a Fairy Godfather before. “I’ll miss
them. Feel at a bit of a loose end really…”
“Well, Toots, we can’t ledda gor-jus
ferry-babe like you go ta waste, can we?”
he said with a wink. Rocky then lowered his voice,
and cast glances left and right, “I’m
gonna make ya an offer ya can’t refuse!
How ‘bout before we check back wid headquarters,
we get ta know each other a liddle better? Waddya
MFG giggled like a schoolgirl. He swept her up
with one arm; she could hear the hum of his wings
as he guided her gently off the wall. “I
know dis roman’ic liddle place where da
fairy lights are turned down real low, and da
elves tell me soives da best angel food on da
She giggled again. He certainly was a charmer.
“I got strickly honorable intentions –
ruly-truly. Cross me 'art I do.”
Gathering momentum, they flew low over the village
streets, their voices beginning to fade into the
night. “Of course you do, Rocky, of course
you do. Say, Rocky?”
“Is that a wand in your pocket or are you
just glad to see me?”
Apart from the fairies and the magic in the
story, everything is true. You can see why I
am so grateful to for the principles of Conscious
Dating, which gave me the recipe for success
after so many awful failures. I can laugh about
them now, but you can appreciate that up until
I met David I had a very pain-filled life.
Have you ever had bad toothache for days? Then
you go get it fixed, and the next morning you
wake up with this wonderful sense of relief...
I wake up everyday and feel that relief.
It's God's work that David Steele and Conscious
Dating are doing - nothing less. Saving people
from heartache is just a big as finding a cure
for cancer. Fair dinkum - oops - Aussie expression!
You can see why I love spreading the news...
This is the photo David had on his online dating
site profile. It was done with a web-cam - terrible
quality. I tease him that he didn't have any
friends to take a
This is the photo I had on my online dating
site profile. The pile of hair is my dog "Bubbles."
This is the first photo we had together - taken
4 months after we met. David took that as a VERY
positive sign! He was still under strict instructions
though to never
mention the 'L' word OR the 'M' word. Darn him,
he took THAT as a positive
sign as well!
My dogs proved to be part of my screening process
so they get a mention! Ming Chu (the Lhasa)
and Bubbles (the airhead Maltese) were<br>
always on hand to give me a second opinion.
This was done for our wedding invitation. The
little sign says "FREE TO GOOD HOME."
It's great what a university education does for
kids these days!
'Kiss the bride' - this was when my quiet accountant
husband (as he told me later) wanted to jump up
and down and shout "I'M MARRIED!"
Congratulations to Jeanette for
finding the love of your life and winning first
place in our Conscious Dating Success Story of
the Year contest!
To submit your
entry for next year's contest click