Getting support

I can’t believe it took me this long to really show it to you—you guys have to see the present my husband Grant got me for Christmas. It’s my hearty-heart-heart background art. Check it out!

Gosh, that grin is pretty devious. I think I was swiping people on Tinder for research and feeling slightly bad about it.

Everyone who’s seen it in a video chat has complimented it, but none of my clients lately have been geeks or gamers, so I feel like it hasn’t yet hit its true target audience. See, as some of you know, Grant is a video game designer, and games have always been an important part of his passion. So when I told him I wanted to incorporate more red into my office (to offset all that cool turquoise and to symbolize love and mainly to match my website), he gamely set about custom making me something. I had also whined about not having a professional-looking background when I was on phone or video calls at some point, and mentioned that my sit-stand desk meant that anything logo-y would potentially be partly obscured depending on my position that day. So he gamely incorporated all of this whining into an AWESOME mural-like piece of art!

Bonus points if you can name any of the heart sprites. He basically combed through every video game he’d ever loved that had pixelated hearts in it, and he combined them all and did the layout and a few color and size adjustments, I think. This is copyright like every game developer ever, so don’t go thinking you can reuse this or anything. It’s clearly personal use in our case, but I like how it ties in with my business theme—I mean, a pixelated heart is a very common motif when abstractly describing online dating.

Grant was evil and tricksy and actually asked me what I thought of pixelated hearts in general, and I totally trash-talked them, but what I MEANT was shitty stock photos like these which are all too common in online dating articles. :) So then I had to backtrack and reassure him that his incredibly thoughtful custom gift was truly awesome, and it was all very romantic, I promise. And way cooler than anything I could come up with tinkering on my own. (Trust me; I tried.)

Before I had actually left my job to start being The Heartographer full time, I had brought up something really important to me about the whole endeavor. I said to him that when I listened to people calling in to QUIT!, I commonly heard that spouses being supportive of their quitting partners was a huge part of the success and leap of faith process.

I told Grant that I felt like he wasn’t totally supportive of me, mostly because we were both understandably caught up in apprehension about losing an income while I built up my presence. We were both scared and uncertain about how it would work out, especially now that we had a mortgage to hold down. It was a scary, vulnerable conversation to have, and it was scary to realize that these feelings came from not fully believing in my own ability to make it work as a business owner.

But Grant basically doubled down, and proved to me in deeds as well at words that he believed I was talented and capable enough at this weird niche business to take a gamble on making it my full-time living. Both of his Christmas gifts to me a week later were  symbolic of his support: he gave me this messenger bag to carry my laptop around in as I met with clients and business partners, and he took the article about me in my college’s alumnae magazine and had it framed to hang in my office.

That’s what’s so special and meaningful to me—this isn’t just a piece of hearty heart art. And that’s not just a bag, and that’s not just an article. They’re all these really tangible, visible, meaningful symbols of the fact that my life partner supports what I do even though it makes us both afraid sometimes. They remind me that he’s willing to take a risk with me because he knows how passionate I am about helping people find love, and how much happier I am working for myself than for anyone else.

Get emotional support for online dating!

I tell this to you partly to showcase my fancy new background art, and to brag about how awesome my Internet-sourced life partner is, sure. But I also tell you because I think it’s incredibly helpful to have some kind of emotional support when you undertake ANYTHING important and big and challenging in life. I’ve come to realize that part of what I offer my clients isn’t just specific expertise—it’s also emotional support and a sounding board for whatever they’re going through romantically. That’s as much a part of the experience as the advice and writing help itself.

As you move forward in 2014, and especially if you’re making finding love a priority, keep the support thing in mind. Regardless of whether you hire me, hire a different coach, or turn to your friends and family, remember that it’s important to have someone to talk to and cheerlead you and listen when you’re bummed about your journey. So many people come to me for a shorter session and then don’t talk about their online dating adventures with any friends or family members, and they don’t always think to reach out to me after the fact. But I have to say, people are happier when they can share what’s going on and feel like those close to them have their backs.

awwwwSo please, folks, open up to your pals or your mom or your coach or WHOEVER about your online dating endeavors. It makes the whole process more enjoyable and more effective, and you just might end up with someone as awesome and thoughtful as this guy in the end.

Awwwwwwww. Sorry, I couldn’t help myself!

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