8 Relationship Lessons…

…From buying a used car (called Gordon!)



They (whoever “they” are) say “The way we do anything is the way we do everything”.  So when, after many years of faithful, reliable service my old Ford Focus decided that it was time to retire I was given the gift of seeing what happens to me when I enter into a new (car) relationship …

Here’s (some of) what I learned

1. The opportunity for a new relationship will come to you when you least expect it, when you’re not looking for it and quite likely when you’re not particularly interested.

I had often dreamed / wished my car was different and definitely felt that it wasn’t a true expression of who I am.  However, I was happily driving my trusty Ford Focus and financially not in a position to change it…. or so I thought….

We’ve all heard it before.  The minute you let go of the need for something (someone) to complete you it miraculously arrives.  It just so happens that this is totally true.  When we are at peace with ourselves and our current circumstances we attract new things into our life from a place of wholeness and not neediness.

2.  We have to let something go in order to create space

When my Ford Focus broke down beyond economic repair it forced me to re-evaluate.  I began to realise how many memories I was holding onto with this car.  Past relationships, good times, bad times…. I was driving these around with me everywhere I went.  And to a greater extent than I imagined holding on to the car was blocking me from moving on.  Keeping me slightly trapped in a story that no longer fitted with the person I am becoming.  Although it was massively inconvenient, accepting it was time to let the car and the story go created space…. actually it felt like more of a vacuum into which a new car, more befitting the current ‘me’ had no choice but to rush in and fill.

We have to be willing to release old patterns, old stories, ex’s (especially ex’s) so that there is space for something new.  Otherwise we continue to recreate the same patterns.  Those which we’ve complained about in the past. Those which haven’t served us.  It’s as simple as that.  Not easy. But simple….and essential.

3.  You absolutely can have what you really want.

At first I resigned myself to getting an old banger.  I hadn’t saved or planned for a new car and my familiar ‘unworthiness’ shadow decreed that this was all I deserved.  A wise friend steered (no driving pun intended) me in another direction.  “What is your dream car?”, he said.  It didn’t take much persuasion to set my sights higher.  A few years back I’d seen someone driving the cutest car EVER!!! I remembered the exact spot that I first saw it and how I’d said to myself “Oh wow! One day I’d love a car like that!”   So I set to searching and surprisingly quickly found Gordon, the perfect car on Done Deal (the dating site for cars).

How many of us have settled for less than we want in a relationship.  The false belief that we can’t have the partner of our dreams.  This will have to do.  That destructive voice that lies “I’m not worthy”… Don’t believe it.  Don’t settle.  Dream your dream. Create your perfect partner… and go for it!

4. Be careful what you wish for

I got exactly what I’d asked for.  Swanky, sexy, gorgeous Gordon.  What I forget to mention to the Universe was that Gordon should also be reliable.  And so…. The very day I picked him up.  Within 2 hours.  He broke down.  Completely.  Steadfastly. Gordon refused to start.

I’ve experienced of this one before so I had to smile through my tears at the way this lesson was being repeated.  Asking for sexy, adventurous, unconventional but omitting emotional availability.  We really do get what we wish for. So let’s make our wishes very, very carefully.

5. Ask for what you need

I was devastated.  Here he was at last!  Gordon!  Car of my dreams! Dead on my doorstep!  I phoned a friend (the aforementioned wise one).  He said “What does the previous owner say?”,  “Oh I haven’t phoned him.  I cant’ do that!” was my reply. Seriously?!  Embarrassingly true (welcome back unworthiness shadow). Luckily my friend bluntly pointed out that not only I could  but I absolutely had to “do that”  I had owned the car for less than 2 hours.  I had to at least ask for the problem to be put right. I understood there were no guarantees as it was a private sale.  But I had to ask.  Gulp!   It was very difficult (big learning for me about how afraid I am to ask for my needs to be met) but luckily Gordon’s previous owner was as horrified as I was and agreed to put whatever had gone wrong right.

We can’t complain that someone isn’t meeting our needs unless we have asked for what we want.  Game playing, manipulating, saying “They should just know!” are not OK.   If I don’t ask you for what I want you can’t deliver it.  And I get to blame you for not giving me something I haven’t asked for.  It’s a very damaging and very unhealthy cycle.

6. Everyone has baggage.  Everyone has shadows. Everyone is perfectly imperfect.

So here was gorgeous Gordon.  Looking swanky and sexy outside my house.  And totally broken.  I was very lucky that his previous owner and mechanic are super genuine and lovely people.  The problem was diagnosed.  It was the fuel pump.  An unforeseeable problem. And Gordon’s previous owner agreed to foot the bill for the repair . All I had to do was make a decision. Was I willing to accept Gordon complete with his shadow side,  his history, his baggage?  It was a difficult decision for me.  Having seen his shadow I wanted to run.  But I also knew deep down there was so much more to Gordon than a broken fuel pump.

Usually we don’t see someones shadow straight away because we mask and hide our vulnerability and the bits of us we don’t like.  It can be a big shock months into a relationship to discover our beloved isn’t the hero / heroine we thought.  I was really lucky here. Gordon was willing to be vulnerable and show me his truth straight away.  How many perspective partners show us their shadow on the first date?

7. Falling in love is frightening

After Gordon was repaired I took him for a spa treatment (valet) and he came back home like a brand new car.  In 48 hours my feelings for him had shifted from disappointment and doubt to true love.  Two days later I was driving him to visit a friend.  The route to her house is up a very steep and narrow lane.  No passing spaces.  Stone walls either side.  I’ve taken this route many times before in the Ford Focus.  This time I was terrified that I was going to damage/hurt Gordon.  That I might loose him.

Falling in Love is scary.  We open ourselves up to be seen by and to see another.  We know there are risks.  That we might get hurt.  That we might loose our love. And we have to decide whether we are willing to take the risk. Are we willing to continue to drive down the road with full commitment, trust and dare to be vulnerable?

PS  I took a different route home 😉

8.  A relationship is a two way street.

If I want Gordon to take care of me. To drive me around reliably and safely and purr like a kitten at every turn of the key I have to make sure I give him time, care, love and attention too.  Regular servicing , careful and considerate driving, the right fuel etc.

Often we are so focussed on our own needs that we forget to consider the other person in a relationship.  How different would it be if we asked “What have I got to give the person?”, “What do they need from me?” instead of “What do I want from them?”

After a tentative start Gordon and I have bonded and fallen head over wheels in love.  He happily accompanies me to Yoga classes in East Cork where you are welcome to come and meet him.

Gordon at work

Gordon, The new car in my life x

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