(note)…. after our first book Soul Dating to Soul Mating came out, Janet contacted me to ask me if I was willing to be part of her book and this is what she wrote…
It wasn’t until Basha Kaplan became real that she met her husband, her spiritual partner and soul mate. Before that, she tried her best to be what she thought her dates wanted.
She was an expert chameleon. Only trouble was, they kept dropping her after they figured out she was not what she had presented herself to be. For a long time she was angry with them, until finally she figured it out: she had betrayed these men by pretending she was someone else. No matter that she pretended in an effort to make them like her– she still pretended. No wonder they left. “It was an extremely painful period of my life,” she remembers. “I was depressed, I went through a lot of mood swings, I vacillated between dating and not dating. I didn’t know what to do.
Then I stopped, and started therapy. I also moved across the country to California and started a doctorate in psychology. For the first time I was alone in a new city with no one to call. Being that alone forced me to stop and look at myself.
“I went through an existential crisis that I call my Dark Night of the Soul.”
That was the beginning of Basha’s discovering who she was, realizing that she was likeable and lovable, and that it was safe to reveal her true self to the world. She remembers the night that was a turning point:
“I had always been the giver to other people . . . the caretaker, the clown . . . but I never really let people be there for me.
I also had an eating disorder but never told anyone about it. I was ashamed and embarrassed, and I was terrified. I knew I was eating like that because I was lonely and wouldn’t let people see the real me.
“One night I took a chance and asked myself who was the safest person I knew whom I could share this with and probably wouldn’t reject me. I thought of my friend Leslie. She and I went to dinner and I decided to tell her who I really was. I said, “This is hard for me, but I need to tell you something, and I’m afraid you’ll reject me. Then I told her about my binge eating. We both started crying. I‘ll never forget what she said:
“Basha, I wanted to reach out to you all of this time, but you wouldn’t let me in.” That night I went home and, for the first time, I didn’t have to binge.
“For me, that was the beginning of being able to tell the truth about who I was and letting people be there for me authentically. When I started examining some of my belief systems, I realized I no longer needed to be perfect. When I accepted my limitations as a human being, life became easier for me.”
Once Basha recognized that she didn’t need to be perfect, she could finally accept that others didn’t need to be perfect either.
“What helped me heal was that I accepted people and events as they were, and didn’t try to change anything or take it personally. You can’t choose your parents, but you can certainly choose people around you as friends and lovers who are much more nurturing.”
Once she became more authentic, Basha also placed far more importance on the “who” of her dates rather than the “what.”
“All of a sudden I was more concerned with the importance of emotional safety — the externals were no longer as important as they used to be. Not the ‘what’s’ of life, but ‘Who is this person?’ Is he kind, considerate, loving, nonjudgmental? Has he done work on himself? If I question him, will he get defensive?”
She had also made a list of her non-negotiables —- things she knew she needed in a life partner and wasn’t going to settle for less.
It was then, at age forty-eight after Basha was really open and ready, that a friend insisted she meet her widowed friend Jeff. Even though Basha lived in Chicago and Jeff in New York, the friend thought it would be a strong enough connection that they should make arrangements. It wasn’t what Jeff did that inspired Basha to meet him; it was who he was. Her friend said, “Jeff stopped working to take care of his wife, who was dying of cancer.” And the second statement was: “He’s different from all the other men you dated who wanted you to take care of them. Jeff will be there for you, and he understands how to be in a partnership. He knows how to be married. If you’re serious about getting married, you have to meet this man.”
They arranged a date for Basha to fly to New York and meet Jeff. Despite that fact that she had a 102-degree fever, she wanted to keep her commitment and went anyway. After one of their subsequent dates Basha says, “We were open and not at all defensive. Truth was paramount. We both let out hair down and bared out souls to each other. Somehow we knew we were in safe hands, with God directing behind the scenes, a true spiritual partnership. He saw me at my worst and loved me for it. That must be the reason that I was sick coming to New York because I needed to really believe that someone could love me with all my imperfections.”
“Suddenly I was able to see his soul. He had touched my essence in a way that no one had before.”
They had connected on such a soul level that when they arranged to meet again ten days later in Chicago, Jeff was concerned that he wouldn’t even recognize Basha. She says, “He knew my soul but could not remember my face. I realized that I felt the same way. What a relief it was when we finally faced each other at the airport and reconnected on the physical level as well.”
“We were married six months later on October 1, 1995. The most amazing part of our relationship is how easy and smooth it has been, and we feel more connected each day.”
Questions from Basha and Jeff for you to ponder:
What issues from Basha’s life do you personally relate to? How have they negatively impacted your personal relationships? What changes will you make to turn your life around? Let us know!