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What I learned from horses, cats and dogs about love! Partnerships that work! #horselovers #RelationshipGoals

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Introduction, Ten Weeks to Love

Most of my adult life was spent in the pursuit of a romantic dream that had somehow eluded me except in brief. There was nothing really wrong with me, but no amount of compliments to the contrary from friends and family could convince me otherwise. The fact that I could not for the life of me figure out how to have a successful, happy, and lasting relationship convinced me that I was seriously and irreparably flawed. As far as I was concerned, I was hopeless.


Mother, bless her heart, wanted to help. But she was more of a mess than I was, even if I didn’t think so at the time. In fact, she was married so many times that to this day my brother and I still cannot agree on how many times she was married and to whom (although we do estimate that number to be between six and ten, including the two times she married and divorced Dad).  We laugh about it, but it’s a pretty sad commentary on a life very much spent in the pursuit of happiness and finding it only fleetingly at best.

Glamorous Mom

The fact that she was glamorous and gorgeous didn’t help my self-esteem either, especially when I was a teenager. Mother had been a model, showgirl, and actress. Honestly, when she got dressed up, she could stop traffic! As a young girl, I thought she was everything I wanted to be: tall, gorgeous, charming, and funny. But mostly I wanted to get the attention that she always got, especially from men (she had very few female friends). I thought she was happy, because I would have been happy to have been so blessed, or so I thought at the time.


(Clearly Mother didn’t love me very much as evidenced by

the facthat she let me go out in public with that hair!)

Puberty changed all that. Boys started hanging around, but it soon became clear that they were there to be with Mother, not me. In retrospect, I know she didn’t intend to hurt me, but her own insecurities compelled her to seek attention wherever she could, even if that happened to be at my expense. All I saw at the time was that compared to her, I was plain and undesirable. I was certain that I was never going to be able to compete. Had I been able to see beyond my own hurt, I would have known how unhappy and unfulfilled she was and perhaps felt better about myself and my chances for happiness.


My first marriage was brief.  I ended it.  I had unexpressed misgivings even as my intended and I walked down the aisle.  I was too cowardly to speak up before the “I dos.”  Had I done so, I could have saved my fiancé, his family and everyone involved a great deal of upset.


My second marriage lasted seven and a half years, which was seven and a half years—minus one day—longer than it should have.  When your husband of one day says that he thinks maybe it was a mistake to have gotten married, the wrong thing to do is to wonder what you did wrong, and then spend the next several years trying to make it right.

What I should have done was to thank him for his honesty, tell him he had 24 hours to sort it out, and in the meantime, he could sleep on the couch.

Much as I didn’t appreciate some of his actions during our marriage—actions consistent with someone who was unhappy in that marriage—I had to admit that blaming him never really made me feel better or bring me closer to understanding what happened, let alone closer to the fulfilling relationship I said I wanted.

And while complaining to friends brought temporary comfort—friends tend to sympathize and make you right about your viewpoint—I still wasn’t getting any closer to turning things around.

After Husband No. 2 and I parted company, things were tough even if the break-up was ultimately the best thing that could have happened to me. And then there was the fear that things might get worse.  After all, I wasn’t getting any younger and according to some popular women’s magazines, my chances for romance were dwindling with age and the effects of gravity on the body.


I’m happy to report, however, that I beat the odds. I did climb out of the hole I had so creatively dug for myself. I did find someone about whom I was excited and who was just as excited about me. I did get married, and after 25 years, still think that I’m the luckiest woman in the world to be married to this extraordinary man.


My transformation from stupid and miserable “dumpee” to happy, confident and loved woman took a surprisingly short amount of time (a few weeks). Over the years I had considered writing it all down, but I wanted to make sure that the relationship would last before passing myself off as some expert. I wanted to be a real-life example of what I was advising.

That said, I figure that 25 years of a great marriage and relationship gives me some real-life credentials. I didn’t get it right for a long time—like a lot of folks. I’ve been in the trenches—like a lot of folks. But I finally did get it right—like I hope a lot of folks will from reading this book!


This is not some lofty volume on theories of love. It is at least as much about things to do as it is about things to think about—less thinking, more action.

The things I learned through my own experiences led to some amazingly simple truths. But as simple as these truths ultimately are, it takes a commitment, persistence and no small amount of courage to face the lies we’ve told ourselves—or bought into from others—along the way.

The steps I took in creating a better life for myself grew out of my circumstances and my problems. Though I think there is value in reading this entire book, some entries may apply to your situation more than others. Use what is most relevant to you.

I wish I could have shared this information with Mom, who died way too young never knowing how great life could be with the right person. Perhaps I can help offset her loss by helping others.


Popularity Contests

Excerpt from Chapter 4, Ten Weeks to Love

When I was in junior and senior high school, I remember trying to figure out why the popular kids were popular, and why they never seemed to have problems getting dates (unlike moi).

It took many years before I realized that part of their attractiveness to others was that they weren’t desperate for boyfriends or girlfriends. They seemed to be able to take it or leave it—dating and going steady.

I was beginning to see that this was a large part of being in a relationship. One was not desperate, because desperation was a sign that one was not confident, and no one who is him- or herself confident really wants to be with someone who isn’t.

Further, when people are desperate they may do stupid, silly, and irrational things. They may try to be the thing or person they believe would make them more attractive to the object of their desires. They may become jealous and demanding. They may cease being themselves and in so doing, lose their personal integrity.

I saw myself in high school being on the desperate side of things with the predictable outcome. Or some boy was desperate to get close to me that I didn’t like. No matter how I tried I just couldn’t figure out how to have that “take it or leave it” attitude with the boys I liked! It was quite maddening.

(By the way, I think being a teenager is very rough on kids. My hat’s off to parents who are grounded, caring, loving, firm when needed, and sane, because it takes a lot of patience, savvy and a great sense of humor to help kids get through what can be a most confusing time.)

Ultimately, I figured out how to achieve a measure of determination without the desperation part (read the next chapter), but the mere fact that I could now recognize the differences, manifestations, and effects created by those two attitudes was very helpful and allowed me to move one step closer to  realizing my dreams.

2 Responses to Preview the Book

  • Joan Fodor says:

    Oh Tanii, your blog is simply wonderful and inspired. So beautifully and uniquely written and designed. It is no wonder. Having known you since our college days, it was clear even then that your creativity would find expression somehow, somewhere. How wonderful that you have had so many avenues for it and now this very public one. It was a pleasure to browse. I will read it again and again. Loved seeing the photos, remembering your mom – a woman who did not have the good fortune or insight you have had. I’m so proud of you, my darling friend.
    Much love,

    • Tanii Carr says:

      My darling Joan,

      I so appreciate your comments, albeit very self-serving for me! It’s not just that we’re friends; you are a consummate professional yourself so your perspective means a great deal to me from that standpoint. Hope we can meet up next time you’re in the area–and I hope that’s sooner than later!

      Love, Tanii

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