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The wonderful thing about life is that we can all learn from one another no matter what path our lives lead us on.

I found myself at a party over the weekend with many new people. Being adventurous and always open to what life has to bring, I of course was up for the experience. The location only a few blocks from a neighborhood I lived near during my marriage. It seemed surreal to be venturing back to my old stomping grounds about 2 years from my divorce. As I enter the neighborhood I had passed so many times before during my married life, I was excited to see where the night would go.

As cocktails flowed and music blared I waited for the bathroom in the hallway. A man asked me how I was doing and I replied fine. We eventually got to the “What do you do?” topic and I responded as always that I’m a Dating Coach, Published Author& Radio Show Host. He replied as most, surprised, “Oh really?” I love what I do because no matter what age, race, or status everyone is looking for love and it always sparks conversation.
Old Open Jail Cell Door
He replied that he just got out of prison and was in for 8 years and how should he go about looking for someone now. The funny thing is if you looked at us from a far you would think that a middle class blonde Caucasian girl would have nothing in common with an African American male with a gold grill just fresh out of prison. Yet, you cannot judge a book by its cover.

So I asked him what he learned while he was in prison. He told me he was a drug dealer and was doing well, yet was snitched on. He was sent away for 8 years, while he was there he acquired a degree in the technical field and a personal trainer certificate. I told him that was great he had an opportunity to grow and develop.

However, he kept protesting that he had a good thing going in the drug business and he wouldn’t have gotten caught if it wasn’t for that person ratting him out. He kept focusing on that issue. I made him stop and pause. I said, “Wait a second, if you were not caught you would not have acquired your 2 degrees to function in society with a legal career, so shouldn’t you thank that person who snitched? Shouldn’t you thank them for saving your life?” He paused thinking it over and he agreed and said I was right.

He went on to say he didn’t have a good family life and everything he learned was from the streets. I shared with him my stories that I never learned healthy relationship behaviors from my family either. My childhood was very dysfunctional so I had to teach myself beneficial habits in adulthood. I had to teach myself health and nutrition at 16 years old and how a nourishing interaction is between a man and a woman.

Sometimes you are born into a healthy familia status and other times you are not. It doesn’t matter if you’re middle class family or a family in the ghetto. You have to take the responsibility upon yourself in adulthood to teach yourself those life skills. Either it be you learn it on the streets or from immersing yourself into books. Whichever way you look at it we shared that common bond that we had to teach ourselves what our parents were unable to do for us as children.

He turned and looked at me with a new found respect and said, ” I’m so happy I spoke to you tonight.” It made my heart warm. This is why I love what I do. I can always help someone gain a new perspective on life. It doesn’t matter who they are, we are all human beings trying to make it in this life.

I told him to keep growing and developing himself as a whole, complete human being. That when he envisions what he wants out of a partner, all the qualities inside and out, to then become that person himself. Once you become what it is you want you will then attract a person with similar qualities. He developed for those 8 years because life gave him an opportunity to only work on himself. Now it’s his choice, his own free will to choose to continue the development in order to become a wholesome person and find true love.

Tara Richter
Tara Richter is an Internet Dating Coach in Tampa Bay. She is the author of “The Dating Jungle Series” and an Internet TV Show Host.