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Sometimes expectations can be dangerous. Not for all the usual reasons (they can lead to disappointment, for one) but because they can lead you astray.

For the longest time, I had a picture in my head of the kind of person I wanted to partner up with. As a friend reminded me this weekend, I am a lot. “You’re BOLD. Undaunted. Project a badass image,” he said.

I have been told this enough times that you think it would have sunk in by now, but I guess my reaction always is: don’t believe the hype.

I mean, I know how I see myself—and I know how much of everything else is just smoke and mirrors. And somehow, I expect people to see through the smoke and mirrors, to recognize the scared little girl that is still in there somewhere, but then I try to shift my perspective, and I recognize that my friend, like so many others, is right.

I met a friend of a friend on Sunday, and her primary reaction was “She’s intense.”

Yeah, yeah, okay. I know. I am intense. I’m direct. I’m bold. I’m whatever the hell you want to call me that encompasses my impatience and my refusal to compromise.

Which is all why I thought I needed to be with someone at least as strong as me, someone preferably more bold, even less daunted, even more badass. You know, a man.

Unfortunately, those uber-confident, mega-driven men are often douchebags.

Which may both explain my crappy relationships over the last ten years, as well as my persistent single status.

I may have been looking for a unicorn.

[Forgive the New Age lapse. I’ve been in LA for seven and a half years. I’m still working on being present.]

So I stopped trying to find my unicorn because I realized that dating that kind of guy would inevitably mean one thing: my career would get backburnered.

Partly because my instinct is to nurture and support, and partly because those kinds of guys love being nurtured and supported. They want to be the only show in town.

Which is why, when I started focusing on my career last year, I stopped dating. Because dating those guys and my career were mutually exclusive.

I guess part of me figured I needed to get my career to a point where it could kind of slide on auto-pilot, and then I could go searching for my douchebag-free unicorn.

That was my expectation. That was the vision in my head. I could even sort of see what this guy would look like (I think I saw him in Israel).

But then life likes to fuck with you just when you think you know what is going on.

And I met a girl, not a guy. And she’s not at all what I was looking for. And even though it’s very soon to tell, I have a suspicion that she and my career are not mutually exclusive.

This is by no means to say that men and careers cannot exist in some copacetic harmony. This is, however, to say that I haven’t figured out how to make that happen.