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5 Signs You’re With The Wrong Person Mr. Right Now?

5 Signs You’re With The Wrong Person

Mr. Right Now?

 

When I first met John, I thought I had met my soul mate. He was handsome, intelligent, witty, and adventurous. The first few months of our relationship were bliss, but as time went on subtle changes began to take place within me. At first, I didn’t notice them. My best friends did. When they would point something out, I would shrug it off. “All relationships have their ups and downs,” I would say. While that may be true, our bodies do send us physiological signals that something isn’t quite right. My body had been trying to tell me for months that I was not with the right guy, but I didn’t listen. John was not abusive. We had a good time together. Yet, the signals were clear. He was not the one.

What physiological signs does your body send you when you’re with the wrong person? There are several, and you should pay close attention when they start to pop up. Learn to trust your gut and it will never lead you astray.

  1. You lose your smile. My friends began to notice that when I talked about John, I smiled less often. They noticed how my lips would pull tight and my eyes would grow sad. They noticed these months before I began to realize that when I thought of John, my spontaneous smile that was omnipresent in the beginning was fading. If you find yourself smiling less, you are with the wrong person.
  2. Your self-esteem vanishes. If you start to notice your confidence wavering when it was previously thriving, this is a physiological sign that the person you are with is not helping feel loved and supported the way you should be. If you can’t feel comfortable in their presence when you’re at your worst, then they are not the right person for you. The right person will help your subconscious feel completely at ease, so you are free to be completely and unapologetically you.
  3. You are emotionally exhausted. While I was dating John, I was completely emotionally exhausted. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was spending a lot of emotional energy trying to be the perfect partner for John. I was trying to manage my moods and anxiety to avoid provoking negative reactions in him. While it is important to be aware of how you affect your SO in healthy relationships if you find yourself micromanaging yourself in order to avoid conflict in you are in trouble. You are allowed to have emotions. You are allowed to express those emotions, and your partner should listen and be supportive. If they aren’t willing to be that shoulder to cry on, you are not with the right person.
  4. You are in denial. Do you spend a lot of time trying to convince yourself everything is fine in your relationship? I’ve got a little secret for you. FINE is the kiss of death. No one should settle for fine. While all relationships have their ups and downs, and there is definitely a happy medium to be found if you are with the right person you do not have to convince yourself everything is fine. You will FEEL stable and confident and optimistic. You will FEEL a deeper connection and commitment. You will FEEL it. If you find that your inner dialogue dwells on the pros/cons of your relationship a lot, then your body is trying to tell you everything is not FINE.
  5. You neglect yourself. While you may want to spend every waking moment with your SO, you should never put yourself last. You should not feel guilty about needing me time, and your partner should not begrudge that time either. If you need a night out with your friends or a few hours to yourself, your SO shouldn’t demand that you check in frequently with them. If you do not have time or energy to meet your physical, emotional, and spiritual needs within your relationship, then you are with the wrong person.

All relationships take work. All relationships vacillate between times of pure bliss and rocky roads. The difference is that if you are with the right person, you will FEEL it in your bones. Your body will let you know that you can weather the storm because your SO is committed to you and your happiness, not just their own. With the right partner, every day is beautiful. The struggles become conquerable. The highs become even more brilliant. So, listen to your body—it will guide you to Mr. Right!

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Know Thyself

 

Know Thyself

 

I have this coworker. He’s a decent guy. Hard worker. He often laments to me that even though he has a great job and is fairly attractive, he can’t seem to maintain a relationship for very long. He’s anxious to find someone he can spend his life with but usually after a few dates with a woman he’s interested in, she tells him she wants to date other people. He seems genuinely puzzled by this pattern. I know why women run screaming for the hills after a few dates. I just don’t know how to tell him. He has a personality quirk that is very off-putting, and he seems completely oblivious to it.

Somehow he never developed the ability to be introspective about himself. He never developed self-knowledge based on how people reacted to him. He missed the subtle social cues people give like changing the subject, breaking eye contact, turning their bodies away from him, that indicates they were uncomfortable with what he was saying or doing. He couldn’t recognize the negative effects his personality had on conversations he tried to have with other people. Because of this, he has developed a blind spot to self-knowledge. As a result, he has one failure after another as he tries to date and form relationships with women.

Self-knowledge 

Self-knowledge refers to the knowledge of your own tendencies of behavior or ways of being. It’s being aware of the parts of your personality that others may find annoying, bizarre, rude, embarrassing, etc. There is nothing wrong with embracing the parts of your personality that make you truly unique and special, but in the social dance we all participate in (especially when dating and forming relationships) some behaviors and quirks should be eliminated. Some people think their jokes are hilarious when they really aren’t. Some people monopolize a conversation. Some people think their distinctive style makes them unique when it doesn’t. Some people wear too much cologne. Some people wear too much makeup. Some people are arrogant. The list is endless.

Many of us develop self-knowledge as we wade through the tumultuous teenage years and into our twenties. We learn appropriate social interactions and how to present ourselves in a polished yet genuine way. However, we all suffer from blind spots to self-knowledge. This can be problematic when we are trying to find a companion and/or build a relationship with a SO.

If you have experienced a pattern of failed relationships or manage to get a couple dates out of a woman/man and then get politely brushed off, you may want to see if there are blind spots in your self-knowledge. If you are introspective and honest, you can do this on your own, but if you are truly clueless you may want to find some courage and solicit the help of coworkers or a past SO and ask for an “exit interview.” Be prepared to hear some things that might be painful. Truth can hurt, but it can also help you understand how you present yourself to others. If you solicit the help of an ex-, make sure they understand this conversation isn’t designed to get back together with them. Express to them your desire to understand how things went awry. After the conversation, spend some time journaling the information that was shared, how you feel about it, and what (if anything) you plan to do with that information.

During a similar conversation with my SO, I was given the feedback that I make people feel stupid when I talk. I never realized that that is how I came across. I was crushed and angry when I heard this feedback, but the more I pondered this information I realized that it was quite possibly true. I have been a teacher for over 20 years and part of that job requires me to be the authoritative voice in the room. That authoritative voice has become part of my personality, and slowly my classroom persona had crept into my social personality without me noticing it. I felt horrified that my interactions with others had become marred by this personality quirk I hadn’t been aware of until my SO brought it to my attention. Thankfully, I now have this self-knowledge and can be more sensitive to other’s feelings when I interact with them.

Research shows the average person tends to believe he or she is above average in many things. How can we all be above average? It’s statistically impossible! This just illustrates that many of us struggle to see ourselves accurately.  Every day we base decisions on how we perceive ourselves. When we base those decisions on flawed self-assessments, we run the risk of causing harm to ourselves or others. And, when we are trying to find our soul mate or building a life-long relationship with someone, overlooking our personality’s flaws can be fatal.

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How To Spot Red Flags… 20 Signs To Look For

How To Spot Red Flags…

20 Signs To Look For

Recovering from a devastating break up is similar to a community recovering from a natural disaster. You do a lot of looking back and analyzing—trying to understand how you missed the signs and how you allowed yourself to be so unprepared for the imminent destruction that was headed your way. You are paralyzed with guilt for being so stupid and gullible. If only I had seen the red flags you yell at yourself! But upon further reflection, you are forced to acknowledge that you did see them. You saw ALL of them, but in the bliss and excitement, the lust and yearning for love your radar detector dims and you dismiss the signs. You are eager to forgive “little” mistakes because you want your partner to forgive you your foibles as well. However, over time the little mistakes begin to form a pattern of behavior and if you aren’t purposeful in how you approach a relationship, one of two things will happen: a catastrophic break up after you have lost your sense of self and any self-esteem you had OR you marry your partner and have a nightmare of a marriage that leads to a toxic divorce that leaves you breathless and quivering without a shred of dignity or self-respect.

Sounds fun, doesn’t it? So, how can you avoid this disaster? You have to be purposeful. You have to make a commitment to step out of the fantasy, momentarily, and record your thoughts and impressions and identify red flags while your relationship develops. Yes, hindsight is 20/20, but if you take some time to journal your relationship and track what is happening, you can see a pattern as it develops. Then you can use this information to create boundaries, make decisions, and end relationships if necessary.

The Gottman Institute recommends that you record each time your partner displays a red flag. You can draw them on a blank sheet of paper. Get out your red crayons and color in the boxes. Then, as you date, if your partner displays one of the red flags below, record the date and the details in one of the red flags on your sheet. Over time, you will be able to tell if there is a pattern or if they are just mistakes, which we all make. This is a powerful visual that can help you more clearly see what is happening in your relationship.

 

          Red Flags         

  1. Lack of communication skills.

  2. Irresponsible, immature, unpredictable behavior.

  3. Lack of trust.

  4. Your significant family and friends don’t like him/her.

  5. Controlling behaviors.

  6. You feel insecure in the relationship.

  7. They have a dark or secretive past.

  8. They have a history of not resolving past relationships.

  9. Abusive behavior of any kind.

  10. They push your physical boundaries.

  11. They tell you you’re perfect all of the time.

  12. The roll their eyes at you.

  13. They call all their exes crazy.

  14. They call you names during arguments.

  15. They have no work ethic.

  16. They are cruel or disrespectful to their parents.

  17. Their attitude or moods shift swiftly.

  18. They guilt trip you for everything.

  19. They make you feel stupid.

  20. The relationships is built on the need to feel needed.

 

Obviously, some of these are more severe than others, but they are ALL red flags. They ALL lead to toxic relationships. If you have a hard time being objective while you are being swept off your feet at the beginning of a relationship, consider using this visual activity to help you track your partner’s red flags. Use the information from the visual and trust your gut! Once you are sure there is a pattern, end the relationship immediately. April Mae Monterrosa said, “The red flags are usually there, you just have to keep your eyes open wider than your heart.” This strategy is one way to help you do that. Set yourself up for success in love and you will find it!

 

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A New Year. A New You. A New Dating Strategy.

NewDatingStrategy

 

If you’re like many singles, you’ve been dating for a while. You think you know what you want, so each time you get on a dating site you make sure to select all the correct criteria: gender (male), age (35-50), height (at least 5 feet 5 inches), activity level (moderate to completely active), children (open to having his children), blah, blah, blah. You hit enter and then the program spits out a list of potential soul mates for you to wander through. However, after months and months (and maybe even years) of using this same strategy, you’re still single. What if this strategy of using criteria to limit who you meet online has been wrong all along?

What if this year you try a different strategy? What if instead of focusing on superficial criteria, you leave things completely open? What would happen then? And, stay with me, what if you committed to conversing with and committing to having coffee or ice cream with every single person who reached out to connect with you? Of course, if you felt there was a safety issue you should definitely listen to your gut. However, barring any safety concerns make a commitment to dating outside your box!

Ann Marsh tried just that kind of experiment in 2003. She decided to go on 100 dates in six months. She did her due diligence and vetted the emails as they came in, but she decided to cast off her preconceived ideas of what she was looking for and date outside of her box. Here is an excerpt from her article:

“I got a lot of responses right off the bat. Some were ludicrous, like the 50-something guy in a Hawaiian shirt who offered to fly me to Vegas for the weekend. I deleted far more than I answered. But Week One still found me on dates with 14 men at local coffee shops. In Week Two, I slowed down to seven. I shook hands with a Danish architect and an hour later zoomed across town to meet a swoony soap opera actor. The next day was tea with an airfreight handler, followed that evening by a walk with a real estate lawyer. I dated aerospace engineers, entrepreneurs, doctors, an oceanographer, film animators, a romantic man who lived impecuniously on a boat, and a self-proclaimed gazillionaire who resided atop a mountain.”

So, what did Ann Marsh learn from this experiment? She learned honesty. She learned how important it was to be honest about if she was truly interested in someone after the first date, and she learned to appreciate that same honesty from someone (even if it hurt a little bit). She learned that men who sounded fascinating in their profiles were less than fascinating in person while others who weren’t quite sure how to “advertise” themselves were really amazing. She learned how to set healthy boundaries by having exit lines prepared when it was clear a date should not continue. She learned how to take rejection and roll with it.

She met so many fascinating people she would have never met had she checked too many restrictive boxes on her dating profile. And, would you believe it? She met her soul mate. The man of her dreams who, as chance would have it, would have been weeded out by her selection criteria.

So, if finding your soul mate is a goal for 2019 consider a new strategy this year. Try dating outside your box. You will meet a lot of amazing people. You will learn more about yourself. And, you might just find what you didn’t know you were looking for.

 

Ann Marsh. “What I Learned From Dating 100 Men.” February 2003 issue of the O magazine.

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What Does Safe Dating Look Like?

SafeDatingtipsA few years ago, using an online dating service was considered shameful and people would often lie about how they met their significant other if they met each other online. Today, times are changing. Last year, meeting someone online was the most common way people met their spouse or spouse-to-be (19%). This was followed by being introduced by friends (17%), meeting someone in college (15%), and then work place romances (12%). While you should always exercise safe dating practices, when you meet someone online you have an increased risk, so you should be extra cautious.

What does that look like? First, make sure you use a reputable dating service. Dating Safe is revolutionary in how we approach dating safety. We go over and beyond other dating services to vet and verify all of our members. No other dating service does that. However, even with all of the safeguards we use, we encourage our members, and everyone else for that matter, to follow these great tips as they look for their soul mate.

  1. When it comes to your online profile, limit the amount of personal information you give out. Particularly, pay attention to the pictures you post. Do they reveal where you work, live, or play frequently? Does it show your license plate or your jogging path? This kind of information should be kept private until you determine you can trust the person you are interested in. That should be several in-person dates down the road. There is a delicate balance to be reached between getting to know someone and revealing too much private information. You can talk about work, but you can keep the location private until you feel safe with that person.
  2. Do a little online sleuthing. Do a Google search on their name. Do a reverse Google image search on their pictures. If you find them on Facebook, see if you have any friends in common and message your friends to get information on them.
  3. Consider using a Google phone number and have it forwarded to your phone. This is free by using Google Voice. This is an easy way to avoid giving your personal number to someone before you are ready to give that to them. You can also use your online dating service messaging to communicate until you are ready to reveal your phone number.
  4. While it is tempting to text to set up the first date, psychologists highlight suggest you talk to someone on the phone. There are things you can only learn from talking to someone and your instincts will respond more clearly from hearing their voice than just reading some words on a screen.
  5. If the person you are talking to online starts to ask for money, this is a huge red flag. Do not fall for their sob story. Never send money. Usually the request for money is preceded or followed by passionate professions of love. Don’t fall for it. Delete the person. Block them.

Once you’ve decided to have a first date, there are some things you should do. These are essential when meeting anyone new for the first time even if your best friend has set you up and given you her full endorsement.

  1. Tell someone where you will be, who you are meeting, and how long you will be gone.
  2. Drive yourself there.
  3. Go somewhere public.
  4. Keep it brief. Meet for coffee or lunch. Grab a drink after work. If you are drinking alcohol, limit your intake so you can stay alert and aware.
  5. Consider carrying a self-defense tool and some emergency cash.
  6. Trust your instincts.
  7. Have your “gotta go excuse” ready to go in case the date is going poorly or your instincts tell you something is wrong. This can be coordinated with your check-in buddy.
  8. Go home alone.

Overall, whenever you are on a date, it is imperative to respect time, space, and privacy. While asking questions to get to know someone better is a natural technique for conversation, you need to be careful to respect boundaries. Someone may not be ready to divulge where they take yoga classes if they are protecting their privacy. So, instead of asking: where is your yoga studio?  Ask them: what do you love about yoga? You will learn more about your date by asking the second question and respect his/her need for privacy.

While online dating has its challenges, it is definitely worth it. The good news is, research is showing that marriages that result from online dating are happening quicker and are less likely to end the first year. Couples who met online are also reporting more marital satisfaction.  So, what’s stopping you? Get on DatingSafe.com and get your profile ready to go. We do a big chunk of the work for you by vetting and verifying our members so you get real people looking for real relationships. Then use the tips above and you are on your way to find the love of your life!

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Are You on Your Christmas List?

SelfCareHolidays

 

You sit on the sofa next to the warm, crackling fire. The lights on the Christmas tree are beautiful. The ornaments you made as a young child still hang on several limbs. You smile as you watch your nieces and nephews play noisily on the floor. Your sister is snuggled up in her husband’s arms. Your parents are working together in the kitchen preparing dinner. You can smell the aroma of honey-baked ham and apple pie. As you glance around your childhood home, you reminisce about the hopes and dreams you had as a youngster. The tears catch you by surprise and you try to wipe them away before anyone notices. This warm, inviting environment quickly turns to ice as you become painfully aware of the depth of loss and disappointment you are feeling. Suddenly, you feel the desire to run.

 

The holidays can be a time of fun and joy, but it can also be a time of intense pain. Being together with family can remind you of what you want or what you had and lost. While it’s important to treasure your time with your family at this time of year, it is also important to acknowledge that it can be very painful. Practicing self-care becomes essential to not just surviving but truly enjoying the beauty of this holiday season.

Self-Care Check List:

  1. Take time for yourself. Between shopping and parties and work and last minute crisis, this time of year stretches you to your max. You need to schedule time for yourself. This is especially true if you are traveling to visit friends or family. Protect “me time”. You need at least 30 minutes every day.
  2.  Make room for grief. If you are missing a loved one who has passed or a loved one who is no longer part of your life, allow yourself time to sit with your grief. Share memories. Plan something special to remember them. Joy and grief can exist in the same space. Don’t try to hide or ignore the grief or pretend the person didn’t exist. Invite them into your celebration.
  3.  Manage difficult interactions with family members by having a check-in buddy. Try to minimize your interactions with family members who are toxic or who are difficult to get along with. Set up check-in meetings with a close friend so you can vent through a phone call or text throughout the event. This can help alleviate the stress you feel during the interaction.
  4.  Enjoy the amazing food and festivities, but be mindful of how you indulge. Don’t overdo it. Often when we feel sad, depressed, or frustrated we give ourselves permission to self-medicate with too much sugar, alcohol, or drugs. Stay in control and you will not have regrets once the celebrations are over.
  5.  If you have children, spend time with them. See the magic of the season through their eyes. Get lost in the wonder and amazement of seeing the lights on houses, visiting Santa at the mall, going caroling, building gingerbread houses, and snuggling by the fire.
  6.   Practice gratitude. Research shows that simply asking yourself: what am I grateful for? increases dopamine and serotonin levels. If you can’t find an answer to that question, don’t worry. Simply pondering it is enough to begin to build stronger positive emotional pathways in your brain.
  7. Let go of the ideal. Stop comparing your reality with everyone else’s and feeling like a failure for it. Embrace your situation with all its quirks, benefits, and drawbacks. It is uniquely yours.  Stay off of social media during the holidays if the temptation to compare yourself to others is too great.
  8. Get grounded. Every day, spend at least five minutes grounding yourself. Use all five of your senses. In the shower, feel the water as it runs down your back. Put on your favorite music. Inhale the smell of your favorite soap or body wash. Take a sip of your morning tea or coffee. Be in the moment. Quiet. Focused. You can do this any time during your day. Grounding helps you manage your stress. It can stop a panic attack. It can help you with depression.
  9. Create new, self-supportive traditions. If doing things the way they’ve always been done causes you more stress and harm than joy and peace–change it! If making your Christmas dinner from scratch makes life too hard, figure out something else. If traditions started with your ex-husband are too painful, start a new tradition. Make sure everything you choose to participate in meets your needs. Traditions are only useful and good if they bring happy memories and experiences. If they don’t, change them.
  10. Listen to your body. If you are exhausted and empty, you will not be able to give anything to anyone else. You will also not be able to enjoy the moment. It is ok to skip a party (or two). It is ok to give a gift card instead of running yourself ragged trying to find that “perfect” gift. Put yourself first. You need sleep, exercise, healthy food, and time to yourself to tend to your emotional needs. If you have children, this is even more important because they will need you to be at your best.

 

While self-care is important all year round, it is essential during the holiday season when you have additional stress on your shoulders. For those who are single, the holidays are a reminder that you don’t quite fit into “family” celebrations and this can be quite painful. In order to enjoy these moments to their fullest, make time to care for yourself. Give yourself permission to feel sadness amidst the joy. Treasure the moments life gives you and enjoy this holiday season!

 

 

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Ghost of Dating Advice Past

RetroDatingAdvice2

The holiday season is upon us and so is the season of self-loathing. The time when singles around the globe feel their “single-hood” in such a poignant and powerful way that the urge to run and hide is tangible. Watching happy couples and “complete” families celebrate the holidays is a painful reminder of what they do not have but desperately want. Often your friends and family begin to toss out advice in rapid-fire form to help you hook up for the holidays. Unfortunately, most of what they tell you is as useless as handing you a hammer when you are trying to fix a broken vase.

Because of advances in technology and communication, there are literally dozens of ways that singles can meet other singles today. However, dating advice hasn’t kept up the same frenzied pace. It’s as if the ghost of dating past is still haunting us today. Read the following list of dating advice that was published in McCall’s in 1958 and see if any of these old tired pieces of advice have been given to you recently.

 

HOW TO GET A HUSBAND

  1. Get a dog and walk it.
  2. Have your car break down in strategic places.
  3. Attend night school. Take courses men like.
  4. Read the obituaries to find eligible widowers.
  5. Sit on a park bench and feed the pigeons.
  6. Get a job in a medical, dental, or law school.
  7. Ask your friends’ husbands who the eligible men are in their offices.
  8. Be nice to everybody—they may have an eligible brother or son.
  9. Volunteer for jury duty.
  10. Be friendly to ugly men—handsome is as handsome does.
  11. Get lost at football games.
  12. Don’t take a job in a company run largely by women.
  13. Go to all reunions of your high school or college class. There may be widowers there.
  14. Don’t be afraid to associate with girls that are more attractive; they may have leftovers.
  15. Go back to your hometown for a visit. The wild kid next door may have become a very eligible bachelor while you were away.
  16. Don’t room with a girl who is a sad sack and let her pull you down to her level.
  17. Learn to paint. Set up your easel outside an engineering school.

HOW TO LET HIM KNOW YOU’RE THERE

  1. Stumble when you walk into a room that he’s in.
  2. Carry a hatbox.
  3. Wear a Band-Aid. People always ask what happened.
  4. Make a lot of money.
  5. Walk up to him and tell him you need some advice.
  6. Dropping the handkerchief still works.
  7. Stand in a corner and cry softly. Chances are good that he’ll come over and find out what’s wrong.
  8. Buy a convertible. Men like to ride in them.
  9. Learn how to bake tasty apple pies. Bring one in to the office and let the eligible bachelors taste it.
  10. If there’s a wallflower among the men you know, why not cultivate him? For all you know, he may be a diamond in the rough.
  11. “Accidentally” have your purse fly open, scattering its contents all over the street.

HOW TO LOOK GOOD TO HIM

  1. Get better-looking glasses. Men still make passes at girls who wear glasses. Or try contact lenses.
  2. Practice your drinking with your women friends first.
  3. If you dye your hair, pick a shade and stick to it.
  4. Wear high heels most of the time—they’re sexier.
  5. Tell him he’s handsome.
  6. Take good care of your health. Men don’t like girls who are ill.
  7. If you look good in sweaters, wear one on every third date.
  8. Get a sunburn.
  9. When you are with him, order your steak rare.
  10. Don’t tell him about your allergies.
  11. European women use their eyes to good advantage. Practice in front of a mirror.
  12. Use the ashtray; don’t crush out cigarettes in coffee cups!
  13. Don’t be too fussy.
  14. Don’t whine—girls who whine stay on the vine!

HOW TO LAND HIM

  1. Show him you can have fun on a cheap date—but don’t overdo it.
  2. Don’t let your parents treat him like a potential husband.
  3. Tell his friends nice things about him.
  4. Send his mother a birthday card.
  5. Ask his mother for recipes.
  6. Talk to his father about business and agree that taxes are too high.
  7. Buy his sister’s children an occasional present.
  8. Don’t talk about how many children you want.
  9. If he’s a fisherman, learn to scale and clean fish.
  10. When you’re out strolling with him, don’t insist on stopping at every shop window.
  11. Don’t tell him how much your clothes cost.
  12. Don’t gossip about him.
  13. Never let him know he’s the only one, even if you have to stay home one or two nights a week.
  14. Find out about the girls he hasn’t married. Don’t repeat the mistakes they made.
  15. If you are widowed or divorced, don’t constantly discuss your former husband.
  16. Be flexible. If he decides to skip the dance and go rowing on the lake . . . go! Even if you are wearing your best evening gown.
  17. Hide your Phi Beta Kappa key if you own one—later on junior can play with it.
  18. Turn wolves into husband material by assuming they have honor.
  19. Resist the urge to make him over—before marriage, that is!
  20. Remain innocent but not ignorant.
  21. Learn to play poker.
  22. If he’s rich, tell him you like his money—the honesty will intrigue him.
  23. Never let him believe your career is more important to you than marriage.
  24. Point out to him that the death rate of single men is twice that of married men.

WILD IDEAS—ANYTHING GOES

  1. Go to Yale.
  2. Get a hunting license.
  3. If your mother is fat, tell him you take after your father. If he’s fat too, tell him you’re adopted.
  4. Stow away on a battleship.
  5. Rent a billboard and post your picture and telephone number on it.

While some of these ideas are outright dangerous, most of the others are just plain insulting. They focus on changing yourself into something you are not instead of focusing on becoming your best self. That is what you need to do. Become your best self. Then trust the process. Dating is a lot of trial and error. You will get bumps and bruises along the way. You will most likely even get a broken heart or two. However, the last thing you want to do is change yourself into something you are not to try and “catch” a spouse. The love of your life WILL love you for who you are. So, while you are being patient with the process, spend time loving yourself. And when your friends or family offer a less than helpful piece of dating advice, put on a big smile and laugh it off.

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3 Tips For Dating Single Moms

 

3 Tips For Dating Single Moms

With around 15.4 single mothers in the United States, there is a good chance that you may end up dating one, especially if you are dating in your 30s, 40s, and 50s.  While some men may shy away from dating a woman with children, they are overlooking some specific benefits.

  1. First, single mothers are practical. They do not sweat the small stuff. While they appreciate being wined and dined, they are also just as happy with a fun picnic at the park. They appreciate the small and simple things in life. They know that even the best laid out plan can go swiftly sideways and they have learned to laugh at these spontaneous disasters. They will not hold things against you if your plans do not work out the way you intended. They will not see it as a flaw in your character or as a failure on your part. They will be able to laugh it off with you the way they have laughed off dozens of other such occasions with their own children.
  2. Second, her history has taught her what it takes to be a good partner, and she is ready to apply all that knowledge to her next relationship. Additionally, she is fine-tuning her nurturing skills as she cares for her children. She knows how to sacrifice and put others first. She intuitively knows how to anticipate the needs of others and she will do the same for you. There is something beautiful in how a mother balances the demands of each of her children with the demands of running a household and, often, working full time.
  3. Finally, if she falls for you, it is the real deal. She has learned to be guarded and reserved with her emotions, so if she gives her heart to you, you can be sure that it was not just on a whim. Rest assured she has weighed all the pros and cons about you and tried to talk herself out of falling for you several times before she allowed herself to open her heart. However, once she does, she is all in. She will give you all of her love, attention, and support.

If you have the wonderful opportunity to date a single mother, you should never say several things to her if you want to have a second (or third or fourth) date.

  • You look great . . .  for a mom.
  • The kids need a man in the house.
  • You had a C-section. That is awesome!
  • You don’t even have stretch marks.
  • Your ex lives in the neighborhood? Is his place near here? Do you ever run into him? Does he hate that you date?
  • Did you get your tubes tied?
  • How much child support do you get?
  • When guys marry single moms and their daughters grow into teenagers, I don’t know how they can control themselves.
  • My ex has a lot of issues so I really want to get married so my daughter has a new mom.
  • Not a lot of guys are interested in women with kids, you know.

All of these are showstoppers. She will block your number and you will never see her again.

So, what can you do to set yourself up for success? Do not assume that just because she has her kids she’s not available. If she’s interested in you, she will be willing to get a babysitter. Make sure you keep that in mind when asking her out so she has plenty of time to make those kinds of arrangements. In addition, because she has the expense of paying for the babysitter, it would be nice if you paid for at least part of the date. It is a nice gesture. Let her know that you love kids. If you have your own, talk about them. If you don’t, talk about your nieces and nephews or other children you have relationships with. She will want to know how you interact with kids. Don’t assume she is looking for a financial rescue or that she’s looking for a new dad for her children. What she is looking for is a new romantic partner. First and foremost, focus on that relationship. When she is ready, let her decide when to introduce you to her children. It is unwise for any single parent to parade a bunch of potential partners through their children’s lives. Timing is everything. So, do not pressure her into meeting her children before she feels ready.

So, why not give those hot single mommas a whirl? Don’t dismiss what they have to offer just because it may seem on the surface to be a bit more complicated than dating a single woman without children. You may miss the relationship of your dreams.

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7 Ways To Fight Your Way to Deeper Intimacy

 

 

7 Ways To Fight Your Way to Deeper Intimacy

In the beginning of a new relationship, it is all sunshine and roses. The world has a shiny glow to it as you are lost in the fairy tale of discovery. Just seeing a text from that special someone sends the butterflies in your stomach thrashing around like crazy. You cherish the memories you make, inside jokes you create, and that special look he/she gives just to you. However, as time moves on, you begin to feel the dark monster looming around the edges of your subconscious. You know it is inevitable when two independent adults come together to form a relationship.  It is only a matter of time before you come face to face with what you dread: your first fight.

 

That first fight often shatters your view of the relationship, but it shouldn’t. Fighting is often unfairly viewed as negative and misinterpreted as a sign of incompatibility. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Having an argument is not necessarily a red flag in a relationship. In fact, couples who claim they never fight are the ones who have the most to be worried about. Instead of looking at arguing as a sign of weakness in your relationship, you should change your paradigm and see it for what it is . . . an opportunity to increase your intimacy. However, not all fighting can lead to increased intimacy. There is definitely a right way and a wrong way to do it.

 

The biggest mistake in a relationship is avoiding having an argument because you worry about the consequences of introducing conflict into an otherwise blissful situation.  However, this is where relationship research can help you. In fact, research shows that couples that argue are 10 times more likely to have a happier, more fulfilled relationship than those who do not.  What is also clear is that very few individuals know intuitively how to argue in an effective way that increases intimacy. If handled incorrectly, arguing will completely destroy a relationship. Thus, it is worth the time to educate yourself on how to argue in a way that will increase your intimacy and build your relationship.

 

The Science of Love By The Gottman Institute is the world leader in relationship research. From over 40 years of working with couples, here is what research shows can build intimacy when couples argue:

 

  1. Timing is extremely important. Issues should be addressed as soon as they become issues. If you let things fester in your mind, then you will undoubtedly create an unhealthy situation for an argument to occur. Instead of being level headed, your emotions will be stirred up and you will have a hard time staying focused on the present issue.

  2. Have each other’s best interests at heart. It is easy to fall into the trap of thinking it is you versus your partner in an argument, but what you need to remember is that you are on the same team.

  3. Keep it out of the bedroom. Often couples retire to the bedroom to have their arguments so they can have some privacy, but that can create problems further down the road. You want to maintain the fun, spontaneous nature of your bedroom. Gottman recommends keeping the fighting in a neutral location. In addition, contrary to the popular adage, it is completely ok to call a time out on an argument, go to bed, and get some rest without resolving the issue. Arguing late into the night is not productive. Being able to stop the argument and retire for some much-needed rest in the bedroom is an excellent strategy for helping to maintain intimacy and resolving conflict.

  4. Stick to the facts and own your emotions. It is helpful to use this sentence stem: “I feel ______ about _______ and I need ________.” If you are unsure of what your partner is requesting or sharing with you, always ask a clarifying question. Repeat back to them what you think you heard them share and then ask them if that is what they were trying to say. Try this sentence stem: “So what I heard you say was ____________.”

  5. Do not get flooded. If you feel your heart rate begin to escalate and your mind spins out of control, call for a time out. A lot of the damage that happens during an argument occurs when we lose control of our emotions and we start to escalate the conflict. You may be angry, but you need to be responsible for your emotions. Do not call names. Resist the urge to curse your partner out. Do not hurl insults. You cannot take back words once they have left your mouth. Strip out accusatory, judgmental, and inflammatory language or you will wreak havoc on your relationship.

  6. Listen to your partner. The two words that can stop conflict right in its tracks are “I understand.” Set aside your need to win, the need to be right. Put yourself in your partner’s shoes and empathize. If you cannot honestly say I understand, try using the words, “Help me to understand” and then listen to what your partner has to say.

  7. Be prepared to compromise or not have any resolution at all. According to relationship research, ⅔ of relational issues are unsolvable. You need to be prepared to compromise a lot and to realize that just because your significant other might not budge on an issue does not mean they do not love you. You need to respect that they feel strongly about something.

 

None of us gets it right 100% of the time. We are all human. The odds are we will make mistakes while we have arguments with our significant other. The good news is there is a remedy for the times we mess up. A sincere apology will go a long way to healing the pain caused when we have “human” moments. Successful relationships are made of two good apologizers and two good forgivers. Do not save apologies only for when you think you were wrong. You can apologize for misinterpreting a situation, for inadvertently hurting your loved one’s feelings, for being insensitive, or for being absent-minded. Refusing to apologize or to forgive will foster resentment and will ultimately lead to more pain and less intimacy.

 

After an argument, it is imperative to show each other an extra measure of love, kindness, and support. Do not sulk because things didn’t go your way. Find a way to reconnect with the one you love. Put the relationship first. Go for a walk, hold hands, and enjoy the beauty of the outdoors. Cuddle on the couch and watch your favorite show. Make dinner together. Reaffirm your commitment to each other. How you end an argument is as important as how you argue. If there is never any resolution and a demonstration of love and commitment, then that really is a red flag.

 

One of the most fulfilling parts of having a relationship is connecting with another person on a deep, intimate level. Having someone embrace your quirks, intuitively know what you need when you are struggling, and celebrate with you when you have success is what makes a relationship with that significant person so special.  Fighting can play a role in creating that close intimate relationship of your dreams but only if you take the time to do it right. So, take off the boxing gloves, take a deep breath, and address those issues head-on. Then don’t forget to follow through with an increase in love and an affirmation of your commitment. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how well this helps you fight your way to deeper levels of intimacy.