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November, 2013

Was it Wrong to Tell My Fiance About My Sexual Past?

man sitting on the bed with disappointed woman

Dear Lisa,

 

My boyfriend and I have been dating for five years, and we were recently engaged. We slept together on our very first date. We also made the mistake of talking about our previous relationships and I told him how many men I had slept with. Lately, he’s been throwing this information in my face, telling me that he can’t trust me because I jumped into bed with him and slept with so many other men.  I feel very hurt by the way he’s using this information against me. I love him so much, but I really don’t think he’s being fair. I don’t feel like I did anything wrong. There was a long period when I was single and I had some fun, but I have never cheated on anyone or had sex outside of a relationship. How can I resolve this issue before we get married?

Thanks,

Nicole

 

Dear Nicole,

 

As far as I know, The Pill was legalized in 1960, and for the past 53 years women have had control over their own bodies and they’ve been able to enjoy their sexual freedom just like men. Your fiancé is entitled to his opinion (which is seriously outdated) and he doesn’t have to agree with your choices, but this is his issue, not yours. You did nothing wrong. If your sexual past brings up his insecurity, he needs to work through his feelings and stop blaming you.  Besides, didn’t he also sleep with you on the first date? What’s up with that?

 

I am sure it’s uncomfortable for you to know that the person you love most is questioning your character, but he can only lay a guilt trip on you if you let him. You don’t have to allow him to berate you and use your past to make you feel small. Instead of feeling hurt, you might try putting it back on him. Just tell him that you didn’t do anything wrong and that you’re proud of who you are. Let him know that, if he isn’t happy with your choices, he needs to figure that out. You need to say that you want to have a mature, adult relationship with a man who understands that you both came into this relationship with lots of life experience. If you don’t put him under a microscope and make him explain his past to you, you have every right to expect the same in return. Isn’t that what love is all about? Hold your ground, Nicole. Don’t take responsibility for his feelings or try to fix this for him.  You need to encourage him to look in the mirror and take responsibility for his own insecurities.

 

With love,

Lisa

How Do I Attract The Kind of Men I REALLY Want?

Frustrated woman looking at a laptop computer

Hi Lisa,

So nice of you to check in! You must have been reading my mind, as I have thought of you more than once in the last couple of weeks. Dating has been tough for me lately and I wish I had more exciting news on that end. I’m not having any luck on Match. I’m at a point where nobody seems appealing. I can’t believe some of the things men say to me in conversation—it’s pure comedy! I try to practice the things that you have suggested, but to be honest, I haven’t been doing everything. My main problem is that the guys who I like are not interested in me. Hope all is well with you.

Xo, Kelly

 

Hi Kelly,

I am so sorry it isn’t working out.  I know how hard the whole dating thing is. I kissed way too many frogs before I met my current husband Benjamin. I sometimes think that dating is just a way of testing us to see if we can stay positive and trust that there’s someone out there for us. If the people you’re interested in aren’t emailing you back, you need to ask yourself—why? Is there something you can do at your end to be more attractive to them? Maybe you need a makeover.  Do you need to step it up at the gym? I know that this is hard to hear because we have all bought into the belief that people should just like us for who we are, and that we shouldn’t have to change.  When I dated, I spent 4 years in a 12-step program to get my weight under control. I know that I would never have met Benjamin if I hadn’t done this. It might seem unfair, but the men I was most attracted to wanted women they were physically attracted to. I did a lot of other things as well, like going to therapy and working with Don Miguel Ruiz to improve my attitude and perspective on life.

Two years before I met Benjamin, I dated a guy I really liked. We went out twice. After the second date, he called me and said, “Initially I thought there was real potential, but after our second date I realized you still have a lot of work to do on yourself.” Gee, thanks! He was in the process of becoming a therapist and was the kind of guy I wanted to attract. He told me he had gotten his Masters in Spiritual Psychology through a wonderful program here in Los Angeles. Instead of feeling sorry for myself, I decided to sign up for the program thinking it would make me more attractive to guys like him.  I didn’t meet anyone there, but as it turned out, my husband wrote one of the books we were assigned to read. How great is that?

I know it all sounds like a lot of work, but it is so worth it in the end.  You can sign up for every dating site out there, but if you’re not getting the results you want you probably need to take a look at yourself and be willing to make some real changes.

Love,

Lisa

Is Your Tone of Voice Preventing You From Finding Love?

Hear me!!

What if I told you that changing your one of voice could dramatically change your dating? Would you roll your eyes and say, “Okay, now I’ve really heard it all! What are you going to ask me to do next? Paint my face orange and run around my house three times backwards?”

Actually, that would be funny, but no, I am not going to ask you to do that. I am, however, going to suggest that you start paying close attention to the way you sound when you speak to people, especially when are speaking to someone on a date. This is an extremely important and often overlooked aspect of dating. If you aren’t careful, your tone of voice can easily send the wrong message and turn off the very people you want to attract.

Dr. Albert Mehrabian, Professor Emeritus of Psychology—a pioneer in the understanding of the effectiveness of communications since the 1960s—says that there are basically three elements in any face-to-face communication:

  • 7% of a message is in the words that are spoken
  • 38% of a message is in your tone of voice
  • 55% of a message is in your facial expressions

 

These statistics show that your facial expressions and tone of voice have a disproportionately large impact on the messages you send. If your tone and your expressions do not match with your words, your date won’t believe what you’re saying. For example, even if you were to say, “I would love to go out again on Friday night,” if your voice is flat and your face is unanimated, your date will conclude that you’re not really interested in going out again.

Changing then tone of voice or your facial expressions isn’t easy, but I have noticed that, when you change your voice, your facial expressions change, as well.  Most clients don’t like it when I tell them that they need to pay better attention to how they sound to their dates. “That’s weird,” my client, Christine, told me recently. “My voice is my voice. Why would I want to change it?”

I continued, “Often when you are talking to me about men and your experience with online dating, you sound angry and accusatory. Most people are not conscious of how they sound. They don’t understand that if they are feeling angry or disappointed about something, even if they try to pretend that everything is okay, their true feelings will come across in their tone of voice. The anger I hear in your voice might be causing men to pull away from you.”  As the conversation unfolded I touched on the subject of anxiety.  “Would you agree that you sometimes get anxious?’ I asked.

Suddenly, Christine seemed to understand what I was saying to her. “I do. I feel anxious all the time. I feel pressured at work; I feel pressure from my family to get married. Lots of people have commented on how anxious I can be.”

“This anxiety comes across in your voice and, my guess is that it can set the people around you on edge. Think of it this way: your voice is like music. If you listen to Techno, the beat is driving and it can make you feel jittery. If you listen to meditation music it makes you feel calmer and more relaxed.” 

To help Christine better understand, I imitated her tone of voice. “OMG! Is that really how I sound?” she replied. “No wonder no one’s asked out for a second date!”

Christine isn’t the only one who suffers from this problem.  In fact, most of us do.  My tone of voice used to be condescending, bossy, and lecturing. It was so bad that I once had a boyfriend who started walking backwards out the door saying, “Leave me alone, I can’t listen to you talk anymore!”  Thankfully, I can laugh about it now, but it was one of my lowest moments.

But I really started to become aware of the importance of tone during my coaching sessions.  The voices of certain clients would draw me closer in, while the tone of other clients would push me back.  Think of all the different types of voices you come into contact with: bossy, sweet, arrogant, chipper, condescending, etc. Start to listen and see how they make you feel. If you have a strong reaction to someone’s voice, imagine how this would impact someone they’re dating or in a relationship with.

So you might be thinking, “Lisa, how can I improve the tone of my voice?” The first thing to consider is that you tone of voice is directly related to how you are feeling in any given moment. If you are feeling impatient, your voice will be filled with impatience. If you are feeling excited, your voice will be filled with excitement. If you are feeling bitchy… Well, you get the idea. If you want to sound more compassionate, you need to channel your inner Gandhi. If you want to sound sexier, you need to channel your inner Marilyn Monroe. Whatever you are feeling on the inside will be reflected to your dates through your voice. So, if you want a second date with someone, don’t just say the words, use the tone of your voice to back up what you’re saying.

These days, my voice is one of my greatest strengths. This didn’t happen by accident. I changed my voice by changing myself into a kinder, more loving and accepting person. The other day, a client said, “I know I’m not as soft and loving as you are…” When she said this, it cracked me up.  If she only knew how hard I’ve worked on myself to sound this way.

Ask Lisa: Can We Survive a Long Distance Relationship?

Long Distance 2

Hi Lisa!

I have been going out with my boyfriend for two years. It’s semi-long distance–he lives a 4-hour drive away. We both won’t move to where the other one lives even though we say we will. I love this guy and think he is the one, but I need to live in the same city with him to be sure. What should I do?

Deborah

You can make an appointment with Lisa Shield by clicking here.

Hi Deborah,

If only you had a crystal ball and knew for certain that he’s The One, it would all be so easy. Unfortunately, if you want a great relationship, you have to be willing to take great risks. So, if you love each other and you both agree that you have a chance at a wonderful future together, one of you will have to make the move.

So how do you figure out who moves? My guess is that, right now, you’re both worried about what will happen if you take a risk and things don’t work out. But you can’t keep focusing on your individual needs if you’re going to take this relationship to the next level. The only way to solve this dilemma is to stop asking, What would be best for me?” and start asking, What would be best for our relationship?” You need to decide if the relationship would be better off if you moved to where he is or if he moved to where you are.

For any relationship to succeed, both people need to change their mindsets and start thinking like a couple. This means that both of you need to be willing to sacrifice your individual needs for the greater good of the relationship. One thing that might help is to make a list of what you would each gain and lose by being the one to move, but this time look at it from the perspective of the relationship. Ask yourselves, “What is best for our relationship,” not, “What is best for me.” To become a couple, you need to start thinking and acting like one.

Keep in mind that, no matter who moves, both of you will be taking a great risk. I felt a tremendous sense of responsibility when my former boyfriend gave up his job and moved from Mexico to live with me. Trust me, there was pressure on both sides.

In the end, if neither of you are willing to move, you will have answered your own question. You will have proven that you aren’t ready to let go of your individual needs and take the risk to see if you can become a real couple.

Let me know how it works out!

Kindly,

Lisa

For a complimentary session with Lisa Shield, click here.   

Making Him Commit: 6 Things Men Look For In A Wife

commitment

Are you the kind of woman men want to marry? Read the 6 traits men look for in a wife.

 

We have all heard the stereotype: men are afraid to commit. As women, we blame men for not wanting the same things we do — marriage, security, and family — and we are quick to label them as players, dogs or commitmentphobes. But is it really that easy for them to settle down and give up their sexual freedom for just one woman? I mean, wouldn’t she have to be someone extremely special for him to want to do that?

The longer I coach, the more I see that many women have very unrealistic expectations when it comes to getting a man to commit. They think that just because there is some sort of attraction and a man wants to hang out, date, or have sex, he must be considering the possibility of a having a long-term relationship or marrying her. When these women find out that a man isn’t thinking in those terms, at least not right away, they can quickly become insecure, emotional, and, even, controlling. Unfortunately, when most men start to see signs of desperation in a woman they are dating, they often just disappear. Can you blame them?

There’s no question that there are some men who fear commitment, but before we start saying that the majority of men are commitmentphobic, maybe we should be asking ourselves how we can become the kind of women men would want to commit to.

Do you even know what a man needs from you besides sex? I didn’t. At 39, when I first started dating again after my divorce, I had a sobering realization: The only way I knew how to relate to men was sexually. Why? Because sex was the only thing I really knew they wanted from me. As a product of the sexual revolution, I told myself that I could do anything a man could do. If I wanted sex, I had it. Unfortunately, this approach never got me what I most wanted — a man who adored me and wanted to spend his life with me. I realized that if I wanted to capture and keep a man’s heart, I was going to have to have something more than just sex up my sleeve. I was going to have to learn how to be a confidant, playmate, and best friend to a man.

Over the next two years, I wound up going out on nearly 100 Internet dates, all with different men. I intentionally didn’t sleep with any of them. Even if I never wanted to go out with someone again, I tried to learn something from him about what men look for in the women they commit to. I encourage you to start using your dating experience to become aware of what these qualities are and practice them on every date.

It may be easier than you might think to create and maintain a happy, lifelong romantic relationship, if you are aware of what men want and need beyond sex. Have you ever noticed that there are some women — seemingly plain, normal women — who always appear to be in a relationship? These lucky few understand what others don’t. They know that there are essential qualities that men are drawn to in the women they marry, and that beauty and sex are only a part of the equation.

According to Warren Farrell, author of Why Men Are the Way They Are (the best book ever written about men), the primary male fantasy is to have sex with as many beautiful women as possible. This doesn’t mean that all men act on this fantasy, but most dream about it. The primary female fantasy is for security. In the past, for most men to have access to regular sex, a hot meal, and a clean house they had to marry. Times have changed. Today there is not nearly as much societal pressure to settle down, a man can hire a maid to clean his house, and having sex and babies out of wedlock is commonplace.

So, what incentive is there for a man to give up his sexual freedom and spend his life with just one woman? According to Warren Farrell, the main reason most men choose to leave the single life today is to get their “primary unfilled need” met. This unfulfilled need is for intimacy, respect, and appreciation. In other words, a man will let go of his dream of having sex with endless beautiful women in order to feel loved by one woman.

So, the million-dollar question is this: what do you need to do as a woman to spark his desire to commit? In Why Men are the Way They Are, Warren Farrell points out six distinguishing behaviors of women men commit to. He says that these women are:

  1. Less focused on getting a man to commit than they are on making him feel appreciated and understood
  2. Able to listen to critical feedback and hear the truth in it without getting defensive
  3. Mature enough to consider their partner’s perspective and talk to him directly about issues in the relationship instead of complaining about him to their mothers or female friends
  4. Able to look past a man’s anger and make every effort to understand what caused him to get angry in the first place
  5. Able to enjoy sex for its own sake and not just to fulfill an obligation in the relationship
  6. Willing to keep working at their jobs even after they are in a committed relationship

Farrell writes, “In the process, the men in her life sense the potential for the fulfillment of their primary unfulfilled need — intimacy — as well as a good sex life. And they bang down the door. And the one who gets admitted rarely feels tricked or trapped, but rather grateful.”

So, if you want a man to want to commit to you, you cannot put too much emphasis on your goal. whether it is a title or a ring. If a man senses that you have an agenda, he’ll feel that you are smothering or demanding, and he’ll disappear. Rather than focusing on getting a man to marry you, it helps to see each date as a stepping-stone to finding The One. Try to go out with as many men as possible during the dating process so that you can learn what men want and practice giving to them. As a woman, you need to focus on understanding a man, not on conquering him. The most beautiful part of dating is actually getting to know another human being in a deep and personal way. Don’t rush it!

Once you’re in a relationship, there will undoubtedly be times when you need to receive critical feedback. Men will be turned off if you become defensive or insecure. When you receive criticism from your boyfriend or husband, don’t make it a big deal! Stay open and use your energy to understand your partner’s perspective. Put a positive spin on these conversations by choosing to see them as a way to bring the two of you closer together.

The next rule of thumb is no drama — men hate it! The next time you have a disagreement in your relationship, don’t complain to your mother or your girlfriends. They have a tendency to side with you and feed your negativity and fear. Men are drawn to women who talk openly and honestly with them about problems in the relationship. Also, when a man is angry, you want to look past the emotion and focus on understanding what made him angry instead. The more understanding you are, the less he will feel the need to get angry. This approach will not only show that you are a great communicator, but it will also deepen your connection.

Finally, it’s important to know that men today are fully aware that they no longer need to marry a woman and financially support her in order to get sex. For this reason, many men are looking for partners who enjoy sex and who plan to continue working even after they’re in a relationship. If you want a man to commit to you, he needs to know that you don’t see him as a meal ticket and that you plan to be generous with him both sexually and financially.

Most women get their emotional needs met from various different people in their lives. Most men only get their emotional needs met from one person: a wife or a girlfriend. Many women love to complain about how the men they meet are emotionally unavailable. My question for these women is: do you really know how to create a safe space where a man can open up to you?

The vital difference between women who remain single and those in relationships comes down to attitudes about men. If you really want to attract a man and become his best friend, you cannot keep thinking: “what about me, what about me?”  In order to create a deep, long-lasting relationship with a man, it’s important to step inside his mind and understand what life is like for him. If you want a man to commit to you, you need to first be willing to give him the things he needs from you. If you can do that, you will attract a guy who also wants to give you everything you are looking for. Once you foster this kind of a relationship with a man, he will crave your company instead of feeling constrained by it and he will want to spend his life with you

 

To schedule an appointment with Lisa Shield, click here.

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