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September, 2015

How to Spot a Cheater

 

How to Spot a Cheater

How to Spot a Cheater

When I was in my thirties, I had a relationship with a ridiculously handsome guy from Oaxaca named Juan Carlos. I was crazy about him— his boyish smile, his tan skin, his big, chestnut eyes. And don’t even get me started on his accent… I never knew my name could sound so exotic… until I heard it leave his lips. Needless to say, I was totally hooked. My gut told me it was all a little too good to be true, but when I listened to the way he rolled his Rs… all reason went out the window. If I had only know then how to spot a cheater!

Of all places, Juan Carlos and I met in a cemetery in Oaxaca on the Day of the Dead. I was there buying folk art for my Mexican import company. When he smiled at me from among the candle lit graves, I was hit by one of those thunderbolts you only read about in romance novels. Six months later, he moved to New Mexico to live and work with me.

Now, he was planning a trip back to Mexico to visit family—or so I thought. As he packed, a greeting card fell out of his knapsack and landed on the floor in front of me. I couldn’t help but see it and ask who it was from. He snatched the card up, told me it was nothing, and then shoved it back in his bag. I asked him again who had written it and he shouted, “¡Dejalo!” Leave it alone. His tone was cold and I knew something was wrong. That night I waited until he was asleep and found the card in his bag.

The card was from Margarita, a female friend he’d been hanging out with from his English class. Clearly, she was in love with him. In her note, she went on and one about how wonderful he was, how he’d changed her life, and how she’d miss him while he was away. This shocked me, but not half as much as what came next. Margarita wrote that she was sorry she hadn’t met Juan Carlos before he’d met his girlfriend—Carmen. Carmen?! Wasn’t she Juan Carlos’ ex back in Mexico? I thought I was his girlfriend!

Alarm bells sounded in my head. It seemed that Carmen and Juan Carlos weren’t such ancient history, after all. Then, the floor fell out from under me. He wasn’t going back to Mexico to see his family, he was going back to see her. When I got my phone bill the next month, I saw that I had been paying for his long distance affair all along.

Not only did I feel totally destroyed inside, I felt completely taken advantage of. Looking back, there were warning signs all along—I just didn’t want to face up to them. Remember, this was 1990 BC (before cell phones). That letter from Margarita was the prehistoric version of a scandalous text. When friends warned me that they had a rotten feeling about JC, I had chalked it up to jealousy. After all, he was hot. When JC wanted to stay home at night (so he could whisper sweet nothings to Carmen!) I thought it was weird, but I reasoned it away. I told myself he was tired and that he just needed a little break. I made all the excuses in the world for him. Why? Well… he was gorgeous and he was every bit the Latin lover! But in all seriousness, I just couldn’t believe that I was the kind of girl who would get cheated on. If I had read the signs—and listened to my intuition—I would have saved myself a whole lot of hurt… and a whole lot of dough. What can I say? When you love someone and put all your trust and faith in the relationship, you don’t want to believe that the other person could turn around and betray you. After all, he was living in my house, working in my company, sleeping in my bed, using my phone… which might have been part of the problem.

Do you suspect your partner is cheating? You might not find written proof like I did with Juan Carlos, but you can take advantage of one of the most powerful tools of all… your gut instinct.

Research shows that when it comes to matters of love, your intuition just might be the best judge of all. In a study conducted at Brigham Young University, psychologists observed 35 women and 16 men who were involved in romantic relationships. The psychologists videotaped interactions between the participants and their significant others and showed the tapes to third party observers. The observers were able to detect who among the participants were cheating with stunning accuracy.

The moral of the story? If a perfect stranger can glean cheaters just by watching the way they interact with their partners on film, I’d wager to guess your intuition might be worth more than you’re giving it credit for. If you sense something is wrong in your relationship, you need to pay attention. I knew in my gut that Juan Carlos was spending way too much time with Margarita and he wasn’t inviting me to join them. That alone should have told me something. I had even asked him a couple of times to introduce me to her and he had refused. Now I know why. He had told her we were just friends and that he worked for me. Looking back, I had an uneasy feeling about JC all along… and it wasn’t just all the Mexican food he was cooking for dinner.

IF YOU THINK YOUR PARTNER IS CHEATING AND NEED SOME ADVICE, SET UP A FREE CONSULTATION TODAY:

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You Might Need to Shape Up Before You Shack Up

Couple Taking A Break During House Move

You Might Need to Shape Up Before You Shack Up

When two people are totally crazy about each other, the idea of living together can seem wildly romantic. I mean, how could you not want to wake up next to the person you love every morning and fall asleep in his arms every night? But a lot of my couples tell me that they moved in together before really thinking it through—and my assistant, Sara, is no exception. If you’re anything like Sara, you might need to shape up before you shack up!

It seems like yesterday Sara couldn’t stop talking about moving in with her boyfriend. She thought she was ready to make this big move, but she quickly found out she had a lot to learn. The first couple of weeks were amazing. She told me about how they cooked yummy meals together, bought plants for every room, and left sweet notes for one another around the house. It all seemed perfect.

But a couple of weeks later, when she showed up to work, the happy glow was gone… and I mean it had disappeared. Apparently, she and her boyfriend, Luke, had their first big fight the night before—and things had gotten pretty ugly. Luke had become jealous over one of her exes who was in town and wanted to get together with her. Sara couldn’t believe that Luke was making such a big deal over this guy. Their relationship had barely been a blip on her radar and it had happened years ago. Luke was being ridiculous and acting like a baby all week. Sara was sick of tiptoeing around him. One night after they’d had a few drinks, she confronted Luke and he exploded. They wound up arguing late into the night. Sara said that her first instinct was to grab her things and leave, but then she realized that she had nowhere to go. She was already home.

“I feel gutted,” she told me the day after it happened, sounding confused and defeated. “I love him so much, but I wonder if we rushed into things. Neither of us wound up sleeping on the couch that night, but now I’m wondering if we were really prepared to move in together.”

With time—and a few coaching tips from me—Sara and Luke were able to talk through their differences and create an even stronger bond. Sara realized that living in close proximity with someone she loves requires a lot more maturity than she’d originally thought. Here are her four takeaways for those of you who are thinking about shacking up with your significant other:

  1. Step away from the Chardonnay…

“Contrary to popular belief, the best time to talk about an issue or problem is not after you’ve a had a few drinks. I don’t know if you’re like me, but that’s when I tend to want to talk about things the most. My inhibitions are lowered and I’m not afraid to say what’s on my mind… which is the exactly the problem. Looking back on that night, I said some pretty awful things to Luke, things I wished I could have taken back in the light of day. In Luke’s defense, he had asked me to wait until the morning when we were sober and could talk about things more rationally. What I learned from that night is that I need to be smart about conflict—I can’t always avoid it, but I can avoid making matters worse by adding alcohol (or anything else that might impair my judgment) to the mix.” 

  1. Don’t sweat the small stuff…

“My boyfriend can’t stand it when I leave little toothpaste globs in the sink. I, on the other hand, feel like murdering him when he leaves his stinky gym shoes smack in the middle of the living room floor—I mean, is he trying to kill me, or what!? Pesky as these habits are, they aren’t deal breakers. If something is truly bothering me, I need to mention it, but I am also learning that, both Luke and I have to accept each other’s foibles. Now, when I see his sneakers lying on the floor, I laugh and chuck them in the closet. I’ve also begun to notice that someone other than me is keeping the sink cleaner. The moral of this story is that, when you move in with your partner, you’re going to see it all: the good, the bad, the ugly, and the just plain annoying—and you are going to have to learn to live with a lot of it.”

  1. It’s not all about you… anymore

“When I was on my own, I didn’t have tell anyone my whereabouts or check in before making plans. I was on my own schedule. If I came home at 3:00 am, it didn’t matter. No one was waiting up for me. If a friend said, “Let’s grab dinner,” I would just go. When I moved in with Luke, I started feeling resentful when he made comments about how much time I spent with friends. At first, I thought he was being controlling, but then I realized he just wanted to be with me. I had never lived with a guy before and I’d never had to consider someone else’s feelings in this way. The truth is that he loves how social I am and that I have close friends. He just wants to be my #1 and that’s what I want, too.”

  1. Curb your inner bitch…

“This wasn’t the first fight Luke and I had, it was just the first one we had as roommates. While recovering from a big fight can take time, it didn’t feel right to keep holding on to my anger and resentment towards Luke. The next day we sat down and talked honestly and calmly about what happened. With clearer heads, we were able to listen to what the other had to say and realize that there was truth to both sides. The sting of the fight didn’t go away immediately, but we both saw that our relationship is more important than our need to be right. I wish that argument hadn’t happened, but I’m proud of the way we worked through the conflict and used it to bring us closer together.”

 

Moving in together is an important step in any relationship, and not one to be taken lightly. As much as you might want to prepare for what lies ahead, there are always going to be surprises. Any two people moving in together have to learn how compromise and make adjustments so both people feel comfortable. As for Sara, she and Luke are still figuring each other out and learning as they go along. It’s equal parts scary and exciting, but that’s the beauty of building intimacy in a relationship… and Sara says she wouldn’t have it any other way.

If you would like help with any of your dating and relationship issues, book a consultation today!

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No More Interviews:

Four Tools to Stop You From Interviewing Your Dates

No More Interviews! “Where’d you grow up? What kind of food do you like? Do you want to get married again? Are you a cat person or a dog person???”

Let’s face it—first dates are nothing if not anxiety provoking. Two perfect strangers walk into a room, each with their own set of nerves, baggage, and expectations, hoping for a connection. Both daters want to have a good time and get to know the person sitting across from them, but before you know it, someone’s firing off a dozen questions and the date feels like a grueling job interview. It’s a total vibe killer.

The other day, my assistant told me a story about a bad date between two friends she had set up that ended up being another unfortunate casualty of the dreaded first date interview. The girl was one of her close friend’s from high school and the guy was one of her boyfriend’s longtime family friends. They were both young, good looking, and had promising careers in the art world. It seemed like a perfect match. When my assistant called her friend to hear about how the date went, she couldn’t believe it when she told her it was one of the worst dates she’d ever been on. “I felt like I was on a job interview,” she said. “He just kept asking me question after question, and I felt really uncomfortable.” Curious to hear the other side of the story, my assistant had her boyfriend get the scoop on the date from his friend. And here’s the rub—he complained about the same thing! They both felt like they had been on an interview and that the other was too guarded and closed off to make a real connection.

Her story got me thinking about my clients and how so many of them struggle with the very same issue on dates. They just don’t know how to relax and open up, and they often go home feeling totally dejected. But it doesn’t have to be this way! Here’s a list of four things you can try on your next date to avoid succumbing to that first date interview and make a real connection with someone:

  1. Ask open-ended questions – rather than jumping from subject to subject, take one topic and explore it. A great way to do this is by asking your date open-ended questions that require more than just a one-word answer. For example, if you’re into film and want to get a feel for your date’s interest in the subject, try asking “what kind of films do you enjoy?” as opposed to “what’s your favorite movie?” The idea is to get your date to open up and share his/her thoughts, feelings, and passions. If you let the conversation flow naturally, you might find the answers to those burning questions will present themselves on their own.
  2. Get comfortable with silence – When it comes to first dates, people often talk about that dreaded “awkward silence.” But why does it have to be awkward? If there’s a lull in the conversation, don’t panic. Use it as an opportunity to get closer to your date and connect on a deeper level. Make eye contact, smile, read his/her body language. I know this can be scary for some people. We’re so accustomed to thinking of silence as uncomfortable or an indication that a date isn’t going well. If your instinct is to break the silence with a series of rapid-fire questions or idle chatter, try taking three deep breaths first. You might find the “awkwardness” will pass on its own and the conversation will resume organically.
  3. Go into each date with a Beginner’s Mind – In Zen Buddhism, there is a concept called Shoshin, or “beginner’s mind.” It encourages an attitude of openness and eagerness when it comes to study, but it can also be applied to first dates! When you’ve been out in the dating world for a while, it’s easy to get discouraged and bring negativity into a date. Just because your last date was a bust, it doesn’t mean your next one will be. I encourage you to practice Shoshin and to approach each date with a fresh perspective, an open heart, and a beginner’s mind.
  4. Practice Naked Dating –Naked Dating® is about tapping into your dates on an emotional level—that’s where a real connection happens. It’s difficult for us to do this because we’re so accustomed to operating on an intellectual level in other parts of our lives. We’re taught that we need to be strong and self-reliant in the workplace, and because of that, we lose some of the softness and vulnerability that makes us attractive. Naked Dating® is about letting down your guard and allowing yourself to be open and vulnerable with your dates. It’s about looking at each date as an opportunity not only to meet a potential match, but to get to know yourself better, learn how to ask for what you want, and open yourself up to new possibilities in life and love.

While I can’t offer you a magic wand that will take away all your first date jitters or guarantee your next date will be a perfect match, I can tell you with confidence that if you start trying these approaches on your dates, that dreaded first date interview will become a thing of the past. You’ll start connecting with your dates on a deeper, more emotional level, and you’ll go home at the end of the night knowing that even if you didn’t meet “the one,” you learned something about yourself and what you’re looking for in the process. You’ll stop interviewing your dates and start dating Naked!

If you’re having trouble connecting with your dates, book a free consultation with me:

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Looking for Love is the Best Way to Find it

Looking for Love is the Best Way to Find It

Looking for Love

Why do I have look for love?

At 38, my client Jenny is still a head turner. She’s tall and slim with chestnut eyes and thick auburn hair that falls to the middle of her back. She has a wicked sense of humor and an infectious laugh and the last thing she wants to do is go looking for love.

Where have all the cowboys gone?

You’d think that there would be a line of men around the corner waiting to ask her out… and for most of her life there was. She never had to look for a date. But at some point the offers stopped coming. Maybe it was because she started working longer hours. Maybe it was because she was spending too much time having dinners with her girlfriends or working out at the gym. Or maybe it was because there were deeper issues preventing her from developing a relationship with a man.

I asked her to tell me about her past relationships. “Most of the guys I dated weren’t relationship material,” she admitted, “but I wasn’t in a hurry to get married, so it didn’t matter. I figured that when I felt ready to settle down, the right man would come along.”

You don’t want to miss the rodeo

More and more people are falling into a trap where they aren’t in a hurry to meet someone and they focus, instead, on their careers, develop a collection of fabulous friends, and travel to exotic places. Then, they wake up somewhere around 36 and realize there’s a real void in their lives when it comes to romance. They go about their lives expecting it will happen and then they have a rude awakening when it doesn’t.

When I pressed Jenny harder, I got to the deeper truth. She admitted that she could become jealous and needy in a relationship. She told me that a man she had dated recently ended the relationship when she threw a jealous fit over a text message he received one night from a longtime female friend. She had assumed that, as she got older, the jealousy and neediness that had plagued her past relationships would work itself out, but obviously she still had issues.

You might think that, with time and age, you will know yourself better, your issues will resolve themselves, and you will attract the right person. This sounds logical, but I have found that, very often, this isn’t the case.

Never ask a barber if you need a haircut, but do ask a dating coach for dating advice!

Working with a dating coach will help you identify and break the repeated patterns that are preventing you from getting close to someone in a relationship. If you don’t work through your fears and insecurities, they will carry over from relationship to relationship. This is what is referred to as baggage—and we all have it.

We all have a fear of rejection. Dating affords us an opportunity to meet a lot of different people so that we can work through the fears that are blocking us from having true intimacy.

I know dating isn’t always fun, but my one-on-one coaching sessions, I can show you how to use the dating process to break through your emotional blocks and find true love. Having a coach can help give you the tools and skills to date differently. Remember that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results. If you want something to change you have to make changes. Let me help you stop spinning your wheels and start moving toward the love and relationship of your dreams!

To book a coaching consult with Lisa CLICK HERE:

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Happy Anniversary: Here’s lookin’ at you, Kid!

Happy Anniversary

Anyone who knows me knows that I speak in accolades about my husband, but then anyone who knows my husband speaks in accolades about him, too. He is unquestionably the finest person I have ever known.

Am I in Denial?

One day I was talking about Benjamin with Warren Farrell, who wrote Why Men Are the Way They Are, a book that changed my life. Warren has done workshops since the 1980’s with thousands of couples. Earlier in the day he had made a comment that I often hear about how all couples have issues. I asked him if that was really true, if all couples have some kind of friction between them. I wasn’t trying to challenge him. I really wanted to know if I was in denial.

I don’t remember exactly what I said about Benjamin, but when I finished describing my relationship to Warren, he looked at me and said, “I don’t think I have ever heard a wife speak so lovingly about her husband.” That was a proud moment for me because I knew how many husbands and wives Warren had worked with over the years. I feel that there is no greater honor that I can pay Benjamin than to speak lovingly of him.

Close call!

Much to my horror, Benjamin contracted Typhus from a fleabite last Christmas and almost died. I rushed him in an ambulance to the hospital. By the time I arrived, a nurse told me they were putting him in the ICU. All of his systems—his heart, lungs, liver, and kidneys—were shutting down. While my husband was in recovery, I met another wife in the hospital who spoke in the same glowing terms about her sick husband as I do about Benjamin. I saw myself in her. We were two women with the good fortune to have known and loved two great men. The difference was that her husband was dying of cancer and their love story was coming to an end. I could easily have been in her shoes.

Happy Anniversary to Us

Today Benjamin and I celebrate 13 years since our first date and 11 years of marriage. This morning he told me that I have been with him for a quarter of my life. These have been extraordinary years and I don’t think I have taken one moment of our time together for granted.

Last night I met with a client who has been struggling for a long time to get out of a bad relationship. In our previous session, he had asked me what it would be like to date. I told him that he should probably do it sooner than later, that it is easier the younger you are. In yesterday’s session he said that he wasn’t in a hurry, he didn’t care if he waited until he was 60 or 65 to meet someone. I thought about what he’d said, but I couldn’t agree with him.

Time IS of the Essence

Just before my fortieth birthday, I had an epiphany. Previously, I had believed that unconditional love was a fantasy. But then, I realized that, not only are all spiritual paths leading us to God or unconditional love, but they are also showing us how to have it—now!

I reasoned that, if true love was attainable, I had to do everything in my power to find it. Not only that, half of my life was almost over and, if was going to find this guy, I knew that I wanted to spend every last minute I had with him!

I cannot tell you how happy I am that I had this realization and that I was wise enough to act on it. Time is the most precious thing we have. No matter how much longer I get to be with Benjamin, our days are numbered and they will never be enough. People say that love is eternal, and I hope with all my heart that this is true. But in the meantime, I am going to relish the hell out every single exquisite moment we have left together.

Thank you, my sweet love, for the thirteen most profoundly beautiful years of my live. I wouldn’t have changed a thing… okay, well, there was that one time when you told me… jk.

To book a coaching consult with Lisa CLICK HERE:

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Slow Love

SLow Love

A message from Lisa…

Hello all you Naked Daters out there. This week I thought I would let my fabulous 29-year-old assistant, Tara, tell you about how she met the love of her life, on Tinder of all places! You can meet good guys anywhere, even on dating apps with bad raps.  So keep opening up to the possibilities: you never know where you’ll find him! Also, remember that real love tends to evolve slowly, over time. I know many of you still long for that knight in shining armor to sweep you off your feet and carry you into the sunset where you’ll live happily ever after. I am not saying he won’t be your shining knight, but he might not ride in on a stallion or take your breath away from the start. He might invite you to a dive bar and wear gray t-shirts, but somehow he will find a way into your heart when you least expect it. Okay, Tara, take it away…

Slow Love:  Tara’s Story

Have you ever declined a second date because you didn’t feel an instant connection on the first one? Maybe your date was cute enough, but you just didn’t feel anything—no passion, no spark—nothing. So, why bother going out again? You might as well wait until you find real chemistry; the kind that sends your heart into overdrive and makes you feel like there’s warm liquid coursing through your veins. Who doesn’t want that!? Life is too short to waste time dating someone you’re not crazy about, right?

A little over a year ago, I came across a guy named Luke on Tinder—yes, you can meet good guys on Tinder. He wasn’t my usual type (I was into blonde, sun-kissed surfers—Luke had dark hair and preferred making pottery to riding waves) but something about him caught my eye. I swiped right, and lo and behold! It was a match. I messaged him a friendly hello and we started chatting. After a few days of casual text banter, we decided to meet for drinks.

A “Luke” Warm Date

I spotted Luke at the bar. He’d already ordered a whiskey and was wearing what I have come to know as his favorite gray t-shirt. My first impression? Based on the outfit and choice of venue, he seemed like a mildly depressed guy who was a little down-on-his-luck. Not exactly swoon-worthy material.

I sat down next to him and ordered a Bulliet on the rocks. There we were, two strangers sitting at a dive bar trying to make conversation. It turned out that Luke was intelligent and sweet, but he also seemed a little distant and didn’t give much indication that he was really attracted to me. After forty minutes, I informed Luke I had to leave to attend a friend’s birthday party. He walked me to my car, we hugged, and then went our separate ways.

A Girl’s Gotta Eat

As I drove away, I thought about the date. If Luke had been “the one,” wouldn’t my subconscious have sent me some kind of sign? A week later, he called to ask me out again—this time to dinner. I had a take-it-or-leave-it attitude about seeing him again, but a girl’s gotta eat, right?

I felt a little more chemistry on our dinner date than I did at the bar, but when he kissed me at the end of the night, I still didn’t get that warm, tingly feeling I was hoping for. So why did I keep going out with him? There was something inside me—call it gut wisdom—that told me this guy had substance and that it might be worth giving him a chance.

Getting Warmer

As we spent more time together, I learned things about Luke that drew me closer to him. On one date, I spotted a stack of library books in his apartment. I felt a tug at my heartstrings when he told me that he volunteered delivering books to the elderly. On another date, I casually mentioned that the Pixies and Cat Power were playing that night at the Hollywood Bowl. Much to my surprise, he insisted that we forgo the dinner he had already bought the ingredients for, jumped online, and got tickets to the concert instead. These things might sound insignificant, but they were endearing qualities I never would have seen on a first date that offered insight into his personality.

Before I knew it, that warm, fuzzy feeling—the one I craved on our first date—started sneaking up on me when we were together. One summer day, I pulled up to Luke’s apartment and spotted him sitting waiting for me on his front steps. When he saw me, he smiled and in that moment I realized I was falling in love with him. I felt a warmth inside I’d never experienced before. It was better than butterflies; it was a knowing that this was a man I could be with forever.

In the fourteen months we’ve been together, we’ve traveled to the other side of the world, share an apartment, and are totally in love. It makes me sad to think how easily I could have walked away after that first lukewarm date.

Love and Artichokes

Now, don’t get me wrong: I’ve fallen fast before. I’ve experienced that feeling of being sloppy drunk on love and convinced I’d met my soul mate after a single date. But after a month, when I started sobering up and real life set in, I realized I didn’t know that guy at all. In reality, we didn’t have enough in common to sustain a real relationship. With Luke, everything unfolded slowly. I never had the sense that I needed to rush things, which allowed our intimacy to develop naturally over time. I realize now that we both had walls up and until they came down, we couldn’t get close. Each time we saw each other it was like peeling away the leaves of an artichoke and savoring every mouthwatering bite. Sure, we all love the heart, but the best way to enjoy an artichoke is slowly, leaf by leaf.

The Bottom Line

I encourage you to let go of your wild romantic fantasies, slow down, and savor the experience of getting to know someone. The love I found with Luke wasn’t what I was looking for, but it turned out to be even better than I imagined. It’s a slow love that developed over time, one that continues to excite and surprise me. So, unless a first date is a total bust or the guy is a jerk, you’ve got nothing to lose by going out on a second date and seeing where it goes.

To book a coaching consult with Lisa CLICK HERE:

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