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November, 2015

How You Could Be Turning Internet Dating from a Blessing into a Curse

How You Could be Turning Internet Dating from a Blessing into a Curse How You Could Be Turning Internet Dating from a Blessing into a Curse

Have you ever thought about how you could be turning Internet dating from a blessing into a curse? Last night at Thanksgiving dinner, I found myself engaged in several frustrating conversations about Internet dating. Not one person I spoke to had much of anything positive to say about their experience with it. While I didn’t hear anything I haven’t heard hundreds of times before, I left the party feeling sad about what a bad rap Internet dating gets.

Before I go any further, I need to confess that I am a HUGE fan of Internet dating. This isn’t just because I met the love of my life on JDate thirteen years ago. There are many reasons why I think it’s a blessing. Before I elaborate on the positives, I need to say that I am exasperated when I hear people moan about being single one minute and then berate Internet dating the next.

When I found myself single at 39, I was willing to do anything to get dates. So, for me, Internet dating was the best thing that ever happened. For the first time in my life, I was able to get lots of dates with all different kinds of men. I went out with a doctor, a lawyer, a yoga instructor, a writer, etc. Nothing about this journey was easy for me… but didn’t expect it to be. It took two years and I went out on nearly 100 first dates before I finally found Benjamin, but it was worth everything I did to find him!

Let’s face it: most people aren’t very mature when it comes to matters of the heart. For some reason, we want finding the right partner to be effortless, like it is in the movies. I am glad I figured out that this was a bunch of hooey. I realized that finding the right partner takes time, effort, and a willingness to face disappointments and heartbreak along the way. Unfortunately, most of the heartache we experience while dating is because take so much of it personally. We get upset at the tiniest hint of rejection. To make matters worse, the Internet dating puts us in touch with so many people that it’s like dating on steroids. Online dating isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s very provocative and, if you give up too easily, it ain’t gonna work. To date online you need to be resilient and you have to really be committed to doing whatever it takes to find true love.

When I posted my first online dating profile, I told myself that I was going to give my all and that quitting wasn’t an option. I truly believed that there was someone out there for me and I swore that I would not quit until I found him.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not suggesting that the Internet is the only way to meet someone. I think you should use every possible avenue you can find to connect with other available singles. Having said that, if you’re serious about finding a partner sooner than later, I think it’s a huge mistake not to include Internet dating as part of your plan.

Last night I was in with a new crowd, so when people went off on Internet dating, I had to bite my tongue pretty hard to stop from saying something I would regret. Here are a few of the comments they made along with the responses I would have wanted to give.

Guest: I didn’t have one good experience with online dating!

What I would like to have said: People can be disappointing, whether you meet them online or offline. But there are good people out there, too. You just have to know how to spot them. I don’t know if you’re choosing the wrong ones or if there’s something else you’re doing that isn’t working, but you’re the common denominator in all the dates you went on. You might need to work with a dating coach to find out what’s really going on. Look, blaming Internet dating is not the answer and it isn’t going to solve the real problem.

Guest: I know it works for other people, but Internet dating didn’t work for me!

What I would like to have said: So, how long were you online and how many dates did you go out on? I ask this because, normally, when people tell me that online dating didn’t work for them, I find out that they didn’t really give it a chance. If you try one of those Match.com free weekends, or even if you’re on for a few months but don’t go on many dates, you aren’t really giving it chance. You might not want to hear this, but I know people who dated online for years before meeting the right partner. It can take time, but if you hang in there, it works. In fact, online dating is now the third most popular way people meet today. I would think anyone who really wants a partner and hears that statistic would get online and stay online.

Maybe online dating didn’t work for you because you didn’t have an engaging profile or pretty pictures. You need to have someone, preferably a professional dating coach, look at them and give you feedback. Most people can’t write their own profiles. When I write a profile, I spend an hour interviewing a client and then it takes me a good two hours to write something engaging and unique in the client’s own voice. I also do their pictures. I was a professional fashion photographer for fifteen years so I know how to make people look natural and not posed in front of the camera. This kind of photography is called lifestyle photography. I get people moving and laughing for the camera. I make them look beautiful, but I also capture their personality. If you seriously want to be successful at online dating, you must get good professional photos done. It’s the best investment you will ever make!

Guest: I got lots of responses, but I could never get people to go from emailing to a date so I gave up.

What I would like to have said: There are lots of reasons why this happens. You can’t get caught up in trying to make sense of it. There are so many people online and it’s easy to get overwhelmed with emails and forget about someone you’re communicating with. I’m sure you’ve done the same thing. If there’s someone you’re really interested in meeting, you need to put it out there that you’d like to meet, and you need to do this quickly—strike while the iron’s hot!

Let’s say you’ve been emailing for a couple of days with someone you really like. Just write this person and say, “Would you be open to taking this connection off-line and talking on the phone or even meeting for coffee or a drink?” If you’ve been emailing with someone and they drop off your radar, don’t be afraid to reach out and see if he still wants to meet. You get one chance to poke someone. So, send a light, playful message: “Hey, what happened? Abducted by aliens? Kidnapped by pigmies? Joined the circus? Inquiring minds want to know!” See if you can get them back in the conversation, then, when you get a response, suggest meeting.

I know a lot of people say that, as a woman, you’re not supposed to suggest a date. I think this is absolutely ridiculous. I assure you, if a guy is interested in getting to know you, he will be happy you took the initiative. If Charlize Theron asked some guy to go get a drink, I don’t think there’s a man on the planet who would say, “You know, Charlize, I was going to ask you out, but now I can’t go out with you because, when a woman asks me out, it’s a real turn-off.”

Guest: All the men who contacted me were in their seventies!

What I would have like to have said: One of the hardest things about waiting too long to seriously search for a partner is that, as we age, we become less attractive to one another. When you’re in your 20’s, 30’s, and 40’s, people who are up to 10 years older still look pretty good. But when you’re 50 and you’re getting messages from 60 or 70-year-olds, it’s a whole different ballgame. The problem is that many men want to date women who are at least 10 years younger. Women today also want to date younger men. But here’s the rub: technically, a woman can have sex with anyone, but a man needs to get an erection to have sex. There are younger men who are completely content being with older women. I am very good friends with a couple where the woman is ten years older than the man, and they adore each other… but they’re not the norm. The truth is that, as men age, they have a harder time getting hard, and they are drawn to the younger women who can turn them on. This isn’t because they’re immature. It’s biological. My best advice to women who are dating online is to increase their age range to at least ten year older then they are. Benjamin is nine years older than me, and at 64, I think he’s as hot as the day I met him.

Whether you’re dating online or offline, it’s tough. Dating brings up all kinds of challenges that we don’t want to face. If nothing else, online dating affords people the opportunity to meet many more prospective partners than they ever would have met socially. I know it is easy to see Internet dating as a curse, but I for me, it was one of life’s greatest blessings.

You don’t need to struggle with online dating. I have helped hundreds of clients navigate the cyber dating world and I can help you, too. To book a complimentary consult and see if coaching works for you, click here:

How You Could be Turning Internet Dating from a Blessing into a Curse

The One Thing You Must Know to Make Your Marriage Last

The One Thing You Must Know to Make Your Marriage Last

The One Thing You Must Know to Make Your Marriage Last

The one thing you must know to make your marriage last is how to stop fighting over petty things and take the higher road. It’s so painful when I sit and listen to the couples I coach going round in circles, fighting over the smallest things. I can see this takes a tremendous emotional toll on their individual self esteem and on the relationship.

Couples who are able to choose their battles wisely and frequently take the higher road experience what psychiatrists call Positive Sentiment Override. Even when they have a misunderstanding, these couples are quick to override their negative thoughts with positive ones and give their partner the benefit of the doubt. Most couples are in a state of Positive Sentiment Override when they first meet. But when disappointments mount and issues don’t get resolved, many couples find themselves falling into a state of Negative Sentiment Override. This is where everything their partner says or does—whether negative or positive—seems suspicious.

Some people have a hard time believing what I am about to say, but for the past thirteen years, my husband and I have been in an almost perpetual state of Positive Sentiment Override. This isn’t blind luck. Both Benjamin and I had been in very difficult marriages in the past and we wanted to learn from our mistakes. So, we each did a great deal of therapy and other self-improvement courses before we met.

Some of the most powerful work I did was when I participated for several years in an intimate, transformational group with Don Miguel Ruiz, author of “The Four Agreements.” (If you haven’t read this book, I highly recommend it.) When I first met Miguel, I was a member of the walking wounded—guarded, sensitive, and hyper-vigilant. While I resonated with all four agreements, the one that changed my life was “Don’t take anything personally.” This agreement was my e-ticket to a killer relationship. For months on end, I focused on mastering this one skill. Every time someone said or did something that upset me, I would remind myself not to take it personally. If I found that I couldn’t just let an issue go, I would ask myself the following series of questions:

 

1. What is getting triggered in me?

(fear, insecurity, anger, feeling helpless…)

2. How am I using this situation against myself to make myself a victim?

(When my husband came home and went straight over to pet the dog before kissing me, I told myself that I don’t mater to him.) 

3. What fears or insecurities are coming up for me?

(I have been struggling to take off the 10 lbs. I put on over the holidays.  I am afraid he won’t be attracted to me if I don’t lose it.)  

4. What is it that I want from this person?

(I want my husband to tell me it’s okay, that he loves me no matter what. I want him to make me feel safe and secure.) 

5. Can I do something for myself instead?

(I can make sure I look my best. I haven’t been taking care of myself because I’ve been feeling so down. I could get some new clothes, have my hair done…)

I asked myself these questions whenever something someone else said or did upset me. Eventually, I was able to manage my own reactivity and stop making everything about me. The next time your partner “makes” you mad, try asking yourself these five questions. This simple process can help you start taking responsibility for your own emotional reactions so that you can stop taking things personally.   Try it! It really works! These days, my husband teases me and says, “You do ‘Don’t take things personally’ better than Don Miguel!” I don’t know if this is true, but I like the sound of it :-) What I do know is that Benjamin and I cut each other a lot of slack and we almost never fight over petty details. When it seems like he’s annoyed or frustrated with me, I remind myself not to take it personally.

I tell myself that Benjamin loves me and he’s just tired or hungry or anxious about something at work… which is usually the truth. I also trust that, if he’s really upset with me about something, he’ll tell me.

You might think you’re doing everything in your power to take the higher road and let things go, but your partner is continuing to pick fights. If this is the case, you might need to seek out the help of a professional coach to help you communicate better. When I coach couples, I often find that one partner thinks she’s giving the other partner kind and loving feedback, but I can hear the subtle—or not so subtle—ways in which she’s being condescending or critical. Recognizing these behaviors in ourselves can be challenging because we’re too close to the situation.

It’s a given that, when two people live in close proximity, they are bound to get on each other’s nerves from time to time. So, if you want a harmonious, everlasting relationship you need to become a positive spin-doctor, let the small things roll off your shoulders, and take responsibility for your own emotional reactions. If you can choose your battles wisely and take the higher road whenever possible, you will be taking a huge step towards making your love last a lifetime!

 

If you are struggling with a partner please feel free to set up a complimentary couples consultation to see how I can help you. There no reason for you to keep hurting each other. I can give you tried and true techniques to help you listen and communicate in a whole new way! Click here to schedule an appointment:

One This You must Know to Make Your Marriage Last

Naked Dating® Tip #2: Should Women Offer to Split the Bill?

Naked Dating®Tip #2: Should Women Offer to Split the Bill?

Naked Dating® Tip #2: Should Women Offer to Split the Bill?

My assistant told me a very funny dating story the other day. I know it’s a little over the top, but it speaks to this question, so here goes…

A guy got her number from a mutual friend and called to ask her out to a pricey restaurant in L.A. She agreed to go, but when he picked her up, he was wearing glitter face paint and a crushed blue velvet cape. I kid you not. At the restaurant, he started acting like a big shot and flirted with the waitress right in front of her. Then, he took it upon himself to order a $60.00 bottle of Cabernet and enough food for six people–he didn’t even bother to ask what she wanted. When the bill came, he looked her straight in the eyes, his face paint shimmering in the glow of the candlelight, and said, “Sharing is caring.” Really? Sharing is caring? Eager for this nightmare to end, she forked over her credit card, split the bill, and developed a lifelong aversion to glitter, capes, and Cabernet.

The moral of the story?

While this example may seem a bit extreme, the fact of the matter is that more and more men expect women to at least offer to pay their share on a date. In a recent paper entitled “Who Pays for Dates,” Schmid College of Science and Technology Professor David Frederick surveyed 17,000 participants in an attempt to answer this age-old question.

After nearly 50 years of feminism, here’s where we stand:

  • Fifty-seven percent of women claim they offer to help pay the bill when going out, but many women (39%) confessed they hope men would reject their offers to pay, and 44% of women were bothered when men expected them to help pay.
  • Eighty-four percent of men and 58% of women reported that men pay for most expenses, even after dating for a while.
  • Sixty-four percent of men believed that women should contribute to dating expenses, and many feel strongly about that.
  • Forty-four percent of men said they would stop dating a woman who never pays.
  • Seventy-six percent of men, however, reported feeling guilty accepting women’s money.

More & more women are out earning men

Nearly everyday I talk to women in my practice who insist that men should pay for everything when courting a woman. While this is what many women still want, the times they are a changin.’ According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 40% of women today earn MORE than their male counterparts. This puts a whole new spin on the traditional dating game. Women asked for equal pay for equal work, and they got it. Now that women make as much or more than the men they’re dating, they can’t fault a man for wanting to go Dutch. Heck, the way things are going, it won’t be long before men will be expecting women to pay for them.

I am not saying that chivalry is dead. There are lots of men who still abide by old-fashioned rules and insist on treating women… and that’s fine. All I am saying is don’t be shocked the next time a man asks you for your credit card at the end of the date, especially if you’re wearing a pair of Louboutin’s, carrying a Chanel bag, and driving a BMW.

Here’s what some men have to say…

Some of my male clients are so used to women expecting them to foot the bill that they’re often impressed when a woman is willing to pay her share. One client of mine, a comedian in his thirties, put it this way: “At least try!” he said. “If I’m on a date and the check comes and the woman doesn’t even pretend to reach for her wallet, I might purposefully not reach for mine.”

A client in his forties had this to say: “When I was broke and starting my business, I was also single. I went on a lot of dates, cheap ones, and women would kind of complain. One woman actually said, ‘You took me to $5 tacos?’ There’s a certain pressure to be financially impressive… but I knew I found the right woman when she said, ‘I’ll buy the drinks, you buy dinner.’”

I have heard some female clients say they believe that if a man doesn’t pay, it’s because he doesn’t think she’s worth it. They figure if a guy really liked them and wanted to see them again, he’d pay. Maybe that was the case at one time, but not anymore. If women want equality, it’s only fair that men would want the same in return. This means that men have every right to expect that women today can pay for their own martinis. Such are the times we live in. You don’t have to put up with capes and glitter, but don’t be shocked when he asks you to split the bill.

Feeling overwhelmed with dating? I can help you navigate the ever-changing terrain.

Book a complimentary consultation to see how I can help:

Naked Dating® Tip #2: Should Women Offer to Split the Bill?

Dating Tip #1: How to Politely end a bad Date

Dating Tip #1: How to Politely end a bad DateDating Tip #1: How to politely end a bad date

Many of my clients complain about how much time dating takes up. They also say that one of the biggest wastes of time is feeling trapped on a date with someone they have absolutely no interest in seeing again. They don’t want to sit there leading the other person on, but they also don’t know how to politely end the date.

Your time is the most precious commodity you have. It is also the most precious commodity your date has. So, even though it might feel awkward, by ending the date sooner than later, you will be doing both of you a favor.

How long is an appropriate amount of time to spend on a date with someone you’re absolutely not attracted to? If you feel comfortable, end it right away, especially if your date has misrepresented his or her weight, height, or age in an online dating profile. Say something simple but polite, like, “Thanks for meeting me. You look very different from your pictures (or, from the way you described yourself in your profile) and I don’t want to waste your time or mine.” If you don’t feel comfortable being this upfront, then 20 or 30 minutes would be a sufficient amount of time to spend with someone before making your exit.

When ending the encounter, be considerate of your date’s feelings. Say something like, “It has been really nice to meet you. I don’t think we’re a match and I just want to be respectful of your time. I wish you all the best and I really appreciate you coming out to meet me.” Most people don’t want to seem rude, but when phrased it like this, your dates will admire–and even envy–your tact.

 

Having trouble dating? Book a coaching consult today to see how I can help you get emotionally naked and find true love!

Dating Tip #1: How to Politely end a Bad Date

 

Listen if you want to be Heard

Listen if You Want to Be Heard

 Listen if you want to be Heard

When I ask couples to tell me three things they want to get out of coaching, finding better ways to communicate is at the top of their list. I understand. It must be devastating for two people who have shared some of the most wonderful, positive feelings they’ve ever had to find themselves devolving into constant arguments over what are often petty matters.. What’s worse it that many of them feel powerless to stop doing it. When the dust settles, they might find themselves making promises to each other, but then they don’t follow through. Without strategies for long-term change, they get stuck in a continuous cycle of blow-ups and makeups that continue to escalate their feelings of helplessness and resentment. If nothing is done to break the pattern, it can permanently damage the relationship.

In my experience, when couples say they want better communication skills, what they really need are better listening skills. The real issue is that they’re not hearing each other. When tensions are running high and one partner is sharing, the other isn’t listening to what’s being said because s/he is too busy preparing a defense. They might have started out having a conversation, but then they devolve into a debate where both partners are just trying to prove that they’re right.

Break it down

If you and your partner came to me for coaching, I would start by showing you how to break your conversation into two distinct parts where one of you is the speaker and one of you is the listener. The speaker will share his or her side of the story in a way that is non-blaming and non-attacking, and the listener would only be allowed to reflect back on what he or she hears. This may sound simple, but it can be extremely challenging for the listener to listen without countering what the speaker is saying. It takes a certain amount of self-control and a willingness to hear your partner’s side in the same way that you want your partner to hear your side. In this exercise you’ll both have the opportunity to play each role—the speaker and the listener. In this first exercise, the goal is not to solve any problems or issues, but to listen in a new way and really hear what your partner has to say.

You can both be right

Stephen Covey says, “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” This is because, if you want people to understand where you’re coming from, you have to first be willing to understand where they’re coming from. Keep in mind that just because you understand where they’re coming from, it doesn’t mean you agree with their  point-of-view. It just means that, within the context of who they are, you understand how they could feel a certain way. Contrary to popular belief, there isn’t just one way to look at a given situation. Just because you and your partner have differing opinions, it doesn’t mean that one of you is right and one of you is wrong. You could both be right. The more you let go of your need to be right and open up to hearing your partner, the more compassion you will have and the easier it will be to resolve conflicts in a loving way. Now, lets get started!

 

Mirroring Exercise:

Think of a current issue or conflict in your relationship. With that in mind, choose one partner to be the listener and one to be the speaker.

Directions for the speaker:

Begin by using a soft start up—a gentle, loving approach intended to put your partner at ease. Think of two or three kind statements you can say about your partner. For example, “I love spending time with you,” or “Without question you’re my best friend.”

The second step is to use “and” rather than “but” language. If you use “but,” it will negate all the nice things you just said and your partner will immediately feel defensive.

For example: “I love living with you and sharing a home with you and it would be great if you would help clean the bedroom once in awhile.”

The third step is to present your perspective, using “I” language instead of “You” language. For example, instead of saying “You never listen to me” try “Sometimes I don’t feel heard.”

The last thing is to avoid using the phrase “It makes me feel.” Nobody makes you feel anything. You choose to feel a certain way. So instead of saying, “When you interrupt me all the time it makes me feel angry,” you would say, “When you interrupt me, I feel angry.” “When you do or say __________________, I feel _________________.”

Directions for the listener:

You might want to have a pen and paper on hand to take notes, because it can be difficult to listen and remember the main points when your partner has a lot on his or her mind. As your partner speaks, you want to be aware of your partner’s perspective. Put yourself in your partner’s shoes and try your best to see the situation through his or her eyes. Even if you don’t agree with what he or she says, you want to understand why your partner feels that way.

Every so often, when your partner pauses, repeat what he or she just said back. Say, “What I think I heard you say is…” And then, in your own words, tell your partner what you think he or she was trying to say. If your partner doesn’t pause and you want to check in, simply ask, “Can I pause you for a second?” and then repeat what your partner just said. When you do this part of the exercise, be aware of your tone. It’s easy to come across as snarky or judgmental, even if you don’t intend to be.

 Your partner will then reply, “Yes that is what I said,” or “No, you didn’t quite understand me.” Remember, you’re not there to offer solutions or even ask questions at this point. Your only objective is to let your partner know that you truly understand what he or she just said.

Most members of a couple are so intent on getting their own point across that they don’t realize they’re not hearing what their partner has to say. This exercise is designed to get you to slow down and really listen to each other. Many of my clients who did this simple exercise for the first time came back to the next session and said that it was life changing for them. They said that it was a revelation to finally hear what their partner was saying and to be heard in return. I would love for you to give this a try and share your experience.  What new insights did you have into how you can listen better and how it felt to really have someone listen to you?

If you and your partner are having trouble communicating, book a complimentary consultation and see how I can help.  Listen if you want to be Heard

 

 

The Worst Dating Advice Ever

My friend, Justin Stenstrom, over at Elite Man Magazine is today’s guest blogger.  He wrote a fascinating piece about bad dating advice. While I don’t agree with everything Justin says–like I do think two people who are seriously seeking a lasting relationship should wait to have sex– I always find it intriguing to hear the perspective of my fellow coaches. Hope you enjoy!

The Worst Dating Advice Ever: 15 Things To Avoid

The Worst Dating Advice Ever

We’ve all gotten advice at some point or another in our lives. People love giving their two cents to others when it concerns something they presume themselves to be an expert in. They want nothing more than to help. But a lot of the time they don’t!

Not only do these self-described “experts” oftentimes have no real clue about what works and what doesn’t, the advice they dish out can frequently make things worse.

Take dating advice for example. People spew out dating advice to friends like Mt. Vesuvius spews out hot lava to Pompeians. Horrible advice after more horrible advice is lent onto unsuspecting and vulnerable men and women each and every day. The collateral damage of these poor recommendations can only be hypothesized. But rest assured, it’s not pretty!

Here are 15 examples of the absolute worst dating advice out there.

To read the rest of the article, click this link: http://elitemanmagazine.com/the-worst-dating-advice-ever-15-things-to-avoid/

 

Adventure, Mission, & Romance

Adventure. Mission, & Romance

Adventure, Mission, & Romance

How to Fall in Love & Stay in Love

 

I am excited to let you know that I have been invited to speak on a panel for a free online event called Adventure, Mission & Romance: How to Fall in Love & Stay in Love. I will be joined by other leading experts in the field of dating and relationships—PhD’s, Coaches, Authors, Award-winning Travel Bloggers & Agents, Motivational Speakers, Adventurers, Spiritual Thought Leaders, Entertainment Professionals and even Grammy Award Winners.

What makes this online summit so unique is that it brings together many diverse and interesting voices, many that you don’t often hear speaking about love and relationships. Together we all share a wealth of knowledge with you about how to create loving, lasting, lifelong relationships.

Here are some of the topics we discuss: 

  • Finding true love at any age so that you can have the life you always wanted
  • Moving past betrayals and setbacks so that you can open your heart to a new relationship
  • Resolving conflicts with your partner so you stop arguing about the same things over and over again
  • Keeping your relationship passionate and lively so you can’t wait to see you partner walk through the door… even after you’ve been married 20+ years
  • Finding and achieving romantic relationship of your dreams so that you never have to go on another bad date

In my segment, interviewer and summit organizer, Julie Landi, and I talk about my own dating journey and the philosophy behind my upcoming book, Naked Dating®. I talk about the challenges I had to overcome and the 100 first dates I endured before finding the love of my life. Julie did an excellent job interviewing me! You won’t want to miss it!

If you’re interested in joining me, click here to access your free spot: http://theperformancegroup.us/LisaShield

Warmest Wishes for this Holiday Season,

Lisa Shield

 

 

I Finally Figured it Out

I Finally Figured it Out

I Finally Figured it Out

When I posted my first dating profile online fifteen years ago, one of a handful of qualities I was looking for in my future partner was that I wanted him to be “a man in a man’s body.” I finally figured it out, but it wasn’t easy to find him. Most of my previous partners looked like men on the outside, but they were just boys on the inside. This time I wanted to attract a man who looked and acted like a grownup.

Don’t get me wrong. Most of my exes would have said the same thing about me. I’m sure they felt I had some growing up to do, too… and they would have been right. When it comes to relationships, we attract people who are at our same level of consciousness. So, I knew that if I was going to attract the kind of man I wanted, I needed to stop behaving like a needy, controlling, insecure girl and become a level-headed, self-assured, grown-ass woman.

Change is not a dirty word

I know. We all want to be loved and accepted just the way we are. Yet, it stands to reason that if the men you want to attract don’t find you attractive, then you have to ask yourself what you need to change in order to be attractive to them.

Had I met my current husband two years earlier, when I first started dating, I know he wouldn’t have been attracted to me. But by going out on dates with almost 100 different men, I was able to gain a better understanding of how the opposite sex thinks and I grew into the woman I am today—strong and capable, but also kind, caring, appreciative, compassionate, passionate, forgiving, and playful. I also attracted the “man in a man’s body” of my dreams.

How I emasculated men

Through dating I discovered that much of my behavior with men was counterproductive. A real turning point for me was when I finally realized that if I wanted a man to take the lead, I had to let him. When I was younger, I would encourage a man to take charge and then tell him how he did it wrong. Wasn’t that nice of me? Or, I would get frustrated when I didn’t think he was doing something right and take things into my own hands. I can only begin to imagine how emasculating this would have felt to a man who was trying to get close to me.

Many of my female clients tell me that they would love to find a “take charge” kind of guy, an alpha male who just knows how to assume the lead. The problem is that many women are so busy trying to run the show that, even if some man wanted to take charge with them, he wouldn’t be able to. Like me, they say they want a man who knows how to lead, but they won’t relinquish control. And here’s the real issue: when a man has feelings for a woman, he tries to make her happy. If a woman seems frustrated and displeased when he does something to try and impress her, he will give up control and let her take over, thinking that’s what she wants. It’s a catch-22, ladies.

I didn’t figure all this out until I was 40 years old. This was sad because I longed to find a man who was safe and would take the lead. I never realized that, until I let go and let a man take the lead, this wasn’t possible. My need to control situations and have it my way made it impossible for the men around me to take charge.

Appreciation is everything

So how did I fix this? I shifted my perspective. I decided that I wanted to empower the men around me and treat them with respect. So, I went on my dates and began to look for what I liked about each of them. I started to value men and appreciate their efforts. I stopped expecting them to treat me a certain way and started to see everything they did for me as a gift. Even if it wasn’t right for me, I appreciated the efforts they made. One man took me to dinner at Marie Calendar’s. That’s so not my style, but he bought me dinner and I thought it was kind for him to do that. The younger me would have felt insulted. Just because I began to look for the good and be thankful for what a man did for me, it didn’t mean that I was willing to go for any guy who bought me dinner. I was still looking for my guy, for the one who bought me dinner at a place where I felt comfortable. Still, the more appreciation I showed, the more inspired men were to take the lead and treat me well. It was a win-win for everyone.

 

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I Finally Figured it Out

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