January, 2016

Screw the Chase

Screw the ChaseScrew the Chase:

Why sleeping with a man shouldn’t be about the “hot pursuit”

If you listen to most of the dating advice out there, the answer is yes: a man will lose interest if you don’t play hard to get. But, while it’s true that some guys may lose interest, this shouldn’t be your primary concern when deciding whether you’re ready to sleep with someone.

In my 13 years as a dating coach, I’ve seen it all. I’ve had clients who dated men who had no intention of getting into a relationship and pushed for sex. I’ve also had clients who dated men who wouldn’t sleep with them right away because they said they were interested in pursuing a relationship and wanted to get to know them first. I have male clients who say they don’t lose respect for women who have sex with them right away, and I’ve read countless studies that suggest having sex early on doesn’t necessarily diminish the odds of having a relationship.

In one such study, Dean Busby, of Brigham Young University’s School of Family Life, surveyed 2,035 heterosexual married individuals with an average age of 36. Forty percent of the participants reported sleeping with their spouses within the first two dates… so clearly, many men aren’t just in it for the chase.

So, what should you be thinking about?

At the end of the day, the smartest thing a woman can do is to avoid playing games or following someone else’s rules, and start thinking about what’s in her own best interest. So, maybe it’s time you stop worrying about what a man is going to think of you and start taking yourself into consideration. What makes you feel appreciated, respected, and secure?

This might not apply to you, but most women say they feel more secure in a relationship when they wait to sleep with a man. They feel that if a guy is willing to wait for sex and spend time getting to know them first, it shows a certain level of maturity and she feels valued as a person. In fact, there are many statistics that show that when couples wait to have sex and establish a deep friendship first, they form a stronger emotional bond that can stand the test of time.

Good things come to those who wait!

You may have heard me say this before, but I encourage my clients—men and women alike—to wait between one to three months before having sex.

This isn’t because of what your date will think of you, it’s because you need to take the time to get to know someone before you sleep with him. It’s naïve to think you can know someone in a few hours or a few days. Something else to consider is that having sex too soon can create a false sense of intimacy. Even though pillow talk feels deep, it only seems so because you’re naked… and because you just had sex! Your body is literally flooded with hormones that are designed to make you feel a strong biological connection to the person lying next to you.

In the 13 years I’ve been coaching, every client—male and female—who took my advice and waited to have sex has come back and told me they were glad they did. It changed everything for them. Not one person regretted waiting.

No matter what your body is telling you, I encourage you to take the time to get to know someone before you jump into bed. If you really want a meaningful, lasting relationship, it’s wise to slow down and get emotionally naked first. The sex will be that much better.

Why He Won’t Marry You

Why He Won't Marry You

Why He Won’t Marry You 

Falling in love never felt so good

If you’re a woman who dreams of getting married, and especially if you want children, there’s nothing more devastating than hearing the love of your life suddenly start to question if he’s really the marrying kind. You distinctly remember that he was one who mentioned marriage in the first place. It was a couple of months after you’d started dating. You were at Trader Joe’s laughing and shopping together. You couldn’t believe that two people could have so much fun doing something so ordinary. Just as you were reaching for an avocado, you felt his arm around your waist. He spun you around, looked deep in your eyes and said, “I think I could get used to this. I might even marry you one day.” Your heart exploded. These were the words you’d been waiting your whole life to hear.

When reality sets in

Fast-forward two years later, and everything’s changed. The man who claimed he wanted to spend the rest of his life with you is having second thoughts. The more he applies the brakes, the more hurt and anxious you feel… and with good reason. You’re almost 35. You want kids now more than ever, and your biological clock is t-i-c-k-i-n-g! Any man in his right mind knows you don’t mention marriage to a woman unless you mean it. Did he mean it? And if he did, what made him change his mind?

In the early throes of passion, it’s easy for two people to make big promises to each other: marriage… children… a chocolate lab and a white picket fence. When a relationship is shiny and new and there are no issues or problems getting in the way, a man might really feel like the woman he’s with is The One and imagine spending the rest of his life with her. Sometimes, it’s even the man who sets the wheels in motion and brings the issue of marriage and children up first. But then, months or years down the line, things change. One day he’s talking about diamond rings and babies, the next day everything comes to a screeching halt. The man who claimed he wanted to spend the rest of his life with you is starting to rethink everything.

What the hell happened?

He led you to believe that you were on the same page, that one day you would get married and start a family together, so you invested precious years of your life in the relationship. Now, it feels like your whole life is unraveling. What the hell happened?

As a relationship coach, one of the biggest reasons I hear men give for questioning marriage is that the dynamics of the relationship have changed. A partnership that once felt easy and harmonious is now rife with anger and fighting, and the man doesn’t know how to deal with it.

When clients discuss this issue during their sessions, the women often claim the fighting and anxiety is a result of their partner’s hesitation to propose. Or, they’ve proposed, but they’re evasive when it comes to discussing the wedding. The women are convinced that all their troubles will be resolved once they walk down the aisle. But the men are afraid the fighting will carry over into the marriage. The men say that they believe there’s something about the way the women are pressuring and pushing to get their way that isn’t going to stop just because they’re married.

A vicious cycle

The more anxious and angry a woman gets, the more a man will dig in his heels. Men don’t want to be mothered or told what to do. They don’t want to be given ultimatums or deadlines and made to feel like they’re being pushed into doing something before they’re ready. Women, on the other hand, face very real deadlines, and the thought of missing out on marriage and a family can be traumatizing, not to mention anxiety provoking. It’s a vicious cycle.

Of course, there may be other factors at play as well: marriage, children, and a home all cost money. Though times have changed and many women are out-earning men, many men still feel it’s their duty to be financially responsible for their partner. There’s also tremendous pressure when it comes to taking on debt to finance a lavish wedding, not to mention the financial burden of children. Women also need to consider other, deeper issues that may be driving their partner’s fear, like coming from a broken family, having a father who cheated or a mother who was alcoholic. These difficult early life experiences can cause many men to feel avoidant and harbor a real fear of commitment, which is a serious issue that can be hard to discern in the midst of all the drama and fighting.

Getting to “I Do”

The very best thing a couple in this situation can do for themselves is to seek the help of a therapist or coach. I put my clients through some very structured listening exercises so that they can really start to hear each other’s perspectives and gain a deeper understanding of what’s happening on both sides. I encourage my clients to recognize that, in this situation, there are two people who are hurt and scared, and help them learn to come from a place of love rather than anger and desperation. Until both members of the couple understand where the other is coming from, it will be very difficult to move forward.

It is heartbreaking to find yourself in a position where the person you want to spend the rest of your life with won’t commit. With a ticking clock and your whole future hanging in the balance, it’s understandable that you would feel anxious and hurt. If you’ve found yourself in this situation and don’t know where to turn, I encourage you to set up a consultation and see how I can help.

He Lost Me at Marie Calendar's





There’s a Big Difference Between Being too Picky and Having High Standards

There's a big difference between being too picky and having high standards

There’s a Big Difference Between Being too Picky and Having High Standards


He Lost Me at Marie Calendar’s

I once had a guy take me to Marie Calendar’s on a first date. It could have been a Sizzler or Chili’s or The Olive Garden. For some people this wouldn’t be a big deal, but they’re just not the kind of places I hang. It wasn’t about money; it was about originality. A cute ramen noodle shop or a hip hamburger joint would have been fine by me. Some people would think I was being shallow for rejecting a man on this one criterion alone, but there’s a big difference between being too picky and having high standards. I knew for certain that Mr. Marie Calendar’s wasn’t my guy. I’m not a chicken potpie kind of girl and I never will be!

When I told this story to a client yesterday who is dating and struggling to figure out if her own standards are too high, she was shocked. “You didn’t want to see him again just because he took you to Marie Calendar’s?” she inquired.

“Yep,” I replied, confidently.

“But don’t you think you were being too picky?” she asked. “What if he had all the other qualities you were looking for? Wasn’t it superficial to write him off just because of his choice of restaurants? I mean shouldn’t you have given him another chance?”

“No. He was a sweet guy, but it was obvious to me that our taste was very different and I knew it wouldn’t work. I feel that, on a first date, someone is trying to make a good impression and his choice of restaurants says a lot about his preferences. It shows his taste and style. The evening was pleasant and I was appreciative that he treated me to dinner, but I knew we weren’t a match.”

When you’re dating, it’s important to trust your gut, draw your lines, and stick to them. It would have been the same situation if my date had told me his idea of a great vacation was going on a Princess Cruise. I went on one once and it’s not something I ever want to do again. There are plenty of people out there who enjoy Princess Cruises: just not me.

Narrowing the field

You need to look for a partner whose values align with yours. For that to happen, you need to know what’s important to you and take a stand for it. Asking for what you want doesn’t mean you’re being too demanding, but keep in mine that each time you add another criteria to your list, it will narrow your dating field a little (or—in some cases—a lot) more.

Recently, while attending an eHarmony luncheon, Grant Langston, Vice President and head of Brand Marketing, addressed this issue. He gave the example that, if you want to date someone who doesn’t drink alcohol, it will cut your dating pool by 75%. This might seem like a lot, but if you don’t drink alcohol and you don’t want to be around it, then you need to draw that line. If you aren’t attracted to men who are bald or stocky or actors or high school grads, you don’t have to date them. Just know that each non-negotiable on your list will cut away another chunk of the pie, and you might only be left with a sliver.

It’s important to set your standards as high as you feel necessary, but if you find fault with everyone you date, then your friends are rightyou’re being “too picky.” When I was dating, I didn’t find fault with everyone. There were plenty of people I liked very much and that I was willing to date. Those relationships didn’t work out for a variety of reasons, but not because my standards were too high.

When no one is good enough

If your standards are impossibly high and no one can reach them, it might be because you’re afraid of the very thing you claim to be looking for: a serious relationship.

You might actually be looking for shortcomings and flaws in your dates as a means of protecting yourself from disappointment or rejection. If no one meets your standards, then you’ll never have to enter into a serious relationship. If you never enter into a serious relationship, you’ll never get hurt. It’s self-sabotage at its best.

There is a difference between having high standards and being too picky, and only you can answer that question for yourself. You have to gauge if you’re being discerning or if you’re being fearful. At the end of the day, you get to set the bar wherever you see fit. Just remember that you need to be true to yourself and your values and know that it might take time and patience to find the love of your life. If you have the courage to stand for what you want and keep dating, you might not just find someone who meets your expectations, but who exceeds them. I did.

Are you afraid you’ll never meet someone who meets your standards? Book a consultation and see how I can help you work through your blocks and find love.

He Lost Me at Marie Calendar's

Ghosting… Don’t let it Happen to You

Ghosting... Don't let it Happen to you
Ghosting… Don’t let it Happen to You

So, you finally find someone online who you’re psyched about dating. You send a flurry of flirty texts back and forth and then go out on a couple of amazing dates. Your imagination starts to run wild! You even make an offhand comment to your best friend about how you think you might have met The One.

Then, as suddenly as it started, it stops. There’s complete radio silence.  No more, “Good morning, Sunshine!” texts to start the day. No more dreamy plans for the weekend. Nothing. It feels like you’ve been punched in the gut. How could you have been so naive? You wonder, “Did I just dream this person up?” But when you read through all your old texts, you’re still convinced that the chemistry was real. So, what went wrong?

In a word: you were ghosted.

My husband, Benjamin, and I met in the early days of online dating. Back then, we responded to each and every message we received, whether we were interested in meeting the other person or not. Being the ethical guy that he is, Benjamin was appalled when I told him that, today, many people just disappear in the middle of a correspondence or a courtship. He actually asked me to stop telling him stories because it was bumming him out so much.

There are more dating sites and apps in existence than ever before, which makes it easier than ever to find dates, but the downside is that they also create the illusion (for some) that people are expendable. It can seem easier for some people to simply disappear when they don’t want to pursue things further with a date than to tell it like it is. If you’ve been out in the dating world for awhile, chances are you’ve even disappeared on someone yourself.

With Naked Dating®, I urge people to be honest and upfront with their dates. A simple phone call (or, if you’re in the very early stages of dating, a text) letting the person know you simply don’t feel that you’re a match and wish them well is a much kinder and more respectful alternative to ghosting.

Rejection is an inherent part of dating. To date successfully, you have to learn how to reject people kindly, and on the same token, to accept a certain amount of rejection on your end. That said, if people are repeatedly disappearing on you, you might want to take a deeper look at what’s going on. The following four scenarios might help explain what’s happening:

  1. You get ahead of yourself: When you find someone you’re excited about dating, it’s easy to start building up romantic fantasies and imagining what the relationship will be like before you even know the other person. Especially when it comes to online dating, it’s easy to develop a false sense of intimacy through emails and texts. Many people start developing expectations before they’ve even met the other person face-to-face. The reality is this: if you’re still in the emailing stage, you’re just a photo and a profile to other people. Until you go out on an actual date, you can’t expect much. You need to assume that most people online are corresponding with several people at once. When someone stops writing, you have one chance to write or text and say, “Hey where’d you go?” but if you don’t get a response, you need to take it as a sign that it wasn’t meant to be and move on.
  2.  The chemistry wasn’t mutual: If you’ve gone out with someone a few times and the communication suddenly stops, it’s very likely that the other person just didn’t feel a spark—or met someone with whom they felt a stronger connection. In the early stages of dating, it can seem easier to just cut your losses and move on when you know you don’t feel a connection than to verbalize your reasons for not wanting to take things further. We all know how it feels to be rejected, so we often try to avoid having these uncomfortable conversations, even if we hurt the other person in the long run by saying nothing. I don’t believe this is the right thing to do, but it often seems like what’s easiest for the person who wants out.
  3.  You might not be coming off as well as you think: It’s hard to know what you might have done that turned the other person off. It’s hard to be objective about yourself and to know how others perceive you. One of the exercises I recommend to help you get clear on what might be going on is to ask three people—family, co-workers, close friends—to write down three traits they love about you and three traits they think could be getting in the way of your dating. Have them write their responses down so you can really take the time to process their feedback. Notice any patterns? The negative feedback can be a hard pill to swallow, but it can be truly eye opening and it might help you realize things about yourself that you were totally unaware of—and that you might want to avoid doing next time!
  4.  You seem too eager to find someone. When it comes to dating, desperation is a huge turn off. It’s one thing to be excited about meeting someone, but if you appear too anxious to jump into a relationship—or too obsessive right from the get-go—you will push people away. It’s almost instinctive for people to put up their guard when someone displays too much interest too soon. Because you haven’t had the time to get to know one another, your dates can feel suspicious of your motives. If you have a tendency to be overanxious about finding a partner, I encourage you to date several people at once until you are in a committed relationship. I also highly recommend reading my last blog post, “Slow and Steady Wins the Race” and the book Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find and Keep Love.

Learning how to have authentic communication that leads to a lifelong connection is what Naked Dating® is all about. If you’ve had the disappearing act pulled on you one too many times and don’t understand why, maybe you could benefit from some one-on-one coaching. There could be a deeper issue at hand, and I can help!

To set up a complimentary coaching consult click here:

Ghosting... Don't let it Happen to You

Slow and Steady Wins the Race

Slow and Stead Wins the Race

Slow and Steady Wins the Race

The other day, my client Tracy came in for a session. We had been working together for a few months. She was getting a great response online, going on lots of dates, but she hadn’t met anyone that she was excited about… until Charlie.

“Lisa, we had the most amazing date,” she exclaimed, her eyes practically rolling back in her head as she sunk into the chair. “He isn’t like other men I’ve met. He’s so sweet… and handsome… and successful… and the chemistry is OFF. THE. CHARTS.”

“Oh boy,” I thought to myself, “here we go again.”

There was no denying it: Tracy was drunk on lust, and she certainly wasn’t the first client of mine who’d taken that drink. It killed me to have to be the one to put a damper on her enthusiasm and remind her to slow down, but that’s what she was paying me for: to be the ultimate buzz kill. But seriously, I like to think of myself as the voice of reason.

So, let’s be reasonable. When you go on a first date with someone who makes your body tingle from head to toe and your brain run in endless little circles of excitement, you need to remind yourself to s l o w down, breathe, and proceed with caution. Think about this: It’s a big leap from, “Oh my God, we have so much in common and the chemistry is so intense!” to “Let’s get married, make babies, and spend the rest of our lives together.”

When I was younger, I would completely spin out when I met someone I liked. He would be all I could think about. Fourteen years ago, when I posted my profile and pictures on an online dating site for the first time, I had a little talk with myself. “Lisa,” I said, “you are done rushing into relationships. It doesn’t work. No matter how much chemistry and connection you feel with someone, you cannot truly know a man on a first date or a second date or, even, a third.” At the end of every date with someone I found attractive, I would remind myself, “Lisa’s, he’s a nice guy AND you don’t know him.”

When I met my future husband, I spent two hours staring into the kindest eyes I had ever seen. I could tell that he was someone very special and he seemed to be enamored with me, as well. Still, as I drove the few blocks from the restaurant back home to my apartment, I reminded myself, “That was one of the kindest men you’ve ever met AND you don’t know him.” I had been on dates with men who seemed wonderful in the moment, only to never hear from them again and I’d learned not to get ahead of myself.

It takes time for two people to really get to know each other, to know each other’s hopes, dreams, and fears. Most importantly, it takes time to discover the places where you both clash and draw your lines. Some people say that you don’t really start to know someone until you’ve had your first argument. I agree that the first fight is usually the turning point where most relationships start to get real. I am not a big believer in fireworks and love at first sight. In my 12 years as a dating coach I have seen almost all of these magic encounters burn out as quickly as they started.

Most people want to feel wowed when they meet their soul mate, but there are no shortcuts to creating a real love that will last. Slow and steady wins the race. I know this sounds boring, but take it from a woman who will be celebrating her twelfth wedding anniversary in a couple of weeks. Think about it: if you’re really going to spend the rest of your life with someone, what’s the hurry?


Are you having trouble taking your time during the dating process and need some advice? Book a free consultation and see how I can help!

Personal Reflections: On Learning to Love Yourself

Personal Reflections: On Learning to Love Yourself

Personal Reflections: On Learning to Love Yourself

My little half-sister

According to her mother, my 18-year-old half-sister is really struggling. When my father died last year at 78 from the long term effects of drinking and smoking, my sister was hit the hardest. Now, she’s away at college for the first time and it sounds like she’s feeling very lost and lonely. Listening to her mom describe what a hard time my little sister is having, I was reminded of how, for the first 34 years of my life, I felt like I stumbled around in a fog, not sure of who I was or where I was going in life.

I’m 54 now and I know how my story works out. I’ve created a life I love complete with an adoring husband, two very amusing dogs, and a rewarding career as a dating and relationship coach. Most of all, I’m genuinely happy.

Sadly, I don’t know what’s in store for my little sister. I don’t know if she’ll figure out her life, but it breaks my heart to see her in so much pain. I can imagine how much she’s hurting and how insurmountable this situation must seem to her.

People like people who like themselves

The other day I phoned my little sister to see how she’s doing and she confided that she hasn’t made any real friends at school. Can you imagine being away at college and not making friends? I can. When I was her age, nothing seemed more terrifying than opening up to other people. I felt certain that, if they got to know me, they wouldn’t like me… but then I didn’t like much myself either.

Now that I’m older, I can see how hard it is for others to like you when you don’t like yourself. But it’s also hard to like yourself when it feels like nobody likes you. It’s a Catch-22. How could I possibly believe I was likable when I constantly felt like people were turned off by me? I felt so lonely and confused that I resented other people for how I felt, but I also desperately wanted their approval.

“Searching in all directions with your awareness, you find no one dearer than yourself.”   -The Buddha

When I ask myself how I got from where my sister is today to where I am, I realize that it came down to a single choice. One day, when I was 34-years-old and trapped in a bad marriage, I simply decided that it was time to start loving myself. I realized that the love I needed most of all was my own, and that I had to find a way to give it to myself. Of course I didn’t have a clue how to do this, but I needed to find out.

Turns out that setting an intention to start loving myself was, in and of itself, a powerful step in the right direction. I didn’t need to have it all figured out. Simply by changing a single thought, my entire way of thinking began to change. Instead of focusing on all the reasons why people didn’t like me, I started to think about what I liked about myself. When I did this, my negative thoughts receded into the background and my positive thoughts came to the forefront. My mind was like a camera lens; whatever I chose to focus on became sharper and clearer, while everything else fell away.

Just find one thing to like about yourself

You don’t have to start with anything big. Maybe you think you have pretty hair or a nice smile. Maybe you like the fact that you’re an out-of-the-box thinker. I loved my sense of adventure. At a time when the vast majority of people hadn’t traveled much, by the time I was nineteen, I had already been around the world to places like Sri Lanka and Katmandu. I thought this made me pretty cool. All you need to do is find one thing to like about yourself, however small. Make a list of 10 things you like about being you. Everyday add one more quality to the list. Watch it grow.

Eventually, I was able to start looking at the things I didnt like about myself, too. It was scary at first, but I owned them one by one. I took responsibility for everything about whom I was being and the choices I was making.

There were some parts of my personality that weren’t so attractive. For example, I could be defensive, obsessive, a know-it-all, and self-absorbed. The good news was that I was ready and willing to change. For most of my life I had felt like the world was against me. Figuring out that I could improve myself on the inside and change the results I was getting on the outside felt liberating.

In certain spiritual circles the word “change” has gotten a bad rap. Some say we’re all supposed to accept others and ourselves exactly the way we are. This isn’t exactly true. While it isn’t your job to try to change other people, you can change how other people respond to you by changing yourself. If something you’re doing isn’t working and you’re not getting the result you want, then you need to change your approach. We are all works in progress, but if you want to have a life you love, you can’t continue to blame the people around you for why your life isn’t working.

Beauty isn’t everything

One of the biggest challenges I faced when I was my little sister’s age is that I placed way too much emphasis on physical beauty. A voice inside my head was always saying things like, “Lisa, if you were thinner, your life would be different. If you just lost weight, people would like you. Then you could fit in. If you were prettier, people would like you and want to be your friend.” No wonder I didn’t like myself. I was mean and negative and I was making myself into a victim. I really believed that if I were prettier and thinner people would like me more. I never realized this until just now, but the few times I actually did lose weight, I was so uncomfortable with the attention I got that I put the weight back on again. It didn’t matter how I looked on the outside because I believed that, once people got to know what I was like on the inside, they wouldn’t like me. The problem with wishing I was thinner or prettier was that it set me up to never like myself. I was always disappointed in myself. The only way to love myself was to be willing to accept myself flaws and all. I still wanted to lose weight and keep improving, but I stopped beating up on myself up for not being perfect.

The other night I was invited to a fabulous party in the Hollywood Hills. I don’t think there was one person there who was classically beautiful, but every single person had his or her own distinct brand of charm. I met a famous actor, a world-renowned photographer, a jewelry designer, a frozen quiche and pizza manufacturer, a high-end photographic book publisher, a designer of exotic gardens, and a novelist. It was one of the most fascinating groups of people I’ve met in a long time. Not one person there was a head turner, but you could tell that they all liked themselves and they each left a lasting impression on me.

My friend Peggy

I really have come a long way in the past 20 years. My friend Peggy, who knew me when I was first trying to figure myself out, likes to remind me of how far I’ve come. She gets this mischievous twinkle in her eyes and says, “Lisa Minkin (my maiden name), you’ve come a l o n g way!” She’s seen the best and the worst of me, and you know what? She doesn’t just like me: she loves me.

When I first met Peggy, I fell in love with her spirit and I wanted to be her friend. She was the kind of person I wanted to like me back. I actually went out on a limb to cultivate a friendship with her—something I never would have had the guts to do when I was younger and more insecure. The old me would have told myself that Peggy wouldn’t want to be my friend, but the new me tells myself that I can have all the friends I want! Just writing those words makes my heart leap because I never imagined I would feel that way. Peggy’s love and friendship are proof that I’ve grown into the person I’ve always wanted to be because the people who love me are the very people I want to love me.

In conclusion

Now that you’ve read this far, you might still be wondering, “But how did you learn to love yourself?” I’ve already told you. I changed a belief. I simply chose to stop telling myself that I was unlikable and, despite what anyone else thought of me, I decided to like myself. Changing this one belief opened up a whole new universe of thought for me. Over time, much of my negativity and fear fell away and it was replaced with loving-kindness and self-acceptance. This didn’t happen overnight. Transformation can take time. Just because I had a breakthrough didn’t mean that I was changed. The changes came gradually, but once I set foot on that path, I kept on going. I changed from a confused, frightened, insecure girl into a clear, confident woman. I hope with all my heart that my little sister will do the same.

If you are struggling to love yourself and meet the partner of your dreams, please contact me for a free consult. You can learn all the tricks of the dating trade, but if you don’t have a good relationship with yourself, it’s hard to be a great partner even if you meet someone wonderful. The good news is that you can learn to love and accept yourself and my guess is that you’ll find out you’re actually pretty fabulous!

Adventure, Mission & Romance









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