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Finally, the Answer to All Your Bad Dates!

Finally, the Answer to all Your Bad Dates!

Finally, the Answer to All Your Bad Dates!

This is everyone’s dating nightmare: You’re sitting across the table from someone and the conversation is as stale as a week old Trader Joe’s baguette. He’s been ranting about his bitchy ex-girlfriend for nearly an hour, and every time you try to change the subject, he somehow manages to bring it back to her. You have visions of “accidentally” spilling your martini in his lap, but you can’t because your drink is the only thing that’s keeping you from completely losing your mind.

We’ve all been there. Bad dates, especially a string of bad ones, can be agonizing. After enough disappointments, it’s easy to feel like throwing in the towel and giving up on love completely.

But before you delete your online dating profile and resign yourself to being single forever, consider this: what if all of those dates—even the disastrous ones—are actually opportunities for you to practice becoming the person you need to be when the love of your life arrives?

Take it from someone who went out on almost 100 first dates in two years before I found my soul mate: If you want to find an incredible partner, you have to first know how to be an incredible partner—and that’s something most people don’t know how to do. Most of us don’t know how create a successful relationship with ourselves, let alone with another person.

Let me back up a minute. When I first started dating, I was a mess. I knew I wasn’t ready for the kind of relationship I really wanted, but I knew that I could use the dating process to help me get there. By going out on lots of dates with many different men, I was able to work through much of the anxiety I had about getting close to a man. I practiced speaking up for myself, I learned how to talk to men and ask for what I needed, and I learned how to face rejection and hear the word “no” without overreacting or taking it personally. I also became more honest, open, vulnerable, and playful. I exercised restraint and stopped having sex without a commitment. In the end, I realized that as long as I was challenging myself to grow and learn, there was no such thing as a bad date. Two years later, when I met my future husband, I was a very different woman than when I first started dating.

We all have some growing to do. So, the next time you’re on a less-than-exciting date, don’t just sit there feeling like you’re wasting your time. Ask yourself: how can I use this experience to become a more loving, openhearted person? How can I be a better listener? Is there more of myself that I need to share? What can I do to be more playful, inquisitive, and engaged?

It might seem like you’re just being faced with one disappointment after another, but the truth is you might not even be ready for the kind of relationship you’re looking for. Dating can offer lessons and challenges that you won’t get anywhere else. Going back to the example of the date with that guy who won’t stop talking about his ex, the challenge there would be to find a diplomatic way to tell him what you’re really thinking. You might say something like, “It doesn’t seem like you’re ready to date. It feels like you’re still working through your last relationship.” If you say something, you’ll walk away feeling good about speaking up, and your date will have gained a little insight into what he’s doing wrong.

In the end, dating is what you make of it. You don’t know how many dates stand between you and the love of your life, so why not use the ones in between to become the best version of yourself you can be? Take it from someone who’s been there: no matter how long the wait—and how rough the dating waters—it will all be worth it in the end.

 

Dating doesn’t have to be a drag. Click here to schedule a free consult and find out how Naked Dating® is a path that can lead to real love.

SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT TODAY!

SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT TODAY!

 

 

The Rules are for Fools


Mimi9
The Rules are for Fools

In my grandmother’s era, there were lots of “rules” about dating. Her brother, my Great Uncle Sid, loves to tell the story of the first time a certain gentleman called to ask her out. Uncle Sid said that this man was handsomer than Gregory Peck and equally as charming. All the young women at the Jewish Community Center in St. Louis, MO had their eye on him, but he only had eyes for my granny.

One Thursday evening, the gentleman in question gave my grandmother a call. They chatted easily and effortlessly for a few minutes, but when she hung up the hallway phone, she collapsed in the corner and burst into tears. The family came running to see what happened. “Helen, darling,” my great grandmother said, crouching down to wipe her daughter’s tear-stained face with the hem of her apron. “Tell us what’s wrong!”

“Al Gelfand asked me on a date… b-b-but,” she replied, choking on her words, “I told him No.” My poor grandmother. Prince Charming had just asked her out and she turned him down. But why!?

“What are you talking about, Helen?” my uncle Sid said, questioning his older sister. “All you’ve been doing is blabbering about Al Gelfand for months, and now he calls, asks you on a date, and you say no?” He cocked his head to one side and raised an eyebrow suspiciously.

“You dont understand,” my grandmother lectured. “It’s Thursday and he asked me out for tomorrow night. No self-respecting girl would ever accept such an invitation! He needs to give me some advance notice. Doesn’t he think I have a social life?”

“But this morning you told me you didn’t have any plans tomorrow,” my uncle retorted.

My grandma eyed her little brother curiously. “That’s not the point,” she said, feigning an air of superiority. “Albert Gelfand needs to know that I’m in high demand and that I’m not just sitting here waiting for the likes of him to call.” She managed to remain calm for a few seconds, and then erupted into another crying fit. “Oh no!” she sobbed despairingly. “What have I done? What if he never asks me out again?”

The good news is that Al Gelfand was no slouch. He didn’t give up easily. And being the smart cookie that she was, my grandmother probably gave him a little hint before turning him down, as well. I’m sure she said something like: “I’d love to go out with you, Al, but my weekends do fill up rather quickly.” The dapper Mr. Gelfand took my grandmother’s advice to heart. The next time he called to ask her out, my future grandfather gave my grandmother plenty of notice.

In my grandmother’s day, women really had only one path in life: to become wives and mothers. My grandmother’s entire agenda was to bag a great man and, to do that, she had to use her womanly charms to lure him in. But now it’s 2016! We’ve fought long and hard for equal rights, and we have so many more opportunities available to us than just getting married. Still, when it comes to dating, many women feel the need to follow the same antiquated rules my grandma Helen did all those years ago. From never making the first move to not accepting a date without three-days advance notice, I’m shocked to see how many of my female clients still date like it’s 1936. Many women are still convinced that they have no choice but to continue playing silly games to meet a guy.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t end there. Some of my female clients feel they need to downplay their success or accomplishments for fear of overshadowing a man. How can we have come so far in so many ways, only to feel that we still have to hide who we are? Case in point: a few months ago, my client, Maggy, told me that she was afraid of what would happen when Marco, the guy she was dating, found out that she owns three investment properties. Marco wasn’t doing as well as she was in his career and she was scared he would be intimidated by her success. Maggy is turning something that should be a blessing and make her more viable as a partner into a curse. Ironically, if she keeps downplaying her success, she will continue to attract insecure men. The right man wouldn’t be threatened by her success, he would feel proud to be with her.

Women today are not like my grandmother. We have careers, mortgages, and bank accounts of our own, and most of us don’t need a man to take care of us. It’s time to stop playing games, embrace our accomplishments, and look for men who are our equals. If you’re out in the dating world and you want to attract a good man, don’t play by my grandmother’s rules—in fact, don’t play by anyone’s rules. The real way to win the heart of the right man isn’t by avoiding his calls or downplaying your success; it’s by showing up authentically and opening up your heart so he can see the real you. Your soul mate can’t find you if you’re hiding behind a mask or playing by rules that were created in a different day and time. If my grandma Helen was around today, she wouldn’t kowtow to any man. She would be running the show and she’d have all the men chasing after her!

Do you want to learn how to get “naked” and show up authentically on dates? Book a consultation with me and see how I can help!

The Rules are for Fools

Are You Your Own Worst Frenemy?

Are You Your Own Worst Frenemy?

Are you Your Own Worst Frenemy?

Sylvia’s Story

Six months ago, I was in a coaching session with my client, Sylvia. A guy she had been emailing on Match and hadn’t heard from in a few weeks had popped up out of the blue. “Hey,” he wrote. “What happened to you?” 

“Did you email him back???” I asked. I was excited to see someone she’d been communicating with was trying to reconnect with her.  Sylvia had been having a hard time getting dates from guys she liked. 

“No. I’m not emailing him back,” Sylvia declared, looking at me like I was out of my mind. “I wrote him last and then he stopped communicating with me. He’s got a lot of nerve implying I was the one who dropped the ball.”

Really? I replied, “What’s the difference? He reached out. Can’t you just play along? You have a long email history with the guy. It seems like you were into him at some point.”

I went on to suggest that she write him something playful like:

“Actually, you never answered my last email and I was wondering what happened to you! So, where do we go from here? Ill give you a little hint: if you ask me for my number, I just might give it to you ☺”

Yeah, I dont think so, she insisted. Why should I make it easy for him? I want a guy whos excited about me and pursues me.

My female clients say this all the time; they want men to chase them, but what they really do is make them jump through too many hoops. If a guy makes one misstep—it can be something as simple as dropping the thread of communication for a couple of days or failing to ask them a question about themselves in an email exchange—these women will write the man off, claiming he didn’t seem like he was interested.

Sylvia was missing the point. This guy had reached out to her. Maybe he didn’t use the best approach, but he was trying to get the communication flowing again. When it comes to online dating and two people haven’t even met, it doesn’t matter who wrote the last email. People have busy lives and they get distracted. What’s more, most people are communicating with several different people at the same time and it’s easy to lose track of who you’re writing to. You need to take it all with a grain of salt.

The bottom line is that Sylvia is not dating naked. She’s taking things personally and putting up walls, walls that no man in his right mind is going to work that hard to get through, especially if he hasn’t even met her yet! As long as her Frenemy (read Inner Bitch) is calling the shots and she’s being defensive and closed off, no one will pursue her. I tried everything I could to convince her to write this guy back, even just for practice, but she wouldn’t budge.

Maya’s Story

Interestingly enough, the day after my session with Sylvia, I coached another client, Maya, on the same issue. Maya had also been emailing with a guy who’d stopped writing and then resurfaced a few weeks later. Even though they’d only exchanged a handful of emails, Maya was worried she might have said something to turn him off. By the time we met, Maya was feeling rejected and her Frenemy had put up a wall to protect her. Like Sylvia, she felt that if a man was excited and wanted to pursue her, he wouldn’t have let the communication drop.

Maya’s Frenemy had convinced her that she shouldn’t respond to the email, so she was shocked to hear what I had to say. Before she made any rash decisions, I encouraged her to write him a playful message asking where he’d disappeared to. After all, what did she have to lose?

Maya hesitated, but then she took my advice. “I really hear what you’re saying,” she told me. “You’re telling me to keep an open mind and give people the benefit of the doubt. I need to be more playful and ease up on men; I can be so hard on them. I guess I’m just afraid of getting hurt again, so I push them away before they can reject me. Even if this isn’t the perfect guy for me, I really do need to practice opening up and asking for what I want.”

That evening I got an email from Maya saying that she had not only written to the man we’d talked about, but she’d also sent a playful email to another man who she had stopped writing. Both guys wrote her back immediately, and an hour later she had not one but two dates lined up for the weekend. It’s been a few weeks now and she’s already been out with the first guy five times. Imagine what Maya would have missed out on if she had followed her initial knee jerk reaction and written him off for not making a move?

Fear of being exposed

So, back to Sylvia. Want to know what happened with her? When she had first started coaching with me, she told me about all the self-help books she’d read and how hard she’d worked to get to a place where she liked herself. After our session, she wrote me a long, defensive email reminding me about all the work she’d already done on herself and saying that she didn’t feel she needed to change. Then she went on to reiterate why she was right in not emailing back the guy. To me it was clear that she was guarded. She didn’t really want to put herself out there. Dating can be risky: what if she got rejected and found out that she was going to have to do more work on herself before she would be ready to get into a relationship?

At this point, there was nothing left for me to say. She had come to me for coaching because some part of her knew she was getting in her own way. Unfortunately, she was still terrified of rejection, and rather than risk getting hurt, her Frenemy was putting up an even bigger wall. So, in the end, I could see that her sense of self wasn’t nearly as solid as she wanted to believe. 

In Zen Buddhism, there’s a concept called beginner’s mind; it’s the idea that you approach every situation from a place of openness and curiosity, and with a willingness to learn something new. A quote relating to that concept kept running through my head as I read Sylvia’s email: “In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s there are few.” Sylvias inner Frenemy was the consummate expert and it wasnt going to budge at least not on my watch.

Are you a Sylvia or a Maya?

When you find yourself getting reactive and your Frenemy is telling you to cut off communication with someone you’ve been talking to online, see if you can let go a little, stop jumping to conclusions, and look at the situation with a beginner’s mind. There’s nothing to be lost by giving someone the benefit of the doubt. If you want things to change, you are going to have to stop listening to your Frenemy, take some risks, and be willing to give more people a chance. Ask yourself: do you want to date like Sylvia or like Maya? I promise you, Maya is getting a lot more dates, she’s having a lot more fun, and she’s going to meet someone… or, maybe she already has!

Are you having trouble opening up and giving people a chance? Book a free consultation with me and see how I can help you take down your walls and start dating with a beginner’s mind!

Are You Your Own Worst Frenemy

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

 

 

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.

 

If you want to stop sabotaging your dating, learn how to get emotionally naked, and find the man of your dreams click here to book a complimentary consult and find out how I can help:

I Finally Figured it Out

28 Things Every Woman Wishes Her Man Knew

28 things every woman wishes her man knew

28 Things Every Woman Wishes Her Man Knew

Let’s face it: women are way more confusing than men. We expect you to know the answers to questions we aren’t even sure of. Sometimes, figuring us out can seem as impossible as trying to solve a Rubix Cube blindfolded. This week, we thought we would throw you dirty dogs a bone and give you the Cliffs Notes to understanding women. Here are 28 things every woman wishes her man knew about her. If you think these are tough, you should see the 5,098 other tips we left on the cutting room floor!

  1. We never get to the point. Is there a point?
  1. We’re emotional. Deal with it.
  1. Silence is torture for most of us. The majority of women are talkers.
  1. We never get tired of hearing how good we look.
  1. Beyoncé was channeling the divine truth when she sang the words, “If you want it you better put a ring on it.”
  1. If you want to be guaranteed to get some at the end of the night, you gotta ratchet up the romance.
  1. We drop hints about the things we want you to do for us all the time… and we love a guy who picks up on them.
  1. Sending flowers can only make up for so much… then you need to send those little blue boxes, the kind that say “Tiffany & Co.” on them.
  1. Flowers on anniversaries and birthdays are to be expected, but smart guys send anytime with notes that say, “Just because I love you.” You score extra points if you send them to our office where all our coworkers can see them.
  1. Texting is fine, but if we’re into you, we would love you to pick up the phone so we can hear your voice.
  1. It’s easy to find younger women attractive, but what we really want to hear is how you think women get more beautiful as they get older.
  1. If you lock your phone or put it face down in front of us, it’s just going to make us curious.
  1. Men who can cook are sexy.
  1. We don’t respect a man who will let us walk all over him, and we can sense it from a mile away.
  1. A lot of us still think you should make the first move… and pay for dinner, especially while you’re courting us.
  1. Most of the time, we aren’t looking for answers. We just want you to listen and tell us everything will be okay.
  1. We will never think your burp and fart jokes are funny.
  1. We want to feel protected. We expect you to call us after a fight, even if we started it.
  1. If we’re in a relationship and we try to push you away, we really don’t want you to go. We you want you to fight for us.
  1. We tell you how strong and independent we are, but we really don’t want to be that that way that with you.
  1. I know we make it look easy, but looking this good takes time. Don’t rush us when we have a mascara wand in our hand.
  1. No matter how many clothes are in the closet, we’ll never have anything to wear.
  1. We will never own enough pretty, sparkly things.
  1. If you don’t want us to act like your mother, start acting like a man.
  1. PMS is a real thing, but some of us have been known to use it our advantage.
  1. The “Hallmark” of a great guy is one that knows his way around a greeting card.
  1. Don’t take it personally if you can’t get us off. It’s not as easy for us as it is for you.
  1. Also try not to take it so personally when we turn you down. We might be PMS-ing or we might be feeling fat. Sometimes we just can’t face the one-eyed monster.

 

I’m sure you could tell us a thing or two about what men would like us to know about them… if we would just let you get a word in edgewise! 😉

 

Are you having trouble connecting with the opposite sex? Book a free consultation with me today.

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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.

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Being Too Strong Won’t Attract The Right Man

being too strong

Right before my 40th birthday it hit me: being too strong wasn’t attracting the right man. It had been eight years since I divorced my first husband. I’d spent most of this time working on myself. Now it was time to put myself back on the dating circuit. As I started going out on dates, I began to question some of my long held beliefs about men, women, and relationships. Because I was a strong and independent woman, I had always thought that my ideal man would have to be stronger than me so that he would “challenge me” and “take the lead.” Now I began to wonder if there was a flaw in my thinking. Was the fact that I was being too strong and independent inadvertently attracting the wrong men and pushing the right ones away?

It occurred to me that, if I wanted a man to take the lead, I needed to stop being too strong and independent. If I wanted a man to be stronger than me, I needed to stop competing with him. And if I wanted a man to be the man, I needed to start thinking and behaving more like the woman.

But what did it mean to “be the woman?” I honestly didn’t know. When I was nine, my father jilted my mother, leaving her heartbroken and humiliated. One wintery afternoon when I was fifteen, my mother and I were walking around a Midwestern shopping mall when she told me never to rely on men. “Don’t ever let a man do to you what your father did to me,” she said, trying to protect me from men like my father. Then, lifting a line from a seedy Sidney Sheldon novel, she said something I will never forget. “Remember: when they’re hard they’re soft and when they’re soft they’re hard.” Thanks Mom! Words to live by!

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You have to laugh. I mean, who quotes Sidney Sheldon to her 15-year-old daughter? But I was young and impressionable, and I took my mother’s advice to heart. I decided right then and there that I would never need a man for anything, and for many years, I didn’t.

As I got older, I pushed men away to test them and see if they were “man enough” for me. Or, if I felt an immediate attraction, I would pursue them and sleep with them right away. It never occurred to me to question my behavior. I just assumed that one day the right man would come along—one who would “get me” and know how to “handle” me.

It wasn’t until I was almost 40 that I realized there is a word for men who know how to “handle” women: They’re called players! Because I couldn’t push these men around or push them away, I made the mistake of thinking that they were “real men” and that they were interested in getting to know me. Men who were “too available” bored me to tears, but the players I met were tenacious. They knew what they wanted and they went for it. I loved the feeling of being pursued by a man who seemed to know what he wanted—especially when what he wanted was me.

I didn’t understand at the time that players are really only after the thrill of the chase. They aren’t interested in getting to know us at all. They just want sex. To them, it’s all a game. The harder we make them work, the more fun it is for them. Ultimately, if it doesn’t work out with one woman, they’ll just try again with someone else. That’s a comforting thought.

This all makes perfect sense to me now. Think about it: when a man is attracted to a woman and she rejects him, he feels hurt and he figures she isn’t interested. It’s ridiculous to think that he should keep coming back for more rejection. If a man rejected me, I wouldn’t keep pursuing him—would you? There are many unflattering words in the English language for people who keep coming back and don’t get the hint: needy, anxious, clueless, masochistic…

Once I realized how flawed my thinking had been, it changed my entire approach to dating. I began to have more respect for men. I stopped being too strong and independent and I started looking for ways to empower men so that they felt that they could take the lead. I also stopped looking for some immediate chemical rush and started looking for a connection that felt grounded and real. I stopped thinking that relationships should be complicated and challenging and started believing that they could be open, honest, and easy. I stopped finding unavailable men attractive and started opening up to the men who were attracted to me. But most of all, I admitted to myself that I wanted a man in my life, and in order to have that, I had to start trusting them. When I accepted this, I softened and became more open and vulnerable. It wasn’t long before I attracted a real man—one who knows how to take care of a woman and who loves taking care of me.

If you want to discover Naked Dating and learn how to attract the love of your life, feel free to book a free consultation with me, Lisa Shield, by clicking here:

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Uncle Sid

Today, I thought I would write about a different kind of love than I usually write about.  Typically, I write about my husband or my dogs or how to find love by dating.  Today, I thought I’d share about one of the other great loves of my life, my Uncle IMG_3733Sid.

Uncle Sid died this morning of pancreatic cancer.  Somehow, I thought it would be easier to lose someone who was 90-years-old, but it’s not, not when we’re talking about a man who was still as vital and alive as Uncle Sid.  Until he was diagnosed with cancer 4 ½ weeks ago, he was still working as a corporate lawyer, driving himself to the office everyday.  He was engaged in the world, keeping abreast of politics and the news, reading 3 newspapers everyday.  Even at age 90, there was no one smarter than Sid when it came to investing in the stock market and buying and selling properties.  And he was still socializing with family and friends.  Whenever we went to dinner with him and my Aunt, Ruth, he would run into at least one tableful of people he knew.

Next to my husband, Uncle Sid was the most important man in my life.  He was like a father to me.  When I was 15, my mother died of breast cancer.  My brother and I went to live with our grandmother, Mimi, until she died six years later.  On her deathbed, Mimi asked her younger brother, Sid, to please take care of my brother and me.

IMG_7658.JPGSid was a busy and important man with a family of his own, but he loved his sister with all his heart, and there was nothing he wouldn’t do for her.  In the time that he was our trustee, he invested the money my grandmother and mother left us, managing our trust as if we were his own children and watching so that we did not overspend.  Like most people, he also had a darker side.  When Sid got mad, he lit up like the sky on the Fourth of July.  Forgiving these outbursts wasn’t easy, but he was always right and we knew that, even when his approach didn’t feel loving, everything he did came from love.  When he finally resigned his position as trustee, Uncle Sid had more than quadrupled the money that was left to us.  He never asked for so much a thank you.

Like most people, I have suffered my share of disappointments in life.  Through death and other circumstances, my parents weren’t able to be there for me in many of the ways I wanted or needed them to be.  This lack of connection with my biological mother and father has been a great source of sadness throughout my life and is probably why my work as a coach is now centered on helping people open their hearts and connect at the deepest level.

Don’t worry.  I don’t feel sorry for myself.  My life has worked out beautifully, thanks to my guardian angel, my Uncle Sid.  For thirty years he watched over me, as if I was one of his own.  I don’t remember the first time I said, “I love you,” to Uncle Sid,IMG_7656.JPG but I remember that he said it back without hesitation, and from then on that was how we ended our phone conversations.  It always made me so happy to hear him say, “I love you.”  Last week we said, “I love you” for the last time.  My husband and I had just returned from seeing him in St. Louis.  They were still giving him chemotherapy when we left, but the pain had gotten too bad and he knew the end was near.  So, he called to tell us goodbye—that he loved us so much, that we were part of his family, and he was thankful for everything we’d done for Aunt Ruth.  I never knew I’d get a phone call like that where I had to say goodbye to someone for the last time.  You’d think I would have had a million things to say, but I was speechless.  How do you ever say goodbye to the man who profoundly and selflessly helped shape your life?  All I could say was, “Uncle Sid, I love you so much” and “Thank you for everything you did for me.”

Sid comes from a very different and more selfless generation.  He was truly a man of his word.  He had a deep sense of family, honor, and duty.  When I asked him why he never became a judge, he said that, as a lawyer, what was most important to him was to be able to protect the people he loved—his own family and friends.  I have only ever known one other man like him, my husband.  So, I am fortunate to say that I have had two truly great men in my life, my two guardian angels—and now one has flown away.  I love you so much Uncle Sid.  Thank you with all my heart for everything you did for me.  So much of who I have become and how my life has turned out is because of you.  I love you so much.

 

A Recent Success Story

You might find this surprising, but a third of my dating and relationship coaching clients are men.  People don’t expect me to have so many men in my practice because women are the ones who most often seek out the help of a coach or therapist.  I have to admit, I would never have expected to be coaching so many members of the opposite sex, but I feel honored to work with each and every one of them.

Men come to me to coach them on every aspect of relationship.  They come for dating advice.  They come with their significant partners to work on a current relationship.  And, they come on their own to become better partners to their current wives and partners.  I treasure my male clients and I have developed a deep respect for who they are and for the unique challenges they face in their lives and relationships.  My male coaching clients seem to be deeply committed to understanding the women in their lives and to becoming the best partners they can possibly be.  Many of my male clients have told me that they feel that I understand who they are and what they’re up against.   Because I coach so many men, I have a unique ability to help my male clients to better understand women and my female clients to better understand men.  If you would like to sign up for a free sample session to see how I can help you, please click here.

This week I received a touching letter from one of my former male clients.  With his permission, I would like to share it with you.

Hi Lisa,

How are you? Been a while!  Just wanted to shoot over an email and say hello. I was thinking about you the other day and thought I’d drop you a quick note. Things are really going well with me, and I am happy to report I’ve been dating a WOMAN (not girl!) for a few months now and she’s incredible.    I think about the time spent with you in many of our sessions even a year later. Going over so many of the details and pieces of my life that I needed to work on. I am still doing those things today. In fact, today (my girlfriend) Jeanette emailed me that a few of her girlfriends (who are having “men problems”) were asking her “Why Dan is such a special guy?” Jeanette told them it was because I make her feel desired, special, sexy, feminine, loved, understood, cared for, and much, much more. How awesome is that? Talk about a 180 from where I was two years ago!  When she sent this to me and told me her response to her girlfriends, I grinned and thought to myself “Lisa Shield would want to hear this one.”

I remember walking in to your office as a complete ball of confusion. I remember not caring about how I presented myself. I remember feeling beat up emotionally/mentally after a roller-coaster of a relationship, and wondering what I did wrong. I’ve definitely turned that corner. I still continue to work on ME, but if not for you helping me, I don’t know where I’d be. So thank you BIG TIME.

I hope you know that what you did and have done for me, helped me with, and what you expressed to me was EXACTLY what I needed. I am so thankful for your help and words to build me up, and I can only imagine you are getting this type of continual positive response from plenty of your clients.

Hope all is well. Please tell your husband I say hello. It goes without saying, but he’s a lucky guy to have you in his life!

Best,

Dan

Make the first step to finding the one, schedule an appointment with Dating & Relationship Expert, Lisa Shield.  pricing & scheduling

Lisa Shield, MA, CPCC
Transformational Dating and Relationship Coach
(323) 939-1770
www.LisaShield.com

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