Tagged ‘relationship coach‘

Asking for What You Want in a Relationship

Asking for What You Want FINAL

If You’re Too Afraid to Ask for What You Want… how will you ever get it?

Have you ever opened your heart to someone who HURT or DISAPPOINTED you but were too afraid to say something? Did you worry you might seem NEEDY or ANGRY and push the other person away? I get it. It gets easier and easier to say nothing and hope the other person senses something is WRONG and brings it up so you don’t have to.

My client, Melanie, found herself in a situation like this. She’d finally gotten the GUTS to end a 5-year relationship where she’d been JERKED AROUND by a man who was INCAPABLE of committing.

She was visiting family in New York and decided to give Bumble a whirl. Before she knew it, she’d booked TWO DATES for the same day!

Dude #1 was so hot she didn’t think there was any way Dude #2 could compare. Boy was she WRONG! As Jack strode across the restaurant in his faded jeans, cowboy boots, and beat-up leather jacket, Melanie COULDN’T BELIEVE her eyes.

She and Jack had the kind of magical, instantaneous connection everyone DREAMS OF. It wasn’t long before he was holding her hand, staring into her eyes and they felt like they were the only TWO PEOPLE in the room. Their second date was even more magical.

Mel flew home, expecting things to fizzle… but they DIDN’T. Jack texted her every day throughout the day. He told her he had spoken about her to several of his friends. They planned a 4-day ISLAND GETAWAY while she was home in January after the holidays. Really. Things could not be going better…

Or could they? Some friends remarked they thought it odd that Jack texts but NEVER CALLS. It doesn’t bother Mel, but still she ‘hinted’ a couple of times that she would love to hear his voice. He hasn’t called, and she’s TICKED OFF because she feels he isn’t listening to her. She said it doesn’t matter, but it MATTERED enough that she brought it up in our session!

This is where her resentment towards Jack began.

The next disappointment wasn’t long after. He forgot her birthday. All day long they texted back and forth, but he NEVER MENTIONED it once. When she posted something about it on Instagram, he texted her immediately. She was hurt. Badly. He had to have known. After all, they’d joked about what a coincidence it was that his mother’s birthday was the day after hers. Mel thanked him for the BIRTHDAY WISHES via text, but said she was exhausted and would reach out the next day. She knew he’d notice that her behavior was uncharacteristic.

Mel never told Jack she felt hurt because he’d forgotten her birthday, and her RESENTMENT DEEPENED.

Then, came the THIRD BLOW, the one that landed her in my office. Mel went on Bumble and saw that Jack was still active on the site. To say that she was devastated is an understatement. But, because they’d never talked about BEING EXCLUSIVE, she didn’t feel she had a right to say something.

I suggested she tell Jack she was on the site and, when she saw that he was ACTIVE, she realized that she felt uncomfortable knowing he was still seeing other people. After all, they were growing closer and she was feeling INCREASINGLY VULNERABLE.

Mel agreed that she needed to say something, but she WASN’T READY to talk about it. She said she preferred to say something when she went home in January, but that wasn’t for another month. I urged her to discuss it now before ANY DAMAGE was done, but she hemmed and hawed at my suggestion.

“Mel, here’s what’s going to happen if you don’t talk about it,” I said. “If you don’t FEEL SAFE, you’ll start to SHUT DOWN and emotionally distance yourself. He won’t know why, but he’ll sense that SOMETHING’S WRONG. Maybe he’ll bring it up, maybe he won’t. But, if you start to get passive-aggressive, you could wind up pushing him away. I’ve seen this happen too many times.”

“You’re right,” she said. “That’s already happening. Intellectually I understand that he’s done NOTHING WRONG, but I still feel hurt and angry and I’m PULLING AWAY.”

When Mel left, she said that she would book an appointment for the following week so I could help her write a text to Jack. I haven’t heard from her since, so I don’t know what happened. I hope she says something to him. At some point, if she is going to have the kind of OPEN, HONEST, loving relationship she’s looking for, she is going to have to learn how to ask for what SHE WANTS.

She just has to learn how to ask in the RIGHT WAY. She can’t LASH OUT in anger or blame. She needs to speak from love and with the intention of bringing them CLOSER TOGETHER, and she needs to make it a request, not an ultimatum. Instead of saying, “You need to STOP SEEING other women.” She needs to say, “Would you be OPEN TO not seeing other women?” It needs to open up a dialogue, instead of being a monologue.

Melanie is a beautiful woman, inside and out, and MY GUESS is that Jack will agree to her request. But if he doesn’t, he’s probably not the RIGHT GUY. And you know what? She already invested 5 YEARS in the last one. So, it would be better to find that out sooner THAN LATER.

P.S. For more dating insights, check out my Free Online Workshop!

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



Five Things You Should Know About Couples Coaching

Five Things You Should Know About Couples Coaching

Five Things You Should Know About Couples Coaching

As a relationship coach, I know all too well the pain and heartache that can come when two people who were once so deeply in love are struggling to connect. It saddens me to think that so many couples suffer through their problems alone, only to call it quits because they don’t have the tools they need to break through bad patterns and emotional blocks. I’ve made it my life’s work to help struggling couples revitalize their relationships. More couples are seeing me now than ever before, but I’ve realized that most people entering into or considering couples coaching don’t know what to expect from the process, and many are hesitant to give it a try. Here are five things you should know about couples coaching:

  1. Coaching Isn’t Just for Couples in Crisis

I’ve met couples that have suffered through months or even years of hurt but avoided coaching because they weren’t married or thought their problems just weren’t serious enough for them to seek help. Couples coaching is a little like taking care of a house. You wouldn’t wait until your roof was on the verge of collapse before you made the necessary repairs, so why treat your relationship any differently? I coach many couples who have experienced major setbacks and are struggling to “save” their relationships, but I see an equal number who seek out coaching because they want to prevent certain issues from becoming more serious. These couples are crazy about each other, but they’re also human. They hit a bump in the road every so often and want to learn how to stop a negative pattern before it spirals out of control. According to John Gottman, author of “The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work,” the majority of couples wait until six years after they admit they need help to actually seek it. By then, it’s often too late. You don’t need to wait until you’re on the brink of catastrophe to seek the help of a coach. If you recognize bad patterns or communication blocks in your relationship, do something about it today.

  1. Miracles Happen, but They Take Time

You can’t undo years of negative patterns or stunted communication in one or two coaching sessions. I wish it were that easy. The key to success in coaching is consistency. Make a commitment to yourself and your partner to see a coach at least five times if you want to reap lasting benefits. Food for thought: if half of all marriages end in divorce and the majority of couples seeking therapy quit before they reach the five session mark, maybe it’s a sign that people are giving up a little too soon. I suggest couples commit to seeing me a minimum of three times a month for three months. Most couples see some changes after the first couple of sessions, but they don’t see lasting change until around the three-month mark.

  1. A Good Coach Takes the Side of the Relationship

A good coach isn’t going to side with either member of a couple; she’s going to side with the relationship. At times it may seem like everyone’s against you—when your ego feels threatened or your coach won’t allow you to throw in that little jab at your partner you so badly want to get out—but at the end of the day, your relationship will usually win. Remember that, and learn to be okay with it. 

  1. At First, Things May Seem like They’re Getting Worse

I had a client email me recently in a panic. She and her husband had seen me for a couple sessions and she told me she felt like things were getting worse. She didn’t know what to do. This may sound surprising, but her reaction isn’t uncommon. Coaching brings a lot of stuff to the surface… stuff you haven’t been talking about and would probably rather not look at. Your partner may bring up a disagreement you thought was ancient history, or you may discover some new truths about yourself or your partner. A coach’s job is to listen to each member of the partnership, recognize patterns that might be contributing to problems in the relationship, and help facilitate discussion. It can be painful to rehash past arguments and disappointments in the moment—and even more difficult to take responsibility, but the long-term results can be transformative.

  1. Things will Get Better

Couples coaching is about building trust—trust in your partner and trust in the coaching process. As you delve deeper into the process and start understanding the patterns that drive your behavior, you will start to feel more in tune with your partner and with the relationship itself. You’ll learn how to effectively communicate your wants and needs, support your partner with love and compassion, and start seeing your relationship as a vehicle for your own growth and learning. Instead of feeling like you need to pull away from your partner when things get tough, you’ll start leaning in, and as you get closer, love and romance flourish.

The Right Fight

Many years ago, I realized that if I could just figure out how to have a peaceful, loving relationship then everything else in my life would fall into place. I was right. I’ve been with my husband for 13 years now and I believe more than ever that having a secure, committed, harmonious relationship is the foundation for a happy life. When I realized how many other people were struggling in their relationships I was compelled to help. In the 13 years I’ve been coaching I have seen how transformative these sessions can be. Couples who were ready to write off their relationships for good are often amazed when they realize how effective the coaching process can be. Don’t get me wrong; for some couples, the first few sessions can get a little dicey. But hang in there. Commit to the process and let go of the idea of instant gratification. It may take time, but I promise you it’s worth it. There is nothing more beautiful than sharing your life with the person you love; if you’re going to fight for anything, don’t fight with your partner—fight for your relationship!

If you and your partner are struggling to connect, set up a coaching consult today!




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

Happy Anniversary

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

Am I in Denial?

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

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

Close call!

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

Happy Anniversary to Us

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

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

Time IS of the Essence

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

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

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

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

To book a coaching consult with Lisa CLICK HERE:



The Lost Love Language


Men and women have so much to learn from each other about love & relationships.


All this time we’ve been thinking that there are only five love languages. I mean, isn’t that what Gary Chapman writes in his book, The Five Love Languages? According to Chapman, the five love languages are: words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time, and physical touch. I don’t like to be the one to differ with Mr. Chapman, but I think I might have discovered a missing language. The other day, I was talking about his book with my husband. I told him that I thought his own love language was acts of service. (As I often say, “Benjamin just about has an orgasm when I clean the closet or make him a bowl of egg salad.”)


“Oh my God! Oh my God! You cleaned the closet! You are the best wife!” he exclaims. It really doesn’t take much to get him excited. Without question, my love language is quality time. Nothing makes me feel more loved than when Benjamin spends time with me. Benjamin could be watching me fold laundry, as long as we’re doing it together.

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To book a sample session with Naked Dating and Relationship Coach Lisa Shield, click here.

5 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Listen to Your Girlfriend’s Advice


5 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Listen to Your Girlfriend’s Advice

My client, Lily, came extremely close to ruining her relationship with Jasper when she listened to the advice of a well-intentioned friend. One night Lily was lamenting to Sophia that she didn’t know for sure if Jasper was attracted to her. It was way past midnight and Sophia prodded her sweet friend to text Jasper and say she was coming right over. “I dare you,” Sophia said, egging her on. Lily had always felt shy and reserved when it came to men. Maybe Sophia was right—it wouldn’t hurt to be more forthright. Playing the good girl hadn’t gotten her anywhere.  Lily picked up her phone, hesitated for a moment, then wrote the text and hit the send button before she got cold feet again. In a matter of second her phone buzzed. “Don’t come over. In bed. Early day tomorrow.” It seemed that Jasper was a gentleman. The next day he told Lily that he felt she was sending him mixed messages, playing a good girl one minute and a tease the next.


At our session the following day, she sat in one of my big brown leather chairs as tears streamed down her cheeks. She felt humiliated and stupid for what she’d done. She really cared about Jasper and didn’t know what to say to make things okay. When her tears stopped and she was able to laugh a little, I showed her how to clean up the mess. We wrote Jasper a text where she took complete responsibility for what she’d done without making excuses for what she’d done.


Have you ever had a friend like Sophia who encouraged you to do something you later regretted when it came to men?  Our girlfriends love and support us unconditionally, but often their advice is the exact opposite of what we need to do if you are going to have an emotionally naked relationship with a man.  Let’s look at 5 reasons why listening to your girlfriend’s advice might be hazardous to health of your romantic relationship.

1.     Your girlfriends will support your insanity no matter what. 

Girlfriends are valuable because they love you unconditionally; however, that also means they might support your bad decisions.  Your best friend might accompany you to drive-by your crushes house to see if he’s alone, or sit with you while you stalk his ex-girlfriend’s Facebook page.  They’re your friends for a reason: because they support you no matter what. As a Naked Dater, when your crazy begins to show, you need to find friends who will tell you, “No!”

 2.    Your girlfriends probably aren’t in solid relationships themselves.  

People love to give advice, but it’s almost impossible to get good relationship advice from girlfriends who are not in healthy, emotionally naked relationships themselves, or in relationships at all. If you are going to take advice from a girlfriend, look at her relationship or lack of one and ask yourself if this is someone who is really in a position to be giving advice. If not, speak to a friend who is in a solid relationship you admire. The only people who are truly qualified to give others advice on relationships are those who are living breathing examples of what do.

3.    Your girlfriends might encourage you to play games.  This never works.

I always say that if you play games, you’ll attract a game player.  The point of Naked Dating® is to become more open, honest, and ready for love so you can attract a partner who is in a similar place. Every time you play hard to get, pretend you don’t care, or try to make someone jealous, you are not being emotionally naked and you will push love away. As a Naked Dater you want to look for female role models who encourage you to be real and let down your guard.

 4.    Your single girlfriends might be jealous of your new relationship.

Have you ever had a friend who was jealous of your new relationship? Sometimes girlfriends become envious of the time you’re spending with your partner, especially if they haven’t been in a relationship in awhile. This jealousy might affect their ability to be objective and give advice that is genuinely supportive. They might make you feel guilty for spending too much time with your new guy or say that they don’t think he’s good for you. You want to have compassion for your single friends while they adjust to your new schedule, but you also don’t want to hook in to their fear and negativity.

5.    Your girlfriends can only tell you what they would do if they were in your shoes. 

When most people give advice, they tell you what they would do if they were in your situation, but they’re not you. Only you know the dynamic between you and someone you’re seeing.  Trust your gut, be open and honest, and when you do need outside help, try seeking the advice of a dating and relationship coach. A coach has the tools and skills to help you get clear about what you need in a relationship. Your best friend might want to date a rocket scientist, while you might be perfectly happy dating a zookeeper. The important thing is to find someone who understands what matters most to you and can support you in creating your dream.


After taking my advice, I got the following email from Lily: Thanks so much! You brought me back to earth for sure! My friends literally give me the WORST possible advice… I think their tricks are what has gotten me into this situation in the first place:/. They are all about games, and Jasper isn’t that guy!


You can make an appointment with Lisa Shield at:

Annie’s Story

Relationship Discussion

Is it possible that you are looking for issues in your relationship to get your partner to open up and talk to you? There are times in every relationship when issues need to be discussed, but if you are constantly having one conversation after another with your partner about things that upset you, there’s something deeper going on.

Become closer to your partner, schedule an appointment with Lisa Shield today

This is exactly what was happening with my client, Annie. Annie’s a very sweet, soft-spoken, self-aware woman who is in a promising new relationship with, Greg, a man she met online. Early in the relationship, a few conflicts arose around how to deal with exes and how much alone time they each needed. When Annie raised these issues with Greg, he was not only receptive to what she said, but he actually thanked her for sharing her concerns right away. Greg said that his previous girlfriend had the terrible habit of harboring resentments and dumping them on him out of the blue, in the middle of an argument.

For the first few weeks of the relationship, I encouraged Annie to tell Greg what was on her mind and gave her a step-by-step process I developed for getting emotionally “naked” and asking for what she needed.

“I never realized how many subtle accusations I was making in the ways I communicated with men,” Annie reported one day. “But thanks to your coaching, I was able to tell Greg how I was feeling without throwing him on the defensive. It’s been eye-opening.”

I was pleased with her success, but I was also growing concerned. Every time we spoke, something else about Greg was bothering her. On that same day, she mentioned that she was upset about a certain tone Greg had used with her. The next time we spoke, she said that she was angry because he’d left her alone too long at a party without checking in with her. I pointed out to Annie that there seemed to be no end to her complaints. She admitted that she was worried about this, as well.

 “Lisa, it doesn’t make any sense,” she said, woefully. “Greg and I had a fabulous weekend. He took me away to Santa Barbara. We stayed at this cute B&B and spent the entire time hiking, wine tasting, and hanging out by the beach. He even packed a picnic with all my favorite foods. But then he was quiet in the car on the way home, and I started fixating on all the little things he’d done wrong over the course of the weekend—one time he gave his order to the waitress before me and another time he fell asleep without kissing me goodnight… stuff like that. It felt like I was looking for something to complain about.”

Annie was looking for something to complain about. She had been feeling disconnected from Greg, but instead of looking at herself and asking why she felt that way, she blamed Greg for the way she was feeling. If he “really cared” about her, he would have been more sensitive to her needs. He “should have” sensed that she was feeling disconnected. Maybe this wasn’t the right relationship after all.

“Annie,” I said, “if you were feeling disconnected from Greg, why didn’t you do something to connect with him? You could have reached over and massaged the back of his neck, or said, ‘A penny for your thoughts.’”

“I don’t know… I guess I didn’t do it because I was afraid that Greg would think I was being needy,” she replied, forlornly.

I knew that Annie had never been in a close, intimate relationship; at least, not one that she was proud of. Now I understood why. At 45 she was as confused as a teenager about how to act around her new boyfriend. She had told me that she wanted this relationship to work more than anything, but she wasn’t sure if Greg felt the same way. At times—like when they were sitting in the car in silence—the uncertainty of not knowing if she and Greg were on the same page overwhelmed her, and her mind went to dark places, making it almost impossible for her to reach out to him.

Become closer to your partner, schedule an appointment with Lisa Shield today

The only way Annie felt comfortable initiating a connection with Greg was by talking about the relationship. When they talked, it felt like Greg was opening up to her and sharing the inner workings of his heart. Talking made her safe and secure because then she knew for sure what Greg was thinking. Every time they worked through a problem together it seemed like they got a little closer…  or, at least temporarily it did. What Annie really needed to feel safe in the relationship was to know how Greg felt about her at all times, but this was impossible. Greg couldn’t constantly keep reassuring her. So, it wasn’t long before Greg did something that caused her to feel insecure again.

“Annie,” I said, choosing my words carefully, “People need to talk about issues in relationships, but you need to be careful. The conversations you’re having seem to be less about the two of you growing together as a couple and more about you trying to get Greg to constantly reassure you so that you can feel safe. If you keep talking about every little thing that bothers you, you’ll wear him out.”

“I see what you mean about how I am trying to get him to make me feel safe and secure,” she said, shaking her head. “I have to admit, I get an emotional fix when we have one of these conversations. I feel like I’m a relationship conversation junkie. I have to stop doing this before I push him away.”

Like Annie, you might be addicted to having “talks” with your partner so that you can feel safer in your relationship. If this is happening, you need to take a step back and consider some other things you can do to create a connection. Trust me, sitting around and processing the relationship gets old, fast. You will wear your partner out with your need for constant reassurance.

So what can you do to break this cycle? It really is quite simple. First, you can get emotionally naked and tell your partner what you’ve been doing. Yes, you heard me right. You need to go to your partner and say, “I want to apologize for something I’ve been doing in this relationship. I’ve been raising issues and having all these conversations with you because it’s my way of trying to feel safe. If I can get you to talk to me and tell me what’s on your mind, then you aren’t such a mystery anymore.” Why should you tell your partner what you’ve been doing? There are two reasons. The first is because on some level your partner already knows what you’ve been doing. By taking responsibility for your actions, you will gain back some credibility in your partner’s eyes. The second reason is that, when you admit to what you’ve been doing, it won’t be as easy for you to keep doing it because your partner is now fully aware of what you’ve been up to.

The second part of this equation is that you need to look at yourself and ask what you can do besides having conversations with your partner to feel safe in the relationship. Here are a few things:

  1. Work with a relationship coach to you strengthen your self-confidence
  2. Make sure that you have other interests and friends outside of the relationship so that you aren’t making your relationship the only focus in your life.
  3. When you start to go into a negative spiral, stop and write a gratitude list of all the things you’re grateful for about your partner and your life.
  4. When you start feeling disconnected from your partner, use actions rather than words to reconnect.

Annie realized that the emotional fix she got from talking with Greg about their relationship was only ever temporary.  She also realized that she loved Greg and the last thing that she wanted was to lean on him emotionally. Besides, she didn’t want to talk about how to have a great relationship; she wanted to have one. Annie followed my advice and told Greg that she had been feeling insecure and was constantly trying to get reassurance from him. She said that this was the “scariest and most naked conversation” she’d ever had with a man. At first, she was worried that if she told Greg what was going on it would hurt their relationship, but it had the opposite effect. Greg already knew what was going on. He admitted that he was starting to feel resentful towards her, so he was relieved when she brought up the subject and said that she was already working on it with her coach.

If you think you are a relationship conversation junkie, you need to tell your partner what you’re up to and find other ways to build your self-esteem. As a reformed relationship conversation junkie, I can promise you that breaking this pattern can lead you to a loving, lasting, naked relationship, one that can last a lifetime.

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ASK LISA: Can I trust my boyfriend again?

My boyfriend posted a profile on looking for “friends.” Can I trust him again if he takes it down?


I don’t know what to do. Five months ago Adam and I started dating. When we met, he was the sweetest guy and I thought I had found someone I could spend my life with. He’s from a small town and he seemed to have old-fashioned values and know how to treat a girl. But then the most awful thing happened. I found out through friends that he had posted a profile on and that he actually emailed a couple of my girlfriends. He hasn’t met all of my friends, so he didn’t know that they were friends of mine, but my friends had seen his picture. When I confronted him, he said that he had put on his profile that he was only looking for friends. I don’t know what to do. All of my friends think that I should break up with him. The problem is that I lost my virginity to him and I still have feelings for him. I also don’t understand why he still wants me to be his girlfriend if he is looking for more than just friends on Do you think if I ask him to take down the profile and he does that I can trust him? And what if he really was just looking for friends?

Thanks for your help,



Hi Alana,

While I think your friends are right, ideally you should break up with Adam, I know that, on a physical level, this won’t be easy to do. You lost your virginity to him and the two of you have a sexual bond. Whenever you are sexually involved with someone, your body produces hormones that cause you to feel connected to that person. (Scientists are not positive, but they think that the hormone in women that causes us to bond is called Oxytocin.) So, even if your mind tells you to break up with him, as long as you keep seeing him, your body will keep telling you not to break up with him. Every time you see and smell him—yes, smell him—you will feel aroused. As harsh as this sounds: the best and fastest way to break that bond is by and not having any further contact with him.

So why should you break up with Adam? Here’s the deal: There isn’t a woman on this planet who would be okay with her boyfriend going on to look for “friends.” So, either Adam is incredibly naïve or he thinks you’re stupid enough to believe his ridiculous story. Either way, it’s not good. A guy with a girlfriend doesn’t go on a dating site to look for friends. Everyone knows that, if you want to find friends, you go on Facebook—that’s what it’s for. You can ask him to take the profile down, but in my experience, you are going to be paranoid and have a hard time trusting anything he says from now on. Relationships are built on one thing: trust. If you don’t have trust, you don’t have a relationship. Can trust be rebuilt in relationships? Absolutely, but it takes two mature adults who are willing to really work on themselves and the relationship to make that happen. I don’t get the feeling that Adam is very mature. Alana, if you stay in this, you will only lose respect for yourself. Get out before you get hurt anymore.

With love,





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