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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.
XO,
LISA

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

Attract the Relationship of your Dreams!

I have a little secret. So, lean in close if you want to hear it.

Every single one of you can attract the relationship of your dreams. You heard me right.

EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOU CAN ATTRACT THE RELATIONSHIP OF YOUR DREAMS!

For that to happen, there are just three things you must do.

You must:

• Be CRYSTAL CLEAR about what you want in a partner.
• Have 100% CERTAINTY that he or she is out there.
• And, have the ABSOLUTE CONFIDENCE to go for it.

FIRST: You have to know EXACTLY what kind of partner you want to attract.

You can’t hold COMPETING INTENTIONS or conflicting beliefs about the partner you’re looking for. If you do, your NEGATIVE BELIEFS will always cancel out the positive ones.

If you say you want a safe, kind, loving partner but you keep CHASING THE THRILL of bad boys or bitches, no matter how badly you say you want someone who treats you lovingly and kindly, you will keep attracting the WRONG ONES.

So, pay attention to your EVERY THOUGHT and make sure they are congruent with what you TRULY WANT, not what you don’t want.

SECOND: You must believe WITHOUT A SHADOW OF A DOUBT that your person is out there and that you WON’T COMPROMISE until you find him or her.

Even if you’ve never been in love before.
Even if you’ve never met someone who matches all your criteria.
Even if you have never seen a relationship like the one you want.

You have to BELIEVE with every cell in your being that your person EXISTS.

Ever heard of Mel Fisher? Mel is considered the most famous treasure hunters who ever lived. Mel searched for 16 years before discovering a $400 million treasure buried in a ship that sank in the 1600’s.

During that ENTIRE TIME, people thought he was insane, but Mel never gave up HOPE. He believed with all his heart that it was out there. Even when his son and daughter-in-law died while helping him search, Mel NEVER GAVE UP hope… and neither can YOU!

Just like Mel, you are searching for a HIDDEN TREASURE, for what is arguably the most COVETED of all PRIZES: true and lasting love!

THIRD: You must have the CONFIDENCE to go for it when the right person crosses your path.

If you ask most people out in the dating world, they will tell you that they’re ready to meet The One, but they’re not. If that person came into their life RIGHT NOW, their insecurities and lack of confidence would cause them to SABOTAGE it.

In fact, most of you are probably meeting GREAT PROSPECTS all the time, but you are not drawing these people in because you aren’t READY. Not for the kind of relationship you REALLY want.

When I first started dating, I know for A FACT that my current husband would NOT have been attracted to me. I knew that the kind of man I wanted would not want to date me back then. I still had a lot of GROWING UP to do.

So, I used my dating experience to help me LEARN about men, get a grip on my emotions, and become a kinder and more loving woman.

Dating was HARD, but it was hard because I had a lot to learn. I had to work through my own insecurities so I could stop taking things so personally and have the COURAGE to go for the relationship I really wanted.

Many people don’t understand that dating is a PROCESS where you are preparing yourself in every moment for The One. Dating isn’t hard. We make it hard because we get upset when things don’t go our way. Rejection isn’t easy, but when you can learn how to STOP rejecting yourself when things don’t go your way, you will be TRULY READY to open your heart and your world to another person.

I don’t know if others feel this way, but I have the sense that my husband DIDN’T EXIST until the moment I met him. As crazy as that might sound, this thought has occurred to me many times. My imagination, my unwavering faith, and my belief in myself were what created my perfect partner out of NOTHINGNESS. The truth is that, in my reality, he didn’t exist until the moment I met him.

So, DON’T hold back. BELIEVE with all your heart that this possible, that you can DREAM your partner into existence by having clarity, conviction, and confidence.

See every dating challenge as an opportunity to prepare yourself and become even KINDER, more LOVING and more EMOTIONALLY GROUNDED, so that when this person crosses your path you will be ready to step into the relationship of YOUR DREAMS.

XO,
LISA

P.S. Don’t forget to check out my Free Online Workshop!

Naked Truth: Is Someone You Love Pushing You Away?

Naked Truth: Is Someone You Love Pushing You Away?

Naked Truth: Is Someone You Love Pushing You Away?

Hi Lisa. I just lost a great woman I’ve been dating for the past year. It was going really well, but then she started nitpicking about things about me that never seemed to bother her before—my dog, where I live—and said she needed space to find herself again. I’m happy to give her that, but it’s been almost three weeks now and I haven’t heard from her. Her family says she’s confused and hurting. It’s painful knowing she’s suffering and there’s nothing I can do to help. I love her and her six-year-old daughter, and I was ready to ask for her hand in marriage… but I can’t wait forever. My question is, do I give her space and see what happens or just let her go?

Thanks,

Rick

 

Hi Rick,

I am so sorry you’re going through this. I can tell you really care about this woman. From everything you wrote, it sounds like she has an “avoidant” intimacy style that is causing her to push you away. She’s afraid of getting close and needing someone. The closer the two of you become, the more uncomfortable it gets for her. This fear is so powerful that it causes her to nitpick and push you away. What’s tricky is that she doesn’t know that her fear is what’s causing her to feel uncomfortable. She thinks the reason she starts to feel uncomfortable around you is because you’re not the right person for her.

There are some excellent relationship books that could help you understand attachment styles better. I would start with one called “Attached.” Ninety-nine out of a 100 of my clients who read it say they love it! Two other excellent books about adult attachment theory are “Hold Me Tight” and “Wired for Love.” Another option to consider—if she’s willing—is to see a therapist with her. If she is, in fact, avoidant, she will need the help of a therapist understand where her urge to run away is really coming from and how to stop it. You might also want to take a quick compatibility quiz on the “Attached” website. Here’s the link: www.attachedthebook.com/compatibility-quiz You can see what both of your attachment styles are. This information can be crucial to understand what’s happening. From what you’ve written, you seem to have a secure attachment style. When a secure person is in a relationship with someone who is avoidant, it can cause the secure person to become anxious.

My last word of advice: don’t get defensive and block her. I know she broke up with you and it’s really painful, but women are funny. Sometimes, we push men away when we really want them to come back. If you truly adore her like you say you do, I suggest you read these books (or listen to them on audio) and then give her copies. It will be a revelation for both of you. I would love to know how it goes. If you see a therapist, try to find someone who”s done some trainings with John and Julie Gotman or Sue Johnson.

I wish you the very best. I hope this helps, Rick. You sound like a good man.

Warmly,

Lisa

 

Are you struggling in a relationship or trying to figure out how to move forward? Book a consultation with me and see how I can help!

Naked Truth: Protect Your Marriage at All Costs

Naked Truth: Protect Your Marriage at All Costs

Naked Truth: Protect Your Marriage at All Costs

Hi Lisa. I am happily married to an incredible woman. Recently, several women from my past decided to walk back into my life after 20 years. How do I get them to back off before they jeopardize my marriage? The ring and paper don’t seem to be enough, and they don’t seem to be respecting traditional boundaries.

-Will

 

Hi Will,

Thanks for reaching out! The single most important person in your life should be your wife, and you need to do everything you can to protect the sacred bond the two of you share. You say these women “walked back into your life,” but I don’t think they just walked in. You had to have let them in. My guess is that you haven’t been clear enough with these women or that you are still trying to be nice and polite so you don’t hurt their feelings. I see this a lot with my male clients. The problem is, if you don’t take care of this, someone else is going to get hurt… and that someone is probably going to be your incredible wife. If these women aren’t respecting your boundaries, I would dispense with any niceties and tell them—in no uncertain terms—that you are flattered they are thinking of you, but that you are happily married and won’t respond to any further attempts on their part to contact you. Hope that helps!

Warmly,

Lisa

Is someone threatening your relationship? Book a consultation with me and see how I can help!

Naked Truth: Protect Your Marriage at All Costs

 

Take Off Your Masks

Take Off Your Masks

What I Learned from Cooking with my Boyfriend

What I Learned from Cooking with my Boyfriend

What I Learned from Cooking with my Boyfriend

My guest blogger this week is my lovely assistant, Tara. In this post, she shares some wisdom from the kitchen! -Lisa

Eight months ago, I took the plunge and moved in with my boyfriend of a year. Robby is the first (and, fingers crossed, last) guy I’ve ever lived with, and he just-so-happens to be a great cook. Admittedly, I have his ex to thank for that. They were together for eight years, and in that time she whipped him into the domestic god he is today so I might reap the benefits… and a few extra pounds. I raise a glass to her with every teeming plate of pasta al limone, miso glazed salmon, and juicy ribeye he puts in front of me.

Suffice to say, my guy knows his way around the kitchen—and, to his credit, ours is not an easy one to get around. Our building dates to the 1930s, and aside from the deep, farmhouse sink, it’s hard to find much charm in the lack of counter space, not to mention total absence of a dishwasher or garbage disposal. Yet Robby manages to excel against all odds. He moves around the kitchen like a pro, with authority and confidence, and sometimes it takes everything in me to refrain from jumping him mid-sauté on our ever-so-unfortunate linoleum floor.

I, on the other hand, don’t fare so well. I overcook pasta, I forget to prep, and most recently, chose the wrong sized pan while attempting jambalaya and stood in the middle of the kitchen, helpless and on the verge of tears, as I watched our supper spew over like molten lava. Robby chops veggies with the ease of a well-oiled machine; it takes me a good ten minutes to julienne a carrot. In fact, before I met Robby, I didn’t even know what it meant to julienne a carrot. 

In my defense, I spent a significant number of my adult years in New York before moving back to L.A., and let’s just say The Big Apple didn’t bode well for my culinary development. Aside from the occasional Thai delivery, all of my meals were consumed outside the apartment— and with good reason. The closest Trader Joe’s was a dozen subway stops away, and I didn’t want to wake the cockroaches.

My (Drunken) Inner Jewish Mother

Regardless of my lack of experience in the kitchen, something about cohabitation struck a domestic chord in me, and almost as soon as I’d unpacked my last box, I found myself overcome by the urge to feed my man. In other words, my Inner Jewish Mother took over. Unfortunately for Robby and me, my Inner Jewish Mother has the culinary skills of a twelve-year-old after guzzling an entire bottle of Manischevtiz. 

Robby was sympathetic to my ineptitude. He found my remedial veggie chopping endearing, especially because I do it as a lefty. But I imagine my clumsiness in the kitchen would challenge anyone’s patience, and Robby’s quickly waned. When I attempted to sauté onions, he’d tinker with the flame on the burner to make sure I wouldn’t char the pan. When he saw me struggling to peel garlic, he’d grab a knife and explain how much easier it is to get the skin off when you crush the cloves first… and then he’d mince it for me.

Most of my early attempts at cooking would end with me stomping out of the kitchen and plopping myself down on the living room sofa, angry and dejected, while he finished preparing the meal. Sometimes shouting would be involved, and I once threw an heirloom tomato at the wall out of frustration. In the end, the food would taste wonderful, but I would feel ashamed of my amateurish skills and resentful of Robby’s having taken over. While I don’t ascribe to the motto “a woman’s place is in the kitchen,” I hated feeling like I didn’t have a place in there at all.

Romanesco and an Epiphany

For awhile, I just stayed out. I watched from the dining room table, some combination of envy and bitterness boiling up inside of me, as Robby peeled and diced and sautéed, our apartment filling with the aroma of onions and garlic… a smell I came to associate with my own inadequacy. At the local Farmers Market, which we frequent together every Sunday, I would lose myself in the rows of fresh produce and imagine a day when we might live as equals in the kitchen, julienning organic carrots side by side. Then, on one of these trips, while staring at a particularly stunning array of romanesco, I had an epiphany: if I wanted to feel like an equal in the relationship, I had to learn to hold my own in the kitchen. 

Food was such a central part of our lives that my culinary woes felt as grave as trust issues or sexual dysfunction. I knew I had to step it up. I couldn’t keep deferring to Robby when I found myself struggling in the kitchen just because I knew he was a better cook. And I couldn’t keep letting him taking over, no matter how desperate my drunken Inner Jewish Mother was for a reprieve. If it took me ten minutes to julienne a carrot, then it took me ten minutes to julienne a carrot, goddamnit!

Sous Chef at Best

And so I made a rule, and I drew a line. When I was cooking, Robby wasn’t allowed anywhere near the kitchen. There would be no exceptions. If I had a question, I’d Google it. And if things got out of hand, there was always a fire extinguisher in the hallway. I managed alright, and slowly but surely, my skills began improving. But with each mediocre dish I made, I had the sneaking suspicion that something wasn’t right. I thought having the kitchen to myself would feel empowering; that all the sweat and toil would payoff when I set that plate of food down in front of the man I loved and felt the satisfaction of knowing I was fulfilling my womanly duties. The trouble is, I wasn’t having any fun. And the feeling I got setting that plate down on the table was never as gratifying as I had hoped. Mostly, I just felt insecure, tense, and exhausted. I was trying to play the role of master chef, but I was a sous at best.

Room for Two

Regardless of its scant dimensions, I knew deep down there was room in the kitchen for both of us. I peeled back the yellow tape, and I let Robby back in. Instead of continuing to let myself be intimidated by his culinary prowess and judging myself for my inferiority, I tried embracing it. I mean, how lucky was I to have a man who could satisfy me in the bedroom and the kitchen? I let Robby take the lead, and I quickly realized that playing sous chef wasn’t as bad as I’d made it out to be.

Since that fateful night, I’ve cooked plenty of meals on my own, but the ones that taste best are always the ones we prepare together. That isn’t to say we don’t bicker and bump elbows along the way, but like any good argument, there’s always something to be gained. Cooking with Robby has taught me the virtues of patience and perseverance, and the beauty of collaboration. With each meal we create together, we’re learning how to maneuver around the kitchen and each other’s idiosyncrasies simultaneously, and we’re getting closer. And as nerve-wracking as it can be sometimes, at the end of the day we subscribe to the adage, “what happens in the kitchen, stays in the kitchen.” Except for the food, of course— we take that with us.

Are you having trouble finding your footing in a relationship? Set up a coaching consultation with Lisa and see how she can help you transform your love life and forge a deeper connection with your partner.

The Rules are for Fools

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

 

 

 

 

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!

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

 

 

Adventure, Mission, & Romance

Adventure. Mission, & Romance

Adventure, Mission, & Romance

How to Fall in Love & Stay in Love

 

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

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

Here are some of the topics we discuss: 

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

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

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

Warmest Wishes for this Holiday Season,

Lisa Shield

 

 

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