Tagged ‘vulnerability‘

Asking for What You Want in Relationships

Asking for what you want in relationships is the only way to get what you need!

Asking for What You Want in Relationships

Do you have trouble asking for what you want in relationships? Lots of women do. Part of what makes asking for what you want in relationships so hard is that well-meaning friends, Hollywood gossip columns, blogs by other disillusioned daters, etc. tell us not to speak up for ourselves and to wait for men to make all the moves.

Are you being needy if you ask a man about the future of your relationship?

Maybe you’ve read that asking for what you want in relationships will make a man think you’re pushy or needy. I’ve coached many women who wasted months or even years in the wrong relationships because they took this advice to heart. They really believed that asking a man to discuss the future of their relationship would push him away. It saddens me to think that we’ve made such amazing progress as women in so many ways, but that we’re still allowing ourselves to be cast in a passive role when it comes to pursuing relationships with men.

Rachel’s Story

Perhaps you can relate to what my client Rachel is going through. She’s been dating a man named Evan for three months, but she still doesn’t know where their relationship is going… and it’s driving her crazy. Like Rachel, you might have trouble asking for what you want in relationships. The more time that goes by without her talking to Evan about his intentions, the more anxious she feels. Sometimes a week or two passes where she doesn’t see him. During that time she agonizes over whether or not the relationship is really going anywhere. When they finally get together, she feels momentarily better, but it isn’t long before her anxiety sets in again.

When I asked why she hadn’t asked Evan where their relationship is going, she had many seemingly good excuses: he had a big presentation at work, his crazy ex was harassing him, his daughter was going off to college, he moved into a new place, his Chia pet died… there was always something.

I told her that she was 50% of the relationship and she had every right to ask if Evan was thinking about a future with her, but Rachel protested. She said she’d been listening to an audio book by a well-known male dating expert who said, “You have to be careful about asking for what you want in relationships because it makes men feel pressured and pushes them away. Men are hunters by nature. They are hardwired to go out and find what they want. If a real man wants you, he will pursue you.” In other words, she should act like a helpless bystander and let Evan have all the control.

Why it’s dangerous not to speak up

Here’s the deal: many men will take sex and companionship when and where they can get it, especially if a woman is good company and she isn’t asking for more. So, if you don’t speak up, many men will make the assumption that you’re fine with the current arrangement.

Not asking for what you want in relationships can have serious consequences. Rachel is falling in love with Evan and it’s agonizing for her because she doesn’t have a clue if he feels the same way. Have you ever been in a similar situation? Rachel told me that her obsession with the relationship was starting to take over her life and causing her to act out:

  •                             She was becoming snarky with him
  •                             She wasn’t returning his phone calls
  •                             She was withholding sex
  •                             She was starting to drink—a lot
  •                             She was over-sharing with her friends


To make matters worse, Rachel was concerned that her behavior would sabotage the relationship. Rachel was embarrassed to admit to me that she was feeling so lost and desperate for answers she had contacted three online psychics. Hundreds of dollars later they all told her not to say anything to Evan and that he would come around on his own within a few months. If you look hard enough, like Rachel, you will keep finding ways to justify not asking for what you want in relationships.

No one wants to face rejection

To be fair, Rachel’s hesitation about talking to Evan wasn’t irrational. It’s easy to buy into the idea that you shouldn’t be asking for what you want in relationships because then you can live on hope and you don’t have to face possible rejection. Rejection is a scary thing. The truth is that many men will stay in a relationship for sex and companionship, especially with a woman who seems uncomplicated and easygoing. Smart women know they need to get clear about what a guy is after early in a relationship, and that means asking the right questions in the right way.

Understanding men is the key to asking for what you want in relationships

There is a way of asking for what you want in relationships without appearing aggressive or demanding. It starts with understanding how men work. Consider these four insights into how most men operate:

  1. Men don’t like being told what to do; they want to come to their own conclusions.
  2. Men don’t like being given ultimatums; they want to have dialogues where they can also express their wants and needs.
  3. Men don’t want women who are doormats; they are looking for women who aren’t afraid to be themselves and ask for what they want.
  4. Men don’t like to be asked how they feel; they want to be asked what they think.

I encourage you to try the following approach when asking for what you want in relationships:

  1. Tell him how you feel
  2. Tell him what you need
  3. Ask what he thinks about what you said

For example, Rachel might say:

  1. “I feel like I’m developing feelings for you and I would like to move forward with our relationship.”
  2. “I would like to spend more time together. I was thinking we could see each other on Tuesdays as well as on Saturdays.”
  3. “What do you think about that?”

I know this may sound easier said than done. Often times we avoid conversations like this because we’re afraid of the answer we’ll receive, but answers can be telling. If Evan doesn’t want to get closer to Rachel, he might respond with something like, “I feel like we’re already spending enough time together.” In this case, Rachel would have to consider whether Evan is really interested in getting closer to her. On the other hand, if Evan wants to get close to Rachel, he will welcome a chance to spend more time with her and be happy she brought it up.

Asking for what you want in relationships can be challenging, but you need to find out if a man is really interested in a future with you or if he’s just getting his needs met. If you follow this simple formula it should open up a dialogue where a man will be able to tell you what he’s really thinking. You might not get the answer you want, but you will get the answer you need.

If you’re having trouble asking for what you want in relationships book a consultation to see if I am the right coach for you.

CLICK HERE to book now:




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!


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:



I Have a Crush on Lillian Rubin

I am always looking for role models, but they’re not always so easy to find.  Without a doubt, my greatest role model and teacher is my husband.  To me, he is endlessly inspiring and entertaining.  I also look up to my great aunt, Ruth.  I admire her unique combination of honesty –she’s a real straight shooter—and her genuine vulnerability.  She’s one those women who knows how to make men fall in love with her at any age.  (FYI, Aunt Ruth is 83-years young!)  There are others, but this is not the time or place to list them.  Right now, I just want to talk about my latest and greatest hero, Lillian Rubin.

Lillian and I have never met.  I discovered her a couple months ago while doing research for my book, Naked Dating.  Her book, “Intimate Strangers,” blew me away.  It is the best book I’ve ever read on men and women our the struggle to create intimacy.  As a dating and relationship coach, I’ve read many books on the subject, but never one that was as insightful and easy to understand.  I highly recommend it.

Remarkably, Rubin started her career as a psychologist and sociologist when she was fifty.  Over the past 35-years, she has written 12 books.  Rubin’s most recent book, “60 on up: The Truth About Aging in America,” looks at the issue of aging in the US of A.  Below is a fabulous interview with Rubin.  If this is what 84 looks and sounds like…sign me up!  Lillian, you are a true inspiration! – Lillian Rubin: The Truth About Aging
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