Finding Love: How to Know When You Have It and How To Keep It

As relationship professionals, clients regularly ask us how they can tell if they are in love. If you were to ask 100 people, you would likely get 100 different answers. Attempting to define the emotion of love with words is like trying to catch water with your hands—just when you think you have articulated all there is to it, it slips through your fingers. Let’s give it a try though. Here are some of the ways love is commonly defined: infatuation, a great sexual connection, feelings of exhilaration, passion and elation, an inability to eat and sleep and concentrate, butterflies and stomach swirls. Dictionary.com defines love as a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person. One of the more memorable definitions we’ve seen is “a little itch on the heart that you can’t scratch!” However you define love, most agree that it’s a wonderful feeling, and once they experience it, they want to keep it. So, here is our best advice on how to attract love with the right person and when you do, how to increase your chances of maintaining a loving relationship. 1) Know who you are, what’s important to you, what you must have in a relationship for it to work for you, and where you are willing to negotiate. 2) Look for people who connect with you regarding values, lifestyle, family, interests, etc. Your differences should create balance, not dissension. Keep in mind that sometimes, the very differences that initially draw you together can be the same ones that ultimately tear you apart. 3) Try not to get intimate too early in the relationship. Often a sexual relationship and strong chemistry can cloud judgment and compromise objectivity. 4) Don’t get into an exclusive relationship too quickly. There should be a period of time—a “cooling off” period—where your head has a chance to catch up with your heart. We recommend 60-90 days. 5) Slow down. If you have an overwhelming sense of urgency, you might give off an unpleasant odor of desperation. 6) Look honestly for red flags. When you find one, dig for more. Don’t close your eyes to bothersome traits and troubling issues that arise just to keep the relationship going. They will likely rear their heads again, and you will have to contend with them anyway. 7) Be authentically who you are, right from the beginning. If you try to change yourself to suit whomever you are dating, then be prepared for the consequences of that deception when the “real you” shows up, usually under stress or after the early infatuation phase quiets down a bit. If who you really are doesn’t appeal to your date, wouldn’t you rather know that right away? If you have to suppress or exaggerate personality traits, behavior, opinion or even style of dress in order to keep a person in your life, odds are great that relationship won’t last. 8) Love should be easy. If it’s too much like work, it’s not working. [...]

2018-05-15T17:24:41+00:00 By |

10 Tips to Online Dating Success

During dating strategy sessions, when I ask my clients if they have ever tried online dating, I generally first hear a groan and then something like, “that doesn’t work” or “I don’t want to put my information out there.” I smile as I listen to their experiences and tell them there is a method to the online dating madness. With the help of a dating coach, you can learn how to navigate online dating and enjoy the process. Online dating should be part of every single’s dating strategy since online dating sites and apps are what I call “target rich environments.” According to the latest statistics, approximately 20% of committed relationships and 17% of marriages began online. Here are my 10 tips to online dating success: 1) Write a short, upbeat profile describing who you are and who you’re looking for. The key words here are “upbeat and short.” No one wants to read a long profile so write just enough to attract interest and make the reader want to know more. To get you started, think of 5-7 words that describe you and work those into the headline and profile narrative. Your dating profile can evolve over time. The dating process helps you get more clarity about your needs, desires, and priorities. It’s okay to update your profile once you define a new desire or dealbreaker. 2) Post 4-6 recent (within a year) flattering photos. If you don’t have any recent photos, consider having some professional lifestyle photos taken. Think of your dating photos as a collection of images that tells the story of you. In general, people are attracted to others who exude well-being. Your photos can communicate your vitality. Pick a “happy spot” under a tree, by the water or walking a path. A professional photographer can help put you in the best light and capture your “spark” in a creative way. The overall look and feel you are shooting for is warm and approachable. It’s great to include shots of you engaged in an activity: hiking, biking, golfing, tennis, sightseeing. Include at least one full body shot, something polished, as in a nice evening out, and something fun and candid. Be sure to caption the photos with date and location if applicable. 3) Define and set up search criteria and run search. Be as open as you can so that your search returns enough results. 200-300 prospects is a good number to aim for. You want enough prospects so that after sorting, you can find 3-5 a day to write. Be curious and enjoy getting to know people. In other words, embrace the adventure that is online dating. Expand your physical preferences to see what is possible. 4) Persistent, consistent activity is a must if you want to be successful online. Try to spend 30 minutes a day online. Set aside a regular period of time to check your email, run your search and read and respond to profiles that you [...]

2018-05-15T17:53:59+00:00 By |

The Importance of Self-Love

As I have been working with people over the years I have found a common thread.  That thread is self-love. Many times I find that people never really developed liking themselves let alone loving themselves.  So, finally a person finds someone great and they begin dating. Then it becomes about that person filling in the love they so desperately need to feel whole.  Perhaps this love isn’t the appropriate love to be seeking. I find one or both of the people in the relationship needing certain things that a partner cannot give.  It looks reasonable and rational on the outside, but it is really a deep seated need for the love they are missing within themselves. These are adult people now, many of which had much more attention as children, and with one parent at home in some cases.  Now, with both parents having to work (in some cases 2 or 3 jobs) this is the missing link to creating and having the love you need. As I have begun to undertake this opportunity, I have found some things that can begin to help fill this gap.  The first one is simply finding your passion and having it integrated into the fabric of your life whether it is music, art, a spiritual practice or a great outdoor activity.  In some cases it’s changing or shifting your career all together.  When you are happy and filled up in your life and are having a life you are proud of, it promotes self-love. I have seen people literally go from being completely uninterested in creating a relationship to gung ho after this step. Secondly, doing things to pamper and care for yourself.  Maybe for men it is a man night a couple times a month or a cigar at the end of the week. For a woman, a spa day or a bath with her favorite book.  If you are empty, it becomes challenging to be available to give to another. A third area I have found is mourning and grieving.  So many times we don’t allow ourselves to mourn a loss.  Losses come in every form: A failure big or small is a loss, loss of a relationship, and in some cases, a change in a relationship, and moving from one place to another. In our society there isn’t, in my experience, a lot of support for really grieving when we are sad and having a loss.  I believe it is a big component that is swept under the carpet. Another area is the dialogue we have with ourselves.  We often say some very cruel things to ourselves. We beat ourselves up.  I find learning to create some affirmations that help to counter balance our negative self-talk can be useful.  Some examples might be, “ I am beautiful in every way,” “I love who I am and I am proud of what I do,” and “I am a great and powerful person in every way.”  At [...]

2018-05-15T15:39:50+00:00 By |

The Magic of The Law of Attraction

The Law of Attraction simply means “like attracts like.” Another way to look at it is “be who you want to attract”. It is a straightforward concept to grasp, but it requires practice to consistently attract what you want in any area of your life. You can accelerate the process of attracting your love match by applying the Law of Attraction to your search. Once you are aware of this universal law and how it works, you can start to use it deliberately to attract what you want into your life, including the relationship of your dreams. The Law of Attraction is working in your life right now, whether you are aware of it or not. You are attracting the very people, situations, jobs, and much more that are presently in your life. And, your current thoughts are attracting what and who will be in your life in the future. Thoughts can be traced back to beliefs. Your beliefs create your thoughts, which lead to your words and actions. If you don’t like your results, look at your actions and track back. Chances are you will find that you hold a belief that is not serving you. Here’s an example. A female single has a belief that online dating doesn’t work. However, friends persuade her to try it. She really doesn’t want to, but eventually agrees. Because she doesn’t believe it will work, she doesn’t spend much time or effort on her profile or select recent flattering pictures. She writes a few people without response and notes that the only men writing her are “losers” or “scammers.” After a short time, she stops and tells her friends, “See, I told you it wouldn’t work!” She got exactly the results she believed she would. The good news is we can change our thoughts any time we want. Another female single has friends who have met great guys online. She even knew a couple who met online and got married. When she heard their stories, she couldn’t wait to try online dating. She worked hard on her profile making it fun and positive, selected some recent great pictures, and began the process. Soon, her in box was filling up with messages and she received responses to some messages that she sent. Soon she was dating, meeting great guys, and enjoying the process. To develop a positive attitude that will help you to change your negative thoughts, try spending some time writing out a list of negative or limiting beliefs you have about dating and relationships. For each limiting belief, write down a corresponding positive belief statement or affirmation, and focus on that affirmation. An affirmation is a simple statement that reshapes your beliefs and helps you move towards your life goals. For example, “Relationships are always painful in the end” becomes “When I meet the right person, my relationship will be satisfying and joyful.” To create a new belief, you must believe it to be true. If [...]

2018-05-15T16:34:25+00:00 By |

Why I’ve Upgraded to a Drama-Free Relationship

“Love is not what you say. Love is what you do.” ~Unknown I used to think that true love should be passionate and intense. When someone broke up with me or treated me poorly, I’d imagine that he really didn’t mean it. Surely he was really a good person and truly loved me, but was just “going through something” or “needed space.” Eventually he’d be back with tears, apologies, and flowers. I’d like to say I outgrew this tendency by the age of, well, maybe forty, but the fact is I didn’t. Instead, I carried a torch for a recently divorced man, who couldn’t stick around for more than eight weeks at a time, for more than a year. Each time he returned, he’d tell me how much he missed me and how much I meant to him, and I loved to hear it. Before him, I took well over a year off from dating anyone seriously because my ex-boyfriend might decide he wanted me back, and he called every month or so to check in. When he did this, I’d get thrown straight back into the drama of it all and second-guess my decision to end our relationship. After all, he said he loved me. And the man before that, well, you get the idea. This was all very exciting compared to my life at the office. It was very distracting as well. I’d spend hours googling self-help blogs and texting my girlfriends with the latest updates on “the guy” instead of doing my work. Let’s face it, relationship drama can pull you right in. It demands your attention immediately. It’s so intense to get a text in the middle of the night or to navigate the ups and downs of a stormy relationship. On again, off again, always waiting for a call or text. Will he or won’t he? Will you or won’t you? We modern humans no longer live in caves or have life and death struggles on a regular basis. Most of us live fairly routine lives in comfortable homes and have our physical needs met. Sometimes, you can get addicted to drama because it gives you a buzz of excitement that a regular old nine-to-five lifestyle just can’t. A shot of adrenaline can help us wake up to life and get motivated. Things like climbing a mountain, signing up for a triathlon, or a tight deadline help us get fired up. Taking on a new challenge from time to time can help us feel like we’re going somewhere in life. If we don’t do this, regular doses of relationship drama can provide a distraction. An unstable relationship may be exciting at first, but it can eventually become draining. A turbulent relationship can sap your energy and your confidence. You never quite know where you stand with this person, and it wears down your sense of stability and security. It can bleed into the rest of your life and damage your [...]

2018-04-17T03:05:58+00:00 By |

How to Cut Toxic People Out of Your Life

“Hold up your cup here is some positive tea that I want to pour out for you”.   The world turns out to be more competitive than one can ever imagine. People will do anything to ensure that they emerge at the top. Some people will even go as far as sabotaging and threatening others in pursuit of self-improvement. These people are toxic, and they are never happy with one’s success despite their close relationship to the person. They may include family, friends, or mates; and they may express their dissatisfaction differently. The most important thing is how to identify them and manage them for the sake of your success and happiness. First, we have to recognize toxic people in our lives. We should avoid most of the people who have undesirable traits or are unpleasant. For example, a manipulative boyfriend or girlfriend who compromises with your plans so that you can attend his or hers. These kinds of people would use different means to make up for their desperation. Secondly, such people lack respect for boundaries. They would do anything that pleases them, even when it hurts you. True friendship is a two-way process. Friends that take from you and never give back when you are in need are toxic, and you should avoid them. Thirdly, toxic people pretend to know everything. They present as a friend who thinks they are right about everything. They never acknowledge their mistakes and would even lie to get out of trouble. These people like to be viewed as victims of any problem and provide excuses and blame others for their failures. Lastly, toxic people are lazy and lack a sense of responsibility. They are, therefore, unreliable. One should devise ways to handle such people. I truly believe it is best to tell your toxic friends and family the truth. First, you should approach them kindly and tell them that you do not need them in your life anymore. I would prefer you not to debate with that person on the subject and suggest that you keep the conversation simple. I also suggest that you do it in a public place where their chance of raging and exposing anger are minimal. Secondly, I propose that you cut contacts with them, which includes blocking them on social media and direct lines. This breaks any chances of them insulting or trying to reconnect with you. Thirdly, I propose that you do not in any instance argue with the toxic person after breaking up with him/her. Toxic people are more likely to be violent, and in case of an argument, you might fall into being a victim of toxicity. I prefer that you restate your boundaries and explain nothing less. Otherwise, you could push them away and ignore them whenever they call for negotiation. Lastly, you can write a letter to the person and express all your emotions and feelings about the relationship. The good thing about a note is that [...]

2018-05-10T11:07:37+00:00 By |

7 Self-Love Practices That Helped Me Heal from a Devastating Divorce

“Unlike self-criticism, which asks if you’re good enough, self-compassion asks what’s good for you?” ~Kristin Neff My husband and family were my world. Although I’d found joy in my passion of writing, my heart revolved around my marriage. I thought we were happy. Then one day, he dropped the bomb: “I don’t love you anymore.” Two weeks later, I found out he’d fallen in love with another woman who lived across the world. He didn’t want me anymore. Sure, I’d known for a while something was wrong—that knowing deep in your gut that you can’t put your finger on, that tackles you in the quiet hours of the night, making it hard for you to sleep. That taunts you with fear when he doesn’t act as loving toward you as he used to. But I ignored it, because he was my world. I’d fallen in love with him at a time when my self-esteem wasn’t too good. Social rejection at school, losing a parent at a young age, and being steeped in a very strict religion had all played their parts in making me feel that I wasn’t good enough. He made me feel loved and wanted. I was codependent and I didn’t even know it. The next few months, after he took the rug out from under my world, I felt like I was dying. The pain, the rejection, and the hurt were all-encompassing, but I had a little light inside me. It was called hope. I suddenly had this hunger to heal, to become strong, and to find my truth. I began my self-love journey. It all started when I read Choosing Me Before We, by Christine Arylo. She spoke about self-love in her amazing book. I realized that if I ever went into another relationship, I would put myself first. I wouldn’t go into something giving and giving and giving, knowing my own needs weren’t met. I would run far away from a man who used me in any way. I would turn away from anything less than true intimacy and love. The problem was, in the loneliness, I entered into a rebound relationship, despite what I’d decided. The deep hole left in my heart made me blind to how harmful it was. The relationship was much worse than anything I’d experienced in my sometimes dysfunctional marriage. I had to learn the hard way. I eventually turned away, eyes finally wide open. But I’ve grown. And grown. This is how I’ve healed through self-love, because self-love is the foundation of emotional and mental well-being. Non-Judgment When divorce hits you right between the eyes, you get flung into the five stages of grief with no mercy. They assault your soul like a tsunami. But they also wash over you and heal you. I learned to let myself grieve. It was painful. I had to keep coming back to the same pain and sorrow, the same anger and “why?” questions, over and over again. But [...]

2018-04-17T02:27:16+00:00 By |

How to Make a Long Distance Relationship Work

How to Make a Long Distance Relationship Work Have you ever met someone - someone who has the potential to be The One - but they live in a different state?  Is it worth pursuing?  You fear it might not work, but also wonder what to do if it does… and you find yourself in love with a mate in another state.  Do long distance relationships work? I’ve been in a long distance relationship for 7 years now.  We try to see each other at least twice a month, even though I am based in California and his home is in Texas.  It takes work, but we are very happy together.  I am proof positive that you can have a solid relationship filled with love, fun, comfort, support and trust at the core (and some extra frequent flier miles to boot!).  Here are some tips on how to make it work. Getting to Know You Although there are some disadvantages, there are actually some advantages, especially when a relationship is in the early stages.  Sometimes first dates can feel like awkward interviews. The longer distance allows you to take your time getting to know one another.  As you stay in touch, you can learn each other’s like and dislikes, hobbies and interests, family history, and share anecdotal experiences as things come up organically, without anything feeling forced. Let’s Get Serious Dating is hard at any age or stage in life.  You always wonder if the other person is serious, in it for the long haul, and without ulterior motives.  If you are not in the same city and your mate is willing to put the time into getting to know you and stays in touch, it is more likely that you are building on something real. Make the Connection   The basis of any relationship is a connection or commonality with another person. You should share common interests, values or perspectives. A real connection contributes to your ability to sustain the relationship, especially if you don’t see each other all the time. If the connection is physical make sure it’s mutual.  You have to have the hots for each other.   Stay in Touch Send thoughtful text messages throughout the day.  Let your partner know that you’re thinking about them, miss them, and are concerned about their happiness and well-being.  When you talk, be sure to ask “How was your day?”  Listen to what they say and ask questions. Be attentive. Throw in a sexy text or cute photo from time to time share your experiences and keep the chemistry alive. Seeing is Believing Don’t just text and call regularly. Schedule video calls so you can see each other.  Schedule date nights and learn how to use Facetime, Skype or Tango.  You can even watch your favorite TV shows together.  Be camera ready.  Surprise your partner every now and then by wearing something sexy.   You may not be able to wake up together, but you [...]

2018-03-03T16:02:09+00:00 By |