Four Phrases That Can Save Your Relationship

newlovehateThings aren’t good. In fact, they are really, really bad between you two. The love and companionship you once had seems like a thing of the past and now your days are filled with arguments, tears, and misunderstandings. Maybe you’ve tried for so long that you are almost ready to give up, or perhaps you are afraid that the one you love might give up on you. What I know is that most couples who want to stay together make a consorted effort to do so, however, the things they try are usually ineffective.

Since communication is key to any healthy, happy relationship, most end up failing not due to lack of love but lack of understanding, empathy, and appreciation. And it’s not necessarily because we don’t possess those things, but because we don’t effectively communicate them to each other.

I’ve compiled a list of the 5 most important phrases that can turn around even the most broken of relationships.

1. How Can I Help?
When is the last time you said these words to your partner? Maybe you’ve been so caught up in having him or her do things for you that you haven’t thought about what you can do for them. This phrase is especially helpful if you use it at the very time you feel yourself about to get into yet another argument because your boy/girlfriend is in a bad mood and taking it out on you. Imagine that he comes home from a long day, doesn’t greet you with open arms, and immediately jumps down your throat for something trivial because he’s just had it with crappy job, shitty boss, or anything that is unrelated to you. You could get your panties in a bunch, defend yourself and retort with some snide come back, or you can recognize that his bad attitude is actually a cry for help.

2. What Would You Like Me To Do or Say?
Said honestly and not sarcastically, this statement can save you a ton of time and frustration. Most of the time we think we are hearing people accurately (when we are not) and then we decide on what action to take based on that inaccurate assessment (which ends up doing nothing for them.) To get to the point, and start making positive changes right away, just ask your partner what they need from you instead of guessing.

3. You’re Right.
I find this phrase is more effective than the ever-popular “I’m Sorry.” It may be because “I’m sorry” is over-used, or sometimes said half-heartedly, but “You’re Right” hardly ever goes wrong. The key with these two words is, again, in timing. When your partner is telling you how they feel, citing places where you could improve, don’t jump to point your finger back at them and start listing examples of where they, too, could improve. Instead just sit there, listen, and say, “Your Right.” This is usually so disarming that it stuns the other person into softening up immediately. Then, you can have your turn to vent your frustrations.

4. I appreciate that you…
This one speaks for itself. It’s been said by numerous experts that the number one reason people leave relationships or cheat on their spouses is lack of appreciation, not lack of love. So how important do you think it is to actually say the words, “I appreciate”? Yeah, pretty important. It doesn’t matter what it is that you appreciate either… emptying the dishwasher, sending a sweet text, remembering an important date, whatever it is, just tell the one you love that you appreciate their efforts.

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What Every Girl Should Know About Hooking Up….

This blog is an oldie but a goodie! I last posted it in 2009, so for anyone who hasn’t read it yet, enjoy!

Your are out with your friends enjoying a few drinks on a beautiful night. Your phone vibrates. You have one new text message. You pick it up and see that it’s Sam, a guy you met three weeks ago and hooked up with because you were really wasted. He’s a nice guy, but ever since that night, he’s been pseudo-stalking you. You’ve been cordial, answering some of his texts and calls, mostly because you like the attention, but he’s just not the one for you. You tell your friends at the table, “It’s Sam the stalker again. He is out in DC and wants to know where I am.” There’s a round of snickers and laughs. Someone tells you to be nice to the poor guy and tell him where you are. You never know, he might have cute friends, she says. You take a sip of your margarita and say, “Let’s see how the night goes. If we don’t find any cute guys here, I will tell him to come by.”

Two hours and two rounds later, no one at the table has seen anyone cute. You are almost forced by one of your oversexed friends to call Sam and bring his entourage over. By now you have a good buzz going and figure, why not. He’ll buy you your next round and tell you how hot you are. So you text Sam and tell him where you are in Arlington. You laugh to yourself because you don’t even have to extend an invitation. You know very well that he’s going to say by some strange coincidence that he’s at the bar next door and will just swing by. Fifteen minutes later, Sam, his best friend, and his roommate stroll into bar. People are introduced, shots are ordered, and the night officially begins. Sam is all over you and the more you drink, the more you like it. By the end of the night, you and Sam are stumbling back to your place. You guys make out all over your apartment and for some reason it’s really great. Maybe it’s because you’ve been going through a dry spell, but whatever the reason, you are into it. You continue to make out with Sam and the more you kiss him, the more you like him. How could you have disregarded him before? Maybe he’s not as bad as you initially thought.

And then you wake up the next day completely sober and realize you had on major margarita glasses. Sam is lying in your bed, snoring like a sabertooth tiger, drooling on your favorite pillow. You are annoyed like crazy. How long is going to be here, you wonder? He finally wakes up, smiling like a cheshire cat, and pats the space next to him, indicating he wants you to lie back down. You’d rather shoot yourself than cuddle with Sam so you make up an excuse about having to run into work that morning. Disappointed, Sam reluctantly and slowly, gets out of your bed. You throw his pants at him and watch him stumble to get dressed, knocking over your alarm clock and family photo in the process. He apologizes and then asks if you have time to grab some breakfast. Ah, sorry no. You really don’t. Some other time maybe. Sam picks up on your unintentional invitation to do this again, and says, “Ok, when? Do you want to meet up later tonight?” At this point you just want him out of your apartment so you tell him to call you later and you will see about getting together. He finally leaves after you pretend to walk to your car. You get back to your apartment and collapse on the couch. You eventually drift off to sleep but not before labeling Sam’s number DO NOT ANSWER into your cell phone.

I know you can all related to this story. We have all had guys we just aren’t into, chase after us relentlessly. We’ve all caved and been nice to them, even hooked up with them once or twice. We’ve kept them on the back burner in cases of emergency and extreme boredom. But guess what? This story is not what you think. You’ve just entered the Twilight Zone. You were not out with your girlfriends having margaritas last night. You were in DC, hanging out with your best friend and her roommate, hoping to hear from the guy you met three weeks ago and had a hot hook up with. A hook up you have not been able to stop thinking about. That’s right, in this scenario, YOU are Sam. You were the one who texted him to find out where he was. You were elated when he told you he was at the Eventide rooftop in Arlington. You rushed over and played it off as if you at the bar next door. You met up with him and his friends, had some drinks and ended up back at his place, where at some point in the night you fell completely in love. You woke up in his bed filled with excitement. You are certain he likes you now. He wanted to go to breakfast, but a work emergency took priority. Totally understandable. You like him even more because he’s ambitious. He told you to call him later and you guys would meet up again that night.

Maybe you saw this switch-a-roo coming from a mile away. Maybe my Twilight Zone blog was totally predictable. I really don’t know. What I do know is this. There are lots of girls out there that string along men that they aren’t interested in. They hook up with them when it’s convenient, call when they are lonely, and essentially use them when they want to. Those same women often come crying to me when a man does the same thing to them. These girls bounce back and forth between men that like them but have no interest in, and men that they like but can’t pin down. Ironically, these women cannot see the writing on the wall when a man is only with them out of convenience. They make up excuses for sporadic behavior. If he doesn’t call for a week, but then suddenly texts while he’s out on a Friday night, they believe it means he’s suddenly come around! He was just busy all week with his stressful work schedule. The truth is that guys will use you in the same way you use them. In order to find love and happiness you must stop the cycle of use. It’s the most anti-love action possible. How is it fair that you waste that nice boy’s time but then fall to pieces when another guy does it to you? The Universe will absolutely bring you what you deserve and if it knows you are only hanging out with someone because you are lonely, it will not blink at handing you the same scenario. Don’t waste your time on men that are not interested in you and don’t waste someone else’s time either. Getting involved with men who make you chase them can do a terrible number on your self-esteem. Unbalanced and unloving relationships chip away at your heart and by the time you find a guy that really likes you, you don’t know how to act. You don’t know how to really be in a healthy relationship because, thus far, in your past there has only been use. If you don’t like someone, don’t waste their time. And if a guy doesn’t seem crazy about you, do yourself a big favor and just move on to someone who is. What you put out to the world is what you will get back. Be kind and loving to men and they will be kind and loving to you.

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Should I text him? How long should I wait if he took a week to contact me?

Should I text him, Should I call him, How long should I wait to text him

Dear Jess, Last week I gave a guy my number. It took him six days to
contact me, but he finally sent me a text. How long do I have to wait to respond to him?

I’m a fan of applying old-school rules to new technology, so the first time a guy reaches out to you, you should wait at least twenty-four hours to respond. It does not matter if he texts, calls, e-mails, or instant messages. Whatever mode of communication he chooses still warrants the same reply time. Having difficulty with that? Think of it this way: Ever since you gave him your number six days ago, you’ve been staring at your phone, recapping the night you met him, second guessing his interest, and undoubtedly doubting yourself, what has he been doing? Going to the gym, seeing his friends, and, oh yeah, not calling you. As you’ve been sitting there in a quiet panic, wondering if you were going to hear from him, he’s been living life worry free. Now that he’s called you, it’s his turn to wait and stress a little. However, if you call or text him back immediately, that won’t happen.

If he actually calls you, do not pick up. Let your voice mail handle things for now and return his call the following day. This isn’t revenge for making you wait—it’s just rebalancing for the greater good of your future relationship.
After you text him back the first time, you are going to have to vary your response tactics. If you religiously wait exactly twenty- four hours each time, he will eventually pick up on your pattern and think you are playing a game. It’s always a good idea to let time pass before you reciprocate a call or text, but if you want to remain a mystery and keep the chase going, the key is to be unpredictable. Text back immediately some of the time but then wait a few hours or a whole day the next. Keep him on his toes by being unpredictable when it comes to your return texts and calls.

What If He Calls and Doesn’t Leave a Message?
Dear Jess, Update! He just called! But for some reason he didn’t leave
a message. Can I call him back?

If you want a guy to know that you have been sitting by the phone eagerly awaiting his call, then by all means, go right ahead and call him back. But consider this first: How do you know that he really meant to call you and this wasn’t just an accidental pocket dial? How embarrassed will you be if you call him and he says that he didn’t really intend to call you? Then all that self-restraint you’ve been exercising will be for nothing. He’ll think, “Wow, I pocket- dialed her and she got so excited she called me!”
For argument sake, let’s say he did purposefully call you and did not leave a voice mail; if you call him back, you will be setting a precedent that he doesn’t ever have to leave you a message. While you may not care about that right now because you are so elated to hear from him, you will care after it happens for the tenth or fifteenth time. He will learn that he can do the bare minimum, and you will still jump to his attention. In essence, you are positively reinforcing bad manners and unconsciously telling him that you aren’t worthy of being properly pursued.
One of my clients constantly struggled with her phone etiquette, too. She would always Continue reading

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Why You Haven’t Found Your Person: Your Unconscious (and Toxic) Dating Pattern

“I haven’t had a boyfriend in years. Everyone around me is getting engaged. I can’t believe I’m this old and still single!”
Have you ever uttered these words? Maybe to a friend? Maybe to yourself? Have you sat there smiling at a girlfriends’ bridal shower only to secretly be thinking, “Why isn’t that me?” Are you feeling so frustrated by the lack of love in your life that you are almost ready to give up the dream of ever finding it?
If any of this sounds like you, rest assured you are not alone. There are millions of females that feel just as you do, and are struggling just as you are. Like you, they want to find their person in life, and are totally unsure as to why they haven’t yet. It wasn’t this hard for your parents, so why is so hard for you? Is it just today’s culture? Are you looking in the wrong places? Dating the wrong guys? Saying the wrong things? Whatever it is, you haven’t figured it out, so you don’t even know how to fix it.
Recently I received an email through my website that summed up all the dating woes that women seem to be feeling these days. It said, “Dear Jess. I’m so over dating I could just cry. I have joined every dating site, gone to every meetup group, and forced myself to be as friendly and engaging as possible. In the end, I may get a few dates, but they never amount to anything. It’s like the whole world has “gone casush” (short for gone casual) and no one wants a traditional relationship anymore. Is it really that things have changed so much, or is it me that’s causing these disastrous dating results?”
The answer is that yes, things have changed, but things have always been changing. Women used to get married by arrangement, and dates only took place with chaperones. That’s no longer the case, of course. Yes, times change, but honestly, love hasn’t. It’s out there and guys do want it, too. The problem I see for most girls and young women is that they have an unknown, toxic dating pattern that has them perpetually yielding the same results with guys over and over again. In fact, I’ve seen these undiscovered patterns pop up so much over the last ten years that after only speaking to someone for about an hour, I can usually indentify which one they have. In all, there are five, and some of the ramifications are as follows:
* The guys you like never like you back as much
* You get angry or frustrated with the guys you date fairly often
* You are alone (because you are pickier than most people)
* You feel like it’s just a matter of time before your relationship fails
* You feel jealous of other people’s relationships
* You can’t let go of a person or experience you’ve had in the past
which has made you untrusting and jaded
* You incessantly replay your conversations with people
* You’re always wondering where the relationship is going and then it doesn’t go anywhere
* You constantly compare yourself to other women and often feel like you are in competition with them
* You think if you were prettier/smarter/thinner you would probably be in a relationship
* You like things a very certain way to the point of perfectionism
* You need constant reassurance that someone likes you
If you can identify with any of the above listed items, it’s highly likely you have one of the 5 patterns that I’m speaking of. Now is the time to figure out what yours is specifically and correct it. I’m now offering coaching packages of 3 or 5 sessions either over the phone or through email. Send me an email at coach@jessmccann.com and ask for pricing (I promise, it’s worth it.)

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Why He Chose Her Over You?

Are You Likely To End Up Alone?

He Hasn’t Texted Me Back! What Do I Do?

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Bored Too Easily? Why no man can keep your interest (except maybe the wrong one!)

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Hi Jess. I definitely think I have a problem with being bored too easily with guys. Even the ones who look amazing on paper and are really nice looking! Guys with great jobs, similar interests, good sense of humor, and good looks…I find myself losing interest with them after only a few dates. I just feel like “something’s missing.” The guys always seem to be very interested in me and want to keep going out, but I find myself pulling away. What is wrong with me?? I’ve only had two serious relationships in my life and it took me years to get over both of them. Could I have commitment issues or just a love of the chase? Please help! Thank you.
- Bored Betty

Hi Betty. Before I start doling out advice, I want to say bravo to you for even realizing you have a problem! A lot of women turn down guys over and over again without really thinking through what it is that turns them on or off about someone. In many cases, what a woman finds attractive in guy may not necessarily be a quality that is right for her in the long run, but without awareness of this, many females continue to chase the bad boy, or the guy that is good on paper, all the while alluding real love.

Now…On to what you really came here looking for…

Based on the information you gave me in your email, here is what I think is going on. I do think you have a fear of commitment as you suspected, and yes, with that comes a love of the chase. It’s not that you have an aversion to good, decent, guys. It’s that you have an aversion to anyone that shows you a real ability to commit. Guys who show interest, and express an eagerness to know you more seem boring to you because you know where they stand and there is no mystery, no thrill, and no excitement in that. Those three things are present, however, when you are pining after an ex-boyfriend year after year; a man whose interest in you changes as frequently as the weather. I suspect your break-ups took a very long time to stick, with many late night texts, and even a bit of hooking up? The uncertainty that comes with an ex who still communicates with you is what fuels the “wanting” to be with him. And that is what you are attracted to. You don’t know if and when you will see your ex again, and that causes anxiety and wanting which we often confuse for those amorous little butterflies. Basically, anyone who doesn’t give you anxiety, who doesn’t cause you to “want”, you don’t find exciting and therefore you think something is wrong, or missing.

But heed my warning, if you marry the man who gives you anxiety, you will spend the majority of your marriage repenting your decision. To not know when your husband will call or come home is torture to a wife and mother. And make no mistake about it, the man who’s love runs hot and cold will continue to do so whether you take his last name or not.

So, how do you make the change? How do you stop running from the good guys that truly want to be with you? The first step is to simply be aware of this pattern in yourself and when you feel that “wanting” inside you occur, don’t follow it blindly. Know what is happening. Recognize the pattern you have of finding thrills in your dating life and understand the consequences. Second, on a deeper level, the addiction you have to wanting men is an unconscious need within yourself to prove your own worthiness. Meaning, you unknowingly feel incomplete and subconsciously worry that you are not enough, but by winning over an unattainable, or uninterested guy, you satisfy that doubt (although just temporarily). Simply put, the love of the chase points more to how you feel about yourself, than about the guy.

For more advice on how to break this habit of constantly getting bored and chasing guys, be on the look out for my next book, The Curse : Why you can’t find or keep the love you want, coming out later this year!

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“Love Bombing”: The Dangerous Dating Tactic That Can Leave You Brokenhearted

When Jenny met Matt she thought it was true love. Finally, she had found a guy that did everything right. He would text her every day, pick her up at her house, pay for all their dinners, make plans in advance, and lavish her with compliments. He was perfect and after just three weeks, he was already saying those three little words.

So imagine Jenny’s surprise when after six weeks of dating, things started to change. The daily texts stopped first, and she began reaching out to him instead. Then the planning in advance came to a halt and it was all last minute, or late night get- togethers to “watch Netflix and Chill”. And finally, the amorous professions of love ended, and Jenny was left wondering where they stood.

“I feel like I need to have the DTR talk,” Jenny said to me one day. (That’s slang for Determine the Relationship.)
“I don’t think so,” I told her. “I think you know where your relationship stands. The question is, are you okay with it?”
“I was okay with it when he was paying more attention to me. Now I feel like I’m just there. How do I get him to be like he was before?” She asked me.
“Jenny, you’ve been “Love Bombed.” And the only thing you can do now is either accept the relationship for where it is now, or don’t accept it and move on.”

What Is Love Bombing?

Love bombing is when a guy attempts to win you over with over-the-top displays of attention and affection, but then, after a matter of weeks that all stops. Love Bombing happens frequently in today’s culture because technology makes it so easy to “bomb” someone with words of affection and future promises without having to do anything more than lift a finger (or more accurately; two thumbs.) Some love bombing is normal. When a guy first meets a girl, and is attracted to her, he will naturally want to impress her by going above and beyond her expectations. As the relationship settles down a bit, and the two become a couple, however, the avid pursuit to “win” her over wanes, but should be replaced by a happy, contented relationship. The problem with Love Bombing happens when either the girl doesn’t know how to be in a relationship, and demands the constant attention and reassurance that Love Bombing provides, or the guy is using “LB” as a technique to sleep with a girl or get her attached to him for his own selfish purposes.

How To Spot A Serial Love Bomber

Jenny eventually learned that Matt was a serial Love Bomber, and routinely came on strong with all his other girlfriends. He wasn’t a bad guy, he just had a habit of coming being overly effusive when he wasn’t yet in a relationship. But not all guys are like Matt, and some will Love Bomb you just to get what they want, and then leave you confused, disappointed, and still very single.

It’s important to be able to know when you are being “Love Bombed” and to remain skeptical if you see any of the following signs within the first few weeks:

– He texts you “Good Morning, Beautiful” every morning and “Good Night, Beautiful” every night, even though you just met (or haven’t met in person.)

– He talks about future plans, vacations, and even marriage and you’ve only been on a handful of dates.

– He comments or likes all your posts the minute you post them.

– In almost every communication with you, he flatters you.

– He professes his feelings right from the start and tells you he’s “never felt this way about anyone” and “can’t believe he met someone (you) that is so beautiful, special, smart, etc” and “knows already that he wants to spend the rest of his life with you.”

Be wary of Love Bombers because they can reel you in, sleep with you, and move on without hesitation. If you think you are perpetual victim of Love Bombing and need professional help, please email me about coaching at coach@jessmccann.com. Love Bombers are notoriously looking for “soft targets” – women with low self-esteem that they can bomb and manipulate. Don’t let yourself be a victim again.

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Proud To Be Prude: How to flip the script on guys just looking for nude pics, blow jobs, and hook-ups

StockSnap_0MBB2A09JAYou’ve been waiting all day to hear from him. He said he’d text you later and school has been out for almost an hour. Suddenly you hear a chime. Your stomach knots as you lunge for your phone. It’s him! You quickly unlock your home screen and wait for the message to appear. Then you see it.

“Send me a nude”

Your excitement has quickly turned into anxiety. What should you do? You like this guy. You want him to like you. But you don’t feel comfortable sending him a nude photo. You feel stuck because you know how this game usually goes for girls. You can send the pic, risk him passing it around to all of his friends and earn yourself a “slut” label, or deny him, lose his interest and he’ll start telling people you’re prude. Whatever you decide, you feel like you’ve already lost.

What To Do?
Let’s be real. You don’t want to send him a nude photo. You don’t want to send any guy a nude photo. You just want this guy to like you. You want him to be your boyfriend. Hold your hand. Care about you. That’s what you really want. And I’m telling you right now, sending that photo isn’t going to ensure that happens. The more likely scenario is just what you suspected. He will share it with his friends, it will circulate through your high school, and you will probably be slut-shammed like that girl in your Geometry class last week. Knowing this as well as you do should make you feel good about your decision to deny his request. But there is a consequence with that, too. Teenage boys are getting good at manipulating girls into giving them what they want. They know calling you a “prude” can hurt just as much, and they hope that pains you enough to give in.

But you are not a prude. No matter what any guy says. What you are is a girl who won’t be pushed or pressured by a guy into doing something she will surely regret later. And you would regret it. So what’s the best response? Is there anything you can do in order to keep this guys’ interest (because I know you still want it), but somehow prevent him from shaming you with the “prude” put-down?

There are several responses you can give and I’m going to help you with them. But before I lay them out, I want to say one thing. Girls often complain that all guys want from them is sex and that traditional dating is dead. But boys are not all to blame for this. Girls are giving in too easily to their salacious requests, or they are laughing them off which tells a guy that while you aren’t going to grant his wish, you are totally fine with him asking. And if you are fine with it, he will ask again because eventually he knows he will wear you down. The only way to change the dating atmosphere is to demand change, girls. There will always be a few females that will give the rest of us a bad rap, but if you all want to be treated with respect, don’t just whine and complain about it. Do what is necessary to get it!

You can use the replies below not only in response to his nude photo request. If any guy asks you to do something you are uncomfortable with – give him a blow-job, hook-up, have sex, experiment with other girls for his viewing pleasure, try a threesome, etc – these are a few of the ways to handle him.

(I assume all these communications are over text since it’s the most probable scenario.)

He says “Insert over-the-top sexual request” and you reply:

- With nothing

This is very powerful because you cannot be held to anything. Going silent will confuse him for sure, but it will also give him time to think about what he just asked of you and worry about how you’re taking it. Believe me, he doesn’t want to look bad either. You can let your non-response linger all day and night which will have him sweating by morning. Then, when you see him in the hall on your way to class, you can give him a half-smile as if to say, “I’m just going to let that one slide.” Or you can wave to let him know you have moved on from the incident. Either way, it’s not likely he will ask again (unless he’s a total idiot.)

- Seriously?! (with optional frowny face)

If this guy is going to be so bold as to ask you for a picture of your naked body, then you should be just as bold back. You don’t need to explain anything, this reply says it all. If he doesn’t text you again for the rest of the day, mission accomplished. You haven’t lost him. You’ve stood up for yourself and he got the message. He’s withdrawal means he’s feeling sheepish and rethinking his actions. Do not text him again. Wait a day and then act as if all is normal by smiling at him in class, or sending him an icebreaker tomorrow.

The rest of these responses speak for themselves.

- Ugh. Did you really just ask me that? I’m a little disappointed. I thought you were different from other guys.
I’m sorry, you have me mistaken for someone that doesn’t have any brains or morals.
How gentlemanly of you to ask!
Send me a pizza (since we are asking for things we like)
I like you, and since you are asking for that I am guessing you like me too. I’m not going to send you a nude photo, though. (Or give him a blow-job, or whatever else he’s asking.) I’m not prude, I just have standards. If you don’t like me now because of that, I guess I know what yours are.

And if you can’t muster the courage to send any of the above, here is a default response.
– Send a picture like this:

naked.baby If you want to know how to handle more sticky situations you can read my book, “Was It Something I Said: The answer to all your dating dilemmas” or you can continue reading my blog for advice. Click here to load more blogs.

I’m also a dating and relationship coach, so you can contact me through my contact page to ask about coaching rates in person, over the phone or through email. If you are a teenager, or a woman under the age of 24, contact me for a special discounted rate (you just need to send a photo of yourself with drivers license for proof of age.) Continue reading

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The 3 Reasons You May Be Cursed In Love

loveorlosingYou can’t believe it happened again. Another guy has disappointed you, and you’re beginning to wonder if the Universe just has it out for you. Why else would you attract another bad man into your life when all you want to do is find a good one? If this sounds like you, you may be asking yourself right now if there is something about you that is unknowingly telling men that it’s okay to lie to you…or cheat on you…or not commit to you. Whatever specific pattern keeps repeating itself in your relationships doesn’t matter because at the root of it all, bad behavior from a man boils down to one common theme: Selfishness. Doesn’t matter if he’s a liar, cheater, or a player. At the core of all those afflictions stands a man who simply cares more about himself than you. The question is, why do you keep falling for men who put themselves first?

1. Selfishness is often confused with confidence. When a guy is all about his wants and needs, he often puts up a fight to do things his way. He also spends little time asking what you want to do and simply moves forward making plans that are to his liking. To a lot of women this may seem like the guy is just being manly and taking control. After all, who doesn’t like a confident guy who knows what he wants and takes charge to get it. However, there is a fine line between confident and selfish. A confident guy will still make sure you feel heard and strive to ensure that your wants and needs are met. A selfish man will argue why his way is better. If he constantly alters plans that you’ve made, and accuses you of being the inflexible one, this man isn’t self-assured. He’s self-absorbed.

2. You are constantly seeking approval. Ever wonder why you love a challenge? Ever ask yourself why you don’t like the guys that like you? It could be that you aren’t looking for love but instead are addicted to seeking approval, and the selfish man will keep you in a constant state of that. Since you don’t realize why he never quite seems satisfied with you, your daily MO is aiming to please. It becomes a rush when he is happy and accepting of you, but a terrible let down when he doesn’t. This indicates that you are dating with your ego instead of your heart. The heart wants to find comfort and contentment, but the ego wants to seek approval and gain validation. Therefore anyone that you sense you have to “win over” is enticing. The sad part is that if you ever do triumph and conquer, you’ll just get bored and move on.

3. You cannot accept people for who they are. You would rather die than give up on him. On the outside he’s so perfectly your type, or you are so tired of being single, that the thought of letting go and moving on feels like you’re passing up on the best opportunity you’ll ever have. You think you can work on his flaws and possibly change him to be the caring, sensitive, and thoughtful person you know he can be. The hard truth is that we are back at reason 1 one for why you keep attracting the wrong guys. No matter how cute, well dressed, in shape or intellectual he is, at his core, he’s just a selfish guy. And changing that is not something you can do – he has to figure it out on his own. The best thing you can do is point it out and walk away. If he wants to work on that, let him do it on his own time and pray when he’s figured it out that you are still available.

If you think you are attracted to the wrong men, or are constantly living in an approval seeking state, it may be the very reason your relationships have not worked out thus far. Keep an eye out for my new book, The Curse: Why you can’t find or keep the love you want, coming out next year. Or contact me for personal coaching so that you can break your own “Curse” and make your next relationship the right one.

Let others know how you stopped dating the selfish man, or ask a question about it below!

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Does He Spark Joy? Is this the only question you need to ask in your relationship?

Recently I had lunch with best-selling author and good friend of mine, Heather Maclean. She was in town for a quick visit and luckily had time to see her old reality TV friend. As we caught up over a spicy chicken pizza, the topic inevitably turned to books. One that seem to be all the rage today is The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, which Heather had just finished and I had just started. Although the book had many interesting and unique tips and advice on how to declutter your life, the one that stood out the most to her was the practice of sorting through your things, holding them up and asking yourself one question…”Does this spark joy?”

Being a purger myself, and always looking for new ways to organize, I really loved this technique. After all, at the end of the day, isn’t that the best reason to keep something in your life? Because it brings you happiness? As Heather and I chatted on about the author’s brilliant rumination, we began brainstorming what other areas could this simple question be applied? Dozens, apparently. It could work for the small things like selecting music to buy, as well as the bigger things, as in what career path to choose. Of course, it didn’t take long for me to consider if this could also work for relationships. So many of my clients contact me when their relationship is in a state of flux, looking for guidance on whether they should work to save it or walk away. They agonize over their pros and cons list, lament over the few things they can’t seem to change, and vacillate between starting all over and just sticking it out. The question they always ask me in the end is, “What should I do?”, and perhaps now would be a good time to answer their question with a question. If a relationship no longer sparks joy, then what purpose is it serving anyway?

Most people, even those in volatile relationships, might jump to defend themselves when posed the joy question. “Yes, it brings me joy!” They might say. “It just also frustrates me, makes me sad at times, and forces me to do more cyber stalking than I’d like.” The key it seems would be making sure you truly understand the meaning of the word joy. Because if a relationship is bringing you a significant amount of pain, it’s likely that what you think of as “joy” is really the pleasure portion of the pleasure-pain cycle taking it’s turn. (If I’m losing you, just bear with me.) Joy is a feeling that arises from within you, and pleasure is something that is always tied to something outside of you. Pleasure is not ever in our control and therefore, can instantly turn to pain when it goes away or changes on us. (For example, we might feel great about our relationship until we send a little text and don’t get an immediate response. Suddenly, all the warm and fuzzy feelings fade and we are in a flat spin of negative emotions.) Of course, we might be sad when a relationship ends, and that doesn’t mean it didn’t bring us joy. It’s natural to feel brokenhearted when love is lost. It’s while you are currently in the relationship that this question must be asked. If you are truly in love, and with the right person, then joy should arise despite little (and some big) bumps in the road. Regardless of his annoying habits, or her idiosyncrasies, you should really feel immense joy within yourself just be being around the other person. If, however, what you mostly feel is stress, anxiety, and a constant rollacoaster of emotions, then it’s likely that this relationship is not sparking joy.

I have seen too many of my single female clients stick out a relationship that strikes more fear than anything else. The joy they claim to feel is really just a brief buzz when anxiety is absent and the guy is “being nice” for a change. In cases like this, the joy question is definitely a fitting one. What about couples that are married, and have been married for many years though? Does the question still apply so fittingly after kids, second mortgages, ailing parents, and the many other responsibilities that lean heavily on a relationship? Is the joy question too simple, and too flippant for all that a marriage is? Can we really boil down it’s worth to such a simple yes or no question? At this point, to me, the query is not one of evaluation anymore, but more so a reminder that the reason we chose to be in together in the first place was because life is inevitably better when it’s shared with someone, and joy is something we do have control over. So after years of being together, if our relationship isn’t sparking joy anymore, we can take a look at ourselves and ask why not, and what can we do to reignite it? The answer to that may not be so straightforward, but it does spark thought, self-awareness, and reflection…and none of those things are bad.

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