Things 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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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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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!
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 email@example.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.
You 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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RebateCara heard her phone buzz for the third time and ignored it again. She knew it was him – the guy she met off Tinder last night. He had already texted her twice before expressing his interest in another date, but Cara was already back on the app, swiping for someone new. She felt somewhat guilty for ghosting him, after all, he had taken her out a few times, treating her to expensive dinners, but she was afraid to actually say the words, “I’m not interested.” Even if it was over text.
Then, it came through. A payment request from Paypal for $175. Cara’s mouth dropped open. The guy she was trying to ghost was now trying to “rebated” her.
If you haven’t heard of “rebating” yet, you likely soon will. It’s a term I’ve coined for a new dating trend where guys are attempting to recoup money ill-spent on women who ghost them. As appalling, tacky, and bold as it may be, guys argue that dating these days is expensive, and to have someone only date you up until the point that the relationship would become physical, boarders on use. To be fair, many girls have been guilty of dinner-dating where they do use men for a free meal, however, other girls who are very keen on finding love have been advised to give a guy at least a few dates before deciding on them. After all, for many girls, love can grow.
So what do you do if your date tries to rebate you? One client of mine was rebated after meeting up with a guy off Bumble just one time. He wanted his $15 bucks back for the cocktail he bought her and attached a nasty note claiming she was disingenuous. Knowing how much this woman wants to find her person and settle down, she is anything but that. She did ghost him when he sent a follow-up text after their date, and perhaps that’s the key to the whole rebating trend. If a guy is ghosted he assumes the girl was using him for dinner-dating…although it’s hard to argue that if he only bought her one drink. In that case his rebating reads more into him and his bitterness at dating or women in general.
The best protection against being rebated seems to be transparency. If you don’t feel a connection with a guy, tell him. Be kind about it, and use a reason that feels as close to honesty can without being brutal. Use build-break-build and sandwich the bad news in between two positives about him. It is worth the awkward exchange in order to avoid dealing with a post-date rebate bill.
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Jess McCann is the author of “You Lost Him at Hello” and “Was It Something I Said”. She is also a dating and relationship coach. To learn more about about her coaching rates and packages, email her here.
It’s the part of my job that is the most fun – Taking photos of clients for their dating profiles! After a thorough review of a client’s profile, the first thing I usually tell them is that taking new photos will heavily increase their traffic (and therefore their chances to find love.) It’s not that their current photos are bad, I just know they can be better and with so much competition out there, it’s imperative to post the most flattering, yet authentic photo of yourself.
So I’ve decide to post a few of my favorite “Before” and “After” photos (with my client’s permission) in order to highlight a few of the most common photo flubs, and how to fix them.
1. Angle is everything. Yes, we all know how to take a selfie. Shoot from above. But in addition to holding the camera high, it’s best to also pull back on the subject. Look how much thinner my client appears in her after photo. The two pictures were taken around the same time, yet she looks as if she’s lost 20 pounds in the photo I took. The illusion of weight is due to the “before” pic being a little too close and cutting off the side of her arm. (And busy patterns don’t help the cause either.)
2. Lighting May Not Be Everything, But It’s Pretty Important. If you quickly glance the before photo, your first thought might be, “It was a windy day and her hair is blowing all over her face.” But look at the second photo. Her hair is blowing there, too. So why does it work in one photo and not the other? The answer is because the before pic was shot mid-day when the sun was right above my client, casting shadows all over her face and neck. The best time to take a picture is during the first hour that the sun comes up and the last hour before it goes down. If you have a shaded setting a few hours plus or minus will work as well. As you can see, the right lighting can capture the sparkle in your eyes, or the beauty of your smile. The wrong lighting can wash it all out.
3. Don’t Point And Click. Although our smartphone cameras have come along way, they still can’t compete with a digital SLR camera, and your friend’s photography skills cannot compare to those of a professional (unless your friend is also a dating coach or photographer.) As an expert in this field, we know what pose, what angle, what look, is going to produce the very best shot of you. So while it may seem that everyone is a photographer these days, I would say, yes but not everyone is a good one. Since you only have a handful of images to show someone who you are and entice them into meeting you, why risk a poor end result? Hire someone who knows what they are doing with a camera. It’s not life or death, but it may be date or no date.
Jess McCann is the author of “You Lost Him at Hello : Secret Strategies from America’s Top Dating Coach” and “Was It Something I Said: The Answer to All Your Dating Dilemmas”