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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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.
I matched with three guys I wanted to meet, but none of them have started a conversation!
I spend so much time on these apps and nothing ever comes from it!
Any of these thoughts sound familiar? If you have frequented any of the dating apps on the market today, it’s likely you can relate to all three of these statements. It’s almost proven that the overabundant online selection and quick-to-judge vetting process is more curse than blessing to females looking for something serious. Weeks, months, or years spent sorting, swiping, matching, and messaging often result in nothing but extreme dating fatigue, landing most women right back where they started when their membership expires.
Most clients who seek my help have nearly given up hope of making something online happen offline. It’s one of the main reasons I decided to change my coaching structure two years ago from single sessions to a six month program. As fast and easy as app dating may be, the process is anything but that. To play the new dating game, you not only have to understand the other team, but you have to really know the playing field, and it has become challenging, confusing, and all too time consuming.
I’ve been dating for over twenty years (ten years for myself, ten by proxy) and can confidently say I know the app game pretty well. There are ways to work the new system of dating so that the system doesn’t work you. I teach my clients how to do just that, and at times, I even do it for them by logging into their profiles. Today, I’m going to share a few of my app dating techniques right here so that you, too, can up your odds of making love happen.
As much as we’d like to use Tinder and the like to “cherry pick” our Prince Charming, doing so is a recipe for sitting home every night. If you want to find the right person for you, you have to ditch your list of physical must-haves and swipe right on almost anyone who fits your age range and location. Before you start posting the backlash comments to this, let me clarify that I’m not telling you to go out with everyone you swipe right on. I’m saying that in order to have enough of a dating pool to fish from you need to swipe right A LOT. From the guys who “SR” back on you and result in a match, you can then decide who you want to message and possibly meet. If you hate this idea, you will likely need to read my upcoming book, “Cursed: Why you are smart and savvy but bad at love and the 5 cures that can save you from heartbreak” because your problem likely runs deeper than your “swipe psychology”. (Sorry!)
I am a big fan of old school rules like never texting a man first, and not asking him on a date. However, those principles don’t apply before you meet! Pre-first date, throw all the rules out the window because they will only have you scratching your head asking yourself why you aren’t meeting anyone. It’s not only fine to start messaging a guy first, it is necessary at times. Remember that most men have a substantial online funnel going, too, and if you don’t initiate a icebreaker you could get pushed down the line by the five other aggressive females clamoring to have coffee with him. And speaking of coffee, I also encourage you to throw out the suggestion of grabbing a cup because some guys are slower to pull the trigger and ask than others. Again, you don’t want Aggressive Abby and Brave Betty to beat you to the punch… or to the latte.
<b>If He Bites, Reel Him In</b>
This might be the most important part of my app dating strategy and it’s one that I don’t see many people use. Listen carefully because this is the golden nugget! If you get a guy chatting through one of the apps, do not leave the conversation. Do not play hard-to-get by hopping offline for an hour or a day, and then come back and try to resume your chat. It won’t work. If someone starts messaging you, stop what you are doing and build a relationship with him right then and there! Spend the next 15-20 minutes getting to know that person and creating a connection. After you feel you’ve done a good job building a little rapport, close him for a coffee date like this, “Hey, it’s been great chatting with you but I have a pilates class at 7:30. Maybe we should grab coffee this weekend? Let me know and I’ll check back with you tomorrow.” By closing him but also leaving him at the height of impulse, you create what I call the “laid back close.” This strategy makes you seem somewhat indifferent (not overeager), but still allows you to take control and get yourself the date!
If you are having troubling with the last piece of advice and can’t figure out how to quickly and effectively build a relationship with a stranger, don’t be too hard on yourself. It’s actually hard to generate a good, meaningful conversation over “text” with someone you have never met. If you need help, you might want to reach out to me and find out more about my coaching program. Or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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”
I love my female clients, and in truth, they are the bulk of my business. But every now and then a guy will sign up for my coaching program and it’s a very nice change of pace for me. It’s probably no surprise to those reading this, but when it comes to coaching men, the challenges that arise and the strategies we employ are totally different. Recently I was reminded of this when I gained another male client who was having a hard time getting matched on Tinder. Most guys complain that it takes twenty to fifty swipes to get just one match, and the chances of meeting up with said match are only 50-50 at best. This can lead to frustration, fatigue, and in some cases, feeling like a failure. The good news is that this is a workable problem. No, you will never achieve a 100% response rate when it comes to online match-ups, but there are many things that a guy can do to up his odds with women he’d like to meet.
You might think you need more hair, or less flab, but truthfully, whether a woman swipes on you or not has more to do with the feeling she gets from your photo – do you seem interesting? Confident? Sexy? Or is she about to tip off America’s Most Wanted because she is pretty sure she’s seen you someplace before and it’s not good…Ok, so that might be stretch (but those guys are out there). It’s more likely that your photo is simply not doing you justice or perhaps giving off an awkward or unappealing vibe. Here are some of my best photo-tips that are sure to up your swipe rate.
Contrary to what I tell women, for men it’s much better not to look directly at the camera and smile. Look just to the right or the left, and show just a bit of teeth. Call it creating mystery, intrigue, or just a sense of non-desperation, women find this appealing and are more likely to swipe right. However, if your second photo is a big mug shot of you, grinning like a Cheshire cat, you’ve blown it.
Have you ever noticed how big a face only photo looks on your phone? That’s usually okay if you are female but for guys, you are just asking a girl to run you over with a fine-toothed judgment comb. (Is that the beginning of a unibrow, I see?) Take your pictures from the waist up at minimum, but a full body shot works well, too.
It is assumption at it’s worst but it happens every day. If you are at a bar or holding a drink in your hand, women will assume you’re a party boy or an alcoholic. If you are standing with a bunch of women, she will assume you are player. If you are shooting a fire arm or at a gun range… yeah, even if she is a gun enthusiast, no woman is going to want to meet up with a stranger that she knows has access to a deadly weapon. Keep your photos simple. Just you, perhaps doing something outdoorsy (and non-threatening.) The only prop that women respond well to is of the canine persuasion. Sorry, no cats.
4. Learn to take a flattering selfie
If we have learned anything from Kim Kardashian (which may be the only thing), it’s to take portraits with the camera angling down. This doesn’t just apply to selfies. Make sure whoever is taking your picture knows how to use a camera and captures you from your best angle, in the best light, with your best outfit. Yes, all this stuff does make a difference.