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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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.
He’s a sweet guy. He always asks you about your day. When you needed a ride to the airport he didn’t hesitate to volunteer, and when you go out to eat he always let’s you pick the appetizer. It’s only been a few months, but everything is going so well, and that, in itself, may be your biggest reservation. When life is on cruise control and there aren’t many complications, how can you see what a man is really made of? It’s so easy to be agreeable and easy going when you aren’t in the midst of stress or disappointment, but that’s when you usually see someone’s true character.
I’ve got a theory, and although it’s not been scientifically tested, I think it’s pretty accurate most of the time. If you want to know who a guy is, and what he’s like in a relationship (especially in times of stress or disagreement), all you need to do is check out the way he drives.
The road is the only place where we all have to coexist with each other in completely neutral territory. How a guy treats his fellow drivers tells you a lot about how he views himself, other people, and life in general. For example, does he put the pedal to the metal, speeding down streets, cutting people off in attempt to get where he’s going fast? If that’s his typical behind-the-wheel behavior then you are dealing with someone who thinks he owns the road. How does that translate in a relationship? Typically, this kind of guy always thinks he’s in the right, and has little regard for other people’s feelings. You’ll find out quickly that when it comes to you, his motto is, “My way or the highway.”
Or maybe he’s not the kind of guy to disobey traffic laws, and he’s generally a pretty safe driver, but heaven forbid if someone else doesn’t use their turn signal! Or worse, they change lanes unexpectedly and cut him off. If you are in a relationship with someone that explodes into road rage when other people don’t drive to his liking you are dealing with a perfectionist. This is the kind of guy that is happy when things are going his way, but when he has to deal with opposition or imperfection, his mood sinks. This can be hard in a relationship because life isn’t perfect and you can’t control everything, so having a partner who is easily aggravated by that fact can be a big source of stress. Perfectionists have big mood swings both on and off the road.
Then there is the overly cautious driver. The one who won’t pull out into traffic if he sees a car coming two miles away. He’s likely to coast under the speed limit, and never passes on an opportunity to wave another driver ahead of him. He’s not the most confident guy, and most definitely a people-pleaser, but there is nothing wrong with that. You just have to accept that you are coupling up with a man who takes his time, and for some women, that can be frustrating. He’s likely to put your feelings first in your relationship, which is good, but he can also put other people (your friends, your neighbor, your neighbor’s dog) before your relationship, as well.
These are just a few of the road habits that can give you insight about a guy. It’s a secret strategy that has served me (and my clients) well when assessing the opposite sex. It’s better than fishing for information through friends or family because they will always be somewhat biased. That’s the great thing about the road. Everyone uses it, so everyone has a relationship with it, but the road itself is never partial. It’s a mirror, bringing out the true colors in anyone who’s on it. That’s why if you want to know who someone is, just ask the road. It never lies.
If you are having trouble assessing someone you are dating, or if you are in a relationship or marriage with someone you don’t know how to deal with, please contact me about coaching at www.jessmccann.com/contact
So there is this guy who I’ve known since high school. We got reconnected after we graduated college and he asked me on several dates and we had a great time. We’ve hung out frequently for several weeks. I made one big mistake and want your advice on damage control if possible. I really do like him and would hate for it to have to end. So one night I decided to have a party at my place; something I haven’t done in a while and invited lots of friends over including the guy I like. He was out with his friends and said he was going to try and come. A few hours into the party, I got very drunk and overloaded his phone with calls and texts asking when he was coming. I haven’t heard from him since. I haven’t tried reaching out to him for fear of it being too soon and making it worse but also I don’t even know what to say. Please help I really wanna try and get him to see it was a genuine drunken mistake and to try and look past it.
What do I do
Have you ever heard the saying, In Vino Veritas? It means, in wine there is truth. So even though you see this as just a drunken mistake, it’s likely that this guy sees this as a character revealing incident. Meaning, he now thinks that being with you, in a relationship, will mean lots of nagging texts and questions about his whereabouts, and possibly nagging about other things like his clothes, choice of friends, career path, etc, etc,. This is much more than just an “oops” on your part, and getting back in his good graces might be very tough now. The best thing you can do is call him and tell him that you are extremely embarrassed at the way you’ve behaved and that you normally don’t drink that much (and then NEVER drink that much again!) Ask if you can take him to lunch for being so obnoxious. Hopefully he will say yes, and you can begin to rebuild what you had. But beware, it’s really hard to undo this type of damage because the number one thing that a man doesn’t want in a relationship is a naggy, needy girlfriend. You’ve basically showed him that you have that side so he’s likely scared to get any further involved with you. Drinking and texting is extremely dangerous so next time, leave your phone out of reach. And if you ever feel the urge again to blow up a guy’s phone, make sure you call one of your girlfriends instead. Think of her like your AA sponsor!
My parting advice: don’t let your “wants” rule you. If he doesn’t do what you want him to do, accept it. Don’t push and try to get your way because you want him to be your boyfriend. That’s what got you where you are now. If you can learn to be accepting of the men and situations in your life, you’ll notice that things get a bit easier and you suffer less heartbreak. Continue reading
It’s baffled women across the globe. We have racked our brains, asked our friends, and even consulted a professional. But no matter what we do, it seems we will never truly know why that cute single guy we met last week, who asked for our number, and seemed so interested, never called.
Yes, I have the answer. I’m not kidding. I actually feel a little silly that it took this long to figure it out. Especially being that the it’s something that I’ve always known but never made the connection. So without further adieu, here it is. The reason behind the “Can I get your number and never call you.”
To understand this phenomenon, I want you to imagine you are Christmas shopping for a nice little gift for yourself. Yes, you have been good this year and you are allowing yourself one present. So you go to Nordstrom and you see these cute shoes that will go perfectly with your New Years Eve dress. You try them on and they look even better on your feet! You walk around testing them out. You love them. You are happy you have finally found your Christmas present. You look over at the line and see that it is out of control. Ugh. The holiday season. You ask the saleswoman to hold on to the shoes so you can shop around a bit more and wait for the line to die down.
You leave the store and head straight to Starbucks to grab a drink. You head into a few other stores. Nothing too exciting. You keep going. Finally an hour passes and you find yourself at the opposite end of the mall. Your feet hurt from all the walking. Your caffeine has worn off and you sit down on one of the couches outside Urban Outfitters. The mall is going to close in thirty minutes. Should you walk all the way back to Nordstrom to get your shoes? It seems miles away now. Your car is right outside the door. You don’t want to walk all the way back to Nordstorm and then all the back to your car here. You could drive back to Nordstorm, but then you’d have to find parking all over again and it was such a pain in the ass this afternoon. Suddenly your phone rings and it’s your BFF. You tell her your shoe dilemma. She says, “Why don’t you just borrow my Manolo’s for New Years?” You think about it. Not a bad idea. You’d save money, not have to walk or drive back to Nordstrom, and you’d be wearing shoes that are new to you. “Okay,” you tell her. And with that, you’ve abandoned the shoes you promised to buy.
Just as you talked yourself out of buying those shoes, time and time again, men talk themselves out of calling women. They have the same dialogue going on in their heads — I could call her, but it is so much easier not to. If I call her, what would I say? What if she doesn’t call me back? Was she really that interested anyway? Plus my ex girlfriend called me last night and I could just call her instead. That would be easier. What seems like such a good idea at the time, often becomes less of a good idea the more you think about it.
You cannot and should not take it personally when a guy you just met doesn’t call or text you. Who knows what the reason is, but if you just recently met him, there is no possible way the reason is you. He doesn’t know you so how can he reject you? What tends to happen is just what I stated above. When a man is in the moment, and you are right in front of him, he is on a high. Adrenaline is pulsing through his veins and emotion is overriding all other factors. However, once the high dies down and he is away from the situation, logic sets in. He may start to second guess himself. He may start to talk himself out of things. He can get distracted with other priorities, and then what he had planned and promised to do gets pushed to the bottom of the list.
So don’t despair that the guy you met last night didn’t follow up on that phone call he promised. It has nothing to do with you this time around. Go buy yourself some shoes and you will soon feel better
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To learn the techniques to find a guy, get him interested, and keep him that way, check out this book. You will learn the techniques Jess used to find and keep her husband, as well as what she teaches her clients! For more info on Jess and her coaching, check out www.jessmccann.com and follow her on Twitter @iamjessmccann to ask a question about your relationship!
If you have a dating dilemma that you don’t know how to handle, this is the book for you. How do you turn a friend into something more? What do you do when you run into your ex? Can you get him to stop texting and ask you out on a date? All these questions and more are answered in this Q&A dating scenario book! Continue reading
I remember in high school the very distinct feeling that I would never understand men. The boys I had dated long-term in both high school and college sent me such conflicting messages that I truly believed men simply didn’t have emotions. Not like women did, anyway. After all, how can you tell someone you love them one day, and then blow them off to party with your friends the next? It seemed I was always waiting to hear how the guy felt, what he thought, and where he deemed our relationship was going. Everything was on the guys terms because I cared too much and wanted to work through anything, while they took their time mulling over the pros and cons of being with me. It was frustrating, demoralizing, and exhausting. I remember thinking, how in the world can I sustain a relationship with any man if they aren’t as emotionally invested as I am?!
Luckily, after I graduated college, I met and dated a boy that showed me that not all men are cut from the same cloth. He was sweet, fun, and the first real relationship I had ever had. And thanks to him, my previous philosophy on men being void of emotion completely changed. I realized there would be men in the world that would match my emotional investment, and I learned a few very key insights that helped me continue through the dating world, and end up happily married to my wonderful husband today. Had my mentality not changed on this, I might still be dating in circles right now.
Here is what I want to pass on to women who feel as I did back then.
1. Men need reassurance. I realize now, looking back, that I never really gave any love to my high school old boyfriend. I was brought up that men needed to treat me with respect. I was told they were lucky to be with me, and that I needed to keep them in pursuit. In essence, I just had to “be” in the relationship to make the guy happy and my job ended there. My poor BF brought me flowers, wrote me love notes, and met me after every class. What did I do for him? Complained if he had to stay late at practice, or decided to eat lunch with his friends one day out of the week. Sadly, it didn’t dawn on me until later in life that my job wasn’t to just receive love from a guy, it was to give love to him, too. And that included positive affirmations of my feelings – which I never gave anyone because it was drilled into my head that I was to keep them in hot pursuit at all times. But at some point, the chase has to end for the relationship to really begin.
2. Not all men are created equal. Yes, there are guys out there that are jerks, players, or narcissists, and they do not know how to be in a relationship with anyone. But there are also men that are kind, loving, supportive, yet still strong and masculine. I went into a lot of my younger relationships expecting to be let down and hurt because that is what the guy before and the guy before did. However, assuming this made me defensive and suspicious. In other words, a real joy to be around! I spent a lot of time overreacting to certain situations that warranted no reaction at all because I just assumed all men were the same. If one had wronged me in the past, it was only a matter of time that the current one would too. Letting go of Continue reading