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”
datingquestionpicLast week I attended a neighborhood party. Having just moved to the area with my family, I was eager to get to know the people on our street. I geared myself up for the usual get-to-know you chitchat and hoped to make a few friendly connections. As I moved around the room introducing myself, a very friendly young woman suddenly interrupted me.
“Don’t I know you?” She asked. “Didn’t you write a book or something?”
Soon several other guests joined our conversation, which became very centered around my work. It shocked many of them to know that with two books out and a third on the way, writing was not my primary job, and that I spend most of my day coaching men and women on their relationships.
“So are you a dating or relationship coach?” One asked. “What’s the difference?” “What kind of services do you provide?”
I’m used to telling people that I’m a coach, but I never really go into detail about what that exactly means. I always assumed that the title spoke for itself. After that party I realized that people infer different things about what coaches do and the truth is, I’m not only a coach, I’m also a counselor. Coaches don’t typically offer expertise. Their primary function is to help the client figure out what they want to do, and how they should go about doing it. While that is a part of my job, I also help clients break harmful patterns, become more self-aware, and avoid relationship and dating pitfalls. That makes my job a little more unique, and I thought it might be a good idea to lay out in more detail how I go about helping people, no matter what their relationship status, as well as answer some of the most frequently asked questions from the party last night.
Are You A Dating or Relationship Coach?
I am both. I usually start as someone’s dating coach because they are single, or just getting out of a relationship, and they need to mentally and physically heal and then move on and try to meet someone else. Once they do meet that someone and become exclusively involved with him or her, I become their relationship coach.
What Specific Services Do You Provide For Your Single Clients?
As a dating coach and counselor, it’s my job to help clients find love. And although it may not seem like it, there is a lot that goes into that. First, I assess if someone is emotionally ready to start dating, especially if they are just coming off a bad break-up. Then, I have to find the right venues both on and offline for that person to make new romantic connections. Together we may select one or two dating sites, create a profile, take some photos, and begin the process of sorting through and answering messages from prospective dates. Once the dates start happening, it’s my job to help deifier who is a good match, and more importantly, who is a real candidate for a relationship, and who is not. There is also a good bit of strategy involved in dating. Now a day, almost every interaction is done through text or email, which means easy and instantaneous access to everyone. So, if you text too much, too soon, or reply to fast and frequently, you can kill the mystery and pursuit so often needed in the early stages of getting to know someone. So dating strategically has never been more important that it is right now.
What Help Do You Provide Once Someone is in a Relationship?
Many of the clients I work with have developed habits that frequently sabotage their relationships. We start working on understanding and correcting those habits before they even get into one, but when they eventually do, my job is to make sure they don’t unconsciously backslide. It’s easy to react out of habit and everyone has certain relationship triggers. That is why the more involved my clients become with someone, the closer and more in contact we need to be so that they don’t unintentionally ruin their chances for love.
I also assist in the big milestones that all relationships hit: when and how to have the relationship talk, when to stop dating other people, when to have sex, how to have important conversations (For example, I have an STD, or I want to remain a Virgin until marriage) and of course, when and how to move from “committed” to engaged.
What Is The Most Common Problem You Encounter With Single Women Today?
There are a number of common problems. People are not that different, so I tend to see the same five or six problems over and over again. A woman might complain that she is rarely attracted to anyone and therefore doesn’t go on many online dates. I hear this a lot. The problem, however, is that most females who say this are judging whether or not they are attracted to a man based solely on a one dimensional snapshot of him. When you are unable to factor in characteristics like humor, confidence, charm, personality, wit, and integrity, then you are left with only judging a guy on his photo. And if that’s all you are basing attraction on, then you will only be attracted to roughly 5% of the men you see. The bottom line is that you do need to be attracted to someone, but the best way to glean if you are, is to meet in person and then decide. In person you can factor in all the wonderful qualities that make a man who he is, and what you end up loving about him. Women tend to forget that physical appearance is only a part of what makes you attracted to someone.
If you want more information on coaching with me, please feel free to email me at email@example.com.
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You’ve got your reasons for being single. You’re picky. You’re career-focused. You just haven’t found the one. Whatever excuse you’ve given over the years about why you aren’t in a relationship doesn’t matter. The truth is you’d like to be in one, and as Valentine’s Day approaches yet again; you are reminded of just how much you really want to find your person.
I understand your plight all too well. I’m a dating and relationship coach and every day I talk to dozens of singles that are trying to best navigate the dating sphere in the hopes of living happily wedded-after. Like you, many of my clients have a lot to offer. They are smart, attractive, well rounded and thoughtful. And with so many dating apps rife with potential prospects you would think coupling up would be quick and easy. So why isn’t it?
The truth is that most of us go about looking for love the wrong way. Our culture of instant gratification has us impatient for anything that takes longer than a few nanoseconds. While you may be able to get a date that quickly, building a relationship with someone still takes ample time. We can’t order up our perfect match like a Starbucks drink, and yet that’s just what we try to do. We want what we want and we want it now. If you can let go of these bad habits, however, and embrace some important new ones, this can be the very last time you’re single on Valentine’s Day.
In 2008 it was all about “playing hard to get”. Ten years later we’ve that replaced that strategy with “go after what you want.” Gone are the days of waiting with anticipation to hear from someone. If you like them, you text them. Doesn’t matter if you said goodbye thirty seconds ago and they are still within eye shot. That’s what we do now. When we want something we go after it like an Olympic athlete goes for gold. There’s no holding back.
The problem is that as fast and furious as we make connections today, they burn out even faster. We have lost our restraint and will power to the technology God and he is royally screwing us over in the love department. If we want to make something last, we have to pace ourselves. Relationships are not built overnight, so regardless of how badly we want someone, making them wait a little is still a good move.
Try Someone New
Keep ordering your grande, iced, sugar-free latte, but when it comes to dating you need to branch out. You might daydream about someone who’s six feet tall, or curvy and blond, but love doesn’t always come in the package that we expect. Just because we are attracted to a certain type doesn’t mean we won’t be attracted to someone outside those parameters. Rosey, a 38 year-old stay at home mom remembers the day she met her husband at a local bar. “I started talking with him because he was standing there. Not because I was initially attracted. He had facial hair, which I’ve never been fond of, and he looked like he lived at the gym. But I said yes when he asked me out, and after our first date, I fell in love with him. We’ve been married for five years.”
A common mistake, especially with online dating, is to narrow your search preferences down to your seemingly “ideal match”. But we don’t fall in love with someone because their eyes are blue, they went to Dartmouth, or they live in a swanky part of town. We fall in love because of how we feel when we are with them. And that’s something you cannot tell until you actually go on a date. So widen your search criteria and sample date as many people as you can.
Ask The Right Questions
All too often I see my clients fall for someone that embodies a lot of what they want on the outside, but that they really don’t know on the inside. “If he’s Catholic, and we have chemistry, what else do I really need to know?” Said Jenna, a twenty-three year old graduate student at the University of Virginia. Actually there is a lot more that you need to know, although many singles today are focused only on physical attraction and have a fear of digging too deep. In an effort to seem fun and datable, women especially are keeping the conversation very light; sticking to non-controversial topics and steering clear of anything too personal. But getting personal is how you not only get to know someone; it’s how you form a real, genuine connection. If you don’t ask the right questions, neither of those things can happen.
In my book, “Was It Something I Said: The Answer to All Your Dating Dilemmas” I stress the importance of asking meaningful questions on dates. Questions like, “When was your last relationship? Why did it end? What kind of men/women do you find yourself most attracted to?” These questions will give you good insight into the most critical aspect of the person sitting across from you – what they are like in a relationship. Other questions to ask, “Are your parents still together? What’s their relationship like? What was the last argument you had and with whom? While driving to and from work, what do you think about most?” There is no reason to fear asking any of these questions, and you should ask them early, before you fall for someone that isn’t your cup of specialty coffee…
It was my freshman year at college. My first day on campus, as I wandered around aimlessly with my roommate looking for the dining hall, I walked by a guy who completely took my breath away. It was the first time I had been struck with the “love at first sight” feeling. He nodded his head in acknowledgement and barely cocked a smile, but my heart raced. I had to know who he was. Was he a freshman, too? Where was he living? I had to meet him somehow….
As the months passed I learned the answers to all my questions. No, he wasn’t a freshman. He was a Sophmore, and living quite close to my dorm. We would cross paths on Thursdays while I was on my way to Spanish. Sometimes I mustered a hello, sometimes just a smile. I knew he was in a Fraternity, and at any chance I got, I attended their parties but only to swoon from afar. I just never got up the courage to introduce myself.
Then, one day, one of my friends grew tired of hearing how much I like this guy and while we were out at a local dive bar, she grabbed his arm and pulled him over. “This is Jessica.” she said. “Jessica, this is hot-guy-you-have-been-pining-over-for-almost-a-year.” No, she didn’t really say that. She said his name, which I’ll keep confidential. Hot guy smiled at me, shook my hand, and said, “You wanna dance?”
The rest of the night was a happy blur of events. I was on cloud nine. Hot guy never left my side, ran to fill my beverage, sat with his arm around me, and then walked me to my car and asked to exchange numbers. I couldn’t believe it. I was officially going to date hot guy and this was the beginning of what would be a beautiful relationship….or so I thought.
A week passed after that night and nothing but crickets. I didn’t leave my dorm for fear I would miss his call and my answering machine would fail me (yes, cell phones were for rich people at this point in time.) On the way to Thursdays Spanish class I saw him standing outside Thompson Hall smoking a cigarette with some friends. He saw me and waved. That was it.
That night, I sat around with some girls that lived on my hall and retold the story of the wonderful night I had the weekend before and how crushed I was that I had not heard from hot guy. Then, one of their boyfriend’s who was sitting nearby eavesdropping came over and gave me what would become known as the worst piece of advice I’ve ever gotten. “Call him,” he said. “He’s probably scared to make a move.” Now, I had been told by my mother repeatedly not to chase boys, so this counsel was met with resistance at first, but the boyfriend continued making his case for why calling hot guy would be a good idea.
“He was drinking and he probably isn’t sure that you’re interested. If he was drunk, he probably lost your number. It’s 1996 and girls call guys now and we like it! It takes the pressure off. You’re in control.” And then he finally added, “It can’t hurt.” So, after 10 minutes of convincing, I picked up the phone and called hot guy.
It did not go well.
His roommate picked up the phone and told me to hold. “Hot guy!” he yelled. “Jessica is on the phone for you!” To which hot guy replied, “Who??” The next two minutes were cringe-worthy. Hot guy got on the phone and we struggled through 120 seconds of conversation. Then he told me his roommate needed to use the phone and he would call me back. He never did.
Even though I was crushed by this incident, and no relationship ever materialized between us, hot guy did me a favor that night by not calling me back. He wasn’t interested in me and although it took a while to get over that fact, at least he didn’t feign attraction or take advantage of my infatuation. My dorm-mates boyfriend convinced me that calling hot guy couldn’t hurt, but if he had taken my call, asked me to come over, hooked up with me and never talked to me again, that would have definitely caused me pain.
I might have been spared, but many single girls today fall into “go-nowhere” relationships with guys and the most of the time, it is due in large part to initiating contact first just as I did. They are under the impression that initiating a simple text to someone they like can’t hurt, but truly, it is this small misstep in the “hanging out” phase that can lead to a girl wasting her time with a guy who’s only moderately interested. It can segue into an unbalanced relationship, and the possibility of being used by someone for a mere steady hook-up.
Reaching out over the phone, email, text, instant messenger, or via some social media site when you are just starting to talk to a guy, not only sends the message that you are chasing him, it also robs you of the opportunity to assess if he is truly interested in pursing a relationship with you. I always tell my coaching clients that they need to read a guy’s buying signs, and those signs will tell you most everything you need to know about his interest. One of the biggest signs is, does he text you first after you’ve seen him? If he does, then he’s likely very interested. If he doesn’t, then he isn’t.
It’s easy to accidentally sabotage a potential relationship by doing something you normally would not do if not for cell phones or the Internet. After my epic fail with hot guy, I never called another boy again. And I’m happy to say, that strategy served me very well for all the years I dated. But most girls today don’t get the clear cut “not interested” sign like I did. Relationship have become more ambiguous and knowing when and what to text someone can be as complicated as a Game of Thrones plotline.
If you need help even on the smallest scale with someone you are hanging out with or dating, you don’t need to hire an expensive dating coach and spend an hour on the phone trying to decode a text and craft one back. I offer quick, inexpensive email advice for these small but critical situations. You can write me up to 800 words, allowing you to give me ample backstory, and within 24 hours, you’ll have a response from me about what you should or should not do. Best of all, you’ll have the peace of mind that you didn’t make an impulsive decision that cost you a chance with your own hot guy.
Darcy is a fashion consultant in NYC. Like most people in the fashion industry, she not only works in it, she lives for it. Darcy goes to great lengths to make sure her image is perfect. Every extra penny in her paycheck goes to enhancing her wardrobe or maintaining her appearance. She’s a petite blond with a very outgoing personality; so finding a boyfriend would seemingly be easy for her. But Darcy has been on dozens of first dates in the last two years and none of them have resulted in a second. She is active online and is approached when she is out, but over the last few years a pattern has emerged and the initial attraction she gets from guys never lasts long.
One day Darcy called me in a frenzy.
“It happened again!” She cried hysterically.
“What did?” I asked.
“The guy I went out with last night hasn’t texted me. We had a great time. He was so funny and cute. He even said we should go out again. I don’t understand it. This happens every time I go out with someone! What am I going to do? Everyone around me is getting married and here I am without even a boyfriend. My friend Jackie isn’t even that attractive and she is dating this unbelievable guy! I’m getting older with each passing day and my eggs are going to shrivel up and die soon!”
I reassured Darcy that at twenty-six her eggs were not in jeopardy just yet. I knew that lacking in initial attraction was not her problem, because she was asked out quite often. However, Darcy was losing the interest she did get in a very short amount of time. Something she was doing or saying on the first date was turning guys off so much, they didn’t want to sit through round two and get to know her better.
Darcy was a nice girl with a very attractive exterior. She wasn’t mean spirited or lacking in confidence. But she did have a habit of constantly talk about herself and her life. She also spent a great deal of time comparing herself to everyone around her. This had a big impact on her socially and romantically. She was jealous of her friends who so easily met their significant others. It seemed so unfair that she struggle with love while other people found it so easily. It wasn’t uncommon for her to skip bridal showers or engagement parties. It was difficult for her to act happy for others when she was so miserable herself. Even just seeing a couple holding hands on the street was enough to send her into a tailspin.
Darcy didn’t see her habit to compare herself as a problem. She assumed her lacking love life was due to the fact that she was inexperienced in the relationship department. She had only had two boyfriends in her lifetime, the last of whom cheated on her repeatedly, and the one before disappeared without warning. In her opinion, her inexperience was a strike against her marketability. She was sure that all the guys she went out with wanted someone just a little bit sexier, thinner, and a lot more seasoned.
Before she went on dates, Darcy prepped herself for hours. She spent half the day doing her hair and make-up. Quite often she would texts pictures of herself to her friends asking how she looked before she left the house. When she arrived on her dates, Darcy was excited but also consumed with nervous energy. While she tried to be engaging and personable, she didn’t realize that most of the time she was rambling on about herself. Whenever she did stop and let her date get a word in, her mind churned in analysis of what she said. She wondered how she had come off to him. Did he still think she was attractive? Did she wear the right dress? Who else was he going out with, and was she as pretty? Instead of being present and working to get to know her date, she was on a continuous search for clues that he liked her enough to go out with her again.
Darcy would do a little Internet searching before, after, and sometimes even during, her dates. She would click through the guy’s pictures on Instagram or Facebook looking for any signs of him hanging out with other girls. If he did have pictures with females, Darcy would compare herself to all of them and stress about not being as beautiful. After hours of comparing and analyzing, she always was quite sure her date was not going to call her. And although he never did, it wasn’t for the reason she thought.
“The Curse” of The Contestant (An excerpt from my newest book: This is one of five “Curses”)
The Contestant “Curse” is the easiest to spot. The reason I call them Contestants is because they act as if their entire life is a competition. They spend a lot of time comparing themselves to others, and feel as if they always have something to prove, whether it is to other people or just to themselves. They also thrive on attention from other people. In all of their relationships they view themselves as the “leading role” and anyone else is either supporting or an audience member.
Contestants often vacillate between feeling really good about themselves and extremely bad. If she is having a good day, and believes she is measuring up to her preset standard, a Contestant will have very positive self-focused thoughts about herself. But on days when she goes too long without reassurance or approval, her “Curse” begins to turn those positive self-focused thoughts into negative ones. When that happens, she will frantically begin searching for a way to get attention and give herself a boost. She might post a selfie online hoping to get flattering comments, or text someone she has little interest in, but who she knows will lavish her with compliments. It’s not unusual for a Contestant to collect male followers, or have several virtual relationships going at the same time. The more guys that are interested in her, the better she feels about herself. Most Contestants use men to maintain a happy, confident feeling. This is one of the reasons why they have trouble deeply connecting with one person, and why they are the most unfaithful of all Curses. If something goes wrong with their relationship, they have little problem turning to someone else who will make them feel better. Some Contestants may even keep a side relationship going for no reason other than their thirst for attention is more than what one man can provide.
Guys who date this type of woman find her to be high maintenance, attention-needy, narcissistic, and dramatic. Men who are in a relationship with her find her to be exhausting, moody, and selfish.
Living to Win
Because life is viewed as a competition, Contestants feel happiest when they are seemingly “winning”. At times they might just seek a personal “win”, for instance, getting a certain amount of likes on a post, but often their need to win attracts them to romantic situations where their can be winners and losers. Their Curse confuses love with winning, so it unconsciously seeks out situations where it can put it’s worth to the test.
Darcy, for instance, held on to her last boyfriend for two years, despite the fact that he cheated on her twice, and they broke up every few months. When I asked her why she persisted in trying to work things out with him, she admitted that if he finally decided to be faithful to her she would feel like it would validate her worth because she would be considered “good enough to change him”. She wanted to be “the girl” who was so special he reformed. A Cursed motivation if I ever heard one! She felt if she let him go without accomplishing that, however, it meant she was just the loser who was not good enough to commit to, and the next girl he got involved with would ultimately be dubbed the winner.
Of course, the truth was that Darcy’s boyfriend was a selfish man, who was Cursed himself. He believed he was Superior to women and because of that, he thought he was above fidelity. Committing to one woman was lame and no fun because it didn’t fulfill his insatiable need to always feel like he was dominating something. Because Darcy was Cursed too, however, she couldn’t see this. Instead she spent most of their relationships trying to make herself worthy of her boyfriend’s love. This is one of the Curse’s cruelest tricks. It makes you hold on to the false hope that one day you’ll be enough to change someone, as if your worth has anything to do with them committing.
If you are a Contestant, you might be attracted to people who need fixing because correcting them feels like an achievement. You don’t realize that your motivation to change someone is more for your benefit than theirs. Darcy wasn’t looking to make her relationship work because she loved her boyfriend. No, she was looking to make it work so she could feel like a winner. Is a woman using a man to heighten her feelings of worthiness any better than a guy cheating on her? In Darcy’s eyes, she didn’t see it that way but the reality is she did not love her boyfriend any more than he loved her.
Normal, healthy relationships don’t provide a struggle, and so if you are a Contestant, you might also naturally gravitate to men that are currently in a relationship, or even married. Triumphing over another woman and winning the “prize” of a man’s love is exactly what this Curse wants. Even if you are kept on the side for years, you will have trouble letting go and moving on because you will feel like you “lost” the guy to someone else. Of course, if you do get the guy, and there is no competition going on, you might get bored and restless. This is why Contestants are often in drama-filled relationships. Anyone who is emotionally available and genuinely wants to love you, isn’t challenging. If someone you are dating turns out to be a nice, normal guy, you may find yourself picking him apart, asking him for space, and causing drama to create a win/lose situation for yourself. The guy will have no idea where your hot and cold behavior stems from and might assume you are just afraid of commitment. He may at first play your little back-and-forth game, but if he’s a decent person, your behavior may push him to anger, resentment, and finally, disinterest.
If you seem to always gravitate towards “challenging” guys or situations, you may very well be a Contestant who is just searching for opportunities to win in order to feel good about yourself. Holding on to an unhealthy and unpredictable relationship provides the opportunity for you to have daily wins. If things go well one day, you feel you’ve succeeded in the game. It’s important to recognize the attraction you have to someone may not be anything more than a Curse tendency or preference. It’s very likely is not your real self being genuinely drawn to someone.
Their habit to self-obsess has Contestants tanking in the dating department. Whether it’s getting a guy interested or keeping him that way, The Contestant often sabotages her chances. This Curse has one goal in mind when it sits down in front of a man and that is to “wow” him and gain his approval. If the Contestant feels she has done a good job of impressing, she will deem the date a success. However, she doesn’t realize that while she’s busy thinking of new ways to dazzle her date and gain more interest, she’s oblivious to how the date is actually going.
This was the biggest reason Darcy had difficulty getting second dates. When she sat down with men, she not only talked too much, but she talked about things that were so centered on her own interests and so motivated by her own attention seeking nature that men quickly became bored with the conversation. Darcy repeatedly suffered from the most frequent effect of the Contestant Curse -when you spend most of your time thinking about yourself, you automatically spend most of your time talking about yourself.
If you asked her, Darcy would deny monopolizing any conversations. She knew to ask her dates questions and felt she did a good job inquiring about their lives. What she didn’t realize was as soon as the guy started talking, her Cursed mind immediately related whatever he was saying to her own experiences and opinions. “I have something to say about that!” she thought. Or, “I can impress him with this story!” Before her date could even finish completing a sentence, Darcy would jump in with her thoughts, leaving the guy feeling like she really didn’t care what he had to say. Even though she was going through the right motions, because her intention was coming from a self-absorbed place, she was never fully engaged as a listener, and therefore, never really engaged with any man she went out with. Paying attention to someone else, even someone she liked, was short and fleeting because her mind would always subconsciously wonder back to, “How can I show him I’m interesting”, or, “How do I get him to really fall for me?”
There are Contestants, however, have mastered dating and having guys pursue them. They have figured out how to play “the game” so guys initially fall hard for them. They are good at flirting, don’t answer texts too soon, and they know how to play a little hard to get. But just because they can skillfully maneuver the “getting him interested” phase, doesn’t mean they sail effortlessly into a serious relationship. They don’t. Many find it quite difficult, in fact, because they are only confident in the beginning stages of dating when the guy is in pursuit of them. If the chase slows, even for a brief second, they begin to question themselves as well as the guy’s feelings.
Betsy had a history of 2-3 month relationships. When she reached out to me for the first time it was because she had recently met someone she liked and was worried that his interest was starting to fade. When I asked her what signs she was getting that indicated a loss of interest, she said it was mostly a feeling that she was losing the upper hand. After two months of dating, she felt that her boyfriend wasn’t trying as hard to win her over as he did in the beginning. Even though he was still contacting her and asking to see her on a regular basis, she felt that he wasn’t paying as much attention to her anymore.
Normally when Betsy began feeling this way, her self-focused thoughts and emotions would take over. She would often start playing harder to get in order to provoke attention. In previous relationships, she would cancel plans to incite a fear of loss, or purposely flirt with someone else in order to make the guy jealous. She wanted to know what to do this time in order to make her boyfriend want her more and focus more attention on her.
What Betsy did not realize was that she was fighting the normal progression of any relationship. At some point, the chase must end so the real relationship can begin and true love can develop. I told her she needed to recognize that her focus in her relationships was concentrated on how much attention and reassurance she was getting from the guy and her attempts to incite jealousy or worry was all in order to feed this self-absorbed craving. It’s only natural that men will relax a little and be more themselves the longer you date them and that is a good thing. If you expect them to bring you flowers every week, plan lavish dates your whole life, or focus 100% attention on you everyday, you are not only signing up for major disappointment, you are going to drain your partner of all his energy and love for you. The truth was that the men Betsy dated were not truly losing interest like she assumed, she just didn’t understand the transition period from dating to a relationship. She didn’t know that eventually she had to stop making the man chase her and start giving back. Because she was Cursed, she perceived relaxed behavior on the guy’s part as disinterest and tried to stir up his emotions. She would spontaneously get mad at little things, or give him the cold shoulder so he would chase her again. Most guys interpreted these attention-getting attempts on her part as drama and backed away. In the end, it was simply Betsy’s hunger for attention that eventually caused men to lose interest and nothing else.
In the beginning, men don’t mind that the relationship is one-sided and they are expected to do all the heavy lifting, but as the relationship progresses over the course of a few weeks or months, they expect the relationship to balance out. After all, a relationship, and especially marriage, is a partnership and men are looking for potentially partners – someone who they can love but who will also genuinely love them back. They want someone who they can rely on and receive support from. Someone who will think about them. The Contestant is not a good candidate because she needs too much from him, and by comparison, gives very little in return.
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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!
“We just can’t seem to stop fighting,” he told me. “And when we do stop, and try to figure out how not to fight again, we get into another fight!”
I was sitting across from a newly married couple, attempting to save their marriage. The last year had been extremely volatile and they were both at their wits end. They didn’t know how to reach each other, make the other understand their side, and move on from whatever problem they were having. It’s not that they fought about everything, in fact, they had only had three fights over the last year. The problem was that they fought numerous times about those three things. I had talked to them each separately, and now we were all together trying to work through their issues and get to a final resolution.
Finally, we made some headway and the husband and wife came to terms with how to handle their communication going forward. But just as we were about to part ways, the husband brought up something the wife had said in one of their fights; something she had insisted she didn’t say.
“Absolutely you said that!” He insisted quite loudly.
“That isn’t what I said at all,” she shouted back, and then recounted her side of the story for the third time that day.
As I listened to them go back and forth, and watched both tempers rise again, it became pretty clear why they kept repeating the same arguments.
I asked the husband why he brought up what his wife had said when we had already discussed a plan to move forward from this particular argument. He stated that they needed to get the facts straights. It drove him crazy that she said certain things and then just forgot or denied that she said them. After all, what she said started the fight to begin with, in his opinion. The wife just sat there, shaking her head while he told me this.
“Why is it so important to you that she admit what she said?” I asked. “Since you have already resolved the argument and decided on how to move forward, what point is there in bringing up something she said during your fight? Are you looking for her to admit she made a mistake? Do you want an apology from her? What is your goal here?” I asked him.
He looked stunned for a second and drew a blank. He wasn’t sure. Why was he going over things she said when we had all come to a resolution on the problem. Like most couples, and the husband in particular in this case, they both had trouble letting go of things. This time, something the wife had either said, implied, or something the husband had inferred had hurt his feelings and angered him, and now he wanted her to admit her wrongdoing.
The Future Is More Important Than The Past
The problem with most feuds is that in the heat of an argument most people don’t say, or remember things that were said, accurately. Most of the time, their words are motivated by raw emotion and because of that we may not speak as clearly as we think we do and we certainly don’t hear as unbiasedly as we could. So, while it might make sense to go over exactly how a fight went down in order to figure out how to avoid it in the future, rarely do both sides remember an argument exactly the same way. That’s why rehashing your version and badgering the other person to concede, is pointless. What makes the most sense, and gets the fastest resolution is stating how you interpreted what they said and how they made you feel. And on the flip side, apologizing quickly for how your words came across.
Communication isn’t as easy as just saying whatever is on your mind, unfortunately. With a relationship, it’s mostly about learning how the other person interprets messages. Some people you can be quite blunt with, and with others you have to be more tactful. Certain people take offense easily, and others have a thicker skin. Learning each others “hot button words” and avoiding them is particularly helpful when having a disagreement. As is trying to remain objective and unemotional, even though the fight likely began because someone’s feelings were hurt. It’s not easy to do, but if you can try to remember you are both on the same team and work with, instead of against each other to find a solution, you’ll find you yourselves making amends much quicker.
The last thing I told this couple was for each of them to be mindful of the words they used to express their emotions. There would be a lot less to work through and forgive if they simply fought “above the belt” in the first place. That way, the past wouldn’t stick to them as easily, and their emotional wounds wouldn’t take so long to heal either. It’s human nature to meet anger with anger and lash out at someone when they are lashing out at you, but staying rooted in love even when you’re upset can make a world of difference in how your altercations play out. So, if your partner starts yelling and making verbal blows, don’t rise to meet him. Instead, bring him back to your level by remaining clam, grounded, and thoughtful about your ultimate goal… which shouldn’t be to unload frustration, but to get both of you to a better place of understanding going forward.