What Can A Dating Coach Do For You?

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 coach@jessmccann.com.

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Why Won’t He Call It A Relationship?

Dear Jess,

I just read your book, WAS IT SOMETHING I SAID. I have been dating a man for 5 months. Right away he told me he wasn’t looking for a committed relationship and I told him I wasn’t either. Honestly, I do want that but I just didn’t want to lose him by telling him. Now it’s been several months and he is still hung up on not wanting a commitment even though we act like a couple. We see each other on a regular basis, spend weekends together, and have even vacationed in Hawaii. I know he is not seeing anyone else. Really, we are in a relationship, but he refuses to really acknowledge it. He texts and emails me everyday to say good morning and good night. There is not a day that goes by that we don’t talk. How do I get him to commit exclusively and call this what it is… a relationship!

Thank you!

Confused in Kentucky

Dear Confused,

Here is the good news. You are correct. You are in a relationship. Here is the bad news. It’s not the kind of relationship you want. If this man is verbally telling you that he doesn’t want to commit to you, then it means he wants to have the ability to walk away whenever he feels like it. It does not matter that he spends all his time with you now, because “the now” is not his concern. The concern is “later”, as in next month, next year, or five years from now. He is happy with you at the moment but unsure how he will feel tomorrow, and that is why he won’t commit. Is that because of you, or is it because he’s just that type of guy? The best way to find out the answer is look at the rest of his life outside his relationship with you. Does he have a problem committing to other people, such as his friends or family? Does he back out of plans often or wait to the last minute to make them? Does he agonize over major purchases because buying a house or a car is a long term commitment in itself? If the answer is yes, you are probably just dealing with a commitment phobic guy that needs more than a little nudge from you to tie the knot. Therapy may help, but many commitment-shy guys never really learn to fully settle down…even if they get married!

If, however, you find that he is solid in other areas and doesn’t have trouble committing to anything else, the problem may be specific to you and your relationship. If that is the case, your only recourse is to have a serious heart to heart with him and discuss what you want and need from him. If you continue to see him, and sleep with him, while still holding your tongue, you will only grown more resentful as time goes by. What’s worse is that you are likely going to put all your time, energy, and heart into someone that won’t stick with you when tough times hit. Do yourself a favor and own up to what you want. You should be more afraid of what will happen if you don’t say something, than if you do!
If you have a question to submit to Jess’ blog, email her at coach@jessmccann.com
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