Dating

Advantages to Slowing Dating Down

110800769_s.jpg

“Jeff just liked you. Send him a note.”

I open this email and look at his picture. I like the color of his olive skin. It stirs my interest to read his profile. “Kayaking, coffee shops, days out with his daughter, hiking, looking for something serious. Love to travel and would like to have you with me?” I see a picture of him and his daughter, she is cute and he looks tender. He reports to share my faith and likes drama movies too. So I click the pink heart.

He asks me how I’m doing.

I tell him.

He wonders if I’d like to have coffee.

We have a good conversation, he leans in for a kiss after walking me to my car.

I’ve just opened my time, energy, heart and lips to a complete stranger and after we say goodbye there is a 50/50 chance that I’ll see him again. And this, my friends, has become a common experience in modern dating.

With many people using online dating to find a relationship, it can be a lot of pressure to figure out if someone is for you from a profile and a 60-90 minute visit. If you were to meet someone in the workplace or at an acting class every week, you’d have the chance to observe how a person interacts with his cube mate or how they express their creativity, without necessarily sizing them up for romantic potential right away. Maybe you’d have a few conversations with them over time and sense romantic tension building. The question of whether or not you’d go out with them may be a slow build towards that moment when he nervously asks you at the water fountain if you’d like to continue talking over dinner Friday evening.

I think online dating can be a great tool for finding a relationship, but the nature of it tends to speed things up. So if your goal is to create a lasting relationship, built on a good foundation, then one tip I’d give is to find ways that you can “slow things down” and mimic some of the real life dynamics that have been happening for centuries in offline dating.

Here are five ideas for how this could look:

1. Avoid Stream of Conscious Texting - If you met online and exchanged numbers, it can sometimes be easy to start an ongoing chain of texting with this person throughout the day. So you can end up giving a large chunk of your concentration and energy to someone who hasn’t yet proved to you they’re worthy of your time. You can always get back to him later. Let them wait for an answer. Or tell them you only like texting to firm up plans. Everyone has their texting style, but consider avoiding on-going texting.

2. Spread out Your Dates (especially at the beginning) If you have a full life, this one will probably happen naturally. But if your weekend happens to be wide open on the Friday you meet, consider waiting a while to meet again. Give yourself sometime to feel into how you felt with the person. Give them space to contact you again, so that you can really gauge what their interest level is when you’re not around.

3. Do Different Kinds of Dates and Sometimes Include Others As you know it’s good to get to know a person in a variety of settings; out kayaking together, watching them give a presentation, going out with their friend group, visiting your grandma, a walk on the beach. etc. Mix it up and see if the the way they interact with you is consistent with how they treat others. Anyone can put on an act to treat you well if the two of you are always alone watching Netflix.

4. Choose a Person Who Has Their Own Life Too If you or the guy you’re dating is always available because they are still looking for a job or they have very few outside interests, it can be hard to slow things down. This happens because if nothing else in your life is making you “light up!” then it can be very easy at the beginning of a relationship to want to be around this person all the time, because the attraction to them makes you feel alive. Be filling your life with things that light you up and find a person who does that in their own life too.

5. Communicate Your Boundaries When you know what will or won’t work for you in the dating process, especially early on, it can grow attraction with the right person and it can filter out those who aren’t for you. As you communicate what time you are available until, how much you will or won’t talk about your Ex, or what your physical boundaries are—that person is getting to know the real you and you are setting a precedent for your own value in the relationship.

The reason I believe there are advantages to slowing down the dating process, is that I’ve seen many relationships go South when they started fast and furious. In the heat of physical attractions our brains tend to go offline. In not communicating our boundaries in an effort to be easy to be with, people take advantage. Those who are seeking a relationship, right NOW!, are often coming from a more desperate place—-maybe struggling with co-dependency, trying to forget an ex, or wrestling with addictions. So with a slower build towards something serious and lasting, you are more likely to rule out those who won’t respect you and vet those who are able to sustain a relationship for the long haul.

If you’re at the beginning stages of dating right now—consider taking a few actions to slow things down—and meanwhile keep focusing on your own life. Let me know how it goes!

If you struggle to slow things down or would like support navigating any stage of your relationship journey, reach out here for a complimentary session where I’m happy to support you with an outside perspective and new insights for the process.

Make the Most of Singleness So You'll Have the Best Relationship

55657674_m.jpg

Human beings love to peek through the rails of our neighbor’s fence, assured that their grass is most definitely softer, lusher, greener than ours. As single women it’s easy to gaze longingly at your best friend’s life while she kisses her husband and proceeds to snuggle with her baby.

While we long for a good partnership to be ours, it can be easy to forget to take advantage of the moments we have now. In fact when we live in the certainty that the partnership we want is only just a matter of time, we are more likely to prepare ourselves for the best love possible.

But how can we prepare?

Here are five powerful ways that single women can prepare right now to draw in a great partnership. (and often it draws a man in more quickly!)

  1. Invest in building and deepening your current social network. Do you have friends that you really enjoy, but haven’t seen for a while? Do you have a conflict that you’ve been putting off addressing with someone? Are there invites that you are turning down because you’re just “too tired”? Sometimes we’ve gotten lazy in the amount of effort that we’re investing in our current relationships and as a result we may feel more isolated and out of touch. Often the strength of the relationship we attract in a partner can be similar to the quality of the relationships we have now. So if you’re not happy in your friendships or family/community connections—start making those relationships better now. They will be the people who will support you too as you are dating and prevent you from jumping into a relationship that isn’t good for you or encourage you when there is a good opportunity to continue with a good prospect.

  2. Take advantage of the time you have now (that you’re not spending with a partner) to invest in your personal growth. While relationships can bring up our issues in a way not many other things can, we can do more self-reflective work on ourselves by way of counseling, reading growth oriented books, attending support groups or seeking out coaching. These kinds of outside perspectives can help you gain insight into tendencies or patterns of behavior that could be shifted in order for you to attract and create a good partnership. The less baggage we carry into a partnership, the more energy we’ll have to love and receive love from a good man.

  3. Start dating and see it as a means of gaining experiences. Dating is a great opportunity to gain so much experience in relating to people. Though it may be tempting to want to just jump into a relationship and skip getting to know different people, we can learn so much while navigating our preferences about what we like in a person, knowing what our boundaries are and practicing communicating them, as well as practicing enjoying the moments with a new person without clinging too tightly to a specific outcome. All of those kinds of skills will play out over and over again in a long-term relationship, so why not start practicing now.

  4. Seek out experiences that you couldn’t do as easily if you had a partner/family to be responsible for. Did your friend invite you to go spontaneously to Egypt next week? You’re excited about it, so why not go because you can! Take sky diving classes, learn to dance, pursue that dream of what you feel called to do while you have less strings attached. Doing these kinds of things will make your life richer and you will give off that “Happy” scent that men love. (it really can’t be bought in a bottle=)

  5. Seek out ways that you can serve others that is meaningful to you. As singles, it’s easy to slide into a somewhat self-centered lifestyle. Entering a partnership means not only having the love you want, but also learning to give in ways that serve the other person. So you can start now and build those muscles. What area of the world stirs your heart where you’d like to help make a difference? Who in your circles could use some help this week? What church, club, group, class might benefit from you stepping up to offer your gifts? Stretch yourself and you will see how you’ll gain more than you give.

Putting these five things into practice will prepare you to be the person who creates an amazing partnership. And it will give you more confidence to show up as a sexier you —so go get ready girl!

Confusing Our Catch

36129070_m (1).jpg

At a business networking meeting I took my turn to give a one liner introduction. “I’m a Dating and Relationship coach that helps women over 30 to uncover their blocks and become authentically themselves so they can attract a good man.” Everyone in the group nodded at me. I felt self-conscious for 30 seconds wondering if anyone there even fit that demographic.

After the meeting I introduced myself to the man next to me with salt and pepper hair and kind eyes set in a face that told me he had a few years of life experience under his belt. After chit chatting, he seemed comfortable enough to ask, “So when you mentioned that you help women to be ready to attract a man, I’m wondering if you can help me to know what are the signs that a woman is ready?” I gave him a few ideas and then he said, “Yes, I know those things are encouraging to me when I see women doing them. But I’m interested to start dating and the problem is that I don’t find many noticeably available women doing those things.”

Boom. I felt like in that moment he was speaking for many men. Here was a man actively looking for an “open net” so he could swim up for “the catch”, but there weren’t any open nets in his view.

I asked him more about what he saw.

He talked about women looking busy, on their phones, body language closed down, not necessarily wearing rings to know if they are taken.

I appreciated his viewpoint, because I think this gave me some insight as to why I so often hear single women say things like, “There aren’t any good men that I’d want to date approaching me.” “I often attract the unavailable men.” “I don’t know where to find the good single men in my town.”

I know that a lot of my single friends and the women I work with—-if you asked them—would say of course they want to be in a good relationship! However, I believe some women are sending out signals that don’t match what they want.

We are confusing the man we want to catch.

Some women argue though, “Well shouldn’t the man be the one with the balls to overcome any obstacle to take the risk to approach us?” (Rom Coms have taught us well)

Yes, men do well by taking a risk.

But the thing is,

Good men who want to respect you, look for an opening.

So how are we sending confusing signals? Well here are a few that seem so commonplace it’s almost funny to mention them.

  1. We are very busy with little time for anyone. - We race from one activity to another with very little breathing space for conversation in our day.

  2. We can do it ourselves. - We like to feel independent that we can do it all, but this leaves little opportunity for a man to lend a hand to open a conversation.

  3. We say no, when we mean yes - whether it’s our body language or a literal no, we can take the safe route to not go out with a guy because we distrust who he is

  4. We love our phones - I’ll say no more.

  5. We smile less - Especially in a big city we are less likely to connect in general to the people around us and instead we mind our own business, missing out on the simple pleasures of acknowledging someone, especially someone cute, with a smile.

So how can you start welcoming in better catches? Well, maybe it’s time to start sending clearer signals. By smiling more, making eye contact, opening body posture, putting down your phone for a few minutes, it may feel a little counter cultural these days. But you will see that those good men looking for an open net, find you noticeably standing out far above the rest!

If you’d like more support and feedback in this specific area, join my FB group here. This month we’re doing fun exercises together to get us to send clear signals of availability in public. Also, my upcoming group course will be a great way to really take the time to explore how you can authentically captivate a good man.

Do You Believe in Signs?

95922594_m.jpg

“He loves me….he loves me not.” This game started centuries ago, played in hundreds of childhoods, in an attempt to get an outside confirmation of a sign about a guy’s interest.

It seems natural that women would invent such a game because when we catch feelings for a guy, it can bring on a roller coaster of uneasy and intense feelings. While we are being tossed around by the emotions, it feels normal to want to seek out some kind of grounding assurance - we want to know, metaphorically speaking, that if I throw my heart out of a 20 story window, can I risk that it will be caught safely by this man and not break?

Because the potential loss for opening our hearts can seem to have that high of stakes.

I believe that’s why we can start to wane more spiritual when we catch feelings for a guy. I mean instead of taking the greater risk to outright ask and risk immediate rejection, it makes sense to seek out an answer in the form of signs sent from an All Knowing Being to guide you.

Looking for signs made perfect sense to me as I dated men in the past. I’d come home after a date with butterflies in my stomach until I remembered how he said that one thing that showed me our major values didn’t line up. I then felt such inner conflict between my desires and sense of logic, that I’d start to look for signs to confirm that it was a good idea to continue, in spite of my best sensibilities.

It went something like this:

“It must be a sign that right after I journaled about wanting to date someone this summer, we just happened to show up at the same time at that coffee shop today. The bumper sticker on his car is the exact one that I saw when I was dreaming about my next boyfriend on a trip to Hawaii. It just seems like I keep getting signs that he’s meant for me.”

Don’t get me wrong, I am a spiritual person and rely on God regularly for guidance. I think that’s a great thing. But in cases of uncertainty about a relationship, I’ve become highly suspicious about signs.

I say that because especially in matters of the heart, when our chemistry kicks in and our heart wants what it wants - it can be so easy to look for signs that confirm why seeking momentary pleasure in a relationship (that shows warning signs for long-term disaster) is a still a good idea.

When I was the most unhealthy in my relationships, I tended to rely on signs the most to “make decisions for me”. It was a way of abdicating responsibility in my own life, thinking on some level that if I was just following the signs from God, then I wouldn’t be held responsible for the consequences.

Since then I’ve come to believe that the best guidance when deciding about a relationship is practical and earthy.

I mean it could be so boringly down to earth as you both have the exact timeline on your calendar for wanting kids.

So the next time you find yourself wondering about what to do about a certain man in your life, I’d say forget the signs, keep the flowers and instead ask yourself these questions:

  1. How do I feel in this man’s presence? Do I feel safe, like myself, uninhibited, inspired, or energized? Or do I feel anxious, worried, conflicted, hurt, or confused?

  2. What are his actions telling me about his level of interest?

  3. Do my values and his line up in the areas that I am not willing to compromise on?

  4. Do key people in my life feel good about me being with him or not?

  5. Do we share a common vision/life direction in the areas that are important to us? Kids, living situation, mission, goals

If you find that these things line up in your process towards finding a long-term mate - then I’d say those are pretty good signs! (the earthy kind=)

If a Man Hands You Crumbs, Do You Take Them?

26872116_m.jpg

What surprises me in the dating life of women is when I see the following story line:

This talented and hardworking woman is successful in her work.

She has many good friends and knows how to throw an awesome dinner party.

She meets a man.

The man gives her a great compliment,

and buys her some flowers,

and then gets physical with her.

Afterwards, he slows down from calling.

So she reaches out to him.

She offers to bring him soup when he’s sick.

She asks him where this is going.

He gives her a kiss infrequently and forgets to ask her about her day.

He’s likes some of the attention and sees her maybe once a week.

She hangs on to him because of the hope that this is heading towards a

real relationship, with so little investment.

I see a version of this story often. What surprises me is that the women in the story are high value in so many areas of their life. They dress well, exercise and take good care of themselves. They’ve handled their finances well. They’ve worked hard to achieve great things in the world and they are often loved by many people. But for some reason in the area of their love life they are willing to accept crumbs.

The mystery in all of this is that if they bought a blouse at the store and saw a snag leading to a hole, they’d take it back. Why then can it be so hard to “return” a man that’s not showing himself to be high quality?

When you are dating, and especially if you are getting to know a high quantity of men online, it’s not a matter of if you’ll be offered crumbs from a man, it’s a matter of when. When a man’s behavior leads the dating process with low effort or when his behavior downshifts from previously putting in a lot of effort, it can easily feel disappointing or hurtful.

While we may not say these thoughts exactly, our feelings can stem from thinking things like, “Am I not that interesting to him?” “Maybe I’m not worth the effort?” “Maybe I need to be giving more in the relationship to earn his love?”

And so, instead of speaking up and asking for what we’d prefer or waving him along to get yourself ready for the next man - you accept the little he gives.

You are hungry for a meal, yet you sit down and tell yourself you’ll be ok with crumbs.

The key to shifting this pattern is very simple - yet it can take consistent work to walk out it out.

This key is this: you must believe that you are worthy of the full meal. You must give yourself that value, like in every other area of your life.

Often we need the support of another person to help us to truly shift and stand in the kind of value that enables us to communicate with confidence what we need to a man. Or to rally the inner strength to let a man pass by that’s only offering crumbs.

If you’d like to start welcoming better quality men into your life, then reach out! I’d love to support you on your journey towards getting the full meal of love that you’ve been craving.

To Date Online or Not, Is that is the Question?

shutterstock_1067926880.jpg

When I ask single women who want to be dating why they aren’t, I often get a reply similar to, “Well, I’m not interested in online dating.” I sense that underneath this response is the assumption, “If I don’t want to do online dating then my other option is to sit pretty and wait, right?”

And I agree, that online dating is one of the most accessible and direct ways to currently find available singles these days.

And I’d like to suggest a better question.

First off, I understand that the “how” of dating has lots of challenges these days.

I get that there is a lot of potential for the “ew” factor with online dating. “How can I be judged so quickly by a few pictures?” “How do I respond to invitations for a hookup?” “If I only hear from 1 or 2 guys that completely aren’t my type, what does that say about me?”

After experiencing a few of these “snags” in online dating, especially in your tender heart space, it’s easy to presume that continuing online dating will only bring more “ew” without certainty of any “ahhh.”

I also get that in person opportunities have increasingly decreased because of the way we now spend a large percentage of our time in the day in front of some form of screen. We go to work or work at home, run some errands, do some activities, but for many of us we see the same few people everyday. When we are in public at various social events, many of us check our phones in lieu of striking up some small talk.

All these are factors make online and offline arenas challenging to connect with good dates.

So if you want to be dating and you’re not, I’d like to suggest a better question:

Is the door to your heart open to love? (Sounds like an 80’s pop song, right?)

But I’m serious, I’ve been around the dating block for a lot of years and I’ll be honest with you, there are a lot of times when I do online dating as a distraction and my heart is not actually open to welcoming a serious partner into my life. There are also times when I go out to meet people socially and I answer their questions as if I’m dragging a ball and chain behind me. My posture in the method led to undesired results.

I may be taking the right actions to meet potential guys for a relationship, but my heart is as closed down as the bank at 6pm.

If you ask yourself whether your heart is open to love or not, your answer starts to focus on your state of being and it’s less tempting to focus on the “methods” for why things aren’t working. (ie. Online dating sucks *&^%$#)

So I want to offer you two considerations for the week (if you want, take out your journal or chat with a friend about them):

  1. Is your heart open to love? If not, how can you explore the reasons why you’re keeping it shut?

(This is not always easy, it requires giving ourselves time and space to process or maybe do more serious work like forgiving a past partner.)

2. Then if and when you are open - ask yourself - Are you willing to play with and be adventurous about the possible ways of meeting someone?

With your heart open it’s easier to see online dating as more of an adventure or a tool that will give you experiences that could be fun or help you to grow—no matter what the result of the date is. Also, you can open up your range of experiences in real life that lead you with a curiosity towards men who will find your open heart fascinating.

With an open heart it’s easier to see many experiences (positive or negative) as part of the journey towards the relationship you desire, the same way that you expect to see briers or weeds on a hike, but it doesn’t detract from the overall beauty of nature you experience.

If you find yourself in a place where your heart feels closed and would like help to explore that, I would love to chat with you for a 30 minute call to see if I could be a good fit to help.

While We Go Out to Date, It's More of An Inside Job

shutterstock_1139236211.jpg

This week I finally went to wash my dirty car, covered over by ashy air from Oregon's summer forest fires. The truth was that the dirty inside of my car was bothering me way more than the outside, but when I got to the car wash they didn't have vacuums. So I gave up on cleaning the inside of my car, went through the car wash, and called it good.  

I felt good, admiring the outside of my shiny car until I got inside and realized that my car smelled worse than I thought. My car wasn't a very pleasant place to hang out. I really needed to clean the inside!

I share this "dirty" secret with you (lol) because often we take a similar approach in our dating and romantic lives.

For example, Julie decides that enough time has passed (2 months) since her last relationship. After all, she knew for 3 months before she broke up that the relationship was over, so she's had time to get over things. She knew that she didn't like how her ex worked such long hours, and she hated how he criticized her flabby arms. So she decided to hit the weight room at the gym, that way she'd get more in shape and perhaps meet a guy that doesn't spend all his evenings working. 

She meets Ray at the gym. He is attractive, funny and he asks her out. She can tell already that he doesn't work as much and her arms are starting to tone. 

A few weeks into going out with Ray, she starts to feel anxious. It's a feeling she can't shake because he made a comment one night at the movie theater about how she looks like an old lady carrying your popcorn and purse across your arm. It's meant to be funny, but it feels bad. She lets it slide as she's about to go into the theater.

He sits down next to her in the theater and when he gives her an affectionate kiss the bad feeling seems to melt away. She keeps dating him for weeks until one day he lashes out at her for forgetting to lock the door behind her. It sends her system into shock because it's such a strong reaction for her simple oversight. That night in bed her anxiety increases, she has this sinking feeling that she's gone in deep with a man who, again makes her feel bad. Still her mind scrambles to think of reasons why he really is a good guy and that him snapping earlier wasn't a big deal. Deeper down she worries that if she breaks up with Ray, she'll have to start all over again. Or worse, what if there isn't a better guy out there? 

                                                                                         **********

Julie thinks that after her last breakup she can just clean the outside of her "car" and then she'll have a better relationship. But she is starting to sense that even after her outside efforts, that her car still smells bad inside.

Unlike so many marketing messages we hear - it doesn't just take one more smaller size of jeans to reel in the relationship of your dreams. Instead to create a better relationship, it takes the work of an inside job.  So that, as you clean the inside of the car, you and a good partner will want to spend time there and ideally he'll want to help you to keep it clean too.

So what kind of inner work do you need to address before you can attract and keep a healthier partnership? Ask yourself these questions:

  • Have you identified limiting beliefs that may be holding you back from being your healthiest self in a relationship? So often we need help to see what belief patterns may be causing us to push away a good partner.
  • Do you need to learn more communication skills through taking a class, or webinars or having a mentor? Unfortunately many of us grow up without having had good role models with good communication skills.
  • Have you taken sufficient time to process through a past break up--giving yourself time and investment to heal and change patterns? Time itself may not heal all wounds, but intentional efforts to heal over time definitely can heal.

Your dating experiences, often reflect the health of your inner world. So if you are having bad experiences, tolerating more than you want to or finding yourself in repeating patterns, reach out for support. 

To see if you and I could be a fit to work together click here. I can help you to discover limiting beliefs and help free you from blocks so that you can get on a better path towards a great partnership!

Love Last on Your List?

IMG_3273.jpg

As a single woman your free time can easily get absorbed by the myriad of opportunities and pressures to meet others' expectations in this modern age. Whether your boss is pressuring you to work extra time to get the promotion or the lure to start a side business selling yarn on Pintrest or that favor your family asks you for because you must "have free time". It's easy to get involved in so many good things and feel like you have a full life. Until Valentine's Day inches closer and closer on the calendar and you become painfully aware of the fact that no one who wants to spend it with you.

It dawns on you that finding love has been so far down on your list that it never gets checked off.  

There are more reasons than the ache of loneliness for a day to move love up your list. While we are busy keeping life going and paying our bills, feeding ourselves and getting in enough exercise in order to live a good life, studies show that social relationships are the top predictor of a long life.

Specifically Susan Pinkerton shares in her Ted Talk that your close relationships are the number 2 predictor of how long you will live, 2nd only to general social integration. Exercise, weight, substance use are farther down on the list. If you consider how you are spending your time in the sense that you want live a long, full life--perhaps finding love and developing close relationships should move higher up on your list.

The truth is that we prioritize what we value and often we don't value love because we feel unworthy of it. We can cover over our feeling of unworthiness with excuses of busyness or good sounding reasons why dating doesn't work for us - but the underlying issue is that we haven't spent time focusing on healing the negative feelings we have about ourselves around love.

As a dating and relationship coach, I work with women who are ready to invest time to take a compassionate look at how they may be numbing themselves from their deep desire to be seen, supported and loved by a good partner. 

What if this year you decided to make the top reasons for longevity the same top item on your To-Do list too? Whether that means you decide to give online dating a shot again or stretch yourself to intentionally be around more single men or hire a dating coach to support you for a season to both heal and grow in your ability to welcome love?

Imagine what it would feel like to have a partner by your side who thinks you're amazing while you live supporting each others dreams. And with a loving partner, even your entire To-Do list just might start to feel a little lighter.

 

Ready to move love up on your list? Schedule a 30 min complimentary chat with me here to talk about how I help you move past patterns that keep you stuck and support you in drawing in lasting love faster.