Dev and Rachel need me!

love coach

I thoroughly enjoyed a new series on Netflix called Master of None which focuses on the life and love of Dev, played by Aziz Ansari. His love interest is Rachel. DEV AND RACHEL NEED ME!

Why do Dev and Rachel need a love coach? They, like many dating couples, are building the plane as they are flying it! How might things be different for them – and for you – if you really knew who you are, what you want, if you were able to communicate positive and effectively and if you could manage differences between you and your partner?

What is your vision for love? What do you think is possible in marriage? At one end of the spectrum is unrealistic fantasy of bliss that requires no work… and on the other end is the cynical belief that marriage is an outdated institution that clips one’s wings and that sucks the life out of people.
How can you have a partnership that enhances your life? First you need to know who you are and choose a partner who shares your key values and vision. Get to know him or her over time and determine whether you are both ready to make a commitment. I believe the key here is not to rush. It takes time to get to know someone. As you get to know the other person, you get to know yourself.

I believe that commitment is the key to a successful relationship. In this world of instant gratification and disposable everything, commitment might be a foreign concept to many of us. Think of what you’ve been committed to – whether it’s learning to play an instrument, learning a language or playing video games! Commitment takes dedication and focus. It’s also the key to getting results.

How might things have turned out if Dev and Rachel had me, as a love coach, in their lives? How might things be different for you?

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Master of None

I thoroughly enjoyed a new series on Netflix called Master of None which focuses on the life and love of Dev, played by Aziz Ansari. His love interest is Rachel.

DEV AND RACHEL NEED ME!
Why do Dev and Rachel need a love coach? They, like many dating couples, are building the plane as they are flying it! How might things be different for them – and for you – if you really knew who you are, what you want, if you were able to communicate positive and effectively and if you could manage differences between you and your partner?
What is your vision for love? What do you think is possible in marriage? At one end of the spectrum is unrealistic fantasy of bliss that requires no work… and on the other end is the cynical belief that marriage is an outdated institution that clips one’s wings and that sucks the life out of people.
How can you have a partnership that enhances your life? First you need to know who you are and choose a partner who shares your key values and vision. Get to know him or her over time and determine whether you are both ready to make a commitment. I believe the key here is not to rush. It takes time to get to know someone. As you get to know the other person, you get to know yourself.
I believe that commitment is the key to a successful relationship. In this world of instant gratification and disposable everything, commitment might be a foreign concept to many of us. Think of what you’ve been committed to – whether it’s learning to play an instrument, learning a language or playing video games! Commitment takes dedication and focus. It’s also the key to getting results.
How might things have turned out if Dev and Rachel had me in their lives? How might things be different for you?  Contact me!

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What are you Tolerating in your Relationship

“What are you tolerating in your relationship?” is a very powerful coaching question and one I invite you to ask yourself. I’d like to share an experience I’ve just had which I hope will be helpful to you. I met a man through online dating last October and we immediately felt a connection. It was very powerful and I described it as feeling like my “iron filings” were strongly attracted to his powerful magnet. We spent a couple of hours together and I reveled in the sense of awe, wonder and mutual recognition we shared. We both love Rumi, and spirituality is important to both of us. I kept marveling that I met a man like this on a free dating site! Who knew? What a blessing! (or so I thought at the time!)

As the following week went on, I had a text or two, and looked forward to getting together with him on the weekend, but he was too busy. I won’t go into all the details of this relationship which consisted mainly romantic of texts and vague promises. I won’t talk about the times I was disappointed when I asked for help and he didn’t come through. And I won’t go over the number of times I’d send texts that were simply ignored. I tracked all of this but what kept me going was that when were together it was wonderful. We both thoroughly enjoyed it but, sadly, these times were few and far between because he works 7 days a week.

Why did I stay? I’m a dating coach! Couldn’t I see the red flags within the first week? He was clearly not a good match for me but I was hooked. Now that it’s over I can see those hooks and I’m sharing my story with the hope that this will help you unhook if you’re in a dysfunctional relationship.

Hook#1: We believe what we want to believe even if it goes against our direct experience. I believed that someday we would have lots of quality time together reading Rumi, being deeply present and living The 40 Rules of Love (a wonderful novel by Elif Safak about the love between Rumi and Shams). My actual experience over 7 months was that we saw each other for about 2 hours every 2 or 3 weeks – yet I kept believing things would change. Wishful thinking!

Hook #2: My limiting belief was that this man is the ONLY man around who appreciates Rumi like I do and who really “gets” me. Every time I thought about leaving, my scarcity thinking would be triggered and I told myself that I may not find another spiritual man like this… even though I spent so much time sad, disappointed and feeling unheard. Once I worked through that limiting belief and embraced that there ARE other men out there, I was able to loosen the hook.

Hook #3: Chemistry! I learned a lot about the insidious nature of chemistry from this experience! It’s funny because I tell my middle-aged clients that chemistry isn’t so much about lust now, (not like in our 20’s and 30’s) but that’s just not true! The other thing about chemistry is that it gives you the sense that you have more in common with the other person than you actually do… and those hormones can actually make you think you’re soul mates! Unrecognized chemistry is devious dangerous and it can really mess with your wise judgment! It’s helpful to rely on your friends’ feedback about your partner so you get a reality check. When your brain is in a hormonal fog, this is next to impossible.

Hook #4: Margaret Paul (Inner Bonding) talks about our wounded self can get fiercely bonded to unavailable people because this is so familiar from our family of origin. That wounded part really believes it is possible to turn someone who’s unavailable into being available…. but, sadly, that can’t happen and it just means more pain for that part. There are many ways that someone can be unavailable to you: still married to someone else, unable or unwilling to open up to you; too busy to see you. I needed to comfort that inner wounded part of me so I could gently dash her hopes. The truth is that he would never become available. It was essential before I could move on.

Hook#5: Trying to make it all better by reframing it as spiritual boot camp. I wrote page after page in my journal. I read spiritual books. I did self-awareness and personal growth exercises. I tried to make his bad behavior OK. I blamed my pain on my monkey mind. I blamed my ego for being attached to wanting things a certain way (like being treated with courtesy and respect!) While I think it’s valuable to see things from different perspectives, there was really no way to see his neglectful behavior as acceptable. Treating others with consideration, courtesy, respect, compassion and care is non-negotiable in my view!  This is what I’m holding out for: to be treated with love and respect.  It’s basic!

I always encourage my clients to see the blessings in these sorts of experiences, and to see the lessons. When I recognized all that I had been tolerating, I knew that I had to take a stand and honor myself – and leave the relationship.

I deserve more and so do you.

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Being Single: An Opportunity not a Liability!

How do you feel about being single?  Many singles would much rather be in a relationship and feel like they are putting in time until their ideal partner comes along.  Other singles are relieved to be out of a dysfunctional partnership or an unhappy marriage and are afraid of choosing someone just like their ex.

How can you make the best of being single?

The way I see it is to use this time to learn more about yourself: who you are, what you want, and to acknowledge your part in past breakups.  What would you need to do differently next time?  Maybe it’s being more cautious about who you get involved with. Maybe it’s learning some new relationship skills like being able to communicate calmly instead of yelling.  Perhaps you need to cultivate the skill of seeing someone else’s point of view even it’s not the same as yours.

Over the years have you lost yourself?  I see this very often, in both men and women, because they have focused so much on their partner and kids that they don’t really know who they are.  Who are you?  What are your dreams?  What are your deepest-held values?  What is your vision of the relationship you want?  These are all important questions to answer before getting involved with someone new.  This is how you approach dating “consciously” instead of repeating old patterns or getting swayed by chemistry.

Being single is an opportunity not only to learn more about yourself, but also to appreciate your own company.  When you can enjoy time alone, then you can approach dating from a place of contentment and abundance, rather than desperation.  It is then possible to have a significant other in your life because you want someone, not because you need them to make your lonely and miserable life better!

Need some help in becoming your own best friend?  Seeing a counselor, therapist or relationship coach can be very helpful.   There is no substitute for the soul-to-soul connection and perspective of working with a trained professional.   Is this the next step for you?  I encourage you to see how being single is actually a wonderful opportunity for growth and evolution – and to see the value of reaching out so you can get there!

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Common Red Flags

Last week I talked about why we ignore red flags.  There are many reasons, often due to loneliness and other factors.  Sometimes we think it’s easier to stay with a person because the alternative of going back into the dating pool seems even worse!  When we have the ability to step back and look at the situation, and when we know ourselves, we can move through the temptation to ignore red flags and move on with the goal of finding someone who is more suitable.

What are red flags?  We all know that nobody is perfect.  We all have our shortcomings, so what is the difference between an annoyance and a red flag?

How someone loads the dishwasher, how they put toilet paper on the holder, how they squeeze the toothpaste tube – these are classic examples of annoyances for some people.  Some of us tend to sweat the small stuff more than others do!  We can choose to notice our reactivity and then look at the big picture.  Then we can realize that, in the scheme of things, these are not important differences.

Red flags are another story.  These are behaviors or situations that have the potential to be deal breakers and to undermine the health of a relationship.  Here are some examples: the person sees him/herself as a victim and blames others for their life situation; he/she reacts with blame, rage or extreme anger when frustrated; he/she consistently acts impulsively and/or irresponsibly; he/she is negative or pessimistic about things that matter to you; he/she is unsupportive of your goals and dreams; he/she acts with a lack of integrity; he/she dominates conversations and talks only about him/herself and isn’t interested in you.  The list goes on.  Basically, if you’re noticing these behaviors right at the beginning, they do not bode well for the future.

You may have your own personal red flags that aren’t universal.  For example, you may consider it a red flag if someone isn’t local, where others may be OK with a long distance relationship.  You may consider it a red flag if someone is a smoker, where others won’t care.  Same with drinking: depending on your history you may want someone who doesn’t drink at all, or drinks moderately, where someone else may actually want someone to enjoy a glass of wine or beer with.  Look back at your relationship history and come up with all behaviors that you now see as red flags.

You owe it to yourself to be mindful of any red flags you see in the early stages of dating.  Please pay attention and if there are behaviors that concern you or don’t feel right, move on!

Need help with this?  I have a Dating Red Flags Checklist I’d be happy to email to you.   Go to my Contact page and make your request!   This will be very helpful for you if you’d like to start dating with more awareness.   This is what I want for you: to have fun dating, and for you to find your ideal partner!

 

 

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Choosing the Wise, not the Easy, Path

Falling in love is so compelling.  We appreciate the companionship, the touch, the sense of belonging, the chemistry and the euphoria when we first meet someone and we think we’ve found “the One” at last!  A cocktail of feel-good hormones is rushing through our bloodstream… but what if one person really isn’t ready to be in a relationship?

I have a client who has done a lot of personal work and she believes she is ready for a relationship.  We’ve gone through my Relationship Readiness Quiz and she has given herself a high score.  We’ve talked about areas where she might need a little work, but she’s at a place in her life where she is really ready to date.

She met a man recently who is not ready for a relationship.  He recognizes that he has some things he needs to attend to before he can be the partner he truly wants to be.  They love spending time together.  They communicate well.  They have fun… but they are both aware of the red flags.

So… what should they do?  Should they proceed hoping that the red flags won’t interfere with the co-creation of a healthy relationship?  Should they be “just friends” for a while and see how it goes?  Should they go their separate ways?  What they have decided to do is to take a 6-month break, then re-assess after that period of time.  Does it feel risky?  Yes.  Neither knows what will happen in that 6-month period but he knows he needs to do some work.  Might she meet someone else?  It’s a definite possibility but they have made this decision because they agree this is the only way to have a strong foundation for a healthy relationship… whether or not it’s with each other.

This seems to me to be the wise path.  It’s not the easy path.  They enjoy their time together and bring out the best in one another.  As a relationship coach I have supported her in taking this step so they can both come from a place of health and stability.

Have you ever made a conscious decision to part from someone because that’s the wisest choice?  What has been your experience in trying to have a healthy relationship when one person really isn’t ready?  Please leave your comments below!

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Staying Sane in the Dating Game Part 2

Last week I shared with you one key strategy to navigate this minefield of dating.  I suggested being curious and engaged in the early stages, but to be sure that you don’t invest too much.  In this way you can minimize disappointment and heartache.

This week I’d like to share another strategy which is about your mindset – and to be aware of some of the self-sabotaging stories we tell ourselves.

Do you hear yourself saying:

  • there are no good ones left
  • all the good ones are either married or gay
  • I can’t afford to be choosy
  • time is running out so I’ll take whatever comes along

Can you see how you are coming from a place of scarcity with this thinking?  How do you feel in your body when you say these phrases out loud?  And what sort of person are you likely to attract?

How would things be different if you truly believed:

  • I am beautiful inside and out
  • I’m confident that my soulmate is out there and we will meet when we both are ready
  • there are lots of potential partners out there
  • I’m so clear in my value that I’m unwilling to settle
  • I am the chooser!

Again, say these phrases out loud and notice how you feel.  Grounded?  Powerful?

We may try hard to “make things happen” but what I’ve learned is the most effective strategy is to continue to work on my own growth and evolution, and to do my part, but to understand that Divine timing is a big part of life.  That means to have faith and trust that you WILL continue to be given all that you need.

I invite you over the next few weeks to notice what’s going on in your head.  Are you coming from a place of negativity, scarcity and non-possibility or are you feeling confident and excited that your soulmate is on his way to you now?  You may want to write out some affirmations to lock in this new way of thinking… and also keep in mind that you may need to do some work on yourself to really be ready for the kind of relationship you want.

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Staying Sane in the Dating Game Part 1

I’m sure we all have our share of weird and bizarre dating stories!  I just had a very odd experience of thinking I was getting to know a guy mainly through texting (his choice) only to find that there were many red flags and I ended it after only about three weeks.  I thought he seemed promising.  I was feeling quite optimistic… but I am so clear on my value that I’m simply not willing to settle.  How did I weather this without feeling devastated?  How can I be so clear that something isn’t working that I can choose to end something that seemed to have great potential?

For those entering the dating world with open hearts, optimism and trust this can be a difficult world.  It can take a toll on your self-esteem.  How do you date in good faith but with your eyes open?

Today I’m going to offer you one of the most effective strategies I’ve used.  I just put this into words when I was debriefing with a friend about the confusion and disappointment I felt recently.  I think the secret is to proceed with curiosity and engagement… but not to invest too much too quickly.  What I mean by that is to proceed with awareness and actually look for red flags while also being aware of somebody’s good points and how I feel with him.  Secondly, I choose to be engaged and to give it my best shot, but to recognize that in the early stages hormones cloud our judgment.  Thirdly, I am cautious about the investment I make until I have a better sense that this something that is worth putting time and energy into.  There was a time that I would jump with both feet and tell myself that it was “meant to be”.  Now, a little older and wiser I hold back and assess.  There is no advantage to rushing through dating.  It takes time to get to know someone and to check in with yourself about how things are going.

These strategies allow me to have the mindset of being “the chooser” and to be confident that if this man isn’t relationship material, there are plenty more in the sea.  Because I’m not desperate I can afford to take my time and wait for someone who truly is my match.

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Women's Libido and Sexuality

A friend sent a link to a recent article in Maclean’s Magazine about women’s sexuality that I found fascinating: http://www2.macleans.ca/2013/06/22/the-two-year-itch/

Research indicates that our commonly held assumptions about women and monogamy might be off the mark!  Is a woman’s low libido due to boredom?  Libido often wanes in a committed relationship but is rekindled with a new partner.

What are the implications for committed, monogamous, long-term relationships?  Tell me what you think!

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True Love – Part 3

This is my third blog about Daphne Rose Kingma’s book called “True Love: How to Make Your Relationship Sweeter, Deeper and More Passionate.”

The third section of Daphne Rose Kingma’s book is called “The Transformations of Love” and this is where she addresses the higher meaning of our loving relationships.  On page 140 she writes,

“… it [the relationship] is the coming together of two persons whose spirits participate with one another, beautifully and painfully, in the inexorable process of their individual becoming.

In this respect, relationships are like relentless grinding stones, polishing and refining us to the highest level of our radiance.  It is this radiance which is the highest expression of love — this is why a relationship is a spiritual enterprise.”

She talks in this section about the value of consoling one another as we are presented with life’s tragedies and challenges; how important forgiveness and tolerance are toward your beloved; and the value of consecrating your relationship by doing special rituals and meaningful observances.  I like how she talks about the nuts and bolts and the reality of being in a relationship which is not all sunshine and roses all the time!

I think this is a gem of a book.  If you can get a copy of it, I highly recommend it!

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