Two Pieces of Non-Advice

As a relationship coach it’s not my job to give advice.  My role is to help my clients discover their own answers by helping them get clarity and by asking them meaningful questions (among other techniques)

Today I was imagining if someone insisted on two pieces of advice from me… what they would be.  It didn’t take me long to come up with these:

1) Know who you are and what you want in life, and

2) SLOW THINGS DOWN when dating

Knowing who you are is so important, and yet so many people have focused on their career, their family, their marriage… and really don’t know who they are.  Do you have a vision of how you want your life to be or are you just “getting by” and putting one foot in front of the other hoping that retirement or some other life change will rescue you from how things are?  When was the last time that you sat down and put your dreams on paper – or have you given up on dreaming?  What is your reason for being on this planet?   How do you want to make a difference in the world?

If you are clear on who you are and what you want, then you can date with awareness.  You can ensure that your potential mate will support you in the direction you want to go rather than hold you back or crush your dreams.

And #2….” slow things down”.  I see so many people rush into committed relationships without knowing the other person.  They project who they WANT that person to be – and are reluctant to see the red flags when they show up.  Rushing into a sexual relationship triggers all kinds of euphoria-inducing and bonding hormones so it’s even harder to extricate yourself when you realize that there may be serious deal breakers.  It’s much easier to walk away when you haven’t invested copious amounts of time, energy and/or money… so take your time.  Enjoy life in the slow lane with your eyes wide open.

Please… if you’re in the dating world take good care of yourself.  Do the work you need to do to be ready for dating and for the relationship you want.  Of course working with a relationship coach who specializes in this area is ideal.  You’re welcome to Email Me so we can set up a time for a consultation.

And when you meet someone and the chemistry is overwhelming this alone does not indicate that this person is “the one!”   Recognize that this is nature’s sneaky strategy for the survival of the species even if you have no intention of making babies!

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My Recent Online Dating Experience: a Cosmic Joke?

online dating experience

Let me relate to you my recent online dating experience. As you may know, I am currently single and looking for a relationship with an extraordinary man.  Because I am dating, I can understand what my single clients go through better than if I’d be happily married for decades!  I thought it was time to join an online dating site so I could meet some new men and find out what it’s like to put myself out there like that.

About two weeks ago I decided to join Match.  The good news is that I had some interest.  The bad news is that things didn’t go very well.  One fellow who was proud to claim that he is trustworthy didn’t call when he said he would and when I expressed my concern about it, I never heard from him again.  Another one actually did call, but at 6am my time.  He missed me, so he emailed me to ask when the best time would be to reach me and I suggested between 8am and 9pm my time.  He called even earlier the next day at 5:30 am!  And another one suggested we spend some time Instant Messaging.  I know that this can be a huge time waster (and he lives in a different part of the country so I don’t know that we’ll ever actually  meet) so I said I’m not into IM-ing but I’d be open to a phone call and if he gave me his number I’d phone him.  His response?  To send me a detailed email about how to sign up for Messenger!

Hello!  Is anybody listening?

So far, my online dating experience hasn’t been very positive and I’ll stick it out until my 3-month subscription is done.  I know people who are now married who met via online dating so it does work for some people.  For me… it’s about being clear on my boundaries (no early phone calls, no IM-ing, no endless emails!) and getting out and doing more local things.  I’m actually hosting “dinner, drinks and dancing” in my neighbourhood tonight for singles.  Do you want to meet more local singles?  Perhaps you can start a Meetup group – or offer to host an event for an existing Meetup.  There is definitely something to be said for meeting face-t0-face in a group doing an activity you enjoy.

Online dating is one strategy for meeting other singles but, for me so far it’s taken up a lot of time and I don’t have much to show for it – except some funny stories!

Ready to get started on your journey to find lasting love?  Click here to apply for a complimentary consultation and/or sign up for my free report so you can avoid common and deadly dating mistakes!

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Your Stages of Life – Are You in Sync?

One of the catalysts for doing personal growth work is the ending of a marriage or a long-term relationship.  This is a wonderful time to find out who you are and what you want.  It may be a time that you want to do some exploring and to date many people without any commitment.

Many men are at this stage.  They may have been in long relationships and want to experience dating different women and putting the focus on themselves.  This is a healthy and valuable stage of moving on.  However, if you are looking for a man to commit to a long-term relationship with you these men are not a good option!

If you’re looking for a future partner be aware of the stage he’s at.  Is he in the exploration stage?  Is he dating for fun and recreation?  If so, he may not be someone you’ll want to invest a lot of time in if you’re looking someone to spend the rest of your life with.

I hear over and over again from women that a man is clear at the beginning that he isn’t ready for a relationship but they ignore what he says.  They invest time and energy hoping that it will turn into a commitment and then are deeply disappointed when reality hits.

If you are at different stages in life he will likely not be available for you in the way you want.

How can you prevent this heartache?  How can you avoid putting your heart and soul into a relationship with a good man who isn’t available?

Pay attention to what he says!  If he says right from the beginning that he isn’t ready for a relationship don’t think you’ll change his mind!  Find men who are at the same stage of life as you are.  Find the ones who have dated lots of women and are clear that they are ready for a long-term commitment.  They are out there!



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Someone Out There is Praying for You to Show Up

Do you ever feel discouraged as a single?  Do you wonder if you’ll ever meet your ideal partner?  Does that inner critical voice nag you about all your perceived shortcomings?

How would things be different if you really believed that someone out there is PRAYING for you to come along?  Someone who celebrates you for who you are.  Someone who really “gets” you and who loves your authentic self.  Take a moment and just sit with that thought: that someone out there is praying for YOU.  How does it feel?

Can you relax and surrender into it?  Can you allow that belief to permeate your consciousness?  Think about all you have to offer: maybe it’s your kind and generous nature, or your skill and knowledge in an area you’re passionate about; maybe it’s how conscientious and responsible you are; or how you can see the silver lining in every cloud.  You do have a lot to offer!

Do you feel the excitement and anticipation of having your ideal partner in your life?  This is what will carry you through the times of doubt and despair.   Get to know yourself, celebrate who you are, and live your best life authentically, and get ready to meet the one whose prayers will be answered when you are in their life!

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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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Looking Back 26 Years Ago… Life’s Experience

Twenty-six years ago today was one of my greatest life’s experiences, my amazing son was born.  I have teased him for years about how he had a head the size of an orange… and now at 26 he is, of course, much taller than I am, and a grown man.

I think back to those days of being a new mother and I see how I’ve changed over two and a half decades.  Back then, I expected my son’s father to know what I needed.  I felt shy about asking (even though I felt very challenged by my new circumstances) because I thought that if he really loved me, he’d just know!!  How many of us have made that mistake of believing that others are mind-readers?  Part of it was that I didn’t want to be a bother (I have a long familial history of that one!) and part of it was that I thought motherhood should be a breeze.  I remember nursing him every two hours, day and night, and doing all the baby laundry and then feeling bad that the house didn’t look like a show home and a perfect dinner wasn’t on the table.

That was a very hard time in my life.  Because of all the “should”s in my life (he should know what I needed; motherhood should be easy etc.) I really didn’t take very good care of myself.  In retrospect, I realize that I should have sat down and honestly shared my challenges with his dad so we could have brainstormed solutions together.  Instead, I suffered in relative silence and wound up leaving the relationship when our son was 3.

If I’d know then what I know now… things would have been different.  Of course we all know that hindsight is 20/20!

How do I handle things today?  I am much clearer on my needs.  I take steps to do what I need to do to take care of myself.  When I have a request of another person, I have more skills to be able to ask in effective ways.  When I feel trapped, I recognize that I always have choices.  I have communication skills to try to work things out instead of being silent and building resentment until the point I can’t take it any longer… and leave.  I have the courage to speak my truth now in a way that I didn’t back then.

These are my reflections today, on my son’s 26th birthday.  I celebrate my journey of motherhood although there were many times that it wasn’t easy.  I’ve learned a lot about myself and how a growing child’s needs change – and how to be sensitive to that.  I really believe that it’s about equipping our children for full functioning in the world.

I’m so grateful for my life’s experiences, counseling sessions, courses, training, reading, discussions etc. that have brought me to where I am today.  This is something that I bring to my coaching clients: a wealth of life’s experience and a fierce commitment to self-awareness and growth!

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Why Do We Ignore Red Flags?

Have you ever recognized red flags at the beginning of dating someone, but then chosen to go ahead anyway?  Have you realized later on that you should have heeded those warning signs?
Why do we ignore those red flags?

I think there are many reasons.  We want to be loved, and many of us have made the choice to ignore the danger signals because we want someone special in our life.  We have a tendency when we first start dating someone to see all the positive traits and to minimize the negative traits.  We tend to see all our similarities and to discount significant differences in values, life vision etc.

Many people want to be part of a couple.  Perhaps they believe there is a social stigma about being single.  Perhaps their couple friends no longer invite them, or they feel like the odd person out.  Being part of a couple may open social doors that might otherwise be closed.

We may ignore red flags because we are lonely – and even an unsuitable partner is better than no partner at all.

Sometimes people ignore the red flags because they don’t want to end the relationship for fear of hurting another’s feelings, or not being “nice.”

And if you’re coming from a place of scarcity thinking, you may believe that if you let this one go, there may not be another one, so you have to settle for what you have.

You may choose to ignore the red flags because of the financial or emotional security you feel with a person…

Maybe you ignore the red flags because of a great sexual connection.

Sometimes you tolerate the red flags simply because they are so familiar.

There are many reasons why we choose to go ahead even though we see some danger signs at the beginning.

Unfortunately, later on, these red flags will likely become deal-breakers, and will make a relationship unsustainable.  Often with a breakup there is disappointment and heartache.

How can you do things differently?  For one thing you need to balance your head with your heart when dating.  Take the time to be aware, instead of getting caught up in the excitement of a new potential partner.  Talk to your friends and family and pay attention to any concerns they may have.  Take your time… Slow things down.  Be aware of their behaviours.  Listen to your inner wisdom.

Next week I’ll talk about some common red flags and how they are different from minor annoyances!

Have you been aware of red flags and proceeded anyway?  What were your reasons?  I’d love to hear from you!




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Learning through a Loving Relationship

I was the poster child for a happy single.  I celebrated doing whatever I wanted, however I wanted, whenever I wanted.  I loved not having to consider anyone else.  I filled my time with meaningful friendships, fun activities, thought-provoking and/or entertaining books, my journal.  I had come to the point at which I was very happy with my life.  I felt “ripe and ready” for a relationship, and I was very clear that I wouldn’t settle.

I wasn’t looking for a relationship.  I had an online profile, but it was hidden.  I invested lots of time in my coaching practice and I was perfectly content.

Then I met someone.  He came to one of my live events.  We met the following week to discuss ideas for upcoming events, and talked for hours and hours about “real” issues like authenticity and vulnerability.  We met again and talked for hours and hours… We have some shared interests and we have shared values but what is most meaningful to me, I think, is that we have made the commitment to ourselves and each other to be fearlessly authentic and transparent.  This takes a LOT of courage and self-awareness.  It feels risky at times.  It gives us both an opportunity to explore our shadow sides in a safe and loving environment.  This is the most honest I’ve ever been in a relationship and it feels good.

In my upcoming blogs, I’m going to share some of my challenges and insights.  How am I actually using the skills and capacities that I teach my coaching clients?  I have to say that my coaching training has made a HUGE difference in my ability to be a [mostly!] highly-functioning partner.

All those activities I enjoyed when I was single – like friendships, reading books, writing in my journal… I still do those, by the way!

I hope I will inspire you to hold the vision of love for yourself, and to do the inner work necessary to be ready for the relationship of your dreams!

Stay tuned…



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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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