Tag Archives: relationship advice

Stay Merry During the Holidays

Relationship Reality 312 Stay Merry During the Holidays

If only it was as simple as putting “boyfriend” or “girlfriend” on your list to Santa. How cool would it be if he or she actually came wrapped in a red bow? From commercials to songs to couples walking hand in hand seemingly everywhere you look, ‘tis the season for romance. But what if you don’t have a significant other? You can still make it the most wonderful time of the year.

How singles stay merry during the holidays:

  1. Embrace it. If you’re sad about being single during the holidays or dealing with a breakup, it’s ok. You can’t always push away feelings so don’t fight them. Sometimes giving more energy to the fight makes things worse. Set aside time to be sad, even if it’s only 5 or 10 minutes a day, and don’t criticize yourself for feeling down.
  2. Say yes! Novelty and variety can cheer you up, so even just meeting someone new or doing something different can put you in a better mood. You might prefer to stay in and lounge on your couch, but say yes to invitations that come your way – or take the initiative and see what’s going on around town! There’s no excuse with so many opportunities this season: office and ugly sweater parties, citywide events, zoo lights, holiday concerts, etc. And you already have built-in conversation starters: What are you doing for the holidays? Do you have any traditions? What is your favorite holiday memory?
  3. Spread holiday cheer. Sometimes the best gift you can give is yourself. Volunteer for a cause that you believe in, or go caroling around your neighborhood or nursing home. Visit a family member or friend who is going through a tough time. Selfless activities can boost your self-esteem, so giving of yourself is a win-win.
  4. Take advantage. When you’re out and about, take advantage of meeting new people! Maybe there’s someone who catches your eye while you’re shopping for presents or at a holiday concert. Make eye contact and smile! Again, the opportunities for conversation starters are endless: ask their opinion about the gift you’re thinking of buying, or ask them their favorite holiday song. Nervous? That can be a good thing – even just doing something that gets your heart pumping can elevate your mood.
  5. Do your own thing. Have you ever said, “I’ll do X once I meet someone?” Don’t wait! Do what you love now. Start a tradition that you can do solo or when you’re in a relationship. Throw a dinner party with your fabulous friends or take a trip to a place you’ve always wanted to go. Whether big or small, carpe diem!
  6. Be your own Santa. If you’re like my clients, you probably take care of others before yourself. Take the holidays for some self-care or treat yourself to a meaningful gift or experience. It’s a great reminder to be aware of your own needs, what’s been missing in your life, and that it’s ok to put yourself first sometimes.
  7. Celebrate you. What’s amazing about you? What have you overcome? Think of all of your accomplishments this past year. Write out all that you have done and completed in the past 12 months and then celebrate. Appreciate what you have achieved. It’s important to recognize your worth whether you’re single or in a relationship.

And if all else fails, just carry around some mistletoe.

Dating The Short Guy

Several of my male clients are on dating apps and mention that of the first questions that women ask them is their height. When they say they’re 5’9” or 5’8”, they don’t hear from them again. The average height for men is 5’9”!

When I heard these kinds of stories from men, my heart sinks. Here are fabulous guys who would make women loving husbands some day, and they’re getting overlooked simply because of their height. It didn’t surprise me though. I work with many women too, and when I ask them what they’re looking for in a guy, one of the first traits they describe is height.

Here are the Top Reasons to Ditch the Height Requirement:

You Decrease Your Chances of Finding The One:

The problem is that a height requirement decreases your overall chances of finding love. Dating is tough. When you factor in attraction, chemistry, your deal-breakers, values, and needs, it’ll take some time to find someone. Don’t dismiss the guy just based on height – at least give the guy a chance!

He Can Meet Your Needs:

A short guy can meet your needs just as well as a tall guy. The most common reason women tell me that they want a tall guy is because it makes them feel secure. But think of all those not-so-tall guys that have a lot of muscle on them and can be strong as well. In fact, they may be even stronger than this tall prince charming that you’re hoping to meet. And don’t forget about emotional security. A tall guy can be emotionally unavailable, but a shorter guy can support you, be there when you need him, and let you know his feelings every step of the way.

Sexiness is more than Height:

Women tell me that there’s something sexy about standing next to a tall guy. It makes them feel more feminine. Ok…but what if this tall guy rarely compliments you? Or puts you down? You won’t be feeling feminine then. Maybe the short guy will treat you like a queen and let you know you’re sexy and desirable. A guy’s height doesn’t guarantee you’ll feel feminine but a guy’s respect for you does.

So why do you really want a tall guy after all? Identify the needs behind it, like feeling secure and feminine, and give a shorter guy a chance to meet you. You may be pleasantly surprised.

 

Relationship Rut

This is typically how the relationship rut begins. You meet someone new. You think about them all the time and can’t wait until the moment when you see them next. In the meantime, you can’t eat, sleep or concentrate. You check your phone a hundred times a day to see if you missed their call or text. You feel energized like never before, since you’re in the romantic love stage of a relationship, it feels so wonderful and magical and you want it to last forever.

But it doesn’t. Time passed and the spark faded. Now what?

The couples I work with commonly talk about dampened desire, getting too comfortable and being bored. It’s easy for a relationship to feel stuck in a rut. It may sound unromantic to have to create the conditions to reignite passion with your partner, but it can be achieved through these three steps:


  1. Give each other space. When you initially met, you probably didn’t know what your partner was doing every day. You fantasized about what they were up to during your time apart, eagerly awaiting the time you could be together again. Now that you’re in a relationship, you spend more time in each other’s company. Although that’s important for you to maintain a connection, you also need time apart. As the Poet Kahlil Gibran recommended, “Let there be spaces in your togetherness.” You need some degree of separateness from your partner in order to maintain passion and desire from them. When a reward (the reward being your sexy self) is delayed, it increases brain chemicals that help stimulate romantic passion. Take different classes, engage in different hobbies or take a night off to do your own thing. Missing each other is a good thing.

  2. Get out of routine. Some of my couples call each other at the same time every day, or have date night the same night of the week. With routine comes boredom or a sense of obligation – “It’s that time, I have to call her….” It can be tough to feel hot and heavy for your partner when you also feel bored. Mix it up! Go to a comedy show on a weeknight or take a Ferris Bueller Day and play hooky with your partner. Variety is key to keeping things fresh. Do a boredom check – studies show that boredom predicted declines in relationship satisfaction over time. If one of you is bored, brainstorm what you can change up.

  3. Do novel things together. Do you ever wonder if the Bachelor and Bachelorette contestants really mean it when they profess love to each other so quickly? Believe it! Studies show that exciting experiences not only enhance attraction, but couples who do thrilling things together feel more satisfied in their relationship. Develop a variety of interests, especially those that both of you would find exhilarating. For some of you it may be skydiving or a day riding roller coasters, but even going to an event last-minute or playing tourist in your own city can work, too. Add some fun challenges to your relationship. Do you and your partner root for opposing sports teams? Place bets and loser gives winner a massage or makes dinner. Just remember to keep it light and playful!

The bottom line is that effort is required to maintain passion. Giving your relationship space to miss each other, adding variety and sharing in new experiences can all boost your relationship out of any rut.

 

 

 

Relationship Reality 312: Why Men Won't Commit Couple

Five Reasons Men Won’t Commit:

While dating, you will meet men who don’t want a relationship or marriage…just yet. However, while you may be ready for commitment, he may not in the right stage in his life to want a serious relationship or even marriage. If you’re wondering why he’s procrastinating the big “move-in” or won’t move out of the booty-call stage, here are the Five Reasons Men Won’t Commit:

1. He’s not ready.

Not being ready for a serious relationship doesn’t mean he’s scared of commitment. It’s literally because he’s not ready. Hey may still want to play the field, concentrate on his career or needs to focus on family obligations. Men take their role as provider very seriously, and I’ve worked with many men who only casually date and put of serious relationships because they’re not where they want to be financially. He may also want to have experiences or work on himself first before he gets into a serious relationship. Timing matters, and a guy who’s not ready is not going to be able to give you what you need in a relationship.


2. He’s terrified of making the wrong choice.

Men are scared that the stories they hear about wedded hell are true: the ball and chain, not getting laid anymore, being with a controlling woman, etc. He may have doubts about your behaviors, like you being overly jealous or how you handle your anger. He may have thought his ex was “The One” but made the wrong choice once already. The pain and doubts may keep him from committing. A lot of men come to me and ask me how they’re supposed to know that the woman they’re with is “The One.” We can’t predict how someone will change, so to some degree you have to take the risk.


3. He can’t see a future with you.

A guy may not know if you’re going to be his future wife, but at least he knows if it’s even a possibility. He may be keeping you around because he likes you for the short-term, but he doesn’t see himself with you for decades. Plain and simple, he’s just not that into you.


4. He’s scared of rejection.

Ever feel like your man keeps you at arm’s length? Has a wall up or don’t feel as connected as you did when you first started dating? Again, most men want to feel connected to their woman, but are afraid of rejection and to deepen intimacy requires one to be vulnerable. That can be downright scary. He may be thinking, Will she really accept me? When she knows me, will she still love me and want to be with me? If he’s not sure of the answer, he may keep from committing. You can reinforce the things you admire and accept about him to decrease this fear.


5. He’s scared of divorce.

We’ve heard horror stories about divorce. And if a guy has gone through his parents’ painful divorce and he hasn’t worked through it, he’s probably still scarred. Committing involves risk, and some guys may not do so until they’re 100% certain the relationship will work. The thing is, relationships are never a guarantee. But both of you have incredible influence over the outcome of your future, and that may mean getting some relationship education from a workshop or a professional.


For those of you waiting for your man to commit, it’s up to you to decide how patient you can be. At least have the conversation with your man about your future to see if your visions and goals align. If not, move on to someone who will want you in his future.

Couple After Breaking Up and Being Dumped

 

Facing the aftermath of being dumped by surprise can be one of the worst feelings. You can’t seem to focus at work or school, you become obsessed with memories of your ex, you lose your appetite.

And when my clients come to me in these kinds of situations, I find that specific actions are extremely helpful.

Here are a few tips to get you started after you’ve been dumped:


  • Date. I know it’s sometimes the last thing people want to do after a breakup, but there are so many men out there for you to go out and have fun with without the expectation of a serious relationship. Just be upfront about your intentions. You can tell your potential dates that you’re casually dating or wanting to explore the city, but aren’t looking for anything serious. Those who have similar intentions will stay in the game.

  • Fill your time. If you used to make dinner with your ex every Sunday night, plan an activity that you’ll look forward to until the pain of Sunday nights subsides. Get together with your friends, volunteer, take a class, or catch up on your favorite shows. Fill that time that you used to spend with him doing something fun or productive and stop the anxiety. Some of my clients know when they’ll have idle time so they ask their friends to hang out – and promise not to bring up the ex!

  • Plan for weak moments. You’ll have your weak moments when you may want to contact your ex. Have a go-to plan in place – exercise, call a friend, distract yourself with work, pick up a book, etc. And whatever you do, don’t cyber-stalk! You’ll be upset if you see something you don’t like or can’t explain – “Who is that girl in that photo with him?” Even better, unfriend him on Facebook if you haven’t already done so and if necessary, block him so you won’t sneak a peek. Also, allow your friends to take your phone away at times of weakness.

  • Keep count. If you’re an “out of sight, out of mind” person this won’t work. But if you’re not, use a calendar to keep track of the days you’ve gone without contact. Having a visual reminder can also keep you from reaching out.

  • Remember why you broke up. Visual reminders can be extremely helpful. Keep a list or use sticky notes with the reasons why you broke up in the first place. Leave them in your purse, put them on your nightstand or hang them on your fridge. Were there any red flags that you missed? Write those down and look at them often. If you had friends who disliked your ex, this would be a good time for them to remind you how much they disliked him.

  • Avoid your relationship haunts.It’s ok to avoid your usual hangouts until you feel better. It doesn’t mean your ex has power over you, it means you’re paying attention to your emotions and doing what’s best for you in the moment.

  • Get out of routine. Getting out of routine can elevate mood. Whether it’s taking up a new hobby, trying different restaurants, or taking a trip to a place you’ve never been, these little and big ways can make you feel happier, which can also give you hope that you can happily move on.

Although time can heal all wounds, it’s what you do with that time that can be a key difference to you healing more quickly.

Cheating Partner Takes Off Wedding Ring

In my last blog I wrote about common myths about cheating. Research indicates that infidelity is on the rise, with more relationships being affected by it. If good people are cheating, how can you tell if your partner (who I’m pretty sure you think is a good person) is cheating on you? It’s not easy to detect given that most affairs are not discovered.

Although people can be very effective at compartmentalizing their lives that their affairs are never discovered, there are a few things to consider if you have any suspicions. You can’t tell if your partner is cheating based on just one piece of evidence, but you can look for a pattern of behavior that’s different from the norm in your relationship

1. You’re having more sex.

People assume if one partner is cheating, the frequency of sex decreases because they’re already “getting it on the side.” Sometimes this may be the case, but also the opposite is true. The excitement of an affair can increase the passion in your own relationship. Your partner may have an increased desire for sex and it could be hotter than it’s been in a long time. They may even ask to try new techniques.

2. Hostile answers to questions.

Your partner gets off the phone and you ask them, “Who were you talking to?” They may snap back with hostile remarks such as, “Why do you always have to be in my business?” or “I can’t believe you don’t trust me.” You may even start doubting your own sanity, telling yourself that you should trust your partner. But harsh responses to questions, especially if you’ve never received this kind of an attitude from your partner before, are highly suspicious.

If you’re in a healthy relationship, you should want to alleviate any concerns your partner has about a potential threat to your relationship. Monogamy cannot be assumed; it has to be confirmed with actions. If you truly have nothing to hide, prove it. Telling your partner who called you or showing them your texts shouldn’t be a problem. I’m not saying you need to show them everything every time, but if your partner asks, would you have an issue with showing them your communication?

3. Consistent change in routine.

Spending time with an affair partner takes time and effort. Pay attention to differences in scheduling like spending longer hours at the office, working on “weekend projects” or getting up earlier to go to the gym. Sometimes people are re-energized by an affair and become more dedicated to family life. Your partner may help out at home with chores and errands or be more engaged with the kids. The key is a consistent change in what had previously been present in your relationship or family life

4. You no longer hear the “friend’s” name – or hear it too much.

Has your partner frequently talked about this “friend” or coworker and then, mysteriously, you no longer hear about him or her? When you mention why you haven’t heard about that person, do they get anxious or snap at you? Or the flip side is also true – you never heard about this person and then your partner brings their name up frequently. Both behaviors can indicate that things are evolving beyond “just a friendship.

5. You’re jealous.

Maybe you’ve never been the jealous or suspicious type, but now you’ve developed uneasy feelings about someone in your partner’s life. You suspect this person has intentions beyond just a friendship or a work relationship. If you have a “gut feeling” I encourage you to trust it. Many of my betrayed clients had a gut feeling but dismissed it because they wanted to believe their partner would never cheat on them. If you have suspicions, be curious and get more information, but don’t attack your partner. Express your concerns but be prepared that your partner will dismiss you or even belittle you.

Because people often believe they are immune to cheating, they’ve crossed the line before they’ve realized it. If you have suspicions and your partner refuses to discuss things with you, seek the help of a professional to help you.

 

You finally met someone. You’ve had several email and text exchanges, and maybe had a date or two. You think this person is great, and you wonder if he could be “The One”?

The only problem is, you barely even know the guy.

Have you ever built a guy up in your head before actually meeting him or only after a few dates? I work with many women who get caught up in meeting someone new. They tell me how much they really like him and how they hope things will work out. If it won’t, they’ll be devastated and think they will never find love.

Here are two of the biggest dating mistakes women make today.

Slow. It. Down.

When you first meet someone, sure it’s fun to be so excited at this new prospect, but you also have to keep a level head. If you put your date on a pedestal by idealizing him, you risk feeling more self-conscious, the need to prove yourself to him, and doing whatever it takes to win him over and get him to like you.

You’re also much more likely to miss red flags because you only see what you want to see – you want things to work so badly that you ignore or dismiss problems. And what if things don’t progress beyond the first few dates? If you’ve fantasized about a future together, you’ll be crushed, and your self-esteem can take a major hit.

Undervalued Self Worth

One of the most common things I hear as a dating coach is, “What’s wrong with me? Why didn’t that person like me?” I know it can be hard, but don’t base your self-worth on what happens after that first date or first few dates. Your date is still a stranger to you. You don’t know this guy well enough yet to truly know why he stopped seeing you. There are so many variables (like timing, stress at work or an ex coming back into the picture) that affect dating that I encourage you not to take things personally.

And some of my clients are so focused on getting the guy to like them that they forget to ask themselves, “Do I even like him?” I’m not talking about experiencing feelings of infatuation, but can you truly name several qualities or values that you admire about your date? It’s simple to list common interests, but it’s easier on a long-term relationship when a couple shares similar values. It takes time to see how your date lives out his values and vice versa; it’s not something you can fully know on just a date or two.

It takes time to get to know someone. If you’re dating for a long-term relationship, you want to take your time to determine if your guy is a good fit for you, which can result in a happier and healthier lifestyle. Fantasizing about a relationship without even knowing him will leave you with more to lose than gain.

You probably spend a lot of time talking about men with your girlfriends. You get support, but why not add the knowledge of a dating & relationship coach?

In this 2 hour event, you’ll have the same feeling of a girls’ night but with guidance and tips from Anita’s expertise. Your Night In is customized to fit the needs of you and your girlfriends. Every woman will receive a questionnaire prior to the event to ensure you get the most of your evening together.

Do you wonder why you’re not attracting the right guy? Do you worry you’ll be alone forever? Can’t seem to communicate well with your man? Whether you and your girlfriends are dating or in a relationship, you’ll receive practical advice and tools to get the kind of love life you want.

Contact Anita at anita@relationshipreality312.com or 312.399.1635 to reserve your spot. Drinks and snacks will be provided.

You probably spend a lot of time talking about men with your girlfriends. You get support, but why not add the knowledge of a dating & relationship coach?

In this 2 hour event, you’ll have the same feeling of a girls’ night but with guidance and tips from Anita’s expertise. Your Night In is customized to fit the needs of you and your girlfriends. Every woman will receive a questionnaire prior to the event to ensure you get the most of your evening together.

Do you wonder why you’re not attracting the right guy? Do you worry you’ll be alone forever? Can’t seem to communicate well with your man? Whether you and your girlfriends are dating or in a relationship, you’ll receive practical advice and tools to get the kind of love life you want.

Contact Anita at anita@relationshipreality312.com or 312.399.1635 to reserve your spot. Drinks and snacks will be provided.