Article I wrote for YourTango.com:
He returns your text messages. He calls you back. He takes you up on invitations to spend time together. He eats your cooking and humbly accepts your gifts. Maybe he even admits that he deeply cares for you. But, he gets an ‘F’ for effort.
If you don’t reach out, he’s M.I.A. He won’t initiate contact. He doesn’t buy you gifts or do thoughtful things for you. Not to mention, he’s been clear since the beginning about not wanting a real relationship with you. So, could he still, one day, love you? Or is your heart destined to be broken? Here are some questions to ponder.
1. What Do You Think Would Happen If You Let Go?
If it feels like you’re singlehandedly holding the dating relationship together, then you probably are. If you feel like he’d float away if you loosened your white-knuckled clinch on him, then he probably would.
2. Does He Act Guilty?
Most opportunistic jerks don’t enjoy hurting women. It’s just a nasty byproduct. And chances are, if this guy is using you, he is no exception.
He feels guilty about toying with your feelings and it’s going to show on his face. He will seem emotionally heavy at times and may display misdirected self-hatred at you, acting sniping and mean.
He may also, and this can be very confusing, show deep levels of empathy at times– listening to your problems with a concerned expression or touching you with loving affection. This could be more related to his guilty feelings than to any real compassion for your person. Because, let’s face it, if he had compassion for you, he’d release you to find real love.
3. Does He Have A Sordid Romantic History?
Listen to the way he talks about women and previous relationships. Does he play the victim? “She was so controlling” or “I’m complicated and women don’t understand me.” If he has a history of not being accountable and blaming women for being “crazy,” then your relationship is probably never going to go anywhere.
You’ll end up enraged by his lack of accountability and empathy in the non-relationship you share and you’ll become his perpetrator, too. He won’t be able to see how his actions push you to attack; he will only see your “angry, controlling ways.”
Drinking responsibly on dates is a must. It’s obvious advice and yet so few of us follow it. Why? Why do many of us ignore these sage words of wisdom of first date etiquette and guzzle anyway? Here are 3 reasons why drinking responsibly on dates goes out the window… while the vodka gees down the hatch:
1. We don’t think he’s the one so why not just have some fun. You’ve been sitting with him for 10 minutes and something about him (or something he says) makes you think that you’ll never let THIS GUY end up as your husband. You decide that he’s cute and fun enough to drink with and maybe sleep with, if you’re in the mood later.
The problem with this thinking: Most of us are scared and feel vulnerable when we date. Fear makes us FIND things we don’t like about men on a date. You can’t know that a guy is not for you in 10 minutes (unless he’s clearly nutty and in that case, you shouldn’t be drinking with him anyway). Think about all the stupid things your ex said to people all the time– you know, that ex you are still madly in love with. And then give the new guys a break for the first couple dates– he’s nervous too! Chemistry is not the same thing as chemical romance. It takes time to know if you gel with a guy, even if the fireworks aren’t flying. That’s why couples who start out as friends have a good chance at making it long-term. Better to slow down and get to know him, then to drink together, write him off and sleep with him anyways!
The Dating “Critic”, Justin McClure, is hilarious! For a good laugh on the subject of Drinking Responsibly On Dates…
2. We are having such a good time together, we get carried away. So you made a choice before the date not to drink more than two cocktails (one if you’re a light weight). Then you get to the bar, get to talkin’ with the guy and you realize that drinking responsibly on dates doesn’t apply to this situation because it’s going so well, you think that this guy is going to call again no matter how many drinks you toss down. And to your credit, he may be having a great time.
The problem with this thinking: He could be labeling you in his mind. Remember how I just wrote that dating creates fear in people? Fear makes us categorize: she’s marriage material, she’s “only for a good time” material, she’s “only for tonight” material. Guys have GREAT times with the “only for tonight” gals, so just because he’s laughing with you, doesn’t mean he’d ever consider a real relationship with you. And in all fairness, you wouldn’t take him seriously if he wasn’t drinking responsibly on dates either.
3. We get anxious and think we are more confident when tipsy. One of the best ways to immediately remedy anxious feelings is to drink. One or two drinks can relax you, loosen you up and make you less uptight.
The problem with this: Drinking only loosens our inhibitions and we end up drinking more and more. It’s hard to know when to stop, especially when we really like a guy and are nervous. A wine glass is something to cling to and drinking is something to do when our nerves want us to fiddle and do stuff to alleviate them.
The Solution: I suggest you don’t drink if you know that drinking responsibly on dates isn’t possible for you after one or two glasses. Or, I suggest that you make a decision to treat every date the same way and always stick to a certain number of drinks, no matter where you go or with whom. I suggest a standard set of dating guidelines for other aspects of dates to: sleeping together (have a number of dates you force yourself to wait before hopping in bed with any guy), what you wear ( put the same make-up/hair/wardrobe prep in for every guy), etc. If you treat the guys who seem like better catches like they are more important, this will make you nervous and will give off an air of wanting to please. And the truth is that many times the best guy for us is not the one who, at first, appears to be the best catch.
Drinking responsibly on dates is easier when you walk into a date feeling confident about yourself and comfortable sitting in your fears and vulnerability. Sign up for my newsletter and learn how to share your vulnerable, yucky, scary feelings with a man (even on a first date!) in a way that will magnetize him to you!
Article I wrote for digitalromanticinc.com:
He was once head-over-heels for you and now he’s heeled it out of there, nowhere to be found. I’ve been right where you are quite a few times and it always hurt like hell. The self-doubt, the analyzing and rehashing of each moment of every date trying to figure out what I said or did wrong to push him away. I would drive myself mad and end up feeling like a toilet, hollow and filled with gook. But I was able to turn things around when my current boyfriend pulled back and I want to share with you now what to do when men stop calling you, so that you can draw that special man back to you, fast.
• It’s Kind Of Obvious, But If You Need A Reminder: Don’t Contact Him
Most of us know not to phone, text or email when men stop calling. But the reality is, we still do it. Oh yes, we get sneaky and creative when we need to (the resourcefulness of women, I tell ya), and we “innocently” reach out when men stop calling.
Because a man is on our mind, we start to see things in our everyday environment that remind us of him, things we’re convinced he absolutely must know about. So we send cute memes that have something to do with a date we went on or we send him Groupon.com coupons for classes or events he showed interest in… You get the idea.
I don’t care how much he needs to know about something—don’t contact him. The reason has less to do with him and more to do with you. We contact a guy to get an adrenaline rush, a hit of our drug, but when he doesn’t respond with something that feels good (and let’s face it, only an “I’ve been stuck under heavy furniture and I’m so sorry I haven’t called; would you like to go out to dinner tonight?” would feel good at this point), we come down off that high with a big, resounding thud. We feel even more shame (the gook in the toilet) and we haven’t accomplished anything.
• When Men Stop Calling, Become The Queen Bee
In my Love Advice Newsletter I talk about being a queen bee with men instead of a worker bee. The queen bee is the heart of the beehive. She is the reason for everything her little workers do for the colony, and they pay close attention to her, tending to her every need. I want you to stop buzzing around like a worker bee – worrying when a man will call, scrutinizing every move you make on a date, planning dates, controlling the pace of the dating relationship, asking his friends what happened to him, etc. Instead I want you to stop doing anything for men and think of yourself as the center of their world.
Photo: Silvana’s Skin Care spa (SilvanaSkinCare.com)
As a dating and relationship coach my tools and techniques mostly involve working with women from the ‘inside-out’: finding a way to get closer to a man by getting closer to yourself and changing your thoughts. Sometimes however it helps to work from the ‘outside-in’.
A Calvin Klein sheath dress fresh off the rack or a pair of Burberry T-bar sandals can click on my feminine energy like a light switch. In this article I’m recommending a date night beauty regime that will not only make your skin radiant but will boost the love and confidence you feel in the presence of your man.
Right before date night, I’m a big fan of clay masks. They give my skin the buff and polish it needs. I have been a fan of Lancôme’s Pure Empriente Masque and Murad’s Clarifying Mask. But then I was given a sample of a facial clay mask that has changed my skin, and, in turn, my confidence.
Silvana Mak is a trusted, LA-based medical esthetician and skincare expert who gives a fantastic Brazilian bikini wax. She also has her own skincare line appropriately called Silvana Miracle. Her Vitamin C Serum is a favorite with her clientele. I am a devoted fan of Silvana’s Ocean and Earth Clay Mask. It’s goddess glow in a bottle!
Silvana’s date night beauty secret Ocean and Earth made my skin plump and moist, my pores tight, and the surface of my face feel like soft butter. My man even noticed, commenting that I looked youthful. And this is a man who took 3 hours to notice when I went from blonde to brunette.
I am a devoted fan of Silvana’s Ocean and Earth Clay Mask. It’s goddess glow in a bottle!
Just the ingredients listed on the clay mask’s label say it all. We are a society that is becoming health conscious and looking at labels when deciding what to eat. But it’s important to look at the label when you choose to put something on your skin. The ingredients in Silvana’s date night beauty regime mask, Ocean and Earth, are clean and simple: Water, Natural Earth Clay, Spirulina From the Ocean, Aloe, Kelp and Grape seed Oil.
Compare that list to what’s inside your favorite brand’s clay mask. I bet you won’t be able to pronounce most of those ingredients.
And the best part—Ocean and Earth softened my heart too. This date night beauty regime left me feeling so good about my 34 year-old derma that I almost danced my way to the table at my and my boyfriend’s favorite date night wine and cheese bar. I was playful, basking in the attention I received from my partner from across a charcuterie board.
I didn’t even have to think loving thoughts or make an effort to be appreciative and sweet that night. I just felt those things happen organically, and before the wine started to pour. Silvana helped me feel good about myself in a way that no other skincare brand has. Her date night beauty products are like a love potion No. 9 that makes women fall in love with themselves for a night. And what do I always say about dating: Men fall in love with women who fall in love with themselves.
Ocean and Earth’s more-than-reasonable $20 price tag didn’t hurt either. Goddess Glow that’s easy on your canvas tote.
Pop psychology loves to pump people full of romanticized faith: poetic photographs with quotes preaching positivity on friends’ Facebook pages; the word ‘hope’ carved into pocket-size stones and spelled out in rhinestones on hundred-dollar bracelets. And why not? Why not encourage a little optimism, especially in love? With a dismal divorce rate and couples having less and less faith in long-term commitment, why not push people to trust a bit more?
My coaching is all about having an open heart with men. I encourage women to have a little-girl heart when dating or in a relationship: find your childlike whimsy, feel your emotions fully and live in the present moment. But what I don’t want women to do, and what often happens is, women hold onto false hope.
Don’t Stay Optimistic About Love As An Excuse To Continue A Bad Relationship
Has Mr. Unavailable been hanging around, staying just out of reach but close enough to make your mouth water?
You can’t stop thinking about him, strategizing on how you can get him to come just a little closer and realize his true feelings for you. You not only remain optimistic about love, you remain a champion fighter for the cause. You STUFF DOWN all the yucky, negative feelings. Especially the anger– oh boy, you sure don’t want him to see that slimy black gook. You even fight back the tears and the heaviness and you make a promise to yourself that you will be more fun, more exciting and sexier next time you are around him. You wrap yourself into a pretzel trying to cater to all his apparent needs and be that source of unconditional love in his life he’s never known.
But the reality is that your negative feelings don’t just disappear when you ignore them long enough; they go somewhere. They are very patient li’l buggers, hanging out in the depths of your soul, waiting for a vulnerable moment to break free and blow up to the surface. You end up blowing up at Mr. Unavailable, experiencing emotional roller coaster rides every time he disappoints you, and you end up acting passive aggressive or needy.
Sometimes Believing In The Brighter Side Of A Bad Boy Leaves You In Total Darkness
We all know when we are dating (or even married to) Mr. Unavailable: we know he’s got a glitch in the empathy processing systems in his brain; we know he’s a man boy who can’t seem to hold himself accountable to anything; we know intimacy terrifies the crap out of him and that he cheats or disappears for days. Yet we hold onto faith. We get on the computer and pluck “believe in love” memes from Google Images; we buy books, eBooks and ePrograms to help us seduce him into our arms. The problem is that he will never come. He can’t. He doesn’t have the tools in his toolbox.
Be Optimistic About Finding Real Love
Sometimes the best faith we can have is in a power higher than ourselves, and I’m not talking about God. I’m talking about the power of true love. I’m talking about having the faith to continue dating a guy you know is a good man and would make a stable and committed partner even when you don’t initially feel the attraction, the chemistry, the spark. If you have FAITH in the power of love, you can stay in that dating relationship and trust that mutual attraction will happen over time. Because it will. (It’s about having faith in your intuition, in your ability to create something that goes deeper than chemical romance. It’s about believing that you are worth more than being kept at a distance by a limited man.)
Use your intuition and be honest with yourself about men who are lost causes, but don’t become paranoid and ditch a guy at the first sign of a red flag. Take your time with guys and trust that if you relax on dates, enjoy yourself (while still holding back from sleeping with him too soon or getting too emotionally invested early on), the truth of who a guy is will slowly reveal itself. A wolf in sheep’s clothing will soon let a whisker or claw pop through if he’s comfortable enough with you. If this happens, don’t panic. You’ll live. Have faith that you can bounce back from him; believe that not all men are wolves and that love is waiting for you. That’s truly being optimistic about love!
Time To Be Vulnerable Without Being Susceptible
The fastest way to a broken heart is to pretend you don’t have one. Charlie Sheen said that. Knowing his reputation, it’s obvious that he has a lot of experience with playing games and what kind of woman is susceptible to his limitations. If you act hard, brittle, distrusting; if you play games with men because you think that’s the way to find love, you are going to end up burned. I guarantee you that however fantastic you think your game is, there is a Mr. Unavailable who has a better game. You have feelings, you have needs, you have a tenderness that yearns for tender protection. Don’t play with emotionally unavailable men—they will scar your scars.
Instead, play zero games. And be vulnerable with EVERY man. Not susceptible, but vulnerable. This will train you to trust your boundaries and know what feels good and what feels awful. The way I want you to be vulnerable is to communicate your feelings and allow men, even the Mr. Unavailables, to see your feelings. I ask that you are open with your heart and emotions in every conversation you have with a man. Have faith in yourself and in your boundaries to always speak the truth about how someone or something makes you feel. And do it in a way that invites men closer to you…
Open-Hearted Communication: What To Say & How
The best communication is the easiest and most direct. To use words to create instant intimacy takes a lot of vulnerability, softness, kindness, and, wait for it… optimism. It takes trust that more men will respond lovingly than not, and it takes trust to know that no matter how a man reacts to hearing your feelings, you are going to survive and be okay. You can’t control a man’s reaction, but you can control how you act and how much dignity you emanate.
photo source: livelifehappy.com
Breathe, find your grounding and state your feelings in a soft, revealing tone that lacks judgment or bitterness. If you accomplished this, you’ll be so alluring, you’ll be able to tell a man that you’re “so angry you want to stab him with a kitchen knife” and he’ll still offer you a hug. (I mean it, it’s happened to me with my man. And I was holding a knife at the time.)
Examples of open-hearted communication:
“I feel sad and angry when you disappear on me for days.”
“I feel really good when a man kisses me hello, thank you for doing that.”
“I feel uncomfortable on first dates but I’m working through it.”
The best communication requires that you be optimistic about the end result, which isn’t his reaction, but how you are going to feel about yourself for being so open and truthful.
If you want to learn more communication tips, sign up for my Love Advice Newsletter. In it, I talk extensively about vulnerability vs. susceptibility and how to be a soft, sensual and luscious woman while still remaining strong in your beliefs and boundaries. If you want to be optimistic about love, you have to share who you are without losing who you are to an emotionally unavailable man