Give me a “Hell yeah!” if:
- you want to have a drama free relationship.
- you want to euthanize insecurity.
- you want to end the dating exasperation you have experienced up until now.
Good. We agree.
Let’s start with a heart-centered strategy.
Because you are SO ready to have what you want.
The strategy begins with exposing some of the relationship falsehoods we’ve been fed by society. Somewhere along the way you have been misled about what it takes to create a legendary duo. And when you’re operating with faulty facts, it’s nearly impossible to manifest the results you want.
But no more.
Let’s clear up a few of those falsehoods, douse you with raw reality (ouch), point you in the right direction for romance + set you on your smoldering, love-making way.
Juicy, right? I guarantee that by following these two essential tips, you will extinguish 98% of your frustrations in relationships and pave the way to experiencing the kind of mutually rewarding + loving partnerships you not only crave, but deserve.
How’s that for a proposal?
I love going big.
Truth 1: Men Are “As-Is” Merchandise
Have you ever found yourself on a first or 22nd date thinking he’d be perfect if only he lost a few pounds, put on a few pounds, had hair, had a more impressive career, was wealthier, more affectionate, younger, older blahblahblah?
FACT: Men don’t want to be changed or improved.
But we L-O-V-E to tweak ‘em don’t we? The truth is, if you’re a woman and have ever dated anyone, you have probably wanted to change him. What if I told you that this behavior may be one of the reasons you’re single or unhappy in your current relationship?
Let’s meditate on this.
Men want to be appreciated for who they already are and you have got to give up trying to change his original packaging. One of the biggest mistakes women make is trying to improve a man into something he’s not.How would you feel if the man you were with was constantly trying change or “tweak” you? What if he suggested you lose a little weight, earn more money, dress sexier and learn how to cook? Would you feel attracted to him?
Imagine it’s date number one. Assess how attracted you are to him, understand what he can provide in a relationship and then decide whether or not you are interested in him. You must look at WHAT IS and decide if he is a good fit for you RIGHT NOW.
If a “yes” bubbles up, then keep enjoying his company. But if a laundry list of “tweaks” begin to stream through your dolled up, date-ready self? Let. Him. Go.
So if you’re not happy about some aspect of the man you’re dating, you have two choices.This is not to say if your honey of two years has suddenly packed on 35 pounds you should just accept it. Communication is critical in any healthy relationship. However, there’s an immense difference between communicating about what works for you and what doesn’t, and trying to improve someone.
1. To communicate clearly (and with compassion) what is concerning you + then wait for his response. It’s possible that you’ll be in agreement! At which point you can discuss possible resolutions + work together as a team. However, if not...
2. Keep it moving, sister. If you feel very strongly about your concerns and it’s going to burn a hole in your stomach + he doesn’t want to comply – you’ve gotta move on. He is just not the one for you.
Ultimately, your job is to simply be there and speak your truth about what is working and what isn’t. If he wants to adjust anything, he’ll need to pull up the strength within himself to do so.
If your priorities are misaligned, be courageous enough to move on. It’s ultimately selfish to stay in something that isn’t fulfilling. You both deserve to be with someone who celebrates you just the way you are.
Truth 2: A Relationship Will Not Save You
A man will not save you. Filling the void in your heart cannot be accomplished just by having a man.
You must be the administer of your own rescue.
You’re worth it.
Operating from the mindset that a relationship will save you, complete you or usher in the success you have been yearning is a guaranteed way to remain both single + unhappy.
I, myself, have made the mistake of believing that I needed a man in order to feel whole + emotionally and/or financially secure. In a way, it is woven into our genetics. Our DNA has a sharp memory + for longer than not, women have needed men for survival.
But! We’re living in a time when women have the choice of being with a man because we LIKE him – not because we need someone to pay the rent. However, our cultural morals haven’t necessarily caught up to reality and women are conditioned to believe we’re somehow incomplete without a committed relationship.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
If you’re looking for a sustainable sense of security and wholeness it cannot be found in any outside resource. A relationship will not rid you of the feelings of loneliness, fear or insecurity that are inherent in the human condition. There is no man, no job, no home or amount of wealth that can ever generate an ongoing, uninterrupted sense of fulfillment in you. You are already SAFE.
FACT: Holding back in your life is what’s keeping him away.
Stop waiting for Prince Charming to come along and make it all better.
Stop putting off your dreams.
Stop delaying taking action on the things you know you want most for yourself.
Invest, now, in your career.
Invest, now, in your education.
Invest, now, in your finances + health.
When you invest in yourself first and stop holding back all the neediness that drives men bonkers, it will evaporate because you have made the executive choice to stop using a relationship to fix yourself.
Instead of secretly waiting for things to get better once you meet “the one,” you begin living your life with authenticity + spunk. Understanding and acting on this knowledge will instantly make you more relaxed, sexy, and genuine to men.
Now. Go get him + keep him, honey!
Scrap your Mr. Perfect list.
What if I told you that when you annihilate the borders of restriction you allow in a tide of eligible men?
Would you be willing to release and let go of what you think will make you happy in a man?
Yes? Cool. Stay with me a minute.
Courage is key here.
Up until now, your checklist has been a self-erected barricade to love and probably held you back from getting precisely what you want – and more. Is it possible that your list has become a convenient excuse allowing you to dodge the challenge and closeness of a real relationship?
Often it can seem easier to remain single and independent, than to expose ourselves to the vulnerability and intimacy that is inherent in love’s blind faith.
So with fear at our backs – what do we do? Seconds after meeting someone, we compare him to our Mr. Perfect list and judge him as not “the one.” Sound familiar?
(I’ve been guilty of it too, ladies.)
Who is Mr. Perfect anyway?
He is an idealized vision you have of the man you should be with for the rest of your life. He’s an illusion – a fictional character you’ve created based on limited, crumbling, and faded information from your past. It will be impossible to find the right man for you now – in the present – while your check list is based on an old, less brilliant version of you.
Take notice of where you are anchored.
Is it in the past, in fiction, or in reality?
Get to the pulse of your consciousness.
Let’s use me as an example. I am 35 this October, and about 7 years ago, I sat down and wrote out my perfect man checklist. I sealed it in an envelope and put it in a wish box under my bed.
My Mr. Perfect looked like this: 6'2", sandy blonde/brown hair, and boyish, all-American good looks. Think Matt Damon, but taller. He would be a power executive at a major firm who had VIP meetings on his cell phone, while drinking a wheatgrass juice on the way to the gym. He had to live in the city, and have an impeccable sense of style.
Four years later, I still hadn’t found him. Why? Because I constructed this list based on old thought patterns, reactions, and judgements. I was unable to see that anyone else existed.
And I was lonely.
I needed to create a new normal for myself – pronto.
I set out on a mission to penetrate the present. I ripped up my perfect man checklist, and immersed myself in discovering what was true for me now. I began investigating the way I dated. I let go of the stale ideas of what I thought would make me happy in a man. I was petitioning the universe to bring me something completely new and fresh.
Today, I’m in love with an amazing man who brings me complete elation. He is 5'11", with dark and thick black hair, sexy ethnic eyes, hates wheatgrass, and has an obsession with coffee. He is passionate about his career, which is prosperous, but he’s certainly not wheeling and dealing major real-estate ventures. He owns his home out toward the desert, and to my lovely surprise, I enjoy listening to the rustle of the trees at night rather than honking horns.
See the contrast?
My ideas of the ideal man were so pale and so restricted compared to his shine.
Are you short-changing yourself?
Is it possible that your vision of the perfect man is way too narrow?
Why confine yourself to some fantasy idea of who you think you should be with?
Love is art, and art is risky.
Take a risk.
Torch self-limiting dating concepts.
Love is waiting for you on the other side.
And she is pure and she is encouraging.
What does it take to be great? It would be so much easier if we could call up Oprah and ask her, but most of us don’t have that luxury. Instead, we have to try, fail, win, lose, step up and get shot down before we can figure it out. The mental warfare involved in just getting through a Made Woman’s week can be overwhelming. That’s where Danielle Dowling comes in. A life coach by trade and a “spiritual ass-kicker” by design, she has made it her mission to help women like us: Women striving to be great but may be in need of a little mental kick in the pants every once in awhile.
After working as a sales and marketing director for companies like Bloomingdales and Equinox, Danielle recognized the need for someone who could speak to successful female professionals in a language they would understand. She found herself attempting to do just that, becoming a sort of informal therapist to women around her struggling with the dual pressure of pursuing career goals and managing a personal life. “I enjoy helping people work past an issue,” Danielle imparted when I spoke to her, “I became very interested in life coaching and how the mind works.” In 2010, Danielle decided to make her gift of offering guidance into her career and started her life-coaching practice. Since then, her portfolio has expanded to include speaking engagements, writing for multiple publications (including Made Woman Mag) and her own digital guides and workbooks.
On top of a successful life coaching practice, she is working toward obtaining her doctorate in psychology (just 1,000 lab hours and one dissertation away!). But a stuffy, traditional psychology practice is not what she has in mind. “The goal is to inspire women to lead inspiring lives; to achieve their dreams, whatever those may be,” Danielle says. There is not one dull thing about Danielle, and breaking through the clutter and catching the attention of the busy female professional is her forte. Here’s an excerpt from her Facebook page:
“I'm interested in compassionate ass-kicking and radical transparency. I believe in truth that frees and guts, guts, guts. My clients are women who are looking to step up their game, in love + life. They're either already good at what they do and want to be better or are stuck and want to get unstuck.”
Danielle offers a fresh and intriguing approach to dealing with the mental roadblocks so many of us encounter. Her passionate approach is based in psychology research and her own years of experience as a life-coach. “[Clinical] psychology looks at the past, what are the roots and causes that have you stuck? We work-shop the past to understand how you got here. Then we create a custom blueprint to get you to where you want to go. I approach coaching from a therapeutic angle with an action oriented goal.” She has tailored her approach to fit the clients she hopes to attract: dynamic, fun, funky, progressive winners; the type of individuals who may be put off by the traditional approach of psychology and not seek help, fearing that they may seem “broken.”
Naturally, a huge area of discussion for her 20 and 30-something clients is romantic relationships.The dating market these days can seem bleak to many of us, but the reality is that it gets worse, not better, as you get older and busier with your career. “In modern relationships, people are looking for partnerships. Partners who help us attain our goals in life. We are so far away from where we were 50 years ago, when the only expectation was a house and a paycheck. Higher expectations for our potential mates may complicate things. This is a phenomena Danielle sees all too often. Take for her example her beautiful, 31-year-old client who works as an executive but is unhappy about her long list of failed relationships. She’s capable of locking down a great job with great pay, but is unable to make a lifelong connection. “We looked for a pattern in her relationships” Danielle remembers, “This brought up issues of bullying from when she was younger. We found that she had a false belief system around self-image.” The prescription? A 10 week, 10 session regimen where she identified patterns in her client’s behavior and established a stronger sense of integrity. “We broke it down and rebuilt her self-esteem. She’s now with someone new and feels celebrated and at peace.”
While Danielle has become somewhat of an expert on dating and romantic relationships, she says that she hopes to help women deal with relationships in general, “How to handle your relationship to anger, your relationship to joy, your relationship to your self esteem” It’s not easy helping others work through their issues. She learned that talking to her clients about their joys, disappointments and rage triggered her own joys, disappointments and rage. Her advice to others who are interested in life coaching or psychology? “Get really comfortable with your own sh*t, specifically your past. Accept, analyze and try to have forgiveness. Otherwise you are going to get stirred and distracted.”
The power of Danielle’s message, combined with her abilities as a former marketing and sales professional make her a force to be reckoned with. I’ve interviewed her, worked with her and heard her speak, and there is something so intriguing about her approach. With her upcoming book, “Soul Sessions: Practical Tools for Freedom Fighting and Accessing Your Power,” her t-shirt line, “Soul Candy,” and emergent online presence as a dating expert (including a video series with Your Tango), the sky truly is the limit for this Made Woman. And since she is a professional spiritual ass-kicker, we’re sure she’s taking a few of us with her.
Seriousness has an important place in love + life.
Deep and meaningful conversations. Life-changing decisions.
Support at times when emotions are running high.
But playfulness is just as – if not more – important.
Laughter is a language that people use to bond. To mend. To escape.
People who take themselves too seriously (and lack any sense of lightheartedness) exude an emotional heaviness that penetrates their inner orbit + everyone in it.
And quite frankly – they’re a drag to be around.
But laughing till your sides ache and you can’t really breathe?
Or you can’t quite swallow your coffee because you’re chortling so hard?
It’s an instant breather from the stress of your day.
Humor can recharge you + your relationship’s emotional battery.
It soothes awkwardness + tension.
It reduces stress hormones while an influx of warm + fuzzy endorphins are released in your brain.
Laughter is just plain good for you + your relationships.
So why the sour puss? Why must you remain in control? “Right” or unfazed at all times?
Consider the levity laughter + humor brings.
Consider the freedom + perspective it offers.
Consider, for the love of god, having a good laugh at yourself.
Life is short + you have a choice about how to navigate the bumps in the road.
Using your humor will change things.
For the better.
Have you ever said something so ridiculous during an argument that you made yourself + the person with you laugh? And to your delight, the disagreement quickly became moot?
Humor rapidly lifts your mood and gives everyone involved the emotional distance needed to view events with a fresh perspective.
Dropping the serious act (when not necessary) and cultivating your humor
instead will euthanize the stress.
It will shed shiny, shimmery light on an otherwise shadowy landscape.
Humor helps you navigate tumultuous terrain.
Relationship expert John Gottman calls this type of humor a “repair attempt”- a statement or action silly or otherwise that prevents negativity from escalating out of control.
And these repair attempts?
The success or failure of a couple’s repair attempts is one of the primary factors in whether their relationship endures or peters out.
When you and your partner laugh together, you put defenses on hold and open yourself up to a new kind of connection. All that giggling deepens emotional intimacy and allows greater trust to take hold.
So don’t be afraid to cultivate the inside joke.
To have kitchen dance parties and even the occasional food fight.
Life is short. Spend it laughing with the one you love.
You’ve dated your way through your friends’ friends.
Your coworkers are off limits.
And after one too many rom-com-worthy bad blind dates, you’re no longer accepting your family’s setups.
Where are you going to meet someone who’s right for you? Someone who will get your quirky jokes and likes rock climbing and extra extra spicy Thai food?
Here are five new ways to meet guys!
1. Host a Party
Everyone you know has a super-nice-I-don’t-know-why-he’s-single friend. Now imagine putting all those great guys in one room--a room filled with your equally awesome single girl friends. The likelihood of finding a match just got a lot higher, didn’t it?
2. Visit a sports bar on the night of an important local game
Tons of guys in one place + a very obvious conversation topic. “Who’s winning?” “Why would they put him in to pitch?” “Do you think they’ll go all the way?” See? Easy conversation for hours. Bonus points if you actually know something about the sport in question or if you research the game ahead of time.
3. The gym
You might not feel your cutest when you’re wearing yoga pants and a sheen of sweat, but it’s a look that lots of guys like. And it’s incredibly easy to strike up a conversation--you can talk about how much you like the spin instructor, how you totally can’t do crow pose or how that one guy should really stop singing along with his iPod...
4. Online - but not the way you think
You’ve probably already tried online dating (which can be awesome!) but have looked through your Twitter feed? Or your friend’s Facebook friends? Or your Linkedin connections? The internet is filled to overflowing with platforms that connect people and non-dating websites can present a more realistic version of a person. Even better, chatting with someone on Twitter or Facebook is less likely to be riddled with sexual tension and romantic expectation, so you can get a better read of their real, day-to-day life and personality before you go on a date with them. Don’t think of it as stalking... think of it as research.
5. Anywhere you’re engaging in a hobby that YOU love
Let’s keep it real. This point? It’s the most important one. While taking a proactive approach to your lovelife is vital, it’s really important that you continue to be you and do things that light your fire. Everyone--male or female--is attracted to enthusiastic, engaged people. And if you’re doing something you love--sailing, taking cooking classes, going to poetry readings, hiking--you’re more likely to meet people who like similar things and to attract those people because you’re just so damn excited about what you’re doing.
Ultimately, you need to be the type of person you, yourself, would want to date. If you’re a happy + active + excited person, you’re going to attract lots of the same.
So get out there, own your awesome, and wait for the dates to roll in!
We all want a soul mate. “The One.”
Your perfect partner who can read your mind + finish your sentences.
We want fate + fireworks.
But believing in predetermined destiny is limiting.
It leaves little room for adventure + what life may want to give you.
What if The One isn’t who you thought they would be?
Love isn’t always syrupy sweet kisses + walking off into the sunset.
Sometimes the purpose of a soul mate is to tear down your walls, shake you awake, reveal new parts of yourself.
They become a mirror that exposes new dimensions of you,
parts that you may relish in or shrink from.
Soul mates give you the opportunity to notice personal obstacles.
And then actually do something about them.
They can force you to your own leading edge.
But all that emotional fever does not guarantee that they are your life partner.
Often riveting romances grip us in their clutch just to introduce the prospect of ruthless awareness.
They make us so loony + out of control that we have to evolve + transform.
Sometimes it’s their job to break your heart open.
And then leave.
I’m convinced that our cultural understanding of soul mates and
“The One” are small, limiting + incomplete.
Lacking breath + depth.
We don’t give “soul mates” enough credit for their potential emotional upheaval + transformative waves. Soul mates are not necessarily forever. Sometimes they come into our lives just to introduce us to a demon we need to beat. And then they leave.
And we must muster up the courage to let them go.
Because they were never supposed to stay.
Realize that they were the messenger + now we are left with the task of growing and evolving.
And “The One?” Doesn’t that sound a bit fairy tale-ish?
I’m not intimating that you’re not allowed strong ideas around what you want in a relationship but the rigidity of a romance complete with zero confrontation or compromise and a partner who is an ideal height, weight, eye color and “always” gets you the perfect anniversary present?
Well, it is, perhaps, a bit unrealistic. And leaves little room for variety.
Maybe your otherwise perfect partner will always leave the wet laundry in the washer until you find it.
Maybe they like Italian food when you want Sushi.
Maybe they’re THE worst gift giver and you always have to return what they buy you.
Maybe they’re not who your mother/father/co-workers/friends think you would have chosen.
Does this make them not The One?
The One is “The One” because you say so.
It’s the partner you declare THE one and only.
The partner who, in your own way, you love like they are “The One.”
So don’t discount that amazing person because of their height.
Or because you can’t complete each other’s sentences.
Or because you occasionally argue.
And don’t cling to a soul mate who’s served their purpose of opening you up and breaking you free.
You get to choose your own One.
Who you love is up to you.
You know how it goes – how it feels.
You know the thoughts that trip through your head.
Maybe I’m just in a bad mood.
Maybe this is just the reality of long term relationships and I need to be more realistic.
Maybe if I (or both of us) try harder, it will feel right.
So you stick it out. You take it a day at a time. And it doesn’t get better.
Why do we let relationships linger past their expiration date?
A bit of insight.
1) We forgot we have a choice. You’ve become a duo. You say “we” instead of “I.” It’s easy to forget that relationships aren’t written in stone. Relationships should make you feel expansive.
Remember that you chose this relationship. You have the option to choose again.
2) We stay for “their” sake: You don’t want to hurt them. They’re going through a tough time at work and you don’t want to add to the load. One of the most common reasons for delaying a break up is to prevent our partner from feeling shitty. We may feel that the decision to spare our partner’s feelings is the kind-hearted + evolved choice, but it can actually be more damaging in the long-run.
Your partner has the right to a relationship with someone who adores them. By dragging your heels and squandering your + your partner’s time, you’re doing a disservice to both of you.
3) People expect us to stay together. You two are at the top of every barbecue, holiday + birthday party list. You + your honey are THE couple. You two are A Good Time. Maybe you’ve even got a big ol’ diamond on your finger and families and friends expect a wedding. Regardless, staying together because people expect you to is a prescription for a life time of unhappiness.
4) We’re so invested. You can’t stop now, after all that you’ve invested. You bought furniture together, for the love of God! We’ve all been there and we all know this is totally irrational. The fact that you’ve spent a lot of time together doesn’t mean that you have to spend your future together.
5) We’re afraid of the break up. Maybe they’ll yell. Maybe they’ll cry. Maybe you’ll have to change your Facebook relationship status and then everyone will make comments and send you a million emails and texts. And you’ll have to separate all your books and dvds. And yes, it will be kind of awful.
But wouldn’t it be significantly more awful to spend years and years with someone who doesn’t light your fire?
5.5) Honestly, it all dials back to number 5. When broken down into it’s most raw, unfiltered essence–we’re afraid. Fearful of being alone. Because we think “alone” will leave us vulnerable + potentially deemed unlovable. This is not true, of course. But when comfort, as we know it, is threatened our survival nature can quickly overtake intelligence and irrational behavior reins supreme. And in this case we stall a long overdue separation.
Breaking up can be a crushing experience. But staying together for the wrong reasons will nonetheless dismantle you.
Just more slowly.
If you’re in a relationship that’s run its course, take a deep breath and give both of you the freedom you deserve.