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Love + Dating // June 2, 2014

Dear Made Woman,

I met this amazing guy on a dating site, he was very sweet, funny, charming, cute, smart and great to talk to. We didn’t live in the same city but every day he would text me and/or call me first, and even send me cute little good morning texts. Two weeks later, we decided to meet up and we finally did, five days ago.

We had a lot of fun on that day, by the end of the night, he was worrying about the distance and how the relationship would work.  I believe I saw him crying.

Then, he decided we should just be friends, but he did say when the opportunity comes, we can try again. He also said that he would text me later that night. So two days went by and I haven’t heard from him. I feel so awful and used.  I decided to step up my game and send him a picture of the day we hung out and he still hasn’t responded. I feel horrible and stupid. Is he trying to tell me it’s officially over? Please help me.

Thank you,

Lost in Love

++++

Hey love,

A truly amazing guy will be very sweet, funny, charming, cute, smart and great to talk to. Every day, he will text you and/or call you first as well as send cute little good morning texts AND continue to do so without disappearing off the face of the earth or crying about a measly 40 minute drive to you. I’m sorry, but he sounds unavailable and (I know this is disappointing) his behavior (especially the crying?) sounds unstable.

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I don’t want to leave the impression he is a bad guy, not at all, I just think he is not 100% ready, for the commitment you seem to be you are looking for. My boyfriend of two years, lived one hour from me up until October, when we moved in together. He would drive to me and I would drive to him. It wasn’t difficult at all.  Sometimes frustrating... but our time together was totally worth it to me and vice versa. He would stay over at least one night during the week and we would spend Friday-Sunday nights together.  It worked well!

This guy’s behavior, no matter how sweet he might be, sounds erratic.

Really hot one day and really cold the other, and that’s a red flag.

On another note, be wary of how much you communicate with your date before you meet them in person. A few short conversations are fine but be careful to not overly invest your heart and energy before seeing them… because you can end up in a situation like this. You grew closer to him in your conversations before hand and it makes distancing yourself from his unstable behavior now more difficult because of the over investment. You deserve and should be looking for a man that is consistent and reliable in his behavior in both words and actions alike.

Otherwise you’ll spend a lifetime beside yourself in confusion + mystery. In dating, I encourage you to observe impersonally rather than taking it personally as much as possible. Be mindful to not attach too much value to anyone until they prove themselves worthy.

Collect these experiences, put them in your tool belt of knowledge, extract the lesson, and throw away the rest.  Most importantly, know when to walk away. And learn to recognize when they are giving you all they have and it is STILL not enough.


xx,
Danielle
Made Woman Magazine


This article was originally published on Danielle-Dowling.com.

Published in Dating

Relationships // May 19, 2014

This is for all the women out there that want it all (myself included): a thriving career, close friends and a fulfilling relationship with a “special someone.” But what’s the problem when you have everything at your feet and the “world is your oyster?” There are simply not enough hours in the day to enjoy and dedicate yourself to everything.

I was inspired to write this piece based on my own personal struggles to have it all. A few years ago, after just moving to LA, I had a few pieces of the puzzle: a promising relationship and a brand-new masters degree from USC—but I didn’t have many close friends and I was just on my way to building a career path.

Fast forward a few years later, and today, I have everything in spades. That promising relationship turned into a marriage, budding friendships turned into close friends and my career became more focused with every step. Granted, I am still working out the ins and outs of how to have (and enjoy) it all, but here are a few tips that have helped me and my marriage along the way.

1. Set Clear Goals and Communicate Them

One of the most important pieces of my life is my relationship with my husband. He is one of my biggest supporters when things are great (and when things go south in other parts of my life). Balancing a demanding career and a relationship (or marriage in my case) means open communication. We frequently discuss what’s happening at work and our goals. I know where he’s headed at work with both his short and long term plans for himself and he knows the same about me. We tell each other what’s going on and during periods of high work volume or unique opportunities, (like a networking event) we allow each other time to take advantage. Frequent communication and discussions make us a team in both home and career.

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2. Keep a Calendar

Juggling so many activities, events and dates is difficult, but making and keeping a clear calendar is key. I have a work calendar of course, but a home calendar is just as important. This way, both of us know when we have a dinner, late meeting or other event without getting flustered at the last minute over a forgotten commitment. A calendar is also a great way to keep track of your goals and check up on progress. If things are super hectic, (especially if you have kids too) you can use Google’s calendar which you can share with your honey.

3. Make a List

I am a big list maker. I love them! Grocery lists, shopping lists, travel lists, to-do lists, it’s part of my process and organization. Make a list of your projects, pending items, goals and specific tasks. Organize them by priority level and due dates. Include items that mean extra time at the office. If you know that you have to put in extra work time one weekend for instance, you might need to schedule your grocery shopping during the week to be able to spend your remaining free time with your partner. Making a list also helps you keep things in perspective and be realistic about your time commitments.

4. Set Work Limits

If I didn’t force myself to “unplug” from work, I would end up working 24/7. After spending too many anxiety-ridden weekends worrying about work, I have learned that you have to disconnect and take a breather. My husband and I have a rule not to check work emails past a certain time at night (or even if I slip up and do, I make a point of not responding until the next work day). Get into the habit of sticking to your “work hours,” whatever those might be and really allowing yourself to enjoy something else.

5. Schedule Dedicated Time

Be it a nice dinner or a day a beach, set dedicated time to appreciate your significant other and make sure that you are only going to be doing that one thing during this precious time. At dinner, don’t check work emails, and at the beach, logout of Facebook. Enjoy what’s in front of you and make the most of moments designated for family, friends and loved ones.

6. Work on Projects Together

As a counterpart to dedicated time, I also like to align my goals with those of family and friends. Chances are, your partner (and maybe even your friends) want to be involved in all the cool things you’re doing. Invite them to a networking event or include your partner in your passion projects.

7. Allow Yourself to Grow

As more things are added to your to-do list, and as commitments grow, it’s also important to know that no one is perfect and everything might not get done each week. There are plenty of weeks where my to-do list is neglected in favor of a movie night on the couch—and that is OK. Allow yourself to make mistakes, learn what works best for you and your boo and where your priorities are. But most of all, invest in things that make you happy. After all, living a fulfilling life is the end goal. Learn how you can get there by experimenting and trying different things.

What are you doing to balance your home and work life? Leave us a comment or tweet us @MadeWomanMag!

Published in Relationships

MW University // May 4, 2014

Lengthy classes, hours of homework, hefty loans: graduate school is stressful enough without the added pressure of dating and being in a serious relationship. Yet you’re actually preparing for your future as an adult, so you’re likely thinking that it’s time to settle down and find your spouse—or maybe you’re just sick of being lonely and would love somebody with whom you could share your agony over grad school. Either way, it’s tough to find somebody while you’re buried beneath projects and exams and staying in to keep up with the workload.

It’s also a difficult time to date during such an uncertain point in life. You may be attending school in a certain city, but what if your hometown is on the other side of the country? What if you have no desire to use your degree in the city or state in which your school is? Graduate school is probably the last, and most vital time, in which you should be selfish. This time is yours to work hard and succeed in school, so you can actually utilize that degree in which you’re investing vast amounts of time and money. Remember, to pursue your dreams before pursuing a ring on your finger, unless you are certain you could do both at the same time.

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That being said, if you’re still looking to date and are prepared to worry about a future with someone later, below are some great ways to meet people:

Tinder

Probably the easiest and most convenient app for (grad) students to meet.  It’s free and super easy to use. Tinder connects to your Facebook account (but hides your last name) so you know the people you’re looking at are least legitimate enough to have a Facebook account. You simply swipe through pictures of people and you can “Like” or reject whatever you see. If you like someone and they “liked” you back, it’s a match and then you have the option of messaging them. Be sure to actually put interesting details in your profile and your most flattering pictures.

DateMySchool

In order to fully use this service, you have to purchase a plan specific to your desires. It can be as low as $3 a month or as much as $18 a month, which isn’t bad since this site allows you to see people who have accessed your profile, exchange private messages, and customize your privacy settings so only people from the schools you designate with a certain age limit can contact you.

Networking events

Most graduate schools frequently host networking events or even parties where the students can congregate. Don’t skip these! Gather up your equally-stressed friends and have a blast. Get to know some classmates you’ve been overlooking because you never know who may be your soulmate.

Friends

However, if you don’t want to defecate where you dine (so to speak), simply ask your mutual friends to hook you up with someone they know from their job or other graduate school. In return, find a single pal from your school and bring them along for a fun double date. It might be an old fashioned, but it will at least keep traditional romance alive—meeting someone in person, rather than using a phone app to do so.       


Published in Dating
Thursday, 06 March 2014 23:09

Dating | 3 Ways to Date Better

Dating // March 9, 2014

This article was originally published on Danielle-Dowling.com.

Our relationships are a direct reflection of our own self-worth.
Who we love is intrinsically tied to our level of self-esteem.

Every day, clients tell me that they’re in a relationship with a person they care about but their needs aren’t being met. And every day, my sweet, smart, lovely clients ask me how they can change to keep that (mediocre, unfulfilling) relationship going.

Stop right there.

The only change they need to make (that any of us needs to make) is to be more authentically ourselves.
Now, that doesn’t mean you’ll never have to make another compromise. But it does mean that you should never abandon yourself to please another.

It’s human nature to fear the unknown and fear being left alone.
But, sweet friend, it’s not your partner’s fault if your needs aren’t being met.
It’s yours.

Responsibility and accountability are yours to wield.
Communicate your needs and choose someone who respects, enjoys + loves you.


We must practice getting comfortable with the unknown and with letting go of toxic relationships.  We must trust that we can co-create and design the life of our dreams -- not as we change to satisfy others, but as we embrace love and delve into deeper integrity.

Want to date better + find someone who’s as amazing as you are?

:: Practice self care + self love
 
You won’t find a calm, centered, happy partner when you, yourself, are frazzled and wound up. You won’t land that confident, loving guy when you’re fraught with self-doubt and anxiety.  Spend some time working on yourself and cleaning up your side of the proverbial street, and you’ll be that much more likely to find someone who is also balanced and self-aware.

Don’t worry about cultivating a six pack or getting an MBA if that’s not really what you’re into, just focus on becoming the best possible version of you and loving who you are.

:: Express your needs
Some people like to text every day.  Some people need a lot of alone time.  Some people want their partner to plan exciting dates.  All of these needs are equally legitimate. But your partner will never know what your needs are if you don’t tell him.  You needn’t open a first date with a checklist, but once things are clicking along, it’s okay to say “I want you to feel loved and appreciated.  How can I do that?”  When you’ve heard his suggestions, you can share yours.  And then when he does that for you?  Lots and lots of acknowledgement and appreciation.

:: Don’t settle – set a higher standard for who you date
Dating can be exhausting and demoralizing.  I know. (I really, really know.)  And I know it can be tempting to date that Really Nice Person Who Likes You. But please, hold out for the person who gives you what you need.

No more dating that hot guy who cancels at the last minute.  Or the sweet girl who hates her job and is buried in credit card debt.  Or that cutie who’s super negative and says snarky things about everything and everyone.

Time and time again, I’ve seen my clients struggle through subpar relationships. Eventually, after heartbreak and hassle, they find their person and – every single time – they say “I didn’t know it could be this good!  I want to shout from the mountain tops!  I wish I could convince my friends that they don’t need to put up with that foolishness – they deserve so much better!”

He’s out there.  He’s waiting for you.
And you’re wasting time with that cutie who isn’t right for you.
(And you know it.)


Of course in any relationship we have to compromise and find a middle ground. But please yourself first and then you will attract someone who is pleased with you.
This means embracing the unknown and being okay with letting go of something or someone that isn’t meeting your needs.

Ask yourself this question: “If I wasn’t afraid, what would I do?”



Published in Dating
Monday, 24 February 2014 08:11

Dating | Dating Diary: The Mile High Mistake

Dating // February 24, 2014

This piece is a part of our "Dating Diary" series, where real women share their dating horror stories. Yikes. Read the other stories in this series here.

I was living in Atlanta and dating a pilot -- yes, a pilot. I decided to get emotionally and physically connected to someone with one of the top five career paths known to influence infidelity; because I naively believed that not every pilot is a cheater who uses the fact that he travels for work to be dishonest (HA!).

In the beginning of our relationship, he would spend four to five days on the road and two to three days at home. His work schedule was convenient for me because I'm not the type to want to spend every waking minute with my man anyway. We didn't live together, but on his off days I would come over to his place and cook him a home-cooked meal and clean up a little bit so he didn't have to come home to chaos. For six months I would work a full day, leave my job, drive to the grocery store, drive 45 miles one way to his place, cook dinner, clean the house, start laundry, get sexy and await my man to come home for us to share 24 hours together before he hit the road again. It was ridiculous. I was exhausted, but I thought that in order to accommodate the special kind of relationship we had, certain concessions had to be made.

One night I found myself driving to his place after one of the hardest days I’d ever had at work. Once I got there, he looked like he was about to leave to go somewhere. "Where are you going?" I asked.  "Oh...Pinky, one of my flight attendants, invited me over for dinner so I'm going to run over there real quick and grab a plate. Do you want anything?" Stunned, I just looked at him. He couldn't possibly think his response was okay.

"Pinky?" I said. "Who the hell is Pinky? And what grown ass woman outside of the porn industry has a nickname of Pinky?"

“Don't trip, it's nothing. She's a real down-home type of girl and she doesn't know how to just cook a meal for just herself, so she made a big dinner tonight and just invited me over. Do you want me to bring you anything back?"

Not in the mood to argue, I just drop the issue. The next morning I wake up for work and venture into the kitchen for coffee. I see PILES of Tupperware in the fridge. I see this chick Pinky cooked this man a feast. *Side eye* Again, not in the mood to argue, I just got ready for work and leave the apartment. It’s only food right??

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A week later, we're back to our routine of me going to his house, cooking and cleaning. While I'm emptying groceries into the fridge, he comes in the kitchen and tells me he has to make a run over to Pinky's house because something is wrong with her plumbing. I’m thinking...oh, so you're Roto-Rooter now? You're just Captain Save 'Em and you have to rush over there to "fix her pipes?!"

In that moment I realized that Pinky held more of an important role in his life than I was willing to admit. It all became so clear -- a pilot and his flight attendant have a fling going on. How could I have been so blind? That's like a textbook couple!

Fuming, I stormed out of the kitchen and he left through the front door. Yup, he left. I grabbed my belongings and left moments after. We didn't talk for days after that fiasco. After enough of my cold shoulder and the silent treatment, he finally came to my job one day and invited me over for game night to meet his friends from out of town. I agreed and was looking forward to salvaging what was left of our broken relationship.

After work, I headed over to his apartment. I knocked on the door and a woman in all pink opened the door like she was the woman of the house. She was warm and friendly, but b*tch if anybody has the right to treat this apartment like its their home, it's me!

So I walk inside and he formally introduces me to Pinky and the rest of his friends -- that are all couples. Pinky is being the hostess with the mostest running around refilling glasses and making sure everyone is comfortable all while still cooking in the kitchen -- MY kitchen as far as I was concerned. Not trying to raise hell at his game night, I just made mental notes of all the foolishness and how comfortable she was in his place.

She then informs everyone that dinner was ready and we all made our way into the kitchen. That's when I saw it and that's when I lost it. All the groceries I had just bought days before were her ingredients in that night's meal. Her Houston, home-cooked recipe was sponsored by me!

I excused myself from the kitchen area and asked him to speak with me outside. I told him I wasn't about to bear witness to his date night disguised as a game night and that I wished him and his flight attendant girlfriend all the best. He tried to explain, but I couldn’t have cared less.

I got in my car and drove 45 miles home and never looked back for him or that relationship. As women, sometimes we neglect the obvious signs of infidelity that are right in front of our faces. This story is my lesson learned that if he walks like an asshole, talks like an asshole and looks like an asshole...he's probably an asshole and you shouldn't stay around to get the details.

Published in Dating

Love + Dating // February 10, 2014

Yes, Valentine’s Day is all about the romance, but there are some practical gifts that every lady secretly desires on this day of love. Just say no to the giant stuffed teddy bears. Give your honey one of these items and watch her eyes light up with joy -- since she won’t have to sneak back to the mall to return your gift for what she really wants. Ouch.


Brook, 27, Single

You know what every girl (or guy) needs? A get out of jail free card. If your partner has any unpaid parking tickets, surprise them with a clean slate. Who needs chocolate when you can be citation free?

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Jessica Dumont, 29, Married

My husband and I aren't big on the Valentine's Day gift exchange. Instead, we splurge every year to go to dinner at a nice restaurant we wouldn't normally go to. We always pick a place we've both wanted to try for months, get all dressed up and indulge ourselves in good food and cocktails. It's much more fun for us than trying to pick out a gift!




Christina Chen, 21, Single

This is the perfect gift because it’s TIMELESS. Any girl would love a rose gold Marc by Marc Jacobs watch to match her everyday outfits. Not only is it lovely under the sun, it looks beautiful at night as well! On top of that, it would go with her outfit for that Valentine’s Day date tonight! It also comes in classic gold and silver.

Available online or at Nordstrom, $225.00



Jasmin Martin, 24, Long Distance Relationship

The Love Is Art kit is a DIY paint kit that supports you getting down with the get down all in the name of art. For $60, the intimate paint kit encourages lovers to paint their bodies with paint or to just throw the paint on the canvas and uh, well...er..."make a masterpiece". What's left after your wild time, is a custom piece of abstract art created by you and your partner that is a physical representation of the love you shared. When it comes to making your one-of-a-kind artwork, the messier the process the better, but when you're tired of being a bedroom Picasso, rest assured that the clean up won't be a mess. The kit comes with a painter's tarp, disposable slippers, non toxic body paint and a body scrubber to get the paint out of those unspeakable places.

I love this idea as a VDay gift because my beau and I are always looking for new and interesting things to do, since our time together is always limited. Making this piece of art is a unique way to not only spend time together, but to create something that we can look back on and remember how much fun we had making it.





Ava Puckett, 22, Long Distance Relationship

Well, I know what all of us girls really want for Valentines Day: a seat at this ultra chic and exclusive Beyoncé themed V day dinner at Brucie in NYC. Unfortunately, I live almost 3,000 miles away and it’s already sold out. Darn! But, if I were to think up some more great Valentines Day gift ideas I would pick the book Love Poems by Pablo Neruda ($11.95 at Anthropologie).




Jillian, 20, Single

While everyone loves a great gift, it’s the experiences that matter most. This Valentine’s Day, why not go on a road trip to a place where you both have never visited? This way you don’t have to hyperventilate while he/she opens their gift, and you’ll have stories to tell when you get back.




Beth, 29, In a relationship

Shoes are like jewelry for the feet. I've been eying these Ginny Gem Point shoes for a while. They are $95 on the Miss Selfridge site.




Mia Xuan, 21, Single

Look at that packaging!! YSL’s line of Rouge Volupte Shine lipsticks are known for being long-lasting and moisturizing even after hours of wear. This shade called ‘Nude In Private’ is a breathtaking, natural shade and works well in any situation. It applies flawlessly and has a gorgeous finish.

Available online or at Sephora, $45.00




Patricia Orr, 29, In a relationship

My boyfriend hogs the TV for months during football season. I don’t mind, but I think for V-day it’d be nice to get control of the remote all day long. If I want to watch The Notebook for the millionth time he can just pass me chocolates. All’s fair in love.


Have any more great gift ideas for Valentine’s Day? Come on, let’s help out everyone doing some last minute shopping for their significant others! Leave a comment below!

Published in Love + Dating

Style // January 13, 2014

In dating, as in life, how you show up speaks volumes before you even get the chance to share how witty, smart and accomplished you are already.  So, you have to show up as the best version of you. How can your potential partner connect with you if you aren’t feeling like your most beautiful, confident self?

We may be talking dating and attraction and style here, but the first step for attracting your ideal guy is all about YOU. Your hopes, dreams, career ambitions, lifestyle wants, values, etc. You want a guy (or gal) who complements you, your goals and your lifestyle. Maybe they push you a bit outside of your comfort zone, but in a way that helps you grow.

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Style is not about frivolity. Great style means creating an outer presentation that reflects the inner you. So be clear on your values and WHO you are before you even start to incorporate the following hints and tips to put a little extra polish on your look.

Wear Color

Color influences your mood as well as how other people perceive you. How many times do you get complimented when you’re wearing your favorite hue?

People notice color. Especially in a sea of boring black and white.

Your favorite color actually speaks volumes about your personality. My website has a great, yet quick summary of the meaning of each shade.

Flattering Fit

This is the number one mistake women make. Either their clothes are too big or too tight. Neither is good. Usually, women who want to hide are wearing clothes that are too big so they don’t show their body. Well instead, you’re making yourself look bigger than you are! You want clothes to skim your body and show your shape. You shouldn’t have to tug at a dress to keep it in place, nor should it bunch up in a funny way because it’s too tight.

An easy go-to look if you want to cover a bit, but still look alluring? Skinny jeans + heels + flowing blouse + sexy accessories.



Now when I say flowing, I mean something that really flows. Not a potato sack. You should be able to see your waist and shape, but be forgiving.

Accentuate the Positive

If you’ve got a great bum, rock it by wearing blouses that hit at the hip bone. If you’ve got a great rack, flaunt it (tastefully)! If you’ve got strong legs or arms, show them off!

Dress to accentuate your assets. Every woman’s body is different and there is someone to love every body type. So stop trying to have the tiniest waist or the smallest thighs. Your body is perfect just as it is, to that perfect person. So, work it!

Wear skirts if your legs are your assets. If you’ve got killer curves, focus on fitted outfits that define your waist.

Be YOU

If you’ve got some rock n’ roll in you, let it rock. If you’re the girl who could spend a whole day reading, own your nerdy. If Saturday morning golf sounds perfect, then you may have a bit of prep in your style. Maybe you’ve got a blend of preppy-rock-nerd that is uniquely YOU.

The bottom line is that you can’t try to dress like anyone else. You can go outside of your comfort zone to grow to the next level in style, but do not go out of your comfort zone for the sake of a trend. You have to be you. Bring out the best version of yourself by wearing color, clothes that fit and adding a bit of personality to your style.

You can take these tips and apply them to dating, speaking on stage, showing up for work and in your everyday casual life.  Your personal style should translate across all of these different lifestyle needs. If you’re being true to you, your style can attract more than just love.

Published in Style
Thursday, 09 January 2014 19:22

Dating | Do You Have Daddy Issues?

Dating // January 9, 2014

Daddy issues. Do we even know what that means? Usually we hear it tossed around to describe a woman who we perceive to be “damaged” in some way. Or we use it to slut-shame her. (You know, where society jumps all over a woman because she is sexually liberated or behaves in a way that one considers to be “too much like a man…” God forbid she doesn’t play by society’s prescribed rules).

The truth is, the term “daddy issues” should not be taken lightly. Rooted in ideas of psychotherapy, the term "daddy issues" implies that a woman’s problems in her romantic relationships are at least in some way connected to a dysfunctional relationship (or lack thereof) with her father. But these relationships do not always have to scream dysfunction. Sometimes the things a woman learns or experiences in the relationship with her father (or other male figure in her life), can subtly affect her romantic relationships. You would be surprised at how even the smallest things about your upbringing can have a huge impact. So, that begs the question: How do I know if I have daddy issues?

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Sorry to break it to you Made Woman, but there is no cut and dry response here. We all have issues, circumstances and events that cause us pain and affect our behavior. Including you guys out there. (Hello!) The key to identifying daddy issues is to make it a goal to achieve some insight about yourself and your patterns in love. Think about the relationship you had with your father or other paternal figure when you were a little girl. What examples did this person set for you? How did he shape your idea of what a man is? How did he contribute to your idea of what a healthy relationship looks like? If you did not have such a person in your life, where did you get your ideas about love and men from?

After you explore the answers to some of these questions, identify maladaptive or non-productive patterns in your relationships: Are you drawn to men who do not value you as much as you would like to be valued? Are you lenient with disrespect and “second chances”? Make some connections and where you see the issues…work on correcting them. Write them down. Think about them. You would be surprised how many women keep dating the same type of man (that is inherently terrible for them) over and over again. And these women don’t know why they are doing it! Be aware of your deficits and weak points.

And what happens if someone snickers at you one day and accuses you of having daddy issues? Laugh it off. At the end of the day, all women are shaped by their father figures and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. You are figuring it out. And you shouldn’t let anyone make you ashamed of it.
Self-exploration and getting at the root of “daddy issues” will not be fun, but in the end you will be a self–assured woman, and less likely to be taken advantage of in an unhealthy relationship.


Published in Dating

Dating // December 30, 2013

In many ways, I'm quite the typical guy.  I like football, fast cars, and I love a good home-cooked meal. I quote Coming to America whenever I get the chance.  And I love to turn things into a competition, just for the fun of it.  Like I said - typical.

But because of my unique journey, I'm also very different.  Growing up in Oakland makes you develop a little faster.  As a young entrepreneur, swimming in an ocean full of sharks will teach you some cold, hard lessons about business.  Searching for meaning in a world full of chaos tests your resolve.  And getting your heart broken time and time again will challenge what you really believe about love.

Because of culture, media, and our experiences, we can fall into the trap of believing in myths instead of seeking the truth.  If the truth has the power to set you free, myths can keep you stuck in patterns of dysfunction.  This is especially true when applied to relationships between men and women.  While men could stand to learn a thing or two about women, that’s not what I’m here to talk about right now.  I’m here to help squash some of the long-standing beefs women have with men in the dating scene, and it starts with killing some of these myths that keep us at odds. I know it’s hard out there, but I hope these insights help you navigate your relationships with the men you meet.


Myth #1: All Males Are “Men.”

A Made Man operates under a different code than other men.  He’s a leader that lives his life according to clear principles and values.  Men like this stand out and you notice one when you meet him, not because he’s flashy, but because he commands your respect.  And a Made Woman won’t be satisfied in a relationship if she’s not with this type of man.

Myth #2: If He’s Single, Either He’s Gay, Crazy, Or He’s Lying.

If I had a dollar for every time a woman asked me why I was single, I’d be waking up in that new Bugatti that Ace Hood raps about.  I often talk to women who are puzzled by the single man that isn’t actively looking for a wife.  They assume there’s something wrong with him or that he’s afraid of commitment. To me Phonte from the rap group Little Brother said it best: “A woman’s life is love. A man’s love is life.”  For a Made Man, to find a good woman is one of the best gifts he could receive.  But the ultimate pursuit and prize lies in that man finding his purpose and passion, establishing himself in his work, and leaving his mark on the world. The great Steve Jobs talked about “making a dent in the universe.” All Made Men have this inherent desire to make an impact.  It’s how we’re programmed.  We don’t view women as less important than our passions.  They are to be our companions and partners as we go on our journey towards meaning and significance.

Myth #3: There’s No Such Thing As A “Guy Friend,” And If He Says He Wants To Be Your Friend, He’s Lying.

This is a tricky one because there are a few ways guys can act when it comes to friendship with women. Many women can remember a time where they thought they had built a solid friendship with a guy who just genuinely seemed interested in being their friend.  But in the end, it turned out that he was trying to figure out how to use his charm to get past her defenses and make his move.  This cunning scheme has broken the trust of women around the world, and it has ruined it for men that value platonic female friendships.  Some men are mature enough to enjoy the company and energy of a woman, and some men aren’t.  It’s too bad that the wolves in sheep’s clothing ruin it for the good guys that just want female companionship.

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But there are, in fact, some men that want to establish a solid friendship with a woman before taking it to the next level.  These men need to get know the real woman before they consider them as a potential suitable life partner.  They need to see the woman as she really is, and without the veneer that’s often put up during courtship. There is nothing conniving about this.  In fact, with the divorce rate what it is, it's probably smart for him to do his homework in this way. Women need to be able to identify this man, and appreciate the fact that he cares about his future and his family enough to choose his mate wisely. The difference between this guy and the wolf in sheep’s clothing is that instead of just saying he wants to be friends he proves it over time by showing he cares about you.

Myth #4: Men Are Intimidated By Strong Women.

Men can be just as insecure as some women are, and strong women can scare them.  But a Made Man is never intimidated by a strong woman.  He’s excited about her.  Because he’s secure in his identity, he isn’t threatened.  Instead, he’s excited to see her grow and thrive.  If you find yourself scaring off all the men you encounter, you could possibly be around a bunch of fragile boys in men’s clothing.  Steer clear of them for now.  But a word of caution: don’t confuse the word “strong” as a license for you to be disrespectful or insensitive.  It can be easy slip into cynicism, but don’t give in to it.  You might miss a Made Man when he appears.

Myth #5: Age Equals Maturity.

Just because a guy is older doesn’t mean he has his life together.  I know some 40 year-old guys who look for a  girlfriend that will take on the role of  their mother.  And I know some 20 year-olds that are ready to be the head of their household. From an emotional and psychological standpoint, some guys never leave the nest. They expect their woman to be compliant and always able to fix whatever mess he gets himself into.  Every man wants a woman who will be his biggest supporter and cheerleader.  But any guy who would rather have an enabler more than a co-pilot is not a Made Man.  A Made Man knows that every power couple is made up of two strong individuals.  He’s not looking for his mom.  He’s looking for his match.

These are just a few of the myths that women believe about men, and we’ll explore a few more in the next column.  But I’d love to hear your thoughts. Do you think these are myths?  Or are these realities that men will never be able to escape from?


Next Issue:  10 Myths Women Believe about Men (Part 2)


Published in Dating

Dating // November 18, 2013

For many, surviving the holidays involves the daunting task of giving a gift to everybody on the friends and family list. And because of the stress of holiday shopping, many of us give uninspired and underwhelming gifts. Within a few weeks, this gift usually finds itself on the shelves of the nearby Goodwill store or making an appearance at next year’s white elephant gift exchange.

But this year can be different. The key to choosing the perfect present is simple: give him something that enhances his life.  It’s not the expensive gift that always wins (though that can communicate how much you appreciate him).  Its all about choosing the right gift for the right guy.

Here are some of this year’s top picks to make his holidays a little happier.

Braven 850 Speaker System

Does he like music?  The Braven 850 is an excellent alternative to the Beats Pill.  Its 20 hours of battery life make it uber portable, you can stream music wirelessly, you can make calls with it, and even charge your other devices.  It may be the smartest portable speaker system in stores this year.

PlayStation 4

When he needs a little down time, the PS4 delivers the slickest entertainment experience.  Not only are the graphics stunning, but the new PS4 has the ability to learn his preferences and recommend content including new games, TV shows and movies.

Randy Watson Tee

This tee is sure to bring a smile to anyone who remembers the greatest singer to ever come out of Jackson Heights.  And he’ll love wearing it and being the talk of the dinner party.


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Pokket Mixer

Ever been to a house party that was in desperate need of better music?  This nifty contraption allows you to connect and mix between two devices (a phone, mp3 player, or tablet), making you the rescue DJ.

Improv Classes

Want to give him the gift of creativity?  A series of improv classes are the perfect gift for the guy that appreciates the arts or wants to increase his fast-thinking skills.

Find a theater company near you.

 

Cooking Class

For the seasoned gentleman who knows how to get around the kitchen (or wants to learn), a couples cooking class is a great way to learn a new dish and spend some quality time.  Get instruction from a top chef like Hipcooks, learn a new recipe, and then enjoy eating your new creation together.



Game Tickets

Is he a sports fan?  You can find deals on seats for his favorite teams on an online secondary-ticket marketplace.  Be savvy when scouring the available tickets and get him courtside - (or close to it).

StubHub is a great place to find tickets.

A Good Book

To many Made Men, a great book is priceless.  Help him “sharpen the tools in the shed” with a classic book like Robert Greene’s Mastery, or a new title like Malcolm Gladwell’s David and Goliath.


Premium Mens Grooming Package

Many men know the value of a good haircut, but many men have never experienced premium men’s grooming.  Treat him to a premium haircut, shave, and nail care.  They’ll love the soothing pampering that’s usually only reserved for A-listers, and others will notice their enhanced look.  They may never look at a regular barber the same again.

Find a master barber near your like Julian Payne of the Original Mobile Barber Shop


Personal Styling Consultation


If his appearance is important in his line of work, give him the gift of an updated image.  Buy him a day with a stylist like Melynda Choothesa of Couture Zen in LA to reinvent his closet or create a new wardrobe.  And don't worry about how expensive a personal stylist might be; you don't have to be Akon, Aisha Tyler or Chad Coleman to look like an A-lister.  In the end, he’ll appreciate a newly refined personal brand - just in time for the new year.


PhotoShoot

Could your Made Man use a little boost for his personal brand?  New headshots or studio photography is the perfect tool to help any young entrepreneur make a good first impression.

Look for a professional photographer near you.  If you’re in LA, Kimberly Yatsko Photography is a great place to start.

Weekend Staycation or Getaway

For the guy who’s too focused to play video games or go to a basketball game, a simple weekend getaway is the perfect escape.  He’ll appreciate being acknowledged for his hard work and being treated like a king for the weekend.  Get him a gift certificate to a nice hotel just outside of town so he can recharge and refocus on his goals for the new year.

Published in Dating
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