“Why doesn’t he ever follow through with his plans? He’s SO FLAKY. He has so much potential that he’s not using. I could help him if he’d let me.”
“I wish she was ready to settle down. She knows I want a family but she’s so sure about backpacking through Europe. Maybe if I helped her get a better job she’d want to stick around … and get married.”
“Why is he always flirting with the wait staff? And why is he still listed as ‘single’ on Facebook? I don’t care if it’s just ‘innocent attention’ – if he loved me, he’d change.”
Sound familiar? (I can see you nodding from over here.) We’ve all been there – making a mental laundry list of the ways someone could ‘improve,’ an ongoing litany of their tiny flaws and all the ways we can polish and shine them to perfection.
But I’m afraid I’m captaining the good ship Reality Check today, friends. Trying to change someone is exhausting, disrespectful and (most importantly) 100% futile.
The upside of this? There is a truly life-changing sense of joy + liberation that comes with letting go of our need to control another. It’s when we let go that we finally feel loved and satisfied.
Pro-actively choosing to let go is different than clinging to something only to have it snatched from your clutches. Of course, actively choosing to let go of control – to let go of your need to change/improve another human adult – can be tough. But it’s also liberating and steeped in relief.
Borrow the courage to let go before heavy takes root.
When you proactively choose to let go you make delicious space for what you really want to show up.
When you let go, you allow the acceptance of “what is” to begin healing you.
You stop fighting a fruitless battle + bow to the perfect limitations of your situation.
With a heart ripped wide open you graciously, clearly understand;
:: This is all they have to offer + it’s not enough.
:: It’s time to move on. From this job, this town, this home. It’s been good but you must continue to grow–somewhere else.
Don’t wait until you’re “ready.”
The waiting is wrought with angst.
You have carried it and crouched under its weight long enough.
It isn’t until you give up on wanting them to change that you will find peace.
A few years ago, I was dating a much younger man who, for a plethora of reasons, I shouldn’t have been dating. I felt insecure about my age and finding someone who would love me as-is. My boyfriend was young and careless, partied entirely too much and eventually cheated on me.
After a lot (a lot) of meditation, journaling, and crying to my girlfriends, I realized that I could be at peace by accepting who he was and his choices, I could finally accept my responsibility for our relationship and for bringing him into my life. I decided to accept him for where he was in his life, and most importantly, to love myself. I let go of the weight of trying to fix him or wait for him to reach his potential and I felt hugely, immensely liberated.
When I began to love myself more + be more honest with myself, I made better choices. Since I knew I couldn’t change him and he couldn’t give me what I needed, with love and self-respect, I left.
If you too, would like to let go of your need to change your partner or to cling to things that aren’t working, here are five steps to get you closer to self-love and self-awareness.
1. Accept that the situation didn’t “just happen to you.”
This person you’re dating? They probably didn’t bang on your front door, insisting that you begin a romantic relationship with them. It is doubtful that you are being held against your will in this relationship. At some point, you chose to date someone who, for whatever reason, isn’t meeting your needs. You were actively involved in the decision to be in this relationship.
2. Accept the person for who they are and where they are.
My 23-year-old self is (thankfully!) very, very different from my 37-year-old self. In fact, I imagine my former boyfriends would be quite surprised at how I turned out. The same goes for everyone. Who we are, what we want, the type of love we’re capable of – these things change as we move through life. It’s not fair to expect a 25-year-old to approach relationships the way a 40-year-old divorcee does. Yes, that woman might make an amazing partner once she gets over her ex – but it’s not fair to either of you to sit around, waiting for that to happen.
3. Know on deep level that the only person you can change is yourself.
You’ve probably heard this a million times and maybe you’ve recited it over coffee to a few friends. But saying it and really down-to-the-marrow-of-your-bones knowing it are different. You can’t change the fact that she’s not ready to settle down, that he has a lot of growing up to do, or that she’s constantly running late. You can, however, change how you react to those things and whether those people are allowed into your life.
4. Celebrate your desires + truth.
Focus on your inner world, what you love about yourself, what is true for you, and where you want your path to lead. Instead of worrying about his financial stability, think about how you’re going to earn enough money to buy a little cottage in the woods. Stop focusing on what she does (or doesn’t) love about you and focus on what YOU love about you.
5. Take action in the direction of what you want most.
Building the life you want (filled with the right people) is a daily practice of step after tiny, unglamorous step. Big things start with small actions and those action always involve us and very rarely involve people who can’t meet our needs.
With love and respect, say goodbye to the people who aren’t right for you right now, and turn your attention to something worthwhile – creating a life that thrills you.
This article was originally posted on Baucemag.com.
Whether he’s happy or not, the mention of couple’s therapy is enough to send any guy running. The idea of airing out his dirty laundry in front of a stranger isn’t exactly what he’d consider a day well spent. But if your long-term relationship is in trouble, and you want to fix it, couples therapy may be just what you and your partner need. With that being said, knowing when couples therapy is a viable option is important. It obviously isn’t for everyone and every situation. Read on to see if couples therapy could end up being the solution you’ve been looking for.
Whether your relationship works out or not – and I hope it does – therapy is a chance and an opportunity to learn more about yourself and the way you interact with the people in your life. This could never be a bad thing. Good luck!
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.
Lost in 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.
Made Woman Magazine
This article was originally published on Danielle-Dowling.com.
Whoever coined the quote, “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach,” was wrong. For many men, the way into his heart is through big hits, touchdowns and highlights. Women may hate how obsessed guys are about football. And they may hate that they have to work even harder during football season to pull guys away from the sports bar TV screen; but that’s the wrong approach. The savvy women that find love during football season are the ones who have figured out how to use guys’ love for football to their advantage.
So here are a few strategies for turning happy hour into a love connection. Master them and you’ll have guys inviting you out every Monday night.
Know the Teams that are Playing
So, you’ve decided to go to hang out with the guys while they watch the game. That’s a great first step! But not knowing which teams are playing is a sure way to get ignored for the rest of the night. Show him that you’re a genuine girl by displaying a genuine interest in what’s going on in the football world. Check game day listings on ESPN, FOX Sports or any other sports outlet.
Know the Rules and Understand the Situations
While many guys don’t expect you to know the difference between defensive holding and pass interference, they will expect you to know that there are no “home runs” in football. So re-read this article on understanding the basics of football before you embarrass yourself by cheering Adrian Peterson for pitching a slam dunk.
If you have a favorite team, a great way to make an impression on him would be to wear a football jersey during the big game. It shows where your allegiance lies, but it also shows off your fun sense of style. Feel free to channel your inner fashion designer and create your own look. Tie or cut your shirt in the right places to make your look feminine, while still honoring the gridiron. You’ll get compliments that will make all of the other girls jealous.
When your (or his) favorite team scores, join the celebration by giving the guys a couple of high fives. It may seem trivial, but it shows that you’re a team player and that you share excitement in something he’s excited about. No need to do too much, but if he’s doing a touchdown celebration dance in the middle of the bar, give him a high five to show him that you’re right there with him.
You may feel a little out of your league by being in a loud bar full of guys. But a good way to win over the crowd is by chipping in for a pitcher of beer or a basket of wings. This simple gesture shows that you’re selfless, generous, and down to earth.
You don’t have to know who had the most rushing yards in last year’s Super Bowl, but knowing that the team you’re watching is in first place in the division will earn you some cool points. Knowing a few relevant stats shows that you’re good with numbers...and possibly money and credit…
And if you really want to wow the guys...
For the advanced-level ladies who understand football enough to be a part of their office’s fantasy football league, letting the bar know that you’re, “10 points away from winning your matchup this week,” will show that you’re really smart and you know your stuff. This is a surefire way to become the coolest girl in the room.
A guy wants nothing more than a girl that will support him and stick it out ‘til the end. One way to show your commitment is to stay for the whole game. You may think hanging out at a loud restaurant for three hours is a big waste of time -- and you might be right. But coming late and leaving early communicates that you honestly didn’t want to be there. Show him that you’re into the game (and into him) for the long haul.
In the event that his team comes out on the losing end of the game and he’s taking it hard, console him with a big hug. A loss is a great opportunity to show him that you’re nurturing and can take care of his broken heart. That’s the type of woman he wants to bring home to mom.
In short, football may seem like a bunch of dumb guys running around bashing their heads together, but the game is very close to our hearts. As a kid, every guy had dreams of being a great player. Today, we might not have those same dreams anymore, but we’re still looking for our #1 fan. With the tips mentioned earlier, show him that you want to be on his team. If you do a good job, you might walk away with a win and a man.
While relationships at work can be complicated, sometimes they just happen. Maybe you met your latest squeeze at the office, or recently started a business with your significant other. Perhaps your current company has THE perfect job opening for him. Whatever the scenario, at some point, you may face the challenge of working with your man.
But is it a good idea? Some couples make a great professional team. My parents have been in business together for more than 30 years, and it’s been successful since day one. My husband and I, however, choose not to work together even though we are in a similar field. We are completely supportive of each other’s careers, but we like to have our professional space and keep our life together outside the office.
Before you embark on that big journey of working alongside the man you also sleep next to, ask yourself (and him) a few questions.
Are you competitive with one another? Depending on the couple, this can be bad or good. Some couples may find that competition with each other fuels them to do better, while others will feel that competition – especially from a significant other – is mean-spirited, and may lead to conflicts in the relationship. If one or both of you is at all threatened by the other’s presence in the boardroom, you’re better off not working together.
Can you accept professional criticism from each other? Whether it’s positive feedback or trying-to-be-helpful critiques, if you work closely with someone you’re involved with, you face the fact that they may give professional feedback from time-to-time. Your work self may be different from your after-work self. Do you want to hear a “good job!” from him, or will it feel forced? Will he want to hear a critique coming from you, or will it come across the wrong way? This stuff matters, so talk it out and be honest about whether you want (or can handle) that level of professional closeness.
Will you be able to put aside personal issues at work? The office is not a time for you two to solve issues from home or plan your weekend schedule. It’s also not a time to hold a grudge from this morning’s fight or make lovey-dovey faces at each other if you had a romantic evening the night before. If you can’t keep it professional when you’re side-by-side, becoming co-workers may not be for you.
Do you need your own space to succeed professionally? This is your career. It is the one thing that is solely yours, and sometimes a woman just wants to keep it that way. If you prefer to remain independent and have a career to call your own, more power to you. Some couples don’t see it that way. They thrive off of each other’s mutual success in the same environment. If you can be that couple, then seize the opportunity. Additionally, having a significant other see all your ups, downs, triumphs and mistakes at work is daunting. It may be a professional environment, but your work is likely personal to you because it’s such a big part of who you are. You have to decide if you want to reveal that much of your life to him, and he to you.
Bottom line? Some couples can reach “power couple” status within the walls of the same office, while others need to maintain a separate professional identity to keep the relationship thriving. There is no right or wrong way to do it, but make sure to have a detailed discussion about whether or not it’s a good idea should the occasion present itself.
Most women take a lot into consideration when choosing a mate. Do they have a job? Are they motivated? Ambitious? Do they work out? Do they like dogs? And if you consider yourself a spiritual woman -- meaning you live your life with self-love, compassion, and an understanding of a power greater than yourself -- I believe it is imperative that you unite with a partner who also has a spiritual mindset. By doing so you will create more alignment and harmony in your life, allowing the master plan to unfold as easily as it was designed to.
Just think about it. We can often throw a wrench in things when it comes to love. We are doing all this great work on ourselves -- meditating, praying, reading spiritual books, whatever the formula may be -- but it quickly goes out the door when we start to chase after love with the wrong person. If your potential partner’s values aren’t as deeply rooted as your own, it can throw you off track. They definitely won’t be able to aid your spiritual growth. Now imagine a relationship where your spiritual goals are aligned. Where you both can help each other grow in your beliefs, whatever those may be. As a spiritual advisor and life coach, I want you to be happily united with your spiritual mate. So here are my tips to help you manifest your ideal spiritual partner:
Do Your Own Work: Whether you go to therapy or meet with a life coach or pastor, work through your issues and let go of the past. Get to a place where you truly feel a sense of acceptance with yourself and an understanding of the greatness created within you.
Clarify Your Beliefs: Figure out what you believe. Your perfect spiritual partner cannot align with you if your don’t know what your core beliefs are.
Create a Daily Spiritual Practice: 15 minutes a day is all you need to quiet your mind, reinforce your self-worth and connect with the power greater than yourself. This can be God, Universe, Source, Nature, Love or anything that resonates with you. Take this time to remind yourself of your greatness, your purpose and that you are not alone. You can do this through prayer, mediation, gardening, hiking, journal writing or anything that quiets and centers your mind.
Know What You Want, But Be Flexible: Create a clear picture in your mind with the specific qualities of your ideal partner. Spend time daily thinking about them and telling the universe your are open to give and receive love. Remember to be open and flexible, because love doesn’t always come in the package you expect it to.
Be Present and Stay in the Moment: This current moment is all that is real. Stay conscious and engage in it. Don’t wallow in past hurts or try to control the future. When you get to the future it will be now! Your perfect spiritual partner can be standing right in front of you, but because you are avoiding eye contact with your head down or glued to your cell phone, you may miss the connection.
Talk the Talk: While there is no need to be a religious fanatic, don’t shy away from conversations about your beliefs. You may be surprised who will connect with you because of what you believe.
Invite and Engage: Once you have set up a rapport with a potential mate, invite them to take part in your spiritual practice. Maybe it’s church or yoga or group meditation. If they say no, don’t force the issue. If they say yes, it may become another great way you can spend time together.
No relationship is perfect. But the basis of every good relationship is compatibility. Shouldn’t you be compatible on the things that are most important to you? Start with your beliefs and the rest will follow.
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.
You walk into the office Monday morning, ready to take on the world with your new outfit from the "Damn I Look Good" corporate collection... and then Here. She. Go. Little miss can't be wrong. Little miss my 'ish don't stank. You may also know her as The Office Mean Girl or as the woman who lives to make your day a living hell. But you are a Made Woman, right? And you're not going to let her see you sweat. Here are some ways to beat down.... I mean handle her in a professional manner that makes you look great while neutralizing her mean girl ways.
Beats By Dre headphones are not just fashionable ear candy for basketball players and rich kids from the suburbs, they are also great for drowning out the insane chatter of the office mean girl. The noise canceling headphones provide the perfect escape from the 15 loud and meaningless phone conversations she has all day long that your boss never seems to hear. To add a little bit of kick to this tactic, listen to the most hardcore rap lyrics you have in your iPod and quietly whisper them to yourself at your desk. She will think twice before coming to your cubicle as you recite lyrics from "Straight Out Of Compton."
Photoshop makes everything better and it can do the same for your mean girl situation. Photoshop some pictures of you on a tropical island with a hot guy. Or maybe one of you on Fifth Avenue in New York having fun with your best girlfriends. Take these photos and hang them up in your cubicle and watch the mean girl crumble. Deep down inside she is as insecure as they come, and seeing photos of you being fabulous in your everyday life will tug at her ugly soul.
You don't really need Photoshop to be look your best, you are pretty damn amazing in real life. So let's show her. Come to work in your best outfits with your hair perfect for a week straight and watch the compliments start flying your way. When people compliment you stay humble and say things like "I've had this for years" or "Got it on discount girl." Little miss mean girl will see this and possibly spontaneously implode in her cubicle.
Two Can Play That Game
She didn't invent the mean girl game and she certainly won't finish it, so if you can't beat 'em join 'em. She isn't the only one who can rat someone out for taking too long of a lunch hour. Also, remember when she took home those pens and Post-Its from the office supply cabinet? That's pilfering company property and your boss should know about it.
When she wants to strike up conversation about her trip to Cabo San Lucas and how she has no split ends and you need to moisturize, don't answer back or reply coyly. Give her the face. She won't know what hit her.
Discover Her Kryptonite
Is she a vegetarian with a gluten allergy? One day you should order meat lovers pizza filled with gluten goodness that mean girl can't enjoy, unless she fancies a trip to the emergency room. Or maybe she is going on a diet, even though she looks emaciated already, and you just happened to order two dozen Krispy Kreme donuts. Oopsie!
There is no more powerful tool in your office arsenal than email. Like a ninja, you must learn to use it in your ambush on mean girl. Send an office-wide email to a hot new happy hour that your friend from Warner Brothers is throwing where Common, Kirko Bangz and other cool people will be present. The trick is to leave mean girl off the email list. Put everyone's name in the BCC: field so that she can’t see she wasn't invited. Another stealth email trick is when mean girl decides to send you the third snarky and condescending email of the day, BCC: your supervisor so s/he can see her true colors. Checkmate, chick.