The Lesson Oprah Learned about Men

Even Oprah used to sit by the phone waiting for a guy to call.

She’d stay off the phone in case he tried and got a busy signal. She wouldn’t go out to dump the trash or start a bath in case she missed hearing it ring.

This was decades ago, when she wasn’t the powerhouse she is today.

But she still had powerful friends…

And one of those was Dr. Maya Angelou.

The award-winning poet, author, and civil rights activist who would go on to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2010.

Not surprisingly, Dr. Angelou wasn’t a woman to pull any punches.

She listened patiently to Oprah complain about her bad relationships. Waiting for this guy to ring. Waiting by the window for that guy to show up.

Then Dr. Angelou said:

“When a person says to you, ‘I’m selfish,’ or ‘I’m mean,’ or ‘I am unkind,’ believe them. They know themselves much better than you do.”[1]

The moment was captured on camera for The Oprah Winfrey Show, and it became one of the defining lessons of Oprah’s life.

Oprah sums up what she learned like this:

When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”

It sounds so simple.

But it’s not.

How do you know someone just showed you who they are? You don’t want to jump to conclusions. You might be mistaken about what you saw. You don’t want to come down too hard on someone, especially if they’re doing their best. What about second chances?

Dr. Angelou’s message goes right up against the most powerful rule of being a good person:

See the good in everyone.

Do you look for the good in the men you date?

Or do you, like Dr. Angelou, look for the truth?

Ideally, you want to do both. Seeing the best in him makes him feel good. But his words and his actions may not align. Protect yourself by paying attention.

There’s a knack to balancing the two. See if you have it by trying this little quiz.

A man promises to call but doesn’t. Do you think:

  1. “He didn’t call. What a jerk! Good riddance,” or
  2.  “Hmm, he hasn’t called. Interesting,” or
  3.  “Why hasn’t he called? Maybe he got busy. Or something came up. Or his phone got disconnected.”
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Go Ahead, Get Mad at Him (Just Do This First)

Go Ahead, Get Mad at Him (Just Do This First)He did it again.

That THING that annoys you.

You know better than to talk to him about it. You’ve tried that. Nothing changes.

So you keep your mouth shut.
You’re going to be the bigger person. You’re going to take the high road. You’re not going to let it get to you.

But sometimes…

When you’re lying in bed with him at night…

You can’t stand the sound of his breathing. How he takes over the bed. The simple fact of his existence.

Ah, yes. Life with the one you love. 😉

But the story doesn’t end there.

There are some things you do.

Things that annoy HIM.

And he knows he can’t talk to you about them, because you’ll just get upset and defensive.

He’d rather have a happy home than have you mad at him, so he bites his tongue. He doesn’t say anything.

And sometimes when he goes to the gym or meets up with his friends, he doesn’t want to come home. He doesn’t want to have to guess what kind of a mood you’ll be in. He wishes life with you didn’t have to be so complicated.

Every day, in households across the world, men and women are doing what they believe is the right thing to do to keep the peace and stay together.

They’re biting their tongues. They’re trying to rise above petty emotions. They’re putting their relationship first.

And that’s wonderful.

But it comes at a cost.

All those irritations and annoyances and resentments build up and build up and build up until…

KABOOM!

You have a huge fight.

A fight over nothing.

A fight where you’re screaming at one another, threatening to leave, and saying every single nasty comment you wanted to say for AGES but bottled up.

Will your relationship survive?

Maybe. Maybe not.

But if you want a different future, you need to start looking at a different way of dealing with your anger. 

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Does He Deserve to Be Inside Your Circle of Trust?

Does He Deserve to Be Inside Your Circle of Trust?Should you trust him?

It’s a Catch 22.

If you do trust him, you’re opening yourself up to getting hurt or betrayed.

If you don’t trust him, you’ll never gain true intimacy.

Has this ever happened to you? You trusted someone who shouldn’t have been trusted…

Then decided the answer was withholding your trust until the next man proved himself worthy of it…

Only to lose him.

You don’t have to play that game anymore.

Up until now, it may have felt as if you only had two options:

Either you trust him, or you don’t.

But there’s another option. A better one.

You trust him EXACTLY as much as he deserves.

I’m going to share a simple model that will help you do that.

It’s called The Circle of Trust.

Before you ask, it bears only a passing resemblance to the gag from “Meet the Parents.” 😉

The Circle of Trust is a way to visualize how close you are to the people in your life.

Imagine a circle with concentric rings. At the heart of the circle, in the innermost ring, is just one person:

YOU.

The most important person you can trust—the person you need to have 100% faith in—is yourself.

You should never trust other people more than you trust yourself. This protects you from manipulators who make you doubt yourself.

Ring 2: Inner Circle

In the next ring are those you are closest to. These are the people you respect, trust, and love with all your heart. Maybe there are just a few people here: a best friend, a sibling, a mentor.

These people have earned the highest level of trust you can give another human being. Ultimately, you want your romantic partner to be in this ring.

Ring 3: Friends

The next ring includes close friends and people you care about. Maybe these aren’t people you could call at 2am when you can’t sleep, but they’re good people. They are there for you as much as they can be.

Ring 4: Acquaintances

These are people you know, like, and interact with. They may include co-workers, people from your gym or church, or distant relatives.

Even though you may not be very close to these people, they still belong in your Circle of Trust, because you know you can trust them in limited circumstances. You can trust your co-workers to help you on a project, or that guy at the gym to spot you on the weights.

That’s what a very basic Circle of Trust looks like, but you can include more levels if you want to be more precise.

Everyone else—strangers, people you’ve just met—belongs outside your Circle of Trust. They have to earn the right to enter your circle by showing you they’re reliable.

So how does this model help you trust that guy you just met on Tinder?

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Will He Come Back?

Will He Come Back?You remember, don’t you, all those times you felt so close to him that time stood still.

There was no one else in the world. Just you and him. Love wrapping you in a cocoon of happiness.

There was only one thing you needed for it to be perfect:

The knowledge that this would last forever.

But he wouldn’t give you that. Couldn’t give you that.

He broke your heart.

And you were left with nothing but memories.

But those memories are worth more than you think.

They have the potential to bring him back to you.

And science says your chances aren’t too shabby.

Why We Love Reuniting with Exes

On-off relationships are everywhere these days. Couples break up, get back together, break up, get back together…

They’re especially common in young adults. One study found that nearly half of young adults have gotten back together with an ex.[1]

Even among married couples, anywhere from 10 to 20% have split up and got back together again.

Why?

Perhaps because it’s hard to let go.

One study found that about half of those who break up are ambivalent about it.[2] They have strong reasons to leave AND strong reasons to stay. They keep wondering if they made the right decision.

Which explains the phenomenon of “boomerang breakups,” where your partner breaks up with you one minute then is at your door the next, begging you for a second chance.

Dating site Elite Singles found that about half of us would give our exes another chance if they came knocking at our door.[3]

Why do our exes exert such a powerful hold over us?

It all comes down to shared memories.

The Science of Unforgettable Love

He may be able to get rid of your picture and phone number, but he can’t get rid of the memories you made together.

Those memories live inside his brain—and yours—no matter how long you’ve been apart.

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