What Your Relationship Mistakes Say about You

What Your Relationship Mistakes Say about You

Do you worry much?

One of the things I see a lot in my coaching practice is worry about relationship decisions and relationship mistakes from the past.

Many of the women I talk to worry they’ve made the wrong choices. Stayed in the wrong relationship too long. Let go of the wrong guy. Put off looking for Mr. Right until it was too late.

They’re worried they’re going to pay a steep price for what they’ve done. They don’t know if they’ll ever get the love they desire, and it’s all because of what happened in the past. If only they could go back and do it all over again!

No doubt about it, making mistakes hurts.

But if that’s all you focus on—the pain of past mistakes—your beliefs become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Life becomes harder. Your past sabotages you at every turn.

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could wave a magic wand and make all your past mistakes go away?

You don’t need a magic wand. You have all the power you need, right inside your own mind.

I’m going to show you how every mistake you’ve ever made in love can actually boost you towards greater relationship success. All it takes is a simple switch in perspective…

Your mistakes do not make you a failure.

They’re your badge of experience, and here’s why.

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Flaky Behavior in Guys? My top Solution

Flaky Behavior in Guys? My top Solution

Think of the last guy who really flaked on you. What did he do?

  1. Didn’t text/call you back.
  2. Disappeared on you.
  3. Didn’t show up for a date.

These days, it’s common for someone to vanish off the face of the earth, whether it’s ghosting (in which he disappears for good) or zombie-ing (where he disappears unexpectedly, only to pop back in your life like nothing happened).

Despite the increase in flaky behavior, it’s still rare that a guy would arrange a date with you, and then simply not show up.

(Even he knows he’d better text you if he’s going to cancel!)

That gives you a clue about the best way to deal with flaky behavior in guys.

Why Guys Flake

You might think that everyone knows right from wrong…

And surely these guys should have learned better behavior…

But what’s normal today isn’t what was normal even 10 years ago.

Technology has changed the way we interact. New norms are being created all the time.

Maybe you remember the days when you went out to dinner with friends and had their full attention the entire time. Now everyone dips in and out of the conversation, because their attention keeps getting hooked by their phones.

It’s not polite to check your phone when you’re supposed to be spending quality time with friends, but everyone does it, so how bad can it be?

That’s what he’s thinking, too.

“Everyone” is a bit flaky these days. Even women. So he thinks, “Why should I be held to a higher standard of behavior than everyone else?”

You Train Him How to Treat You

Judging him for being flaky when he really isn’t any flakier than anyone else isn’t fair.

What IS fair is letting him know what you expect.

The more you get to know someone, the more you find out what’s important to them. For example, you may be pretty casual about time, while it annoys him to have to wait for you.

It would not be fair if you had only just met and he wrote you off for showing up late. But it would be appropriate if he decided not to pursue a relationship after he’d let you know how important punctuality is for him…

And you kept ignoring that.

We have to let people know what behaviors aren’t okay for us. Not as a way of judging them, but as a way of establishing healthy boundaries.

If he doesn’t know what your expectations are, you can’t blame him for not meeting them.

Make More Dates

There’s one situation in which most guys are going to think twice about being flaky:

When you’ve planned to meet up for a date.

He knows it’s going to cause you a lot of inconvenience if he’s a no-show. You’d probably even dump him.

That’s why I urge women to make more dates.

Use electronic communication to arrange a date, then keep everything else until you’re face-to-face.

This tip can transform your love life. Not just because he realizes he has to make an effort with you—he can’t text occasionally and assume that’s enough—but also because all that in-person contact activates two powerful forces on his behavior:

  1. The Exposure Effect
  2. Loss Aversion

He’ll find himself more and more committed to you, without even realizing it’s happening. Here’s how it works…

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How to Get Over the Shame of a Breakup

How to Get Over the Shame of a Breakup

It’s tough when women come into my office suffering from a recently-ended relationship.

They want to get over it, they want to move on and meet someone new, but the pain of loss keeps tripping them up.

I admire these women greatly. They’ve gone through a terrible experience, but they’re already looking ahead to the future. They’re going to do things better next time. They’re not going to make the same mistakes.

Having a growth mindset, where you choose to learn from difficult experiences rather than remain stuck, helps you succeed in life and love.

What have your past breakups taught you?

Here are some lessons that DON’T count:

  • “My ex was an idiot.”
  • “All men are jerks.”
  • “I’m never going to love again.”

In the immediate aftermath of a breakup, those are the kinds of conclusions that are easy to draw. They make you feel better. They paint the breakup in black-and-white terms: you were right, and he was wrong.

Those thoughts don’t help you grow, but they do serve a purpose. They make you angry. That anger helps burn away some of the shame and embarrassment of what you just went through.

Most people don’t associate the emotion of shame with the experience of a breakup. Yet shame is what makes breakups so difficult to process.

It’s what makes breakups hurt so much.

That’s why, when a heartbroken woman comes to me, I know she needs to release any shame she feels before she can truly heal.

Shame makes us feel awful. It clouds our vision, so we can’t see clearly. It prevents us from learning the lessons we need to learn.

We don’t have to feel ashamed just because a relationship ended. There’s NOTHING we need to feel embarrassed about. And here are 3 reasons that prove it.

1. Breakups are not a personal failing.

The first thing many of us think when a relationship ends is:

“What did I do wrong?”

Regardless of why the relationship ended, we blame ourselves. If we’d only been more attractive, more attentive, less demanding, etc, the relationship might still be thriving today.

Of course, that’s not true. Relationships end for a constellation of reasons, most of which can be summed up in just one sentence: “It wasn’t a good fit.”

You don’t blame a puzzle piece for not fitting where you think it should go. Nor would you try to cut the puzzle piece into the right size, just to make it fit.

But popular culture tends to make women responsible for holding relationships together. Have you ever heard someone say, “She can’t keep a man”? The implication is clear: if she just worked harder, the relationship wouldn’t have ended.

But the fact of the matter is…

2. Breakups are the normal outcome of most relationships.

When you get into a relationship with someone, the most likely outcome, statistically speaking, is that you’ll break up.

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Brené Brown Wants You to Drop Your Armor

Brené Brown Wants You to Drop Your Armor

Brené Brown is everywhere.

If you didn’t catch her TED talk or her appearance on Oprah’s SuperSoul conversations, you might have seen her recent Netflix documentary “The Call to Courage.”

Even though she’s a shame and vulnerability researcher (which wouldn’t seem to have mass appeal), everyone loves her.

Because we ALL feel shame. We ALL feel vulnerable. It’s actually a relief to get those feelings out in the open.

But when Brené shifted directions to write about business and leadership, I didn’t think her new work would have anything to offer those of us interested in better relationships. How we behave in the workplace has nothing to do with how we date, right?

Hmm….

Given the amount of time we spend at work, our workplace culture shapes us. We learn what other people value most in us. We learn what’s okay to talk about and what’s not okay to share. We adapt to our environment, and those lessons go back home with us.

Problems arise when your workplace culture requires that you “armor up.” You push down inconvenient feelings, you maintain a façade of perfection, and you make sure no one catches you being all-too-human.

This is what Brené describes as “armored leadership.”

It’s when we strive to protect ourselves rather than open up to uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure. We want to make sure we look good, even if we don’t feel good.

If you work in a dog-eat-dog environment, that’s often the only way to survive. But then you come back home…

And you find yourself pushing down inconvenient feelings, avoiding hard discussions, and choosing looking good over feeling good.

You take your work armor and wear it into your intimate relationships.

“Armored dating”–my term, not Brené’s—is incredibly common.

We feel as if we have to wear armor to succeed in the dating pool, which can feel as cut-throat as business.

Here’s what some of your armor might look like:

  • You make him do all the work (making the first move, asking you to become exclusive) so that you don’t have to risk rejection.
  • You present yourself as the kind of woman he wants, rather than revealing your true self.
  • You avoid complimenting him or showing him appreciation because you don’t want him to know how much you like him.
  • When something happens that makes you feel uncomfortable, you brush it off because you don’t want to jeopardize the relationship.
  • You focus on achieving the goal (exclusivity, commitment) instead of considering whether momentum is what you really want.
  • You play it cool even when he hurts your feelings, because you don’t want to let him know he’s gotten to you.
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