How to Thrill the Man You Love Without Being a Doormat

How to Thrill the Man You Love Without Being a DoormatJamie came into my office in a huff. She pulled off her beanie and plunked down in the chair. Her tawny hair frizzed in all directions.

“Something happen?” I asked.

“No.” She waved my concern aside. “It’s just … well, something a friend of mine said.” She twisted the beanie in her hands.

I knew Jamie well enough to know that nervous gesture meant she was getting up the courage to talk about something painful.

“Okay, let me run this past you.” She frowned. “When I’m in a relationship, I really want to be good to whomever I’m with. I want to take care of him. I want to do nice things for him and make him happy.”

I nodded. Jamie had a kind, loving heart. It was only a matter of time before she met someone just as loving as she was.

“So I was talking to a friend of mine about how I did so much for my ex—and he never acknowledged any of it—and she told me…”

Her voice quivered. She took a deep breath.

“She told me that men don’t like doormats!”

She glared at me defiantly. “James, I’m not a doormat, am I?”

Now, let me pause my story for a moment here and ask you, what would YOU tell her?

It’s the one piece of dating advice that keeps cropping up again and again:

Don’t be a doormat. Don’t let men walk all over you.

The intention behind this piece of advice is good. It’s a reminder to value yourself.

But a lot of things get thrown into doormat territory that don’t belong there.

Like serving the man you love. Compromise and sacrifice. Loving someone as you would want to be loved.

Doing nice things for the man you love is NOT the same thing as being a doormat.

So let’s tease out the difference and see if there’s a way to be kind and loving without getting taken advantage of.

First of all, what is a doormat?

In a practical sense, it’s the mat you place in front of your door so that people can wipe their feet before going inside.

A doormat, then, is someone who allows other people to walk all over her. She wants people to “come inside” so badly that she doesn’t mind taking on all their yucky stuff.

For the doormat, it doesn’t matter how dirty a man’s shoes are. He can come in anyway, because she’ll clean his shoes for him. The dirtier his shoes, the more useful she feels.

Clearly, that’s not who you want to be!

You want to be the one standing at the door, looking at him eye-to-eye, deciding whether you’ll let him in.

If his shoes are filthy, you’re not going to clean them. You’re going to stand at that door until he cleans his own shoes.

That’s why I sometimes suggest that the opposite of being a doormat is being a hostess. Hostesses are awesome. So let’s talk about what that means.

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7 Things You Should Know Before the First Date

7 Things You Should Know Before the First DateHave you ever been on a blind date? They’re nerve-racking. Even if you trust the person setting you up, it feels like such a gamble.

What if the guy is a jerk? Or an idiot? Or just a really, really bad fit?

Blind date horror stories range from the uncomfortable to the truly bizarre. For example, there’s the girl who was unknowingly set up with her cousin. Awkward. But that’s not nearly as weird as the guy who kept his dead father’s “lucky dentures” in his pocket and proudly showed them off to his blind date.

That’s the end of that date. Turn and run.

You likely have dating horror stories of your own—blind and otherwise. That’s because all too often, we don’t know enough about the other person before the first date.

I’m not suggesting you request their college transcript, or do a full background check, or ask them to take a personality test. (Even though all three of those would be interesting.)

But it is wise to do a little homework first, even if you’re just meeting for coffee.

If it’s a blind date, you can get the scoop from your would-be matchmaker. If he’s someone you know from work or the gym, you can ask a few simple, non-threatening questions. If you met through an online dating site, check out his profile or just ask him to friend you on Facebook so you can see how he interacts with other people.

Just don’t go into that first date without some idea of who he is. Which opens a whole new can set of questions. What do you need to know before the first date?!

I’m so glad you asked.

There are 7 basic things you should know before you meet him for dinner, drinks or coffee. The goal is to know who he is enough to decide if you really want to invest the time to get to know him better.

This isn’t a definitive checklist. It’s more of a guide. In other words, as long as you know some of this stuff you’re far more likely to have a good first date.

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How to Spot a Guy’s Underlying Character

How to Spot a Guy’s Underlying CharacterDo you know how to spot a guy’s underlying character? If you don’t, it’s all too easy to end up with a guy who’s not worth your time.

Here’s what I mean.

Jenn and Lisa are best friends. Both recently started dating someone new. Like most friends, they compare notes.

The other day they were having coffee, and Jenn described how her guy was in a foul mood on their last date. He wasn’t rude toward her. But he was short with the waiter at the restaurant and the usher who took their tickets at the theater. He even snapped at the guy who parked the car.

Lisa had a similar experience with her new beau. A work meeting went poorly and it showed throughout their entire date. But at the end of the night, he addressed it. He explained why he was in a bad mood, took responsibility for letting it affect his behavior, and apologized.

“I’m sure your guy apologized to you, too,” Lisa said to Jenn.

Jenn shook her head. “Nope. That’s how he usually is. I mean, he’s always sweet to me, but he knows how to get his way. People learn not to cross him the hard way.”

Right about now, you’re probably thinking the same thing Lisa thought. Lisa’s guy was having a bad day, but that’s not the norm. Jenn’s guy just sounds like a jerk.

The difference is a state versus a trait.

States and traits look similar, but they’re totally different. States are temporary. Traits are—well, not necessary permanent, but certainly more well-established.

A state is a one-off situation, like being short because you’re having a bad day. A trait represents a pattern of behavior. Happily-ever-after hinges on learning to spot the difference between the two.

Fortunately, it’s pretty easy to tell states and traits apart —when you know what to look for. I can help you there.

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Why He Loves It When You’re Selfish

Why He Loves It When You’re SelfishRelationships thrive on selflessness.

They require sacrifice, compromise, and putting each other first.

We know this deep in our bones, and yet…

Have you ever noticed lopsided relationships, where it seems like one person is doing all the giving and the other person is doing all the taking? One’s a saint; the other is selfish.

It seems like the answer would be to have a stern talk with the person who’s being selfish.

He needs to think of others besides himself for once. He needs to see how much his partner is doing for him. He needs to start pitching in.

But I have an unusual suggestion:

Maybe the person who’s always selfless should start being selfish once in a while.

As she learns to be more selfish, their relationship ends up balancing itself out and becomes better than ever.

How in the world does that work?

Let me guess. You want to know because you’ve been the one doing all the giving. You know what it’s like to feel taken advantage of. You don’t want a repeat.

You might think the solution is to pick a less selfish man in the first place. If you could find a man who was giving like you, you’d be set. You’d both serve each other, and your relationship would be paradise.

That’s one option, certainly.

But another option—the better one—is to prevent your relationship from getting imbalanced in the first place.

Where Imbalance Starts

Relationships tend to get polarized.

He’s tidy, she’s messy. She’s the organizer, he forgets everything. He’s on time, she’s late. She’s the strict parent, he’s the permissive one.

This polarization happens even if couples start off fairly well balanced.

Let’s say that, in your relationship, you’re the tidy one and he’s the messy one.

Before getting together with him, though, you didn’t see yourself as a particular tidy person. You’re just tidy compared to him. He keeps things clean enough to suit him, but he’s no Mr. Martha Stewart.

Over time, that small difference grows. You clean the house; he messes it up again. He doesn’t see why he should do any cleaning when you do such a good job of it. He notices that it seems to give you pleasure to keep things tidy, so why should he deny you the fun?

You end up frustrated and feeling used. You don’t like feeling like his maid! He couldn’t survive without you making sure he has clean underwear. He doesn’t think of anyone but himself.

What’s the answer to this problem? Handing him a mop?

To answer that question, let me tell you about something called The Shadow Effect.

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