7 Things You Can Do to Feel Emotionally Stronger

7 Things You Can Do to Feel Emotionally StrongerIf you don’t meet your own emotional needs early on in a relationship, you’ll feel it later. Plus, it has the potential to really mess with your connection with your guy.

To illustrate what I’m talking about, think about the last time you were craving something.

I’m not talking about wanting something. I’m talking about CRAVING something. Feeling a level of desire that verges on obsession.

For example, a lot of people crave sweets. And the results of a recent study suggest that sweetness in the mouth triggers a “neurological reward” as powerful as cocaine.”[1]

No wonder we crave sugar!

How do you defeat a craving for sweets? One way is to eat a protein-rich breakfast. New research shows that a solid breakfast with plenty of protein “may lower food cravings later in the day.”[2]

Weird as it may sound, meeting a legitimate need early on can eliminate an empty feeling later.

The very same process plays out in relationships, too.

A great example is the classic case of the woman who lacks confidence. She starts dating someone. He dotes on her, but it’s never enough. She’s needy for affirmation, no matter how much he gives. She feels insecure in the relationship if he’s not doting on her all the time.

Why? Because she STILL lacks confidence. He’ll never satisfy her “relationship craving” for validation. In the end, it just messes with the foundation of the relationship.

But if you can cover certain emotional bases before things get serious, you can stop unproductive relationship cravings before they start. Instead of wanting something he can’t give, you’ll be able to ENJOY the relationship.

That’s so much better than feeling like you’re not getting what you need. Which begs the question, what’s the relationship equivalent of a good breakfast?

Psychologists call it “self-care.” I have seven super-easy suggestions[3] for injecting some self-care into your daily routine.

Continue reading

What To Do When Your Guy Lets You Down

What to Do When Your Guy Lets You DownAlaya remembered when she first started dating her husband.

She had to leave for a week on a trip, and he did the most romantic thing. He loaded up his iPod with a special playlist and sent it with her.

She never forgot the song that opened the playlist. It was a man singing about his fear of letting down the woman he loved.

“I believed, from that day on, that his goal in his relationship with me was to live up to the man he knew he could be,” she said. “It gave me great comfort. I trusted him, because I knew he was going to do his best to never let me down.”

Years passed. They got married. Things changed.

They moved, and Alaya’s husband had a hard time finding work in his field. They had their first child, and money was tight.

The man she’d married had been optimistic, loving, and dedicated to being a better man. But now he was sarcastic, sometimes bitter, and increasingly selfish.

“I talked about doing date nights, but he said he was too tired. He would make jokes about fat women, while I wasn’t even close to getting my pre-baby figure back. Where did my husband go? I didn’t even know this man.”

What would you tell Alaya?

Divorce him? Get him to couples counseling? Sit him down and lay down the law?

One suggestion that’s probably not on your list is to tell him how proud she is of him.

But praise works where criticism fails.

To show you how it works, let’s rewind Alaya’s story back to the beginning. Remember that promise her future husband made to her? The promise to never let her down?

What Alaya didn’t realize back then was that his promise required something from her. It was up to her to show him that he hadn’t let her down.

Understand this secret, and you hold the key to keeping your man committed.

A man enters a relationship with the desire to be his partner’s hero. He thrives when he exceeds her expectations. When a man can please the woman he’s with, he feels masculine, powerful, and overwhelmed with love.

In fact, the more she rewards his efforts with praise and gratitude, the more love he feels for her.

It may seem odd to you that love would be tied to performance for men, but think of it this way. When a man does well—whether at work, school, or in relationship—he gets praised. That praise gives him confidence and makes him even more committed to try even harder. It’s a virtuous cycle…

Until things start falling apart.

Their life gets more demanding. She asks more of him. He forgets to do what he promised. He fails to meet her needs.

Or maybe she’s consistently loving, but he’s having a hard time getting work. They’re living in a dump. He lies awake at night, brooding.

He realizes he’s broken the promise he made to himself when they got together. He’s letting her down. He’s failed.

To protect himself, he does the one thing she doesn’t expect:

He pulls back from her.

Continue reading

Early-Stage Relationships: When to Quit. When to Persevere.

Early-Stage Relationships: When to Quit. When to Persevere.Are you the kind of person who gives up on new relationships a little too early? Or do you find that you stick with a less-than-ideal guy a little too long?

Most of us tend to err on one side or the other. Which side do you lean toward?

Fair warning, though. We’re going to start by talking about a seemingly unrelated topic: Poker.

Even if you’ve never played, you’re likely familiar with the game. There are cards and people make bets. You don’t have to know any more than that. We’re going to talk about the betting.

Players take turns betting based on how strong they think their hand is . . . or based on how well they believe they can bluff. Sometimes a player will bet a lot and then have second thoughts.

They know they’re going to lose. But they stay in anyway. They even keep betting. Poker players call this being “pot committed.” It means they already have a lot of money in the pot (the total of all the bets for that round), so that they feel they can’t afford to just bail.

So they invest even more money into something that’s doomed to fail.

A recent study confirms the very same thing happens in romantic relationships.[1] The study’s authors refer to this as the “sunk cost effect.” The more time, money or effort we put into something, the harder it is to let go.

 It works the other way, too. The less you put into something, the less likely you are to stick with it.

And here’s the kicker. Putting too much OR too little into your relationship will mess with the balance of the connection you have with your guy.

Some of us stick around too long. Some of us bail too soon. Whichever situation you’re in, there’s a way to find balance so you have exactly  the kind of romantic connection you’re looking for.

It all comes down to one really important concept.

Continue reading

The Secret to Instant Sex Appeal

The Secret to Instant Sex AppealWould you rather look sexier or feel sexier?

What if you could have BOTH?

You can. And no matter if you’re currently single or happily dating, the effect on your love life can be profoundly positive.

There are many ways to feel sexier.  But one of the simplest ways is the tried and true cosmetic, lipstick.

Let me explain.

Psychologists have known about the “lipstick effect” for a while. The term was coined after the Great Depression when cosmetic sales soared despite limited financial resources.[1] It was later confirmed as a legitimate trend. But not without some backlash.

A few years ago, a group of researchers argued that women only try to make themselves more attractive to secure a mate. [2] The theory was understandable unsettling, as it suggested women will do whatever’s necessary just to find a man.

But a recent study has revealed something new. A team of Harvard researchers found that women actually perform cognitive tasks better if they’re wearing make-up.[3]

And they don’t think this has anything to do with being desperate for a guy. Their conclusion was that a boost in confidence translates to other improvements.

Here’s how I’d say it.

When you feel better about yourself, you do everything better in every environment. You’ll have better conversations, engage with guys on a more authentic level, and ultimately come across as sexier – inside and out.

So how can you give yourself an instant confidence boost? I have three suggestions. None of them have to do with bright shades of lipstick, but all of them make you feel more confident in your own skin.

Continue reading