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Ask Our Coaches:
Lowering My Standards:
How do I get out of this state of mind?
"I struggle with keeping my standards high."
This column answers questions submitted by our readers. Submit your questions to Tara@relationshipcoachinginstitute.com
who will forward them to our coaches all over the world. Each issue, we'll publish a few answers from our RCI coaches.
I struggle with keeping my standards high. I find guys I enjoy being with, yet they don't want to be exclusive. I notice myself lowering my standards to sleep with them in hopes that they'll love me. How do I get out of this state of mind? I want to find a good guy, the right guy. What's your advice?
Jackie responds ...
You are already on your way to changing your state of mind simply by (1) observing your current behavior; (2) questioning that behavior; and (3) knowing that you want to find the "right guy." Your next step is to do your personal work.
First, nothing replaces good self-knowledge. Who are you? What are your values, style and temperament? What do you want in a partner? What are your legitimate needs, expectations and limits? Second, good partner-knowledge is an essential area to explore. WHO is your ideal partner? What visions and values do you want to share? What character and personality traits are essential to you? Negotiable? Completely unacceptable?
Mary, I know this might sound like you are developing even higher standards, which I understand you are concerned about, but in fact, please understand this is you developing YOUR standards. Your clarity about who you are and what you want in a partner will be like a giant beacon shining out into the night attracting him right to you. This is the beginning of engaging in the conscious dating process. I encourage you to hire a Relationship Coach and get to work and make your relationship dreams a reality.
Dr. Jackie Black | www.DrJackieBlack.com
Nina responds ...
You won't find the guy you REALLY want by sleeping with guys you don't want. When you're sleeping with some guy you hope will like you, your hormones (think Oxytocin) will entrap you and you won't be available for that right guy when he does come along.
If you really want to fly to Italy, but that plane isn't in the airport yet, do you take some other plane just because it goes somewhere? No, you WAIT for the right plane that will take you where you really want to go. You know if you get on any other plane, you'll miss your flight to Italy. The good news is, you can still get to Italy from another airport, it just takes a lot longer and costs a lot more.
Finding the right guy means knowing who you really are and where you want to go in your life. Only then can you decide on the kind of person who should go with you. It takes time to discover whether any one person can fulfill your requirements for a lifetime of compatibility. Sleeping with them before you know if they can is like getting on the wrong plane.
Nina Potter | ninapotter.relationshipcoach.org | 1.651.773.0732
Denise responds ...
Compromising comes from a scarcity mentality: feeling you have to settle, you don't have options. You do have options; you're just fishing in the wrong pool. Dating men you "enjoy" makes for fun, but not the basis to build a relationship on. Narrow down your principles and purposely seek out partners who align with these. There is a high likelihood that you will pick men that are more suited to you.
What are your top three priorities by which you invest in yourself or define your life? Is a vegan lifestyle important to you? Are your children or your pets the center of your world? How about your faith? Is the environment a priority to you? Health? Art/Culture? Politics? Start with a point of commonality to find like-minded partners.
Secondly, a man has to be relationship-ready, meaning he has to be physically, emotionally, and relationally available. If he is a workaholic or has too many family obligations, he is not available physically. If he has not had closure with an ex or is not available on weekends, he is not relationally available. If he harbors past residual anger or fears future commitment, he is not available emotionally.
Denise Wade Ph.D. | www.sweetharmony.net | 1.215.913.7997
Jianny responds ...
Finding a guy who values your standards and cherishes you can take a bit of work. It starts by valuing yourself. When you begin to value to yourself, you no longer have tolerance for guys trying to use you.
Self-awareness is key.
Behaving in ways incongruent with your goals indicates self-sabotage. Self-sabotage is an action stemming from a disempowering belief generally grounded in fear or low self-esteem. For example: sleeping with guys (action) because if I don't give favors, sex, or what they want, I will not be loved (disempowering belief). Deep-rooted disempowering beliefs and fears often victimize by keeping us stuck and pulling us into despair.
We are active participants in the life we lead and relationships we co-create. When looking at your struggles realize that everything in nature is in conflict. Conflict is a sign that you are trying to get your needs met and become whole. Choose to heal certain painful experiences and to grow from disempowering beliefs. Take the opportunity to speak with a professional as well as to grow spiritually. There is a need for love that could only be met by God and not through man. God is love and grants us significance.
Jianny Adamo | www.fearlesslove.net | 1.954.495.4566
Lisa responds ...
Your state of mind is a choice, so practicing your focus on your dream guy is a great way to start. It is well documented that you can use your mind to create the results you seek in life. So, generate a new inventory of thoughts about the kind of man you really want. Picture him in your mind. Imagine how you feel when you're with him. Describe him in words, and read what you've written regularly.
The instant you're tempted to lower your standards, focus on these images and words, thereby creating less room for dwelling upon disappointing opportunities that have become all too familiar. While you're getting accustomed to a new way of thinking, refrain from engaging in the kind of relationships that don't meet your standards. Don't run interference with a great vision.
Further, no amount of tactical behavior—such as lowering standards, having sex with the wrong guys, pretending to be who you think your date wants you to be—will bring about authentic love. Such measures may yield short-term satisfaction, however their lack of authenticity will rear its head and ultimately leave you frustrated every time.
Lisa Manyoky | www.maverickinspired.com | 1.609.890.6645
Anita responds ...
You may feel the best way to keep a man around is by giving in to behaviors that you'd normally rather not do. You're so pleased in men who date you that the best way to keep them around is by giving in to behaviors that you'd normally rather not do.
You say you're lowering your standards. That means the men you're seeking have low standards compared to yours. That's good news! If their standards are lower, then consider seeking men whose standards are higher! You've learned that men with lower standards provide a zero percent chance for success. It's time to break any habits leading you toward unworthy relationships.
Your mission: Find your value. You're already at an advantage -- holding higher standards! Spend time evaluating what matters to you and stick to them because you matter. Surround yourself with inspiring women in successful relationships. Their perspectives can provide some insight.
The more respect you give to your worth, the more you'll love yourself. The more you love yourself, the more you'll desire to be with a person who loves you the same or more! You'll be empowered to know the difference between who is worthy and unworthy. In time, the fog clears and the good man appears. And that, my friend, is a relationship worth waiting for.
Anita Myers | http://thedatinggps.com | 1.847.571.4710
Looking for Your Summer Forever Love?
Ready? Set? Go!
by Ann Robbins
It's that time of year again. Spring has sprung, summer is upon us, and we're hoping -- no, we're determined -- to find that summer love that can take us into the fall, the holidays, next year and beyond. We've already gotten well into our New Year's resolutions and promises. We vowed to make it happen. We set goals, created a plan to lose weight, go to the gym, go back to school, get a new job. And don't forget golf lessons, learning to fly, and traveling to the Far East.
But at the top of the list is that one goal so many singles have -- the one that says we're going to find love. "This is it!", you say. "I'm ready!", you say …. Really?
You're right about one thing -- it is all about readiness. Readiness is not just about wanting to find that special someone. It's really about objectively identifying your readiness issues and pursuing the relationship of your dreams with clarity and purpose. Readiness Issues? Me? Sorry, but most people have them.
So what's the difference between saying you're ready, even believing you're ready, and knowing that you're ready?
Try this three-step approach.
1. Are You Ready? Identify any readiness issues by honestly asking yourself, "What do I want to change? What baggage am I carrying that will hold me back from having the relationship I truly want?" Do you find yourself saying things like, "All men are dogs," or "All women are gold-diggers"? You've got baggage. Baggage = issues. Ask yourself, "Would I want to date me?"
Do you need to improve key areas of your life before you will be ready? Perhaps it's your financial situation, your health and fitness or your emotional or mental state. Do you have low self-esteem or depression? Do you need to make a change in your job or living conditions? Do you think finding a partner will make you happy? Are you looking to be rescued? Be honest with yourself.
Once you have identified the changes you need to make, ask yourself, "What is my plan for affecting change and what are the actions steps I need to take to make it happen?" This is really about identifying and cleaning out what isn't working in your life and beginning with a fresh, clean slate. Unpack those bags.
2. Determine What You Want. Sounds easy, right? Not so easy. It must be done with honesty and authenticity. A good place to begin is by first assessing what you DON'T want. Take a look at your prior relationships and objectively analyze what went wrong.
Make a list, going all the way back as far as you can remember. Be fair and objective – remember, it almost always takes two. The important thing is not to just figure out what went wrong … but WHY. And, what have you learned? Go through all relationships they've had in their lives, not just romantic relationships, but friendships, too. Be sure to list who ended the relationship, and why. Are you seeing any recurring threads? Is history repeating itself?
Look closely at the positive aspects of all your relationships as well. What works for you? When have you been happiest and most fulfilled? What does it take for you to be happy? Are you being realistic?
In determining what you want, you must know your relationship requirements. Requirements are not things such as, "I want someone who is tall, handsome, with blue eyes who likes romantic restaurants and walks on the beach." Requirements are your deal breakers. They are black and white, never gray. They are very clear, never blurry. And they are the things, that, if missing, would cause you to walk away from a potential relationship. And, they are always values-based.
How do you define your requirements? By being clear on what you MUST have in a relationship including how you expect to be treated by your partner. What is non-negotiable? A good example of a non-negotiable requirement is children. Let's say you want them, but your potential mate does not. Hello! You can't have half of a child – this is a non-negotiable requirement and, thus, would be a deal breaker for you and a reason to not pursue the relationship.
Know your values and be clear on your life vision. Huh? How clear are you on your vision and your values? (No, this is not a corporate exercise.) Again, make a list. Your life vision and values play a critical role in assessing compatibility with a potential partner.
Your values must be reflected in the way you want to live your life with your future mate. The love of your life must honor, cherish, and share your values and vision. Values cannot be compromised if you're to be truly happy. A recent study indicates that 69 % of all marriages fail because the couple had different life visions. This is a crucial insight into what makes a successful partnership.
3. Finally, Act With Positive Intention. Be a successful single! Don't put your life on hold while waiting for your partner to show up! Get involved in new activities, pursue your interests and build fun into your life.
Try to be positive and be grateful for what you DO have, rather than focusing on "Everything will be OK once I find someone." Is the glass half full? You have the choice to be positive, or not. Remember, like attracts like.
Your happy, positive attitude will attract others who are happy and positive. Believe that love can and WILL happen for you and make the decision to find that special someone. Create a relationship plan! Plan how and where to meet new people. Be proactive. If what you're doing isn't working, do something different! Most of us spend more time planning our vacations than we do our love lives. Look yourself in the mirror and say, "I'm going to Disney World!"
Copyright © 2012 by Ann Robbins. All rights reserved in all media. Used with permission.
Ann Robbins is a Certified Professional Matchmaker and Master Certified Relationship Coach. She is the founder and president of LifeWorks Matchmaking and dedicates her business to helping singles find love. She has been featured on CNN, ABC, CBS, FOX, NPR and in numerous newspaper and print publications. www.lifeworksmatchmaking.com 1.407.895.8222
Single -- again!
by Marianne Oheser
The thought of facing the dating scene again, especially after a long-term relationship, is daunting to say the least. I know. It happened to me when I was 51. With the divorce rate among 50 – 69 year-olds increasing significantly over the past generation, more of us are facing this challenge.
There are two important things to keep in mind as you venture back into the dating world -- be aware of what to expect and know what you want.
The old stereotype -- men and women in midlife and beyond were too old for sex, love, or marriage -- has disappeared. The good news is that there are a lot of singles out there.
According to the 2010 Census, 36% of those ages 45 – 64 are single and there are a lot more ways of finding them than there were 20 years ago.
In a study conducted by AARP in 2003 among single men and women ages 40 – 69, singles reported that 59% are open to dating but only 32% of them are doing anything about it. A little less than one-third of the group is in exclusive relationships and only 9% are not interested in dating at all.
Singles say that:
• Personality and sense of humor count most for both men and women, but many men emphasize physical attractiveness and sexual satisfaction. So caring about your appearance is important for your own self-esteem and because of the impression you can make.
• Women want dates to have someone to talk to or do things with; men want the sexual dimension built in as well. While the risk of pregnancy is no longer an issue, safe sex is still important to protect against sexually-transmitted diseases.
• Both men and women in midlife and older want to date younger individuals. While that has always been true for men, it is becoming much more common and acceptable for women to do it as well.
• Today there are many avenues for dating. Singles organizations, matchmaking dating services for all ages, social networking web sites, and support groups are starting to compete with going to church as sources for finding dates. But friends, relatives, and work are still the best bet -- especially among the groups that are not actively dating. You just have to tell people that you are interested in finding someone.
• Dating does not necessarily lead to marriage. Although many want a committed relationship, about a third of men and women are not sure it they will remarry if or when they are in a committed relationship again. Cohabitation is definitely an option for many. The purpose of dating does not have to be to find a permanent relationship. It can also be just to have fun.
Benefits of Dating
There are understandable reasons for the third of singles that want to date but aren't doing anything about it – shyness, problems with self-esteem, fear of rejection, perception that it is difficult to meet people who are their age. But there are also many good reasons for making the effort to overcome those barriers.
Attraction and enjoyment in dating is either there or it isn't. When it is there, the process can give your self-esteem a real boost. Simple hand-holding has been shown to decrease stress and anxiety. A Scientific American study released on Valentine's Day 2011 showed that romance and love make the brain function better. Many studies show that having a good sexual relationship is associated with better health.
Singles in midlife and later life said that an advantage to dating that they didn't have while they were younger is the comfort they have in the wisdom that comes with age, maturity, and experience.
They also say they feel more carefree and have more freedom and independence with a lack of social pressure. Romantic relationships have the potential to be richer, fuller, deeper, more painful, more turbulent and also more pleasurable because of our experience.
Sliding vs. Deciding
Perhaps the biggest mistake singles at any age make is "Sliding vs. Deciding." The concept is based on research done by Dr. Scott Stanley at the University of Denver. Too often people slide through important transitions in relationships rather than consciously making a decision.
It's easy to get caught in the flow of things without stepping back to be sure the relationship is really right for you. If you slide into a relationship just for companionship, the result could be much more painful than loneliness.
Before you can consciously make a decision you have to have a clear idea about what you really want -- not just a vague impression. This means having a vision about what you want your life to look like, being really clear about what your requirements for a relationship are and knowing what your ideal partner would be like. Being really clear requires a little work and is best done by talking with someone to help you be specific.
Just remember that finding new love is possible at any age.
Copyright © 2012 by Marianne Oheser. All rights reserved in all media. Used with permission.
Marianne Oehser is a Certified Relationship Coach for Couples and Singles. She and her husband, Bill, specialize in helping clients work through mid-life transitions such as retirement, empty-nests, single again in mid-life. www.BetweenTwoHearts.org
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