Ask the Coach: My partner needs to earn the same salary

Ask the Coach: My partner needs to earn the same salary

Ask the Coach Dating Requirements
OR – The Truth Behind Your Requirements

Dear Coach Linda:

I posted a question to a singles forum the other day and they all seem to disagree with me on something- I said I do not want to date a man who makes less than me and expects me to pay for ALL the dates. They seem to think love is more important and they would date someone who had no or very little money for love. Am I off on this one? I do have personal experience that gives me bias. Thanks! ~ Carrie

money love scales


Hey Carrie,

Here’s my two-cents, as someone who helps singles create lives they love.

Your requirement that your partner earn as much as you do is a valid one as long as it doesn’t restrict you in ways that eliminate possibilities. The argument you’ve been hearing, that it should all be about love, is a romantic sentiment which could potentially only last a few years and then cause trouble.

Here’s what I mean.

Your desire for equal salary more than likely points to some deep needs that you have for a relationship to work. While you’d be the one to know for sure, my guess is that you need your partner to be responsible, hard-working, motivated and maybe even independent. You may also want to avoid anyone who has dependency problems … you might want to avoid being in a “care taker” role. I’m only guessing here. To be sure, ask yourself: “What’s important about this requirement? What does this mean to me?” Think about your top 5 most-strongly-held values and how this requirement relates to them.

Once you’ve identified what it means on that level, then ask yourself: “Are there ways for a partner to exhibit these traits without earning as much as I do? Are there other ways for my relationship requirements to be met?

The reason these questions become important is that you could potentially meet someone who reflects all that you value the most, someone who you are attracted to and have fun with, who isn’t looking for a care-taker, yet for some reason has not been able to earn as much as you do. Would you be ok with dismissing this person based on your salary requirements? By doing this deeper reflection on what salary truly means to you, you’ll be in a better position to clearly and consciously evaluate the partnership.

As an aside, these questions are applicable anytime someone identifies something on the outer level or externally as a relationship requirement — for example, saying that a potential partner has to be athletic or sporty … or must have certain physical attributes. Requirements are really all about what you must experience in a relationship.

All of this is raises another important point: Money issues is the number one contributor of relationship failure. Most people, before making a commitment, do *not* talk to one another about their beliefs, attitudes and behaviors surrounding money. To gain clarity and agreement on this topic is the difference between a conscious relationship (and one that has a better chance of long term success) and an unconscious one (which will ultimately result in failure).

Naturally this is the kind of topic that needs to be discussed when you’ve gotten to know him and feel there is great potential in the relationship … that a relationship with him would meet all of your other requirements. Yet, if you’ve clearly defined what this all means, you’ll know pretty early on if this has potential or not.

I hope this helps!!

Let me know if you have any questions or have some feedback to share.  If you want to explore your relationship requirements further, please contact me to set up a 1:1 coaching session. Articulating and understanding relationship requirements can mean the difference between joy and frustration.

Sending love!

~ Linda

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Am I the proverbial “dating red flag”?

Am I the proverbial “dating red flag”?

Ask the Coach

Dear Coach Linda,

I met someone the other day who referred to me as a dating red flag — that I wasn’t someone women should date because I’m in my mid-forties and have never married. She said that I would be a “better risk” if I was “at least” divorced. I couldn’t believe it.

I’ve spent a lot of time working, traveling, and building my company. I’m currently single and have had girlfriends here and there. I just haven’t met anyone yet who seems to fit who I’m looking for. Do you think a man who has never married and is in his forties is a “red flag”? Any advice on handling comments like this? This is the second time I’ve been told something along these lines. What do you think?

Jeff


Dear Jeff,

I can certainly understand why you might feel a little incensed over that kind of comment. It seems to be based on a very outmoded stereotype that the older bachelor is self-centered or afraid of commitment or damaged goods.

The thing is, I’ve come across many well-adjusted, commitment-minded, relationship-ready singles, both male and female, who are over 40 and never married. In fact, I Am One of Them!!

There are many reasons this occurs. Most are circumstantial and have nothing to do with avoidance or fear.

It’s not due to lack of commitment, fear of marriage, or having a wish list so long that even Santa Claus could not fulfill their expectations (although I was like that when I was younger).

In many cases, those of us who are over 40 and unmarried have chosen to focus on our careers and other areas of life. There is nothing wrong with making the choice to focus on these other areas first. I know over the past few years, I have been completely wrapped up in my career, moving to a new state, dealing with a serious health issue etc. It was important for me to pull myself together first.

My professional opinion is that anyone who solidifies his or her financial position and becomes more self-actualized before he or she concentrates on finding a soul mate is going to reduce a good deal of relational stress that would otherwise plague the partnership. What’s more, recent studies show that mature bachelors are independent personalities, able to meet their own functional needs. Maybe – just maybe – this is a good thing, given how high the divorce rate has risen over the past decade or so.

And, most often, those of us who are single over the age of 40 are so because we are confident in ourselves, know what we want, and are not willing to settle for something less just for the sake of being in a relationship.

Anyone who considers you a “risk” due to the fact that you’ve never been married fails to see the big picture. So I have to ask, Is it really better to divorce to get out of a bad marriage, or is it better to make a choice to remain single rather than marry someone who is not right for you?

Don’t allow others to pressure you into making relationship choices or defending yourself for remaining single. Take your time!

Take a moment to think about who you are attracting

That being said, you mentioned that this is the second time you’ve heard this … which makes me think that you might not be attracting the right kind of women into your life.

Perhaps now is a good time to write down “exactly” what you are looking for in a relationship, why those things are important to you, and what difference it would make in your life to be with a person who wants the same things in a relationship. Analyze your list against the women you have been attracting.

I am willing to bet there is a gap in alignment between what you want and what you get. Just like your success in building your company, planning out your relationship success will be fruitful for you.

And of course, now might be a really good time to get some coaching on this topic, to not only get clarity on what you want for yourself in your life, but to also make sure that you are truly ready for a long-term relationship.

Good luck!

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Ask the Coach: Should I give up looking?

Ask the Coach: Should I give up looking?

Ask the Coach

I can’t find that special someone

Coach Linda,

I’m not sure what to do here. I’m 41 and never married. I’m a nice guy, but I’ve never found that special someone. I consider myself attractive and intelligent and so do my friends. I’m employed, pretty social, am active in several community groups and am always going out to different events featured on Meet up. I would love to be dating someone but it’s such a struggle. I have a hard time finding available single women. I find the bar scene and online dating are not my thing, so what do I do?

Lately, I’ve been thinking that I’d rather give up looking for something I’ll never find anyway, and just stay single and alone for the rest of my life.

What do you think?

~Tony

searching_for_love koichigotikoTony, I know how frustrating it can be when you want someone special in your life and you haven’t found her (or him) yet. Sometimes it may feel easier to just give up looking. This is something that I still grapple with myself at times…despite all the dating and relationship coaching tools at my disposal, sometimes I feel that this process is like looking for a needle in a haystack.

The thing is, if you and I were to give up, in our hearts we know we would be disappointed. We all deserve to have the love we want. The trick is to approach the process intelligently and intentionally, balancing our desire for an extraordinary relationship with living an extraordinary life. Like all things in life, if we fail to plan, we plan to fail.

Let’s look at a few things a bit more in-depth, starting with some of your foundational beliefs.

One of the first things that jumped out at me from your question is that you probably think that you should have found that special someone by the time you reach your 40s. The unadulterated truth is that most people haven’t (even if they are married!). A good 50% of today’s couples are headed for a divorce; another 40% don’t have the information or education they need to create a frickin fantastic relationship (and aren’t looking for that information either). Just because someone is married, doesn’t mean a dang thing.

Perhaps you believe that finding true love should be easy. Nothing could be further from the truth. It takes hard work to find special love, and hard work to keep it. This is why it pays to be intelligent and intentional in your life.

What also struck me is that you are engaging in some negative thinking and self-talk. Don’t get me wrong – we all have an inner critic that loves to point out all the negative things in our lives. For instance, most of us tell ourselves every day we can do this or can’t do such and such. In your case, you stated that it’s a struggle to date, you never meet anyone and you don’t attract single women.

We have to be careful what we say to ourselves since what we focus on, expands. Our success and happiness in any area of life begins within us. The vibes we send out are immediately subconsciously picked up by others, and create a self-fulfilling purpose. It sounds like your vibes may be screaming, “I’m getting desperate because I think I’m getting old,” or “I’m a loser in the dating arena.” When we tell ourselves a million times that something is difficult, it subsequently becomes a rock-hard belief that makes the task or situation much more difficult than it really is.

It also appears you have no plan in place to meet that special someone, which is a common singles problem.

Your Homework Assignments

First, if you find yourself suffering from stinkin’ thinkin’, repeat after me: “I AM A GREAT CATCH.” Because you are! And a great woman will love you, for you, if you apply the right kind of effort to your search. And to be truthful, my Become Successfully Single and Relationship Ready coaching programs – either home study or VIP intensive – are designed to help you do just that. If you’re out there in the world and you’re not getting the results you want, then it’s time for you to get serious about your approach. Email me HERE to set up a time for us to talk about getting you enrolled.

Next, here are six tips to get you started.

#1 – You mentioned, ” … it’s a struggle.” Make a list of what those struggles are. As you reveal each struggle, ask yourself, “What are my responsibilities in this?”, “What could I contribute to help myself in this situation?” and “If I could do this again, what would I do differently?”

#2 – Love, inside out. Spend quality time getting to know yourself in relation to relationships. And, if there are areas to work on, like removing bad habits, negative assumptions and fear, work toward mending and healing. Phase out the unnecessary that inhibits your confidence, and nurture the lovely that your friends and family embrace about you.

Part of this process, which is what we cover together in my coaching programs, is identifying your top values, relationship requirements, and what you really want in a relationship. What most don’t realize is that you must be clear on what is it, exactly, that you are looking for in a relationship, and what type of person it will take to co-create it with you.

#3 – Positive mental imagery. Mentally envisioning successful outcomes will help train your mind to believe in attaining those goals. Olympians practice this exercise to achieve their successes. Through trial and error, they maximize their abilities envisioning their goals. Why shouldn’t you? Imagine your successes in meeting, dating and having a healthy relationship, and go for your own gold!

Sorry, I had to.

Sorry, I had to include this image. 🙂

#4 – Eliminate ‘either/or’ thinking. There are many choices other than your black-and-white options of “that special someone” or “stay single and alone”. Why not have several casual special someones and enjoy life until Miss Ultimately Special shows up? I’m not suggesting you play the field or get overly emotionally invested in several people but there’s nothing wrong in getting to know people.

#5 Employ smart strategies. Ask friends to introduce you to women they know. Join civic organizations that interest you and will benefit the community and also allow you to meet women. Experiment outside your comfort zone perhaps including other cities, other cultures, other countries, and yes, even virtual universes (online dating…). Don’t limit yourself to one or two dating venues.

#6 Pay attention to your body language. Are you welcoming? Do you smile and make eye contact? Is your vibe relaxed, friendly and confident – or do you lock onto to people and make them feel like they’re cornered?

The bottom line:

Just because you’re in your 40s doesn’t mean life is over and you’re hopeless. There is no hurry. One of my cousins recently met someone who is now the love of her life and she’s in her late 50s!! So get informed, be intentional without being obsessive, have fun, patiently build relationships with a variety of people, and allow the universe to act as your wingman.

Ask the Coach: Going dutch when money is tight

Ask the Coach: Going dutch when money is tight

Ask the Coach Finances

Coach Linda,

I’ve been dating this guy for a short while – about 6 months. We’re both in our late thirties, never married. Every time we go out, he wants to split the bill 50-50 – whether it’s for a weekend at a hotel, a Yankees game, or dinner – whatever. I thought this was okay when we first started dating, but now that we’re dating exclusively, it seems like too much. He likes to go out a lot, and it’s stretching me beyond my financial limits. I mean, I’m employed but I have other financial obligations right now. Whenever I bring up the money topic, I get this impression that he gets angry. Naturally, that keeps me from saying more.

Except for the money, I love dating this guy. We have a great time and we get along really well. What should I do? What’s the money protocol when it comes to dating nowadays? ~ Anna


 

money love scalesAnna, I totally understand your interest in honoring your financial boundaries. It’s smart of you to recognize this now and not try to “keep up appearances”.

For the record, I’m not too much into “protocol.” My view is that cultural norms do more to harm rather than help relationships. I also don’t believe in dispensing advice so here we’ll focus on helping you work something out that feels good and fair to both of you, while keeping an eye on the process as well as the solution.

Before we address money, we need to address the fact that you think he gets angry. This is a huge red flag and if we ignore it, we’re just burying our heads in the sand.

Let’s first determine if he truly gets angry … or if you jump to the conclusion that he gets angry. Do you have any proof that he feels angry when you bring up money? What did he actually say or do to make you come to this conclusion?

It’s important to get to the truth of the situation because many times, people misinterpret as a result of their own filters that are clouded with past experiences. For example – I recently had to call my vet to ask a few questions about spring shots that were administered for my horse. The receptionist immediately went on the defensive, interpreted my questions as an attack and told the vet that I was upset. Until that moment, I was not in fact upset. The point of that story is that because she weathered angry owners in the past (or perhaps she is hair-trigger sensitive), she immediately associated a questioning owner as a hostile owner. When we leap to conclusions like this, we shut the door to fruitful conversations and create polarity. (See my blog post on the hostile kiss cam incident to understand this concept a bit more.)

One the otherhand, if you have verifiable proof that he gets angry, what’s underneath his agitation? To understand his emotional reaction, you may need to ask clarifying questions and avoid accusing him of anything. I’ll write a blog post on conflict resolution soon to help you. If you find you can’t have a rational conversation with him – if he becomes too emotional on the topic – you may have to re-evaluate the relationship. If you can’t talk things through with him now, while the relationship is still young, things will not get better on their own. And remember: Every moment you spend on a poor relationship choice prevents you from finding a relationship that works!

Then on the flipside: If he doesn’t actually get angry, then maybe what you’re experiencing is your own discomfort in asking for what you need. Think about what buttons are being pushed within you and what’s really causing you to feel unsafe. There may be something for you to develop in yourself so that you can be confident around discussing things that don’t work for you, without holding back due to fear of rejection or retribution. A good life coach (like me!) can work with you to identify and break through the limiting beliefs that are making you wary and timid of honest and open communication.

OK – so now for the money part of your question.

You seem to be fine with paying 50/50 as opposed to thinking that the man should always pay. It speaks a lot about how you want to be an equal partner in any relationship, where you’re taking responsibility and contributing in kind.

If this is not the case, and you truly resent your partner’s insistence on going dutch, you may have to examine your values and your needs (i.e. you need to be taken care of) and then have a conversation with your partner to determine his needs (i.e., having an equal partnership).

It’ll be important for you to know how to handle this kind of conversation without making him feel like he’s wrong. You might discuss your (and his) past experiences; he may have felt like a prior girlfriend took advantage of him, and once you understand that, you may find common ground.

This is a conversation worth having no matter what, since it’ll be important for you both to be on the same page if you want this relationship to last. The bottom line is to understand what’s important to both of you around money and spending.

So now, let’s say that you are truly OK with paying 50/50 and your finances truly are strained.

It is really important to be open and honest with your guy, and let him simply know you can’t afford all of the expensive dates. Before you open the door to this conversation, tell him that you love dating him and why. Tell him you are uncomfortable about discussing this topic but you see the need to resolve it and to grow more confident in your partnership with him. Ask for his support and understanding.

You now have some options.

You can offer to continue paying 50/50, except let him know the frequency needs to be cut back.  Then he can decide whether he wants to put a little more money out on the dates you can’t afford and pay for you.

Another option is for each of you to split the date cost proportionate to your income. For instance if you make 2/3 of his salary, you contribute slightly less than half toward the date costs. If he doesn’t want to pay any extra, consider whether or not you will be okay with this for the rest of your life if you get serious with him. This means you will always have a very calculated financial future with him.

Another option is to start exploring inexpensive date ideas. I just blogged about this topic HERE.

You can also open up the discussion to finding win-win solutions that are outside the box (and thereby you can possibly increase the closeness you feel in your relationship).

The bottom line is that the future success of your relationship relies on your ability to communicate with him. To have a fulfilling, long-term relationship, you have to be honest with your expectations and feelings and your partner should be open to listen and understand. And vice versa. A true partnership and healthy relationship requires a willingness to meet in the middle. Compromising your goals now, much less your financial well being, will lead you further into an unhappy relationship and dismal future.

Above all, don’t sell yourself short. Money is a big issue, and if you don’t work out something now, then there is no point in continuing with this relationship.

Hope this helps. Please let me know if you need more support in unraveling your limiting beliefs around asking for what you need.

Ask the Coach: Is it possible to find love while unemployed?

Ask the Coach: Is it possible to find love while unemployed?

Ask the Coach

“… How do you make yourself attractive to others when money and employment status are such strong criteria for so many people…?”

Dear Coach Linda,

I want to date and find a partner so I can be happy. But I was downsized from my job about 18 months ago and my benefits have just run out. I’ve been looking for work the entire time, but haven’t had any success. I’m 45, I have two kids and share custody with my ex-wife. I’m under a lot of pressure economically and I’m really frustrated with my dating experiences.

When I meet women I want to date, I’m honest with them that I’m currently unemployed. That doesn’t lead to more dates. I think that the last person a woman wants to date is someone who is unemployed. And I know I’m certainly not the only one who’s experiencing this problem.

It’s hard enough to have stress in the financial part of your life, but it’s even harder when there’s pressure in the area of relationships. I want to move on with my life. I want to get married again and be happy.

What’s your advice for dating when you’re unemployed? What can I do? How do you make yourself attractive to others when money and employment status are such strong criteria for so many people in our society?

Larry


Dear Larry,

I’m sorry to hear you’re having employment challenges because of the economy and I want to congratulate you on being willing to reach out to request support while going through this period. Getting support is one of the best gifts that you can give yourself right now.

I truly get it that you would like date while unemployed, to get married again and move on with your life. To be loved is one of our primary driving forces as humans.

I’m also aware that, as you said, most women are somewhat reluctant to be involved with someone who doesn’t have employment or benefits, especially in a rocky economy. I have often heard women say that they don’t want to get involved with someone who is struggling. We can’t blame them.

And you’re right, there are many in the country who are in your position – both men and women. A number of people who attend my complimentary events are searching for love yet are not employed and don’t have any financial resources.

Let’s take a moment to look at a couple of things you said.

First, you say your situation is even harder when there’s pressure in the area of relationships. Who is pressuring you? Are you doing this to yourself? If so, ask yourself what’s so important right now, when things are shaky, that you find a partner. Are you afraid of being alone? Do you not have a healthy support network? What’s the rush? You have many years ahead of you to continue achieving success in your career and personal relationships. Try to remain as cognizant as you can about what’s motivating you so you can avoid getting caught in the trap of desperation and scarcity, which can only lead to relationship failure.

Remember that when we’ve gone through a loss of employment, our self-confidence and self-esteem can suffer. Unemployment is notorious for contributing to feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, uselessness, helplessness (deprived of strength or power), and meaninglessness. Put these in the blender and you’ve got someone who may be at risk of falling into the Rescue Trap. We fall into this trap when we hope someone can save us from our current reality and we fail to realize that being an Empowered Single is a path of personal responsibility. This trap results in desperation, neediness, and relationship failure when your problems multiply instead of disappear.

money loveAlso know that money issues can impact the health of a relationship. A study published in the Family Relations Journal in 2012 looked at data from more than 4,500 couples as part of the National Survey of Families and Households. The study found that arguing about money is the top predictor of relationship failure. If you’re constantly worried about money and paying your bills and child support, there’s a real good chance that if you found yourself in a new long-term committed partnership, you will argue about money. Being stressed about money is not the optimal way of starting a relationship.

Third, I also want to point out that you may be stuck in the “I’ll be happy when I’m in a relationship” trap. There are too many people who feel that happiness can only be achieved when in a relationship – and this is simply not true. Relationships are mirrors of our reality – they emphasize who and what we are right now. Relationships do not CAUSE happiness – rather they reflect the emotional state of the people who are in them. If you want a happy relationship, you will need to already be happy in your life.

Larry, I’m sure this is not what you wanted to hear. Don’t be discouraged though. Please know that there are things you can do to make it through this period of your life as an Empowered Single. Here’s what I recommend:

Money woesStay focused on the priority of finding some form of employment.  Looking for a job is a full-time job. And, certainly it is a stressful time. I know from experience how self-confidence and self-esteem suffer. There are many unknowns – not only about what the next job will be, but also where it will be located and how much money you will be making. I remember a time when I had been “reorganized” right out of a job and then simulatenously met a man with whom I wanted to explore a long-term committed relationship. Being between jobs, worrying about money, and having too much free time (to obsess over the relationship) all combined to create a powder keg. And boy when the time came, did it ever explode. Ugh.

Also, searching for a job will require you to be on top of your mental and emotional game. During interviews, you’ll need to exude confidence and competence – this is harder to do if you’re preoccupied about the status of your dating life… or worse, still reeling over a recent romantic rejection.

Get support. This is not the time to “go it alone” – even though so many of us prefer to tackle our problems in solitude. Are you getting support from peers and friends – both professionally as well as personally? Don’t have a good network of friends and peers? Make this your top priority.

Take time to expand your professional network as well. There are many groups that meet weekly for the sole purpose of networking in the effort of seeking employment. Find one of these in your area.

While meeting with others for networking, you might be surprised to meet someone who understands and is willing to accept you as you are. The fact that you have joined such a group illustrates your initiative and desire to regain employment.

Plus, you indicated you’ve been looking for work for over a year. Have you consulted a career coach? It would be helpful to have someone who is knowledgeable to reassure you that you’re on the right track or who may be able to advise you on how to switch rails to find employment in another sector.

To be clear though, your primary objective for meeting people should be networking for employment and support, not dating. Remember, you’re only good for someone else when you’re good for yourself. In addition, remember you have your children to think of. At this point, perhaps dating is less important in the big scheme of things.

Remember there is No Shame in Your Game. One of the most important things to remember in “showing up” for our quest for a great life is to BE AUTHENTIC no matter what. When we are completely honest about who we are and what our situation is, this mirrors to others our true selves.

Our culture typically does not honor those who are experiencing temporary setbacks with jobs and other occurrences that have us pinching pennies, so it makes it difficult to be authentic when these times arise. Nevertheless, we can continue to honor ourselves by accepting ourselves during these periods and not playing “the games” many others play.

Date for only for fun. From a relationship readiness standpoint, you have much to sort out right now. If you’re out there, meeting and connecting with new people, and wind up finding someone with whom you want to have dinner or go to a movie – great! Keeping it casual will keep the pressure off… and it just might lead to more dates. But again, don’t actively seek out a committed partner at this time. There are too many unknowns right now.

Find inexpensive ways of having fun. There are many activities that are available in any community that are either free or minimal in expense. During the times we may have less cash flow, we can choose to attend such events and enjoy these varying experiences. I believe other authentic people will truly enjoy them also and will just enjoy the time spent with another authentic person, rather than be concerned that they are not at “the hottest event happening”. Stay tuned for my next blog post where I explore The Art of a Cheap Date in more depth.

Get coaching to become an Empowered Single. Sometimes life’s toughest challenges are the gateways to truer happiness and fulfillment if we learn how to navigate them skillfully. They offer us opportunities to go deep within ourselves, to discover our truth, and to rid ourselves of all the beliefs and behaviors that keep us despairing and unhappy. This is NOT the time to be penny wise and pound foolish when it comes to personal growth and development. Investing in yourself when your life is a bit messy is really the ideal time to do this kind of work and pays dividends down the road. I often hear people say things like, “Oh I’ll invest in myself when things get better.” That’s cart-before-the-horse thinking again – similar to saying “I’ll be happy when I’m in a relationship“. Remember that you are a magnet, attracting or repeling situations based on your inner game. As one of my teachers likes to say: Your Results Are Your Report Card.

This is an EXCELLENT time to enroll in one of my coaching programs so that you can make the most of this time as well as prevent yourself from spiraling into depression or despair. Perhaps it’s time for us to talk about how you can benefit from them. Again, don’t let money stand in your way of getting the support you need. There are always ways to get around our perceived limitations, including a scarcity of money. Plus you deserve to feel good about yourself. So contact me today to set up an initial consultation by emailing me HERE.

In the meantime, I will keep you and your job hunting efforts in my thoughts. The very best of luck to you.

Ask the Coach: Am I empowered?

Ask the Coach: Am I empowered?

Ask the Coach

Dear Coach Linda:  You keep talking about empowered singles – in fact, it seems like that’s the word to use these days, with all these “empowered” meet up groups springing up – but I’m not sure what that really means. How can you tell if someone is empowered? – Charlie

Hi Charlie, thanks for the question.

We're all superheroes in the making

We’re all superheroes in the making

As I mentioned in the most recent issue of my newsletter, empowerment really means, at a basic level, ‘becoming powerful‘. Building personal empowerment involves reflecting on our personal values, our limiting beliefs, skills and goals and being prepared to adjust our behavior to achieve our goals.

We all seek to be happy in our lives; empowerment, which focuses on human potential and our desire to express ourselves fully, is the basis for that happiness.

Singles who aim for empowerment are able to take control of their lives by making positive choices, which is vital to co-creating happy relationships. Developing self-awareness, which is an understanding of your strengths and limitations, is also key to personal empowerment and essential to co-creating harmony.

To help you determine how “empowered” you are, here’s a quick assessment.

On a scale of 1-3 (1=totally agree; 2=sometimes agree; 3=never agree), score each statement below. When thinking about each answer, recall real-life examples of when you acted on — or ignored — each statement.  In other words, look for verifiable proof of whether or not these statements are true for you.

 

  1. ___I am aware of all my commitments and remember to say NO when I need to.
  2. ___One of my top 5 priorities in my life is me and when I become overwhelmed, I give myself time to reflect and regroup.
  3. ___When involved in a romantic relationship, I still honor the importance of maintaining my own friends and personal interests.
  4. ___I do not compromise my integrity or the standards I live by for the sake of any relationship.
  5. ___When things don’t “feel” right, I do not ignore the message, knowing that this information is in my best interest.
  6. ___I understand that happiness comes from within and that I cannot rely on someone else to make me happy.
  7. ___I do not assume anything, and I am very specific about my intentions in my personal and business life.
  8. ___I am very important and want to be an equal partner in my relationships.
  9. ___I know that every relationship teaches me something new about myself and that I am a work in progress, in terms of my growth and awareness.
  10. ___I take things in stride because I know how too much stress impacts my life.
  11. ___I keep my focus on positive, healthy solutions when I am met with adversity.
  12. ___If I am faced with personal challenges I cannot resolve myself, I seek professional help.
  13. ___With all my close relationships, I look for someone with the qualities I want in a friend.
  14. ___I understand the value of keeping a sense of humor when the “going gets tough.”
  15. ___I am aware of my self-talk and keep my inner dialogue away from negative, self-demeaning comments.

 

SCORING:

If you “totally agree” with 13-15 statements, you are in a good state of empowerment and are looking out for what’s best for you. If you answered “sometimes” to four or more of these statements, it means you occasionally go against your best interest and are willing to sacrifice your health and well-being. Any “never” statements should be seriously looked at because you are sacrificing too much of yourself for others.

 

For more empowering information, go to http://www.AuroraSana.com/shop to order your free digital download of my eBook 21 Days to Joy, Love & Prosperity. This workbook gives you the wisdom, tools and practices you need to make healthy, positive changes in your life.

Ask the Coach: only socializing to find a date?

Ask the Coach: only socializing to find a date?

Ask the Coach Community Special Events Uncategorized

Coach Linda, I read the info on the Empowered Singles support group, where you said this event is not about mindless socializing or to find a date. Isn’t not wanting to be alone the reason people mingle, date, marry, etc.? And what is wrong with Socializing to find a date? When women make comments like this is probably the reason a lot of men are not attending meet ups. Dating is difficult for many men like myself because I work in an environment of mostly men and don’t have the opportunity to meet a lot of women. And then, men are expected to initiate the process. But when I think about it I guess only men can give men good advice on attracting women. Women will say something stupid like “Just be yourself” well I am being Myself and I am still single. ~ Michael*

Michael, this is a great email and there’s so much in it that I’d like to talk about, so thank you for giving me this opportunity.

First, I hear your concern and your need to be in an environment where you can find a potential partner. That seems to be your top priority, am I right? While yes it’s true that the only way to find a potential partner is to socialize, when we socialize only to find a date, we’re setting ourselves up for frustration and disappointment. Here’s why.

National Epidemic: The Isolated Single

Friends vintageSingles need to consciously expand their support community and network to lead a life they love – a single relationship, no matter how compatible, cannot meet all of our emotional and social needs. This is especially important in today’s world because we are such a mobile society, with many people living and working away from where they grew up. The number of people who live alone has increased since 1960 and many of those tend to live isolated social lives. Check out my blog posts on loneliness and isolation and the many benefits of friends HERE and HERE.

Plus, the complexities of any relationship – whether it’s a partner, family member, friend – can prove challenging. If you are NOT learning how to relate with friends and family or even strangers, then you can expect this skill deficit to continue when you are in a love relationship. I consider our social network to be our own personal learning laboratory.

On top of that, many successful couples have found the love of their lives via their social network (despite the illusion that bars and generic singles events offer us opportunities to connect on an authentic basis, less than 10% of happily married couples found their partner at a bar). Finding the relationship you’re looking for in these setting is possible but not very likely. When you have a robust social network, such as the one I am building with the Empowered Singles support circles, more than likely these people (and the people that they know) share the same values, goals and/or passions. This Empowered Singles community will offer a level of mutual support and involvement in each other’s lives.

Friends vintage2While Empowered Singles Circles are not intended to facilitate and promote opportunities to ask people out on dates, chances are that sparks will fly among members, especially as they get to know each other over time and bond. I’ve seen this happen hundreds of times in my own life (when I was living in New York).

Even if you don’t meet the kind of potential partner you are looking for, you can still form friendships and network. You could probably even form professional relationships, which would only enhance your career and finances. Not only that, your new friends can be your best scouts – people that you would want for friends are more likely to know someone who would be a great match for you.

I would encourage you to not look at socializing solely as a “meet market” – this viewpoint will only lead to disappointment if the setting doesn’t have the woman you’re looking for. Have fun, make friends, and by living a life that is fulfilling and interesting to you, you will attract the people you want into your life.

Empowered Singles Circles will Increase Your Happiness

In addition!! My Empowered Singles Circles are support group events, where each participant will be able to talk about the issues, challenges and joys of being a single in today’s digital age. And fancy this: Research suggests that the happiest people have twice as many substantive conversations, and engage in much less small talk, than the unhappiest.  Matthias Mehl, a psychologist at the University of Arizona who published a study on the subject, proposed that substantive conversation seemed to hold the key to happiness for two main reasons:

  • human beings are driven to find and create meaning in their lives, and
  • we are social animals who want and need to connect with other people

“By engaging in meaningful conversations, we manage to impose meaning on an otherwise pretty chaotic world,” Dr. Mehl said in an article in the New York Times. “And interpersonally, as you find this meaning, you bond with your interactive partner, and we know that interpersonal connection and integration is a core fundamental foundation of happiness.”

The happiest person in the study, based on self-reports about satisfaction with life and other happiness measures as well as reports from people who knew the subject, had twice as many substantive conversations, and only one-third of the amount of small talk as the unhappiest, Dr. Mehl said. Almost every other conversation the happiest person had — 45.9 percent of the day’s conversations — were substantive, while only 21.8 percent of the unhappiest person’s conversations were substantive.  

Yeah Buddy! Just Say No to Mindless Socializing!!!

Socializing & the Importance of Social Skills

Second, Michael, you say that women tell you that you should be yourself and yet, while you are yourself, you’re still not finding the love of your life. To be honest with you, you may need to do a little soul searching with that statement. I never advocate for people misrepresenting themselves just to woo a partner yet I’m curious about how you’re showing up in the world. I’m not talking about your likes or dislikes or even your values. I’m talking about things such as attitude and people skills.

For example, think about these questions:

  • Are you always negative, complaining, blaming, and being the victim?
  • How are your social or people skills, such as listening deeply (vs. listening just so you can share your own opinions), collaborating (as opposed to demanding everything be done your way), and resolving conflict in a respectful way?
  • How receptive are you to feedback… or do you react defensively?
  • Do you trust others or are you suspicious/guarded?
  • Do you actively value and appreciate others?
  • When challenging events befall you, do you feel cheated in some way?
  • Do you lack confidence to talk with others, even on a neutral plane?

Embrace Your First Impression

Getting a date hinges on first impressions so think about your appearance. I’m not saying you need to look like George Clooney but do you take care of yourself or do you look like you’re one Happy Meal away from a coronary? Do you take the time to dress neatly or do you look like you just came back from an Australian walk-about? I know this is going to seem really harsh, but studies have shown that regarding a first impression, everything counts.

The fact is that when you first meet a person, he or she makes a judgment about you in approximately four seconds, and his/her judgment is finalized largely within 30 seconds of the initial contact. In a survey of the members of the American Personnel Consultants, members generally agreed that they made their decision to hire or not to hire a person within 30 seconds of the first meeting, Obviously we’re not talking about job interviews here but these details are relevant.

You see, you could go to 365 singles events a year, but if you have no support community, your people skills suck, and you’re not making a powerful first impression, chances are you will be stay single.

Smash this Myth: Women Don’t Approach Men

Third – regarding the belief that women expect men to make the first move – again I’d encourage you to examine that belief to see if it is 100% true. One of the most recurring complaints that I hear from men is that women don’t approach enough. Many, many guys, especially ones who are more socially inexperienced or who deal with acute social anxiety, regularly lament that men are expected to do all the hard work when it comes to trying to start a relationship and wish women would help out by being willing to make the first move.

The truth is that women have become far more empowered to make the first move. They do it all the time. It just seems less significant compared to the many men who shotgun their dating approach. Other times they get brushed off by the men because they’re not the women those men want to approach them.

Then, there are the times when guys don’t recognize that someone is trying to make the first move. More often than not the way women approach men they’re interested in doesn’t match up with how they picture the approach going.

But realize this:  personality matters. It matters……a lot. Most women would pick an average looking guy with a great personality and sense of humor over a hot guy who lacks in those areas. I can absolutely personally attest to that statement.

However, it’s important to realize that all of us get really anxious about approaching people we find attractive, thanks to this deep fear of rejection. Here’s my blog post on this topic:  HERE  

Bust this Myth: Men Don’t Show Up

FINALLY, I’d like to explode the myth that men don’t show up to Meet Up events. Most of the people who have attended the past two Empowered Singles Circles were men. The most recent event attracted 100% men. Now granted, these events are in their infancy and the number of registrations have been small compared to these singles dance events … but if I were to do a projection based on the current percentage of men vs. women, I’d say that these events are going to be havens for guys. Why? My gut tells me that these events are going to be low-pressure with no expectations that they must hook up or be in control.

 So, having explored all of that (whew, that was a LOT), you can see in more ways than one, it makes sense to attend these Empowered Singles Circles so you can build your social network to gain and hone your relationship skills as a way of preparing for, finding and keeping a successful relationship. If you live in New Jersey, please consider joining me for the next one.

 

* This email question has been edited to protect the privacy of the querent.

Ask the Coach: My friend dumps me when she dates someone new

Ask the Coach: My friend dumps me when she dates someone new

Ask the Coach Relationships

Dear Coach Linda:  I see that you are hosting some events to help people build up their social networks (in person and not just on Facebook) – I want you to know that I completely agree with you about the importance of creating and sustaining a healthy network of friends for support. I love my friends and really invest a lot of time in cultivating each friendship. I’ve been divorced for 5 years now and am single but I never feel like I’m missing out on anything, thanks to my friends. But here’s something I’ve experienced and I just don’t understand. I have a friend who must think friends are only useful when she feels lonely — when she meets a new romantic interest, she ignores her pals, including me. Is this normal? Should I be offended? ~ Jayne

Hi Jayne, thanks for your question. I can see how much you value community and authenticity! First, remember that it’s natural for your friend to get excited about a new love interest, and therefore devote most of her free time to him in the beginning. Most people do the very same thing. However, like anything in life, balance is the key. So if your friend is consistently dumping you (meaning that she no longer returns phone calls, can’t be bothered to reply to text or email, or iseven standing you up) when she meets someone new, she’s creating a bind for herself and being unfair to you. As I’ve said many times before, isolated singles become isolated couples become isolated divorcés. For her own sake, your friend should be able to date her new guy and still make time for friends if she wants to be fully satisfied in her life.

When a New Romantic Relationship Begins
To be fair, it’s important to cut your friend some slack during the early stages of her new relationship. After all, it takes time for a healthy relationship to grow, and sometimes that requires spending time alone with each other. However, true friends would never completely blow off previously made plans with you to spend time with the new romantic interest. A good friend would never refuse to answer your efforts to communicate or get angry with you for trying to get in touch.

Is There a Pattern?
If your friend completely forgets who you are when she’s in a relationship, yet comes crawling back each time she’s single again, that’s a problem for both of you actually. In your case, your friend is displaying a pattern of “bad friend” behavior, and showing that the friendship really isn’t a priority in her life. So if this person has done it before and you see another similar episode about to happen, talk to your friend. Tell her that your friendship is important to you, and that you don’t want it to end just because she’s in a relationship. Let her have the “new and in love” time at the beginning, but if you see that your friend is drifting away from you again, talk about your feelings. Your friend may not realize that what she’s doing is an unhealthy thing. (I’ve had this happen with a few friends myself.)

In her case, if she regards friends merely as “something to keep her busy” until she meets a romantic partner, she’s not only missing out on a very important part of her emotional life but she will inevitably heap too much responsibility upon her partner, expecting him to satisfy her every need. No romantic relationship will endure that kind of pressure and will undoubtedly fail – plus isolation from social input comes with a long list of emotional and physical ailments. In the long run, she will lack the balance and support that friendship can give. My teleseminar on Boosting Your Attractor Factor by Expanding Your Social Circlewill highlight all the great reasons why Empowered Singles (and Empowered Couples) NEED to nurture healthy support networks. Too many people do not devote enough time in this area — there’s just no way to have a great life without the support of community.

Know When to Leave the Friendship
Choosing to let a friend go is never an easy decision. If your friend consistently shows you that she’ll leave you high and dry whenever a new boyfriend comes calling, it may be time to walk away. Before you do, make sure she understands why you feel this way. If she’s sensitive to your feelings and is willing to change, give her a second chance. If not, she probably wasn’t that great of a friend to begin with. While we all know that isolated couples will eventually break up, we sometimes can’t save them from their fate no matter how hard we try. If you decide to “break up” with your friend, sincerely wish her the best and then return to the friends who treat you well. Good luck!

Ask the Coach: Where are all the spiritual guys?

Ask the Coach: Where are all the spiritual guys?

Ask the Coach Spiritual Laws

Dear Coach Linda,
I’ve been doing personal and spiritual growth work for really long time. I am passionate about self-awareness and evolution and I’ve taken every workshop and read every book there is about love and relationships. I have a lot of friends and a career I like. But everywhere I look I find rude men who have done no inner work. I’m frustrated that, after so much looking, I still can’t find the one for me. I feel left out of an important part of life and now, I feel there is little hope of finding anyone to share my life with. I’m afraid of being alone forever. What should I do?
~ Christie

Buddha-with-Heart

“You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.”

Christie, I congratulate you for pursuing a path of personal and spiritual growth. I feel your passion regarding self-awareness and your evolutionary journey.

It does seem like a paradox: you work diligently on “self-actualization”, to come to a sense of inner peace and harmony … and then look around to find not many other people have done the same. I read the other day that on average, more women tend to have a heightened relational and emotional maturity level that serves as an advantageous gateway to higher consciousness. (This doesn’t mean that all men don’t have emotional maturity – I know many who do.) I also read that women also tend to have more synapses linking to Continue reading

Ask the Coach: He has no close friends – Red Flag?

Ask the Coach: He has no close friends – Red Flag?

Ask the Coach Community Requirements

Hey Coach Linda,
I recently met this guy, Roy, at a friend’s party a few months ago – he teaches at the same high school that my friend does – and we’ve been hanging out fairly frequently since then. I find him smart, funny, gracious and kind as well as very attractive. There’s one thing I’ve noticed about him – he doesn’t appear to have any close friends or family. He doesn’t even have a best bud to hang out with. In fact, he often stays home alone. While I certainly like my down-time, I come from a big, close family and have always had a ton of friends so this is a bit unusual for me. Should I be concerned? Is this a red flag? ~ Lisa

Is this your guy?

Is this your guy?

Good timing on this question, Lisa – I’ve been having a number of 1:1 consultations with the people who registered for my Empowered Dating for Introverts webinar and the one commonality between them all is not having an extended mega-watt circle of friends. Not to say this is a bad thing. While I know, based on experience, that having a good social network is crucial to our health, well-being and even our career success, I also know that being a social butterfly does not mean having savvy intimacy skills. I know plenty of families and friends that spend time together, but lack intimacy.

You’re an active member of my community, Lisa, so I just want to remind you of some basic Empowered Dating Principles…Empowered Dating Continue reading