Yours, Mine and Ours: The Relationship Edition

Dear Singlescoach: I am a 28 yr old woman and I am dating a 17 year old guy. He will be 18 in 5 months. And amazingly this has been the best relationship I have ever been in. However, there are a few problems… His parents don’t approve (especially his mother) and my sister thinks I’m making a mistake and being foolish. Age of consent in the state we live in is 17, so that’s not a problem. But the town we live in is small and the gossip has gotten so bad about us. People are talking about it like [...]

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If These Walls Could Talk, They Would Say “Tear Me Down”

What happens when you get to the point of “No matter what the outcome I will be okay?” I seem to have the problem now that I know I’m okay and don’t need someone, I don’t get close to anyone. There is an important distinction between individuation (basically, that I am a separate human being who is complete even when not in a relationship) and the fear of intimacy. You know it is the latter when you don’t allow yourself to get close to another person. As human beings, we seek the middle ground, but sometimes we miss. Perhaps at [...]

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I’m in Love With Mr. Wrong

Dear Nina: I have fallen in love with someone who thinks he’s in love with someone else. I still want to hang on. I’ve let myself fall in love with him, and I feel desperate to keep him in my life in some way even though I know it’s unhealthy. How can I break this hold?  – Julie Julie: The key words in your question are “desperate” and “unhealthy,” both of which indicate that you are crossing the line into what is referred to as love addiction*. This is basically a relationship in which you cannot get your needs met [...]

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There’s No Pill for Being Obsessive-Compulsive Over an Ex

Sandy fell deeply in love with Greg over the course of their romance. By the fourth date she was sure he was the one for her. He seemed to return her feelings and their relationship progressed nicely until the fourth week. Suddenly, he stopped calling as much, begging off with excuses like overwork and needing time with his buddies. The more he pulled away, the more obsessed she became with trying to get him back. He began avoiding her calls and not returning her emails, and this sent her into an emotional tailspin. This story took a dramatic turn when she showed up at [...]

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My Significant Other is Significantly Stunting My Personal Growth

Dear Nina: I have been with my boyfriend for seven years. I am a divorced mum of one child; I have tried to prevent further trauma to my son by remaining in the marital home. My relationship was very up and down with this man for the first four years and after many split ups he appears to be more committed; i.e., not going out to night clubs. The problem is that he is very jealous and upsets me when I try to do things on my own like going on a conference for my business or doing things with my friends. In [...]

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Listen to Your Emotional Red Flags

Cindy met Bill through her tennis club. He was charming, good-looking, and he swept her off her feet in a whirlwind courtship. Pushing for a quick marriage, he proposed after only two months. Though she felt a few flutters of anxiety, Cindy accepted, hoping for true love. Six months later, she deeply regretted the haste. Bill turned out to be both alcoholic and verbally abusive, with the threat of physical abuse lurking in the volatile atmosphere. Frightened, she moved out and filed for divorce. Later, she reflected on how she had gotten herself in such a painful place. Something deep inside Cindy had sent up warning [...]

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Some Motherly Advice: If You Want Love, Give Love

“Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God’s kindness; kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile, kindness in your warm greeting.”  – Mother Teresa Okay, so maybe we can’t always be the shining example of love that was Mother Teresa. But we can benefit from her example and her words of wisdom. If you want a great relationship, one of the milestones is realizing that most of the love you receive comes from the love that you give. If you think of it like “emotional muscle” [...]

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Among the Rebounding Relationships, Someone is Bound to Drop the Ball

Cherie writes about her Ex dating a crack addict while continuing to see her (Cherie) on the side. She asks: Number 1- Do we still have a chance to get back together? Number 2- Will he stay with her? She says, “he is in a rebound relationship and I don’t think it will last much longer.” Cherie, your focus is entirely in the wrong place. Instead of wondering if you can get back together with this guy, you should be wondering why you want him back. You describe the relationship as a drama-rama of fighting and breaking up, followed by his hooking [...]

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Never Say Never to a Positive Outlook

This past week, my friend George moved into a brand new house with his bride of two weeks. George and his new wife are blissful, looking forward to a life together of dancing, cooking on the grill, spending time with their kids and grandchildren, and loving each other. Just a little over a year ago, George was coming out of a long-term dating relationship that didn’t work out. And just three years before that, he was recovering from the death of his beloved first wife of cancer after more than thirty years of marriage. George has been through a lot. [...]

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Use Technology for Everything Except the Actual Date

These days you can do almost anything from your iPhone, including background checks on the men you date! features one that is compatible with the iPhone and others; it enables you to check for bankruptcy, marriage and divorce, and home addresses over a period of time. But the real question is: is it enough? The answer is absolutely not! Doing a background check is one part of a smart “due diligence strategy” when you date someone with no social context. You met him in a public place, you met him at Church (yes, even Church isn’t safe these days [...]

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In My Search for the Next Best Thing, Have I Passed up My Soul Mate?

Dear Nina: I read your book Be Your Own Dating Service and loved it; however I found myself startled when I read the term “Westbound Train” because I realize, I think I am one! I mostly relate to the ‘I Love you but.. ‘ syndrome–In all my relationships I’ve never wanted to fully commit thinking there might be better. I’ve tended to never be fully satisfied with the person, only finding them attractive conditionally (if they wore their hair a certain way, wore certain clothes, did certain things etc.), and eventually break up with them because I feel like I [...]

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Choosing to be Single vs. Choosing to be Content

I run across stories like this all the time – “Living Single in a Doubles World” is a good example. Extrapolating from the latest statistics that tell us there are now more singles living in the U.S. than married couples, the message is that singles are choosing their status over marriage. But there’s more to the story. My question is this: If you met someone today - someone whom you found to be very attractive, someone who shared your values and was on a similar life path, someone who left you feeling all tingly inside - and that person wanted to be [...]

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Anger Management: Don’t Scare Her Away

Dear Nina: My ex-girlfriend and I met on Myspace, emailed for a week, phoned for a week, then met for dinner and a walk. We dated for two and a half weeks, walking along the beach holding hands. Then she blew me off, saying it was just a friendship and she didn’t have time for a relationship. I was angry but I moved on. A month later, she called me, apologized and wanted another chance. We dated for three months and it went well. Her only complaint was that it was annoying to witness me getting mad at drivers in [...]

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Is the Attraction Only Skin Deep?

As discussed in previous blogs, there is really no reason why two people can’t fall in love even with a significant gap in age. But seeking someone specifically because of the gap in age is not far from seeking someone because of money, looks, or social status. At the end of the day, there’s an objectification of other people at the bottom of these choices. Objectification means, in essence, not being able to see people for who they are, or appreciate them for who they are, but instead seeing them as a means to satisfy a need. The beautiful person you [...]

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I’m Not Over The Hill, but (Eventually) I’d Like Someone to Go Over it With Me

Dear Nina: I read your book, Temptations of the Single Girl, and wish I would have read that years ago. I’ll be 47 this year, and now that I think I can date better, I’m afraid there won’t be many candidates looking for my age group. What do I do? Where do I meet men? Online, I looked, and most of them are looking for younger women. Almost all of them are actually. Also, I dated someone earlier, had I read your book I wouldn’t have. Understanding he wasn’t available doesn’t remove the pain he caused me or the disrespect [...]

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The 2 Month Girl

Dear Nina: I recently turned 30 and I’ve only had one boyfriend (of 4 years) in my entire dating life. When I do meet a guy that goes beyond a first date, it never turns into anything official and never lasts more than 2 months, hence, my nickname “The 2-month girl.” Because many of these guys are “friends of friends,” I often find out that the next girl they date becomes their girlfriend. What advice do you have on breaking the 2-month curse? (By the way-I am NOT the girl that comes across as needy or available at the drop of [...]

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The 2010 Challenge: 3 Steps to a Great Year

If you’re reading this, you’re probably single and ringing in the New Year wondering what will happen this year: will you be happily in love when 2011 rolls around? Are you in love now and wondering if you’ll be engaged this year? Are you breaking up or divorcing and wondering if you’ll be ready to date anytime soon? The answers are, of course, unanswerable because it all depends. Where you’ll be in 2011 has a lot to do with how this year unfolds, and that has everything to do with your intentions of living your best life. I’m a big [...]

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Am I Cheating If I Date More Than One Guy?

Dear Nina: I told you before how much I appreciate your guidance through Temptations of the Single Girl and Be your own Dating Service as well. I’ve been studying those books every single day since I got them, about two months now. I’m very serious about changing my old pattern about dating; it’s AMAZING how much progress I’ve made about dating; definitely empowers me and makes me realize how important my values are. I joined an online dating service, I have expended my social life, and I feel a lot better and happier with my life. You suggest to date more [...]

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Are You Managing Your Thoughts?

“The keys to effectiveness in life and business are 1.) self-awareness, 2.) self-mastery, and 3.) being on purpose,” says my Vistage colleague Mary Lore, author of Managing Thought: Are You Living the Life You Intend? Mary says we all have the ability to do these three things, and we can through managing thought. Often we focus on changing behavior in order to achieve results while neglecting the power of changing thoughts. Yes, behavior drives results. However, if thoughts are not in alignment with that behavior, it takes too much force to shape behavior. Force cuts off creativity and expansion. Inspiration is far more powerful [...]

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Mother Theresa and Dating

“Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God’s kindness; kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile, kindness in your warm greeting.” – Mother Theresa   Okay, so maybe we can’t always be the shining example of love that was Mother Theresa. But we can benefit from her example and her words of wisdom. If you want a great relationship, one of the milestones is realizing most of the love you receive comes from the love that you give. If you think of it like “emotional muscle” [...]

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If you have completed your visioning exercises (see previous blogs: 2008 Intentions, 2007 Reflections, Current State, Life Vision Statement, and 2008 Vision Statement), then you are ready to set SMART goals for 2008. What is a SMART goal? S = Specific M = Measurable A = Action-oriented, achievable R = Results-oriented T = Time-based A SMART goal might be something like this: Land a new job in my industry by end of first quarter 2008 Join 3 online dating services and complete my profiles by end of January ’08 Attend two singles groups or functions every month in ’08 Arrange time [...]

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2008 Vision Statement

This exercise is similar to the life vision exercise, narrowed down to the current year. If you imagine yourself at the end of 2008, what will you be celebrating? You might frame it up as The Seven F’s: What will these seven significant life categories look like to you one year from today? (write a mini vision statement for each one) Family Friends Faith Fitness Financial Function (career) Fun The following questions may help you identify how you can work on each area this year:  Family – do you have relationships with family members that have grown distant? Are there people who love you [...]

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Life Vision Statement

If you have never done this exercise, it is one that is powerful in setting the stage for achievement of your long term life goals. This one requires a calm, quiet state of mind, so carve out some time, do the things that relax you, have paper and pen on hand. Now, ask yourself this question – ___ number of years from now, how do I want to envision my life? (choose a number that fits for you; if you are 25 now, maybe look at age 35, for example) Now, imagine an ideal day in your life at this point in the [...]

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Current State: How Is My Life Now?

Before setting new goals, a powerful step is to acknowledge the current state of your life, personally and professionally. For this step, do some writing about how you see your life right now; add or subtract categories that are relevant for you: Spiritual Health Work Education Personal growth Family Friends Connection and love Passions (pursuits, hobbies, future entreprenurial ventures) For each category, write about: a.) what’s working? b.) what’s not working? With your current life state in front of you, your goals for next year should be emerging. The next exercise will help you clarify them further.

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2007 Reflections

Often people set goals for the new year without stopping to reflect on the past year. The problem with that approach is that lessons learned are often not carried forward, so you wind up repeating the past year’s mistakes. This exercise helps you access lessons learned so that you achieve emotional completion for the past year. Carve out some time (an hour or two) and set the stage: put on your favorite relaxing music, get plenty of paper and pens, light candles, have some hot tea, meditate, pray - in other words, get as comfortable and relaxed as possible. The goal for this [...]

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