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10 right things you gain by dating Mr. Wrong

We all grumble about spending so much energy on dates that don’t work out. I understand that there are many important things in your life so you need to be goal-directed and want specific results. But as the Rolling Stones said, ‘You can’t always get what you want but if you try sometime you just might find you get what you need.’ What do I (and Mick Jagger) mean by this?

Dating is a learning process and by meeting lots of people you can learn what you like, don’t like, need and you may even discover some new things about yourself. I go into this process in more detail in my book, ‘Dating from the Inside Out’ by Atria Books but for the purpose of today’s column I will list 10 reasons that dating ‘Mr. (or Mrs.) Wrong’ might not be a waste of your time. Here’s what you could gain:

1.      Dating Experience- Anything in lifetakes practice. People will tell you to go on a lot of job interviews so you are ready when that perfect job opportunity hits. It’s the same with dating.

2.      Become clear about what you DO want long-term- We often learn what we do want through contrast. You can take what you don’t like in your date and flip it. For example, you might say, ’I don’t like that he does not listen to me’ and this can bring clarity to the desire to attract a good listener as your husband.

3.      Learn more about yourself & others- We learn from everyone we meet. If you dislike someone it can teach you about an area where you are intolerant. Also, even if a date is not a romantic prospect, you can learn something else from them-about their career, art or another new experience.

4.      Explore beyond ‘your type’- We often choose the same experiences again and again. Once you are married you will hopefully be with that person forever. So why not ‘get out of the box’ and experience what someone very different is like?

5.      Put dating energy in motion- Often when you want to attract a mate it’s good to circulate interest. This can draw that energy to you and make you feel more confident and abundant. Dating is a numbers game, so sometimes the more people you meet the better your chances for success.

6.      Let go of expectations & just have fun – The ability to be present andjoyful is very attractive while dating. Allowing the relationship and date to unfold takes the pressure off and makes space for both people to be themselves.   When you are not interested in a date romantically, it is easy to practice enjoying that person in the moment. This is a great energy to bring to all your future dates!

7.      Learn to accept a mate ‘as is’- When a date is not long-term material it is easy to degrade or criticize them in your mind. To have a really great relationship, you need to accept your partner as is. You need to take the good with the challenging. So it’s good practice to ‘be with’ dates that are not your ideal. You can practice appreciating them for who they are without trying to change them.

8.      Learn to ‘say no’ gracefully- Part of getting to ‘yes’ in anything is learning to say no. Too many daters hang out for years in relationships that don’t fulfill them. One or two dates with ‘Mr. Wrong’ can be instructive but two years is destructive to your ultimate goal of attracting who you most want. Be clear and take a stand about when to leave a relationship. When you practice saying no in a kind way you will generally leave your date feeling okay and you will feel proud of yourself.

9.      Learn to Hear No- Anything you want in life often involves some rejection. In dating you need to remain confident and continue to love yourself, even when the outcome does not work out as you wish. 80% of the time your date does not even know you, so their ‘no’ has more to do with them. Learn how to move ahead and keep your eye on the prize.

10. Free meals (and the ability to keep your sense of humor) –There is something to appreciate in most experiences. Look for the great meal, your dates talents or interests and appreciate that they took the time to meet you. This will be better for you and them and it is a great attitude to practice in your life. Focus on what’s good.

Hopefully these tips will help you if you’ve had a string of dates with Mr. (or Mrs.) Wrong lately. Remember to keep your sense of humor, learn and remind yourself that in the end, it only takes one date to make a wonderful life mate.

My Best in Love,

Paulette


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* You may use excerpts from this with the bio below.

Author Bio:

Dr. Paulette Kouffman Sherman is a psychologist and author of ‘Dating from the Inside Out’ and ‘When Mars Women Date.’ She’s been an expert on the CBS Early Show, the Curtis Sliwa show, MSN.com, USA Weekend, the NY Post, Newsweek, Lifetime.com, More, Match.com, Foxnews.com, Better Homes & Gardens, Reader’s Digest, Redbook, Glamour, Forbes, Woman’s Day, Men’s Health, Seventeen, Complete Woman, Elle Canada, the Huffington Post and the NY Times. Learn more at: www.whenmarswomendate.com!

My Dating Books on Amazon:

Dating From the Inside Out

When Mars Women Date:

A Shared Vision:: 100 Exercises for Couples to Co-Create The Lives of Their Dreams

100 Ways to Treat Your Mate Like Royalty: Under $10

Dr. Sherman offers Mars women one-on-one coaching by phone or face to face in her Manhattan office. If you’re interested in coaching with her, please fill out the Private Counseling form here

She will also be facilitating groups and tele-classes for Mars women as well. If you’re interested in participating, please fill out the contact form here

Transform the top 10 reasons you hate dating

Singles hate dating for many reasons but when you look closely, most dating complaints fall into the realm of Fear (and expectation). Enlightened masters have said that everything in is either Fear or Love.  When we date we are trying to attract and create Love, so why is it that we all orbit around modes of Fear? I think it’s to protect ourselves from getting hurt.

Below we’ll review the 10 reasons you hate dating so you can transform them into ways to love yourself and others instead.

1. Rejection: You’re afraid that dates won’t like you. Remember that ‘no’ is just a word like yes. After one meeting another person does not really know you and there can be many reasons why it didn’t work out.  So let it go and do not reject your self in the process. Agree to love yourself and focus on something you liked about meeting that person. Then move on.

2. Job Interview: You feel like you have to promote yourself and discuss surface things. But there are NO rules in dating. You don’t have to discuss your job or strive to impress. Some of the best first dates are spent trading jokes or discussing your favorite Seinfeld episodes. You will get to know each other over time, so just be your self and have fun.

3. Competition: You constantly wonder if he or she likes someone else better. It is normal to date multiple people in the beginning, until you know each other well enough to become exclusive. This is a normal part of the dating process. So this means you have to remember your own worth and know that the right partner will love you just as you are. While other people will be great, they will not be you. The same is true for the partner you’ll choose.

4. Anticipation: Often women hate dating because it feels tortuous to wonder when and if he’ll call. It is hard for them to enjoy the date and just go on with their lives and remain present. This is an important skill to practice. If you can love you life and yourself either way, it is a winning proposition. It is more attractive to a partner and you will be happy and even keeled either way. One way to practice this is to tell yourself that the right person will call and your job is just to remain present and happy in your own life.

5. Game-Playing: You feel at least one person is playing hard to get or sending mixed signals. There are so many dating books like ‘The Rules’ that suggest manipulative techniques to attract a partner. So it’s possible that a date will adopt this strategy. Decide that you will be yourself on dates and will deal authentically with others. If you want to build a relationship based on honesty then act accordingly and the right mate will appreciate it.

6. Exhaustion: Dating feels like one more job! You have to get dressed up and go out after a long work day and make time to go online etc. Sometimes you do not feel like doing it. This is understandable but anything important that you want to create in life takes time and energy. If you come to dating with an attitude of fun then you can enjoy going out and meeting people.

7. Judgment: Often in dating we sit there judging ourselves and our date. We think about what is wrong with them and what they might not like about us. Shift your focus from fear to love here. Think about the great things you have to share and look for what you DO like about the other person on your date.

8. Compromise: Sometimes singles are afraid to meet someone they like because of a fear that they will have to compromise their life choices. It’s true that relationships often do require some compromise because as your relationship becomes more serious, your life will include two people. Remember that the right partner will try to respect your most important needs and choices. Also, the ability to compromise means that you are loving and respectful of your partner’s needs, which is a good thing.

9. Family Pressure: I often hear that singles are afraid to date because their friends and family want to know what is going on and they become disappointed when the relationship does not work out. Remember that it is your life and you only need to please yourself and be on your own timeline. Everyone is different and we cannot always control when we will meet our best partner. So let yourself off this hook and decide that you will not feed and bear your families expectations and hopes about your relationships.

10. Commitment: Sometimes singles are afraid to date because they start imagining sharing space with someone, getting married and having babies. While it’s true that this is the desired trajectory for some dating singles, everyone dates for different reasons. You can choose to wade into the dating pool for fun, companionship and romance. Realize that there are different levels of commitment in dating and as long as you are honest and clear about yours, you can create whatever you want and have a terrific time meeting people!

So, do not allow your fear to guide you when dating. Begin to transform your fears into love and before you know it, you’ll attract a great loving relationship!

My Best in Love,

Paulette


***************

* You may use excerpts from this with the bio below.

Author Bio:

Dr. Paulette Kouffman Sherman is a psychologist and author of ‘Dating from the Inside Out’ and ‘When Mars Women Date.’ She’s been an expert on the CBS Early Show, the Curtis Sliwa show, MSN.com, USA Weekend, the NY Post, Newsweek, Lifetime.com, More, Match.com, Foxnews.com, Better Homes & Gardens, Reader’s Digest, Redbook, Glamour, Forbes, Woman’s Day, Men’s Health, Seventeen, Complete Woman, Elle Canada, the Huffington Post and the NY Times. Learn more at: www.whenmarswomendate.com!

My Dating Books on Amazon:

Dating From the Inside Out

When Mars Women Date:

A Shared Vision:: 100 Exercises for Couples to Co-Create The Lives of Their Dreams

100 Ways to Treat Your Mate Like Royalty: Under $10

Dr. Sherman offers Mars women one-on-one coaching by phone or face to face in her Manhattan office. If you’re interested in coaching with her, please fill out the Private Counseling form here

She will also be facilitating groups and tele-classes for Mars women as well. If you’re interested in participating, please fill out the contact form here

Do You Avoid Dates?

This May Be Why

Lately I have been getting questions from readers.  I thank you for reaching out and I want you to know that I am working to respond to all of you.  Here is the first one:

Hi Paulette,

I’m unsuccessful with dating. I’m probably the type you describe as The Avoider.

I reread parts of your book weekly.  I have found it helpful.  I just don’t put myself  in situations to meet people.  I paid for 6 months of E-harmony and did not respond to one match.  Most Saturday nights I’m on my couch reading or watching TV.  I’m active with work, my hobbies and working out.  They have not lead to encounters that lead to dates. Help!

Sincerely,

Frustrated

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Dear Frustrated,

Thank you for sharing this dilemma with us. It is a common one, so you are not alone. You pointed out that you are able to be active in many areas of your life but you tend to freeze up when it comes to dating. It must be frustrating to not understand why you can apply discipline, energy and initiative in other areas that you care about but not be able to do so in your love life.

In my book I discuss 15 defensive dating styles. These are the 15 most common ways that people defend against getting hurt in love. There are at least 15 defensive styles because most of us know that dating can involve a lot of rejection and disappointment, so we go into it wary and often want to be self-protective. You said that you took this quiz in my book and found out that you were The Avoider.

The Avoider tends to do what feels safe and good in the short term but there is usually a long-term cost. So for example, if you signed up for a speed dating class but you’d rather sit home and watch ER (and you can reschedule the dating event without paying extra) you will happily rationalize this choice. The escape feels good in the moment because it is easy, safe and relaxing but it is not beneficial to your long-term goal of finding a life partner. At the extreme, days, dating events and whole television series might go by before you actually show up at a mixer. And before you know it you are a year older and no wiser in love.

So why does this happen? The specific reason depends on the dater (I’d need to know more about you) but the common underlying motivation of Avoiders is FEAR. If you stay home and watch television, nothing great will happen but nothing painful probably will either. So the cost/benefit ratio is low and your payoff is comfort and safety. To use a sports analogy: You like to stay off the field and blend in from the stands. The price of this choice is that you never get seen, known or have the thrill of really playing the game and giving it your all. You are also not in the moment; you are (in your mind) in ‘what could’ve been, should’ve been or what might still happen’ land. The loss or victory is happening now and that is not a place you like to be when it comes to love.

So the first step is to recognize this avoidance pattern and see if you resonate with some of the fear I described.

Then be compassionate with yourself and try to understand that your unconscious wants to protect you from possible pain and humiliation by keeping you on the stands. You are not crazy; there is a reason that you perpetuate this pattern.  It may also be interesting to explore what your particular underlying fear might be. For example, for some it might be the fear of being abandoned, particularly if they’ve been divorced or left by a parent in early childhood. For another dater it could be a fear of being rejected and humiliated. Perhaps you are particularly sensitive to not being liked and have painful past experiences of rejection and want to avoid it now at all costs (a difficult thing to do while dating). Another underlying fear could be a fear of intimacy. Some people associate the interdependence of a relationship as claustrophobic and threatening to their self-hood. So although they may say that they want a relationship, another part of them feels safer remaining on their own. These are a few possible examples of underlying fears that could motivate a person to avoid dating and love. So it may help to journal about your feelings and fear in order to learn more about what stops you. If you feel that you need additional help with this step, you could always go to counseling and work through it with an expert.

After you’ve recognized your avoidance pattern, have been compassionate with yourself and have explored the underlying motivation for your fear, it is important to take action. I know this is easier said then done, but if you keep doing the same thing, you’ll keep getting the same results. So, you can brainstorm about ways to shift your behavior pattern so that you get out that door and arrive at the dating event. 5 things to try are:

1-Create a Dating Action Plan where you put down 2 dating events a week to go to and schedule to go with a friend, so you are more likely to get there at first.

2-Create a Success Journal where you can record the times that you successfully showed up at the singles event and record the positive feelings and experiences you received from following through. Even if you do not meet a mate that you like, the experience of going will probably make you proud of your self and can boost your self-esteem if you celebrate it as an achievement. Then you can review those successes the next time that you feel scared to attempt a dating event.

3-Ask your self, ‘What’s the worst thing that can happen?’ I know this seems antithetical but it puts your fear on loudspeaker so that you can challenge it in your journal. You can write, ‘Maybe a man that I like there won’t ask for my phone number and I’ll be hurt.’ Then you can respond to that dilemma (for example with)’ This is a common part of dating and it happens to everyone. There may be people that I do not like also, so I just have to keep trying until I meet a good fit.’ You can use this technique with whatever fears you tell yourself so they do not hold you back.

4- Change the soundtrack. Make a list of all the great things that could happen if you go out and focus on that. For example, ‘If I go out I will feel proud of myself, I’ll have a new experience, I’ll meet new people, I could meet a guy that I like, I’ll make progress in walking my talk, I could have a lot of fun etc.

5- Picture your future with the partner of your dreams. Take some time to imagine all the terrific things that could come from meeting a terrific partner. Notice how great it feels, imagine the fun you’d have together and the life you would co-create. Let this image become more compelling and powerful then your immediate fear. Also, remind yourself that you will do the work to make this image a reality.

Remember that change takes time but when your desires and behavior seem out of whack (and don’t match) it’s usually because there is an opportunity to learn something about your self that can lead to greater wholeness. This is why I just did not answer something like, ‘Feel the fear and do it anyway!’ Ultimately, this is true but I think we are all on a journey to understand our fears and heal them so that we can love more in life (our selves and others). Dating is a terrific opportunity to see where you’ve been blocked and to do that and this is what my book, ‘Dating From the Inside Out’ is about.

Also, even when we do take action without addressing our fears, they often reemerge and cause trouble. For example, you may get to a few dating events and have several dates. This is progress, but when a date starts to really like you, you push him away. Your underlying fear of abandonment may be acting up again so you need to be in constant relationship with it and work with it. Just attending dating events will not demolish the avoidance defense or underlying fear. This is why my book really helps you to understand your particular dating psychology so that you can deal with your patterns in whatever form they emerge.

I hope this response helps all the Avoiders out there. Please let me know if any of these tips helped and have moved you to get on the field and start playing the game.

My Best in Love,

Paulette


***************

* You may use excerpts from this with the bio below.

Author Bio:

Dr. Paulette Kouffman Sherman is a psychologist and author of ‘Dating from the Inside Out’ and ‘When Mars Women Date.’ She’s been an expert on the CBS Early Show, the Curtis Sliwa show, MSN.com, USA Weekend, the NY Post, Newsweek, Lifetime.com, More, Match.com, Foxnews.com, Better Homes & Gardens, Reader’s Digest, Redbook, Glamour, Forbes, Woman’s Day, Men’s Health, Seventeen, Complete Woman, Elle Canada, the Huffington Post and the NY Times. Learn more at: www.whenmarswomendate.com!

My Dating Books on Amazon:

Dating From the Inside Out

When Mars Women Date:

A Shared Vision:: 100 Exercises for Couples to Co-Create The Lives of Their Dreams

100 Ways to Treat Your Mate Like Royalty: Under $10

Dr. Sherman offers Mars women one-on-one coaching by phone or face to face in her Manhattan office. If you’re interested in coaching with her, please fill out the Private Counseling form here

She will also be facilitating groups and tele-classes for Mars women as well. If you’re interested in participating, please fill out the contact form here

How to conjure up the best positive energy…

…in times of stress and fear

Today’s topic is about self love and how to maintain our positive energy, especially during stressful times. You may have heard the expression that others will treat us how we treat ourselves. So, you will be more attractive in Love when you begin to treat yourself lovingly.

Of course this is easier said then done. We all have a negative voice in our head that chatters about our inadequacies or signs of threat (perhaps Freud called this the superego) I call it the Gremlin. In addition, sometimes I think in NYC it is culturally ‘normal’ to talk about how busy and stressed you are. If you don’t, you may not feel important or productive or you may not feel like you get attention and care from loved ones. So, you automatically emit signs of distress. Plus, how would it look if everyone is stressing about and discussing the economy and you said, ‘Oh, I’m not worried. My life and finances are great!’ It might not go over well. Okay, so I am half kidding but it rings a bit true right? You probably do this at times.

While it’s normal to fall into this trap, most of us wish that we could stop those negative thoughts (at least temporarily) and infuse our psyche, system and day with positive energy instead. So, today we will focus on the power of your thoughts and self-talk so that you can begin to give yourself daily infusions of positive energy. I will describe 3 basic steps here to shift your thinking:

 

  1. POSITIVE OR NEGATIVE THINKING:

Let’s start by acknowledging the usual content that plays through our heads and the distinction between the negative and positive self-talk:

          COMMON TOPICS OF NEGATIVE SELF-TALK

The economy and losing your job

Problems in your relationships

Problems with your love life

Problems with yourself

Problems with your family

Lack of relaxation and pleasure

Lack of future or present security

Inadequate overall social support and loneliness

Lack of balance with all your priorities

Fear of not being ‘normal’ or adequate in some way

Fear of judgment

Fear of mortality

Fear of war and international unrest

Unfavorable body image or health

 

         POSSIBLE TOPICS FOR POSITIVE SELF-TALK

Great things about you

Blessings in your family

Wonderful people in your life

Great relationships

Wonderful past, present or future romances

Things to appreciate about your job

Passions, talents and hobbies you love

The last pleasurable, relaxing things that you did and what you will do

Things that bring you peace and security

The many categories of things and roles you have in your interesting life

What makes you unique

The ways that you accept yourself and others

The wish to make your life meaningful because it is finite

The wonderful things about the United States and the world

What makes you beautiful and attractive

What you have accomplished thus far

Exciting goals for your future

 

  1. DO YOUR THOUGHTS ELICIT LOVE OR FEAR?

Notice the feelings that reading each list elicits. Both lists are true but the negative list makes you feel afraid, depressed, apathetic and tired. The positive list makes you inspired, happy, present and in a state of love and gratitude. You are not lying to yourself if you choose to focus more on the good stuff sometimes.

 

  1. BE PROACTIVE & ACT WHEN FACING CHALLENGES:

Unlike some Law of Attraction advocates, I am not saying that you never deal with or focus on the negative thoughts or realities in your life. At the extreme, this can resemble denial. When challenges present themselves, it’s important to recognize them and sometimes take action. However, there is a distinction between worrying and complaining (which accomplishes little or nothing) and identifying challenging areas so they can be addressed.

So the next time you start to complain to your friend about something, stop your self and identify one positive action to address this. Perhaps you can try to get two more clients that week or call up your friend to discuss what is bothering you and ask her not to let it happen again.

If we can all make this shift 10% of the time, it will decrease our stress levels and increase our overall mood. If you’re dating, this shift will cause you to vibrate more positive energy about your self, your life and the future.

My Best in Love,

 Paulette

 


***************

* You may use excerpts from this with the bio below.

Author Bio:

Dr. Paulette Kouffman Sherman is a psychologist and author of ‘Dating from the Inside Out’ and ‘When Mars Women Date.’ She’s been an expert on the CBS Early Show, the Curtis Sliwa show, MSN.com, USA Weekend, the NY Post, Newsweek, Lifetime.com, More, Match.com, Foxnews.com, Better Homes & Gardens, Reader’s Digest, Redbook, Glamour, Forbes, Woman’s Day, Men’s Health, Seventeen, Complete Woman, Elle Canada, the Huffington Post and the NY Times. Learn more at: www.whenmarswomendate.com!

My Dating Books on Amazon:

Dating From the Inside Out

When Mars Women Date:

A Shared Vision:: 100 Exercises for Couples to Co-Create The Lives of Their Dreams

100 Ways to Treat Your Mate Like Royalty: Under $10

Dr. Sherman offers Mars women one-on-one coaching by phone or face to face in her Manhattan office. If you’re interested in coaching with her, please fill out the Private Counseling form here

She will also be facilitating groups and tele-classes for Mars women as well. If you’re interested in participating, please fill out the contact form here

Virtual relationships:

Are they almost as good?

As a psychologist who specializes in relationships, I hear a lot about the role of texting in dating. Many singles develop a virtual closeness by texting every hour throughout the day. This can go on for a long period of time and sometimes they don’t even meet in person! They flirt and remain involved in each other’s lives from afar.

This also happens on dating sites when singles become email buddies for extended periods of time. Sometimes this graduates to phone conversations but women complain that they have long conversations that never culminate in a date! They wonder if this is because dating becomes expensive and requires more effort, intimacy and time.

A third popular phenomenon is Second Life, a virtual community where people can get married, have a job, become lovers, have kids and community, all without ever meeting people live.

Fourthly, today more couples are living apart. According to 2006 Census data 3.8 million married couples do not reside under the same roof. A phone survey in 2005 found that 23% of married couples sleep alone. I’m reminded of Elizabeth Taylor’s love nest with Richard Burton that I once saw while sight seeing. They had two houses attached by a pink bridge and lived apart. Is this the wave of the future?

Do people now favor relationships with built-in distance?

Perhaps this because we now farm out the every day tasks of cooking, cleaning and childcare to maids, babysitters and daycare and we use Fresh Direct for the grocery shopping. Both men and women work and each have separate friendships and hobbies. Does this increased independence lessen the need for daily intimacy? Is that reflected in a lessened need for proximity? What does this shift towards a ‘virtual relationship’ mean about the fate of real time romance? And what is the draw of these half-in/half-out relationships?

Some couples say that having alone time and personal space increases their romance, sex and intimacy. Other couples say that they could not imagine sleeping separately and not seeing each other on a daily basis.

Are we so afraid to plunge in with a full out commitment that we’ve created a ton of back-door arrangements? I am asking these questions today more than providing answers. Perhaps at best virtual romance provides some closeness without the need for too much compromise, energy or challenge.

I remember when cell phones and email first became popular. I was going to use my cell for emergencies and email wasn’t going to be that important in my communications. Today I have a trio that goes everywhere with me and I check my email throughout the day. I think I am average when it comes to my relationship with the virtual world. It is here to stay and it’s very easy to get sucked in to the convenience. You can receive calls anywhere or answer emails on your own schedule to keep in touch.

But would I give up hearing my husband snore or sharing the 3am feedings of our son? Would I miss asking him to move his shoes so I don’t trip on them or figuring out our weekly grocery list together? With all the varied challenges of intimacy and co-habitation, I would not change a thing.

Who knows if in future years we’ll be able to beam into each others homes like some star track episode or communicate telepathically. Relationships will continue to change as communication capabilities and customs do. Sometimes we don’t even notice it. I just want partners to be conscious about what we may lose as we gain relationship choices. Would you trade the bad breath ‘good mornings,’ the nighttime elbowing through his snoring trials, the ongoing petty fights and your world of shared domesticity for virtual bliss carefully designed with optimal parts fantasy and personal space?

And if so, although the gains are obvious, what are the costs? Can we get ahead in our intelligence without losing heart?

My Best in Love,

Paulette


***************

* You may use excerpts from this with the bio below.

Author Bio:

Dr. Paulette Kouffman Sherman is a psychologist and author of ‘Dating from the Inside Out’ and ‘When Mars Women Date.’ She’s been an expert on the CBS Early Show, the Curtis Sliwa show, MSN.com, USA Weekend, the NY Post, Newsweek, Lifetime.com, More, Match.com, Foxnews.com, Better Homes & Gardens, Reader’s Digest, Redbook, Glamour, Forbes, Woman’s Day, Men’s Health, Seventeen, Complete Woman, Elle Canada, the Huffington Post and the NY Times. Learn more at: www.whenmarswomendate.com!

My Dating Books on Amazon:

Dating From the Inside Out

When Mars Women Date:

A Shared Vision:: 100 Exercises for Couples to Co-Create The Lives of Their Dreams

100 Ways to Treat Your Mate Like Royalty: Under $10

Dr. Sherman offers Mars women one-on-one coaching by phone or face to face in her Manhattan office. If you’re interested in coaching with her, please fill out the Private Counseling form here

She will also be facilitating groups and tele-classes for Mars women as well. If you’re interested in participating, please fill out the contact form here

The love doctor is in:

My specialty is helping people open their hearts to romantic love-whether they are daters, in long term relationships or married. My hope is that there will be less divorce, more happy families and most importantly, individuals in this world who can transcend fear and connect to others.

It is not easy. I continually see how good people struggle to love and accept themselves as well as their mates. There’s rampant insecurity, protectiveness and old pain that bubbles up and festers. Every time we risk transparency we are allow another person to fully know us. We test their reaction to our sadness, fear, defensive styles and inadequacies and test the possibility that they will love us anyway or leave us. Sometimes people decide not to take this gamble. They refuse to love. Or, they create hollow, shallow relationships and build partnerships based upon deceit and looking good. It’s safer that way and it’s even touted by popular books like ‘The Rules.’ Then we wonder in our quiet moments: Were we ever really loved? Did anyone truly know us?

Loving ourselves and others is a courageous act. It requires honesty, compassion, humility and patience. It calls us to face parts of ourselves that went previously unloved and rejected. Sometimes this means looking terrible and having drag out fights that resemble the temper tantrums of a three year old. It might ask us to get rid of shoes in order to make space for our spouse, learn to clean our own home (and forgo a maid) or give up some of the (seeming) control over the myriad things in our lives that were so hard won.

We each gain and lose different things in this process: an opportunity to reconnect with unloved old parts of ourselves and a chance to gain in maturity by being less selfish and more able to give, compromise, negotiate, listen and prioritize. Love can also teach us to accept differences, frailties and disillusionment in ourselves and others.

When you were dating you imagined that an easy happy ending would culminate in marriage. When you got there, you laughed, realizing that was where the real work begins.

Partnership is not about safety in numbers, outer validation or even creating a legacy. It’s about connecting in real time so you can know your self better and join in your mate’s world while practicing authentic presence.

My clients are wonderful, loveable people and it makes me happy when they venture out and risk the messiness of a relationship. I’m not hoping for roses and diamonds and smiles. And if I do my work right, neither are they. There will be many happy moments but this process is about continued learning and acceptance.

I hope that just a few more people will risk loving and all it requires. Like a baby learning to walk, they will stumble. It won’t be perfect. It might be scary and there’s a good possibility that they will take a few tumbles. Maybe it won’t be with a romantic mate. It could begin with their mom, son, best friend or themselves.

I am challenging everyone to take a baby step.

Remember that you are not alone. I am here, in spirit, rooting for you. There are many others too, each of us hoping for a planetary explosion in growth and connection.

So, that’s it. I’ve anted up. The Love Doctor is in.

What about you?

My Best in Love,

Paulette


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* You may use excerpts from this with the bio below.

Author Bio:

Dr. Paulette Kouffman Sherman is a psychologist and author of ‘Dating from the Inside Out’ and ‘When Mars Women Date.’ She’s been an expert on the CBS Early Show, the Curtis Sliwa show, MSN.com, USA Weekend, the NY Post, Newsweek, Lifetime.com, More, Match.com, Foxnews.com, Better Homes & Gardens, Reader’s Digest, Redbook, Glamour, Forbes, Woman’s Day, Men’s Health, Seventeen, Complete Woman, Elle Canada, the Huffington Post and the NY Times. Learn more at: www.whenmarswomendate.com!

My Dating Books on Amazon:

Dating From the Inside Out

When Mars Women Date:

A Shared Vision:: 100 Exercises for Couples to Co-Create The Lives of Their Dreams

100 Ways to Treat Your Mate Like Royalty: Under $10

Dr. Sherman offers Mars women one-on-one coaching by phone or face to face in her Manhattan office. If you’re interested in coaching with her, please fill out the Private Counseling form here

She will also be facilitating groups and tele-classes for Mars women as well. If you’re interested in participating, please fill out the contact form here

Can love strike twice?

Lightening usually only strikes once but there are exceptions to every rule:

Here’s a popular relationship question: Should you get back together with your ex?

Many people say that you should not try again with an ex love because there were good reasons that you broke up in the first place. Often partners that reunite start off great in the beginning and later find themselves facing the same challenges.

On the other hand, sometimes people do successfully reunite. There are instances where people separated originally due to their age or circumstance, not because of their relationship issues. Sometimes people date in high school, marry and divorce someone else and then find each other again later. Another possible factor is emotional timing. It is possible for people to mature over a period of time so they are more willing to work through their existing relationship challenges later.

In situations where people reunite in clarity and love rather than fear, outcomes tend to be better.

Since this column is about learning to love consciously, I want you to ask yourself a few questions if you are suddenly thinking about returning to an ex. Are you idealizing the situation? Are you expecting everything to be perfect this time or are you more willing to accept the old challenges? Are you trying to reclaim your youth or reclaim your past in some way? Or, is this choice about something that is good for you and grounded in the present?

Once you’ve considered the aforementioned questions, you can think about whether to rekindle your old flame or to stop playing with fire. Here are some tips to help you decide:

Basic Tips About Reuniting With an Ex:

  • Do not return to the relationship expecting the other person to change
  • Check if you are idealizing the past and are just remembering the good
  • Be clear about the reasons that you split in the first place.
  • Be realistic about the ways that the relationship will be different
  • Act out of love & clarity, not fear & loneliness
  • Was there was a lesson to be learned the first time? Did you learn it?

Whether it be once, or twice, as always, I wish you…

My Best in Love,

Paulette


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* You may use excerpts from this with the bio below.

Author Bio:

Dr. Paulette Kouffman Sherman is a psychologist and author of ‘Dating from the Inside Out’ and ‘When Mars Women Date.’ She’s been an expert on the CBS Early Show, the Curtis Sliwa show, MSN.com, USA Weekend, the NY Post, Newsweek, Lifetime.com, More, Match.com, Foxnews.com, Better Homes & Gardens, Reader’s Digest, Redbook, Glamour, Forbes, Woman’s Day, Men’s Health, Seventeen, Complete Woman, Elle Canada, the Huffington Post and the NY Times. Learn more at: www.whenmarswomendate.com!

My Dating Books on Amazon:

Dating From the Inside Out

When Mars Women Date:

A Shared Vision:: 100 Exercises for Couples to Co-Create The Lives of Their Dreams

100 Ways to Treat Your Mate Like Royalty: Under $10

Dr. Sherman offers Mars women one-on-one coaching by phone or face to face in her Manhattan office. If you’re interested in coaching with her, please fill out the Private Counseling form here

She will also be facilitating groups and tele-classes for Mars women as well. If you’re interested in participating, please fill out the contact form here

Compromise: too little or too much?

Today I am pondering the conventional wisdom about having to compromise in relationships. Compromise is defined as ‘a settlement of difference in which each side makes concessions,’ ‘something midway between different things’ and ‘an adjustment between opposing principles by modifying some aspects of each.’

Do people expect to compromise in their relationships, and if so, how much?

I often hear singles complain about their fear of compromise. It actually stops them from getting into a serious partnership. They’re used to having their own space, creating their own schedule and priorities and making their own choices about everything. It’s easy to date for fun while maintaining this level of autonomy but what would happen if they became part of a real couple? They worry that all this would change and suddenly they would have someone telling them how to spend money, where to on vacation, when to go out etc. Is there some truth to this? Would this lead to a lot of fighting, discussions and resentment? Do serious relationships require progressively more compromise, and if so, is this a bad thing?

A man in his 30’s shared his view on compromise. He said that no one in a relationship should have to compromise what they really want. He felt that each person’s needs should be respected as is and partners are still separate people. He said this should not change even if they are married with children and have shared responsibilities. He agreed that partners should determine certain roles and responsibilities together but beyond this, they could do their own thing.

This sounds good in theory but what happens when he really wants to go away for a week for a vacation with his buddies, and his wife has to stay home with three children and work? Will they get her hired help? Will she get a vacation too? Would this choice be discussed or is it a done deal just because it’s important to him?

Times have changed and now couples handle these interdependence/independence conflicts in new ways, like increased distance. I just read an article at http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21369007/ about a married couple with three children who lived separately in the same city. She says they love each other but they don’t have much in common and thinks most other couples probably don’t either.   Her husband was neat and she was messy. He liked quiet and she liked noise. Their living arrangement arrangement reportedly worked for them both because it required less daily compromise while maintaining the perks of their committed relationship. It is easier to compromise when daily choices are made separately but don’t we still have to compromise in all relationships-with our friends, family and neighbors?

Relationships consist of two people that are individuals and partners. So, in order to avoid resentment, most choices do need to be discussed. Sometimes a partner might be fine with a request and other times, they may have a counter proposal.

Relationships are ripe with differences, large and small. For example, one partner had a maid before living together and hated to clean. Her spouse hated to pay for such luxuries and deemed this choice spoiled. So they agreed to spend every other week cleaning and have a maid at least once a month. This is an example of the small daily negotiation that can take place. Then there are the larger issues that trigger our core needs. Perhaps one partner needs a certain amount of personal space to be happy and the other needs a certain amount of closeness. Can they engineer something that will work for them both? Can they each have personal time away from their responsibilities and a regular date night together to bond?

These are the types of issues that arise with daters in new relationships and long time spouses in therapy. On the concrete level of the issue at hand, couples can learn to listen, empathize and problem-solve to create shared solutions. On a deeper level, what is triggered by having to compromise can be a fear of losing their identity, being smothered, being controlled or losing their power of choice.

If partners can solidify a mutual level of respect, good communication and a supportive living structure that addresses their core needs as individuals and as a couple, compromise can become less threatening.

Most people don’t like to lose or give up something, even if it is for someone they love. But, it’s important to think about what can be gained. Potentially couples who compromise well maintain harmonious homes where they model respect and teamwork for their children.  Both people feel their needs are heard and honored, in balance with the needs of their relationship. They know how to problem solve around their differences and can create solutions that keep their relationship viable, energized and fresh.

Compromise (like most other things) can be experienced on a continuum. On one end you have the individuality and growth of each partner. On the other you have the teamwork and needs of the relationship. A relationship that is too close can be called codependent or at an extreme ‘a follie a deux’ relationship. Have you had a friend who got a boyfriend or got married, dropped her works, friends and hobbies and focused only upon her mate? On the other hand, there are couples where the wife may raise the kids and spouses rarely see each other. You may wonder what unites them as a couple or if their marriage is only for show.   So, how much compromise is healthy and when is too much?

 My Best in Love,

 Paulette


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* You may use excerpts from this with the bio below.

Author Bio:

Dr. Paulette Kouffman Sherman is a psychologist and author of ‘Dating from the Inside Out’ and ‘When Mars Women Date.’ She’s been an expert on the CBS Early Show, the Curtis Sliwa show, MSN.com, USA Weekend, the NY Post, Newsweek, Lifetime.com, More, Match.com, Foxnews.com, Better Homes & Gardens, Reader’s Digest, Redbook, Glamour, Forbes, Woman’s Day, Men’s Health, Seventeen, Complete Woman, Elle Canada, the Huffington Post and the NY Times. Learn more at: www.whenmarswomendate.com!

My Dating Books on Amazon:

Dating From the Inside Out

When Mars Women Date:

A Shared Vision:: 100 Exercises for Couples to Co-Create The Lives of Their Dreams

100 Ways to Treat Your Mate Like Royalty: Under $10

Dr. Sherman offers Mars women one-on-one coaching by phone or face to face in her Manhattan office. If you’re interested in coaching with her, please fill out the Private Counseling form here

She will also be facilitating groups and tele-classes for Mars women as well. If you’re interested in participating, please fill out the contact form here

The Rule of 5: Be Positive in Your Relationships

You may have heard the phrase, ‘What you focus on expands.’ It means that we feed that which we give our attention and it tends to snowball, in our consciousness and in our lives. So, we can’t be in denial about what can be improved in our relationships, but it’s also very important to continuously search out the good, both in our relationship and in our partner.

Research actually has shown that there is a well-recognized psychological phenomenon called the“Negativity Bias” where people react more strongly and persistently to the bad than to the good.

So in relationships, it takes at least five good acts to repair the damage of one critical or destructive act. So here’s the Rule of 5 to remember: For every negative act or comment you make, you need 5 positive ones to counterbalance it.

This makes you think twice (or 5 times) about what you say and do, right?

It also might make you feel uncomfortable because maybe you aren’t used to being positive or giving compliments. Maybe praise was not big in your family. Notice how hard it is for you to be positive. The comments should be authentic but they can be big or small. The importance is the frequency (magic number of 5) with which you say them.

So I’ve created a list below of 20 positive comments to get your juices flowing:

  1. You are so handsome/pretty
  2. I love how you make me laugh
  3. You’re my best friend
  4. I am so lucky to have you
  5. Thank you for (putting away the baby clothes, taking out the garbage, cooking etc).
  6. I am so glad you are my partner
  7. Thinking about you makes me smile
  8. You are the kindest person I know
  9. You are a terrific spouse
  10. You are a terrific parent
  11. I love spending time with you
  12. I love the way you make me feel
  13. I love how thoughtful you are
  14. You relax me
  15. I couldn’t wait to see you today
  16. I’m glad I have you to come home to
  17. We are a great couple and family
  18. I love the color of your eyes
  19. That outfit looks great on you
  20.  You are the love of my life

Just think how you’d feel if your date/boyfriend was authentically, accurately and consistently telling you wonderful things about yourself. We all want to be around that, so you can start to notice how positive you are and do your part.

My Best in Love,

Paulette

Related Links:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Negativity_bias

http://www.christianitytoday.com/mp/2008/spring/7.26.html

http://biopsychiatry.com/depression/negbias.html

http://www.happiness-project.com/happiness_project/2008/07/five-tips-for-g.html


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* You may use excerpts from this with the bio below.

Author Bio:

Dr. Paulette Kouffman Sherman is a psychologist and author of ‘Dating from the Inside Out’ and ‘When Mars Women Date.’ She’s been an expert on the CBS Early Show, the Curtis Sliwa show, MSN.com, USA Weekend, the NY Post, Newsweek, Lifetime.com, More, Match.com, Foxnews.com, Better Homes & Gardens, Reader’s Digest, Redbook, Glamour, Forbes, Woman’s Day, Men’s Health, Seventeen, Complete Woman, Elle Canada, the Huffington Post and the NY Times. Learn more at: www.whenmarswomendate.com!

My Dating Books on Amazon:

Dating From the Inside Out

When Mars Women Date:

A Shared Vision:: 100 Exercises for Couples to Co-Create The Lives of Their Dreams

100 Ways to Treat Your Mate Like Royalty: Under $10

Dr. Sherman offers Mars women one-on-one coaching by phone or face to face in her Manhattan office. If you’re interested in coaching with her, please fill out the Private Counseling form here

She will also be facilitating groups and tele-classes for Mars women as well. If you’re interested in participating, please fill out the contact form here

10 Things We Tolerate in Relationships:

From Petty to Deadly

Today we are going to look specifically at what kinds of things we tolerate in our romantic relationships and how they drain our energy.

There is a continuum of tolerations in romantic relationships. They range from petty to deadly. On the petty end would be ‘my boyfriend leaves his socks by the door’ and on the deadly side might be, ‘My boyfriend beats me and gets very violent sometimes.’

This article provides an overview of some of the things that we don’t like in our relationships but that we ‘put up with’ or ignore anyway. This ongoing tendency can lead to depression, irritability, exhaustion and low self esteem if unattended and it usually does not lead to a healthy relationship either.

So for the sake of ease and brevity in writing this, I have geared these complaints more towards men (sorry!) but you can think of examples in each category for both genders. These examples are a conglomeration of complaints I often here from daters and married people. Here is a list of 10 things that we tolerate, from petty to deadly:

  1. My partner/date is inconsiderate in our environment- He leaves garbage in the kitchen, food in the sink, socks on the floor (etc, etc) and I constantly have to remind him to help out. I hate living this way!
  2. My partner is inconsiderate about his Commitments- If she says she’ll meet me at a certain time, she’s often late. When he promises to come to an event he often cancels, leaving me disappointed and sometimes embarrassed.
  3. Critical & Unappreciative- My partner often tells me what is wrong with me and makes me feel sub par. I feel like he does not notice all the good things that I do and he tends to scrutinize the things that I can improve. I feel like I can never win!
  4. Negative & Withholding- My partner tends to see the glass half empty in life and he has a scarcity mentality. It is not directed towards me, it’s just how he is but it can be very draining to be around. He is also private emotionally and does not like to spend money.
  5. Thoughtless/Dismissive About Things That Are Important to You-My partner often forgets my birthday, Valentine’s Day, Anniversary and says that holidays aren’t important. It’s fine if they are not important to him but they are important to me! Why doesn’t he care?
  6. Inequity in freedom, rights & roles-My partner has nights out with his friends and free time while I am always dealing with our children or household issues and we both work!
  7. Poor treatment from your mate’s family and friends- In order to maintain our relationship, I’ve had to put up with insulting comments or disrespectful treatment from his friends and family. He hasn’t addressed this and neither have I!
  8. He only Focuses on Himself- When we hang out we always talk about his day, work, goals, friends, desires etc. It rarely seems that I am a topic of interest and I feel invisible.
  9.  Emotional Abuse-In this category, emotional abuse can be an extreme form of continual criticism that makes your partner feel ashamed, worthless, small or devalued. It is very toxic over time and can have lasting effects.
  10.  Physical Abuse-This type of toleration can range from throwing something at a partner or smacking someone’s arm to hitting them or beating them up. Abuse is illegal and is not tolerated by law so why would you ignoring it? It is not okay for a partner to hit you.

Sometimes tolerations are so commonplace that we think they go with the territory. We say things like, ‘Men will be messy’ or ‘husbands always forget birthdays.’ I was shocked by how much physical violence is tolerated in our society. With the relationship details regarding the violence coverage about Rhianna a while back, many fans wrote in that she should forgive him and remember that they are the perfect couple. Our notion that ‘love should conquer all’ is often an excuse not to address the things that drain and hurt us.

So, what can be done? There are a number of ways to address the things that you’ve been tolerating. You can discuss it with your mate and let him know that you will no longer ignore these destructive patterns. You can set boundaries that involve taking action, like leaving after he is 20 minutes late, getting a maid to pick up after him so you don’t have to, going to couples therapy, or pointing it out and walking away when he gets emotionally abusive. If you’ve been tolerating too much too long, you may want to consider ending the relationship if things aren’t workable. Sometimes we value the ‘idea of love’ so much that we ignore the experience of what is really happening in our relationship.

Having said this, none of us are perfect and neither are our relationships. So if things between you are mostly good, sometimes it’s good to ‘pick your battles’ and accept some petty things about each other. It’s a slippery slope because you can’t change the other person, so in accepting them you often accept things that are less then ideal. It Is okay to make that choice, I just want you to weigh what you gain against the cost to yourself.

My Best in Love,

Paulette


***************

* You may use excerpts from this with the bio below.

Author Bio:

Dr. Paulette Kouffman Sherman is a psychologist and author of ‘Dating from the Inside Out’ and ‘When Mars Women Date.’ She’s been an expert on the CBS Early Show, the Curtis Sliwa show, MSN.com, USA Weekend, the NY Post, Newsweek, Lifetime.com, More, Match.com, Foxnews.com, Better Homes & Gardens, Reader’s Digest, Redbook, Glamour, Forbes, Woman’s Day, Men’s Health, Seventeen, Complete Woman, Elle Canada, the Huffington Post and the NY Times. Learn more at: www.whenmarswomendate.com!

My Dating Books on Amazon:

Dating From the Inside Out

When Mars Women Date:

A Shared Vision:: 100 Exercises for Couples to Co-Create The Lives of Their Dreams

100 Ways to Treat Your Mate Like Royalty: Under $10

Dr. Sherman offers Mars women one-on-one coaching by phone or face to face in her Manhattan office. If you’re interested in coaching with her, please fill out the Private Counseling form here

She will also be facilitating groups and tele-classes for Mars women as well. If you’re interested in participating, please fill out the contact form here