WHAT’S MORE IMPORTANT THAN LISTENING?

You can talk and talk all you want. You can say it this way and that. You can shout or you can whisper. You can write it out in a letter, or point it out from a book, or skywrite it. Are you being listened to? Could you be anymore clear?! No. 
 
Here’s what I’ve discovered. Listening is a secondary value in communication. Your error is focusing on clarity and courtesy. How you speak up isn’t the only factor in communication. The major roadblock to getting your point across in love (or business) is credibility. Good communication is not only about how you present your perspective, it’s about how the listener responds. 
 
Overall, do you feel that your beloved respects you? I don’t mean does he or she like you, enjoy you, agree with you, or love you. What I mean is, do you feel your opinions are respected? Think about it.
 
When you talk over your day together, do you get push back, commentary, rolled eyeballs? Do you get judgement, correction, logic-based rebuttals? If these responses are a pattern, not an exception, you’d better get your head out of the clouds. 
 
Hello! You’re both in the dark ages! This is not 1950. Judgment or unsolicited critique within a love relationship is absolutely neanderthal. S/he is not the boss of you. Here’s the bigger question. “Yes” or “No.” Do you respect yourself? Yes? Then don’t be a hypocrite. Get up to speed. If you want respect, it’s your job to muster up the courage to stand up for yourself. This doesn’t mean arguing, defending, or justifying yourself.
 
Love and respect go hand in hand. You have a job to do. You need to declare your position. Notify your beloved in a firm but brief statement that you expect to be disagreed with but never again treated as if you’re daft or dumb. Then establish a zero tolerance rule for being demeaned or ridiculed.  
 
If you don’t get the respect you deserve as a free citizen of the world, I challenge you to take the lead on a relationship project. As a couple, a team; co-write “The Declaration of Our Relationship.” Each state your terms. Amend it until you come to an agreement. Both sign on the dotted line. And keep your word. 
 
 
 
 
 
 

THE GENIUS OF JEALOUSY

Unless it’s the green-eyed monster-never-let-up kind of jealousy,
          jealousy is a territorial issue – not an insecurity issue.  
 
Ladies: You are not crazy. I’ve listened to hundreds of women          torture themselves by second-guessing their instincts around a jealousy issue. Why? Because he doth protest!
 
Whether a guy is outright cheating or “innocently” flirting or just dumb-clueless about his arousing impact on another woman… men underestimate themselves and the situation. This arrogant ignorance is exactly what can lead to “whoops!” an unintentional affair or an ongoing allegedly innocent crush. The only difference between an affair and a private crush is that one is embodied and the other is in-the-mind. Both modes qualify as cheating.
 
Do not, I repeat, do not be ashamed to bring up this topic to the man who loves you. Do not dismiss or ignore that twist in your stomach if you notice an ongoing heightened exchange between your guy and another woman. Men can be had. Men have been had for centuries. Trust the genius of your animal instinct. You were born with it for a reason, and one reason is monogamy. If your man wants to be monogamous, then your feminine instinct is a god-given gift to your relationship. 
 
The added twist to the jealousy issue is that, as a female, you are an expert. Historically, females have used subtle seduction ploys to attract a male mate. In a nano-second you can sniff if another female is infringing on your relationship territory. Sometimes (often!) a man is in his blind spot and doesn’t sense the agenda of another woman. Ask him if he sees you as a perpetually jealous female or if he respects and trusts your judgement. 
 
A caveat: Men and women can be friends, can be friendly, can enjoy one another. 
Do not bring emotional binoculars to your social settings. 
Do notice if a pattern of flirtation or extra-friendliness occurs with a certain female. 
Do not argue or accuse him of anything. 
Do calmly, firmly, and briefly tell him that at future social events, you expect him to minimize his conversation with her.
Do let him succeed at resolving the messiness. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

ARE YOU THE TOP DOG OR THE LAP DOG IN LOVE?

 

Whether at home or traveling to a new territory,                         humans maintain order with the help of a social hierarchy,        referred to as a dominant hierarchy. 

 
Why do love relationships cause such trouble? Blame it on biology. Like
 a school of tiny fish, a gaggle of geese, or a troop of apes – once we humans, proud members of the mammal species, form a love relationship – we unconsciously and instinctively form a pack. Yes, an animal pack, just like dogs. How sweet. How brilliant. We can combine and contribute the best of what each of us has to offer. Or maybe not…
 
Once a pack forms, The Law of the Jungle kicks in. It is decreed    – a
 social hierarchy must be established. Hierarchy comes from Medieval Latin: hierarcha/ hieros = sacred + archos = ruler. This
means every love relationship is subject (vulnerable) to a pecking order. Inevitably, one person establishes dominance, the other   accepts the submissive role. Is this a mandatory imperative? Absolutely. But I will tell you, it can be overridden.                              ~                                                                                                            
First, a quiz. Choose five couples you know pretty well, family or friends. Married couples are easier to spot. I bet that within three seconds, you can name who’s the Top Dog and who’s the Lap Dog. Now, look at yourself and your relationships, past or present.
I’m guessing you don’t identify with being a Lap Dog. You’re saying to yourself, “I’m not a wimp. I have a mind of my own. I speak up.” 
Yes, you do speak up. Here’s what I want to ask you. “How’s it going? Do you feel heard? Are things changing?
 Or is resentment building up inside of you?” These are scary questions.                       ~
Wake up, Bambi. Like a car draining oil, your relationship is

draining its reserve of goodwill. This is weakening the very
foundation of the relationship you’ve invested in together. Don’t wait until it’s too late and snap! you’ve lost that loving feeling. Breaking up happens to the best of us. Don’t become a statistic
.     

                                                                                                              Take charge today. Despite your Top Dog’s bluff and bluster, I’ll bet it won’t surprise you when I say it’s likely you know better about love-in-action. Tag, you’re it. Do not dumb yourself down! The truth is, your beloved loves you and needs your courage and your heart wisdom.

 

 

 

 

 

WHAT YOU OWE LOVE

           The world is a giant scheming court.                                                                                                                        And we’re all courtiers whether we like it or not.                    Robert Greene

Nothing gets my blood boiling more than an attitude of entitlement. But my work with relationships has finally outed me. Now I applaud and promote entitlement. Not only does your beloved owe you love and consideration, you owe Love. You owe your relationship 100% your authentic self. 

Staying true to yourself isn’t easy. It’s Saturday morning and your desire is, “I’d love for us to go on a hike today.” Upon vague but staunch resistance from your beloved, you tamp down your urge to get out into nature, into motion, into an adventure together. A passive pattern is set. You’re dropping the ball in love.

The biggest mistake you make is gauging situations case by case. Your rationale? “It’s not that important. It’s not worth pushing the issue.” Your theory? “We’ll take turns sacrificing – that’s what love is about.” Your reality? Haven’t you noticed by now? Selfish people do not readily offer up concessions. They’ll happily wear you down and wait you out to attain their preferences. But there’s not just one villain in this love story…

“I can give in this time,” is your default mode. Is it because you’re so nice and kind? Nope. Sensitive people are often chicken (or sheep). You’d rather live with the status quo than feel that queasy feeling in your stomach that accompanies confrontation. And chances are that keeping your reputation intact as a good girl or a nice guy is also in the mix. 

The truth? Passivity is a sneaky form of manipulation. Secretly wishing for reciprocation instead of openly asserting yourself makes you a liar. Fair play has turned into foul play. 

The magic, the very essence of a relationship, begins with the spark of two persons. The unique contrast and combination of both people’s traits creates the necessary friction and passion of any romantic relationshipYou owe love the gift of yourself. I hereby charge you with the responsibility to hold up your end of the bargain. 

Assignment #1: Your Family Jewels    

Wealthy aristocrats are famous for protecting their family jewels. Your relationship is enhanced by the jewels that you bring to it. Write out a list of your contributions. I.e. – laughter, compromise, loyalty, creativity, celebration, adventure, patience, affection, responsibility, logic, discipline, money-making. (20 items max.)

Assignment #2: Mirror, Mirror On The Wall  

Look objectively at the list. What values are compromised?        Go to a mirror, look straight into your eyes and say out loud:         “You’re hiding the truth from yourself and from …                            You’re afraid of: starting a fight, losing him, being judged, etc. You’re losing your joy, your self, your happy spirit, your faith.  

By lying to yourself, you’ve become resentful, you’re weakening this relationship, and you’re contributing to creating distance between you. It’s time to take care of yourself. To come clean, to be honest and tell the truth. Then take a deep breath, and calmly but firmly, repeat the truth to your beloved face to face.                             

                                                                                                                 

                                                                    

 

 

DATING BASS-AKWARDS

You want to be in love? You can’t seem to get a solid dating life? Let’s look first at how much time women spend gossiping about how all the good men are taken. Or guys complain that there’s only spoiled women out there. Too much time wasted on this fallacy. Cease & desist! No more bemoaning your singleness. Pull back from your uber-focus on who’s out there or who’s not out there. Here’s what you’re going to do.

You’re going to focus on yourself. Yes, you. How in the world is someone going to spot you if all you’re doing is looking outward for the right face, the right look, the right body, the right chemistry, the right one? This is bass-akwards! Your first step? Enhance your own personal stock portfolio. 
 
Invest in what what turns you on. And I don’t mean sex. If all you wanted was sex, you could have it right now. You’re looking for a meaningful and sexual partnership. So, what are you bringing to the table? Don’t get huffy, this isn’t about you being perfect. The big question is “What makes you come to life?” Do you, can you, enjoy your own company, your own interests, your own passions? Or are you a flat piece of cardboard looking to be entertained? 
 
It’s time to reverse your focus.  Find out for yourself, what lights you up from the inside outward. Running 10K’s? Hiking? A range of lecture topics? Growing orchids? Re-mixing your own music? Local politics? Volunteering at the PBS radio station nearby? Museums? If you’re saying, “Yea, yea, yea. Yawn. It’s the same old mumbo jumbo about me getting a hobby.” Then I’ll ask you the great movie line, “Well, kid? Do ya’ feel lucky?” 
 
A romantic relationship will flood you free of charge with ecstatic hormones up until roughly 18 months. Then you’re on your own. At that point – serotonin, dopamine, and adrenaline will need to be outsourced. This means both of you source your own interests and vitality. So, get up out of your Lazyboy or Lazygirl! Invest ahead and insure your future love-assets of a sexy and stimulating happily ever after.