understanding women podcast episode 3

3 For MEN only: keys to understanding women

Ever wish you could understand women?

Here are some of the secrets of the female psyche revealed! It’s all based on real research, so listen in, guys!

By the time women are in midlife, sometimes the result can translate as women being closed off to you. Women can feel guarded or scared, or so accomplished and self-assured they don’t need you. They can also be complicated, sophisticated, and “evolved.”  Some are so horny you don’t know what to do with them!

Still feeling compelled to rescue a woman?

Maybe you do have that rescuer mentality still. Some men at this point are TIRED of having to be the pursuer it can be tough figuring out what to make of really aggressive women.

Good news:

There are still good women who do understand how you’re made and want to have great relationships with YOU and men like you!

Triangular Theory of Love

Robert Sternberg’s theory posits three elements of love: passion, intimacy, and commitment from which he defines all types of love. In the middle of this triangle, if everything is balanced, there’s consummate love.

Keys to Understanding Women:

  1. Every woman wants to be indispensible: she wants to occupy a place in your heart and mind and life that no other woman does or has or can…or ever will! She must be special. Essentially, she wants to be that consummate love!

2. Every woman asks these two related underlying questions. She carries them around inside her even when she doesn’t know it. (And she’d like to experience a yes about 80% of the time with you.)

  Do you care about how I feel? And are you willing to do something about it?

The key: be sure you know HOW to give her the YES she needs. This includes resisting the urge to “fix it!” SO:

3. Practice empathy even at the elementary level: correctly identify HER emotions.

4. Be willing to do the “something about it” in the way SHE understands.

Plus the BURNING QUESTION answered!

Notice you’re choosing the same type of woman over and over? Want help figuring out what to adjust in order to have truly happy relationship?

CALL ME. 513-530-5888. Let’s get to work putting your understanding of women into ACTION!

 

 

22 Handling the Holidays Alone, Part 1

Beth Luwandi LPC outlines how to handle the holidays when you’re single. She goes over tips on how to handle it, how to talk about it and who to talk to about it. Beth gives examples for different ways to make the experience better for yourself including feeling your feelings, telling the truth about those feelings with the right people, and exploring your options. Don’t make it worse for yourself. Beth gives tips on how to avoid the stuff that makes it all worse and how to make it a little better.
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Bonuses to being a holiday orphan with someone else’s family:
•    No family dynamics investment. (These are not your crazy family. You‘d be amazed how free and fun it can be to experience someone else’s family without being part of it. Believe me, everyone’s family has STUFF.
•    Freedom to observe.
•    Different experiences/traditions., including maybe some luscious food!

1. Feel your feelings
2. Don’t judge it. Just allow it and observe it.
3. Tell the truth about it to the right trusted person.

How to talk about it:
1. Tell the right person. Avoid those who will say you shouldn’t feel bad. Avoid telling someone who will try to fix the feeling or gloss over it. Choose someone who will empathize with you, not feel sorry for you.
2.  Use Beth’s trademarked CNBC communication  format:
a. I feel … (3 words only)
b.I want… OR I don’t want… (without using the word “you”)
c. negotiate or not
d. Observe what is the response.
3. Talking with acquaintences
a. tell the truth as much as possible
b. prep some phrases ahead of time
c. remember these are YOUR holidays, not someone else’s

How to make it better:

1. give yourself permission to OWN the holidays for yourself.
2. Do something different if you want. Get creative if you want.
3.  Acknowledge the truth of your reality in all the ways you think about it, feel about it and what you decide to DO about it.
4. Look inside yourself to discover what is really going to work for you over the holidays, including changing the expectations YOU have for yourself.

Caution: don’t set deadlines for when you’ll have a mate. If you’ve done this previously, let those declarations drop away gently. Hold that expectation very lightly.

Alone for the Holidays

Is it disgusting how early we promote the holidays and plan for them and contemplate them these days?

If you’re once again dreading the stretch from Halloween through March (including another Valentine’s Day) as a single person, you are not alone.

There’s a reason the chill of autumn signals a downturn in mood and an influx into mental health care. And it’s not all about Seasonal Affective Disorder or the lack of light threatening to undo us all.

It’s the space in the bed and the empty table setting and that we are alone on our snowy hike. Again.

And this state feels permanent. (Just as this present moment so often feels permanent.) Therefore, its foreboding is not really a surprise. How to handle it can feel pretty daunting, though. Even when you’ve done this before. Especially, sometimes when you’ve done this many times before or when you used to have a partner and you’re still healing from the heartache.

First, let’s explore what many people do -including the stuff you may have done before-  to “get through the season.” Then let’s look at how you can add even more helpful and effective methods to your approach this year.

Maybe you’ve tried some creative approaches

Some singles volunteer to feed the less fortunate. They might head up a Toy drive or another fundraiser or work more at church, synagogue, or temple. (There’s nothing like helping people worse-off than you, or reflecting on the deeper meaning of the season to float your boat long enough to bob through the dark and dreary winter ready to emerge on the other side gasping for the fresh air of springtime.) If it’s still working for you, do it. Do it some more.

Some people skip the holidays. These people either leave town on an alternate escapade or they hang out alone, hibernating away the season, resisting all doses of holiday engagement including the commercials sparkling across TV and our hulu and Netflix channels where we’ve gone to escape the constant reminders that everyone else has a partner but us.

Some of us take up the role of perpetual single among family and friends with a hearty bravado and we prep ready retorts for the time when Auntie May asks again if we’ve met anyone special or Cousin Rudy wonders aloud why we don’t just go out and bag all the single ladies in an effort to mend our broken heart. He would certainly be living it up if he had the chance, after all.

Maybe your family and friends treat you differently

Are you the family single guy or gal who elicits expectation from other family members and friends? Maybe your sister-in-law expects you’ll get the tree, haul everyone to the family gathering twice, and go get Granny from the home, because, you know, well, you don’t have a schedule or anything else to do.

Or maybe your friends are doing the pity dance trying to set you up with Everyone and his brother. Does it feel like it’s just to get you off their hands (and maybe feel a little less bad for you.) Worse yet, are they making plans to introduce you to another Thanksgiving orphan at the festivities?

That alone would be enough to make anyone want to fly to Mexico or otherwise escape the whole season.

You probably know exactly how your season is shaping up. You know the particular challenges you face and exactly why they seem so painful. Maybe this year, facing the coming weeks and months is worse than usual. You know precisely what you’ve tried in the past. You might even know exactly why your approach seems not as effective as it may have once been. You don’t need an analysis.

You need new ideas that truly help

Here are my top three:

  1. Tell a trusted someone just how you’re feeling. Hard stuff often loses much of its impact when we’re able to share it honestly. Choose wisely. You’ll want to pick someone who responds by listening instead of trying to fix things. It’s okay if they don’t do this automatically. You might need to say “I feel bad. I want someone to listen without trying to solve my problem. Can you help with that?” You know which friends or family members will respond in a positive way. And if you don’t know for sure, testing by asking the above question is a really Clean, Non-blaming Communication ™. You might already know who will really listen when you ask them to listen. If you can’t think of anyone you’d take the risk with, consider a therapist or helping professional. It’s what we do. 😉
  2. Make space for the reality. Allow it instead of skirting it. Look it square in the face, sit down with it and go ahead and feel the weight of it. Scared the feeling will linger, take you over, be difficult to escape? That’s okay too. It’s normal to have the fear. In fact, fearing the weight and power of our feelings is one of the things that drives us to avoid them or medicate them with (well, medicine) or food, alcohol, or activity. Honestly, the nature of emotion is that if you allow it and feel it fully (even experiencing it in your body) it will change and drain away. Try it. Worried about emotional overwhelm? Again, seek support from a friend or family member using Clean, Non-blaming Communication ™ like this: “I feel so heavy. I don’t want to get completely overwhelmed with this bad feeling. I want someone to sit with me in it and help me get out of it if it lingers too long. What do you think?” And if there’s no one who can keep you steady like that, pay someone to do it. You’ll be glad you did.
  3. Try something completely new. If you’re harboring a heartache or just facing one more season of holidays in the same old manner, mix it up. Try something different. Do skip the holidays if you haven’t done that before. Stay put if you’ve tried the escapism route before and see what it’s really like to experience every element of what you’re dreading. Start a tradition of your own, different from what you did with your ex or different from what you’ve done with family and friends in the past. Instead of thinking how you can help everyone else, think of what is a great gift to yourself this season. Have you been on the pity pot? Go ahead and see what it feels like to invest time giving to others.

You can do this

You’ve already weathered a good deal of pain and suffering in your current state. You’ve survived this long. And no matter what your path getting here, you did manage to get here, to this place, reading this information. Now, be encouraged. You have skills. You have choices. Implement both to find a way through the season. It just might surprise you how good each one of the days of the holiday season can actually be. Even if only a few of them are lighter than you were first anticipating, you’ll be ahead of where you started.

Don’t go it alone if you feel it might get to difficult or overwhelming. Need to know more about choosing the right therapist? Here’s a great place to start, including links to other resources. And, as always, feel free to drop me a line and let me know how it’s going.

 

 

Old Love, Love Matters

Love Matters

At least part of you knows already that the quality of your relationships determines the quality of your life. A seventy five year study at Harvard proves it. Watch the TEDtalk on this. It’s beautiful (and less than 13 minutes.) See. Love Matters.

Most of you suspect that having a loving partnership is central to the whole equation of a good life.

And yet, if you are a heterosexual female, it can be so hard to admit life would be better with a loving man in it.

Ladies! It’s time to get over the message that says “you don’t need a man, baby. After all, you’ve come a long way!”

That is really old propaganda. It served its purpose. We smoked. We felt tough. We took care of everything. We practically became men. Trouble is, that message is a long time dying. And it gets in the way of being open to the right men.

Let it go.

And if you’re male, even the swankest among you know life would be better with a loving partner by your side. Read this account of New York bachelors and the lonely life.  Dudes, you are not alone.

Love matters.

Having healthy love in your life increases health in all areas of your life.

Women have traditionally been given more credit for prizing relationships more. And yet, mid-life women (the entire Erik Erickson span of mid-life up to late middle life including ages 35-75) are actually the ones who may be getting in their own way the most!

Now, of course, to be fair and honest, there are plenty of men messing this whole thing up too. AND, men are less complicated than women. (It’s a fact.) And sometimes, from the perspective of the work I do, straightening men out is easier because of it. Often, one or two tweaks does the trick!

Here’s why:

  1. Good men respond well to honesty and emotional maturity. Men who do not respond well to this are, simply, not quite grown up yet. Call them Boys; it fits.  They might get there, but age is just a number, not a maturity rating. And this goes for both men and women. Not all women are automatically emotionally mature.
  2.  If she’s not, most grown-up men will pass. They’re tired of drama and working hard to please a woman who can’t be and they are not so interested in the chase like they once were. And let’s face it; they don’t have to. Men have plenty to choose from; the ratio increases in their favor as we all age. Men still die earlier than women.

SO, BONUS, MEN! If you survive just a little longer, you will have more age-appropriate mates to choose from!

This is great news for you and maybe a bit of a wake-up call for the other gender!

On the flip side, yes, there are men who are jerks, for whom mere talk of improving relationship is a pariah. They’d never attend a relationship seminar or go to a coach or counselor because they know it’s not them, it’s always everyone else.

Ok.

So, get smart, ladies and join me in NOT dating them. Don’t have sex with them. Don’t stay in relationship with them.

There ARE scads of men out there who ARE interested in having an emotionally connected and mutually supportive, lasting secure and thrilling partnership. I guarantee it. I meet them all the time!

Love matters.

All of us can get a little stuck. We can struggle for good reason. We can come up against something that just doesn’t work and doesn’t make sense.

By now, you probably realize I am all about helping people understand one another and themselves and then helping them have healthy relationships. It’s what I do!

Call me if consultation or an appointment makes sense for you.

Not ready for that? Stay tuned here; I’ll keep writing about this stuff. Read the archives.

Next time, I am going to answer the directive that says “you need to be alone” and “a relationship will not save you.”

 

Dating is not a game! Or is it?

Remember when you were 20-something and it seemed (relatively) easy to connect with a potential partner?

You’ve lived through failed relationships and disappointments since then, so it’s pretty clear what you knew back then did not net you a long-lasting, healthy relationship. Probably for a myriad of reasons. For starters, they don’t teach this stuff in school!

Plus, times have changed. Dating has gone all cyber-wacky. We’ve changed all these years later.

Yet some of the same things both men and women worry about are exactly the same:

  • Who does the initiating?
  • Is dating a game? Or is it serious stuff?
  • What are the rules?
  • Is sex an expectation of dating and if so, when?
  • Do I have to give up being myself in order to attract a mate?
  • Am I ever going to find someone?
  • Can I please avoid all the heartache?

You’d think we’d know more by now and be over some of this or at least have an answer. But humans are humans are humans are humans at every age. So until we learn it, we don’t know it. And until you know it for yourself, everyone else knowing it is not a benefit to you. Plus, it’s one thing to know it on paper and in your head and an entirely different thing to know it in your heart and experience it in your life.

You gotta DO relationship in order for all that knowledge to count for anything.

And you’re scared.

For very good reason. Go back and read the second sentence if you forgot why.

Here is some GOOD NEWS:

Some people do have fun dating (and this is not because they are wild and crazy and just don’t care! Well, not most of them anyway.)

Some people do have happy, long-lasting, secure marriages.

Some people seem to have easy success with their love relationships.

Are they just lucky? Born under the right stars? Reared by the right parents and the rest of us got a bum wrap?

No.

Okay, I’ll allow that some people do have healthier, more loving parents who not only equipped them with more of the right stuff to get them fully functional in the world but also probably set a better example.

Not you? You’re not alone. Keep reading because I am talking to the whole rest of us…

Too bad for us, right? We’re just doomed to relationship hell and struggle and heartache?

Also, NO.

(I wouldn’t be in this business if that were what I believed, of course!)

Here’s the BIG BELIEF that completely rules out all others:

If someone else knows how to do it, then I can LEARN how to do it. Say that to yourself aloud. It’s true. Say it a hundred times until you believe it!

And WHAT you learn is really based on what you want. We get to this in every seminar on relationships and in every couples or individual therapy alliance. If I don’t eventually ask you what you want, I’m not doing my job. We often start there because WHAT you wants drives what you will have. And if you’re not sure what it is you want, that’s okay too. You’ll discover and decide as you go along.

But some of you already know the thing you crave is LOVE. You know you were placed in this world with an imperative to love and be loved. And you want to have a successful, fulfilling relationship before you leave this earth. You want to put into action the knowledge that other people seem to have mastered. You’re daring to dream that someone somewhere will want to make a rich and fulfilling life with you.

Trust me, it happens. It does. It still does. It is not too late.

And some of you are wondering if you just have bad luck, if you attract all the jerks or crazies, if you will ever get this right. Remember, all of us are scared sometimes. We’re human, after all. And being human has scary parts. Love has scary parts. Dating has scary parts. Other people do have the potential to disappoint us, to wound us if we let them, to complicate our happiness, and, even in the best scenarios, to leave us when they die first.

It’s a pretty scary venture.

And yet, many of you are still willing. You want what you want. You’re willing to learn a thing or two. You are willing to see if your current relationship can be saved even while you’re asking if it should be saved. You are looking for a mate even though you’ve been disappointed a hundred times. You are harboring a glimmer of hope you’re just waiting for someone to fan.

I am that someone. I have hope for you aplenty. You can do this. Sometimes getting the right help is the first step.

It can start with attending a seminar. Ladies register here.

It can start with a free consultation or with a first session. Call me at 513-530-5888.

It can start with some good reading and contemplation of change. Keep reading right here and keep in touch. Subscribe to the blog and never miss a post.

When you’re ready, I’ll help you make life great.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just Right for Love

Today, it’s “Ladies, listen up” and “Gents, listen in.” There’s stuff for each of you here.

Guess what, Beauties? You’re perfect for love. Right now. You are not too fat, too skinny, too tall, too short, too weird, too old, too much, too little, too in-debt, or too broken for love. You’re NOT! You are just right.

Think about it. What is that thing you’re telling yourself you’ll DO before you open your heart to love again?

Lose 20 pounds? Get your children perfectly reared and out on their happy way? Establish a secure retirement? Afford Botox, or microdermabrasion, fix your varicose veins, try laser hair removal, get a make-over, run your first half-marathon, attain top management in your job, save the world?!

Do you tell yourself (and others) you’re too busy to date? Your girlfriends are where it’s at right now. You’ll just focus on your children and grandchildren. All the good men are taken and if they’re not, you’ll believe it when you see it?!

Two things keep us trapped. One is the belief we must meet some ideal just short of perfection or we are going to be rejected and overtaken by younger, thinner, taller, (or more petite) more demure, and cunning women. In short, we must be perfect.

After all, everyone knows a man is comparing the real women in his life to the women in a magazine! (More on this in just a minute.) How pathetic, we think. To get to this age and have men still judge us on beauty and sex appeal and helplessness. It’s hardly fair.

It doesn’t help us like ourselves. Or men for that matter.

Secondly, we have embraced to the fiber, cell, and breath of our being the belief we do not need a man in order to be happy! By God, we are going to do it ourselves! We do not need a man! And we will prove it until our dying breath if we must.

In our weak, tender, lonely moments we think, well, if a truly good man were to prove his worth to us by artfully pursuing us atop his shiny, white steed, maybe, maybe then we’d reconsider. If he did all the right things.

As it is, he doesn’t call when he says he will.

We thought we were the only one he was dating just to find out he was seeing two other women at the same time.

He cleaned off my car windshield without even asking?! What is he trying to say? Does he think I’m a helpless girl and can’t do that myself?

Welp, there’s a good reason he’s divorced, we think aloud. Another creep bites the dust.

Now, don’t get me wrong. There are some creeps in mid-life dating. There are absolute rule-out, do-not-consider-for-another-minute-no-matter-how-great-the-sex red flags. And some of us are ignoring these, hoping to reform a 50-some-year-old Boy into a Good Guy.

That does not happen, ladies.

And it’s not our job to fix them. Let’s do let these boys be boys. We’re interested in Real Men, in the Good Guys, right? They exist.

Some of us can’t recognize a Real Man from a Boy.  And that’s not his fault.

Here’s a hint: Boys actually DO expect middle-age women to be in supremo, tip-top physical condition. They ARE still evaluating women based on how good she will make him look. They DO think women should look like the ideal of beauty they’ve been fed. Here’s a newsflash, ladies. These men do not understand relationship yet AND they don’t even really like us. They have issues.

(This is not to say men don’t want us to be attractive, but Real Men who like Real Women actually DO find us naturally alluring and beautiful. In lots of different shapes and sizes and colors. Trust me, there’s a man who will love your female form, I’m sure of it! And, I’ll help you find him.)

Meanwhile, we’ve got our own issues.

We have very good reason for the belief we do not need a man. We’ve been hurt and disappointed, heart-broken and confused by our lack of success in love. We’ve grown up in the era that saw the bra burned and wages stay unequal. We were some of the first women to actually have it all only to watch it crumble when he had sucked all the life out of us or stopped seeing us altogether or cheated and left.

We have very good reason to believe we need to be perfect before we deserve to be loved. We are smart, after all, and this must be the missing piece of the puzzle. It couldn’t possibly be something simpler.

Or could it?

What if the pain inherent in our experience with love and dating were relatively easy to shift? What if it’s just a matter of healing in a few key ways? What if it’s not about trying harder and doing more and being better? Would you invest a little time and energy and money in learning that?

I would.

I did.

But before I found answers, I invested a whole lot of heartache and anger, trial and error. I invested years of my life (and my children’s lives) trying harder to do better and be better and fix everything. Then I found something that actually helped me see and recognize Boys, leave them behind and appreciate wonderful, quality men so I could enjoy good, peaceful love.

It’s my mission to help you find a way to enjoy a healthy love too. No matter where you are right now, I can help you get to relationship with a Good Guy that works.

I know things that will save you pain, time, heartache, anguish, & embarrassment and actually attract a good man capable of loving you well. I’ll share lots of it right here, so follow me and get alerts when I post about this topic.

Don’t wait! Register NOW and come have dinner and drinks; bring the girls and your smart, sassy self! No matter where you are right now in your readiness for Midlife Dating, Mating, and Relating this Girls’ night out is seriously going to be a blast!

Good Guys Finish First

I know you don’t believe it. You’ve been telling yourself the easy opposite for a really long time. But I am here to tell you there is no wisdom in the foolish idiom that good guys finish last. Bull-puckey! Ready to find out what will help the world know what a good guy you really are? Check out this upcoming seminar for MEN 35 & better.

There ARE women out there who love, love, love, and appreciate good men! (I’m one of them, btw.)

I’m trying to address both men AND women here and let you each listen in. There’s a lot to be learned by eavesdropping, you know. So, stay with me ladies. Your turn is coming.

Men, listen up. Women, listen in.

I know you’re tired. Of crazy, unpredictable, spastic women who seem to BE one thing and then issue an endless stream of requirements and spoken or unspoken expectations once they feel they’ve got you!

I know you’re tired of being the one who has to put yourself out there and wonder “does she get that I’m really NOT an asshole?”

I know you’ve spent years bearing the burden of rejection since you are the one who, traditionally. has been doing the asking. And you HAVE been rejected. And you have learned to accept it. And it has left its mark.

I know you’re bewildered by the female species. I know you really can’t quite figure us out, the speed at which we talk and analyze and the abundance of words, words, words, words, words, all to say one simple thing that is kinda frazzled by the time we get to it.

I understand that, really, you just want us to be happy and when we are unhappy it’s nearly impossible NOT to take it personally and not try to DO something about it.

I know that’s why when we offer a problem you deliver a solution. Because you’re good at that. Because although you ARE empathetic and, by God, of course you care about how we feel, you actually do figure the better thing to express is a solution so that we can stop feeling so bad right now! I like that about you.

I also like that when I tell you plainly without making you feel you’re wrong, that I just need you to listen, you DO let me know you care and you DON’T offer a solution. You hold onto your solution for my problem even though it costs you to operate like that.

I know it’s actually a sacrifice. You’re basically exploding with a cure for cancer! And I love that you love us enough to be uncomfortable like that. I know it hurts you like blue balls but you do it because, in fact, we ARE really important to you.

I know you’ve grown up in the transition time between traditional fathers who were not in the birthing room and didn’t have many tender words (perhaps) and the new generation of men who seem to seamlessly embrace nurturing their children and their spouses and you think sometimes, (in the dark and you would never tell anyone) dear God, who am I as a man?! 

You’re in mid-life now, aware of where you came from and not exactly sure where you are headed but you feel better equipped to meet it than you ever have. You want to make the most of the time you have left because life no longer seems forever like it did when you were twenty and invincible.

You want a reasonable companion who is NOT a ton of work and drama. You know it’s time to experience an ease with yourself, with your mate, with your life. If you can’t achieve that by now, what’s it all for anyway? So why on earth are you not having success finding a suitable mate?

You tell yourself you’re a good man. And wonder why so many other people- and especially the women you are hoping to please- can’t always seem to see it.

It’s truly confusing.

Except that it’s really simple.

We women just complicate things.

It’s our specialty.

Dang, can we ever THINK about things and analyze the heck out of anything! Plus, on top of it, we have feelings about everything and that MATTERS!

This scenario…this is why I have made it my mission to help. And I want to give you hope, good guys. There is a good woman out there who really does want your love and your special mix of manliness. There is a good woman out there who understands some basic things about how you’re wired and she appreciates it.

And she does not just have a good personality.

She’s attractive, and playful, and youthful. She likes sex AND companionship and she is responsible for her own emotions. She knows how to let you be yourself and how to let you see who she is too. She understands what it means to be human and middle-aged and female.

Believe it or not, she’s looking for you.

Let me introduce you.

(Tomorrow, I talk to the ladies!)