Are You Actually Ready For A Relationship?

Wanting to be in a relationship doesn’t mean you’re ready for a relationship. A big mistake a lot of women make is thinking that getting into a relationship is simply a matter of the prefect guy showing up, and the reason that they are still single because all the guys they’ve been out with our duds.

That’s not what it’s about, though. You can have dates lined up for every night of the week with the greatest men in all the land and you will still stay stuck in the same spot if you’re not ready to be in a relationship. There are several telltale signs that you are not ready to be in a relationship, but really there is only one major sign that you are ready. And that is…

You know what a relationship actually is!

Huh?! OK, let’s go a little deeper. The reason so many people have a hard time finding love, or making a relationship last is they don’t know what a relationship is. Instead, their minds are clouded with ideas and illusions of what a relationship should be and how it should feel and this gives them false hopes and expectations which inevitably come crashing down, leaving them broken once again and forced to pick up the pieces and keep plugging along.

A lot of us feel like we are “not enough.” We have this feeling of emptiness that lurks deep inside and we just want to fill it and feel OK. The mistake we often make is thinking that a relationship is what will fill us up, what will complete us, what will be that missing piece that will make it all OK. But that isn’t the job of a relationship, or of a man. Only you can give yourself that feeling of being complete, of being OK, of feeling confident in who you are. When you outsource the task to someone else, you will never evade that feeling of emptiness and not being enough.

A relationship isn’t a panacea for everything that has gone wrong in your life. It won’t grant you happiness, self-esteem, completion, worthiness, or feelings of being good enough. A relationship can certainty enhance positive feelings within you, but it can’t be the sole provider.

Healthy relationships are other-oriented, they are about giving and growing together as a unit. Unfortunately, many people have this backwards and are takers in their relationships. They look at what they can get, not what they can give.

When you come from this place, a relationship is really just ego fuel. This is why so many women get trapped in a cycle of going after men who can’t or won’t give them what they want. There is nothing more validating than winning over the guy who claims he does not care to be won. Rather than realizing you can’t have a relationship with a man who won’t commit, they get caught in a cycle of trying to win him over. It’s exciting and it’s dramatic and it’s intense. But it isn’t real. And it’s also a big sign you aren’t ready to be in a relationship

Getting caught up in guys like that is an escape from your real life. You get so caught up in him that you can forget about your problems and what you need to deal with.

The truth is, good relationships are pretty boring and uneventful. The stable guy isn’t as exciting because there is no hunt, there is no guesswork, there is no wondering how he feels and analyzing everything about him for hours on end with your girlfriends because you just know. The true sign that you are ready for a relationship is when you can realize that this is a good thing, that this is the goal. And when you can see this other person for who he is, not what he can give to you in order to make you feel good about yourself. It’s when you don’t need him to feel worthy. Essentially, it’s being with a guy because you want him, not because you need him. That is the key that makes all the difference.

 

Want to Get Real in Your Relationship? Get Online!

So many people are meeting through online dating these days. It is a great, sometimes easier way to find each other with less intimidating first introductions and more opportunity to get comfortable as you take steps toward creating a bond. But there is a lot of navigation that needs to go on in order to progress from that immediate (but not yet very personal) connection to taking the relationship into the real world. In my experience working with couples, there are three common, essential “dos” to pay attention to if you want your online relationship to make it offline, too.

Jump back online so you can carry on your search in picking a partner with potential!

Keep it real.

It is easy to feel close to someone when you communicate with them regularly through texts or emails, offering tidbits of your lives, censoring what you’re sharing. It is important, however, to not fall into what I call “Creature Comfort Contact,” where you feel like you are already in a relationship with that person because you’re touching base at the end of each day or week. The real connection comes in making plans to actually meet and spend time together. I have seen a lot of patients keep the relationship online for months, lingering with messages and texts but never taking it into real time. If you meet someone this way, it is fine to give yourself a little while to get to know each other and become comfortable. But unless there are circumstances you can’t control, such as travel or an illness in the family, a two to three week block should be all you allow before taking the next step.

Keep the flirty at bay.

Along the same lines, make sure your focus is not simply on making each other feel good with lots of flirting and sexy repartee. Lots of times online connections feel so powerful because they are driven by desire, loaded with a strong dose of sexual energy, and about making one another feel hot and excited. It also feels safer to flirt behind the mask of a purely digital interaction. The risk, though, is if this defines your interaction, it can perpetuate itself and continue to be all you share. So instead of letting that happen, think of flirting as a beginning point of attraction from which to grow, not as a destination where all you are looking to do is maintain a feel-good, sexy relationship.

Be decisive.

If you have been dating someone you met online but have decided it is not working with each other, get on with it. Given how easy it is to look in and see what people are up to, curiosity can pull you backward and keep you hanging on. If you said good-bye to someone, whether you wanted to or not, now is the time to look forward to a new person whom you would like to get to know instead of spending your time checking out your almost-ex on POF or Twitter. If you continue to track who you were pining over before, you are going to use energy that can be better invested in checking out someone new who might end up being the real deal.

 

Tune into the Doctor on Call radio hour on HealthyLife.net every Tuesday at 2 PM EST, 11 AM PST. First and third Tuesdays are Shrink Wrap on Call, second Tuesdays are HuffPost on Call, and the last Tuesday of the month is Let’s Talk Sex! Email your questions dealing with relationships, intimacy, family, and friendships to Dr. Greer at askdrjane@drjanegreer.com. Connect with Dr. Jane Greer on Facebook, at www.facebook.com/DrJaneGreer, and be sure to follow @DrJaneGreer on Twitter for her latest insights on love, relationships, sex, and intimacy.For more on Dr. Greer, visit http://www.drjanegreer.com.

Spring Clean Your Relationship Clutter

Spring is here! This is the time of year when people clear out their closets, clean their homes, and refresh their wardrobes. But what about the other stuff? The stuff that actually matters? The stuff that you bury in your heart? The stuff that you are too scared to face?

Yea, that stuff.

I call this relationship clutter. It’s old baggage from past relationships – baggage that we either consciously or subconsciously cling to. This clutter is the reason why you’ve found yourself in a cycle of mediocre, awful, or toxic relationships. If you feel as though your relationships seem to embody the same theme… it’s because they do. When you hold onto your relationship clutter, you’re holding onto those stories; you replay events over and over again, driving yourself to insanity. Then you find yourself going out on another date with another mistake because you have yet to learn your lesson.

It’s time for you to spring clean your relationship clutter. Let go of the stories, release the past, and make room for healthier, more fulfilling relationships. You can do so by following these 3 steps:

Recognize Your Clutter

Ask yourself: “What old relationship stories am I holding onto?” Are you holding onto stories of being cheated on? Being dumped? Or feeling neglected? Take some time to reflect back on your past relationships… What did you walk away with? How were you left feeling? Recognize each and every single one of these stories so that you can finally accept their presence in your life.

Acknowledge The Clutter’s Affect On Your Life

How does your old relationship clutter affect you? What type of impact does it have on new relationships? I’m going to assume the impact isn’t positive. When you hold onto past relationship stories, you’re allowing those stories to hold power over you. They will seep into every new relationship experience, tarnishing it from becoming something different. For example, if you’re holding onto stories of being cheated on, you’ll probably find yourself living a ‘victim’ mentality and won’t be willing to trust a new partner. This is how you end up in a toxic relationship cycle. Go ahead – take note of how each past experience holds power over your current life. If you want to gain your power back, you’ve got to clean out the clutter.

Release The Clutter

This step is all about your willingness to move forward. It’s time to release your old relationship clutter. This is where you start dropping F-Bombs, aka FORGIVENESS. You’re probably cringing at the F-word, but that’s because you don’t fully understand how forgiveness serves you. Forgiveness does not condone another person’s actions; it’s about allowing yourself the freedom to let go. The more anger and resentment you hold against another human being, the stronger the bond. Think about it… Remember your ex? The one who cheated on you? How many times a day do you think about them? How have your thoughts about them negatively impacted new relationships? You’ve basically rendered yourself powerless to this person! It’s time to let go. Forgive them, forgive yourself, and cut the ropes that keep you tied to your past. Clean out every single piece of relationship clutter from your subconscious knowing that by doing so, you’ll create space for healthier, more positive relationships. FYI: If you’re having difficulty with this step, I would question your willingness to actually create change.

Relationship clutter is comprised of all our old wounds, hurts, and scars. But guess what? These things heal! You just have to allow them the opportunity to heal. It’s time for you to get rid of that stuff. It’s time for you to rid yourself of these old wounds. And Spring is the perfect time to begin cleaning out your relationship clutter.

Two Ways To Break Up Without Breaking Down

Kevin’s voice and hands shook as he told me how he yearned to break up with Sheila, his girlfriend of three years. The trouble was, the thought of leaving terrified him. He was beset by what-ifs: What if he didn’t find anyone else, or anyone better? What if he’d been with Sheila so long, he should just stay? What if he couldn’t make himself hurt her this way?

But the most important question of all was one he didn’t ask—and one we all need to. What if you stay with the wrong person?
Part of dating is hurting others—as painlessly as possible. How painlessly? And how worded? That depends in part on the seriousness of the relationship.

What to say

If you’ve just begun seeing someone, or you are turning down a first date, you can do it over the phone and say:
“Thank you for asking me, but I don’t feel like we’ve got enough in common” or, “Thanks so much, but I’m just not interested.”

And if it’s a more serious, longer-lasting relationship—like Kevin’s–, you can meet in person (unless you feel unsafe), and use this script:
“I’ve really enjoyed _____________ about you. But I don’t think we have enough in common to continue, and I don’t feel the way I’d need to for us to move forward together.”
Repeat either script as often as needed, like a broken record, until the break-up meeting is over.

Why this works

When I conducted a break-up survey that asked people, “What words would you most like [your partner] to use when they break up with you?” men and women of all ages and backgrounds overwhelmingly wanted honesty, but not brutality. Respondents strongly preferred their former date to say something worthy about them, and then to proceed to an honest but kind reason for the break-up. The most-desired reasons reflected the theme of a poor match: “It’s just not going to work out,” “I don’t think we’re right for each other,” “We don’t have enough in common,” and/or “We’re not a good enough match.”

Factually speaking, they’re on the right track for long-term happiness. Dozens of studies show that similarity is the best pathway to the widespread goal of a happy union. So saying, “I don’t think we have enough in common to continue” is not only clear and brief—it’s Truth, a reason deeply rooted in the reality of what makes for a happy permanent relationship. Other studies show that kindness in our actions is a rock-bottom requirement for happiness with anyone. So avoiding character assassination and focusing on our own feelings instead works. And bonus! This method is unassailable: You feel how you feel, period.

Did Kevin break up? You bet. And he told me the pain of worrying about it was far worse than how he felt afterwards; afterwards, he felt free to find a better match.
The price of finding the right one is bypassing every wrong one, including everyone who’s almost-but-not-quite what you need. Nobody ever said, “Thank you for settling for me!” Set yourself—and this other person—free.

Duana C. Welch, Ph.D., is the author of Love Factually: 10 Proven Steps from I Wish to I Do (2015). This is a partial excerpt, copyrighted by the author. You can get a free chapter and read more at http://www.lovefactually.co

Top 5 Date Ideas For Someone Working The night shift

It’s taxing enough working the night shift – add being single into that equation, and a whole new set of challenges is brought to the table.  It may be significantly more difficult to meet new people, plan creative dates, coordinate schedules, and prevent yourself from intermittently dozing off, but never fear! We’ve found some surprisingly sweet early morning and late afternoon date ideas that may leave those run-of-the-mill 5-9 workers more than a little jealous.

Here are 5 new date ideas to cultivate any relationship, even if it has to revolve around the graveyard shift:

1) Watch the Sunrise: Most people rarely get the opportunity to observe the quiet understated beauty of a beach-front sun rise. Alternatively, an early morning park stroll while watching the sun reflecting dew on foliage is infinitely more romantic than spending your evening in a crowded restaurant. If you don’t live near a beach or park, you can still enjoy the beautiful sunrise coming up over the mountains or desert.

2) Walk through a Museum: Museums are usually relatively empty after 4 pm  providing a stellar opportunity to bond with your date in a more intimate setting. If you really want to impress your special someone, read up on the exhibits in advance and play tour guide. Many people view museums as a highly cultured date, but don’t be discouraged or feel it’s above you. There are museums for every taste – like modern art, wax, sports, and natural history, so let your mind wander to some of your most unexplored interests and start researching options in your area!

3) Play some Golf: Mini-golf, or even a game of pool is a fun late afternoon activity that will allow you and your date to interact and engage even when the conversation stops flowing. Make it even more fun by adding some friendly competition to the game ie.  the winner has to buy the loser a drink after the game or the loser has to make dinner for two on your next date.

4) Go Swimming: Every major city has a water park, but most adults view it as a place for kids. If you head to the water park when most kids are at school, and you’re out of work, you will practically own the place. And the best part: you don’t have to stand in line or cut in front of 6 year olds who aren’t paying attention. Swimming in a crowded pool can be stifling, making it hard to communicate, so you will need to make an extra effort when it comes to conversation by the pool. Make sure you leave the reading material at home.

5) Relax at a Quiet Cafe  Most 9 to 5 workers don’t like to drink coffee in the evening because they have to sleep, but for those on the overnight, this is prime time to recharge. Enjoy a quiet conversation at your favorite local cafe or bistro before you go to work. Many cafes and bistros offer board games and puzzles while you enjoy a cup of your favorite Joe or tea. An evening coffee is a low-pressure environment that will let your date see you can sustain a relationship, despite working on the overnight shift.