Valentine’s Day is met each year with all manner of commentary. Perhaps it’s good for the economy. Florists do quite well. Jewelers are busy. Dim lit restaurants with ambiance make out (pardon the pun) like bandits. In past years and past blogs, I have observed that there is no way out of Valentine’s Day if you are in a relationship. I have also observed in past musings that the holiday is telling for those who have recently entered into a relationship. This year, my observations are more relationship-centered.
For many of my clients in perhaps the strongest relationships, I have observed the following: ‘We really have not figured it out yet.’ So naturally it would seem somewhat of a contradiction that the strongest relationships do not have the man with the plan of action. The big night, without a detail missing, right down to the nostalgic restaurant. Why is that?
In so many other thoughts, I have found that the man without the plan is less desirable because it might mean he has other, more important things to be doing. Now, I am staring at the strongest relationships I know and there is no plan, no restaurant, no big gift. ‘We’ll play it by year.’
Continue reading on the Huffington Post: The Value of Valentine’s Day?
The next few days are difficult for people, not exclusively singles. The interfacing with social media is mind numbing. Distressing for some. We all are going to say goodbye to 2015. Many people will look back at this year and tell us, in one form or another, through one web-based platform or another, what they are thankful for as 2016 arrives.
Inevitably, we will hear and likely read from our “friends” (now many of us have thousands of them) as they tell us how grateful they are for the new man/woman in their lives.
It is so easy and comfortable to talk about wanting that same experience for yourself in 2016. I suggest that 2016 be the year of discomfort. Dating is a process. So if your goal last year was to watch the ball drop with someone special, do not fret if it did not happen in 2015. Or fret. But at least allow the melancholy to challenge how you will do things differently in the coming year. How are you going to uncomfortably change your patterns?
Continue reading on the Huffington Post: Let’s Get Uncomfortable in 2016
Clients often ask when’s the right time to begin introducing this woman to my friends and family. My brother is so judgmental. My mother is a tough critic. My sister is a walking embarrassment – – she asks all the questions that I have avoided asking: his desire for marriage, children, career, and why he chose to live in an outer borough.
Where am I in this relationship?
Conceptually, these questions and insecurities are likely warranted. They are, however, somewhat peripheral to the relationship between the two of you. Perhaps a better barometer is the decision to bring her to a wedding.
Sure, you are celebrating another couple, but the two of you are now forced to independently reflect upon a lifetime together. Today, a lifetime does not necessarily mean marriage, but it does mean a commitment that transcends the initial bliss that likely led to you inviting him to the wedding. The groom looks handsome. His bride is radiant. You are surrounded by people, young and old, married, divorced, single who are all excited for the couple but also reflective as well.
Let’s make this about the two of you, with respect to the happy couple. When you look into his eyes, is this the guy that forever represents? Is this the female personification of what growing old together really means?
Continue reading on the Huffington Post: To Have and to Hold
You rose through the ranks of a Fortune 500 Company and now you are at the top of your professional game. You save people’s lives through the practice of medicine. Your entrepreneurial spirit has made you wealthier than you could have ever imagined. You are a published author. And so forth.
But you are in the same boat as the person who has to make that awkward first date phone call this evening…and your intelligence and life experience should inform your understanding that the first phone call should not be scrutinized, fact checked or otherwise picked apart in ways that have helped your analytical, discerning mind succeed professionally.
The phone call has nothing to do with that person’s professional success, resumé of accomplishments, or, most importantly, who they are as a human being. The first phone call is not limited to a demographic or exclusive to a certain class of individual. It’s the great equalizer. So ‘you’ do not have to be any of the aforementioned masters to know what making that call is like. This involves everybody.
The first phone call is difficult. Yet, clients tell me it’s critical. Vital. A deal-starter and even a deal-breaker. If that’s the case, I think the first phone call’s importance might have to be reevaluated. There’s no easy ice breakers in the game of dating, and those who easily break the ice could be perceived as far too smooth and experienced and self-assured, crossing the fine line between confident and arrogant.
We are bombarded by lists of the 20 qualities of the confident people, the 10 qualities of the extroverted people, the 15 qualities of the optimistic people, but please point me to the list of the qualities needed to forgive another’s first impression over a phone call.
Continue reading on the Huffington Post: Exceptional You
No matter how many dating enthusiasts or experts I approach about this topic, I cannot get a straight answer. How do you break it off?
The common answer is not so simplistic. It involves multiple variables, but two stand out. The length of the relationship and the known emotions of the other person are important because you are telling them politely but honestly—“you are not in my future.” In a perfect world, it would end with those simple words.
The world’s far from perfect. So how important, then, is the delivery…
You can take the Jerry Maguire approach, a crowded restaurant so there will not be a scene.
You can give the not so subtle clue of ‘we need to talk and can I come to your place to do it.’
There’s the ‘Costanza’—‘it’s not you, it’s me.’ No matter what, it is the other person, and keep in mind that the ‘Costanza’ approach is borrowed from a single man who wore a wedding ring to attract more women.
There’s the ‘epiphany’ approach: ‘this is not the man/woman I am supposed to be with and even though my timing cannot possibly be more wrong and inappropriate–post-funerals, pre-medical boards, in the middle of an exotic vacation, I have to let you know this right now.’
The ‘fade-away’, usually reserved for three dates or less, has been utilized for relationships longer than some marriages. I am simply going to disappear, never ever going to speak with you again. The ghost (so it is now called) would seem to be impossible these days with social media, but it happens, and it’s the methodology I hear most often used.
The ghost is likely the easy, safe and convenient way out or it can be viewed as the most merciful. Nobody wants to tell someone that ‘I actually prefer brunettes’ or ‘their career is not impressive’ or that ‘I feel like I’m kissing a friend’ or ‘I just feel nothing.’ Honesty can cut someone to their core. Mercifully fading away might be a good option if you find it a disservice to be anything but honest. The answer for the break-up, from your perspective, is usually concrete and largely superficial. So it might be the ‘right’ thing to spare someone your honesty.
Continue reading on the Huffington Post: How Do You Want to Be Remembered?