THE PERFECT GIFT FOR ANY MAN

the secret to getting closer to any man 

Women are like this: We experience absolute JOY through the act of gift-giving. Forget Valentine's Day, we'd happily exchange jewelry and trinkets with our friends each and every day. What else is a "friendship" bracelet but a little girl's first expression of affection? This is how women bond with each other. We create connection through the exchange of gifts.

While men certainly enjoy receiving presents from loved ones, it is not a key part of male bonding. (You don’t see many friendship bracelets being exchanged in the man cave.) In fact, an emotional bond has to exist FIRST, before a man can truly relish receiving that carefully-researched antique whatsit you purchased for him on eBay. For you, receipt of such a precious gift would make you feel deeply connected to the giver. For him... not so much. That expensive token of affection is just not the path to his heart. (In fact, if he hints that his taste does run to expensive toys and timepieces, RUN the other way, because he is not your Mr. Right.)

A man has to be emotionally bonded, first, before a woman's gift really speaks to his heart.

With the gifting season upon us, let’s take a minute to focus on that difference in gender wiring:

  • When a woman receives a gift, she often feels more emotionally bonded to the giver. Her affections may actually grow over time, through the receipt of small presents. She is wired to appreciate this form of acknowledgment and to feel cherished through it.
  • A man has to be emotionally bonded, first, before a woman's gift really speaks to his heart. You can't coax him into loving you more by giving him things. As his love bond grows, a mature man takes far greater satisfaction in assuming the role of giver, rather than receiver. He feels cherished when a woman acknowledges and appreciates all that he gives to her.
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If you’re already in a deeply committed relationship, then you and your mate know best what that perfect present looks like — whether it’s a special experience, a “we” gift, or simply the celebration of another year together as a family.

But when you are newly dating, and don’t yet know quite where the relationship is headed, female instincts might incorrectly lead you into an over-giving frenzy. Given how men are wired, you now know that less is more when buying a present for your guy. Since I know it’s in your nature to splurge, and you don’t want to “just” buy him a hardcover about his favorite sports hero — here are 3 additional presents you are welcome to spoil him with as much as you wish:

  1. Appreciation — for all he gives you and all he does for you.
  2. Femininity — When you embrace and express your femininity, you give him permission to find joy in being male. There is no shaming or blaming for our intrinsic differences.
  3. Vulnerability — Stripping away the polished exterior you may need to wear at work, and relaxing into a softer, more authentic you.  
TIP: A man knows he is at his best, most masculine self, when he can protect and provide for others. Your vulnerability helps bring his best self to the surface.

Your vulnerability unlocks his loving, protective side.

FROM ZALES

Because there is a lot of confusion about what it means to be vulnerable in an emotionally healthy way, I want to leave you with some tips for bringing your vulnerability to the surface. (To be clear, this never involves placing yourself in an unsafe situation or relationship. Quite the opposite. An emotionally healthy woman requires a foundation of trust and respect before she can connect in a vulnerable way.)

TIP: A man simply can't fall in love with you — not in a deep, lasting way — if he doesn't first feel protective toward you.  

Bring your vulnerability to the surface with a man you trust.

To unlock your softer side, take off your hyper-responsible “professional” or “parent” mask, and don’t worry about earning an A+. You’re safe here. Go ahead and give yourself permission to:

  • Be at a loss for words
  • Be unprepared
  • Blush
  • Pass, instead of answering every question
  • Don’t think up a witty comeback
  • Be confused
  • Forget
  • Misplace your car keys
  • Laugh at yourself, at life, at him(!)
  • Be playful
  • Be irresponsible
  • Relax
  • Be real

Your authentic vulnerability may turn out to be the most exquisite present of all — a surprising gift that allows him to bond and connect with you in a powerful and lasting way.

Robyn Wahlgast is a Rules Certified Dating and Relationship Coach for Women, and a happily married mother of three. Need advice about your own relationship? Consider booking a private consultation with Robyn. Never miss a new blog post: subscribe to our FREE newsletter.

THIS ARTICLE WAS ORIGINALLY CREATED, WITH LOVE, FOR THE WELLNESS UNIVERSE.

14 WAYS TO SHINE YOUR BRIGHTEST ON VALENTINE'S DAY

Women are wonderful gift-givers. We take pleasure in selecting thoughtful, personal presents for those we love. My best friend’s birthday is in November, but if I spot her favorite Murano glass beads in June, I’m buying them. It’s so fun to know exactly what she likes and to shop year-round with her tastes in mind.

When it comes to a man you are dating, however, it’s best to refrain from shopping for him as if he’s your closest girlfriend. Women instinctively know that men aren’t pining for flowers, jewelry, and chocolate on Valentine’s Day, but the “giver” in us doesn’t always know what to substitute instead“What should I get him for Valentine’s Day?” is always a top relationship question at this time of year.

14 ways to shine your brightest this Valentine's Day

If we shift our focus from “buying things” to the most authentic form of giving, the answer comes naturally — it’s you that he most wants — you are, already, the best gift he could ever receive.

When you are truly comfortable in your skin, relaxed, and peaceful, you will naturally support and love him the way he longs for. He gets to pamper and spoil you without being forced into a competition to see who can outspend the other. You aren’t trying to upstage him with basketball tickets or a fancy watch, you’re letting him shine, too. Your genuine receptiveness and gratitude are way more romantic than any expensive toy.

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Instead of heading to the mall, choose to get in the Valentine's spirit a little differently this year. Pick your favorite ways to unwind and refresh from the list below — or create your own — and your man will sigh in relief at this truly feminine gift. (And if you're celebrating solo this year, really do it up: a woman who embraces her femininity loves love in all its forms.)

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  1. Call a friend and go for a talk-and-walk.
  2. Take a yoga class.
  3. Book a deep tissue massage, seaweed wrap, or other sensual body treatment. Your body works hard for you. Without judgement, appreciate all that it does.
  4. Scan your kitchen cabinets and pull out foods that trigger over-eating, like potato chips, cookies, muffins. Discard opened packages and donate the rest.
  5. Visit your local animal shelter and consider adopting a pet. If adoption isn't practical for you, visit anyway, and donate items from their wishlist.
  6. Book a double beauty appointment with your mom or a girlfriend or sister. Treat her to a mani-pedi, makeup tutorial, highlights, or another service that she wouldn't ordinarily splurge on.
  7. Search YouTube for one new type of fitness activity you’re curious about. Choose a video and follow along.
  8. Learn to prepare one new fruit or vegetable — something you’ve never liked or something exotic you’ve been intimidated to try.
  9. Take a long bath, sprinkle your sheets with perfume, then take a 20-minute nap.
  10. Choose a perfume, body spray, or essential oil mix to wear daily. (Hint: Men prefer deliciously warm “food” scents like vanilla and pumpkin spice.)
  11. Light candles and meditate for 20 minutes. Visualize beautiful places, real or imaginary.
  12. Bag up unused clothes and belongings and donate them to a local church or charity.
  13. Research nonprofit organizations in your community. Choose to adopt one whose mission you support. Make a donation.
  14. Think of a recent achievement your guy is proud of. Plan to ask him about it when you see him so that he can replay the event, even if you’ve heard the story 100 times. (Try this tip with friends and family members, too — giving someone permission to brag can be an incredible gift.)
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Celebrating a holiday or birthday should never be about proving your worth or earning a man’s love. Release yourself from that kind of obligation and stress. Once you accept that you are his jewel, take pleasure in shining your brightest for him.

The essence of femininity is hopefulness — for the future, for humanity, and for love in all its forms.

Over the years I've worked alongside male surgeons, engineers, construction workers, and all kinds of guys from incredibly varied backgrounds. There are some common themes in the man cave. One is that, in general, men are not actively encouraged to "celebrate hopefulness." Instead, we raise boys to be practical and vigilant — always on the lookout for threats, prepared for attack. Workplace banter tends toward the dark and cynical, and a man isn't typically rewarded for "rainbows and unicorns" thinking. But as a woman, you have the power to choose a different path. You can bring lightness to a world view that is (sometimes) pretty dark. Don't be shamed into going along with bitterness, or hiding what feels true to you. Instead, shine your brightest. Believe in love. That is one of your greatest gifts to the world.

READ NEXT: THE PERFECT GIFT FOR ANY MAN

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Robyn Wahlgast is a Rules Certified Dating and Relationship Coach for Women, and a happily married mother of three. Need advice about your own relationship? Consider booking a private consultation with Robyn. Never miss a new blog post: subscribe to our FREE newsletter.

This article was originally created, with love, for The Wellness Universe.

WANT TO ATTRACT THE BEST MEN? DRESS LIKE A BOSS!

This post is for any single woman who is ready to move on from hookups and casual encounters to the real deal: lasting love. You want an upgrade.

One of the fastest, easiest ways to level-up the type of men you are dating is to refresh your overall look and appearance.

Sometimes the person holding you back from becoming a total knockout is… you. Here are some limiting beliefs my clients have expressed—see if you can relate:

  • “I’ve been told my whole life that looks shouldn’t matter to your true soulmate.”
  • “My older sister was always the pretty one. My younger sister was cute. I was just the chubby one.”
  • “I just don’t see myself that way. I tried a personal shopper but didn’t buy anything she picked out. There’s no way I could show up at work looking like that. Much dressier than my comfort level.”
  • “My friends and I go shopping together. We often buy the same things. They would completely freak if they saw my new date clothes.”
  • “I know, my look is artsy hippie, but that’s the type of guy I like. I don’t want to date cookie cutter men. You have to have the right bait to catch the fish you want.”
How you dress tells men how you want to be treated.

Each woman is expressing a completely valid and understandable view, based on her own life experience. It would be nice if each one could just keep doing what she’s doing and stumble into the perfect relationship. The problem is that all this over-thinking is lost on the men they are encountering. A man can only see what you present to him.

While it certainly is true that men are visual creatures, that does not mean that they are always able to visualize the sexy creature hiding beneath your Minecraft T-shirt and droopy cargo pants. You may have to help a guy out.

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Some women believe that men are just like our best girlfriends, and that they understand that we are just having fun with fashion when we wear items like baggy harem yoga pants. (Which, no offense, do not even look good on 22-year-old yoga instructors.) You might certainly get looks and attention, but guys usually don’t appreciate out-there clothing quite the way other women do. They do not wish to scan your fashion choices for hidden clues as to whether you are artsy or outdoorsy or a party girl. That is almost exclusively a girl thing — sorting friends based on similar clothing style — and doesn’t translate into romantic success or increased soulmate connection with a man.

You Deserve to Be a Knockout. #truth

The look that has universal appeal is “Sexy” + “Lady”. (Not to be confused with “Sexy Lady,” which is just cheesy.) Stock your wardrobe with form-fitting dresses, pencil skirts, skinny jeans, and fitted shirts and sweaters. Do what Jennifer Aniston does and have a tailor nip and tuck your clothing to make it fit just right (she even has her t-shirts tailored to hug her curves perfectly). In fact, tailoring is an inexpensive way to refresh the clothes you already own. Start wearing kitten heels if you’re not used to walking in high heels—you’ll get much the same effect. Wear perfume, jewelry, and pile on the details.

Your Look Tells Men How You Want to Be Treated. #truth

You don’t need to be rich or Hollywood-perfect to be glamorous. There is a French word—soignée—that sums up the look you’re going for; it means, “taken care of.” That’s the type of woman you deserve to be. When you have paid attention to the details of dress and hair and makeup, you show the world that you are precious and valuable and worth taking care of.

Robyn Wahlgast is a Rules Certified Dating and Relationship Coach for Women, and a happily married mother of three. Need advice about your own relationship? Consider booking a private consultation with Robyn. Never miss a new blog post: subscribe to our FREE newsletter.

ROBYN ORIGINALLY CREATED THIS ARTICLE, WITH LOVE, FOR MICHAEL FIORE'S DIGITAL ROMANCE.

YOU MUST BREAK UP WITH HIM IF HE SKIPS VALENTINE'S DAY

Isn’t Valentine’s Day just one day out of the year? It’s how he behaves on the other 364 days that matters, right?

Valentine’s Day is over. As the dust settles, you can clearly see where you stand with your guy. Maybe too clearly, if your experience was kind of blah. Should you care? Are you over-reacting? Isn’t Valentine’s Day just one day out of the year? It’s how behaves on the other 364 days that matters, right?

Never settle for less than a gift from the heart. Robyn Wahlgast

You may be surprised to know that the amount of effort your man puts into Valentine’s Day, your birthday, or any other special day, speaks volumes about how much he values his relationship with you. Are you The One he has fantasies about marrying? (It’s true, guys really do look forward to putting a ring on it when they want you.) Or do you suspect you are only his good-enough-for-now option?

If he doesn’t go all out and demonstrate his love for you on Valentine’s Day, he is sending you a message that you are only an option to him—not his priority. Don’t waste time on any man who ditches you on Valentine’s Day. Break up with him—today. Even if you’ve only been casually dating, this is your signal to start seeing others.  

FROM E.L.F.

Consider this quote from Massachusetts-based LCSW, Measue Liotta. She confirms that men skimp—or skip out—on Valentine’s Day when they’ve come to realize their girlfriend is NOT the woman they want to spend that special day with: “It’s harder to fake it on these holidays when we want to be truly in love; harder to lie to ourselves when things don't feel right or true during these should-be-blissful times.” Just as women don’t want to have to “fake it” in the bedroom, men feel uncomfortable faking romantic attachment. They’d rather downplay the holiday or avoid you entirely.

Here’s a pop quiz. Which of these gifts is a true expression of love?

A.      Red Swarovski crystal heart necklace

B.      White porcelain pig

Without more information, we might automatically pick “A”—the heart pendant. But here’s the thing. This is an actual Valentine’s gift one of my clients, Sandy, received from a former boyfriend who wasn’t that into her. He gave the necklace to her at breakfast, as he was heading out to spend the day with his buddies.

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If you’ve ever walked through a Macy’s on February 13th you’ve seen stacks and stacks of these identical necklaces, piled near the exits; all he had to do was throw a credit card at the cashier and hop back outside to his train. If he’d wanted to spend that special day with Sandy, and create a romantic experience for her, the necklace would have been a fine gift. But in this case, the pendant was just a crumb, tossed her way without much emotion.

FROM ZALES

The porcelain pig is the gift that Sandy received this year, from her fiancé (a different man). Sandy is of Irish descent and had inherited a collection of porcelain figures from her late mother. The figures were all made in the same Irish foundry and are finished in a distinctive white glaze; the set includes several farm animals. Shortly after they started dating, she mentioned to her guy that she would someday like to complete the set with a Belleek pig. Her fiancé is a bit of a guy’s guy — antiquing took him way out of his comfort zone. But he had listened to her closely, remembered her story, and did the legwork to find the perfect piece for her collection. There was no way he would have missed spending Valentine’s Day with her, enjoying the results of his quest.  

So pay more attention to what your man does than what he says. Men are pretty clear about their intentions. If he’d rather hang with his crew on special days, he is sending you a signal about where you stand. Don’t settle for fake romance. Hold out and move on...to find the real thing.

Robyn Wahlgast is a Rules Certified Dating and Relationship Coach for Women, and a happily married mother of three. Need advice about your own relationship? Consider booking a private consultation with Robyn. Never miss a new blog post: subscribe to our FREE newsletter.

ROBYN ORIGINALLY CREATED THIS ARTICLE, WITH LOVE, FOR MICHAEL FIORE'S DIGITAL ROMANCE.

CAN YOU MAKE SOMEONE FALL IN LOVE WITH YOU?

Can you make a man fall in love with you? The surprising answer is yes. . . sort of.

While we imagine the process of falling in love to be magical, mystical, and mostly out of our control, the fact is that there is actually a formula for triggering romantic feelings in another person.

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Some people are naturally seductive, and can’t help but spread a little amor wherever they go. We say those folks (male and female) have charisma or “it”—an instant appeal that transcends physical appearance, talents, wealth, and all other qualities you may think you need to find a quality mate. In fact, charm can be learned—you don’t need to be born with it, and you certainly don’t need to be extraordinarily blessed with beauty or wealth to create attraction in others. We can’t cover every nuance of creating instant attraction in this article, but the formula itself is simple:

Bypass your date’s rational mindset and trigger his romantic instinct.

  1. Bypass his rational brain. Seeking to impress others with your accomplishments, physical appearance, and smarts will trigger your date’s rational mindset and encourage him to assess and evaluate you logically—“Is she a 10 or a 2?”—throwing ice-cold water on more tender and protective feelings. When we activate a man’s rational brain, we unwittingly get in the way of his mating/bonding impulse.
  2. Trigger his impulsive/instinctive mindset. Create a mood that allows his instincts to take over. In an impulsive state, we don’t rationally evaluate someone’s amazing qualities and qualifications. (That comes later when we’re considering a committed relationship.) Both men and women delight in an attraction that “doesn’t make sense” or that we can’t quite explain—that instinctive pull toward someone we barely know.

So how can you trigger romantic instincts in a real-world situation, like a date? While it’s true that some basic level of physical attraction has to exist first (you are a man’s “type” for example), there are steps you can take to ensure that initial attraction leads to an emotional bond:

Practice the Art of Gentle Conversation 

Constant chatter and noisy activity are ways to avoid the potential awkwardness of silence. But all that buzz suppresses our natural instincts. The next time you have a conversation with someone—a friend, a coworker, anyone—try to observe the natural ebb and flow of your words. Do you frequently interrupt, fill space, or work doggedly to “get your point across”? Instead, practice engaging with people in a more gentle way—floating on the surface of the conversation is one way to visualize it—and let go of the need to direct everyone toward your opinions and views.  

Spread Peace 

When you settle into a friend’s sofa for a long chat and a cup of tea, you are naturally welcoming, open, and languorous. Your friend knows she can talk about anything with you, without judgement, and that she has your full attention. That’s the peaceful feeling you want to bring with you on dates. Put away your phone, remove your watch, and move slowly, as if you have all the time in the world (everyone knows you don’t). If this is a first meeting, then agree ahead of time to keep it appropriately brief—but that doesn’t mean you should act rushed, distracted, or like this date is yet another “task” in a long day of multitasking.   

Let Your Eyes Do The Talking

More than 20 years ago, social psychology researcher Arthur Aron demonstrated that sustained eye contact can produce feelings of love between total strangers. (Some of Dr. Aron’s study participants actually went on to marry their randomly-selected gazing partner.) That’s how powerful eye contact can be in creating a feeling of intense emotional connection. If you’re practicing “gentle” conversation and bringing a peaceful quality to your interactions with men, your eyes will naturally begin to speak for you. Be careful: aggressively seeking out a stranger’s eyes can be interpreted as a sexual invitation—a signal you may not have intended. But in conversation, returning a man’s gaze and holding sustained eye contact are wonderful ways to show respect, interest, and build rapport and connection.  

Robyn Wahlgast is a Rules Certified Dating and Relationship Coach for Women. Need advice about your own dating situation? Consider booking a private consultation with Robyn. Never miss a new blog post: subscribe to our FREE newsletter

ROBYN ORIGINALLY CREATED THIS ARTICLE, WITH LOVE, FOR THE WELLNESS UNIVERSE.

DON'T PLAY THE "GIMME FIRST" GAME IN YOUR RELATIONSHIPS

“To bring anything into your life,
imagine that it’s already there.” 

–Richard Bach

Here’s a destructive relationship cycle that many women have experienced—and it can occur whether you’ve been married to a man for decades or are on your very first date:

1. You feel like your guy isn’t giving you enough of something (his time, his attention, his affection, etc.)

2. As a result, your inner glow starts to dim. Instead of being warm and enticing, you send out signals that he is failing, big-time. That’s the kind of message men are hyper-sensitive to. (In fact, some men learn to simply expect that response from a woman and then tune it out because they assume they’ll never win.)

3. Now he feels even less motivated to figure out what would please you. So he withdraws further.

4. You feel even less understood and supported. You may even decide to “clear the air” and initiate a talk about all the ways in which he is disappointing you. (Does a high-pressure talk ever produce good, long-term results?) The negative spiral continues….

I call this the “Gimme First” cycle because you are waiting for him to give to you first before you give back to him (affection, affirmation—whatever it is). While I advocate letting a man lead the pace of a relationship—allowing him to initiate each new level of intimacy—he has to feel that he has plenty of “wins” along the way. Otherwise, he may simply dig in his heels, and no amount of pushing will get him to move forward.

How do you break out of this damaging cycle?

First: Don’t give him all that power. You are allowing his behavior to dim your sparkle and while that’s not good for him, it’s really not good for you.

Second: Switch on your abundance mindset. In practical terms, act “as if” your man is already giving you what you need.

I know, I know. It sounds like I’m suggesting that you let him off the hook and forget about your own needs.

Actually, nothing could be further from the truth. But you’re not going to get your needs met if your only strategy is “Gimme First.”

Next time you find yourself in a scenario where you are feeling unappreciated or unloved by your guy, practice acting “as if” you were really connected. Go into another room, if you need to, and imagine that you are getting what you need—enough—from him. Would you be feeling warm and cozy? Would you feel satisfied and relaxed and confident in his love? Allow yourself to experience the sensation of being loved and taken care of by him. Take that feeling with you, when you return to him.

Fortunately for all of us, positive energy is just as infectious as negative energy. When you come back to him—mentally and physically—he will feel the change in your attitude. Don’t rush into anything. Don’t have a talk or feel you must take action right away. Just let the good vibes percolate.

Once you’ve created an atmosphere of good will, I’d like you to also assume good intentions (they go hand in hand). If you’re in a committed relationship, assume that if he loves you he will ultimately want to figure out how to please you; talking about it may not be necessary to get the result you want. If you’re in a dating situation, and just beginning to know each other, having the ability to hit the reset button by acting “as if” will keep you from getting stuck.

Feel free to use this strategy in non-romantic relationships as well, such as at work or with family members. In a normal, emotionally healthy environment, acting “as if” can be a great way to take back control and set yourself and those around you on a more positive path.

READ NEXT: UNDERSTANDING MEN—WHY HE CHOOSES SILENCE

Robyn Wahlgast is a Rules Certified Dating and Relationship Coach for Women. Need advice about your own dating situation? Consider booking a private consultation with Robyn. Never miss a new blog post: subscribe to our FREE newsletter

THIS ARTICLE WAS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED @THE WELLNESS UNIVERSE.

WHAT MEN CRAVE: A LITTLE "SUGAR" (NO, IT'S NOT JUST ABOUT SEX)

The special ingredient your guy needs in order to commit to you.

It’s spring, and love is in the air. More specifically, the song Sugar by Maroon 5, is in the airwaves, playing almost continuously.

sugar by maroon 5

For single women struggling to understand What Men Want, the lyrics to this song provide a crystal-clear answer:

I'm hurting, baby, I'm broken down
I need your loving, loving
I need it now
When I'm without you
I'm something weak
You got me begging, begging
I'm on my knees

I don't wanna be needing your love
I just wanna be deep in your love
And it's killing me when you're away, ooh, baby,
'Cause I really don't care where you are
I just wanna be there where you are
And I gotta get one little taste

Sure, the singer's “need” is partly about sex—that’s what most of us hear in these lyrics. But if you think that’s all there is to it, you may want to take a fresh look at how men experience love and romanceMen have a deep longing to be accepted and respected—that's the real source of sweetness in the song. 

Here’s the back story: Maroon 5 lead singer, Adam Levine, began dating Victoria’s Secret model Behati Prinsloo in 2012. The relationship lasted about a year, they broke up, and he then began dating another beautiful 20-something Victoria’s Secret model, Nina Agdal.  However, Levine continued to stay in touch with Prinsloo. According to US Weekly, "After Adam broke up with Behati, he couldn't stop thinking about her....He realized he really loved her and wanted to be with her….He knew he wanted to propose."

    From  US Weekly : Adam Levine told ex-girlfriend Nina Agdal (right) about his engagement to Behati Prinsloo (left) via text message.          Credit: Jim Spellman/WireImage.com; George Pimentel/WireImage.com; Gustavo Caballero/Getty

From US Weekly: Adam Levine told ex-girlfriend Nina Agdal (right) about his engagement to Behati Prinsloo (left) via text message. Credit: Jim Spellman/WireImage.com; George Pimentel/WireImage.com; Gustavo Caballero/Getty

This is a classic example of a man needing a little space and distance to connect with his deeper feelings. (And a reminder that if the man you are dating is cozying up to his ex, you should break up with him immediately and move on—because he obviously hasn’t.)

So what was so special about Behati Prinsloo that made one of the world's most eligible bachelors, Adam Levine, so sure he wanted to marry her? (Their wedding took place in 2014, about two years after they first began dating.)

For one thing, Prinsloo is a Rules Girl. She confidently and serenely allowed Levine to lead her into deeper commitment when he was ready.

But also, it is clear that she gives Levine that "sugar" that men need so desperately, in order to bond with and commit to a woman.

So, how can you satisfy this need in your man, and make him truly addicted to your love and companionship?

5 Tips For Making Him Crave Commitment With You

5. Desire him. “Sex” is what you were thinking at the beginning of this post, and of course it belongs on our list. Sure, men love it when we enjoy heart-pounding, enthusiastic lovemaking. But a big part of that is showing that you really are turned on by him and appreciate him as a Man. That's not something that begins and ends in the bedroom. When you connect strongly with your own femininity you help him find the joy in his masculinity; he feels accepted as he is.   

4. Trust him. One of the greatest gifts we give a man is our vulnerability—that wide-eyed acceptance that lets him know you see him as a good guy. If you’re single, assume your date will be a gentleman and that he knows how to treat you right. Your attitude of positive expectations will go further than actually telling him what to do. If you’re in a relationship, give him his freedom to do “guy stuff” or just go off and do things without you. (If you truly don’t trust him because he repeatedly disappoints you, he’s not your Mr. Right. Break up and move on.)

3. Appreciate him—for all that he does, for who he is, and for the mission he has chosen to embrace. Did I surprise you with the “mission” part? All men are on some kind of quest, even if they don’t broadcast it. It may or may not have to do with his job. It may be centered around a hobby or interest that you, at first glance, think is unimportant. If you don’t already know, find out what your man’s mission is and make sure you openly appreciate his commitment to it.  

2. Make him feel like a winner. Sometimes the very men who rack up win after win at work end up feeling like losers at home or in their dating lives. You want him to associate you with a feeling of winning—something all men, regardless of personality type, really do crave—if you want the relationship to progress. Smile and say thank you in a genuine way when he tries to please you. (And when a man loves you, his biggest win comes from pleasing you.)

1. Respect him. Respect is number one because it is central to a man’s self-esteem and well-being. And it’s something you have to show, through your actions, for him to view as sincere. For example, loyalty is an important component of respect; that means never belittling or mocking his views, preferences, abilities, or interests—not in private and certainly not in public. You are a team, and team members have each others’ backs. You don’t have to agree with everything he says—that wouldn’t be genuine or realistic—but agree to disagree in a respectful manner. Finally, understand that for a man, how you dress and present yourself is a sign of how much you respect him. Be the woman he loves showing off and is proud to be seen with.

Remember, sugar doesn’t stop once you cross the altar together. In fact, married men have an even deeper need for a daily dose. Life is filled with challenges and he needs some sweetness from you to help him through. Trust me: he will repay you in countless ways if you make the effort to give it to him.

Robyn Wahlgast is a Rules Certified Dating and Relationship Coach for Women. If you're online dating (or thinking about it) read How To Have An Awesome First Date With An Online Guy for road-tested tips and advice. If you're curious about The Rules, find out how to rock The Rules your own way and why reading The Rules book just might change your life. Never miss a new blog post: subscribe to our FREE newsletter

FROM A BROKEN ENGAGEMENT TO HAPPILY EVER AFTER

#NeverGiveUp

Years ago, shortly after I turned 30, I became engaged on Valentine’s Day—to a man I ended up not marrying. There was a fancy diamond ring involved, and to be honest, I should have said no the minute my boyfriend proposed.

(A tiny voice in my head did say no.)

But I took a deep breath and answered yes for a variety of dumb reasons, including the fact that we had been dating for a year and a half, and marriage just seemed to be the train that we were on. His parents adored me, and we spent a lot of time with them as well as with his friends. We had attended several weddings together. How disappointing for everyone, if there was no happy ending for the two of us.

Getting engaged: It's not about the bling.

So there I was on Valentine’s Day, at Sign of the Dove, modeling a truly stunning ring. If you’ve had the experience of becoming engaged, you know that it can quickly intoxicate you—sometimes for the wrong reasons.

Every morning on the F train at least two or three people would glance at my left hand, smile, and congratulate me. I felt like I had passed beyond one of life’s many velvet ropes, into a VIP club. I did not want to give up my membership.

Becoming engaged can quickly intoxicate you. Sometimes for the wrong reasons.

FROM BEAUTY BRANDS

You probably noticed that in my intro I said only that his parents and friends liked me. So there’s your first red flag, because I can't say that my friends and family adored him. When I called my mom to tell her that my boyfriend and I were engaged, she said “Oh?” and was silent. Not the typical mom reaction. (She didn’t even tell my dad for weeks, because she knew he would not approve.)

Logo
Zales

My friends were skeptical about my fiancé, but more tolerant than my parents; I think they just hoped for the best. And they loved that ring. The ring was what everyone rallied around: how beautiful, how big, how perfect the setting. Because of the ring, we could avoid talking about real things, like did I truly love my fiancé, and wasn’t he kind of a jerk. Blinded by bling—we all were, for sure.

FROM ZALES

In the following 6 months, though, everything fell apart. Why? Because I slowly had to admit to myself that I didn’t really like my fiancé, and would have felt trapped in a marriage with him. He was a lot older than I was, successful, and I had been a little in awe of him. But I started to see things more clearly: he treated me like a possession—an extension of himselfnot like a complete human being. He expected me to play a certain part, and if I didn’t he got angry.

FROM DR. BRANDT

As our fighting increased he, too, started to pull back. The wedding date kept moving further out. I was having difficulty concentrating at work, and felt physically ill much of the time. After months of pain and misery, I broke up with him—something I could have and should have done much earlier.

WAS IT A ‘RULES’ RELATIONSHIP?

Clients who know my story often ask, "But was this a Rules relationship?" And I have to say that even though my boyfriend pursued me, did all the work, and ultimately asked me to marry him, it definitely was not. The Rules are about seeing and admitting the truth of a situation—even when it is unpleasant and uncomfortable to do so. If you’d rather remain in a state of denial (as I did) that is not a Rules relationship, even if a wedding is on the horizon. Just getting married, "getting the ring," is never the point. 

Also, The Rules tell us not to let romantic relationships take over our lives or keep us from doing the things we love. But my engagement had a toxic effect on nearly all of my other relationships—including my parents and my closest friends. If I had continued on a path of denial, I would have become more isolated, and my life even more focused around this one man.  By contrast, healthy love enhances and opens up your world. Life gets bigger when you’re with the right person.  

Healthy relationships open up your world. Life gets bigger when you’re with the right person.  

Most importantly, The Rules show us how to create a healthy dynamic in dating that will then carry over into marriage. It's a foundation of mutual respect—something I didn't have with my ex. In a healthy relationship, you feel that you are enough, just as you are; your partner isn't going to reject you just because you've gained a little weight, lost your job, or become ill. When life gets tough, you know you have each others' backs. That is a Rules marriage.

FROM BCBG

If a man's love is conditional, and you feel it could be taken away at any moment that you "disappoint" him or are less than perfect, stop dating him. That is not the foundation for a healthy marriage.

My broken engagement led me to study something called the Diamond Life — an idea that can be found in many different cultures and religions. Living the Diamond Life means that you commit to balance in Mind, Body, Heart, and Spirit — the 4 points of a sparkling gem.

Tommy Hilfiger

With respect to love and relationships, this means that you can't just "follow your heart," as most Hollywood movies suggest. Even if you are a free spirit, you honor yourself by engaging your mind as well. You love with clarity and balance.  

Easier said than done, right? One reason I recommend that women do The Rules and commit to them, is that Rules behaviors make it easy for you live a balanced, healthy life. Your heart (and body) might tell you to drop everything and spend every moment with your new crush, but The Rules prevent you from doing so. You remain active with your interests and activities, your career, and your friends and family. You wait to have sex until you are sure that yours is a healthy dynamic, and your man has given you clear signs that he loves you. 

When a Rules woman is uncertain about a man's feelings for her, she puts her heart on pause and waits for a clear signal from him. Over time, with daily practice, you can actually train your heart to respond only to men who make you feel safe and sound, and to instinctively reject a hot-and-cold, emotional roller-coaster.

FROM E.L.F.

Over time, you can train your heart to respond only to men who make you feel safe and sound, and to reject a hot-and-cold, emotional roller-coaster. 

The benefits are particularly valuable once you've met your wonderful Mr. Right. By exercising this self-restraint and not losing yourself in love, you will give your man space and become even more precious to him as a result. He knows you had a life before you met him, and he respects you for continuing to maintain other priorities. You are the cool girl he feels lucky to be dating. 

When you love with clarity and balance, you become even more precious to your guy. He truly respects and cherishes you.
  Moving on after a broken engagement...  In a healthy relationship, you know you are enough for him, you don’t need to prove anything, and he loves your very essence. 

Moving on after a broken engagement... In a healthy relationship, you know you are enough for him, you don’t need to prove anything, and he loves your very essence. 

Never give up.

It sounds silly now, but I truly thought this broken engagement was my last chance at love and marriage. Over the next 5 years, I went through the driest of dry spells. I met men through online dating, but hardly any were my idea of Mr. Right. I tried a matchmaking group, and singles events. I was doing The Rules, but it just wasn’t my time yet.

I also worked on re-balancing my life. Before I dated my ex, I had regularly attended a Bible study group; I started going again. I decided it was time to reconnect with the people who truly mattered to me. I got busy with activities that were good for my soul, my body, and my mind, and resolved never again to silence my inner voice.

 Glengorm Castle, Scotland

Glengorm Castle, Scotland

Then, at 36, I met my now-husband. And his proposal was truly a gift from the heart. He knew that Scotland is my favorite place on earth. After we’d been dating a year, he surprised me with a mystery trip to Glengorm Castle on the Isle of Mull, where he got down on one knee, in the rain, surrounded by Highland cattle. (He had already told my parents about his planbecause he loved and respected them— and they were fully on board.) The diamond my husband gave me that day, and that I've worn ever since for the last 15 years, is precious. But mostly because it reflects back a beautiful experience and a shared memory that we both treasure. 

Wishing you lots of love,
Robyn

Robyn Wahlgast is a Rules Certified Dating and Relationship Coach for Women. If you're online dating (or thinking about it) read How To Have An Awesome First Date With An Online Guy for road-tested tips and advice. Never miss a new blog post: subscribe to our FREE newsletter.  

HOW TO STAY LIGHT AND BREEZY IN ANY SEASON

How A 1972 Hit Song Can Help You Keep Harmony With Your Man

Even as autumn chills the air, and you begin to search for that second glove…or those perfect boots…you can still hang onto a little bit of summer. And, in all honesty, we should try to practice that summery, sunny mindset all year, in all of our relationships.

What do I mean?

If you want to know what a man’s fantasy of commitment and marriage feels like, just listen to the song "Summer Breeze" by Seals and Crofts. (I've linked to the sexiest cover version ever by The Isley Brothers.) 

Sweet days of summer, the jasmine's in bloom
July is dressed up and playing her tune
And I come home from a hard day's work
And you're waiting there, not a care in the world...

  A sunny attitude doesn't always happen for us naturally. It may take some practice and mindfulness. Take baby steps toward the sunshine!

A sunny attitude doesn't always happen for us naturally. It may take some practice and mindfulness. Take baby steps toward the sunshine!

Now, of course you—the “you” that is the woman in the song—aren't lounging around without a care in the world. That’s pretty much the opposite of your experience right now at work or in your home life. But that simplified version of domestic life, and breezy, carefree imagery is an ideal any of us could crave, especially when life is so complicated, and continually throwing curve-balls. That vision is especially powerful because such a “lite” mindset can be used to positively affect your actions and interactions with your partner. After all, cultivating peace and rapport in your relationships is a day by day commitment. At any moment, one can feel like sinking from the pressures and expectations that exist in any long-term situation. Creating an aura of ease and lightness can seem completely out of reach.

As with vocal harmony, choosing to spread sunshine is a skill you can practice and get better at over time. When you’re practically crackling with stress, you may think it’s your man’s job to somehow take away the pain. Maybe it’s your secret desire that he can read your mind (nope), relieve you of your burden (only you can do that, doll), and give you a hug (yes, that’s reasonable). If your guy appears to be upbeat or oblivious to your mood, it can be infuriating. “If he really loved me,” you think, “he’d pick up on my mood and fix this.” Your instinct may even be to pull him down down down into the Wicked Witch’s vortex of doom, with you. You know it’s childish and selfish, but still you have this impulse. The next thing you know, you’ve picked a fight or dumped your issues and complaints onto a somewhat innocent bystander. Now his mood is soured and the negative chain reaction continues. And if you have kids, their little antennae are likely to transmit and amplify the distress signals.     

So pause and remember summer breeze….  That’s what he hoped he was getting when he fell in love with you. That’s the you of your early dates. And, truth be told, that’s the you that you like best. Like a child on a swing, soaring up toward the sky. She’s still in there, and she’s maybe a truer reflection of your self than the stressed-out version. So what can you do to keep the peace, both within your head and in your home?

1. Refrain from “sharing” all the bad things that happened today. (If you’re already unloading, it’s o.k. to stop mid-sentence. Really, he won’t mind.) Sometimes these types of conversations are best left to your friends or other family members—if, after sleeping on it, you still feel like venting.

2. Refresh and reset. Can you try to muster up one good thing that happened during your day? Or something you’re looking forward to in the near future? When all else fails, spend 7 minutes on YouTube watching silly cat videos or that #TBT Sister Sledge video, or anything inspirational to you. When the screen freezes, mentally high-five the millions of other stressed souls who’ve chosen this in lieu of picking a fight with their honey.

3. Make a quick plan to deal with your #1 issue. Tonight is not the time to tackle all 99 of your problems, but you can make a baby step in the right direction. After all, being breezy doesn’t mean being irresponsible. Identify your most pressing issue and come up with one next step that you can take to make things better for yourself. Write it down and place it in a keepsake box or a jar. Close the container and set it aside with intention. You will reopen it in the morning, after a good night's rest.

4. Appreciate him as he is. It sounds so simple, but when you learn to stop "grading" your partner, you will relax and connect with him more completely. Comparing him to other, more perfect specimens of manhood may artificially motivate him at first (when the competitive instinct kicks in), but over time he will simply tune you out. Making comparisons is not an effective means for motivating anyone over the long term, and the habit may drive a wedge between you. Instead, think about one of his recent successes—something you know he values and is proud of—and mention it. 

5. O.k., about that hug. Just ask him for one! You don’t need to overwhelm him with lengthy explanations and details—your snuggle will be that much sweeter as a result.

When I was younger, the wifey, domestic tranquility portrayed in this song seemed to me embarrassingly retro and sexist; I cringed every time it came on the radio. But now that I’m married, I get it. Because in the grown-up world, summer breeze is mostly a dream anyway. It’s a serene state of mind we all long for. So, go on—let him have his fantasy. Try to share a little bit of summer with those you love—including yourself—all year long. 

Robyn Wahlgast is a Certified Dating and Relationship Coach for Women. Book a private consultation or subscribe to her FREE dating and relationship newsletter and get priority access to all new content. 

HE WON'T PROPOSE... WHAT TO DO?

get him to propose faster

You want to get married, but he's in no rush. Don't let your insecurities ruin a good thing. Follow these 4 tips and you'll be walking down the aisle in no time. 

If you are a woman who is happily involved in an exclusive relationship, your thoughts have probably turned to marriage. This is understandable: for many people, the act of getting married is the ultimate expression of a couple’s love for one another.

The phase just before engagement can be one of the trickiest for a couple to navigate, however. If you have been dating for a year or more, you may feel that your guy should already be Instagramming ring ideas to your BFF. And though he may not show it, your boyfriend may be struggling with his own expectations and pressures as well.

Follow these 4 tips to ensure that you're moving in sync, and you and your man will build a solid foundation for your life together.  

1. Take a deep breath. Although you may have good reasons for wanting him to hurry up and propose already—a madly ticking biological clock, family pressures, or other very real concerns—practice stepping out of the “I want” mindset.  Many women come to me saying “I want a husband” or “I want to get married.” It may be helpful instead to say, “I am ready to become a wife” and fully embrace the major changes you will face when your wish becomes reality. In many religious traditions, marriage is viewed as a covenant with God or a spiritual union—a solemn undertaking indeed. Marriage is also a joining together of communities, forever altering your relationships with parents, children, relatives—even your friends. Appreciate that you stand at a momentous threshold, and choose to cross calmly and with intention.

2. Open your eyes to the truth within. I get many calls from women who want to get their boyfriends to propose, but as the conversation continues it becomes clear that the future groom has been MIA for several days or otherwise has a pattern of disrespecting the caller. Ladies, please take note: A man in love who has made the mental commitment to propose is very easy to spot. He may not specialize in fancy seduction moves, or shower you with diamonds and rose petals, but he respects you and is supportive, follows through on his promises to you, and makes sure you know where he is and who he is with. If your boyfriend is a triple-D (regularly disappoints, disrespects, and disappears) recognize that you are just his good-enough-for-now girl, not his future wife.

3. Embrace his perspective. Even when men and women face identical cultural pressures (such as marrying by a certain age or producing an auspicious number of offspring), men typically balance these expectations with practical considerations. Of course, if he is a junior attorney postponing engagement until he makes partner, that may be a red flag. But if he is waiting another 6 months so that he can receive a bonus, a promotion, or clear up some financial issues, consider yourself lucky to be in a relationship with a man who takes seriously his role as your future partner. The first year of marriage is one of the hardest, and addressing practical concerns in advance can be a wise move.

4. Create positive momentum. While your expectation may be that marriage is the inevitable next step in your relationship, your man may think that things are comfortable just as they are. A cozy holding pattern can set in when a couple is already living together, or otherwise treating each other like spouses without having made a formal commitment. In this case, someone has to rub two sticks together or the relationship may lose its sizzle before you have a chance to reach the altar.

  • Although you may think the solution is to confront your guy and detail all the ways in which he is not meeting your needs, he will hear this talk as an ultimatum, and its one-sidedness could cause him to pull back rather than opening up an honest exchange.
  • Instead, start creating your own positive momentum. Have you been avoiding the gym? Tomorrow, get up early and go. Have you fallen into a rut at work? Register for classes to help you transition to a new career. Start reconnecting with old friends. Dress and look your best at all times. If your guy loves you, he will take note of these changes. Just keep going with your positive energy and let things percolate. Over the next few months it will become clear whether your guy is willing to step up and join you, or if you will be moving forward solo.   

Waiting for him to propose may require more self-restraint than you think you can muster, especially if you are a woman who is used to making things happen in other areas of your life. But the proposal is an important way for a man to express his feelings for you. Accept this gift graciously, and you will both share a wonderful memory that will help sustain your connection throughout married life.

Robyn Wahlgast is a Certified Dating and Relationship Coach for Women. Book a private consultation or subscribe to her FREE dating and relationship newsletter and get priority access to all new content.