THE EASY FIX THAT INSTANTLY TURNS YOU INTO A KNOCKOUT

Walk Like An Angel

Each year, hundreds of women send me pictures of their favorite date outfits and their online dating profiles, so that I can help them present themselves in the most attractive way possible. While your hairstyle and clothing definitely deserve a thorough assessment, don't overlook another important X factor — key to your entire presentation of yourself — that doesn't always show up in a photo: your posture.

Don't overlook an important X factor, key to your entire presentation of yourself: your posture.

Don't overlook an important X factor, key to your entire presentation of yourself: your posture.

WHAT MEN THINK

How you stand and carry yourself is a critical part of your overall appeal. While most men won't consciously evaluate your posture — it's not a detail they're going to comment on or discuss — it absolutely colors how they (and others) perceive you. Are you a potential girlfriend or a "buddy"? Your posture — along with how you dress and take care of yourself — signals how you expect others to treat you, and has an impact on your workplace relationships, family relationships, and romance.

Here's an excerpt from the Rules Revisited blog that illustrates the male perspective. It's worth reading the entire post but in this passage, Andrew describes how a female friend (one he typically rates “between a 7 and a 10") transforms their power dynamic simply by standing up straight. Now that she exhibits Beauty Queen poise, she seems out of his league, and he can't take her interest in him for granted:

“But here is perhaps the most interesting and telling part: when this girl corrected her posture, I felt a distinct pang of intimidation. It surprised and dismayed me, because I was sure until that moment that I had this girl wrapped around my finger. Suddenly the roles were decidedly reversed.... What if she had appeared that way when I first met her? And if she had maintained it, would I have ever been able to gain the upper hand? This is the power of posture.”

If you're willing to invest time, effort, and money in your clothing, hair, and makeup, wouldn't it be smart to make sure you rock those outfits at full potential? 

"It's time to put away your phone and engage that core!"

"It's time to put away your phone and engage that core!"

YOUR PHONE IS NOT YOUR FRIEND WHEN IT COMES TO MAINTAINING GOOD POSTURE

  • Shoulders that slump forward
  • A head that bows down
  • A tummy that pooches out
  • Pain in the lower back and neck; headaches
  • Low-energy feeling, even after 8 hours of sleep

These are all signs that it's time to take a break from texting and put away your phone or whatever kind of screen you're using.    

Notice that in this before/after photo, the corrected posture shows a healthy curve in the lower back (c-curve), shoulder blades that are "activated" toward the center of the back, and an engaged core (the abdominal area). 

QUICK TIP FOR SLUMPED SHOULDERS

If your shoulders are a problem area, you've probably been told to "relax" them down and back. The result is not usually long-lasting because that cue doesn't teach you how to engage the right muscles. For the moment, forget about your shoulders. Instead, try to "activate" the center of your back — the part in between your shoulder blades (Lower Trapezius muscles, in case you want to research this a bit further). Visualize those back muscles pulling your shoulder blades down and together, as if they could touch at the spine. If you can practice this sensation throughout the day, you will begin to "warm up" an area of the back that often becomes frozen during screen-time, driving, and office work. Direct massage, chest-opening yoga postures like upward dog, and training with hand-held weights are all good ways to target that middle back area. 

Another prop you might try is a soft fabric posture corrector. There are many different brands available — comb through the reviews on Amazon — ranging from around $15 to $75. I road-tested the EquiFit "Shoulders Back" Lite for one of my daughters. (I wanted to make sure it was comfortable enough to wear at least an hour a day before I recommended it to her.) I liked the Shoulders Back so much that I ended up ordering a second one for myself, just to wear during computer time. If you try out one of these braces, please make sure you wear it over a T-shirt; no corrector is comfortable enough to wear over bare skin. Bonus: You can even wear one under a sweater or jacket, while you run errands! Wearing it several hours at a time can help you feel and activate that key middle back area. Hint: These braces do not cover your breasts, so bra cup size is not an issue; an EquiFit Medium will fit a woman wearing a 34-38 bra. 

Watching This Victoria's Secret Runway Video Could Save You $2,100 In Bodywork

HOW TO ENGAGE YOUR CORE 

After the birth of my first child, I could tell that my spine was out of whack. Even though my weight was back to normal I just didn't look right in my work clothes — everything hung differently. A friend who worked for Vogue suggested that I visit a massage therapist named Mike Bulger who practiced something called structural integration; the magazine had just featured him in their health section and apparently Oprah was one of his happy clients. I agreed to try 10 sessions. Two months later — at at a cost of roughly $2,100 — I was realigned and pain-free. Yes, the structural manipulation had been very beneficial, and I am eternally grateful to Mike. But, also, a tip that Mike shared with me somewhere in our first session was the breakthrough concept that I had needed to incorporate into my day-to-day life

Mike told me that during all activities — whether sitting, standing, or walking — you should lead with your pelvis. (He truly meant "lead with your core" — which includes the abdominal region as well — but for beginners the pelvic area is easier to identify.) That's it: lead with your core.

And if you watch these Victoria's Secret models strut down the runway, you will see this principle in action. Leading with the pelvis does cause your chest to pop out a little (because of that lovely c-curve in your spine) but it's very different from consciously trying to thrust your breasts forward in a forced way, or yanking your shoulders down and back, which can be painful and difficult to maintain.   

Of course, models walking a runway are amplifying and exaggerating each movement for effect; it's theater. That's not exactly how you're going to parade around the office. But if you've been having trouble maintaining "straight" posture while you walk, move, and do everyday activities, then shifting your focus southward may help.

CHANGE YOUR POSTURE, CHANGE YOUR LIFE

Did you know that consciously addressing your posture can have a deep impact on every area of your life? If you are feeling stuck in your career, your relationships, or with your family, I encourage you to watch this 20-minute TED talk from social psychologist Amy Cuddy. She talks about how “power posing” can affect how your brain functions and, ultimately, your chances for satisfying employment, interpersonal relationships, and success in general. Her research on body language reveals that we can change other people’s perceptions—and even our own body chemistry—simply by changing body positions. 

NO PRETZEL POSES, PLEASE

Finally, if you're looking for a fun and pleasurable way to improve your posture, yoga is both inexpensive and effective. Foundation postures like cobra and the sun salutation flow are a wonderful way to wring out the tension and help build up that sexy core. Don't worry about doing them perfectly. These flows are about lengthening and strengthening your muscles, and should feel good. And if your body becomes more toned and graceful as a result, what's not to like? 

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.

WHY CONFIDENCE IS OVER-RATED

“Drama holds his interest for a day. Poise keeps his interest for a lifetime.” — Robyn 

Have you ever wondered why some people hold our attention in an almost hypnotic way, even if they don’t fit conventional definitions of beauty? A man can become mesmerized by a woman who displays that special something he can’t quite name. It doesn’t matter what she weighs or how old she is or what color her hair is—she has It.

Confidence is over-rated

 

In my grandmother’s day, that special quality was called “poise” and everyone worked to develop it. Poise was considered such an important part of adulthood—separating the girls from the women—that some of us were actually sent to places called Charm School to learn how to achieve it. A related idea is that of “presence”—when someone so fully inhabits the present moment that they radiate a powerful, concentrated energy. At a party, our eyes might skip past a woman giggling and gesturing wildly to her friends, and instead focus on someone sitting quietly in a corner. A calm, centered mind is the foundation of magnetic presence.

“Developing poise doesn’t just make you appear composed and dignified. Over time it will help you reach a state of true inner calm and contentment.” —Robyn Wahlgast
IGXO Cosmetics

Sadly, over time, the idea of developing poise became associated with out-dated female role models, like beauty pageant winners. Dating and relationship guides began to substitute the word “confidence” for poise, to appeal to educated, professional women. But don’t be fooled. Confidence and poise are absolutely NOT interchangeable. When a 4-year-old marches up to you and insists that today will be Opposite Day, or that from now on you MUST address her as Princess Starshine, she is displaying a boatload of confidence—but very little poise.

A client recently asked me to create a modern “charm school” lesson plan for her. She is a single mom who is actively dating. While she is confident in her career and in her parenting, she struggles to know how to attract men to her in social settings. Here are some tips I shared with her, to help her unlock an authentic, grown-up presence—the essence of Beauty Queen composure.

6 Signs Of A Poised Woman

  1. She doesn’t look around the room, smiling or trying to make eye contact or wondering what others think of her. She is fully absorbed in whatever she is doing at this moment. Men will notice you more and watch you intently when you are self-contained and focused on the task at hand. This creates tension—and it can feel vulnerable or uncomfortable at first, if you’re not used to being noticed this way by men. If you look around, smile, or wave, you are breaking concentration and diluting the energy that fuels attraction, so train yourself to maintain composure and stay absorbed in what you’re doing. Let the tension build.
  2. There is a meditative quality to her conversation. She never “tells all” in an interview, offers unsolicited advice, or goes on and on in a boring way about her personal opinions. (Perhaps this is why everyone is eager to hear what she thinks.)
  3. Her feelings and thoughts are informed and considered. She doesn’t share her beliefs with just anyone. Her inner life is like a precious gift, given to those who earn her respect and trust.
  4. Her manner is warm and welcoming, not cool and self-conscious.
  5. Women have a gift for bringing others together and building community. Whether at the center of her family, the center of a professional network, or in service to an important mission, her power lies in uniting people—never dividing them with gossip or jealousy.
  6. Life is what it is. Sometimes we are rushed, pressured, and filled with stress. We can all work to carry our burdens as lightly as possible. She remembers to assume good intentions and act with kindness at all times.

When you know that you are enough just as you are, we can say you are confident. But when you come from a place that is so composed and centered that even your smallest gesture has importance—that is poise.

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

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

HOW TO BE ENCHANTING ("SHE'S STRANGE")

The power is already inside you.

Today we're going #wayback to 1984. To the song She's Strange by Cameo:

She's strange, and I like it
She's strange, just the way she is
Strange, walking down the avenue
She's strange, always doing something new . . .

And I like it

When it comes to attracting men, most women worry about the wrong things. We focus on fixing "flaws" that men either don't notice or don't care aboutusually related to physical appearance. We do that because at our core we aren't really trying to attract men, we're locked in a pattern of trying to appease other women. 

When you were a kid, did other girls make you feel strange?

there is no magic in simply fitting in

Women grow up policing each other, and some go to great lengths to make sure other girls don't step too far out of line (meaning: don't outshine your friends). Back in my day, if a girl was too fashionably dressed, there would be a swift "who does she think she is" reaction, usually coupled with a "she thinks she's cute." Of course that censure applied to thoughts and opinions as well; any girl who dared to think for herself risked becoming an outcast.

FROM ASTRID & MIYU

Are you blocking others from connecting with you?

Even today, I have clients who heard similar messages growing up, and have carried that impulse to conform into adulthood. They are afraid to stand out by being too attractive, or to express opinions that are not "nice" or popular. Their nails are done to perfection (a detail appreciated only by other women), but the constant self-monitoring has erased their feminine charm and allure (qualities real men do appreciate and respond to). The strategies that worked so well to appease other girls on the playground, may actually be blocking them from connecting with men today.

TIP: Make sure playground rules haven't followed you into adulthood. If you still think "fitting in" is important, you may be turning off the quality men you wish to attract. 

FROM BEAUTY BRANDS

When you were a kid, did other girls ever make you feel like you were strange? In a woman's world, it is very hurtful to be labeled different or odd. By contrast, what does a man say, when a woman strikes him as "strange"? He says she is:

  • Magnetic
  • Bewitching
  • Enchanting
  • Captivating
  • Charming
  • Addicting

He is curious about you. This is attraction, for a guy. 

At first, you were just a blur of movement in the crowd, but now that he has really noticed you he sees that you are strange. He is curious about you. This is attraction, for a guy. The woman who is different from all the others (in his view) and different from himself is like an Enchantress. He feels helpless, unable to resist her spell. No man says, "I'm obsessed with hershe is so generic." Or: "I must have hershe is virtually interchangeable with all of her friends." There is no magic in simply fitting in. 

IGXO Cosmetics

No man says, “I'm obsessed with her — she is so generic.”

When it comes to accepting difference, men are typically more evolved than women. They are highly tolerant of their friends' quirks and oddities, and are more likely to notice a breech in loyalty or respect than behavior that is simply "weird." They barely notice if another guy adheres to out-there religious or political beliefs or is otherwise unconventional, as long as he upholds a basic code of decency and friendship. "He's coolhe parties" is about as much commentary as you may get from college-aged ”men, regarding a new roommate. Women could learn a lot from the peaceful tolerance that exists in the man-cave. 

TIP: Most men easily accept others' quirks and oddities. Women could learn a lot from the peaceful tolerance that exists in the man-cave. 

Is being smart and confident a turnoff?

Women ask me all the time about confidence. They know that it is supposedly an attractive quality, but are dismayed when they actually drive men away with (what they think is) a display of inner strength. The key is that when a woman attempts to convey confidence in a traditionally masculine way, she usually appears insecure instead. This is why so many Alpha Women mistakenly think men are scared off by their "confidence" when nothing could be further from the truth. Men read those signals differently from you.   

FROM BCBG

This is a safe space. That crowd from high school has no power over you here.

Instead, I invite you to think of "strange" as your path to true confidence. It's a safe place where that judgmental crowd from high school has no power over you. You are free to express your most serene, feminine, and vulnerable self. 

TIP: "Strange" is your path to confidence. It's a safe place where you are free to express your most serene, feminine, and vulnerable self.

Men appreciate the unique, but I'm not suggesting that you should scare away your dates by dressing like a goth ghoul or revealing every little quirk and tattoo. That attention-seeking behavior is not different or special, it's the lowest form of Walmart-normal. The woman who is strange by today's standards is:

  • MysteriousShe doesn't over-share personal details about herself or others. 
  • UnpredictableShe thinks for herself and does not follow the crowd or look to her friends for validation.
  • PoisedShe is slow to take offense and assumes good intentions. She doesn't rely on drama to hold a man's interest.
  • ModestShe is quietly confident and doesn't need to boast or name-drop or sell herself. Genuine humility is such a prized quality among men that it deserves its own post. Guys have a HIGH radar for boastfulness in any form, and even a hint of it sets off alarm bells in a man's mind. 
  • RespectfulShe graciously accepts that others may not agree with her views, and rises above the need to "win" or debate others.
  • OpenShe is curious about other people and accepts their differences; this is part of what makes the world beautiful to her. 
  • VulnerableShe doesn't need to bluff or fake her way through a conversation; if she doesn't know something, she admits it. 

These are characteristics of a truly confident person and none require you to have every aspect of your life in order or to strive for an unobtainable, perfect image. When you've mastered a truly feminine expression of confidence, you can be you and attract a man who appreciates what you have to offer. Focus on distinguishing yourself in every way possible. Give yourself permission to be outstanding.

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.

3 ONLINE DATING PROFILE TIPS — GET MORE RESPONSES, BETTER DATES

Success in online dating is partly a numbers game. Only a small percentage of online exchanges will ever result in a first date.

And it’s only through that first date — an actual in-person encounter — that you will know if you and your match have chemistry.

To increase your odds of getting dates you need to attract lots of quality responses. By quality response I mean something more thoughtful than a “hey” and more respectful than an invitation to meet up at his place for “reiki massage training” (real example). Quality messages are more likely to lead to a first date because the men who send them are:

  • Truly Available and Single. Spoken-for men looking for fun on the side are more likely to send barely-there messages like winks and emojis, hoping you will fill in the blanks. Emotionally available men, by contrast, won’t risk making a weak first impression.

  • Looking for a Girlfriend as Opposed to a Hotline Bling. Sexual innuendo and racy flirting are signs that this cowboy is not interested in anything long-term. A savvy guy looking for more than a hookup will at least scan your profile and mention a few details from it.

  • Grown-Up Enough to Know How to Take Action and Make Things Happen.

So how do you create a profile that is more likely to generate lots of responses, including ones that lead to quality dates?

Tip #1: Stick to the Facts and Tone Down the Quirks

School, work, hobbies, interests—these are all fine topics to include in the descriptive part of your profile. But free yourself from the idea that by creating a quirky, unique ad that captures your loveable flaws, odd interests, and kooky sense of humor, you will automatically appeal to your soulmate. That approach only works in romantic comedies.

In real life, your dream guy—the one with the similarly goofy sense of humor and equally adorable personality—will pass right by your “unique” ad. He isn’t searching for “Kooky Girl With Weird Hobbies” —he is searching for “Pretty Woman Who Is Easy To Be With.” So be her. Because that relaxed, pretty woman is a real part of who you are, too. Let him appreciate your imperfections over time.Don’t allow your profile to get in the way of a real-life meeting.

Tip #2: Wear Your Hair Long, Regardless of Your Age

Your photo is the most important part of your profile. Men will overlook some nuttiness in the written description if they really like how you look. And we’ve already talked about dating success being a numbers game; more responses equals more chances of a quality match.

Having long hair is part of an overall strategy to maximize your appeal and reach more men. (As is removing your glasses, if you ordinarily wear them.) Look, I know you love your short, sassy hair. I understand why you dread the awkwardness of growing out a fashionable cut, or the expense and TLC that hair extensions require. But if there’s a simple way to appeal to a large segment of the male population, why wouldn’t you do it? Men respond to long hair. Let’s just embrace it and move on.

Tip #3: Smile—like You Mean It

We put a lot of energy into figuring out what our best assets are and highlighting them. Beautiful eyes or a curvy shape or a dancer’s long legs—most women know which physical assets to play up in a photograph. But surprisingly few women understand that one feature is more alluring than all the rest, and can instantly transform how men perceive you: a sparkling, happy expression.

Your smile is so sexy to men! I have reviewed profile pics that are serious, grumpy, bored, and depressed looking —selected because the woman liked “the way the necklace brings out the gold flecks in my eyes” or “the dress is coral and I’m a Summer” or “I love those earrings” (all real comments from actual clients). Trust me: guys don’t care if you’re a “Summer” or if your earrings match your outfit. Men want to date the desirable, happy woman — and it’s your smile that tells him that’s exactly who you are.

CLICK HERE FOR ROBYN'S FREE GUIDE TO ONLINE DATING FOR WOMEN, "HOW TO HAVE AN AWESOME FIRST DATE WITH AN ONLINE GUY".

3 TIPS TO UNLOCK YOUR AUTHENTIC FEMININITY

There is something men crave, that youabsolutely and definitelyalready have, that will enchant your special guy. . .

Most women are familiar with the idea that men need acceptance, respect, and gratitude, to thrive in a long-term relationship. These are qualities men actively seek out in their careers, through friendships, and in their romantic and family lives. But what else attracts a man—helplessly—to the woman in his life? Logically, it is what a man cannot get through his own efforts, or at work, or from friends, and can only get from you:  the slow, sensual burn of feminine essence.

While we may intuitively understand that male-female polarity is attractive, it is not always clear how to communicate our femininity in a way that feels authentic. Men are not necessarily intoxicated by the color pink, Barbie-like features, or lace and dainty gestures—and this may not be your feminine ideal, either. 

Instead, he is secretly hoping you will knock him senseless by revealing your inner goddess. This female essence burns inside every woman, and has nothing to do with a particular body type, plastic features, or superficial style. Below are 3 practical tips to help any woman—at any age—express her femininity in a unique and authentic way that is universally attractive to men:

  1. Give yourself permission to be vulnerable. Put down your shield and leave the Warrior Spirit behind. Sure, you need to be fierce on occasion; that inner fire is both healing and protective when life throws real challenges your way. But to truly connect with a man, it helps to open your heart and risk being vulnerable. When you look into his eyes, soften your gaze (think “I accept you and like you just as you are”—even if you don’t know him very well) and assume good intentions. This is a trusting position and it may feel really hard to do! Practice this openness daily, with everyone you encounter. Intentional vulnerability is a learned behavior and can become a natural part of how you interact, drawing others to you in an almost magical way. When you take a break from defensive behaviors like questioning, judging, and evaluating men, you may find yourself feeling more confident and more at peace with who you are, as well.
     
  2. Give yourself permission to be sexy. Don’t wait until date #3 to highlight your sensuality. Let men know from the very beginning that you are open and receptive to their interest. Highlighting an hourglass figure or displaying cleavage, bare legs, bare shoulders, a round derriere—whatever features you possess—are all powerful ways to flirt without words. If you hear a voice in your head that chides you for looking “too sexy” or that suggests wearing form-fitting clothing is “cheating,” then you will have to make peace with this inner judge to move forward in your romantic life. Allow your hips to sway when you walk. Many of us were shamed out of our natural, feminine gait so long ago that we’ve lost touch with how good it can feel. The goddess is proud of her curves and she knows there is nothing wrong with moving like a woman. 
     
  3. Share your passion. Talking about a subject that fires your imagination makes your eyes sparkle and your cheeks glow, and makes even the shyest person more captivating. If you are one of those lucky people for whom your day job channels your passions, by all means go ahead and talk about work when you’re out with a man. But for most women, work is a conversational topic to avoid. We tend to carry lingering stress with us, long after the workday is done, and over-sharing about our day can end up being a dumping session that actually thwarts emotional connection. There really is no more effective love potion than genuine passion—and you may find it is highly contagious. In fact, make it your mission to find out what gets him fired up; once you know what his passions are, you are well on your way toward capturing his heart.

Robyn Wahlgast is a Rules Certified Dating and Relationship Coach for Women, and a happily married mother of three. 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

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

DON'T TRIP HIM BEFORE HE HAS A CHANCE TO FALL

As a Dating Coach, this is the # 1 mistake I see women make with men. . .

In our minds, we get way ahead of where a man is at in his attraction cycle. As a result, our expectations and assumptions sky-rocket out of control, and we end up scaring him away—sometimes before he has even asked for a phone number!

#1 Dating Mistake

It is totally understandable. A woman is so excited about meeting a guy with potential—one who is clearly attracted to and interested in her—that her “future-thinking” switch gets flipped, and she starts daydreaming about the relationship she feels destined to have with him. Unfortunately, this private fantasizing can impact her behavior, and sabotage the fragile attraction that is still developing. 

Fairly or unfairly, this is how confident, attractive women can get branded as “needy” before anyone has even rounded first base. We linger too long at the end of a conversation—that dreaded 3-second pause—looking expectantly at the guy as if he should now ask for the digits. (In your mind, that first date seems inevitable because he is clearly so into you—total future-thinking foolishness.) Instead of being a breath of fresh air, and just enjoying the flirtatious energy, your expectant look turns you into an obligation. You have an idea he “should” be asking you out, and already he feels a little less attracted because it’s clear you’re “needing” him to take action. He moves on to flirt with someone new, and you’re left disappointed and wondering what happened….

The best way for a woman to learn how to slow down and reel in her expectations during the attraction phase is to understand how men experience these early feelings. I invite you to listen to the song “Take Your Time” by Sam Hunt. These lyrics perfectly capture the contradictory push and pull of emotions that a man can feel during that first encounter with an attractive woman:

Come on, let’s see where it goes... 
I don’t want to steal your freedom
I don’t want to change your mind
I don’t have to make you love me
I just want to take your time

I don’t have to meet your mother
We don’t have to cross that line
I don’t want to steal your covers
I just want to take your time

I don’t want to blow your phone up
I just want to blow your mind
I don’t have to take your heart
I just want to take your time

For some women—raised on unrealistic, Hollywood romance—the inner monologue of this song sounds a little too hesitant, lukewarm, and not exactly like Prince Charming territory. But I promise that it neatly captures the one-step-forward, three-steps-back pace of a man’s growing affections. After the relationship develops, he may not even remember these hesitant feelings. He will tell his friends, “I knew she was The One the minute I saw her.” But, actually, most emotionally healthy men need to go through the slow burn of getting to know you, and fall in love gradually. His sexual attraction happens quickly, but emotional connection builds slowly. He does not necessarily have a vision for the future—or even next week—at this initial encounter.

Don’t judge him for it. Don’t be impatient with him. The next time you meet someone promising, practice enjoying the moment and let go of any expectation that you’ll see him again. Just let the story unfold and think to yourself, “let’s see where it goes.” When you let him set the pace—and don’t trip him up with your needs and wants—he may reveal that inner Prince, after all.

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

ROBYN ORIGINALLY CREATED THIS ARTICLE, WITH LOVE, FOR DIGITAL ROMANCE.

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

A 'RULES' DATING MAKE-OVER: MEET JENNIFER, SINGLE MOM

This transcript is from a BlogTalk Radio interview with host Jennifer Williams. 

Jennifer is a 30-something divorced, single mom who survived an 11-year marriage to an emotionally abusive spouse. When we first spoke in August 2014 she had given up on ever dating seriously or getting married again. Since then she has followed 'The Rules' and met a great guy online, and they have been dating for 7 months. Jennifer shares her struggles with learning to do The Rules, overcoming trust issues, and trying to set a good example for her sons.

The Gentleman is alive and well.   Inspiration from  Gentleman's Essentials . 

The Gentleman is alive and well.  Inspiration from Gentleman's Essentials

Jennifer: We have a wonderful guest back today who has a website that has changed my life, and I’m sure she will change your life as well. I’m going to be bringing in Robyn Wahlgast.

Robyn, I was just saying that you’ve changed my life completely because I never thought about seriously dating again, but once we did the original show and you gave me some pointers…I tell you, I’m loving it. This whole cuddle buddy thing is awesome, especially in the winter time.

Robyn: Well, that’s so great to hear. I really appreciate hearing that from you, Jennifer. You know, a good, healthy relationship adds so much to our lives, and that’s true for men and women. We often think it’s women who are chasing commitment and marriage, but men have a deep need for that connection too. And we forget that sometimes. There are lots of great guys out there. So if you are single, this is a good time to start making some resolutions—it’s early in the year—and get your game plan together for finding a lasting relationship.

Jennifer: It’s funny that you point that out about men because I was wild as a buck and this sweetheart [Jennifer’s current boyfriend]—we met on one of the dating websites—he kept after me, saying “settle down, settle down.”  And I said, “I don’t want to settle down” because I had so much baggage from the bad, past relationship with my ex-husband. And I just automatically assume every man is going to be like him.

So my boyfriend has been the one pushing for commitment. Finally, at Christmas, after dating for almost 5 months, I said “might as well” [become exclusive] and it has been really nice. Up until that point I was the one being the wild child. And I realized that men are looking for a relationship just as much as women are.

Robyn: That’s absolutely true, and actually what you did was perfect because you let him chase you, and you let him come to the decision that you are a woman worth chasing. And that’s such a wonderful dynamic on both sides. Because as a woman, being pursued reassures us that we’re with a man who really values us, and that’s so important. And for the guy, the pursuit allows him to realize how much he feels for you. If he has to chase you a little bit, and pin you down, and get you to agree to go out with him and be with him, that’s such a great dynamic. 

TIP: Many men are looking for a committed relationship just as much as women are. If you let him lead the relationship, you will get there together.

The other part you said that’s such a great message, is that as women it can be very easy for us to start name-calling and blaming, when things don’t work out with men. There are lots of names that we use against men when we’re mad because a relationship didn’t work out.  Back in my day, we said men were commitment-phobes: every guy who didn’t want to marry you or didn’t want to keep dating you got called a commitment-phobe. Of course there are men and women out there for whom the commitment-phobe label is accurate in a clinical sense; but most of the time, the way we use that label, it just means that things didn’t work out for us, and the guy just didn’t love us enough.  

Look, I think it’s o.k. to be in a little bit of denial when you are fresh from a breakup. For a brief period, it’s o.k. to tell yourself, "It was all his fault, I did everything right"—that allows you to move on with dignity. But once you’ve moved on, it’s important to go back and look with a fresh eye at your past relationships and say, Is there something there I could have done differently?

That’s why it isn’t always the right thing to do after a divorce or a breakup, to just start immediately dating, if you haven’t yet figured out why, exactly, things didn't work out. And that's something a dating coach can help you figure out, if you're not sure. Book a private consultation if you need help reviewing past relationships. Maybe the problems really were created by your ex, and now that you're free you're filled with self-doubt and confusion. It's important to re-set your "healthy relationship" radar after a breakup.

TIP: After a break-up or divorce, make sure you understand why it didn't work out, and if you could have done anything differently. Otherwise, you may simply repeat unhealthy patterns with each new man.

Jennifer: I have several friends who just jumped right into dating, and it drives me nuts, because they are with a new guy every week. They jump from relationship to relationship. [Because they haven’t learned from the past, and are just repeating the same mistakes.]  You see they are tagging a different person each week on Facebook. And this will sound old-fashioned, but I think it’s wrong that they’ll broadcast all this on social media. When the relationship is going well, it’s cute, but then when things are sour they are still broadcasting it. And I tell friends, don’t post all the details about your relationship where everyone can see.

Robyn: And quite honestly, men appreciate when women are discreet about a relationship. That is something guys really value. Because later on, when you’re married, he doesn’t want to think of you sitting around with your female friends gossiping about your own marriage. Plus, posting about him on social media makes him think that he is the center of your universe and you have nothing else going on in your life but him—that is not attractive to an emotionally healthy guy. (In fact, consider it a red flag if a man insists that you drop everything and make him the center of your world, at the expense of your own needs and priorities—that can be a path toward emotional abuse.) 

TIP: Don't post about your guy on social media; it suggests that you have no interests outside of your relationship with him. That is not attractive to an emotionally healthy man.  

Jennifer: Well, you helped me to attract a man, and I want to make sure we share your 7 Tips For Attracting Lasting Love.

Robyn: Sure, this is a list that came about from looking back over the last 6 months’ worth of consultations and questions from women all over the country—of all ages—and seeing what types of issues and concerns single women have right now in the dating scene.   

First, I want to touch on over-40 dating because I’ve been noticing a lot more articles aimed at single women over 40 (and even over 35). My approach is really the opposite of what a lot of these dating coaches and articles advise. I believe that what works for a woman who is 25 will work for a woman who is 65+—and for all the ages in between. I understand why these dating coaches and advisers are targeting women over 35, because it is seen as a very lucrative market. But I fear that it’s sending a wrong message to older single women that they somehow need to follow a “different” approach to dating because of their age, and that’s simply not true. It’s a shame when older women, who may have grown up with a more conservative approach to dating and romance, feel like they have to throw away all that knowledge and start over because “things are different now” and “there are no more rules.”

TIP: If you're over 40, don't throw away all your hard-earned knowledge about male-female relationships, thinking “things are different now” and “there are no more rules.” The Rules of dating have not changed.

Love can find you at any age. There is no wrong time in your life to get married. I’m a fan of marriage. I believe it benefits both men and women, equally, and that both men and women get so much that is positive from a healthy marriage. (Of course, it’s much better to be single than to enter into an unhealthy marriage.) How you date and relate to men lays the groundwork for a healthy marriage. Sometimes women think, I should just get out there and follow my heart and do what I feel in the moment. But I suggest that you really think about whether there is a foundation of respect in how men treat you—and that you put rules in place that require respect—because that will carry through to marriage.

What you start with when you’re dating is what you’re going to continue to have when you’re married. He’s not going to change—bad behavior is not going to get better—so the main difference after you’re married is that it will be much harder to leave him because your lives are now bound up together. So when you’re dating, pay attention to signs of anger, criticism, "teasing" that is hurtful, and disrespectful behavior, and don’t hesitate to walk away if you start to feel like you can never please him. It is much harder to walk away after you are married.

TIP: Pay attention to how he treats you when you’re dating, because that dynamic will continue through into marriage. You can't love, understand, or reassure a man into treating you betterno matter how hard you try. 

Jennifer: I actually have a dating question, that has come up among my friends, about when men should pay for dates. When I was growing up my mother always made sure I had money in my bag when I went out, just in case my date didn’t pay. But she still said, “He’s the one who’s supposed to pay.”

Now, before I met my current boyfriend, I paid for several dates with men because I knew I made more money that those guys. But now, with my current boyfriend, he has not let me pay for one thing, which is something new for me. It’s hard to get used to for me. Don’t get me wrong—I enjoy it—but it is something new. In your opinion, when a woman is on a first date, what should she do? Should she reach over and try to pick up the check or just sit there and let him pay?

Robyn: Right. This gets down to the essence of a word that’s so important, and we women don’t always think about it enough, and that’s respect. A man who really likes you and is interested in you will assume that he has to treat you with respect. You can call that “behaving like a gentleman” or “treating you like a lady”—those are old-fashioned phrases that some people no longer relate to—so I like to use the word “respect” because everyone understands that.

When a man wants to pay for your dinner, he is saying to you, “I’m interested in you romantically—we aren’t just friends.” He’s letting you know right up front that he has romantic intentions. And he’s being respectful by offering to pay. It doesn’t matter how much money he makes, or if you have more money than he does. As you get into a relationship, he can choose venues and activities that work for his budget. We’re not gold-diggers here. We don’t need to go to fancy restaurants if that’s not something he can afford. So we’re letting him plan the date, and the expectation should be that he will pay.

TIP: One way a man can show respect for you is to pay for the date. It doesn't matter if you make more money than he does. Emotionally healthy men enjoy taking you out and they expect nothing in returnexcept to hopefully see you again. 

Many women struggle with this because we’re not used to seeking respect. We’re used to thinking that men should find us pretty and adore us, but we don’t think enough about whether a man respects us. For guys, respect is the romantic trigger. Respect is the first flame. If he doesn't feel respect for you, then you are just another flower in the garden. 

TIP: A man may be sexually attracted to many different women, but only when respect is present will he begin to feel something deeper. For men, respect is the first flicker of love.

Jennifer: For me, being treated so well is hard to get used to. I met my boyfriend online, so for our first meeting I chose the mall because it’s a public place. As I walked through the mall doors, he stood up, and as I got to the second set of doors he was already holding them open for me. I said, “You realize I can open the doors myself” and he said, “But you shouldn’t have to.” Then we go to sit down, and he pulled my chair out for me.... And now that we’ve been together awhile I can accept that that’s just how he treats me. When he comes to pick me up for dates, he gets out of the car and walks around and holds my door for me and helps me in. Guys, take note: old-fashioned charm really works!

Robyn: Right. One mistake we can make as women, is we lower our expectations for how men should behave with us. And when we lower our expectations we tend to get a lower level of treatment. When you just expect that men will treat you well, you get better treatment. And you also get really good at weeding out guys who don’t want to meet your standards. You end up only dating emotionally healthy men. Because you simply won’t put up with lesser treatment.  Once that mental switch gets flipped in your brain, you just won’t accept less.

You do have to see for yourself—so you can believe and experience it—that there are men out there in every age category who want to treat you well. I hear from younger women in their 20s who say, My generation of men doesn’t behave like this. But that’s not the whole truth. Many men do know "the rules" of dating, and would do them if they felt they had to. But what has happened is they don’t feel like they have to follow the Gentleman’s Rules, because there are plenty of girls who will accept less.

Jennifer: I will say, my boyfriend is younger than me. So that’s no excuse—women can’t say that—because guys like him are living proof that even younger men will behave right for the right woman. It’s how his mother raised him. And that’s so important. I have all sons. I recently made my son give his girlfriend a rose on Valentine’s Day—I told him he has to show her that he loves her. And of course she was thrilled. And he was so happy afterward and he said, “Mom, she really loved it” and I said “Yes, women love flowers and presents—listen to mom, it will take you far.”

It’s all about you, as a woman, letting them know how they have to treat you. And I did not understand that. It has taken me a long time. When we did the last show it taught me a lot—I’ve listened to it several times since then. You’ve got great advice—it really works.

TIP: A man who really likes you and is interested in you will assume that he has to treat you with respect. You can call that “behaving like a gentleman” or “treating you like a lady”—but the underlying message is respect.

Robyn: It’s interesting, as women, we want to tell men how to treat us, because we are very verbal creatures. We believe in the power of words. We tell each other when we don’t like behavior, like if we have an issue with a female friend, we’ll say “Oh, it really hurt my feelings when you did X, Y, and Z.” And your friend will say, “Oh, I didn’t meant to hurt you, I’ll never do that again” and she doesn’t. But with men it’s all about nonverbal communication.

Jennifer: Women really need to date more than one person for a while. Otherwise, you’re not really going to recognize and appreciate when you find a great guy.

Robyn: This is a lesson a lot of women struggle with, because we meet a guy, we like him a lot, and we start to project all these wonderful qualities onto him right away. Qualities that may or may not truly be there. And we want to stop dating other men right away because we’re sure he’s The One. The problem is that you really don’t learn about someone’s character and their morals until you’ve dated for several months. It takes months of watching and saying “Ok, he said he would do this, but did he actually follow through.” You have to see a pattern of follow-through—a pattern of reliability—to know if a man is really going to be a good partner for you.

Don’t become exclusive too quickly. Over time, you may discover that Mr. Wonderful is not so very wonderful. So wait to become intimate, until he has demonstrated that he’s for real and has a good character. Because it’s hard to pull away if you’re already in a relationship.

The typical call I get from a woman in a relationship is made up of these questions: 

  • Will he propose?
  • When will he propose?
  • How can I make him propose faster?

That’s the main reason women want a consultation. Unfortunately, more than half the time I have to say that I can’t take them on as a client because after I learn more about the relationship, I feel they are dating someone who they should not marry because there is evidence of emotional abuse. There may be signs that he won’t be faithful, or that he is unreasonably jealous or controlling—that nothing the woman can ever do will be “enough” for him. The first 3 months of dating were wonderful, but now some cracks are appearing. And that’s a hard message for women to hear—even if, deep down, they have suspected that something is "off" and they are relieved to have confirmation that they aren’t crazy. There may be children involved—hers or his—or other family members, and now their lives are intertwined and it is very hard to break free.

That’s a great reason to take things slow, and let people into your life very slowly. Date others and keep it light as long as you can. Because you will be much less likely to find yourself deeply involved with someone who could only maintain his good behavior at the beginning stages.

TIP: Let the best man win: Date others and keep things light (no intimacy) as long as you can. Don’t become exclusive too quickly, before you really know his character and values.

Jennifer: And that’s especially important if you have kids. I can’t stand when women bring men in and out of their lives, in front of their kids. I had to know [my boyfriend] for almost 6 months before I let him even meet my kids. Children have to have stability and something to depend on. 

Robyn: Yes. A lot of single moms struggle with these boundaries. When you think a man is really terrific, it’s very tempting to bring him together with your kids too soon, because you’re in a fantasy land where you think you’ve maybe found a great dad for them. So what you did was very smart. You waited 6 months before bringing them together, and that’s a very appropriate amount of time, especially with younger kids who are living at home. It should be a privilege for a man to meet your children. This is good advice for single dads, too—it should be a privilege for anyone you’re dating to get to spend time with your kids.

TIP: It should be a privilege for someone you’re dating to get to spend time with your children. Bring a new boyfriend into your life slowly. 

Jennifer: It’s so hard because once you’ve brought a man into your kids’ lives, you really feel stuck. And that’s something single moms should really think about before they introduce a man they’re dating to their children.

Our time is about up. Time really flies when I talk to you! We didn’t even get to the 7 Tips For Finding Lasting Love[Click here to read Robyn’s 7 Tips For Finding Lasting Love, with BlogTalk Radio's Rikki R. Jones.]

Robyn: Thanks, Jennifer. I encourage all the single ladies to sign up for my newsletter, it’s absolutely free, and the topics are generated by my readers. Whatever is on everyone’s mind—from online dating to getting over a breakup to self-esteem issues—that’s what I will address in the newsletter.

Jennifer: And your advice works!

Robyn: My last tip for everybody is to buy and read The Rules, by Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider—they just celebrated the book’s 20th anniversary. It was published in 1995 but the advice is still fresh and relevant today, and that’s the foundation for all of my advice. Your action item, if you’re single, is to take a look at The Rules, and read my blog, and you will be well on your way to finding lasting love. 

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.  

7 TIPS FOR ATTRACTING LASTING LOVE

This post is an excerpt from a special podcast with Radio Host Extraordinaire, Rikki R. Jones. We talk about using ‘The Rules’ to date with healthy boundaries and attract lasting love and marriage. Rikki and her listeners—including a few gentlemen—bring something special to the discussion. In fact, the men tell us that 'The Rules' are absolutely right, and that single ladies should be careful about over-giving....

You are enough.

Rikki: Today’s topic is dating in a new way. My guest, Robyn Wahlgast, is a happily married mother of three who has been helping single women find lasting love and marriage for over a decade. She is a Rules Certified Dating and Relationship Coach for Women, and believes in the power of ‘The Rules’ of dating. Robyn's corporate career has taken her from Manhattan to Santa Monica, and she currently resides in the Midwest with her family where she blogs and coaches women full time. Robyn’s dating advice newsletter currently has over 10,000 loyal subscribers, and her articles have been syndicated at FOX News Magazine,YourTango.com, Divorced Singles News, and The Wellness Universe.

Single, divorced, or married—we all need some kind of coach, someone to talk to, to give us helpful hints. Everyone is making such a fuss about Valentine’s Day but after today is over we all still need that support. We hear a lot about coaching, and we know what that means on the field, but what is a Dating and Relationship Coach?

Robyn: Right. When women are thinking about dating help they aren’t thinking about “coaching.” You go to Google and put in something like “dating advice” or “help—I can’t meet any normal, nice guys!” but not “dating coach.” The main thing about a dating coach—or any kind of coach—is that our advice is behavior-based help. So we help you alter your behavior. It’s different from going to a therapist or a counselor who’s working from the inside out. If therapy is part of what someone needs then that’s terrific and you should pursue that, but oftentimes adjusting behavior and learning new ways to act can be a terrific catalyst in your life and you can actually see immediate change. Because when you behave differently that sets in motion a chain reaction and people around you react to you differently, and you might start to get different results. That immediate feedback is very encouraging.

I am a Rules Certified Dating Coach, and what that means is that I trained with Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider who wrote the book The Rules. The Rules is a really terrific book. A great action item for any single woman who is looking for commitment and marriage is to take a look at that book—there’s actually a new version called Not Your Mother’s Rules that’s aimed at Millennial women, but it’s also great for a woman of any age. ‘The Rules’ is behavior modeling. It’s showing you how to act “as if” you have good boundaries, “as if” you have your life together—even if you feel that you don’t have every part of your act together. By acting a certain way you will start to attract the right person into your life.

SUGGESTED READING


Dating is a lot like fishing: if you put the right bait out there you’re going to catch the type of fish you want. You want to be with a man who likes himself, who is going places in life—he may not be there yet, but he has a plan. He’s emotionally healthy. As women, we don’t always understand or know, in a practical sense, how to communicate that we have healthy boundaries. With men it’s all about nonverbal communication. You can’t walk up to a man and say, “I think highly of myselfI hope you do, too—so treat me like a queen or else....” That doesn’t work. Women might actually listen to that, but with a guy, you really have to show him how to treat you.

So that’s what coaching is—helping someone learn new behaviors. Reading the book The Rules will get you really far toward that goal.

I myself was single for many years in Manhattan, which is kind of a laboratory for single people, because there are so many single people there, and people stay single a long time. You can cook along very happily when you’re busy and you have a demanding career, and just go along on your little train track and not look up and say, Hey, I might be missing out on the bigger picture here. So I was lucky in that I found The Rules, I read the book, and started going to seminars that Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider were presenting in New York at the time—this was the 90s—and I had a couple of phone consultations with Sherrie, and it was very eye-opening to me that you could have just a phone conversation with somebody and have it dramatically impact what you’re doing. I just kind of filed that experience away in the back of my head. I didn’t say, Oh, I’m now inspired to be a dating coachbut I did file it away.

Later on, when I started online dating, women started to come to me for advice. They could see that I was doing something different. This was the 90s and there were no guidelines for online dating. I met the wonderful man who is now my husband through an online dating site in 2001—and that was still early days for online dating. So I had women coming to me saying, Hey, you’re actually going on good dates with nice, normal guys—what are you doing that’s different? I realized that I had a strategy, I had some online dating rules that I was putting in place, so I started sharing those strategies with other women. For example: It’s about quality, not quantity—you have to do a lot of screening up front. So over time, the coaching transitioned from being a hobby to being what I do full-time.  And of course now I have a blog where I share those online dating tips, and they are all available, for free, on this website. (Read How To Have An Awesome First Date With An Online Guy for the first set of tips.)

So The Rules was really my introduction to Dating Coaching, and my inspiration for going forward with it.

Rikki: All right, we are about to get into our “7 Tips for Finding Lasting Love.” As we were growing up, our mothers didn’t really talk to us about dating—they barely wanted to tell us about the birds and the bees. All you see growing up are your parents, your grandparents, and you think, All right, they are marriedbut you don’t put it together that there’s a process behind all that that you have to go through. So here I am, newly divorced, not necessarily sure that I’m ready to mingle, but I want to get out there.  I love my son to death, but I need some “beyond the Lego” time. So what do I do?

Robyn: So first, I want to preface our 7 Dating Tips with two main messages:

1. Love can find you at any age. This is important to remember because every woman thinks that whatever stage of life she’s in is the worst, as far as dating. Women in their 20s who want to get married complain that men their age just aren’t ready for commitment. Women in their 30s and 40s—on up into their 60s—everyone thinks that they have it the hardest. And while each age has its own challenges—that part is true—in fact, we face different dating challenges in different parts of the country, also—love truly can happen at any age. I see it every day, with my own clients. Never give up. There are quality men and women in every age group.

2. How you date and relate to men when you are single can lay the foundation for a healthy marriage later on. When you use ‘The Rules’ to create healthy dynamics in dating, that will carry through to marriage. So that’s a reason to care about using a dating strategy and being careful when you datebecause the results are long-term.

TIP #1: Finding your mate may take a lot of work and effort.

Robyn: Don’t assume you’ll just magically bump into Mr. Right in the normal course of your life. This is an idea we see in popular movies and music, that involves meeting by chance. You, Rikki, just stood in line at Starbucks, getting your latte; in a movie, you would have spilled that latte on a cute guy behind you, struck up a conversation, and the next thing you know you’d be married. Meeting effortlessly is a myth or false expectation that’s holding a lot of women back. We think we can just go about our ordinary life, our ordinary routine and business, and still meet our mate. I understand—people work very, very hard now. We work much harder today than men and women worked 20 years ago. We have very little leisure time. People don’t feel like they have time to do all the singles events and matchmaking parties. But the fact is that if you haven’t run into Mr. Right yet, you probably have to put some effort into meeting him.

Meetup.com, depending on where you live, has free singles events. Online dating sites like Match.com hold singles events. Speed-dating is a great avenue. In fact, for some women, in certain age categories, in-person events are actually going to work better than online dating. In online dating, men really look at your age and screen out a lot of women based on age; whereas, if they met you in real life, they would find you attractive.

My point is: Don’t plan around winning the lottery. Don’t plan on meeting that perfect guy in the normal course of your life. That’s probably not realistic.

[Rikki speaks with Caller #1.]

TIP #2: Don’t believe articles that say “There are no more dating rules” or “Everything is different now.”

Robyn: This is a popular theme. Everyone loves to think of themselves as a rebel. It just doesn’t sound cool to say that you’re a rule follower. But it’s terrible advice to say “there are no rules.” Or to suggest that now that people are meeting on Tinder or Facebook or whatever that “everything’s different now”—as if, suddenly, everything we know about men and women is completely different.

For example, I’ll have women in their 20s say, “All that Gentleman’s Rules stuff, like what you read in The Rules about how men need to ask for dates 3 days in advance, and pick women up for dates, and pay for dates—that only works for older women because guys my age don’t do that. “ Or I’ll have older women say, “Well, men used to do that stuff but they don’t do that anymore.” And I have to say, one way you can prove to yourself that men do know the rules is to watch them at work. Because whether you work in a school, an office, a military base, a hospital—it doesn’t matter where you are—men know how to show respect. And they know how to show lack of respect. They know how to undermine, and they know how to promote. They invented the rules! They know all this stuff. They do it at work every day.

Think men don’t know The Rules? Watch them at work and you’ll see that they invented the rules!

So when a man meets a woman who he feels he has to impress, he will assume that he has to play by the rules—he’ll be on his best behavior—because he assumes if he doesn’t she won’t give him the time of day. As women, what we can do to mess that up is to say, Oh, you don’t have to pay for dinner, I’ll pay. Or you don’t have to go out of your way for me, you don’t have to try very hard—you had me at hello. That’s just not a healthy dynamic. You’re giving up the opportunity for a man to show you respect—why would you do that? When a man treats you with respect—like a lady—he is opening the door to romance. If you refuse that treatment, and wave it aside, you may be closing the door to romance.  So pay attention to the signals you may be sending, because I guarantee he is reading those cues very carefully, if he’s interested. He knows The Rules.

When a man treats you with respect—like a lady—he is opening the door to romance. If you refuse that treatment, and wave it aside, you may be closing the door to romance. 

TIP #3: Don’t over-estimate your capacity for pain.

 Robyn: “I’m a big girl; I can handle it; I knew what I was getting into; I knew he was bad news.” How many times have we heard a friend say something like this? Sometimes we have a false idea that pain and misery are a necessary part of romance, and that if you aren’t willing to risk some pain you’ll be alone forever. I don’t care if you like country music or if you like rap—these ideas are everywhere in popular culture. Actually, over time, if you keep putting yourself in situations that erode your dignity, then 2 things will happen:

1. You will start to believe that that’s the best you can do and that somehow it's what you deserve.

2. You will train yourself to expect poor treatment.

So, instead, remember that this is not weight trainingyou have nothing to gain from pain. Avoiding pain doesn’t make you weak or less fierce or whatever, it just means you are healthy. Poor choices, women making poor choices—that theme makes for a great novel, but don’t let that thinking rule your life.

[Rikki speaks with Caller #2.]

Female Friends

Rikki: We get such conflicting advice from our friends and from all directions. And what I’m hearing from our callers is that self-love is the key to everything. As women, we are so hard on ourselves.

Robyn: And we’re hard on each other, too. Sometimes those very friends can hold us back a little from romance. Because they have an image in their head of how we should be. Or we can be a little bit possessive of friends, and when we see that they are having success with dating, we aren’t really comfortable with that. Especially if you have a group of single friends and you support each other. Sometimes we have to break away from the pack to have success with dating.

Also, sometimes it helps to bring new female friends into our lives. I always say that if you go to a singles event and there aren’t many men, and a whole roomful of women, then make sure you meet all the women. Because women have brothers, women have co-workers, women can introduce you to other men who you might not otherwise have met. So bringing fresh, new female friends into your life can be very beneficial, too.

Rikki: That’s a good point—bringing new friends into your life, even if just for a season, is important. For that season that they’re there, they truly can make a difference.

TIP #4: Avoid Fantasy Relationships

Robyn: Fantasy relationships can be a common trap at work. For men, liking you and feeling fond of you doesn’t necessarily lead to love. For women, there can be this slow building up to love. Hollywood loves to tell us this story in various movies, because we, as women, eat it up. But for men, typically, attraction has to be there from the beginning. I’m oversimplifying to make an important point, because many women will hang out, being friends with a man, waiting for him to wake up and realize that she’s The One. We see this story played out in movies and novels all the time. This is an unrealistic scenario. For men there has to be a spark from the very beginning. Women waste a lot of time on male friends, waiting for them to realize their love for us, when it’s just not there. Those are wasted months and years. He can like, he can admire and respect you—those are all wonderful feelings—but if there’s not already a romantic spark on his side, then you have to face reality and move on.

TIP #5: We often make the mistake of giving men what we want in a relationship, instead of giving them what they want.

Robyn: This is a theme you’ll hear Steve Harvey touch on a lot, in books like Act Like A Lady, Think Like A Man. The way I think of it is this:

Women are happiest and most relaxed in a romantic relationship when…
We are secure. We have the warm and cozy feeling that comes from being reassured that a man loves us. He tells us. He’s around and available, we know where he is. He is an open book. So we mistakenly believe that because that’s what we like, we should give that warm, cozy togetherness to him.

Men are happiest and most relaxed in a romantic relationship when…
They feel a strong sense of personal freedom. He’s not going to be your “project,” where you’re going to come in and take over his life and tell him what to do and rearrange his furniture. Emotionally healthy men enjoy relationships when they’re with a woman who gives them plenty of space and who appreciates them just as they are. When you let men know that you have a life, that you have good boundaries, you’re occupied with other interests, and that you’re not looking to him for constant reassurance, he can really start to relax. You’re like a breath of fresh air, compared with 99% of the other women he has dated. And when a man starts to relax and let down his guard, he can truly connect with you in an emotional way. He says, "Life with this woman gives me a sense of freedom," and he wants to be with you. 

Misunderstanding leads to Over-giving
The problem comes in when, as women, we are so overjoyed to find a man we like that we feel the way to “get” him is to start working like crazy—we think we're supposed to do something to bind that man to us.  Otherwise we think he might leave and move on to the next woman. And we immediately start giving him stuff. So cooking, showing off our beautiful body, having sex early on, lending him money, letting him move in, helping him with his careerthose are just some of the things women mistakenly think will bind a man to us. Subconsciously what you’re doing is trying to create a sense of obligation to bind him to you. We don’t see it that way—we see it as we’re sharing, we’re giving, we’re being nice. But men see right past the “giving” part to the obligation part. Giving so much up front because you want a lot in return. Rather than seeing this as generous, he says, Wow, I’ll never be able to make this woman happy because she expects so much in return. Or, She’s trying to chain me up, and the next thing you know, she’ll be talking marriage. For them, it feels like they can’t even breathe, because we’re so over-giving.  

So then this is how we have the situation of a woman complaining to her girlfriends, saying Oh, I gave him everything, I gave him my heart, I gave him my body—I loved him too much. And the girlfriends will all say, Oh yes, what a terrible guy that was, and he didn’t appreciate you and how ungrateful. But actually, those women are misunderstanding the dynamics. And from the man’s perspective, he didn’t want all that. He wasn’t even sure how he felt yet. He just wanted some space and some time to get to know you.

Also: men with abusive tendencies are the ones who expect you to wrap your life around his, and make his priorities front and center, to the exclusion of your needs. By maintaining your own space, your own interests, you will weed out men who want to rule your life, and attract those who want to be healthy, supportive partners.

Rikki: It’s so hard, because we’re so happy we’re in this relationship, and we’re supposed to be these nurturing creatures—give, give, give. A lot of times it’s tiring, because you don’t feel like giving all the time. And then you feel guilty about feeling that way. He just needs and needs. And then you don’t like him so much anymore, because he’s so needy, but he really isn’t all that needy in the first place. You were just so busy giving, giving, giving.

Robyn: Right. And he will take from you forever. It’s different with female friends. At a certain point, your female friend is going to say, Oh, Rikki has just gone all out for me—I can’t accept any more. But guys don’t think like that. They think, Well, she likes to give me all this—she likes to cook me gourmet meals and pick up my kids from daycare and drop the rent check off—so I’ll let her keep doing that.

[Rikki reads Facebook messages from listeners.]

Rikki: Well, we have some gentlemen who are listening and they are actually agreeing, and saying that is so very true, and that men are simple. One of our listeners—a gentleman who has great shows here on BlogTalk Radio—he’s saying it’s so true about men: we’re simple creatures, we just want to be loved and it’s basic, there’s not a whole bunch of extraordinary things that we like. We like simple things. But if you go ahead and do all this extra stuff, of course we’re not going to say no.

TIP #6: Pay attention to a man's actions, not his words.

Robyn: This is simple advice that your grandmother might have given you, but it is still very important and true. We listen to all the nice things that guys say to us, but we should really pay attention to how they act. There are many men out there who truly believe sweet words at the time they are saying them, but then they move on to the next woman, or their feelings change, and suddenly those words don’t mean anything anymore.  Sometimes we read so much into what men say. A man comes up to us and says, I think you’re beautiful. We think that means that he’s in love with us, or we’re The One for him, when all he means is…he thinks we’re beautiful.

TIP #7: Refresh your life.

Robyn: Consider whether your entire life needs a refresh. When I’m talking to women about their dating life, I may hear that actually dating is just one piece of a life that’s needs a major overhaul. You may be stagnating in a job that’s no longer fulfilling. You may be living in a community that worked for you when you were younger—this is where all your friends and family are—but maybe now it’s actually holding you back. When I lived in Manhattan, I lived in three different neighborhoods. Sometimes just moving 15 minutes can really open up your world and change who you know, and the whole pattern of your life. Of course, if moving would cause a financial burden, that’s not a good idea, but you could instead look at taking classes online if you want to transition to a different career. There are so many things you can do to refresh your life, in general. Consider refreshing your appearance, especially if you’ve been out of the dating scene for a while. 

People who have a swirl of energy around them—because things are happening for them—are very attractive.

Rikki: It’s almost like going to the spa. When you have a spa day, you come out of it refreshed and you feel like you can conquer the world. You feel like a new person, you’re floating on air. You do see things a little bit differently.

Robyn: Yes. If you find yourself in a rut in your dating life, it’s often the case that there are other pieces of your life that you need to refresh, to help with that.

Rikki: These 7 tips that you’ve given us are very simple, and yet they are so hard to do.

Robyn: Yes. And coming full circle, back to where we started, this is where we all need support in making changes. If you are a woman who is looking for help in dating for lasting love, please subscribe to my newsletter—it's completely free. I answer all questions personally, and when you submit questions it helps me know what kinds of topics my readers are interested in. One month it might be online dating, another it might be self esteem issues. 

And if you need more specific help, with your particular situation—you may be with a man but you're not sure if he'll propose or if he truly loves you or if he's The One—or you need help because you're not getting many dates or you're getting over a breakup, divorce, or you're a single mom—definitely consider booking a private consultation. You want to get married, but you're not sure how to get there—that's when a private consultation is really helpful. I work with women all over the country by phone, Skype, and email. Clients write to me all the time to share their successes.  

Life coaching can come from different avenues.  Look around at the elders in your community, and how they conduct their lives. Look for examples of strong marriages. Everyone in your life can be a coach. I have three daughters—I learn things from them every day about love and relationships, and the differences between men and women. Of course I learn from my husband every day, too.

Rikki: Robyn, thank you so much for being a wonderful guest on this Love Day. Make sure you check out my Facebook page for additional information. Follow me on Twitter @RrikkiJones. Make sure you love yourself. Love someone else. I’ll see everyone next Saturday morning, 10:30am EST on BlogTalk Radio

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.  

DATING TIPS FOR ALPHA WOMEN

WHAT MEN REALLY THINK ABOUT SMART, SUCCESSFUL WOMEN

Many women have told me that they believe their relationships fizzle out—or that they aren’t attractive to men in the first place—because they are “too Alpha.” The thinking is that a man prefers to feel superior to his potential mate, so if you project success and intellectual ability, you will scare away eligible bachelors. (And be careful about seeming too independent or competent, some say.)

Yet, we see time and again that exceptionally smart, successful women do captivate quality men. Celebrities like Beyoncé, Katy Perry, Angelina Jolie, and Amal (Alamuddin) Clooney are popular examples of Alpha Female magnetism. I bet you can think of a few strong, capable women in your own life who have managed to attract lasting love.

Have you ever worried that you are "too alpha" to attract quality men—too independent, successful, career-oriented, or smart? Relax. The truth may be quite the opposite.

Have you ever worried that you are "too alpha" to attract quality men—too independent, successful, career-oriented, or smart? Relax. The truth may be quite the opposite.

So what’s the truth? Do successful men really not want strong, independent mates—leaders, in other words—or is something else going on?

After years of working in the corporate world, I have come to this realization: that men and women have different ideas of what alpha looks and acts like. In other words, the very women who believe they are “too alpha” may not be perceived as strong and confident enough by the men they seek to attract. (And though it's not within my scope to discuss it here, learning to signal alpha to both men and women at work will ensure that you never get passed by for a promotion.) 

Tip: The very women who believe they are “too alpha” may actually come across as not alpha enough to the men they hope to attract.

Over the holidays I had the pleasure of attending a gathering of young professionals, mostly under the age of 40. I brought along a simple set of photographs to explore my theory that men and women read leadership cues differently. As a warm-up, I asked 11 men and 9 women to discuss the attributes they would look for in a life partner.

Tommy Hilfiger

As a group, we agreed that confidence is one of the most important qualities that both men and women look for in a potential mate. Confidence signals that a person is emotionally healthy and at peace with who they are. In fact, the men said that possessing confidence is so critical to a woman’s appeal that it directly influences a man’s perception of her physical beauty and intelligence (attributes that they would also look for in a potential long-term partner.)

Tip: Confidence is the determining factor in a woman’s appeal, influencing a man’s perception of her physical beauty and intelligence. A woman who seems confident is more desirable to men as a long-term mate. The catch is that men and women look for different cues to signal confidence.

I asked both men and women women to look at photos A and B (below) and tell me which of the two models projected strength and confidence. I also asked them to come up with some adjectives to describe each woman. 

Which one is the Alpha Female?

THE WOMEN VOTE FOR "A"
8 of 9 women said that the model in Photo A projects more alpha. 1 of 9 said that the model in Photo B appears more confident.

THE MEN VOTE FOR "B"
8 of 11 men said that the model in Photo B is the Alpha Woman. 3 men said either A or B could be perceived as strong and confident. 

Note that all 11 men saw the woman in Photo B as projecting alpha while only one of the women picked her. The more interesting information, though, is in the adjectives that the men and women used to describe the photos (below).

PHOTO A (POINTING)
Women:

  • "Smiling"
  • "Active"
  • "Direct communicator"
  • "Confident" 

Men:

  • "Smiling"
  • "Trying too hard to make the sale"
  • "She's clearly not the boss"
  • "Cute"

PHOTO B (READING)
Women:

  • "Passive"
  • "Shy"
  • "Content"
  • "Self absorbed"

Men:

  • "Smart"
  • "She knows something"
  • "Self contained"
  • "Mysterious"
  • "Poised"
  • "Confident"
  • "Beautiful"

Now I realize this is hardly a scientific study. My goal is just to start a conversation about the differences in how men and women interpret social signals. How important is it that the woman in Photo B is withholding eye contact?isn't that often associated with people in power? The women in our group did not consider that aspect of model B's pose, but perhaps the men did, at least subconsciously. Did the women prefer model A because she embodies qualities we might seek in an Alpha Male?

You can see how our biases make it easy to miscommunicate, simply through body language and expression. This is why tips on flirting are so often misguided. Making eye contact with a cute guy seems so subtle to womenlike being passive and doing nothing at allwhile a man will say "Oh, she practically threw herself at me" because he perceives her gaze to be a direct invitation.   

e.l.f. cosmetics

What's the conclusion for strong, independent women? I believe it's this: You don't need to pretend to be less than who you are to attract a strong, capable man. 

But you should consider whether you are actually projecting inner confidence, or inadvertently appearing insecure to your dates. Do you tend to feel that you need to "do something" to call attention to yourself or show that you are in charge? (i.e., Acting out behavior that you would find attractive in your guy.) To men, it may appear that you are trying too harda sure sign that you don't value yourself highly enough. Next time, scale back on the effort. Practice sitting calmly, and let others approach you if they wish. Look your best, but don't feel you have to provide witty conversation or sultry glances. At its core, serenity is strength. Each day, bring a little peace into your life, and you may be pleasantly surprised to find that you attract both love and respect in the process.

Robyn Wahlgast is a Rules Certified Dating and Relationship Coach for Women, and a happily married mother of three. For more tips on signaling confidence, learn how posture affects others' perception of your power and attractiveness. And if you're looking for ways to project more feminine energy on dates, try this article on Love Energy. For more on masculine-feminine dynamics in dating, read this article on using The Rules to date with healthy boundaries. Never miss a new blog post: subscribe to our FREE newsletter