WHY YOU FALL FOR THE WRONG GUYS (PART 2)

HOW ROMANTIC CHEMISTRY CAN FOOL US. READ PART 1 HERE.

There is a man on your mind.

You work with him, or you see him at church, or he is your neighbor. When you stop to chat, it’s obvious that the two of you enjoy mutual chemistry. But for some reason, he never takes things further. You wish he would ask for your number or suggest getting coffee, but he hasn’t yet.

So what should you do? You know better than to step up and ask him out yourselfBut it's hard to wait and do nothing, while a potentially great opportunity for romance passes you by.

READ FIRST:  WHY YOU FALL FOR THE WRONG GUYS (PART 1)

why you fall for the wrong guys

This is a frustrating scenario that many single women know well. You could probably have dinner with a couple of girlfriends and discuss all the possible angles of this situation for hours, decoding the secret meaning behind his “see you later” when you ran into him at the gym this morning. As any man will tell you, though, it’s really not that complicated.

His view: it’s really not that complicated.

FROM BCBG

Brain chemistry can fool us.

While feeling romantic sparks is a big deal to many women — signaling the beginning of a relationship, we hope — most men have a more practical take.

That rush of attraction is powerful in the moment, but men see it for what it is: sexual desire. It’s a mating signal. And not necessarily a mate-for-life signal, either, just a I'd-love-to-see-you-naked-sometime signal.

FROM DR. BRANDT

Men see "chemistry" for what it is: a mating signal.

When a woman says she feels chemistry with a man, she usually means that she feels an emotional connection as well. For her, that rush of adrenaline is all tangled up with feelings that resemble love.

Here are examples of how some of my female clients responded to the intense rush of the mating signal, getting into entanglements they later regretted:

  • “I know it’s wrong [to date a married man] but we have this incredible chemistry. Sometimes I don’t believe it can be completely wrong, otherwise, I wouldn’t feel this way.”
  • “He’s moved on and has a new girlfriend, but I did let him stay over last week. I hate that I let him treat me like this, but I haven’t met anyone else I feel this connection with.”
  • “I got tired of waiting so I just asked him if he had feelings for me. Now he avoids me in class. I’m in such pain. I know he feels what I feel. I don’t see why he’s playing this game.”

Women sometimes allow this intense rush of emotions to justify self-destructive decisions.

When we see a girlfriend spiraling out of control over a man, she almost always justifies her damaging behavior by saying that her connection to him “feels so intense.” She is putting her trust in feelings of intense sexual attraction, as if the intensity must automatically lead to true, lasting love. Logically, we understand that emotional connection takes time to build. Plus, it takes many months of shared experiences to really assess another person’s character and values.

FROM ASTRID & MIYU

But this friend is under the influence of dopamine and other chemicals in the brain that have triggered a mating instinct. In many ways, she is struggling with a very powerful addiction. If she says she doesn't feel strong enough to walk away... you can believe her.   

Men can enjoy the sensation of sexual chemistry without wanting to act on it.

Does her target (her man) feel the same way? Probably not. Men can feel the chemistry and enjoy it for what it is, in the here and now. A happily married man can have crush-like feelings around a co-worker without wanting to have an affair. A single man can feel chemistry with a woman who is much older or younger than he feels is appropriate to date, or who is simply isn’t his usual “type.” It’s fun and harmless and isn’t always a reaction we can control.

What we CAN control, however, is our response to romantic chemistry. And that leads us back to the original question: Should you pine over a man you have intense feelings for,  when he doesn't take a single step toward advancing your relationship? If you understand that men don’t necessarily experience “love” every time they feel that rush, you are better able to see the situation for what it is.

FROM E.L.F.

If he's not trying to move things forward it's because he doesn't want to.  #truth

Sure, he enjoys exchanging good vibes with you. It feels great. But if he saw you as The One, he’d let you know. He wouldn’t risk missing out on a good thing. If he’s not moving things forward, you have your answer: he doesn’t want to. And that understanding gives YOU the freedom to move on and find the man who does.

Just keep doing The Rules.

The most valuable gift a man can give you is his consistent focus and attention over time. Going slowly, delaying physical intimacy, and engaging your mind as well as your heart, will help you assess his character and values — before you sleep with him and possibly get tangled up in a non-relationship

READ NEXT: THIRD-DATE SEX IS WAY TOO SOON (SCIENCE SAYS)

READ FIRST: WHY YOU FALL FOR THE WRONG GUYS (PART 1)

Robyn Wahlgast is a Rules Certified Dating and Relationship Coach for Women. Learn how to rock The Rules for lasting love and marriage. Never miss a new blog post: subscribe to our FREE newsletter

An earlier version of this article, How Romantic Chemistry Can Fool Us, was published by the beautiful people at The Wellness Universe.

WHY YOU FALL FOR THE WRONG GUYS (PART 1)

"[Name withheld] and I have been dating for about 2 months. We have an incredible connection. When we met I felt like he's known me forever. We share crazy coincidences, things I normally wouldn't even say on a date. He said he saw a girl just like me once in a vision. I'm still just as into him but now he is different... It's been a week and I haven't even heard from him! There's no way he didn't feel what I feel, I could tell [the sex] meant something to him, he was so loving before."
— Nia (age 31)
"This guy, I can't really tell what's going on. He made me feel amazing from the beginning. He gave me a necklace for my birthday and he takes me to really nice places when he's in town. But it's not consistent. He is away on business and so busy. Still, he says I'm his girlfriend. How can I make him make me his priority? We only get together a few nights here and there. I want more of his time...."
— Sheryl (age 40)
Are you addicted to "instant connection"? Do you sometimes sleep with a man sooner than you planned, because you feel this special connection?   

Are you addicted to "instant connection"? Do you sometimes sleep with a man sooner than you planned, because you feel this special connection?  

FROM E.L.F.

I get a version of Nia's and Sheryl's messages almost every day. These ladies share a common affliction: they are addicted to the rush of "instant connection." A woman with this mindset believes that a first date should magically flow... like a romantic dream... and that her best match is always going to be the guy who instantly gets her. 

Women like Nia and Sheryl also believe that their Mr. Wonderful must share the same intensity of feelings. After all, he [fill in the blank]:

  • Bought her an expensive dinner
  • Gave her jewelry
  • Said that he had strong feelings for her

Are you addicted to the rush of Instant Connection?

Unfortunately, this type of thinking can leave a woman vulnerable to men who are experts at seduction, but not long-term commitment.

Love is an open door... but think long and hard before you walk through it.

Love is an open door... but think long and hard before you walk through it.

FROM ZALES

There's a reason it's called "chemistry" when 2 people feel a connection. 

In Part 2, we'll talk about chemicals in your brain that can be released on a first date, or during sex, that fool you into thinking that you and your new guy share something deep. But before we dig into that phenomenon, here is a pop quiz...

Which of these two first-date guys is clearly a Next! you should turn down for date #2:

David — Who talked so much during the date that you couldn’t get a word in edge-wise. You heard all about his job, his favorite sports team, and his recent vacation. You’re pretty sure that he learned nothing about you, and has no sense of your personality. You are disappointed that you didn’t get a chance to share this really crazy story your co-worker just texted you. If you're honest, you found him nice, but boring. 

Josh — Who asked you lots of questions, laughed at your jokes, and really worked to draw you out. You found yourself telling him all kinds of personal stories from your childhood that you rarely share with anyone. You really, really hope he asks you out again.

FROM BCBG

Awkward isn't always awful.

Based only on the information above, both David and Josh are still contenders. Here is one way to look at this common dating experience:

When a man is really attracted to you he gets nervous (David). Those nerves make some guys clam up, their minds go blank, and they can’t think of anything to say—then you have to carry the conversation until he regains composure. Other men, however, start talking a mile a minute to hide their nervousness. They feel this rush of adrenaline and they channel that energy in a socially-acceptable way — talking — which might hit you like a never-ending monologue. He may also feel pressure to entertain you and hold your interest; he is worried that you'll feel bored or lapse into awkward silence. A guy like David is in selling mode. 

Should you see him again? David probably talked a lot because he likes you, not because he's self-absorbed or a narcissist. If he asks you out again, it's reasonable to give him a second chance, even if you didn't feel sparks on the first date. Some truly interesting and fascinating men take a while to get to know. They grow on you over time. In today's "instant" culture, it can be easy to overlook a real gem of a guy.    

TIP: Some truly fascinating men take a while to get to know. In today's "instant" culture, it can be easy to overlook a real gem of a guy.

Now let's move on to Josh...

Of course he knows how to create a romantic first date... he's been on so many of them!

Of course he knows how to create a romantic first date... he's been on so many of them!

Focus less on "connection." Pay attention to follow-through and reliability.

When a man isn’t way into you, he isn’t nervous at all (Josh). He’s like, I’ve got this. He may enjoy the ego boost of being able to charm you and make you giggle. He may be attracted enough to suggest going out again and maybe getting you back to his place. But he doesn’t have stars in his eyes or fear in the pit of his stomach that he’s got to work to impress you. He’s not a panicked motor-mouth or scared speechless. 

Next steps: It's awesome when a date turns out to be fun and you feel a connection. But don't assume Josh is The One simply because the conversation flowed. Going forward, pay attention to his actions and make sure he's bringing some hustle and effort to his courtship, not just entertaining banter or chemistry that is exciting but doesn't lead anywhere.

TIP: Men who are really great at dating have often been on a LOT of first and second dates. That doesn't necessarily mean that he's your perfect match.
KNOMO LONDON BACKPACKS  #THISISMYOFFICE

KNOMO LONDON BACKPACKS #THISISMYOFFICE

"He's so confusing."

The haze of attraction can cause otherwise smart women to find "mixed messages" in a situation that is pretty straightforward. 

Look, some guys think they are being gentlemen by taking you out for a proper dinner before attempting to sleep with you. Or he may feel he owes it to you to act like a boyfriend when he's with a woman who provides him with regular sex. However, none of this behavior means that he is thinking beyond tonight. Don't let good vibes fool you into believing it's more than it is. Playing at being a boyfriend is not the same as actually being one.

When a man is positively, definitely into you, there is no confusion. 

FROM BEAUTY BRANDS

"But he's not the Player type."

A player is simply someone who lives in the moment. He has no intention of hurting you, and therefore believes he is not to blame if you do get hurt. He's not thinking through the consequences of his actions, and he's not concerned about how his behavior may affect you in the long-run. He may be careless and immature, but he's not evil.

TIP: Any man you date is "playing" if he's not interested in locking you down long-term.

Lots of men are accidental players.

If you want something serious, and he's giving you romantic feels... but not romantic actions... just brush aside the rainbows and unicorns, touch up your mascara, and move on. It doesn't mean he's not a nice guy. But he's not your Mr. Right.

Romantic sparks can fool you into thinking you have something deep with a man. Even if he's just playing.

If you sometimes break Rules or sleep with men sooner than you planned, then Part 2 of this article is for you. Did you ever feel sure you connected with a man, only to find out later that he was juggling other women too? And now he hits you up only when he's bored or lonely? 

When you understand how brain chemistry works, you can begin to take charge of your intense feelings of attraction. You can even train yourself to be a little skeptical of those early fireworks. Keep reading here.

READ NEXT:  WHY YOU FALL FOR THE WRONG GUYS (PART 2)

READ NEXT: THIRD-DATE SEX IS WAY TOO SOON (SCIENCE SAYS)

Robyn Wahlgast is a Rules Certified Dating and Relationship Coach for Women. Learn how to rock The Rules for lasting love and marriage. Never miss a new blog post: subscribe to our FREE newsletter

LESS EFFORT, MORE LOVE

“I'm not sure what to do about this Tinder guy...”

“I’m not sure what to do with this Tinder guy. We met and I can tell he was attracted to me. I’m wondering if I should email him this article… You said I should wait until he texts first, but what if he doesn’t? He’s the first man I’ve met online that I actually want to see again.
— Annelise (age 51)
“[A male co-worker] always walks past my door at work, stops and jokes with me, totally obvious. Everyone says he likes me…. Do you know a way I can get him to make a move?”
Crystal (age 28)

Going after what you want is a necessary life skill.

If you’ve ever felt the sting of losing your dream house because you chose to play it safe during a bidding war, you know exactly what I mean. Missing out on a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity feels terrible. But knowing that you lost because you didn’t play the game aggressively enough? — that is a gnawing failure that most of us would do anything to keep from repeating.

Robyn Wahlgast Less effort more love

Have you ever felt the sting of losing, because you didn't pursue an opportunity aggressively enough?

So then, to compensate, we often adopt a strategy that can actually make matters worse: We over-correct. We think we missed out on the perfect (whatever) because we didn’t try hard enough.

So now… we are going to TRY. Very hard. Again and again. Until we win. At every opportunity.

FROM E.L.F.

At work or in school, or when attempting to master any new skill, trying harder can be a necessary and effective adjustment. But in romance, trying to earn your way into a man’s heart isn’t a healthy strategy. Believing that you lost out on the perfect love match because you didn’t go for it aggressively enough… well, it sounds logical. But male-female dynamics just don’t operate that way.

FROM ZALES

Relax... You are enough, just as you are.  Photo:   Sylvia Haghjoo

Relax... You are enough, just as you are. Photo: Sylvia Haghjoo

Trying to earn your way into a man’s heart isn’t a healthy strategy.

Women tend to be happiest and most fulfilled in relationships where we feel unconditionally loved and accepted. Some use the word cherished to describe this feeling of being wholly appreciated. You know you are enough for him, that you don’t need to prove anything, and that he enjoys your very essence. He just feels better when you’re around, and he values you for it.

Learn how to  rock The Rules your own way  for a lifetime of lasting love. #ReadRobyn

Learn how to rock The Rules your own way for a lifetime of lasting love. #ReadRobyn

Relationships work best when a woman feels “cherished“ — he appreciates your very essence.

Working to earn a man’s interest results in an unhealthy dynamic. Relationship “work” could include:

  • Contacting him too frequently. You fear that if you don't check in regularly — reminding him that you exist — he'll slip away and move on to someone new. 
  • Initiating dates. You believe that if you don't suggest going out, it will never happen. Don't let misguided co-workers and their online dating escapades fool you into thinking "everything is different" now. Romance still work best when you allow him the space to pursue you.
  • Telling yourself that you have a "relationship" when it is really just an entanglement. Does each "date" with him have to end in sex? Until, eventually, you aren't leaving his place at all? Regular sex + flowers on your birthday doesn't equal a relationship. If you're looking for lasting love, don't settle for a Friends With Benefits situationship.   
  • Doing material favors for him. When you're married, you're on the same team: it's a "we" game, and you support each other in winning. Until you're married, though, hold off on helping him live his life. Don't lend him money, watch his kids, or help him with his career. 

FROM BCBG

Is it him? Or is it you?

If you find yourself in a situation where you do feel the need to prove your worth to him — to win his attention and get him to focus on you — then you’re on a losing path for sure. Either he is taking advantage of you, or the problem is within you and your need to continually audition for his affection.

An emotionally mature man is uncomfortable in the receiver role, even if all he’s receiving is your focus on him. Many men can’t explain why this seems wrong, especially in the early stages of dating. He won’t give you a heads-up — he’s going to keep that uncomfortable feeling to himself. Instead, he may just conclude that he can’t trust you. That maybe you are being fake-nice, hiding something, or otherwise being manipulative. Perhaps you are overly interested in him because you want something from him…?

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Zales

Of course, that’s not what you mean. You just want to ensure that a promising relationship blossoms.

But your effort does NOT spark romantic interest in men.

While you certainly can get more dates by asking for a man’s help, inviting him for coffee, sending all those texts and fascinating articles, offering to split the check, and coaxing along the process, the end result will not be the type of relationship you want.

#NeverGiveUp

If “working hard” has always worked for you in other areas of life, it may be a difficult habit to give up. And if you’ve never experienced the feeling of being cherished, you might believe that a man’s love is something you have to earn through your actions. That’s okay. Just be open-minded. Now is the perfect time to try something new….

Lots of Love,
Robyn

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.

A version of this article was previously published by the lovely people at The Wellness Universe.

WHY HE COMPARTMENTALIZES HIS FEELINGS (UNDERSTANDING MEN)

When a woman complains that her man is distant — he seems emotionally unavailable and closed off, or isn’t making a move toward commitment — it’s usually because he is compartmentalizing his relationship with her.

There’s a mental box inside his brain with her name on it. When he feels like opening the box and enjoying the contents, he does. But when he’s done, he puts the lid on the box and places it back onto its shelf. The emotions he associates with this particular woman — angry, aroused, loving, calm, sad, etc. — also get packed away into the mental container. Over time, if a true emotional bond forms, her presence in his life won’t be so neatly walled off. But in the beginning stages, limiting her influence prevents him from being overwhelmed by a new romance.

it drives me crazy when my boyfriend compartmentalizes his feelings Robyn Wahlgast

If you’ve read many self-help articles aimed at women, you may have the idea that the male tendency to compartmentalize feelings and experiences is unhealthy. While it’s true that narcissism and emotional detachment can look a lot like compartmentalization, these are extreme and clinically rare examples. For most men, some compartmentalization is part of a normal coping strategy.

To better understand these masculine boundaries — which women often mistake for emotional unavailability — I invite you to examine compartmentalization from both male and female perspectives.

Consider these 3 observations:

1. For men, compartmentalization can be a useful approach to managing the complexities of life.

It is reflexive — he’s often not aware that he’s doing it.

2. To a woman on the receiving end, it can feel cold and mechanical, as if we’re being rejected.

Because it feels uncomfortable for us, we have a hard time accepting that it can be part of a healthy strategy for managing strong emotions.

3. Instead of automatically limiting a new man’s influence on her life, a woman is more likely to let him range freely across her heart and mind.

If she's not careful, she can quickly lose herself in the emotional rush. In fact, women who never learn to compartmentalize feelings at ALL are at risk of letting others free-range over them like a doormat; or wasting time on fantasy relationships; or becoming consumed with romantic obsessions.

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Zales

Men automatically sort women into categories, all day long. Here are some boxes you might already occupy without even knowing it:

  • Cute girl in his Instagram feed
  • Mystery woman on the A train
  • Work crush
  • Girl he'd love to have sex with on a regular basis until he meets The One
  • Future wife

From a man’s perspective, it’s reasonable to keep you in that box, peeking inside only when he feels like it. You exist for him at work, but not when he’s at home. You intrigue him on Saturdays at the dog park, but not on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays. You don’t permeate his brain and keep him up at night. As most women have learned — often painfully — a man can avoid emotional intimacy through compartmentalization. For example, he might place you in the “attractive enough to flirt with (or sleep with)” category but NOT “future girlfriend or wife.” 

IGXO Cosmetics

If you’ve experienced the pain of a man holding you at arm’s length, and you never want to go there again, what can you do? Now that you understand a man’s highly compartmentalized psyche, use this expert tip in your next relationship:

Work with his need to compartmentalize, instead of fighting against it.

You aren’t threatened by his boundaries, because you understand this is how he copes with new emotions and experiences. At the beginning of a relationship, he’s not ready to let you free-range across his thoughts. So in between dates, you are going to disappear. Your actions will speak to him on a deep level, in a way that insisting on connection can’t.

You will continue to date others, because your time is valuable and what if he waits a long time before resurfacing? If he is okay with leaving you alone for days in between dates...

Like a ghost, you'll be gone. 

Getting closer — if it's going to happen — has to be HIS idea. Remember, he has already placed you into some category, based on his instinctive assessment. It's not your job to prove to him that you deserve better than the "good enough for now" label. Read the signs and re-calibrate your level of interest and investment. If you want commitment and he's not feeling it, move on and date a man who sees right away that you're The One

In the early stages of dating, try putting your own feelings toward a new man in the “just getting to know you” box. Don’t let any new relationship completely take over your thoughts or seep into other areas of your life. Follow The Rules and you'll create just the right amount of distance to observe clearly which box he has placed you in. (It's his loss, if he coded you wrong.)

An emotional bond — which is what women usually mean by "being in love" — takes time to develop. When you proceed slowly and let him set the pace, he won't want to maintain distance. Getting closer will be his idea, and it will feel natural to him to put your relationship at the center of all he does.

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

A VERSION OF THIS ARTICLE ORIGINALLY APPEARED IN MICHAEL FIORE'S DIGITAL ROMANCE.

HOW TO DATE A SHY GUY (UNDERSTANDING MEN)

Many of us, it seems, like shy guys. (I like smart, nerdy, shy guys so much, I married one.) It's not surprising: these men tend to be quiet leaders — successful and widely respected. There is an art to dating introverted men, though, and this article will help you decide if this personality type is your best match. The good news is that you don't need to be an introvert to date one. But to keep your romantic energy in balance, you will want to follow some basic rules.

Many women mistakenly assume that being overly friendly and “easy to get will reassure the Shy Guy. Nothing could be further from the truth.

FROM E.L.F.

Many women mistakenly assume that being overly friendly and "easy to get" will reassure the Shy Guy. Nothing could be further from the truth. Being "easy" and laying everything out on a plate will actually make him retreat further into his shell. You'll be pursuing him, so your energy will shift from being feminine to masculine, and that's not healthy or sexy (for you or for him) in the long run. Relationships that start out with this dynamic never really recover, and as months and years pass, you may find yourself in a sexless "just friends"/ roommate arrangement.

how to date a shy guy

If you are crushing on a shy guy, I definitely recommend that you read The Rules, by Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider. The Rules are a great, step-by-step introduction toward letting a man lead and set the pace of the relationship.

Regardless of personality type, men are happiest when allowed to discover love at their own pace. If the relationship moves forward, it's because he chooses and wants to lead toward commitment. If a man tends toward an introverted personality, it’s even more important that you let him lead. Extroverts can hold their own and fight fire with fire. But if you admire a man with a more subtle style, you have to be careful not to overwhelm him with your eagerness, or nudge him into "going along" passively with your agenda. You could find yourself in an entanglement with a man who's not really sure how or why he got there.   

FROM ASTRID & MIYU

Always let him lead. Don't get tangled up with a man who's not sure how or why he got there.

Here are 7 observations and comments from clients over the past year. See if any of these situations sound familiar:

  1. “I really like this guy at work, but if I don't suggest it we'll never actually go on a date.”
  2. “The guy I’m interested in doesn’t seem to know what he’s supposed to do to date me.”
  3. “The Rules describe an old-fashioned way of dating that doesn’t exist anymore.”
  4. “Men my age don’t know how to date.”
  5. “My crush is really shy. His ex-wife really messed him up. I can only do some of The Rules with him.”
  6. “If I want him to treat me like a lady I have to tell him what to do every step of the way.”
  7. “We’re both grown-ups. I know he doesn’t want to play games and neither do I. Shouldn't I make an exception for him?”

FROM DR. BRANDT

The Secret

If you identify with any of these situations, I will let you in on a secret: the “problem” in each of these scenarios is not that the man is shy or inexperienced. The underlying issue is that he is just not interested enough in starting up a relationship with that particular woman.

Guys who aren’t THAT into you may still sleep with you and hang out” with you if you make it easy. Is that what you want?

Sure, he’d be okay with having casual sex with her and hanging out until something better comes along. But I don’t know many women who enjoy being the good-enough-for-now option. If each woman in situations 1 - 7 were to get the ball rolling herself, or help the man date her and make excuses for his behavior, she would simply be prolonging the agony of being in a go-nowhere entanglement. That's not "dating a shy man," that's accepting crumbs from a guy who is just killing time.

That's not “dating a shy man. That's accepting crumbs from a guy who is just killing time.

Let’s go through these scenarios, one by one, and note the difference between a true Shy Guy and one whose feelings are simply lukewarm:

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Zales
  1. “I really like this guy at work, but if I don't suggest it we'll never actually go on a date.” My take: As I’ve written many times before, you should never make the first move or ask a man out IF what you want is a long-term relationship leading to marriage. All the reasons are here. Shy guys DO approach, date, and marry women when they feel motivated to do so.
  2. “The guy I’m interested in doesn’t seem to know what he’s supposed to do to date me.” My take: Men are incredibly resourceful when there’s a problem that needs to be solved. Whether his car is making a weird noise or the latest iPhone update wiped all his data — he will head over to YouTube and learn how to fix it. If he really wants to ask you out / impress you / propose, he has a million ways to figure out how.
  3. “The Rules describe an old-fashioned way of dating that doesn’t exist anymore.” My take: If you are consistently meeting men who only want to hang out or “cook dinner” at his place, and not go out on proper dates, then you have two choices: 1) Just say no to hang-out dates and see if he offers an alternative; 2) Learn how to screen men better. If you’re online dating, these tips will help you screen out players and other guys who want to keep things permanently casual. 
  4. “Men my age don’t know how to date.” My take: Women in every age category can feel like their situation is the worst. As a dating coach I know first-hand that you all have an equal shot at meeting your Mr. Right — at any age. Consider dating men who are 5-7 years older than you, if you're just going around in circles with men your own age or younger. Remember: men are resourceful. If he’s interested enough to learn what your standards are, he can figure out how to meet them.
  5. “My crush is really shy. His ex-wife really messed him up. I can only do some of The Rules with him.” My take: When a man heaps all the blame for a break-up on his ex, consider it a Buyer Beware. Just keep your eyes open, guard your heart, and do The Rules. No exceptions.
  6. “If I want him to treat me like a lady I have to tell him what to do every step of the way.” My take: Make sure you are taking good care of yourself. Dress your best, be your best, and say No to any behavior you don’t like. Men will make the effort to figure out what you want if they like you enough to do so. Whatever you do, don’t micromanage your date. Just move on if he has decided you aren’t worth investing in.
  7. “We’re both grown-ups. I know he doesn’t want to play games and neither do I. Shouldn't I make an exception for him?” My take: Date with an open heart and strict boundaries. That’s what emotionally healthy men and women do. But you still have to pace the relationship so that the initial spark has time to develop into deeper feelings. It’s unreasonable to expect instant bonding over that first glass of Merlot. Doing The Rules allows you both to take your time.

Men are resourceful. Whether his car is making a weird noise or the latest iPhone update wiped all his data — he will head over to YouTube and learn how to fix it. If he really wants to impress you, he has a million ways to figure out how.

As Rules women know, we don’t “do the rules” on men. We do The Rules on ourselves, stripping away negative behaviors and replacing them with healthy behaviors that naturally allow attraction to build. The Rules definitely do work within any relationship, with any man. If a man isn’t a good fit for you, The Rules will “work” by revealing early on that you are incompatible. That may seem like a disappointing result at first, but it's a powerful gift in the long run. 

e.l.f. cosmetics

Sometimes The Rules work by eliminating incompatible men from your life. That's a powerful gift in the long run.

Since you’re not approaching men (by asking for their help or inviting them for coffee), the rules will help you avoid players and pick-up artists as well as looky-loos—dudes who stare at you or flirt or “favorite” your online profile, but who never actually ask you out. You won’t get caught up in go-nowhere entanglements or affairs with unavailable men.

So how should you behave with a truly “shy” or inexperienced man?

The best way to deal with an introvert is to match his actions and level of interest. And then dial it back even further. Don't lean in lean back. If you are naturally an extrovert, that's cool. You don't need to pretend to be an introvert in order to attract one. Always bring your unique vibe to the dating game. Dial down your effort, not your charm. Study my flirting tips if you want to know how to enchant a man who tends toward a more subtle, quiet personality. WAIT until he asks you out – don’t make the first move. And once you’re on a date, make sure you show him your most feminine, vulnerable qualities.  

FROM BEAUTY BRANDS

Dial down your effort, not your charm.

The inexperienced man is very often a diamond in the rough and will make a wonderful partner in the long run. He may have been married previously or in a series of long-term relationships — he likes and values female companionship — but he hasn’t dated much in a formal sense, and seems confused or tentative when dealing with women in a romantic setting. 

The inexperienced” man could be someone who married his high school sweetheart and now, years later, finds himself single. He values female companionship but has little formal dating experience.

Because he appears to need help in approaching you and setting up dates, you might be tempted to bend rules for him or to assume that he is an exception to the rules. That would be a mistake. He may appear to be passive, but that’s usually just a temporary switch that got flipped by the various women in his life — his overly helpful sister, exes, and coworkers. Remember: If a bachelor has a steady job and is reasonably well-groomed and moderately attractive, then he has women approaching him at the gym, at work, contacting him first on POF and eHarmony, and generally showing him attention. He may be surrounded by a near-harem of female "helpers."

FROM BCBG

The shy” or inexperienced man is like a turtle: when women chase after him he retreats deeper into his shell.

When a man is used to being guided and micromanaged by women, it can become a behavioral pattern that is both comfortable for him and hard to break. That doesn’t mean he is satisfied or happy with that dynamic, or that he isn't capable of pursuing you if he’s motivated to do so. The inexperienced man is like a turtle: when women chase after him he retreats deeper into his shell. What he responds to best is a woman with a light, feminine touch; like a beautiful butterfly, she shimmers just out of reach. By not “helping” him date you, you are letting him know that you see him as the competent adult man that he is. That may be a message he is starved to hear. If he approaches you and you start dating, trust that he can figure out what to do. Your confidence in him will inspire him to do his best. If he is paying attention and trying to learn your preferences, then he is a keeper.  

KNOMO LONDON BACKPACKS  #THISISMYOFFICE

KNOMO LONDON BACKPACKS #THISISMYOFFICE

What he responds to best is a woman with a light, feminine touch. Like a beautiful butterfly, she shimmers just out of reach.

His lapses into "helpless" dating behavior may tempt you to grab the steering wheel. Don't do it. Just relax, take a break with your girlfriends, and trust that your faith in him will bring out his inner Gentlemen’s Rules.  

The shy” man wants to be with a woman who trusts him to give her his best.

You don’t need to bend rules or weaken your boundaries in order to attract a particular man. In fact, if you feel like you have to break rules to get things started or to keep a relationship going, something is wrong — he's not truly interested or available. There is a real art to dating the inexperienced man — some women just lose steam (and confidence) with this guy, while others blossom as his attraction and drive builds. The next time you find yourself struggling to be Rulesy, mentally lighten up and visualize yourself as that beautiful butterfly. If it's still not working, consider that you may simply be dating a man whose style isn’t compatible with yours. The kindest action you can take is to release him to date others while you continue to search for your best match.

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

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.

BRINGING ROMANCE BACK IN OVER-40 DATING

The 40+ dating scene can feel pretty confusing at times. On the surface, adulting may look tame and business-like, but there’s a lot of pent-up energy under all the baggage of divorce, estrangement, and break-ups. Even if (most) single, mature women aren’t sashaying around like the singers from Fifth Harmony, it’s normal and healthy to want to “flex” for that Mr. Wonderful you’ve been on a few dates with. You want him to kiss you, put his hands in your hair, and just generally make you feel 22 again — even if you’re perfectly content to actually be 47.

So how do you turn up the heat in a way that feels age-appropriate?

True glamour is ageless.  (Monica Bellucci, actress.)

True glamour is ageless. (Monica Bellucci, actress.)

Here are some tips for igniting romance when you’re starting fresh and playing for keeps:

TIP #1: Take it slow.

I know it has been way too long, you’ve never felt this way about a man before (seems like), and you’re longing to feel his arms around you. But be patient, girl. It’s no fun to be a man’s soft landing or rebound girl, after his heart was broken by The One and before he moves on to The Next One. Men respect you more and will find you more alluring when you have high standards.

TIP #2: Let him lead.

Just because you CAN make the first move doesn’t mean you should. As we age it can be easy for male and female energies to blur, either due to hormonal shifts or simply because we get used to living alone and compensating for a missing partner. Polarity is necessary to spark sexual attraction. While you may think you are doing nothing or “letting a great opportunity slip by,” it’s best to hold back and wait for him to move things forward if you want to progress beyond friendship.

TIP #3: Move on quickly if it’s not meant to be.

Don’t try to force a connection with a man who isn’t feeling it. He might say It’s not you, it’s him, and he’s not looking to start something serious. In man-speak, that translates into he’s not looking to start something serious. Don't be the woman who works hard to convince him otherwise, or who tries to earn his affection and attention. If he expresses any kind of hesitation, respect his honesty but don’t settle for a friends-with-benefits situation that will just leave you feeling empty.

TIP #4: Don’t forget to flirt.

Master flirts are so good at making men feel like men that they don’t even realize what they are doing. A great flirt wears feminine, form-fitting clothing, always smells wonderful, and lets her date order for her, open doors, and take the lead in conversational topics. Being ladylike, in general, is flirtatious. It telegraphs that you know your date is a man and you are behaving differently with him than you would with a pack of girlfriends. That is the essence of flirting — revealing your most feminine side with a member of the opposite sex. (For more tips on being light and breezy on dates even if you feel anything but read "How To Be An Unforgettable Flirt.")

Whatever you do, don’t buy into the idea that romance is dead and hook-up culture has replaced courtship. Just because singles now connect through apps like Hinge and Tinder doesn’t mean that our fundamental needs and desires have changed. Remember when guys used to honk their car horns at cute girls, an earlier form of swiping right? All that hope and excitement is still there. But now you are old enough to really savor it, taking it slow with someone who appreciates the chance to start something real — with you.

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 THE WELLNESS UNIVERSE.

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.

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.

IGXO Cosmetics

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.

"THIRD DATE" SEX IS WAY TOO SOON (SCIENCE SAYS)

YOU may be HAVING 'CASUAL' SEX WITHOUT INTENDING TO

You feel ready for a lasting relationship. You are tired of guys disappearing after you become intimate. You have the vague idea that waiting to have sex may be the key, but you’re told that withholding sex is manipulative, old fashioned, and not very romantic.

Savvy friends tell you there is an understanding that date #3 is the appropriate time to give it up. You’ve noticed this is usually the stage when a man invites you to his apartment to hang out in the general vicinity of his bedroom. You fear that if you hesitate, he won’t invest further in your relationship. Yet, experience has shown you that third-date sex doesn’t seem to have any effect on a man’s commitment level. In fact, sometimes he just gets busier and has even less time to hang out with you, afterward.

TIP: If you believe you need to sleep with a man in order to hold his interest... STOP, think, and slow down. You may be tumbling into an entanglement, instead of advancing a real relationship.

FROM DR. BRANDT

why "third date" sex is way too soon

It can be hard to trust your intuition and instincts when so much of popular culture implies that sex is Level 1 in the mating game, a stepping stone toward commitment and bonding. But what if I offered you scientific proof that, in fact, the opposite is true?—that in waiting to have sex you’re actually increasing your odds of experiencing lasting attraction and romance.

Listen up, girlfriend, because science is on your side when you wait. Here are a few facts to help you commit to saying no until you are sure Prince Charming is all that he seems:

Dopamine: From Crush to Crash

Chemicals like dopamine feed the buzz of infatuation in our brains. When you daydream about your crush, the anticipation of being together produces lots of dopamine, which further increases your feeling of infatuation. When two people feel a connection, this buzz can be amplified through non-sexual contact such as locking eyes, touching hands, and even simple physical nearness—the “don’t stand so close to me” phenomenon.

FROM BCBG

Guess what shuts off the production of dopamine—and therefore that “in love” feeling—in men?

Completion of the sex act. That’s right: having sex can temporarily shut off your man’s seemingly obsessive interest in you. If he is not already emotionally bonded (unlikely by date 3), then this sugar crash will leave him empty and ready to move on—in search of a woman who can give him a longer and more sustained hit of happiness. (Interestingly, researchers have found that men with high self-esteem are even more likely to experience this post-sex emotional detachment than their less-secure brothers.)

FROM BEAUTY BRANDS

Oxytocin: It’s a Girl Thing

Oxytocin is known as the “love” hormone, and it is true that in women, the release of oxytocin during sex can increase our emotional attachment to a sex partner. We also know that oxytocin is released in men during sex, as well as through other forms of physical affection and pleasurable experiences. However, unless a man is already emotionally bonded with his partner—a process that requires time and a healthy stock of shared experiences—the effects of oxytocin release in men is unclear.

TIP: I define casual sex as physical intimacy that is offered to a man before he has emotionally bonded with you.

There is no scientific evidence that oxytocin released during casual sex—where an emotional attachment has not yet developed—will result in a man becoming further bonded with his partner. (In fact, oxytocin’s effect on male behavior is downright confusing and not necessarily loving.) If you’ve ever seduced a man in the hope of making him more attached to you, understand that that approach simply doesn’t work. And after reading about the potential for a dopamine crash, I hope you’ll see that engaging in casual sex (physical intimacy that is offered to him before he has bonded with you) is exceedingly unlikely to lead to a walk down the aisle.

Casual sex is more likely to prevent the growth of emotional bonding than to foster it.

FROM ASTRID & MIYU

So which would you rather experience with your dream guy: the slow build-up of desire… or the letdown of simply reaching the finish line?

Although they won’t broadcast it among their buddies (because it’s nobody’s business and it is maybe a little unmanly-sounding), men who really dig you will wait. They will wait until you are ready. And in the midst of that dopamine-fueled sugar high, they won’t really mind waiting, either.

All primary research by Dr. David M. Buss / University of Texas

ROBYN ORIGINALLY CREATED THIS ARTICLE, WITH LOVE, FOR YOURTANGO.

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.

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.

Logo
Zales

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.

Can-You-Make-Someone-Fall-in-Love-With-You-By-Robyn-Wahlgast-WUVIP.jpg

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.

DATING WITH AN OPEN HEART

What does it mean to embrace a man with an open heart?

For most of us, this means dropping our masks and being a little vulnerable. Maybe revealing the parts of our lives that aren’t perfect and polished—the stuff no one ever posts on Facebook. There is also an implied reciprocity: I’ll show you mine if you show me yours. And an expectation that we’ll accept each other’s’ flaws gracefully and without judgment.

Having an open heart towards others is relatively straightforward in relationships where trust and emotional intimacy already exist—among parents and children, husbands and wives, or the closest of friends, for example. But how do we apply this ideal in a setting like dating, where the participants are basically strangers, perhaps with competing agendas and motives? A bigger question might be:

Should we automatically approach potential romantic partners in an open-hearted way? 

The short answer is Yes—as long as you keep in mind that healthy love includes a healthy respect for yourself and your own needs. If you are a single woman who aspires to live and love in an authentic way, these 3 tips will help you fold into your approach a healthy dose of self-esteem:

  1. You can have an open heart and still maintain healthy boundaries. Emotionally mature men expect that there are areas of your life that are off-limits until trust and connection have been established. (In fact, these very men will feel unsure about you if you seem wishy-washy about what is or is not ok within the relationship.) Being “open” does not require you to reveal personal details or deeply hurtful or damaging episodes from your past. When you reveal yourself slowly, over several dates, you send the message that you put a high value on intimacy; you don’t share your story with just anyone.
  2. Putting safety first doesn’t make you defensive—just smart. Online dating and singles events are a wonderfully powerful way to increase your odds of meeting Mr. Right because they put you in touch with men outside your usual social circles. But mixing it up also increases some risks. Always exercise common sense. You can be open to who he is but still feel comfortable saying no to any suggestion that doesn’t feel right.
  3. Highlighting your femininity will automatically create an open environment for the men you date. I’ve written previously on the power of a woman’s authentic femininity and “how to harness your unique feminine essence to attract emotionally evolved men into your life.” By emphasizing your own difference—really owning the things that make you special—you free others to embrace their differences as well. This is a subtle way to let your date know that you’re not going to judge him for “acting like a guy” (i.e., being himself) or expect him to be a mind-reading empathy ninja like your female friends (which just sets him up to fail). Being feminine is a great way to connect with people in a vulnerable way, but still demonstrate self-respect and a healthy appreciation for personal boundaries.

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.

STRETCH YOUR WAY TO A GREAT FIRST DATE

Let’s face it: meeting new people can be stressful. For many single people, the mere thought of going on a date triggers sweaty palms and a pounding heart.

That's a shame, because first-date jitters can cause us to behave in ways that turn off a potential partner.  A woman is at her most attractive when she is receptive, playful, and open to a man’s interest—radiating warmth like a freshly baked chocolate chip cookie. But when we are overly stressed we appear quite the opposite:  rigid, guarded, and maybe even a bit sour. Worse, this nervousness is highly contagious.  Your guy may notice that he feels uneasy in your presence —without fully understanding why—and simply decide to avoid your company in the future. Potentially compatible couples can miss out on a love connection because someone was feeling “off” in that first meeting.

stretch your way to a great first date

If you can find a healthy way to relax both your mind and body before dates, you are guaranteed to reveal your most delicious self, and increase your odds for finding romance. Now, if you already enjoy practicing yoga, meditation, breathing exercises, or other deep relaxation techniques, then by all means keep doing what you’re doing.  Simply add a 15-minute relaxation session to your regular beauty routine and you’ll be well set up for a great night. But if this concept is new to you, I want to share a simple set of exercises that are practical and effective, and that you can easily do at home or at the office.

 “Love Attraction" Relaxation Practice

5 Easy Steps

1. Use music to channel good vibes. Your tunes don’t have to be calming soundscapes or traditionally soothing in any way. Instead, choose songs that make you feel sexy and confident. Two of my favorites are That Lady by the Isley Brothers and Something Beautiful by Trombone Shorty.

2. Release tension in your upper body with Shoulder Rolls. Great posture instantly transforms your entire look and can make anyone appear healthier and more youthful. This simple exercise will get your blood flowing, and encourage your shoulders to settle down and back—a visual cue to others that you are confident and relaxed, even if you don’t yet feel that way. [Instructional video here.*]

3. Brighten your complexion—and your thoughts—with the Ragdoll Stretch. From a standing position, simply bend over at the waist, as though you are going to touch your toes. Your knees can softly bend as well. Let your arms flop and go limp, or cradle your elbows. Let your head sway gently. Breathe deeply, in and out, in a rhythm that feels good to you. [instructional video here.*]

4. Take a load off, with the Wall Stretch. Any pose that increases blood flow to the brain will help you feel more energized, lively, and fun. This is an inverted posture that is a modified version of a headstand. Lie on your back and scoot toward a wall. Gently walk your feet up the wall, so that your feet and legs are elevated. Just hang out in this position for a few minutes, enjoying the reversed blood flow.  Your feet and legs will welcome the relief, as well. [Instructional video here.*]

5. Sit or stand comfortably and laugh. Seriously! Popularly called “laughter yoga,” this type of practice has been around for centuries. Deliberately laughing may seem awkward at first, but over time it will come to feel like any other breathing or deep relaxation technique. Laughter helps bring out the lightness within you. When you’re meeting someone new, leave heavy thoughts of finding The One behind. Bringing a “light” attitude to your dating life—enjoying the moment and letting go of expectations—is a more loving and generous approach, and may ultimately help you connect better with your date.

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

*Instructional videos by Dr. Jeanette Reed / Family Chiropractic Wellness Center

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

HE WON'T COMMIT? 3 REASONS WHY THAT MAY BE A GOOD THING

Can you relate? After 4 or 5 dates with a great guy— nerdy in that hot way you like, or devilishly handsome but somehow really nice you are sold.

The gentleman in question perfectly matches the “boyfriend” job description in your head, and you are ready to hire. You fantasize about changing your Facebook relationship status because of him. You consider canceling coffee with that random Tinder dude you’re supposed to meet next Tuesday.

Yet, Mr. Wonderful seems content to keep things where they are. He likes you and he clearly wants to keep dating you, but words like “exclusive” and “girlfriend” just aren’t rolling off his tongue. 

What should you do to get him to level up? 

Is it time to have "The Talk" so you don't waste any more time?

The good news is that the best path for you to take is also the path that is most likely to draw him to you for a committed relationship, if that is part of his future plan. And that is to sit back and enjoy the phase you’re in right now—casually dating someone with potential—and consider these 3 potential benefits to delaying exclusivity:

Benefit #1: Information Is Power

The longer you delay exclusivity, the more information you will have about each person you are dating. Almost any guy can seem like a prince for a few weeks or months, but what happens when he starts to reveal the “real” him? If you are dating multiple people—which I highly encourage, provided you are also delaying physical intimacy—you may be surprised to find that your ultimate best match is not the guy you originally targeted. Always let the best man win!

Benefit #2: Real Men Date With Their Brains Switched On

Sure, it may seem romantic to get caught up in a whirlwind romance, with a man whispering that you are The One by the second date. But let’s be real. Emotionally healthy men—you know, the kind that make great husbands—often choose to take their time before they commit to a special woman. I’m not talking about dragging his feet endlessly for months, but having the maturity and self-discipline to step back emotionally and make sure that you fit into his life, in a long-term way, before he presses you for exclusivity.

Benefit #3: If It Occurs Too Early, Becoming Exclusive May Actually Slow Down Courtship

A man loves knowing that his girlfriend is a high-status, in-demand woman.When a man locks you down too early, he may miss out on the pleasure of “winning” you over from your single status. Now he’s got you—but is some of the fire and momentum fizzling out? Is he regretting his move, and starting to look around at other women? It is far better to become exclusive after you’re sure that you have truly captivated him and he deeply appreciates all you can bring to his life.

Always keep these benefits in mind when you find yourself really liking someone and hoping he will initiate The Talk. Appreciate where you’re at today, and understand that your pace and his don’t have to line up perfectly for this to be a true love match.

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

ALL MEN ARE PLAYERS

When you start falling for a new man, does a bit of fear creep in along with the euphoria and excitement? 

Do you sometimes wonder: Is he really a good guy... or a player? Fear of "players" keeps a lot of single women on the dating sidelines, or causes us to take on a defensive position with men that chills the glow of mutual attraction. In fact, allowing these fears to control your mindset and approach is no more "realistic" or clear-headed than assuming each new date is Mr. Right.

Just as a woman might adjust her behavior and expectations to suit each new romantic encounter, a man may also reveal different intentions and character traits with each woman he pursues. With time and experience, we all have the ability to mature, heal wounds, and strengthen our relationship skills. So let’s look at this whole player issue from a different angle.

All Men Are Players - New Direction Dating

A true player is focused on one thing: What can I get from her? But this is a normal dynamic in any fresh encounter between two human beings. “Is this other person useful to me in any way?” is something you, yourself, might wonder when you meet any new person. Why should it be any different when the encounter is between two single people who also have the potential to become a romantic match? When a man first meets you, it is only natural that he will mentally tick through some of the things he might get from you. Depending on what he wants and what he thinks you can offer, the list looks something like this:

“What Can I Get From Her?”

  • Sex
  • Ego boost—the rush and affirmation of seducing a member of the opposite sex
  • Distraction—the chance to escape from worries or boredom
  • Status—if she is particularly attractive or desirable
  • Emotional support / Companionship
  • Career contacts and networking
  • Financial support
  • Many other non-romantic possibilities

If you satisfy his wish list right away—before he has had a chance to get to know you and connect with you emotionally —he may well move on quickly, without a glance back. There was no time for a connection to build and grow. Similarly, if you allow your relationship to revolve around satisfying his need—career networking, financial support, sex, or free childcare — then he’s only ever going to view you as a source for that thing, not as a full romantic partner.

After your guy disappears, you may be tempted to call him a “player” — and for sure a handful of those exist — but it is also possible that it was your willingness to turn the relationship into a transaction that flipped his outta here switch.   

If you take things slowly and allow a deeper relationship to develop, his focus on “getting” will fade away. A man in love — who is emotionally invested and connected to you — will barely think at all about what you can do for him or give to him, and will focus almost entirely on what he can do for or give to you. The same man who engaged only in romantic transactions in his past relationships — because he wasn’t emotionally bonded with his partners — can become an authentic, loving mate with you.

TIP: As a relationship deepens, a man's focus on “getting” will fade away. A man in love will barely think at all about what you can do for him, and will focus almost entirely on what he can do for you.

This is why the idea that there is a "shortage of good men" is misleading. There is no shortage. The good men are there, but you have to learn how to turn them on emotionally before they’re allowed to start getting things from you. If you choose to hand over all your valuable stuff before he has a chance to truly connect with you, then accept the fact that you have allowed him to play.

TIP: A Player is simply any man who is not emotionally invested in you — yet. Don’t give him what he wants right away, but don't reject him outright just because he tried. He may hang in there long enough for a true connection to grow.

Did you know that some single men have an irrational fear of being used by women for financial gain? The idea that a woman might be on Tinder or Match only to obtain a free dinner or movie is an urban legend that is alive and well in male dating forums. While my female clients may find that idea pretty ridiculous (they’d rather be home with a good book) it is true that the typical female focus on commitment and marriage can feel a lot like a “getting” mentality to men. He is looking for the simple pleasure of a night out with a pretty woman — you want a diamond ring and 2 children. (That’s how it can seem to him, anyway.) Here’s the mental assessment a woman on a first date might make:

“What Can I Get From Him?”

  • Marriage
  • Emotional support / Companionship
  • Financial support
  • Status—if he is particularly wealthy or successful
  • Ego boost—the rush and affirmation of seducing a member of the opposite sex
  • Sex
  • Career contacts and networking
  • Many other non-romantic possibilities

So are women players if we target a man based on his marriage and “provider” potential and disqualify men who don’t match a certain level of earning power or job stability? Let’s just say that any time either gender is in “get” mode, we are at risk of turning off the very people we hope to attract. So let’s cut each other a little slack. A man may take what he can get in the short term — that’s human nature — but assume that, ultimately, your date is longing to connect deeply with someone special. And it could be you! 

READ NEXT: RELATIONSHIP OR "ENTANGLEMENT" — DO YOU KNOW THE DIFFERENCE?

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

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.