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…?

Logo
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.

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

The power is already inside you.

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

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

And I like it

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

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

there is no magic in simply fitting in

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

FROM ASTRID & MIYU

Are you blocking others from connecting with you?

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

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

FROM BEAUTY BRANDS

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

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

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

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

IGXO Cosmetics

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

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

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

Is being smart and confident a turnoff?

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

FROM BCBG

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.