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.
Zales
Logo

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.

Zales
Logo

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.)

IGXO Cosmetics
  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.)
e.l.f. cosmetics

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

e.l.f. cosmetics

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.

3 STEPS TO RE-ANCHOR YOUR MARRIAGE (FOR WOMEN)

“You can have everything and still be depressed, until you learn that you are here as an offering. You are not here to get; you are here to give.”
— David Deida, Dear Lover

If you’ve been married to your man for many years, you know that getting to the altar was the easy part. It’s staying together for the long haul that is the challenge. Few of us would consider it a success to simply co-partner with a mate in a basic, tribal sense, nesting and raising young together. We humans crave and need passionate, emotional connection in a long-term union. If that feeling of connectedness weakens, loneliness can set in, and our commitment to each other will weaken in response.

“You can have everything and still be depressed, until you learn that you are here as an offering. You are not here to get; you are here to give.” —David Deida, Dear Lover

There is never a wrong time to practice openness, but it is especially important in a committed relationship. (Of course, I bring this idea to you with the assumption that your man is trustworthy, treats you with respect, and has made you a priority in his life. Those conditions must be met before we talk about emotionally surrendering ourselves to a mate.)

If you’ve been feeling like your connection needs strengthening—maybe he seems a little distant, or you just have a vague feeling that things are “off”—following these 3 steps will help to re-anchor feelings of love and attachment.

1.    Read Dear Lover by David Deida. This book celebrates feminine joy and sensuality, and offers a safe space for exploring ideas about surrender within a committed, loving relationship. If you struggle to relate to your man in an emotionally vulnerable way (or if you’re not sure what, exactly, that looks and feels like) Deida’s vivid, erotically charged language will help you “open in trust” to your mature, loving mate, and move past blocks and fears. Bringing this mindset into your relationship will fuel his passion and devotion.

2.   Give without expectation of any return. This generosity comes from a position of strength, and is a completely different perspective from the eager-to-please “doormat” who puts everyone else’s needs first. Actually, you have a deep need to give to those you love; it is only when we start keeping score that giving breeds resentment and poisons otherwise healthy impulses. Just for today, imagine that you are Queen of your household. You have unlimited resources at your disposal and it makes you happy to share your good fortune. When you see that your husband’s glass is empty, you graciously refill it—without waiting for him to acknowledge it, or even notice. This shift in perspective—from put-upon victim to magnanimous ruler—can help you feel energized and alive. It builds good will, the foundation of any healthy relationship.

3.   Remove the assumption that you “know” your man. This is hard to do. You think you know all there is to know about him—how he thinks and feels. But you have surely grown and evolved since you first met. Maybe you have new dreams and desires that he is unaware of. Certainly he does, too. So put on your safari gear and go observe him in the wild. Take notes. Ask him questions. What is his mission in life—has it changed since you were first dating and dying to know all about him? Pretend you just met. And don’t make the mistake of sharing all your dreams and desires first; to a man, that can feel like “dumping” if it is unexpected and out of context. Listen to him with respect, first. Your time will come, and he will return your interest ten-fold when you show that you trust him to do so. 

THIS ARTICLE WAS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON ROBYN'S BLOG @THE WELLNESS UNIVERSE.

RELATED POSTS:

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

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

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

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

sugar by maroon 5

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5 Tips For Making Him Crave Commitment With You

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HOW TO ACCEPT YOUR INNER REBEL AND FIND HEALTHY LOVE, TOO

We adopt all kinds of defensive postures throughout life. The “Rebel” is a powerful one, and can give you a little bit of swagger when you’re feeling vulnerable. Each woman has her own version of this pose, depending on her individual style. Here are some variations you may have tried on at some point—or maybe you have your own spin:

  • Bad Girl
  • Outlaw
  • Femme Fatale
  • Ice Queen
  • Black Widow
  • Vixen
rebel love doesn't have to be bad love

Of course, true rebellion is more than a pose. Even at an individual scale, we must fight against injustices aimed at our self-worth, and against past or present abuses of every kind. We may choose to live "off the grid" or otherwise opt out of conventionality. This type of rebellion is empowering and essential to human freedom.  

But what I’m talking about today is different: rejecting “ordinary” human experiences because we mistakenly believe we aren’t welcome in the regular world—a choice that actually limits your options rather than opening up new ones. Or adopting a dark mask to cover up feelings of pain and emptiness. Feelings of isolation, in particular, can lead us toward a tough-girl stance. The irony is that such a pose may drive people further from our lives, making real what was originally just perception. 

Men notice right away when a woman is trying to appear tougher than she feels, and they know it is a sign of weakness and insecurity. That is a Playground 101 Rule, and boys learn those lessons early in life! Guys who seek out and flatter "tough girls" are often manipulators, knowingly preying on the weak and vulnerable. 

When I was younger and single, I’m embarrassed to say that I thought of myself as a femme fatale, and shielded myself with sarcasm. My armor was a cutting sense of humor that would have made Liz Lemon seem sweet by comparison. It was a hard-shelled act that covered up feelings I had a difficult time acknowledging. Though there was a lot that I enjoyed about being single, I experienced loneliness and depression, too. It’s hard to watch your friends effortlessly pair off, and to rely on guy-buds for the kind of domestic chores you’d rather be sharing with a fiancé or husband—all those hours wasted with Mr. Wrong, assembling a new Ikea dresser. At my lowest point, this is how I felt:

  • I am lonely
  • I feel left out
  • I am defective
  • No one will choose me
  • I am unchosen

Then, life would pick up, I’d shake the blue feelings, and the pose would be dropped for a while. Over time, as I learned to relate and date in a more healthy way, I was able to connect with men in a softer—and truer—way. I didn’t need or want the armor anymore because my confidence was real. And I had faith that someday I would find happiness with the right man.     

But sometimes we get stuck in a particular pose, because it works for us and we’ve become used to it. And then we start to lower our expectations to fit around that false idea of ourselves. This is what happens when we internalize the Bad Girl/Bad Boy ideas, and start to identify with all that is wrong and broken.

I met with a client recently who was so used to wearing a mask of dark cynicism that she often didn’t notice it, herself. But her dates certainly did. Her hard sense of humor was turning off men who were initially very attracted to her. She went on plenty of first dates, but guys seemed to disappear afterward. She believed that she was showing these men her “true self” by regaling them with the bitter commentary she entertained friends and coworkers with. To her dates, she just seemed angry and depressed—not the gorgeous, fun girl that those who know her well get to experience. In letting only a tiny sliver of her personality shine, she was actually masking her truest self, and revealing only her darkest side. 

Several years ago I met with a client who had been referred to me by her mother. The daughter had a taste for “bad boys” and her mom was concerned. Again, it was a similar situation. During college, my client had adopted a classic bad girl pose; it fit so well, and made her feel so powerful, that she really started to believe that “bad love” was her thing. Of course, if all you know of love is on-again, off-again drama, you may believe that romance with a “nice guy”—someone dependable and accommodating—is not meant for you.

But my client was exhausted by the drama and pain that came from pursuing unavailable men. She was ready to break free from the limitations that she, herself, had placed on her love life. She eventually connected with a great guy who treats her like a queen. Now they live the rebel life—together—and are happily raising their twin sons in an artist colony in New Mexico. 

There is nothing wrong with a woman finding emotional strength and validation as an outlaw warrior for whatever cause she believes in. Maybe being an outsider fuels your creative spirit and is a perfectly healthy expression of who you are. But beware the idea that as a rebel, you somehow are destined for broken men and a broken heart. Being true to yourself means taking care of yourself, also. Everyone deserves healthy, lasting love. 

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