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.

DATING TIPS FOR ALPHA WOMEN

WHAT MEN REALLY THINK ABOUT SMART, SUCCESSFUL WOMEN

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tommy Hilfiger

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

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

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

Which one is the Alpha Female?

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

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

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

PHOTO A (POINTING)
Women:

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

Men:

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

PHOTO B (READING)
Women:

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

Men:

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

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

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

e.l.f. cosmetics

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

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

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

3 REASONS WHY THE 'IT GIRL' DOESN'T ALWAYS WIN AT LOVE

 Don't settle for applause when what you desire is a love connection.

Don't settle for applause when what you desire is a love connection.

Let's face it, men like you. Maybe your friends even call you a man magnate and envy your ability to gather a crowd of admirers wherever you go. At work, the buzz is that all the single guys are crushing on you.

And yet, despite these conquests, your social sparkle hasn't yet manifested Mr. Right. It seems so unfair—shouldn’t it be an asset to be popular with the boys? And aren’t you increasing your chances of getting paired up when you make eligible men the center of your social universe?

Here are 3 reasons why being on the most-wanted list doesn’t necessarily help you score in romance—along with ways to tweak your game so that you are sure to win.

1. Your regularly-scheduled appearances have him yawning and reaching for the remote. If you enjoy being at the center of a group, that’s a bonus—you are probably better than most singles at getting out and meeting new people. But the problem comes in when your attendance at events is so consistent that everyone has your schedule memorized. Do you always go out for beers on Wednesday nights with your work buddies? Maybe one of your office mates has fantasized about asking you out one-on-one, but since you’re so available his drive to approach is quickly disappearing. What’s the rush, thinks Mr. Lazypants, I’ll see her tomorrow night with the crew.

From now on, make for the elevator as soon as each workday ends, and go to the gym or out with non-work friends instead. Interested in a cute guy who volunteers at your church coffee hour? Say hi after the service, but skip the small talk and donuts, and go for a run with other friends instead. If a man is interested in taking things to the next level, he will get the idea that he’d better take action or you’ll leave him in the dust.

2. He’s starting to see you as a wingman rather than the main attraction. Being entertaining and fun are terrific qualities to have and can net you an appreciative male audience, but your opportunity for flirtation could get lost in the snorts and guffaws. To ensure that you remain a glamour girl—and not just the funny girl—dress up your wit in a little seductive mystery. Learn to punctuate your routine with silence, and generously share center stage with others. If you are naturally an extrovert, go ahead and have your moment in the spotlight (we love that about you) but then disappear rather than holding forth all night. Maybe one of your fans has a secret crush on you; by leaving him wanting more, you have the chance to ignite desire and haunt his thoughts. Isn’t that better than being his silly little sister?

3. You may be substituting applause for true connection. When you’re the It Girl surrounded by appreciative guys, it’s easy to believe that a lasting relationship is right around the corner; surely someone in the group is The One, right? We fool ourselves into thinking that since we easily attract a man’s attention we are somehow well on our way toward capturing his heart. But amor may be as elusive as ever; he may admire you but not in that way. If what you really want is to be part of a couple, be careful not to confuse bro affection with the real thing. Instead, sign up for speed-dating or Meetup activities and start being more purposeful in your social choices. Don’t feed your need for attention at the expense of fulfilling your need for an intimate connection.

Male friends are wonderful and we value having them in our lives. But if you are a single woman who is searching for her Mr. Right, don’t get lulled into complacency because you find yourself hanging with the boys on a Saturday night. Keep your relationship goals in focus, and start turning down some of those group hang-outs. You might be pleasantly surprised to find that by shaking up your routine, you’ve sparked new interest and turned a friend into something more.

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