Q: When I meet someone attractive, I get self-conscious and don’t know what to say.
A: Imagine you’re a reporter interviewing her for a story, finding out what she likes and values, enjoys doing for fun, thinks about current issues, her background, etc. Focus on what she is saying rather than how you’re performing. Let her know what you appreciate about her. Smile and make eye contact and enjoy getting to know a new friend.
Q: My partner and I are so different. Do opposites attract?
A: Sometimes, but the question is, can they live together? We may be attracted to a person who mirrors an unconscious part we haven’t integrated or faced. When couples talk about working at relationships, they mean communication. It takes more work for couples who that are very different from each other, so know that you need to verbalize your assumptions and desires. Take personality inventories to deepen your understanding and tolerance. The most widely used are included and explained in Please Understand Me by Keirsey and Bates and Discovering Your Personality Type (Enneagram) by Riso and Hudson.
Q: My friends tell me I’m an attractive guy but I haven’t been able to find a girlfriend for years. What can I do differently?
A: The main misconception I see with men is the belief they should monologue about themselves to try to impress a woman. Lack of dialogue–showing interest in learning about her–comes across as self-centered. Instead of being a standup comedian, think of yourself as a reporter whose job is to learn about the woman. Practice on women you’re not attracted to romantically, but might find interesting.
Men I talked with regard this as “working my way up.”
Think about your positive qualities before an encounter with the other sex so you come across as confidant, the trait that my informants view as most important. Why should she like you if you don’t like yourself? The men suggested being aware of your body language, making eye contact, smiling, and leaning forward towards her to show you’re interested and at ease. It also takes confidence to take risks like asking a woman you’re attracted to for lunch. The worst that can happen is that she could say no. My guys suggested thinking of this as batting a baseball; you probably strike out many times before batting a homerun, but you don’t stop playing. Also, ask yourself, “What’s going to change in your life if she turns you down?”
Q: The average, nice guy like me who is sincere, having being rejected for being too nice, knows that to a lot of women the “bad boy” is more exciting. One reason men do not open up to women is fear of being thought of as weak, fear of being boring. Fear of rejection is the number 1# reason why men do not open up to women and show their feelings. So why do women say they want sensitive men but prefer bad boys to nice guys?
A: That’s the most common complaint I’ve heard from men in US workshops I’ve co-led with a man. We’re bombarded with media tough guys: the Marlboro Man, James Bond, Russell Crowe, Eminem. You can add a multitude of other examples of film stars, musicians, and advertising images. In the same way, men are brainwashed into finding airbrushed Playboy Bunnies sexy. Let’s hope your comment reminds women readers to be conscious of media programming and to focus on the human qualities of the men in their lives rather than an unhealthy image of masculinity. Ben adds, “My experience is if I am a “bad boy,” I get a bad girl. It may be fun in the short run but it’s going to be pain eventually. If only 10% of women like you, that’s still more than you can deal with.” So, be yourself and look for a wise woman with character.
Q: How will I know when I meet the right person to marry?
A: Couples I interviewed for 50/50 Marriage said they married their best friend and enjoy talking to each other. Since it’s inevitable that two imperfect people will have conflicts, it’s important that you and your partner be able to work through problems in a positive way so that you feel closer after negotiating a conflict. We’re like pebbles in a bag that polish one another. The half-life of romantic love is around 90 days, but wait at least a year to discuss marriage so you know that attraction is 7 based on respect rather than a superficial attraction and projection of unconscious patterns. Dr. Harry Lodge (ColumbiaUniversityMedicalCenter) observes that people with good marriages cuddle a lot, are affectionate; and “There’s a luminescence to them-a deep, calm, subtle glow.”
Q: Please look clairvoyantly at my relationship with my significant other.
A: As a couple, you’re opposites attracting each other, providing each other the opportunity to balance, and move towards the center. You’re driven, focused on goals, and find it hard to relax. She’s playful, enjoys the present moment, but needs to decide on goals where she can develop her skills and provide service to others. It looks like she’s reacting to her mother’s attempts to impose her ideas on her when she was growing up. Talk about your differences as part of learning about each other and into-me-see.
Q: My significant other has a history of infidelity and flirtation to keep from feeling too close to his partner. He fears being controlled, as he was by his mother. I’ve told him how invalidated I feel when he peppers his conversations with references to other women but he doesn’t seem to get it, although he’s a Ph.D. I’ve said to him that I’m not going to commit myself wholeheartedly to a man who is emotionally committed to and identified with another woman and her family. I’m tired of the whole push and pull and am thinking of letting him go. I know he’s thinking the same.
A: This is a good example of how strong an unconscious fear can be, outsmarting a smart conscious mind and of how we repeat patterns from our childhood until we become conscious of them and resolve them. That’s why we may make stupid choices when we fall in love. Look at it as a complement that he’s feeling close to you and therefore scared. Relate to his unconscious sub-personality rather than his logical mind when he’s feeling scared, acknowledging he’s feeling cornered or overwhelmed.
You can’t control his behavior but you can control your reaction. It’s no fun to pull a girl’s pigtail if she doesn’t squeal, so don’t react emotionally. Stay centered with a sense of humor: Make a game and count to yourself how many references to other women he can squeeze in during a half hour conversation. As with parenting, nagging doesn’t work, but consequences do. For example, casually counter his references to women with your own past loves so he can experience how it feels. If he won’t change, you can decide not to play his game, ignore it to extinguish the attention he gets from you, ask him to stop or you will stop the conversation, or decide to end your involvement with him.
Q: My fiancé belongs to a church that does not permit sex before marriage, although we’re divorcees in our 40s. This necking stuff is driving me nuts. I’m ready to get married so we can make love, even though we’re having some problems.
A: Marriage vows are potentially forever. It’s unwise to get married because of sex alone. You need at least a year as a couple before you get married. Is it OK to have foreplay to orgasm but not intercourse?
Q: [And then after she married him and was unhappy.] I feel a sense of duty and commitment to give counseling a try. I hope I’m not over-focusing on the negative or reacting from old reactive attachment (e.g., my mother never loved me) issues. My head tells me he doesn’t love me. My heart tells me he’s trying but doesn’t know how. He wants to be given to rather than be a partner or give of himself. I’d like to give him the benefit of possible change towards being a giver but doubt that’s in his nature. I feel drained, oppressed, and depressed. It would take a miracle for him to start showing love in a way I can feel and/or be a contributor, rather than just expecting to be treated as a King. I’m angry, which isn’t me–mostly angry at myself for marrying someone who doesn’t love me but expects everything. I’m wondering if he isn’t narcissistic.
A: What’s the lesson for you? We’ve got to get it clear or it will keep repeating. Perhaps it’s to stop picking partners who don’t appreciate you, like your family didn’t, a deservability issue. I’d do a simple daily affirmation: ”I’m a unique creation: I deserve to be adored.” Yes, it’s worth counseling and an effort to see if you can love him as a child of God and teach him how to love by your example. I’m not sure that you respect him enough to do this work as you each married to the sake of sex and being married for the church, rather than being best friends–the #1 standard for picking a life partner. [She divorced him after less than a year of marriage and was very relieved.]
Q: [Japan] When I visit my girlfriend Yuki, I feel tired and sleepiness. I feel her grounding from my cord, and she connects me with her energy cord (many).Then I protected, I changed vigor. Gayle sensei, does she suck from me? And is it better to tell her about it?
A: Most lovers send energy cords into each other. Experiment with putting up energetic protection in the form of an egg-shaped bubble around your body. Put male symbols (circle with up arrow) around it to establish clear boundaries between the two of you. Be amused that you’re so attractive to her. I emphasize humor because when we get reactive, serious, and rigid, we lock into the problem like putting your fingers in the Chinese straw tube toys. When you feel her energy in your space, say something to her like “Do you need to ground now? It seems like you need to feel close to me now. Let’s talk about that.” Yes, talk about it so she becomes conscious of what she’s doing energetically so she can correct her habit. Remind her to ground with her own grounding pipe like visualizing a redwood tree deep into the earth from the base of the spine.
Q: My boyfriend is very logical and I’m very emotional so sometimes we drive each other nuts.
A: Understanding an issue is half the solution. He’s not trying to irritate you; emotions seem messy and uncomfortable to him. I’d work out a plan to put to use when you have a conflict. Maybe he could agree to listen to you without feeling any pressure to solve your problem. Then when you’ve discharged your upset, you can discuss the issue rationally. Understand that his thought process is linear; he needs one thought to follow from the other in a sequence, A to B to C. Together you can teach each other a lot; he can be encouraged to explore his feelings little by little without fearing they’ll submerge him. You can think through what bothers you, analyze it so it makes sense to both of you and he has a handle on what to do or not do in response to a clearly defined problem.
Q: Why do women date/marry men with a lot of money (not all women)? [Age 14]
A: Remember that most of the 130,000 years of homo sapien history we’ve been nomadic hunters and gathers. We settled down to do agriculture only 10,000 years ago. If you were pregnant, or nursing and protecting a baby, as most adult women were, you’d want a successful mate to help protect and to provide protein for you and your kids. You can think of many other genetic influences from our past, as in men liking football (fighting over and hunting the game/ball) and women liking to gather (shop). But with technology, birth control, and living much longer, we’re moving towards equality. Today about 25% of wives in dual-earner families earn more than their husbands. Gender roles are changing as women become independent and men are allowed to be more sensitive.
Q: The question about what do women want had been around since Freud, but I’m a single woman interested in finding a guy and want to know what men want.
A: Men want to feel appreciated and successful in pleasing their partners, according to John Grey, therapist and author of Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus. If a woman comments, “I’d love to live in a mansion like that,” the man personalizes it and figures since he can’t fulfill her dreams, he’d better find another woman. I asked Mike Peavy, a bike store owner, who is as likely to have people come in for relationship advice as for bikes, what he’s looking for in a woman. “Play (fun and laughter), compatibility
(the small things), communication (deep and often) and passion” are his top priorities, while love is the glue that pulls it all together, he says. A teenager, Jim, told me, “I want to feel like her existence would be much more difficult if it weren’t for me, that other guys don’t measure up, that I’m smarter, kinder, and more handsome. I would want to feel that whatever I provided her with was enough, and that despite our need for a separate time from each other, she would relish our time the most.” A professor, Sam, said, It boils down to feeling supported. What I need the most was expressed by Nick Cage, the actor, on Jay Leno recently, “She supports me,” about his non-actress wife. For me that comment says it all–we want someone to get on our rocket ship and support our dreams, hopes and desires. It might be publishing a poem in the town newspaper, getting a promotion, starting a business, moving to a new place, and so on. I thought Nick Cage could have any woman in the world but the one he fell for was someone ” who supports me.” I know I want that as well and is a condition for any long-term relationship. I then started listening to friends and celebrities and this thread was always part of what they said they want. Beyond that I want to be in love even when you do something hurtful to another person. After the apology, this is what says whether you truly love each other. So if someone can love someone for their flaws, I think that is a winner too.
Q: I was so intent on not getting involved with a man, because I didn’t want to get hurt or abused, that I manifested an abusive boss at work. I have been so depressed lately, I really isolated myself like I did after I left my husband.
A: Many of us are in a similar position of a pattern repeating itself with the opposite sex in various partners. I’ll suggest how to clear an ingrained habit like this, but first point out that major life lessons usually need to be repeated until we really get them. It’s like learning a tennis swing; you get it right, you lose it; you practice and get it right again. The question is–are you recognizing the danger signs sooner and react more confidently in assertion of your rights and self respect. If so, give yourself credit for getting stronger. These life patterns dissolve like peeling onion skins, one after another, as we attract the best actors into our drama, the best teachers into our classroom of daily life. It’s a lifelong process so don’t expect perfection. Step back and observe the drama with some amusement at the kinds of lessons you attract. Just as steel goes through the fire to burn out impurities, so do we strengthen our weaknesses through challenging interactions. Look at them as opportunities for growth rather than punishment.
We carry invisible signs about what’s familiar to us in relationships. People who know how to pair up with your habit are attracted to you and you to them, such as addict and codependent, so the key is to change the signs. Understanding intellectually can help, but it’s not enough to move out the irrational habits which block rational thinking. I suggest you use EFT on a daily basis to clear out the habit of abuse and depression.
Flower remedies are another way to change subtle energy patterns, such as the Bach 10 remedies: Sweet Chestnut for emotional pain, Star of Bethlehem for traumatic events, or Gorse for feeling hopeless. Flower remedies have no adverse side effects and can be purchased at natural food stores.
Q: My boyfriend is irresponsible, doesn’t get along with my son, and criticizes me. I love him, but this painful situation is damaging my health.
A: What are your priorities? I’d say your health and your son are the most important. If you would feel less stressed not living with your boyfriend, you can still have a relationship with him but on your own terms.
Q: [Japan] I’ve been dating a married guy for several years. He says he’ll leave his wife next year and I’m really looking forward to more time with him.
A: If he would cheat and lie to her, what makes you think he wouldn’t do the same with you? I feel he likes having two women. Why do you think he will leave her if he hasn’t for the last two years. How would you feel about a woman who would have an affair with your husband? Ask yourself if there is any gain for you in not having a one-on-one relationship? I’d stop any romance until he actually moves out. Be prepared for his resistance to this plan and stick to your decision. Make an effort to meet single men in interesting and fun places.
Q: I’ve been involved in a triangle with a man and his girlfriend for years. How do I really get free from this painful game?
A: When we’re anxious and uncertain, as when a love interest is unpredictable, the intensity may get confused with passionate love. Also, it feels so good to get momentary relief when he is attentive and says, “You’re the one I really care for,” like an addict getting her drug. It’s easy to get hooked to the relationship drama. I would think of him as an addictive drug and not see him. He may sense your withdrawal and become more attentive, so don’t be fooled by this attention. I would use an affirmation to reprogram your attachment to him, such as “I deserve a healthy, loyal, loving man.” Affirmations may seem simplistic but they help reprogram the unconscious mind, so they need to be repeated frequently in the present sense, with gratitude. Listen for negative thoughts, doubts and fears, that pop up in reaction to the positive belief, then use EFT to clear the blocks.
Q: I keep getting my heart broken by lovers.
A: I would look at relationships as an opportunity to learn about men and about your self in relation to them, keeping in mind what Jung said about relationships and dreams being the best window into the shadow and the unconscious. I wouldn’t look for Mr. Right for the rest of your life until you’ve had more experience with different men, just like you need experience with various jobs. If you don’t expect Mr. Right, but rather expect to have fun and learn, then your heart won’t get broken at the end of a fling. You’ll think, well I gradated from grade __ and now I’m going to go on to the next grade. It’s sad to leave elementary/middle/high school/college but necessary to close one door to open the next one. Changing expectations goes a long way. I would also analyze patterns in your lovers as holding up a mirror for unresolved issues in yourself.
My experience is looking back on past heartbreakers, is in hindsight, I’m really glad I’m not still with them, although I learned a lot from each one, including fun activities like backpacking and beekeeping. I also enjoyed getting to know their families. Focus on enjoying life and developing your talents, not on Mr. Right.
Q: I’m 39 and worried about when I’ll find my life partner, after many relationships not working out.
A: Are there any patterns in why the past relationships ended? We can look at them as a mirror to highlight our unconscious issues that haven’t worked their way to consciousness. It looks like your past loves share a split between heart and mind; this could be something you need to look at. Focus on becoming the person you want to be, rather than reacting to your mother; develop your career, and have fun. Enjoy being in romance school and learning about the other sex.
Q I’ve been involved with a series of guys who aren’t faithful.
Q: I can’t find a man who can make a commitment.
A: The problem is not men as a group, as there as many loyal and committed men. The issue is your selection process, the way your antenna is tuned to men who fit your pattern. If there’s any pattern in your life it’s a teaching device, a mirror to your unresolved unconscious issues. Take some time to explore your childhood, your parents’ relationship(s), what level of intimacy you’re comfortable with, what you believe you deserve. Analyzing your dreams helps understand the motivation for your choices in men. We usually need a therapist or coach to help with your awareness of unconscious patterns. As you change your awareness, the men you’re attracted to will improve. It’s you who must change first and then you’ll attract a loyal partner.
Q: My boyfriend hasn’t called for a week and I’m worried.
A: It makes it easier for someone to think clearly and take action if you pull your energy out of his space. If someone invades your personal space by standing too close to you, your natural tendency is to move away. If someone moves away from you, you’re likely to step towards her. The same is true of obsessive thoughts about someone. We actually feel thoughts as Marilyn Schultz, Ph.D., showed in her lab studies. A person whose vital signs are monitored reacts when someone in another room thinks about him or her. (This and other research on the power of thought is reported on in my Energy Tools book.) So the best plan is to focus on enjoying your own life and to set the intention that both of you will be guided to the right path.
Q: We’ve been together around a year, but I’m not sure I want to stay with my boyfriend.
A: I’m seeing an attraction vs. pull-away between you two. I think your childhood issues are surfacing now with some discomfort. Harville Hendrix explains in How to Get the Love You Want that we’re attracted to a “soul mate” because of the similarity of our childhood backgrounds. We know how to relate to each other, and it feels comfortable, even if unhealthy. In the second stage of relationships, romantic love and sexual excitement wear off and we feel similar disappointment or what ever stemmed from the childhood issue. At that point, we can go off and start stage one again with someone else, although stage two will pop up with the daily realities of roommate hassles. The third stage is to become conscious of our unconscious behavior tapes and sub-personalities (such as the inner child or inner critic) and work through them with the beloved. Hendrix provides useful exercises in his book. I suggest doing the work before you give up because you care about each other and will need to do the emotional exploration at some point, in order to have a conscious relationship with anyone.
Q: Two men want to marry me. I can’t make up my mind as I’m attracted to both.
A: Take your time; don’t allow either of them to pressure you into a decision. Wait until you have clarity and an inner certainty. Don’t let you biological clock ticking pressure you either. Maybe neither of them is Mr. Right, but we can earn from each of the partners we attract into our lives. [Neither one turned out to be the One.]
Q: My partner is like a brother to me so I’m not at all inspired by sex with him.
A: Calvin Coolidge’s wife pointed out to him that the rooster had more frequent sex than they did and he replied the rooster had lots of hens for variety. The two of you can create variety by going on romantic little trips and weekly dates, getting new ideas from sex books and women’s magazines are filled with such tips, and acting out fantasies as if you were actors. Masters and Johnson asked their clients to refrain from sex for a while and get to know the other person’s body with gentle non-sexual massage. Therapy may help uncover unconscious blocks to your sexual fulfillment.