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February 2, 2015

Interview With Blair Glaser

1. A common problem our subscribers face especially those who are coming out of a messy divorce or breakup is lack of self-belief and confidence. They wonder if there are enough eligible men looking for a serious long term relationship, they doubt if men would find them attractive and some also suffer from body image issues. What advice do you have for women to overcome this problem?

As a society and especially as women, we have sadly become accustomed to treating ourselves like objects — to be loved or rejected based on looks and status. We are so much more than this. We each have incredible aspects to our personalities and to our humanity that are not commonly valued in the media.

First I would recommend a woman do some data gathering. Invite people who love her and with whom she spends time — friends, colleagues, family, etc. — to tell her what they love about her, or what they see as her strengths. She needs to believe what she hears and own it. This is not always the easiest thing to do. If it’s not, I recommend getting help.

Then, in the dating process, I would recommend she focus on what she is looking for. How does she want to feel? How does she wish to be treated? What kind of life does she see herself in? This is what I call creating a relationship vision, and it is imperative that single women have one. Instead of focusing on whether or not the guy likes her, a vision enables her to focus on what he’s bringing to the table. What qualities is he displaying? Is what he is revealing about himself attractive, or slightly worrisome? Is this person a right fit for the life I want to step into?

There are a lot of old wounds the come up in this process that can keep women out of their authority as they look for love. It helps to have a therapist, coach or mentor in the process. I’ve been in and out of relationships for years and I always get help to gain perspective, heal old wounds that surface, and hone my vision.

2. Some of our subscribers feel stuck in their love lives because of their past emotional baggage. This affects them in a number of ways- they either tend to compare the next man they are dating with their ex or they have trust issues because they have been cheated on before or they just cannot seem to forget their ex and move on in life. What are some practical ways that can help women release their past emotional baggage so that they can start attracting healthy love into their lives?

First of all, comparing the next man to your ex is natural and can actually be healthy. It is only unhealthy if you are idealizing the ex. But if you allow yourself to see the ex as a person with strengths and flaws, ways that he treated you well and not, comparing him to the next guy can help you choose better: “Wow, [ex’s name] never pulled the chair out for me, and he didn’t call to make sure I got home. . . .I like this.” “[Ex’s name] and I had the same taste in food . . . that worked really well. I don’t know how I feel about dating a guy who’s vegetarian,” etc.

Letting go is hard. It can be a long process. You have to be ready. Heartbreak sucks, but it actually makes us stronger. If we can get up and function after our heart is shattered, it builds character. We need to accept that sometimes love hurts, and that we can survive the hurt, and that we deserve the ecstasy and deep companionship that can come from loving another human.

Again, I encourage single women to create a vision for the life and love they want to create. And for those reading I ask, is a man really a part of it, or do you need to spend some time, a couple of seasons or more, by yourself? Treating yourself well? Letting your heart heal? Coming up with a vision will help keep you in the right framework for courting love if that’s what you want to do.

3. As women prepare themselves to date men after a breakup or divorce, they often find dating intimidating and stressful. They feel out of touch, out of place and suffer from anxiety because it has been a long time since they have gone out on a date. Some even call dating a dreaded chore. How can women overcome this intense anxiety and start enjoying the dating process?

You just have to decide to have fun. This was difficult for me at first, but it really made all the difference. I knew I wanted an amazing love. I found dating difficult, time consuming and quite a drag, but I knew somewhere inside that it didn’t have to be. The point of bringing love into my life was to have more connection and more fun. So I made a firm commitment that I was going to enjoy myself, and if I wasn’t enjoying myself, I would leave. Right in the middle or even at the beginning of a date. There were one or two dates where I did just that. It was really empowering.

4. Some women have the tendency to attract the wrong men over and over again. Some repeatedly fall for the cheaters, players, men with addiction issues etc. A lot of experts talk about how this comes from unresolved childhood wounds and second they also point out that women may themselves have commitment issues. On the surface though, women find it hard to accept that they would repeatedly fall for the wrong men because that’s what they unconsciously want. Can you explain this issue in detail and how women can overcome this issue?

We are drawn to what we know. Even if we hate the experience of abuse and neglect, if it’s what we know, we will gravitate towards it. Not because we are wounded, self-hating and self-sabotaging, although those factors may be fueling the repetition. It is because the unknown is a source of great anxiety, and the known stabilizes us. We can complain and complain about the wrong partner, without realizing how stable and safe that complaining makes us feel — again, because we’re used to it. It’s very counter-intuitive. Dating someone different than who we normally do, means that we will not know who we are. We have to be willing to be disoriented and feel anxious and uncertain — along with allowing ourselves to feel satisfied — if we want to fall in love with someone different and more healthy.

5. Some of our subscribers have the tendency to ignore and overlook the red flags especially when they really like a man. In the process, they create an idealized version of the man and overestimate the feelings he has for them. For women who have a history of fantasizing and idealizing a partner, what can they do to evaluate the man and their relationship for what it is truly worth rather than what they ideally like it to be?

You have to admit you have an addiction issue. This is not easy. With substances, which we also crave and idealize, it’s more obvious how bad and destructive they are. If you are really ready to change destructive relationship behavior and prepare yourself for real love, don’t do it alone. Get a sponsor, mentor, coach or therapist. I have never been able to figure out what I know about potential mates completely on my own. I need someone (or several folks) who I trust and who can help keep me honest, ask me the hard questions, and point me towards the authority within — the power I have to be alone with self-respect, rather than miserable and lonely in a so-called relationship. Then, it’s up to me to make the hard choices, such as leaving a man who is not treating me the way I need to be treated in order to be in a real relationship. But I’m not making that choice alone or in a vacuum. I require the support and love from within and without to do it.

6. Some experts recommend women wait till they get to know the man they are dating and not have sex until you both are committed to exclusivity. Some experts believe you should go with the flow and be spontaneous and not have any rules regarding when you want to sleep with a man. Can you share your thoughts on the right time to have sex?

There are no rules. It all depends on what you want. If you want a long term relationship and you like someone, I recommend waiting until you have established some sort of commitment, not as a ploy or a game, but because sex is more powerful than we realize, and the intimacy it generates can sometimes be too much for a budding relationship to handle. If you have sex very early on, it may work out fine, but you can also blow your chances with someone who might have been a good candidate because there are no established avenues to talk about what happened. But if you give the relationship a chance to develop, it has a better chance of tolerating the intensity of sex and can even recover if it doesn’t go so well the first time, which it usually doesn’t. I write some radical advice on pacing in my article, Beyond the Third Date Rule : http://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/beyond-third-date-rule-pace-sex-relationship-success-dg/

7. Can too much honesty negatively affect a relationship especially when you have just started seeing the other person? How much of the past and even the present should you reveal to the man you are dating? Should you share details like cheating in the previous relationship, the fact you are currently seeing a therapist or you are a recovering alcoholic etc? Some of our subscribers have been too honest and in the process lost out on many men because it freaked them out. Can you share your thoughts on how women can balance the fine line between honesty and giving themselves the chance to date men and pursue a long term committed relationship?

We are living in an era that values honesty, and in a time where people are sharing so many personal details with wide audiences via social media. It is confusing. What we have forgotten, is that real relationships, and real intimacy, take time to develop. If you have discovered that sharing intimate details about yourself right away does not generate intimacy, you are probably do so out of anxiety or lack of knowing another way. It will come across as insecure or desperate. This is an opening to find another way. If you suspect this is a problem, begin with a little self-inquiry.

Why are you sharing? Are you excited? Nervous? Bored? Anxious? The first step is being willing to explore what’s driving the behavior. Then you get to learn how to contain those feelings, which means that you hold them within yourself, so they don’t get to drive your behavior. You behave based on who you want to be, what you want to know and experience with this new person. Then, when you share a piece of personal information, it is to move the relationship forward, not manage your own discomfort. This is challenging and again, takes some training, usually with a mentor or coach figure.

Also, dating is too focused on dining. I recommend that dating couples do activities that bring the focus outward, onto something else. You can learn just as much, if not more, about someone from how they respond to a movie or to art, or playing a game like tennis, than you can by talking to them. What do they like? How do they talk about it? Do they get frustrated when there is traffic, or a line? Are they super competitive? Learn to get to know things about people from how they act, not so much from what they tell you. Doing activities together is a great way to spend time with and get to know someone.

8. Our subscribers also run into a situation where things are going great and just when they think the relationship has great potential or feel he is the one, the man starts developing cold feet. He pulls away, doesn’t respond to phone calls or text messages and in some cases disappears for a while. What advice do you have for women who deal with men that suddenly pull away and act inconsistent?

I have a lot to say about this. Please allow me to refer you here: 5 Ways to Get Through Your Boyfriend’s Pullback

9. What are your top 3 relationship tips that you would offer women who are single and looking for a long term committed relationship?

1. Throw away your “list” of attributes you want in a mate. Instead, spend time imagining how you want to feel in the relationship. Who are you when you are in a healthy LTR? How does your life change with love in it? What kind of partner would you need to fulfill a vision of a life you love living?

For me, I used to have a list: Funny, successful, handsome, tall, smart, etc. Then, I realized that I wasn’t getting to know people. I was comparing them to my list and making checks and X’s. I was looking for a fantasy.

When I looked deep, I discovered that I needed someone who was willing to create a new type of partnership, which meant that he would have to be self-motivated. He would have to understand certain things about partnership, and he needed to be cheerful and truly confident (had come through something intense and recovered) and was able to change and grow. This is still list-like, but different, because it came from a vision of who and how I wanted to be in the future — not from a “package” idea of a person.

2. Have accountability. A best friend, a mentor, coach, sponsor — someone who you entrust to keep you honest, and someone you won’t hate for it. That last part is really important, and why you may not want to make your best friend this person unless the relationship is super strong.

3. Have fun. Instead of making the mission “to find someone so I can start living my life,” start living your life now. Have fun with dating. If it’s not fun, stop, or find a way to make it fun. Otherwise, what’s the point??? If you don’t know how to have fun as a single person, once the new romance feeling wears off, I don’t see how you are going to have fun being married. Don’t leave it up to your potential mate to be responsible for your fun. That’s a lot to put on a person.

10. What books or resources would you recommend for women that are looking to attract the right man and create long lasting fulfilling relationships?

1. My online course, formerly called Lovers and Leaders, now called “Intimate Authority, for singles and couples learning how to create satisfying, drama -free relationships without losing your power (coming, March 15, 2015, sign up here for first dibs and more info )

2. Pretty much any book by Mama Gena

3. “Hot Monogamy” and “How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About it” by Pat Love

About Blair Glaser

Bill-Glaser

Blair Glaser, MA, LCAT, RDT is a writer, consultant, therapist and leadership mentor who assists in creating thriving teams and fixing broken ones: The teams inside yourself, the teams in your relationships and the ones at work. She teaches people how to excel on the twin journeys of loving and leading.

Blair’s foundational experiences bring together a unique practice in which she has consulted with couples and individuals from all walks of life, as well as executives, managers and teams at Miller Howard Investments, UBS, JPMorgan Chase, Citibank, and Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York. She has been practicing her unique blend of therapy and coaching for 15 years and run groups and workshops since 1998.

For more information, please visit her at www.blairglaser.com.




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