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January 8, 2015

Interview With Natasha Silver Bell

1. One question we get asked quite often from our subscribers especially from women in their late 30s and above is if there are enough eligible men looking for a serious long term relationship. There seems to be this belief that men around their age group are more interested in younger women. What advice do you have for women who have a deep rooted skepticism that they can’t find love because of their age and are almost at the point of giving up?

The answer is yes. There are plenty of eligible men with good values looking for serious relationships with women of any age. Men like this are more likely to be found at volunteer programs, special interest groups, religious affiliations, yoga classes, exercise classes, special hobby groups or other areas ones passions are in.

Geography does make a difference, however, and it can be very challenging depending on what city or town you live in. In certain cities, with more aggressive women that are younger, the men in their mid to late 30s will be temporarily entertained by them, but it rarely lasts. There is a population of men in major metropolis’s that can take a while to have an awareness of what they really want and value in a woman.

For women who really feel like giving up, and have had no luck with dating or relationships, I recommend revisiting their approach. Age is just a number, but attitude is everything. When a woman feels good about herself, takes good care of herself, and enjoys life, it shows. To think age is taking us down is not helpful; we get better with age and the goal is to become clearer about who we are and what we want; figure those things out and the rest will follow.

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?

You’re exactly right – attracting healthier love is key, and your personal aura can have a great impact on that. If you’re in a cycle that keeps repeating itself, meaning you’re having the same relationships or dating issues, then it might be time to seek outside help and do an overhaul with a professional. There are therapists, coaches, relationship specialists, workshops, you name it they have it. The way to get a healthy relationship is to put out the positive energy that you have to offer.

If a woman is hurting over a lost love another solution is to take time to grieve that relationship. Try nurturing yourself for a while instead of tossing your hurt self back out to the sharks to have the same thing happen again because you’re not running at 100%. Take a step back and try dating yourself; treat yourself exactly the way you’d want a man to treat you for a couple months, then put yourself back out there and see what happens. You may be surprised at how quickly bad behavior from a man becomes clear, and unacceptable. You’ll begin to tolerate dating those kinds of men less and less.

3. One popular concern that our subscribers have is regarding sharing their feelings with the man they are dating. What we typically find is that when women like the man they are seeing, they tend to avoid bringing up difficult issues and tough conversations because they fear they might lose him. So what they generally tend to do is that they keep it to themselves and give the impression that things are just fine. For example, they have a fantastic date with a man and he says he will call after a few days. They wait, wait and wait to be disappointed that he didn’t follow up as he said he would. But they are happy when they eventually hear back from him and don’t share how they really felt during the no contact period.

What would your advice be for women who have the fear that sharing feelings and emotions will drive a man away and make them come across as someone clingy and needy?

If you see signs of similar behavior in people you’re dating you need to bring it up immediately, but with kindness. It is the approach that matters the most. It doesn’t have to be a long, emotional, baggage dump, and shouldn’t be. If he said he’d call and didn’t, then you hear from him later on you can make a joke like, “Oh I didn’t expect to hear from you,” or, if it’s someone you really like and want to have a relationship with, then a simple, “I’m sorry I didn’t hear from you sooner,” might get you the results you’re looking for.

Speaking up about your feelings in a short, concise manner is appropriate and necessary. You can’t let the fear of what they may think or say be the deciding factor of whether you speak up. If you’re frightened of speaking up you need to figure out why that is; this is your part in finding a suitable match.

4. From our subscribers, we often hear “lack of chemistry” as a leading reason why they aren’t willing to persist with a man even though he seemed to be a decent guy, treated them with respect and made them feel comfortable. Can you share your thoughts on chemistry and can attraction grow over time? Is it worth persisting with a man with whom a woman feels comfortable but doesn’t quite share the chemistry?

There’s an important difference between having instant chemistry with someone versus meeting someone you may like, who has all the qualities you want and you find physically pleasing, but the fireworks don’t go off between you two immediately, so let’s try to be clear.

Chemistry, I believe, is when you meet someone and sparks fly at first sight. There’s an instant connection and your heart races when you see or think about the person. However, that’s more of an infatuation. You don’t really know this person and you should be careful. You may be very attracted and swept off your feet, but this man may not have the qualities you actually want in a partner. Infatuation and chemistry doesn’t necessarily translate into a strong, healthy relationship. It can turn into a healthy relationship in time, just be mindful of what you’re basing the foundation of the relationship on.

Now, on a similar but different note, if you find someone who is attractive, (meaning there aren’t those sparks/chemistry/feelings at first) there is, however, potential for growth. Finding someone who is attractive with the qualities of a nice guy is definitely someone who should get much more of your attention.

With the above statements, to say there’s a lack of chemistry is an excuse and quick dismissal of doing more investigation and work on your part. If it’s true he was a nice, decent man who treated a woman with respect and made her feel comfortable then that is GOLD! Don’t let those men go and absolutely go on several more dates doing things you like to do!

A man who goes out of his way to make a woman feel comfortable and treat her with respect and kindness deserves a second date. The women who don’t give those guys a second chance are as guilty of stereotypes (nice guys finish last) as the guys they accuse of only dating younger women.

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?

By taking it slow with one date or interaction at a time. It’s important to stay present in the beginning of the relationship and really listen to what this new person is saying to you. ‘Future tripping’ or rushing into fantasy of what a future including marriage, children and overall idealization is not what’s happening now. Even if a woman’s feelings are strong, it’s critical to make sure the guy is worthy of those feelings and it takes time to get to know someone, particularly men who don’t put their feelings out there right away.

Red flags are different for everyone, so keeping a mental note of behavior or language that doesn’t feel or sound right is vital. If the comments or behavior problems compound then one must either address these concerns to see if it is a real red flag, or if it’s something the woman may be projecting. Remember to keep it simple and in the present moment. One date is one date (nothing more). A second date is just a second date (and nothing more). A kiss is just a kiss and phone call or text is just that call and that one text. If a man tells you he’s casual, he means it and you should believe him, but on that same coin if a man tells you he’s interested and pursues you properly, there’s no reason to disbelieve him until he does something to prove that it’s not true. Protect yourself by paying attention to the signs, but also be open to good things. It’s the balance that takes practice.

6. Another common problem we hear from our subscribers is the fear of being alone and never finding the right man. This is especially common as women enter into their thirties. They see their friends getting married and even having kids, they are asked by friends and family when they are going to get married and they feel the pressure of a ticking biological clock. In the process, they approach their relationships from a place of fear, worry and anxiety.

Instead of enjoying their dates and conversing with men, they tend to interrogate them so that they can stop wasting their time and weed off the wrong men. They tend to fall too hard and too fast in love when they find a man they like but often that scares men away.

What advice do you have for women who approach relationships from a place of worry and how can they shift from a clingy, desperate vibe to an empowered, joyful zone?

The same advice above applies here. Keep it simple with not projecting and fantasizing. Be mindful that you need to be honest about what you want in your life i.e., family and marriage when you are getting to know each other, but let that go once it has been gently mentioned. Take a moment to see if this man is someone you want to have a future with before offering him something he may not want and you may not end up wanting to give him.

You are correct about coming on too hard. It will definitely scare away many men. Men pursue and women reciprocate when they are intrigued. A man wants to have a little bit of a chase; it’s in his DNA. That doesn’t mean play games, but let the guys do a little work to get the prize. For example, if he sends you a text you can answer him with a response, but you don’t need send him a follow up question. Statements are the best way to get a man’s attention. He will keep texting if he wants to see you again.

7. What are some best practices when it comes to clearly communicating your deal breakers and boundaries and when should you be having these conversations? I have heard from quite a number of my women subscribers who initially set the bar low and then find it incredibly difficult to raise the bar in the relationship because their partner has been conditioned to the earlier low standard. Many women find it quite difficult to have these conversations because they fear coming across as someone too uptight and rigid and worry about driving men away.

It can be scary to have real and honest conversations about how you would like to be loved and treated, but it’s critical. It is also true that it’s important to have these conversations early on so your needs and feelings are addressed from the very beginning. This way your partner won’t feel thrown or misled by initially keeping quiet on important topics.

If behavior is happening that concerns you, you have to ask yourself a simple question: Would I treat myself this way? And if the answer is no then you know exactly where the boundary should be set. It takes courage, but you might be surprised to find out how attractive it is to a man when you stand up for who you are deep down inside. There is nothing more attractive than a strong, confident woman.

8. 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 especially if the woman is interested in pursuing a long term committed relationship?

I am in the camp that you need to wait until you are in a committed, exclusive relationship to have sex. If you don’t want him sleeping with other women then you need to do the same in return, and you have to communicate that to him. Being clear up front that you wouldn’t do that to a partner and you expect the same in return can save a lot of worry and miscommunication. Not to mention heartache.

9. 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?

Yes, too much honesty can be a negative. To be clear, it’s not the honesty part, it’s the over sharing part. You can be honest and hold back unnecessary information at first.

You should be careful about not sharing too much information about your past at first. Sharing in general is very, very important, but ask them relevant questions about who they are now. The present is the most important, but again it is about managing the information flow and don’t give too much of yourself away.

Yes withholding certain information at first is best, but I recommend getting to know who you are and what kind of relationship you are looking for so you don’t feel too much anxiety about what to share. If you don’t drink on a date then it “might” be obvious to some men you are in recovery, but it won’t be to others.
I believe one should hold back on talking about the professional help they receive until they have gone on a few dates and the man knows you are not unstable.

Definitely do not dwell on your past, or his past. Whether you cheated or he is telling you he cheated, it just isn’t relevant and doesn’t show your best self. You don’t really want to know all his past faults, that’s not cool. And he doesn’t want to know all of your past faults. Focus on the positive for both you and him.

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

1. Be kind and believe the best in people.
2. Notice your feelings when you are with different dates. What are they trying to tell you? Listen…
3. Give a relationship time and space to develop. It is the most important ingredient. Be patient with the process of becoming exclusive.

About Natasha Silver Bell

Natasha-Silver-Bell

Natasha Silver Bell is a CARC recovery coach and recovery coach trainer through CCAR and OASAS. In addition, she has received training as a Life Coach through the Ben Dean, Ph.D Mentor Coach Program. She is a member of the International Coaching Federation.

Natasha helps clients find and realize their authentic self through intense tenderness and laser sharp introspection. She uses her own life experiences when appropriate to help her clients move through their fears and achieve desired goals.

To know more about Natasha, visit her website www.silverbellcoaching.com.




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