How Not To Lose Yourself in a Relationship- Karla Downing - How To Win a Man's Heart

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How Not To Lose Yourself in a Relationship- Karla Downing

Interview Summary

A special thanks to Karla Downing for the summary notes.

• Ask yourself if you like him, not if he likes you. It is more important that you like him and if you keep the focus on that question, you will be less likely to mold yourself into who you think he wants you to be.

• If you have a pattern of being codependent, then get help to work on the codependency. Join a Twelve Step group, get into therapy, read books, get an accountability partner and journal. Do whatever it takes to get over your tendency to become too dependent. And, start this now. Don’t wait until you are doing it.

• Keep up with your routine: go to the gym, church, meetings, charity events, etc. Don’t drop everything for him.

• Make yourself keep up with your girlfriends and other interests, even when you would rather be with him. Ask your girlfriends to hold you accountable to keep your promise to continue with your relationships with them. Ask them to call you and set up girls’ nights out regularly and not take no for an answer.

• Agree to have certain days and nights apart. He will love this and it will make him want to be with you even more, but don’t give in. Save those days for you and let him have them for himself. It will make your relationship healthier and make the times you are together even more special.

• Men say they want a woman who is independent and self-fulfilled with a life of her own. If your goal is for him to find you attractive, keep this in mind.

• Regardless of what you have heard, men want to have to pursue you, which means you cannot be too available, especially in the beginning of the relationship. If your goal is to win him, then play the game. Don’t be overly available. Don’t text him all the time. Don’t call him regularly. Don’t check in with him too frequently. Don’t always tell him what you are doing. Let him call you and text you and then wait to respond, instead of answering right away. Let him wonder what you are doing and where you are.

• Don’t have sex too early, as it will make you feel emotionally connected at a level that the relationship may not have gotten to. Sex feels like emotional intimacy to women, but it isn’t the same as real intimacy that results from really getting to know each other.

• Write out a description of who you are including your personality, your interests, your passions, your preferences, your values, and your beliefs. Imagine a relationship with a man who embraces the whole you and how happy you are.

• Deal with your fears. One of the driving forces behind losing yourself in a relationship is fear—fear of being alone, fear of losing your partner, fear of your partner cheating, fear of never finding “the one,” fear of being known, and fear of being rejected.

• Know yourself. What do you need, want, like, enjoy, believe, and value? Make sure you get those needs and wants met. Make sure the relationship includes doing some things you like to do and enjoy. Confidently express your beliefs, values, and opinions. Don’t let the relationship be all about him and what he needs, wants, likes, enjoys, believes, thinks and values.

• Take him out on dates where you bring him into YOUR WORLD. You plan it and don’t worry about whether or not he likes it. Use it as a way to show him who you are.

• Ask your friends and family what they think about whether or not you are out of balance in this relationship. Are you neglecting them? Are you keeping up with the things they know are important to you? And most importantly, do they notice any changes in you? Be open to their observations and make changes, if needed.

• Make a list of the things you do in relationships that signal you are not being true to yourself. Do you give in rather than stand up for what you want and need? Do you pretend to be someone you aren’t? Do you get attached too early? Do you abandon your own interests? Check your list periodically to see if any of these things are happening and then stop.

• Write down short term and long term goals for your job, for your passions, for your relationships, for your physical body, and for your psychological growth. Plan how to meet those goals by writing out the steps you need to take. Assess your progress in each goal periodically to make sure you are not neglecting the things that are important to you.

• Know the signs that might indicate a man isn’t emotionally healthy: Men who love you when they barely know you; men who want to move in or move you in too soon; men who promise to take care of you by taking over your life; men who encourage you to drop friends and family; men who are jealous and suspicious; men who are needy and clingy. All of these might feel good at first, but they are signs that the relationship isn’t healthy and that at some point you will lose yourself in it.

About Karla Downing

Karla Downing

Karla Downing is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and a licensed Speech Language Pathologist. Her books include 10 Lifesaving Principles for Women in Difficult Marriages, When Love Hurts: 10 Principles to Transform Difficult Relationships, and The Truth in the Mirror: A Guide to Healthy Self-Image.

To know more about Karla, visit her website