Interview with Nyssa Hoerner - How To Win a Man's Heart

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November 10, 2014

Interview with Nyssa Hoerner

1. In your website you write, “It is through trust and vulnerability that we are able to reconnect the fragile pieces of ourselves.” Can you share your advice on how we can cultivate and be more comfortable with vulnerability especially when we have been hurt and betrayed in the past?

Hurt and betrayal are always difficult to endure and to come out of. It is really difficult to remind ourselves of the possibility of beauty when we are experiencing sadness and pain. Trust is not an easy thing to repair and for some of us, it is a hard thing to find in the first place. Accepting ourselves is the first move for finding a way to trust others and be vulnerable again. Once we are self reliant and truly enjoy our own company it is possible to recognize more of our own intuitions about other people.

The nice thing about having been hurt or betrayed is that we know then that we can survive it. We never really know what we can do until we’ve accomplished it. A broken heart is painful, but once we have accepted our own value and really admitted to ourselves that we are capable and precious it is much easier to be vulnerable with another person, because our inner core can take a bit more of a hit before we get knocked down.

2. Being betrayed and hurt changes people in many ways and it affects the way they think about love and relationships. Some women tend to be on high guard to avoid being hurt again, some women lose trust and confidence and some simply give up on men and love. 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?

Get to know yourself better. The best thing that we can do for ourselves after being hurt or discouraged is to spend some time on ourselves. This doesn’t have to be retail therapy or massages and pedicures, although those things are completely acceptable in moderation if they are financially viable. However, spending time with friends or family members who are supportive and genuinely love you for who you are is a great way to move forward. Take up a hobby, like knitting or swing dancing, and give yourself time to be alone before looking to move on to the next relationship. Emotional health and self knowledge are attractive and emotionally healthy people will be attracted to other emotionally healthy people.

I’m not usually a fan of romantic comedies in part because I think that they so often set people up for completely unrealistic and often unhealthy ideals about what relationships should look like. However, in Runaway Bride there is a scene where Julia Roberts sits down and tastes a table full of differently prepared eggs. In the past she had always eaten eggs however her beau liked them. Now she has figured out how she herself likes them. That is a wonderful display of what we all need to do to make sure that we are ready to be in a relationship. If you feel that you are struggling with getting to know yourself or are having too difficult a time getting past an old relationship, seek out a professional and get a little extra help.

3. A common problem that we hear often from our subscribers is a feeling of being inadequate and unworthy especially as they age. Women feel anxious and stressed as they compare their bodies and looks to the younger women and unfortunately believe they aren’t able to attract men into their lives because they aren’t physically attractive. Some of our subscribers confess that they hate their bodies and feel undesirable and unattractive whenever they look in the mirror.

Can you share your advice on what women can do to shift their negative self-talk and how they can be more self-accepting and start loving their bodies?

Negative self talk is so dreadful and a result of so many different things. A few key things that I would suggest are to stop watching America’s Next Top Model and other shows of that ilk, and stop reading magazines. I mean, if you want you can still read National Geographic, but don’t read the ones that enjoy pointing out celebrity flaws or focus on appearance so much.

The other big thing that I would suggest is to have some naked time! Spend time alone with your body and thank each part for what it does for you. Put on some of your favorite music and just enjoy being in your own body and use it to dance! One of the side benefits of this is that exercise has been shown in multiple studies to help elevate our mood. I usually recommend to my clients that they either have a dance party with themselves three of four times a week, or go for 20 to 30 minute walks three or four times a week. It helps us to produce more of the chemicals in our brain that tell us we’re happy.

Another exercise that can be very helpful is to spend a few minutes each night writing three things about the day for which you are thankful. It can’t be the same thing every night each, either. An example can be: I’m thankful for the person who smiled at me from the next car while we were stuck in traffic. Or, I’m thankful that I have a little extra weight as I had to postpone lunch until 2 because of a meeting. The things for which we are thankful don’t have to be big, but doing this little exercise daily can help to shift the talk from pessimistic to optimistic, and that generally feels better.

Simply smiling can help a lot too, as can laughter. It’s hard to be down on ourselves while we’re laughing, even if the humor is self-deprecating. Although, it’s really better not to make fun of yourself or to surround yourself with people who will make fun of you. That never helped anyone’s self-esteem.

I also recommend playing. I don’t care what kind of games as long as they make you smile or laugh. Surrounding yourself with people with whom laughter is a priority is probably the best way to stop the negative self talk.

4. One of the unfortunate consequences of this negative chatter is the perception that some women attribute to their singlehood to their physical appearance. So the chatter “I hate my body, I hate the way I look’ translates into ‘Well, no wonder I am single because of the way I look’, ‘Men will never be attracted to me’ etc.

One subscriber once wrote to me, “Whenever I go out with friends, I never get approached by men or asked out for a date. That’s not the case with my attractive looking friends. I am not the jealous type but when it happens over and over again, it’s hard not to think men only value physical beauty.’

How can women overcome this mental block and change their thinking to be more open to receiving love?

It’s not easy to watch other people get the things that you want. This is true no matter what it is, but I would venture that the kind of attention that is strictly physical often doesn’t pan out into something more or better. I also would venture that bars, restaurants, and dance clubs aren’t places that people who are looking for their permanent partner should go to find one, unless they want to spend most of their time as a couple in those places as well.

Finding a hobby or joining a meetup of people with similar interests put you ahead in that you are going to an event where you will meet like minded people. They aren’t pickup scenes so you wont’ have to be concerned about it being over done or constant.

Not all men are strictly visual beings, and in fact I’d venture that most aren’t. You don’t want to be married to someone who just likes that you are beautiful, as that’s a lot of pressure to maintain that beauty! Just because Sofia Vergara can do it, doesn’t mean that most of us can. However, there are also lots of men who aren’t attracted to the stereotypical beauty.

When worrying about this, I recommend reminding yourself of the beauty that you possess. Spend time alone naked. I know I suggested that earlier, but I really think that recognizing your power in your body alone can help you to be more comfortable in your own skin. It’s not an easy task, especially given how superficial a lot of our TV programs are in the U.S. Or the fact that the tabloids are constantly circling tiny flaws in snapshots of celebrities. If they do it to them, what would they do to us? However, those things don’t have to be a part of your life. I am encouraged that there are more actors out there now like Melissa McCarthy and Brooke Elliot, Dawn French and America Ferrera, all of whom are beautiful women with extreme qualities, even if they aren’t more stereotypical in their appearances or gifts.

What makes you unique? What makes you beautiful? Ask yourself these questions in an open manner and give yourself the space to really answer them. I would challenge you to write down something beautiful that you did each day, maybe even twice a day. This might just help to remind you of the things about you that you love, and that someone else would love as well.

5. 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?

My response to this question is a tough one. I have a far amount of experience with people who are struggling with exactly this. For some of them they are struggling because they are working so hard that they don’t have time for just play dates to go out and try someone on. I have one friend who told me that on a first date she pictures what their children would look like together. I’m not sure if I believe in psychics, although I’m not sure that I don’t, but I do believe in energy and facial expressions and if you are zoning off into the far far distant future on a first date, your date is going to notice that. It might be something he’s looking for too, but it might not be. Either way, it’s a lot of pressure on both of you, and that’s not fun.

I know that it’s really difficult to just go out and have an evening, but I would like to share a few physiological tips that might help with the psychological stress out. For one, they’ve found that decreasing our breaths to 4 per minute can slow our heart rate and therefore calm us down. One easy way to do this is to take fifteen second breaths, so breathe in for five seconds, hold it for five seconds and breathe out for five seconds. If you find that this is uncomfortable change up the numbers, as in breathe in for 6 seconds hold for 4 and breathe out for 5, or however feels more comfortable to you. Other studies have found that our left and right brain like to disconnect when we are feeling extra emotional, and that includes extra worried or anxious.

Have you ever been so sad or angry that you couldn’t speak? Well, that’s because the speaking/thinking/logicing side of your brain and your feeling/worrying/stressing side of your brain aren’t talking. It’s relatively easy to reconnect them, though. Deep breathing helps, but anything that you can do to cross both sides of your body will help. Here are a list of bilateral exercises that I frequently recommend to people.

Sit with your feet flat on the floor. Put your left hand on your right knee and your right hand on your left knee. Gently and slowly tap each knee, one at a time. Keep doing this until you feel calm. One nice thing about this is that if you’re on a date and you do this under a table than no one has to know you’re stressing out.

The Charleston! It’s a wonderful dance from way back when and it requires you to cross the left and right sides of your body. Really, any kind of dancing is going to do this, but the Charleston is a fun one that does exactly this, so why not?

Hug your shoulders (left hand on right shoulder, right hand on left shoulder) and gently alternate squeezing them. This one is less subtle than the knee one, but it also feels like a mini massage, and it’s subtler than the Charleston.

Give yourself permission to not meet Mr. Right today and really try to enjoy the things in your life that are going well. I promise that there are some things in your life that are going well. Tell your family members who are pressuring you to not talk about your dating life as you have it under control and assure them that you will let them know if you are dating someone, so they don’t have to ask. If you truly like yourself, and give yourself permission to like yourself, others will pick up on it. I promise.

6. From our subscribers, we often hear “lack of chemistry” as a leading reason why they aren’t willing to go out on a second date with a man even though he seemed to be a decent guy and they were comfortable and treated with respect during the first date. Can you share your thoughts on chemistry- how important is it for a relationship to succeed long term and can chemistry grow over time? Is it worth persisting with a man with whom a woman feels comfortable but doesn’t quite share the chemistry?

Chemistry is a funny thing. It is definitely an important piece of the equation of long term affection, but I also think that we put way too much emphasis on it early on. Many people, both men and women, struggle with opening up initially. What if you felt no chemistry because your fella was too nervous or too shy to show you himself on the first date? Emotional intimacy isn’t usually something that happens in the first three hours of knowing someone. I think that it is wiser to spend time with someone if you like them, even a little, and get to know them better before judging whether or not there is chemistry.

Love at first sight may exist, but it’s not nearly as common as lust at first sight. Also, long term relationships are built on trust, friendship, and mutual respect. It’s hard to have those things with someone who you’ve only known for a short time. So, if you’re looking for chemistry on a first date, or you won’t try a second, I suggest visiting the science museum together.

7. 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?

Break ups are hard. Being cheated on sucks. Resilience is a necessary part of adult life. It is not easy to trust. However, it doesn’t have to be hard either. However, before you dive in with other people, try to heal some. If you’re still hung up on the last guy, don’t look for the next. The next guy CANNOT heal you. Only you have that ability.

It’s okay to admit that you’re not ready to date yet as long as you are actively trying to move through the painful emotions of the last relationship. This does not mean going out with your girlfriends every night and reliving the crumminess that was the last relationship. This does not mean bad mouthing the guy at every opportunity. This does mean focusing on what you need to heal. I recommend yoga, hobbies, and meeting new people in non-romantic settings.

As an introvert myself, I know that it can be hard to go meet and greet with strangers. However, the power of new connections can be extremely helpful. The power of new experiences can also be extremely helpful. What are some things that you were interested that you’ve never found the time, courage, money, etc. to do? Are those obstacles out of the way now?

At the end of the day, you have to decide to trust again. Lots of people have been hurt, deeply, and moved forward with their lives in positive ways. That doesn’t mean that your hurt is inconsequential, but at the end of the day trust is a feeling and a choice. If you are constantly building walls to keep people out, the joys of life, love and relationships can’t get in. If you’re really struggling with this, seek the help of a professional. This is something that counselors and therapists are trained to deal with.

8. Some of our subscribers hesitate to share their honest feelings especially as they are getting to know a man and want to grow the relationship. This hesitation comes from the fear that they may come across as someone too emotional and needy and feel that it may push the man away. So they don’t raise the issues and avoid tough conversations because they want to be the “cool” girl. Here are some examples: she goes out on a date and he says he will call her but he doesn’t. She is disappointed when he doesn’t and doesn’t discuss this when she hears back from him. Other examples are not calling ahead of time when he is running late or not making plans for a date etc.

What advice do you have for women who have issues that they want to discuss with their man but have troubles expressing them because of the fear of coming across as a nag or needy or demanding?

Ladies, I know that we all want to be cool. I know that none of us want to be demanding. However, there are kind and mature ways to bring up breach of trust and boundaries. Solid boundaries and clear expectations are absolutely necessary for a long term relationship. I know that not calling when he said he would seems like a small breach, and it may be. However, it is possible at the next meeting to say something to the effect of “I know that you are busy and that you didn’t intend to upset me, but in the future if you aren’t going to be on time or you aren’t able to call me when you say you will, if you could shoot me a text, I’d really appreciate it. I know that there will be times when work and life come up and that prevents people from fulfilling their commitments, but I’d appreciate it if you’d respect my time and me enough to let me know what’s going on.”

If you never say anything about how much something upsets you, he’ll never know. Neither men, nor women are psychic about their partners feelings. Also, men are less capable of reading subtle facial cues than women are. It’s part of our developmental process that they go through to a lesser degree. For more information check out the book The Female Brain by Louann Brizendine. It’s worth the read and you can find it on audio as well.

Wanting to be informed and respected doesn’t make you clingy or a nag. Running late happens to all of us. Don’t be mean, vindictive or passive aggressive about it, but you won’t have to be any of those things if you’re frank with him. You also don’t need to be apprised of his every move and whereabouts.

If you call and he doesn’t answer, don’t assume the worst. Setting up clear expectations and boundaries in the beginning means that you won’t have to deal with it when the small, unspoken, boundary violations become giant fights because the boundary that he was unaware of has been broken too many times and you are feeling hurt and dejected as a result.

If he doesn’t want to have the same kind of relationship that you want to have, then it won’t work out in the long run anyway. It’s better to be you in the beginning than to be someone else to attempt to be “cool”. It’s far scarier to commit years of your life to a relationship pretending to be someone else than it is to not get that far because you are you. You deserve to be in a trusting relationship and so does he. No false advertising, friends. Dating is hard enough without layers of acting and false expectations.

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

This one is a bit tricky. The number one thing is to really be yourself. However, to do that you have to really know yourself. So I suppose, step one would be to spend some time really getting to know yourself and really figuring out what you want in your life.

Make a list.

Your list could look something like this:

I want to be home by 6 most nights.
I want to have at least 1 kid, but no more than 3.
I want to have a dog.
I want to share my bed with someone who will help me make it in the morning.
I want to cook with someone.
I want to do international travel each year.
​I want to have sex every Tuesday, but never on Thursdays.
I want to have lunch with my girlfriends a few times a month.
I want to see my parents once a quarter.​
I want to eat avocados. And chocolate.
I want to etc. etc. etc.

It doesn’t have to be super descriptive or set in stone, and
​do ​be open to other ideas, but really know what you want out of your life. It’s like the old saying “If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll be lost when you get there.”

So, top relationship tip: know who you are. Second relationship tip: know what you want out of life.

My third relationship tip is to be patient. Not every first date will lead to a second and not every second date will lead to a third. However, if you truly know who you are and what you want it will be much, much easier to find what you’re looking for.

I know the question is for three, and this isn’t so much of a tip as a side note, but online dating is also pretty beneficial for a lot of people. The nice thing is that you can screen people out before you even meet them. The thing about it, though, you still have to know what you want for it to work.

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

My top relationship books are as follows:

Extraordinary Relationship: A New Way of Thinking About Human Interactions by Roberta M. Gilbert, M.D. This one is a bit heady, so you kind of have to really want to read it and spend time on it, but it’s worth it if you do.

The Female Brain by Louann Brizendine. I think this one really helps us to know how we work.

The Male Brain by Louann Brizendine. I think this one really helps us to know how men work.

As far as resources other than books go, I recommend finding an exercise routine that you love. I recommend this not because it will help you lose weight, but rather because it will help you feel calm. It doesn’t have to be intense, but it does need to exist and be regular. Dance, yoga, walking, skipping, jumping rope, roller skating, whatever makes you happy, just find something that you can do a few times a week for a sustained period. You will feel an elevation in your mood if you stick with it, and that makes everything else easier.

About Nyssa Hoerner

Nyssa Hoerner

Nyssa Hoerner is a licensed marriage and family therapist associate. She works to help couples, families, children and individuals connect with their inner perfection. She likes to help you to cherish yourself enough to silence your inner bullies and the outer voice of unkindness.

To know more about Nyssa, visit her website