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The Date Master
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Commandment 1: Thou shalt be responsible for your own happiness and your own problems.

If you are not truly happy alone, than you will not be happy in a relationship. It puts tremendous stress on the other person when you place the burden of your happiness on them. It’s the same as trying to do your job well when your boss is looking over your shoulder, threatening to fire you at any given moment. 

Take care of your day-to-day tasks and chores on your own. 

Never bring your problems home from work. Many times you will feel the need to vent, it is always much better to have some solid friends and coworkers to do this with, rather than the one you are dating.

Budget your time wisely. This will give you the time you need to make a relationship work. Try not to place your relationship on the back burner as you focus on your day-to-day concerns. 

If you have any personal or psychological problems then you need to work overtime to address these. Do not be afraid to seek counseling. Remember, it’s much easier to fix your emotional problems outside of a relationship than inside of one. 

It is very hard to have a positive self-esteem when you are productive less than 60 hours a week. The 60 hours does not have to be solely at work, while “on the clock,” but could also include time spent pursuing hobbies, exercising, and doing household chores.

Being in a relationship that is healthy and fulfilling is definitely easier said than done.  But here is number two  of my five relationship commandments.

Commandment 2:  Thou shalt be true to thyself and maintain a clear, unique identity.

Many times we try and pretend to be someone that we are not, so we can make other people like us.  In a relationship, this is doomed to fail.  It may fail in just a week, or maybe not until you are twenty years into a marriage.  During this time, the real you is going to be trying to claw itself out and causing plenty of damage on the way.  It is better to find someone who likes the real you. 

Being unique is a key component of attraction.  We are attracted to people that stand out in the right way.  Also, if you are constantly changing and morphing to accommodate them, then they will never be that comfortable around you, nor begin developing a deep healthy bond.   We are all human and we all have our faults.  The person you date should be respectful of that.  

Part of being true to yourself is coming to terms with your feelings, wants and needs.  We are conditioned from childhood that expressing emotion can bring us ridicule, shaming, condemnation, discipline, or even physical attack.  Because of this, we may be hesitant to acknowledge what we are feeling or what we want.  In fact, the more times we have been hurt, than the deeper we retreat within ourselves and the harder it is for someone we date to get a clear sense of who we really are. 

When dating, be honest and direct about what activities you like to do and those you don't.  Keep in mind, just because you don’t enjoy an activity, does not mean that you should never be willing to try it.  If that activity is important to your partner then they will really appreciate your willingness to a sacrifice on their behalf.  At such times, be polite and respectful, but don't be dishonest by pretending you like an activity more than you do.  Your real favorite activity should be spending time with the person you love!  Making such a sacrifice is  also a good test to see if they will later return the favor by attending one of your unique events.

Being in a relationship that is healthy and fulfilling is definitely easier said than done.  But here is number three of my five relationship commandments.

Commandment 3:  Thou shalt maintain a degree of balance throughout the different parts of the relationship.

This balance does not have to be a precise 50/50.  Attempting to make it this way can easily cause more problems than it would solve.  Even 70/30 will usually work just fine. Keep in mind, be careful about broaching this subject directly.  People do not like to be corrected, patronized and especially psychoanalyzed.  A good way of approaching this would be to say such things as, “You got the dishes last time, let me take my turn.”

Never assume you can change your partner. You can only really change yourself.  If things are not in balance, your only option may be to back off yourself and meet them at a lower level than you would ideally like.

Balance how much love you have for each other.  If you love them far more than they love you, than you need to back off and try and get your emotions under control.  On the other hand, if they love you more than you love them, then you need have lunch at a neutral location and kindly bring up the subject.  You may even need to take a couple of weeks off in an attempt to cool down the relationship.  Do not lead someone on. It is unkind and it will negatively affect your self-esteem. If you genuinely want to love them more, than you need start finding ways to connect in a more meaningful way. 

Balance major sacrifices.  If they make a tremendous sacrifice for you, such as moving to another state, getting a different job, or helping you pay for school then you need to be willing to return the favor someday.  Failure to do so can create massive smoldering resentment which they may never be able to let go. 

Balance minor acts.  This is a great time to practice random acts of kindness.  Constantly be looking for thoughtful and unique actions that show them you “know and understand them” and that you care deeply about them.  One thing to watch out for . . . if they do not reciprocate than back off.  There has to be balance and you only have control over your half the scale. 

Tip of the day: 

When preparing yourself for entry into the dating scene, there is a saying you should never forget: “CONTROL WHAT YOU CAN CONTROL!!”  There will always be certain things about your life such as height, age, number of kids, etc., that you cannot change.  However, you do have control over most aspects of your life.  This includes, your weight, hair style, how you walk, tone of voice, type of friends, the kind of car you drive, where you live, what job you have, hobbies and having a positive or negative outlook on life.   Obviously, some of these things are easier to change than others, but they are CHANGEABLE.  Again, control what you can control.  

After you identify the parts of your life that you would like to change, start with the easiest things to alter first. Our mind gets very attached to routines and will provide ample resistance.  So begin changing what you know you can change, and what you will have the willpower to follow through to the end.  Once you have reconditioned your mind to accept change, subsequent improvements will be much easier to make.  Success breeds success!   

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Here is an article based on a study that found that dating first impressions are quick and critical.  Basically, your fate is decided in the first 12 minutes of a date. 

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2607078/Youve-got-12-MINUTES-impress-date-Body-odour-bad-breath-putting-initial-encounter-smile-eye-contact-work-wonders.html

Tip of the Day: 


Here are a couple of conversation pointers for a first or second date.   Always remember that cheerful and optimistic people are very attractive.  First, do not complain in any way shape or form.  Even if you t-boned an ambulance driving over and than got mugged in the parking lot, keep that to yourself.  Next, avoid any kind of issue that could be sensitive, such as politics, religion, health problems, abortion, immigration, war or foreign conflicts.  Instead, keep steering the conversation toward fun and entertaining events while at the same time trying to get a hint of what would make for a fun second date.  Such hints can come from what kind of movies  they like, sports teams, hobbies or special interests, types of music, or physical activities they enjoy.  Finally, don't be serious the whole time, but definitely don't be a jokester.  Be careful about telling jokes.  Often times jokes have a negative undertone (which we want to avoid), and if they don't get the joke, than you just accidentally embarrassed them.   

Tip of the Day: 

If you are calling someone to set up a date, make sure you have a complete plan ready, along with a couple of backup plans.  This is not a complete plan: “Let’s get together for lunch on Tuesday . . . I will call you that morning.”  A complete plan would sound like this: “Let’s grab some pizza at that Old Chicago off of Main and 2nd street.  11:00 on Tuesday would work great for me, how does that look for you?”  If that does not work for them, make sure that you have a couple of specific backup ideas to offer up next. 

When you think up your plan, do your best to make it an idea for which it would be easy for them to agree.  Things that make it easy include the following: time-limiting the date, making it close to where they live or work, planning something they would genuinely enjoy doing, and ensuring that the date will be casual and not require a lot of preparation on their part.   Keep early dates simple.  Once a relationship is fully underway then you can start planning more elaborate outings.  

Tip of the Day:

If you are calling someone to set up a date, make sure you have a complete plan ready, along with a couple of backup plans. This is not a complete plan: “Let’s get together for lunch on Tuesday . . . I will call you that morning.” A complete plan would sound like this: “Let’s grab some pizza at that Old Chicago off of Main and 2nd street. 11:00 on Tuesday would work great for me, how does that look for you?” If that does not work for them, make sure that you have a couple of specific backup ideas to offer up next.

When you think up your plan, do your best to make it an idea for which it would be easy for them to agree. Things that make it easy include the following: time-limiting the date, making it close to where they live or work, planning something they would genuinely enjoy doing, and ensuring that the date will be casual and not require a lot of preparation on their part. Keep early dates simple. Once a relationship is fully underway then you can start planning more elaborate outings.

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Here is an interesting article that is likely connected with the continuing decline in marriage rates.  A third less Americans are tying the knot each year than they did just a mere fifteen years ago. Needless to say, one of the reasons I am a dating coach is I want to do my part to help reverse this trend.  

http://nypost.com/2014/04/10/more-young-women-choosing-dogs-over-motherhood/

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