Category Archives: Dating

What Your Partner REALLY Wants For Christmas

Let’s be honest, buying gifts for others can suck. Often sucks. Almost always sucks. I remember when I was younger I really struggled with finding a gift for my dad. Man, he was so hard to shop for. He is one of those people that if he wanted something, he would just go buy it. On top of that, he’s a publicly declared minimalist… He wore the same pairs of shorts for what seemed like twelve years, only to be replaced because of the risk of getting charged for indecent exposure. Thanks to new shorts, he’s still allowed around playgrounds.

The imminent approach of any holidays has a direct correlation to a rise in our blood pressure. Whether it’s for Valentine’s Day, Christmas, birthdays, whatever holiday it may be,  buying the perfect gift is something that can cause a lot of stress, right?! Especially when it comes to our romantic partners.

We want a great gift to be thoughtful, unique, creative, and for it to mean something. That’s a lot of pressure isn’t it?! And, of course, when we ask our partners what they would like, we’re more often than not, met with the incredibly irritating reply, “I don’t need or want anything, it’s fine.” Ha. I’ve fallen for this one. It’s total BS. It’s like a trap just waiting for us to take the bait. We only make that mistake once. That’s when we hear after, “I know I said I didn’t want anything, but I didn’t mean it.” Ok great, now we’re saying things we don’t mean.

And to think, all we had to do was get them something…anything, really!

So in the land of relationship booby-traps, how do we satisfy the list of things from above that make a great gift, and make it meaningful?!?

The research is very fascinating on this subject, because when we look at buying a gift, we usually consider a material gift, like a purse or a watch, versus an experience, like a vacation or a thoughtful day planned out.

Gifts, i.e.  material things, are instantaneously gratifying. We get a spike in happiness and well-being when we receive them, but that feeling doesn’t last long (hedonic adaptation). And soon, that purse that cost more than any rational human should pay for a bag, becomes the emotionless container to carry all your partner’s stuff for them. That watch just reminds us of how late we’re running to pick up the our lovely partner who was supposed to make time stand still.

So what’s the secret to a great gift? Firstly, I don’t want to dismiss the value of a material gift. If it’s something that we’ve wanted for awhile it can be very gratifying and mean a lot. In order to buy a great gift listen to the things your partner says in passing, the little cues when they mention or reference something he/she would like but they’re not explicit about. This type of gift serves two purposes, (1) It indicates you listen even when you don’t have to, and (2) You care about the things you hear in those moments. The ability to hear things and take note is a great sign of thoughtfulness and will have your partner feeling both cared for, and appreciated. Now those are two great feelings that nurture and foster great connection.

love advice, dating advice, relationship advice, vancouver relationship coach, nyc relationship coach, positive psychology

So now that we’re done defining what makes for great material gifts, let’s look at what the research proposes will win their heart, and having them feel all of the elation that great partnerships provide.

Experiences, bar none are the greatest gifts. Here’s why:

  1. They are new. They are novel. Adventure is sexy. People love feeling loved. Material gifts are one small second of bliss,  experiences are a smorgasbord of those moments. And the very cool part is that you’ll be associated with this novelty and newness. A passive way of stimulating the same neurotransmitters that are associated with love. That’s right, your partner will fall in love with you all over again. Think of the “honeymoon stage” we are all made to believe is only at the beginning of relationships. Maybe it’s only at the beginning because we stop doing new things? We can literally trick (or is it a trick?!) our hearts and minds into seeing the person differently.
  2. The emotions the experience produces can be relived. WHAT?! Wait. That’s right, this is the gift that can keep giving. Let me give you an example. Let’s say you took someone on a day trip to the mountains. You packed a lunch, you drank wine, you went for a hike, you humped in the bushes. Whatever. Fast forward six months and you’re sitting on your couch together… You say to your partner, “Hey! Remember that time we did that amazing day trip to the mountains?! We ate great food, we rolled around in the bushes… How fun was that?!” And boom. You’ve just released the emotions associated with that experience. Want to add more? Ask them, “What was your favourite part about that day?”

love advice, dating advice, relationship advice, vancouver relationship coach, nyc relationship coach, positive psychology

In Psychology we call this savouring. In essence, it’s allowing someone to relive a moment and to actually get their physiology to replicate that moment and that experience. You’ve just changed their chemistry with your words. You’re basically a God. If you want to be really good, before you have the experience, you can ask them. “What are you looking forward to most about _________ (insert awesome idea here).” Anticipatory savouring… that’s next level.

So, if you want to be the ultimate gift buying baller, you could combine the two. I don’t want to give away the farm (and give away my future ideas to my lady), but one thing that is brilliant is to plan a special day when they get a gift that matters and an experience that matters. True love and connection isn’t built on “stuff”, it’s built on shared moments.

Ultimately, the secret to giving great gifts is making them meaningful. People just want to feel loved. They want us to pay attention to the moments between the perceived important ones. They want us to care and listen even when we don’t have to. They want us to recognize the little things that light their heart up.

It doesn’t take money to be a great partner, it takes care and attention, and, at the end of the day, effort. Demonstrate that you care, and they’ll know you do, they won’t have to ask or wonder. It doesn’t matter what our words are if between our words and actions there’s a disconnect.

As Maya Angelou said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Let the emotional intention you have guide where you invest your time and money… and you’ll find your partner’s emotions will follow suit.

Relationship advice, Dating advice, vancouver, nyc, positive psychology, relationship, coaching

Do You Know Why You Enter Relationships?

If you had told me at 25 years old that the purpose of relationship was to create a partnership, one which invited each other to become our greatest selves, I wouldn’t have understood what you were saying. I thought we just fell in love, whatever that meant, and then had a family and stayed together forever.

Maybe happy, maybe not.

I didn’t see that my partner was an invitation to my evolution.

Most of us blindly choose love, and a lot of our decisions in relationships come from subconscious drives. Most of the time this works for a while. Till it doesn’t. And often, at this point of heartbreak and emotional rock-bottoms, is when we start wondering why we’ve done what we’ve done? We start to question if we’ve been doing it right all along.

We wake up to the fact that we haven’t really been in control. We’ve been picking relationships and what we think are partnerships to satisfy lists, the beliefs we were taught through religion, culture, and society. And on top of that, a lot of us have chosen to participate in relationships to escape our loneliness. We were taught that being in a relationship is rewarded over being single. We were told that marriage is the ultimate destination.

The sad part is that, under all of those pressures put upon us, no one teaches us how to get this relationship/marriage we all seek. “They” don’t tell us what composes great relationships. They don’t teach us how to understand our psychology and why we may choose the things we choose. How to evolve past our pain and wounds…and how to take control of our relationship choices so that we stop choosing love that satisfies those around us, that saves us from ourselves… And instead how to choose love that nurtures our souls and contributes to our growth and evolution.

It’s important to note that not everyone is going to wonder. For some people this subconscious choosing is enough. They don’t want more. And they don’t have to.

But for me it’s different. For me I wanted to understand what love means for me and why I want to share in a partnership. And I remind you, as I remind myself, that those who don’t want to look within will be the ones criticizing our desire to grow into our hearts. They’ll want to hold us back from finding great love and partnership. It’s not because they’re mean or they have bad intentions, it’s because the choices we’re making become reflections of their greatest fears; to leap into the unknown and pursue our hearts. Choices they haven’t made.

So let them do their thing, while we do ours. It’s not our job to tell others what they should want from relationship, and it’s imperative that we do not stay small or withhold our hearts so as to have them feel safe.

It’s our job to dive deep towards what our soul calls for, and in doing that, it invites all of those around us to do the same.

relationship advice, dating advice, positive psychology, nyc, vancouver, mark groves

Relationships offer a window into our “stuff”. They trigger us because they invite us to grow. And even more importantly, they have a purpose for us, and that can be different for everyone.

So, I ask you to consider this:

What are your ultimate goals/intentions for why you’re entering(or in) a relationship?

In order to enter into and be in a relationship, are you becoming who you think you need to be, to be loved? Or do you get to be yourself?

If you are changing who you are at your core, why? What parts of yourself do you not accept? Are they things that are out of alignment with your integrity?

How do you want your relationship to make you feel? How do you want your partner to feel?

How committed are you to maintaining that relationship environment?

What is the role relationships serve in your life?

If we’re already in a relationship, then the answer to these questions allows us and our partners to navigate our relationship in the direction of what we both actually want. It offers the opportunity for us to co-create a partnership that has us both feeling fulfilled.

If we’re single, then once we know these answers we can choose people who share a similar vision as us. We seek people who seek what we seek. By setting intentions, we guide our awareness to identify these people, and let the ones who don’t have the same intentions/desires go.

Love is only blind if we let it be. Don’t let it be.

dating advice, relationship advice, nyc, vancouver, couple, breakup, relationship coach, keynote speaking

The Greatest Mistake We Don’t Know We’re Making In Love

When I was nineteen I was so in love. And like it seems to always happen with great relationships at that age, she went away to college. When she was leaving we had that standard conversation about what the relationship was going to look like, but at that point in our lives it almost seemed doomed to fail. Two people in their late teens, both embarking on the initial steps of creating their schooling and careers, in two different countries. A hard time to make promises, especially ones with such a fleeting feeling as love can sometimes be. So we framed the relationship in a way that we would be allowed to “see” other people, we would just communicate when that happened(Great plan right?!).

So, in the car she went, and go she did.

Being that I was still home, everything around me still reminded me of her. It was torturous. And for her the excitement was never-ending: new school, new people, athletic fame. My heart was attached to the familiar, and hers was exploding with novelty.

The days turned into weeks, the communication was less and less. And then finally she came back for Thanksgiving. Except, she brought her “friend”, the handsome running back with the perfect smile.

I had Thanksgiving dinner with her and her family, and that “friend”. And in hindsight I can’t believe I actually sat there as I was being disrespected with each bite.

I’m not sure how naive I really was back then?!? I believed in the best in people, but I also failed to see the truths that were right in front of my eyes. I skipped the red flags to avoid the pain. Pain that was clearly very imminent to any onlooker.

She would (obviously) go on to date this guy, and I would remain in a crumpled heap of resentment. Resenting myself mostly, for not having a backbone to tell her that her way of being didn’t make my heart feel so good. That she was being sh*tty. But I was so afraid to lose her before that moment, that I let sh*t slide. Sh*t that should definitely not have slid… Sh*t that should’ve been picked up, bagged, and tossed.

A lot of what happened was my fault. I didn’t call her to be better. I didn’t have the tools to challenge her to grow.

Not many people know this, but it took me almost two years(more than that actually… you’ll see) for me to get over this experience. And by “get over”, I mean for it not to haunt me. For her face to not appear every time I closed my eyes. I thought I had known heartbreak before this… but I can honestly say that this was one of the most painful experiences I’ve ever had in my life.

As heartbreak can often do, this one would change me in more ways than I would ever have imagined.

I began living life as a different man. I hid my heart. I started to drink more. And I became lady crazy. I don’t mean kinda crazy, I mean they were like a drug to me. I wanted all of them.

I figured that if being a great boyfriend and being kind and loving got me heartbreak, then I was done with it. I decided that I would do everything I could to not let another woman hurt me. I decided that it was time to start accumulating status, money, and ladies. I set the goal to make 100k/year and to have a porsche, a house, and a plethora of female experience.

With my new goals in mind I hit the bar scene eager and naive. Only a couple of weeks after my devastating breakup, on halloween, I did two things I had never done before: I made out with a girl on the dance floor, and brought a different girl home… to my parents’ house. Who was, ironically, dressed as a devil.

I had never done this one night stand thing before. But I did know how to talk shit. So, I talked about all of the crazy sex-fuelled stuff I was going to do to her, and then when I went to have sex with her, I had another first, it was like putting a marshmallow in a piggy bank. One. Night. Stand. Fail.

And I wish I could blame alcohol, but that had never affected my performance. I’ll tell you exactly why: because I was stepping outside my integrity and who I was in my heart.

But that didn’t stop me. I would be committed to this new way of life. My solution to my new found emotional erectile dysfunction would be to drink the anxiety away. To anesthetize my heart, and to win the acclaim of men around me for my skills with the ladies. I would not only get to experience the “love” of many women, but also become an incredible story teller.

It’s interesting to look back at this time, because, to be honest, I didn’t know what I was doing. I couldn’t consciously see why I was doing what I was doing. I just knew it didn’t feel good in my heart. But it definitely felt good in terms of novelty and orgasms.

But it had become part of my identity. To be a ladies man and to be celebrated for the things I saw in rap videos.

relationship advice, dating advice, couple, vancouver, nyc, mark groves, positive psychology

I got asked recently, “Who do you think you need to be to be loved?”

And wow. That floored me. Who I’ve thought I needed to be has shifted for me as I have grown up.

When I was in my teens it was being funny, athletic, kind, and a good man. Striving to help others, and always being sensitive and empathetic to those around me.

After my breakup though it changed. I did something one should never do: I made someone else not choosing me mean that I wasn’t good enough. Since I didn’t feel like I was good enough as I was, I chose to become someone else. I abandoned parts of my true self to ensure I got the love of others. I became who I thought I needed to be to be loved. Because I thought who I was, wasn’t good enough.

In the last seventeen years I have had so many amazing women in my life. Some of them (obviously) shorter experiences than others… Shit, I’ve even had a fiancee. I’ve shared laughs, cries, travel, adventures, heartbreak, and learnings that I would never take back.

Through all of it I see that I have had women who are willing to show up for me. To love me. To choose me.

But I couldn’t see them then. I was so busy running from love that I didn’t see it sitting in front of my eyes at every turn.

It killed me when I realized this recently, but I haven’t let anyone love me in seventeen years. Seventeen effing years. Sure, I’ve been in relationships. But I never  actually let anyone *in*. Mostly, because I thought if I let someone love all of me they would hurt me. They would leave. They would make me heartbroken.

It’s flawed logic isn’t it?

To ask for love and not willing to be heartbroken. Knowing that the depth we love is always met with an equal and opposite potential for heartbreak.

Also, to be in a relationship with the purpose of seeking love and affection, yet never allowing anyone to give it to us. And on top of all of that, expecting others to love us when we haven’t even taken the time to love ourselves.

I now see that the journey is always inside our own hearts first. I see that the amount of love we have for another is limited by the love we have for ourselves.

So I’ve journeyed within. I love hard. I live in the space of absolute authenticity now. I am me. That’s it. I write and speak on the subject of how humans connect because it’s my favourite. To help people find and see their truth so they can then connect better with others. I write about my journey because I’m not afraid of owning my sh*t, and I hope you may see parts of yourself in me so you may learn without making the same mistakes I’ve made.

I do not regret a moment of my past. I do not regret a single relationship or a single decision, and I would take every second, every fleeting romance, and every heartbreak just as they came. They have taught me so much, and any deviation wouldn’t have brought me where I am today. To a place I am extremely proud of.

In the last four years I have been going through an “unbecoming” of sorts. I recognize that no amount of money, ladies, cars, houses, or “stuff” will ever be able to replace authentic connection and showing up as who am in my core. We chase and accumulate these material things to avoid ourselves. To avoid actually showing up unapologetically and saying, “I trust that you’ll love me for me, and if you can’t/won’t, that’s okay, because I’m amazing how I am and if you won’t, I will find someone who will. I am not willing to become someone else to be with you.”

Here’s what I know to be true:

Show up for the world. Show up for you. Let go of all of the bullsh*t and just allow yourself to be who you are. No one is going to give you permission. No one is going to make you. If you truly want to love and build partnership, you have to let yourself be you. You have to stand in your truth. You have to remove the layers of who you think you need to be to be loved, so that you can love all out.

I feel like I’ve just been born again. Definitely not as a virgin though. But more so as me. To fall in love. To be given another chance. To actually give another woman a chance. To focus on being the good man I know I am.

dating advice, relationship advice, nyc, vancouver, couple, breakup, relationship coach, keynote speaking

Maybe Life Is About More Than Getting Rich and Laid

When I was nineteen I was so in love. And like it seems to always happen with great relationships at that age, she went away to college. When she was leaving we had that standard conversation about what the relationship was going to look like, but at that point in our lives it almost seemed doomed to fail. Two people in their late teens, both embarking on the initial steps of creating their schooling and careers, in two different countries. A hard time to make promises, especially ones with such a fleeting feeling as love can sometimes be. So we framed the relationship in a way that we would be allowed to “see” other people, we would just communicate when that happened(Great plan right?!).

So, in the car she went, and go she did.

Being that I was still home, everything around me still reminded me of her. It was torturous. And for her the excitement was never-ending: new school, new people, athletic fame. My heart was attached to the familiar, and hers was exploding with novelty.

The days turned into weeks, the communication was less and less. And then finally she came back for Thanksgiving. Except, she brought her “friend”, the handsome running back with the perfect smile.

I had Thanksgiving dinner with her and her family, and that “friend”. And in hindsight I can’t believe I actually sat there as I was being disrespected with each bite.

I’m not sure how naive I really was back then?!? I believed in the best in people, but I also failed to see the truths that were right in front of my eyes. I skipped the red flags to avoid the pain. Pain that was clearly very imminent to any onlooker.

She would (obviously) go on to date this guy, and I would remain in a crumpled heap of resentment. Resenting myself mostly, for not having a backbone to tell her that her way of being didn’t make my heart feel so good. That she was being sh*tty. But I was so afraid to lose her before that moment, that I let sh*t slide. Sh*t that should definitely not have slid… Sh*t that should’ve been picked up, bagged, and tossed.

A lot of what happened was my fault. I didn’t call her to be better. I didn’t have the tools to challenge her to grow.

Not many people know this, but it took me almost two years(more than that actually… you’ll see) for me to get over this experience. And by “get over”, I mean for it not to haunt me. For her face to not appear every time I closed my eyes. I thought I had known heartbreak before this… but I can honestly say that this was one of the most painful experiences I’ve ever had in my life.

As heartbreak can often do, this one would change me in more ways than I would ever have imagined.

I began living life as a different man. I hid my heart. I started to drink more. And I became lady crazy. I don’t mean kinda crazy, I mean they were like a drug to me. I wanted all of them.

I figured that if being a great boyfriend and being kind and loving got me heartbreak, then I was done with it. I decided that I would do everything I could to not let another woman hurt me. I decided that it was time to start accumulating status, money, and ladies. I set the goal to make 100k/year and to have a porsche, a house, and a plethora of female experience.

With my new goals in mind I hit the bar scene eager and naive. Only a couple of weeks after my devastating breakup, on halloween, I did two things I had never done before: I made out with a girl on the dance floor, and brought a different girl home… to my parents’ house. Who was, ironically, dressed as a devil.

I had never done this one night stand thing before. But I did know how to talk shit. So, I talked about all of the crazy sex-fuelled stuff I was going to do to her, and then when I went to have sex with her, I had another first, it was like putting a marshmallow in a piggy bank. One. Night. Stand. Fail.

And I wish I could blame alcohol, but that had never affected my performance. I’ll tell you exactly why: because I was stepping outside my integrity and who I was in my heart.

But that didn’t stop me. I would be committed to this new way of life. My solution to my new found emotional erectile dysfunction would be to drink the anxiety away. To anesthetize my heart, and to win the acclaim of men around me for my skills with the ladies. I would not only get to experience the “love” of many women, but also become an incredible story teller.

It’s interesting to look back at this time, because, to be honest, I didn’t know what I was doing. I couldn’t consciously see why I was doing what I was doing. I just knew it didn’t feel good in my heart. But it definitely felt good in terms of novelty and orgasms.

But it had become part of my identity. To be a ladies man and to be celebrated for the things I saw in rap videos.

relationship advice, dating advice, couple, vancouver, nyc, mark groves, positive psychology

I got asked recently, “Who do you think you need to be to be loved?”

And wow. That floored me. Who I’ve thought I needed to be has shifted for me as I have grown up.

When I was in my teens it was being funny, athletic, kind, and a good man. Striving to help others, and always being sensitive and empathetic to those around me.

After my breakup though it changed. I did something one should never do: I made someone else not choosing me mean that I wasn’t good enough. Since I didn’t feel like I was good enough as I was, I chose to become someone else. I abandoned parts of my true self to ensure I got the love of others. I became who I thought I needed to be to be loved. Because I thought who I was, wasn’t good enough.

In the last seventeen years I have had so many amazing women in my life. Some of them (obviously) shorter experiences than others… Shit, I’ve even had a fiancee. I’ve shared laughs, cries, travel, adventures, heartbreak, and learnings that I would never take back.

Through all of it I see that I have had women who are willing to show up for me. To love me. To choose me.

But I couldn’t see them then. I was so busy running from love that I didn’t see it sitting in front of my eyes at every turn.

It killed me when I realized this recently, but I haven’t let anyone love me in seventeen years. Seventeen effing years. Sure, I’ve been in relationships. But I never  actually let anyone *in*. Mostly, because I thought if I let someone love all of me they would hurt me. They would leave. They would make me heartbroken.

It’s flawed logic isn’t it?

To ask for love and not willing to be heartbroken. Knowing that the depth we love is always met with an equal and opposite potential for heartbreak.

Also, to be in a relationship with the purpose of seeking love and affection, yet never allowing anyone to give it to us. And on top of all of that, expecting others to love us when we haven’t even taken the time to love ourselves.

I now see that the journey is always inside our own hearts first. I see that the amount of love we have for another is limited by the love we have for ourselves.

So I’ve journeyed within. I love hard. I live in the space of absolute authenticity now. I am me. That’s it. I write and speak on the subject of how humans connect because it’s my favourite. To help people find and see their truth so they can then connect better with others. I write about my journey because I’m not afraid of owning my sh*t, and I hope you may see parts of yourself in me so you may learn without making the same mistakes I’ve made.

I do not regret a moment of my past. I do not regret a single relationship or a single decision, and I would take every second, every fleeting romance, and every heartbreak just as they came. They have taught me so much, and any deviation wouldn’t have brought me where I am today. To a place I am extremely proud of.

In the last four years I have been going through an “unbecoming” of sorts. I recognize that no amount of money, ladies, cars, houses, or “stuff” will ever be able to replace authentic connection and showing up as who am in my core. We chase and accumulate these material things to avoid ourselves. To avoid actually showing up unapologetically and saying, “I trust that you’ll love me for me, and if you can’t/won’t, that’s ok, because I’m amazing how I am and if you won’t, I will find someone who will. I am not willing to become someone else to be with you.”

Here’s what I know to be true:

Show up for the world. Show up for you. Let go of all of the bullsh*t and just allow yourself to be who you are. No one is going to give you permission. No one is going to make you. If you truly want to love and build partnership, you have to let yourself be you. You have to stand in your truth. You have to remove the layers of who you think you need to be to be loved, so that you can love all out.

I feel like I’ve just been born again. Definitely not as a virgin though. But more so as me. To fall in love. To be given another chance. To actually give another woman a chance. To focus on being the good man I know I am.

love, dating advice, relationship advice, couples, feminism,

Maybe You Don’t Have A Man Because You Don’t Need One

“I don’t need a man.”

I have always found this statement rather disheartening. It’s a phrase that is often expelled from the lips of a spiteful woman.

Its roots are in the wake of a feminist movement that saw many women left abandoned. Wives and mothers who dedicated their lives to family, only to be left without a career, their own money, and their husbands often withholding child support in order to control and manipulate.

I get it, the “breadwinner” marriages of the mid-twentieth century had few winners. Patriarchal relationship structures communicated the role of women to be one of servitude. “Dedicate your life to your man and your family, and he’ll take care of you, meanwhile you’ll compromise everything, including your own identity.” Sounds like a crap deal to me.

So, here we are, in the wake of a necessary feminist movement, with messages that swung the pendulum in a totally different direction. Men and women, who experienced and/or observed the devastation from relationships of the past, communicate to their daughters messages of strength:

“Never depend on a man.”

“Be independent.”

“Never need a man.”

“Take care of yo’self”

It’s important to honour that these messages are absolutely necessary and important. However, when these messages are not clarified, they are left to be interpreted by the receiver… unfortunately that receiver is often a child who lacks the intellectual maturity to ask questions and look for more direction.

Left unexplained, what we often hear are messages like:

“Never open up to a man.”

“Never depend on anyone.”

“If you ever feel like you ‘need’ someone, you’re giving too much.”

And of course, with these messages comes the conundrum:

We are all human, so, inevitably, we fall in love.

And, in turn, we want to give ourselves to the relationship, but there is just something holding us back and we begin to feel the devastating consequence of a message of strength gone wrong.

We live our relationships from the place of:

“Never let your man feel like you need him.”

And that’s where we are today, in a space where often (not always) women are taught to not need a man and when they’re in relationships, they are incredibly scared to do or say anything that could communicate they are vulnerable and want to depend on their partner.

Although that fierce independence is brilliant and inspiring, taken to the extreme it has negative effects on an essential component for relationships:

If our partners don’t feel like we need them, why would they stay? Why would they want to feel vulnerable and give themselves to the relationship?

Men are creatures of purpose. We want to provide and have a role in a woman’s life. We want to be able to love our woman. And when that woman communicates either directly or indirectly that she doesn’t need us, it hurts.

What we hear is that we don’t fit. We have no purpose in her life.

In addition to that, a large percentage of women are out-earning their partners. The role of man’s purpose as a provider in the relationship has shifted. A man’s success and identity have been evolutionarily rooted in being the provider, and when that role is no longer available, men seek to find another role in the relationship and/or in other areas of life.

Let’s be clear, it does not rest on the shoulders of a woman to create purpose for a man. However, it is important that each person create the space for their partner to find and experience purpose, even if that is within the relationship. The challenge is that we need to develop the awareness to step past all of the messages and identities we’ve been taught of what it means to be a “man” and an “independent woman”. 

When we adopt these identities we often have an incredibly hard time gaining deep and connected long term relationships… because most men are still driven and rewarded based on archaic ideals, and most women have moved past old roles and into the role of the masculine… leaving no space for a man to love and appreciate his partner, because she’s now the provider, the parent, and she doesn’t need no man to take care of her.

There’s no space for a man, because women are being that man. 

breakup, relationship advice, dating advice, couple, love, inspiration, positive psychology, positive relationships

So what do we do? Women are the new men, and men have no clue what the hell to do. Where does that leave relationships?

This isn’t about just women. This is about what messages, identities and roles we’re creating and subscribing to as humans. It is our responsibility to take control of our own hearts, and together, regardless of the combination of gender, we need to create relationships that work for us.

We need to step outside of what society, culture and religion have taught us, and create relationships and identities that align with who we are as individuals, and how we want show up to the relationship.

We need to stop trying to be so tough and actually let people in. Men and women need to create space in their lives for each other. And although it is so empowering and beautiful to observe women so rooted in their purpose and taking over the world, women can do that and still be loving and maternal. Falling and being in love doesn’t give a woman’s power away, it actually makes women more powerful. 

We need to see our relationships in the same way we see businesses. Much like a corporate culture, we design our relationship environment, including how we want to feel and who we want to be within that partnership. Relationships today are partnerships, and partnerships require shared agreements and intentions. By discussing and coming up with these agreements and intentions together, we allow ourselves to create the relationship we want. We become the creators of our reality. 

And at the end of the day, if we want great love and great relationships, we have to let people love us. Again, we have to let people in. Till we do that we’ll always be loving with half our hearts. And I don’t know about you, but I’m too full of life and love to waste it settling for “safe” and “comfortable”. I want to be able to depend on my partner, and her feel needed as well.

Let’s get better, together. 

relationships, dating, relationship advice, communication, emotional intelligence, positive psychology, couples, baby boomers, senior citizens, love, old couple

Are We Ever Too Old To Find Great Love Again?

When we get to our seat on a plane, it can feel a lot like a game of Russian Roulette. We never know who our future seat mate might be. We can’t predict how soon those headphones will need to go on because we’ve ended up beside one of the most boringly verbose people on the planet.

Although those are the types of people I normally get, recently I had the pleasure of being seated next to the combination of two of my favourite things; a woman and an interesting conversation about love.

Allison was the woman’s name, and she began to tell me the story of how, at 92 years old, her mother decided to get married again.

Wait?!? What?!? At 92?! What’s the point? My curiosity couldn’t resist more inquiry…

Allison continued with the details her mother’s never-ending love story. Her mom had been widowed in her mid 60s, and remarried not long after. That marriage would run over twenty-five years, with her husband passing when she was in her late 80s. Then, once again, the path to wedded bliss would emerge at the tender age of 91, when she met her new, would-be husband.

When her family advised her that she should maybe wait to get married again out of respect to them, she sharply responded, “I hardly have enough time left to be concerned about other people’s feelings. I’m getting married, I might be dead in a couple of months.”

My new friend told me that when she spoke to her mom’s new beau, he told her,

”Your mother is the love of my golden years.”

Wow.

Now, a wedding story on its own may not make for very exciting news, but this one was special. Because it reminded me of something we often forget:

We are never too old to desire, create, and establish loving and thriving relationships.

It’s an odd belief system we’ve developed; that once we’ve gotten to a certain age we might as well just pack it in. We’ve made it this far, why stir the pot and ruffle everyone’s feathers, right?  A desire for more will stress out our families and our romantic partners if, all of a sudden, we want a thriving relationship. Date nights are things young people do and/or people whose relationships need work. We don’t need sex, it’ll probably just aggravate our old sports injury anyway, and an orgasm at this point might give us a heart attack.

Single people are suffering from a similar destructive belief system. With the majority of our population entering their 60s, there are many people who have given up on love because they feel they may be too old to deserve it now. Why start a relationship at the end our lives when we’re so close to the finish line?

positive psychology, relationship advice, dating advice, relationships, baby boomers, marriage, dating after sixtyLet’s do some math:

If the average person lives to the age of 79, then by 60 years old, we have 19 more years of life.

Nineteen years is a LONG time to just exist. Shouldn’t knowing that we only have 19 years left be a good reason to want to shake things up and create the life we want?

Are we ever too old to want dreams to come true?

Having healthy relationships has been linked to having longer and healthier lives. To further that, research has also shown that having sex and great emotional support systems can lower the amount of inflammation we have. People in bad relationships actually heal more slowly than people in great ones. Do you hear that?! Hostile relationships actually hurt us. Imagine the benefits a thriving and healthy relationship can do for our heads and hearts?!

Does this mean that we need to enter relationships to be happy? No. I’ve written about why being a happy single person is equally as good as being in a thriving relationship. Simply put, happy people have happy relationships. And because of that, relationships are a pretty good barometer of how we’re feeling inside.

So, how does one find love these days?

Before the advent of online dating, our ability to find and seek romantic partners was limited by geography and also the small number of people willing to challenge the social norms of dating and seek relationships past a certain age. With online dating, we have SO much more opportunity. We can have coffee with people all over the world via Facetime and Skype. We can find other people who want what we want by simply choosing it from the dropdown menu on the search engine. We can even decide that we just want to go out and have a roll in the hay.

I’m not saying we need to enter into a relationship to thrive. I’m saying that as a global community we need to encourage the exploration of our hearts, our sexuality, and continue to always grow and thrive as individuals and improve our ability to connect with others.

Maybe when we start to understand just how fleeting life is, we will begin to realize that we deserve love during any and all of our years.

Maybe, just maybe, we will see that our capacity and desire for love is not determined by our age, but by our willingness to choose it.

Our lives actually might depend on it.

relationship advice, dating advice, couple, relationships, communication, marriage, marriage advice, advice

5 Questions People In Successful Relationships Ask Themselves

Determining what relationship success is to each and every one of us is tricky isn’t it? It’s a definition that is very personal and one that many people have lots of differing opinions on. Being “together” is just one marker of success. But there are many other dynamics that go into having a thriving and amazing relationship. 

One of the greatest influences on our relationship success is our ability to understand who we have shown up as in our past so we can look with clear and sober eyes at the choices we’re making today. Ultimately, everything we do in this moment is determining our future, so it would be important to choose appropriately, if in our future we see a loving and fulfilling relationship. 

Having thriving and fulfilling relationships is one of the greatest contributors to human happiness. Even though at some points in our lives it can feel like a far off dream, having a great relationship is an achievable goal for anyone

So, with that said, here are 5 questions that will help set us all up for relationship success:

1. Are we being our best selves? 

We’re usually just trying to keep our sh*t together aren’t we? Life is messy. Everyone around us is struggling with similar things, and even on the best days we don’t always have our heads on straight. All we can do is the best we can.

And that leads to an interesting question: Are we doing the best we can? When life hands us plot twists, are we still showing up? We must be mindful of what we’re choosing in our lives and how we want others to show up for us. If we want honesty, are we always honest? If we want integrity, what areas of our lives lack it? We want someone who has certain values, are we actually living those values?

The people who show up in our lives are generally a reflection of us. That’s why the saying, “If you want to find the one, be the one” makes so much sense, because we cannot ask for what we’re not willing to be. If we consistently live everyday making choices and having habits that keep us average, the by-product is that we will be creating a life and relationship that reflects just that. Let’s raise our game! It’s time to give our best so we can get the best.

2. Are we limiting or blocking  the  love we’re capable of? 

Do we have reasons we limit our vulnerability? Do we share our greatest fears with our partner? We all have pasts and experiences that can close our hearts. In order to be present and exist in a high functioning relationship, it’s important to do our own work. To ask ourselves, “Why do we do the things we do?”

With those answers and insights we can then change our unhealthy behaviours into ones that contribute to a loving relationship that allows us to be our authentic selves. Which leads to the next…

3. Are we able to be ourselves? 

Relationships are not where we go to pretend. They are not the place we should have to wear a mask and limit our dreams and play small.

I once asked a friend if his wife knew his biggest dreams? He said, “No, that would freak her out.” 

That freaked me out. How do we not share who we are at our core with the person that we’re wanting to share a life with? Why would we want to be with someone who doesn’t push us to achieve all of our wildest dreams? Someone who expects us to grow and learn ourselves and tap into our unlimited potential?

Our relationship is where we take off the mask and get to recharge.

If we’re constantly on our tippy toes and afraid to speak our truth, then our relationship will be where we spend more energy than we gain from it, because we’ll be using all of our energy on pretending to be someone we aren’t

4. Is our partner getting what they need? Check-in. All. The. Time. 

We don’t often check-in with our partners do we? We’re usually really scared of what we might hear. Ask each other if the relationship is working. Ask what could be better. Do not wait till there is a tsunami of emotion before we realize that we could’ve changed our behaviours and the direction of the relationship earlier.

Relationships usually end because they can’t handle the barrage of five years of problems coming out in one moment. If we adjust our sails as we go, moment by moment, we can ensure that the ship(our relationship) doesn’t get too far off-course. 

5. Are we  holding on to a relationship that we’ve outgrown? 

There’s a big difference between being in a relationship that we want to work through and one that we don’t. It’s important to ask ourselves if we’re in the relationship out of habit and routine? Have our paths and roles in each other’s lives come to a conclusion?

Sometimes our hearts just don’t want to be there anymore. And that’s ok.

We cannot run from the alarms and deep knowing as to what we need to do. Make being true to ourselves more important than anything else, including “staying together”. There is a beauty in honouring that, and by moving forward we create space for someone new to come into our lives who is more aligned with us. 

relationships, dating, relationship advice, couple, love, dating advice, qualities, good relationship

It is often stated that relationships are “hard work”. If we believe that to be true then that can support us accepting and staying in relationship circumstances that are very far from ideal. A simple shift is;  

Relationships require effort. 

And, like it or not, that effort must come from both sides. We must be personally willing to live all of the things we expect from our partners. We must be willing to take a step back and an honest look at what kind of partner we’re being.

It requires a high level of vulnerability and the courage to say things like, “I’m just not that happy right now, how about you? What can we do to change that?” And equally just as much courage to tell them how much we love, value, and want them in our lives.

Often, what we fail to see, is all of the conversations that can potentially end our relationships, are the very ones that bring us closer together. It is through love and connections that we are invited to evolve and grow into our best selves. We just have to accept that invitation.

relationship status, talk about us, breakup, dating, relationship advice, dating advice, couple, seeing each other

The One Dating Conversation You’re Not Having That Could Make Or Break Your Future

When I was younger the setting of most of my teenage make-outs was far from ideal. I mean, there was a roof over my head, and food in the fridge, but in the basement of our family home, nestled in the back corner, was our “study”. The temperature of our basement was sometimes close to freezing, and I can remember mornings when I could see my breath. Hardly the ideal environment to try to get a girl’s clothes off.

But alas, I was a resilient young man. Temperature wasn’t going to stop me from studying the female body. I can remember a specific time when I was making out with a girl who I had been dating for a little over a month. We hadn’t had “The Talk” yet, but I could feel it perched on the ledge of her every breath. 

As my hand moved to the clasp of her bra, she grabbed my face and aggressively demanded my focus to her eyes. Raging with testosterone and trepidation for the imminent conversation that was about to happen, blood redirected itself to my brain to collect my thoughts as she sheepishly mumbled:

“What is going on between us?”

Well, that killed the mood. 

The man in me wondered, “Why couldn’t she have just waited another forty-five minutes (ten minutes is probably more realistic) to have this conversation?”

I had known that this conversation would come, and it would be the end of my relationship-free romance. It wasn’t that I was seeing other people, or that I didn’t enjoy her company. I did. I just didn’t want to be ‘in’ a relationship with her.

Let’s talk about the dating and relationship rules that we seem to have formulated when it comes to trying to navigate the booby-traps of new love.

She wanted to talk about ‘us’ for awhile. She likely chatted with her friends and they went through the formulaic algorithm that we seem to have created for the specific question we all seem to ponder:

“When is it ok to have the talk about what our relationship status is?”

Let me be very clear:

It is ok to have that conversation the moment you wonder (I’ll explain). 

I work with people all of the time who avoid this conversation because they’re afraid of what they might hear. They’re afraid that the response will be different than what they want to hear. They’re afraid that the person they’re dating might not want what they want, and that scares the crap out of them.

Think about what belief is REALLY going on here and what we’re giving meaning to:

Someone else not wanting what we want means that they don’t want us. 

AND 

We would rather avoid that conversation to avoid rejection, than get clear information on how to best make  informed decisions moving forward.

Look, I’m not here to sugarcoat or placate to the tenderness people want to hear. I’m going to tell you what’s up.

Let’s consider how this impacts our lives; we avoid conversations where we could get more clarity about someone’s intentions because we’re afraid their intentions (to be or not be in a relationship) may not match ours. 

That’s seems sort of ridiculous, doesn’t it?!

Let’s think of this scenario differently. 

Imagine that lately you’ve been feeling ill. For some time now, something in your body is just not feeling right. And, like most of us, you consider your options:

(a) Go to the doctor, find out what’s going on (and maybe that it’s nothing) and do something about it (or not), or

(b) Ignore it and allow it to grow into something that we can no longer treat. And potentially, you could die.

Your sickness becomes a colossal mess because, out of fear of hearing something might be wrong with you, you avoid the very information that would allow you to make proactive decisions and act. 

I know this sounds extreme — Because this is very serious.

us, relationship advice, dating advice, couple, about us, scared, avoiding, breakup, soulmate

Here are 4 long-term and very serious consequences of avoiding “The Talk”:

1. You are building two roads to two different places:  Imagine that both you and your partner own a construction company, and that this company builds roads. When you consider what the company mission statement is, your belief is that you’re building roads that lead to wedded bliss.  And oddly, when probed, we find out that his/hers leads to orgasms, lack of commitment, and fleeting love that allows them to sample all the goods around. 

Wow. Quite a difference. So, if this goes undiscussed, we’ll have one company, building two different things. Doesn’t sound very smart, does it?

When this happens in the context of relationships, we’ll have hurt, anxiety, pain, and lots of time we can NEVER get back. All because we never talked about relationship mission statements. 

Don’t be fooled. Relationships require similar mission statements and intentions. Because, when not aligned, all of a sudden, maybe it’s three months or ten years down the road, you’re going to realize that you’re not building what you thought you were building. And you’re going to be really, really, really(really) angry. 

And the truth is, you should be frustrated with yourself, because all you had to do was ask. 

2. You are destroying your self-worth:  When we avoid speaking our truth and what we desire from a relationship, we step further and further away from our hearts. We are, indirectly, telling ourselves that what we want isn’t important. Our desires and beliefs don’t matter. What we need, doesn’t matter. We…don’t matter. And if we have kids, we’re teaching them the exact same thing. It is that big of a deal.

3. You are wasting valuable time:  Tick Tock goes the clock. Maybe right now you think it’s not a big deal – you’ve got time, right? What’s another couple weeks or months? Well, quickly, those months will turn into years. And you will be left in a desecrated pile of “I should haves” and, “Why didn’t I justs” as you pick up the pieces of your broken heart, one that you consciously chose to break by not having the conversations that matter. 

And if that doesn’t sound serious enough, consider how quickly our lives can change. One coffee shop lineup, one yoga class, one walk in the park. That’s all it takes to meet the person we’ve been seeking. But you’ll never be in that position to meet them if you don’t take control of your life and make conscious decisions about who you want in it. 

4. You are filling the gap:  Maybe there’s many reasons you’re avoiding the conversation. Maybe you like companionship? Great. Maybe you like getting laid and spooning to Netflix marathons? Who doesn’t?! Maybe this person is almost what you want but not quite it. What’s the harm? 

But they’re not that person. And the longer you hold onto them and fill the space of partnership in your life with mediocrity, you take away the space for your match to enter it.

Chew on that for awhile(but not too long, we’ve got love to find.)


Truth be told, there is no magic formula to dating. That’s why the book “He’s Just Not That Into You” doesn’t mean anything when we’re in the storm, because when emotion is involved it’s hard for us to be impartial. 

There are rules that are right sometimes, but if there is anything I’ve learned from dating, it’s this: 

When we are really into someone, none of the rules matter. All the books and courses we have taken mean nothing. We text and call as much as we want. We see each other as much as we want. We kiss when we want. We even bang when we want. And we say, “I love you” when we feel it. 

When we start worrying about all the algorithms and pathways we need to go down, we begin to step outside ourselves. We loose our authenticity and our honesty, because we are pretending to be someone we’re not. 

Let’s be our quirky, funny, weird, witty, sarcastic, awkward, and amazing selves. When we do that we give ourselves the freedom to just be. We’re not putting our energy into pretending, and that means we can put more energy into loving.

SPOILER ALERT: That girl and I broke up. And I never got to finish the make-out. Because I didn’t tell her what she wanted to hear. I told her the truth. The end. 

single, sad, selflove, positive psychology, relationship advice, dating advice, relationships, dating, motivation, communication

Why Are You Single? Wait… Is that a bad thing?

We have this belief system that being single is bad.

It’s not.

Check out this video where I dispel some of the myths about how people in relationships are happier and healthier than people who are single.

If you like this video please Share it, Subscribe to my Youtube Channel, and give it a Thumbs Up on Youtube! 

References:

Stressful social relations and mortality: a prospective cohort study

Social Relationships and Health: A Flashpoint for Health Policy

Marriage and health: His and hers.

relationship advice, dating advice, positive psychology, marriage, wedding, vows, communication, divorce, breakup, relationships, love, dating

Why The Promise Of Forever Can Mean The Death Of Your Relationship

It’s really interesting that we go from relationships of varying quality and length in our teens and twenties and then leap into a “serious” relationship or marriage and expect it to last forever.

Often, we haven’t learned from our past relationships or taken the time to ask ourselves how we contributed to those relationship outcomes. When a relationship ends, it’s easy to blame the other person but sometimes we neglect to explore what our role was.

How do we learn how to “be” in a relationship? Are we ever really ready for marriage and lifelong monogamy?

Most of our relationship knowledge and skills come from our parents and various other mentors.

This can be a good thing. But it can also be an extremely bad thing.

Our parents might have left a path of destruction and then we wonder why we have blocks to love. Seldom is it true that they loved perfectly and are models of monogamistic bliss. They are human after all.

By the time we finally “commit”, most of us have not actively sought out what makes relationships work.  We haven’t done an inventory of the behaviours we have and don’t have, that influence how we merge hearts and how to build and maintain love.

On top of that, we might never have learned how to pick great partners or to explore and honour what connection truly is.

Relationships don’t generally last a lifetime. I’m not trying to be a negative dick. This is a fact. One that we usually choose to ignore.

People get fired up over divorce and breakups. As a society, we frown upon the divorced. Their story reflects one of our greatest fears; that our relationships might one day end too.

And that fear makes sense. Breakups are hard and it’s easy to get caught up in the dream of soulmates and having one lover for our lifetime. We all want to believe that life and love is always puppy dogs and ice cream. (I love both).

It’s not. Love can be hard. Love can hurt. Love sometimes feels as though it fails us. And ironically, love is often one of our greatest sources of pain.

And if love wasn’t already hard enough, let’s throw in the fact that sometimes we make bad choices and end up down a path that is no longer where we want to be. After all, this is real life. Not a fairy tale or perfect love story.

In this real life, relationships don’t “fail” per se. We tend to outgrow them, or don’t have the skills necessary to navigate them. We often don’t know or understand how to grow together. And at times, we exist in relationships where we were never really invested in the first place.

Relationship longevity is only ONE marker of relationship success.

Certainly not the only one.

But it is BY FAR the one we place the most emphasis on.

love, beach, relationships, relationship advice, dating advice, dating

This is ridiculous. If “staying together” is our gauge of success, then almost everyone on this planet is/will be, or has been a failure at some point in their life. And all of us have this human relationship game all wrong.

The truth is that anyone can make the worst relationship last forever. Because “staying together” tells us nothing about the juice of the relationship. It’s not a marker of the quality of the relationship.

I believe we should define relationship success in a way that holds us accountable.

Are you doing the best you can? Are you being the best possible partner you know you’re capable of being? Are you making the choices and living in a way that you expect from your partner?

Yes? Amazing.

No? Why not?

Do you love who you are and bring that back to the relationship?

If not, why? What’s holding you back?

Instead of being driven and focused by needing the relationship to last forever, set it as an intention that guides your behaviour in each moment.

Relationship success is about living in the now and showing up each day. It’s about being the best possible version of you in each moment. And choosing your partner – moment by moment.

We can only take responsibility for our side of the relationship. It’s up to us to set the benchmark for the type of relationship we want. Those that can’t keep up, won’t. But instead of holding onto someone and dating their potential, let them go and find someone who’s ready and wants to love like you do.

By living and loving this way, we reframe what the end of a relationship means for us. We do everything we can and if a relationship ends, we let it go because we’ve done our best. We’ve given it our all. 

You are accountable to your potential. How you choose to live and love is up to you! Don’t wait until shit hits the fan to figure out how to be a great partner.

Choose to be amazing today.

Strive to be and do the best you can. Embrace the adventure. Accept and appreciate your learnings. And always move forward. Even if it’s just a small step.

When we live and love like this, moments add up into days, the days into years, and maybe even the years into your forever.