How to Find Balance in Your Relationship When You’re an Alpha Female

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Relationships are all about balance. However, that statement is one of those things that are a whole lot easier said than done when you’re an Alpha female. In a world in which a million little signs are sent every single day telling you to be powerful, confident and in control, it can be difficult to let up on the reins and allow your inner Beta to have her turn. And, my friend, I can assure you that there is nothing wrong with being a powerful, independent woman. What it means, however, is that striking balance in your romantic relationship can be a touch more challenging. As you probably know by now, that’s the topic we’ll be tackling in today’s post. Ready? Let’s go. 1. Honour His Masculine Energy

Alpha females are powerful forces. More often than not, these leading ladies wind up being “The Boss” in many areas of their lives. While this can lead to impressive accomplishments in a career, it can create challenging tensions at home. This is, quite simply, due to the two fundamental human energies – the masculine and feminine. Most men value and appreciate a confident, self-assured female partner. That said, it’s important that your male partner be given the space and permission to express his own masculine energy and Alpha qualities. What’s more important, still, is that you honour this energy and see it not as in competition with your own abilities to lead, but as an opportunity to loosen your hold on the reigns and allow your inner Beta to enjoy a little time away from the wheel.

When your partner does take his turn steering the ship, I urge you to avoid becoming a back seat driver. Steering clear of criticism, especially amongst his friends and family, is very important. There is nothing more discouraging than being encouraged to try something new or make a decision, only to then feel ridiculed or second-guessed along the way.

2. Know there is Power in The Feminine

Did you know that feminine energy is boundlessly powerful? You have the ability to make someone feel entirely at ease, accepted and loved with only your body language. You have the distinct ability to be alluring, persuasive, inviting and communicative without saying a single word. I encourage you to avoid viewing femininity as expressing weakness. Because, frankly, females are anything but.

Instead, I ask you to view your natural feminine energy and instinct for what it is – incredible, powerful and positive. You have the fundamental ability to support, nurture and honour your partner.  Your partner has the fundamental instinct to care for you, protect you and provide you comfort. If you’re having a tough day, consider leaving your “business suit” at the door and allowing yourself to be vulnerable with your partner. Let him into your struggle and allow him to help make things better.

3. Nurture His Journey to Learn and Grow

As an Alpha, it may be easy to assume that you can do something better, faster or more efficiently than someone else. When it comes to your relationship with your partner, this can enter dangerous territory. While perhaps you truly are better suited to tackle a particular task, it’s important that your partner feel he has the space and permission to step up and try his hand at something new.

I urge you to keep things in perspective and understand the difference between letting your partner paint a room and encouraging your partner to rebuild your car’s transmission with zero mechanical experience. Aside from a few splatters of paint that may need to be cleaned up later, there’s really no risk in letting your man take the lead and get his DIY on. Sure, you may actually be a better painter, but does it really matter in the big picture? No. Show your support as he learns new things instead of limiting his potential by insisting you do it yourself. 

4. Be Aware of Your Ability to Impact

You are the most important person to your partner, with the most power to impact his thoughts, opinions and feelings. Chances are that he is the exact same to you. The difference is that, with an Alpha, outside influence doesn’t always reach as deep. You must remember to stay aware and conscious of your unique, and near endless, impact on your partner.

Things that may seem simple or like “no big deal” to you, such as dragging him along on a night out with a group of your friends, or making him stay at a party when he’s clearly not enjoying himself or feels tired, can have a big effect on your relationship. Respecting his interests, reading his cues and remembering that winning isn’t everything will go a long way.

5. Embrace the Spectrum

Something I read recently really stuck out to me. The author spoke of how masculine and feminine energies, as well as Alpha and Beta personalities, exist on a spectrum. While someone may exhibit more Alpha qualities than Beta, it doesn’t mean that this balance can’t or won’t shift over time. What’s more is that neither partner is truly 100% Alpha or Beta. If they were, the relationship simply wouldn’t work. If both were Alpha, nearly every interaction would be catatonic. If both were Beta, nothing would ever get done. It’s important that both partners embrace the spectrum and have the ability to amplify the two energies – masculine and feminine – that make them who they are. Welcoming this fluidity and ongoing balance is crucial to the success of your relationship!

To your authenticity,

Love, Christine

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Distant Partner? 5 Steps to Reconnect & Get Back on Track

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Often, when a woman feels a distance manifesting between her and her partner, instinct can easily take over leading to the beginning of a “pursuit.” Often times this means one partner begins literally following and remaining close to the other. Suddenly every moment must be spent together, every thing must be discussed at length and every argument – even the most minor and typically insignificant – is amplified. Dear friend, this is called a reactive response. What’s more is that this kind of response can wind up causing further damage, and creating further distance. That’s why I want to talk with you about shifting from reactivity to proactivity and seeing distance differently. Because, believe it or not, a relationship funk, or rut, can be an incredible opportunity for growth. Keep reading to learn how to clear the fog between you and your partner, reconnect and get back on track together.

1. Commit to Fostering the Solution Instead of Making a Diagnosis

When one partner feels as though the other seems distant or uninterested, the first question that pops into her mind tends to be, “Why?” This question is closely followed by, “What did I do?” I am challenging you to let those questions go. There are many reasons why someone may seem quieter, more distant or less engaged. He could be stressed, under a lot of pressure at the office, he may be feeling sad about something completely unrelated to your relationship or just having an “off” week. It happens to all of us, but it’s a whole lot easier to recognize when it’s happening to someone else.

What I’m asking you to do is to commit to creating a solution to the problem instead of pursuing a diagnosis. While it’s absolutely important to understand the why behind someone’s actions or words, it’s not going to help you or your relationship to overanalyze every moment, invite criticism to the party, or hunt down one specific answer. Instead, channel your loving energy into giving your partner the support and attention he needs to get back to his usual, amazing self.

2. Be the Change You Want to See

You may be surprised to know just how much you and your partner feed off of one another. Your individual view of the world, approach to relationships, speaking style and mood greatly impacts those of your partner. Sometimes it can impact your partner in the way that you wind up sharing many of these habits and behaviours. When it comes to reconnecting with your partner and truly getting your day-to-day back on track, it’s important that you be the change that you want to see.

Take time to appreciate the micro moments that happen in your relationship. While a spontaneous weekend getaway may be fun and exciting, it’s the more “mundane” moments of everyday life that build and shape your partnership. Turn towards him when he speaks, practice active listening and show your authentic appreciation for his opinions, actions and love. Actively nurturing your relationship will inspire him to do the same. And, when he makes a bid for connection – such as sending you a mid-day text or giving you a kiss goodbye – take pause and allow yourself to be fully present.

3. Be Present, But Respect his Needs for Space

Like I mentioned, your immediate reaction may be to eliminate any and all space between the two of you. Instead of taking this approach, I urge you to be present and attentive while still respecting his need for space. Your partner is a unique human being with individual interests and the need for “me” time just like anyone else. There is a difference, however, between an hour spent playing video games or reading a book and days on end of physical and/or emotional separation.

Consider letting him know that you’ve noticed how busy you have both been lately and would love to spend more time together. Be honest and upfront, but avoid coming across as accusatory. Make a commitment to spend tomorrow evening together, even if it’s just cooking dinner and watching a movie at home. When tomorrow comes, ensure that you remain in the moment and present by removing distractions. If you have children, consider setting up a play date so you have the house to yourself. Leave your mobile phone on silent or, even better, place it in another room. When you’re on the couch watching the movie, leave your laptop put away and stay focused on enjoying the here and now.

4. Embrace Mindfulness

I cannot emphasize enough the importance or power of mindfulness. An incredibly effective practice in your individual life, the positive impact of mindfulness is limitless when it comes to relationships. I’ve written on the topic several times recently and strongly encourage you to explore those posts here. You will be amazed at the transformation that practicing a higher level of self-awareness, empathy and deep understanding can lead to.

A key aspect of bringing mindfulness to your relationship is committing to continuously growing not only your partnership but also your understanding of one another as individuals. The journey of getting to know each other doesn’t end when you move in with each other, say “I do” or even welcome your first child. Quite the opposite, this journey is a lifelong one. As you both evolve and grow as individuals, there will always be something new to discover. I encourage you to see this fact as a never-ending adventure packed full of excitement, opportunity and fulfillment.

5. Be Willing to Step Outside your Comfort Zone

Last but most definitely not least, I ask that you be willing to step outside your comfort zone. It can be all too easy to allow regular routine to take hold, and it’s so important to remember that what got you here isn’t necessarily going to move you forward. Engage as a partner and spend time exploring not only your shared passions or hobbies, but also those that your partner holds dear. Is he into car racing, but you can’t imagine waking up at 4AM to catch the European coverage? You guessed it; you may want to consider setting an alarm and spending that time together. Showing your support for your partner’s individual passions, and that his happiness leads to your happiness, can be a truly bonding experience. No you don't have to buy the T-shirt and become an insta-fan but being open to the reasons why he is passionate about different things/activities is great for bonding.

To your authenticity,

Love, Christine

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5 Ways to Remain Mindful in Online Dating

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I know what you must be thinking. “Mindfulness and online dating? Is it even possible that the two concepts can exist together?” Well, my friend, like any other thing, it’s all in the way you approach it. If you’re considering online dating, or are already doing it, it is possible to both remain mindful and use online dating to find a great date or relationship. Let’s explore how. 1. Interact Authentically

I’ve written before about how to create an attractive, authentic online dating profile. If you haven’t already read the post, I definitely encourage you to do so by clicking here. When it comes to interacting with other users, try to do so with a certain level of self-awareness, intentionality and openness. To be mindful in your online dating journey, it’s important to understand the difference between being authentically friendly and falsely familiar.

2. Explore with Purpose

Instead of browsing profiles aimlessly, whether it is to pass the time or otherwise, I urge you to be purposeful each time you open the app or log onto the site. Setting the intention to explore only the profiles that really match what you’re looking for, and thinking twice about who you “like” or who you message, will help keep you on your true path to finding the right partner.

3. Limit Your Screen Time

We’ve all heard that spending too much time on social media can be detrimental to a person’s self-esteem, self-worth and overall life experience. The same can be said about dating apps and sites, especially as they become more and more popular with more profiles than ever before to flip through. Consider limiting your “screen time” each day to ensure you remain purposeful in your exploration and avoid “app addiction.”

4. Release Feelings of Rejection

When you see a profile that interest you and you send a like or shoot them a message, it’s natural to feel a sort of rush. There’s an exciting anticipation in waiting for a reply from someone you think you might be attracted to, but it’s important to remember to not become too invested this early on. I encourage you to not take any lack of reply as something personal. Don’t allow yourself to feel rejected, because you genuinely haven’t been. And, when you do take a conversation offline and meet for a date, try not to set expectations. Every experience offers the opportunity for learning and reflection.

5. Reflect Regularly & Honestly

Pausing every once in a while to check in with yourself and really evaluate where you’re at and where you want to go is crucial to living your truest, most authentic life. It’s also an incredibly effort when it comes to online dating. It can be easy to become passive and settle into a routine of logging on, checking profiles, sending a few messages and calling it a day. Remember to take time to reflect on the results you’re seeing (or not seeing), what’s working and what’s not. Be honest with yourself without being critical and commit to taking the steps you need in order to be successful in your journey.

To your authenticity,

Love, Christine

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Why & How to Create a Conscious Relationship

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I’ve written before about the concept of conscious uncoupling, and the powerful and positive effects having the right mindset can have during the dissolution of a relationship. What I want to focus on today, however, are the ways in which you can create a conscious relationship with your new or existing partner. No matter the stage of your relationship, whether it is new or familiar, you will be amazed at the positive impact committing to growing a relationship filled with mindfulness, mutual respect and authenticity can have. Ready to shift your mindset and bring true consciousness to your relationship? Let’s dig in. 1. Commit to Total Union & Kick Judgment to the Curb

I encourage my clients to view a relationship as the union of two separate, complete and fulfilled beings. You are not a half and your partner is not a half. Rather, you have joined to create something bigger than the sum of its parts. In order for such a partnership to reach its full potential, it’s important that you see yourselves as full beings outside of the relationship.

You are joined with your partner on a journey to find, grow and sustain happiness. Of course, judgment will arise. You will both make mistakes, but just as you would forgive yourself, it’s critical that you develop the ability to communicate first instead of jumping to judgment. A powerful question I share with my clients when they are feeling disappointed with their partner is "WHY do I think that I did that action/said that comment?" By doing this first, it opens up different parts of your brain and you are more easily able to enter into discussion.

2. Actively Look for Ways to Grow the Relationship

The best and most mutually rewarding relationships never stop growing. Both partners continuously look for ways to grow themselves and the relationship as a whole, recognizing when they’ve fallen into routine and committing to approach each experience with a learner mentality. There will always be something new to learn about your self, your partner and your relationship together.

Make the conscious choice to treat every situation as an opportunity to learn something new about your partner and foster a stronger sense of connectedness and understanding. Support each other in following your passions, make time for one another and never stop finding new ways to develop. Remind yourself to stay curious, playful and invested; and encourage your significant other to do the same. Within relationships, you both change over the years and so be open to adaption and shifting with your partner rather than focusing solely on how things once were. 

3. Practice Self-Awareness & Choose to Be in the Relationship

It can be easy to fall into routine and develop a sense of expectation or entitlement when in a long-term relationship. You’ve been together for so long that you’ve come to expect them to be there at the end of the day, to listen to your problems and support you at every turn. However, it’s so important to practice self-awareness and remind yourself that being in a relationship is a conscious choice on the parts of both individuals.

You don’t owe your partner love or support, you choose to love them and support them. They don’t owe you a comforting shoulder or understanding gaze; they choose to offer them to you. Shifting from expectation to awareness and appreciation will have amazing impact on your relationship and your life. Developing the ability to deeply appreciate and acknowledge the words and actions of others will allow you to feel a greater sense of love, happiness and will make you more present when speaking and acting yourself.

4. Sustain Your Self as an Individual & Recognize Your Partner as the Same

As I mentioned, the most rewarding unions happen when two equal and full individuals come together. While you work to foster your relationship, don’t forget to take time and put forth the effort to grow and sustain yourself as a unique, expressive individual. Your passions, present and future goals are just as important now as they were before. Your relationship will only grow stronger the more self-assured and fulfilled you become as an individual. Make this a priority, my friend.

And, in the same vein, remember to recognize your partner as a unique individual as well. He or she must also make the time to grow their passions, focus on their own development and become the best version of themselves that they can be. Support your partner on their journey, but still remain balanced with your own dreams and desires.

5. Do All Things With Love and Focus On Who They Are

Whether you’re celebrating an anniversary or achievement, or find yourself in an argument about something trivial or otherwise, try your best to approach the situation with love in your heart. Remember that everything you say and do has the power to impact. Your words can build your partner up or tear your partner down, both having lasting effect. Do all things with love – even when it feels challenging. Pause and really consider your words before they exit your mouth. I know, there's the heat of the moment stuff, but at the end of the day everyone (including yourself) is looking to be seen and appreciated for what they have done and contributed to the relationship rather than feeling like the focus is on all the things they haven't. Take time to focus who they are vs. who they aren't.

You, your partner and your union will thank you.

To your authenticity,

Love, Christine

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6 "Single" Stereotypes That Got it Wrong

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If you’re single, there’s a good chance that your couple friends and family can sometimes find it hard to relate to you. Perhaps they’ve offered to set you up with someone they know, made a comment or asked a question that made you feel awkward, or regularly check in to ask if you’re “still single.” This is because your friends and family, like many people within our relationship-focused culture, have grown to believe certain stereotypes over time. Sure, there may be downsides to being single, but there are a whole lot of upsides too. This post talks about exactly what – the six stereotypes about being single that got it totally wrong. 1. It’s So Hard Cooking for One

Cooking for yourself, and just yourself, can be incredibly enjoyable. This is your chance to be adventurous, explore different cuisines and never have to compromise on the menu. Love pineapple and olives on your pizza? Do your thing. It’s 100% up to you! Plus, with so many cook-at-home subscriptions and grocers offering options that cater to those seeking smaller portions than the traditional four-person household, it can not only be enjoyable but affordable as well.

2. You Can’t Enjoy Traveling

There’s no denying that traveling on your own is different from traveling with a partner, but that doesn’t mean it’s not just as exciting or fulfilling. In fact, traveling on your own can be the most rewarding experience of your life if you approach it with the right mindset. Take the opportunity to go somewhere you’ve always wanted to, step outside your comfort zone and make lasting friendships and memories. Not only that, but you’re gaining life experience and amazing stories to share with your future partner.

3. You’re a Workaholic

Being single doesn’t equate to being a workaholic or lacking in life balance. Actually, it’s pretty likely that you have a more balanced life and greater time for your passions than many couples do. You set your own schedule, only have yourself to answer to and have the complete ability to do what you want. Want to pour yourself into your career and land your dream promotion? Want to commit to living a mindful life and take off on a yoga treat in Bali? Want to live a totally balanced life that allows for rewarding work and personal time? It’s your call and no one else’s.

4. You Just Don’t Know What You Want

There’s a preconceived notion that a single person may be single because he or she doesn’t know what they want, or because they are being “too picky.” There is absolutely nothing wrong with setting the bar high and refusing to settle – and this can be difficult for those in a relationship to understand at times, as often sometimes people define success in life by finding a partner, getting married and having children. Remind yourself that it’s not that you don’t know what you want. In fact, it’s just the opposite. You want to live your fullest life, find the right partner and do it in a way that makes you happy.

5. Happy Couples Annoy You

Just because you’re single doesn’t automatically mean that you dislike happy couples or no longer want to hang out with your “couple friends.” Sure, feeling like the third wheel can be a little challenging at times, but you are a mindful adult capable of determining whether or not you like someone based on their individual actions. You see a couple as two equal partners, not as a single being. Some people in relationships may rub you the wrong way, but it’s not because of the fact that they’re in a relationship. You don’t breathe life into stereotypes.

6. You Must Be So Lonely

Have you ever heard the phrase, “I’ve never felt so lonely than when standing in a room full of people?” You see, anyone is capable of experiencing a sense of loneliness. Those in relationships still do experience loneliness from time to time, sometimes more emotional than physical, but still just as valid. And, being single doesn’t mean that you’re sitting at home by yourself. Many of my single clients take full advantage of their autonomy by trying new restaurants, spending more time with friends, following a passion or hobby they’ve put off and by filling their time with the people and things they love.

To your authenticity,

Love, Christine

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4 Ways to Transform Your Relationship Through Mindfulness

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Whether you’re looking for a relationship, just beginning a new relationship or have been with your partner for years, you’ll be amazed by just how much you can totally transform your connection by applying four elements of mindfulness. Mindfulness is just another way of saying you are being more present and aware and mindful of your self, your actions and those of the people around you. Let’s talk about the four ways to transform your relationship with mindfulness that you can also easily apply to your everyday encounters and begin practicing immediately. As with all things, practice makes perfect. And, dear friend, mindfulness is no different. While certain methods might feel a little weird or awkward initially, I urge you to continue. It’s only with dedicated practice that the power of mindfulness is truly unlocked.

1. Mindful Meditation

Before you write off meditation as “too new age” or “a fad,” take a moment to hear me out. Meditation doesn’t have to mean sitting in a circle making “mmm” noises. Don’t get me wrong, group meditation can be a powerful experience, but it’s probably not the easiest idea to wrap your head around if you’re a meditation newcomer. And that’s OK! What I’d like you to do, instead, is to simply find a calm and quiet place in your home to visit once a day. Give yourself 10-20 minutes to sit, rest, clear your head and take deep, steady breaths. Think of it as decompressing the brain - often it will feel that way!

If you’re like me and appreciate a gentle, guiding voice then I’d recommend downloading a meditation app, like Insight Timer or Headspace, to help you get started. There are many meditation apps available that offer a range of guided styles, types of sessions and session lengths.

You can do solo mediation or even invite your partner to join. Either way, you’ll bring the benefits of taking time for yourself, allowing your mind to clear and really hitting that “reset” button to ensure you’re living in the present, into your relationship. Mindful meditation is also an effective way to decompress after the workday, or going into the weekend, allowing you to focus on your relationship, in the now, without negative thoughts or distraction.

2. Mindful Speaking

While mindfulness involves living in the moment, it also involves taking a step back and developing the ability to recognize behaviour in our selves – and to change it. If you’ve ever found yourself blurting out something you wish you hadn’t, or feel as though in the heat of the moment you have “no filter,” you will likely benefit from speaking more mindfully.

As with meditation, mindful speaking requires practice. Starting with your very next conversation, whether it’s a phone call with your mom or a text to your boyfriend, really observe the intent of your words, the language you use and the tone in which you communicate. Seemingly insignificant habits, like beginning sentences with “You always” or “You never” can actually have major impact on how your words are received, interpreted and reacted to. These words will shut down the conversation before it even gets started. The only direction it can head is toward an argument.

Recognizing that each word you use carries power and creates an effect will allow you to begin phasing out words and phrases that lead to negative experiences, as well as become a better communicator with the ability to clearly express yourself in a positive way. We can feel pressure to get our words out but take a breath, review it's potential consequences, and then speak.

3. Deep Active Listening

I’ve spoken before about the importance of active listening, not only in romantic relationships but also in all relationships, and now I’d like to explore how you can take that one step further. Deep active listening is more than showing acknowledgment that you hear and understand someone. It involves practicing great empathy and really allowing yourself to step into the other person’s shoes and try to feel and understand as they do. It’s one thing to hear about your partner’s good or bad day through the lens of your own life, and it’s another – more effective – thing to envision experiencing it as your partner. Picture their day, what has been going on prior to the conversation, step into their shoes.

Remember that, as with all active listening, you are not simply listening to respond. You are listening to truly and authentically understand and appreciate. Doing so will help you develop stronger, deeper relationships and evolve to be a more compassionate, informed human being!

4. Act With Purpose

Last but not least, I want to talk to you about living, and acting, with purpose. So often people find themselves entering “autopilot” mode. It might be on the drive to the office, on the phone with a parent, folding laundry or even during intimacy. Part of being mindful, present and living in the now is doing all things with purpose.

Let’s say that you’re walking to a restaurant for lunch, simultaneously flipping through your news feed or checking emails on your phone. You’re probably walking slower than you would had you put your phone away, and you might even bump into a few people or walk right by your intended destination. This is because, in this moment, you’re not acting with purpose. You’re doing what so many men and women have – believe it or not – learned to do. You’re multi-tasking.

You’re hungry so you’re walking to grab lunch, right? By being on your phone, you’re allowing yourself to be distracted. And, given the nature of social media, it’s fairly likely you’ll come across an article or post that makes you unhappy or stresses you out. So, now you’re not only feeling physical discomfort (hunger) but you’re feeling emotional or mental discomfort, too!

Whenever you have the opportunity, make the conscious effort to singular task. It’ll take practice, yes, but will also feel much more rewarding. Carry this same practice into your relationship. Instead of chatting with your partner about the day while putting away dishes or folding laundry, sit with him and focus on just the conversation. If you’re in the bedroom, really be in the bedroom – try to not allow your mind to wander into what you need to go and do before you go to sleep or where you need to be first thing in the morning. Phones don't belong in the bedroom so leave those tempations plugged in elsewhere in the house! The gift you can give your partner is your undivided attention. That's what you want. That's what they want. So give that to each other.

To your authenticity,

Love, Christine

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Making a Great First Impression: How to Capture His Interest

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  During a recent seminar, I was asked a question that I’ve heard many times before from clients. The female guest asked, “How soon does a man know he’s interested?” And, you know what? It got me thinking. We often talk about how to approach the first date or how to know when it’s time to take the next step in a relationship, but something I’d like to focus on today is the importance, and impact, of the first impression. Because, dear friend, for better of for worse, on both a subconscious and conscious level, it takes far less time than you might think.

Psychologists have long studied the inner workings of first impressions, and have said that the average length of time it takes for a person to form a first impression is seven seconds. As you may have guessed, this tends to be how long it takes a man to know – at least initially – if he’s interested in a woman. Men, as you know, more than women, are visually motivated beings. It's hard-wired in their DNA. How a woman looks, how she’s dressed, how she carries herself and walks, even the sound of her voice – these are all things that men immediately notice and are drivers of attraction.

While there are absolutely other stages in a man deciding if he’s really interested in a woman, and if he’s interested in a relationship, this post’s going to focus on the very first encounter. Let’s talk about how to make the most of a first impression and making sure those first seven seconds showcase your best, most authentic self. AND, keep in mind; I know it takes two to tango, so I am going to assume you are interested in him too. :)

I've purposely kept these bits of advice simple and to the point. The reason is I want them to work as Reminders. Sometimes we forget them and try to make things super complicated. So here goes...

1. Engage, Engage, Engage

When a handsome guy looks your way or a friend first introduces you to him, you’re faced with a decision. You’re probably familiar with the idea of “fight or flight,” right? Well, the same sort of thing happens when you meet someone new of the opposite sex. Your eyes meet his, you start to feel a little it nervous, and your mind (and body) quickly decide whether to engage or throw the walls up.

The next time you meet someone who piques your interest, be mindful of the two options in front of you. No matter how nervous or hesitant you might feel, I encourage you to take a deep breath, remain in the present and engage. It’s impossible to make an authentic first impression if you’re not present, and there’s no surer way to waste those precious first seven seconds than to block a new connection with security walls.

Let’s pretend you’re in line at your go-to coffee shop and the cute guy behind you flashes you a smile. He’s alone, has clearly noticed you and now you have a decision to make – do you grab your coffee and head towards the door or lean in and see where the moment takes you? You lean in, of course. You engage. Give him a big smile back, give him a friendly hello and if you are feeling open, simply ask him how his day is going. It might seem a little awkward at first, but the more you practice mindfully engaging the easier it will become. You are not asking him on a date or to exchange vows, you're just asking him how his day is going!

2. Be Mindful of Your Body Language

Let’s pretend you’re somewhere unfamiliar and need to ask directions from a stranger. You quickly scan the sidewalk around you and notice you have several people to choose from. How do you decide whom to walk up to? How do you know who will be most likely to stop and help you out? It all comes down to body language. We are naturally and emotionally conditioned to read and interpret the body language of those around us – sometimes it’s an intentional act of noticing and other times it’s more subconscious.

When meeting someone for the first time, or when someone’s making the decision of whether or not to approach you, your body language speaks volumes. If your arms or crossed, your hands are square on your hips or your face is buried in your phone, you’re sending an intense signal to “stay away.” On the other hand, if your body is relaxed, legs standing hip-width part, arms relaxed and head held high, you’re perceived as approachable and inviting. Be aware of how you hold your body and make subtle shifts to send the right message!

Now, let’s say that you’re having a conversation with a guy you’re interested in, maybe you’re sitting at the local pub or next to each other on the subway. Avoid crossing your arms, no matter how comfortable it might feel. Lean in and turn your body towards him. These subtle acts show that you’re fully engaged in the moment, receptive to what he has to say and will leave a positive impression in his mind. It’s often said that actions speak louder than words and, when it comes to the science of body language, it couldn’t be truer.

3. Disarm Him With Authenticity

In a world filled with high expectations, superficialities and constant competition, nothing is quite as attractive as authenticity. By now you know that I often work with my clients to build lives, and relationships, that are as genuine and authentic as possible. I, like many others, truly believe that you cannot experience a truly fulfilling life – or love – without first becoming your most authentic self.

And you know what? Authenticity is ridiculously attractive. Men love real women. A man loves a woman’s real body, real mind and real heart. From the first moment you meet a man, embrace your authentic self and allow your real self to shine.

Let’s pretend that you’re having the worst day ever and nothing seems to be going right. That is, of course, until you run into the new guy in the neighbourhood who’s caught your eye a couple times before. Maybe your hair has a mind of its own on this day or you’re running errands in sweats because your dryer’s on the fritz. So what? This guy – let’s call him Joel – is walking right up to you and this is your chance to finally meet him. When he asks how your day’s going, be honest! It’s OK to admit that you’re having one hell of a day, and that bumping into him as brightened your day. You don’t need to run and hide or, worse, pretend that everything’s completely perfect. I promise you that he’ll appreciate your honesty and flattered that he’s caught your eye.

4. Ask Him a Question. Seriously.

Anyone can give a compliment when meeting someone new, and while this is a great first step to get yourself comfortable with striking up conversations, there’s actually something even better you can do to make a lasting first impression. When meeting someone new, take note of your surroundings and of him. What’s he wearing? What’s he drinking? What’s he doing? Quickly taking inventory of all the topics at your disposal will help you start a conversation that is anything but generic.

When your first encounter goes from a simple “Hi, how are you?” to “I love your t-shirt, did you ever catch them live?” you immediately form a personal connection and open the door for real conversation. Asking a question, particularly about something that maybe other people don’t notice, will show him that you really do pay attention and are genuinely interested in learning more about him.

Plus, we all know that people tend to enjoy talking about themselves. When a man is interested in a woman, it’s his natural instinct to impress her. Asking a question and allowing him to entertain you with a response gives him a chance to do both of the above – talk about himself in a way that doesn’t come across as bragging and even potentially impress you with his answer.

5. Embrace a Certain Sense of Mystery

You’ve heard of “playing hard to get” and “leaving him wanting more,” right? While certainly these concepts can be taken to the extreme, to the point where they wind up backfiring, there is power in practicing a certain level of mystery. Men are programmed at a genetic level to “chase” and, believe it or not, enjoy the thrill of vying for a woman’s attention and the opportunity to learn more about her.

When getting to know somebody new, there’s no need to put it all on the table straight away. In fact, leaving a little bit to the imagination and keeping him wanting to know more about you can be incredibly effective in nabbing his interest. You can do this in the way that you dress, how you answer his questions in a very authentic way and even how you end your first encounter. Men are intrigued by the exciting and interesting things is going on in your life and "fitting him in" between work and other plans – just enough time to grab a drink and catch up until next time is a good thing. The only mistake I sometimes see women making here is they talk a lot about how crazy busy they are and how they don't have time for anything. Men are really only interested in when you are available, not the mountain of times you aren't.

A (somewhat) mysterious woman can be captivating, intriguing and very, very sexy to a man. The key is to not create a false persona, but to remain your authentic self and simply allow him to crave seeing you again and getting to know you better. Have fun with dating and getting to know someone. Sometimes we forget this!

To your authenticity,

Love, Christine

Want to Become a Certified Dating Coach and Help Others Find Love?
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5 Tips for Crafting the Most Attractive Online Dating Profile Possible

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When it comes to finding love in the world of online dating, there’s no magic potion or scientific equation to make it happen. But, with more than a third of today’s relationships starting online, there are certain things that have proven to increase your odds. To help find your ideal relationship, I want to talk to you about how to build the most attractive online dating profile possible so you can start connecting with more of the right guys now, no matter which online dating site or app you’re using. Let’s dig in!

1. Build a Great Gallery

When curating your photo gallery, keep in mind these two things: A picture speaks a thousand words, and men are very visual beings. Select a handful of photos that truly exemplify who you are and what you’re all about. Opt for action shots over selfies, and make sure you put your best foot – or, in this case, face – forward. That means smile! Your profile picture and gallery are what will catch a man’s eye and pique his interest in learning more about you.

2. Embrace Positivity & Authenticity

Like attracts like, so always remember to stay positive when writing your profile. Rather than listing what you’re not looking for in your next relationship, focus on the things you love and what you are seeking. And be honest! If you’re not looking for a serious relationship, don’t be afraid to say so. But, if you are looking for something long-term, don’t pretend you’re open to something more casual if you’re really not.

3. Keep it Short & Sweet

We just discussed how a picture is worth a thousand words, right? So, it’s probably no surprise that I would encourage you to keep your “About Me” short and sweet. When it comes to your bio, it’s about quality rather than quantity. Introduce yourself, tell the reader what makes you tick, but don’t feel as though you need to tell your entire life story or type until you hit the character limit. Write with your goal in mind – to show off your personality, pique a potential match’s interest and start a conversation.

4. Be Your Original Self

One of the benefits, and drawbacks, of online dating is the ability to filter and control what information you share, and what information you don’t. Anonymity can be an incredibly empowering thing, but remember that your ultimate objective is to start a conversation online so you can build a relationship offline. Let your authentic, original self shine in both your photos and your words. Never use language you wouldn’t actually use in real life and definitely don’t feel as though you need to create a “sexier” or “more interesting” persona in order to get messages. You are already amazing. All you’ve got to do is showcase it.

5. Spellcheck

Friend, you wouldn’t believe how many times I’ve heard a client speak about an online profile they found attractive only to stumble across spelling and grammatical errors and be totally turned off. We’re all human, we all make mistakes and – quite honestly – typos happen to the best of us. Luckily, there’s this little thing called “Spellcheck” that I absolutely, 100%, completely recommend you use before you push your online dating profile live. Certain personalities tend to find spelling mistakes more distracting than others, but it’s a good rule of thumb to avoid ‘em whenever possible.

To your authenticity,

Love, Christine

Want to Become a Certified Dating Coach and Help Others Find Love?
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6 Unexpected Places to Meet a Man Offline

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According to a recent study, more than 35% of relationships now start online. But, what do you do if you’ve tried online dating and so far it hasn’t worked out? (not that it won't!) Or, maybe you’re just not ready for online and want to try your hand at your very own meet-cute in the offline world. No matter the reason, rest assured that plenty – and I mean millions and millions – of relationships still start offline. And it happens every day. This post, my friend, is all about unexpected places to meet a man offline – and none of them is a bar. 1. Bookstore

The local book shop or library can be a great place to meet a likeminded guy. Consider spending a Saturday afternoon sipping on a coffee and browsing the shelves for a new read at a busy book store or central library. You’re sure to encounter many men and will have the advantage of knowing they enjoy reading, and if they’re holding a book or in a particular section, you’ll also know at least one of their interests. Making a simple comment on a topic you clearly have in common is just being open so go for it.

2. Grocery store

Everyone has to eat and everyone shops for groceries. While it might seem a little mundane, the reality is that the grocery store is the perfect place to bump into someone new. There’s no pressure, it’s easy to start a conversation (think, “Which pasta brand would you recommend?”) and it’s even easier to jump out of a conversation if you’re not feeling a spark. Weekday evenings and especially Sunday evenings are prime time for singles to get their groceries.

3. Dog Park

There’s something about a man with a dog that just melts hearts, right? Whether you already have a dog or offer to walk a friend’s, head over to the local dog park on a busy afternoon. Feeling nervous about starting a conversation? Ask about his dog. “What’s your dog’s name?” or “What breed is your dog?” is sure to get the conversation flowing. Then, once you’re more comfortable, you can turn the topic to him.

4. Volunteering

What I love about this idea is you get to meet lots of new people, but you’re also doing something that will better the community and make you feel fantastic. Consider volunteering at a clothing drive, charity event or even sign up for a walkathon. You’ll be surrounded by people with good hearts who have come together for a common cause. Plus, once again, you have something easy and pressure-free to talk about.

5. Public Transit

Those of you who take public transit probably spend hours, if not tens of hours, every single week getting from Point A to Point B. Instead of catching a nap or trying to pass an hour by staring into your phone, I encourage you to take a seat next to someone you find interesting and just start there. Even if you only smile or say “hello” to someone new each time you got on the train or bus, imagine how many new people you’d meet a week. Heck, your next destination may very well be a first date. Of course, I know what you are thinking, you don't want weird people chatting with you - so just focus in on those who, just like you, have a healthy lifestyle and need to get from point A to B.

6. Home Improvement Store

If you’ve ever spent time in a home improvement store, it likely doesn’t surprise you that the customer base is made up of mainly men. So, why not kill two birds with one stone by taking on a DIY project around your place and meet a new guy? Consider enrolling in a weekend workshop (many home improvement stores regularly run them) or finally tackling that Pinterest DIY project you’ve been eyeing for months. While at the store, ask a few people for their opinions or advice and see where the conversation takes you. Even if you don’t wind up with a date, you’ll have learned a new skill and will feel seriously accomplished. One last tip is think of all the things on your "to buy" list and see which ones can be bought at a home improvement store - duct tape, cleaning supplies, coat hooks, etc. And again, you may not "pick up" but you will gain more confidence in "just having a normal conversation with someone you find attractive." Practice, practice and have fun with it!

To your authenticity,

Love, Christine

Want to Become a Certified Dating Coach and Help Others Find Love?
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5 Questions That Make Men Cringe

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You may have found that, by nature, women tend to be more talkative than men. In fact, women on average speak twice as many words per day than their male counterparts. Wow! This isn't right or wrong, it's just a difference that exists between us and note, I am speaking "on average", not all men or all women. :) Men, on the other hand, tend to rely more heavily on action over discussion. They also tend to place more meaning on the words they hear, and say. Even the most well intentioned question, or one simply asked to spark a conversation, can have the complete opposite effect. In this post, we’re going to talk about the top five questions that make men cringe and, more importantly, why it happens.

 

“What’s wrong?”

When it comes to this question, timing is truly everything. If your guy comes home from work mid-day and is visibly upset, then of course you would ask what’s going on and try to help. If he’s enjoying a little quiet time or doesn’t feel like going out to dinner with a big group of friends, then asking him a question that implies his behaviour isn’t normal can be agitating and can come across as confrontational.

If you’ve noticed a pattern of behaviour that’s outside the norm for your guy, then have a conversation. Let him know that you’re curious if he is doing okay and you want him to know that you’re there if he needs you, but the key is, don’t press him on it. It could be the case that he had a stressful week or perhaps didn’t even realize he’s been sending you these vibes. As women, we are programmed to take everything personally and want to fix people who are feeling down. Sometimes, it's not needed, he is just processing but knows you are there if he needs to talk.

“Where’s this going?”

This one’s a real doozy. The question, while so short and simple, can mean an incredible number of different things to different people. At the beginning of a relationship, it most often means, “Are we exclusive?” Later on it might evolve to mean, “When will we move in together?” or even “When will we get married?” or “Are we going to have kids?”

When dealing with loaded topics such as these, it’s important to engage in the right setting and with clear, honest language. Leave ambiguity out of the equation and put what’s on your mind on the table, but in a way that's not confrontational. Confrontation rarely leads to conversation as everyone is on guard. This will help keep the conversation from seeming intimidating or overwhelming and is much more likely to get you a clear answer in return. If you are asking "where's this going?", don't keep it opened ended, it is way more productive to be specific "we've been together for 6 months and I think it would be good for us to chat about what our future looks like...."

“Who is she?”

[ctt template="2" link="pb50w" via="yes" ]Confrontation rarely leads to conversation as everyone is on guard.[/ctt]

I’ve spoken before about how jealousy is one of the top traits that turn men off, so it’s no surprise this question makes the list of topics that make men cringe. Whether you’re asking about a woman he’s mentioned from work or someone who passes you on the street and gives a friendly hello, letting the little green monster take hold of you is sure to end in an argument. Similar to the first two questions, there’s a right way and a wrong way to approach the subject. Even with the “right” way, it’s incredibly important to avoid coming across as accusatory or confrontational because, friend, it can backfire.

If you notice that your guy seems to be spending more time with a female co-worker than before, even though you’ve never met her, it’s only natural to want to know more – and it’s completely OK to ask. To keep things open, you can say something like, "Tracey seems interesting, what sort of work did she do before joining your company?" Showing him that you’re genuinely interested in all aspects of his life, including his co-workers and friends, will allow the conversation to run smoothly as opposed to coming across as an accusation. The fact is, both of you are going to have attractive, single people come into each of your work lives and so coming from a place of curiousity is going to go way further in having both of you share openly and building a trusting relationship. 

“Why’d you break up?”

Exes and past relationships are one of those topics that a lot of men and women find uncomfortable. Asking a man to sum up the reason for a past relationship’s demise in a single response? That’s another story entirely. As with most breakups, it’s hard to narrow down why it didn’t work out to a single reason. Even when there is a clear reason, such as infidelity on either partner’s part, it can be very raw and uncomfortable – and, understandably, the last thing a guy’s going to want to dive into discussing (especially on a first date!).

When it does come time to discussing past relationships, it’s important to do so in a safe and private environment – such as one of your homes or when you are out for a walk as opposed to a loud coffee shop. Consider asking questions like, “What did you learn from your last relationship?” and “What do you want to get out of your next relationship?” as opposed to focusing only on the negative, more gossipy stuff. From working with clients for many years, I have found that one of the most important things to process before heading into a new relationship is why the last one didn't work. Also, figuring out a way you can speak about it respectfully rather than begrudgingly is important. Don't bring the past into the future with things like, "well he was just a total prick who cheated on me". That will instantly close doors. As tough as it can be, have a more mature approach in the beginning, "things didn't work out between us, we had really different values and I learned a lot about myself" Then, as your new relationship progresses, you can aim to get into more details down the road. It's important to create space to get to know each other without the past cluttering things up.

“Are you listening?”

Women often show that they’re listening with gestures and speech.  I'm sure you notice that when you speak to friends, co-workers and family. Understandably, it can be difficult to sometimes tell if men are truly listening and easy to assume they’re not. What you need to understand, friend, is that men truly listen differently.

Men tend to focus in on key pieces of information – specifically if there are pieces of information they can put into action. They don’t always demonstrate that they’re listening in the same way that women do. It’s best to save, “Are you listening?” only for when it’s super obvious his mind has wandered or he can’t hear you. Instead, ask questions like, “What would you do in my situation?” or “Can I get your point of view on this?” to engage him and avoid the question coming across as accusatory which will immediately shut down the conversation. I'm sure you can think of times in your life where a man has said to you "yes, I AM listening!". This tends to come up with couples a lot. Just take notice that you both listen differently and neither is right or wrong. Communicate with each other on the physical or verbal cues you may need in order to know the other person is listening. Keep it simple and keep it light.

Want to learn more about men's listening styles? I highly recommend checking out my 6-part audio series - "Inside the Male Brain."

To your authenticity,

Love, Christine

Want to Become a Certified Dating Coach and Help Others Find Love?
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Why do Some Men Pretend They Want a Second Date, Only to Cancel Later?

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At one of my recent workshops, I asked everyone to write down one thing they feel they struggle with when it comes to dating or a question they wish men would answer honestly and openly. I received so many honest and thoughtful responses – one of which I want to talk through with you today. The response is a concern I’ve heard from clients in the past, but seems to be occurring increasingly frequent in the modern world of dating.  A female participant wrote, “Why do some men pretend they want a second date, only to cancel later?” Before I share my view on why this happens, let’s take a step back and walk through the situation. Let’s say that you’re on a first date with someone and everything’s going smoothly. The conversation is lively, the night is flowing and you seem to be really enjoying each other’s company. Maybe you spend hours together and it seems like neither of you wants the night to end. You might sense a spark and get the feeling that he does too. All in all, you’re interested in seeing what happens next and it seems like he feels the same. Heck, he may even outright saythat he’s interested in a second date. This is all to say that, in this scenario, there is no obvious red flag or apparent reason you wouldn’t – or shouldn’t – see each other again. In fact, all signs point to the strong possibility that you will.

Scenario 1:

So, you make plans – or plan to make plans – and then it happens. He cancels. He doesn’t reschedule or postpone, but he cancels. And, just like that, you’re left wondering, “What the heck went wrong?” Friend, let me tell you, that the chances are nothing went wrong – at least nothing on your side of the equation.

So, why the sudden change of heart? If we take a step back for a second, it’s a little bit easier to wrap our brains around the answer. We, men and women, live in a world filled with the most pressure and highest expectations in the history of mankind. We feel as though we’re expected to land our dream job, have the best group of friends and have the perfect life, house and relationship – and to do it all right now and get it right the first time. For the most part, people truly believe they want and need these things, and so they set out in search of them. There are two problems with this, however. First, having the perfect everything is an impossibility. We can build amazing lives and accept ourselves as perfectly imperfect, but there is always progress to be made and obstacles to overcome. Second, not everyone is genuinely ready for these things – perfect or otherwise.

Take the man in this scenario, for example. It’s likely that, during the first date, he did intend on seeing the woman again. Or, at least, he believed he intended on seeing her again. He might feel as though he should be finding someone to settle down with, so he goes through the motions, but when it comes time to actually take the next step (in this case, go on a second date) he might panic or shut down because, to go on that second date, could feel like he’s committing to something larger. He may not be ready for a relationship, or might convince himself that the woman wants something more than he’s ready to give, without ever giving her the chance to prove him wrong. He doesn't want to risk disappointing her. 

And, while I often hear of this happening to women, it happens to men quite often as well. A woman might feel as though, since all her friends are settling down, that she should to. So, she signs up with an online dating site and goes on a couple dates, only to suddenly find something “wrong” with the man when things start to feel more serious.

Scenario 2: 

Now, I do feel like we should explore the other possibility on the table. There’s a chance, albeit it’s a small chance if the date truly seemed like it was going well, that he was simply trying to be nice and avoid letting you down. He may not have felt a spark and, instead of just being honest or even remaining neutral, decided to overcompensate by leading you to believe he wanted a second date. Is this the right thing to do? No, not exactly, but again it does happen. People have a natural fear of rejection – both giving rejection and receiving rejection – and sometimes do whatever they can to avoid dealing with it, at least in the moment.

Regardless, you need to know that none of this reflects on you as a woman or potential partner. Rather, it speaks to the other person entirely. I don't think it does us any good to spend time being upset with men for these behaviours or helping them to change them. In both scenarios you wouldn't win - the first, you would be trying to convince them they are ready and the second you would be expending energy on someone who you have to convince to be into you. No fun! When you do meet your person and the spark is really and truly there, there will be a second date – and a third, and a fourth. As someone who is ready and open to a real, fulfilling relationship, you need a partner who is just as ready and open. So, don’t let these experiences along the way get you down. You deserve more, and it’s out there waiting for you. Ready? I’ll be here if you need me.

To your authenticity,

Love, Christine

 

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The 4 Biggest Turn-Offs for Men & How to Avoid Them

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If I were to ask you about your biggest turn-offs in a man, I bet you could quickly tell me the top three or even five. That’s because, by nature, both men and women are judgmental creatures. It’s easy for us to identify whether or not we’re attracted to someone within seconds, and also easy for us to recognize characteristics in others that we do and don’t like. But, what about when we reverse the roles? It’s not always as easy to recognize positive (and certainly negative) characteristics in ourselves. But, in a world we filled with right swipes and first impressions that take only moments to form, it’s more important than ever before to be mindful of our attitudes and behaviours – I mean, in all honesty, we are judging others so we can't expect not to be judged ourselves! (I know, it's the unfortunate reality. :)) So, friends, let’s take this opportunity to do exactly that. In this post, I want to talk to you about the four biggest turn-offs for men and how you can work to avoid them....if you choose.

Jealousy

Jealousy is a key cause of arguments, dissatisfaction and discomfort in relationships, so it only makes sense that the little green monster would be a top turn off when it comes to dating. When you’re out on a date and your guy catches you giving the stink eye to another woman passing by, or pressing him on his relationship with a female friend or even past relationship, it throws up a red flag. Men seek confidence and self-assuredness in a partner, while jealousy showcases the opposite.

If insecure feelings start to set in, take pause and remind yourself that you are a total catch. You have so many amazing, positive and attention-worthy attributes so let yourself shine by not comparing yourself to others.

Nagging

Believe it or not, nagging isn’t something that happens with “old married couples.” Seemingly small comments can pick away at anyone, particularly a man trying to win your heart. Reminding him of a tendency to forget things or making a slight about his style, choice of food, condition of his car or anything else can quickly diminish your star qualities. Nobody wants to feel “less than” or as though they’re not capable.

If and when you’re tempted to nag, ask yourself if it’s truly that important. There’s a difference between forgetting to signal when changing lanes and wanting to enjoy some fries with dinner instead of his usual salad. The first is a safety concern and may in fact be valid. The second is an adult choice he is making. Can you imagine if he told you to get the salad?! Reflect on that for a moment, haha, so don't do it to him. My advice to you would be to voice valid, meaningful concerns and to learn to shake off the rest.

Self-Centeredness

We all want to feel important, interesting and share our opinions, stories and dreams. But, in dating just as in relationships, it’s important to both talk and listen. According to men, a striking imbalance in this department is a major turn-off. Coming across as overly self-centered on a date sets the tone for the future relationship and can say, “It’s all about me” even if you don’t realize it. Practice self-love and showing appreciation for who you are and what you do is never a bad thing, but remember to keep things balanced and allow your guy his time to shine.

Next time you’re on a date, why not use the opportunity to practice your active listening skills? Ask plenty of open-ended questions, show genuine interest in your partner’s responses and you’ll be amazed at how the conversation seems to flow. Sometimes it is just our nerves that have us be self-centered, and not a reflection of who we actually are. Be aware of this.

Negativity

Over-the-top enthusiasm can be tiring, but nothing leaves a bad taste quite like negativity. As human beings, we all have our negative moments. It’s only natural and, in moderation, it’s totally fine. However, if you spend all your time together talking about how awful your day was, how much your sister annoys you, how much you hate online dating, how disappointing the restaurant is or (worse) projecting negativity onto your date, the spark is bound to fade. And, friend, I get it, we live in stressful times and sometimes we need to vent. I would encourage you, however, to find another outlet and avoid using your date as an opportunity to get a tough day off of your chest.

Consider downloading a self-guided meditation app or carving out a half hour to listen to music and read a book at the end of your day. Maybe there is a friend you can call to vent about your day before you go on your date? Use the time before a date to decompress, get in the right mindset and shed any negative feelings and thoughts that might have built up in the hours before. Set the intention to enter into the evening with a positive attitude and to enjoy yourself. Then, let it happen!

Like what you are reading and want to know more about working one on one with me? Contact me for a free 20-minute coaching call.

To your authenticity,

Love, Christine

Want to Become a Certified Dating Coach and Help Others Find Love?
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5 Simple Steps to Keeping Calm & Rocking the First Date

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This time of year can come with a lot of pressure – pressure to get fit, chase a dream, find love and do it all well. No stress, right? For someone jumping back into the dating game and getting ready for a first date, it can all be a little much. But, it doesn’t have to be. This post is all about keeping calm, rocking the first date and (if there’s a spark) locking down a second. 1. Know That This Date Won’t Make or Break You

In the days leading up to your first date, encourage yourself to remember that this is just a first date and the date itself, just as its outcome, isn’t going to make or break your love life. You can even say to yourself that "it's just two people getting to know each other, no pressure." It might be awesome and it might not, so why stress over what you really can’t control at this point? Get pumped, get excited but make sure you get real – it’s just one date and your world will keep on turning.

2. Know What You Want, but Maintain a Sense of Mystery

As you head into the date, know what it is that you want.  Are you seeking a great night out, riveting conversation, a short-term fling or something long-term? Knowing what you want is key to setting yourself up for success, but so is maintaining a certain sense of mystery. Heading into date night with the aim of getting married or "interviewing potential husband/wife suitors" is a surefire way to pile on pressure – not only for you but also for the other person on your date. You don't have to talk about exactly what you are looking for on the first date. That's for future dates! Stay cool, practice a little air of mystery and intrigue, and see where the night takes you.

3. Try to See the Experience itself as The Reward

Sometimes it can be easy to get wrapped up in seeing things as a great series of steps. Meet a cute guy? Check. Set up a first date? Check. Have a great time? Check. You can see how quickly one can lose sight of how each experience in and of itself is a pretty great reward. During your date, as you engage in conversation or sit in brief silence sharing a smile, allow yourself to savour the moment and appreciate that you’re having a good time. Even if you don’t feel a spark but the food is delicious and the wine is one you've never tried, try not to get too hung up on expectations and just allow yourself to have fun.

4. Celebrate yourself and all Your Efforts

When the night is over and you sit reflecting on all the things said, the feelings felt and what comes next – stop and take a moment to celebrate you and all of your efforts. You took a chance and struck up a conversation with an attractive stranger. You got dressed up, went out and allowed yourself to be vulnerable. You kept cool, had fun and shared a laugh or two. You’ve taken another step towards finding the authentic, fulfilling love that you crave and are that much closer to it. When the time comes (and it will!) where you are both deciding if a second date is something you are both interested in, I believe that less is more. Indicate during the date that you are enjoying yourself and at the end, you can genuinely say something simple like "it would be nice to see you again." You both don't need to discuss exactly what that looks like or set a calendar date, but aim to be clear of intentions. If you aren't feeling it, be clear on that as well. "It was really nice meeting you" is perfectly acceptable. Keep going my friend!

To your authenticity,

Love, Christine

Want to Become a Certified Dating Coach and Help Others Find Love?
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New Year, Renewed Love: How to Make Your Relationship Feel New Again… No Matter How Long You’ve Been Together

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For many people across the world, the New Year offers the unique opportunity to resolve to make a change. It offers the chance to take a step forward and become a better version of one’s self. It’s a time that offers a feeling of renewal, hope and opportunity. For those in relationships, this could mean resolving to make a change, or improvement, as a partnership. What I’d like to share with you in this post, dear friend, is how to see the New Year as an opportunity to do just that. Resolve, along with your partner, to renewing the sense of joy and “newness” that you once had in your relationship – no matter how long you’ve been together for at this point. Let's talk about how to make your relationship feel new again. There are so many incredible things that people discover and learn about one another as they embark on a life together. The countless shared experiences help both partners grow, evolve and get to know each other on a profoundly deep level. At the same time, however, relationships do tend to lose the fresh or new feeling – and the excitement that comes with those sensations – the early stages had.

And, you know what? It happens all the time and it's actually unavoidable. Every couple experiences it. In this day and age, it can be difficult to slow down and search out that feeling of excitement. You both have jam-packed schedules and are always on the go. Evenings and weekends are likely to fill up fast with so many things to do that, at the end of the day, you haven’t any time to spare. But as things slow down around the holidays, and the New Year rolls around with its reminder to resolve, there’s really no better time. So, let’s explore how you can make your relationship feel new again. All it takes is your commitment and a few simple steps!

1. Plan Quality Time Together, Just Like When You First Met

When you were first getting to know each other, however long ago that might have been, surely you didn’t sit with devices in hand, half-watching TV and making minimal conversation. Car rides together were filled with conversation, questions and new discoveries. Dinners out were romantic, adventurous and brimming with possibilities of what might happen after. Make this sort of real, committed quality time a priority in the New Year. Even if it’s once a week, set aside a couple of hours during which there are zero distractions and give yourselves the opportunity to reconnect and rediscover one another. Don't shy away from using resources like lists of icebreaker questions or deeper random ones you can easily find online. You don't have to come up with everything on your own!

2. Be Open to Trying Something New

You’ll probably find that, as you begin to put yourself in a new relationship mindset, a certain sense of spontaneity emerges within you both. Be open to this unpredictability and be truly open to trying new things. It could be a new restaurant, a spontaneous trip out of the city, something adventurous in the bedroom or anything in between. Try your best to keep an open mind and go with the flow – sometimes it’s these sort of unplanned situations that allow immense growth to reveal itself.

3. Regularly Practice Gratitude and Appreciation

When you first began dating, you were likely to appreciate even the smallest of gestures made by your partner. Now, years or even decades later, you’ve probably grown accustomed to these same gestures. They’re no longer as special or notable as they used to be. Why is that? Well, friend, it’s because after time we grow more comfortable and can forget to practice appreication as we once did. This New Year, I encourage you to resolve to practicing appreciation on a regular basis. Show your partner that you acknowledge and appreciate even the simplest of gestures such as making dinner or jumping out of the car to pump the gas. Remember that both of you give and take and that your partner is deserving of celebration just as you are. Men and women equally like to feel appreciated, and trust me, there is no way you can become overly appreciative as long as it is coming from a genuine place and a dedication to your partnership.

To your authenticity,

Love, Christine

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How to Stop Stressing About Being Single for the Holidays

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I often hear from my clients about how the idea of being single for the holidays stresses them out. And, you know what? They’re not alone. There’s a period of time that stretches from Thanksgiving to Valentine’s Day where single people feel more pressure than ever to pair up and find their match. Often times, you’ll see different magazines and blogs writing about how easy or wonderful it is to find love over the holidays. Talk about pressure! So, you know what, friend? I say “no way.” This year, instead of stressing about being single or seeing every holiday party as hunting grounds for your next date, let’s kick pressure to the curb. As if the holidays aren’t already busy and frenzied enough. This, my friend, is your guide to stopping the stress and truly enjoying the holiday season as your single self.

Realize You Have Total Freedom

Being single over the holidays, and the rest of the year really, means that you have total freedom. You’ve only got one schedule to keep tabs on and that is yours. Feel like spending a Saturday catching up on sleep or scooting out of work a touch early to catch an early show? Go for it. Not into the idea of spending the entire holidays home with the family? Use up those rewards miles and take yourself on a beachy getaway. And, if, on the other hand, you can’t get enough of your family’s many holiday traditions, let the good times roll – you don’t need to be anywhere else.

Treat Yourself to Something Special

Instead of buying a gift for a partner, use this opportunity to treat yourself to something special. You’ve worked hard all year, are rocking the single life and deserve it. So, fire up your laptop or head on down to the mall and get that bag, coat, fragrance or gorgeous lingerie set you’ve been eyeing. Rewarding yourself for being you, and for tackling the season solo, is a fantastic feeling. Heck, you really don’t need to wait for the holidays to do it!

Know that you’re Not the Only One… Even if It Feels That Way

Even though you might feel like you’re the only single person in your family/group of friends/office, let me assure you that there are millions and millions of people all over the world that are single. You, my friend, are absolutely not alone! On that note, the holidays are actually a fantastic time of year to feel anything but alone. There’s always an event, dinner or just a bunch of family members sitting around and catching up. Instead of hanging back or playing the wallflower, join in on the fun and allow yourself to be a part of it all. When the "lonelies" come on, feel it for a moment, take a deep breath and then re-engage.

Allow Yourself to Say “Yes” and Experience the Magic of the Holidays

With a bit more free time and a whole lot more events, the holidays are an amazing time to get out there and experience something new. Are a group of coworkers heading downtown for drinks? Go with them! Are your friends from college meeting up to visit your old haunting grounds? Say “yes.” Do you have the opportunity to patch things up with someone from your past, or make amends with someone you’ve recently got off on the wrong foot with? You’ve guessed it, go ahead and do it.

There’s something seriously magical about the holidays that just brings people together, fills the air with joy and makes everything better. Don’t let yourself miss out on the magic by feeling alone. You deserve more, so go get it!

View the New Year as Full of Opportunity

With the New Year comes a whole new start and a ton of opportunity. If finding love is on your to-do list, view the New Year as being full of chances for that to happen. And, once you’ve decided that’s so, leave it at that – at least ‘til January 1st. The holidays are about having fun, letting loose and reconnecting with those already in your lives. Sure, it’ll be great if you wind up meeting new people, but there’s no need to put unnecessary pressure on yourself to make it happen right now.

So, step outside, let the snowflakes fall where they may (if you’ve already gotten snow, that is) and know that you’ve got this. Here’s to a magic-filled holiday season, friend. 

To your authenticity,

Love, Christine

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5 Simple Steps to Creating Boundaries That Strengthen Your Relationship

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Setting, and respecting, boundaries is key to any healthy, fulfilling and mutually rewarding relationship. Usually the need to set boundaries in relationships arises when one person or partner feels as though their needs are not being met. Boundaries can be set at any stage in a relationship, even before the first date. This may seem like overthinking things but essentially, you are teaching others how to treat you right from your first interaction. Not to worry, you are not literally saying things like "I have a boundary around you sending me a booty call text at3am before we've even met in person." You simply establish the boundary by not responding to said text. Easy. The earlier you can establish healthy boundaries, the better. As you’ve probably already guessed, this post is all about how to do just that. So friend, keep on reading to learn the five simple steps to creating boundaries that strengthen your relationship and will lead to ultimate, mutual fulfillment. 1. Ask Yourself, “How Do I Feel? Are My Needs Being Met?” 

You may already know that you want (or need) to have a conversation with your partner about setting boundaries, but have you fully explored your own feelings and needs at this point? If the answer is no, then you’ll need to start here or your requests will come across unclear and likely difficult to take action on. Determine the feeling first. Have you been feeling drained? Exhausted? Fulfilled? Happy? Content? and what do your instincts tell you about why this is so?

Do you feel you’re giving far more than you’re receiving? What needs, be specific, do you feel are being neglected or left to the wayside? Is it attention? Appreciation? Helping with household stuff? Once you’ve fully explored and consider your own feelings and needs, it’s time to move onto step two.

2. Now, Put Yourself in Your Partner’s Shoes

Now that you’ve taken care of yourself, it’s time to put yourself in the place of your partner and complete the same exercise. Try your very best to exercise the utmost empathy and truly explore your relationship through the eyes of your partner. Look at the past six months and ask yourself, “How have I treated him? What have I done to show him my love and support? How do I imagine he feels when I do this or that?”

Try to be completely and totally honest with yourself and get as real as possible here. No doubt this is difficult, but it's very important in creating healthy partnerships. Your learnings from this exercise will help you immensely when it comes time to have the boundary discussion with your partner.

3. Consider the Setting, Language and Tone

Where and how you have a conversation is just as important as the conversation itself. This is true for every single type of relationship, and couldn’t be truer for romantic relationships. Plan to have your conversation at home in a relaxed, familiar setting where you can both be your authentic, genuine selves and healthily engage in discussion without constraints.

Allow yourself enough time to explain where it is that you are coming from, how you’d like to proceed and then your partner can do the same. Boundary setting, and respecting, is a collaborative effort and requires both of you to give it your all. Putting a level of thoughtfulness into the experience and discussion will really help with both of you feeling heard and self-expressed. At the beginning of the discussion, you can say something like, "both of our goals are to work things out and continue on in our relationship". This can diffuse any resistance.

4. Set the Boundaries

Ready for the hard part? Don’t sweat it, because it really doesn’t need to be that hard. In fact, you may find that you truly enjoy the process of setting boundaries with your partner. This is an excellent chance to really bare your soul, and have your partner bare his, and get to know each other – and each of your needs – on a whole new level.

Perhaps you’re going into this because you feel you don’t spend enough time one-on-one with each other and want to ensure you leave work at the door. Perhaps you feel that you need more alone time, or time with your friends, so that you can truly be your own person and bring a better version of yourself to your relationship. Maybe you’ll learn that your partner has felt that your relationship with your mother or siblings is affecting your relationship at home. Maybe you’ll learn that your partner’s been craving this same conversation but hadn’t known how to start it off without coming across the wrong way.

An example of the language you can use is:

"I know you don't intentionally do (action) to hurt me but when you do it, it makes me feel (feeling). What I would love instead is (action). How does that sound?" 

Whatever the scenario, I assure you that you’ll come away feeling more confident, secure and committed to your relationship.

5. Commit to the Boundaries and Stay Committed

After you and your partner have identified and committed to boundaries, you’ve got to make sure you stick with it. It may take practice and it may take time, but I encourage you to respect the relationship work that you have done and honour your partnership by keeping it going. Your happiness, needs and love life are far too important to take a back seat to life’s many other demands. Make progress your priority and just watch, you’ll see your relationship flourish like you could never have imagined.

To your authenticity,

Love, Christine

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How Conflict Can Lead to Closeness - When You Do It Right

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I’m often asked by clients and friends, “Is it normal to argue in a relationship?” Often times, we hear of these “perfect” couples who “never” fight. I’m here, today, to tell you that every single relationship is different and unique. Arguments, in moderation and when healthily handled, are not only normal but are essential to fostering authenticity, true understanding and effective communication in relationships. Not only is this true for romantic relationships, but also within friendships, families and even the professional world.

Today’s post focuses on how to turn conflict into an opportunity within romantic relationships and partnerships, but you can absolutely take these steps and apply them to other areas of your life. I hope you’ll learn some valuable techniques that will allow you to view conflict in a totally different light and as an effective tool to creating ultimate closeness and collaboration in your relationship - when you do it right, of course.

Ready to learn how to “fight fair” and come out of an argument feeling even more in love? I know, it might be hard to believe, but it’s possible and you’re 100% capable. Keep on reading!

1. Embrace the Conflict and Maintain Intentionality

When you sense an argument beginning, or when you actively within a conflict, allow yourself to consider the moment as an opportunity for personal and partnership growth. Enter into it with the intention of coming away stronger and not coming away as the stronger partner. Conflict should not be about proving that you are a better partner or seeing who can shout the loudest or deliver the most digs. It’s about giving both partners the opportunity to be heard and to speak, no matter what the subject, in order to explore the possibility coming away as a closer and better balanced unit.

2. Be Realistic

I like this step, or technique, because it makes us take a step back and really check ourselves. What are we arguing about? What do we honestly hope to gain? If you’re feeling as though your partner isn’t spending enough time with you or you feel as though you haven’t been connecting, don’t begin an argument about the dirty dishes in the sink and allow it to snowball from there. Be realistic about what’s bothering you, why this conflict exists, and go from there. Also be realistic about your own role and responsibility in the conflict and embrace the reality that your partner may have his or her own points of tension to discuss.

3. Listen, Listen, Listen!

You likely know how awful the feeling of not being heard can be. Expressing yourself and feeling as though your words and feelings are not being recognized or acknowledged can be incredibly hurtful. So, when it comes time to engage in conflict, remember to listen. When you engage in the conversation in the capacity of an active listener, you are more likely to have your partner offer the same respect and opportunity for you, then, to be heard. Listen carefully, acknowledge your partner’s words, and then speak. Don’t interrupt, avoid playing the blame game and respect your partner during conflict the same as you’d respect them at the best of times. After all, the conflict will come to a close and your goal is to come away strengthened.

4. Know Your Words Have Meaning

When speaking, understand that every word has meaning. It can be easy to say things that we truly do not mean in the heat of the moment, and that’s why it’s more important than ever before to choose our words carefully and honestly in conflict. Say how you are truly feeling in simple and clear language. Communicate your issues and your requests in the same way. Try your best to avoid metaphors, hypotheticals and other devices that could be seen as argumentative or even cause confusion. When expressing how something makes you feel, say it just that way! Use “I” statements such as, “When that happens, I feel this way” and avoid generalising statements or accusations.

5. Keep Moving Forward

When a conflict comes to a close and you both walk away from the argument (ideally, together) you must agree to keep moving forward and to leave the past in the past. When you reach a resolution in a conflict, it’s so incredibly important to not continue to bring up the argument in the future. Comments like, “See? I told you!” or “This is what I mean, you always do this” are examples of communication to try and avoid. Choose something like - observe first, "I am not making your wrong but this is an example of what we spoke about on Saturday. It makes me feel dismissed. But again, I am not mad and you are not wrong, I just want to point out this example." - then make affectionate physical contact in some way. This will allow moments of conflict or tension to transform into opportunities for learning and growth and, ultimately, your relationship to strengthen and flourish.

To your authenticity,

Love, Christine

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Are You Into Someone Who's Emotionally Unavailable? Here's What To Do.

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Do you keep finding yourself attracting emotionally unavailable partners? Maybe it’s a history of relationships in which you never really felt as though you would get out as much as you put in. Perhaps it’s one recent date where it just sort of clicked and you realized they weren’t into it the same way you were. And, dear friend, if you think you might, this very second, be into someone who seems emotionally unavailable, I urge you to consider my advice and read down to the very last sentence.

To be emotionally unavailable means to maintain a barrier, a distance, between your self and others. Sometimes this can be a physical barrier - they never let you get too close, hug too tightly or spend all that much time with others in a one-on-one settting. It can also be mental and emotional, and show in the way that someone avoids serious or meaningful conversation, speaks in non-committal language or appear to be evasive. This type of behaviour, particularly in a romantic relationship, can be incredibly frustrating and even detrimental.

First, I want to let you know that you are totally, 100%, absolutely not alone in this. Emotional unavailability is a growing cause of dating and relationship difficulties and can be seen in both male and female partners. In this post, we’ll refer to the partner as “he,” but trust me when I say that men often face this same difficulty and the “what to do” portion of today’s post easily speaks to both genders. Ready? Here we go.

1. Acknowledge the Unavailability

One of the hardest situations to deal with for many daters and partners is having to face the reality that the person you like (or even love) isn’t emotionally available. However, in order to live your most authentic, fulfilling life, it’s got to happen. Your first step, as I’m sure you’ve guessed, is to fully and completely acknowledge the person you’re interested in is simply not emotionally available - and that it’s truly beyond your control.

No matter how invested a partner you may be, or want to be, it’s highly unlikely to have a new found effect on the other person’s ability to engage especially if they have been this way right from the beginning. People can go through the bulk of their lives avoiding emotional engagement, whether they realize it or not, and others can develop this unavailability over time and through past experiences. Know, my friend, that you deserve deep, engaged and full love in your life and that emotional unavailability will not offer any of those things.

2. Understand Why the Attraction is there

This may be your first experience with an emotionally unavailable person, but it may also be your second or third. If you’ve noticed a pattern in your love life like this, there isn’t a better time than now to step back, take a breath and allow your mind and heart to understand why it’s happening.

There are many reasons why you may find yourself attracted to someone who isn’t truly available, but the most common three reasons are these: you may not have fully healed from a past hurtful experience, you yourself may not truly be ready for a real relationship or you could even be carrying parent-child dynamics through to adulthood. Think back to your past - to how often you vied for your parents’ attention or affection, to your first love and your last breakup. Be real and be honest with yourself about these memories. Ask yourself, “What past experiences or feelings keep pushing me in this direction?” You are naturally going to be attracted to people who you think or hope will change and as ironic as it is, you may actually find comfort in re-creating your childhood experience even if it's not what you wanted. Once you have the answer, it’s time to take action.

3. Take an Active Approach to Avoiding Unavailability

A key approach to finding someone who can authentically return your feelings comes down to knowing how to recognize traits of unavailable partners. Luckily, there are key, easy-to-spot traits that you can begin watching for straight away. Whether you recognize these traits within an online dating profile, during a first date or early on into a relationship, knowing how to spot them and what they mean will allow you to take control over finding a worthy and fulfilling partner.

Look out for people who criticize the emotions of you and others. Perhaps they feel you often overreact or you can see that emotions make them uncomfortable. Another telling sign is when it’s clear someone isn’t interested in working on their own development in a meaningful, lasting way. They may have a very laissez-faire attitude towards life and may not put effort into developing meaningful connections throughout their world - romantic, professional, family and otherwise. At the same time, these same people may seek to surround themselves with people. They might not feel totally comfortable spending time alone. This can be a signal that someone wants to keep themselves occupied and avoid certain emotions, issues or areas of life.

The power to take control of your love life and your path to finding a meaningful, fulfilling partnership is in your hands. Emotional unavailability is something that must be worked on and overcome as an individual - it can be extremely difficult and even damaging (not only to the other person, but to your own self-esteem and expectations of love) to try and force it within a relationship.

To your authenticity,

Love, Christine

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5 Easy Steps to Navigating Uncertainty in a New Relationship

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Entering into a new relationship is filled with excitement, fun and discovery. Something that many people often unexpectedly discover is that new relationships can also be filled with a whole lot of uncertainty. Whether you feel some anxiety about your new beau or simply need some guidance in navigating the uncertainty of your new relationship, I’ve got you covered my friend. Keep reading for five easy steps to kicking those feelings of uncertainty in a new relationship to the curb and getting back to the excitement and fun. 1. Know That You’re Not Alone

The thing with uncertainty in new relationships is that everybody goes through it. Chances are, even, that your new partner is experiencing the same feelings and thoughts as you.

Something you need to understand is that these feelings don’t come from a negative place. They’re a completely natural reaction to a new situation and the fact that you’re having them means that you care. Don’t let them trip you up!

With time, and with open communication, you’ll begin to feel more secure in your new partnership and the initial anxiety will fade

2. Embrace the Unknown

There’s something incredibly exciting about the unknown, and this is your chance to take any uncertainty you might be feeling and turn it into spontaneity. Take this opportunity of getting to know someone new to challenge yourself to step outside of your comfort zone and try things that you normally wouldn’t.

Allow your mind to wander and get away from your regular thought patterns and routine for a little while. Indoor skydiving for your next date? Maybe. A whirlwind weekend trip to the big city? Sure!

3. Find Your Pep Talk Pal

Everyone has that one person in his or her life who, no matter what the circumstances, can turn a crummy situation upside down. They recognize your best traits and forgive you for your faults. At the same time, they have a knack for holding you to a higher standard. Having this person in your life, especially during times when you might be feeling a little uncertain, is even more important.

Whether she’s your best friend from college, your sister, your co-worker or your mom, don’t hesitate to reach out to your go-to girlfriend when you need a pick me up. They know you’re amazing and just how to give you the pep talk that you need. Sometimes it is just a simple, "focus on what you do like about him, rather than all the things you are worried about", coming from a trusted friend.

Choose wisely who you go to for advice.

4. Keep Confident and Carry On

While you might find it tempting, you can’t accept your truth as the truth. If he takes a little while to text you back, don’t let your mind run wild about all the reasons you haven't heard from him right away. Distract yourself with activities that make you feel good.

There’s a saying that goes, “Fake it ‘til you make it,” and sometimes the idea really works. Even when you’re not feeling 100% confident, if you actively work to exude confidence you will likely actually find your confidence – and your confidence in your new relationship – starts to boost itself. You chose each other because you saw potential so don't be afraid to keep pursuing that potential in an active way to see where things go.

Be open minded, be aware of what makes you feel good and bad about yourself and carry on getting to know each other.

To your authenticity,

Love, Christine

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How to Process Betrayal and Come Away Stronger in Your Relationship

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  Discovering a betrayal, in any relationship, can be a profoundly painful and draining experience. A betrayal can lead to the breakdown of a relationship. However, it doesn’t need to. To learn how to process betrayal and look at ways to rebuild, keep on reading. I fully recognize betrayal is a deeply personal and touchy subject, and opinions are divided, but I felt the topic needed to be addressed for those looking to repair and rebuild.

Couples and partners who go through tough times, betrayal included, often come out the other end stronger. Yes, this may sound cliche but what I have found is it forced couples to talk about everything they avoided. Couples who chose to try and repair after betrayal, tended to follow the four steps shared below.

1. Stop Associating the Betrayal with Hurt

For a while after the betrayal, the events are sure to continue to cross your mind. Sometimes it may even feel as though this is beyond possible. The first step in healing, however, is to begin viewing the betrayal in another light. You must think of the situation as one that you’re actively, authentically and committed to working to repair. It’s an opportunity to reevaluate your relationship, understand what isn’t working and rebuild an even stronger foundation than before. While it may (and will) be difficult, it’s important to begin associating the betrayal with the opportunity to grow and see it in a different light. I know what you're thinking, but trust me, 'an opportunity to grow' will keep you much more open for processing.

2. Fully and Authentically Forgive

I recently read that the act of forgiving does not mean the acceptance of wrong behaviour. Instead, it means that you have detached yourself from the painful feelings that come with the wrong behaviour. It’s the commitment to see the best in the other person and pardon the transgression for not only their sake, but for your own. I really like this concept of forgiveness and feel it applies to this particular healing process really well. In order to move forward and heal with your partner, in a true partnership, you need to forgive the betrayal and release the negative feelings it has brought. I firmly believe, without forgiveness, there is zero room to start to rebuild trust.

3. Rebuild Trust, One Day at a Time

Building and maintaining trust, in any relationship, is something that requires work and effort every single day. When a relationship is recovering from a betrayal, it can feel as though the trust must be rebuilt from ground zero. When this feels true, I encourage you to take it one day at a time. Trust will not be rebuilt or repaired overnight, but any steps – even small ones – are positive progress. Whether it’s being home at the time you say you will or your partner sharing more authentically about his or her day, the trust will rebuild over time if both partners are committed. Find out how trust is built for each of you, remembering it may look different for each.

4. Leave the Past in the Past

While it may be tempting at times, it’s important to not use the past as ammunition against your partner. As your relationship is healing, and well into the future, it’s important to remember to leave the past in the past. Who you were five years ago does not define who you are today. What happened last week or last year does not define what will happen today or tomorrow. While it may sound like a simple concept in theory, I understand that it can be more difficult than that when it actually comes down to exercising in real life. So when you are trying to heal from betrayal and you find yourself wanting to 'throw it in their face', take a deep breath and walk away from the conversation. You can even say something like, "I feel like I want to say something really hurtful to you right now but I am committed to rebuilding our relationship so I'm going to go for a walk". You will find the language that works for you.

The key to overcoming betrayal is to be truly, authentically and deeply committed to the outcome. If you have both decided to work together to make it right, it is possible.

To your authenticity,

Love, Christine

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