Relationship Advice

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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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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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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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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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 appreciation 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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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 at 3am 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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Soulmates vs. Twin flames: The Differences You Need To Know

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Have you ever been in a relationship that seemed to get so serious, so deep and so real so fast, that it was almost as if reality couldn’t keep up? Maybe you were planning how you’d decorate your shared home a week into your relationship. Perhaps you were thinking of excuses to call into work sick or skip out on plans with friends, all so you could spend every waking (and sleeping) moment with your newfound partner. If you have ever experienced anything like this in a new relationship, Matt Kahn shares that it was, and is, most likely a twin flame situation. Now, if you’ve never heard of the term “twin flame” you’re not alone. It’s a widely discussed, and often debated, term in the realm of spirituality but hasn’t quite made its way to the mainstream. At least, not to the same extent as its “soulmate” counterpart. That’s why I thought that it would make for an interesting blog and newsletter topic this month. So, keep on reading to learn the differences between what makes a soulmate relationship, or soul contract, and what makes one a twin flame. If, at the end, you’d like to learn even more, I highly recommend watching this video by spiritual thought leader, Matt Kahn.

First, let’s continue to talk about what exactly makes a relationship a twin flame relationship. Then we’ll move into soulmates.

Twin flame relationships can usually be described as fast burning, fast tracked and almost chaotic in the way that the relationship quickly becomes all encompassing. Almost right off the bat, you find yourself getting really deep and really serious with your partner – even if you’ve only seen each other a few times. You make plans for the future, even though your friends and family can’t believe you’re already getting so serious. The thing is, you’re making those plans because your own soul knows that this relationship can help you evolve. This relationship is happening because your soul (and likely your partner’s) isn’t truly ready for your soulmate just yet.

While twin flame relationships can be fiercely fun, incredibly romantic and life altering, they’re not entirely realistic. In fact, they are usually filled with volatility, hostility and drama. That same intense energy that you feel in the good times fuels the bad times tenfold. It’s this intensity that often, understandably, leads people to mistake twin flames for soulmates. However, the intensity is too great to be sustainable and will often, almost inevitably, lead to destruction.  Something to note, however, is that twin flames can become soulmates and sometimes do. I will seriously stress that “sometimes”, though, as more often than not these types of relationships go the other way.

Soulmate relationships, on the near opposite end of the spectrum to twin flame; can be looked at as both partners becoming the living embodiments of their highest potential. This, then, allows them to manifest an equal counterpart. You are with each other because you are at a level that you are ready for each other. It’s way more relaxed, easier, more balanced and everything falls into place. Sure, you still have arguments and disagreements but there is a fundamental difference in how you grow together. You grow in balance to one another and arguments, for the most part, really just solve themselves. You don’t hold onto things to use against one another, you know that your love is more important and more valuable than building a stockpile of comebacks for your next debate. The friction that sometimes rears its head in a soulmate relationship works itself our naturally – resolution is never forced.

In describing both types of relationships, something that I truly want to stress is something that Matt also speaks to near the end of his video talk. When it comes to mental, verbal, emotional, physical or any other form of abuse in a relationship, there is no such thing as working on it or accepting it for what it is. In a soul contract where there is toxicity, you owe it to yourself to put yourself anywhere but there. He urges his listeners to not get caught up in the feeling of there only being “one” soulmate for them. There are many soulmates and twin flames awaiting you in the world, and you will never deserve toxicity.

I encourage you to take some time to look at past relationships (or even current ones!) that were particularly intense. It's more than likely, it was a twin flame relationship. Reflect on what the lesson was for you. What did you learn from that twin flame? I have come to believe twin flame relationships are honestly your training ground for soulmate relationships.

To your authenticity,

Love, Christine

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What Men Crave, Even When They Don’t Outright Ask For It

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Have you ever noticed how many articles, talks and books there are on the topic of what women want? If you do a quick search online you’ll find an endless number of results written by women, some relatable, some not, but many nonetheless. So, why is it that when you do the same search to answer the question, “What do men want?” there are so few results written by men?

A recent talk by John Wineland on the subject of “What Men Crave” takes a shot at answering the question behind the imbalance of clearly communicated needs.

John recognizes the abundance of discussion surrounding the needs and wants of women, which he celebrates and applauds, as well as the lack of bold requests for fulfillment from the male perspective. When thinking as to why this could be, he lands at the explanation that men, over the years, have possibly lost the capacity to powerfully ask for what they want.

And so, through an enlightening eleven-minute talk, John begins to share what thousands of men have shared with him – what it is they truly crave, want and desire. Without diving too deeply into each, let’s take a look, together, at some of the most notable results. I believe there are great learnings to be had and an opportunity to better understand the male energy and how his needs differ from our own.

1. Celebrate the Fact He’s Different From You

We often talk of how men and women are the same, and in many ways they are. But, at their fundamental cores and especially when it comes to relationship needs, there are striking differences. Often times, men want less whereas women want more. John asks that, before you give what you’re trying to give, take pause and feel into what your partner actually needs. This can take time as we naturally want to give what we think our partner wants without tuning into their actual desires.

2. He Craves Range

We already know that variety is key in a relationship, so why is it that we let ourselves forget this so often? Men crave variety not in the form of numbers but in the form of range – he wants vulnerability, playfulness, sexiness, nurturing and he wants it all from you.

3. Love Us With Equal Energy

Something John mentions in the talk is that men want to feel the same level and energy when being loved and celebrated as they do when you’re angry with them. When he’s present and loving you, he wants to experience your love at the same level as he experiences your anger or frustration when you’re in an argument. Be present and not passive.

4. Leave Business at the Door

Separating out the tools that you use to succeed in your career from the tools you use to succeed in your relationship is key to fostering a healthy, happy relationship at home. If a CEO walked in the door and treated her partner and family the same as her coworkers and subordinates at the office, you can see that things wouldn’t go well. He loves and admires your success, but he wants you to leave your day job at the door when you arrive home and he is more than happy to help in that transition.

5. Slow Down

One last point I want to share is how so many men said that they crave a slower pace. Whether you wake up a little bit slower on the weekend, get dressed a little slower, walk a little slower or simply take on the day in a more relaxed way – he has a desire to turn off the fast forward switch and just enjoy time with you. This one is probably the hardest of all to put into practice being that we live in a high speed world and, outside the home, are encouraged to pick up the pace and accomplish more and more in less and less time. But, if you’re able to at home, focus a little more on pace and how much time you are spending feeling connected to your body. Men thrive on feminine energy and as women, it rejuvenates us.

Check out John's video for yourself below. I'd love to hear what you think!

To your authenticity,

Love, Christine

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What Men Crave

John Wineland

The Sexiest Words a Man Can Say… and Why They are So Powerful

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A few weeks back I was driving in my car and listened to the radio hosts as they discussed a survey in which women selected three short words as the sexiest words a man can say. To the surprise of the hosts, and many I’m sure, they weren’t “I love you,” “You are beautiful” or (probably) any of the others that spring to mind off the bat.

The three sexiest words a man can say to his partner were decided, instead, to be “I got this.”

I find this so incredibly interesting for a couple of reasons. The first is that we often talk about how it’s the little things that really make a difference. Think of when your partner simply goes about doing the laundry or unloads the dishwasher without being asked, or when he remembers your favourite coffee and picks it up on the way home from work for you. These “small” things can truly mean a lot – much more, in fact, than singular grand gestures.

Your partner making the decision to take on something such as walking the dog, finding out which airport gate you should be headed to or hailing a taxi shows that he’s confident, capable and in control of the situation. We love this. And, in a world where women balance work, marriage, family and more, it’s so nice to know what you can count on to be taken care of by another.

Secondly, this short but powerful statement reminds us of our primal caveman/cavewoman roots where men were fundamentally the providers and women the caregivers or nurturers. While we’ve undoubtedly come a long way since the days of cavemen, we still have the exact same DNA as our early ancestors and having another 'take care of things' makes us feel good.

The power of "I got this" is the words are a statement of fact and allows for the man to shift into producing mode to deliver on his promise. These words allow the woman to fully let this task go and she genuinely finds it so attractive.

If you’re interested in reading more about the power of “I got this,” I would recommend you read this blog post over on The Good Men Project. It speaks to the effects of the three little words from a male perspective and is an interesting read!

To your authenticity,

Love, Christine

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What You Can Learn by Traveling With Your Partner

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  Summer is finally here and that means vacation days, long weekends and (hopefully) a bit of travel. Whether you’re gearing up for a month-long adventure abroad or are looking ahead to a weekend escape to the cottage, travel can teach you a lot about yourself and your partner. Sometimes it tests you; many times it strengthens your bond and it near always reveals something new about your relationship. Here are some of my top reminders to pack along:

outside comfort zone
outside comfort zone

1. Breaking from routine reveals true personality traits

Alarm clocks, commutes and hectic evenings can steal the spontaneity out of even the most adventurous souls. Breaking from routine and familiar surroundings can reveal true, at-rest personality traits that may otherwise be tucked away during everyday life. You may be reminded of how funny or caring your partner is, or you may remember how messy and disorganized they are. The same can be said for what your partner may re-recognize in you. For better or worse, you’ll get to see each other in a more natural, at rest state than you have in a long time and have the opportunity to learn and grow away from the hustle and bustle.

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compromise

2. How you travel reflects how you manage compromise

No matter where you go, it’s impossible to do absolutely everything you want to do in the time that you have. What you decide to do, and in what order, shows how you and your partner compromise and reflects the balance in your relationship. Do you put down your foot and insist on seeing your “must visit” attractions? Or, do you make a list of what you both would like to do and see where you can level out? Just as in a healthy relationship, travel requires a certain amount of give and take. You may be surprised at how well you manage compromise, or may realize you have a bit of work to do.

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curveballs

3. Life will throw you curveballs… and you can bet travel will too

Travel has its ups and downs just like life does. Missing a connection, delayed flights, overbooked hotels and misplacing keys or IDs can cause serious stress. Adjusting to different time zones and traveling through the night can also leave you feeling some major exhaustion. Watch to see how your partner, and how you, react to these situations. Try to exercise patience and understanding if and when things go awry. Feeling sluggish? Let your natural optimism shine and remind yourself that you are amazingly lucky to be able to travel with the one you love and that a little bit of jet lag now will be worth packing another day of memories into the trip. You can learn a lot about your partner by how they handle the same situations, too.

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cultures

4. New cultures and experiences can reveal untapped passions

Experiencing Latin America for the first time may help you realize that your partner loves dancing, or that you have a thirst for experiencing more to life. Walking through art galleries and museums may awaken a passion for painting or photography, possibly a hobby you can share with your partner. As you travel and experience new things together, you’ll see your individual and collective tastes and interests evolve. Seeing new parts of the world and challenging yourself to step outside of your comfort zones keeps you both developing as people as well as a partnership. Do it as often as you can!

friendship core
friendship core

5. At the core of your relationship is a deep friendship

Nothing reminds couples of the fundamental friendship they share more than travel. Whether it’s making silly poses next to the British Guard or throwing back a cold one at a Munich beer hall, you’re there to enjoy each other’s company. And, most often, travel means that you’ll be out and about more than you’ll be at your hotel. So, while surely there will be some time for romance, there’s much more time to explore your intense friendship and just have fun.

To your authenticity,

Love, Christine

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What it Means to Honestly, Truthfully and Deeply Trust

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If you’re a fan of Super Soul Sunday, Ted Talks and general self-development, chances are that you’ve heard of an amazing and wonderful woman named Brené Brown. She is one of the most engaging and authentic storytellers and lecturers I’ve ever seen and I strongly encourage you to enrol in her free course called “Anatomy of Trust” or give her Super Soul Sunday video a watch. After doing a lot of reflecting on the content Brené shares and speaks about, I wanted to share with you a sort of introduction, or crash course if you will, on the topic of trust. So, let’s talk about that. What does it mean to trust? And not just trust, but honestly, truthfully and deeply trust and foster trust in a relationship?

As Brené says, it’s about so much more than there not being lies in your relationship. Trust is something that you continuously work to build, protect and maintain. It’s about our everyday thoughts, intentions and actions.

Brené breaks it down with the acronym, “BRAVING.”

B is for Boundaries

Boundaries are super important in any relationship – the relationship you have with your self, with your significant other, your friends, family, coworkers, and the list goes on. They’re crucial in protecting all the good stuff inside your relationship and in keeping the “bad” stuff outside. A boundary could be a commitment to yourself, and your partner, that what you speak about stays with just the two of you. It could be a promise to leave work at work and enter the home, at the end of the day, with a positive mind.

R is for Reliability

Nobody likes to be flaked on. It’s not a good feeling to be told that someone’s going to be somewhere or do something and then they aren’t and don’t. Reliability is paramount in relationships and aids in building a deep level of trust. Practice reliability by doing what you say you’re going to do, keeping your promises and stopping yourself from over-promising. Knowing your limitations and what you can realistically be relied on for, is not a weakness. If anything, it’s a show of strength and also a show of consideration for others.

A is for Accountability

Own your behaviour and hold yourself accountable for mistakes. Nobody is perfect – far from it, really – but how you address and acknowledge your mistakes makes all the difference. Instead of pointing blame or arguing about why you’ve argued, take accountability for your part in the matter and face the issue head on.

V is for Vault

I think that “C is for Confidentiality” could be used here interchangeably, but the word “vault” introduces much more powerful imagery to the concept of trust. The idea of the vault is that exchanges that happen in confidence between you and your partner, or whomever is in the relationship with you, stay only between you two. You can trust, implicitly, that what you are sharing will stay in your partner’s vault. And, just the same, your partner can trust that you will treat his or her words with just as much respect.

I is for Integrity

Integrity calls for truly practicing your values. It’s not enough to believe that people should or shouldn’t behave a certain way; you need to truly and authentically practice what you preach. If you expect only the best from the people in your life and encourage them to live authentically and with good hearts, it’s your responsibility to do the same.

N is for Non-Judgment

Casting judgments is, unfortunately, human instinct. However, building trust requires you to push judgment to the side and to allow your partner a safe and open space to share with you whatever is on his or her mind. They should be able to come to you and express what they need or desire without fear of being judged, and you should be able to do the same.

G is for Generosity

Acting with a kind heart and generous spirit will do wonders for building trust. Regularly and routinely seeing the best in your partner and doing small, everyday things to make his or her life more joyful is the kind of generosity that has serious impact. There’s really no need for grand gestures or expensive gifts. Something as simple as packing a lunch for your partner for a busy Monday filled with meetings or folding and putting away the laundry could mean the world to them.

Again, I encourage you to give Brené Brown’s video a watch for yourself. Even if you’re not in a relationship right now, the principles of BRAVING can easily be applied to check in with yourself and deliver a measure of your self-trust. Like I said, thirty minutes now could have a major and positive impact on your life.

To your authenticity,

Love, Christine

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Signs of Divorce: How to Spot These 4 Indicators… and How to Overcome Them

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John Gottman, author and psychologist, is well known for conducting many studies surrounding the predictability of divorce. After a 15-minute conversation with a couple, followed by questions about satisfaction and relationship behaviours, Gottman and his team discovered they could predict whether or not a marriage would result in divorce with 93% accuracy. 93% accuracy. That’s both impressive and incredibly saddening. The reality, more in this modern day than ever before, is that nearly half of relationships end in a break up, separation or divorce. What I want to share with you, my friend, is how to equip you and your partner to beat the odds and live in a truly satisfying, successful partnership. One of the most powerful ways to do this is to train yourself to identify the three strongest indicators and work to overcome those behaviours.

Ready? Let’s dive in.

1. Criticism

Have you ever found yourself picking up after your partner, only to wind up making a comment to them about so much more than leaving a towel on the floor or a dirty dish on the counter? Criticism without the genuine aim of being constructive and positive will only ever lead to hurt feelings and a moment in time you really can’t undo. Seemingly small things like calling your partner “stupid” or reminding them that you’re the smarter one in the duo can have irreparable effects on your relationship.

When you feel yourself about to criticize your partner (and especially in heated circumstances, as mentioned), take a deep breath and count to ten. The simple “calm down” trick that you likely learned as a child will honestly do wonders even in many adult situations. If you have to, leave the room until you calm down and know you won't say something you regret. Remind yourself that your partnership is more important and more valuable than this one moment, this one dirty dish, and this one unfolded towel. Once you are feeling much more calm, take a moment to think about the positives in your partner, even if you don't want to. When you work to replace your criticism habit with thoughts of praise, even in small bits, you will see the tension between the two of you lessen.

2. Defensiveness

I was reading an article recently and the author mentioned something about how allowing negativity into your mind and heart is like stepping into quicksand. It’s real easy to get sucked down inside of it and really, really hard to get back out. The saying reminded me of a time that a client was telling me about how she had accidentally broken a wine glass and it turned into a full on argument between her and her spouse – about just about everything except the wine glass.

Jumping to defend yourself by saying, “It was an accident!” or “It wasn’t my fault!” implies, before your partner even speaks, that you expect them to attack you. This, in turns, puts the both of you on the defensive and builds a big, fat, metaphorical wall between the two of you.

You have several options for combatting defensiveness, but the most powerful is practicing accountability and recognition. Are you late to your dinner reservation because you lost track of time? Own up to it and avoid turning things around and saying something like, "oh, you're late sometimes too!" Did your partner break a vase while cleaning? Brush it off, they didn't do it on purpose and focus on appreciating you have someone who’s willingly putting in effort to share household duties.

3. Checking Out

There are a couple of terms for this particular behaviour, such as “stonewalling,” but I prefer the term “checking out.” This is what happens when you’re in mid argument with your partner and one – or both – of you whips out your phone and goes dead silent. A partner can also “check out” by simply walking away from a conversation, leaving the space or even leaving the home for a walk or drive. (this is different then briefly leaving the room to calm yourself down before re-entering, as mentioned in the Criticism piece). The problem with this type of behaviour is that it demonstrates you are either not invested in reaching a resolution or healing your relationship, or that what you were arguing about doesn’t mean that much to you in the first place. Both, as you can probably see, are super problematic.

The next time you go to bring something up with your partner, don’t do it half way. If it truly means enough to you, and has affected you deeply enough, to bring up – then do it right. Ditch all distractions and truly talk it out with the intention of reaching a mutually satisfactory resolution. If your partner asks to speak with you, dedicate your full attention to them. This means that your phone is down, the TV’s off and you’re listening full on.

Friend, if you work to identify these behaviours on an ongoing basis and make conscious, intentional decisions to replace the behaviours with positive ones – you will substantially increase the odds of enjoying a successful partnership.

To your authenticity,

Love, Christine

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Why It’s Time to Try a Dating App… And How to Choose Between Tinder, Hinge & Bumble

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Is it time to try a dating app? It’s funny to think that online dating has been around since the nineties and yet, it’s only the last few years that it really and truly became culturally “mainstream.” Just as it happened, a new wave of matchmaking apps have sprung up and started quickly outpacing desktop counterparts. You've likely heard these names popping up in conversation: Tinder, Hinge and Bumble. To think that there’s an entire directory of people on these apps, just like you, looking for a connection at your literal fingertips – why wouldn’t you want to give it a try?

There’s really never been a better time and each app offers its own unique features, benefits and (sometimes) pricing scheme. So, dear friend, I’m here to help.  Let’s talk about the most popular dating apps out there and what really makes them better (or worse) so you can choose the one that makes the most sense for your unique wants and needs. Ready? Let’s go!

1. Tinder

If you’re not into the idea of professing your love (or like, in this case) for someone only to learn they don’t feel the same way, then Tinder is a great option for you. When you swipe to indicate your interest in somebody, they’ll only ever see that you did it if they also like you back. It works the same the other way around too, so it saves everyone involved the awkwardness of putting yourself out there only to wind up feeling shut down. Plus, Tinder requires that you have a Facebook profile in order to create an account and can even show you the Facebook friends that you have in common with a match, so it adds an extra level of comfort and security that you don’t always find with other dating apps.

Oh, and did I mention that Tinder has around 50 million monthly active users? The odds have never been more in your favour, friend! Tinder is often touted as the most popular mobile dating app. With its ever growing pools of singles in towns and cities all across the world, you’re sure to find several matches in your first day of use.

When getting started on Tinder, make sure you set yourself up for success. If your goal really is to find a great, offline date on the app, then make it happen. Spend some time on your opening line. It should feel natural and really speak to who you are as a person and what your view is on life. Choose a recent, smiling photo of yourself and limit the number of selfies you add to your profile. You want the guy you’re looking for to be able to get a quick understanding of who you are, what you’re into and your overall style without having to read through paragraphs or swipe his way through an entire album of photos. And when you do start browsing, make sure you really do read the profiles that attract you. It can be all too easy to get carried away and go a little “swipe” happy on Tinder, but not every great smile is going to be a great match. Opening lines and profile info are there to help you narrow down your search, so use them!

2. Hinge

Hinge takes the idea of being set up by friends and brings it into the mobile world. Their tagline is, “Meet someone through friends you trust,” and it’s pretty darn fitting. It relies on its users synching the app with their social media accounts to be connected through mutual friends. Something different, but very helpful, about Hinge is that it will only show you a limited number of matches each day. This helps you really focus in on each individual profile and not feel the “profile overwhelm” that can happen when you see pages and pages of matches.

How Hinge further fulfills its promise to help you “meet” someone is with its new time limit feature. Once you see that you have a match, you only have 24 hours to strike up a conversation. Then, once you begin chatting, you’re limited to 14 days to continue chatting with the mobile app. This is all designed to encourage people to use the app to find connections and then take them where they belong – into the offline world. If you’ve been looking for that extra push to meet someone new, Hinge might be the choice for you.

When using Hinge to find your next date, take advantage of the fact that you only have 24 hours after becoming a match to strike up a conversation. Ask open-ended questions to keep the conversation going, and if you feel there’s a spark, suggest you take the conversation offline and meet up at a neutral coffee shop or wine bar. Texting can be great, but it can also lead to a state of limbo where you’re no longer on the app, but you also haven’t met in real life. Keep the momentum going and see where the spark takes you!

3. Bumble

It’s no wonder Bumble is doing so spectacularly well – a former co-founder of mega dating app Tinder launched it! One thing that Bumble does differently than many other dating apps, however, is focus on improving the dating experience for women specifically. How does it do this? Similarly to Tinder, you’re able to swipe through profiles and either show your interest or skip to the next. However, when you make a match with another profile, it’s up to the female user to initiate the conversation.

Yep, you read that right, only female users can send the first message. After that first message is sent, you can go back and forth with that user for as long as you like – but guys have got to wait for the lady to strike up the conversation that first time around. What this does is create a safer, less overwhelming space for genuinely interested people to connect with likeminded individuals. In its initial few months of existence, Bumble reported more mindful, responsible and thoughtful behaviour from both genders. It’s worth a try!

If you’re getting set up on Bumble, I’d recommend choosing a great profile picture that showcases your natural beauty and genuine smile just like on any other mobile app. What I’d also recommend you to do on Bumble, unlike what I’d recommend on Tinder, is to be a bit bolder when it comes to striking up conversations with matches. Since the app relies on females initiating conversation, you really can’t wait for him to make the first move. So, put yourself out there and get the conversations going – you never know who you’ll wind up hitting it off with!

All three apps are free, although Tinder does offer premium features for a small fee. No matter which you choose to try, signing up won’t take longer than a few minutes and, if you don’t like it, it’s as easy as uninstalling. Don’t forget, I’m always here if you need a confidence boost before your first date or need a bit of help crafting a profile that really showcases your authentic self.

To your authenticity,

Love, Christine

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How to Identify Synchronicity and Harness its Power to Guide Your Love Life

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Have you ever sat thinking about how great a recent date was, only to hear your phone buzz, look down and see that your date has texted you? Have you ever thought, “I’ll give my online dating profile one last shot, and then I’m deleting it,” only to strike up a conversation with a great match the very next day? These meaningful coincidences, or synchronistic events, can offer intense affirmation and encouragement. But, is there really such a thing as coincidence? Do you know how to identify synchronicity and really tell the difference? Many have studied the occurrences and impacts of synchronicity, and even more have surely experienced a synchronistic event in their lives at some point or another. Robert Perry is one example of a man who’s devoted much of his career to studying synchronicity and is celebrated for “A Course in Miracles.”  He believes there is immense value in learning to identify, and seek meaning from, powerful coincidences that can guide your life and love in a positive direction.

Like I mentioned, many have already experienced at least one of these events. You, my friend, will likely experience many more in your future. So, let’s talk about how you can identify the coincidences that are worth examining further and deciphering for meaningful guidance.

1. You Feel a New or Sudden Spark or Awareness of Desire, And Then Poof – It’s Fulfilled

I often hear from couples that met online about how they were this close to deleting their profile when they received a message from the other or saw their partner listed as a match. For one reason or another, they felt suddenly compelled to communicate and meet offline – even though, just hours before, they were ready to give up on online dating altogether.  This intense awareness, coupled with fulfillment coming shortly after, is something greater than your regular old coincidence.

When you feel compelled to say “yes” to a night out with your girlfriends or give speed dating a try, even though you’d typically much rather spend your night inside with pajamas and Netflix, it could very well be a sign that something truly meaningful is about to happen. This sort of synchronicity could happen in putting an offer in on a house you have a gut feeling about, applying for a new job or booking a spontaneous vacation. All I ask of you, friend, is to be open to what comes next!

2. You’ve Been Questioning A Decision and Receive Unexpected Affirmation

We’ve all been there. At some point, we make a decision and wind up feeling unsure as to whether or not it was the best move. Sometimes, particularly for those who have taught themselves to identify synchronicity, affirmation or validation follows. I was speaking to a friend who recently turned down a job that just didn’t feel right, even though on paper it looked fantastic. Not even three months later, the company pulled out of Canada and its existing employees were, sadly, laid off. Another friend of mine, who longed to explore more vegetarian restaurants and get to know fellow marketers in her new city, joined a book club on Meet Up – even though the idea was intimidating to her. When she arrived, she sat down at an empty seat and discovered the two women on either side of her were also vegetarians and both worked in marketing.

I firmly believe that we’re meant to be where we are, but that we have to be open to following our gut. When you long for chance, seek it out. If you had a great date, but didn’t feel a spark, don’t beat yourself up about moving onto someone new. Maybe the spark wasn’t there because it’s waiting for you in your next date. And, when you feel it, you’ll know you made the right choice.

3. You’ve Noticed Someone New and Continue to Run Into Them

When you notice the same person, be it at your local coffee shop or on the bus, across a number of days or weeks, it may be the universe guiding you towards one another. This can happen to reconnect you with an old friend, a new business contact, or even a soul mate. When your daily routines and actions bring you together to the same place at the same time, on multiple occasions, you owe it to yourself to take action. Go up and introduce yourself, or offer a smile and wave. While you feel like you’ve spotted this person so often recently, it could be some time before your paths intertwine again – if ever!

The next time you experience what you think is “just a coincidence,” take pause and consider the possibility of it being something more – more meaningful, more powerful and more guiding. Follow your intuition, open yourself up to signs and say hello to that charming stranger on the bus. You’ll be amazed at what synchronicity has in store for your life.

To your authenticity,

Love, Christine

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The Problems Affecting Modern Relationships... And How to Fix Them

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I recently read an article written by the incredibly enlightened Esther Perel. In it she spoke of the problems with modern dating and modern relationships, specifically where excess access and choice are concerned. It really struck a chord for me, because it’s one of the recurring issues that I regularly encounter when working with clients. The good news, my friend, is that there are solutions. It’s just a matter of acknowledgement, acceptance and commitment. 1. The Pool’s Gotten Bigger… So Remember Why You’ve Chosen Your Partner

If you think back to when your parents or grandparents began dating, it’s likely that they had a far smaller social circle or “pool” of people from which to choose. Many years later, in burst the Internet in all of its connective glory. The Internet, and the mobile app, allow us to instantly connect with tons of people in our own city, within driving distance and from all over the world. Apps like Tinder, and sites like Match, allow you to instantly browse through thousands of profiles with the touch of a button.

Don’t get me wrong. I think having options is the only way to truly discover what it is you want and what it is that you don’t want. However, this constant access to unlimited options can really have an affect on the development of a new relationship.  Partners sometimes find themselves second-guessing their situation based on the tiniest flaws, daydreaming up “what if” scenarios and even find themselves tempted to “just have a look” elsewhere.  So, how do you stop it? Here are two suggestions:

Let's say you met someone online and you've mutually decided to be exclusive. Actually have a conversation around, "Are we taking our profiles down?" And, if you like, actually take them down together and then take yourselves out on a celebratory date. This communicates that you've both decided to be all in on developing the potential of this relationship.

Sometimes a year or even 10 years into a relationship, you can forget why you chose this person. Completely normal and common! If this happens I encourage you to sit down and even write out all the things you enjoy (or even love) about the person that you’re with. Place your focus there, really feel it within you rather than letting your thoughts constantly focus on the things that aren't currently working.

2. Empathy Has Become a Rarity… So Regularly Practice Compassion

In today’s society, as well as in relationships, empathy has become a more rare trait than ever before. Our fast paced culture of “always on” and personal satisfaction has left less room for compassion, understanding and even accountability. This fundamental change in human character and behaviour greatly impacts how couples interact with each other.

You can imagine how this decrease in compassion has resulted in an increase in selfishness. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with looking out for yourself and ensuring that you live the life you truly want and deserve. There is, however, a problem when your doing so comes at the expense of someone else. It’s so important that, in a partnership, you regularly exercise compassion and empathy. Moreover, that you help and support one another in your collective efforts to live a fulfilling, satisfying and mutually rewarding life.

To improve your empathetic abilities, I encourage you to ask yourself, “What can I do to better support my partner?”. If you are both asking yourself this, you are feeding the relationship what it needs. It works better than each of you asking yourself, "What can my partner do for me?" which has more of a "taking" mentality to it. Often times, you’ll find that even the smallest of things, like offering to pick up the kids when your partner is having an especially stressful or demanding day or making their favorite homemade treat, can truly make all the difference and if you are each doing things for each other, you get this real sense of having each other's back.

3. We Spend More Time Away from Home Than Ever Before… So Don’t Forget to Stay Connected

While work-life balance continues to be one of the most talked about subjects, and many companies tout optimal balance as one of the benefits of working for them, the reality is that people are working more hours per week than ever before. Whether it’s longer commutes into the office, longer hours or more time spent answering emails and taking phone calls from home – North American society is filled with workaholics.

The more time spent away from home most commonly means more time spent away from your partner. While you may not be able to completely change your work schedule, there are things you can do to help keep your relationship strong. At some point during the day, take a moment to check in with your partner. Whether it’s by phone, text or email, send your partner a quick message to let them know that they’re on your mind and that you’re thinking of them. I promise you that this small effort will have huge impact.

When you are both home in the evenings and on the weekend, use that time wisely and do your best to not only physically be together but mentally too. If you read between the lines here, sitting on the couch next to each other scrolling through social media feeds isn't what I classify as connecting and being together! :) While it’s completely fine (and very healthy) to fill up your calendar with book clubs, exercise classes and plans with friends, quality connection time with your partner keeps the relationship healthy. And isn't that what drove you to open yourself up to being in a relationship in the beginning? Honor that.

To your authenticity,

Love, Christine

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