I spent 15% of my annual income (BEFORE taxes) on a dating/relationship coach. I won’t tell you the exact amount because A) You’ll know how much I make a year, and B) I’ll look like a total idiot.
What I thought would be an intensive three-month program that would completely change my life was really six one-hour long phone calls, a CD, and a handful of emails…for 15% of my yearly salary.
And what is so frustrating about this is that she came highly recommended. Chances are, you’ve even heard of her! But alas, there was no aha moment…other than the realization her exact advice was in every dating book I’ve already read (or watched on Millionaire Matchmaker)… and most upsettingly, I could have bought a few Chanel purses and Louboutin stilletos with that money instead (much more practical).
At least, that was my initial reaction. Then I started thinking about why I was so angry and it dawned on me that I already knew this stuff…and if I already knew what she told me to be true, why wasn’t I applying it? Why did I keep wasting my time with “exceptions”? Because that’s what it really came down to…I’d meet someone, make an exception, and then wonder why I got hurt.
So what prompted all of this in the first place? We have to pop back to the summer of 2014. I had just ended yet another disaster of a relationship and realized my picker was not just off…but on another planet. This wasn’t the first time I’d chosen incorrectly and thought I could use a new perspective…or an ass-kicking to stop the pattern.
To be fair, I really enjoyed talking to my dating coach. She had this soothing voice that instantly made me feel safe and like I could tell her all of my problems. And even when I went onto the call grumpy, I left our calls feeling like I could take on the world. But then I’d think about all the money I spent and wonder why I wasn’t experiencing this immediate change and get more and more ticked off…well, Joelle, the shift had to come from within…and would have to be an actual, active (and continuous) decision. But it wasn’t until I reread my notes from our calls that I understood that.
I ended the program in early December 2014. And while this is definitely a journey and not a destination (I’m not in a relationship, but at least I’ve been on/going on dates with truly nice guys), I’ll save you whatever percentage of your salary, and share what I learned about dating. Chances are, you’ve heard it before (a million times), but it is worth repeating…because this advice makes sense…and as we know, you get what you accept in life. I like bullet points best, so here it goes (please excuse any first-person as they are my notes from the calls):
Men In General
- Men’s needs are simplistic
- Men don’t value things they get for free or don’t pay full value of
- No real man would let a woman take care of him
- Be aware of who he spends his time with
- If a guy presents his body as the value trigger, run
- Listen to what he says – men say what they mean, especially in the beginning
- Find a man who wants to protect you and keep you safe
- Let the man take the lead (it is how you see their character)
- You cannot change a man
- Don’t be the project manager/event planner for dates – don’t do anything – stop driving the bus and sit on my hands – make him do the work
- There are no excuses for bad behavior
- No more than two drinks on the first date – i.e. don’t get smashed on the first few dates
- Don’t invite a man to do anything for the first six dates – he plans and pays
- Throw my cards on the table – men respond well to it
- Notice the little things – does he guide you through the restaurant with his hand on your back? Open doors?
- Find out if he’s family-oriented
- Look for a PARTNER
- Show layer and depth on the first date
- Never date someone who needs you for financial or social reasons
- Don’t false advertise
- Ask questions that matter
- Focus on philosophical and meaningful conversation on dates
- Don’t dumb myself down – you want to be with someone you can talk to when you’re 80
- Is he emotionally stable?
- Going back in time (i.e. getting back together with an ex) never works
- Stop being the alpha, let the man take the lead
- Specificity of what I want is critical – write a list
Later in the Relationship
- Follow your gut
- Does he make me feel safe? If no, run
- If it doesn’t feel good, it’s not right – if a guy cares about you, you know, there is no confusion
- Don’t settle
- Loyalty cannot be at my expense, OK to end things instead of trying to make it work
- Live in my independence and womanhood
- Walking on the wild side has always broken my heart
- “Loneliness” is not a bad thing
- Who you spend your time with is a reflection of you – take a real look at my friends
- All we can do is live and be honest with everyone, but especially yourself
- Everything is a choice. What is most important to me?
- My choices reflect my readiness
- Know what is a non-negotiable for me
- Life isn’t about dating stories – it’s about building a life with someone
- Be aware of how amazing you are
- Clarity and specificity
- You can have your life be whatever you want it to be – design your life
Good advice, right?…but 15% of my salary to hear something I already knew to be true?…Absolutely…if I finally follow it.