week, we'll be delivering smart and fresh relating
tips. We know you are busy, so let these quick ideas inspire
you to create your ideal relationship! Each edition will include
helpful information in these three categories:
- Dating – tips on finding and keeping the
- Mating – take the Passion Perks challenge
and perk up your love life!
- Relating – tips on making your connection
Be sure to scroll down and
check out news of note and announcements for singles and couples!
We'll be keeping you abreast of relationship happenings
you may find useful.
Does an article strike a chord
or remind you of a friend's situation? Please pass Relation
Smarts on! Everyone deserves to have more love in their life!
Remember, information is only good if you USE it. Research
shows that if you don't use a new piece of information within
two weeks, you won't ever use it! So if you want an extraordinary
relationship, try something new today!
A good friend of mine has been trying to find The
One for quite some time now. He’s tried everything:
scouring the city, making ample use of several popular internet
dating sites, checking out the frozen food aisle….Then
one day recently, he meets a girl who could be The One, in
a country bar- of all places! (What’d I tell you about
those country love songs a few issues back!). But I digress.
Flash forward a few months and he’s struggling
to end this potentially idyllic relationship because of her
temper. That’s right, she loses it- a lot and it gets
very ugly. So now he’s wondering, “Do I get out
or do I give her repeated chances to clean up her act?”
A sticky situation for sure.
Which made me start pondering “Was there a
way that he could have avoided this whole darn mess in the
first place?” Yes there is. By simply remembering this
principle “You are always training
other people how to treat you.” (Folks who have
attended my “Not Into You” seminar may recall
From the very moment you meet someone, you are teaching
them how you like to be treated- by the behavior you accept
and reject. If you allow someone to treat you in disrespectful
ways- yelling at you, arriving late, not calling when they
said they would- you will assuredly get more of the same.
When you refuse to accept such treatment, either the behavior
goes away or the person does. Either way- that’s a win
for you. The sooner you begin this training, the better the
outcome, but it’s never too late to start!
Let’s see how this would work. I’m a
laid back, easy-going person by nature and it takes a LOT
to get me angry- and it takes even more for me to raise my
voice. But on rare occasions with my boyfriend, I’ll
become excitable, and although I am not actually yelling AT
him, my voice will have raised without me even being aware
of it. Here’s what happens next. Every time, my boyfriend
very calmly, but very seriously says “Do
not raise your voice with me.” And do you know
what I do? It immediately makes me pause, realize that indeed
my voice has risen and I lower it instantly. End of story.
We go on and continue to have a reasonable discussion. Why
does this work? Because my boyfriend has very clearly, and
from the start, made his boundary known. He has said with
his words and behavior that raised voices are not tolerable
to him and that he will not speak with me if I engage in that
behavior. Period. It’s not negotiable- it is just the
rule and since I love and respect him (and know it’s
the correct rule anyhow)- I follow it. And you know what,
on the rare occasion when I just plain forget the rule, I
am thankful that he reminds me, because it keeps our relationship
on the right track.
So, back to my friend and countless others who have
ended up in bad relationships. I can’t help but wonder
what would have happened if my friend had said the same thing
to his girlfriend the very first time she lost her temper
and every time after that. Either she would recognize that
her behavior was harming the relationship and she would have
the self control to correct it or she wouldn’t. And
if she wouldn’t or couldn’t, then my friend would
have a clear course: it’s time to end this partnership
because it’s no longer a partnership when each person
can’t respect and behave lovingly toward one another.
Instead- he allowed it to occur. In effect, he trained her
by letting her have her angry outbursts.
What if he had tried my boyfriend’s approach
and unlike me, his girlfriend continued on ranting and raving?
With his behavior, he should show her that he will not participate
in such interactions. So he could say, “I will not speak
with you when you talk like that. I am leaving the room. I
will be happy to talk about it when you are willing to speak
calmly.” Then he promptly gets up and leaves the room-
and he doesn’t allow her to follow him or to continue
to engage him in any way- as long as she’s yelling.
He leaves the house if he has to. And he does this right away-
not after 15 minutes of tongue lashing. And consistency is
key- he has to do this every time she starts to get out of
So, here are the principles for training your new
partner (or anyone else in your world for that matter!)
1. Insight: Get very clear for
yourself on what your boundaries are. What behaviors are simply
unacceptable to you? What will you not tolerate because it
is not healthy, loving, respectful behavior?
2. Inform: From the beginning
ideally (or wherever you are now), make your boundaries absolutely
clear to the other person- both with your words and with your
3. Enforce: Whenever a situation
develops, consistently enforce your boundary. Every time,
make no exceptions.
4. Action: Collect data about
the other person’s behavior over several situations
and be willing to act on it. Walk away if a person is repeatedly
unwilling or unable to respect your boundary.
Action Step: Take a
look at your past relationships...where did you fail to draw
clear and consistent boundaries? What do you wish you had
trained your partner about? Make your list of unallowable
behaviors and form a clear intention to keep your boundaries
in your next relationship.
Why wait? You can practice NOW! Often
the types of behaviors you allow from romantic partners, you
also allow from others in your life. Identify a current situation/or
relationship (family member, co-worker, check-out line cashier)
and start to practice your Person Training right now. That
way, when your perfect partner comes along, you'll already
Touch is one of the biggest bonding forces in relationships.
We often get so busy that we forget to touch each other. But
touching, stroking, and caressing not only feels good, it
releases happy chemicals that melt stress away and strengthen
your bond. Plus, it may just rev up your libido- especially
those light, fluttery, teasing strokes. It may be hard to
make yourself "get in the mood" but often, gentle
soft touching, with no further expectation for sex, can coax
your inner sex kitten or tiger out of hiding.
Passion Perks Challenge:
This week, set aside at least half an hour to exchange massages
(15 minutes each). Work those muscles to relaxation, then
focus on softer more teasing touches.
Relation Tip: If you
want this exercise to help boost your sexual desire even more,
agree ahead of time that no matter how much you feel like
it, you WON'T finish up with sex. Taking the pressure off
of sexual performance and making it off-limits, may just make
it all the more appealing. Note: Sex therapists use a similar
technique with couples.
Soften Your Start Up
Before we leave Dr. Gottman's venerable Love Lab,
we'll talk about a few other fascinating findings to help
improve your relationship. But instead of focusing on what
you shouldn't do, let's focus on what you should do!
When studying happy couple's arguments, Dr. Gottman
found an important difference from unhappy couples. Happy
couples begin a problem discussion with a softened start-up,
whereas unhappy couples use a harsh start-up. Think "Hey
Honey, I miss you. Can you come downstairs for awhile"
versus "Aren't you done with that darn project yet?"
In fact, Dr, Gottman has found that 96% of the time,
you can predict the outcome of a 15 minute conversation based
on what happens in the first three minutes! So start it off
right, and it will most likely have a happy ending!
Tips for Softening Your Start-Ups
1. Begin with a positive
Ex. Remember how much fun we had when we took that weekend
trip to the mountains? Let's schedule something like that
Versus: We never have fun anymore. Can’t you ever make
some time for me?
2. Express appreciation
Ex. It’s so great when you help do the dishes, it gives
me more time to spend cuddled up with you on the couch.
Versus: Can’t you ever help with the dishes? I am always
run so ragged!
3. Start with "I"
instead of "You"
Ex. I was so worried when you didn't call that it kept me
up all night.
Versus: You could have called. You made me stay up all night
worrying about you!
4. Don't build up a list of
Ex. I like it when you hold my hand when we are out together,
but it’s been awhile since you’ve touched me.
Can we talk about it?
Versus: I can’t stand it anymore. You are never affectionate
when we are out together. You don’t want anyone to even
know that we are together!
5. Check your tone.
Starting off with a tense, negative, whiny or frustrated tone
will immediacy set the stage for fight rather than a productive
Next time you have some issue to bring up- try softening your
start up and notice the difference in your outcome. Avoid
starting with a negative, blaming, or critical statement.
Dr. Gottman has found that happy couples are able to make
use of humor during problems discussions. See if you can learn
to pull that off. After the fact, my boyfriend and I are able
to use silly exaggerations of our issue, which get the point
across, but also make us laugh.
Enjoy Dr. Gottman's sound advice? Check out his book: The
Relationship Cure. It contains a wealth of information on
how to improve all of your relationships!
us for Date Smart! Keys to Dating Smarter, Not Harder
Once a month, Dr. Jenn is hosting a
1 hour, FREE Date Smart conference call. Each month, we'll
explore another important dating topic that will inform and
inspire you toward success! Plus, ask any dating dilemma question
The August topic:
The Three Dumbest Mistakes Even Smart Daters Make
28th, 7pm, Mountain Time (9 pm eastern)
Stay tuned for
the conference call phone number, which will be provided in
the next edition of Relation Smarts.
Got a topic you'd
like to see covered by Date Smart, drop a line and let me
The latest edition of Savvy Singles
is now available! Find it at local hang outs, including King
Soopers and Albertson's. Dr. Jenn writes the Ask the Dating
Doctor column as well as a book review. Although as readers
of Relation Smarts, you are already privy to the content I
write, there are lots of other interesting, educational, and
amusing articles in the magazine. Pick one up today. They
It's summer and now
is the time to create the relationship of your dreams. Why
not spark e a little summertime romance in your life? You
Purchase a 6 pack of
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pay only $45.
Internet Dating Profile
Now through the end
of August! Put some summer sizzle into your life!!
News: For Couples
Set Your Recorders there is a new relationship show: One Week
To Save Your Marriage on TLC (The Learning Channel), Mondays
at 10pm ET.
About couples on the brink of divorce
who are willing to make one last ditch effort to save their
marriage. Hosted by psychotherapist Dr. Robi Ludwig.
See this link for more show info: One
*NEW* Couples Workshop
It can be tough to keep the love alive
over time, especially with busy schedules, work and financial
stress, and children! But with the right attitudes and skills,
everyone can keep the passion burning. Come learn how to deepen
your connection, increase your intimate passion, and protect
your commitment from infidelity. Leave with tools to revitalize
your love. Email
for more info.
* Have you tried
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May your relationships bring you the happiness you
Jennifer Oikle, Ph.D.
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