7 Scary Relationships

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There are all kinds of relationships…but here are six that I find a little, and one that I  find really “scary.”

We don’t really know anything about each other.
Consider the fact that most people send their representative out on at least the first 5 dates, and add to that the reality that the majority of people who date don’t want to ask hard questions about the other person, and the possibility of not really knowing anything about each other becomes very real.

But it doesn’t have to stay this way.  Both parties can ask meaningful questions so that they do get to know each other.  Questions such as:

  • What are your expectations for someone you’re in a relationship with?
  • Have you ever cheated? Why did you (if you did)?
  • What are your life and career goals?

help you come to an understand about who the person you call your “signif” (significant other).

I don’t like you, despite saying I love you.
Admittedly, I spent a decade in a relationship with someone I loved, but didn’t like.  But, liking the person you’re in a relationship with supersedes loving them–believe it or not.  The friendship element of your relationship helps sustain the rest of your relationship.  Out of friendship is born respect, trust, honesty, communication, common ground.  Friendship is the foundation of an amazing love story.

We don’t share anything/our communication sucks.
Sometimes we find ourselves in relationships with people who don’t let us into their lives.  If this is you, consider sharing some thing that is special, but doesn’t make you uncomfortable.  If you’re person who feels a bit jilted about what you’re not being told, then perhaps its time to look at the root of this situation.

Of course, you could always schedule an intervention or mediation, and we can talk through the things that are not being talked about.

I can’t trust you.
While this is a warning for both guys and gals, guys need to be aware that the gals in their lives need stability.  Stability doesn’t stop with trusting you to take care of things and being financially secure.  Trust and stability starts with keeping your word, calling/coming/doing when you say you will.  Every promise needs to be kept, or admitted that it can’t be kept.  It’s scares people (no pun) to be connected to someone that doesn’t keep their word, or fails to admit when they can’t.

In the end, everyone needs to be able to believe in the person they are with. Your word is your bond.

It’s just sex…REALLY!
You cannot build a relationship that lasts on sex.  You can build a sexual relationship, but to attempt to turn that into something meaningful is usually futile.  If it’s just sex, then that’s a decision that you BOTH should make, along with setting boundaries, getting tested, and agreeing that being physically intimate does not imply or guarantee an exclusive, long-term, or loving relationship.

If you want an exclusive, long-term relationship, you may want to consider exploring sex-free relationships so you can get to know each other and spend quality time without the burden of STDs, pregnancy scares, or late night texts asking, “what are
you doing?”

Lastly, you hurt me.
This is not just about emotional pain, but physical pain as well.  Without going through all the signs of an abusive relationship, the one thing that you have to know is that if you don’t feel safe…you probably aren’t safe.  Not only is today Halloween, but it’s the last day of Domestic Violence Awareness month.  If you’re in an abusive relationship–emotional, physical, financial, etc, perhaps it’s time to make this “last time,” be the LAST TIME.  Get  CONFIDENTIAL help now…

In conclusion, there are definitely some other scary relationships, and if you see your relationship in one of the seven above…there is something you can do about it.  There is no reason to settle for an average relationship when you can have an amazing relationship using the same time, energy and emotions.  Learn more…

Ask Coach Steph: Was My Marriage a Mistake?

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Coach Steph,

Hi! I my name is (NAME WITHHELD) and I am afraid that I have a big problem.  I got married six months ago to a man that I love, and who I thought loved me.  But since the wedding, he has been different.  He’s just not interested in me.  We don’t talk and we don’t go out.  He just comes home and sits in the house.  I have asked what is wrong, and I get a “nothing.”  I don’t know what to do, and now I am wondering if my marriage was a mistake.  I am scared to ask him if he wants a divorce. It’s just been six months.

Help!

-A.K.

Dear A.K.,

I am sorry to hear about your problem.  Recently, I hosted a mediation for a couple in a similar situation, and I am happy to say that now they are doing much better–and planning to stay together.  In your situation, first of all, know that the problem may or may not be you.  Perhaps he is overwhelmed by the new role of husband, or perhaps something has happened financially that is making him distant from you, because he fears he cannot be the husband you want, or that he promised you he would be–men do not do well, when their role of provider is tampered with.

The truth of the matter is, that perhaps you should–CALM AND NICELY–ask him if he wants a divorce (if and only if that feels right).  Asking can remove your fears and stop you from carrying that burden.  Secondly, perhaps being asked such a direct question might coax him into revealing what is really going on with him.  You have to be prepared that he might say yes; however, that is more than likely not the case.

Now…If the divorce question doesn’t feel right–don’t do it, an alternative is to tell him that you’re here and promise to be understanding, whenever he wants to talk…this might also pave the way for him to reveal the issue, if he was afraid of your reaction.  You must keep the promise to be understanding, by the way, or you could cause more damage.

The early stages of a marriage can sometimes be the hardest.  The two of you are merging lives, and trying to build a life together.  This can be stressful, especially if you have been on your own for quite some time.  Consider that this transition is also going on within each of you.  As you move into the roles of husband and wife, understand that most people have no REAL clue what it means to be married.  This is why we offer pre-and post-marital visioning programs, so that couples can set their expectations together, and then live up to them in peaceful co-existence, versus just being married, and having no clue what that means to you individually or collectively.

Check out Allison Vesterfelt’s six tips after six months of marriage…here.

In conclusion, you cannot go on living like this.  I am sure that there is a fair amount of hurt in your heart at this time, and my prayer will be that you’re healed so you may go forward without pain–and the baggage that the pain brings.  Again, I caution you to ask about divorce only if it feels right, and if not don’t.  If you cannot get a meaningful answer from him, I recommend praying and then finding a coach or a counselor–if only for yourself.  Whatever has changed him is substantial, and saving a marriage is no easy feat.  But, continue to walk in love, and keep your household a place of peace, and keep smiling…very soon, this will pass–one way or another.

Keep me posted.

 

3 Reasons Love May Not Be Enough

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Love seems to be the easy part.  People are falling in and out of love every day, and most have no clue why.  But there are others who, despite everything that is wrong with a “loving” relationship, have decided that love alone is the reason to stay–and mind you, some people are being treated really badly.  While the thought of staying committed to the love you have for this person is admirable, and is right up there with enduring a marriage that is failing for the sake of your children…the truth is…love may not be enough, and here are a few reasons why.

Reason One: Love is not synonymous with respect.

If the person that you love doesn’t respect you, then that is a problem.  When your memories of this special person in your life are littered with thoughts of their cheating activities, their lies, and even their bad habits, and the negative effect that they have on you, this is not about whether you love them, this is now a question of whether you love yourself.

Do you?

Reason Two: You may love them, but like them? Eh.

CONFESSION: I spent a long time with a person that I loved, but didn’t like.  While some people will say that love is more important, like is the glue that holds things together.  When I like you, it means that on a basic human level, I think you’re a nice person, a great guy or girl, and that you’re friend material.  Being friend material, and having a friendship within a romantic relationship is optimal.

Reason Three: They do not love you the way you should be loved.

This is usually the problem that most people encounter when they love someone, but the relationship is not quite right.  Just because someone claims to “love you,” that doesn’t mean that they know exactly what that means, or what it means to you.  There are entire programs, like the 5 Love Languages, that try to show people what love language they actually speak.  Some, like me, prioritize quality time, while others gifts or words of affirmation.  If the relationship works, but something is a little off–this may be a place to start. However, if the relationship doesn’t work (this means that you spend more time crying than smiling), then there is a bigger problem.  It’s time to sit down, perhaps use my SWOT Analysis Tool, which is in  The Business of Dating to figure out what is going on. (Click here to get the tool.)  When someone doesn’t love you the way you deserve to be loved–with respect, friendship, honesty, giving (of their time, energy and emotions) and commitment–that is not something that should be ignored, nor is it something that will go away.  It is a serious situation that requires a response.

In conclusion, it just must be said that love is not enough for a relationship to survive and thrive.  Sometimes we have to admit that and move on.  However, whatever you decide, do what’s best for you, and be encouraged by the lessons this situation has taught you.  There’s ALWAYS a lesson.

#CoachStephHasSpoken

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Aspen Wedding of Josh Altman

Celebrity Love Notes: Introducing Heather and Josh Altman

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Image result for josh altman marriageJosh Altman and Heather Bilyeu (the soon to be Mrs. Josh Altman) are one of the newest power couples in LA!  Both successful realtors, viewers see multi-million dollar real estate deals delivered each week by Josh and Heather on Bravo’s Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles (#MDLLA).  They have done a great job keeping business and “pleasure” separate, as Josh works for one agency and she with The Agency, owned by the amazingly attractive and successful husband, of Kyle Richards (of Real Housewives Beverly Hills fame)–Mauricio Umansky (www.TheAgencyRE.com).

However, recently, Josh and his brother decided to open a new real estate venture, appropriately named “The Altman Brothers,” and much to Heather’s chagrin, Josh decided that for the sake of their relationship, she will not be involved.

Of course, she was disappointed…make that a little shy of furious.

Despite the 82% (I read somewhere) that agree with Heather, I am going on record that  I agree ONE MILLION PERCENT with Josh!

It takes a very special couple to work and to “play” together.  In a business like real estate, which is competitive (and can be cutthroat), working together could pose some challenges.  The challenges at work, then become the challenges at home, and it’s down hill from there.  Consider the challenges that Heather endured with Madison, if those same issues emerged between Heather and another agent at The Altman Brothers, businessman Josh, then morphs into super-protective fiancé or new husband  Josh Altman, and we have a problem…a big one.  I personally, hate to see Josh when he’s not calm, cool and collected, and I can only imagine how wrong that can go in real life.

Hopefully, Heather has seen the light (since this was taped many moons ago), and recognizes that being separate in their professional endeavors will allow them to have professional happenings to share during their quality times at home, but will also keep them from having their personal lives overrun by real estate.  As a couple, it is imperative that this time is used to get to know each other –even better than they do now.  This is the time for deep discussions about our future and our children, NOT to be distracted by some deal that went South the day before, nor to explore the quickest way to entice a buyer for a $20.2 million compound in the Hollywood Hills.

What anyone can learn from this situation, is that if you have a significant other who is actively taking responsibility for the success of the relationship, then that is a good thing…this is what Josh did.  I give Josh kudos for standing up for his relationship and saying that working together may create situations that may impact our ability to stay together.  I give Heather kudos for being upset at first, but accepting the reality and–even if she doesn’t mean it–showing solidarity with Altman’s decision.  Ultimately, this is what marriage is about–being teammates.  As such is the case, “Team Altman-Bilyeu” is on the right track.

Congrats!

#CoachStephHasSpoken


Update: Josh and Heather wed in 2016 after a three-year engagement.  Congrats!

4 Reasons Your Marriage (Might) Fail… (Twosday@TRF)

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If you’ve been paying attention, it seems that everyone is getting married…EVERYONE.  And, while there are still hot debates on who should and should not be able to enjoy nuptial bliss, this article is not about that.

Marriage is a very important union between two people.  While it has been reduced to something you “just do,” and then use a swift divorce to get out of it, it’s so much more than that.  And, perhaps this article will help you see that.  Well, enough with the small talk…let’s get to some reasons…

Reason one: You have NO CLUE who you married.  Now, this is more than likely your fault, sorry, it just has to be said.  This seems to be the biggest cause of marriage failures, because people insist on bucking the order of things.  As any six could tell you, “first comes love, THEN comes marriage, THEN the baby carriage.” But that’s not how we do things now.  Most people have baby carriages and then marriage, but love (or even like) is no where in the equation.  We’re marrying people we don’t know because we “mightaswell.”  As such is the case, the due diligence necessary to learn about a person is never done.  And, then you walk down the aisle and start a future with someone who is NOT who you think (or want) them to be.

Reason two: You really just wanted a wedding.  Ah! Such a beautiful event.  The dress, the food, the attention, the gifts–all for you.  It’s easy to see how this happens, and unfortunately, some people loved the wedding, but hate the marriage.  While this may seem silly to some, there are people who just wanted the experience of getting married, and now their marriage is either failing or has failed.  Five words: Don’t…let…this…be…you!

Reason three: You’ve taken marriage advice from married people.  I say it often, “just because you are married, doesn’t mean that you know how to be.”  Some married people will give you flawed advice.  EVERYTHING from take revenge on your spouse to just leave your spouse.  Here’s the problem: it’s not their marriage!  The tenets of your marriage (which my clients explore in marital visioning and pre-marital coaching), are not the tenets of someone else’s marriage.  Stop believing that because someone has been married for “X” more years than you have, that they have the secret to your success.  Married people should seek unbiased support when encountering marital challenges, not the advice of those who could cause more harm than good.  Am I saying that all married people give flawed advice…not at all.  But, I am saying, that you should scrutinized the advice you receive, and if there’s not a stitch of encouragement or support in their statements to you…RUN!

Reason four: Communication has gone out the window.  Everyone knows that communication is required for any relationship to survive.  However, in a marriage, communication takes many different forms.  The communication that I am talking about, is the communication of needs and expectations.  During a marriage, people continue to evolve and to learn about themselves–this is good.  What is not good is when the other spouse is unaware.  Communicating needs and expectations is an ongoing process in a successful marriage, and when your spouse meets your needs and expectations, then celebrating them is in order.  In fact, communication and celebration go hand in hand in a marriage–don’t think otherwise.  Everyone needs a pat on the back (or lower, if that’s a need-smile).

In the end, these are just 4 of many reasons your marriage could fail, but it doesn’t have to.  We help marriages in crisis all the time with mediations and coaching, so reading this article could be a turning point in your marital relationship.  Remember, you avoid bad relationships (and marriages) when you get FIRM. www.TheRelationshipFirm.com

He’s (or She’s) Not Relationship Material

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He’s sweet, kind and even super nice when the opportunity presents itself.  You find yourself wondering if he could be the guy that you’ve been hoping for, despite the fact that he’s never made an advance nor seemed all that interested.  Nice, but not really “interested.”

But he could be the one…right? Or, at least the one for right now,  yes?

Well…Sadly, no.

Take the fact that he’s never made an advance to heart.  It’s not that he’s not interested, it’s that he is not, I repeat, not relationship material.  This is not a cliché, this is a reality.

So, what does it mean, he’s not “relationship material?” Great question.  Not being relationship material means that this person is not ready nor willing to invest the effort necessary to initiate or to maintain a mutually beneficial romantic relationship.  Yes, this does apply to people in friendships, but people are more apt to put more effort into making someone romantic relationship material–so that’s the angle I am coming from.

Now, most people believe that this is a fact that can be changed.  Many people believe that if they make enough of the effort for the person, that they will eventually pick up the slack because all they need is someone to care for them.

Again, no.

This person has made a decision to avoid relationships.  This is why he, or she, is nice but not pursuing you.  Don’t delude yourself into believing that you can change their mind.  For whatever reason, they are deeply committed to themselves, and that’s their priority.  If you choose to make the effort to change their mind, you are only setting yourself up to be disappointed, aggravated and often frustrated with the fruits of your labor.

Consider the possibility that perhaps they’ve recently been hurt–deeply hurt–by someone who they trusted.  This hurt created such pain within them that they decided that they needed to take a break…to heal. Or, perhaps they just realized that all their relationships are ending badly.  They’ve decided to get to the bottom of this cycle, and to do so means stepping away from starting a new romance–at least for now.

Now, you are in their life, hoping and wondering that this may become “something.” Honestly, it might…but not right now.

The best thing that you can do is to respect this person’s decision to take time to heal.  That is the best thing you can do.

  • Not try to convince them how awesome you are.
  • Not attempt to care and love them into being obligated to start a relationship with you.
  • Not lecture them about what they’re missing out on (this means you) because they are guarded or cautious.

Just respect the decision, and be the friend, confidant or best buddy that they need now…if you can handle that.  If you can’t, then care about them from a distant.  There is another option: you can wait them out.  But, seriously, do you have that kind of time?

Really?

You will avoid many, many moments of sheer confusion if you accept the fact that he, or she, is just not relationship material.  If you choose to do anything else but accept it, then let me know how that works out for you.  I am willing to be wrong–but I don’t think that I am.

Bottom line: Accept it…it’s ok.

#CoachStephHasSpoken

♥ Avoid bad relationships when you get FIRM. www.TheRelationshipFirm.com

3 Reasons People Lie to the Ones They Love [LATE NIGHTS WITH COACH STEPH]

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As a relationship advocate and relationship professional, I’m becoming increasingly annoyed by the lack of honesty in relationships.  And, I am sure that you agree with me.

The worst offenders are those who lie in the name of love.

So, in true “Coach Steph” style, here are three reasons people lie to the ones that they love.

Reason one: they are wussies.  Don’t be offended if this pertains to you, the truth is that it pertains to many human beings at one time or another.  Periodically it seems easier to lie–by admission or omission–instead of to face the reality and speak  the truth!  Ultimately, we all need to man up (or woman up) and be people of true integrity.

Reason two: the truth will hurt the other person.  Ummmmm duh! But a quickly discovered untruth hurts more.  If we truly care about NOT hurting the people in our lives, then we have to be truthful.  And, better yet, we have to make decisions that will not put us in the position where we feel lying is the solution to the dilemma.  This includes: not going places you’ve both agreed to not go to; talking to people who may cause strife or confusion to enter your relationship (this goes double…err, triple if you are married.) You get the point…honor your relationship.  If you can’t honor it, then let it go…now that’s the truth!

Reason three: the truth will rock your world! Sometimes we have to be honest, but in doing so, everything will have to change.  This covers everything from having to start or stop a relationship, more specifically, cutting people off; to deleting numbers; to accepting that you and this person are now priority.  So many times, this is the reason that the truth cannot come to light.  And, that it doesn’t come to light.  But, again, when you love someone…the truth has to take priority.  The truth may change everything, but what’s the alternative?  Living a lie is painful, and ultimately leads to undeniable unhappiness.  Referring back to reason one…stop being a wussy.

Now, if you are guilty this is your chance for redemption…if you love, like, hate, resent, need, care for, or need to break up with someone…tell them, period.  This game of lies and fallacies is for kids.  Grownups should operate in total transparency at every opportunity.  Time is not promised.  How would you feel if someone you love didn’t know the truth? Would you regret not telling them?   Would you wonder how things would have gone? If any of this matters, then stop with the excuses.

Let the truth set you free!

♥ Avoid bad relationships when you get FIRM. www.TheRelationshipFirm.com

Why Don’t YOU Act Like a Man, So That I Don’t Have to Think Like One? (Part I)

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This weekend, millions will flock (like single sheep) to see the new Steve Harvey-based flick, “Think Like a Man.”  (Which is why there will have to be a part two, and maybe even part three, to this article.)

Why I find this concerning, is that we are once again, throwing females under the proverbial dating bus, and asking them to lead, and to step outside of who they are.  I’ve explored this concept with a few of my colleagues in the love game, including, Keli V. Crane, Editor of BoisSuq.com (prounounced “boys suck”) and Jai Stone, Founder of BlackLoveForum.com.  And, we all agree, that it’s unfair to continue to ask single woman everywhere to contort and transform themselves to get, keep or revive a relationship.

So…why do we keep seeing this?

While this movie is tauted to Urban audiences, I feel that all walks of life and cultures, have seen this rhetoric.  Women are constantly told that they have to do this, say this, read this in order to get a man.  While, society fails to bring such an “education” to men.  So, while Sally is reading every article, book, newsletter and doing every dating exercise under the sun, Jack is going along, doing as he pleases, more than likely enjoying Sally’s due diligence, but failing to show any of his own.

Again, it’s not fair.

So, I ask the question, “why don’t you act like a man, so that I don’t have to think like one?” Because it seems that this is the problem.  Some men (many men) have taken the female role in relationship.  Sorry, it’s true.  It is the man who desires to be pursued, it is the man who seeks to be wooed.  If no one has told you (all of you), that’s not how this is supposed to work.  Women desire to be, and should be pursued, women desire to be, and should be wooed. So, if you, man, are not wearing the pants in the relationship, so to speak, then what we can expect is sheer confusion.

Personally, I am tired of seeing this role reversal that even many of my relationship coaching colleagues tend to support through their own newsletters, and dating tips.  Don’t you think that it’s time we set things straight?  Or, do you think that this is working?

Well, here are my 3 reasons, why we need traditional roles in dating…see if you agree.

Reason One: Whatever happens in the beginning of the relationship, sets a precedent.  So if you, woman, are in fact, thinking like a man, then you will set the precedent of doing so in the relationship.  This means that you will effectively kiss your desired pursuit and “wooing” goodbye, because you’re in charge.  How do you let a man be a man, if you’re the brains of the operation.  Answer: You don’t.

Reason Two: Without traditional roles, we jeopardize creating strong foundations for lasting relationships.  If you’ve ever seen a “hen-pecked” man, then you know that it doesn’t quite work out when women start leading.  I know, I know…we are the smarter sex, ladies, but we also are the weaker sex (I didn’t say it–stop making that face).  As such is the case, there is nothing like experiencing the stability and security of being with a man who is trustworthy, reliable, and honest; however, if you’re doing the thinking, and he is on the receiving end of that “strategy,” he may not feel compelled to do anything.  He may not work to create stability for you–mostly because, you’re walking around thinking like a man.  Now, I hate to goto the good Lawd on this, but, there’s this little passage that reads, “as a man(kind) thinketh, so is he.” Using this as a foundation, it seems that you become just what you think you are.  See the problem?

Reason Three:  This is  a bit insulting, if you really dig into it, because a woman should be a woman…period.  While I realize that the complete title is “Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man,” what it says, is that my thought processes as a member of the female species are sabotaging my ability to get or to keep a relationship.  Really?  That can’t be true.  A real man (emphasis on real) will appreciate the feminine side of a woman.  He will embrace her emotional side, and react to her vulnerable side…he may even tell her “loud side” to shut the (bleep) up! But you get the picture.

At the end of the day, I believe that a real man, will want, love and commit to a real woman.  Real women are strong, courageous, emotional, vulnerable, and loveable.

What are you saying, Coach Steph?

I am saying that it’s time to put down the book, and continue being the woman that you are–thoughts and all!

Enjoy the movie!