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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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

Celebrity Love Notes: What I Told Evelyn Lozada About Chad Ochocinco

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With the new season of Basketball Wives, we are now forced to relive the saga that is the short-lived marriage of Evelyn Lozada and Chad Ochocinco.

First things first…this relationship started off with a major handicap.  When you sleep someone on the first date (or very early in the dating process), you lose the ability to learn more about the person. Now you’re just looking for more sex–especially if the sex is good.

Secondly, Evelyn ignored some key signs that Chad wasn’t ready to be a husband.  In my honest professional opinion, Chad is a nice guy, and while I believe there is more to the “headbutt” story, the truth is that Chad wasn’t ready to be a husband.   Now, post-incident, she spends much of her on-camera time with therapists and getting her life “fixed” (you know what I mean). However, I humbly ask the question of why wasn’t this time spent pre-nuptials  with the both of them working to put this relationship on a viable path-if one existed?  Evelyn is a beautiful woman, however, wisdom is what is most needed when choosing a mate.  Take heed.

If Evelyn was my client, I would tell her that choosing a boyfriend and then deciding if that boyfriend can be a husband is a process.  And, in order to make that process work well, physical intimacy has to be left put of the equation, and the emphasis should be placed on getting to know each other and assessing how this person’s past has affected them.  There has to be a certain amount of diligence when learning about someone, and again, when sex is one facet of the relationship, learning about the other facets becomes a real challenge.

When someone you are interested in shares tales of tragic childhoods, deadbeat fathers, dead end relationships, and the like, you don’t have to disqualify them, but your antennae should go up and your new mission is to learn how these past occurrences affect them today.  Do they hate women because of something their mother did? Or is their definition of manhood based on the teachings of a “rolling stone” father? This is important! It’s even more important than how great they are in the sack, or how successful they are.  These are the hard questions that no one wants to ask.  But if you’re considering this person for the rest of your life, then that is nothing to take lightly.

What anyone can learn from this situation:  Just as I “told” Kris Humphries, there were signs before you walked down the aisle that this union may not have been for you, or may not have been ready to become the relationship that you want it to be.

Marriage is serious business.  We’re talking about two people, becoming one, and making a covenant with Divine power.  People have minimized it to a pre-nuptial agreement and something that a divorce can get you out of, but don’t be confused by the trite behavior displayed by popular culture.  And, don’t get trapped or caught in a situation that could’ve been avoided with diligent investigation and dedicated time spent communicating INSTEAD of consummating.

Now, if they decide to reconcile, there are major issues that should be dealt with…but I will address that in another article.

#CoachStephHasSpoken

Disclaimer: Just so it’s clearly stated, Coach Steph has not nor is currently working with Evelyn Lozada or Chad Ochocinco.  This article is simply a professional perspective on how the elements of this relationship can affect others, as well as what others can learn from this incident.

Stop the Pain! Here are Four Reasons They Treat you So Bad…

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Recently I encountered a random question on Facebook about being with an inconsiderate person. The question was, “how do you handle this?”

My response was, “that’s not the right question.” (At least that is the first sentence…)

Look at what you are asking. You, considerate person, are asking how to deal with someone who is the opposite. But, based on the question, it is quite clear that you have no affinity for this behavior; however, for the sake of having a relationship…you are inquiring how you should “handle” it.

Reason Number One: You are not putting yourself first. Now, I’m sure this is not a new phrase, people say it all the time. Here’s my take: putting yourself first doesn’t just mean loving yourself and holding yourself in high esteem. It’s also about knowing your boundaries and sticking to your dealbreakers. It’s about observing a person’s behavior, BEFORE you decide that they are worthy of sharing a relationship with you.

Got it?

Reason Number Two: You’re doing ordinary things, and expecting extraordinary results. No matter how good you are, at whatever “kinky” acts you bring to the table. If you haven’t noticed, that doesn’t stop them from treating you badly. Why? Because what you’re doing is no different than the last person. The sex…the catering…whatever you’re giving them, they have had that before. But since you’ve convinced yourself that you are special (and you are, just not because of that thing you do), you’re expecting them to be mesmerized by those acts. Ever considered doing the opposite of what the other or previous person has done. Hmmmm…

Reason Number Three: There are no consequences. People will continue to engage in the behavior that you reward or allow. While I am not a fan of the “make them pay” mentality, I also think that it is ludicrous for someone to hurt you and then you turn around and lavish gifts and affection on them. If nothing else, this person should know how you feel, because you CALMLY and NICELY let them know that you don’t appreciate ___________. Too many people sit in silence and excruciating pain in an attempt to keep their relationship. That’s a price that is too high.

Reason Number Four: YOU LET THEM! You handle the inconsiderate behaviors; you tolerate disrespectful words thrown your way, and as long as you do…this is what you will receive.

If you were at a store and someone kept bringing you items that you did not want, would you just take them, PAY for them, and leave the store? No, and if you did, people would think that was ridiculous.

Now, here’s the big question: You knew all of these things before you read this article. Now that your suspicions have been once again confirmed, what are YOU going to do?  You are worthy of better, you deserve better, and if they cannot do better, then you have options.  I encourage you to be a wise person and choose what is best for you.

Don’t live in the situation that you just read about. Learn more about The Relationship Firm and what we can do to “fix” your relationship.

#CoachStephHasSpoken

@%$! YOU!

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Well, it’s not what you think.  But it is a new weapon in your arsenal against bad relationships.

I was on LA Talk Live (www.latalklive.com)  last night with Dr. Richard Karr and a few other special guests and he asked me  a question.  He asked me if I thought I could change bad relationtionships.  I responded by telling him I would rather be more of a prophylactic.

A prophylactic?

Before you make that face, let me explain.  Prophylactic is a term that is usually used in relationship to condoms and birth control products–the prophylactic is meant to prevent situations (STDs, pregnancy, etc) from happening.  Medically, it means to administer medications for symptoms that may arise, but haven’t yet. 

Let’s go with that.

I would rather stop you from having a bad relationship, than get you out of a bad relationship.  Now the short answer is that I can coach you in both.  But I am more excited about giving you the tools to avoid such a situation, than coaching you, kicking and screaming and crying, out of a situation that isn’t working for you.  For those you who don’t know this, coaching is isn’t cheap, and it is a process.  So, if you find yourself in need of help, but perhaps a little fiscally challenged, then this is for you.

So…once again, I have to mention my new book, “The Book of Bye!” And again, I have to tell you that I wrote this book so that you can have yet another tool to help you decide if he or she is the person you should be involved with.

That’s how I prevent you from getting in a bad relationship.  That is why I am a prophylactic.  I am protecting you from (well, I am attempting to protect you) from bad relationships.

Get it?

See how easy that is?  And, just for the record, this isn’t any ordinary dating advice book.  I have taken 12 scenarios from my personal dating and relationship coaching experiences to give you real-world rationale to apply to your present, and perhaps even future, dating adventures.  If you follow the instructions in this book, your days of whining about the loser you are dating are OVER!

In fact, your relationship resolution for 2012 should be to STOP whining and START winning…and winning starts with adding this book to your arsenal. Period.

But, some of you will read this and go get the book, and others of you will think that $9.97 is too expensive and you want something free.  If you want something free, then sign-up for a sneak peak of the book on the homepage.

Now for those of you who are ready to be empowered and actually do something different, I will see you on December 18th–book in hand–at my Bye Club Book Club event.

The choice is yours…choose wisely.

P.S. The title of this article is Bye! You! (get it?)