11 posts categorized "DATING"

October 07, 2013

A Guest Post

Dating IQ:
Know when to hold ‘em and when to fold ‘em

by Roberta Gallagher, LCSW, LMFT
Miami’s Relationship Expert

Perplexed and frustrated about loving someone who doesn’t act like they cherish you? You are successful and confident in every area of your life, but not with your partner, and it’s confusing.  Which one is your most authentic self?  

The answer is:  both. You are both submissive and assertive, depending on the situation, the dynamics of the relationship, and on your need for differing levels of dependency and intimacy in the moment. 

Both / And Can Empower and Enhance

This both / and way of being is common. We all have the capacity for being assertive in one role, and submissive in another.  The challenge, though, is to use these aspects of ourselves in ways that empower us, and enhance a relationship.

Getting to that place of empowerment and enhanced relationship takes work.  In my couples counseling practice, I frequently see the excruciating pain of considering letting go of a person you have invested so much of yourself in. It’s a heartbreaking and gut wrenching struggle for some of my clients. 

So I tell them this personal story -- Many years ago I was involved with a man who was charming, sexy, brilliant.  And a liar.  I went to therapy and wailed about how my heart was breaking.  I could not see myself without him.

My therapist said she just did not get it. He had slapped me, betrayed me, stolen from me.  And there I was grieving for the fantasy of what I thought this person was. That insight set me on my path to an empowered authentic self, and enhanced relationships.

Breaking up is hard to do. Letting go of a bond that is based not on behavior that matches words, but on some idealized, picture in your mind  -- disconnected from the reality you are living -- of how things should be isn’t easy. Here’s what I advise.

Roberta’s prescription for identifying your disconnects

 1. Make a list of pros and cons  

Give a value number to each item. He is socially embarrassing to me = 8.  He cheats = 10. He makes me laugh = 8.  She farts =3.   I am proud when I am with her = 10.  The number you assign is subjective, based on what is important to you.

 2. Find the action points 

Action points are your objective answers to these questions:

  • • What are your deal breakers?  
  • • What is negotiable? 
  • • Have you tried counseling? 
  • • Does being with this person make you feel better or worse about yourself?  
  • • Have you stood up for yourself in a firm yet soft manner?  
  • • Do you assert: “This is what I want and need”? 
  • • Have you said: “This behavior is unacceptable to me and when it occurs, I feel……..”

Which of these points will you follow up on this week?  When you do, what response do you get from your partner?  Can you see a possibility for real change?

 3. Decide to hold or fold  

When you make your decision and feel like wavering, pull out your lists. You can stop all communication or gradually withdraw. I believe that surviving the loss of a love requires no contact.  For many people they have to do this gradually. Support is useful during this time.

Roberta Gallagher is a licensed marriage and family therapist and relationship expert in private practice in South Miami, with more than 35 years of experience helping partners create lasting, happiness.  She is available for couples and individual counseling and can be reached through her website at www.RobertaGallager.com



June 21, 2013

You Can't Find Your Soul Mate if You Show a Fake Soul

IStock_000014629447XSmallThere are countless people dating today. Many of them are looking to find their "soul mate" and are doing everything in their power to look good, act "right", present themselves in the best light possible and to win over the heart of another. In an effort to win someone's heart, they dress nicer than usual, answer questions the way they believe the other person would want them to answer and they act on their best behavior. They figure that when they "win" over the other person, then they can let their guard down and be themselves. 

I cannot begin to tell you how off this thinking is. Trying to look, talk and act like someone you're not, is deceptive at best and a recipe for disaster at worst. The purpose of dating is to meet someone who you like to spend your time with, feel comfortable hanging out with and who you can be yourself with. Why work like a dog to become someone else so a stranger can like...a stranger? You're not representing you when you talk different, dress different and act different than you do in your day-to-day life.  You're representing some illusion of a person you think this other person would like. Why have that person fall in love with a stranger instead of you?

Continue reading "You Can't Find Your Soul Mate if You Show a Fake Soul" »

August 21, 2012

Dating Advice For Those Looking For A Life Partner

IStock_0happycouplellThere are many reasons people date --  for occasional company, to see what’s out there ,to have a little fun, to meet new people, etc.  Some women, though, are dating to find a good guy with whom to share their life.

For those of you looking for someone to share your life with, the rules of dating are different.  If you play by the “fun” rules, but you’re looking for “serious,” you’re likely to be disappointed…at best.  Know what your dating goal is and then be smart about your actions.

Below are several rules for those looking for a more lasting relationship.  Don’t skimp on these rules or you’re likely to pay the price down the road.  Remember that great relationships start at the first hello.
1.    Be the chooser, NOT the choosee.  Be yourself, not whom you think your date wants you to be.  Too many women dress as they think they should, speak as they believe the other person wants them to speak and share what they believe the other person wants to hear.  This is a recipe for disaster if you’re looking for a lasting relationship.  It’s way too hard to keep up that charade for the rest of your life, so don’t set it up.  Be yourself and trust that you will attract the partner who is right for you.
2.    Be honest, not deceptive.  Don’t answer questions in a way that is deceptive.  Be honest in your answers, even if you think your answer is not what the other person wants to hear.  I’ve worked with women who told men they wanted children because they knew that was important to the men, even though they actually had no interest in having children.  They figured if they could get the man to fall in love with them, then the children wouldn’t be that important.  Are you kidding me?  That is deceptive and not fair.  If you expect honesty from the people in your life, then you owe them the same courtesy.  Be honest and let the chips fall where they may. 

Continue reading "Dating Advice For Those Looking For A Life Partner" »

April 30, 2012

How to Have Better Sex; What the Expert Said

NOTE:  I found this article on the internet and knew it would be so helpful for many of my readers. Enjoy!

This post was written by: Dating Coach Marni Battista 

It was a very interesting tele-class last night in which  Chyrstal Bougon, Founder of Blissconnection.com, revealed practical tips and techniques to have better sex with your partner.  You can download the link now to listen to the class, but I want to write today to express this: While the places to touch, kiss and lick your partner are VERY important, one of the most important lessons we discussed on this call is the importance of communication.

To begin, “The Rule of 60—Days, That Is,” (One of the Dating With Dignity Foundation Principles which suggests that you wait at least 60 days until you have intercourse with someone whom you want to build a long-term relationship), requires that a couple discuss sex  as things naturally progress on the way to a possible exclusive relationship.  I received several questions from listeners with questions regarding this very topic; is it, in fact, ok to tell someone you want to wait to have sex?  Or, conversely, do you “play coy,” as one listener asked, hoping to put off a direct conversation in lieu of hoping for a quick get-away at the end of each date.

The answer is simple:  Communicate!  Ditch the “cool girl” mentality and state your values confidently.  Be self assured when telling your potential lover that you are not someone who has sex casually, and that when, and if, you do decide to have sex it will be when you feel the relationship meets your expectations.  Here’s a few important guidelines to ensure this conversation effectively communicates your position:

1.  Make sure you have  conversations regarding the decision to have sex vertical AND clothed. Many Dignity Daters have heard me tell the story of Aaron, who was asked by Lucia, a woman he had dated twice, if having sex with him meant he was now “her boyfriend.”  The icing on the cake?  Lucia asked Aaron this question while they were in bed, naked, his expression masked by ecstasy as he hovered just inches above her, moments before he was to “seal the deal.”  His response?  ”Of course,” Aaron whispered, consummating the relationship effortlessly.  Needless to say, Aaron never saw Lucia again.  While Lucia clearly picked an inopportune time to ask Aaron this question, what’s more important to note is that she did have an expectation associated with intercourse.  She didn’t communicate this expectation.  Ever.  Make sure  you discuss sex, your expectations, and your relationship goals.  And yes, make sure you are wearing clothes.
2.  Be direct. There is no time in a relationship to play games, withhold sex as an expression of your power, or manipulate your partner in regards to the decision.  Instead, communicate why it is important for you to wait.  In addition, be clear that while you do not want to have intercourse until you have a commitment (if this is your relationship goal), ensure your partner that you are open to exploring other possibilities for sexual gratification as the relationship progresses.  Making these choices is done together, further providing opportunities to communicate with one another.
3.  Find new ways to make him hot! As you “Data-Date” (collect new data about the person as you get to know them) create opportunities to have fun together.  Flirt.  Explore  ways to be sexy, sensual and passionate.  Kiss often!   Hold hands, exploring the small spaces between his  fingers, investigate the place where the base of her hair meets her neck.  Notice his eyes.  Relish the moments together, enjoying this process of slowly beginning to know someone in an intimate way.

Remember this — Live a life of purpose, passion and self awareness as you date with dignity.  Each moment describes who you are, and gives you the opportunity to decide if that’s who you want to be.

Link to article: http://tinyurl.com/y92jpqg

February 09, 2012

Women, Compliments And Confidence

IStock_0confidencellEarlier this week my teenage son and I were watching a co-ed basketball game and were struck by two observations.  First, the boys were not passing the ball to the girls nearly as much as they were to the boys.  Second, the girls were practically hiding on the court.  My son turned to me with frustration and said, “I hate how girls have no confidence.  Why is that?  And why can’t girls ever just take a compliment?”  I said, “It’s interesting to watch the girls hide and think they’re terrible while the boys think they’re the most amazing players on earth.”  We both laughed for a moment and then talked about this all too common dynamic. 

I was very aware that many of the girls on the court that day would grow up to be women who hide as well.  I know this because I see it every day with women.  I watch women struggle to find their voice, twist themselves into a pretzel to keep a relationship no-one should be keeping and to trust that they are worthy.  And, yes, women struggle with compliments!

Below are a few lessons I’ve learned along the path of life.  I hope women will learn from them as well:
1.    Confidence is attractive.  Knowing in your heart that you are important in this world and standing in that knowledge without conceit or arrogance is very empowering and highly attractive.
2.    Downplaying yourself is unattractive.  Hiding out so others don’t see you is uncomfortable for those around you and toxic to your sense of self and self-esteem. 
3.    The greatest response to a compliment is “Thank You.”  Do not deflect someone’s compliment of you either to fish for more or to manage your anxiety.  Take it in and be appreciative.
4.    Speak your truth or you will lose yourself.  Too many women wake up and say, “I don’t even know who I am anymore.”  Losing yourself is a slow process that occurs one unspoken word or false action at a time.  Eventually they add up until one day you realize you’ve lost yourself.
5.    Feedback is a gift—even difficult feedback.  The critique and upset of others is the greatest mirror of ourselves.  If we want to learn and grow, we have to look at our reflections.
6.    Perfection is unattainable and a set-up for failure.  We will make mistakes.  Others will make mistakes.  The need for perfection is a wound from childhood that will drive you and everyone around you crazy if you don’t let go of it.
7.    Accountability is courageous and necessary.  Owning our mistakes, apologizing for them and not repeating them is like gold in relationships.  Stop being defensive and have the courage to just say, “My bad.  I’m so sorry.”
8.    Control is toxic to relationships—loosen the reigns.  Learn to let go.  Your way is not “the” way…it is “one” way.  Manage your anxieties instead of micro-managing the world.  You are the only person over whom you truly have control –control yourself.
9.    Do not give poor treatment.  The poor behavior of others does not justify your own.  Stay respectful even in anger.
10.    Do not accept poor treatment.  Do not allow others to treat you poorly for any reason.  Set limits when necessary and do so respectfully and calmly.

Over the years, I’ve seen many of these lessons play out in my own life as well as the lives of many other women.  Too many women are trying to prove themselves, win the attention/love/respect of others and be seen as worthy.  Until women learn to accept ourselves, love ourselves and know that we are worthy, we will all struggle in our lives and relationships.  You are worthy.  I am worthy.  We are worthy.  Know it, own it and LIVE it.

Challenge:  Look over the list above with an honest eye.  Give yourself credit for the lessons you live well.  Acknowledge the lessons on which you need more practice.  Choose one lesson at a time and work it until you have achieved significant change.  Then move on to the next.  Pat yourself on the back for each lesson learned.


November 16, 2010

Are You Thinking, “I’ll Change Him”? If So…You’re In Trouble

Below is a post from my new blog http://lmerlobooth.typepad.com/straight_talk_4_women/ Enjoy!

IStock_0changell If You Think You’ll Change Him, You’re In Trouble
In my work with women, I often look at unhealthy patterns in their past relationships for clues to what may be playing out in their current or future relationships.  A common theme I hear is women believing they can change the men they meet.  For example, Bailey met Stan two years ago in a bar with friends.  Her first impression of Stan was that he needed a lot of attention -- specifically attention from women.  He was flirting with Bailey, her friends and any other woman in the bar who noticed him.  Although Bailey thought it was a bit excessive, she also told herself that she could change him.  She figured that she would give him all the attention he needed so he wouldn’t need the attention of other women. 

Unfortunately, two years later, Bailey is beside herself with grief after discovering that Stan just had an affair—with Bailey’s close friend.

Continue reading "Are You Thinking, “I’ll Change Him”? If So…You’re In Trouble " »

October 29, 2010

You have been lied to! (By Michael Myerscough)


NOTE to Readers: I’ve asked a colleague of mine, Michael Myerscough, to write a guest blog post on dating and relationships.  Michael is an expert on dating relationships and owner of The Relationship Gym, a website filled with dating tips and advice for both men and women.  Enjoy his post…
You have been lied to! (By Michael Myerscough)

When Lisa asked me to put together some blog posts around dating for grown-ups I thought I should start at the beginning. I run a course called Finding Mr Right. At some point during the classes or workshop I like to check out people’s understanding of what love really is. I do this by asking them what their favourite love stories, books or movies are. It’s a really useful exercise so I’d ask you to think about it right now. This isn’t just for people seeking dating advice, it’s also very helpful as relationship help because it could assist you to become a little more forgiving.

What are your five favourite love stories? No cheating by looking at my list, come up with your own.

Continue reading "You have been lied to! (By Michael Myerscough)" »

July 30, 2010

Stop Trying To Be Who You Think Men Want You To Be & Just Be Yourself


I just heard another “relationship expert” telling women to learn to give men what they want.  Too many “experts” encourage women to play games, figure out what men want and then make sure they give it to them.  This is ludicrous advice and is the exact opposite of what women who want great relationships should be doing.

Stop listening to this crazy advice!

Listen up women:  If you want a loving relationship, you need to stop trying to be what you think men want you to be and instead dare to be the best YOU you can be. If you aren’t desperate to find love, be loved or have a romantic connection, what is it YOU want?  What is your ideal relationship?  Are you healthy enough to get that?  Are you healthy enough to know what you want?  Hint:  If you’re thinking you want to just fool around, have endless sexual trysts and get as many men as possible attracted to you—then you are not healthy—no matter how you rationalize these “wants.”

Too many of you are settling for relationships you should never be settling for.  Too many of you are working way too hard to “get” a man.  Trying to become what men want requires that you lose who you are.  Losing yourself in service to someone else is not serving you or your relationships.   

Continue reading "Stop Trying To Be Who You Think Men Want You To Be & Just Be Yourself" »

August 14, 2009


I just watched the movie “He’s Just Not That Into You” and thought so many of the messages were incredibly accurate.  It was funny to hear all the excuses women give each other to explain men’s behavior.  It was also sad to see and hear what we do and say to one another in an effort to save our friends’ feelings.

Women have a need to not hurt another’s feelings.  We also often have a need to be liked.  These two needs can be deadly in dating relationships.  Our need to be liked keeps us clinging to men who have no interest in a serious relationship.  We ignore all the signs that tell us he’s not interested and then our friends encourage us to ignore them as well (we do the same to our friends by the way).

Common lies we tell each other:

  • Maybe he lost your number.
  • I’m sure he’s just busy; he really works hard and doesn’t go out much.
  • He’s probably just shy.  Why don’t you just call him?

What are we doing?  This is NOT helping women.  We need to stop worrying about hurting each other’s feelings and start being determined to help each other.  Sometimes the best gift we can give our friends is the truth.  We can speak the truth with love AND we have to speak it. 


April 25, 2009


When Sally first started dating Dan she was enthralled.  He was incredibly handsome, very successful and the life of the party.  She loved his sense of humor and his ability to get along with anyone. 

She also hated that he was the life of the party and his ability to get along with anyone -- especially other women.

Sally couldn’t believe Dan liked her and she was determined to do whatever she needed to do to keep him liking her.  This meant that she would not speak to him about the things that bothered her -- his drinking and flirting.  Although she didn’t like that he flirted with everyone in his vicinity, she knew he was going home with her.  She also figured that he would outgrow his partying ways, so she didn’t mention his drinking either.


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