Do You Want a Relationship?

Written by Joanne Deck. Posted in Blog, Sane Sex for Singles

Calculated Couples Singles Fair

People often ask me why I wrote my book.  One of the primary reasons was that when I was dating, I found singles to be very discouraged.  Generally, the men wanted to have more fun and the women were frustrated and looking to find someone to date seriously.

To keep in touch with singles, twice a year I attend a singles fair in town.  I typically present my book and love the opportunity to interact with singles.  At this year’s fall fair, I was surprised by how many discouraged men I met.  Several men expressed that the women they’ve been meeting aren’t interested in dating.  They tell the men that they’ve been hurt too often and only go to singles dance to dance.  I do remember hearing this occasionally from other women when I was single.  I was determined not become one of those who gave up!  At the fair, I encouraged the men to keep looking and to try meeting women at places they haven’t considered yet, as I’ve written about before.  I also explained to the guys that women over 50 often are not interested in taking on a project.  They’ve raised their children and cared for their aging parents. While they don’t relish being alone, they prefer that over becoming caregiver for a new husband.

Ladies, the good news for you is that there are men out there looking for a long term relationship. The men I spoke to at the fair didn’t cringe at the sight of my book.  Rather than give up on dating, be clear about what you’re looking for in a relationship and what you have to offer.  I think the book, Calling in the One: 7 Weeks to Attract the Love of Your Life, has tremendous value for both men and women.  It is possible to have a loving relationship at any age.  I know 90-year old women who married her fourth (or fifth, I’ve lost count) husband in her 80s.  Set the intention, and stay in the game!

Never Mind What They Think of You; What Do You Think of Them?

Written by Joanne Deck. Posted in Blog, Sane Sex for Singles

So often singles worry about the impression they’re making.  They are overly concerned with their appearance or their ability to say just the right thing.  Many feel compelled to allow the relationship to progress quicker than they’d like out of fear that the other person will not think highly enough of them to stay in the game.  Never mind what he (or she) thinks of you!  The real issue is this: what do you think of him?

I’ve often said that you are a treasure and you want to be sure your partner knows this before taking things too far.  What I haven’t emphasized enough is that you’d better feel strongly about him or her too.  It sounds as if this should be obvious, but I don’t think it always is.  It’s just like job interviewing.  I advise my clients and students to interview the company just as the hiring manager interviews them.  The fit has to work both ways.

I invite you to make this subtle shift.  In your dating relationships, focus more on getting to know the other person well enough to develop an informed opinion of their character, personality, values and so forth.  Take the emphasis off of trying to impress or engage them.  You are the decision maker.  As you get to know the person better and find more things to like, then and only then start to become closer physically.

Building Your Confidence

Written by Joanne Deck. Posted in Blog, Sane Sex for Singles

Empire State Plaza

Practicing sane sex is not for the faint-hearted.  It takes courage and confidence to hold your ground and say “not yet” when asked to take things farther than you’d like.  I had an aha moment recently when I was meeting with two new acquaintances about my book.  I was talking about the need to know your own value when dating, and as I said those words, I sat up tall in my chair.  They both immediately responded to my actions, as if to acknowledge my worth.  One of them asked if I’d ever lacked confidence.  Of course I have and still do occasionally, but their reaction to me was a reminder of how powerful our body language and behavior are.

There are concrete steps you can take to build and project confidence.  Five of my favorite ones come from David Schwartz’s book, The Magic of Thinking Big (Simon & Schuster, 1987).  I was referred to this book when in my 20s, and it made a huge difference for me.  Here are Schwartz’s five confidence-building exercises: be a front seater, make eye contact, walk 25% faster, speak up, and smile big (pp. 61-4).  I practiced these techniques many times and often had evidence of their effectiveness.  For instance, I remember one lunch break when I consciously walked 25% faster through the Empire State Plaza in Albany, NY.  Later that evening, I was talking to a friend, and she told me about seeing a woman earlier that day who projected great confidence as she walked.  My friend was wishing she had such confidence and when she looked at the woman again, she realized it was me!

If you’d like to be more confident in your relationships and dating, select just one of Schwartz’s action steps.  Apply it consistently in any area of your life.  See for yourself how good confidence feels!

You Are a Treasure

Written by Joanne Deck. Posted in Blog, Sane Sex for Singles

You may be aware that Nurture You has been conducting a fund raiser for Gina’s Team, a 501(c)3 corporation whose mission is to address inmates’ needs by contributing to inmate education, programming, and re-entry, thus creating better citizens, smoother re-entry and more peaceful communities both inside and out.  I’ve invited people to purchase my book, Worth Waiting For: Sane Sex for Singles, to donate to a woman who is incarcerated or has just been released.  Why would be a book about dating be appropriate to incarcerated women?

If you’ve read the book or been reading my blog for a while, you know that sane sex is all about knowing your worth.  Most people in prison have little sense that their true value is beyond measure.  They and you are treasure!  You’re worthy of the time it takes for you and a potential partner to know each other well – to be emotionally intimate – before becoming physically intimate.  You are a person of great beauty, both inside and out.  For some reason it’s become fashionable to put our bodies down.  I regularly hear women lamenting about their hips, legs, stomachs, hair, and, of course, their behinds.  This self-deprecation is ungrateful (just whose image and likeness are you fashioned after?), unhealthy, boring, and certainly not admirable.

If you want others to appreciate you more, start by appreciating yourself.  And if you’d like to help spread this message to the women at Perryville Prison, go here to donate a book to Gina’s Team.

Why Do Bad Dates Come In Strings?

Written by Joanne Deck. Posted in Blog, Sane Sex for Singles

Our Ziplining Adventure in Colorado

Several weeks ago I mentioned that in my experience bad dates tend to come in strings.  I noticed this myself and I’ve heard others lament about the string of “losers” they’ve attracted lately.  I hate to think of anyone as a loser, since my spiritual beliefs are that we all come from the same Source.  Clearly, though, some people have a greater sense of themselves and their true worth than others and are better able to project confidence, competence, sincerity, and integrity — and therefore make dating more enjoyable!

Why do bad dates come in bunches?  Let’s ask the question in another way – Why do you draw in the same unsuitable people?  Typically, it’s because you keep going to the wrong places, looking for the wrong one.  Most of us are familiar with the definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over, hoping for a different result.  This is the time to look at your behavior and change your approach.  I’m all for giving a venue a second chance, but if you’ve been going there for months and have yet to meet someone appropriate, it’s time to move on.  I’m amazed how closed some singles are to new approaches. They resist attending a church function, volunteering, or taking a class.  Often it’s when you stop looking so hard that the right one shows up.

Some people tend to make a snap judgment about someone, based usually on appearance or some other superficial criterion.  It could just be that your mother does know the ideal person for you!  I remember that when I first met Roger I wondered how exciting life with an accountant could be.  Thankfully I stayed in the game long enough to find out that stereotypes don’t hold.  Roger has introduced me to jet skis, boogey boards, tubing, and segways.  Our life is anything but dull!  If dating hasn’t been fun lately, take responsibility for it and shake up your routine.  Then see what happens!

Exclusive by Chance or Choice?

Written by Joanne Deck. Posted in Blog, Sane Sex for Singles

Exclusive by Choice

I firmly believe that sane sex happens in the context of an exclusive, loving relationship.  But not all exclusive relationships are the same.  Some are exclusive by chance rather than by choice or commitment.  The difference between these two is like the alternative to build your house on sand or solid ground.

When we are exclusive by choice, we’ve made a commitment.  We’ve agreed that if given the chance to be with another, we’d decline and remain involved with our chosen partner.  To be exclusive by chance means that no commitment has been made; we’re seeing only our partner because no one better has come along.  There’s no stability in this relationship; things can change in a moment.  Typically the couple hasn’t discussed the issue of exclusivity, and this is where misunderstandings often occur.  One party assumes a commitment has been made while the other is just exclusive by chance.  Sadly, some people knowingly avoid the conversation, hoping that the other person will be exclusive while they themselves retain their freedom.

I know these discussions aren’t easy to have, but have them anyway.  Your emotional well-being and heart are too precious to endanger by making assumptions and avoiding facing facts.  You cannot be committed enough for both of you.  Being exclusive by choice takes a dual commitment.

Stand Your Ground

Written by Joanne Deck. Posted in Blog, Sane Sex for Singles

Enjoy the ride!

The prevalence of superficial sex on television and in the movies has led people to conclude that they should be having sex early in a relationship, even on the first date.  This puts tremendous needless pressure on both men and women, and it feels unnatural for many people, as it should.  I say this not because superficial sex is morally wrong (although you may feel that way and that’s fine), but because engaging in physical intimacy when there is no emotional intimacy puts the relationship out of alignment.

Having sex means making ourselves very vulnerable.  When we do this with someone we’ve just met, it may be exciting, but it should also be somewhat frightening.  Consider these words from author and speaker Joan Gattuso: “…[T]he woman is the receiver, not just physiologically, but emotionally, spiritually, and psychically as well.  Before going to bed with a new man, consider if you want all of him, his neuroses, judgments, grievances, prejudices, likes and dislikes, ejaculated into you and into your essence.”   Sobering thoughts to consider, ladies, don’t you think?

Don’t allow yourself to be pressured into a physically intimate relationship until you’re ready.  If it’s right and meant to be, a delay in the process won’t change that.  Stand your ground and focus on savoring each new discovery about the other person.  Enjoy the ride!

Do Your Inner Work

Written by Joanne Deck. Posted in Blog, Sane Sex for Singles

Years ago I ran an outplacement center for a manufacturing plant that was closing.  Most of the people employed by the company had never worked anywhere else.  They needed lots of help with resume writing and interviewing, which I expected.  What amazed me, though, was how little these folks knew about themselves.  When I asked them to list their strengths and positive qualities, they were dumbfounded.  I tried asking them how a friend would describe them, but got no better response.

Having gone through my dating experience, I’ve come to conclude that these individuals were not the exception.  Many people, maybe most, have not done their inner work.  They have no sense of their true worth or what makes them a blessing to the world.  Without a strong sense of self, they’re discouraged and left feeling inadequate as the media confronts them daily with dozens of images of perfection.  No one can live up to the retouched photos and other unrealistic examples of “the norm” which surround us.

If a meaningful relationship is what you seek, it’s essential not only that you do your inner work, but also that the other person has done theirs.  If they don’t know their worth, their modus operandi may be to have sex right away, before you discover who they really are.  They’re masters at making the good first impression. They’ve got the superficial down pat, but dig deeper, and they’re afraid you’ll find there’s not much there.  I believe there’s a lot there, but if they don’t know it, they can’t show it.

This scenario is just one of the reasons I named my book “Worth Waiting For.”  Avoid getting physically intimate too quickly.  You and a fulfilling relationship are worth the wait!

Why Didn’t He Call Again?

Written by Joanne Deck. Posted in Blog, Sane Sex for Singles

Last week I reminded readers how important it is to know their worth.  I admit that may be hard to do when he doesn’t call for the second (or third) date.  (I’m using “he” here because most of the time it’s women complaining that the men don’t call, even when they said they would.)  As I said last time, it could be that sex was what he wanted, and since you wanted something more, he moved on.  However, there is another possibility that’s quite likely.

Our first thought is to reason that he didn’t think we were worth the effort.  Even the most confident woman could begin to doubt herself after a few experiences like this – and I’ve seen these occurrences come in strings!  I urge my clients to be careful here, as the reality could very well be the opposite.  Consider author Don Miguel Ruiz’s sage observation from The Four Agreements, “Nothing other people do is because of you. It is because of themselves.”  It may well be that he didn’t call because he didn’t think you’d find him worth it in the end.  It wasn’t that you weren’t worth his effort, but rather that he wasn’t up to risking failure.  Many people would just as soon not play the game than risk losing.

Your reducing supply (by waiting for emotional intimacy to develop before becoming physically intimate) really does raise your perceived value, and some people may not feel worthy of you!

Know Your Worth!

Written by Joanne Deck. Posted in Blog, Sane Sex for Singles

Twice a year, I have the privilege of offering my wellness workshops to a group of women at Perryville State Prison.  It’s a pleasure because they’re always so grateful and interested in what I have to offer, including my sane sex message.  I can tell by their reactions that the idea they are worth the wait is foreign to many of them.  Unfortunately many incarcerated women and men have grown up not knowing how amazing they are.

From what I experienced when I was dating and continue to hear about now, many people outside of prison lack this awareness, too!  They suffer from low self esteem and will compromise themselves to avoid rejection.  I’ve often said that about half the men I dated asked for sex on the second date and expected it on the third, and when it didn’t happen, they didn’t call me again.  At first I took that personally, wondering what was wrong with me.  Eventually I figured out that it wasn’t about me at all.  I realized I was wrong to think they had rejected me, because after three dates they didn’t know me well enough to reject me. We just wanted different things, and they were not interested in really getting to know me.

I’ve decided that part of my mission is to help people appreciate their own worth because they will find it difficult to practice sane sex otherwise.  We have to treasure ourselves before we can expect anyone else to treasure us.  We need to know our true value to avoid being devastated when our date doesn’t call again because we wanted to become emotionally intimate first.  This awareness doesn’t come easily, but it’s the truth and so worth the effort, so stay with me as I explore this further in the weeks ahead.