Interview With Jessica Forero Garbin: Sharing Her Thoughts on Tapping Into Your Intuitive Wisdom, Embracing Vulnerability and Much More
1. Jessica, what are some of the biggest challenges and concerns that you hear from your female clients?
Each woman is unique in her perception of the dating scene, but over time I have indeed noticed some common concerns among single women.
I would say the number one hurdle for women is their attitude towards dating. Many women believe there is a scarcity of suitable, available men. Consequently, it is easy for women to feel disappointment each time they muster up the courage to date, but it doesn’t go as well as they’d hoped; they don’t know when the next opportunity will come again.
This pessimistic, “wanting” mentality can subconsciously cause women to avoid dating altogether.
Some women spend too much time at work, convince themselves they are happier single, or pick apart any man who shows potential interest.
On the flip side, women who would like to take a more proactive approach to dating just don’t know where or how to meet people anymore.
Many ladies report having had poor experiences on dating sites. Attractive female clients feel “overwhelmed” or “inundated” with attention; they describe it as a part-time job just to weed through all of the messages from interested men. Other women describe the caliber of men online as “laughable” or “suspicious.”
Similar to many professionals, my female clients are past the bar scene, realizing the odds of meeting a quality man in that environment are low. For obvious reasons, they are hesitant to date co-workers, leaving them with fewer opportunities to meet fresh faces and make new connections.
2. We get a considerable number of emails from women that have the tendency to get into an interrogation mode while dating. This is especially a common problem among highly successful professional women and they struggle to switch from their masculine energy and take off their managerial hat that makes them so successful in their careers.
What advice do you have for women on how they can embrace their femininity and what are some ways they can balance the masculine and feminine energies in them so that they can be successful in both their professional and personal life?
Again, it really comes down to attitude.
I believe women really need to ask themselves some hard questions, get honest, and take accountability for the state of their romantic lives. “How do you feel about dating? Are you willing to expose your heart again?”
If a woman truly wants to attract and sustain love in her life, she has to feel okay disclosing her vulnerable, feminine side.
A “who-needs-a-man” attitude” will chill a bottle of champagne faster than any bucket of ice, and she is likely to be toasting the night away all by herself if she does not lose that hard edge.
- Does she understand that she has to factor in some mediocre or maybe awful dates as part of the dating process?
- Is her self-esteem strong enough to catch her if she goes out with incompatible men, or will it remind her that she is beautiful and valuable despite a lack of connection with potential suitors?
- If she does get hurt, does she believe she will still be okay because she is her own safe place?
To lose the edge and replace it with a softer approach, women should take the time to nourish and fortify their self-worth before ever stepping into the dating scene.
Self-esteem is in itself the strongest shield a woman can possess. A woman who is secure within herself will feel no need to interrogate her date, which is just a manifestation of fear and insecurity related to intimacy.
Regarding the question on how to balance the masculine and feminine energies, the answer is complex.
The American culture places great emphasis on instilling workplace traits in all of us. Belief systems such as, “Never let them see you sweat,” “Everyone is disposable,” “Fake it ’til you make it” abound. We value, model, and teach acting “cool under pressure” and applaud the swallowing of emotions in the workplace.
Aside from a middle school home economics class, our educational institutions do little to develop students’ empathy, tolerance, compassion, humility, vulnerability, and loyalty. While assertiveness and competitiveness help women climb the corporate ladder, they are not the skills that will enhance a romantic relationship.
In order to regain balance between masculine and feminine energies, it is important for single women to find avenues outside the workplace that allow them to plug back into their emotions.
Activities such as listening to powerful music, volunteering for worthwhile causes, spending time with nature, and caring for pets all help women ‘feel’ again.
Regular meditation, journaling, talk therapy, and respecting partners as equals help women cultivate their softer, more feminine energies.
Achieving both emotional and intellectual literacy will help single women thrive both in the workplace as well as in the romantic relationships they are seeking to build. Once balance is achieved, her level of overall happiness and satisfaction tend to drastically increase.
3. One of the common problems we hear from our women subscribers is their tendency to attract the wrong men into their lives. For some, this is not just a one time occurrence but a recurring pattern. While some are attracted to jerks, others are attracted to cheaters, addicts, liars, players etc.
Can you explain why women may be attracted to such men in the first place and what steps they can take to weed off the wrong men and start attracting the right men?
I would venture to say that most people who are love challenged tend to blame external factors, like the cheaters, players, liars, etc.
However, usually there are internal factors that are the true roots of recurring, unsatisfying relationships. The most common reason is low self-esteem.
Because busy women so rarely take the time for self-examination, many ladies may not even realize how little they think of themselves. Their self-doubt, defeating thought patterns, poor self-image may be so deeply entrenched that it often takes an outsider, such as a therapist or relationship coach, to bring it to light.
Women have no control over who finds them attractive, but they have total control over whom they invite into their lives.
Women with low self-esteem tend to have lower standards and fewer boundaries in their relationships, making them less likely to walk away when their partner waives bright red flags. Low self-esteem and a desperate mindset make them vulnerable prey for opportunistic men who will take advantage of their weakness.
Fear is another emotion that may subconsciously push women into dead-end relationships.
Women who fear true intimacy may find themselves attracted to emotionally unavailable or abusive men; unhealthy partners give ambivalent women an excuse to remain guarded. As long as they are with Mr. Wrong, they have a reason to play the victim and never let their guard down. Their mindset is “better to leave a relationship than risk being left.”
Additionally, there are women whose upbringings warped their understanding of romantic relationships.
Women who witnessed or suffered abuse and neglect during their formative years are less likely to understand healthy ways of connecting with others and may not know that aiming higher is even an option.
Women who are tired of toxic relationships need to take their power back.
The practice of self-reflection will help women gain a better understanding of why they have allowed unhealthy men into their lives. Women can begin this practice by discovering how they feel about themselves – without judgment. Journaling, talk therapy, and meditation are good ways of settling the noise and tuning into their thought patterns.
With a commitment to the process of self-examination, women will start to recognize voids and extend more kindness, compassion, acceptance, and belief towards themselves. It is with this awareness that the healing can begin. Unless women work through their inner demons first, peaceful relationships will remain elusive.
4. I really like this line- “Women have no control over who finds them attractive, but they have total control over whom they invite into their lives”. I cannot agree with you more. You mentioned how having low standards and not setting boundaries may be the reason for attracting the wrong men.
Can you share some examples with our subscribers on how you would recommend they go about setting boundaries and communicating with their partners? One of the concerns we hear from women with regards to setting expectations and communicating boundaries is that they don’t want to come across as someone intimidating and defensive.
They find having this conversation awkward and tough especially early on in the relationship, but I think they face greater problems down the line by avoiding or postponing this conversation. What advice do you have for women who have never had these conversations before and find it uncomfortable to discuss them?
I can definitely understand how women would feel uncomfortable communicating needs and setting boundaries, especially in the beginning when they are still learning how their partners handle conflict.
Will he get angry, defensive, shut down, or want to understand her? It can be frightening, and many of us succumb to the temptation of sweeping the issue under the rug.
My advice is to ask for your partner’s permission prior to initiating this conversation.
Timing is critical, and asking will allow your partner to prepare himself to listen. Stating something like, “I have been feeling nervous lately. Are you interested in discussing it?” will give him a choice to discuss the issue during a time that is good for both of you. The last thing a woman wants is to bring up a sensitive topic on a day when her partner already feels like he’s been through the ringer at work.
Secondly, keep it simple. Using something called the “Action/I Feel Statement” will help a woman set boundaries without coming across as intimidating or defensive.
It is as simple as saying, “When you did not call me last night, I felt disappointed.” Notice that this statement does not attach judgment to the action nor implies any kind of motive. The woman is able to clearly communicate to her partner how she is feeling without eliciting a defensive response.
In contrast, making a statement like,
“When you rudely failed to call me last night, I felt taken for granted,” sets the stage for an argument. This expression is more likely to elicit a negative reaction because the word “rudely” judges the action of not calling, and the words “taken for granted” describe motive instead of simply describing her emotion.
Having some simple communication tools will help women feel confident enough to express themselves when they need clarification or stronger boundaries in any relationship.
5. What advice would you have for women who have not dated for a long time? This may be women who have been so busy with their careers that they haven’t had the time or women who are coming out of a break up or a divorce after a long marriage.
They are usually anxious, nervous and find dating quite intimidating and uncomfortable. What changes do women need to make to conquer their fears and actually start to enjoy meeting men than seeing it as a chore?
This is a more complex question because I would say different things to each of these ladies.
If it’s a woman who has been strictly dedicated to her career, I would ask if she is at the point where she is ready to make love a priority. If she is serious about finding love, she needs to ensure that there are no other competing values that might sabotage her.
Sometimes women lose balance because they subconsciously fear intimacy and the risk that goes with it. Is their determination for lasting partnership stronger than their fear of disappointment?
For women who are emerging from a broken relationship, I would suggest taking enough time to fully heal and learn from the experience.
Too many people jump from one relationship into another, hoping to skip over the pain and the healing process. Unfortunately, unacknowledged feelings of pain, anger, or resentment will not stay repressed forever.
Women may choose to either deal with these feelings head on or deal with them later, but either way they are going to have to deal.
I think it’s much healthier for all parties when women take long breaks between relationships to reconnect with themselves. This time lends itself to meditation, self-reflection, re-evaluation of values and search criteria in a partner. It is a time to journal, participate in enjoyable activities, rebuild self-esteem, and solidify the belief that something even better awaits them when the time is right.
Most people wrestle with anxiety and nervousness when dating – even confident people who tend to make great first impressions can get a case of the butterflies. However, there are strategies women can use to help minimize the discomfort they may feel.
Firstly, it’s important that women pay attention to their thought patterns.
Keeping the dating experience in perspective is important. Remember to stay in a mindset of abundance. The man who is taking them to dinner is not the end all. If he is not a match, there are many, many more men out in the world from which to choose.
Secondly, first dates are not necessarily predictors of future relational success.
Chemistry is magical, often unexplainable, and usually impossible to predict. Just because a woman is not “blown away” on a first date does not mean there is no potential. Chemistry can be instant or slow to emerge, so it’s important that women not place so much pressure on feeling fireworks right away.
Thirdly, arrive curious about your date.
Instead of looking for reasons to screen him out, which may put women in “grilling” mode, focus more on finding out what makes him tick. Even if it isn’t a match, women might find they enjoy the experience of just learning about someone else and his unique life experiences.
Lastly, as twisted as this may sound, women cannot take rejection personally.
In the event there is no second date or kiss goodnight, it is not a reflection of their self-worth nor attractiveness. I encourage them to think back at how many men they dismissed during their lifetimes, and what they would say to these men if they allowed their self-esteems to plummet in the aftermath of rejection.
6. I have read a few experts that recommend playing hard to get as a means to woo men and retain their attention. Can you share your thoughts and talk about your views on playing hard to get to attract men?
Personally, I think that anytime a woman feels the need to play anything to retain a man’s attention, it’s a sign that the relationship is not going in the right direction.
When a man is sincerely interested in a woman, the woman will know it.
She will not have to try to do anything except be herself. That is and always should be enough to attract and retain a man’s attention. If it isn’t, then let him fly.
7. Can you share your thoughts on delaying sex until women get to really know a man? Some experts I have talked to especially warn against having sex on the first date because it creates a sense of pseudo-intimacy that prevents women from seeing things objectively.
For women who are interested in having a long term committed relationship, would you recommend that they delay having sex until they get to know the man and have him commit to exclusivity?
There is no hard and fast rule on how long a woman should wait until she becomes intimate with a man.
I have heard some experts say 90 days; others have said that exclusivity is the turning point, even if that exclusivity happens within a week. While I think both of these viewpoints are worth considering, I feel it is even more important for women to understand that this is no game of hard-to-get. There are actually very important reasons for waiting.
Women must love and respect themselves enough to protect themselves from sexually transmitted diseases. If they rush right into sex on the first or second date, odds are she and her partner have not taken the time to discuss these relevant parts of their romantic histories.
Additionally, a woman who waits to have sex keeps her options open.
I am a firm believer that exclusivity is a gift that should not be given away to just anyone. It should be considered only if a woman has connected with a man, has a fairly good understanding of his values, goals, interests, and essential needs, and that he has the same type of relationship goals as she.
If a woman does not yet know these things about her partner, I would advise her to keep dating other men and postpone sex, even if her partner decides to focus only on her.
The right man will respect her decision if she communicates her reasons to him, and the wrong man will grow irritated and leave.
Good riddance! Remember that a woman’s market value in the dating world often decreases as she ages, so time matters to women. Every time she entrenches herself in a dead-end, exclusive relationship for a year here, or a year there, she misses out on opportunities during the peak of her dating years.
The heart of the matter is that it comes down to self-respect and self-worth.
Sex is vulnerability, plain and simple. I know today’s world often treats sex as a meaningless exchange between two strangers in the night, but daylight tells a different story. Women need to value themselves so much that they would rather be alone with self-esteem intact than toss away their vulnerability to a man they barely know. Trust me when I say that self-love feels better than any orgasm ever will.
8. Another common question we frequently get asked from our readers is when they should talk about marriage in a relationship. Some of our subscribers would like to get married soon, start a family and are quite wary of a ticking biological clock. For them, time is crucial and they don’t want to waste their time with the wrong men. Some men when asked about marriage respond “Maybe, some day I want to get married” or “Yes, I want to get married some day in the future.” Women are not quite sure whether they should wait or if they should move on when they hear this response.
What would your advice be for women in this situation?
My advice may reiterate what I suggested in my former answer about not rushing into an exclusive relationship.
This is especially important when you are a woman who is “wary of her biological clock.” Until you have a clear understanding that your partner’s relationship goals are in line with yours, keep dating other men. Personally, when I hear the words “someday,” I hear a person who values other priorities above marriage.
If your number one value is marriage, there will surely be a conflict; keep your options open. There are way too many men out there who are relationship-ready and marriage-minded to wait around for a man who has competing values in his life.
9. Some of our subscribers aren’t quite sure whether they should stay or end their current relationship.
Do you have any guidelines regarding when it is worth staying in a relationship and work things out and when it is better to end it?
This is a complicated question because every relationship is unique.
Speaking from a general point of view, my number one piece of advice is to always listen to your gut. By this, I don’t mean to react to your emotionality after an incident occurs in a relationship. I mean that deep, inner, hard-to-explain feeling in the pit of your stomach that has nothing to do with fear about the future, worry about the past, self-doubt, guilt, or desperation.
This is the intuitive wisdom each one of us carries that often remains unheard because of all of the noise in our heads. This inner knowing can usually be reached via talk therapy, music, journaling, or quiet time in deep meditation on a regular basis.
Your intuition is nothing but a soft whisper.
It will never force itself on you, but rather it will wait until you have stopped the fighting, dropped the expectations, released your will into the arms of trust, and ask it. You will only hear the answers when you are peaceful. Listen to your instincts above everything else.
Secondly, pay attention to how you feel when you ask yourself critical questions.
Are you sacrificing your essential needs and authentic self to be with this person? Are there flaws in this person that cause you to lose respect for him? If so, the price of staying is too high. Communication style, tolerance, and the ability to compromise are good predictors of whether or not a relationship will last. How does your relationship score in these domains?
Do you find you are constantly trying to “fix” yourself?
It’s important to understand that we are all at different places of emotional and intellectual growth in our lives. One of the best pieces of advice I ever received was that it is okay if a relationship cannot wait for me to emotionally mature or “catch up.” Sometimes we are not ready, and understanding this is divine wisdom in itself. Trust in the abundance of the universe, and that love will indeed find you when you have reached a state of readiness unique to you.
10. Can you share your top 3 tips that can help women create better connection and commitment in their current relationships?
Tip #1: I would take the time to learn my partner’s love language.
We all express and feel love differently, so insight into what truly makes your partner feel appreciated is priceless. Dr. Gary Chapman has a book called The Five Love Languages as well as a website where he offers practical ideas on ways of showing love in the way your partner is most likely to receive it. There is no point in showering your partner with gifts if what he or she truly needs is your quality time.
Tip #2: Learn how to effectively communicate.
In this day and age, there are so many resources for improving communication. Be proactive. Emotional literacy is a skill that improves connection with your partner, children, colleagues, and family. David O. McKay, author of Secrets of a Happy Life, sums it up well when he advises, “There should be no yelling in the home unless there is a fire.”
Tip #3: If you are serious in your quest for lasting love, there can be no other competing values in your life.
Although life will throw you curve-balls that may temporarily cause you to reshuffle priorities, make sure you set a time limit on these competing demands. Communicate clearly with your partner. A supportive mate will understand and even help you through the peaks and valleys of life, as long as you always return to love.
About Jessica Forero Garbin
Jessica Forero Garbin is the founder of Intelligent Introductions & Concierge, LLC™, Tampa’s leading company devoted to enriching the changing lives of today’s single professionals. As an elite matchmaker and dating mentor, Jessica personally introduces singles to high caliber matches as well as to top local vendors. Using both her instincts as well as her industry experience working with countless singles, she selectively screens potential matches for discerning daters who value confidentiality, personalized service, and access to an exclusive network of relationship-ready professionals.
Optional concierge services, such as image consulting, restaurant referrals, etiquette training, and relationship mentoring, help busy professionals put their best foot forward and prioritize their love lives.
To learn more about Tampa’s elite matchmaking for exceptional singles, please visit www.intelligent-introductions.com. Complete a free, confidential membership profile today, and move closer to the love you deserve.