Interview With Lisa Kaplin: Sharing Her Thoughts on Overcoming Dating (Negativity + Skepticism), the Must-Know Truth About Chemistry and Much More
1. One question we get asked quite often from our subscribers especially from women in their late 30s and above is if there are enough eligible men looking for a serious long term relationship. There seems to be this belief that men around their age group are more interested in younger women.
What advice do you have for women who have a deep rooted skepticism that they can’t find love because of their age and are almost at the point of giving up?
A deep rooted skepticism is really the problem.
If you look for evidence of a lack of eligible men, that’s what you will ultimately see. The negative emotions and energy that come with that type of skepticism keep women from having an open mind about the men they meet. I think the media has really contributed to this nonsense and many of us have bought into it.
First, I tell women to get really clear on what eligible means to them.
Women are often focused on what others tell them they should want vs. what they really want. If you are looking for a man with the perfect credentials vs meeting a man who you really connect with, you’ve probably shut the door on many great men. The key to any social relationships is keeping an open mind and allowing yourself to get to know lots of different people.
2. Some of our subscribers feel stuck in their love lives because of their past emotional baggage. This affects them in a number of ways- they either tend to compare the next man they are dating with their ex or they have trust issues because they have been cheated on before or they just cannot seem to forget their ex and move on in life.
What are some practical ways that can help women release their past emotional baggage so that they can start attracting healthy love into their lives?
Emotional baggage – I didn’t meet my husband until I had worked my emotional baggage out. I strongly recommend doing this work either in therapy, life coaching, or with a trusted mentor or friend. When we carry unconscious issues into our next relationship we are destined to hurt ourselves and others.
Each new relationship should be a learning and growing experience even if it doesn’t go well. We sabotage our relationships by dragging old stuff into them.
If we get stuck in anger or martyrdom our relationship energy is entirely negative and destined for failure in some way. If we instead have optimistic, realistic, and conscious energy, we allow ourselves to meet and grow with new people. Conscious and present emotions and behaviors are the key to healthy relationships.
3. One popular concern that our subscribers have is regarding sharing their feelings with the man they are dating. What we typically find is that when women like the man they are seeing, they tend to avoid bringing up difficult issues and tough conversations because they fear they might lose him. So what they generally tend to do is that they keep it to themselves and give the impression that things are just fine.
For example, they have a fantastic date with a man and he says he will call after a few days. They wait, wait and wait to be disappointed that he didn’t follow up as he said he would. But they are happy when they eventually hear back from him and don’t share how they really felt during the no contact period.
What would your advice be for women who have the fear that sharing feelings and emotions will drive a man away and make them come across as someone clingy and needy?
This is THE biggest mistake that women make in relationships.
They pretend to be someone they aren’t in order to please/keep a man and then end up being resentful and angry that they aren’t themselves within the relationship.
Here’s the key – you must be willing to have the relationship fail and to trust that this is what was meant to be.
Do you really want to be in a long term relationship where you aren’t comfortable speaking your mind? I think it’s important to learn “how” to say things. If we are nagging, whiny, or bitchy, who really wants to listen to that? I wouldn’t.
I STRONGLY recommend that women be themselves as soon as possible in a relationship.
If she is comfortable in her own skin and confident in herself, then the right man will want to be with her. If he isn’t the right man then it’s best that things end sooner rather than later. If, however, she is feeling insecure and clingy then I would recommend doing some work around that. No one wants to feel that way. It isn’t good for her emotionally or for any relationships that she may be in.
4. From our subscribers, we often hear “lack of chemistry” as a leading reason why they aren’t willing to go out on a second date with a man even though he seemed to be a decent guy and they were comfortable and treated with respect during the first date.
Can you share your thoughts on chemistry- how important is it for a relationship to succeed long term and can chemistry grow over time? Is it worth persisting with a man with whom a woman feels comfortable but doesn’t quite share the chemistry?
Chemistry can really get us in trouble.
It is essentially a sexual attraction which is a great thing but it certainly isn’t going to keep a relationship together for the long haul. I had chemistry with a couple of guys that I couldn’t spend more than 5 minutes talking to. They weren’t the guys that I wanted a long term relationship with.
Being attracted to someone is important but if we make it everything then that’s ultimately what we base a relationship on.
I recommend that if you liked everything else about a guy you went on a date with but you thought the chemistry might be missing – go out with him again. A few times.
Chemistry can also build over time.
Haven’t you ever met someone who you didn’t find wildly attractive but the more you got to know them the more beautiful they became to you?
Trust me, long term relationships and marriages aren’t held together by chemistry. They are held together by mutual goals and interests, listening to each other, and helping each other, as well as sexual attraction.
5. Some experts recommend women wait till they get to know the man they are dating and not have sex until you both are committed to exclusivity. Some experts believe you should go with the flow and be spontaneous and not have any rules regarding when you want to sleep with a man.
Can you share your thoughts on the right time to have sex especially if the woman is interested in pursuing a long term committed relationship?
When to have sex seems to be the question of our generation.
I really believe that you need to be very conscious about your sexual decisions. Which can be very difficult when you are attracted to someone and excited to be more physically intimate with them. I don’t like to say that there is a right or wrong time to have sex with someone but I do believe there is a right or wrong reason.
If you are having sex with someone to please them or because you are afraid that if you don’t they won’t like you, then you have chosen for the wrong reason.
If on the other hand you feel a mutual respect and attraction for each other and you feel physically and emotionally safe, then go enjoy yourself (please use protection!).
I personally feel that sex is more enjoyable when you know someone on a more emotional level first and that you are comfortable with them and the awkwardness that can come with a first sexual experience.
Please think carefully about your own values and morals and proceed with those in mind. Sleeping with someone for all the wrong reasons will only make you feel bad about yourself in the long run.
6. Some of our subscribers have the tendency to ignore and overlook the red flags especially when they really like a man. In the process, they create an idealized version of the man and overestimate the feelings he has for them.
For women who have a history of fantasizing and idealizing a partner, what can they do to evaluate the man and their relationship for what it is truly worth rather than what they ideally like it to be?
Many of my now divorced girlfriends and clients have complained bitterly to me about all of the red flags that they ignored during the dating process. They hooked on to a man’s appearance, or his career, or the few sweet things he said to them and then they ignored some really big red flags.
Here are a few tips to think about:
1. If your family and friends don’t like him or keep warning you about the red flags, you need to take notice.
2. You need to be conscious in your relationship, which means looking at those red flags and seeing if you can live with them for the long haul. It is far better to see your man from all angles and still choose to be with him then to idealize him only to shoot him off of his white horse a few years down the road. No man is perfect (no woman is either) and we shouldn’t put him on a pedestal only to eventually watch him fall.
3. Never, NEVER, never ignore signs like an aggressive temper, him physically hurting you in any way, game playing, verbal abuse, him trying to pull you away from loved ones, and him ignoring you or being passive aggressive in any way.
These are BIG red flags that will lead you into a really difficult and miserable relationship.
7. Some of our subscribers experience extreme anxiety and fear when they go out on a date. This is especially true when women are coming out of a messy divorce or a toxic relationship. Some women even tell us that dating is a dreaded chore.
How can women stop putting themselves under so much pressure and start enjoying dating other men?
Anxiety around dating can be a normal situation, particularly after coming out of a different relationship.
Being nervous is one thing, dreading going on a date is another. If you are in the dreadful or highly anxious space, I would recommend holding off on dating until you do some soul searching for yourself.
What is it that you are dreading? Get really clear on your answer to this and ask yourself if your answer is realistic or makes sense.
- Are you afraid that all relationships will be like the last one?
- How realistic is this fear?
- Do you not trust yourself to week out a good man from a not so good one?
- How can you learn to be better at that?
These are issues that you really need to get a handle on before you get back out into the dating world.
Dating with dread or anxiety is certainly not going to lead you to some great men! Dating with confidence and with clarity as to who you are and what you want will be the key to successful dating and relationships.
8. Can too much honesty negatively affect a relationship especially when you have just started seeing the other person? How much of the past and even the present should you reveal to the man you are dating? Should you share details like cheating in the previous relationship, the fact you are currently seeing a therapist or you are a recovering alcoholic etc? Some of our subscribers have been too honest and in the process lost out on many men because it freaked them out.
Can you share your thoughts on how women can balance the fine line between honesty and giving themselves the chance to date men and pursue a long term committed relationship?
I think too much honesty too quickly is probably not necessary.
Full honesty should be given to someone that you know and trust. We (hopefully) don’t share our deepest secrets with relative strangers so why would we do that when we are dating? He doesn’t need to know everything about you right away.
Learning about each other slowly over time will lead to a more honest and real relationship.
Also, there are some things that you don’t have to tell him if you don’t want to. You have the right to privacy. My husband of 25 years does not know every detail about my previous relationships. He doesn’t need to know and I feel that some of those experiences are my own and don’t need to be shared.
On the other hand, don’t wait too long to tell him important things about you (that you want to share with him) – even if you see them as negative.
If you tell him these things and he isn’t interested, you are far better off to have him go now vs. after a longer term relationship.
9. Our subscribers also run into a situation where things are going great and just when they think the relationship has great potential or feel he is the one, the man starts developing cold feet. He pulls away, doesn’t respond to phone calls or text messages and in some cases disappears for a while.
What advice do you have for women who deal with men that suddenly pull away and act inconsistent?
A man who acts inconsistent in the beginning of a relationship may be likely to do that throughout the relationship.
If he leaves or doesn’t call, I’d let him go. If you want more from him, ask – don’t push and then move forward with your own life.
NEVER allow someone else to fully dictate the course of your relationship. NEVER.
You have a say in it and if you don’t like how it’s going say so, ask for what you want kindly and with compassion, listen for a response and then YOU decide where you want the relationship to go.
If a man is inconsistent and you don’t like that – you should leave.
Most people don’t change dramatically from who they are when you first get to know them. Don’t stay in a relationship with the hope that “he will change.” It’s really unlikely that he will.
10. What are your top 3 relationship tips that you would offer women who are single and looking for a long term committed relationship?
My top 3 relationship tips:
1. Get really clear about who you are and what YOU want.
Do not mold yourself to be what someone else wants. What matters most in a relationship to you? What are some non-negotiables? Don’t negotiate on those.
2. This is from a wise client after her divorce – “Small red flags turn into neon billboards, don’t ever ignore them.”
3. Never, never, never look for someone to complete you.
If you are not whole right now, get whole before you bring someone else into your life. A man should be a wonderful compliment to your life not a necessity.
About Lisa Kaplin
Lisa Kaplin is a life coach and helps overwhelmed and exhausted women who have that “something’s missing” feeling. She helps them face their fears, step out of their comfort zones and walk right into true happiness and fulfillment. She is now the proud owner of Smart Women Inspired Lives where she does individual and group life coaching, blogging, and public speaking.
Visit www.smartwomeninspiredlives.com to know more.