Assertive Communication: 5 Keys to Speaking Your Truth

assertive communication
Have you ever been in a situation with your boyfriend or husband where you absolutely need to address a challenging issue in the relationship—something that is making you extremely unhappy.  And you totally feel the  need to spit out the truth. Yet you simply can’t? Well, assertive communication can be challenging in love, work or family relationships.

Does this sound familiar? Perhaps you often feel misunderstood, unfairly criticized or used to fulfill another’s needs? But unable to speak up to correct the situation?  Perhaps you have difficulty sharing your real thoughts, feelings, needs or wants in a love relationship, at work, or with family and friends? These are all common occurrences for most of us who haven’t learned the skill of assertive communication.

The Skill of Assertive Communication

Yes, I said skill. There is an art to being assertive without being either a bully or a doormat.

First, assertive communication is quite different from aggression.  In aggressive communication, you take a stand for yourself that hurts, bullies, undermines, or takes something away from the other person.   Simply put, the goal of aggression is, you win, they lose. On the other hand, when you are assertive, you are respectful of the needs of the other and hold a vision that is fulfilling for everyone involved.  Then you do and say things that are aimed at making that affirmative vision happen.

Second, assertive communication is very different from people pleasing, being upset with yourself, or feeling unworthy. For example, when it comes to taking a stand for yourself do you feel fear-bound, stressed and stymied?  Filled with a swirl of bad feelings and self-disappointment that then makes it even harder to speak your truth the next time around?

I’m no Stranger to Fear

Yes, I know it well.  I have had this problem with assertive communication myself!  And I am a Ph.D. psychologist.  But growing up with a very unassertive mother and a raging scary and unpredictable alcoholic father left me very shy, mute and unable to speak up for myself. So I studied how to become assertive.  As, I learned about assertive communication, I was able to overcome this fear-bound behavior and learn to speak up for myself.  And voila, I have gotten so much more of what I really want and need.

So if you suffer from any of these issues, I’m going to show you how to have a breakthrough by learning five skills about assertive communication.  By practicing these skills, you will share your truths in an honest yet caring, respectful way.  In a way that leads to a potential win-win-win. So that means, you are up to creating a win for yourself and your own needs.  Plus, a win for the other person, as you help them come through for you.  And a win for your relationship, as it becomes more fulfilling.  When you keep working at assertive communication, over time you will earn your own self-respect and self-esteem.

Assertive Communication Tip #1  Stop Talking Ourselves Out of It

Usually when we have trouble with assertive communication, we are busy talking ourselves out of speaking our truth.  For example, in a situation that feels unfair, difficult or unfulfilling, we start having thoughts like,

If I speak my truth I will…

  • Sound stupid.
  • Say or do the wrong thing.
  • Embarrass myself.
  • Appear selfish.
  • Seem like I’m asking for too much.
  • Appear to be mean (a bitch or a bastard).
  • Be told no anyway.
  • Be unlovable.
  • Make him/her angry.
  • Be abandoned.
  • Appear impolite.
  • Make things worse.
  • Be hurt.

By allowing this kind of inner dialogue to rule your life, you cheat yourself out of what you really deserve and need.  Know this: YOU are the one doing the cheating. Not the other person. As the great negotiator, Dr. Chester Karrass said: “You don’t get what you deserve.  You get what  you negotiate.”

Simply put, you get what you deserve by asking for it!  This is especially important in getting your deeper needs met in a love relationship.

Assertive Communication Tip #2  Talking Ourselves Into It

So Instead of focusing on all the possible negative outcomes that may be occur if you are assertive, think about those that will occur if you are NOT assertive! Practice by ending this sentence with whatever comes to mind.

If I DON’T speak up or say my truth then  (fill in the blank):

I Will….

  • Feel bad or depressed.
  • Lose respect for myself.
  • Lose my opportunity to straighten things out.
  • Feel disappointed and angry at myself.
  • Miss my opportunity to meet this interesting man.
  • Suffer with resentment towards the other person.
  • Feel like I failed myself.
  • Feel like a coward.
  • Probably not get what I need and want.
  • Keep ending up in the same situation or even worse off.

Practicing self-talk that looks at the negative outcome if we do NOT take a stand for ourselves leads to changes in the way we communicate our needs.  For example, take this quote by Hillel, the scholar who lived around the time of Jesus. I say it frequently to empower myself to speak up:

“If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am only for myself, what am I? And if not now, when?” 

Assertive Communication Tip #3  Ask Yourself  What an Empowered, Deserving ‘You’ Would Do

We all have higher and lower natures. We carry around our best self-identities and those that come from fear and scarcity.  I call your ideal self, the one who is empowered, clever and deserving, your Diamond Self identity. If you are feeling out of touch with your best self,  read the related post and then come back to this blog.


Ask yourself, what would my fully empowered, deserving and  clever Diamond Self say or do to create a win-win-win in this situation?   Feel deeply into your heart as to what you need and want. You are worthy. You are deserving, even if you are not feeling it right now! All of us are.

Create an image in your mind about how the situation could turn out in a way that feels right, whole and complete to you.  Imagine a surprisingly good outcome  that helps you to feel empowered and good about yourself.

You cannot control how others act or control the outcome. But  you can totally make yourself feel like you have done your best by taking a stand for yourself.  So speak your truth.  Become a warrior for what is fair, right and good for you.  And in doing so, you will become a person YOU respect and admire in terms of her courage, forthrightness, cleverness and vision.

Assertive Communication Tip #4  Use Affirmations About Speaking Your Truth

Here are a few affirmations that helped me and our coaching clients express ourselves.  Just write them down and say them to yourself a few times each day. Start each mantra with the words “I AM”

  • Speaking my truth in a surprisingly easy and effortless way.
  • Making myself proud as I take a stand for myself.
  • Cleverly creating a win-win-win in this situation.
  • Saying no to overly demanding or unreasonable requests.
  • Saying and doing what my empowered, clever, deserving Diamond Self suggests.

Assertive Communication Tip #5  Use These Simple Templates to Ask for What you Want or Need

Here are a few win-win-win templates to help you express your truth:

  • I appreciate xyz (something you appreciate about the other person, to set the stage for cooperation) but abc (things you need or want) have to happen to make things work out great.
  • I would really love it if you did abc (give detailed suggestions—the other person is not a mind-reader).
  • To make this a satisfactory outcome I absolutely need you to abc (fill in the blank with specifics).
  • (After an overly demanding or unreasonable request) I’m sorry, but I am not available to fulfill that request right now.

This last two templates are good ones to use over and over again, even after the other person says no or insists on their way.  In assertiveness training this is called the broken record technique.  You just keep repeating your terms over and over.  Not in an angry fashion, but in an insistent way.  The idea is that finally they get the idea that you will not go away or back down.  And they will give up opposing you.  And begin to work with you regarding the situation at hand.

So there you have five empowering keys to assertive communication!  No matter how hard it seems, remember you can earn your own respect and get what you need.  Maybe not with the person at hand, but if you are willing to take a stand, you will succeed at some point.

Final Caution

If your spouse or boyfriend is an aggressive person who is verbally or physically abusive, do not practice assertive communication with him or her.  It can escalate into domestic violence.  So if you are with a domineering and aggressive partner and feel that you or your children are at risk, please  call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233 or visit . Keep yourself safe, get therapy for support and exit the situation. 

So only practice assertive communication with others when there are no safety issues at hand.



7 research-based resolutions that will help strengthen your relationship in the year ahead

Consider some science-backed ways to keep the home fires burning in 2021. Gabriele Grzelewski/iStock via Getty Images Plus

The new year is going to be better. It has to be better. Maybe you’re one of the 74% of Americans in one survey who said they planned on hitting the reset button on Jan. 1 and resolving to improve. Those New Year’s resolutions most commonly focus on eating healthier, exercising, losing weight and being a better person.

Admirable goals, to be sure. But focusing on body and mind neglects something equally important: your romantic relationship. Couples with better marriages report higher well-being, and a recent study found that having a better romantic relationship not only promoted well-being and better health now but that those benefits extend into the future.

The lesson is clear: Your relationship is important. Resolve to get it right.

That doesn’t mean you have to be perfect. But here are seven resolutions based on recent psychological research that you can make this New Year to help keep your relationship going strong.

1. Set yourself up for success

Adjust your mindset so you see your relationship as a key source of positive experiences. Psychologists like me call this boosting your social approach motivation. Instead of merely trying to avoid relationship problems, those with an approach motivation seek out the positives and use them to help the relationship.

Here’s how: Imagine a conversation with your partner. Having more of an approach motivation allows you to focus on positive feelings as you talk and to see your partner as more responsive to you. Your partner gets a burst of positivity, too, and in return sees you as more responsive. One partner’s good vibes spill over to the other partner, ultimately benefiting both. After a year when your relationship may have felt unprecedented external strains, laying the foundation to take advantage of any positives is good place to start.

2. Be optimistic

While things in the past may not have always gone how you wanted, it’s important to be optimistic about the future. But the right kind of optimism matters. A 2020 research study from Krystan Farnish and Lisa Neff found that generally looking on the bright side of life allowed participants to deal with relationship conflict more effectively – as they put it, better able to “shake it off” – than did those who were optimistic specifically about their relationship.

It seems that if people focus all their rosy expectations just on their relationship, it encourages them to anticipate few negative experiences with their partner. Since that’s unrealistic even in the best relationships, it sets them up for disappointment.

3. Increase your psychological flexibility

Try to go with the flow. In other words, work on accepting your feelings without being defensive. It’s OK to adjust your behaviors – you don’t always have to do things the way you always have or go the places you’ve always gone. Stop being stubborn and experiment with being flexible.

A recent study by Karen Twiselton and colleagues found that when you’re more flexible psychologically, relationship quality is higher, in part because you experience more positive and fewer negative emotions. For example, navigating the yearly challenge of holidays and family traditions is a relationship minefield. However, if both partners back away from a “must do” mentality in favor of a more adaptable approach, relationship harmony will be greater.

couple calmly enjoying tea together
When you’re both in a good headspace, it’s easier to keep the relationship moving in the right direction. skaman306/Moment via Getty Images

4. It’s OK to put ‘me’ before ‘we’

It’s easy for some people to play the self-sacrificing martyr in their romantic relationship. If this sounds like you, try to focus more on yourself. It doesn’t make you a bad person or a bad partner. When you’re psychologically healthy, your partner and your relationship also benefit.

Recent research identified four main traits that are part of good mental health: openness to feelings, warmth, positive emotions and straightforwardness. These traits help with being more clear about who you are, feeling better about who you are, expressing greater optimism and less aggression, exploiting others less and exhibiting less antisocial behavior. You can see how what’s good for you in this case would be good for your partner too.

5. Do something for your partner

But it’s not all about you. Putting your partner first some of the time and catering to your partner’s desires is part of being a couple. A 2020 study by Johanna Peetz and colleagues found that prioritizing your partner makes you feel closer to them, increases positive feelings, reduces negative ones and boosts perceived relationship quality.

In the new year, look for ways to give your partner some wins. Let them get their way from time to time and support them in what they want to do, without exclusively prioritizing your own wants and needs.

6. Don’t be so hard on yourself

So many New Year’s resolutions focus on body image. Aspirations to eat better and work out often stem from the same goal: a hotter body. Yet, research from Xue Lei shows that you may not really know what your partner wants you to look like.

Women tend to overestimate how thin male partners want them to be. Similarly, men believe that female partners want them to be more muscular than women say they do. It may seem harmless, but in both cases individuals are more critical and demanding toward themselves, in part based on misreading what a partner truly desires.

couple embrace while sitting on the grass
Caring physical contact has a lot of upsides for your relationship. Drazen_/E+ via Getty Images

7. Stay in touch

I saved the easiest item on the list for last: Touch your partner more. When Cheryl Carmichael and colleagues followed 115 participants over a 10-day period, they found that initiating and receiving touch – things like holding hands, cuddling, kissing – were associated with both a boost in closeness and relationship quality. Importantly, being touched by your partner has the added benefit of making you feel more understood and validated. Who couldn’t use more of that in the coming year?

The Conversation

Gary W. Lewandowski Jr. ne travaille pas, ne conseille pas, ne possède pas de parts, ne reçoit pas de fonds d’une organisation qui pourrait tirer profit de cet article, et n’a déclaré aucune autre affiliation que son organisme de recherche.

Read the original article here —

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Posted by the Urban Dater Contributor


Is Marriage Counseling a Good Option for me?

You Need To Visit A Marriage Counselor

The decision of seeking marriage counseling can be hard or your partner may not be willing.  But during transition periods of life, a lack of communication, mistrust, sense of infidelity may need counseling of the expert. Marriage counselors often have credentials and expertise in that particular field but you may have to try out a few to find the best fit for you for counseling. 

Admitting that your partnership or marriage is having problems that cannot mend on their own can be the hardest part. But going to the therapist when it’s on the verge of breaking is not a good decision.

Counseling would help you to see your partner as actually who they are and mend your trust and have open communication with each other to strengthen your relationship or will help you to realize firm reasons for separation.

Marriage Counselling – An Overview

Marriage counseling or couples therapy is psychotherapy for resolving conflicts, increasing understanding for a crisis in marriage, and premarital counseling by experts licensed in marriage and family therapy. It generally is a short-term therapy.

But the length and participation depend on the situation. In case of participation sometimes one of the partners does not want to attend it. In that case alone, participation also helps. In some cases, one of them may need medical assistance for substance abuse or mental illness along with counseling sessions to address the whole problem.

Why You May Need Marriage Counseling

Many couples take part in marriage counseling initially for mainly three reasons:

  1. Money
  2. Lack of physical intimacy
  3. Parenting

But according to the interview of Hal Runkel, a marriage and family therapist and McNulty, a master trainer at Gottman Institute on these are never the main reasons.

Generally, insecurities, communication problems, and the feeling that a person has to change  themselves in order to be with the other are the reasons people seek therapy. Many ongoing events and underlying emotions can lead to this kind of broken relationship.

  1. Communication problem
  2. Sexual problems
  3. Lack of open communication
  4. Transitions e.g. marriage, childbirth, retirement
  5. Domestic abuse
  6. Substance abuse

A counselor would understand both of your narratives, observe your responses, and help you to unwind and take rational and best decisions. A counselor would decipher the meaning behind the complaints.

It helps you to take the focus out of your lives and problems and put it on yourselves and the expectations from each other, and find a solution that is best for both.

Signs That You Need Marriage Counseling

A Gap Of Communication:

When you don’t communicate, going back is really difficult. More than frequent arguments and negative communication evokes a sense of shaming, belittling, and disrespect. Negative communication also includes emotional abuse.

If your partner is becoming hard to approach and almost anything from money to sex and the aftertaste of every communication feels bitter, it’s time you visit a counselor. Negative communication mostly leads to shutting down to each other and deterioration of mental health.

Lack Of Physical Intimacy:

When married couples turn into roommates the distance between them also increases mentally. Physical intimacy is a legit way to communicate the attitude towards each other. The way couples get intimate can indicate their love, care, and trust for each other.

Lack of physical intimacy for a long time means two of you are getting disinterested in each other. Another spectrum of this is, if sex is given as punishment and your partner becomes controlling and angry most of the time, it’s likely your partner is abusing you.


Major life changes like childbirth and retirement can create a distance between partners and have an impact on their marriage.  Many couples go for counseling before marriage to iron out all their differences and strengthen their relationship.

Premarital counseling always helps in the long run. After childbirth, parents generally don’t get to take time out for themselves, and ignorance and misunderstanding can increase. But in most cases, parenting is not the core of the problem. The core problem is a lost connection and a sense of infidelity.

Addiction Of Substance:

If one of the partners is addicted to alcohol, drugs, and other substances, that can lead to domestic abuse, ill health, and mental problems. If your partner or you has an addiction and if that is ruining your relationship you should go to a counselor who will also recommend medical treatment and other therapies.

Domestic Abuse:

Abusive partners are difficult to deal with and can be ruining his or her spouse and their children’s lives in which case, solo-counseling is a must. If your partner hurts you physically and mentally, if you are afraid to talk to them and if there is a radical change in a short time, that is if they are harmful and rude one moment and the other moment is full of affection, then those are signs of abuse.

Having An Affair:

If one or both of the partners are having an extramarital affair, things can get complicated and some couples go to counselors for divorce, in that case, after assessment of the situation counseling can be processed to prevent mental harm.

Does Marriage Counseling Really Work?

The simple answer to the question Does marriage counseling works is? If the couple finds the correct therapist and is willing to let the counselor help them, it obviously works. Each marriage is like a DNA sequence; i.e., it is unique for each of them. If your marriage or relationship fails or has problems that you want to solve, a counselor would give a transparent look at you and your partner’s lives.

At first, you may find it challenging to tell your problems to the counselor in detail. You may end up arguing with each other or remaining completely silent during the sessions. That is completely fine. Acting normal and interacting with each other would let your counselor observe.

A counselor can give you communication exercises or exercises to do together and can bring you closer and refer treatment for mental and physical health problems, helping you have a peaceful and clean divorce.


When two persons live together, their dreams, expectations, lifestyles can collide and create problems. Getting professional help to help your own life is always a wise choice.

You can ask friends, families, or healthcare providers for referrals. The success rate of EFT (Emotionally Focused Therapy) is 75% nowadays. The earlier you go to the counselor the better will be your relationship.

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Posted by Dharmendra Chahar

I am a Content Writer and Blogger. I have published many articles on different websites. My skills also include user experience & conversion optimization. I love to write about travel, relationships, Auto, health, Education etc.


Money Matters in Dating | the Urban Dater

In the beginning stages of a dating relationship, there tends to be a great deal of dining out and other planned activities. While this is a fun time, it’s all too easy for money (payment for activities) to create awkwardness. Here I reflect on some ways in which that awkwardness can be avoided; it is essentially a list of behaviors I have observed in men that have the potential to cause their companion discomfort. I say men because I only have a woman’s perspective to offer on this subject. This reflection is not about who should pay for what, whether men should be expected to pay, and so forth. I comment here merely on behaviors I have witnessed that may be viewed as tasteless.

Let’s start with a note on planning the date. I find it tremendously off-putting when a man uses the phrase “take you out” when suggesting an excursion. It is a reference to money and the most well-meaning of men do this; they use that phrase as code for “I’ll pay,” but it’s patronizing and downright jarring. Replace “Can I take you out to…” with “Would you like to go to…” or “Shall we go to…”. Hopefully you are dating an adult who is accompanying you to some place; she is not being taken there. I take the Kid to school or to the doctor. I do not get taken to a restaurant.

The most common situation involving payment is dining at restaurants. Ah, so many “don’ts” here… And, yes, I’ve seen it all. This is a non-exhaustive list of things a man should never do at a restaurant. (a) Comment on prices of menu items; for instance, “this sixty-dollar steak better be good.” (b) Tell your companion to order whatever she wants; she’s an adult, she already knows she can do that. (c) Explicitly mention that you will be paying; comments such as “it’s my treat,” “splurge, it’s on me,” are always tacky. Once, walking around looking for dinner spots, I rejected a place for being too fancy; my companion responded “don’t worry, I’m paying.” No, no….don’t ever say that. Maybe I just didn’t feel like a fancy place. (d) Don’t look shocked or roll your eyes when you get the check, or comment on the amount. (e) Don’t take forever calculating the tip amount; quickly guess twenty percent of the total even if it’s not accurate. (f) Don’t start going through the itemized bill; unless something looks massively wrong, don’t dissect it. (g) Don’t take the receipt with you; makes it seem that you are keeping an account. You can look at your credit card account later. (h) Don’t pay with cash; it’s inelegant and makes money distastefully visible. Relatedly, always carry a back-up credit card; it’s not unusual for a card to randomly be declined. If that happens, there is no need to be embarrassed; just offer a different card.

Wine can be tricky. If picking a bottle from an extensive wine list, prices can run the gamut. I pride myself on how I deal with this situation. Having some wine expertise, I ask whether I may pick the wine. I ask my companion for general preferences (e.g. “is Malbec ok?”), and then pick a moderately priced bottle; that way, he’s off the hook for picking a $300 bottle of wine and doesn’t risk looking cheap by picking an inexpensive one. However, your date generally won’t be so slick. You should ask her for preferences, pick a bottle that you can comfortably afford, and run your choice by her. It would be highly inappropriate for her to suggest something outrageous instead.

If you valet-parked the car, be sure to have an appropriate tip amount in cash in an accessible place (no fumbling). If she drove, let her tip the valet. My rule is: whoever drives tips the valet or pays for parking. You want to be gallant without being overbearing. Along those lines, if your date insists on paying for dinner (particularly if it’s not the first date), please let her; certainly don’t start grabbing the check out of her hand and arguing. And definitely don’t put a stack of cash for your perceived share in front of her! No…don’t do that. Actually, there should never be cash exchanges in dating scenarios.

Another area in which money comes into play is gift-giving. What do you do when you haven’t known someone very long and her birthday comes up? You would like to get her a present, but have no idea what she might want. So why not take her to a store (say a boutique) and let her pick something she likes? Sounds like a good idea? No! This is a terrible idea. She is constrained by your budget, which she doesn’t know. Does she look at price tags and watch your face for a reaction? Does she simply ask you? It’s so very awkward! And then there is the pressure of finding something that she thinks you would like as well. What if she doesn’t like anything or is an unusual size (like me) and feels that she has to find something? And then subsequently there is the expectation that you would want to see her wear it. Instead, get her some flowers and wine (if she likes wine). And arrange a nice dinner. Who doesn’t enjoy flowers? Gifts don’t have to be functional.

You decide you are going to cook together and go to the grocery store to shop first. If the dinner will be at her house and she starts paying at the store, there is no need to fight her. If you would prefer to pay, do it quickly before she can get her card out. But don’t try to split up the items and don’t try to pay her back for something random you picked up (say you needed a toothbrush). Absolutely don’t try to give her cash for your items. I once had someone forcefully put cash in my purse at a store; weird and awkward and uncomfortable. Just say thank you, and remember: no cash exchanges.

On these early dates, another challenge is to find good topics for conversation. Money is not a good topic, in any context. It’s not appropriate to talk about your salary, your mortgage, the price of your car, how much you pay in child support…nothing that involves revealing actual amounts. These topics are for later in a relationship, with much higher levels of closeness. As relationships evolve, discussions of money become inevitable and smoothly work their way into conversations and practices. But until that happens organically, it is best to leave money out of it and enjoy the romance.

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Posted by Sona Goldstein

I’m a mother, a teacher, and a social observer. I have always enjoyed my internal dialogue in response to random situations in my life, and have decided to share my thoughts with others. My view of myself: I am an ordinary woman, but I find that the uniqueness of my life and my path is rather difficult to communicate to those who are focused on applying stale frameworks to profiling people. Having to write a short biography is an extremely stressful task for me; the shallowness of such descriptions so invariably fails to capture the essence of a person. I choose, therefore, to communicate through writing about my experiences and thoughts.


American Dating – Luxy Blog

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Codependency Definition: Six Key Signs and Symptoms

codependency definition

Here’s my codependency definition. It’s an addictive relationship where a person enables another’s immaturity, alcoholism or other self-destructive behavior. This could be with a child, sibling or partner/spouse.

Because the codependent feels overly responsible for the other’s welfare, she over-gives.  So that leaves the other without real consequences for their destructive behavior.

Does this ring true about any of your relationships? Our client example focuses on a marriage but codependency applies to all intimate relationships.

Codependency Definition: A Client Example

Kelly, one of our coaching clients, struggled with codependency.  She was a lovely 60-something woman, highly spiritual, whose laugh was delightful.  However, she was in a 10 year marriage to Jeff. A very unsatisfying and stressful marriage.  Kelly saw Jeff as self-absorbed and selfish. On top of that, he was a wannabe artist.  But Kelly  had believed in him and supported him from the beginning.  She made good money as a nurse and carried the couple along emotionally and financially.

In turn, Jeff rarely took on any money-making jobs because he was living his fantasy that he was a great artist. So such things were beneath him.  He spent his days watching the news, scrolling through social media and criticizing the government. But he aimed most of his resentments at Kelly. He regularly belittled and demeaned her.

Kelly wanted to leave Jeff, but, instead felt this powerful drive to stay and take care of him.  She worried, “What would happen to Jeff if I left?  He couldn’t survive!”  But, as Kelly confessed in her first coaching session, “I don’t really like to be with him unless we are watching a TV show together.” They seldom had sex.  And very little affection.  But Kelly was addicted to caring for Jeff.  We’ll get back to this case later.

Are You Caught in an Addictive Relationship?

Like Kelly, do you feel that you MUST give to the other person?  Does this giving continue,  even if you have decided not to do it?  Even if your giving doesn’t help them?  Are you addicted to being there for your partner?  Is this a huge burden in your life?

The good news is that this is a burden you can take off your shoulders.  The first step is to fully understand the problem so it can be solved.  Here are six key signs and symptoms that you may be facing:

Codependency Definition 1: Identity

The main issue is that your identity includes and emphasizes the other.  In fact, your sense of self is fueled by an extreme dependence on the other person for approval.  It is almost like they are the main part of you!  At times you feel like you could not exist without them—there would be no “you” without them in your life.

Codependency Definition 2: Caretaking Addiction

You experience a caretaking  addiction: an overwhelming, sometimes illogical need to be devoted to him or her.  Your identity is bound up with theirs. So that you constantly help, contribute to and overly nurture the partner.  This is true, no matter how self-destructive the partner is to themselves.  And no matter how destructive the partner is to the relationship.   And no matter how destructive the partner is to you.

Codependency Definition 3: Your Partner Hurts You Emotionally

The other partner regularly emotionally wounds, betrays or abandons you.   When this wounding occurs, the you feel bad and may give lip service to  pulling back or ending the relationship.  But you remain addicted to caregiving and support.  To the detriment of your own health, self-caretaking, welfare or happiness.  Your personal boundaries are absent and you suffer because of that.

Codependency Definition 4: The Other’s Welfare is More Important Than Your Own

Your partner’s health or financial and emotional security, their success or happiness is more important than your own.  This is true even if you are facing your own health challenges or other extreme hardships.  The other’s welfare comes first, regardless of what is happening in your life.

Codependency Definition 5: You Worry About the Partner

The relationship causes you to have  frequent or even ongoing bouts of worry, about your partner’s welfare, which creates suffering. The recurring thought pattern is: I must be completely focused on, devoted to, vigilant, worrying about, nurturing or helping  my partner. If not, then he or she will fail, be unhappy, get sick, or die.

Codependency Definition 6: Research Findings

Research shows that enablers tend to have:

  • Low self-esteem.
  • Family dysfunction that negatively effects their well-being.
  • Depression.
  • Anxiety.
  • High-levels of physical and psychological stress.

They also usually exhibit:

  • A fear of abandonment.
  • Difficulty saying no.
  • A need for control over others.
  • Difficulty understanding  their own feelings and needs.
  • Difficulty communicating their own feeling and needs.
  • Guilty feelings when take care of themselves instead of their partners.

How Kelly is Breaking Free

So there you have a six key signs and symptoms of codependency.  When Kelly, who we met earlier, went over all of these issues, she realized that she had almost all of them.  As she worked in her coaching sessions, she realized that her relationship was harming her emotional health.  Kelly began building her own independent life.  She took a medical intuitive course online and began practicing readings for free. She found lots of joy in her new work. And as she did, Kelly began to set stronger  boundaries with Jeff.  As Kelly practiced saying no to him they began to have fights. But he slowly began to show her more respect.  Kelly and Jeff are both in coaching and their relationship is still a work in progress. But Kelly is much happier with herself and her life.

Codependency Definition: Final Thoughts

What about you?  Do these six signs and symptoms sound very familiar to you?  Are you struggling in a relationship that seems to be  filled with over giving? And with very little receiving in return?  Do you have a hard time saying no, even if the demands are unfair to you?  Do  you feel guilty when you choose to satisfy your own needs?  If so you may need to work on yourself.   Definitely consider a gift session with one of my awesome coaches.

No matter what, please know that you can break these heavy chains.  In fact, you can go forward and build your own glorious fulfilling life.


5 Dating Applications to Double Your Dating Life (For Men)

In light of Covid 19, I decided to invest some money and time into learning online dating and how to text a woman. This is tested through real life results, real cash and real dates. Three months of tests after hundreds matches and tens of dates… here is what I concluded.

However, before you go through these 5 applications, do note that the same principles of building a strong online profile is required. 


In general I find that women on Tinder are busy and you need to strike whilst the iron is hot. This means, you need to reply fast and form a connection fast.

Think about it, women are going to get matches easily. They have a ton of opportunities. You’re just one of their matches in their sea of options, whilst it’s mostly the other way round for the average men on Tinder.

Tinder, and most online dating applications are about fast follow up. The only way to make Tinder work at scale is purchasing gold and boost. 

Beware: There are many fake accounts using Tinder to scam desperate men. They abuse the function of a Tinder passport. It’s quite easy to tell them apart after a while. Their photos have heavy make-up and then end up talking about ‘finance’ or ‘money’ after a while.

In general, if you match with a girl and she asks you to take it to another platform immediately, then it’s a red flag. Real women do not give out their profiles too easily.


To set up a proper profile on OkCupid, it requires a little bit more effort of designing the profile and answering the questions. It’s also a little more formalized than Tinder.

I found OkCupid useless without the paid feature. You need the paid feature to get matches and start conversations. I didn’t get many results through OkCupid and don’t really bother with this application after a couple of months.

Coffee Meets Bagel

Coffee meets bagel has a more professional feel to it. The paid subscription is the most expensive amongst the other dating applications.

I got curious and finally purchased the paid feature of Coffee Meets Bagel. The paid features allow you to reveal profiles that have liked yours. To my surprise, no one ‘liked’ my profile prior to this. I’ll be making profile tweaks over the next thirty days to see if I can get more likes and matches.

The paid subscription also allows you to ‘like’ more profiles per day, up to 8.

I did get dates and results from a Coffee Meets Bagel application. The women here seem to be the most invested and are willing to converse and go out on dates with you.


Yes, I did get results from Bumble similarly. It’s a women oriented application and gives the woman the power to initiate.

For us men, using Bumble for an organic dates generation platform is much better than paying for the boost. I had almost zero results when it came to boosting as compared to OkCupid and Tinder.

You’ll need a strong profile as usual need to be actively swiping to get matches:

 You swipe, you appear on the like feed of the woman, and she’s motivated to swipe or purchase premium to reveal you. That’s how Bumble makes money.


Hinge is one of if not my favorite dating applications. It allows you to comment on photos and prompts. This way, you CAN stand out from a the women’s POV.

You’ll rarely get high quality organic leads and likes from this application. However, if you understand online dating, and know how to comment and do what I call a cold outreach method. Then it’s totally worth your time. There’s no need to pay a premium for this application.

I did get high quality matches and dates from this application.

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Posted by Marcus

Marcus Neo publishes practical dating advice based on psychological research at MarcusNeo.Com


How to Find Love in The Midst of Lockdowns

In 2020, world governments announced shutdown measures are pretty strict and socially restrictive. In short, most social gatherings are not allowed and most retail malls aren’t going to be allowed to fully operate at scale. This means: · You cannot approach women on the streets · You can’t rely on social gathering to meet women · You can’t rely on clubs and bars to meet women It’s may not going to…



Eating, Food, and Dating | the Urban Dater

I love food, I love to eat, and food is an important part of my social interactions. When I ventured back into the world of dating after many years of marriage, I realized how people’s perspectives on food can interfere with dating relationships.

Of course, much else had changed in the dating world as well; for instance, my age and the manner in which people met (yeah…the whole online dating thing makes me long for the good old bar hookups of the 1990s). But back to food: I’m not a glutton and I eat quite healthy, but I really enjoy eating with others. I find that how people approach eating affects how comfortable I am in their company. How people approach food, particularly food consumption with others, can be influenced by deep-seated cultural norms or individual preferences. Whatever the source, it is a determinant of the dynamic we have with others. And I use the term “approach to eating” much more broadly than specific culinary preferences or dietary orientations.

Let me use an example from my family life as an illustration of cultural norms regarding eating before I turn to stories from dating experiences. My spouse’s parents were from the Midwest and, let’s just say, Fargo did a much better job of describing them than I could. (This Thrillist article is interesting: During early visits to their home, I quickly learned that the notion of “Midwestern nice” does not include warmth and hospitality. Even though we had traveled to visit them, a meal was prepared only if one was promised in advance.

The first time we got to their home in the morning, I nearly exploded when I realized that there was no breakfast; not even coffee. Of course, on subsequent mornings, we hit a diner in the morning and headed out for most meals. We were told at the beginning of the trip that a Christmas meal would be served; I didn’t realize that meant that it would be the only meal served. One might ask why I was not warned about this lack of hospitality by my spouse; well, I think that sort of candor also goes against the grain of that culture. During their first visit to my home, of course, I carefully planned each meal (resplendent with my nice dishes and silverware). Before each meal, they invariably commented that they were not hungry and then proceeded to clean their plates without one comment or compliment. I was perplexed. Then my spouse privately indicated to me that I was making them uncomfortable with my elaborate meals and that a better strategy might be to simply ask them what they would like for dinner. So I asked them that night. They said that they were not hungry and didn’t want anything; I said fine no dinner. Their son urgently rushed me to a private spot and said “So you are not making them dinner? They don’t mean it that they are not hungry; we have to fix dinner.” What??? I was lost! It would never occur to me to say I’m not hungry if I am. But I would also compliment a host on the food they prepare for me. These were cultural norms that a Jewish girl just did not understand. We cook, we eat. We have guests, we eat. We go somewhere, we eat. No, food doesn’t define us. But it doesn’t make us uncomfortable either. (Just an aside, a Georgetown linguist, Deborah Tannen has done some interesting research on cultural variations in communication styles within the United States; e.g.:

But I promised dating stories, so here they come. Middle-aged online dating has many challenges and food is a minor one, but I did find myself paying attention to how men approached food and eating (I say men because of the demographic to which my observations were limited). Well, most are pretty normal actually. The ones mentioned here struck me as odd, or just not very comfortable to be around.

Some don’t believe in dinner on the first date. They ask you to meet them for a drink at 7:00 pm, sit at a bar drinking until 8:00 pm, and then ask if you would like another drink. I eat dinner, and I eat it early. I’m a small person. I need to not drink very much on empty stomach. Apparently, to some people a “dinner” date carries some significance that they are not willing to attribute to that outing. Dude, I just want to eat! One such man I ended up having two subsequent dates with, both at his lovely home. Both evenings, he had prepared a gorgeous array of food which we never ate. Yeah strange. Let’s have some wine. Let’s sit on the patio. Let me show you the garden. Then it’s 10:00 pm and I say good night and leave; the topic of the dinner on the table never comes up. That one I truly can’t figure out. I decided it was just weird enough to steer clear of.

Then there are the vegans. I’m totally respectful of their lifestyle and culinary choices; I just don’t know what to do with them. Can’t make them food, can’t pick a restaurant; it just gets frustrating. If you are not a vegan, you don’t even think of all the infractions in any food you might offer them. I don’t even try; can’t win that one. During my last interaction with such a person, he very nicely said “let’s just take food out of the equation; we can do this without food.” Well, I didn’t know how.

The men who keep strict kosher. Again, I am very respectful of their lifestyle. In fact, I claim to keep kosher myself, but you know, the reform version of kosher (avoiding pork and shellfish). The first thing I learned about real kosher-keepers: you can’t really go out to restaurants. I enjoy eating out too much to give that up. But it’s not just that; they can’t eat at your home either because your kitchen is not kosher. One time, when expecting a guest with those dietary restrictions, I was told by him to not worry about cooking anything and just get some fruit. I understood, and said I will make a fruit salad. No…my knives couldn’t touch the fruit; it had to remain whole and unpeeled. Of course! And my dishes won’t work either. Yeah…sorry. Can’t do it.

On the other extreme are those who look at you strangely (even roll their eyes) if you rule out menu items at a restaurant because they contain shellfish or if you ask them to hold the cheese on a burger. Then they proceed to ask why we do this and try to explain that there is no health risk associated with those foods. Oh, and the best comment: you are missing out, this pork chop is so good! I really don’t want to have a conversation about rabbinic law; nor am I an apologist for any cultural / religious practices. I just don’t want to eat bacon; can we get past that? I won’t judge the other person for ordering whatever they want, but if they decide to order very unkosher stuff, then perhaps it’s not a good idea to reach over with their fork to try something off my plate.

It sounds rather shallow to say that you can’t have a relationship with someone who doesn’t eat what you do. No, it’s not about eating *what* you like, it’s about eating *how* you like. Food and eating is an integral part of most cultures, and sharing meals with loved ones is so very important for bonding. I say that as someone who spent four years of her life obsessed with body-building, counting/writing down every calorie consumed, and not sharing meals with her family. Yes, there was pretending to eat sometimes. Yes, there was eating “the right stuff” before going out to a dinner and then ordering a salad. Yes, there was avoidance of social events and holiday gatherings. I have to say, a chiseled body feels really darn good. And it looks really good when you look at yourself in the mirror before getting in the shower. But sharing those meals with loved ones would have felt better.

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