Breaking Up is Hard to Do

But You Can Get Through It

Breakups happen. When we’re lucky we experience clean breaks where both partners agree that things aren’t working and part ways amicably. Unfortunately, clean breaks don’t happen as often as we’d like and someone is left devastated by the loss of what they thought was true love.

Being dumped is difficult. We experience a range of emotions from sadness to anger and perhaps a little desperation as we hope our partner will change their mind and come running back to us. Getting back on our feet takes time of course but following the advice of relationship experts might just speed up the process so that we can get on with our lives and be happy again.

Grieve and Process but don’t Dwell

It’s perfectly natural to mourn the death of a relationship. You’ve invested your time and emotions into developing an attachment to another person. You’ve bared your soul and shared your most intimate parts with them. The world sees you as a couple and now you have to face that world alone. Let the tears flow as you reminisce about the good times and process the fact that it’s over but once you’ve had that good cry find something productive to do. Get up, get out and have a day where you don’t mention your ex to anyone. The quicker you begin developing new routines, the easier things will get.

Don’t Look for Excuses to Reach Out to Your Ex

If they’ve left something behind, mail it to them. If they took something of yours, shoot them an email requesting that they ship it back or give it to a friend. There is no reason to initiate direct contact. If you have children together or mutual property to deal with, it’s best to wait until you’re emotionally calm and in a good frame of mind.

Take Better Care of Yourself

Get your hair done or have a spa day. Develop a workout routine and get active. Improve your diet and get more sleep. Even something as simple as changing your makeup or updating your wardrobe might add a boost of confidence and help you to get back on your feet.

Tell Your Friends and Family

It’s okay to rely on your support system. It’s even better If you have someone to call when the urge strikes you to reach out to your ex. Let them know that your relationship has ended and put your feelings on the table but also ask them to help you by telling you to look forward and not back when you need reminding.

Try Something New

Step away from your old routine and take on a new challenge. There’s nothing better for the healing process than coming out of your comfort zone and finding new things to get excited about.

Take a Step Away From Social Media

There’s no pill more bitter after a breakup than seeing happy couples on your timeline. Stepping away will also prevent you from becoming consumed with stalking your ex to see if they’ve moved on. When you’re ready to return, purge your pictures and quietly change your relationship status. For those who are deeply invested in social media, this step feels like closure.

Change Your Future Plan

You likely thought your relationship would last and changed your future plans to include your ex. It’s time to modify those plans and set goals for yourself, alone. You no longer have to compromise. The sky is the limit. Get excited about the next phase of your journey!

Start Dating

When you’re ready, consider what you want in your next relationship and begin dating again. Join an online dating site and take time to seek out the type of man or woman that you’re looking for. It may not be the best time to commit to something serious but seeing what’s out there can be just as fun and exciting.

Men Need Safety in a Relationship, Too

They may not talk about it. They might not even realize that it’s what they’re looking for but for a man to fall in love and stay in love, he needs to feel safe. So, what does safety look like for a man? He’s probably not expecting his female partner to defend him against muggers. What he needs is to feel safe emotionally.  He needs security.

A Person to be Vulnerable With

Phrases like, “crying like a baby” and “just man up” are common in our society because many men were taught that talking about feelings is a feminine trait. To the outside world, your man wants to appear confident, secure, and brave but, like all of us, he needs a place where he can talk through his doubts and fears. He needs someone in his life who will allow him to express his feelings without shaming him or viewing him as less of a man for doing so.

Men carry just as much emotional baggage as women and they want their partners to understand what they’ve been through. It’s a normal part of the bonding experience and helps to grow a relationship. Ridiculing a man, invalidating his feelings, or using things that he’s said when he was vulnerable as ammunition later may cause his love to die on the vine.


Men want someone who accepts them as they are, not someone who sees them as raw material that can be molded into something presentable. If a woman can’t accept a man’s flaws and also compliment his positive traits, his needs won’t be met and he’ll likely lose interest. No one feels safe when they’re consistently told that they aren’t good enough.


For a man to feel safe with you, he must first trust you. Like women, men feel insecure when their partner is evasive or aloof. If he feels that his partner thrives on attention from other men, he may just jump ship. Even the most secure man will become doubtful if he feels that his partner is too secretive or too eager to give their attention to other men.


Our society has created women who can masterfully balance masculine and feminine energy within themselves, We can be the hard-nosed boss during the day and the soft, loving mother at night but this is a bit more difficult for men.  Men tend to spend most of their time in their masculine energy.

Men are naturally inclined to protect and provide for their partners regardless of how independent and capable that partner may be. If a man feels “unnecessary”, he will not believe that he holds a place of value in the relationship and that may make him insecure. He wants a partner who is willing to accept his help and express gratitude for his effort. He wants to know that his relationship isn’t a competition. He wants a partnership and he wants his role in that partnership to be acknowledged.

Three Mistakes that Move Men Out of Commitment Mode

So, you’re deep into a “situationship” with a guy and you find yourself developing feelings for him. You believe that he’s feeling those love sensations as well but, despite your best efforts, he shows no signs of wanting to commit to you. Worse, he seemed to be headed in the relationship direction but stopped dead in his tracks. You wonder what’s going on with him. You consider the idea that maybe he’s just a player and that he never intended to be with you long-term. As women, the one thing we rarely do is look in the mirror and ask, “did I do something to create this situation?”, and the answer may be yes.

Making Assumptions

It’s easy to assume that the man that you’re pining over is on the same page with you. After all, he is affectionate and says all the right things. Surely he’s already committed to you, right? So, you move along believing that you’re in a relationship when, for him, things are just casual. You never asked him about his feelings. You weighed his behavior on your emotional scale and never considered that his may be different from yours.

Since you didn’t ask, he didn’t tell and now, you’re getting angry when he likes other girls’ pictures on social media. You feel slighted when he goes out and doesn’t invite you. You become jealous and possessive of a man who technically isn’t yours.

When this happens, he sees it as a glimpse into what life with you as his girlfriend might look like and nobody wants to tie themselves down to someone who comes off as jealous and insecure. He wonders why you got so crazy when things were so chill before.

He may keep you around in a casual capacity, but you’ve probably made yourself a relationship no go.

Trying to Talk Him into it

In another article titled; “When Your Romantic Partner Won’t Commit”, I discuss not talking yourself into believing that one day, the man who tells you that he just wants to be casual will change his mind. They rarely do and if you try to convince him that he should, you just look desperate.

Men want to hold on to things that they find valuable, including women and desperate women are a dime a dozen. You need to remember why this man was attracted to you in the first place and be that strong, desirable person. If not, no amount of pressure will make him commit.

Being His Girlfriend Without Being His Girlfriend

Unless your encounters are purely sexual, this man is spending time with you because you fulfill one or more of his emotional needs. If you want more from him, you have to stop giving him everything he needs without getting something back.

They say, “Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free.” I used to think that he should buy the cow because the day would come when the farmer got tired of giving away all the milk and cut him off. Now that I’m older and wiser I’ve come to realize that it’s very likely that I wasn’t his first cow and that he knows that there will be another dairy farm out there if I pack up my milk bucket and leave.

Stop being there at his convenience. If you’re busy when the phone rings, let it ring and call back later. Make sure you continue having a life without him. When he asks for advice, ask, “what have your other friends told you?” Make it clear that his problems are not yours to solve. Place a healthy distance between you and one of two things will happen. Either your value to him will increase, or he’ll go find another dairy.

Four Signs That He Doesn’t Think You’re “The One”

It happens. You meet someone and everything seems to be progressing fine, then, you begin to wonder if he’s in it for the long haul with you or if you’re simply filling some temporary void for him. You realize that he doesn’t include you in many aspects of his life and that your “couple presence” both online and in the real world is almost non-existent. Maybe he’s just a private person or maybe, he doesn’t think you’ll be around that long. As anyone who has suffered a breakup knows, the more public the relationship, the more uncomfortable the breakup becomes. You have to wash the stain of failure off your social media and endure questions and unsolicited advice from family and friends. Guys just don’t want to deal with these things.

His behavior is not always intentional. He might not be a manipulator or even a bad guy. Most men don’t plot out a relationship, including boundaries, from start to finish. It may be that he just doesn’t feel it, so he doesn’t do it. Like telling you that you’re beautiful when you’re make up free and your hair is a mess. He doesn’t decide not to tell you. If he doesn’t think it, he doesn’t say it.

So, how do you know if he’s in it for the long haul?

He doesn’t commit to long term plans without discussing them with you

If you’re shocked to discover that he’s taken a work assignment that will dramatically change his income, lifestyle, or location, you’re temporary. If he books a flight for next summer and then tells you about his plans later, you’re temporary. Men and women seek counsel from those that they love and respect. He wouldn’t make a life-altering decision without asking for your input. In addition, he would care about your feelings on the matter. If he’s given an opportunity that excites him and his first thought isn’t to share the news with you, he doesn’t see you as his life partner.

He’s proud to show you off to his friends

When a man believes that he’s found the one, he also believes that she’s something to brag about. He wants to tell the world, “Look at her. She’s mine.” Some men do this subtly by simply exposing you to his inner circle. Others are more overt. They boast to their friends about your accomplishments and show you off every chance they get. If he doesn’t do these things, he is, at minimum, unsure about you.

When he talks about the future, it’s we, not me

When he dreams about his life ten years from now, he sees you in the picture and uses the words, we and us. If he tells you that he sees himself making it big in the real estate market and settling down in another state, he doesn’t plan to take you with him.

He’s protective of you

When a man begins to think of a woman as his life partner, he goes into protector mode. He worries when you work late and have to walk to your car in a dark parking lot. If you’re ill or having emotional problems, you are his top priority, even when it’s inconvenient. He will stand up for you when someone mistreats you and will defend you, even against those in his inner circle. No matter how independent and capable you are, he will express concern for your well-being. If he doesn’t, he’s not fully committed to a future with you.

Six Signs of a High Value Woman

A high-value woman is described as a woman who knows her worth. She is a woman who emanates an energy of confidence, compassion,, and independence and is one who is highly attractive to men for reasons that go far beyond her physical attributes.

There are several reasons a man would crave a high-value woman. She keeps him in check by not keeping him in check. She isn’t clingy or demanding and allows him to have aspects of his life that don’t include her. He likes that she wants him, but doesn’t need him. He values her trust in him but understands that she knows her own worth and will leave him if he breaks that trust. In addition, her energy can be intoxicating. Her confidence can be contagious. He may feel like a better man when he’s with her. She’s someone that he wants to brag about. Having her by his side is a privilege because she can have her pick of many men but chose him.

So, how do you know if a woman is high-value? There are many qualities that present in high-value women but here are the top six attributes that these women share.

She loves and respects herself first, and very deeply

She is confident in her abilities and life skills and is likely financially independent because of this. She takes care of her body, mind, and spirit.. Her external beauty is often a byproduct of her healthy lifestyle. She tends to surround herself with other high-value people but is a beacon for the broken.  She will encourage and uplift others but will not reduce herself to their level or allow them to bring her to a place of stress. She values her own emotional health too greatly for that.

She’s happy alone

When she isn’t in a relationship, she fills her time with projects and activities that bring her fulfillment or improve her position. She doesn’t need a man to fill a void for her because she fills it herself. When she’s in a relationship, she doesn’t require her partners’ undivided attention. In fact, she’d prefer not to have it  She needs her alone time and expects her partner to value theirs as well. She understands that it takes two whole people to have a healthy relationship.

She’s sexually confident

She knows what she wants and expects her partner to provide it. She isn’t shy about her sexuality and this confidence radiates from her making her very desirable. She loves her body and won’t need the lights off to undress and get down to business. She isn’t concerned that her partner might notice her physical flaws because she has learned to embrace them. She understands that nobody is physically perfect and doesn’t expect her partner to be either. She realizes that sensuality comes from within.

She knows her worth and won’t settle

If she feels disrespected, she will say so. If the disrespectful behavior continues, she will leave. She doesn’t settle for less than she deserves in the workplace or romantically. She is confident that she can find what she needs even if it means starting over.

She is genuinely interested in her partner

She wants to know him because she understands how emotional connections are made, She’ll ask questions and engage. High-value women rarely talk about themselves because they don’t feel the need to sell themselves to anyone. Someone once said, “A strong woman never talks about how strong she is..” They were right.  She will advise and uplift a high-value man and he will love her for it.

She is emotionally mature

She’s not co-dependent or clingy and doesn’t suffer fits or jealousy. She is capable of talking about problems in a relationship without assigning blame. She isn’t spiteful or vindictive and will only work to improve a relationship if she feels that it’s worth saving. She is compassionate and caring and seeks to understand the feelings of others.

When Your Romantic Partner Won’t Commit

You have someone special in your life who takes up much of your time and, although you aren’t in a relationship, you see each other exclusively. After months, or years, in some cases, you decide that you would like to take things to the next level. When you mention this to them, they panic and you’re devastated. You don’t understand. You know they enjoy being with you. They’re with you all the time! You begin to question their intentions. You wonder if they are playing you. You think there may be someone else. You may also wonder why they think you aren’t worthy of a relationship and begin to doubt yourself.

This isn’t a time for you to overthink or create these kinds of scenarios. This is a time to listen and observe. If you truly care for this person, you need to hear what they’re telling you.

If they tell you that they’re happy with things the way they are, believe them. If they tell you that they aren’t ready for a relationship, believe them. If they want to hold on to you, but don’t want to commit to you, believe them, and, if you find yourself still wanting more than they are willing to give, leave.

You may think that if they call you every day and have sex with you every chance they get they will eventually feel comfortable enough to commit to you. They won’t. You can’t make someone love you by giving them more of what they already don’t appreciate.

You may think that you can convince them that you’re the one. You can’t. It’s likely that they already love you, or, at least, care very deeply for you because they want you in their life. If they fear that they might lose you, you may succeed in convincing them to make a commitment that they aren’t ready for.  It won’t last and one or both of you will likely harbor resentment toward the other.

Communication is a two-way street. It takes truth from the speaker and acceptance from the listener. They’re saying, “I don’t want to have a relationship with you”, and you’re hearing, “I’m confused and need you to make me realize that I will be happy with you.” These situations often end with the pursuer feeling used and misled when in reality, the other person has been honest about their intentions from the start.

If you care for this person but can’t be happy with an unspoken commitment or casual “situationship” you are better off ending it before you create unnecessary animosity. Allow them the time to work on their commitment issues while opening yourself up to new experiences. You may come together at a later time when they are more stable. You may find what you’re looking for with someone else. Either way, you will both be better off.

If you do decide to stick it out with them, make certain that your intentions are pure and that you’ll be fulfilled by the level of commitment that your partner is willing to give. Happiness, for both of you, should be the goal.

Four Signs That He’s In Love With You

We all want romance, compliments, and good morning texts but are these things signs that a man loves you? Not according to men. A recent poll in Mens’ Health suggests that men do these things to capture a womans’ attention even before they commit to a relationship. So, how do you know if a man truly loves you? Here are four tell-tale signs that he’s in love.

He makes you a priority

When a man is in love he will be there for you even when it’s inconvenient for him. He will listen to your problems and will want to help you solve them. He considers your feelings; your wants and your needs before making decisions that could affect your relationship.

He supports your goals and dreams

Even when you doubt yourself, he is championing your success. He is proud of your accomplishments and believes that you can do anything you set your mind to.

He asks you for advice

He asks your opinion because he values it. He trusts that you won’t lead him down the wrong path and that you have his best interest in mind. He wants to make decisions that are good for both of you and he wants you to be proud of him.

He will be vulnerable with you

This is a big one. A lot of men fear being seen as weak or sensitive so they hide their more vulnerable side until they feel safe. If he opens up about his trauma and his fears, he has placed his trust in you as a partner. He’ll also show vulnerability in the relationship by expressing his feelings about you and his desire to build a future with you in it.

How to know when a relationship is over

Life in 2021 is hard. We’re facing unprecedented changes to our routines and priorities. We’ve suffered losses that range from daily inconveniences to significant trauma like illness or the loss of loved ones. Stress, anxiety, and depression are at an all-time high. If you’re lucky, this outside pressure has brought you closer to your lover but for many of us, anxiety has placed an added strain on our relationships. How do you know if your relationship issues are real or just pandemic side effects?  According to Psychology Today, there are telltale signs that it’s time to end a relationship.

For women:

You no longer feel an emotional connection

If you are no longer comfortable being open and sharing your deep feelings with your partner, you  may be masking your vulnerability. For a relationship to thrive, both partners need to feel safe sharing their innermost thoughts and feelings.

There is no longer trust in the relationship

Lost trust is a very hard thing to rebuild. If your partner has broken your trust and, even though you’ve forgiven them, you find yourself second guessing their words and actions, your relationship may be over.

You no longer desire sex with your partner

Physical attraction is very important in a relationship and a lack of intimacy can be crippling.  If you’re no longer physically attracted to your partner, it may be time to move on.

You’re finding other people more attractive and may be tempted to cheat

If you’re suddenly sizing up your partners potential competition and a wandering eye is outside of your character, you may be over your relationship.

You argue all the time or don’t bother to argue at all

It’s normal for people to argue sometimes. Disagreeing on everything, however, is a red flag. If you can’t agree on anything, you may not have enough in common to keep your relationship afloat. If you are hurt or angered by your partner but feel that the effort involved in resolving the conflict isn’t worth it, you may be done with your relationship.

For Men:

You no longer have fun

You’re partner no longer makes you laugh. You no longer enjoy the same things and you no longer look forward to spending time with your lover.

You no longer chase your partner

Men want to be with someone of value. They thrive on chasing and winning a quality partner but the chase doesn’t end when you become a couple. You continue to date your mate. You surprise them with gifts and flowers. This is how you keep the chase on. If you’ve become too comfortable and stopped chasing your partner, you may have lost interest.

Your partner is a hindrance to your life goals

Perhaps she finds your goals too lofty and not ground in reality. Maybe, she expects you to spend all of your time with her and time spent pursuing your goals is met with animosity. If your partner doesn’t support your dreams, it’s time to part ways.

For both men and women:

You have no desire to work on your relationship problems and no longer consider your partners feelings or take pleasure in hurting them. At this point, ending the relationship may be the only option.

Dating a Man with Low Self-Esteem

The number of men suffering from self-esteem issues might surprise you. This is due, in part, to the male tendency to mask “signs of weakness” for fear of looking less masculine and because men with low self-esteem tend to behave differently from their female counterparts. It’s true that women more frequently suffer from self-esteem issues than men and that self-esteem increases with age after adolescence but childhood trauma and abuse, school-age bullying, social media-driven body image issues and, even the current pandemic have led to more and more men reporting issues with confidence and self-esteem. In one recent study, 58% of the men polled showed signs of low self-esteem.

Dating a man with low self-esteem is a journey through very rough terrain. As one relationship specialist described it; “A man can’t love you more than he hates himself,” and, as much as we’d like to fix him, we can’t. Only he can take the steps necessary to improve his self-image. For some men, the first step; admitting the problem, is something they just aren’t comfortable doing.

What are the signs of low self-esteem in men?

A man with low self-esteem may appear to have an inflated ego. He describes himself as superior to others and needs to be the alpha male. He boasts about his every achievement and frequently describes himself as unique, special, and possessing talents that other men just don’t have. This posturing is a form of self-protection.

Men with self-esteem issues often develop obsessive-compulsive disorder, (OCD) because they suffer from anxiety and distress. He will engage in compulsive and repetitive behavior.

He likely suffers from psychological escapism. When things get uncomfortable, he disconnects from them mentally. This trait combined with his tendency toward OCD often leads to addiction.

Dating him may feel like dating a child. He wants to be pampered, fed and provided with all of your attention when you’re together and may throw a tantrum if he isn’t the center of your universe.

He likes to play the victim card. When things go wrong in his life he turns to self-pity saying things like, “Why does this always happen to me?”, “Why am I so unlucky,” etc…

He is likely to have difficulty committing to a relationship. His need for external validation is too great for one person to fill. He may also feel unworthy of your love and avoid committing for fear of being hurt.

Though he will expect to have your complete attention and act jealous and insecure about your relationships with others, he will likely have a wandering eye and will flirt with other women. He has a need to seek attention from other women as a means of validation and the more, the better because external validation is a weak substitute for self-love and can only temporarily fill the void.

If you’re dating a man with low self-esteem, it’s important to understand that you can’t fix him. You can offer realistic compliments and reassure him but you won’t convince him that he’s good enough. He will need to come to terms with his problem and work through the root cause. This generally requires some form of professional counseling.

Ghosting, Breadcrumbs, and Gaslighting

And How to Handle Them

There is no doubt that social media has changed our interpersonal interactions and not always for the better. When it comes to relationships and dating, the internet has expanded our options exponentially which could provide access to the love of your life several states away. Unfortunately, this additional reach also invites more of the wrong people to have access to us.

By now, everyone has an idea of what ghosting is. Simply put, someone seems to have an interest in you and things appear to be progressing in a positive direction and then, suddenly, they go dark. They don’t text or call and stop responding to your attempts to reach out. So, why do people ghost? In many cases, for one reason or another, the person who is ghosting has decided not to proceed with the relationship but fears confrontation so they cut off all communication. They may feel guilty for initiating the contact and then changing their minds and simply don’t want any repercussions for their behavior. If you’ve been ghosted, move on. There won’t be closure. Simply understand that being ghosted is not a reflection on you. It’s a reflection of them.

Breadcrumbs are the texts, messages, and comments on social media posts that someone leaves to give the impression that they’re interested in you. The problem with breadcrumbs comes in when the person leaving them has no intentions of moving forward into a face to face relationship. Breadcrumbs are a vague way of leading someone on. The messages are sporadic and just when you think the person has lost interest, they pop up on your social media again to keep you on the hook.

 There are several reasons why people leave breadcrumbs. In some cases, the person is healing from a breakup and wants to feel validated by communicating with someone else. They may also be looking for an ego boost for other personal reasons. In many cases, they are leaving breadcrumbs for multiple people so that they can feel good about themselves when their inbox is full of messages from people who find them attractive. If you’re getting messages from someone and they don’t start discussing a meet up after three messages, it’s best to not get emotionally attached to this person and move on.

And, finally, gaslighting. Gaslighting is a key indicator of a toxic relationship. When someone gaslights, they cause their partner to question reality. They twist the narrative to make others question their thoughts, feelings, actions and memories in order to control them in some way. Gaslighter want to play victim when they, in fact, are the manipulator. It is a common trait of narcissists who disregard their partners wants and needs and make them feel shellfish for having them. If you are certain about your thoughts, feelings or account of a particular incident but find yourself questioning your view of reality after discussing it with your partner, you may be the victim of gaslighting.

I had the misfortune of being involved with a gaslighter for several years and can say from my own experience that I had no idea that he was manipulating the narrative until after the relationship ended. I reflected on the many times that he had made me feel guilty for pointing out his behavior and somehow convinced me to take blame for his wrong doing. It was a hard lesson to learn and a relationship trap that I will never fall in to again.

As interactions become more virtual, we will coin more phrases to define peoples evolving online behavior. On the bright side, we’ll be able to access this information and arm ourselves so that we don’t waste our time on people who aren’t really interested in committing to a relationship.