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“I don’t know how you do it,” a client recently said to me during one of our sessions. “If I had to hear myself and other women endlessly talk about an ex-boyfriend, I’d roll my eyes and tell them to just get over it.”

I told her that just getting over it is easier said than done until you’re the person going through it.

I know this because I’ve been through all of the feelings that any of my clients go through after a bad breakup.

For a while I was the girl still pining for a man she loved and lost.

Wondering what might have been if only…

Those two words will kill you if you let them: if only.

I would tell myself to “just get over it”, while still waking sadly from memory-laden dreams.

I believe in fate.

I believe that there is purpose to events, beyond mere coincidence.

It took me a long time to realize what this breakup would come to mean.

Because I didn’t marry my first love, the one who I thought would make me part of that ‘perfect couple’ that others would envy — I am more equipped to help others find true love. I have a beautiful son and another on the way. I have a wonderful marriage with a man who treats me like a princess.

The majority of women who didn’t live their happily ever after with the one they thought they were going to, but who have gone through the mess, the heartache, the highs and lows — it’s in going through these painful events that we are left at our most vulnerable, wondering how we can ever trust a man again.

Wondering how we can ever trust our fragile selves again to get it right.

To trust in love.

To trust in choosing the right person.

So we do what any rational human would do. We clamp both hands over our hearts as if to say, “I can’t let anyone in here.”

We may date now and again, but never let ourselves get too excited, just in case…

The subtle message that we are telling our heart and brain is…protect. Protect.

It is in this protection that we actually do the most damage of all to our fragile self-esteem.

We stop letting joy and love in. We stop letting even the possibility of love in. We stop letting ourselves be excited, one of the most basic and childlike emotions there is.

Therefore, how do we begin to trust again after a bad breakup?

We do the counter-intuitive thing. The thing we’re most afraid of.

We gently take both hands off of our heart.

We say, “I’m willing to trust again, even if I get hurt. Even if I don’t get it right the next time. I am willing to find true love.”

True love doesn’t exist without vulnerability. It just doesn’t.

You begin by first trusting yourself again. Trusting that you are a good judge of character. Trusting that you can make sound decisions.

When has there been another time where you’ve gone through a difficult situation, one you didn’t know if you’d get through, but you stood back up?

Who are other people in your life that you trust who haven’t let you down?

What decisions, big or small, have you made that you feel proud of?

Don’t let the breakup you went through, the one that feels so big right now, be what defines you and your life.

Only a heart like yours would have opened itself to that kind of love in the first place.

It is because of this, the loving heart that you have, that your desire for true love will come to be.

Love,

Alexis

P.S. Let’s hear from you in the comments below! Have you ever felt like you need to move on but really you’re stuck wishing he’ll come back?

Want to learn more about bringing love into your life?  Join our mailing list below, and I’ll send you my complimentary Finding Love video series!

The post How To Trust Again After A Bad Breakup appeared first on Alexis Meads | Dating Coach and Dating Expert | Portland Oregon.

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This month in the Dating Cocktail Lounge, a monthly membership for finding true love, we’ve been discussing the difference between the dating trend called Breezing, vs. what I call Cool Girl Syndrome.

One of the girls in the group commented that she has a hard time being the ‘carefree cool girl’. She’d act like it because she knew that’s what guys liked but wasn’t feeling true to herself.

Eventually her real self would come out, typically when she was really into the guy, and then he would start pulling away from her.

What is the difference between having confidence within yourself with ‘breezing’, and when is it putting on more of an act and not being true to yourself? And more importantly, why?

The idea of Breezing is simple in essence and can come naturally for some people.

It’s a dating trend that focuses on not caring. It’s about being carefree, confident within yourself, and not worrying too much about what you’re supposed to be doing and what he’s thinking.

Breezing is telling you to be who you are, be true to yourself (EVEN if that’s not naturally the most carefree person in the world), and not to be afraid to speak your feelings.

When my clients are dating and they start to feel anxious about questions such as, “Should I text him back right now or wait?”, I ask, “What feels the most light and fun to you?” This keys you in to being true to yourself rather than following a prescriptive set of rules.

It’s easier to act authentically carefree and breezy when you’re dating someone if you’re not sure how much you like them at first, and if they’re not playing games with you.

The problem is that when you really like a guy and get attached too quickly, it can become almost impossible to naturally feel breezy.

That’s where Breezing’s evil stepsister comes in: Cool Girl Syndrome.

Cool Girl Syndrome is acting like, and trying to be, the super accommodating, low key cool girl in order to get a guy to like you.

I have played this role many times in my dating life, and let me tell you, when it’s not authentic it rarely if ever works out.

You may even have pure intentions, thinking, well he may just be a really busy guy and I’d like to be understanding, compassionate, and give him the benefit of the doubt because that is who I am.

Perhaps he has recently gone through a divorce and tells you that it is completely over between him and his wife, but they share young kids. He tells you that he wants to move forward with a new relationship, that he really likes you, while in the meantime he is still extremely intertwined with her and sets no boundaries.

You start to make excuses again for him, wanting to be compassionate for the situation he’s going through, while finding yourself increasingly frustrated and insecure.

If you are ‘t clear within yourself of what you want and what is OK to you, then what happens if you’re all too accommodating all too often, is that it sets the stage for the relationship and creates bitterness within you.

The guy may even say things to his friends like, “She is so easy going! She’s the coolest girl I’ve ever dated!” This SEEMS great, while in the meantime he’s learned that it’s okay to cancel dates last minute if something comes up because you don’t appear to care.

While, inside, you may be stewing and gritting your teeth to tell him that it’s fine, although really it’s not, but it’s too late to create a new precedent for the relationship.

In essence, he learns that he doesn’t have to work for you, and you become more frustrated about it as the relationship moves forward.

You’ve taught him that he can give you crumbs of a relationship, rather than the real thing. And if you really like him, you start to accept these crumbs, feeling like it’s probably better than nothing.

But let me tell you beautiful, it’s not. You don’t deserve crumbs but the whole fucking cake.

And it’s important that you know what that whole cake looks like. Is it chocolate or vanilla? Ice cream or angel food?

You need to know what that fulfilling, loving relationship actually looks like so that you don’t fall head over heels with someone who was never prepared to give you that in the first place. He may even be incapable of giving you that kind of commitment.

Know what you want and don’t settle for less!

Love,

Alexis

How about you? Have you ever tried to be carefree and easygoing in a relationship, only to fall into Cool Girl Syndrome instead? Let us know in the comments below!

Want to learn more about bringing love into your life?  Join our mailing list below, and I’ll send you my complimentary Finding Love video series!

The post Are You Falling Into Cool Girl Syndrome When You Date? appeared first on Alexis Meads | Dating Coach and Dating Expert | Portland Oregon.

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I’ve been thinking a lot about online dating lately as the conversation has come up numerous times with my clients and in The Dating Cocktail Lounge. The thing is that no one really seems to like online dating. It’s almost as if dating online has become something we simply have to tolerate to date in the 21st century. So I came up with 3 of my personal rules for dating online without losing your sanity (or your confidence).

I was reading an article in my husband’s GQ magazine about mental health. Social media came up in the article and the author went so far as to liken it to cigarette smoking, noting that at one time smoking was the norm without much concern for individual or public health, and now it’s rare to see someone smoking in public.

He said that the same thing was currently happening with social media. That the personal wellness effects are only just beginning to be discussed, and what researchers are uncovering is that “it is almost impossible to be happy” in today’s world if much of your time is spent on social media.

That’s a pretty huge statement!

Bingeing on social media can lead to anxiety, depression, feelings of comparison, lack of confidence, and the list went on and on.

This got me thinking if that comparison is much different from online dating apps? Particularly the swipe apps?

We have to remember that there is us on the dating app, there are the people we are swiping on, and then there is this whole other party that’s kinda controlling the whole thing.

And that’s freaky when you think about it!

Not too long ago if you wanted to date online your options were pretty limited, and you’d have sites like Match.com who boasted the most marriages or relationships formed from their site. When I was 25(ish) I dated on Match.com and actually had a wonderful experience meeting wonderful people!

However, when I think about the swipe apps of today, and I ask myself what is the motivation of the companies behind the swipe apps, is it to have people connecting, falling in love, and eventually partnering up as possible?

This is what most of us want, right?

We want romance.

We want true love.

Sure, maybe some of us on the apps just want to pass the time or have a few casual hook ups, but the majority of us yearn for the kind of love we’ve seen in movies, or maybe that our parents had. The kind we know is real and tangible and possible.

The apps are revenue generating companies, and they lose revenue when you stop using their product. In essence, they make money from keeping you on the app.

I’m not saying that they are evil or anything like that. There are some good intentions behind these apps, and that’s what we’re going to talk about today!

But from my perspective as a Dating & Relationship Coach, the majority of what I’ve heard lately about online dating has been negative, and that’s kind of sad.

People ask me all the time, “Do I have to date online if I want to date today?”

The answer is no! You don’t have to do anything that you don’t want to do!

There is always more than one way to get you to your goal.

In a recent podcast by Yoga Girl with Seal, Seal shared that decided not to text anymore. At all.

WOW.

That blows my mind! He just made a decision one day that texting was out of the question. If he needed to speak to someone he would call them, or even better, Facetime them.

Seal went on to say that he believes communication has become broken only for us to fix it again and make it better.

I feel the same way about dating!

Perhaps dating has become a little broken. We could throw up our hands, claim that every guy (or girl) out there is just impossible, and give up on love.

But what if there’s another way? What if it’s up to us to fix it?

And the answer is actually a lot closer to home than we think.

In fact, the answer starts with us and only us.

Here are 3 rules that I came up with for dating online without losing your sanity, dignity, or respect.

1. Set Parameters

One thing about online dating that my clients have complained about is that it becomes boring and mindless. During any empty moment of the day they may find themselves flicking open the app and swiping through what feels like an endless sea of guys (until they start scrolling through the same guys).

This habit usually leads to feeling that there’s no one good out there, that online dating doesn’t work, or worse, to a lack of confidence because you’re not getting enough connections/the right connections/follow through with messages.

I recommend that everyone who wants to do online dating set parameters and boundaries for yourself. It is not a numbers game. It’s really not. You’re not missing out just because you missed a day or an hour of swiping.

Some of the apps have features where they will send you a limited number of matches per day and you can select one to follow through on. I think this is great!

Let yourself know how much time is a reasonable amount of time for you to spend on the app and then stick to that. You could allow yourself 20 minutes on the app once a day, at the same time each day.

2. Be Intentional

Intentions matter. You may have intentions for other areas of your life such as the kind of mother you want to be to your children, or how you want to show up at work.

Why not set an intention for online dating as well?

Maybe it’s to connect with wonderful new people while bringing mindfulness to the practice. Just implementing your parameters (20 minutes a day, every other day, etc.) will help with this a lot!

When you open up the app be really intentional. Take a few nice deep breaths and only do it in private when you have the time and space to do so. Think about what you want to get out of the session. Perhaps it’s that you want to thoughtfully respond to any new messages and that’s it. Maybe you’ve already been talking to someone and you want to set up a date with them.

I literally just came from yoga class where the teacher challenged us to set an intention and show up mindfully on the mat.

It’s not easy!

I find my mind wandering constantly, but being in that quiet space and having that intention always brings me back.

When we get onto our phones or computers we become so easily distracted that all of this goes out the window. So I want to challenge you to be mindful when you show up to online dating.

3. The Golden Rule

One of the first lessons we teach children is The Golden Rule. Remember that one? Treat others the way that you wish to be treated.

I find that almost all of my in-person interactions are filled with The Golden Rule. I treat someone with kindness and it’s reciprocated, leaving both of us feeling nourished and joyful from the interaction.

So much of that seems to go out the window online. The worst in people tends to come out. I don’t think it’s who they actually are, I think it’s a symptom of being online. People comment with rude things on blogs, Google ratings, or Instagram posts. Men (and women) say nasty things behind the safety of a dating app. People ghost one another by literally never picking up their phone or responding to a message ever again because they don’t have to face them in person.

My husband and I were recently talking about ghosting and recalling that during our dating days we never ghosted anyone or had been ghosted.

It wasn’t in our realm of possibility.

After hearing so many of my client’s horror stories I’ve even caught myself thinking “well romance is just dead these days”, or, “maybe there aren’t any chivalrous guys left”, or “dating sucks now”, from time to time.

But I don’t believe this at my core. I really don’t.

I just think the changes need to start closer to home than we think and that starts with the Golden Rule when online dating.

If you don’t want to be so hastily judged on appearances alone, make a point to stop quickly and negatively judging others.

If you don’t want to be ghosted, make sure you always follow through with someone you are talking to or seeing.

If you don’t want to be barely acknowledged in a message, put some thoughtfulness into the messages you send. Even better, set up a phone call or time to meet face-to-face.

True love isn’t gone.

It’s alive and real and lives in the hearts of those of us who believe in it. It’s even been said to be the only true purpose in life, and I believe we all have a natural desire towards it.

I’ll talk more about meeting people in real life in another post, but if you’re going to date online, know that at it’s core it’s about connecting with people who you may have otherwise never had the chance to get to know.

I’ve known many success stories of people who met their match online.

It just takes a little time, intention, and thoughtfulness, and I promise that if you embrace even just one of those three things as you move forward with your online dating journey, you may find that not only are your results different, but the feeling you have inside changes for the better.

In the comments below let me know which one you’re going to try!

Feel free to also write about any experiences (good or bad) you’ve had with online dating.

My private coaching is completely booked as I prepare for maternity leave. The only way to work with me over the next year will be in The Dating Cocktail Lounge. We’re taking new members this month and it’s only $7! Making it literally the most supportive, accessible group for single women out there.

XO

Alexis

The post 3 Rules For Dating Online Without Losing Your Sanity appeared first on Alexis Meads | Dating Coach and Dating Expert | Portland Oregon.

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