Thirty Ways To Be An Amazing Partner

The small things matter the most.

What does it mean to be a “good partner”? Whether you are a husband, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend, partner, spouse, significant other, or [enter term of choice here], most of the same principles apply.

It comes down to the simple things. The ways that we listen, pay attention to detail, remember important things, and make the love of our lives feel about themselves, the relationship, and us.

Here are 30 small, everyday, often-overlooked things that can make a big statement in showing that you care.

1: Get the “single life” out of your system first.

Yep — The most important piece of this is what happens before you get into the relationship.

If you commit to someone while you’re still unsure about what you want in life, or where you want to be, or what type of partner you really want to be with, you run a serious risk of leading someone down a path of inevitable heartbreak.

It’s our responsibility as individuals to do the exploring that we want to do while we have the chance to do it. This way, you’ll be able to fully commit to the right person when they come along.

2: Prove yourself by being consistent.

Particularly in the beginning of a relationship, it’s easy to get distracted or run “hot and cold.” Work, obligations, maybe even other people you’re dating can get in the way of consistent communication.

But, if you’re really serious about getting to know someone and building a foundation, that consistency is the very thing you need to bring to the table. If it’s not there, you may come across as disinterested or flaky, and everything else will fall apart as a result.

It’s important to note that being consistent only gets more important over time, not less. You must be consistently trustworthy, consistently respectful, consistently authentic.

3: Give them your undivided attention.

Life is full of distractions. Work emails, Instagram notifications, hobbies, chores, family, friends — take regular time to really connect and shut out all of life’s noise. Your relationship will be stronger for it.

4: Learn their signs.

Not whether they’re an Aries or a Gemini — but the signs they give you when they want (or don’t want) something.

Does their silence indicate a need for alone time? Give it to them.

Does physical closeness mean they want a hug? Give them a hug.

Is a venting session about to begin when they say “You know what really bugs me?” Be quiet and let it happen.

Everyone is different, and putting in the effort to understanding the non-verbal cues will help you live in better harmony.

5: Use “I feel” language.

You’re a human too, and therefore will have your own frustrations and complaints at some point during your life.

Effectively communicating these points is the key to being heard rather than starting a fight.

Instead of “Your actions make me upset” try something closer to “I feel ABC way during the times that we XYZ.”

Make it clear that this is about how you are feeling, and that it’s not a personal jab or criticism.

6: NEVER weaponize their insecurities.

Part of a relationship is trusting your partner with your deepest secrets, desires and fears. Using those very things against them is unacceptable and abusive.

7: Give meaningful and specific compliments.

Evolve beyond the standard tropes and let your partner know that you notice the meaningful things that make them…them.

“I really respect how you handled that conflict with your mom.”

“You’re doing a great job with the kids.”

“That project you did for work came out amazing.”

The more specific you can be, the more they’ll feel seen and appreciated.

8: Say what you mean, and mean what you say.


9: Step in and help.

Think about the daily tasks or chores your partner handles and consider how much time or energy some of these things may take.

Then ask yourself: Is there an opportunity to step in and help?

Does their car need an oil change? Make the appointment and bring it down yourself (or, do it yourself if that’s your thing).

Do the kids need to be picked up but they’re swamped with work? Let them stay focused and go get the kids.

Be the person who works to make their life easier without them having to ask.

10: Take time to remember all of the reasons why you fell in love in the first place.

You’re going to have disagreements, arguments, and conflicts. During the times when you’re most frustrated, train yourself to remember all of the reasons why you’re in this relationship to begin with.

11: Stay connected intimately.

Everyone knows that healthy intimacy is a cornerstone to every happy relationship — but everyone feels and absorbs intimacy differently.

Intimacy is not just physical — but emotional. It requires deep connection, communication, and balance.

Learn what it means for your partner, and do more of that.

12: Flirt more.

You’re intimate partners, not roommates.

13: Make more proactive decisions.

We’ve all been in the “I don’t know, what do youwant to do?” revolving conversation. It’s like a tennis match, back and forth for what can feel like hours.

In these moments, be the one who finally makes a decision about what you’re going to do. Conversely, if you know it’s something they have strong feelings about, make sure you step back and be the passenger on this one.

14: Do more of what they like.

Watch the shows or movies. Walk through the park when you’d rather be sitting at home. Go shopping if they ask you. Sharing in the normality in life can sometimes bring the best memories.

15: Express your gratitude for them…to them.

Never take a good person for granted. Someday, someone will come along and appreciate what you chose not to.

16: Encourage “me time.”

Wanting to do something special for your partner is nice, but making sure it’s what they want (or need) is the important part of it.

Maybe she needs a night out with the girls, or by herself, or a day at the spa, or just an hour to breathe and think.

Maybe he needs to go to his friend’s house to watch the race, or zone out and play video games for an hour.

Giving that to them will mean more than any material gift you could give.

17: Have the “Love Languages” conversation together.

Knowing the way(s) that someone receives love is paramount to giving it to them properly.

Acts of service.

Physical touch.

Gift giving.

Quality time.

Words of affirmation.

If you don’t know which of these are most important to your partner (or…yourself), now is a good time to figure it out.

18: Stay fit and healthy.

Being in a relationship or marriage isn’t an excuse to let go of your health or appearance.

It’s important that your partner remain attracted to you…and it’s important that you remain alive to keep loving them.

19: Act like a team.

As long as they’re not proposing something harmful or dangerous, being in a relationship means being part of a team, and being part of a team means working together to accomplish goals and build a life.

20: Remember that they’re your partner, not your project.

Yes, we should do everything in our power to love and support each other in a relationship, but I’m going to say something controversial here:

It’s not your job to save someone.

Too often I hear of heartbreak and frustration because someone got into a relationship for the wrong reasons, one of which being that they thought their love was the magical cure for someone who desperately needed it.

Inevitably, this only leads to disappointment and even further pain.

Be with someone who wants you by choice, not someone who needs you out of dependency.

21: Stay cool, calm, and collected.

No productive conversations happen when either or both people are wound up and irrational.

22: Send “I love you” texts.

Or leave notes — whatever your style. The idea is to never let your partner forget how much you care for them.

23: Practice introspection and acknowledge your own areas of improvement.

Failing to do so can make us defensive and combative because our insecurities can trigger a defense mechanism if we don’t recognize them, acknowledge them, and work on them.

Doing so doesn’t signal weakness, but strength — as looking at our own faults is one of the hardest things to do.

Self-awareness is our own defense against defensiveness.

24: Work together to solve problems, not against each other.

Remember that you should be two people working together towards a common goal, not two people pitted against each other.

The point of an “argument” is to find a solution that works for you both. Not to be “the winner.”

It’s not “you vs. them,” it’s “you and them vs. the problem.”

25: Never stop dating each other.

When was the last time you spent a romantic night alone, just the two of you? Even for a couple of hours?

If you’re married or in a relationship with kids, this type of alone time can be more difficult to come by.

Make sure you carve out the time for you as a couple. That, at the end of the day, is the core of the life you’re both building together, and it must remain strong.

26: Validate all feelings.

Yours, theirs, everything in between.

Be accepting of what you are feeling (and stop ignoring emotions).

Be accepting of what your partner is feeling (and stop minimizing their emotions, even if you don’t understand them).

If you do more of this, you’ll both be better off.

27: Check in with each other more.

Ask how they’re feeling. What’s working in the relationship? What isn’t? What’s causing stress? How can you be a better partner? How can you step in and help today?

Sometimes, just knowing that you’re willing to ask the question is all that‘s needed.

28: Go with the flow.

Life throws all of us curveballs, especially when you’re merging two (or more) lives together into one.

You will avoid a lot of stress and conflict if you willingly accept this and ride the wave.

29: Maintain your own passions and hobbies.

What are some of the things that you loved doing when you first met? These are likely some of the very things that drew them in in the first place.

What were your passions, interests, and hobbies?

Are you still doing those things, or have you given them up?

Having your own identity within the relationship is a key piece of maintaining attraction and autonomy. Nobody wants to feel smothered or suffocated in a relationship by someone who is fully dependent on them.

30: Love, accept, and embrace your partner for *their truest self*.

Most of us, at the end of the day, just want one simple thing: To be loved for who we truly are.

The most important thing you can ever do for someone is see them in ways that nobody else ever has.

That’s how you love them in ways that nobody else ever did.

That’s how you recognize their inner beauty and see all of the things that make them unique.

That’s how you build gratitude for what they bring to your life.

That’s how you learn the best ways to make them happy as an individual.

That’s how they feel fully comfortable and open being their truest self around you.

The safety, comfort, and certainty that comes along with knowing you love someone for who they are is the most valuable gift you can ever give.

That’s how you feel like home.

Ten Signs You’ve Stolen a Person’s Heart

The best part? You don’t even have to go to prison for it.

Love is a mystery. No one really knows what it is or how it works. But we all know that everything clicks when we find the right person. We feel at ease and comfortable around them, and they make us feel like the best possible version of ourselves.

If you’ve ever gone above and beyond for someone you care about, then there’s a good chance you’ve stolen their heart. Sometimes this means showering them with gifts or taking them on romantic dates. Other times it means doing something special for them when they’re not expecting it.

“There is never a time or place for true love. It happens accidentally, in a heartbeat, in a single flashing, throbbing moment.” — Sarah Dessen

10. Incredible Consistency

Relationships are built on trust, and the clearest indication of this is through incredible consistency. When two people are attracted to each other, they need to be consistent in how they act and their intentions and sensibilities.

When a person shows up for you every day with love, respect, and understanding, you know that something special is happening; you have stolen someone’s heart.

If friendship or romance is what you desire, then the test of time will tell; the level of consistency in your relationship will signify whether or not there is a genuine commitment.

In time, if they prove themselves worthy by continuing to display consistency in their actions and behavior, it’s a sure sign that you have indeed borrowed some real estate in their hearts.

9. Attention to Detail

Attention to detail can be one of the best ways to gain the heart of another. When someone takes the time and effort to notice your likes, dislikes, habits, and interests and shows consideration for how they affect you, that can warm a person’s heart.

From paying attention to how you take your coffee in the morning, or something more meaningful like remembering meaningful dates in your life like birthdays or anniversaries, paying attention to details shows genuine care. If someone takes that interest in being thoughtful and caring, it can be one of the most beautiful signs that you have truly stolen their heart.

8. Future Vision

It is easy to recognize when you have stolen someone’s heart, but one of the most important signs is the presence of a future vision between the two of you. When you start picturing life with this person, evident in the conversations and comments made, and feel a sense of assurance that it could be achievable, you likely have taken over their heart.

They may also share similar thoughts, which can signify an open mind and willingness to build a beautiful future together. If they are confident in introducing your name or likeness into conversations out in public, then this too can certify that you possess their heart.

7. Being Present

Being present in a relationship doesn’t mean being physically together all the time; it’s about showing up mentally, emotionally, and spiritually as well. When someone is truly in love with you, they will be there for you no matter what — they will listen to your stories, share their own experiences and provide thoughtful advice when needed.

These conversations show that a person cares deeply about how you feel and is invested in being an active partner throughout the relationship. When somebody takes the time to show true presence and commitment in this way, it’s clear that your heart has been taken away!

6. Selflessness & Compromise

When someone loves you, they will always put your needs first, even if it means sacrificing something important from their own life. They will be willing to make compromises and adjustments to ensure that the relationship is successful while still being true to themselves.

Not only does this display passion and commitment, but it also shows just how much they care about you and your happiness as well. Having someone who is willing to put in the hard work for a healthy relationship — even when things get tough — is a sure sign that you have their heart in your hands.

5. Physical Intimacy

Physical intimacy doesn’t always mean sex; it can just be holding hands or cuddling up on the couch together. This kind of physical connection speaks volumes about how connected two people are emotionally and spiritually, and it’s one of the clearest signs that a person has given you their heart.

By expressing physical intimacy throughout a relationship, you are letting your partner know that you are comfortable being close to them and that they mean something special to you. Even if it’s just a simple gesture like holding hands or kissing on the forehead, these small moments of closeness can mean the world to someone who is deeply in love with you.

4. Unconditional Love

Love is the ultimate expression of care and understanding, but unconditional love is on another level entirely. This is a kind of love that can only be developed over time, and when it happens, it’s truly magical.

Unconditional love means that someone loves you no matter what — they won’t judge you for your mistakes or shortcomings; they will accept you with open arms and support your decisions without question. When somebody expresses this devotion to us, we know they have given us their heart fully and completely.

3. Support & Understanding

Any relationship needs to be built on a foundation of support and understanding for any relationship to thrive. Whether it’s a friend, partner, or family member, if someone is always there for you when you need them and willing to lend an ear when things get tough, then you can be sure they care about you immensely.

This could be providing comfort in times of sadness or cheering them on during moments of success. Whatever the case may be, having somebody by your side who understands what’s going through your head is invaluable and shows that they are wholly devoted to you and your well-being — a true sign that their heart belongs to you.

2. Genuine Compassion & Kindness

Anyone can say, “I love you,” but not everyone will back up those words with acts of genuine compassion and kindness. This could be anything from taking time out of your day to listen to them or helping them with chores and tasks around the house.

Even though these actions might seem small and insignificant, they are actually incredibly meaningful and can show someone just how much you care about them. When somebody is willing to go out of their way for us, it shows that they have given us a piece of their heart — and that’s something truly special!

1. Trust & Honesty

Trust and honesty are the most important signs that someone has taken our hearts. This means being open with one another, always expressing your true feelings, and having faith in each other to make it through any situation together.

It also means openly discussing complex topics without worrying about getting hurt or judged, knowing that your partner will accept you no matter what.

This kind of relationship requires vulnerability on both sides, but it is also incredibly fulfilling and can be the foundation for a robust and lasting bond. If someone has given you their trust and honesty, then it’s clear that they have indeed given their heart.

“Love never dies a natural death. It dies because we don’t know how to replenish its source. It dies of blindness and errors and betrayals. It dies of illness and wounds; it dies of weariness, of witherings, of tarnishings.” — Anais Nin

The Bottom Line

When it comes to relationships, there is no one-size-fits-all approach. However, if you are looking for signs that someone has given you their heart, then these ten indicators should point you in the right direction.

Physical intimacy, unconditional love, support & understanding, genuine compassion & kindness, and trust & honesty are all clear signs that someone has given their heart to you — something that is infinitely special and valuable.

No matter your relationship with somebody, these are the universal markers of true devotion and affection. So take note of them and enjoy! After all — a person’s heart is a precious thing indeed.

Twelve Signs You Are With An Emotionally Mature Man

He has the capacity to receive your love.

Emotional maturity is the result of life experiences and intentional growth that bring a man on a path of personal evolution. It empowers him to show up in the world (and in his relationships) as the healthiest and most authentic version of himself.

The challenge often lies in knowing just whohas actually done this inner work, and who is simply putting on a good show that draws you to them for what ends up being the wrong reasons.

In this article, we’ll discuss some “green flags” to look for that determine if a man is truly emotionally mature based on the way he lives his life, treats others around him, and also…how he treats himself.

1: He has a calming energy.

Emotional self-regulation is something that comes with time, experience, and wisdom.

It is a daunting and intimidating task to look one’s emotions in the eye and fully experience them. To ascertain whether or not they are rooted in truth, or a product of biological evolution that is misplaced in the modern world.

If, though, we don’t gather the courage to eventually learn what our inner-most feelings are telling us, we will remain a slave to them over the years.

We’ll be reactive rather than responsive, working off of impulses and instincts rather than taking a pause to determine what our subconscious is really trying to tell us.

This pause, albeit short, gives us the time we need to truly understand ourselves.

Subsequently, it helps us become more intentional and deliberate with the ways that we do respond.

As we become more comfortable with our responses, we gain more confidence in a variety of situations because we’ve built trust with ourselves, shown ourselves that we can “handle anything,” and aren’t just a ping-pong ball in the game of life.

This level of certainty in one’s self brings a calmness and a peace that is expressed through a steady and stable energy.

Have you ever been around a man who seems perpetually frantic? Who responds in extreme ways to changing circumstances or stimuli around him? While this doesn’t make him a bad person, and there are a myriad of explanations for the level of reaction, it does not align with the type of person who you need to be with that has worked to manage their responses to the world.

This, in turn, will put him in a better position to be more patient and understanding in your relationship, as well.

2: He says what he means, and means what he says.

To understand emotional maturity, it helps to understand emotional immaturity.

Immaturity is always seeking external validation and approval. In order to feel good about itself, it needs others to praise and compliment it.

Sure — we all enjoy external validation, but there’s a big difference between enjoying it and relying upon it.

When a man is still in this phase of life, he will say and do things specifically designed to garner that validation. In doing so, he says things just because they “sound good,” not because he actually means them.

When he grows past this phase of life, though, living with integrity becomes the goal, and integrity is based on one’s words aligning with their actions.

This is key to watch particularly early on in a relationship, because that’s when people “act their best.” They say the things you want to hear, are always on their best behavior, and are doing the best they can to win you over.

The question, though, is not what he says — but what he does to back it up…and how consistently he does it.

3: Sometimes, he doesn’t say anything at all.

Emotionally immature men always need to be proving themselves to you.

In order to do so, they must, well…always be talking. Usually about themselves.

There’s a discomfort they feel in silence, because that empty space makes them nervous about what you’re thinking, if you’re bored, if you dislike them, or if they’re missing a chance to tell you how great they are.

So, they fill that space, usually with the “features and benefits” of dating them.

Some people, granted, become uncomfortable in silence and seek ways to fill that gap for a variety of reasons. I’d suggest, though, that falls under the same umbrella as the aforementioned personality and does not qualify as “emotionally mature.”

Some of these points may be controversial and divisive because, quite obviously, not everyone is in full control of their responses to stimuli and that does not make them any less worthy of life.

The criteria to be met here, though, is that of an emotionally mature man — and in my opinion, one of those criteria is the ability to simply listen, absorb, and entertain information without always needing to interject his opinions and thoughts.

This way, when he does speak, the people around him know that it’s meaningful and thoughtful. “Still waters run deep,” as the saying goes.

4: He can be challenged WITHOUT feeling threatened.

Being challenged and being threatened are two very different things — but it requires emotional maturity in order to recognize that.

Those who value growth and change welcomechallenges into their lives. They understand that it brings an opportunity to problem solve, to change their way of thinking, to excel beyond what they thought was possible in order to overcome what is before them.

Without this perspective, though, every challenge is going to feel like a threat.

When you disagree, it’s a threat to his opinions.

When there’s new competition at work, it’s a threat to his job.

When a problem arises that is difficult to solve, it’s a threat to his ego.

Now — the truth of life is that sometimes there are threats, but we must be able to clearly see the difference between the two, lest we risk treating one like the other.

Challenges are part of life, and if you choose to spend your life with this person, you’re going to face plenty of those challenges together.

Health challenges, financial challenges, compatibility challenges, parenting challenges — the list goes on.

The question isn’t whether or not they will arise (they will)…the question is how equipped he is to handle them when they do.

5: He makes you feel safe.

Since we are talking about emotional maturity, this point is similarly about emotional safety.

Of course all kinds of safety are essential in a relationship, for nobody who feels unsafe in any way can fully give themselves to another person — nor should they.

Emotional safety, though, is when you can feel comfortable opening up and building a deep bond with another person, free of judgment.

Emotional maturity is accepting and loving. It holds space for you to step into without wondering what the “catch” is, or what’s coming next.

Emotional maturity holds a safe place for you because it’s already created that place for itself. If someone has not yet done that level of work and they themselves live in turmoil and chaos, how can you expect anything different when you step into that world?

6: He takes responsibility.

How many men have you been with before that avoided all responsibility for wrongdoing? Or refused to admit mistakes? Or simply could just…not be at fault? Refused to apologize (ever)?

I think we can all agree that this doesn’t really meet the mark of “emotional maturity,” just the opposite, actually.

It follows, then, that the opposite of that would be a sign of emotional maturity — the ability and willingness to take responsibility for one’s actions.

Not just actions, though — but also mindset, personal development, successes, failures, victories, mistakes…

There is a philosophy in the U.S. Navy SEALS known as “extreme responsibility” where the motto is “everything is my fault.”

At first glance, this might seem self-pitying or even powerless — but the more we explore, the more we understand that it’s about holding one’s self accountable. Being the one who steps up to the plate to create change. Looking for a solution to a problem, whether or not you caused it.

Men like this will be a solid teammate and partner in life because they’ll be trustworthy and reliable. You can count on them to step up to the plate for you, as well — because that’s part of who they are.

7: He knows what he is (or isn’t) ready for.

You’ve done it before, haven’t you? You’ve tried to “fix” someone. You’ve taken on a “project” rather than a partner. You’ve convinced yourself that if you just love them enough/in the right way/with the right intensity, they’ll come around and fall into your arms for the rest of your lives…

Then, after months — or maybe even years of trying — you learned that this just isn’t how things work.

It simply does not matter what you say or do if someone is not ready to receive you.

You know it yourself, if you’re not ready, or just out of a breakup, or going through a tumultuous phase in life, it’s simply not about what anyone else says or does, only what youfeel ready for.

Emotional maturity is about awareness.

It doesn’t force itself into the wrong relationship at the wrong time.

It doesn’t convince itself that it’s ready for something that it isn’t.

It knows itself enough to understand that acting for the wrong reasons is only going to bring more heartbreak and sadness down the road.

If he’s ready — you’ll know it and feel it. If he’s not, you’ll always be left wondering about his feelings.

8: He is capable of introspection.

Emotionally mature men understand the challenge of, but also the value of, looking inward and being honest about what (and who) they see.

This is one of the most difficult things that any of us can do, because it requires looking at ourselves in an uncensored way and, possibly, not liking what we find.

Therein lies the value, though — understanding ourselves on a level that few are willing to. This gives us the clarity and ability to see the good, the bad, the iffy, the awkward.

While some may cringe at the thought, it’s important to understand that improvements in one’s self cannot be made unless the areas for them are first recognized.

It’s easy to avoid what we don’t want to see, and even pretend like it doesn’t even exist. The hard part — but also the important part — is facing them head on. That takes true strength and maturity.

9: He can put your needs first.

Great relationships are not about give and take, they’re about give and give.

Forming a true partnership with someone can never happen if one (or both) people maintain their selfish tendencies that once served them when they were single.

The same mindset simply does not apply to building an intimate relationship, or a family.

We must be willing to compromise, to sacrifice, to give to our partner in all ways — emotionally, physically, spiritually — and they must do the same for us in return as they match our efforts.

If a man is still doing everything to can to live as if he’s single…let him.

10: He is patient.

When we’re young and excitedly writing out the list of wants and needs that our ideal partner has — “patience” doesn’t always top the list.

As we grow more mature, though, and have more life experiences, meet more people, and understand what really matters in life — it becomes obvious that being patient is a large factor in the quality of a relationship and how two people merge their lives together.

Patience is necessary when we’re getting to know each other, learning about different family traditions, planning parties or events together, meeting each others’ family and friends — definitely when planning a wedding.

Patience is a sign of emotional maturity because it understands that there’s no point in rushing something if you want it to last forever.

11: He’s inspired by your strength, not intimidated by it.

A relationship is a partnership. We must come together with another person to build the life and love that we both desire — and this cannot happen if just one person is putting in the work or effort.

It also cannot happen if one person thinks that their partner stepping up means they’re trying to “overpower” or “overshadow” them.

Instead, we must see this as what it really is: Someone putting in equal effort in order to match our strength as we do with theirs.

Teamwork makes the dream work.

12: He lives in full alignment with his identity.

Our identity and purpose are the two driving forces in how we spend our days. They determine our level of happiness and fulfillment. They guide our decision making and ensure that we live in alignment with our values and beliefs.

Lack of clarity around identity and purpose, then, can cause confusion and conflict within one’s self.

How can we make the right decision for “me” if we don’t know who that is?

How can we be guided by our values if we’re unclear on them?

How can we choose the right partner if we don’t know what (or who) we’re truly looking for in life?

A man who has done the work to develop and cultivate his identity will be in the process of building his life around that central core. As a result, he’ll be able to recognize the right things (and people) when they come along.

For the right guy — that means you.

15 Warning Signs That He is Just Playing You

(Lack of) actions speak louder than words.

I beleve that a lot of people spend a lot of time in the wrong relationships because they overlook the subtle signs that someone is just not giving their full emotional investment. Sometimes, these signs can be more glaring than others, and it’s easy to overlook the smaller ones when we are caught up in the emotional excitement of a new partner.

If you’ve ever let your heart outrun your brain and miss the red flags — big or small — then let the forthcoming points be your guide along your next journey into love.

1: You haven’t met his friends or family.

Speaking from personal experience, the excitement of meeting someone new (that you’re truly interested in) is one that you want to share with your friends and family. Of course, you want to make sure that it’s real first, but when it is, the invitations begin.

“I can’t wait for you to meet my (insert special person here).”

And conversely, they’ll be telling their special people all about you, as well.

Building a relationship with someone means intertwining your lives together. It means going to family get-togethers, work parties, going out with friends…

An important caveat: Some people, of course, take longer than others to get comfortable with this concept. They want to let the two of you develop as a couple before they bring other people into the mix, and make sure that you are on a solid path together.

I once knew someone that had a rule about dating someone for a certain amount of time before they introduced them to any of their friends or family. This, of course, is because they jumped the gun too fast in the past and didn’t want to face the same disappointment again.

Let me be clear — this is about someone who is clearly and deliberately keeping you away from the people he cares about. There is always an excuse or a “convenient reason” why you (or they) can’t come along.

Maybe he’s even met some of your friends or family, too — but, his just never seem to be around.

If too much time is going by and you’re starting to get suspicious…then there’s probably a good reason for it.

2: He’s always staying at your place…you’re never staying at his.

Inviting someone into your personal space is a big deal. I once had a friend who hadn’t been invited over a guy’s house for literally months of dating him, let alone invited to stay over.

The same caveat as point #1 applies — different people are ready for different things at different times…


If he’s cool staying over at your place and being able to make a quick escape in the morning (or even the same night), then that’s probably all he’s really trying to do.

Having you come over, stay over, begin leaving things there (like a toothbrush, hair brush…) starts to lay the foundation of a real relationship.

And, if he’s avoiding a real relationship, he’s going to avoid all of the smaller steps that could lead to it.

3: You only have surface level conversations.

Think about the level of knowledge you need to have about someone to really consider building a life with them…their past, their childhood, their family life, what their hopes, dreams, desires are…

These are all things that help us determine our level of compatibility with someone. And, quite frankly, they’re things that we should be curious about if we actually want to discover who this person really is.

If he doesn’t really care, though, he’s just not going to go there.

He won’t ask the difficult questions.

He won’t sit and listen to the intimate details.

He’ll stop responding when the texts get too serious.

A man who is really interested in you is going to want to learn everything he can about you. If he can recite every player’s statistics on his fantasy football team, but he doesn’t know the town you were born in — that’s a giant red flag.

4: He doesn’t do special things for special occasions.

When Ann and I first started dating, I literally celebrated our “month-aversaries.”

Yes, each month on the 19th, I’d do a little something (or at least say something to her) about another month together.

A little excessive? Eh, maybe — but it was my way of celebrating each milestone, no matter how small.

Now that we are married, the anniversaries have a deeper meaning, and will be celebrated with an even larger sense of occasion.

The point is this: Guys pay attention to things that matter to them.

They put in effort to make you feel special. Your birthday, Valentine’s day, the marking of special events together…

My dad literally celebrates the day he met my mother every year, over 40 years ago.

If a guy can’t be bothered to show you love on a special occasion, what makes you think he’ll do it on a random Tuesday without a good reason?

5: He doesn’t prioritize you.

Men make the time for what (and who) are truly important to them.

It’s perfectly reasonable that he has a busy life, we all do. But, plenty of incredibly busy and important people make time for the people they love.

He’ll come see you after work, he’ll run out to meet you for lunch or a coffee, he’ll make sure he calls you at the end of the day if he was slammed, or at least send you a goodnight text letting you know you’ll talk tomorrow.

He’ll make the time to see you in person.

Simply put: Priorities are choices.

If you see him posting on Instagram stories about being out with his friends, but he neverseems to have time for you, he’s showing you where his priorities lie.

Life is about a balance, I’m not saying he should give up everything that’s important to him to spend time with you constantly, but he’ll want to see you instead of doing some of those other things if he’s genuinely interested in building a life with you.

“James, how do I really know if I’m being prioritized or not?”

Your heart will speak to you on this one. If you have to question it…you probably already have your answer.

6: ALL of his compliments are about your appearance.

Love reaches far beneath the surface, whereas lust does not.

Of course I believe that beauty should be appreciated and that any man worth his salt will make it clear how beautiful he thinks you are — but if that’s all he’s telling you, then that’s all he’s focusing on.

He should be complimenting your work ethic, your values, the way you treat others, the dedication you show to your work, the way you treat your children…

These are all of the things that make you, well, you.

They’re the things that make you unique, set you apart, and the things that you choose.

You didn’t choose the way your genetics arranged your appearance at birth. Complimenting that is lazy and boring. Anyone can do that…and, they do.

If he really wants to show you that he appreciates you, he should be showing you that he notices all of the things that most people overlook.

Plus, if all he does is regurgitate the same compliments you get every day from random people on Instagram, then he’s not that special either — is he?

7: He avoids eye contact.

This goes for any type of interaction with you — especially the intimate kind.

Real connection with another person is about being fully present with them (I’ll get to that in a minute), and arguably the most important time to be fully present is when you’re being physically intimate.

Emotional connection and intimacy is what drives the true passion of physical intimacy — and if you’re sharing physical experiences together, but he always seems to be elsewhere mentally, this is a clear sign that it’s strictly physical for him.

He should want to connect with you, to be fully in the moment, to absorb every single piece of the experience.

This isn’t just about sex, though — eye contact when you’re having serious conversations, or are out on a date, or are just chatting over coffee…it all signals that he’s actually there with you, and not off thinking about something (or someone) else, when you should be his only focus.

8: He escalates TOO quickly.

Intimacy takes time to build. Real connection doesn’t happen overnight. If right off the bat he starts making physical advances or bringing sex right into your conversations, he’s showing you blatantly where his intentions are.

Now, if you’re looking for a fling and have no interest in anything further — by all means, have at it!

But, if you want something with substance, with meaning, that has a real chance at lasting in the long run — look at what he’s leading with, as that is often the trend he will follow for as long as you allow him to.

If you slow him down and he’s willing to pump the brakes and change directions, that’s great! But, if he keeps reverting back to “dirty talk” every time you try to change the subject, then the brutal truth is that it’s all he’s looking for.

9: He makes ALL of the decisions.

Relationships are about compromise. They’re about two people coming together and merging their lives into one, creating harmony together. Finding and acting on things that they both love, both enjoy, and can both feel passionate about.

If you feel as though he’s simply accelerating forward and taking you along for the ride, you have to start asking just how much your thoughts and opinions are being considered.

Some women enjoy it when men take the lead, and I get that! A lot of guys like taking initiative on making the plans, planning out dates, and showing you that they’re willing to put in the effort for you…

But, that’s the key — for you.

If he’s planning and doing things that you don’t really enjoy, but he does, then it’s not really for you, is it? He’s just doing what he wants and taking you with him. That’s a much different message than making sure you are enjoying the experiences equally.

10: He’s always “hot and cold.”

I’ve heard it time and time again from female friends— guys disappearing for days at a time. Texts or messages go unanswered. They’re suddenly super busy, but then come back around to come over and “watch a movie.”

It never feels consistent — and consistency is required to build a real connection with someone.

What’s more — you won’t have to ask him to be consistent if he’s truly interested. In fact, he will be the one suggesting that you see each other again. He’ll be the one asking about your schedule. He’ll be the one proposing a 4th date before the 3rd date is even over.

If he’s really into you, you won’t be questioning his feelings, he’ll be making them clear.

11: You don’t feel the relationship progressing.

We’ve already established that everyone progresses at different paces, but the progress itself is the key, no matter how fast or slow.

He may not have malicious intentions if things aren’t moving forward or getting more serious, but the fact is that you might not be ready for the same thing at the same time.

It might be easier to keep going than to break it off.

He might not know how to tell you he isn’t ready.

Maybe when you started dating, he thought he was ready, but was wrong.

Maybe his feelings have faded.

Regardless of the reason, relationships have to show signs of moving forward and getting more serious over time.

If you feel that things have been stuck for far too long, it’s time to have a conversation with him and make sure you both want the same things.

12: He never talks about (or plans for) the future.

This is a dual-tiered red flag, because it’s possible he’s not planning for a future together,or that he’s not even planning for his own futurein the first place.

You cannot plan a future with someone who hasn’t planned a future for themselves.

They’re still living in the moment.

They’re taking things as they come.

And, while that’s all well and good if you’re single and planning to stay that way, building a relationship with someone requires a vision of where you want to go, both as individuals and as a couple.

If he changes the subject every time you bring up something “down the road,” or never commits to something more than a week in advance, it’s a clear sign that he’s not thinking that far ahead with you by his side, and you deserve someone who sees you with them every step of the way. Otherwise, what’s the point of giving them your emotional investment?

13: He’s only nice to you, not the people around you.

I’ve made this point time and time again because it’s so important — a genuinely good person is good to people because of who he is, not who the other people are.

This means his actions are consistent.

He’s kind to you, the waiter, the bartender, the valet, your friends and family…why? Because he’s a kind person.

If he’s playing you, though — if he’s putting on an act…you’ll be the star of the show.

He’ll always say the right things, be endlessly charming, and will seem almost too good to be true…but, when it comes to how he treats other people, his persona seems to change.

Look for consistency in kindness. If it’s always there, it’s a piece of his identity. If it comes and goes when you do, he’s just playing a role for you.

14: He makes “jokes” about your insecurities.

Let me be as clear as possible about this: Nobody who truly cares about you will never weaponize your insecurities against you.

The only thing that true love should be interested in, is building you up. Never tearing you down. Never making you question yourself. Never taking shots at you about things it knows you’re insecure about.

The contrary is a classic manipulation tactic designed to do one thing: Make you lose confidence so that you won’t believe you can do any better than you’re doing right now.

You’ll start to question your worth and your value, so you’ll start to think: “Boy, at least I already have someone…I better not screw it up.”

You deserve better than this. You’re capable of better than this. Don’t let anyone make you forget that.

15: He flat out tells you.

Here’s the thing: Some guys just come out and tell you they’re not looking for anything serious.

For some women, this feels like a challenge. A challenge to be the one to “change him.”

“If I just love him the right way…he’ll come around. He’ll want something serious. He’ll be different.”

I hate to be a naysayer here, but…if a guy is telling you he doesn’t want a commitment, he doesn’t want a commitment.

If he starts to change his mind and see all of your magic, he will tell you that as well.

But, if he’s telling you one thing, it doesn’t mean that he’s secretly feeling another thing.

This can be hard to accept, because it’s not what you want to hear. For some, it makes you feel undesired or unwanted.

“How could he not want to build a life with me?”

The truth is that it’s not about you. There’s nothing wrong with you. You’re not undesirable. You’re not “broken.”

He simply is not ready to receive you. He’s not ready to match your investment. He’s not ready to be your equal teammate in life.

Instead of fighting it, see it as a gift. He is giving you a chance to save yourself the heartache and walk away before you go too far down this road.

It’s your choice which direction to turn, and it’s your choice what to tolerate in your relationships.

If you’re feeling like you’re being strung along or that your emotions are being played with, you have the power to walk away and find someone who truly deserves you.

Remember — the more time that you spend with the wrong person, the less time you’ll have to find the right one.

Ten Different Way To Express Your Needs In A Relationship

If you can’t find the words…here they are.

How comfortable are you expressing your needs in a relationship? Whether you’ve been together for a week, a month, or have just gotten married…communication is the very lifeblood of the bond between you and the person you love.

For some, communication is more challenging than others — particularly when it comes to expressing our own personal needs.

We know what we want, but we might not feel worthy of it. Or we may feel too demanding. Or we worry that our partner won’t be willing or able to fulfill our needs, and the relationship will crumble.

Or, maybe, we just simply don’t know what to say.

Below, we’ll go through some ways to phrase your needs to your partner and the reasons why they’re so powerful.

Remember — you deserve happiness too.


If you find yourself consistently expressing your needs to your partner, and they do nothing to meet them time and time again, it doesn’t mean that your needs are invalid…it means that the person you’re with doesn’t deserve your emotional investment.

1: I need us to feel safe opening up to each other.

Fear of judgment has no place in an intimate relationship. The strongest bonds are formed when two people are fully open and honest with each other about their past, present, and future — and can do so knowing their partner will not judge them for it.

If you feel your partner’s judgment towards you as you reveal your intimate thoughts and secrets to them, you owe it to yourself to explore how much they truly accept you for who you are, or if they are harboring negative feelings.

2: I need us to work on overcoming our challenges together, not ignoring them.

You’ll notice that communication issues lie at the heart of many of these points, because I believe that it’s a common challenge for some people or couples to overcome together.

What do people often do with things that make them uncomfortable?

Ignore, ignore, ignore.

But, we all know that you can’t drive down the road with a blindfold on and expect a smooth ride. The bumps in the road exist whether or not you choose to look at them.

Expressing this need is an integral part of forming a healthy and thriving relationship, because if you continue to ignore the little things, they’ll one day turn into big things.

3: It makes me feel special when you take part in my interests.

Think about how different this sounds from: “You never do anything that I like!”

One is accusatory, while the other accentuates a positive result you experience as a result of your partner’s actions. In this case, participation in the things that you enjoy.

4: Sometimes I need time by myself (or enter your need here) to recharge, and it has nothing to do with you.

All of us recharge our batteries in different ways. Some prefer company, others don’t. Some like to read, others to get lost in a TV show.

It’s important that we’re able to express this need, because just like any other battery, it’ll eventually drain if not tended to.

It’s also important for your partner to realize that your process of recharging doesn’t have anything to do with them. If you’ve always needed time alone, that doesn’t mean you’re proactively trying to get away from them, it just means that your process is a solo one.

No matter what your method of recharge is, it must be practiced — or you’ll feel depleted. Nobody wins in that scenario.

5: I feel even more connected to you when we do — XYZ.

In this scenario, XYZ could be an intimate example, or simply something like sitting on the couch together after a long day.

The idea here is to find a way to express what it is that makes you feel even more connected to your partner in a manner that makes them want to do more of it, as they crave that level of connection as well.

Don’t overlook saying “even more” here, even is there for a reason:

If you just say “I feel more connected to you when…” it sends the message that you’re currently not feeling connected, which can cause doubt in their minds.

On the other hand, saying “even more connected”communicates that you already do feel that bond, but doing more of XYZ will strengthen it even more.

6: It makes me feel loved when you do (insert love language).

Point #3 was about feeling special — feeling special and feeling loved are not the same thing.

You’re probably familiar with the 5 love languages, but a quick recap:

  • Words of affirmation.
  • Physical touch.
  • Quality time.
  • Gift giving.
  • Acts of service.

Most of us have a top two or three that we resonate with the most deeply, and feeling love in those manners is what we really connect with.

If you’re all about words of affirmation and your partner is physical touch…they could be trying to express their love by touching you all the time, and you’ll just be left wondering why they’re not telling you how they feel.

Understanding (and acting upon) each others’ love languages is a strong way to show that we’re willing to put in the effort to give love to our partner in ways that they understand and absorb.

But, if you don’t communicate your love language(s) to them, you also cannot be upset when they don’t act upon them.

7: Sometimes I just need support, not solutions.

This one (mostly) needs to be communicated to the men, because men tend to go into problem solving mode when their partner is communicating a challenge to them, when in reality, she may just be seeking support and someone to listen to her while she figures out the solution herself.

If this is the case for you (regardless of gender), make sure you’re letting your partner know whether you’re looking for support, a solution, or both.

This will help them understand how to best show up for you during these times.

8: We have unlimited potential if we work together.

A statement of hope for creating a beautiful future together — a relationship is a team, and any great team understands the value of working together towards a common goal.

If you’re proactively building a future together, you’ve likely discussed the what/where/who of said future. What you want to achieve, where you want to live, who you want with you on the journey (family, kids, etc).

If you don’t feel like you’re collaborating enough with your partner to move your lives forward, it’s best to call it out before too much time goes by — but in a way that reminds him/her of the magic you’re capable of creating when you come together as one.

9: I need for both of us to take responsibility for our actions.

Personal accountability is huge in relationships. If you’ve ever dated anyone who refused to be wrong, you understand how valuable it is.

By expressing this need in this way, you’re also pledging to take responsibility for your actions while requesting that they do the same.

If they cannot do that for you/the relationship/themselves, then it’s a sure sign of more problems to come down the road.

10: I need for us to choose each other every day.

At the end of the day, what does a relationship’s success really boil down to?

It comes down to two people waking up every single day and choosing to love each other.

Choosing to overcome the bullshit.

Choosing to be intimate.

Choosing to show affection.

Choosing to overcome challenges.

Choosing to be loyal.

This does not mean choosing to tolerate abuse.

It does not mean accepting mistreatment.

It does not mean blindly staying with someone simply because you’ve been with them for so long.

It means cultivating healthy, happy, and secure love that both of you feel safe basking in.

It means looking forward to a bright and hopeful future together.

And it means making the promise to treat each other with love, respect, kindness, and dignity for the rest of your lives.

If that sounds like a big ask — that’s because it is. But, when you’re with the right person, they won’t see it that way.

Their only wish will be that they would’ve had more time to love you, as you’ll wish that in return.

When you find that person, you’ll feel secure expressing your needs to them because they’ll do everything they can to fulfill them.

Your happiness is their happiness, and vice versa.

The rest will work itself out.

Seven Types Of People Who Deserve To Be In Your Life

Only give your time and attention to those who earn it. There’s an old saying that tells us that we become like the 5 people we spend the most time with.

If this is true — which it is — it’s a signal to be discerning and “picky” with those whom we give the gift of our time and attention, which is exactly what it is.

A gift of immense value, as it is finite and cannot be recovered after it’s given.

If you find yourself feeling held back, stagnant, or generally just “meh,” a great thing to do is take inventory of the types of people you’ve been spending time around and ask yourself how they might be affecting your mood.

Let’s explore the types of people who should be getting the gift of you:

1: People who (genuinely) want what’s best for YOU.

This is trickier than it sounds.

People who truly care about you will support whatever it is that makes YOU happy, whether or not THEY understand (or even support) it. Your happiness comes first in your life. They don’t need to “get it,” or even to like it.

2: People who’re around you for WHO you are, not for WHAT you can give them.

A deep level of self-awareness is required in order to be honest with yourself about who genuinely enjoys being around you, and who is simply looking to have some of your shine spill over onto them.

The more successful, happy, in love, or fulfilled you become — this may get harder to discern.

Precisely the point of this article, though…to help you spot the real ones.

How can you tell?

Look for the people who reach out and ask how you’re doing. The ones who reciprocate your invitations, not just accept them. The ones who get together “just because.” The ones who don’t always expect you to pick up the tab. The ones who want nothing from you but your time.

Deep down, you probably know when someone is enjoying the benefits of your friendship and not reciprocating, and your high levels of self worth and self respect will help you to move on from those people and make space for the ones who deserve you.

3: People who inspire you.

Back to the first line of this article — and how you become like the people you spend the most time around.

This is equally applicable in all areas of life: Dating, friendship, work, and even family.

Take an uncensored look at the people in your life — what are they pursuing? What goals do they have? What drives and motivates them?

How do you feel when you’re around them?

Naysayers and doubters will always try to wedge themselves into your life, but you mustn’t allow it. You must only reserve your mental space for those who make you feel better about yourself, who open your eyes to your strengths, who are, themselves, pursuing the things that set their souls on fire as well.

Energy is contagious, don’t get wrapped up in the wrong kinds.

4: People who are honest with you.

Anyone can tell you the things you want to hear. They can gas you up and tell you to just keep doing what you’re doing and that everything will be just fine.

Most people who do this have genuinely good intentions. They probably want to protect you and your feelings, or perhaps they just don’t know what else to say in the moment, so they stick with the same old lines.

The problem with platitudes like this is that they’re just…benign. They don’t help to give you clarity, and at worst, they can actually be harmful. What if you really do need to start or stop doing something in your life but the people around you are too afraid to tell you, so they let you spiral into a negative situation?

I believe that the people from point #1 will also fall into this category, because wanting what’s best for you means being HONEST with you, even when it’s hard.

And, if you really do value the truth, you’ll feel gratitude for the people in your life who give it to you, even when it’s not exactly what you wanted to hear.

5: People who are authentic.

What does it mean to be authentic?

We usually utilize this word to describe a product, or an item, or a piece of art. It’s an authentic Monet.

When you hear this word, it signals that you know exactly what you’re getting. The subject is purely itself, unaltered, not a copy, and genuinely an original.

The same rings true for an authentic person: You know exactly what you’re getting.

They don’t change their personality based on who they’re around, they don’t filter their thoughts to make people more comfortable, they don’t make you question who they really are — because they are always the fullest version of themselves.

Being authentic takes work. It requires a person to be fully self-aware, to look in the mirror and see what (and who) is truly there.

This means that authentic people recognize each other, because this level of inner work is rare, and it sets everyone who’s done it apart from the crowd.

6: People who respect you and your boundaries.

Sometimes, you just need a break. Or, some space. Or, to have a difficult discussion with a friend about something that’s troubling you.

It’s important to surround yourself with people who respect your needs and wants, and who will listen to what is truly best for you. They won’t override you, or continue doing things that bother you, or take your needs as personal attacks on them.

If you express a concern to a friend or disagree with them about something, it shouldn’t be grounds for argument (unless…it is). It should instead be an opportunity to hear each others’ opinions and consider them, even if you don’t agree with them.

If someone keeps overstepping your boundaries and doing things that make you uncomfortable, even though they know this is how you feel, it’s time to ask yourself if they actually deserve your time and attention.

7: People who give more than they take.

The last thing you need in your life is an emotional vampire — someone who sucks all of the energy out of you without giving anything in return.

You don’t need that in your dating life, in your friend groups, or in your family.

You don’t need it at work, and you don’t need it at home.

What you do need, is to be around people who willingly and selflessly show up from a place of service. They look for ways to bring value to your life, to support and encourage you, to be there when you need them the most.

And — you need to be this type of person for them in return. Not because they expect it (they shouldn’t), but because you are willing to show up for them the same ways that they show up for you.

This is what makes relationships work — two people who are willing to give to each other without expectation of something in return.

Imagine what your intimate relationship and all of your friendships would be like if everyone you were surrounded by had these qualities…

Sure, it’s hard to find, but that’s why it’s natural for your social circles to become more focused over time. Quality over quantity.

It’s not about having the most friends — but the right ones.

The ones who respect you and your boundaries, who want to see you truly happy, who you enjoy giving to just as much, because their happiness is valuable to you as well.

You don’t need a lot of people in your life to be happy…just the right ones who love and respect you for all of the right reasons

The Men Who Understand These 20 Things Have Stronger Relationships With Their Women

Connection doesn’t happen by accident.

Oscar Wilde once remarked:

Women are meant to be loved, not understood.

While a charming sentiment, I do believe that valuable life experiences help to teach us, as men, important lessons about women that shape our interactions and relationships with them through the years. Not just as intimate partners, but as friends, family members, and colleagues.

Here are twenty pieces of knowledge I have accumulated along my journey, I hope they bring you the same enlightenment they’ve brought to me.

1: Her biology makes her a better communicator than you.

As men, we would much rather that a woman come out and tell us what she wants and how she feels. No matter how well we can read her, there will naturally still be things that we miss and kick ourselves about later.

But, men and women naturally communicate differently. According to “The Female Brain” (must-read book), women are biologically predisposed to have a heightened ability to read facial expressions and body language.

They can also anticipate danger and pain earlier on than men can.

That doesn’t mean we can’t put in the effort to learn the nuances, though. The more openly we communicate, the less room there is for confusion or mixed signals.

I literally communicate for a living, and I still find myself tongue-tied trying to convey my thoughts and feelings to Ann sometimes. Nobody is perfect, and recognizing our areas of improvement is the first step towards actually improving them.

2: She wants to be able to be strong without you being threatened.

There are many strong, confident women in the world who take on leadership roles at work and other areas of their life, but subsequently feel that this intimidates men who immediately shy away from them.

We need to understand that being with a strong woman does not emasculate us. If anything, it gives us a teammate in life who we can face challenges alongside as an equal teammate. She wants you to accept, embrace, and love this integral part of her identity.

3: Cheating starts WAY before sex happens.

There are a lot of men out there who will walk the tightrope of cheating under the perception that if they don’t actually sleep with someone or make intentional physical contact, “it doesn’t really count.”

They call it “Micro-Cheating” and it’s bullshit.

Cheating starts the second you begin to delete text messages or save “Susie” in your phone as “Steve.”

Emotional cheating is sometimes even worse than physical, and women know this.

4: She still wants you to “be the man,” no matter how much she makes.

In the age of equality, many men assume that women no longer want chivalry or romance. That they no longer want to be taken to dinner or have doors opened for them because “they can do it themselves.”


Just because a woman may be in charge from 9–5 on Monday through Friday, doesn’t mean she wants the same responsibilities in a relationship. At the end of the day, many women still appreciate a man who is the man, and will make plans for them on date night. A man who still romances her. A man who is chivalrous and respectful. A man who understands that a woman can be independent and should still be treated as a lady.

5: Better communication makes for stronger connections.

When Ann and I started talking a year and a half ago, we spoke constantly. We texted all day, video chatted at night, and checked in via phone when something important was happening.

We’ve not stopped since.

It was an expression of interest through dedicated time communicating with someone. We broached every topic, held nothing back, committed to complete honesty…and it made all the difference in the world.

6: Consistency is key, as the saying goes.

I have heard too many stories about men who are Prince Charming for the first month or two of the relationship until there is a commitment, and then they turn into a completely different person. [Hint: They did not actually change, they just finally stopped putting up a facade].

Romance and courtship should not be reserved for the ‘honeymoon phase’ of a relationship. They should not fade over time, but increase as she becomes a bigger and more important part of your life.

7: If she asks you a specific question, she probably already knows the answer.

Some men see this as her ‘trapping’ him into…*gasp*…telling the truth. What she’s likely actually doing is giving you a chance to be honest and tell the truth before it’s too late. There is a big difference between those two perceptions.

8: She will find out if you’re lying.

Lying to a woman is like using a credit card. It might seem like a good idea at the time, but you’re still going to have to pay for it eventually.

Lying doesn’t just make her doubt the things you say in the future, it’ll also make her doubt everything you’ve already said in the past. Getting caught in even one lie can put your entire relationship in jeopardy. Is it really worth the risk?

9: Intimacy is more emotional than it is physical.

Men and women experience intimacy differently, and (generally speaking) women build attraction in proportion to their emotional connection with you, whereas men are much more visual.

As men, if we put in the time and effort to communicate and connect on a deeper level, the physical fulfillment and satisfaction in a relationship will be much more enjoyable than simply treating it as a physical act.

10: She wants to feel desired.

It’s not just a matter of calling her beautiful. It is a matter of making her feel beautiful. To feel sexy. To feel desired — not just from what you say, but by what you don’t say. The way you touch her, the way you look at her, the way you subtly rest your hand on the small of her back when introducing her to someone or when you lay your hand on her knee when you’re driving. The small things that make her feel close to you both physically and emotionally. That connection will go farther than compliments ever will.

11: If she talks to you about her problems, she’s probably not looking for a solution.

This is a difficult one for us men because our natural tendency is to try to connect the dots and find a solution to a problem. We are “fixers.” This is not what a woman wants if she begins to vent to you (unless she specifically asks).

What she really wants is for you to listen, make an effort to understand, and provide her with the support she needs to find the solution on her own.

12: The small things are actually the big things.

It may seem trivial to remember someone’s favorite candy, the date she got her puppy, or the way she likes her coffee, but at the end of the day those are the small nuances about a person that make them unique. Putting in the effort to remember these small things shows that you value her as an individual.

Plus, showing her that she can trust you with the small things makes her more likely to trust you with the big things.

13: She’s been disappointed (a lot) by men in the past.

If you’re getting to know someone and she seems skeptical about your intentions, try not to take it personally. The reality is that most of our relationships (both as men and women) have disappointed us at some point along the way.

Hence, why someone is currently single.

This is not the time to become frustrated and storm off. If you genuinely care for this person and want to show her you’re serious — you will put in the time and effort (two recurring themes) to do it.

14: If she has children, it’s more about them than it is her.

The fact of the matter is this: Mama bear will do whatever it takes to protect her cubs.

When she meets a man that she’s considering as a potential partner, it’s a far different thought process than a childless woman will have.

Is this man a good role model? Can he be a positive male figure in their lives? Will he show them what healthy love looks like in how he loves me?

Will he embrace and accept them?

It’s less about the things you do for her as a partner, and more about how she sees you interact with her kid(s).

This will be a huge adjustment for any man who’s used to simply wooing a woman (believe me), but if you’re ready to take on the challenge, the love returned to you will be magnified.

Ann was the first woman I had seriously dated who has children and now we are engaged.

15: Quality time outweighs material gifts.

Any man can spend money on her, take her to a fancy restaurant, or buy her a new purse as an apology. What NOT every man is willing to do, is learn about her interest, desires, wants, needs, likes and dislikes, and spend real valuable time just being by her side.

That’s what sets you apart in the long run — real effort.

Not just throwing money at things or trying to buy her love, but understanding that it must be earned and then it must be kept.

16: Wear cologne.

Why aren’t more men doing this?

The human brain remembers scent more than any other sensory experience.

Smelling good is never a bad idea.

17: She wants (needs) to feel safe with you.

I believe that one of the best compliments a woman can give to a man is that she feels safe with him. Protected. Secure. That she can sleep soundly next to you at night.

A woman understands that it doesn’t matter how attractive, funny, or appealing you are — if she doesn’t feel emotionally comfortable, nothing else matters.

That’s the important part — it’s not just about physical safety — but emotional safety. Feeling safe opening up, sharing her secrets, hearing your secrets — and having no judgment. That’s what reveals peoples’ true selves to each other and how you build a real connection.

18: She wants you to be secure in yourself.

Before Ann and I met, she was a successful entrepreneur with two businesses, raising two kids by herself, and doing it all in stride.

Anyone who’s ever been a parent and/or an entrepreneur knows that both are full time jobs in themselves. Let alone doing both at once.

Imagine if I were insecure or unsure of myself trying to court/woo/win over/impress a woman like that…

At one point in my life, this would have been the case, which is why timing is so important as well.

In order to step up and merge your life with someone else’s well constructed life requires you to be on the same level or at least of the same mindset that is able to create it.

Otherwise, you’ll be left frustrated, wanting, or maybe even — left behind.

Let me also say this doesn’t provide an excuse for someone to disregard the feelings of their partner in a relationship. I have hundreds of articles about why mutual affection and appreciation is so important.

19: She wants you to be reliable.

Reliability, how boring. Reliability is the reason you buy a Toyota Corolla, not excitement (sorry, Toyota). It’s not glamorous or sexy or particularly interesting — but you know what? When you walk outside in the morning and turn the key you know that sucker is going to start up without hesitation no matter how much it has been through.

A great romantic partner is someone you can count on without having to worry about it. You know they are going to be there for you when you need them. You know they are going to stand behind you when you need support, beside you when you need a teammate, and in front of you when you need protection. You don’t have to wonder if they are going to do what they said they are going to do or if they are going to flake out on you last minute, because they are reliable.

I took a little jab at Toyota there but a friend of mine purchased a very expensive British car recently, and had a ton of reliability issues with it. Guess what he did?

Traded in for a car manufactured by Honda.

Take a wild guess of what the top priority for the next car was?

You guessed it — reliability, because no matter how fantastic other qualities are, they’re all useless if the thing itself doesn’t work, or isn’t there.

20: She just wants to be loved and accepted.

Honestly, we have just accepted the narrative that women are some incredibly complicated foreign creatures that nobody in the world has ever been able to decode.

We’re from Mars and they’re from Venus, after all.

I believe that as unique human beings, though, we are all complicated in our own ways, regardless of gender.

In the long run, women just want to be cared for, listened to, respected, and sometimes…just loved.

The same as anyone else.

Five Differences Between Mature and Immature Love

Lessons we’re not teaching — but should be.

Love may not be something we traditionally consider as being “mature” or “immature,” but the truth is that our ability to — and ways of loving will mature (verb) over time just as we do.

We can easily see the evolution in ourselves and our relationships over time (hopefully) if we’ve grown as a person. We learn how to handle conflict, to compromise, to be patient, and to live in harmony with another.

How, then, do mature and immature love differ from each other?

1: Mature love is peaceful, immature love is chaotic.

Think of the turmoil and drama in your earlier relationships — raging hormones, two wild kids trying to figure each other (and themselves) out. Curiosity about the world, other people, how things work…

And, lack of clarity around self and identity.

This recipe creates an environment where peace seems elusive and chaos seems the norm. We are more attached to each other than in love witheach other, and it shows through the emotional eruptions that happen as the tectonic plates of our lives shift underneath us.

However — as we grow and mature, we (hopefully) become more settled and at peace. At peace with our lives, with our routines, and most of all — with ourselves.

You can feel this within, and easily see it in others. Look at the relationships of people in their teenage years, or early 20’s — and then look at the relationships of people who’ve stuck together over decades, who’ve made the lifelong commitment to each other, who truly understand each other. The more “mature” that our love grows, the more peaceful it should become.

2: Mature love fixes problems, immature love ignores them.

It would be dishonest to say that problems are nonexistent in mature love, or any kind of love — problems and challenges never go away, no matter how long two people are together or how well they harmonize.

The difference lies in what is done (and how it’s done) when these challenges do arise.

When we want to ignore issues or pretend they don’t exist, it shows a lack of willingness (or capacity) to address and solve them.

It also paints an inaccurate picture of what a realistic relationship looks like.

I think that now, more than ever, people get shown the highlight reel of everyone’s lives while scrolling through social media. It looks like everyone is happy all the time and never has any fights, arguments, or disagreement.

I mentioned before the how of these problems getting solved — mature love acknowledges the issue as the issue itself and then brings two partners together to fix it as a team.

We are able to say “the problem is the problem and we’ll fix it together” not “you are the problem and it’s us against each other.”

Or, as immature love would say: “I’m going to ignore this, pretend that there is no problem, and hope that it goes away.”

That’s simply like driving with your eyes closed pretending that there are no obstacles in the road. You might make it a little bit, but you’re going to crash eventually.

3: Mature love sets boundaries, immature love accepts poor treatment.

Absorb this — just because you love someone does not mean you are a slave to them.

You, as an individual and autonomous human being, are still required to have physical and emotional boundaries which are drawn around treatment that you will (and won’t) accept.

These boundaries don’t disappear inside of your relationship. They must remain present and mutually understood between you both.

When you sacrifice your boundaries and standards, it shows a lack of self-worth and a willingness to say “I’ll take any treatment you give me as long as you stay with me.”

Mature love has standards because your self loveis at the center of it.

Mature love says: I love you and I will stick by you, but not if you cause me emotional or physical harm.

4: Mature love chooses you, immature love NEEDS you.

I might get some flack for this, especially being the romance and relationship guy, but let’s get one thing clear: You should never be completely reliant upon another person for your happiness or fulfillment.

To go one step further — you can’t. Those are things that must come from within.

But immature love feels as though their entire world and identity will fall apart of they lose this person.

Therefore, they do literally anything it takes to hold on to them.

Including sacrificing their self-worth, and self respect.

Firstly, no healthy relationship or partner would ever put you in a position where you need to sacrifice these things.

Secondly, this signals an unhealthy level of attachment and lack of self-worth, strength and independence.

Should you wholeheartedly want to be with your partner with all of your heart and soul? Of course!

Should their presence in your life be your source of emotional and mental well-being? Well — no.

Your identity is your identity. It’s not your relationship, your job, your income, your car, house — and *gasp*, it’s not your kids.

It’s you, and you mustn’t forget what it’s like to stand on your own two feet, or you’ll find yourself constantly looking for crutches.

5: Mature love is secure, immature love is insecure.

I toyed with the idea of changing the title of this article to read “secure and insecure” love, rather than mature and immature — as I think in most cases here they could be swapped.

However, it’s important to note the correlation between the two.

Mature love is secure in its own existence. It isn’t fraught with doubt. It doesn’t always worry about being left. It doesn’t need to constantly worry about existing because it knows its position and where it stands.

Mature love is secure in itself, in the relationship, and in all of the work it has taken to grow over the years. It’s build atop a strong foundation. It sits with peace at the end of the day and it wakes up without expectation of turmoil, drama, or splintering.

Immature love — though — feels frantic and as if it could fall apart at any moment. It’s always waiting for the other shoe to drop and for a hidden secret to emerge — and as a result, it lives in paranoia and insecurity.

If we ever hope to feel at peace and enjoy the years of effort we have put into building love, we must be confident that all of that effort actually worked. That it paid off. That it led to what we set out to accomplish in the first place:

A solid and secure relationship alongside someone who chooses us every single day, as we do them.

There is no stronger foundation than that.

Internal Memo: To All Dining Room, Kitchen and Housekeeping Staff At Mar-A-Lago

In light of recent events we will be implementing some changes

Notice to all Mar-a-Lago staff:

As you are aware, our establishment was recently visited by a group of individuals who removed numerous boxes from the second-floor linen closet, the DJ booth in the bar, and other locations. In spite of what you may have been advised by SENIOR PEOPLE in the Organization, this event was not a scavenger hunt for a Men In Black cosplay convention.

As a result of this unfortunate misunderstanding, we will be making changes to some operational processes here at Mar-a-Lago.

  1. The only reading material left in guest suites should be room service menus, guides to the in-room entertainment system, and remaindered copies of Art of the Deal. The practice of placing Daily Presidential Intelligence Updates on pillows has been discontinued.
  2. Internet access will no longer include automatic login to the Department of Defense secure servers.
  3. Flyers featuring detailed blueprints of the Area 51 military base, with alien storage facilities highlighted, have been removed from the “Fun Things To Do!” brochure stand in the main foyer.
  4. The “Top Secret US Intelligence” category has been dropped from the Tuesday night bar trivia competition.
  5. The Friday night English-style fish and chips special will be served wrapped in newspaper, not documents detailing the names of CIA intelligence assets in the Asia-Pacific region.
  6. Under no circumstances should guests be provided with the codes to the nuclear arsenal, even if they call the front desk and say they forgot their copy at home.

Also, please be advised that Ivan, Oleg, Tatiana and Mei Lin are no longer employees of Mar-a-Lago and should not be permitted entry if you see them outside the grounds.

Many thanks for your prompt attention to these matters. Any questions should be referred to your supervisor or Special Agent Dixon, Edgar Hoover Building, Washington D.C.


Five Awkward Conversations That Will Strengthen Your Relationship

You might not WANT to have them, but you SHOULD.

What is it that really strengthens relationships?

Trust? Yes.

Intimacy? Yes.

Romance? Yes.

Consistent (mutual) effort? Of course.

Talking about the hard shit and revealing the secrets that you’ve never told anyone else before? Absolutely.

I think this is a big problem with relationships these days — we’re not willing to be vulnerable enough.

We’re so caught up in image, appearance, and how we’re projecting ourselves that we refuse to come across as anything less than perfect.

But, we’re not perfect. I’m not perfect, and neither are you.

Sorry to burst your bubble.

That’s a good thing, though, because “perfection” (albeit nonexistent) doesn’t allow space for personality. Your flaws and insecurities are often the very things that make you unique. They’re what make you you.

To build a real, strong, lasting foundation with someone, they need to know, love, and accept all pieces of you. That means you need to have some difficult conversations to show them what that really means:

1: The vision you have for your own future.

If you’re serious about building a future with someone, you need to make sure you’re moving in the same direction.

I believe that a lot of people end up too far into the wrong relationship because they weren’t fully honest about what they were looking for in the long run.

Either that, or they didn’t even know in the first place.

They just sort of…went with it.

It’s easy to do if someone is interested in you, likes you, or pursues you. It feels good to be wanted and we gravitate towards that.

But, unless you’re just having a casual fling with someone, it’s important to make sure that you both want similar things down the line.

Do you want to live in a city environment? Country? By the water?

Do you want any kids? Do you want 12 kids?

Do you want to spend your life traveling the world or are you perfectly content staying in your hometown forever?

If you have irreconcilable differences in these (or any other) arena, finding a common ground is very difficult.

It takes a level of maturity and openness to have a conversation that you know might not go well, but avoiding it does nothing but push it down the line — and finding out you’re incompatible after a year is a lot harder than finding out after a month.

2: Your NEEDS.

Capitalized because we’re not talking about wants, we’re talking about needs.

What is it that you need from your partner in a relationship?

Affection? Reassurance? Communication? Support? Respect?

Perhaps you’ve struggled with confidence issues in the past and feel insecure or distant if you’re not receiving reassurance from your partner…that’s okay…it just needs to be communicated to them so they know how to express their love to you.

Perhaps you need to feel safe with someone but your current partner’s inconsistencies are making it difficult to trust them — that is a need that must be discussed if the relationship will continue.

Some people don’t like talking about their needs because they don’t want to seem…well…needy. But we all have needs, and when they don’t get met in a relationship, things go south.

Having needs isn’t selfish, it’s human. It’s normal. And, it’s mutual. Your partner has them just like you do, they just might not be the same ones.

A mutual effort to understand each other’s needs, and work to fill them, though, is paramount to the success if your relationship.

3: Hurt or trauma you’ve experienced.

All of us have a past, some of which are prettier than others. The older we get, the more of life has accumulated behind us. Starting a relationship with someone new is a journey of learning about what that history has looked like for them, and how it has shaped them into the person they are today.

Their past hurt and/or trauma changes the way they see the world. It shapes their expectations of their relationships and dictates how easily (or not) they open up to you.

It can be a benefit or a challenge, depending on how it has been addressed and processed.

I’m not just talking about heartbreak, abuse, betrayal, or other serious emotional or physical struggles — it could be something like fear of rejection or abandonment. It could be a memory from their childhood that they’ve held on to. It could be an expectation they’ve carried from their parents or family…

Regardless of what someone’s past has brought them through, it is our responsibility as a good partner in a relationship to understand and accept it.

It helps us understand who it is that we’re with, why they do the things they do, and how we can best love them.

It may be difficult to divulge these secrets to someone, but that’s why trust is so important in a relationship.

If we cannot discuss our pasts with the person we’re with in the present, we’ve got much less hope for a future together.

4: Sexual preferences, needs, desires…

Let’s be adults about this: Sexual connection in a relationship is a vital part of overall happiness.

And, each of us have our own little “quirks” or things that we like (or dislike) in the bedroom. Or…whatever room you choose.

This can be a difficult conversation because it requires us to reveal our most intimate desires to someone without knowing how they’re going to react.

Will they think we’re weird? Judge us? Break up with us?

Or, maybe they’ll embrace, love, and accept what we like. Hell, maybe they’ll also like it, too.

And even if they don’t like it, maybe they’ll roll with it because they like you.

If we keep these desires suppressed, though, we’ll never be able to fully connect physically with our partner. We’ll always feel like there’s something missing and it can begin to form a wall between you.

ALL sexual activity in ANY relationship must be 100% consensual, so talking about a quirk or desire is important before just diving into it with someone.

Real intimacy is 70% emotional and 30% physical, but even though the emotional is so much more important, it cannot stand on its own without a healthy and happy physical aspect, as well.

5: Responsibilities and finances.

You want to build a real life future with this person, yes? That means having real life conversations about adult topics like life responsibilities, and money.

This will likely happen further down the road — not during the beginning, fun, romantic stages of dating.

But, eventually, when conversations happen about moving in together, having kids, getting married (IF you want to do any/all of those things), then everything becomes much more real and it’s helpful to know where each other stands so you can join forces to build a life together.

Furthermore, how do things look around the house? Who cooks? Who cleans? Who picks up the kids? How do you divide responsibilities and chores? How do you split the utilities, rent, or mortgage?

If you can both approach these conversations maturely and pragmatically, it’ll help you solidify a foundation that you can both stand strongly on, and build from, together.

Openness and honesty is how teammates build trust with each other, and at the end of the day, the team wins the game.