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Handling New Relationship Anxiety: Advice From a Dating Coach

Handling New Relationship Anxiety: Advice From a Dating Coach

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby is the founder and clinical director of Growing Self Counseling and Coaching. She’s the author of “Exaholics: Breaking Your Addiction to Your Ex Love,” and the host of The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast.

Anxiety About a New Relationship?

Are you on pins and needles, riddled with anxiety about a new relationship? You’re not alone. For most of our dating coaching clients, the “dating” part is not that hard. You put a profile together, attend social functions with a smile on your face, and you’re going to have opportunities. Going on an actual date or three is not the biggest deal.

What IS the biggest deal, and what our dating coaching clients really struggle with, is how to manage all the anxiety, insecurity, and angst about the unknown that comes with finding someone they really like and who they’ve started seeing regularly. That’s when all the questions come up: Should I text? When should I call? When is it time for us to take down our online dating profiles? Is it okay for me to bring up certain subjects? How do I show them I like them with out seeming too needy? Or should I play it cool? Are we moving too fast? Not fast enough? Is this going somewhere? Is it okay for me to ask that? Or will that push them away? AGGGH. 

We associate this sort of obsessing about another person’s feelings for us with the horrific junior high experience of crushing. But, sadly, this life experience is not just for fifteen year olds. Grown-a** people, even senior citizens, still struggle with the angst and vulnerability of how to handle themselves in new relationships when they really, really don’t want to blow it.

New Relationship Anxiety: It’s a Thing

New relationships are incredibly anxiety provoking, and for good reason. When you really like someone but aren’t sure how they feel about you, it’s all consuming. When romantic love starts to pulse inside you, it actually changes the way you think and feel. When you feel like you cannot take your mind off of someone, and like you have way too much mental and emotional energy going into a brand new person, it’s not just you. That experience of infatuation is what nature designed to weld you to another person. It’s fierce. To have such intense feelings for a new person, and not know if your budding love is requited is the absolute worst.

This anxiety about new relationships churns up all kinds of self doubt and questions. For this reason, in addition to the usual questions about dating coaching we get, we have been fielding questions about how to handle various situations in new relationships from our dating coaching clients, in our solution sessions, and with questions coming in from listeners of our podcast, readers of our blog, and even journalists. [Read more about our empowering approach to dating coaching on DatingNews.com]

Today, on the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast, I’m tackling some of your new relationship questions in hopes of putting some of that new relationship anxiety to rest. We’ll discuss:

  • How to manage new relationship anxiety
  • The stages of a new relationship
  • New relationship questions
  • When to bring up topics like dating exclusively, or how you really feel
  • Things to look for that indicate red flags and / or compatibility
  • When you should move forward dating someone with a history of depression or other issues (and when to fold ’em).
  • What to do when someone you like hasn’t called or texted in a while, or gives other signals that they might not be that into you
  • How to put self-love and self-worth front and center of all new dating relationships
  • How to move a new relationship forward without “scaring someone off”

All that, and more, on the podcast.

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

PS: Resources we discussed on the show: The How Healthy is Your Relationship Quiz, and How to Cultivate Healthy Self-Love

PPS: Do YOU have questions for me? Dating questions, or otherwise? Leave them in the comments: I read every one! 🙂

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New Relationship Anxiety? Your New Relationship Questions, Answered

by Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby | Love, Happiness & Success

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Is Dating Getting Harder?

Is Dating Getting Harder?

Why is Dating So Hard?

Yes, modern dating can be challenging. For as constantly-connected as we all are digitally, it can still be hard to establish a genuine connection with someone new — let alone someone who’s a good match for you. Whether you’ve been doing online dating, or spending lots of time out and about chatting up attractive strangers you know that dating in this day and age can be daunting. If you throw yourself into the fray, you’ll have to contend with the weirdos, time-wasters, and people who seem great at first blush, only to flake out. [For more on this topic, check out “The New Rules For Dating,” with Dr. Helen Fisher.] But if you don’t at least try… nothing changes. It can be exhausting to alternate between longing for love, and then putting yourself out there, only to face rejection, disappointment, and the sheer waste of time that modern dating can often involve.

Kind of depressing, when I lay it all out like that, isn’t it. And yet, as a dating coach, this is the reality that I hear from many clients. If you’ve also been struggling in your dating life, I want to validate your experience and let you know that you’re not alone.

And… I also want you to know that dating, with intention, courage and strategy, also works. There are many great people out there, just like you, who are looking for love — and finding it. Modern dating can and does lead to love. For as many of my dating coaching clients who are feeling frustrated and hopeless about dating, I have just as many who have found true love. (Often, it’s the same person who, by making changes to their strategy and sticking with it, was ultimately successful).

You can connect meaningfully with others, and launch a fabulous new relationship. Even in this day and age, all the time people are falling in love and getting married and have babies and living happily ever after. It can happen for YOU too.

But there are questions about dating that need to be answered first. Namely, what’s the difference between the type of people that modern dating seems to work for, and those for whom love is always elusive? What are the changes that you need to make in your dating approach to get better results?

So Why Am I Still Single?

To get to the bottom of this, I’ve asked the person who understands the realities of modern dating better than anyone: Brian Howie, to join me on this episode of the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast. Brian is the founder, host and agent provocateur of The Great Love Debate.

All over the world, Brian has been amassing single men and women together in the same room (often with some relationship and dating experts thrown in) and then sparking passionate conversations between them all about what is either leading to (or getting in the way of) love and connection. Through these debates, Brian has gained a unique perspective into modern dating as well as a remarkable insight into the specific things that both men and women are unintentionally doing that either sabotage their chances of creating a meaningful new relationship…. or lead them into the arms of “the one.”

Two Dating Coaches Get Real: Expert Dating Advice

Listen to this episode about dating to learn:

  • What are the cities in America where people are most or least likely to find love, and why? Why are Denver men getting a bad rap for being “undateable” and guys in Austin, TX so likely to be flakey?
  • What do women unintentionally do that makes it so hard for men to approach them?
  • What can singles do to dramatically increase the odds of creating meaningful connections?
  • What’s the difference between the people who are continuing to struggle and feel frustrated with dating, and those who are successful?
  • How is dating changing, in the era of #metoo and #timesup?
  • What’s the one red flag you should always pay attention to when you’re meeting someone new?
  • How can you be more attractive to the kind of people you want to be in a relationship with?
  • What’s the attitude and mindset that will help you cultivate connection?

 

All this and more, on this episode of the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast.

xoxo,

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

 

 

Why Are You Still Single?

by Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby | Love, Happiness & Success

Music Credits: Jennie O, “Case Study”

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The New Rules For Dating

The New Rules For Dating

Ghosts, Zombies and Breadcrumbs, Oh My!

New dating advice, for the modern era: If you’ve been on the modern dating scene for any time at all, you’ve probably become aware that the way people connect with each other is changing. Old “rules of dating” that we could once take for granted are no longer the norm. In fact, dating advice from just a few years ago might now steer you in the wrong direction if you’re looking for love.

How do we know? Every year, Match.com conducts original research into the experience of Singles in America. They ask probing questions about what dating people are doing, what they’re in to, and what turns them off. This year’s batch of research uncovered some particularly fascinating trends, illuminating a new set of standards for “‘Dating Do’s and Don’ts.”

On this edition of the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast I’m joined by Match.com’s lead researcher and scientific advisor Dr. Helen Fisher, as well as Denver dating coach Markie Keelan, to talk about their latest dating advice and how you can make it work for you.

Here are just some of the dating questions we’re discussing:

  • What does it mean when someone you like disappears, only to show up again weeks or months later?
  • How do a significant percentage of long-term relationships start these days? (Hint: Not  with a first date!)
  • How can you tell if you’re in a “situationship” that’s going to turn into a real relationship? (Or not).
  • Why does keeping your options open sometimes reduce the chance of finding authentic intimacy?
  • How is the evolving political landscape impacting the way people behave when they’re dating?
  • Why are some parts of the country notorious for “Ghosts, Zombies and Breadcrumbs” – and what you can do to avoid this trap?

All for you, on this edition of the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast.

xoxo,  Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

The New Rules For Dating, With Dr. Helen Fisher

by Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby | Love, Happiness & Success

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Dating During The Holidays: ‘Tis The Season… of Love

Dating During The Holidays: ‘Tis The Season… of Love

Single During the Holidays?

As a breakup expert and dating coach, I know all too well that many single people — particularly newly single people — often dread the holiday season, envisioning themselves enduring the upcoming string of holiday celebrations without a +1. But truly, there is no need to worry about feeling lonely during the holidays. If you’re single, and want to be in a new relationship, the holiday season is a fantastic, highly advantageous time for you to connect with a new love.

Why is dating during the holidays such a great time to launch a beautiful new relationship? Three main reasons:

1. You have the opportunity to meet more people in person, because of all the holiday gatherings and events happening at this time of year.

2. Many, many other singles (fun, beautiful, desirable, successful singles just like you) are also feeling motivated to connect right now and are putting themselves out there too. But there’s more: Match.com consistently finds that the Sunday after New Year’s is the single most popular day for people to create new online dating profiles. They see a 30-40% increase in their membership on that one day alone. If you get your act together now, you’ll have the pick of the litter come January.

3. Possibly most importantly, you have a legitimate reason to wear sequins, sparkles, and / or hilariously ugly holiday sweaters. No, really! All of these fashion choices are actually fantastic conversation starters, making it extremely easy for anyone to start up a conversation with you.

online-dating-over-the-holidays-single-during-holidays

You could totally walk up to this guy and talk to him about his bells and puff-balls. Or maybe just give him a hug.

In short: If you’ve been sitting on the sidelines, feeling discouraged about the dating game, now’s the time to get off the bench and take another swing at finding love. And today’s episode of the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast is going to help you do just that.

Free Advice From a Dating Coach

There are just a few keys to successful dating: Clarity, Chemistry, Connection, and Evaluation. We’re going to be talking about each of these today to get you prepared to be your best self as you head into this sparkling season, ripe with potential for new love.

I’ll be putting on my “dating coach” hat to give you some advice on how to get clear about who you want to meet, and how to attract them. We’ll also be discussing the all-important “chemistry factor” and what YOU need to be thinking about and doing to wow all the attractive new people you’re about to meet, and leave them wanting more of you.

Additionally, we’ll be talking about how to make the most of all your opportunities for connection. You’ll have natural “IRL” opportunties this season, in the form of parties and holiday events, as well as the chance to freshen up your online dating profile. Because your photos will make-or-break your success with online dating, I’ve invited professional portrait photographer Kelly Weaver (who specializes in online dating profile photos) to give you her top tips for getting some fantastic new photos for your profile.

After that, we’ll also be discussing the downsides of being so gorgeous and irresistible, which is how to competently handle all the attention you’re getting — not to mention the sheer volume of messages and invitations you might be flooded with. While this sounds like a happy problem to have, feeling overwhelmed is something that scares people right out of the dating pool. I’ll be sharing some tips to create a solid plan in place to manage all the back-and-forth without acquiring a bunch of pen-pals, and quickly figure out who’s a good fit for you and who’s not will help you focus your energy on the people who are a match for you.

Lots to learn about dating during the holidays, on this edition of the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast. Listen now…

Dating During The Holidays: 'Tis The Season... For Love

by Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby | Love, Happiness & Success

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Are You Over-Focusing on “Chemistry?” (And Ruining a Great Relationship?)

Are You Over-Focusing on “Chemistry?” (And Ruining a Great Relationship?)

Afraid something’s wrong because you’re not “feeling butterflies?” Think again…

Chemistry between two people is important, especially when you’re dating. Because, let’s face it, it’s not enough to be partnered with a kind, stable, thoughtful, attractive, interesting, and fun person, is it? No. Mere decency, values, and character won’t cut it. You want to feel the feels. You’re craving “chemistry.”

How do I know this? I’m a dating coach. And I have these types of conversations frequently:

  • Jen tells me about a date, saying, “I was so excited about him– he’s perfect on paper. He’s exactly what I want. But… he doesn’t give me butterflies. We’re not going out again.”
  • John tells me about the woman he’s been dating for months. “She’s wonderful. I really like spending time with her. I know we could have a great life. My mother loves her…” “But?” I prompt. He sighs, “I just kind of want more passion. I want to see what else is out there.”

Both Jen and John are making the common dating mistake that destroys potentially amazing relationships. They both want to feel the intense, obsessive, “I can’t live without you” craving of early-stage romantic love. When that’s missing, and their relationship feels easy, reliable, and straightforward…  they assume that something must be wrong.

I get it: Chemistry matters. In fact I spend a lot of time working with my dating coaching clients to help them up their own “chemistry quotient” in order to be more attractive to the kind of people they want to date. If there is no chemistry, there’s no future. It’s that simple.

However, in addition to helping people “find the one” as a dating coach, I’m also a marriage counselor. I know what it takes to create a happy, healthy long-term relationship. When I’m working as a dating coach, my number one priority is not just getting people dates, but helping them see the big picture — and what a lifetime of love actually involves.  So I tell my Jen’s and John’s exactly what I’ll share with you now:

“Never confuse anxiety for love. Never prioritize chemistry over character. And never believe that a ‘chemistry feeling’ is a reliable source of information as to whether someone is going to be a good long-term partner for you.”

In fact, the exact opposite is often true: The people who are most likely to make you feel “chemistry” — an anxious churning in their presence, sleepless nights thinking of them, and feelings of euphoria when you’re around them — are often the ones who are the most emotionally (or literally) dangerous for you to get involved with.

For example: A mercurial, highly sexual, unpredictable woman will make your heart pound in a way that the loving, kind kindergarten teacher with a fondness for Dansco clogs will probably not. Likewise, a rakish, troubled bad-boy will light you on fire, in a way that the earnest CPA who cares enough to iron his shirt and show up on time won’t. But who do you want to try and build a life with?

“Chemistry” is a cocktail of lust and danger that wrings the dopamine out of your neurotransmitters. You know that giddy, nervous feeling you have getting into the rollercoaster car before it starts ratcheting itself up for the first big drop? And how, although intellectually you know its okay, your body is reacting like it might be about to die? That’s not a bad approximation to the giddy / euphoric / so-nervous-I’m-about-to-throw-up feeling we can have about someone we have intense chemistry for.

New idea: Feeling this way about someone is actually a danger signal. As I teach in my online dating coaching class, and wrote about in my breakup recovery book, “Exaholics: Breaking Your Addiction to An Ex Love,” chemistry is strongest when you feel anxious, insecure, or afraid. This is one reason why illicit affairs feel so intoxicating and have the power to destroy a family… and why the very same relationships are so often frustrating and disappointing in the cold light of day.

Feeling attracted to your partner is important. Wanting to be around them is a good thing. Feeling happy in their presence is fantastic. You need those things, and you deserve them. But it’s a huge mistake to believe — as too many modern daters do — that feeling generally happy and attracted to a kind and good person without that roller-coaster feeling is “settling.”

As a marriage counselor I’ve had a front row seat for seeing what happens long term after people prioritize chemistry over character. It’s not pretty. Trust me: It’s terrible to realize that you confused excitement, passion, and anxiety for love, and then tried to build a life with a self-centered, impulsive person who made you feel agony, ecstasy and insecurity…. But who was never able to truly love you back.

I want to save you from this sad fate. You can certainly have a healthy, enduring relationship with someone you feel passionately about. But, if it’s going to work, the person you choose must also have substance and strong character.

To keep yourself on track as you date, remind yourself what true love actually looks like:

  • True love shows you that your needs and feelings are important… instead of jerking you around emotionally and making you feel bad.
  • True love stays loyal, and committed to you… even during the low points of your partnership.
  • True love is respectful, engaged, pleasant to be around, and a good friend to you… even when it isn’t getting its way.
  • True love isn’t a top-of-the-mountain peak experience. True love shows up in small, humble, self-sacrificing ways every single day.
  • Most importantly, true love takes responsibility for behavior, and is willing to make changes… just because it’s important to you.

There’s a huge difference between toxic, crazy-making chemistry and true love. True and unwavering love is not showy. It’s not agonizing. It doesn’t make you feel insecure, or bad. It’s actually pretty easy. It’s reliable. It’s trustworthy. It’s often quietly pleasant. It can also be too easy to brush aside, especially when you’re busy chasing the flash and glitter of “chemistry.”

All the best,

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

Growing Self Counseling & Coaching