You're a real catch but here's why women aren't interested.

Lauren Gray

Dear Lauren,

I’m a good-looking guy, so I know my looks are not the problem. But every time I try talking to a girl, getting close to a girl, or try to take “dating” to the next level, it never works out. I’m a funny guy, fairly wise, very goal oriented, and I’m very social. But the bottom line is, I’m just not very good with “relationships” or dating in general. Can you help give me a clue on how to be more successful with the ladies? 

Hey there Dustin,

Right now you are a Peacock.
You’re flaunting each bright feather for the ladies to see and admire.
Check out my good looks!
See how funny I am!
Look at me, I’m so smart, goal-oriented, and social!

You’ve been putting on a pretty good show: making a solid case for why you’re such a catch.
So why aren’t women interested?
You’re cock will never be big enough
Whether it’s good looks, a show-stopping personality, a gold watch or a fancy car—If you’re trying to win a woman by showing her how big your proverbial cock is, 1 of 2 things will happen:
1. You will attract the type of girl who only wants you for your “cock.”
This means the moment some other guy dresses better, has more connections, a better time piece or an even more outrageous car, she’s going to lose interest in you and chase the shinier objects.
No matter how great you are, your “cock” will never be big enough to hold on to this woman.
Good riddance! This woman is not relationship material.
I’m not saying she isn’t worthy of love but SHE doesn’t believe in her own worth. This causes her to chase men who make her feel better about herself. If these Peacocks think so highly of themselves and they give her the time of day, it means SHE must be worth it.
But when you’re always searching for your worth outside of yourself, you’ll never enjoy a lasting, loving relationship. 

2. You will turn off women who are actually relationship material.
The women who have great self-esteem and who are looking for a meaningful relationship aren’t looking for a Peacock.
In fact, one of the most common pet peeves women have about dating is that the guy spends the whole time “bragging” about himself instead of engaging her.
A Peacock says, “It’s all about me.”
This woman knows she deserves a man who says, “It’s all about you.”

I’ll explain more on that in a minute. But first I want to explain something about attraction that will help you understand the situation better.
What makes a man attractive
(beyond the first 5 minutes)
Initially your bright feathers and big “cock” may attract a woman’s attention.
Unfortunately, unlike the animal kingdom, human women need more than a show to keep them involved in anything deeper than a surface flirt.
You’ve got the first step down. It’s in “trying to take dating to the next level” that you need some help.
Men know if they’re attracted to a woman the moment they lay eyes on her. Because for men, looks are a big part of attraction. You naturally assume women work the same way. However, for the most part, we value things differently.
Big “cocks” and shiny toys mean little to women when it comes to relationships and attraction. 
A woman can recognize a man is good looking physically and has a list of impressive credentials AND STILL NOT BE ATTRACTED TO HIM.
On the other hand, a woman can think a man is not good looking but with time she may well see him as the most handsome man in the world.
Women need another piece of the puzzle in order for their attraction to grow.
How to attract a woman with relationship potential
Dating is not a job interview where you have to pitch your strengths and accomplishments to get the gig.
It’s not so much about WHAT you say as HOW you listen.
Just the simple act of listening to a woman and being interested in what she says can earn you, what I call: brownie points.
The “brownie points” system is how a woman calculates her attraction to a man.
·      You listen without interrupting, you get a point.
·      You hold eye contact, you get a point.
·      You ask her a question, you get a point.
·      You open her car door, you get a point.
·      You compliment her, you get a point.

If you earn enough points, you get a kiss. If you earn more, she tells you her deepest darkest secret. If you earn even more, she might fall in love with you.
See how that works?
It’s not about showing off as much as it is about paying attention to her.
What musical theater taught me about men with tiny cocks
I spent years doing live theater; starring in roles like Dorothy, Ms. Hannigan, and Veruca Salt. I know one thing for sure, when you’re standing in the spotlight, you are blind to your audience.
This works perfectly when they’ve actually paid to see the spectacle of you singing and dancing. But when it comes to a date and creating a genuine human connection, this system falls flat.
Because when you’re busy showing her what a great catch you are, YOU’RE standing in the spotlight. And you cannot see, let alone appreciate and pay attention to, the amazing woman you’re talking with at.
You could be average Joe Shmo with a tiny “cock,” but if you put her in your spotlight then she will fall for you.
You don’t have to change who you are or what - you think - makes you great. It’s part of the package (pun intended!) And she’ll grow to love it.
·      By putting her in the spotlight and really listening to her, you’ll earn her trust.
·      When she trusts you, she’ll open her heart.
·      When she opens her heart, she’ll be in a place to genuinely appreciate the amazing person you are.
You’ll have proved yourself to be “relationship material.” And by that point, she’s definitely going to want the privilege and pleasure of being your girlfriend.
With love,

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My #1 Relationship Mistake (and the rule that changed everything for me)

My #1 Relationship Mistake (and the 'rule' that changed everything for me)

Lauren Gray

My #1 Relationship Mistake
I had an unusual childhood. My dad was the number one self-help author of all time and the world's leading relationship expert. I was a kid who ate dinner to the tune of gender and relationship discussions and boy, did I learn a lot.  So when I first started dating, I assumed I had it all figured out.
It’s safe to say I was W R O N G.
I had several relationships that started wonderfully. My boyfriends would make me endlessly happy, and I was more than willing to allow them to be the source of my joy.  But each time I would become so dependent on their love and attention that I became needy for my next fix. The high never lasted. I spent more time feeling disappointed, frustrated and hurt than anything else.
It got to the point where I gave up on love entirely. I found my independence and it felt safe. I was single for 6 years.
But the truth was I missed being in love. I wanted that kind of happiness again. But I wanted it to last.
I needed to find a way to be in a relationship where ALL my needs were met – independence and intimacy, confidence and trust, strength and vulnerability. That way I could open my heart to a partner, receive love, even depend on it and never lose my strength and well-being in the process.
That was the ticket! But I didn’t know how to make it happen until I remembered something my dad had taught me years ago and I finally recognized my mistake.
The Relationship “Rule” that changed it all
My dad taught me that “In order to have a successful relationship 90% of your happiness has to come from you. Your partner can only contribute 10% of your happiness.”
He calls it The 90/10 Rule.
BAM. That’s when I saw my mistake clearly for the first time. I was used to swinging from one extreme to the other: looking for a relationship to fulfill 100% of my happiness to then giving up on a partner to meet my deeper emotional needs entirely.
At that point, I made it my sole mission to discover how to practically apply The 90/10 Rule and literally within 2 weeks, I attracted my life partner Glade and we’ve been growing in love for 7 years.
Speaking of extremes…
Ladies ONLY: Are you a "Venus in Pink" or a "Venus in Blue?"
There are two extremes we tend to move to and it creates our own set of problems in relationships. For clarity I’ve named them:
Venus in Blue
Taps more into her masculine side.  She's used to marching to the beat of her own drum, prefers to do things on her own, and hates asking for help. She's a little bit of a type A personality and has an intensity that sometimes scares men away.  She often feels overworked and burnt out taking care of everything and everyone. She wishes her partner would do more to contribute and make things easier.
Venus in Pink
Taps more into her feminine side.  She hates spending time without her special guy, she doesn't enjoy indulging in alone time, and she finds herself rattled when her guy wants time without her. She feels needy and dissatisfied, wishing her partner would initiate more romance and stop acting so distant and indifferent.

If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably experienced both of these from time to time. I learned a ton from my dad over the years but it wasn’t until I discovered how to apply The 90/10 Rule that I was able to find my own blend of feel-good purple.
And I’d like to help you do the same.
2 steps to create and grow a successful relationship
Whether you identify more with Blue, Pink or a mix of both, the job for every woman who wants a successful relationship is this:
1. Learn how to fulfill yourself and find your happy. 90% of your happiness needs to come from you.
2. Learn how to get your needs met effectively from a man so that he can feel successful and you can finally feel satisfied. If you want a successful relationship, 10% of your happiness needs to come from him.
Here’s the kicker: The 10% he contributes is dependent upon the 90% you generate for yourself.
You need to become, what I call, a “Me-Timer:” a woman who gets the kind of “me-time” she needs to generate 90% of her happiness and fulfillment. Because only SHE has the skills to use relationship tools effectively, only SHE has the power to motivate her partner to give her all the love she wants, thus creating the necessary We-Time for both partners to thrive in intimacy and lasting attraction.
How to become a “Me-Timer” and make The 90/10 Rule work for you!
90/10 is a great ideal to strive for but until you can practically apply it, it’s not worth much.
That’s why I developed a step-by-step system to become a “Me-Timer.” It’s called The You-We-Me-Time ® System, and by following these steps, you develop the relationship skills and power you need to implement The 90/10 Rule so you can feel great in a relationship!
I teach women how to do this in a transformational online course called How to Get More Me-Time which just closed it's enrollment.
However, if you want to learn how to become a Me-Timer and make The 90/10 Rule work for you, start HERE with a free guide.
You’ll get a jump start on your Me-Timer training and get an exclusive invitation to join the program when the doors open for enrollment again.
With love,

If you know someone who would appreciate these insights (ANY woman who struggles in love and deserves more happiness and fulfillment) please use the social sharing buttons and share this post with them. Xo.

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The top 5 relationship efforts that give you even more in return.

The top 5 relationship efforts that give you even more in return.

Lauren Gray

Happy Valentines Day/Week!
Newsfeeds will be full of picture perfect couples – getting engaged, flashing new jewelry, bouquets of flowers, etc. And I think it’s great that these men and women get to bask in the romantic glow of their partner’s loving attention on this special day.
But great relationships can’t survive on Valentine’s Day efforts alone. A great relationship needs to be fed with loving attention every day.
Does that sound exhausting?
Let me make this super clear: We’re not meant to be bottomless pits of love and energy. That’s not realistic. This is about channeling your energy effectively so that the love and energy you give, gives back to you…so you have even more to give and the cycle feeds itself.
This is less about big extravagant gestures and more about how you relate to each other on a daily basis; small choices you make to support a relationship that will support you in return. Makes sense?
To show you what I mean I’m sharing with you the top 5 relationship efforts Glade and I make that give us even more in return.
Relationship Effort #1.

I only give what I can give with love. If I feel pushed, pressured, or resentful – I say No. My partner deeply appreciates this about me because I never hold my choices against him. I take responsibility for my own happiness and he loves this about me. He returns the favor and I am grateful. When we give with love, each act of generosity inspires even more generosity.
Learn more about this relationship tool here.
Relationship Effort #2.

When one of us accidently steps in it and the other feels defensive, rather than stew in justifications for those upset feelings, turn a cold shoulder, or act out, we practice gratitude to open our hearts to each other so we can receive the love that will heal the hurt.
Learn more about how to open your heart to each other here.
Relationship Effort #3.

We honor “hold buttons.” Let me explain: When a conversation gets heated, rather than pursue the subject, we put it on hold. We know that repeating our feelings/points/arguments will only lead to a destructive fight so we trust that by taking a break we can come back together later and have a more loving and productive conversation.
Learn more about “hold buttons” and how they can work for you here.
Relationship Effort #4.

When my partner disappoints me, let’s me down, or makes a mistake, rather than rub it in his face, I choose to find the loving intention that is always there and focus on that. By focusing on the love I give him the message that he is enough. This small act of love (choosing to focus on the good, not the mistake) makes him feel loved, which automatically makes him feel more loving and he has more to give to me. My partner extends the same effort to me when I make a mistake and he receives the same loving return on investment.
Learn how to “focus on the love” so you can turn lemons into lemonade here.
Relationship Effort #5.

Every now and then I’ll lose attraction to my partner.
OMG did she just say that out loud on the internet?!!!!
Yes I did. Because I know something most people don’t. It’s totally NORMAL to temporarily lose attraction to your partner! This is not a sign that the relationship is in a state of emergency. It’s not even a big deal. It just means your attraction hormones aren’t in balance.
When I lose attraction, it’s simply a sign that I need to take more Me-Time. A hike with a girlfriend, an hour playing with the dog, an evening binge-watching “This Is Us” and the next day you have to peel me off my partner I’m so drawn to him. For me it's such a quick turn-around because I also make sure I get regular Me-Time in my life. My partner does the same.
This small effort of self-care pays our sex life back in dividends.
Learn how taking space from each other can bring you even closer together here.
There you go. My Valentine’s day gift to you: The top 5 relationship efforts that give you even more in return! I hope they help you enjoy your relationships even more.
With love,

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Are you sacrificing too much in the name of love?

Lauren Gray

Hey Lauren,
I really love your blogs, they make a lot of sense, and I need your help with something. I’m 39 years old and I’m engaged to a woman I adore. Here’s my problem, she nags me all the time. I want to be there for her but it feels like she’s always demanding so much time and energy. I know you’re supposed to “compromise” in a relationship but it seems like I’m making all the sacrifices and I’m starting to feel like this relationship is one-sided. This isn’t sustainable. What can I do?
Hi Ian!
Sounds like you’ve got Resentment Flu. And you’re right; it isn’t sustainable. So let’s talk about how to get rid of resentment so that you can enjoy your relationship again!
Before we dive in, I want to be completely transparent. Clearing resentment is often a many layered process. What I’m sharing with you today in this blog is a great first step. For some men and women, this first step is enough, especially if you’re in a new relationship. For others, there’s more work to be done.
But let’s take the first important step, shall we?

The #1 CLUE You’ve Got Resentment Flu.
The first step to any recovery is a diagnosis. So let’s figure out, how do you know if you have resentment flu?
Resentment enthusiastically takes over anytime you feel like you’re giving more than you’re getting in a relationship.
There’s a big stigma around the word “resentment;” no one wants to own that they feel resentful. It doesn’t feel particularly flattering. I understand.
But when you take the word out of the mix and just look at the feeling that you get when you’re giving so much but you’re not getting the same love, appreciation and effort that you’re putting forth – it becomes a LOT more relatable and a lot more approachable.
I mean, have you ever felt like you give more than you get? I HAVE!!!!
So, when you look at your partner and think, “They’re not pulling their weight around here,” that’s the number one clue you’ve been infected with resentment flu.
Own it. Now you have the power to get rid of it.
The Relationship SECRET No One Tells You!
Right now you feel resentful because it seems like you’re making all the sacrifices and doing all the work. You genuinely want to be there for her but the reality is, she’s draining all your resources, time, and energy.
It’s normal, at this stage, to think that that is HER fault.
After all, you’re doing so much for her; you’re sacrificing so much for the relationship, you’re doing everything right, right? And instead of giving you a break or offering to help you with your stuff, she keeps “nagging” you for more support and attention. So this is her fault, right?

Here’s the relationship secret no one tells you:
Saying “No” to your partner is sometimes the most loving thing you can do for your relationship.
Sounds CRAZY right? But here’s the logical breakdown:
-She asks you for something, demands something from you or needs you for something and you say, “Yes” because you love her and you want to be there for her. You want to be a good partner.

-Except, it’s not really loving at all because you hold it against her later. You resent her for making you do that thing. Instead of bringing you closer together in intimacy, your “romantic sacrifice” is actually just wedging an ice-cold wall between you.

-It’s not her fault you said, “Yes.” It’s unfair and unjust to blame your partner for something you chose to do. Ultimately, if you don’t have it to give and you give it anyway and then you get mad at her – You’re the asshole, not her.
You give what you can give with love. Anything else isn’t being a good partner. That goes for men AND women. We need to learn how to say, “No” to each other for the sake of our relationships.
What is “Romantic Sacrifice” for Men vs. Women (it’s VERY different)
“Sacrifice” can be a very misunderstood concept in relationships. On the one hand we see it as romantic; on the other hand we see it as the dark side of compromise and the source of resentment flu.
The root cause of this misunderstanding can be found in our gender differences.

Romantic Sacrifice for Men
The act of sacrifice releases the hormone testosterone. Releasing testosterone for men lowers their stress levels. It feels good.
When a man has enough testosterone, sacrifice for his partner feels heroic, grand, sexy, and romantic. Think about how it made you feel in the beginning of your relationship when you gallantly offered her your jacket when it got cold. She was warm, you were cold, you had every right to be miserable and yet, you felt on top of the world!
That’s hormones for ya!
However, when you don’t have sufficient levels of testosterone, sacrifice doesn’t make you feel good; in fact it only makes you feel more depleted.
Too much sacrifice on an “empty stomach” over time leads to Resentment Flu.

Romantic Sacrifice for Women
This is kind of an oxymoron because when a woman sacrifices her needs for her partner, there’s nothing romantic about it.
This has nothing to do with women being more “selfish”, far from it! The reality is simply that releasing testosterone doesn’t have the same stress-reducing, feel-good effect on women that it has on men.
However, women get a huge hormonal benefit from giving to their partner from a place of abundance. Women are givers, lovers, nurturers and when we are giving from a place of fullness, we are releasing the hormone oxytocin, which lowers our stress and feels really good to us.
When women give from a place of stress or scarcity, it becomes a sacrifice and over time will lead to Resentment Flu.
2 Steps to Get Rid of Resentment and ENJOY Your Relationship Again!
1. Recognize when you’re being THE ASSHOLE for saying, “Yes.”
When your partner asks for something or looks like they could use your support, check in with yourself: “Do I have this to give right now or will I hold it against them later?” If you have it give, by all means, give from your heart and don’t look back.
However, if you don’t have it give and you think you’ll hold it against them later, say, “I can’t right now. But I’d be happy to help you later.”

2. Only give from a place of fullness and abundance.

For men, this means rebuilding your testosterone levels.
When you’re low in testosterone, sacrifice sucks! But when you have sufficient levels of testosterone, sacrificing for your woman can feel empowering and romantic.
You can rebuild your testosterone by taking “cave time.” For ex: sit on the couch, watch TV, play a video game, read the newspaper, rest and refuel.
To learn more about this essential hormone and how it can make or break your relationship (your work, your health, and your life!), Click HERE. 
For an awesome supplement that you can take to rebuild testosterone naturally – helping you feel more energy, patience, and generosity with your partner, Click HERE. 
For women, this means filling your tank and lowering your stress levels.
When you’re stressed and depleted, giving loses all it’s magic mojo; it just doesn’t fulfill us like it did before. It starts feeling like one giant sweaty sacrifice.
Cough cough… I feel the flu coming on...
But it doesn’t have to! You can fill your tank and lower your stress levels and you don’t need to add anything MORE to your plate to do it.
Wanna learn how? …To learn how to bring back the magic mojo and give from a place of fullness and abundance, leaving resentment behind forever and embracing your feminine fulfillment, sign up for email updates because something AMAZING is coming up! Let's just say this Summer could change everything.

With love,


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A simple exercise to open your heart to each other no matter what.

A simple exercise to open your heart to each other no matter what.

Lauren Gray

Gratitude practice has become a popular path to experiencing more happiness and fulfillment in life. But you may be surprised to know how “gratitude” can help your relationship as well.
Most of our dissatisfaction in life comes from looking at what we don’t have, at the absence of something we want.
I want my partner to listen to me and he doesn’t.
I want my partner to let me watch my show in peace and she doesn’t.
I want my partner to be affectionate and she’s not.
I want my partner to pick up after himself and he doesn’t.

We ALL have things to complain about. By the very nature of us being imperfect human beings, we are imperfect partners, and will experience imperfect relationships.
While I offer a course that shows women how to approach their relationships differently in order to get a different result, for this moment, we cannot change our partners. But we can find a path to fulfillment and satisfaction in this moment and I’ll show you what it is.
Make a list.
Not the usual list of all the “have nots” and the “She doesn’t” and the “He doesn’t.” It’s a new list. A grateful list.
What is something that your partner adds to your life that you would miss if it was taken away from you? What small things do they contribute to make your life easier, more fun, more meaningful, brighter, lighter, richer, and more truthful?
For example, even when I’m mad at my partner or in a place of temporary resentment because I’ve given too much, I can connect with this list:

Dear Glade,
1. I’m grateful that you take out the trash. Even when it's dark. Even when it's raining. I hate that job. I love that you do it every time I ask so I don’t have to do it myself or have to suffer through the stink of leftover shrimp shells.
2. I’m grateful that you’re the one to set the alarm the night before so I don’t have to keep my cell phone next to me and I don’t have to press "snooze." I love that you do that for me and that you always factor in an extra 15 minute snooze to spoon me so that I can wake up every day and know I’m loved.
3. I’m grateful that you make me a heating pad when I have a stomach ache. I’m grateful that even if you’re asleep, I can wake you up and you’ll make me a heating pad. I’m so happy I don’t have to do that for myself and that you do that for me.
4. I’m grateful that you drove me to my doctor’s appointment in the city the other day so I didn’t have to spend ten embarrassing minutes trying to parallel park in front of a zillion people who have nothing better to do than stare. Thank you for dropping me off and picking me up so I didn’t have to feel uncomfortable.
5. I’m grateful that whenever the TV breaks or my car has a flat or the computer is on the fritz, you’ll fix it. You don’t get impatient with me; you just fix it.
No matter where I’m at, I can always find at least 5 things to be grateful for.
So, your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to make a list of your own. Remember what it was like when you were all alone and from that perspective acknowledge your genuine gratitude for what your partner adds to your life.
If only for that moment, your heart will open, your defensive walls will soften, your hunger-for-more will abate and you’ll feel full of love.
This exercise is always there for you to take up and connect with those feelings and no one needs to change in order for you to feel this way.
This exercise alone is not going to change your life but it can change a moment, and that moment can change the way you say something to your partner and that communication can change the way your partner responds to you and from there…who knows? Love begets more love.
Gratitude is a powerful path to more love. And this list is a great exercise to open your heart again and again.
With love,

P.S. This is a simple exercise that I hope helps you connect more fully to the love in your heart so that you can experience more love in your relationship.
If you want to experience even MORE love and fulfillment in your relationship, MORE reciprocal efforts and gestures of love and consideration, MORE happiness and appreciation, sign up for email updates because something AMAZING is coming up. Let's just say this Summer could change everything.


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Why men cock block your feelings instead of listening.

Lauren Gray

Hi Lauren,
I need your help. It seems like every time I try to bring something up about our relationship and express my honest feelings, it turns into a fight. Specifically, I open up, he gets irritated and says “drop it.” I’m not one to be bulldozed over so I keep talking. I should be allowed to express to myself to my own boyfriend. He just keeps saying, “drop it” and eventually leaves the room and slams the door.
I’m trying to make this relationship work but I keep running up against a brick wall. How can I get around “drop it” and have the conversation I want to have?
Hi Chelsea,

Is he the WRONG guy?
You absolutely deserve a relationship where you feel free and safe to share your feelings.
But the truth is: getting “real” in a relationship can and often brings out the worst in a man. You want to express your feelings and he won’t listen. Instead he gets irritated, says “drop it,” leaves the room, and slams the door.
NOT COOL DUDE. Way to cock block my feelings!!!
Some people might tell you he’s “the wrong guy.” Some people might tell you to run the other direction and find someone “more mature.”
People love giving advice that starts with “you deserve better” and ends with “move on!”

Of course that’s easy for THEM to say; they’re not madly in love; it’s not their heart on the line!
I say, “You deserve better” and I also say there are tools you can use that will get you what you want with the man you got. Keep reading!

Why men say “DROP IT” right when you’re getting warmed up.
Have you noticed this? You’re in the perfect beginning of an honest conversation, you’re just gaining momentum, feelings are flowing, and suddenly you hit the 1950’s man-of-the-house, my-way-or-the-highway roadblock: “DROP IT.”
And no matter what you say or do, he’s not budging. And while that might work for HIM, it certainly doesn’t work for YOU.
But in order to get what you need, we first need to understand WHY men cock block your feelings instead of listening.
Men say “drop it” after a certain point in an emotional get-real conversation when a woman starts repeating herself. From his perspective, there is no new information to process so it begins to feel redundant, unnecessary and most of all, blame-y.
A woman repeats herself for two reasons:
1. She’s expressing emotional thoughts, which are rarely organized or linear. She’s not making a power-point presentation; she’s sharing her feelings and sometimes it loop-da-loos.
2. She tries different ways of saying her point because she’s trying to elicit a certain response from him to soothe her upset and make her feel better.
Unfortunately, to him, this repetition sounds punishing and unnecessary; he’s obviously not saying the right thing to make your bad feelings go away so he loses patience and wants OUT of the conversation.
How to make “DROP IT” work for YOU.
When a man abruptly ends a conversation with “drop it,” it’s scary. His withdrawal right at the moment you open up and get real with your feelings, feels like a rejection.
The thing is, “drop it” is not a rejection. It’s a hold button.
WHY? Because…
1. His brain can’t absorb anything more that you say in that moment; he’s reached his limit.
2. He’s too frustrated and impatient to give you the loving response you’re looking for.
3. He’s no longer capable of listening to you without it becoming a big fight.
The best move for both of you is to drop it TEMPORARILY and let him pull away to his cave. If you need to, you can come back to the conversation later at a better time.
For extra loving credit, when he says, “Drop it,” you can say, “You’re right. I’m repeating myself. I can see you got the message. I appreciate your patience. Knowing that you know what I’m going through really makes a difference. Thank you.”
This magic phrase will soothe the sharp edges of his frustration and pave the way for him to come back to you in a loving way after he’s had some time to cool down.
Why LATER is always BETTER
Many people think that delaying a conversation until a later time is just delaying the inevitable fight. Why not push through and deal with it now?
Well, if you push, then it inevitably becomes a fight. Taking time to cool off gives you each a new and different perspective. So by pressing the hold button, you create an opportunity for better and more peaceful communication. Once you’ve hit the “drop it” roadblock, later is always better.
Of course, it wouldn’t be fair to you to say that this, in itself, is enough to transform your get-real communication. Talking about your feelings with a man can be like walking through a minefield; there are many ways you can unknowingly trigger an explosion…or worse, the next ice age!!!
If you want to learn how to get real with your partner and communicate your feelings without triggering a defensive, mean, or cold response, click HERE.
With love,


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Want a successful relationship? When your partner lets you down, do this...

Want a successful relationship? When your partner let's you down, do this...

Lauren Gray

It’s easy to find fault. It’s always going to be easy to find fault in our partners. We’re human. We make mistakes. And because we open our hearts to and find ourselves leaning on our partner’s for support, it can be VERY obvious when they screw something up, make a mistake, or let us down.
But what separates a dissatisfying relationship from a fulfilling one is looking past the fault and finding the loving intention. Squinting through your partner’s mistakes to see the love that is always present and then choosing to focus on that instead.
Let me give you an example from my relationship to show you exactly what I’m talking about.
Every Sunday I gift myself two-dozen roses from the farmer’s market. Perfecto, the flower farmer, gives me a standing deal: $18 for 25 long stem roses.
Anyway, this last Sunday morning I woke up exhausted, just flat out pooped. My honey was also exhausted from a busy week and he just wanted to sleep in and relax.
Here were my options:

1. I could force myself to get up and go the farmer’s market even though my body really wanted to rest and I genuinely didn’t feel well.
2. I could stay in bed and call Perfecto to tell him to sell the bunch of roses he always puts aside for me. But then I’d be sad to miss out on my beautiful flowers.
3. I could ask my sleepy sweetie to go the market and pick up my roses for me. He would rather be sleeping in but I know how happy he is to make me happy.
So I chose Option #3 and I asked my partner for help– knowing that I had two other back up plan options if he said no.
He mumbled. He grumbled. He yawned. And then he said YES! He would go to the market for me and pick up my two-dozen roses and bring them home to make me happy.
Winning Move #1! What a guy!
Before he left, I gave him specific instructions: “Perfecto will have some roses put aside for me. But if they’re orange or named ‘Milva’ don’t get those. We had those last week. Get something white, yellow, or pink, okay?”
He said, “Okay. So no ‘Orange Juice’ roses?”
“No, ‘Orange Juice’ is fine. ‘Orange Juice’ is actually a yellow rose with the outer edges lined in orange. Those are fine. Just don’t get ‘Milva’ and we’re all good.”
“Got it. No ‘Milva.’ No orange roses. See you soon.”
20 minutes later my sweetie triumphantly returns, throwing open the front door and projecting in his deepest and sexiest radio announcer voice, “I’m home. I have brought you roses!”
“Oh love! Thank you so much. Wow. I appreciate this so much. I’m just so tired today and I really needed your help. Thank you so much for my beautiful – What’s that?”
“What do you mean?” He says, totally confused.
“Those are orange roses. Those are ‘Milva.’ That was the one rose you weren’t supposed to get.”
“Oh Sh*t. They are ‘Milva.’ I thought they were pink! They looked pink.”
Okay. This is real life. I was leaning on my partner and depending on him to get this job done for me. I gave him specific instructions to set him up for a successful mission.
And he screwed it up.
I saw fault. We both saw it. It was there in the room with us and its name was Milva.
Here were my options:
Option #1. I could express my frustration with his mistake. When I was younger in past relationships, I would’ve taken this moment to imply he was “incompetent” for screwing up the mission OR pout that he “doesn’t care” enough about me to do it right OR complain that he “never listens!” But this would only leave me feeling dissatisfied and him feeling defeated and defensive.
Option #2. I could look past the mistake and find the love. I could choose to focus on the fact that I was staring at 25 stunning roses that were mine to enjoy. I could choose to focus on the fact that my partner had given me a gift by letting me sleep in and going out into the world to take on this mission to make me happy.
These “mistake” moments are opportunities. We can make choices that support us in deeper intimacy or we can make choices that push us further apart.
So what did I choose?
I chose Option #2. Because not only does this fill my heart with love to see his love reflected back to me but it also fills him with love knowing that HE IS ENOUGH.
Imperfect though we both are, to each other, we are enough. We look past faults and see the loving intention behind it. We trust that we are doing our best for each other. And that’s why we feel fulfilled by our relationship. Not because we are perfect and don’t make mistakes, but because we choose to look through the mistake to see the LOVE that is always present.
I made the choice in my heart and I said with a smile, “That’s okay honey. I shall have beautiful orange roses this week. Thank you so much for getting them for me. You really saved the day.”
Winning Move #2. This was my Winning Move.
And you know what he did? He crawled in bed next to me, gave me a big kiss on the cheek, and said, “You are so beautiful. You want me to put these in vases for you so you can keep resting?”
“Yes. Thank you. That’d be great.”
And the Winning Moves just keep coming. :-)
With love,

Now I’d love to hear from you!
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'When I'm upset, he just makes it worse!' How couples can communicate better and without all the drama.

Lauren Gray

Dear Lauren,
I don't feel comfortable talking to my boyfriend when I feel sad, because what's the point? He doesn't give me his full attention. And he gets really disturbed that I get angrier the longer he “listens.” It just seems like he doesn't know what to do or what to say. He's stuck in fix it mode.
I don't want our relationship to end, but it bothers him when I'm upset and can't talk about it. I’ve given up and don’t talk anymore.
Hi Liz,
This is a very common scenario in a relationship. The reason he is so wildly uncomfortable with your upset is because he can’t relate to it in the way you’re doing it: You look crazy to him.

The TRUTH behind the “She’s Crazy!” attitude.
Under moderate stress, women have 8 times more blood flow to the emotional center of their brains than men do. So, a tiny problem can yield a bigger upset reaction in a woman than in a man. His brain can get equally fired up but it only does so for the big emergencies.
So when a woman is talking about her day and expressing herself, a man sees this upset and assumes it’s in reaction to a proportionally disastrous problem. Because you’re upset around him, he takes it personally and believes this huge problem is his fault.
This misinterpretation leads him in a few directions: He minimizes the problem and tells you you’re “over-reacting,” he interrupts with advice, or he feels unjustly blamed and gets defensive. 
All these reactions are well-meaning AND just make things worse!
A man in love doesn’t want to make things worse; He wants to make things better. So today we’re going to learn how men and women can communicate more effectively around a woman’s upset.
The stakes are higher than you think.
Women often need to process things verbally to move through negative feelings and move on to more positive ones. So it’s important not to ignore or devalue a woman’s instinct to “talk things out;” it’s a vital ingredient to being a healthy, happy, feel-good woman.
When a woman stops sharing her inner most thoughts and feelings in a relationship, it’s not something a man should celebrate. It doesn’t mean she’s finally happy or she’s “not crazy” anymore. It means that she has shut off from her desire for and trust in her partner.
Not only will a couple’s sex life dry up but all those negative feelings she’s not sharing and expressing, fester into resentment for her partner. (Click here to learn how men and women can get rid of resentment)
Your relationship may be great today but resentment will be your undoing. If you want to experience lasting love, intimacy and fulfillment, learning how to communicate better around a woman’s upset needs to be a priority for you both.
Talking and sharing is the lifeline of your relationship.
The step-by-step manual: How men and women can communicate without all the drama.
We need to find a way that a woman can share her negative thoughts and feelings with her partner so that he can listen without going into Mr. Fix it mode or getting defensive.
With the gender insights you’ve learned today, you’re already ahead of the game. Simply understanding how men and women react to stress differently can go a long way to improving communication.
However, I also have a step-by-step manual. In this scenario, each partner contributes to the success of the interaction. The woman takes these 5 simple communication steps. The man responds.
The truth is: You can’t change your partner. You can only change your approach so that they respond in a different way. With this approach, a man responds by listening in a more supportive way.


Step 1: Ask him for his full attention for 10 minutes. That’s all. 

When a man has a goal in sight and he can see the finish line, it’s easier for him to listen.

Step 2: Let him know that you would like to share your feelings with him because it makes you feel close to him and ultimately, it’ll make you feel better. 

When a man has your direction for how to make you feel better, it gives him the confidence and patience he needs to just sit and listen. A man in love wants to help you feel better.

Step 3: Tell him you don’t want any solutions to your problems because him listening is a solution in itself! 

When a man listens, it allows a woman to feel that she is not facing her problems alone which triggers calming hormones in the body and makes her feel better. Science!

Step 4: Teach him this magic phrase that he can use at the 10 minute mark:

"You do so much for so many people. Is there anything I can do for you?"  

Step 5: At the end, thank him for listening. 

This gratitude moment brings the two of you together after your intimate sharing. This positive feedback also communicates to him that he did a good job. If a man knows he’s good at his job, he’ll be more enthusiastic about doing it again.
In the mean time...
In the meantime, as a man learns to listen better and a woman learns to communicate her needs better, there needs to be room for mistakes and disappointment.
For Liz and other women reading this, if your partner is not capable of meeting your needs as a listener right away then you need to look elsewhere. Look to your friends for that particular kind of support and intimacy. But never stop talking and expressing yourself because it will be the death of your relationship and of your bright light in this world.
Women gotta talk.
With love,
Now I’d love to hear from you!
Can you relate? Which insight today was a big takeaway for you? Leave a comment.
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The surprising truth about dating a selfish man (or a series of selfish men)

Lauren Gray

Hi Lauren! Thank you so much for all that you do. I’ve learned so much. My question is, what do you do if you’re dating a narcissist? Or in my case, a series of narcissists? It seems like every relationship I start, it’s all about what HE wants to do, or what HE wants to talk about, which is usually himself. I know I deserve more than that. What’s your advice when you’re dating a selfish man?

Hi Rena,
Great question. In this blog I’m going to teach you how to tell the difference between a man you want to spend your time with and a man you don’t want to waste your time with - because at first glance these two types can look exactly the same – they can look, smell, sound and act like a “Narcissist.”

A Real Diagnosis
“Narcissist.” I hear this word floating around a lot. It seems like a slew of articles came out on the subject and now everyone and their mother has suddenly turned into a diagnostic therapist. But is this really fair? Do we really know enough about that person to put that label on them? Aren’t we all a little too quick on the draw with labels in general?
“Men are narcissists.”
“Women are crazy.”
We’re putting on labels when what we’re really experiencing is that men are more self-absorbed than women and women are more emotional than men. These are the symptoms we’re “diagnosing,” right?
I imagine you find it unjust, judgmental, and unfair when a man labels you “crazy” just because you have an emotional reaction to something he doesn’t.
Men and women’s brains are different and we react to various levels of stress differently. So, your emotional response to stress isn’t “crazy,” it’s biology. Just as he’s misunderstanding you, you may be misunderstanding him. With more insight we can correctly interpret each other’s behavior so that we can have compassion for one another instead of flinging around pop-psychology diagnoses.
I say all this not to make you feel bad for using the word. We’ve all thrown a label or two around. I say this because before I can give you dating advice for when you’re dating a “narcissist,” we have to define exactly what we’re working with.
Is he a “narcissist” or just a regular dude?
Narcissism is defined as “extreme selfishness.” This is an actual disorder. It's real.
BUT there’s a difference between a narcissist and just being a dude.
From a woman’s perspective, men in general tend to look extremely selfish.
But let’s examine the source.

Women have evolved to always think about and consider other people’s needs. We’ve spent thousands of years taking care of the children, working with other women in the village to make things run smooth and ensure the survival of the community. Yes, times have changed and men take care of the children now and women take on the jungle BUT our brains haven’t caught up to this shift. We’ve evolved to consider other people’s needs to the extreme; these social and communication skills helped us survive as a species. As women, we take those intuitive skills for granted.
So wherever a guy is at on the spectrum of selfishness, 1-Average Dude to 10- Narcissistic Disorder, it usually looks pretty “extreme” from a woman’s point of view based on her experience and how SHE sees the world.
So, if this is our lens, how do we tell if a guy is just an average dude or if he’s a certifiable narcissist? At least now we’re working with curiosity instead of assumptions. Now we can really get somewhere!
But he literally only talks about himself
(and he NEVER asks me questions)
A man’s selfishness often shows itself on a date when a man only talks about himself and doesn’t ask the woman any questions.
This is annoying. A woman’s reaction ranges from bored to offended. And it certainly doesn’t act as any kind of foreplay – I mean, no way is that guy getting lucky!
The important thing to know is that just because he doesn’t ask you questions, doesn’t mean he doesn’t want to hear what YOU have to say.
It just means that thinking of others in that way is outside his comfort zone and intuitive skillset. And if you’re pretty and interesting too? Forget about it! He’s less “thinking” and more just in survival mode: leaning on the tools he’s used to.
You scare him. Relationships and social skills and communication scare him. So he falls back on what works for him in the workplace (his comfort zone)– he talks himself up, he acts like an expert, and he takes charge of the meeting.
Sound familiar?
This may make it sound hopeless but it’s not! I’m going to show you how to bring out the man you want to date from the selfish man in front of you.
This is how you can really diagnose if he’s someone you want to be in a relationship with or if he’s a guy you don’t want to be in a relationship with. That’s all that matters. Let’s leave the disorder diagnosis to the professionals.
All we really need to know is – Can you bring out another side of him or not?
If you can, enjoy it! If you can’t, move on.
How to date a selfish man (without sacrificing your standards)
As I mentioned above, a man’s selfishness often shows itself on a date when a man only talks himself and doesn’t ask the woman any questions. So let’s talk about 3 strategies you can use on a date (or in a relationship) with a “selfish man” so that you actually have a lot of fun and enjoy yourself.
Strategy #1: Stop asking HIM questions.
Don’t worry about coming across as “rude.” Don’t ask him questions and then get upset when he answers them in the best way he knows how.
Strategy #2: Feel free to interrupt.
I’ve seen women on dates looking across the table nodding their heads, making eye-contact, making “hmhmm” noises and showing every sign that they are interested in what the man has to say.
Inside their heads, these women are thinking, “He is going on and on. When he is going to shut up? When he is going to ask me a question? This guy is such a narcissist!”
You’re giving the kind of attention you want to receive on the date but that just throws gasoline on the fire! Now he thinks you’re actually interested in his 6 month back-packing trip all over Asia.
So stop nodding your head and encouraging behavior you don’t want to encourage. Feel free to interrupt.
Strategy #3: TMI. (Aka: Too much information.)
So he didn’t ask you a question, that’s okay. You have a voice, right? You have something to say, right? So don’t wait for a question to talk about what YOU want to talk about. You don’t need a more explicit invitation than you already have.
What’s the invitation you already have?
He’s on a date with you! You’re not walking up to a random stranger, interrupting them and talking about whatever the heck you wanna talk about. He’s on a date with you! That means he wants to be around you, he wants to get to know you, he wants you to have a good time.
TMI is often discouraged socially. Giving people “too much information” has a reputation for making people uncomfortable. But in my experience with men, it’s one of my favorite tools in the she-shed.
Let me give you an example:
He’s talking about this amazing Thai food he made with this old Thai woman in a small village who was teaching him how to cook in exchange for him doing some manual labor for her; he’s explaining to you what lemongrass is as if you’ve never heard of it before… and you’re about to stab yourself with a fork just to feel alive.
Instead of stabbing yourself (or HIM!) with a fork, interrupt and TMI.
Find something within his story that relates to you in any way. Ex: Traveling? Places you want to travel? Places you’ve been? Cooking classes? Classes and education of any kind? Hobbies? Favorite Ingredients? Craziest food you ever had? Random jobs you’ve had in your life?
What sparks a genuine interest and passion in you? And then run with it. Let it take you to talk about whatever YOU want to talk about.
Will he cringe at your selfishness? No! That’s like worrying a fish will drown in water – he barely notices it.

Besides, men LOVE it when a woman lights up. When a woman is talking about something she loves, something she cares about, something she has an opinion about, something she’s proud of, something that matters to her – it is so freaking sexy to a man.
If you’re feeling self-conscious about talking so much and you’d like to enjoy more of a dialogue conversation so you’re not just on a date with yourself, here’s how to do it:
TMI and then ask a question about the topic that interests you.
For example, I like healthy cooking and creativity, so I might say:
“Right? I love how every culture has such a different and unique story with food. I’m such a foodie. You know I’m actually a Certified chef? Yea. I used to cater for health retreats. I love how creative you can get when you’re limited to healthy ingredients. Like Thai cooking, right? You’re eating all those vegetables and you don’t even notice it’s healthy because it tastes so good. Secret’s in the sauce. I love getting creative like that. I also really love to write and paint… Do you have a creative outlet you love?”
I like family and fun local activities so I might say:
“Totally! Lemongrass is cool but did you try eating chicken feet? Those things look so narly at the farmers market. Do you ever go to the Sunday farmers market here in town? I’ve been going with my parents for over 10 years now. It’s really fun and it gives us a chance to see each other. My family is so important to me and I just think my parents are super cool people. How about you? Do you see your parents often?”
A note about asking questions: If the answer is genuinely interesting, awesome. Now you’re talking about a subject that interests you too. If the answer isn’t interesting, interrupt with another TMI. You’re not a passive bystander here. It takes two to tango. You’re BOTH on this date.
Why you keep attracting these “narcissists”
Here’s the thing about these 3 strategies: They call on you to step outside YOUR comfort zone and act a little less “accommodating” and a little more “selfish.”
Often we attract the very people in our lives who can teach us something we need to learn. Maybe you’re attracting these selfish men because you’re not selfish enough. Maybe you need to be a little less accommodating and people pleasing and a little more self-empowered and take charge.
If you try these approaches and he still talks over you, ignores you, doesn’t listen to you, minimizes you, then my advice would be to move on. The only thing you can do is approach him differently to get a different result. If you approach him with these new tools and you don’t get a different result, well then, there’s your answer.
He may not be clinically “Narcissistic” but he’s definitely not a guy you want to be in a relationship with.
With love,

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3 easy ways to immediately improve communication with your partner.

Lauren Gray

Hey Lauren!

Me and my boyfriend have been together for two years. The first year was bliss, the second year was also bliss but with some insecurities thrown in. The one thing I have been insecure about recently is that I feel that my boyfriend and I don't talk enough. Does this mean he isn't right for me? Can we improve our communication? Is he getting bored with me? PLEASE HELP.

Hey Holly,

Is it the END?
Right now, you are taking this silent treatment as a sign for “the end of days,” and it’s freaking you out. Is a lack of fluid and lively conversation a sign that it’s over between you? Maybe. But probably not!
Men and women view communication differently.

For women, talking and sharing is a form of intimacy. For men, talking is the tool they use to get a point across in order to achieve a goal or solve a problem. Men mainly get their dose of intimacy through touching, sex, and physically doing things for their woman.

The Communication Evolution
In the beginning of your relationship, conversation was easy because his goal was to woo you so that you would choose him to be your monogamous partner. That took some serious sweet talkin’ and some gettin’ to know ya time.
Now that he’s confident in his role, he can throw on some sweats, get comfy on the couch, and relax. He no longer sees the need to talk because his goal is accomplished.

3 key game-changing points of view
When you realize that men and women view and experience communication differently, it’s easy to wrap your head around these 3 key game-changing points of view.
POV #1. His silent treatment is not a sign that he doesn’t want to be intimate with you. It’s not a rejection. It just means he’s comfortable and confident in your relationship.
POV #2. Talking is not a priority for him like it is for you. He’s not going to get bored with you because you don’t talk “enough.” “Enough” to him are the words he needs in order to get a job done. Everything else is fluff. As long as he’s doing things for you physically, he’s taking care of his need for intimacy.
POV #3. It’s up to you to take responsibility for the need to communicate in your relationship. It’s not his need, so he’s not going to initiate action. It’s your need so it’s your job to initiate a change.


3 ways to immediately improve communication with your partner
Now that you know these 3 critical points of view, I can show you 3 ways to immediately improve communication with your partner.

1. The simplest way to elicit more conversation from your man is to change your question from, “How was your day?” to “What did you do today?”
The first question is asking him about his feelings and experience of the day. Women can talk for hours on this subject but a man usually limits his answer to one word, “good” “fine” or “okay.”
He’s not purposely being difficult. This question just doesn’t trigger a response in him.
You’ll notice a man rarely says, “bad.” This is because if a man’s day was bad, he’s not going to want to talk about it. Men have this amazing thing called an “off switch;” they’re actually capable of putting their unsolvable problems out of sight and out of mind. (I’m so jealous! I want one!)
If it’s a bad day and you interview him about the details, he’s going to resent you for bringing up an issue he had safely put away so that he could enjoy his time with you. (If you want to learn the suprising and counterintuitive way to support a man when he has a bad day, click HERE)
So instead of asking “How was your day” and getting that obnoxious one word answer or trying to interview him fishing for drama, ask him “What did you do today?”
This opens him up to all kinds of comfort zones. He knows the answer to this question. He knows what he did, where he went, what impossible problems he solved, what amazing feats of strength and honor he acted out. He likes showing his woman how smart, clever, strong and capable he is. He likes to answer this question.
Another simple word exchange is to change your question from, “How do you feel?” to “What do you think?”
I discuss this topic more in depth in my ebook Mars Venus Dating (for couples and singles) which you can get for FREE when you sign up for email updates at the bottom of this post!


2. Stimulate more communication by participating in projects and activities that you have in common.
This way you can inspire both of your intuitive communication styles. You can talk about your feelings, reactions, and experiences of the activity. He can talk about the problem solving aspects and the steps of action necessary to achieve the goal.
If he’s a little slow to start, feel free to prompt him with questions and ask him for his advice.
Here are 5 fun ideas of activities and projects you can share together:
1.     Take a class together. Yoga, art, improvisation, dance, cooking…
2.     Learn a new skill together. Photography, wine pairing, roasting your own coffee, playing guitar…
3.     Make a new challenging recipe once a week together.
4.     Plan a vacation together.
5.     DIY project in your house. Painting, refinishing, tiling, decorating, landscaping…
Tailor it to you and your sweetie’s likes and passions. You’ll find that these can inspire the both of you to talk in a natural and intuitive way. No one has to force anything.

3. The most impactful thing you can do to improve communication is to realize that the one who should be doing most of the talking is YOU.
Don’t feel bad or self-centered for it. Communication in a relationship is not meant to be tit for tat. In fact, I always warn talkative men to ensure that they never talk more then their woman.
A woman experiences intimacy through sharing her feelings, stories, and experiences but only when a man sits in front of her, looks her in the eyes, and really listens. She needs to feel heard.
If your dinner conversations are light, know that you are the one who should be doing the talking. That way you can give him the opportunity to listen and you can give your relationship a chance to strengthen and deepen it’s bond.

Doubt? Proof!
The other day I spent almost the whole day in front of the computer and I needed a break. I caught my sweetie right as he was about to lie down for a nap. Ugh, bad timing right?
But instead of leaving him alone, I said, “Love, would you go for a walk with me? I need to clear my mind and get away from the computer.” (Click here to learn why this request isn't needy or demanding.) 
He said, “But I was just about to lie down.”
I smiled real big, batted my eyelashes and said, “Please!”
He laughed, dutifully got up and said, “Sure.”
I observed our dynamic on the walk. We held hands. I asked, “How was your day?” He said, “Fine.” And for the next block we walked in silence.
Then I asked, “What did you do today?”
He launched into a play by play of his day that maybe took 3 minutes. Then, for the rest of the walk I talked. I talked and talked and then sometimes we were silent. I tried running him into things, he tried putting flowers and leaves in my hair. We played.
At the end of the walk I said, “Thank you so much! I feel so much better.”
He said, “Me too. I’m glad you made me go on this walk. I had a wonderful time.”
This wasn’t an accident.

By me talking and him listening, we had connected and were both rejuvenated by the mutual intimacy we felt. When a woman talks and expresses herself and in turn feels heard, not only is the relationship bond strengthened but a hormonal miracle occurs. It actually measurably lowers her stress levels and makes her feel good.

On the flip side, it measurably lowers stress levels in a man when he can be there for his woman and have her appreciate it.
So do what’s natural to you and talk your sweet little heart out. You’re both going to love it!
With love,

Now I want to hear from you!
I’ve given 3 suggestions to boost conversation in your relationship. Which one resonated with you the most? Which one will you try?
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Why men pull away after sex (and what you can do about it!)

Lauren Gray

Hi Lauren,
I’m friends with this guy and we really get along.  Last week we somehow ended up in bed together. It felt comfortable and natural. What’s bothering me now is that he’s been acting differently towards me ever since. He used to text me all the time and now he never texts me unless I text him first. He seems like he isn’t interested in maintaining our relationship anymore and I’m not sure why. We had fun. Why is he acting so different?
Hi Sonia, I totally get your confusion. You had fun together as friends, you had even more fun together having sex and now it seems like he doesn’t want to continue having fun with you. How does that make any sense?

Don’t kid yourself: Sex changes everything
Here’s the deal. You didn’t just try a new fun activity like kayaking or paper mache; you had sex. Once you have sex with someone, people act differently. That’s just how it goes. Male, female, young, old, casual or serious, sex changes everything.
It can make you feel really insecure when this happens. “Does he like me? Does he not like me? Is he interested? Are we together? Will I ever see him again? Did I do something wrong? What the heck happened?”
Some people hang out in those questions for weeks! But with this blog today I’m about to save you serious time and heartache. (You’re welcome)
Once you’re prepared with rock-solid MarsVenus understanding, you can say goodbye to this torturous line of questions and simply communicate your way to clarity.
Sound good? Let’s start with understanding.
How SEX affects Women
I know it’s cliché and it’s not always true but women tend to feel greater neediness after sex. If it’s not great sex, then this cliché falls apart. But if it’s good sex and a woman relaxes into it, enjoys it, and orgasms, the cliché tends to hold.
This is because of the bonding hormone: Oxytocin. During (good) sex, oxytocin builds and releases causing you to bond more deeply with your partner.
This chemical bond is what fuels women to sit by the phone thinking about the guy, waiting for a call or text. It’s not flattering, but it is hormones. The better the sex, the deeper the bond, the greater the “need.”
How SEX affects Men
In a funny twist of fate, men have a tendency NOT to call or text after sex. This is because men tend to pull away after sex.
During sex, oxytocin increases, which has the effect of lowering testosterone. When a man’s testosterone levels decrease, he feels a great need to pull away and may even lose interest for a while.
As his testosterone levels rebuild, his interest returns. Your guy may be calling you at this point as his interest or libido returns.
Or he may sense your “neediness,” your wanting more from him, and he may pull away further IF he doesn’t want to be in a relationship and senses that you might.
The Chicken or the Egg: Where is this relationship going??!
“Where is this relationship going???” You wonder.
This is a bit of a chicken or the egg scenario. Which comes first: Sex? Or clarity around what sex means to your relationship?
Did you ask him if he wanted to be more than friends with you? Did you talk about your intentions for a relationship?
99.9% of the time, people don’t have this conversation. They’re friends, they hang out, they flirt, and then suddenly, somehow, they end up in bed together. Only in the next few days, do they start to wonder about what it meant.
If you ask questions about where the relationship is going after the fact, specifically when a man pulls away, he tends to get very uncomfortable and withdraws even further. In this case, wait until he comes back looking for a connection, then you can get more of a sense of where this relationship is going.
But ultimately, in order to avoid sticky misunderstandings, it’s best to talk intentions around sex before you actually have sex, especially if you like the person.
The “Sex talk” couples SHOULD have but don’t
Is this a one-nighter, fun in the moment, kind of encounter? No strings attached type of play?
Or is this person someone you might want to pursue a relationship with?
Either way, whether you’re a man or a woman, it’s best to communicate your intentions and make sure you’re both on the same page before you have sex.
Here are a couple scripts I wrote to inspire you. I’ve used them both in my single days and they’re very effective.
Casual hook up: “Hey, so, just to be totally transparent, I want to make sure we’re on the same page, I’m not looking for anything serious right now or any kind of commitment or relationship. I just want to have fun and tonight I’m having a lot of fun. Cool?”
If he’s cool with casual, awesome! You’re on the same page and tomorrow won’t be awkward.
If he’s not cool with casual and wants more – he get’s to know for sure your intentions are just to have fun and he shouldn’t expect more. He’ll probably still want to have sex with you anyway. He’ll just know he needs to adjust his expectations.
(This same script can be used by men with women as well.)
Interested in more: “Hey, so, I’m having a really good time tonight. And before we go any further, I just want to make sure we’re on the same page. I’m really enjoying spending time with you. I don’t want tonight to be a one time thing; I’d like to continue hanging out and getting to know you better. Is that something you’re interested in too?
If he’s interested in more, awesome! You know you’re on the same page and tomorrow won’t be awkward.
If he’s not interested in more and only wants something casual, he gets to say that and you get to decide whether you still want to have sex with him.
(This same script can be used by men with women as well.)
Sex changes everything but hormones aren’t the boss of all things. You get to decide exactly how you want to play this. If you want to try being happy with casual sex, I have some suggestions…
How [many] women can be happy with casual sex
Many women can totally be happy with casual sex! Women can be fulfilled by a fling. There’s no one way to do this relationship thing. However, to facilitate this being a positive experience, it’s good to have this awareness:
For women, bonding increases with sex.
This just means that a casual sex scenario can potentially set you up to feel hurt or disappointed. So to protect your heart, it’s important to remind yourself of what this connection is: it’s casual friendly sex.

Your hormones will tell you that you want more and more. Your mind needs to counter these messages with your own logic and understanding.
The moment your logic can’t talk you out of wanting more is the moment you need to either take the relationship to the next level or stop hooking up so that you can get that kind of commitment you desire, elsewhere.
Always check in with yourself: What does this sex mean to me?

Because it always means something.
With love,
Now I want to hear from you!

Can you relate? Have you experienced sex changing a relationship? Leave a comment.
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Stumped at being dumped? The real reason you're single.

Lauren Gray

Dear Lauren,
My ex-girlfriend said that she did not love me nor was she attracted to me. But we were together for six months! She made the first move on our first date, she would always initiate PDA's: kissing, touching, even arousing me in cabs, restaurants, the park... She expressed interest in sex but we never went through with it. But tell me, how is it that you can get so close to someone physically and claim to have neither attraction nor feelings? I am still nursing my broken heart after she dumped me on Christmas morning last year. I am still at a loss to understand this whole thing.

Hi Derek,
The 2 most common things that get in the way of true love
Falling in love is not a perfect system. Many times people approach love and relationships from a place of insecurity and eagerness: insecurity that they are not worthy of love and eagerness to find that perfect someone. There are two blaring problems with this.

1. If you do not feel worthy of love then you behave in a way to earn the other persons’ love rather than asking yourself, “Do I love this person?” (A super important question!!!)
2. If you are so eager to find Mr. (Ms.) Perfect then you plaster his (her) face onto whoever you are dating and it can take months for the real person to shine through your fantasy delusion.
Not only is this a less than efficient way to find your soul-mate, it also breaks quite a few hearts in the process, leaving many guys and girls feeling exactly like you feel right now: confused and frankly, a little whip-lashed.
Never fall for the razzle dazzle
So now that we have some perspective on what often happens, let’s back up and talk about exactly happened with your girl.
When you met, she saw you as a potential person to love her so she did whatever it took to earn your love.
It was her own insecurities that motivated all that lavish PDA. It didn’t come from a genuine expression of her love but rather from a desperate need to impress, seduce, and dazzle you.

She needed you to love her SO THAT she could ask herself, “Do I love him?”
At that point, she realized that the answer was, “No.” She didn’t love you. You’re not the right man for her. This shut down her feelings of attraction toward you along with any romantic feelings that might have existed.

She then dumped you and left you with a broken heart.

Fast food vs. Gourmet (The danger of instant gratification)
I understand the allure of these women who come on strong. We live in a fast food culture that indoctrinates us with an impatience that permeates everything; including our love lives! We are seeking instant gratification. If a woman doesn’t really like you right off the bat, you walk away.
Which leaves you with the women who come on fast and strong.
And there’s nothing wrong with that as long as you come in with the same expectation you walk into McDonalds with: it’s going to be fast, hot, and it always ends with a little chest pain. ;-)

If you want gourmet love, Soul-mate love, you have to be patient. You have to put in the hours pursuing that slow-cooked meal.

Alka-Seltzer for the heart: fast acting relief
I know you’re still reeling from this break up. I know you’re carrying the hurt around with you. But most of that hurt just comes from being confused. How can you get closure when you don’t even know what the heck happened?
Here’s the deal: she never knew you to love you. She knew her fantasy version of you, which had nothing to do with you. YOU are not being rejected here. You weren’t even on the table to begin with.  
Next time a woman comes on really strong, know that she is probably turned on to the fantasy of who you might be, rather than the real you.

Don’t get sucked in.

Don’t fall for a quick seduction.

Take it slow.

Ensure that she's getting to know the real you.
This is how you fall in love with someone who sees and loves you for you. This is how you find your soul-mate. This is gourmet love.

With Beef Bourguignon, home-made pasta-y kinda love,

Now I want to hear from you!
What do you think about moving fast vs. slow? 
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The most common mistakes women make when trying to get a guy to commit

Lauren Gray

Dear Lauren,

My boyfriend and I have been together for two years. He tells me he loves me like he’s never loved any girl, but he just can’t commit and he doesn’t know why. It’s so confusing…for both of us!

I’m very clingy, a bit insecure too, and sometimes I check his phone or try to mother him, but he says that’s not the problem. That the problem is him, and he doesn’t know when he’ll get over it. I tried ultimatums but they don’t work. I love this man and I want to spend the rest of my life with him. I accused him of wanting to keep me around because of sex, and he suggested we stop having sex to prove to me that that isn’t what he wants. What’s going on?


Hi Erika,

Let’s talk about:

How NOT to get a guy to commit to you:

Lady, you’ve got to cool it with the tests and the ultimatums.  This is out of control. In your question alone I counted 6 major red flags! 


He might say you’re not the problem and he may be blind to that fact that you are because he loves you so much, but I will tell you straight that your actions are driving him away!

No matter how amazing the guy is, this behavior will push him away.

You’re doing things in the wrong order.

I’m not saying you need to be perfect in order to be worthy of love. It’s okay to make mistakes. And it’s natural for a relationship to bring you face to face with all your insecurities.

This can be an extremely healing experience where you confront and process old fears so that you can move on from them. In this way, a relationship can actually support you to step into your full potential.

Or, if left unchecked, these insecurities can suck the life and love out of a relationship. Here’s how:

When we feel insecure in a relationship, we often have thoughts like:

·      “I’m not good enough”
·      “I’m not beautiful enough”
·      “Any minute now he’s going to find out that I’m not as perfect as he thinks and he’ll leave me for someone who is.”

These thoughts and fears are natural.

BUT when we’re not consciously processing, self-reflecting, and learning the lessons we’re being confronted with, our subconscious minds take over.

Subconsciously, we try to sabotage the relationship by doing things we think will turn off our partners. This way we can test our partners’ love.

IF he can deal with all the snooping, mothering, accusations, ultimatums, and tantrums, then he’ll prove that he really loves you no matter what. If he continues to come back to you, you can, in theory, “trust” in his love.

IF you can trust in HIS love, then you can believe that you are “good enough” “beautiful enough” and “perfect enough” to deserve his love. This is the subconscious logic that’s driving your actions.

This is so wrong. And it doesn’t work for two reasons.

1. Eventually you throw too much at him and it suffocates the love he had for you.

If you’re working so hard to prove that he doesn’t, in fact, love you, and you aren’t, in fact, good enough, then you’ll eventually get exactly what you’re looking for.

2. It’s “solving” your problem completely out of order, which means you’ll always get a backward result.

You don’t wait for a relationship to work and prove itself to you in order for you to feel worthy of love. You need to do the work and self-exploration it takes to feel worthy of love in order to make a relationship work.


How to become more confident

It’s okay that you’re insecure right now.

The truth is you could be the strongest woman at the gym or the smartest woman in the office but where a man is concerned you’re reduced to an insecure girl.

It happens.

It happens because you know what is good form at the gym, you know “the ropes” at the office but you don’t know enough about relationships to be confident. All you have to do to overcome your insecurity is get educated! Knowledge is power and it will transform your confidence.

Here are two FREE resources that can get you started today!
1.     Updates on the best dating, communication, and relationship advice out there. Enter your name and email in the box below this post to start receiving these updates in your inbox today.
2.     My ebook Mars Venus Dating (for couples and singles). Grab your free copy HERE

Here are two book recommendations to set up you up for success:

1.     Mars and Venus On A Date. Click HERE to learn more. 

2.     Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus. Click HERE to learn more.  


And If you’d like to learn a better way to process your insecurities with your partner (script included), click here.

Why men drag their commitment feet

Your insecurity can lend you a unique insight into your man’s fear of commitment.

Men drag their commitment feet because they’re afraid to let their sweetheart down. A greater commitment means greater responsibility and a bigger chance that he’ll mess everything up and cause you pain. This fear is a powerful thing and it often causes a man to dig in his heels on the way to aisle. I cover this phenomenon in detail here.

Your man doesn’t want to cause you pain. He wants to make you happy. When you constantly “test” his love and give him ultimatums he can’t fulfill, you’re sending him the message that he can’t make you happy.

A man will not commit to a woman he feels he cannot successfully help make happy.

(Drumroll please….) How to get a guy to commit to you!

If you want to get a guy to commit to you, you have to build trust. He needs to be able to trust that he can make you happy.

All you have to do to build this trust is acknowledge him for all the little things he does for you.

Instead of setting him up for failure with ultimatums and tests, make an effort to set him up for success! Ask for what you want and then appreciate him when he delivers.

This will encourage him and show him that he CAN make you happy. Once he feels confidant in this, he will take a step toward commitment.

A Final Word on Ultimatums

I know you care for this man and don’t want to be cruel…so don’t! Relationships can easily slip into a play for power and it will eventually corrode any love that was originally there.

Before this blog, ultimatums and tests were the only tools in your toolbox for getting what you want. But now you have new tools and I encourage you to use them.

Where petty power struggles fail, love will always prevail. #relationships (Tweet that!)

Use your insecurities to lend you compassion instead of suspicion and you'll find yourself 
arm in arm with your prince charming strolling down the aisle and into a life filled with chocolate covered strawberries OR [insert your preferred happy ending here].

With love,

Now I want to hear from you!

Can you relate? Leave a comment.

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The truth behind the most dangerous relationship myth out there.

Lauren Gray

The most dangerous relationship myth out there
“The secret to a successful relationship is to spend as much time together as possible. Don’t take time or space apart. When it gets challenging, don’t run away. If there’s anger, let it rip. If there’s hurt, don’t hold back. Honesty is the key. Togetherness is the solution to every problem.”
What’s your reaction when I say those words?
It doesn’t sound bad, right? It sounds kinda romantic. It sounds like it’s in integrity with core values like honesty, loyalty, and self-expression. Those values speak to me too.
And that’s what makes it such a threat!

The Appeal and the Danger
I can see how this mentality appeals to so many people. In it’s most idealistic form, it’s romantic. However, in it’s practical form, it’s sabotaging our relationships.
This kind of relentless “honesty” is actually demanding and confrontational. It winds up leading your relationship toward more “drama” than love.
I call this The Dark Intimacy Addiction. We start depending on these “honest” blow ups in order to create intimacy with our partners. You may even unconsciously stir up drama, doubt, or jealousy just to feel a connection.
Oy vey! Let’s leave the drama for the stage and find connection and intimacy in our relationships in a more positive, loving, and sustainable way, shall we?
And it starts by doing the exact opposite of “Don’t take space.” 

3 Guesses:
Take a hike?
Take your vitamins?
You got it. ;-)
Watch These 2 Strategies Go Head to Head
Strategy #1: Don’t take space.
Strategy #2: Take space.
Example #1: You’re feeling upset with your partner. How can you deal with this conflict and emotional turmoil?
Strategy #1: Don’t take space.

Stick to your partner like white on rice. Hash it out. Yell. Throw things. Say things you’ll regret later. Explode. Dump your feelings all over your partner without consideration – it’s okay. That emotional vomit is real love. Don’t hold back. And if you’re the one getting vomited on, take it like a champ. That’s what it means to be in a relationship.
Dramatic? Yes. Violent? Maybe. Challenging? For sure! But at least you’re staying with it and not taking space. Feel better?
Strategy #2. Take space.
Take space and cool down. Self-connect. Do something feel-good and relaxing. Re-connect with your loving feelings for yourself, your life, and your partner. THEN, if you still have something to say, speak honestly from the heart.
Communicate with care to the person you care about. Is this thoughtful message perhaps even MORE honest than your original heat-of-the-moment reaction? Try it and see for yourself.
***Our instinct when we feel distant from our partner is to bridge that gap as fast as possible to get closer. But in this particular case, time and space apart allow you to come back together in greater intimacy and loving connection.
Example #2: You’re feeling indifference and a lack of attraction with your partner. How can you re-ignite the passion?
Strategy #1: Don’t take space.

The sexual tension has vanished. Uh oh! Flirt with a co-worker in front of your partner and try to make them jealous – that should get their attention. Better yet, accuse your partner of cheating on you because they’ve been busy with work and you want more attention. Or how bout pressing their buttons and saying something you know will irritate them so that you can break through the veneer of indifference and get a reaction?
Who cares if it causes tears, pain, and fighting? At least you’re experiencing a real live-wire connection now, right? Finally!
Strategy #2. Take space.
Take space and get hot for each other. If you feel indifferent toward your partner, or sense indifference from them, don’t panic and do something extreme that will hurt your partners’ feelings. This doesn’t have to be a big deal. You’ve simply been spending too much time together or you’ve been spending too much energy on other people and you’re losing your mojo. Do something fun and relaxing that helps you get your groove back.
Once you start feeling sexy and confident again, come back to your partner, go on a date, and enjoy the new-found heat and desire. Is this genuine turn-on even more satisfying than a jealous rage? Try it and find out for yourself.
***I know I’m asking for a lot. All instincts in the face of indifference scream to do something drastic, to force a connection. It’s scary as all heck when you lose attraction for your partner or sense they’ve lost attraction for you. But in this particular case, time and space apart, where you’re doing something fun for yourself, can spark the passion you’re looking for.
Your choice
Here’s the deal: it’s your choice.
On the surface, the results of these strategies may look similar. You get to express yourself “honestly” and ultimately you “connect” with your partner.
However, every time you choose drama over love, it takes it’s toll. It destroys trust, poisons love, shreds kind communication, and it’s freaking exhausting.
Every time you choose to take intentional space, it breathes love and energy back into your relationship; setting you up for easeful, sustainable success for the long haul.
You get to decide what’s best for you.
It’s my job to bring this choice to your attention. After all, it’s easy to fall into the comforting trap that “together” is always the BEST solution for your relationship challenges. Despite popular advice, sometimes, it’s really not.
With love,


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How to support your partner when they have a bad day (It's not what you think!)

Lauren Gray

Dear Lauren,

When something upsets my boyfriend or when anything upsets me, we feel responsible for each other. For example, if he gets upset about some incident, I feel guilty like it is somehow my fault when in fact I had nothing to do with it! It’s the same with him, if he sees me upset, he feels down. What do we do in this case? Is this normal? 


Dear Carrie,

I think it is totally normal! It’s natural for human beings, no matter what their gender, to suffer in the face of suffering. It’s hard to watch someone you love in pain and feel powerless to do something about it.

The Dark Intimacy Addiction and How to Break It

Just because it’s natural doesn’t mean it’s good for you, your partner or your relationship. In fact, if you feel bad because he feels bad and he feels bad because you feel bad then, well, where does it stop?!

Your experience and definition of love is now all tied up into feeling BAD. For many couples, this becomes a bit of an intimacy addiction. They create drama in their lives in order to feel intimate with their partner.

You don’t want to perpetuate that dysfunctional dynamic. You want to release yourself of the cycle and the pain. Which is exactly what you’re asking about.

In order to release the pain, we have to let go of the feeling of being powerless. Once you get clear on what you realistically can and cannot do, you don’t have to suffer along with your partner because suddenly you aren’t so powerless.

The truth is: no person can make another person happy. What we are capable of is helping our partners find happiness.

And I’ll show you how to do that in this blog. Keep reading!

3 Reasons Why Your Loving Instincts are Screwing You Out of a Happy Relationship

When you're unhappy, you find solace and comfort in talking about your feelings. After a good long kvetch a woman almost always feels better! 

So you naturally encourage him to do the same. Because if he talks about it, he’ll feel better, right?


When a man is forced to talked about his upset feelings and complain, it actually has the opposite effect. It makes him wallow in his issues and preserve the bad feelings.  (Click here to learn what you can ask a man about in order to get him talking and sharing.)

When YOU are unhappy you want to surround yourself with people who will listen sympathetically. After all, that is the proper way to show someone love and support…on Venus.

To a man, however, your concern translates to your distrust in him to take care of himself. Your lack of faith can lead to one of three things:

One: He will feel even more defeated.

Two: He will become defensive and possibly say something mean.

Three: He will lean into your nurturing concern and start behaving like a child rather than your partner. This will lead to a complete change in the dynamics of your relationship and your sex life will suffer. (Click here to learn more.) 

These are three reasons why you might want to try a new strategy…

1 Shocking Strategy a Woman Can Engage to Help Her Man Find Happiness

Rather than make a man talk about his feelings or look at him with sympathetic doe eyes, have a neutral attitude in the face of his suffering. On Venus this is called “being an asshole.” Go right ahead. ;-)

In fact, take it a step further and be even MORE of an asshole.

When a man is unhappy the BEST thing you can do is do something to make yourself happy and then tell him about it.

I know it goes against every instinct you have but trust me, give it a go and the results will speak for themselves.

If you go off shopping with your girlfriends or spend a day at the spa, you will come home radiating happiness. Tell him all about your day and how much fun you had.

You would think this would really rub salt in the wound since you’re parading your joy in front of his sorrow. But the crazy cool thing about men is that a guy will take credit for that happiness! He will feel successful. He will look at you smiling and think, “I did that!”

Men are happiest when they have just successfully achieved a goal or task. Making the woman he loves happy is his biggest goal and achievement. Which is why you being happy can help get him out of his funk.

It’s also why it’s especially hard on him when you’re having a bad day. He thinks it’s his failure and it bums him out.

2 Ways a Man Can Successfully Help His Lady Find Happiness

As men will naturally take credit for their ladies’ happiness, they will also naturally feel responsible for their UN-happiness.

When you talk about your problems he feels powerless to help you because you NEVER TAKE HIS ADVICE!

This can easily be fixed. Let him know that he can help you find your happiness by listening to you talk about how you feel. All he has to do is look at you and listen; he doesn’t need to solve the problem or even say a thing. Click here to get step-by-step training (with scripts) on this process.

He can also help you find happiness by doing little things to show you how much he cares. He can: get you flowers, make the bed, do the dishes, take you out for a nice walk and hold your hand, or plan a picnic.

The trick to making these moves really effective for getting a woman out of her funk, is that he needs to do them without her having to ask for them.

So have your guy read this blog and let him know that you really like the sound of it. He wants you to be happy and once he knows that he has the power to help you, he will jump at the opportunity.

The Critical Difference Between Empathy and Taking on Each Other’s Pain

So many people fall into the pattern of feeling responsible for their partner’s happiness. You’re not alone.

When you love someone so much, the line between two individuals can get mushy and you can easily blend into one person. But a relationship cannot prosper by the actions, passions and feelings of just one person; it takes two to tango.

To move forward, acknowledge that HIS pain is not YOUR pain. You don’t need to prove your love by suffering alongside each other.

Agree that you are not responsible for his feelings and he is not responsible for yours. When you make this new agreement, it will free the both of you to love and support each other in a healthy way that promotes more happiness in the relationship, more often and more efficiently.

Let me be really clear here: I’m not saying take empathy out of your cognitive toolbox: that would make you a sociopath.  But you can still have empathy for someone, understand where they’re coming from, and not take that pain on as your own. THIS is what couples need to learn in order to live “happily” ever after.

With love,

Now I’d love to hear from you!

Can you relate? Leave a comment.

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How to say 'I love you' first (without freaking out your partner)

Lauren Gray

Dear Lauren,
So I told my boyfriend I loved him for the first time and he got really weird after that. Why does he think that saying I love you means "Lets get married" and a major commitment? Not simply, I love you, which is how I meant it.

Asking the RIGHT question
Hi Chiara! Great question. In fact, I love it! You know why?
Most people ask the question, “When should you say I love you in a relationship?” Or even, “Who should say I love you first in a relationship?
To answer those real quick:
When: You should say "I love you" when you’re bursting with the feeling and your heart is so big it’s going to burst if you don’t share it with them.
Who: Whoever is going to burst first. ;-)

The real question we should be asking is, HOW? How do you say "I love you" first without freaking out your partner? How do you say "I love you" first so that it takes your relationship to the next level?! That’s what I’m going to show you today. Because once you know HOW, you don't have to stress about the When or the Who. That's just about following your heart.

What “I love you” REALLY means
Your man wouldn’t be the first person to misunderstand those three magic words and he won’t be the last. Just because you understand “I love you” to mean one thing, doesn’t mean he’ll have the same interpretation.
Everyone has their own history with these words, which can influence what meaning they choose to attach to the phrase.
In addition to their own life experience, they’ve also been exposed to love stories, movies, and books, which have idealized and romanticized love to the point where it can be intimidating and a little scary at first glance.
This might seem bizarre. After all, love is a soft, cuddly thing, right? What is there to be afraid of?
Why love makes people get “ALL WEIRD”
Saying “I love you” is supposed to be an epically romantic moment. Unfortunately, that expectation only makes it even more devastating when you announce your true feelings and your partner gets “all weird” about it.
Why do they get weird?
They’re scared.
What are they afraid of?
Expectations. And they come in three forms.

“I Love You” Expectation #1:
There is an expectation that if you say “I love you,” he has to say “I love you too.” And he may not be ready to say that to you yet.
It doesn’t mean he doesn’t feel it too. It just means he hasn’t come to own those words yet. Love isn’t an exact science. There’s no mile-marker that says, “You have reached this point; you are officially in love with this woman.” He has to come to it in his own way in his own time.
“I Love You” Expectation #2:
Even though it may be unfounded, there is an expectation of a greater commitment (ie: marriage). “I love you” may not translate to “I do” but it can feel like you’re signing a binding contract anyway.
Most of the time in a relationship you’re in the moment, having fun and enjoying your time with each other. Somehow when the word “love” gets introduced, you get tunnel vision straight to the future. The expectation is that love leads to marriage, which leads to kids. If you’re not ready for this kind of commitment then it usually leads to, “OMG I have to spend the rest of my life with this person?! I’m not ready to be a dad!!!”
Thanks tunnel vision for totally blowing this out of proportion. ;-)
“I Love You” Expectation #3:
The closer you get to someone, the more power you hand them; they have the power to make you unbelievably happy and the power to break your heart. When you say “I love you” you’re giving him your heart, trusting he’s worthy of that gift. There is now an expectation that he will take care of and cherish your heart, never hurting it, never bruising it, never making a mistake.
That is a BIG responsibility. And it doesn’t matter how big, tough and strong the man may be, if he cares for you then he’s going to be terrified of one thing: letting you down.
You’ve been happy so far which means he’s been successful so far. Making a woman happy is the most fulfilling thing for a man in a relationship.
But when he hears you say the words “I love you” for the first time, he feels the weight of a whole new host of ways he could potentially hurt, disappoint, or let you down.
It’s not your feelings of affection that scare him; it’s the fact that you’ve reached a point in the relationship where he could hurt you real bad if he screws up, leaves or can’t provide for you.
How to say “I LOVE YOU” without freaking out your partner:
Yes. There are lots of scary things about love, imagined and real. But just because you now understand how your words can be misinterpreted, doesn’t mean you should stifle your feelings or keep them from your partner.
There is a way to tell someone you love them without putting them in a position where they feel uncomfortable or afraid of expectations that don’t exist.
Here is the real-life letter I personally wrote to my boyfriend when I told him “I love you” for the very first time. It demonstrates three key phrases that will ease your partner’s mind and clarify your intentions.

Dear Glade,
It’s gotten to the point where my current vocabulary can no longer express my feelings of gratitude, appreciation, admiration for, and trust in you. “I like you” just doesn’t seem to cut it. And so, after trying on phrases like, “You’re my favorite” and “I love spending time with you” and still finding it lacking, I’m going where no man (in this relationship) has gone before.
I love you. Yay, I said it! I love you. I’m so relieved it’s out there. Aaaaahhhh!!!! Did I mention I love you?
I know it’s a loaded word open to many different interpretations, so I want to clarify that my love comes with no promise or expectation for the future. It exists here and now in this moment.
I feel hesitant to use this word for fear it may change things between us or worse…scare you off. At the same time, I feel stifled when I think to keep it from you. This is my journey, these are my feelings and they require nothing more from you than what you already give. Your friendship and “like” is more than enough to make me a very happy lady.
3 KEY phrases to banish 3 KILLER expectations
As you can see, in my letter I used 3 key phrases to address all three expectations head on.
“I Love You” Expectation #1: Pressure to say, “I love you too.”
Key Phrase:  “Your friendship and ‘like’ is more than enough to make me a very happy lady.”

This put him off the hook for saying “I love you too.” Which allowed him to say it in his own way in his own time.

“I Love You” Expectation #2: Pressure for a greater commitment (ie: marriage).
Key Phrase: “My love comes with no promise or expectation for the future.”

This relieved him of any expectation that my love would lead to future commitments. He could appreciate the feeling in the moment and not get tunnel vision.

“I Love You” Expectation #3: Pressure to step up and be “super-boyfriend.”
Key Phrase: “These are my feelings and they require nothing more from you.”

This allowed him to realize that he doesn’t need to do anything more to be successful in this relationship. As it is, I am happy. As it is, he is enough.
Falling in LOVE
Now that you know how to get rid of the imagined and assumed fears attached to the words, “I love you,” there’s still the REAL fear that now that you carry their heart you can potentially break it.
Love is a precious gift, which is why you don’t give it to just anyone.
Talk to your partner. Clarify your intentions. Once he understands your love comes expectation-free, he will come around and the two of you can fall in love, fearless and fancy-free.
With love,


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How to get rid of his 'bad habits' and live together in bliss.

Lauren Gray

Dear Lauren,
I love your blogs. They’ve helped me so much. My question is: my boyfriend moved in with me about two months ago. Both of us have been living on our own for more than 10 years, and for me, I get upset when I see his bad-living-together habits creeping into my space. How do I keep it at a minimum without making living with me miserable for him? Thank you Lauren for your advice!! Xxoo.
- Natasha
Hi Natasha!
Great question. I remember when I moved in with my partner, it was a really big adjustment. Going from living on your own in your own space to living together is a big transition and most couples go through some drama figuring it out.
So now that you know this is totally normal, let’s dive in to a solution!

Flip the Script from STOP to START
You say you want to keep his “bad living-together habits” at a minimum without having him be miserable with you.
The answer lies in flipping the script. What kind of opportunities, strategies and options reveal themselves when we change the question from a negative to a positive?
For ex: Instead of “How do I keep his bad habits at a minimum without having HIM be miserable with ME?”
How about, “How do I nurture good habits so that we both really enjoy living together? What can we START doing to make this relationship great?”
Try saying that question out loud and seeing how it feels. It’s a subtle but extremely powerful shift in the way you approach both your relationship and your problem solving.
If it’s in the negative, how can I get him to STOP __________________. Then the only solutions that reveal themselves have to do with limiting his freedom in some way, controlling him, criticizing him, or making him wrong.
You’re not a task master; you’re a creative and nurturing being. Go with your talents.

Go with your talents
You know in your heart that the task master approach will never be effective; it doesn’t feel loving, if feels…icky.  Which is why you feel helpless in the face of his “bad habits.” Feeling helpless is the breeding ground for neediness and resentment. This is the dark side of the force and no one’s happy: not you, not him, nobody.
But when you flip the script from STOP to START, you’re tapping into your feminine magic: the part of you that is infinitely creative and naturally nurturing.

Feminine Magic:
Creative: You feel irritated/resentful/annoyed when he does X. What would the solution look like? What would make you feel happy/appreciative/loving? Imagine what that would look like.
That’s your creativity at work. It’s going beyond STOP and “I don’t like this” and imagining what you’d like it to be instead.
This thing that would make you feel happy/appreciative/loving? That fetus idea grows up into a request.

Nurturing: Requests have the potential to sound harsh, demanding, and needy so it’s time to engage your nurturing instincts. How can you form this request so that he feels nurtured, loved, and cared for?
There is 200 page book inside me all about the art, science, and nuance of this but for now, I’ll say: Follow your talents. You are a loving and nurturing being…do that!
Taskmaster vs. Feminine Magic in action
I learn best with examples so that’s what I’m going to give you today. Take these examples and apply the language and approach to the specific issues in your home and relationship.
Example Issue 
#1: He leaves wet towels on the floor.
Taskmaster: "I need you to STOP leaving your wet towel on the bathroom floor. I don’t want to live in a pig sty."
Feminine Magic: "I notice that when we have wet towels on the bathroom floor, it smells a little moldy and sometimes I trip on it. Would you hang up your towel when you’re done using it? I love how pretty and clean the bathroom looks when everything is in it’s place."

Issue #2: He lets his dirty dishes pile up in the sink.
Taskmaster: "Dude, this isn’t a frat house. STOP leaving your dirty dishes in the sink. I can’t even wash my teacup; there’s no room."
Feminine Magic: "I notice the dishes are piling up in the sink, would you wash them for me today so that I can make dinner and really spread out. I love cooking in a clean kitchen, I feel like I’m on the food network."

Issue #3: He puts empty cereal boxes back in the pantry.
Taskmaster: "Why would you put back an empty cereal box? I went to eat cereal and there’s nothing there. If you had put it on the list, I could’ve gotten some when I was at the store yesterday. Now I have to go back and I’m hungry. What were you thinking?"
Feminine Magic: "Honey, I’m craving cereal but all I see in the pantry is an empty box. Would you run to the store and get me some? Thanks. And for future, it’s really helpful for me if you leave the box out so I know it’s empty or put it on the grocery list so I can get some more. I’d really appreciate that."
Depending on how you’ve spoken to him in the past or his past experiences with his mother or ex girlfriends, he may get a little defensive or look a little beaten up. In this case, you can lighten the mood by flashing him a smile, kissing him on the cheek, and/or saying:
“I know living with girl is a little more effort but I hear the perks are worth it. ;-) I love living with you.”
And leave it at that.
Men really respond well to this particular feminine magic. The winning combination of creativity and nurturing sets him up for success. There is a way to genuinely enjoy living together and this is the path forward.
Flip the script from Stop to Start, go with your talents and if you’re still having trouble, hop on a Skype call with me and I’ll coach you through some new and tailor-made strategies just for you and your sweetie. 
With love, 


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Your guide to relationships without 'labels'

Lauren Gray

Hey Lauren,
I've been involved with someone for about 6 months and when I say involved we are not boyfriend/girlfriend but we spend a good amount of time together and we are having sex. She's a full time student and doesn’t have a lot of free time. I'm just working right now so I have more free time than her. Lately, with finals coming up and school being crucial right now, I haven't seen her in almost 3 weeks. I'm fine with time apart, totally fine, as long as I know she's only seeing me. I've just been a little worried that she's interested in someone else and maybe spending time with them. Any advice?
Hi Eddie,

#1 rule of the ambiguous relationship
I understand ambiguous relationships: those relationships that fit somewhere between boyfriend and girlfriend and casual friends with benefits. I’ve been there. I’ve navigated those muddy waters and I’ve learned a lot.
#1 rule of the ambiguous relationship is that you’re not allowed to get jealous: you don’t have the right to.
Part of not having the responsibility of being in a monogamous commitment is that you don’t have the comforting security of one either. She is free to spend time with whomever she wants and can choose to be intimate with whomever she wants. She doesn’t owe you anything.

Why she’s blowing you off
She’s probably blowing you off because she’s busy with school.
The freedom to have alone time to counter the stress of being busy may be the reason she's only been interested in an ambiguous relationship up to this point and not a committed one. Since you aren’t in a committed relationship, spending time with you is not a high priority for her.
But I also think, pursuing another relationship is even less of a priority. I really wouldn’t worry.
Lets just play around with your options in case she is seeing someone else. At this time, you’re not in a position to demand her to see you and only you. But since you are in a sexual relationship, you are in a position to ask if she has any other sexual partners.
*Make sure this request doesn’t come from a jealous or needy place. You’re just asking for information.
Just as you are within your rights to ask your partner to be tested for STDs, it’s also within your rights to know the risk you’re at by knowing how many people your partner is currently intimate with. It’s your body and your health at stake.

The best way to make one of these “in between” relationships work is full disclosure, both ways.

#2 or get off the pot (you can’t just save a seat)
Now let’s explore your options if she is pursuing a relationship with another man.
This is the time to get clear on what you want. You can’t just keep her around to enjoy for yourself but not let anyone else enjoy her either. She’s not a seat you can save, she’s another freaking PERSON!
You need to decide how important she is to you.

It’s great that you’ve been able to carry along so casually but eventually feelings get involved.  If you find you start to develop feelings for her and your heart aches at the thought of her being with any other man but you, then it’s time to step up your game.
You’re fine with time apart and you’re cool to keep it casual. Great. So is she. But by not showing your interest, you leave her wide open to any guy who does. Because it doesn’t matter how much she likes you, she is going to choose the man who goes the extra mile to make her happy: the man who puts in the most effort and truly sweeps her off her feet.

Is it the beginning or the end?
If you reflect on your feelings for her and come to the conclusion that you’d like her to be your one and only, then it's time to put your best foot forward: be chivalrous, kind, considerate, and thoughtful, plan actual dates (outside of the bedroom) and show her you’re interested and serious about pursuing her.
At some point in the near future you might think about asking her to be in an exclusive relationship with you and pursue a greater commitment to one another. She may not be available for such a thing right now but it might give her something to think about. Especially if you can promise to be as undemanding of her time as you’ve been so far.
If she’s not that important to you and the only thing that hurts when you think of her with another man is your ego, then let her go.

Ambiguous relationships don’t last forever. Relationships either begin for real or they end.
With love,



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Why men don't give reassurance (and how to get some in 3 easy steps!)

Lauren Gray

Dear Lauren,
When my boyfriend and I get into a fight he remains withdrawn for the rest of the day and isn’t as affectionate as he usually is. I can’t help but worry I’ve ruined things and he’s having doubts about us.
I feel desperate for reassurance that we’ll be okay. I ask him to say something nice to make me feel better.  He tells me he loves me and we’ll be fine, but can I trust that what he’s saying is truly how he feels?  He still seems so distant and cold. Am I going to push him away by my need for reassurance? 


What’s wrong with a little D-O-U-B-T?
Great thinking Jennifer! Yes. Your need for reassurance can push him away.
When you seek reassurance about his love for you, it’s especially frustrating for a man. In his mind, of course he loves you! Why else would he listen to you talk about your day, help put the groceries away and pay for the movie tickets?
When you express doubt, he takes it personally and assumes you doubt because he hasn’t been doing a great job at being your boyfriend.
When he gets the message over and over again that he’s not doing a great job, he starts to believe you and eventually he’ll stop trying, throw in the towel, and walk away from the relationship.
Scary, huh?
And yet, how do you STOP needing reassurance? Is it even possible?
Why women need REASSURANCE (the real reason)
It’s easy to make assumptions about women who need reassurance.
They’re insecure.
They’re “needy.”
They’re drama queens.
They’re unreasonable.
They’re paranoid.
Sure, some of these may be true, sometimes. But most of the time, they’re NOT.
In Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, John Gray explains that one of a woman’s primary love needs is reassurance. That’s the way women feel love from their partner. When a man repeatedly shows he cares, understands, and is devoted to his partner, her need for reassurance is fulfilled. She knows she is loved.
However, when he pulls away and withdraws emotionally, temporarily NOT showing that he cares, her need for reassurance naturally makes itself known.
Men commonly make the mistake in thinking that once a woman is happy and secure in a relationship, then forever more she should know she is loved. End of story.
This is not the case.
A relationship isn’t a one-time fee investment; it’s more like a subscription service. You need to regularly make deposits of effort and love in order for a woman’s need for reassurance to be fulfilled so that she feels loved in the relationship.
A woman cannot ditch her need for reassurance, that’s not realistic, but she CAN learn how to get it in a way that doesn’t frustrate or alienate her partner.
Why men don’t give reassurance (and how to get some anyway!)
Men tend to misunderstand a woman’s need for reassurance – interpreting it as a complaint that he’s not a good enough partner. Because they don’t understand the REAL reason women need reassurance, men don’t automatically support that need.
Therefore, you need to learn how to get the reassurance you need from the partner you've got…even when he’s cold and withdrawn.
How to get the reassurance you need in 3 easy steps:
Step #1: Give him the words you want to hear.
You actually did this when you asked for him to “say something nice.” But the magic happens when you’re even more specific and ask for the words you want to hear.
When I use this tool in my relationship, I like to say:
“I know you don’t have a ton to give at the moment. That’s okay. There are words I’d like to hear that would help me feel better. If there's a part of you that can connect with them in a genuine way, would you say this to me:
…I love you. This is just a fight. We’ll get through this.”
Be patient as he mulls over the words, and then when he speaks, allow those words to reassure you.
Step #2: Believe the words; ignore the delivery.
I get how you might have reservations about step #1. After all, how do you believe him when he’s simply repeating the words you’ve asked him to say?
The trick to believing his words, even though the delivery sounds like a cold and angry parrot, is to understand his language of love: how HE naturally expresses his love.
Men do not intuitively express their love through WORDS.
…They can and do, but it’s usually because it’s a special occasion or it’s because they’ve learned the skill of expressing their love through words in order to make their lady happy.
Men more naturally express their love through ACTIONS.
When you ask him for the words you want to hear and he says them, he’s taking the action he sees will make you happy. Ultimately, it is his ACTION that proves his love. If you ask for something and he delivers, that’s love.
Step #3. Ask for reassurance in his language.
After he’s said the words you want to hear, let him pull away and withdraw to his cave. When he returns, use your new smarts and do not show any D-O-U-B-T. Do not seek reassurance in the OLD way.
After cave time, the goal is to set up a scenario where he can show you his love, reassuring you that you are loved, using his own intuitive love language – ACTION.
You can achieve this goal by asking him to do something for you. For ex: “Would you make me a cup of mint tea?”
When he does, respond with genuine delight and appreciation. In that moment, you get to be reassured that he loves you, not just through his WORDS but through his ACTIONS, the ultimate language of love on Mars.
With love,

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What 'Leave me alone' ACTUALLY means in a relationship.

Lauren Gray

“Leave me alone!” doesn’t mean
what you think it means.
When it comes to a man, the words “Leave me alone,” mean one thing only. Leave him the heck alone or face the fire-breathing dragon.
No mystery.
No intrigue.
No dance steps.
It means exactly what it says.
But when it comes to a woman, this phrase is slightly more nuanced and can mean more than one thing.
(It’s not fair but it’s true.)
This leaves most men confused. Sometimes, when a woman says, “Leave me alone” and a man automatically respects it (as he would hope she would do for him) she gets even more upset.
This is mind boggling. After all, she just said the words, “Leave me alone.” So why is he in trouble for respecting her wishes?
This is an age-old question. And I’ve got the answer.
This is what “Leave me alone!” really means
Women have two different meanings for the phrase, “Leave me alone.”
Meaning #1:I’m very upset with you. You did something to piss me off and I’m not available for intimacy. It’s not going to be easy for you to make this better. You screwed up dude. You better fight to make it up to me.”
Meaning #2:I need some me-time to relax, and be by myself. I’m not available for intimacy right now or giving to anyone. I just need to give to myself right now and I need space to do it.”

Because there are two unique meanings for the same words, men have a 50% chance of totally screwing up.
Not great odds.
High-stakes misunderstanding:
What happens when you guess wrong.
If she’s aligned with meaning #1 and you choose to leave her alone, bad things will happen.
If you don’t follow her, apologize and try to make things better, she feels like you don’t love her and that she’s not important to you. If she felt hurt before, she feels even more hurt now.
This can result in:
A) An explosive fight later on when you least expect it where she lists ALL the things you’ve ever done wrong.
B) A slow burning resentment that causes her to nit pick, criticize, and ice you out of her heart completely.

If she’s aligned with meaning #2 and you choose to run after her, bad things will happen.
If you follow her when she needs me-time and she’s expressly set the boundary that she wants to be left alone,  
A) You will lose her trust. A woman needs to feel that her boundaries and requests will be honored otherwise she feels that she can’t trust you.
Trust is one of the main ways a man recieves love; without it, the love will slowly disintegrate under a blanket of doubt, insecurity, and secrets.
B) She will feel like she needs to take care of your feelings. She will feel guilty for pulling away and will sacrifice her need for space and me-time in order to make you happy and ease your concern.
This is not what a woman does for her man; this is what a mommy does for her son. Over time with enough of these of sacrifices, she will lose any and all sexual attraction she had for you and you can kiss your sex life goodbye.
So you see, this “Leave me alone” misunderstanding can be high stakes.
When to chase and when to walk away.
So the question is: when should you chase after her and when should you actually honor the words she’s saying and “leave her alone?”
What I’m about to reveal is not a perfect system but it’s the most consistently effective strategy I’ve found.
And it’s probably no surprise that my strategy is communication.
Here is a 3 step formula script you can use to cover your bases and find the truth of her meaning:
Step 1: Follow her but give her plenty of physical space. Don’t act scared. Be confident. This is about her not you.
Say, “Hey. I’m just checking in. Have I done anything to make you feel unloved?”

Step 2: Give her a couple minutes to answer.
Ever seen an ice-cream cake melt in the sun at a birthday party? If she’s upset with you, then this is what’s happening to the ice she’s built around her heart for protection. It’s slowly melting.
Step 1 followed by step 2 will invite her to:
A) Open her heart and say what she’s upset about so that she can feel better.
B) Say, “No. It’s all good. Just leave me alone.”
Step 3: If she remains quiet, and she refuses to answer you, say, “Is there anything I can do for you?”
This is a second invitation. Sometimes, for women, it takes two.
A) If she asks for anything now, give it to her. This will re-instate intimacy and trust. Just the simple act of getting her a glass of water or getting her a Kleenex box can be all it takes for her to open up.
B) If she says “No,” say, “Okay. Just let me know. Enjoy your me-time.”
Walk away and leave her alone.
But…what if she lies?
The secret is: Believe her. Whether she’s telling you the truth or not.
With these 3 communication steps, you’ve done your part. You’ve said the most loving, safe and inviting things you could say.
A woman needs to learn to be responsible for her own happiness if she hopes to have a successful relationship.
She needs to learn to be able to:
A) Articulate her upset feelings when you’ve lovingly extended the invitation.

B) Verbally confirm her desire for me-time with confidence when you check in.

Relationships take two to tango. Communication is a responsibility that falls to each partner.
This is how a man can best communicate an invitation to his partner to communicate her true intention behind the words, “Leave me alone.”
Otherwise, a man is left in the realm of guessing. And I think we all know how frustrating that is for the both the man and the woman. 

With love,

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