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The REAL Reason Women Who Try To ‘Have It All’ End Up With NOTHING

Stop the madness!

“I can bring home the bacon … Fry it up in a pan … And never let you forget you’re a man … Cuz I’m a woman!

The lyrics to that insidiously catchy 1980s Enjoli perfume jingle (and the brand’s slogan: “An 8-hour perfume for the 24-hour woman”) have stuck with me long after the scent faded.

By my early teens, I had already learned that, as a woman, I needed to go-go-go (I’m the 24-hour woman, right?) in order to “have it all.”

Success as a woman meant being a top-dollar breadwinner, a great cook, and a flawlessly sexy, attentive wife — all poured into a slinky cocktail dress that I’d wear while churning out award-winning articles with one hand and mouth-watering appetizers with the other. No pressure.

Growing up in the 70s, my single mother became the first policewoman in our state, and movies like “9 to 5” showcased empowered women challenging sexist bosses and breaking down the walls of the old boys clubs. We were bold, we were strong, and we were taking over — it was exhilarating.

But that powerful feeling of knowing that I could be or do anything shifted to thinking that Ishould have it all — or else.

The concepts of freedom, possibility, and choice suddenly started to feel overwhelming instead of inspiring. Our friends and family, the media, and society at large are constantly telling us we deserve this thing called “Having It All”.

“Of course you can have it all!” and “Don’t settle — you deserve everything!” are statements I’m sure most modern women have heard bandied around the sisterhood — well meant, sure, but packing a hell of a pressure-cooker punch, too.

For many of us today, success as a woman looks more like a day in the life of Michelle Obama. Impressive? Yep. Attainable and sustainable? Well…

You’re encouraged to pick a job that helps you make a difference in the world. But not just any job, mind you — you must “lean in” and aim for an influential CEO or CFO position, or maybe become a scrappy (but definitely successful) entrepreneur. You should also obtain at least one master’s degree from an Ivy League school (but a Ph.D. is even better!).

Meanwhile, stay in peak physical health and beauty at all times: strong, flexible, stylish, lean, and toned, and eat only healthy, organic foods.

While conquering the world (and looking effortlessly hot while doing so), it’s important to also be a fun, perfect wife and mother; effortlessly balancing the demands of your household and your business affairs. Of course, you’ll also have time to complete darling Pinterest crafts, give back to your community, and head off on multiple Instagram-worthy vacations each year (because #YOLO).

See what I mean about PRESSURE?

When we don’t measure up to these standards, most of us feel disappointed (like we’re failing) — and yet, we’re still out there trying anyway, and it’s killing us and ruining our relationships.

On the love life side of things, we expect a slightly stronger, taller, all-around better version of ourselves as our ideal partners. How tall are you in those 6-inch heels? Mr. Perfect must stand four inches taller than that. You’re the CEO of a Fortune 500 company? Mr. Perfect must boast an even more impressive title, of course.

When we try to choose our mate based on the same impossible standards we often set for ourselves, the pool gets very small — think kiddy-sized.

This isn’t going to help you find or keep your ideal mate, just like that First-Lady list above probably won’t help you lead a life that’s fulfilling on an individual level.

However, none of this means you should settle for less than what you need or just give up looking when it comes to life and love.

Over the years, I’ve learned to define my “Having It All” list on my terms. I started by thinning my never-ending, impossible-to-complete-in-real-life to-do list. As I sat there frustrated and exhausted at the end of each day with 19 items still left, I asked myself, “If I can’t do it all, then what’s enough?”

“What’s enough?” is an awesome question. It applies to everything.

What’s enough exercise? What’s enough effort on this work project? What’s enough money?

When I was single and dating, I did the same thing. First, I made a list of the perfect man. I called it my Unicorn List, and it was 9-pages long. Then, the list was complete, I ran through it item by item to see what would shake out and stick in real life.

For example, “Would I rather be alone than being with a man who doesn’t think I’m beautiful?” The answer is I’d rather be alone so that one stayed.

“Would I rather be alone than be with a man who didn’t like the same music I liked?” Nope, that’s not as important (I have headphones), so I crossed it off.

This is how I identified my deal breakers. I got that monster list down to four pages, and this informed me about the man I was truly looking for.

Guess what? I found him.

“Having It All” is a tricky little sucker, whether in the boardroom or the bedroom.

It can creep in when no one’s looking and take a stranglehold on your life.

My advice is this: When you feel the almighty “Having It All” pressuring you, treat it as an opportunity to ask yourself, “What’s enough?”

When I do this, I shift from “I must have it all” to “I’m leading a happy life on my terms.” And isn’t that really what we’re all after?

I’m Wendy Newman, a media-celebrated author & trusted dating, sex & relationship advisor.  Pick up my book, 121 First Dates: How to Succeed at Online Dating, Fall in Love, and Live Happily Ever After (Really!) here!

Don’t talk. And talk. And talk. And talk. And talk…

When you’re Internet dating it’s possible to get too connected by phone before meeting. This is a rookie mistake worthy of avoiding whenever possible. When we do this, we get hooked, and guess what? Most men know in the first five seconds if they’re attracted to you (or not). The odds that it will work in real time for you and for him are much, much smaller than the fantasy of the telephone.

In 2008 I went on my first meet-and-greet coffee date (Date #13). Date #13 and I spent our first six hours getting to know each over the phone. I was charmed by him, as was he by me. His deep voice made me shiver, and I know I give pretty good phone too, so when it finally came time, we couldn’t wait to meet.

Within 15 seconds of being face to face at the Barking Dog Cafe, his disappointment of the in-person me was palatable. The warmth and animation I experienced over the telephone line were nowhere to be found. He hardly made eye contact, he drank his coffee as quickly as he could and was out the door in ten minutes flat. As a rookie, I was shocked and deflated.

So Why Do We Do It?

One of the reasons we like to connect by telephone is we want to vet him. We think we can learn about who he is before we waste our valuable time. We want to pre-qualify him for the job of boyfriend. This is an inefficient strategy. Think about it: You meet online and you write back and forth a few times, that’s 20-60 minutes of crafting the perfect email(s) and replying. Then you spend time on the telephone, like in my case, six hours. When you’re not writing or talking to him, you’re daydreaming about him. And about 90% of the time, it’s over in an instant.

Try this instead:

You could be out your front door, meeting someone at a café or wine bar within a mile of your home, and back from that date all within an hour if you timed it right. If you like his profile, go!

I’m Wendy Newman, a media-celebrated author & trusted dating, sex & relationship advisor.  Pick up my book, 121 First Dates: How to Succeed at Online Dating, Fall in Love, and Live Happily Ever After (Really!) here!

Stalking Your New Date Is Never a Smart Idea

woman looking at computer

So, you met him online. He’s amazing. He has all the qualities you admire and he’s totally sexy, too. Good for you. Here comes the hard part: After the first date, you’re going to want to…ah…” visit” him online. You’re curious, and you want to gather as much information about him as possible. You think maybe if you reread that profile again, you’ll learn something new. Plus, when you visit his profile, you feel connected, and that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy, right? Wrong.

One night, you do a drive-by past his online profile and notice his status says “ONLINE NOW.” Instantly, you experience a moment of terror. Yes, it’s true. He’s looking at other women. Other women who could out-attract you. You just know it. He’s talking to the woman that has every quality he wants that you don’t. They could be emailing back and forth right now. You can forget any plans you had with him for the upcoming weekend because he’s moving on. Oh wait, he hasn’t even set a future date with you yet? Your insecure reaction just magnified tenfold.

Somehow, you muddle along anyway. The two of you keep dating, and when you feel like connecting with him, you check his status instead of shooting him a text or email. It seems like he’s always online, and he’s not emailing you at the rapid rate you’d like. After experiencing this repeatedly, one day you log on for a visit, see the “ONLINE NOW” status, and blurt out, “Fuck you!”

It’s official. This process has turned you into a crazy person—one who’s blaming him when he hasn’t done one thing wrong.

Raise your hand if you know what I’m talking about.

The last time I encountered this problem, I was two months (and seven dates) into seeing a man I was wild about. Unbeknownst to anyone else, I’d become a total stalker, mostly because I wasn’t getting the attention I needed from him. I ended the craziness by logging off the site completely. I didn’t tell him I was leaving, and I didn’t ask him to, either. I quietly took down my profile. I did this because left to my own devices, I was untrustworthy.

As women, one thing that makes us feel safe, loved, and sane is a constant connection with the people we care about. Stated simply, when you connect with your (potential) man, you instinctively feel safe. When you go online and you see he’s not connecting with you—worse, that he’s connecting with other women—the only person you’re hurting is yourself (and your self-esteem). Hopping online for a drive-by is not kind to your spirit, and in doing so, you lose your capacity to be your best self when you’re with him.

You might think checking in on him online isn’t that big a deal. And to be honest, it’s not…when you’re looking at the ones you don’t like that much. I recommend you try hard—very, very hard—to avoid peeking at the ones who could be keepers. The truth is, it’s not going to help your chances. In fact, it could be damaging them. It’s one of the things that drives women away from online dating and drives off potential partners, as well.

Most men use dating site apps on their smartphones. Once logged in for a quick check, the phone will keep them logged in for the better half of the day, making it appear as if he’s always online.

Keep in mind that you’re dating a single person. Single people are free to date anyone they wish, as often as they wish—it’s one of the perks of being single. Until you’re exclusive, he doesn’t owe you his undivided attention (nor do you owe him yours).

When you’re dating someone offline, he could be dating other women and you just don’t have the ability to witness it. I believe wholeheartedly that, in this case, ignorance is bliss.

Need another reason not to let yourself turn into a stalker? On most sites, your views are public. That’s right, stalker, he can see you looking at him! Some sites are smart enough to charge you for a privacy feature, so you have to pay them to stalk privately. Do you really want to make a dating site rich because you can’t control your impulses? (Says the woman who paid by the month for the privacy option on OkCupid. I write what I know.)

My friend Leslie had a brilliant perspective on the topic. When I described this phenomenon to her, she said, “Oh, so you’re snooping. You mean you just poke your nose into his private business?”

Holy shit! I’d never thought of it that way. (She’s a genius.) In real life, I’m not a snooper. I’ve never read a man’s email, checked his phone, or looked up anything on him. I’m not compelled to do these things, and frankly, I don’t understand women who are. I think it’s weird. Even if I felt I had something to concern myself with, I wouldn’t go about getting the information behind his back. I’d sort it out with him directly. So, it was shocking to realize that even I (a self-proclaimed adamant non-snooper) have in fact stuck my nose right where it didn’t belong online. It’s none of my business, online or off. And let’s face it, snooping never turns out well.

I have to give mad props to my girl Leslie for her brilliant insight and teaching me some dating 101. I never did it again. Not that it was any less tempting, mind you, but once I saw his profile as his personal business, I saw it for what it was: an integrity issue. I just couldn’t do it.

What’s a smart gal to do instead? You can start by printing out or downloading his profile. That way, you have your very own file on your hard drive or desk for your handy reference whenever you need to remember if he said he likes sushi or Mexican (or want to take a peek and his pics again).

Then “hide” him from view by clicking “don’t’ show him anymore” out of your search results once you’ve saved his profile. This is different than blocking.

After the drop and drag, go get yourself a bigger life. Use that time you’d otherwise spend looking for his online-now to go to a café and read a book, take a hike, see a film, or have drinks with girlfriends. Here’s a novel idea: Use the time to keep dating other men! You’re single, remember?

Here’s what we learned:

  • Being a stalker is uncool at best, and downright creepy and untrustworthy at worst.
  • Snooping into his personal business starts with an innocent “visit.”
  • Your time is precious and valuable. Don’t spend it obsessing over whether some guy’s online or not.
  • Viewing his profile over and over will burn you out, and make you hate the dating process just ever so slightly more than you already do.

I’m Wendy Newman, a media-celebrated author & trusted dating, sex & relationship advisor.  Pick up my book, 121 First Dates: How to Succeed at Online Dating, Fall in Love, and Live Happily Ever After (Really!) here!

A Woman’s Secret To A Productive Meeting

Have you ever been in a meeting where a man just leaves? Maybe he doesn’t leave, but his enthusiasm wanes. Do you have trouble getting participation from men on your team? Consider the problem may be as simple as the difference between how men and women communicate and produce results effectively.

For women to be at our best, we need to connect with each other. We feel safe, seen and heard when we spend time checking in with the people around us. You might notice that at the start of every meeting you socialize. A quick “How’s the family?” or “What new adventure have you been on lately?” We schmooze. And at some point, someone in charge (possibly you) wrangles everyone’s attention to start. Women are at our best after that type of association: We feel an affinity for those around us and we’re ready to get to work.

Unfortunately, it’s not this way for men. For men to be at their best, they need to produce results. For them, the point of a meeting is not to schmooze, but rather, get down to business. What causes that safety women feel in connection is only caused by uninterrupted producing, strategizing and planning. When settling into business doesn’t happen quickly, when the point of the meeting is thwarted by idle conversation, they lose momentum, focus, and energy. The minutia of the check-in literally kills their drive, brilliant ideas and ability to do strategic planning.

Do you want more out of your team? Offer them an optional pre-conference check-in starting 15-20 minutes before your scheduled meeting time. Tell your attendees, “If you want to say hello to the team, show up in the conference room at 10:40. Business starts promptly at 11.”

And try not to laugh out loud when you see the women trickling in just after 10:40 and the men showing up at 10:58.

I’m Wendy Newman, a media-celebrated author & trusted dating, sex & relationship advisor. If you’re looking to understand men at work, check out the Myth of the Alpha Male  here.

Top 5 Dos and Don’ts for Online Dating

Your Profile

Do…
Use a friend, family member or coach to help proof your profile. They can provide valuable feedback for content and point out typos and grammar errors as well. You’d just never guess how many of us are sticklers for spelling, and shocking as it may be, some of us think a well-placed semicolon is hot.

Don’t…
Be out there representing falsely. Don’t shave numbers off your age, try to stuff that body into a different body type classification, or give yourself a big, fat raise. 5’10” is not code for 5’ 7”, yo. Seriously, do you really want to make someone call you on it face to face?

Your Correspondence

Do…
Reply to every thoughtful email. You will most likely need to write a “no thank you” email at some point. So before you even start your dating process, write up a few kind, short rejection emails and store them in a Word document. When you need one, simply cut then paste a fitting one into a reply, and then tailor it by inserting their name if they provided it. You could say something like, “Thank you for writing. After reading your profile I can see we’re not quite a match. Good luck out there.” The response makes you a good citizen dater. The Word doc cut/paste system makes you an efficient dater.

Don’t…
Bother replying to the “drive-by” emails. You know the ones. They are usually about four words and start with “Hey baby”… and end with “nice ass.” Think of it this way: If the email has the tone of a construction worker cat-calling you from a worksite, you can pass or respond, but passing is acceptable in this circumstance. Unless you want that kind of attention, in which case, enjoy – no judgment here.

Your Candidates

Do…
Give people a chance. You may learn the very valuable lesson that you can date outside of your type but not outside of your tribe. You don’t know who’s in your tribe until you’ve given them a chance.

Don’t…
Treat online dating like Amazon.com. When you meet someone lovely, spunky and sincere, date him/her. Don’t see them and simultaneously compare them against everyone else you see online. This is a person, not an exchangeable item you can return for an upgraded model. You’re better than that.

Making it Real

Do…
Meet right away. It’s okay to get a little excited about a profile, but you may want to assume he/she isn’t real until you’re standing next to each other at the local coffee house or hot date spot. Chemistry and true connection are rarely found through words on the page.

Don’t…
Reveal confidential information about yourself before you meet. Give out your cell number? Sure (unless valuable information is provided when one Googles your cell number). Your home address? I’d save that for later. Your last name may give them more information than you want them to have prior to meeting up. Your photo can be dragged off your profile and dropped right into the search bar of Google, followed by a click on “image.” If you have that same image posted anywhere else on the web, one can obtain even more information about you. Scary, huh? We are living in the Google age, people.

Your Demeanor

Do…
Be yourself. Authenticity rules.

Don’t…
Be aloof, come with a script, or try to play it cool. That’s a sure-fire way to miss a possible real connection.

I’m Wendy Newman, a media-celebrated author & trusted dating, sex & relationship advisor.  Pick up my book, 121 First Dates: How to Succeed at Online Dating, Fall in Love, and Live Happily Ever After (Really!) here!

 

What Do Men Want?

my boyfriend's health problems

A few years back I found myself sitting across a table from a professional matchmaker.  She asked a question I’d never been asked before: “What do you bring to the table?”

I almost laughed. Easy! I bring what all men want: a willingness to pay attention to them. But I realized she was looking for a more substantial answer. This got me to thinking…

What is it that men want from us?

What do women bring to the table?

What qualities and ways of being make us worth the trouble?

I went straight to the source – to men – and discovered the list of what men love about us is very long. But still, the top three things men look for in a mate can be relatively easy:

  1. Affection
  2. Attention
  3. Understanding

So, single women, as you’re building your wish list of the attributes of your soul mate, make a list of your own. Start by answering the question “What do I bring to the table?”

What you have to offer may take you on the path to finding who you’re looking for and the type of relationship you’re after.

I’m Wendy Newman, a media-celebrated author & trusted dating, sex & relationship advisor.  Pick up my book, 121 First Dates: How to Succeed at Online Dating, Fall in Love, and Live Happily Ever After (Really!) here!