Dating after 40 with Dr. Pepper Schwartz

420_pepper_schwartz.imgcache.rev1296827146385We were lucky to have sex therapist Dr. Pepper Schwartz at the Ranch recently where she held a class about dating after 40 (or waaay after 40). Although I don’t fit into this category, I have to say that this talk could apply to dating at really any age, but specifically dating in 2013.

Remember the movie Sleepless in Seattle when Tom Hanks’ character enters the dating world after his wife passed away and how “different” things were for him? And that was before the Internet!

So yes, Pepper spoke a lot about online dating because as she said “that’s where the people are.” But let me back up… she said first you must be prepped and “ready” to date.. .meaning, you need to be over your ex.  Meaning you need to be indifferent about your past relationships. This may take time, but it’s essential if you want to meet someone new. You want to bring your best self to the new relationship, right? Right.

If you want to meet someone new, it’s imperative to move outside your current social groups and make new acquaintances who could possibly introduce you to someone new. Or there is that whole online dating phenomena. Dr. Schwartz advises joining three paid sites: a small niche boutique site (J Date and C Match are examples of these), a medium size like Perfect Match and a large one like Match.com. This will cover all your bases and allow you to meet people you might not otherwise.

The bottom line is before you’re ready to date, you must be in a healthy relationship with yourself.  Second, you need to get out there and meet new people!  Third, take dating with a grain of salt.  Not everyone will be perfect for you, and you will not be a perfect match for everyone.  Have fun with dating, and don’t take it so seriously.  Be open, be safe and most importantly have fun!

To learn more about dating from Dr. Pepper Schwartz, check out her book Prime: Adventures and Advice on Sex, Love, and the Sensual Years.

Building Rapid Rapport with Abe Wagner

Building rapport is something I remember from my days in outside sales. It’s standard business training, but I really didn’t think of it much outside of business. I guess because in typical, everyday situations we build rapport without even thinking about it.

We were lucky enough to have Abe Wagner at the Ranch to talk about not only building rapid rapport, but also how to talk to each other to avoid conflict and basically how to have good communication.  Now, if you ever have the chance to see Abe do a seminar, consider yourself lucky. He is hilarious! He takes what could otherwise be a dull subject and brings life to it. What he teaches us is invaluable because it really helps in everyday life.

He talks about pacing, but not the kind of pacing most of us are used to. According to Abe, “pacing means to establish rapport with another person by imitating and getting into their map of the world.”  Believe it it not, we naturally imitate people when we converse with them. It’s a natural thing that begins as early as when we are babies. There are exceptions to this rule. You don’t want to imitate anything negative or make it too obvious. Why imitate someone? Well, we feel more comfortable talking to people like ourselves.

Ways to Imitate:

  • Tone
  • Energy
  • Body posture
  • Volume
  • Gestures
  • Breathing

Another side of this that I thought was priceless was “getting into the other person’s map of the world” which means seeing something from the other person’s point of view.  Abe made it clear that most of the time we’re talking to someone, we’re only speaking from our own point of view, which doesn’t make for very good communication!

Here are some ways to become a better listener:

  • Don’t repeat what someone has just said to you, paraphrase it.  Why?  You can hear what someone is saying without really listening, but when you repeat what they said in your own words, it shows them that you were really listening.
  • Give a short response like “I see what you mean” or “I hear you.”
  • Ask questions.

These little tips are valuable because who doesn’t have bouts of bad communication?  We could all use some improvement.  I know I can!

Love’s Cycles

couples therapy, marriage, relationships, love, love's cycles, linda carrol

Here at the Ranch it seems like there are endless activities and talks.  Everything from nutrition, fitness, mental health, spirituality, art and nature.  So why not love too?  World renowned therapist Linda Carrol is doing a three-part series on the cycles of love based on her upcoming book, Love’s Cycles.

I had dinner with Linda last week and she suggested that I come to her talk later that night and I’m so glad I did.  Her talk was so enlightening and made me think of “love” in a new way.  Especially since I’m engaged and getting married soon, it was very important to hear all of this information!

Basically there are five cycles of love according to Linda:

  1. The Merge-“We two are one.”
  2. Doubt & Denial-“We two are one and I am the one.”
  3. Disillusionment-“All’s fair in love and war.”
  4. A Decision-“Indecision becomes decision with time.”
  5. Wholehearted Loving-“The only journey is the one within.”

Does any of this sound familiar?  I think all of us who are in a relationship or were in one can relate to these cycles.  Not everything is perfect or how we want it all the time no matter how good of a relationship we are in.  Also, it’s good to know that everyone goes through similar issues and we’re not alone!  The best part is that we can be in a loving fulfilling relationship even if we’ve gone through Doubt & Denial and Disillusionment.

What I found very interesting is the scientific aspect of love which Linda goes into detail about in her talk.  It was so fascinating.  I had no idea how much our brain changes chemically when we “fall in love”.

Linda was a delight to listen to.  She brings so much common sense to the table and humor as well as information about why we act the way we do and how to create meaningful long-lasting love.  You can learn more about Linda at her website, lindaacarroll.com

Linda is also coming out with her new book Love’s Cycles soon.  Click the link for an advanced copy of the first chapter.