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How Failed Relationships Lead You To The Right Person

How Failed Relationships Lead You To The Right Person

After being married for over 19 years it was pretty dramatic being back in the dating field. But, hey, you either sink or swim. I have tried every type of dating: online, offline, blind dates, friend hook ups, guys from the church etc. Lessons I have learned from 2006 to the present have definitely been because of failed relationships. These are some of the important lessons I keep in mind:

1. Don’t take anything at face value

I don’t take anything at face value; I research, and question everything. Let them call you a detective, CSI or NCIS. You have to protect your heart. Lesson learned # 1 is people will lie and deceive. I met a presumably nice gentleman at a club. I didn’t see a ring but I still asked “are you married?” He said “no.”… well, you know what? He was married for over 3 or 4 years when the truth finally came out.

2. Are they making room for you in their life?

Lesson # 2: When a person wants you in their life, they make room for you; they accommodate you in time and in their life events. For example, are you included at weddings, family reunions, or work place functions? It’s a lesson learned if you are being treated like a secret. They are not just wanting you all to themselves they are probably hiding something- maybe a dead body! Just kidding!

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For example, I met a guy and we dated at least eight months. He had met my mother, sisters and children, and yet never introduced me to his sister or children, even though they were local. I decided if I had to be a secret he was not for me.

3. Are they controlling?

Failed relationship lesson # 3: if you are too demanding and everything has to be your way, you are SELFISH and controlling. That is not healthy or cute. I had a boyfriend who was always, always calling me, checking on the time I got in from work, shopping, and working out. He would want me to cook for him all the time, and yet never taking me to dinners, plays or movies.

4. Do they support your dreams and hopes for the future?

Failed relationship lesson #4: it’s time to be concerned if they’re not supportive of your dreams or visions of any kind. I was dating a guy and we had been dating for over 2 years; I had become an empty nester by this time and things I had put on hold because of being a single parent and not having a lot of time to pursue certain things I begin to pursue. One of those things was to write a book.

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I wrote my first book and family and friends were excited. I remember going to the mailbox and the hard copy of the book had come from the publisher. I was jumping up extremely excited and I showed the book to my then boyfriend. He picked up my book, looked at it and put it in the box and said “hmm”. No congratulations, No “good job, baby”, just “hmm”. I broke up with him; if you can so easily step on my dreams you are not the man for me.

5. Will the age difference be a factor to consider?

This next one you may agree or disagree with, but here it is: really consider whether you should date someone substantially younger or older than you. I have done both, and truthfully it didn’t work for me. With the younger guy, he had never been married and had never had children. The first question I asked was, “do you want kids one day? Because I have three and my shop is closed.” But people can lie or maybe when they want someone badly they risk being misleading. We dated about a year and half and he said he was not ready to give up the idea of having kids. This was right after I was freshly divorced, so I was crushed. But it taught me to look for bad signs early and to take what people tell you with a grain of salt.

The older gentleman I could write a book about, but my main gripe with him was he was extremely controlling and always talked to me like I was a child. I learned that I needed someone with which I could be on equal footing, in terms of our thoughts, ideals and major goals and beliefs.

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6. Be wary of manipulation

I learned these lessons from the above dating scenarios. Don’t advise your new love interest of all of the stuff you are looking for in a mate, and all the drama you experiences in your other relationships. Why, you ask? Because you want someone to genuinely get to know you, rather than giving them a road map to manipulate you.

I dated a guy who tried to be the opposite of all the things I said above that didn’t work for me, but as my grandmother Mary says “time will tell it all.” By the end of six months, I was not getting the support for my events, I was being ignored for football, and all the other warning signs of a relationship going south.

Now as you can see from the list above I have experienced some true life lessons over 10 years and I can happily report that I learned from them all. I learned what I needed for myself. I must admit I was not ready to date for a long time after my divorce; I really needed time to forgive and heal. I also grew and changed from the young naive lady to a beautiful mature, smart lady with so much to offer the world and a very lucky man.

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I won’t keep you in suspense:, yes, knowing all of the above about my failed relationships led me to a great guy! He is handsome to me (that’s important if I have to see you all the time), but I got to know him as a friend first (which I didn’t do with any of the above). He’s very supportive, we have lots in common and when we don’t have something in common we can respect each other’s opinion. Without these lessons I believe I would still be looking for the right one for me.

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michelle Roberts

Dating Strategist

How Failed Relationships Lead You To The Right Person

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Last Updated on January 15, 2021

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

Posture

First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

  • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
  • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
  • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
  • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

Facial Expressions

Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

  • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
  • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
  • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

2. Relax Your Face

New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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3. Improve Your Eye Contact

Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

3. Smile More

There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

4. Hand Gestures

Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

5. Enhance Your Handshake

In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

“Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

Final Takeaways

Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

Reference

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