I don't have a girl/boyfriend. What's wrong with me?

 

When my son was a teenager, he came to me and shared his fear that there must be something wrong with him because he was not in a relationship, like he felt so many of his friends were. As I talked with him about it, it was obvious that he had a view where he was focusing just on those people who did have relationships. He didn't see how many other people, just like him, were struggling to date or were not interested in dating, and they didn't have relationships. It forced me to go back and remember my teenagers, and I could so relate because I didn't have a boyfriend then. Frankly, I wasn't really that interested in having a boyfriend, dating, or relationships. But I did worry that something was wrong with me that I didn't have them.

Well, now I'm in a unique position where, as a dating and relationship strategist and coach, I see people who struggle with some of the same concerns, and they wonder what's wrong with them when in reality, their experience is quite common. And the truth is, it's not you, it's your technique.

We are in a culture where this is a much more common problem than it's ever been before. In 1960. When my parents were dating, 72% of all adults were married. That meant that the other 28% were single, never married, widowed, divorced, or too young and not married yet. But the rest, 72%, were married, and 59% of 30-year-olds were married. Let's fast forward 50 years, and in 2010, only 20% of 30-year-olds were married, and in 2015, 51% of all adults were married. We have experienced as a culture a huge shift in attachment!

My name is Alisa Goodwin Snell, and welcome to the Lasting Love Podcast, where we feature real life, real people, and real love. If you enjoy this podcast, please share it with others that you feel would also benefit from it. And if you're anxious to start your own lasting love journey, please join me at the LastingLoveAcademy.com. 

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(full podcast transcript below)

When my son was a teenager, he came to me and shared his fear that there must be something wrong with him because he was not in a relationship, like he felt so many of his friends were. And as I talked with him about it, it was obvious that he had a view where he was focusing just on those people who did have relationships. And he didn't see how many other people, just like him, were struggling to date or were not interested in dating, and they didn't have relationships. It forced me to go back and remember my teenagers, and I could so relate because I didn't have a boyfriend then. And frankly, I wasn't really that interested in having a boyfriend or dating or relationships. But I did worry that something was wrong with me that I didn't have them.

Well, now I'm in a unique position where, as a dating and relationship strategist and coach, I see all the time people who come in struggling with some of the same concerns, and they wonder what's wrong with them when in reality, they're just addressing something that a lot of people worry about. And the truth is, it's not you, it's your technique, and there are so many things that they can do that just change the situation and help them be more successful. So from my perspective, I saw this as not a concern for my son because I could see how common it was. But at the same time, I remembered what it felt like for me.

We are in a culture where this is a much more common problem than it's ever been before. In 1960. When my parents were dating, 72% of all adults were married. That meant that the other 28% were single, never married, widowed, or divorced, or too young and not married yet. But the rest, 72%, were married, and 59% of 30-year-olds were married. Let's fast forward 50 years, and in 2010, only 20% of 30-year-olds were married, and in 2015, 51% of all adults were married. We have experienced as a culture a huge shift in attachment!

My name is Alisa Goodwin Snell, and welcome to the Lasting Love Podcast, where we feature real life, real people, and real love. If you enjoy this podcast, please share it with others that you feel would also benefit from it. And if you're anxious to start your own lasting love journey, please join me at the LastingLoveAcademy.com. 

Today, we're going to be focusing on stories like the situation of my son and myself as a teenager and in my young adult years, as well as the story of Jeremy, a 22-year old college student, who had never been in a serious relationship and had not dated much. Most of the dates he went on were simple first or second dates with no third or fourth dates. Jeremy came in with quite a few concerns about what he was doing and whether or not he was doing it wrong, making girls uncomfortable, or being creepy in some way. He was very afraid of rejection. There were other things that I noticed as well in his body language posture and how he presented himself that really outdated him in terms of looking as desirable to his peers as we would want. He was also a little overweight.

So let's start first with his appearance and what was it that was representing him poorly. So first, he sat in the chair with his shoulders slouched and rolled over, his legs were close together, and his arms were close to his body because he was trying to cover up his insecurity about his weights. He tucked his elbows in close to his body, and his arms were wrapped around his waist, and he sat in a way that made him look like he was trying to be smaller. It was a very meek presentation. Now there're several things about that that actually made his weight look worse, not better, because when he brings his elbows in, and he brings his arms close to his body, it actually makes him look wider.

So I wanted to confront him on this body language and posture, but of course, I still needed to get his story and build a relationship where he felt that I really did understand him, and I had a positive view of him as a person. Feedback is always difficult to balance when working with someone because you don't want to overwhelm them with negative feedback. I really wanted to support and encourage him. He had a lot of great qualities about him. One was that he was very intuitively empathetic. He was very complimentary. He took the time to notice and appreciate the things that I was saying, and he'd comment if I said, "Would you like a drink?" "Oh, that's so nice of you to ask. Thank you."  He was very polite and courteous, and it added to his overall warmth and safety. He really presented himself in a way that made a person feel safe and comfortable, but that didn't necessarily put him in a good spot in terms of making girls actually see him as desirable. I needed to be able to confront a lot of that, so first, I focused on the things that were really going well with him, his communication style, his warmth, his eye contact. He actually maintained really good eye contact, which can often be a problem with people who struggle with confidence, so I focused on those things.

Then as I got his history and I felt like he was ready for some feedback, I began talking about what his body language was saying. How it was actually saying to the people in the room, "I'm scared. I'm timid. I don't want to make other people uncomfortable. I'm uncomfortable with myself." So as we walked through what does good confident body language and behavior look like and how he could spread out and bring his shoulders back and sit in a chair, he demonstrated all of these things to him. We practiced different techniques for helping him to radiate more confidence and that he believes he's relevant, he's important, people like him, and that people would enjoy getting to know him because he likes himself.

So as I focused on these things, there were some videos and audios that I really wanted him to utilize from the LastingLoveAcademy.com. With the programs that I offer, they are as cost-effective as $27 a month, depending on the program that you choose, so you can access these audios and videos as well. I would encourage you to check out the LastingLoveAcademy.com for more descriptive information about what I was teaching him. 

First, as I focused on helping him to bring more confidence into his body language, my hope was that as he took on the confident body language and posture, even while we were talking about the things that he needed to work on, it would change the way he actually thinks and feels. 

A lot of times, we believe that we have to feel confident before we act confident. The problem with that is that if we wait to feel confident, our behaviors are going to be all over the place. Because it's really difficult to consistently feel confident, this is where the benefit of fake it till you make it really does work. As you take on those behaviors, your brain chemistry actually changes, and your thoughts start to change. 

If you're listening to this podcast and you take a few moments to just square your shoulders, straighten your back, bring your chin up, spread your arms away from your body, lean on an armrest, pull your ankle up on your other knee so that your legs are spread out and you're comfortably relaxing as you assume this confident posture, all while conceptualizing the things that I'm teaching, you'll start to realize how they really do impact the way you perceive yourself. 

So I began teaching Jeremy these things and had him practice them while I continued with the rest of my instruction. One of the key things that I really wanted to focus on with him were the thinking errors he was engaging in. The first thinking error was that something was wrong with him. Another thinking error was that he was making other people uncomfortable. 

The fact of the matter was, he was a teddy bear. He was somebody who people could feel really safe and secure with, which was part of what he was doing to compensate for the fear of making people uncomfortable. He was compensating by making his body language, and everything else, seem smaller or less confident because he didn't want anyone to feel intimidated or uncomfortable around him. But the very fact that he was doing that made them feel like he didn't like himself as much, and it also made them feel less interested in him in a romantic way. They were more than glad to see him as a pal, but they did not see him as someone that they felt chemistry and attraction for. So I really needed to break down these beliefs that he had erroneously created around this core fear of making other people uncomfortable. And I wanted to understand where that core fear came from. 

I went into his family history to understand what was the climate or atmosphere, the fears, issues, and needs that he was experiencing in his home and with his sisters. And it really drove home. He feared being that guy that makes girls uncomfortable because his sisters would talk about "those guys" and how they were jerks, or they didn't have a clue. And so it really robbed him of a sense of being able to trust his own feelings, needs, and opinions because he didn't want to make other people uncomfortable. We talked about that and what was going right with him, and we changed his body language and posture. It gave me a better way to introduce a new way for him to see himself and to also believe that, yes, people do want to feel good when they're with him. They want to be attracted to him. They want to enjoy that safety and security he offers, but also to feel like they can lean on him, and he's strong and confident, and that they can trust and respect him. 

Women fall in love with friends; there's no doubt that that's the case. But women don't fall in love with friends if they don't trust and respect that friend. And if the guy doesn't have boundaries, he doesn't express his feelings, needs, and opinions, and a woman feels like she can run all over him or take him for granted, or he'll just always be there, then she can keep her other options open while she decides whether or not she wants him. When a woman feels that way, she doesn't fall in love with him. And she doesn't sacrifice for him. 

The more deeply someone sacrifices, the more deeply they love. This was a really important principle for him to understand because he did this nice guy thing so much where he would sacrifice and make sure he was making everybody else comfortable. And he was listening to them. And he was their friend, and he was supportive. But if they're not sacrificing for him and his feelings and needs, and going the extra distance to meet him for lunch, and doing things that just were important to him and activities he wanted to do because he let them know, "Hey, I'd love to do this. Would you come do this with me? I'd really enjoy your company". He needed to show them that he wanted and needed their investment and that if they didn't invest, he would put his effort somewhere else because, "I don't give the best of me to those who don't invest in me." This is a very important principle in breaking the too-nice and the just-friends trap. 

As I was sharing these concepts with him, I wanted to create a paradigm shift in which he started to see his value and change his body language and mannerisms so people would see him differently. Now this, of course, takes time, and it's something that's introduced in the first session. Then I sent him home with homework. He was to watch those audios and videos I shared from LastingLoveAcademy.com. Please check that out. But it's going to take time for these concepts to stick. 

But before he left, I had one last thing I needed to share with him. And that was feedback about his clothing and his hair. So the challenge with him, and I don't know where this came from, but he really dressed in an outdated way. He looked like he was 25, no older than that. He looked like somebody who wasn't aware of the social trends. He looked like he was in the fashions or trends of five or 10 years ago. And I don't know what happened or if his family just wasn't into that kind of thing. Or if it just wasn't on his radar. I asked him what stores he shopped at. And he did a lot of shopping at Kohl's, which isn't a young man's store, at least not where he was buying his clothes from. I think he was just going into the wrong section, or his mom was getting him stuff that was similar to what his dad would wear. I don't know. But I really needed to have him go out with some fashionable friends or sisters and have those people help him to shop, and he needed to buy things that were more form-fitting. He was so afraid of showing his rolls because he was a little overweight. He was so afraid of that that he chose these bigger clothes that were out of date and didn't show his shape. And the reality is if he squares his shoulders, and he brings his chin up and sits in a way where his posture is good, and he spreads his arms out, he puts his thumb in his backward pocket so that he's staggering his hands with his elbows out when he's standing (there's all these videos at the LastingLoveAcademy.com that you can watch on this) as he would do those things, that's when he actually shows he's confident enough in his body that it's not an issue because he wears clothes that actually fit him. Not too tight, but more form-fitting, it shows that he actually has a shape. But as he manages his posture better, it brings less attention to his weight and his insecurities about it and more attention to his confidence and his ability to just have fun and be comfortable in his own skin and present himself well. 

He needed to change his hairstyle. His hairstyle was not modern. It was just very, for lack of a better word, nerdy. It was very straight, flat. There wasn't any body or playfulness to it. He really needed to change that. Now is the nerdy look a good look? Yeah, it can be, but he needs to be intentional about it. He really needs to play into the fact that he's doing more of that look, like he had an unintentional look about him. So I wanted him to focus on those elements of how he was presenting himself and come back in two weeks so that we could go over the same concepts and the videos and start working on the next skills. 

Tune in with me in a couple of weeks because I will be following up on the story of Jeremy. In those podcasts. We will also be following the stories of Tim and Tara, Jana, and Karen. So please continue to tune in for those. 

Let me wrap up with a conclusion to the experience that my son and I had. So as I shared in the first podcast, this is about real life, real people, and real love. One of the first stories I shared was my real life, real people, real love journey.  I promised you that I would continue my story and my journey. We're going to go back a little bit into my teenage years. 

My sweet younger sister was an attractive, fun, playful personality. And she had this outgoing personality that was really attractive to the boys in our neighborhood. So we were always hosting three or four guys at our house, every single day, and especially on the weekends, and they just came to hang out with my sister. Now, remember, she's my younger sister, they're coming to hang out with her, not me, and she's only 15 months younger than me. These are boys who are close to my age and even my age. They're not there to hang out with me. 

But I learned years later, "It's not you. It's your technique." I would greet these guys at the door. I don't know what I was thinking. I have no idea why I did this. But I would greet these guys at the door, and when they would come in, I'd say, "Flex." They'd flex their arm, and I punch them in the arm or in the gut. I have no clue where that came from. Maybe I thought I was being cool. I had no game. I did not know how to flirt. I didn't know how to be playful. I didn't know how to make men feel great. I punched them in the gut and in the arm. And it didn't stop until my older sister came to me one day and said, "If you punch my husband anymore, I have told him to punch you back." 

So anyway, real life, real people, real love. It wasn't until I was 18 years old and in college before I ever figured out how to flirt. I wasn't a girl who knew how to get and keep the attention of guys. So when my teenage son said to me, "I worry something's wrong with me that I don't have a relationship," first and foremost, most young men and women and most teenagers are not in relationships. We so often see and focus on the people who have relationships, and we focus on what's going right with them and what's going wrong with us. When we're really the norm. People are not so good at dating and relationships and flirting, and getting people to be interested in them or staying interested in the other person. It isn't as easy and natural as it looks like on TV. You are more normal than you realize. And just as I learned, "It's not you. It's your technique", positive experiences bring more and more positive experiences when we focus on what's going right, we start to have fun, and we keep focusing on what felt good. The more positive experiences we are having, the more positive experiences we'll have. 

So what I shared with my son at that time was just, "Hey, let's focus on some specific techniques you can practice and try." I wanted to empower him first with knowing that he is so normal and second, that there are totally skills within his rage that could get him a better outcome. It's all about progression and enjoying the process rather than focusing on the end goal as a definition of success. 

This is the balance between perfectionism and progression. So often, we focus on perfectionism and arriving and the fear of what we're missing out on and where we want to be that we forget to just enjoy the journey and see how successful our progression is for where we're at right now. I wanted him to relax and have more fun. That's when things start to go well, and people are more drawn to and attracted to you when the pressure is off, and it's fun. 

So thank you for joining me with the Lasting Love Podcast. You're going to hear more of my real life, real people, real love story in podcasts to come. This is Alisa Goodwin Snell. If you've enjoyed this podcast, please share it with those you think would also benefit from it. Join me next week for more real life, real people, real love stories. And if you're anxious to start your own Lasting Love Journey, please join me at the LastingLoveAcademy.com, where you can take advantage of my 30 years of expertise and extensive Lasting Love Academy for as little as $27 a month. 

I look forward to helping you to have a life and love changing experience. All rights reserved by the LastingLoveAcademy.com.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

 

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