“How can I find my husband?” the pretty chiropractor asked in her coaching session. “That’s the main thing that’s missing in my life–someone great to share it with. I thought I would be married by now.”
She’s not the only one. Millions of single women–many bright and accomplished–wonder the same thing. They’ve said yes to their careers and they’d like to Say Yes to the Dress–if only they could find the man they want to marry. For women who have succeeded professionally, the challenge can be especially vexing–but typically not for the reasons they think.
Successful relationships require a completely different skill set than careers, which makes sense because the goals in a relationship are completely different than the goals at work. In love, we crave tenderness, connection and passion. At work we strive to improve the bottom line, manage our projects or get promoted.
Here are the most common mistakes professional women make in their quest to become part of a happy twosome, and the simple skills that will help them succeed in love as well as work:
1. Wearing a “Do Not Disturb” Sign
Asking the question “How can I find my husband?” implies that somewhere–under a rock, in a Where’s Waldo puzzle or in Alaska–there are good quality men waiting to be found. The reality is that there are good men everywhere and if it doesn’t seem that way to you, you may be unwittingly wearing a “Do not disturb” sign that keeps them from approaching. You could be in a room with 100 great, available guys, but if you’re sending out a businesslike “I’m busy” vibe it won’t matter because that will keep you from connecting with any of them. The way you can tell if you have been doing this is if no men have approached you or asked you out recently.
The cure for this is simple: start smiling at everyone you see. A smile is a signal that you’re approachable, happy and friendly. Every romance starts with a smile, so you increase your chances of sparking one if you have yours at the ready.
2. Doing the Pursuing
My job as a dating coach is to show women how to change the question “How can I find my husband?” to “How can I attract and marry the man who’s right for me?” I make this distinction because women are the sexier sex–the ones with the tail feathers––and we have the power to attract men to us. We are natural magnets to men, who are a reliable, 24/7 noticing service. Unlike job hunting, or getting into the best graduate program, you’ll get further with receptivity–which is the essence of femininity and what men are most attracted to–than by being aggressive. If we indicate openness men will pursue us, which means we get to experience the delicious feeling of being desired. If we use what we’ve learned at work about being assertive and initiate dates with men, it’s as though we’re forgetting that part of our mystery and magic is our allure. Doing the pursuing means putting your beautiful tail feathers down and taking a big, unnecessary risk that you’ll be rejected.
If you want to feel desired, consider asking men to ask you out to get the ball rolling. Instead of saying, “let’s get together on Thursday for coffee” hand him your card and say, “here’s my number if you want to get together sometime.”
3. Using Sex Instead of Vulnerability
Being feminine magnetizes men, but it isn’t enough to make them devote themselves for life. Your emotional vulnerability is the glue that binds a couple together and creates the fascination that leads to long-term commitment. That’s not something you’d bring to work where you want to appear put-together and professional, so it may feel unfamiliar. Also, vulnerability feels scary, so some women try to use sex to create that bond. But trading sex for love can never compare to feeling loved for being you. Getting naked physically is not as bonding as getting naked emotionally, which is how lasting attachments form.
By admitting that you miss him, laughing unreservedly, or letting your tears well up you become an irresistible source of inspiration—one that he doesn’t want to be without.
Consider reserving sex until after you’re experiencing the closeness and safety of an intimate, emotional bond. You’ll know that’s happened when he asks to be exclusive with you.
4. Not Letting Him Treat
If you’re quick to pay your share of the dinner bill on a date, he will get the message: You’re not interested in him. If you were, you’d let him treat you. That was implicit in his offer to go out, and if you missed that part it may be because you’re trying to show that you can pull your own weight, just like you do at work. But this isn’t work–it’s a potential romance, and it can’t hurt to smile and thank him for the meal, the movie or the cup of joe. This may seem old-fashioned, but even a modern woman can enjoy getting special treatment when she’s off the clock. Sure it feels a little vulnerable, but see #3 above–that’s part of what forms the connection between you. It also feels good to be cherished. He wouldn’t be offering if he didn’t think you were worth it.
Experiment with receiving graciously–his compliments, the door being opened, the flowers he brought you–and you may be surprised how much more interested you both are to see each other again.
Instead of asking yourself, “How can I find my husband?” consider asking, “How Can I learn the skills that lead to a lasting intimate, passionate relationship?” Start by reading The Surrendered Single: A Practical Guide to Marrying the Man Who’s Right for You. You can read a free chapter here
You’ve done well studying for your career. Isn’t it time you gave your desire for love the same benefit?