Read an Excerpt
Love in 90 DaysThe Essential Guide to Finding Your Own True Love
By Kirschner, Diana
Center StreetCopyright © 2009 Kirschner, Diana
All right reserved.
The First Month
Your Love in 90 Days Program
Love is everything it’s cracked up to be. That’s why people are so cynical about it… it really is worth fighting for, being brave for, risking everything for. And the trouble is, if you don’t risk anything, you risk even more.
Love is life’s golden ticket. It brings in the brightest of colors and the rich high and low notes. There is no mistaking it; you know when you have love. And you definitely know when you don’t. The big question is, What are you doing about not having love in your life? Are you going to risk being alone and lonely, missing out on all that love can give?
Imagine if you were losing your job and needed money; looking for one would be your absolute top priority. You would spend hours searching and posting on job sites like monster.com and careerbuilder.com, scanning the want ads and trade journals, calling recruiters, networking through your friends, and jumping on any leads. In contrast, despite being alone, finding love ranks pretty low on your to-do list. You come home from work, run errands, answer some e-mails, call your friends, play with the dog, and watch your favorite show. Maybe you’re the type who puts in extra hours at the office, meets the girls out for a drink, notices a couple of interesting guys but figures it’s too hard to get their attention, then heads home without giving them another thought. You may be a working single mom who’d like to find a caring, loving partner, but you think, Who has the time? At best you spend maybe fifteen minutes browsing an online dating site. Sound familiar?
Let’s be honest. If you are truthful with yourself, is finding love anywhere near the top of your priority list? You’re probably better at planning your weekend or a vacation than planning your dating life. I’ve helped thousands of women find wonderful relationships, and it all started with one simple shift. Each student made just one decision that changed her priorities and changed her life: the decision to roll out the red carpet for love.
Now, I know what you’re thinking: If it is meant to be, it will just happen. I don’t want to be (seem) desperate. Love comes when you let go, when you are not looking.
But I have critical news for you: Study after study has shown that love relationships have a huge impact on our psychological, economic, and physical well-being. Having a life partner can create a higher sense of self-worth, provide intimacy and emotional support, which fulfills the deepest human need for connection, and lead to greater wealth and economic stability. As a result, married people may be happier, live more satisfying lives, and have fewer psychological problems, including depression. Many researchers say that these factors lead to better physical health, greater health-seeking behavior, and lower rates of alcoholism. Here’s the big take-away: For over 100 years studies around the world have shown that married people live longer and enjoy a higher quality of life than those who aren’t partnered! With everything a healthy love relationship has going for it, why let anything hold you back from choosing love as a top priority in your life?
Of course, the pro-marriage findings do not necessarily mean that people can’t be happy as singles. They can. And they certainly don’t mean that women should stay in loveless or abusive relationships. In fact, these days a woman does not even need a man to have a child or build a fulfilling life. But an overwhelming mountain of evidence points to the centrality of a love relationship in creating health and happiness for most people.
Ask yourself: How do I prioritize love? Or, more honestly, Why is it that finding lasting love or working on a love relationship is not my highest priority? Shouldn’t it be, since your long-term quality of life may depend on it?
Okay, I know. You’ve been on interminable dates where you were bored, annoyed, and couldn’t wait to get away. You’re sure there are no good men left, and, if by some chance there are, they’re certainly not in your town. Sometimes you tell yourself that you really just don’t care anymore, especially after your last less-than-satisfactory experience. You may be sick and tired of the whole dating and love merry-go-round. After all, you have been hurt, rejected, and disappointed, big time. I get it.
But those days can all be over. Starting today. Right now, this very minute, you can start your own Love in 90 Days Program and change your life forever. As a wise woman once said, “Love is a fruit in season at all times, and within reach of every hand.”
I’ve helped women who were overweight, shy, older, buried in debt, mega-successful, saddled with problem kids—you name it. Some faced a combo-plate of challenges. Yet these women were able to create real love in their lives. And I can show you exactly how to do it, too.
So buckle up. This course is a fast-forward roller-coaster ride to the love you want, the love that is just right for you. Get ready to be excited, scared, heartbroken, depressed, hopeless, happy, exhilarated, drunk with love, amazed, and surprised—and not necessarily in that order!
I will be sitting next to you through all the twists and turns, the breath-stopping drops, and the dizzying joy-filled heights. As your Love Mentor, I will help you identify and break your self-sabotaging patterns, develop your most lovable and loving self, and work a Dating Program of Three (yes, it means what you think it means; and, yes, even you will be able to do it!). And to show my full support, this is my promise to you:
I guarantee that after three short months of working this Program, you will break out of your Deadly Dating Patterns, make huge gains in self-esteem, date higher-quality men, and be much closer to creating a real, lasting love relationship.
Your Love in 90 Days Basics
WHAT TO EXPECT IN THE NEXT 90 DAYS
You may be thinking, Ninety days? Dating three men at once? Are you kidding? I don’t even flirt! Or, This sounds like a lot of work! I’ve heard it all. First of all, I’m going to give you all the tools you need to succeed. Second, you can successfully work the program at a slower pace. But, this isn’t a set of gimmicks to help you manipulate men; this Program is going to help you find your own true love. Isn’t it worth the ninety-day investment?
Here’s what to expect: In the first month you’ll learn to identify your Deadly Dating Patterns, master the Dating Program of Three, and use the powerhouse secrets of successful online dating. In month two, you’ll find a master Love Mentor, someone who helps you discover and express your authentic, charismatic, and beautiful self, and you’ll learn how to end your dead-end patterns forever. In the third month I’ll share my best prescriptions for healing heartache, show you how to deal with Frenemies (cynics and naysayers in your life), and teach you how to practice the eight habits that healthy couples use to create happily-ever-after relationships.
INNER AND OUTER WORK
Since love is the most delicate and total act of the soul, it will reflect the state and nature of the soul…. As one is, so is his love.—José Ortega y Gasset
There are two key elements in this course: the Inner Work and the Outer Work. The Inner Work is assigned as exercises to do as you are reading. You’ll examine and journal about your identity, your beliefs, and your self-sabotaging behaviors. The Outer Work is given as homework assignments for the week, to do out in the real world. The homework will help you change your dead-end dating habits; meet new, exciting, and available men; and create a supportive and loving circle of friends and family.
The Outer Work is just as critical as the Inner Work, and vice versa; success in one arena supports success in the other. While you’re working through self-sabotaging thoughts and behaviors and turbo-charging your self-esteem, you will be able to get out there more readily, quickly sort through the men you meet, and choose the ones who are more loving and successful.
As you work through the Love in 90 Days course, you’ll be able to read what other women who have completed the course have experienced in their own words. These quotes can help carry you forward emotionally as you learn from and are inspired by other students.
HOW TO WORK THE PROGRAM
I recommend that you simply read the whole book first, without doing the exercises or homework, to get an initial sense of the powerful Love in 90 Days principles and practices. Then put yourself on the personalized 90 Day Program. The book is divided into three monthly sections with a chapter for each week; read one chapter each week and do the assigned exercises and homework. Of course, you can also work at your own pace, speeding the program up or slowing it down.
As long as you use the principles and strategies, there is no wrong way to work the Program.
You can also tailor the course to your unique needs by jumping ahead and then circling back to complete all of the work. Here is a cheat sheet for those with special issues; remember, after reading these chapters please return to the beginning and complete the whole Love in 90 Days Program:
• If you are really shy and haven’t been dating at all, go to Chapter 7 for shyness-busting secrets.
• If you are coming out of a relationship and are suffering, go to Chapter 10 for first aid for your heartache.
• If you are African-American, have kids, are college educated and successful, or are over forty-five, jump ahead to Chapter 12. You will be amazed and freed up as you read compelling research that busts urban legends that have plagued your special group in the quest for love.
TEAM LOVE GROUPS
The Love in 90 Days work can be done solo, with a friend, or in a small “Team Love” group. Running the processes with other women is a very powerful way to give yourself a jump start in the program, increase your accountability to complete the course, as well as to continue the Program after your course is over. Ask around and see who might be interested in having Love in 90 Days meetings weekly or bimonthly. You can follow the readings, discuss the lessons, and share your experiences and field reports. Women who have formed these Team Love groups find sweet validation, a surprising depth of emotional support, beauty and dating tips, role modeling and inspiration to help move them forward, and introductions to guys! Sheila, a thirty-nine-year-old makeup artist, wrote this e-mail to her Love in 90 Days group:
When Eric stopped texting me and disappeared into thin air, it was so hard. But you were all there for me and I can’t thank you enough! For me, our Team Love is a magic circle. I look forward to each of our gatherings; I get so much more out of them than I can even put into words.
See Appendix A for the ground rules on how to set up a Team Love that will work magic for you.
Go to www.lovein90days.com to find wonderful women for real or virtual Team Love groups, community support, daily affirmations, and other helpful resources. At the site you can journal about your progress, read my Love in 90 Days blogs, and more. See Appendix C for details.
The Opening Exercises _____________________
(Total Time: 20 minutes)
All you need for the love program is a journal or notebook and we are ready to start our journey together.
To begin, we will run through several exercises that are designed to help you look at how you spend your time and discover what’s really important to you. Then you will choose goals for the course and I’ll give you some homework assignments to set you on your way.
EXERCISE 1: THE RIGHT TIME TO BELIEVE IN LOVE
In your notebook, divide up a blank page; on the left side write No, Not Now and on the right side, write Yes, Now. Say the sentence: “This is the right time to believe in love” over and over. After each time you say it, alternate writing down reasons why the statement is not true in the left column and reasons why it is true in the right.
Read over your responses. Interesting, aren’t they?
Finish the exercise by writing out This is the right time to believe in love, or another positive affirmation that speaks to you. Post this where you will see it each day.
EXERCISE 2: HOW DO YOU SPEND YOUR TIME?
Make a list of all the major activities you spend time on during the week and the approximate number of hours for each. Do you spend hours texting, e-mailing, gabbing, Net surfing, or shopping because you have nothing better to do? Do you let a demanding job swallow your whole life? List your activities in descending order from the ones you spend the most time on (work and sleep) down to the ones you spend the least time on. Remember to put down the number of hours per week you spend on each activity.
Here’s how Shareena, one of my students, who is a twenty-eight-year-old paralegal, broke down her 168-hour week:
- Sleep: 56 hours
- Work: 50 hours
- Watching TV: 20 hours
- Shopping/errands: 12 hours
- Dinner/movies with friends: 6 hours
- Gym: 6 hours
- Class: 2 hours
- I don’t know??: 16 hours
If you can’t account for all your time, pay attention for one week and do the exercise again. You will be amazed at how much time you squander.
This exercise is designed to confront you with all your time wasters: talking on the phone, playing with your BlackBerry, messing with your iPod, watching TV and channel surfing, aimlessly shopping, hiding in your head, and/or isolating yourself through work or other means. What time-wasting activities can you eliminate? To give yourself the gift of love in just 90 days, you will need to open up ten to thirteen hours per week. If you want to go at a slower pace, as few as five or six hours a week focused on working the Program will move you along nicely.
EXERCISE 3: GOALS
Following on page 12 is a complete list of the Ten Goals of the course. Pick out the goals you would like to meet and an approximate date for meeting them.
If You Are in a Relationship Already and You Think He’s the One
Pick a goal that is farther down the list, like “Declare love for each other.” You will skip the Program of Three, online dating, and STUD (Seriously Terrific, Utterly Devoted Dude) and DUD (Definitely Unworkable Dude) reports, but you must do all the personal and socializing exercises related to these activities, as they will help your self-esteem and self-love, which are crucial to building a solid love relationship. Your program begins with Chapter 6. And when you get to Chapter 13, you will find a road map for making love last and get better over time.
If You Are in a Relationship and You’re Not Sure If He’s the One
Read Chapter 2 to see if your relationship fits one of the Deadly Dating Patterns. Then read “Choose the One Only After Months on the Program” and “Follow the Guidelines for Graduating from the Program of Three,” which are sections 10 and 11 in Chapter 4. These sections will help you decide whether to stick with your guy or go on a Dating Program of Three.
The Ten Love in 90 Days Goals
1. Create an exciting love intention or affirmation.
2. Create greater self-esteem, deservedness, and self-love.
3. Break out of Deadly Dating Patterns and create a successful Dating Program of Three (more on this in Chapter 4).
4. Move up the ladder to better men.
5. Meet someone who has tremendous potential for a love relationship with you and graduate from the Program of Three.
6. Declare love for each other.
7. Talk seriously with your Beloved about what each of you needs and wants in a fulfilling love relationship.
8. Create a loving win-win contract that gives each of you roots (stability and dedication) and wings (fulfilling your dreams).
9. Commit to moving in together or getting engaged to your Beloved.
10. Marry or make a lifetime commitment to live out your dreams together.
EXERCISE 4: THE CONTRACT
When students take my Love in 90 Days course, they sign a contract that commits them to complete all thirteen weekly sessions. They agree to three hours of class per week and about ten hours of homework assignments during the week. That might seem like a lot to you, but your week will include fun new activities, sports, shopping, and dating along with your online work. If you want to take the fastest route to finding your own true love, you need to give the Program the same level of commitment. You can also choose to work at a slower pace. It is up to you. But it is more fun and much more fruitful to play full out as soon as possible.
Here’s what I tell my students, and here’s what I say to you:
• Push yourself beyond your limits. Face your inner saboteurs and the outer behavioral patterns that don’t serve you. This means from day one you will be both working on your internal issues and getting out there and meeting lots of men. I know it’s scary. But you have to do both in order to be successful.
• I will give you 110 percent and I expect you to give 110 percent. I expect you to cooperate with the assignments or modify them so that they work even better for you. I expect you to invest time and/or money in yourself, courses, makeovers, and online dating. Remember, I am your Love Mentor who is 110 percent behind you.
• Don’t just read the exercises. Do them. Play full out. Make this the million-dollar course for yourself, the jackpot to end all jackpots. Even if you fall down, keep going and you will win.
• Expect a roller-coaster adventure and hang on for the ride of your life. I’ll be there every step of the way. On the next page you will see a contract to use if you are following the 90-day course schedule. Amend it if you like, but keep its spirit. The contract is designed to help you stay the course. As Anne Morriss, a manager in the strategy consulting group OTF, said, “The irony of commitment is that it’s deeply liberating—in work, in play, in love.”
I, _________________________________, understand that I am undertaking an intensive course in finding love in 90 days. I commit myself to the full thirteen weeks and to doing the exercises and homework assignments that comprise the course. I commit to keeping a journal and following the recommended Program to the best of my ability. This work will be Priority One in my life for the next 90 days.
I further realize that this course will raise emotional issues, make me aware of my self-sabotaging patterns, and surface my hopelessness and despair about finding love. I know that at times I will truly want to backtrack, lose my way, and quit. Nonetheless, I hereby commit to taking this course one day at a time and one week at a time. If I falter during a particular week, I will go back and rework those assignments and exercises until I work through the issues.
To this end, I commit to nurturing myself and taking care of my physical needs so that I can do what I and only I can do: deliver the love I long for.
1. Sign up for two ongoing classes or activities that interest you and that have lots of men in them. Here are some examples:
• Investing, business, or leadership at your local college’s school of continuing and professional studies
• Rock climbing
• Snowboarding or skiing
• Wine or cigar tasting
• Coed city sports teams (these usually have an even mix of men and women)
- Choose classes or activities that are more advanced, if possible, as these will have greater numbers of men in them. A more specialized wine-tasting course, for example, or a class in investing in hedge funds or commercial real estate.
- Choose activities with intense goals, like triathlons, marathons, and other advanced running, swimming, and cycling events and training programs, as they will have more men in them. For example, advanced hikes with the Sierra Club can be great for meeting men. If need be, work your way up to these more challenging events. Check your local Learning Annex.
- If you have the skills, you can also teach a course that attracts men at your local community center, Learning Annex, or school, like “The Inner Game of Baseball,” or “Asian Etiquette for Businessmen.” You will be in your element, at maximum charisma, and usually surrounded by men who look up to you.
- Do some research online to find even more activities to meet men—there are so many out there! Google any activity, class, club, or topic plus the name of a major city near you. Check out www.meetup.com and peruse its groups. Look into volunteering for a local or national political group, Habitat for Humanity, or another non-profit that attracts men. If you like baseball, go to www.sabr.org to find a Society for American Baseball Research chapter you can join in a city near you.
2. Jump in the water: Find and say hello to three new men every day. Assuming you are in a safe or public place, make eye contact, smile, and say “Hi” or ask for some help. This is what I call the Marcia Cross Technique. Actress Marcia Cross was in her forties when she met her husband by chatting with him in a flower shop. She now is the ecstatic mother of twin girls.
If you don’t encounter a lot of men in your daily routine, vary it. Try a new grocery store, dry cleaner, and pharmacy, or coffee or sandwich shop at lunch. Take the train or bus to work instead of driving. Check out a new bookstore or dog park. If you are shy, you can start by saying hello to women or less-threatening men and work your way up to the hotties (see Chapter 7 for great exercises that will free you up to connect easily with people).
If someone hits on you and you are not interested, simply say, “I enjoyed chatting but I’m not available.”
3. Find or create a fun event for this week that exposes you to a whole new network of people, preferably a network with a lot of men. For example, you could throw a pot luck party and invite your friends and their friends, volunteer for a pet adoption day at the park, get yourself invited to your co-worker’s party, or attend a Learning Annex class this week on how to buy foreclosed property. Remember, find and say hello to three new men at the activities.
4. Date online. If you are currently dating online, continue. If you are not currently dating online, use Google or your browser window to begin looking at these top sites.
|Top U.S. Online Dating Sites|
|Top U.K. Online Dating Sites|
Dana, a thirty-three-year-old graphic designer, hadn’t dated in four years. She jump-started her Love in 90 Days Program by joining a specialized dating Web site. Dana was thrilled with her results and wrote me this e-mail:
Thanks to your Program I have a date this weekend and another one in the works!
Here we are at the end of Chapter 1, which is a whole mini-course unto itself. You have set sail on your Love in 90 Days journey and I congratulate you! As the great poet and physician Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., wrote:
To reach the port of heaven, we must sail sometimes with the wind and sometimes against it, but we must sail, and not drift, nor lie at anchor.
Excerpted from Love in 90 Days by Kirschner, Diana Copyright © 2009 by Kirschner, Diana. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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