Through her bestseller, Love in 90 Days, Dr. Diana Kirschner helped thousands of women find true love. Now she has written the perfect follow-up: SEALING THE DEAL, a unique guide to deepen any love relationship, to move from casual to committed, and ultimately to go from the anxiety of not knowing where things are going...to the security of fulfilling and lasting love.
Love Mentor Dr. Diana offers revolutionary advice for finding-and keeping-the one you love:
- Create irresistible attraction and an atmosphere that men love to be around.
- Find out the single most important thing you can do to get a sincere commitment from the guy you want.
- Keep that crazy-in-love feeling going, no matter how long you've been together.
- Learn the secret to instantly resolving conflict with your man.
- Know when to have "the talk": Don't think it matters when you bring it up? Think again.
- Avoid the biggest mistake women make when he's "not ready" for a commitment
- Get your relationship back and better than ever, even if he has cheated
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About the Author
Diana Kirschner, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist who has more than 25 years of professional and practical experience doing therapy and workshops for singles and writing relationship articles for women. Dr. Diana appears regularly on the Today show, has been a guest on Oprah and many other national television and radio programs. Her popular Love in 90 Days workshops have been featured in major media around the world. She has been happily married for over 25 years.
Read an Excerpt
Sealing the DealThe Love Mentor's Guide to Lasting Love
By Kirschner, Diana
Center StreetCopyright © 2011 Kirschner, Diana
All right reserved.
Retrain Your Brain: First Get Out of Your Own Way (Yes… You’re In It!)
The Lasting Love Program
The fountains mingle with the river,
And the rivers with the ocean;
The winds of heaven mix for ever,
With a sweet emotion;
Nothing in the world is single;
All things by a law divine
In one another’s being mingle:
Why not I with thine?
—Percy Bysshe Shelley
Have you ever been involved and in love with one man for months, or even years, only to find that he simply cannot or will not take that next step into living together or marriage? Instead he gets irritated, distant, and angry—or simply hits the highway—if there is any talk of sharing a future together? Maybe you tend to be involved with a guy for a few months and then, mysteriously, he falls away, leaving you alone. Maybe you have been with a man for ten years who brings over the chicken soup when you are sick, is there whenever you need him, and yet is completely unwilling to have a committed relationship or family life. Or perhaps you are in a long-term on-again, off-again relationship where one or both of you periodically withdraw or see other people. You may be living together or even married, and yet feel disappointed, anxious, and insecure because you are drifting apart rather than coming together.
And even though you have the love of your friends, there is a real loneliness to doing it all by yourself.
I know because, as a clinical psychologist specializing in relationships for more than twenty-five years, I have heard countless stories like these. I’ve spent thousands of hours sitting with women who are frustrated, hurt, lonely, spilling the tears of a broken heart. Strong women, caring women, successful women. Great women of all ages. Dealing with the very real challenges of finding and keeping lasting love.
But the great news is that I have helped many of these clients forge ahead to create the close companionship, the adventure, the rapture, and the juicy passion they had all but given up hope of finding. How? I have devoted my life to studying dating, passionate love, and creating and rekindling commitment with the One you really want. And over decades, I have refined my approach so that it works more effectively and faster than ever. Plus I have used these principles to train a group of highly experienced Love Mentors™ (dating and relationship coaches) who have helped single women create fulfilling relationships all over the world. These principles form the basis for the Lasting Love Program.
If you have just met someone who makes your heart sing and feel uncertain about how to move things along… if you are or have been involved with a man who tends to simply disappear… if you keep getting stuck and losing out with commitment-phobes… if you feel trapped in a disappointing and heartbreaking relationship, your love life is about to change on this program!
Somewhere there waiteth in this world of ours
For one lone soul, another lonely soul—
Each chasing each through all the weary hours,
And meeting strangely at one sudden goal;
Then blend they—like green leaves with golden flowers,
Into one beautiful and perfect whole—
And life’s long night is ended, and the way
Lies open onward to eternal day.
—Sir Edwin Arnold
When Sally Met Gary
Sally, a bright-eyed zaftig charmer, used the Lasting Love principles to transform her life’s long night of loneliness into a beautiful relationship that was even better than she’d ever imagined. We’ll follow her throughout the book and see how she changed the same-old, same-old relationship problems into committed, lasting love.
A speech pathologist who is everyone’s best friend, Sally battled her pear-shaped figure and was always concerned about her ample bottom when it came to dating. Nevertheless, she pushed on and found Gary online. His profile was laugh-out-loud funny, and the teasing e-mails they exchanged put a semi-permanent grin on her face and helped her melt five pounds off her figure. When Sally met Gary for a first coffee date she felt a tingle of excitement—he was even cuter than his photo! A prominent blogger, he could turn a witty phrase in person and had Sally mesmerized. He was a little short, a fact she easily overlooked once they started gabbing.
Soon, Sally and Gary spent dreamy hours together drifting on a private happy cloud, finishing each other’s sentences and cracking each other up. Gary was not only sharp but generous as well. When he sent her two dozen roses, Sally forwarded a photo of the bouquet to her whole posse, who all agreed that he was different—and clearly smitten.
Gary said as much as he teased Sally about one day being “two octogenarians having an affair in assisted living.” This one is different, Sally thought to herself with great relief. He’s the real deal! But as it got better and better between them, it also got scarier. Some of Gary’s mannerisms reminded her of her ex, the guy she caught sex-texting with the blonde next door. After that fiasco Sally was on the couch hiding out with the TV remote for a whole year—she couldn’t seem to shake it off. One thing Sally was sure about: She never wanted to feel that kind of agony again. The next time she saw Gary, that painful memory of her ex in the back of her mind created a vague anxiety. She tried to counter this bad feeling with reassuring thoughts about how connected she felt to Gary, how they were so totally on the same wavelength, how he had integrity and was not a cheater like her ex.
Just for a little insurance, Sally decided to work on things more, to try harder, to move things forward so that it would all turn out right this time. The months passed. When she met Gary’s family, she brought her secret-recipe cheesecake and wowed them with her funniest story about a first attempt at waterskiing—she’d held on to the lead after she went down in the water, garbling away at them to stop while doing her best not to drown. Gary’s brother took her aside to tell her how happy Gary seemed with her, how he needed to settle down with someone like her. When Sally shared this with her girlfriends back at home, they all agreed that it was a very good sign.
Sally helped Gary research his blog stories and carefully read and edited drafts of a novel he was aching to finish. Hopefully, she thought, Gary would realize what a catch she was, how much value she added to his life. She couldn’t imagine that he didn’t realize what a great team they made. She started leaving a few things at Gary’s apartment. He didn’t seem to protest, so she moved even more stuff into his place.
Then one night, Sally met Gary for a date. For no apparent reason, something felt off. Drastically off. Gary was too quiet. Plus he suddenly started ordering mixed drinks, which he had never done before. He seemed to be more into his cocktails than her. Sally got this awful sinking feeling that made it impossible to finish her dinner.
The following week he didn’t call or text much, even though she left him messages. When she finally got ahold of him, he mumbled something about a deadline. Even though the words were reassuring on the surface, she couldn’t stop feeling like she was about to burst into tears. The next time they got together, Gary seemed even farther away and emotionally unavailable. His eyes were glued to his BlackBerry. And he started drinking again. Worst of all, he had none of his usual quips and just wasn’t gabbing it up with her. Feeling nervous, Sally asked what was going on. Was it her? Was he upset with her? Gary seemed tense and irritated, but he said everything was fine. In her gut, Sally felt just the opposite. She pushed the issue. Gary exploded and delivered the line, the knife that cut Sally’s heart in two: He was just not ready for a serious relationship. Sally could barely breathe as he went on to talk about how he needed time for his novel. His f***ing novel! she thought.
Somehow, even though she was shocked and reeling, Sally had known that this very moment was coming. But why did he come on so strong? How could he say all those crazy-in-love things to her in the beginning? Why didn’t he appreciate how utterly perfect she was for him? After all the things she did for him!
In her mind she held on, waiting and hoping for him to come to his senses, to mature, to change and choose her.
In desperation Sally called me for Love Mentoring™. I referred her to one of my expert Mentors, who put her on the Lasting Love Program. As a result, Sally was able to create an extraordinary relationship. I want you to learn from Sally’s journey from heartbreak to love, so we will be following her throughout this book.
Perhaps you can relate to some of Sally’s story. Perhaps you’ve met the One and seen him come on like gangbusters. He establishes a beautiful relationship with you, only to pull back for no apparent reason. All of a sudden, everything becomes murky and uncertain in your relationship. Are you a couple or not? Has he met someone else? Why is he running hot and cold? Do you have a future together? Should you have The Talk about where things stand? And you wonder, Is it me? Is it him? Will I ever have a committed, solid, and lasting relationship?
Yes, I know, it’s a downer, but you might feel better knowing that I’ve experienced variations on this story—and so has pretty much every woman I know. In fact, in one study of college students, 93 percent of the females reported that they had already been rejected by someone they passionately loved. You are not alone.
But what if I told you that there is a definite path that can free you from all these painful patterns and the guys who turn out to be jerks? A path that will help you get or rekindle the commitment and security you want and deserve? This is the Lasting Love Program. No games, no mind tricks. The program is based on solid, dependable methods that grow out of experience and the latest research on dating, relationships, living together, and marriage.
Whether you have been dating for a few months or have been on-again, off-again for several years, you will learn how to lay the groundwork so that you are comfortable moving forward and your partner is more interested in building a committed future together. You will find ways to let go of your own fears, to profoundly connect with your guy so that your relationship becomes more of what you want it to be. I’ll also show you how to move things forward so that your Beloved can know with certainty that he wants and chooses to be with you and only you, and that he is there supporting you as you support him. If you want kids, he can step up and be the partner who will have those children, with all the joy and elation they bring. You can create this life. And I’m going to help you get there.
Learning about how to get out of my own way, how true commitment works and how to create passionate attraction helped me fulfill my dream of love with the greatest guy. We are so connected, at home with each other and can talk about anything. The sex is an expression of our love for each other. I have never experienced that before! We were married on the beach in Jamaica with the setting sun and a Caribbean blessing for our union. I was dancing on air and still am two months later!
—Robin, who used the Lasting Love Program to marry her soul mate
Your Lasting Love Basics
This book will show you the step-by-step pathway to committed love. You will learn how to build an emotional connection and commitment with a man that will carry you through the trials, setbacks, and disappointments that come along in life, a connection that will bring the kind of joy and contentment you have always imagined. I’ve helped thousands of women get the commitment they want by following these straightforward methods, and now I’m sharing these secrets with you. You will learn how to:
Handle your own fears, doubts, and baggage from the past.
Tell if your partner really is Mr. Right.
Use the powerful natural laws of attraction that underlie that I’ve-Gotta-Have-Her-in-My-Life feeling.
Set up the conditions that lead to your Beloved wanting to date you exclusively.
Help your boyfriend overcome his fears of commitment.
Tell when you should cut your losses and leave a relationship that is a waste of your precious time.
Have The Talk so that he listens heart-to-heart and bonds more deeply with you.
Set the stage so that a man will do whatever it takes to build a fulfilling and wonderful life with you.
The book is divided into four sections. Part I, Retrain Your Brain: First Get Out of Your Own Way (Yes… You’re In It!) covers: the six killer beliefs about love that sabotage your relationship; how to overcome fears that destroy any chance of lasting love; and the single most important thing you can do for yourself and your relationship—get a Love Mentor. Part II, Is He Really the One?, shows you: exactly how men think about love and commitment; men’s eight common fears of commitment and what to do about them; the powerful Seven “Real” Laws of Attraction that can take your relationship to a deeper level; and how to know for sure if your guy is the One. Part III, Sealing the Deal, covers: setting the stage for the commitment you want; exactly how to have The Talk so he really will listen; what to do if he won’t commit, becomes distant, or cheats; how to decide about living together or getting married; plus the surprising research that reveals the benefits of a good marriage. Part IV, How to Be Happily in Love Together Forever, will show you how to make romantic love and passion last no matter how many years you’ve been together.
How to Work the Lasting Love Program
I recommend that you simply read the whole book first to get an initial sense of the powerful Lasting Love principles and practices. Then go back and really do the suggested exercises. 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. If you hit a downturn, keep going and you will win big-time. Even if you feel that a particular section does not apply to your situation right now, please read it and do the exercises anyway. When it comes to love, things can change rapidly and dramatically. I want you to be fully prepared!
As long as you use the principles and strategies, there is no wrong way to work the program. You can also tailor the program to your unique needs by jumping ahead and then circling back to complete all the work.
The Lasting Love work can be done solo, or you can share parts of it with a guy who’s a serious contender (for example, the chapter on the benefits of marriage). Completing the processes with a coach—a wise person who is successful in love and devoted to you and your relationship success—is an extremely powerful choice. Another option is to use the book along with one-on-one coaching from one of my expert Love Mentors who has used Lasting Love principles to get or stay happily married.
LASTING LOVE ONLINE
For even more support, visit my Web sites www.lovein90days.com and www.dating-advice.tv. On these sites you can find a professional Love Mentor, daily affirmations, articles, quizzes, funny and educational videos about the dilemmas of modern love, and other helpful resources. Plus you can e-mail me about your concerns, adventures, and successes! (See Appendix A for more details.)
Okay. Now let’s dig into the nitty-gritty.
So You Want a Commitment?
Why is it that when a woman meets a great guy, she tends to hear those wedding bells, or in some way, shape, or form jump straight to commitment? For example, Sheryl, a client of mine who was a brilliant professor, burst into my office, flush with excitement. “I’ve met the One!” she exclaimed.
“Okay! Tell me all about him,” I answered.
“Larry’s tall, athletic, in his forties, and just about to sell his own company.” Her eyes twinkled. “And he is reading Eckhart Tolle!”
“He says he wants marriage and kids.”
“He’s a sports nut, though. I hate sports.”
“But I do like tennis. And oh, I forgot, he said he’s writing a song for me!”
“How long have you been dating him?” I asked.
“Well, we’ve been e-mailing back and forth for two weeks,” Sheryl said sheepishly.
“You mean you’ve never even spoken to Larry!”
You know exactly where this relationship went.
Why do we do this kind of thing? We meet someone of interest, who could be the One, and immediately doodle a hyphenated last name, thinking about how great it will be to stay over at his place and never have to leave. Lost in fantasy, we entertain all kinds of ideas about sealing the deal first. But then when it really starts to happen with the guy, we often get cold feet. We find out about his warts and pimples, both physical and metaphorical. Second thoughts erupt about his not being so great and wondering if it’s better to just get out.
Women tend to be hung up on commitment for good reasons. For one thing, we are physically wired to find a mate, bond, and reproduce. Oxytocin, the “tend and befriend” hormone that creates a powerful attachment, is primed and ready to be produced in our bodies. Second, from early childhood we are bombarded with fairy tales, romance movies, and advertisements that position happily-ever-after as the high note of life. And of course a committed deep love relationship is a great and wondrous thing.
I define such a relationship as a monogamous, romantic win–win life partnership; a relationship that satisfies both members’ deepest needs for fusion and oneness (the “we”), as well as individual needs for personal space, growth, and self-expression (the “I”). An ancient Buddhist myth says that the universe is the love play of a divine being that split itself in two in order to know the ecstasy of love. According to the myth, all men are fragments of this original god, while all women are splinters of the original goddess. When the divine assumes human form, the male and female search for each other to regain and celebrate their original Oneness, the sacred couple. Our love desires are born out of the yearning for the rapture of reunion. Poets, songwriters, shrinks, and gurus all agree with the findings of hard scientific research: Love makes the world into a garden of possibilities. Passionate, committed love makes us healthier and happier. It is worth everything. No wonder, then, that many women desperately want a committed and close relationship.
Yet at the same time, they sabotage themselves in so many ways. I’ve seen countless women who say they want a long-term boyfriend, partner, or husband but are undermining their chances of creating what they dearly want. So let’s get one thing straight up front: Before you can have a committed, fulfilling relationship, you need to have realistic expectations of exactly what such a relationship looks like.
Expectations and Commitment
Let’s first dispense with the romantic notions or common fears women have about commitment in love. It’s not about:
A perfect, divine-right partner simply appearing to whisk you out of your lonely, hard day-to-day life.
Getting to a place where your partner is so much on your wavelength that he magically understands you and provides what you need.
Moving through some rite of passage where you and Mr. Right become happy together forever.
Getting the relationship to a point where you never have disagreements or fights.
Hanging in there and somehow outlasting a commitment-phobe who never chooses you.
Finally throwing in the towel and settling for Mr. Good Enough, whom you really do not feel the slightest bit attracted to.
Winning a hard-fought battle in which you finally manipulate the guy into loving and choosing you forever.
Giving up yourself and your own needs so that you can be the right partner for your guy.
Commitment is a continual process in a couple that deepens over time. You open up, spend more time together, and the best-foot-forward infatuation stage ends. As you relax into the relationship, the not-so-wonderful qualities come out. At times you can be inattentive, thoughtless, cross, or even mean. This re-creates some of the disappointments each of you experienced in childhood, because a partner often represents a parent figure. But commitment means that you and your partner pass these tests, these challenges, these curveballs you consciously and unconsciously throw at each other. You may fight, be sorely hurt, be awful to your partner, but together you recover, repair, and restore the loving connection. Because of commitment, you accept each other despite your worst qualities. This creates something stupendous: being loved with all your flaws!
As you weather and surmount your problems, you become ever closer. Each of you becomes more loving toward yourself and your partner as you share more deeply and grow in mutual loyalty. The process of commitment is difficult at times—there is no perfect person, and as two people begin to blend their lives together, there is always something to work on. But while you work through the commitment process with your significant other, you begin to build something new, something stronger. And that’s a relationship in which you help each other grow toward what each of you considers a better version of yourself. This powerful process fuels change and novelty in the couple so that dopamine—the infatuation neurotransmitter (brain chemical)—is created again and again. The result: lovers who are graced to re-experience the excitement of falling in love and that wild ecstasy of newlyweds for ten, twenty years—or even more.
But to reach this pinnacle of committed passionate love, you must be prepared to climb a winding uphill road. The Lasting Love Program will show you how to be successful on that climb. You will learn about:
Being realistic and settling for less than perfection.
Forgiveness rather than brooding and holding on to painful grudges.
Coming together and being content with the present.
Sharing the day-in, day-out irritations and disappointments.
Celebrating each other’s triumphs.
Being there for each other through the inevitable suffering and setbacks life throws at us.
Co-creating plans for a shared future.
Working as a team toward common goals.
Supporting each other’s dreams, goals, and best self-identity.
Working through heartbreaking fights, restoring and building an even better connection and commitment.
Kindling and rekindling shared passion, ecstasy, and joy.
Does this journey, with its twists and turns, call to you? Yes? Read on!
THE OPENING EXERCISE: CHOOSE A GOAL
Take a few minutes and think about what you want to create in your love life. What prompted you to buy this book? What do you want to change? What is your goal for your relationship? When you sharpen your intention and set a goal, you are much more likely to transform your reality. I say, imagine what you really want, even if at this point it seems impossible to get! Even if you are dealing with the biggest commitment-phobe on the planet or feel lonely, disappointed, uncertain, anxious, and confused right now. Even if true and lasting love seems to be impossible, especially for you.
If you allow yourself to begin thinking of possibilities, little by little, step by step they can begin to manifest. Since thoughts underlie your moods and your actions, even small changes in your thinking or in the way you talk to yourself can slowly transform everything in your life.
In choosing a goal, just let all I have written here be food for thought, ideas for your heart. Check your idea of what is possible for you at the door and see what ideas about love truly excite you. Just hypothetically. At first. Okay?
On the next page I’ve listed the eight key steps toward deepening commitment in love. Look over the list and pick out a goal (or a few of them) that calls to you right now. You will know a goal calls to you if you feel a little tug or a tingle or maybe even some sadness in your heart when you think about it. We will work toward your goal(s) together as you go through this book, and I will share specific tools to achieve each one. As you reach your goals, you may even want to add more.
Create an exciting love intention/affirmation about having committed love in your life.
Create greater self-esteem, deservedness, and self-love.
Break out of self-sabotage and fear of intimacy.
Agree that you and your partner will be dating each other exclusively.
Declare love for each other.
Talk with your Beloved about what you both want in a shared future; lifestyle; finances; religious beliefs; fears, goals, dreams; and whether you want marriage and/or children.
Commit to moving in together or getting engaged.
Marry or make or renew a lifetime commitment to create a loving win–win partnership that gives each of you roots (stability and dedication) and wings (fulfilling your personal dreams for the future).
Write your goal down as an affirmation in the present tense, as if it is happening right now. For example, if you chose goal 1, write a sentence like, I have lasting, passionate, fulfilling love in my life. If your goal is number 2, you might say, I deserve a full commitment from my Beloved. Or for number 7, you could write, Brad and I commit to moving in together.
Post your affirmation(s) where you and you alone can see it (them) every day. Make sure to read your note several times a day. Give the affirmation(s) your full attention for just a few seconds as you read over it (them). You do not have to believe an affirmation in order for it to “work” and come true. Simply say it and let yourself have a fantasy as if it were true.
The latest research shows that the process of attention to and repetition of new material (affirmations) can retrain and rewire the neural connections in your brain! As you practice your love affirmation over time, your brain will create more and more connections that help reinforce your new beliefs and love intention. How can this be? A principle in neuroscience called Hebb’s law says, Neurons that fire together, wire together. Practicing your love intention regularly will “rewire” your neuronal connections so that thoughts having to do with you in a relationship become associated with the intention, and a whole network of positive connections grows and expands. The net result is a more powerful “muscle” around creating love that is right for you. So start giving your neurons their marching orders.
Throughout Part I, I will be showing you different ways to retrain and rewire your brain so that you can get out of your own way and consciously create lasting and passionate love.
Speaking of getting out of your own way, when negative thoughts do occur, train yourself to repeat your love intention in your mind. Do not fight doubts, fears, worries, or painful feelings—just let them come, but then simply and gently repeat your affirmation. If you do this repeatedly, you will find that the problem thoughts and feelings have far less potency. You can then be more grounded emotionally in dealing with your partner when he becomes distant or hurtful, and you can more clearly and easily create the loving interaction you prefer.
Commitment ultimately stems from making a decision about what you are creating in your life, putting your attention on that decision over and over again, and then acting on it, even in the face of disappointments. You decide, commit, and take action toward your own love-filled happy future. When you do this again and again, no matter what, you will eventually succeed in having all the magical alchemy of committed love for yourself and with another.
EXERCISE 2: THE CONTRACT
Here’s what I tell my mentees, and here’s what I say to you:
As you go through the book, push yourself beyond your limits. Face your inner saboteurs and the behavioral patterns that don’t serve you. Expect the exhilaration of a roller coaster, then just hang on for the ride of your life. I’ll be there with you, on every twist, turn, climb, and drop.
On the next page, you will see a contract. Make a copy, fill it in, and sign it. Amend it if you like, but keep its spirit. The biggest commitment of all occurs between you and yourself—that is the unbending intent to give yourself the gift of lasting love. Only you can do it. The contract is designed to help you stay the course. Post it in a private place where you can see it every day.
LASTING LOVE CONTRACT
I, _________________________________________________________, understand that I am undertaking an intensive program designed to give myself true, lasting love that is just right for me. I commit myself to doing the exercises and following the recommended program to the best of my ability. This work is now Priority One in my life.
I further realize that this program will raise emotional issues, make me aware of my self-sabotaging patterns, and surface my hopelessness, despair, and fears about committed love. I know that at times I will truly want to backtrack or even quit. Nonetheless, I hereby commit to following the program one day at a time.
To this end, I hereby commit to nurturing and strengthening myself so that I can do what I and only I can do: deliver the committed love relationship I long for.
Love feels no burden, thinks nothing of trouble,
attempts what is above its strength,
pleads no excuse of impossibility.
It is therefore able to undertake all things,
and it completes many things and warrants them to take effect,
where he who does not love would faint and lie down.
Though weary, it is not tired;
though pressed, it is not straightened;
though alarmed, it is not confounded;
but as a living flame it forces itself upwards and securely passes through all.
—Thomas à Kempis
May this book be a living flame for you, carrying you upward, securely past trials and tribulations… to that place where dreams are realized and the light of love never dies.
Excerpted from Sealing the Deal by Kirschner, Diana Copyright © 2011 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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