These days relationship advice often treats love a bit like choosing which shampoo you want to use or car you are going to buy - we are told to look for all the things we want in ‘the perfect partner’, but if the love dries up or the partner we have choosen disappoints us or doesn’t ‘perform’ to our expectations, we are then encouraged to simply throw our relationship away and go back to the shelf and choose again.

This cynicism has pervaded our society to the point where kids now see love and sex paraded more like consumer disposables (marketed to them by jaded and bitter old folk), long before they have experienced their first crush.

Marsrap (NOT Justin Bieber)  - Young Love Guard Your Hearts Now!


Instead, I believe the game of love should be treated a bit more like hang gliding, where you learn the rules and get as much ‘practice’ as possible, at all the smaller skills involved, before your feet ever leave the ground.

If it’s too late for this and you have already had a crash landing or two (or more relationship crash landings than you care to count) don’t worry, it’s never too late to get lucky in love - especially if you are prepared to put in a little work at improving your game.

But first let’s avoid the mistakes ...

1. Don’t Convince or Complain

Are you guilty of complaining or trying to convince someone to love you better? A person will only make changes to the extent that they value and care about you, so if you are guilty of this love ‘no no’ - the truth is the person you are trying to convince might not even be listening. Complaining will just see you coming across as a nag - and whether you are a woman or a man - this is never attractive.

2. Don’t Encourage Your Partner to Share their Feelings

How many decades of psychology have we had encouraging this - but still we see divorce rates higher than ever. Don’t push this or you will push bad buttons. This includes NOT playing counselor or analyzing your partner’s actions. You can’t force attachment and trust and I would even suggest that you learning how to end some conversations confidently is one of the most important skills you can learn to help build deep and lasting love.

3. Stop Trying to Please

Are you trying too hard to please your partner hoping to get them to notice and appreciate you? People notice if what you are offering has a price tag attached. Don’t give more than you are happy to give without receiving anything in return, and have confidence that people will love you for who you are and not from you trying to please. Spending your life trying to please other people (rather than focusing on your own goals) is likely to cause people to disrespect you, leaving you angry, hurt and disappointed. Confidence and self assurance are attractive and go hand in hand with a person being focused on their own life and goals. Trying to impress and please other people to win their love and affection is just plain unattractive.

Pride Vs Self Respect

I have two friends who love each other but have only spoken briefly in the last year. One has decided the relationship can’t work, while the other is only just getting over the hurt of their break-up.

The breakup was very hard on my friend and he showed little or no self respect - calling repeatedly and asking his ex-girlfriend what he needed to do to change - as well as showing up too many times unannounced in her path.

Yet (I believe) there is one simple thing he could do - even now - that would see them back in each other’s arms.

I love both of these friends and hate to see them lonely. So why don’t I tell him my idea? Hmmm, that’s tricky but let me explain ...

The reason is this: no matter how much he wants her back - my suggestion would hurt his pride and he would not listen but argue and talk about it too much (instead of just doing it) and I would probably end up in trouble with both of them.

So what is it I would suggest?

Well you see my friends mix in different circles, hers being the more upper class (and more judgmental). He on the other hand is pretty easy going (except for his pride) and thinks it a matter of self respect that he doesn’t modify his working class habits for anyone.

I don’t think his ex girlfriend expects that of him either, but she has also had to face facts that she does not want her social life and circles of influence compromised by his rough manners.

Is that wrong of her? I don’t think so. We don’t make society’s rules and most people are not in such a comfortable position in life that they can flaunt them. It is also not a nice feeling to be out with someone who, too often, says and does things that embarrass us in front of our friends and relatives.

So what could he do?

Valley Girl featuring a young Nicolas Cage

Downtown Boy meets Uptown Girl - Can it work?       

He knows the class divide is a problem and so without saying a word he could easily do some serious work on his speech and manners.

Not really a big thing. How many people take classes in vocal training these days, removing an unwanted accent for business reasons? But unfortunatley when it comes to love, somehow I think most of us feel it is ‘not real’ if our partner won’t accept us warts and all. So instead of working on the obvious things that might make us a better companion, we often stubbornly hang on to the very worst in ourselves.

I see this everywhere.

People come to me for relationship advice and are surprised when the first thing I ask is about their personal habits and emotional and financial stability.

Okay, so just in case that sounds like I consider myself in a position to judge - I better come clean here myself ...

You see the only reason I believe I have the right to suggest anyone swallow their pride (about things that would improve their luck in love) is because I have personally faced down that pride in myself.

The only reason I researched and became an expert on this subject, is because my own marriage once very badly needed this advice.

Am I lacking in self resect to say this? No, I don’t think so, because self respect is not the same thing as pride. I took the hand life dealt me and played it the best I could and I have done okay. I still might not be a social butterfly (I work too hard for that anyway), but I now have a husband who adores me and kids who love me and who I enjoy spending time with.

And it wasn’t always that way. The only reason my writing has become widely known is because I completely turned my marriage and family life around after I began researching these skills. This was after our marriage had been deemed completely hopeless by our families as well as the professionals.

And it certainly wasn’t luck that changed that.

And I know this for a fact - because for the past 6 years - my husband Steve and I have helped couples in some of the worst marriages you can imagine learn to turn things around just like we did. And if we can do that for couples struggling with personality disorders, abuse issues and addictions - how much easier might our advice help you?

Because healthy relationships are just like a game. You need to know the rules and you need to practice ‘the play’ to get good at it -- and yes, in case you are wondering -- one person playing the game differently can change everything!

None of the skills I offer came naturally to me and I had to work on developing all of these new personal habits. Still I had the courage to admit I needed to stop blaming Steve and start working on myself. Facing off my pride in this way increased my self esteem immeasurably.

So what’s it going to be? Are you going to be like the people I speak to everyday, so desperate to avoid their impending divorce that they will lose all self respect and embarrass themselves in all sorts of crazy ways, while still not being able to face their own pride and make a few easy changes in themselves?

Because pride really is the game destroyer when it comes to love and unfortunately most of us won’t face it until we are faced with absolutely no other alternative.

Is that how you are going to play it? The pain of facing your pride is the hardest part - but only lasts a few minutes - after that you need to put some work in sure, but then what is being loved for who you are really worth to you?

If you have the courage I have the steps you need to accomplish this ...

Still Waiting to Get Rick Rolled?

Out of all the songs from the 80’s I am not surprised it is Rick Astley’s Never Gonna Give You Up that is probably the most well known by kids today - and without one cent of marketing money having been spent on the viral “Rick Rolled” phenomena.

“We’re no strangers to love” Rick sings, “You know the rules and so do I, a true commitment’s what I’m thinking of - you wouldn’t get this from any other guy”.

So Rick knows the rules - but it seems he’s breaking them - because unlike other guys he’s going to tell her how he’s feeling.

If only it were that easy.

As I mentioned previously, after nearly 50 years of psychology telling us we ‘just’ need to be able to talk honestly about our feelings - where are we now? Despite this advice divorce rates soar and families are in tatters.

Sanity is Attractive

If you listen to popular music you could be fooled into thinking getting lucky in love means proving to someone how ‘crazy’ you are about them.

I wonder how well this has ever worked for you or how attractive you find someone who acts crazy?

The truth is that you learning to be emotionally well balanced will make you a thousand times more attractive than you being ‘crazy’ or emotionally reactive and unbalanced!


     Which of these best describes you? 

I am searching for true love with my existing partner

I am searching for true love with somebody new

“I’m Just Crazy About You” (So maybe you better run!)

Are you wishing for a Happy Ending or Tragedy?

I wonder why so many famous love stories end in tragedy? Whether it be Romeo and Juliet or Love Story, I wonder what makes the idea of sickness and death seem romantic to some people? I saw Love Story as a young girl and I am sure this movie had a very negative affect on me. The couple fought the whole movie but then when she became terminally ill, he came and lay on the hospital bed with her and made it seem that her being sick was what had at last softened his heart.

Do you think that being terminally ill makes a person more attractive and loveable? Sad as the truth is I think most people feel scared of getting close to someone who is sick, and especially someone who they are afraid might soon die. So this idea really doesn’t make sense does it? But still I know a lot of people who are sick because they feel unloved and who also believe that being sick should make their partner love them better. Do you think this way too? Maybe even a little? Do you think those thoughts will help you stay healthy? 

I wonder if you are ready to face off your own pride about your own bad habits that might be killing any chance of love flourishing in your life -- and then start adding postive habits that will genuinely improve your love life and your own self esteem ...




What Does it Take to Get Lucky in Love?

Kim and Steve Cooper

Even worse, ‘practice’ (despite the risks), may just create bad habits, and you may

fail to learn what it takes to develop deep and lasting bonds of affection and create a stable and loving home.

There’s a joke which says, “Golf is a game of luck ... The more you practice the luckier you get!”

Learning relationship skills is similar but in the game of love, unfortunately practice means risking getting your heart broken, and there is no rule book to discover your mistakes.