Resources for Creating a Safer, Saner, More Loving World

Five Tips Before Getting Caught Up in a New Affair

“When I look in the mirror, I [ask]: Am I healthy? Do I feel good? How does my heart feel today? How does my spirit feel today? That’s not to say that I don’t put on my makeup or blow-dry my hair. I do do those things, but those are not the things that make me feel beautiful.”

~Stacey Dash
Heart & Soul

Stacey Dash

Stacey Dash says love comes from her relationships with friends and family.

FATHERHOODCHANNEL.COM

At 45, Actress Stacey Dash says she’s discovering beauty comes from her closest relationships.

“If I’m experiencing love in my life with my children, with my family and with my friends, that’s what makes me feel beautiful. Beauty is something that will come and go. It won’t last,” Stacey Dash says in a cover story for Heart & Soul magazine.

In an issue devoted to love and romance, Heart & Soul’s editors offer five tips to consider before getting caught up in the glow of a new affair. We asked our own Love Docs for their take on Stacey Dash’s prescription for love and the magazine’s five tips.

Heart & Soul Tip #1. Don’t start a new relationship while still mourning an old one. If you’re still pining for a former love, you won’t be fully open to experiencing now.

The best of relationships go through natural ups and downs. So much of your life will be decided by how you handle the valleys you face along the way, especially when it comes to love.  Studies show deeper, more fulfilling experiences of love, passion, and commitment are often just on the other side of what may feel like a down time in your relationship.

Consider these five questions before deciding if it’s time-out or game-over.

1.     What do I want that I am not getting?

2.     What am I getting that I don’t want?

3.     What am I giving that I don’t want to give?

4.     What would I like to give to you if only things were better between us?

5.     What am I getting that I do want?

If you realize your pining is a voice telling you there may still be hope, see how your answers can help you talk about it together. Marriage education skills such as daily temperature readings, talking tips, emptying the emotional jug, and fair fight for change offer a safe, easy-to-follow structure for conversations that matter. If you realize the relationship is over, figure out the lessons you learned so that you don’t find yourself discovering the same ones again in future relationships.

Stacey Dash and her kids out and about in NYC

Stacey Dash with Lola, left, and Austin, center, in New York City.

Heart & Soul Tip #2. Don’t focus on someone’s potential; instead, be more concerned with the reality of who he or she is. Bringing up attitudes about commitment or children in the first three dates could spell disaster.

Seth Eisenberg: “People are complex. Every person has ‘parts’ that can be attractive, exciting, and alluring to one or more ‘parts’ of another person at a particular time. It’s important to learn about all of each others’ ‘parts,’ not just the ones that come out during a date, weekend away, or relatively brief interactions together. Give yourself a chance to see what it’s like to be together in different circumstances, such as with family, friends, dealing with stress or disappointment, tackling a challenge, or facing the need to compromise. Is your partner comfortable enough in his or her own skin to be open to learning and growing?  With good will and openness to learning and growing, you’ve got good building blocks for the future. If you’re just enamored with a particular quality that’s attractive right now, take the blinders off and check out the wishes, hopes and dreams you each want for your life. What do you have in common?”

Seth Eisenberg suggests three questions to help you along the way. If you think there’s potential, answer these questions individually and then talk about the answers with each other:

1.     What are the dreams for your life that you hope will come true through your relationship? (for example, children, marriage, passion, financial stability, community of friends, career success, education, etc.)

2.     What are the good things you already have that you want to keep? (for example, how you spend your money, the friends you keep, the job or hours you work, where you go for the holidays, what you do with your free time, how you dress, what you eat, hobbies, etc.)

3.     What are the upsetting, hurtful things that happened to you in the past that you never want to go through again? (for example, being lied to or betrayed, feeling ignored, becoming the bottom of someone’s list of priorities, being on the receiving end of anger, rage or abuse, etc.)

Heart & Soul Tip #3: Don’t get stuck in the high of early courtship for too long. If you wait too long for a proper commitment, the relationship could lose its way.

Francisco Robledo: “Feelings of love come from the anticipation of pleasure. Sometimes it may be someone who’s affectionate, helps you accomplish an important goal, gives you gifts or presents, spends quality time with you, or tells you nice things about yourself. Whatever it is today, it will likely be something else in the future as your needs and priorities change. It’s easy to get caught up in the feelings of love that emerge when someone’s a pleasure at a moment in your life to think that means you should spend your life together. The long-term work of a love relationship is to stay a pleasure in each others’ lives and to regularly meet each others’ needs for the combination of emotional and physical closeness known as ‘bonding.’ Can you both see yourself doing that with each other for decades? Since you can’t promise a feeling, what actions can you count on from each other in a committed relationship? Take 10-20 minutes a day to go through the five steps of the Daily Temperature Reading. Doing that exercise together for 30 days will help you discover more about the long-term potential for your relationship and whether a ‘proper commitment’ is a path to a life in which your most important dreams have the best chance of coming true.”

Heart & Soul Tip #4: Don’t hold back your true self. Hiding your personality sends your potential partner mixed messages.

Lauren DelGandio: “A healthy love relationship brings out the best in us. There’s no better incentive to grow-up and take responsibility for our lives than wanting to provide a great life for a beloved spouse or child. What lessons has life taught each of you? How have you each grown from the challenges you’ve faced? What are the values, goals and ambitions that have become the north star of your own life each day. Confiding is the life blood of intimacy. You’ll learn a lot about each others’ “true self” and personalities through the Daily Temperature Reading. When you close your eyes and imagine yourself in the future feeling happy, fulfilled, peaceful, and grateful for your life, is this the person you see standing there with you?”

Heart & Soul Tip #5: Don’t try to commit to a relationship when you’re not really ready to settle down.

Rachel Schindler: “A great relationship begins with becoming the right person. Have you become the person who can be a long-term partner to the kind of person you want to share your life with? Has he or she? If you both have, there’s likely nothing that can keep you apart, despite the challenges along the way. If you’re still searching for your own north star and figuring out the dreams that are most meaningful for your life individually or as a couple, that’s important to do before making a commitment to another person. It’s hard to know if you’re ready to spend your life together before you’re clear about what you want your life to mean to you, your family, and the world. The Daily Temperature Reading will help you learn about yourself too.”

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