What It Means When Someone Says, “Relationships Take Work.”

I recently had a conversation with a millennial male client who was exploring coaching. He was an attractive, smart, industrious person. Although I could see that he would greatly benefit from coaching, what I heard was, “I know…relationships take work. But your program takes too much time and effort, and I don’t have time for it. I’m a very busy person.”

Young couple sitting together on a bench.

And yet, he had plunked down a king’s ransom to hire a matchmaker. Needless to say, he was not having any success with his matches. He wanted the woman to be handed to him on a silver platter. He wanted the matchmaker to do all the work in choosing his life partner — the person with whom he would be spending the rest of his life.

Where’s the disconnect here?

First of all, who knows you better than you? Besides that checkable list of characteristics you’re seeking in a mate, there are the subtle things only you can describe. Some things you just “know” when you feel them. And some looks you’re just drawn to when you see them.

And second, once the match is made, then what? This is when the real work, the “effort,” begins.

Bottom line: Relationships take work. Are you ready for it?

Hopefully, it’s a joyful effort. When you’re smitten with someone, you don’t mind doing the work. It’s fun, and your partner seems equally enthusiastic and responsive. You get so much back that it’s totally worth the effort you’re putting forth.

Something about the prospect of getting to spend your life with this person truly makes you want to do your best. It’s as if your gratitude for finding that needle in the haystack blends with the awareness that this person has a say, too. And, if you don’t bring your A-game to the relationship, it might not last.

Ironically, my assessment of this man was that he was not connecting to women. He was tossing out money like al dente spaghetti, but nothing was sticking.

The reality is — at least for those committed to finding true love — that you can’t just order up a bride. (Well, you can, but what are you likely to get? Who is she underneath the “menu listing,” and what’s her real motivation for allowing herself to be bought for marriage?)

More than that, though, what he was really communicating — to me and to the women he was dating — was that he didn’t have time and space in his life for a relationship. If relationships take work, he wasn’t as all-in as he tried to make everyone believe.

People don’t want to simply “fit into” your life. Do you think this guy wanted to be an “order-up” addition to a busy woman’s life? It’s no wonder he was having such poor luck with his matches!

What I teach helps each of my clients create a lasting connection.

Ask yourself: How do we connect with people? And why do we connect with some people and not others?

Don’t get me wrong. Matchmakers can help you uncover people you never would have met otherwise. And, if they actually listen to your real needs, goals, and values, you may get some good matches.

But meeting someone of potential is just the first step. It’s up to you to light a spark, create a viable connection, and show real interest in that person.

So what kind of work does a relationship require? It’s really more second-nature than you might think.

  1. Men, you need to show you have the courage to ask women out. You need to make the effort to take the lead in showing interest. And you need to put forth the effort to plan an exciting date. “Ya wanna hang out sometime?” is not a date. (You can get help with this by consulting a concierge service or coach.)
  2. Women, you need to follow up after the date. I recommend you share that you’ve had a good time on the date and express your appreciation for the man’s generosity if he paid for something.
  3. Men, calling ahead to plan dates is a very respectful thing to do. Women savor having something to look forward to.Asking a woman on a date well in advance delivers a huge message of interest in her. It lets her know you don’t take her time or her exclusive interest for granted.It also gives her time to plan what to wear, how to look, and how to express her interest in you. The same thing goes for following through in a timely manner when you tell her you will call her. When you say, “I’ll call you.” Call her. Playing the “I don’t want to appear weak or too interested” does not win points with the ladies!
  4. Men and women, you both have to devote time to looking and feeling your best for your dates. How you “show up” matters. (This effort doesn’t belong only to the ladies.) Good grooming goes a long way!
  5. You both need to keep the lines of communication open and manage expectations. Continue to show interest in one another, plan dates, and express needs and wants in a non-demanding way.
  6. Finally, men, it’s important to find ways to make a woman feel special and cared for. That means learning to understand her love languages and continuing to pursue her in a gentlemanly way.

Yes, relationships take work. But look at this list. Does anything here sound like a chore? Like something that doesn’t fit into your natural inclinations when you’re at your best?

Pay attention to these simple courtship and relationship-developing efforts, and watch how quickly your dating life changes. Miss a beat in just one of these areas, though, and watch your dating life lose momentum. One or the other of you may lose interest and look elsewhere.

There are some things you can’t pass off to an assistant or matchmaker, especially if you are a marriage-minded person. You still have to show up on the date and create a connection that will blossom into a lasting relationship.

Dating takes time and effort for both men and women. And the person you meet expects you to show up to do the work and be your best, most authentic self.

Remember, this is the person with whom you could be spending the rest of your life!

You can do this!

Wishing you the best in love and life,

Coach Amy

PS: Want to see if you’re truly ready to meet your mate? Take my quiz.

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