Episode 12: The Dating Checklist And Guide To A Fulfilling Relationship with Laura Menze
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Episode 12: The Dating Checklist And Guide To A Fulfilling Relationship with Laura Menze
In this episode, I have the pleasure of speaking with relationship expert, Laura Menze, who will show us the way to find a committed and loving relationship.
I have the pleasure of speaking with certified relationship coach, Laura Menze, who is also the Cofounder of The Radical Love Summit. She is going to be sharing with us her Relationship Readiness Program, which walks you step-by-step through finding, creating and keeping an amazing, loving relationship. Welcome, Laura. It’s great to be speaking with you.
Thank you so much for having me. I appreciate it.
Laura, one of the ways that I like to start is by having you maybe share some background information about yourself. How is it you came in to be so passionate about coaching?
About coaching in general, it’s always been in my blood, I just didn’t know what to call it. The coaching industry has only been around for probably the last twenty years and a few years ago, I stumbled upon it and went, “This is who I already am.” There’s something amazing to put into it, some skill sets to acquire to be even better at what I do because it was always me who was cheering and trying to uplift other people. When I found coaching and understood what it was, I thought I found home. It’s my home.
I hear that a lot from coaches. It was naturally who they were. It was like this a-ha moment that, “This is what I meant to do. This is it.” I do agree that the field of coaching has given a name to what people are naturally.
Most people don’t understand the power of coaching and what it can do for our client until they experience it. I love that you are out there to try to promote it and try to help people experience it a little bit more so they can see how far they can propel and how fast when they have somebody on their side.Relationships are hard work, but healthier relationships should ideally have an ease to them. Click To Tweet
That’s the whole purpose of The Coaching Connector is to help bring the power of coaching into the world. It’s funny because people get athletic coaching. If you want to get to the next level, you get a great coach. If you want to get to the next level in your life, in your personal development or your professional development, it’s the same concept. You get a coach to help you with that journey. One of the areas in which you specialize is relationships. Can you tell us a little bit about what you do as a relationship specialist?
My clients always came to me with relationship issues. I thought, “It’s probably a good idea if I get a little bit more specialized in this.” What I do is help singles become ready for a relationship because oftentimes we have baggage. Baggage is about limiting beliefs that we carry around with us that we apply to other people that we date or we project our stuff on to other people. Learning how to become ready for a relationship, knowing yourself, who you are, what you want and where you’re going. Learning how to discern whether or not somebody is going your way is what I like to say, rather than being bedazzled by somebody’s fabulous and seemingly wonderful life. I don’t know about you, but I’ve dated the guy who seemed to have it all together. This seemed so exciting and I found that I was on a very long detour that I never should have been on in the first place. A lot of what I do is help people realize and become aware of all these things and help avoid those long detours that could last three months, six months and two years many times, and how to avoid that in the first place. I like to say that I help people on the front-end of relationships so that you don’t need a whole lot of help on the backend of relationships.
I know you have The Red Flags Dating Checklist. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
The Red Flags Dating Checklist is priceless. I encourage anyone to go and download it right away because it helps you keep your blinders off. When we fall in love with someone, there are three things going on, there’s our head, there’s our heart and there are our hormones. Nine times out of ten, our hormones are making decisions right out of the get-go, especially if there’s a lot of chemistry. We’re not making clear-headed decisions. If you think about your past relationships and you look back at the beginning of them from the vantage point you are now, you’re going, “I missed that one. That was a flag.” This checklist helps you to maintain objectivity. It’s a great checklist to use on the 1st date, the 4th date, the 50th date, the 100th date, as you continue to learn more and more about this person that you’re building a relationship with.
Are you able to give us one or two examples of what a red flag would be on the checklist?
Sometimes a response to things with negativity or hostility. Sometimes you want to look for those danger signs. There are signs of whether or not you think you’d be compatible. I want my children to be exactly like this person. It helps you to go, “Would I want them to be exactly like this person?” Things like that, where you’re projecting into the future because we do that quite often when we were first dating someone. We’re projecting a lot of things into the future. We only have now, ultimately. If you’re choosing a mate or a partner, there are some things that you’re going to want to continuously check in with yourself around. Those could be a couple of them right there.
I like that it’s able to stop and get a little different perspective. “Would you want your kids to be modeling this?” I love the fact that you work with clients on the front end of relationships so that they don’t have the issues at the middle or the end of the relationship. I know you have a wonderful program called The Relationship Readiness Program. I was wondering if you can give us a little more in-depth understanding of what’s involved in that program, the different steps and maybe some of the examples of how people might apply it to their own lives.
The first part is knowing yourself, “Who am I? What do I want and where am I going in life?” It’s important for you to know that without somebody in your life because this is about you wanting to live your best life. If you’re living your best life and shining that beautiful light of yours, somebody who likes that light is going to notice you and is going to see it. They’re going to go, “I want to go with that person. They’re going the same way I’m going.” It’s about you setting your trajectory. We create a vision for our life and what we want and a destination. I like to use this metaphor of, “My destination is San Diego. It has mountains, ocean, palm trees and gorgeous weather. I am passionate about San Diego. That’s where I’m heading for in life. That’s my destination.”
When you know your destination, it is much easier to avoid those detours when somebody pops into your life and says, “Lisa, I’ve got tickets to New York. We can go see Broadway plays, museums and have gourmet meals. Come on, let’s go to New York.” If you didn’t know where you wanted to go in life, you’d probably go, “Sign me up for that. Let’s go,” and off you’d be on the detour that took you a long while. It doesn’t mean you can’t get to San Diego, but you’re taking a long detour to get there. When you know that your destination is San Diego, you can say, “That sounds great but I’m excited about the warm weather, the salty ocean and beautiful mountains. That’s where I’m heading.” Find somebody who wants to go to San Diego with you.
Instead of trying to convince someone.
They’re going to go, “I’m going that way too. Let’s go together.”
I liked what you said about knowing yourself and a few words came to mind as you were talking. It’s alignment. When you’re living your authentic life, the life you were innately designed to live, you know you want to go to San Diego or wherever it is metaphorically, but oftentimes when people are more aligned like that, there is a different energy about them.A requirement not met means the relationship has a major problem. Click To Tweet
It’s not trying to put a square peg into a round hole. It fits and it flows. It’s so much easier because you know who you are, what you want and where you’re going. Somebody is going to say, “I want those things too and I want to go there too.” It blends and melds so much better.
The way you’re describing that dynamic, there’s such an ease about it. I don’t know about you but you hear from a lot of people that relationships are hard work. I often tell them, “Dysfunctional relationships are hard work,” but healthier relationships should have an ease to them. It’s not that that relationship doesn’t need to be nurtured, especially early on you are doing a lot of work. That’s a warning sign for me personally.
There’s some foundational stuff to set up in the beginnings. Think of building a house. You wouldn’t want to build a house on a mud foundation. Eventually, it could wash away as soon as a good storm comes. You’re building a solid foundation together. Things like, “How are we going to handle conflict when we have conflict together? What are some of the rules of engagement for handling that? What is our vision for our life together? What do we want to create out of this relationship? Where are we ending up together as a couple? How do we want to stay on track every week talking about our relationship and making sure we’re heading there?” It’s building that solid foundation so that as you continue to build your home together, it’s going to be solid versus it’s going to be a house of cards that collapsed the moment when someone says, “I’m frustrated.”
The moment of the first conflict.
There’s a little bit of work or nurturing, however what term you are comfortable with in the front-end that’s important to do. It’s important to have some of those tough conversations up front as early as possible. Putting off tough conversations and avoiding them, you’re putting off a problem that could blow everything up in the end.
I liked the technique of explicitly stating these things, rather than trying to figure him out on the fly as those things come up.
It’s like, “What’s important to you when we are in conflict? What do you need to make sure it happens so that we can have a nice resolution between us?” It could be that, “I need all electronic devices turned off. No TV, no radio, no telephone, no computer, no nothing and I have to have your undivided attention.” That’s one of your “rules for engagement.” When you have those rules you can say, “That’s what it is.” Maybe one of the partners says, “I need time to process.” “How about Tuesday at 5:00? Will that give you enough time to process?” When you put a deadline on it helps you to further not avoid the topic or subject and brush it under the rug. Having those parameters in place that are comfortable for both of you, then you both know exactly how to navigate it together.
It seems like you’re talking about learning each other, even buttons, vulnerabilities or if someone might have the tendency to get more emotionally flooded.
Put those needs.
First, you need to be self-aware enough to know what that is, to know what you do need and then have that explicit conversation with your partner.
One of the pieces that I teach in the Relationship Readiness Program is the process for conscious communication. It’s understanding yourself, how you’re feeling, how you want to feel and what you need to feel the way you want to feel so that you can communicate it in the form of a request versus a complaint. Complaints don’t ever work because you’re like, “I like this.” “What do you want me to do instead?” That’s the request. Instead of saying, “Don’t put your coat on the couch,” it’s “Coats go in the closet.”
A specific request rather than a complaint or demand.If you have a need that's not met, then it can create an issue. Click To Tweet
It has completely different energy around it too.
It’s much more effective with the request. It tends to work much better.
As you continue to grow in this Relationship Readiness Program, it’s learning about yourself. The next part of that is once you know your purpose in life, your passions, your values, your strengths, your destination and your vision for your life, then it’s time to say, “What do I need in a relationship? What are my requirements, needs and wants in a relationship?” Not in a person but a relationship. It’s a subtle difference that has a big impact. You’re looking for someone who can deliver what you want in a relationship versus someone who is this person. They may not be the person right away, but they may be able to deliver exactly what you want. It’s asking for what you want in the relationship because the relationship is what you’re trying to build. You’re not trying to build a human being.
Can you give me a bit of an example, is that possible?
Let’s say I want someone who is Jewish. Maybe religion is a big value of yours and you want someone who’s Jewish. That would be a requirement there. A requirement is very black and white. They’re either Jewish or they’re not. There’s no grade. There’s no in between. There’s no sliding scale. That’s what a requirement is. You say, “I want them to be Jewish or not.” That’s what I need. I need someone to be Jewish. You meet someone, they tick every other box that you have but they’re not Jewish and you’re like, “They’re so wonderful. They’re so great. I’m so attracted to them. They have all these other qualities. It’s so wonderful. I’m going to let that one go.” Then you go ahead and you get married. Maybe you have a ceremony with two different officiants. You have a priest and it’s great, everything’s wonderful. You get pregnant, you have kids and you want your kids to be raised Jewish. You haven’t talked about this, you just assumed. This is where the person says, “I don’t want my kids to be raised Jewish, I want them to be raised Catholic.” You could have avoided all of this up front because a requirement being blown out of the water or ignored by you does create a problem later on that can blow up the relationship completely.
That’s where you need to be clear with yourself, “Is this a requirement?”
I help my clients. I test them through that. We work these requirements, needs and wants hard to make sure they’re falling into the right category. A requirement not matched means the relationship has a major problem, eventually.
There is a crack in the foundation there.
The whole house can tilt. If you have a need that’s not met, then it can create an issue. An issue can be solved through substitute pieces. Let’s say metaphorically speaking, you didn’t quite put the right piping in, you put in led piping when it should have been copper. It’s not the right piping. You want copper, but you’d accepted lead. At this point you’re going to have to figure out an alternative, maybe it’s the flexible hosing that you put in. You have a substitute that you can compromise on in terms of a need. A need is not black and white. It goes up and down on a spectrum. A need could be something like, “I need somebody to be neat and tidy.”
There’s no black and white in neat and tidy. Everybody has their own definition or version of that. You have your own definition of what that is. You can be with somebody who may be a little bit more or a little bit less neat and tidy than you are. They still have to be neat and tidy. That’s part of how you can screen and sort people in that regards so you know exactly what your thresholds are and what you’re going for. A need and requirement have no difference in terms of value or importance. The only difference is whether or not it’s met, will it blow up the relationship or will you have to figure out how to solve an issue.
The needs open up the possibility of compromise.
Yes, if it’s not met, but when you’re looking for someone, you’re looking for someone to meet your needs. Let’s say you want someone neat and tidy but they’re not. They’ve met every other box that you’ve had, they ticked every other box, you’re attracted, you think they’re fabulous and wonderful, but they’re kind of an Oscar the Slob. They’re more like a hoarder personality. That’s an extreme piece that you’re bending that’s a value of yours. You have to come to some compromise for the two of you where maybe once a month you have a cleaning person come in. Maybe once a month you have a day where you organize stuff. Something that you both can agree upon that works for the two of you to be able to have both of your needs met. The person who’s the Oscar the Slob likes it that way. They don’t want it all neat, tidy and organized. You’ve got to find a way to compromise at some point if that’s what you’re choosing. Ideally, we don’t want to do those compromises. We want somebody who’s neat and tidy.People don't reveal who they are at once to you. You have to know them little by little. Click To Tweet
We have the wants.
That’s just the icing on the cake. For the men, “It would be nice if she was hot,” and the same thing for the ladies, but the ladies are also more about, “It’d be nice if he was handy around the house.” We can always hire someone who’s handy, but it would be nice if he could do all these things around the house, my handy-do list. That’s the second part. The third part of the program is about how to scout, sort, screen and test. Where do I look for the person that I’m looking for? How do I sort through the options in that moment or that event quickly? Suggesting a speed dating event, how do I sort through them quickly to figure out which one or ones I’d want to know more about. How to screen them to see if they meet your needs and requirements? Once you think you found the person who meets your needs and requirements, then it’s on to testing. It doesn’t mean, “I’m going to put him into the test. Let’s see if he passes.”
It means that you want to make sure that their walk matches their talk. Let’s say they have to love kids because you have young kids and they say, “I love kids. Kids are great.” You think, “Check, they love kids. My requirement is met.” You want to see if their walk matches their talk. You can either invite them to your family reunion or you can invite them to a park with a playground. “Let’s grab a cup of coffee, go sit on a park bench and watch the kids play.” You’re not telling them this. You’re taking them there and being in that environment. You notice all the sudden, they say, “There are so many snotty kids running around, can you believe it?” That puts you in a place where you can see how they are in action around this requirement of mine. It doesn’t mean they’re liars. It doesn’t mean they’re being fake. They probably do believe what they have told you.
They want to believe that they’re good with kids.
Your definitions are going to be probably different than somebody else’s so it’s basing upon your definition of what that is and creating an opportunity for you to see whether or not their talk matches their walk.
Is there integrity? Do their words and behavior match up?
That’s not just integrity about them, it’s also integrity in meeting your requirements. We want to believe that someone’s going to be all over of our requirements. That’s part of the blinders process. We ignore some glaring differences because we are smitten by this person. All that chemistry is going on. Our hormones are raging. Let me tell you, those are pretty powerful little hormones. Processing and learning that skill set are hugely important and it makes you that much better at weeding people out upfront so that you aren’t going through years of heartbreak. You can avoid years of heartbreak in a matter of a couple of dates versus dating someone because you had a hormonal chemical reaction to them and you’re dating with them for so long because of that.
One strategy that I know some of my clients have used and I don’t know if it’s something you recommend or not is if they start dating someone and they seem interested that they’ll take them out with their girlfriends to get that other perspective. Is that part of testing saying, “This is what I’m seeing?” If someone who knows you well in terms of a friend, if they endorse that person or not, is that something that you would recommend people doing or not?
You don’t want to get your friends and family involved in your relationship. It’s fine to get their opinion and hear what they have to say, but you don’t want to ask them about it because then you’ve got a third wheel all of a sudden. It’s also important for you to know and recognize what you need to have in place in order to introduce them to family or friends. Like, “Am I ready for that stuff? What do I need to have in place in order to hold hands, have a first kiss, have sex or introduced them to my children?” I work on all those things with each client to determine what those things are for them and hold their feet to the fire when they want to bend around it.
Can you give us any examples from your work with clients of how you’ve helped them with such a process?
There’s one client who says she’s got to have fireworks going off for her to know whether or not it’s the right person. I turned and looked at her and I said, “Really? How’s that working for you?” She thought about it and she went, “It’s not working.” I said, “Okay.” She had started dating this guy who was ticking every box that she had. She was telling me, “I’m not attracted to him.” I said, “That’s fine, I get it, but do yourself a favor. He’s ticking all the boxes so far, right?” She said, “Yeah.” I said, “There’s no harm, no foul. Just go on a few more dates with him and see what develops or doesn’t develop and find out what you want to know about him.” She said okay very begrudgingly and she went on a few more dates with him and then she went, “I’m totally seeing him in a different light. I’m finding him to be very attractive and totally sexy.” About a year later, I had the opportunity to marry them. They have been married for about two years.
If you have enough of the boxes checked, sometimes it’s worth giving it at least some time.When we start to get exactly what we asked for, we freak out and self-sabotage. Click To Tweet
If all the boxes that you know so far because obviously, people don’t reveal all of who they are at once to you. It’s like a download overload and we don’t want to know everything about somebody right up front. We want to know a little bit because that’s a lot to process. People reveal themselves a little bit at a time. You want to go on several dates to continue to learn about this person to see whether or not they do fit your requirements, needs and wants.
Do you come across in your work the tendency for people to self-sabotage relationships?
Can you speak a little bit more to the pattern of self-sabotage that you see so often?
When we start to get exactly what we’ve asked for, we freak out. The saboteur has a very important job. It’s to maintain the status quo. That’s what the saboteur’s job is.
Even if that’s not satisfactory.
The status quo is more about functionality. I need to know that my alarm is going to go off at 7:00. I’m going to get up, I’m going to go to the bathroom, I brush my teeth and take a shower. I have my regimen and I know exactly what to expect. When you try to change your status quo, your saboteur goes on red alert and it says, “What are you doing? You’re not maintaining status quo. Get back in line soldier,” and it will do everything it can to get you back in line because that’s your status quo. I have to teach my clients a lot about their inner voice and their saboteur, so they get a little bit more educated around what’s happening in their head. I’m helping them to gain some clarity around that and why they would be sabotaging because, “Why would I sabotage myself? I don’t understand.” When you get to that point, it’s because they’re changing the status quo. They’re making a major shift in their lives to create a brand-new status quo. There is always a tendency to sabotage.
That saboteur, does it come from the conscious, rational part of our mind?
It comes from the crazier rational mean side of our brain.
That’s why when people say, “Why would I do that?” They’re asking that question from the rational part of your mind, but that subconscious part of the mind, which is the more powerful part is not based on rationality or logic.
It’s important for you to balance your head with your heart and your hormones. Your heart knows the truth. It’s going to tell you the truth and it’s going to whisper it to you. Whereas your head is going to be more logical and it’s going to take the emotion out of it. Your hormones will override everything, “This guy or this girl is hot.”
What a wonderful success story and that’s really where I see the power of coaching. In my experience, when people are trying to break out of that status quo and you get that tendency to sabotage, oftentimes you have from my experience feelings of fear, doubt, guilt and insecurity. It’s like the subconscious mind turns the volume up on those and tries to get the person back in line. With the help of a coach, it’s saying, “No, let’s give them the perspective that this is what your mind’s doing to you. Go on those few dates. Keep taking that constructive action in spite of what your mind is trying to do here. That’s ultimately the way you’re going to break free from your prior patterns.”
Have you ever been in a car accident?
Minor ones, fortunately.
For any kind of traumatic accident, usually it’s a lot that happens in a matter of two or three seconds but feels like slow motion to the person. What I try to do is help that person get into slow motion around the event or the pivot point that’s taking place for them. Helping them to tear apart the play-by-play of what’s happening in their brain, so that they can make more conscious decisions around where they want to go from there. When you can break it all down, it’s cramming a whole bunch of stuff into a millisecond and operating all that you know from the overview of that millisecond, whereas there are a thousand things that happened in that millisecond. Let’s stop and talk about that thing and that thing until you can see clearly everything that’s in that millisecond.
I like that strategy because with the slow down approach, then you get to respond rather than react.
You get to consciously choose because now you’re aware.
Is there anything else you wanted to add about your readiness program?
A little tip because everybody always asks me, “What’s one thing I can do right away?” I say, “There are two things.” When you go on a date, what we’re looking for typically is someone fun, loving and compassionate. Check in with yourself. Are you fun? Are you loving and compassionate? If not, start sending some of that loving, fun and compassionate energy across the table. Even if your words aren’t saying it, your energy is saying a lot and that person is picking up on your energy. Think about when you’re in a job interview and it’s your dream job. You’re going, “I really want this job,” but you’re not saying it to the interviewer. You are being calm, cool and collected on the outside, but your energy is going across that table and nobody likes that desperate energy. It feels yucky. It actually repels.
That’s fear-based energy.
You have to feel and think about, “What energy am I giving off?” and be conscious of it. That’s tip number one. The second tip is when you’re done with a date, it’s not about going through your checklist. Even if I’ve worked with you and we’ve talked about your requirements, needs and wants, go on the first date and ask yourself, “How did it feel to be with this person? Do I want to know more?” Those are the only two questions that you need to ask after the first couple of dates. Then you can check your checklist out and go for Spanish Inquisition if you want. Nobody likes the Spanish Inquisition on a first date or second date or the third date. Go in with a loving heart and have fun. Give them that energy and ask yourself, “How did it feel and do you want to know more?”
Keep it simple. Thank you for sharing all that information, the tips and your process. I know you’re coming up in the very near future in Denver, The Radical Love Summit. I was hoping you could share a little bit of information with our audience about that.
Thank you so much. It’s a one-day in-person conference. It’s an in-person conference with over fifteen experts sharing all sorts of information about love, relationships and dating. It’s a full day conference and then the evening is all fun and entertainment. We have a comedic hypnotist and a comedian and we did our own version of the dating game, which was fun. It’s always a lot of fun at the end of the day. During the day, it’s a lot of personal growth work and personal, “That’s what I’m doing. That’s what I need to change.” There are so many things to learn about love and relationships that we’re not taught in school or anywhere else. This is a great place to revolutionize your experience of love and relationships.
How would people find out more information about both you and the summit?
Laura also has a profile on TheCoachingConnector.com. You can find a full profile there. Get in touch with her either through her website or The Radical Love Summit. Thank you so much, Laura, for sharing all your words of wisdom and helping people find love in their life.
Thank you so much for having me. I appreciate it because we definitely need more love in this world.
Please remember to visit www.TheCoachingConnector.com for more articles on Guiding You Through The Maze to your best personal and professional life. Also, please remember to subscribe to Guiding You Through The Maze and share a link with anyone you think would benefit from the information we’re presenting. We’re so glad to be part of your journey and wishing you much success.
- Laura Menze
- The Radical Love Summit
- Relationship Readiness Program
- The Red Flags Dating Checklist
About Laura Menze
- CPCC (Certified Professional Co-Active Coach) – The Coaches Training Institute
- PCC (Professional Certified Coach) – International Coach Federation
- CRCS (Certified Relationship Coach for Singles) – Relationship Coaching Institute
- CRCC (Certified Relationship Coach for Couples) – Relationship Coaching Institute
- Lentino, L.M. (2014). Constructive thinking how to grow beyond your mind. Sudbury, MA: Grow Beyond Your Mind.