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Looking for love? ‘Love Mentor’ gives her advice

Finding love is no easy task, and keeping that special someone around can be even harder. In "Sealing the Deal," psychologist Diana Kirschner helps women understand how to find fulfilling and lasting love.
/ Source: TODAY books

Finding love is no easy task, and keeping that special someone around can be even harder. In “Sealing the Deal: The Love Mentor’s Guide to Lasting Love,” psychologist Diana Kirschner helps women understand how to go from the anxiety of not knowing where things are going to the security of fulfilling and lasting love. Read an excerpt:

Chapter 1: The Lasting Love Program

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!

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.

*In all examples, identifying information has been changed to protect privacy. Some identities are composites.

From "Sealing the Deal: The Love Mentor's Guide to Lasting Love" by Dr. Diana Kirschner. Copyright © 2011 Reprinted by permission of Center Street/Hachette Book Group.