Can 36 Questions Help Couples Spark True Love?

The media has been abuzz lately over a scientific study involving a 36 question “sharing game” for couples. Some have touted the “game” as a way to trigger a love connection between two people in a very short amount of time. But, is that really possible? Can 36 questions help couples spark true love? With so many people thinking about Valentine’s Day and love, I needed to check this out.

It turns out the actual focus of the study, conducted by social psychologist Arthur Aron and published in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, was on building interpersonal closeness. The study premise was that by answering a set of questions scientifically designed for sharing specific details about each other, a couple could very quickly create a sense of “closeness” even if they had just met for the first time. An application to speed dating, blind dates, and first-time, face-to-face encounters with an on-line dating match quickly came to mind. So, could you get someone to fall for you just by asking and answering a set of specific questions? I was intrigued, but not yet convinced.

How About Those 36 Questions?

The 36 questions study participants were required to ask each other were interesting, to say the least. They ran the gamut…

From the innocent:

#4 What would constitute a “perfect” day for you?

 To the creepy:

#7 Do you have a secret hunch about how you will die?

 To the insightful:

#10 If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be?

 To even the uncomfortable:

#30 When did you last cry in front of another person? By yourself?

While sharing answers to these questions may reveal a lot about another person that would normally take a much longer time to uncover, feeling “close” to someone could hardly be called a declaration of love.

Getting Close Doesn’t Equate to Love

In fact, the actual study results never talk about love and even state that the “closeness” experienced is just “similar” to the kind of real closeness that develops naturally in relationships over a period of time. In other words, what is experienced in the study only mimics a feeling of emotional chemistry between two people. While we know two people can experience physical chemistry almost instantaneously, emotional chemistry – the kind that produces loyalty and commitment – still takes time.

And yet, there does seem to be something to this sharing of personal information. It turns out that couples who meet on-line and marry, do so after a shorter courtship – 18 months on average – as compared to 36 months for couples who marry after meeting and dating through more traditional means. It seems that the sharing of “vital stats,” answering the lengthy dating-site questionnaires, and social media correspondence prior to meeting face-to-face creates connections that in turn, cut short the getting to know each other period of courtship. So, could there really be something to a set of revealing questions and the initiating of love?

Sadly, I’m not sure we can make that connection. Because, while the on-line daters who marry may have shorter courtships, the number of couples who meet on-line and go on to get married is actually quite low, statistically. It appears there is no substitute for face-to-face courtship.

How to Really Build Emotional Connection in a Relationship

So what is the take away here? Can playing a game of 36 questions really help you make a love connection with someone? I think the answer is ‘NO!’ But the study does tell us that communication and sharing, verbally, our thoughts, fears, desires, and dreams at a deep level can help us connect sooner in a relationship – or it could quickly send the other person running!

When it comes to romantic relationships, here is my advice on sharing and building an emotional love connection:

  • Sharing at a deeper level builds emotional chemistry and helps to bond two people together. So, share, yes, but not too much too quickly. It should be like pealing an onion, slowly, over time.
  • Get a guy to share beyond the basic facts and stats. The goal is to get him talking about his feelings, dreams, and desires. So, start with something easy for him. For example: If you met on-line, and he stated that his hobby was sailing, then ask questions to dig deeper. Ask him things like how old he was when he learned, who taught him, and what was it that drew him to sailing. Trust me, you’ll learn a lot more about him than just a sailing lesson.
  • When it comes to your past and any emotional wounds or tragedies, be careful what and how much you share. If you reveal the fact that you still haven’t gotten over the loss of your cat (who died two years ago), you could make a guy nervous. He might fear how you’d react if the two of you dated and it didn’t work out. Visions of “Fatal Attraction” pop in his head.
  • Actions speak louder than words. Regardless of what a guy says, it’s what he does that really counts. The guy who will walk your dog in the rain because you have a cold is the real Keeper!
  • In time, don’t be afraid to ask the tough questions. You want to make sure your core values align with those of your prospective mate. You don’t want to wait until you’re engaged to find out that he doesn’t really like kids and having children is a top priority for you!

In the end, good communication and emotional chemistry are essential to a healthy relationship. And, if the spark is there between two people (physical chemistry), sharing at a deeper level could very well help to ignite the flames and get the love fire burning. But real love takes time and no set of questions can make two people fall in love, no matter how revealing the questions and answers happen to be.

Dating Dos and Don’ts: When NOT to Makeup after a Breakup

When not to makeup after a breakup

Did you know that the month of December sees the greatest number of love relationship breakups in the course of a year? So, that means that January finds a lot of you experiencing what I call “post-traumatic breakup.” It’s that period of time shortly after a breakup when you’re feeling a whole range of powerful emotions and are the most vulnerable to doing something you might later regret – like trying to get back together with our Ex. So, if you find yourself teetering on the fence of whether to let go and move on or try to makeup and give your relationship another go at it, then you need to read my article for on when NOT to makeup after a breakup.

Click here to read my seven compelling reasons for NOT trying to get back together with your Ex and what you should do instead.

Also, check out my article “How to Get Out of a Love Life Rut and Start Attracting Mr. Right” to learn five simple changes you can make to get out of your post-traumatic breakup period and moving forward towards the love you truly deserve.

As always, Live Smart and be Savvy in Love!

How to Get What You Want in Love and Life in 2015

Girls night out


With 2014 quickly drawing to a close, the final days of the year are often spent reflecting on the highs and lows of the past year, admonishing ourselves for where we fell short of our best laid plans, and then dusting ourselves off and committing to a new set of goals for the year ahead. But the sad truth is, in spite of our resolve to do better in 2015, many of us will again fail to keep those well-intentioned resolutions. We fail to recognize how to get what we want in love and life.

As much as we may want things to be different in our lives – more fulfilling relationships, better paying jobs, more fun, or a healthier body – we struggle to make the changes necessary to reach our goals.

So why is it so hard to stick to a plan and effect real change in our lives?

  • We don’t really like change - Let’s be honest. Change is hard, often uncomfortable, and downright scary at times. As much as we might dislike where we are – stuck in a dead-end relationship, going to a job every day that we hate, or looking in the mirror and not liking what we see – it’s often easier to do nothing or continue doing what we’ve always done. Avoiding change means we don’t have to give up anything (or anyone), we don’t have to try something new, and we don’t have to venture into that scary place of the unknown.
  • We get stuck in what I call rear-view mirror living - Haunted by the mistakes and losses of our past, we are unable to let go and move forward with our lives. We keep looking back, trying to figure out what went wrong or why things didn’t turn out the way we had hoped. We remain so focused on past hurts or disappointments that we are unable to envision, or even believe in, a different future. So we keep thinking about the guy that got away, rehashing what we should have done differently, or we shutdown altogether – locked in guilt, sadness, or anger over our past.
  • We don’t like to fail - In fact, research on human behavior finds that we actually hate failing more than we enjoy winning. In our minds, the risk of not getting what we want looms larger than any possibility of being better off. Those “What if” fears of losing can actually prevent us from doing what’s needed to win. What if we change and then find ourselves worse off? Or, what if we end a relationship and don’t meet someone new? So we rationalize that it’s not worth the risk – we may not be happy, but at least we’re not alone.
  • Old habits are hard to break - Inevitably, we’ll slip up or have a setback on the road to change. When we do, we’re great at talking ourselves out of sticking with our plan. Most of us are better at coming up with a list of reasons to quit than reasons to stay the course. We get lonely one night and call or text our ex and suddenly we’re sucked back in – telling ourselves we were never really good enough to attract someone better anyway.

Tips to Get What You Want in Love and Life

  • Create a vision of the life you want - In order to effect real change, you have to figure out what it is you truly want and make a list of the reasons why it’s important to you. Paint a vision of that life that is so clear and strong that it blurs everything else. The goal is to make the rewards of getting all that you desire greater than the risk you associate with potential failure. Then every time you waiver, get discouraged, or suffer a setback, you can pull out your list and recommit to all the reasons why it’s worth staying the course. If love is the thing you desire, then make sure you checkout my book Is He a Keeper?: Savvy Gal Secrets to Spotting Mr. Wrong and Hooking Mr. Right. It will give you the advice, tips and step by step plans to effect real change in your love life.
  • Embrace change with optimism – Sure it can be hard, uncomfortable, or scary. But, the biggest mistake you can make in life, and I know because I’ve been there, is to keep doing what you’ve always done – which may be nothing – and hope that the universe will somehow deliver to you a different outcome. While a little bit of divine intervention is always welcome, we have to be willing to do our part. Real change requires action on your part. When it comes to love, sometimes you have to go through the acute pain of a breakup in order to end the chronic pain of a doomed relationship. No pain; no gain!
  • Create a written plan to get you where you want to be – Break it down into manageable steps that create small wins along the way. It takes time and determination to effect real change so don’t expect a miracle overnight or beat yourself up if you slip up. The key is to not get discouraged and quit.
  • Don’t let your past dictate your future - What’s happened in the past is past; stop looking in the rear-view mirror. You’re starting fresh today from where you are now and charting a new course to the life you desire.
  • Model someone you know who’s successful. Having a role model or mentor gives you a pattern to follow and helps you keep your eye on the prize. When you see them living the kind of life you desire, it can really inspire you to stay committed to your goals.

Commit to making 2015 your year of change. It’s all up to YOU!

  • Choose the life you want to live; no one else can give you what you want
  • The only person you can change is YOU
  • You are the master of your own destiny; the status-quo is no longer an option
  • Refuse to let fear of failure stop you or setbacks derail your resolve

I assure you that if you’re willing to commit to making even small, incremental changes towards the life you want and stick with them, you’ll be amazed at how much better and more in control of your life you will feel. You have the power to make 2105 your best year ever!

How to Get Out of a Love Life Rut and Start Attracting Mr. Right

Couple having relationship problems

Do you ever feel like your love life is stuck in limbo – you don’t know if he’s the right guy or you wonder if he’s ever going to commit to your relationship? Are there days when you wish things could be different – especially your love life – but you don’t know what to do or the thought of making a change feels a bit scary? Maybe you’re hanging onto a guy you know isn’t “the one” but you’re afraid you could end up alone if you let go. Or, maybe you keep hanging with the same crowd – because it’s comfortable – but you never meet anyone worth dating. If any of the above rings true, you could be stuck in the waiting place – waiting for someone or something to change your life. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. It’s up to you to take charge of your life. To get out of a love life rut and beyond that limbo-like waiting place to the kind of love life you truly want is all about what YOU need to do and it requires two things:

  1. It requires a decision to make a change
  2. It requires acting on that decision

It requires a decision to change – Too often, the reason why you’re stuck in that waiting place is because you’re either unwilling to choose a course of action, or you’re hoping someone – a guy – will change or a new guy will come along and make everything better. But the problem with waiting on someone else to change is…you’re left waiting. If you want to find love with Mr. Right, you have to choose it. And choosing it often requires making those difficult decisions, like:

  • Accepting that the relationship you have isn’t working
  • Letting go of someone who doesn’t treat you right or isn’t right for you
  • Giving up the old ways of meeting and hooking up with guys
  • Putting your needs first and not living solely to please someone else
  • Accepting that you may have to be alone for a while
  • Willing to move past your fear and take a risk

Sure it’s hard to make the tough decisions and to change. But until you choose to NOT settle for less than the kind of love you truly want and decide to make the necessary changes to help you attract that love, you’ll most likely remain trapped in the waiting place. Life has a funny way of giving you what you expect, and if you choose to do nothing but wait, life gives you more waiting and more of the same old love life you’ve been getting. Remember:

The only person you can change is YOU and you won’t find Mr. Right hanging onto Mr. Wrong.

It requires acting on that decision – Deciding to choose and change is the first step, but acting on your decision is the only way to bring what you want into reality. There is an old saying that stupidity is doing the same thing over and over while expecting a different result. If you want your life to be different, you have to be willing to change something. You have to take that first step out of your comfort zone in order to have a shot at a different life.

And one of the best ways to help you take the first step is to lay out a plan. If letting go of a dead-end relationship is the thing you need to do, then lay out a plan to make it happen and enlist the support of a trusted friend. If you decide you need a new way to meet decent, like-minded men, then start with a list of some ways you can make that happen. In my book, Is He a Keeper?: Savvy Gal Secrets to Spotting Mr. Wrong and Hooking Mr. Right, I have a whole chapter that deals with how to “cut the line” on a losing relationship.

Here are a couple more tips to get you started:


  • Start by making small, incremental changes. It’s often easier and less frightening.
  • Start with a change in some other, unrelated area to give you a boost of confidence. It could be something as simple as inviting someone new at work to lunch or trying out a restaurant you’ve never gone to before.


Five Simple Change Ideas to Help You Get Out of Your Rut and Start Attracting Mr. Right


And, finally, here are 5 simple change ideas you can try to get you moving and out of your rut. You’ll find a lot more ideas in my book.

  • Join a gym and start exercising a 2-3 times a week. It will give you a healthy shot of endorphins to boost your mood and energy which helps to fuel change.
  • Volunteer for some local charity or charity event. You’ll meet new people and feel good about what you’re doing all at the same time.
  • Take your dog to a doggy park or a park frequented by dog owners. Don’t have a dog? Borrow a friend’s. Dogs are great ice breakers.
  • Do something that gets you around people of similar interests. Check out local “meet-up” groups that match your interests and attend one of their meetings.
  • Change up your style with a new haircut, a different shade of lipstick, or ditch the jeans for a skirt or dress. When you feel good about yourself, it raises your energy level and that higher frequency vibration field acts like a magnet to attract others to you.

I know from personal experience that change can be hard. Even when you’re unhappy, it is often easier to stay in a place where you know what to expect vs. venturing into the unknown. But true happiness can only come if you let go of what’s holding you captive, embrace your fears, and choose to change. Finding Mr. Right isn’t an accident; it’s a choice you make.
Until next time, live smart and be savvy in love!

The Art of the Flirt: How to Use Two of Your Best Assets to Attract the Opposite Sex

Flirting couple

It’s a proven fact that men and women alike are hard-wired to flirt with each other. Likewise, we’re programmed to recognize and respond to the subtle and not so subtle signs of flirtatious behavior. Whether it’s the way a woman will tilt her head and twirl or flip her hair, or the way a man stands with his chest puffed out, we are “trained” to pick up on the signals and use them as an invitation to engage in conversation and/or physical contact. It’s the biological mating game everyone is playing to attract the opposite sex – better known as the Art of the Flirt.

But, for some of you women, the idea of flirting makes you uncomfortable. You’re convinced that flirting just isn’t something you know how to do. In your mind, it’s an attraction technique better left to the outgoing or the beautiful people – neither of which you’d use to describe yourself. Well, you couldn’t be more wrong. In fact, you’ve probably flirted and not even realized it. How do I know? Because, you have two great assets that are perfect for flirting and so easy to use even a child could do it. As a matter of fact, children do! Ever hear of peek-a-boo!

The Art of the Flirt – Your Two Best Assets

What are these flirt-ready assets? They are your eyes and your smile. It’s that simple and they’ll work for you every time.

Making eye contact is one of the most effective ways to get a guy’s attention. When you make and hold eye contact, you’ve sent the signal that you truly see him and for a guy – because he needs very little encouragement – that’s all it takes to register in his brain as an invitation to approach.

Then, when you have him locked in a gaze, you smile – a nice, friendly grin. Even a shy, coy smile will work. A simple smile conveys so much. It radiates warmth, friendliness, and even confidence which together cement the invitation to approach in the mind of a man.

So you don’t have to be the pretty, life-of-the-party “flirty girl” to use the art of the flirt to attract a guy. Just use your two best assets as I’ve described and have some fun. You’re sure to get some attention from the opposite sex.

But remember, because flirting comes so naturally, it can also be easily misinterpreted. Have you ever experienced “friendly flirting” or thought a friend might be flirting with you? Check out my recent article for entitled: What Does It Mean When “Friends Flirt” and How Should You Handle It?

How to Spot a Potential Abuser—7 Warning Signs Your Man Might be One

With so much attention on the Ray Rice sexual assault scandal dominating the news and social media almost daily, it’s a good time to talk about the facts surrounding domestic violence and what you need to learn about how to spot a potential abuser.

The statistics on domestic violence are both staggering and frightening. According to the American Psychological Association:

  • 1 in 3 women has experienced physical violence and/or stalking.
  • On average, every day, more than 3 women are murdered by a husband or boyfriend.
  • 1 in 5 high school students has been physically and/or sexually abused.

And according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), boys who grow up seeing domestic violence are twice as likely to become abusers.

How to Spot a Potential Abuser

He Might Be An Abuser If...

An abusive relationship doesn’t necessarily start with physical abuse. It’s more often the result of escalating behavior that can start with verbal or emotional abuse, such as name-calling, verbal threats, or put-downs designed to control a woman and strip her of self-esteem. Then, when a woman stays or fails to recognize the warning signs, her abuser’s actions often escalate to physical violence over time. And the longer a woman remains in an abusive relationship, the greater the risk of fatal injury. But, what may come as a surprise is the fact that women are at greatest risk of a fatal injury when they finally decide to try to leave their abuser.

While an abuser may not start out being physically violent, there are always warning signs to look for. The sooner you can spot the signs of a potential abuser, the more likely you can avoid physical abuse and the threat of fatal injury.

Here are 7 warning signs to look for, but you can get a more comprehensive list in my book Is He a Keeper?: Savvy Gal Secrets to Spotting Mr. Wrong and Hooking Mr. Right available on Amazon.

  • He hits, pushes, slaps or throws something at you.
  • He is verbally abusive – calls you names, puts you down or threatens you.
  • He tries to keep tabs on your activities.
  • He exhibits extreme mood swings or has almost two personalities.
  • You are afraid of him or what he might do.
  • He makes unwarranted accusations—accusing you of flirting or being unfaithful.
  • He controls what you do and who you see.

What Women Need to Understand and Remember

  • Real love doesn’t hurt. Men don’t abuse out of love. They abuse out of anger and a need to dominate or control.
  • You are not to blame for your man’s violent behavior. There are no excuses for getting physical with a woman.
  • If it happens once, it will happen again. No matter how remorseful he appears or how vehemently he promises to never do it again, if you stay there will be a next time.
  • The longer you stay, the greater the risk of bodily injury and even death. So before you leave a potentially violent abuser it is wise to seek help and have a plan. Below are resources you can contact to get help with your situation.

(NCADV) National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
National Domestic Violence Hotline (800-799-7233)

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