How To Identify Your Needs In a Relationship

couple at dinner

I was talking with a client recently about dating and old patterns of behavior that no longer work for us.

He has been in the dating scene since his divorce several years ago and has been really working on understanding what he needs in a relationship. He is finding that his needs get clearer once he is in a dating relationship, because it allows him to really look at what makes for a good match – and eventually a long term commitment. He gets to test out what he thinks he wants and discover what really matters to him in the long term.

He is beginning to understand his needs in relationships and how all the pieces of the puzzle need to fit together in order to form a relationship that works for him. What is new to him is the piece of self reflection. It is often difficult to navigate our own insecurities, shortcomings, and admitting when we find ourselves being selfish, silent or “god for bid” needy in a relationship.

To be clear, those qualities that we find hard to acknowledge, let alone admit or voice, are actually not the problem. Because every single human being on the planet can be/has been at times selfish, passive aggressive, and needy in a relationship.

The problem that my client and I have really nailed down in our sessions together is not being able to admit – and come to the table – about the issues we struggle with in a relationship. My client was dating a woman who on paper looked great and for the most part was responsible, successful, and attractive. However, when it came to understanding her triggers and taking ownership of her own behavior, she was not able to see her part of the equation. She blamed, demanded, and could not see her own insecurities.

My client was a bit disappointed and shocked, because she checked off many of the things on his “list” of what he was looking for. Unfortunately, the most essential priorities on his list – his non-negotiables – were not being met. She lacked good communication skills and did not have the ability, or even the desire, to take a look at and work on her own neediness. If we are not willing to at least acknowledge these behaviors, it will often undermine our relationships.

He ended up breaking up with her because of this, and while it took a couple of months to really see and understand things for himself, it taught him a great lesson. There was no blame, she just wasn’t a good match for him. The experience helped him find clarity and identify his own needs, his wants, and what is really important to him. That didn’t become clear until he went through this experience and was able to identify what did not work for him.

So, it wasn’t a failure or mistake, because it was a great opportunity for him to learn his own insecurities in a relationship and know what he absolutely needs in his next relationship.

That is what relationship coaching is all about. Becoming clearer and more confident about yourself and what you need and want in a relationship, and being able to say “no” to something that doesn’t work. This also makes it easier to embrace and own your needs and neediness, so that you can move through them.

What is The Difference Between Needs and Neediness?

So how do we differentiate between “Needs” and “Neediness” in a relationship? Check out the helpful list below.

Needs Are:

  • Normal, valid, and important
  • Present in healthy couples and individuals
  • Necessary to thrive and have a good life
  • Best met by taking responsibility and initiative
  • Most effectively met by clear communication
  • Ability to voice needs clearly tends to attract others

Unmet needs stimulate action, while met needs result in contentment. The ability to voice your needs clearly tends to attract others. Being open and honest about your needs is key to a healthy and successful relationship.

Neediness Is:

  • Driven by emotional issues that are not often conscious
  • Born from desperation
  • Blaming your own issues on others
  • A result of being in a helpless/victim position
  • Never being satisfied and always needing more

Neediness is often a major turn off and can repel others. Having needs in a relationship is normal and healthy, but constantly needing reassurance, always placing blame on your partner, and always needing and wanting more is not.

In my relationship coaching program, I extensively go through how needs are necessary and help us get what we want to have in our life. We are not often taught to have needs, let alone voice our needs, so often times we deny them. This denial leads to us becoming needy. If you partner with me for relationship coaching, we can identify signs of neediness and also explore your needs – and how to ensure they are met in a relationship.

Contact me today, or call me at (312) 213-2395 to learn more about my 3 month relationship coaching program and set up a free 30 minute free strategy session!

 

Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards –Soren Kierkegaard.

Being Your Own BFF Lays Foundation for Relationship Success

It’s not unusual for clients to begin my relationship coaching program in a somewhat fretful state. Having spent years devoted to their careers, they eventually came to see the lack of balance in their lives.

Some name what they feel as an “inner emptiness.” Others describe their lives as being without a lot of personal meaning, beyond what they contribute professionally or philanthropically. Even those with good friendships feel something is missing.

Naturally, because these women are so results-oriented in their careers, they suspect a romantic relationship may be the answer to their personal dissatisfaction. What they come to learn is that finding someone “out there” (or online) is not where the relationship coaching process begins. It starts with the connection with yourself.

Begin the Journey

As a relationship coach (and marriage therapist), I heartily believe that having good relationships with friends and family – and for most of us, being in a successful, long-term romantic one – are super important components of a good life. Yet the true basis of a fulfilling life is the relationship we have with ourselves. Being our own best friend.

Regardless of circumstance, this means giving ourselves the time and attention to figure out what we need and want, optimally before we start looking for a mate. I can say from experience that it is the most rewarding (and at times, admittedly, the hardest) journey of our lives.

We start the trek by taking the attention off the nameless partner we hope will complete us, and bring our focus back to ourselves. Once we’ve gotten to know ourselves better, “warts and all,” as they say, we can build a life that feels enriching and complete, whether we find a partner or remain single.

And for many, that lifelong inner journey does eventually lead to finding the man or woman of our dreams.

Be Curious

One very practical way to befriend ourselves is to participate in activities that bring us joy.

I remember when I was newly divorced and single, it seemed as if all I did was work, take care of my two young children, volunteer at school and go on an occasional date. Given how small my life had become, I was desperate for a relationship. I was convinced a partner would fix what was wrong with my life.

So I started seeing a relationship coach to find “the guy.” Instead, my coach started me on a process to find myself. Defining what I needed and wanted from a future relationship, I came to learn, was a bit further down the line.

In the meantime, I needed a richer and more fun life as a single mom. But I didn’t have a clue what might bring that about. Not long after, I went on a date that turned out to be life-changing. But it wasn’t the guy. Him I dumped. But swing dancing? I was in love!

It was fun and freeing – and it was something I could do by myself. I started going to clubs to dance, took lessons and before you know it, I had made new friends and expanded my world considerably. My life felt balanced – and I felt satisfied and proud for finding a hobby I adored. Most surprising of all? I didn’t feel desperate for a guy anymore. It was from that place of balance and satisfaction that I got clear about the type of partner I was looking for.

Imagine the Possibilities

Some of my clients have been so wrapped up in their careers (or been busy being single moms taking care of their children) they have no idea what activities might be fun for them. If you fall in that camp, ask yourself these questions:

      • What did I like to do as a kid?
      • Have I ever said, “Someday I want to try ____?” If so, what was that thing?
      • What makes me laugh and feel joyful?
      • What do I do that feels enjoyable – even if I think of it as a part of everyday life?

 

Your interests and passions may be buried, but they’re inside you. The good thing about exploring this aspect of yourself is that there’s virtually no way to go wrong. If you don’t have a bona fide passion, try something that sounds interesting to test your hypothesis. If that first choice isn’t satisfying, move on to something else.

Let’s say you’ve always admired your neighbor’s garden. You could take a class at your local botanical garden or sign up for a plot in a community garden. Sure – you might find out you don’t like the idea of getting dirt under your fingernails, but you could just as easily end up with a basket of edibles and a few new friends! Or, if you once liked crafting, stroll through a hobby store and see if any materials catch your eye or evoke a happy memory.

Another super low-cost and low-risk way to explore happiness-producing pastimes is to attend a “Meetup” on a topic of interest in your city. A single Google search for “Meetups in Chicago,” my hometown, produced multiple pages of results on activities from hiking to harmonica hoe-downs!

Remember, the goal here is not to become an expert…you’re simply looking to activate your feelings of pleasure and enjoyment. When you engage in activities that are fun and add value to your life, you’ll feel satisfied, accomplished and connected. That’s happiness.

When you find that, my hunch is the “hole” you now think is the lack of a partner will start to fill with self-regard and, eventually, self-love. The biggest bonus of all is that once you’re personally fulfilled, you’ll probably feel a lot less pressure once you do start dating in earnest. Finding a partner will simply be an added blessing to a life you already love.


Sue DeSanto, LCSW, is a relationship coach with a proven three-month relationship coaching program for helping people gain the clarity and confidence they need to be in a successful relationship. She offers interested singles a no-cost 30-minute strategy session to help them determine if relationship coaching is for them. Call sue today at (312) 213-2395 for your free strategy session!

10 Tips For a Better Online Dating Experience

woman on laptop

In today’s fast-paced world, online dating seems to have become the norm. In fact, according to The Knot, 19% of brides said they met their spouse online.

If you haven’t tried online dating sites such as match.com or eHarmony, you most likely have a friend, cousin, or friend of a friend who has. With online dating comes plenty of horror stories. The world of online dating can be a tough one to navigate and at times it can seem completely hopeless or like a waste of your valuable time. However, online dating CAN work! Just ask Heather and Dan.

I was recently interviewed by Jackie Pilossoph for an article that was featured in the Chicago Tribune. Jackie is the creator of Divorced Girl Smiling – a divorce support website, and is also a freelance columnist. In the article, Jackie tells the story of Heather and Dan, an engaged couple who met on Match.com and are now engaged. The couple offers tips for navigating the world of online dating and shares why it worked so well for them. Check out the article, Tips for Navigating the Crazy World of Online Dating from a Success Story, to learn more about their story.

Jackie also included 5 of my tips for online dating. Find the complete list of tips for a better online dating experience below!


10 ONLINE DATING TIPS

  1. Have a positive and confident attitude. You need to have a curious and open mind toward online dating. If you go into it as a pessimist, you will be left miserable and frustrated. The world is a mirror and it will give negative attitudes right back to you!
  2. Give it time. We need to put time and energy into the things we want – including a relationship. This means putting time and effort into creating your online dating profile.
  3. Tell your story. Your online profile should begin with your passion/interests and then discuss your profession. If you like to rock climb, garden, or dance – talk about it! Remember you are putting together your profile to attract interest. Use a story format and be as creative as possible!
  4. End with a question. Always ask a question at the end of your profile. It could be anything: If you could be anywhere right now, where would you be? or Do you have a bucket list and what’s top on your list? Ending with a question gives a potential suitor something to talk to you about when they reach out for the first time and increases the chance for an engaging first conversation.
  5. Choose the right photo. Whether we like it or not, in the world of online dating, appearance matters. Your picture is the first thing a potential match sees, and therefore is a very important part of your profile. Use two or three good pictures of yourself and make sure one is a full picture of you. Bonus points if your pictures show off your passions and interests!
  6. Attract the right ones. An engaging, thought out profile will help you attract the kind of guys/gals you want to meet. If you put the time into your profile, you’ll most likely go on many dates with people you actually want to spend time getting to know.
  7. Listen to your gut. If he says he can’t meet for a month or months, asks for money, or your spidey senses are activated – move on fast. Trusting your gut is key when it comes to dating. I know, that sounds obvious, but you would be surprised!
  8. Keep the emails to a minimum. I recommend only emailing for one or two weeks before meeting up in person. You never know someone until you meet them! Once you know there is interest, set up a coffee date.
  9. Go on a coffee date.  Remember to keep the date to about one hour. This first date is a “get to know you date.” It’s where you’ll learn if you have things in common, if you feel a connection, and most importantly, if you like them. No long dinners. Repeat after me…We are NOT desperate. We have time! You can always schedule a date for the future once you’ve established a connection.
  10. Keep perspective. Remember that online dating is challenging for both men and women – even though we go about it very differently!

 


Hopefully these tips will help you navigate the wild world of online dating. If you change your perspective and are open to the possibilities, you can have a lot of fun with it!

And, if you’re looking for tips for those first few dates, check out my blog on The 7 Questions to Ask on the First Three Dates.

7 Key Questions to Ask on the First 3 Dates

Here’s a quick test to help you determine if you’re truly ready to go after your goal of having a long-term, successful relationship:

Picture this: You’re on the 3rd date with someone you really like – and who seems to like you. Can you imagine yourself saying something along these lines?
I think it’s pretty clear we like one another – and I think you’re a terrific guy/gal. As we talked about on our last date, we’re both interested in finding someone to be in a long-term relationship with. If we’re going to continue dating, I think it’s a good idea to share with each other what we envision for ourselves to further test our compatibility. Would you be open to talking about that?

Yikes, right?

You’d be surprised. It’s actually not a tough question for people who are both ready to be in a relationship and relatively confident and clear about what they want and need. This type of person understands it could take time to find the right partner. So even when there’s chemistry with someone, they believe it makes sense to ask the difficult questions early on to make sure their relationship values and goals match up.

What might seem like the Mt. Everest of questions is also easy to leapfrog for those whose life goals (i.e., marriage and family) are tied to age. Many like-minded folks in their 30s and 40s have already dated a lot and are ready to make a decision on a partner. And don’t think biological clocks just affect women. Even though men may be capable of fathering a child at age 60 doesn’t mean they want to wait until then to do so.

The “7 key questions in 3 dates” timeline this post proposes isn’t for everyone – nor is it even appropriate for everyone.

If you’re in your early 20s or just want a casual relationship, then taking it slow and letting a relationship evolve organically is to be encouraged. On the other hand, I have a 55-year-old client who hasn’t dated in 8 years. Since she doesn’t want marriage or children, she’s absolutely fine with taking her time so she can uncover what (and who) feels right for her.

In between these two camps, there are many people who truly, (and perhaps desperately) want to be in a relationship yet always seem to get tripped up by common dating pitfalls like fun-but-futureless serial dating or ending up with the wrong type of partner…again.

These people suffer, but I believe there’s a way to end the pain. More about that at the end of the post.

But first, here’s why I believe there are 7 key questions serious daters should ask on the first 3 dates!

I like to compare the first few dates with someone to how we typically size up a buffet line. Think about it. Most of us stroll up and down the table, seeing what looks good before deciding what to commit to our plates. Why? Because if we simply selected the first several items on the table – we could end up missing the really yummy and satisfying entrees further down the line!

That’s how I lay out my 7-questions approach to my relationship-coaching clients. I encourage them to look at dating as a way to get clear about a person’s rightness for you before you’re in too deep. If you take the approach to let things “develop organically,” you could end up spending a lot of time with someone, only to find out they’re not someone you can be with long-term.

Plus, asking the key questions early on can save some heartache. Many people, women in particular, have a hard time letting go of a relationship once there is physical and/or emotional intimacy. So even if you come to know that he or she can’t meet your needs, it can be hard to say goodbye to someone you’ve really connected with.

One final note before the questions themselves:

I’m not proposing that these are the only questions you’ll ask, (or answer) on dates 1, 2 and 3. You’ve gotten to know hundreds, perhaps thousands of people in your lifetime, and that aspect of dating is no different. But if you’re nervous or unsure, a quick trip to the Internet will provide ample first-date conversational tips.

OK. As promised, here are the 7 key questions that will help you move on to the next date – or simply move on.

Date #1
1. What do you do for fun or as hobbies? Do you prefer adventurous or quieter activities?

This icebreaker is perfect for discovering if there are any interests you share, which is an important aspect of healthy relationships. Of course there is nothing wrong with having dis-similar interests, too, as they help people develop their individuality within a relationship. There are no right or wrong answers here; you’re simply looking for a sense of your date’s temperament and personality.

2. What should I know about you that I’d never think to ask about?
3. What do you wish people would stop asking you?

People aren’t generally asked these questions, so they have to think about their answers. You can learn a lot from their verbal – and nonverbal – responses. For example:

Do they get defensive or are they intrigued?
Do they give themselves the time they need to respond?
Do their responses reveal some vulnerability or perhaps a “silly” side?

If there were enough positive signs and good feelings on the first date, you’ll likely find yourself making plans to see one another again.

Date #2

4. How would you describe your family…and your relationship with them?

Every child plays a unique role in a family. This question invites your date to tell you about his or hers, as well as share about the values, ideals, religious and cultural influences that were part of growing up. What you’re looking to see is if your date talks about his family with warmth or annoyance. If the latter, why is that?

5. What’s your relationship / marriage history?

If you want a serious relationship, the second date is not too early to talk a little about your histories.

You’re not asking for every single detail (nor should you share yours). Instead, you’re after an overview of their relationship experiences. Pay attention: Your date may reveal his or her attitude toward exes (positive or negative), as well as if she or he shares the responsibility for a relationship’s or marriage’s end – or puts it all on the partner. The conversation can also be a sneak peak into what they want in future relationships.

6. Are you looking for a monogamous relationship or do you prefer to date a variety of people?

I know it’s only the second date. And Yes, this is a big question. But if you’re serious about wanting a long-term relationship, it’s better to know your date’s intention sooner rather than later. He or she can’t give a wrong answer… but there is only one right answer for you. If it’s “looking for a monogamous relationship” and the chemistry is good, you’re probably going on to a third date.

Date #3

7. When it comes to a long-term relationship, what are your must-haves…as well as your must-not-haves?

Obviously this isn’t the only question or topic for the third date, but it’s the core one. This question presumes you know what your must-haves and must-not-haves are, of course, and are willing to share them honestly.

If you mention you’d like to be married and start a family within a year or so and your date freaks out, it’s a pretty clear sign that it isn’t in the cards for him or her – at least not on your timetable. It can be tough to distinguish someone’s ‘potential commit-ability” from their actual interest in a commitment… but that’s precisely what this question forces you to reckon with.

So there you have my 7 key questions to ask on the first 3 dates.

Before I sign off, I want to make good on my commitment to daters who want a serious relationship, but are no where near being able to ask these very direct questions.

First, let me assure you there is nothing wrong with where you are! Nor does a resistance to asking these questions mean you’re not meant to be in a relationship.

What it may mean is that you have some old belief systems about yourself and your fitness for a successful relationship that you may not even know you hold. In my experience, (personal and professional), these old beliefs need to be examined. Through that process, you will learn some truths about yourself – and the many positive traits you can bring to a relationship.

Some people can do this emotional work alone, but most find it more effective and efficient to work with a therapist or relationship coach. Eventually, doing it helps you become more clear and confident about what you want and need in a successful relationship – and how to go about achieving that goal.

In fact, I did exactly that to get unstuck and find the relationship of _my_ dreams. And now my coaching practice helps people just like you do the same.

If you’re interested in learning more, please take advantage of my free 30-minute phone consultation.

Happy Dating!

Testimonial 4

I have worked with Sue De Santo and I am so grateful for her expertise, wisdom, guidance, and encouragement. Through her Relationship Coaching Program, Sue expertly led me through exercises and discussions to explore who I was, my past relationship experience and most importantly where I wanted to go and what kind of relationship I was looking for. I feel like I have blossomed under her supervision which has allowed me to become the person I want to be and to find the healthy, enriching and satisfying relationship that I wanted and deserved. She encouraged me to partake of the “dating buffet” and I did and got great results and had a lot of fun doing it. Thank you Sue!

—BS, Chicago

Keep the 80/20 Rule for Relationships in Mind This Valentine’s Day!

valentine's day advice

It’s that time of year again! Heart-shaped candies are filling the aisles, red and pink decor is filling up every available space, and love songs are in the air. That can only mean one thing – Valentine’s Day is almost here!

Whether you’re in a relationship or not, Valentine’s Day is a holiday that can cause a lot of joy – and also a lot of stress. However, there’s another way to look at “the day of love.” We can use this as the perfect opportunity to reflect on our current relationships. Whether you’re single or in a loving, committed relationship, it’s always important to reflect on behaviors and patterns that may be holding you back or causing issues. That’s where the 80/20 rule for relationships comes into play.

The 80/20 Rule for Relationships

If you’ve never heard of the 80/20 rule, it’s the theory that you only get 80 percent of what you actually want out of a relationship. Even if that 80 percent is really amazing, we still search for that missing 20 percent. And the search for that missing 20 percent of what you want out of a partner is what causes people to cheat.

Why do we feel that the 80 percent isn’t good enough? Why are they constantly searching for that missing piece? Many place the blame on their partner because that’s the easy explanation. They aren’t giving you everything you want and need in your relationship, so of course it’s their fault. However, I beg to differ. I have my own take on the 80/20 rule.

80 percent of the issues we have with others are actually our own internal struggles. The other 20 percent are issues within the relationship. Oftentimes, we project our own judgments, fears, and ideas onto others. We go into a relationship expecting to get something out of it, and when we don’t get what we want or need, it’s hard to feel completely settled or happy.

Look Within This Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is all about showing others how much we love them. But in order to do that, we must first start with loving ourselves. This Valentine’s Day, I challenge you to take a look within to identify patterns that are causing challenges in your relationships. In order to do this, you have to take a close look at your own judgments, assumptions, and expectations. The next time you’re on a date and find yourself annoyed with something your partner is doing, take a step back to reflect on the judgments you’re making. Ask yourself if what they are doing is really that bad, or if it’s your own internal struggles that are warping the way you’re looking at the situation. Taking a moment to work through it before rushing to irritation will help you handle anything your date is doing with ease and maybe even a sense of humor.

Remember that YOU have the power to work on the 80 percent of your relationship, while the 20 percent is a joint effort between yourself and your partner. In order to build a relationship that lasts, it’s important to work through you own personal issues to be able to build something real with your partner.

If you’re not sure how to go about working through that 80 percent, you might want to consider relationship coaching. Together, we can figure out the difference between your own needs vs. what you need and want out of a relationship. Contact me today to get in touch and learn more about my relationship coaching program!

Overcoming Internal Barriers to Love

Overcoming Internal Barriers to Love (1)

Are you looking for love but struggling to find it? Have you been deeply hurt by love in the past? Are you looking to let go of past relationships and feel a renewed sense of confidence? If you answered yes to any of the above questions, you may be interested in attending my upcoming workshop with Paula Rosenfeld on February 4th!

Overcoming Internal Barriers to Love is a two and a half hour workshop for women who are single or in relationships. During this workshop, you will learn energy tools that will help you catalyze change in your life, including: meditation, guided imagery, Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), and essential oils. You will also learn how to identify and understand the blocks and fears that are preventing you from moving forward in your relationships.

WHAT: Overcoming Internal Barriers to Love

WHEN: Sunday, February 4th, 2018 from 2pm – 4:30pm

WHERE: Moving Life Studio, 5115 North Ravenswood, Chicago 60640

COST: $49.00

Paula is a shamanic practitioner, holistic health coach, author, clairvoyant reader, and meditation instructor who passionately helps people to be happy and whole. I, Sue De Santo, am a clinical social worker and relationship coach with over 20 years of experience. Through my 3 month one-on-one relationship coaching program, I help individuals understand their hidden barriers to love and how to move through them.

If you’re ready to learn how to “ignite” love from within, contact Paula at paula@fromtheheartcenter.com or call (773) 791-8425 to register today!

Embrace ‘Liminal Space’ this Holiday Season

holiday dating

Are you having a difficult time navigating the dating scene day in and day out? Do you find it is especially difficult during the holidays? If so, you’re not alone. For many, the holiday season is just another reminder that you are alone and not where you want to be – celebrating with a special someone.

It can be easy to allow this time of year to get to you, but it’s important not to let the fact that you are alone affect your sense of self-worth. If you are feeling anxious about where you are in your life, you may be in liminal space.

What is Liminal Space?

Liminal space is a space between what has been and what is to come. It is a place of transition, waiting, and not knowing. Liminal space is not talked about often, but it is a necessary part of the journey to your next adventure. If you short-circuit this phase or try to avoid it, it could add more difficulty to your life in the long run. If you embrace liminal space and are patient, you will see a transformation begin to take place.

Author and theologian Richard Rohr’s definition of liminal space explains it perfectly:

“It is when you have left the tried and true, but have not yet been able to replace it with anything else. It is when you are between your old comfort zone and any possible new answer. If you are not trained in how to hold anxiety, how to live with ambiguity, how to entrust and wait, you will run….anything to flee this terrible cloud of unknowing.”

Liminal Space in Real Life

Chances are, you’ve probably never heard of liminal space before. Don’t worry, you’re not alone! I had never even heard of the term until I spoke with my friend Adrienne Kijak who is a psychotherapist and art therapist in California.

We were catching up when she began telling me about her experience at a recent Art conference. She was working on a painting project called “progressive painting,” where she combined paint, objects she had found, and collage to create a piece. She picked a jagged piece of black glass and a smooth aquamarine piece of beautiful sea glass. During our conversation, she shared the painting process with me, explaining that she spent several days working on layering the paint and objects through all of the phases from the initial “ugly” phase to the finished piece. She explained that at times it was difficult to look at the art project because she hated being with that “ugly” part of the painting and seeing it over and over again. She didn’t want to feel what it was eliciting in her and wanted to cover over it. In her own words, “it was on the page. I couldn’t cover it over, couldn’t make it work. It was there, I couldn’t hide it.” She hated the feeling of not knowing, and more than that, she hated the fact that showing that part of her art left her feeling exposed.

As she spoke about her painting, I realized she was describing exactly how many of us feel about dating, or any other changes we may experience in our life. Whether it be divorce, a job change, or the death of a loved one, we have all experienced those exact emotions she described. That feeling of not knowing, feeling unsafe, exposed, and even “dumb,” is exactly what liminal space describes. But the important part of Adrienne’s story is what she took away from it. In the end, the black edge of “ugliness” she saw and felt in her art ended up being an integral part of the painting that brought the entire process together.

How Have You Experienced Liminal Space?

Often when we date, we experience liminal space.

Many of my clients struggle to move through the dating process. They want to be with their ideal partner already and don’t want to have to go through the trials and tribulations of dating. This is because it feels too hard, too exhausting, and too all-consuming. But dating is a crucial part of the relationship process. It is where you truly discover who you are and what matters most to you in a relationship. Dating can be uncomfortable because you may feel it is taking too long, going too slow, or not really getting you anywhere.

But, next time you are being hard on yourself and feel like you should be further along in your journey, take a second to stop and think about liminal space. Remind yourself that this phase of your life is important and try to have patience with yourself.

Don’t let liminal space put a damper on your holiday cheer. Allow yourself to reflect on your journey and embrace where you are in life and where you are going. If you trust in yourself and where you are on your journey, things will fall into place.


We often need a roadmap to help us navigate the changes in our life. If you’re struggling with liminal space and need some support throughout your journey, I can help! Contact me today to learn more about my relationship coaching program. I look forward to speaking to you about your journey and helping you through this time of liminal space.

Featured on DatingAdvice.com!

online dating advice

I’m excited to announce that I was recently featured in an article on DatingAdvice.com, entitled: Relationship Coaching for Singles: Sue DeSanto Teaches Women to Love Themselves & Change Their Dating Patterns.

Self-described as “The Authority On All Things Dating™,” DatingAdvice.com is an online platform featuring daily articles and resources about love and dating from over 250 dating experts. With over 2.4 million visitors a month, it is a leader in online dating advice. The site covers a variety of topics, including: men’s dating, women’s dating, gay dating, lesbian dating, online dating, and senior dating. No matter who you are or who you love, DatingAdvice.com has the resources available to answer all of your relationship questions.

I was honored to be interviewed by contributing editor Amber Brooks about my relationship coaching services, and enjoyed discussing my personal and professional experiences. We spoke of my own journey as a newly divorced single mother with two children who had no idea what to do next. I was back in the dating world as an adult and I was absolutely terrified. That’s when I decided to seek guidance from a relationship coach, and it turned out to be one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. After a six-month relationship coaching program, I knew what I wanted in life and from a partner and was excited to date again. That’s when I knew I wanted to help other women the same way my relationship coach helped me, and decided to add a relationship coaching program to my Chicago therapy practice.

The article also details my one-on-one relationship coaching program, explaining how it works, and even features quotes from some of my clients who have benefited from the program. As Amber wrote, my Chicago relationship coaching program is “all about overcoming negative dating habits and developing the skills it takes to succeed in the modern dating world.” I work one-on-one with my clients to “foster a mindful approach to dating,” and help them bring out the best in themselves.

This particular section of the article describes my relationship coaching philosophy pretty well:

“Many clients describe Sue as a compassionate coach with thoughtful insights into the inner dynamics of dating and relationships. She gets to the core of what’s blocking someone from reaching their goals and how they can flip the switch and start improving. Her mission is to pair understanding with action and motivate her clients.”

The interview ended with a key message I try to communicate to all of my clients, which is:

“We all have areas of strength and vulnerability. I love going out there and saying there’s nothing wrong with you — it’s just stories you’ve been told and tell yourself. And we can change those stories.”

To read the full article, visit DatingAdvice.com! I’d like to thank them for choosing to feature me in the Women’s Dating section of their site. It was a great experience!

Interview With Next Act for Women

next act for women interview

Recently I sat down for an interview with Hélène of Next Act for Women. As a life coach and writer, Hélène has created a fantastic website where she showcases women, telling their stories in the hopes of inspiring other women. Next Act for Women is a great resource for women seeking advice from other women who can relate to the struggles they are experiencing as they transition to the second half of their lives.

I was honored to be featured on Next Act for Women, and spoke to Hélène about my own personal experience and my journey as a relationship coach. I explained how my divorce helped me understand what I didn’t want in my next relationship, but I still struggled to figure out what I did want. That’s when I worked with a relationship coach who helped me pursue my passions, which gave me the confidence to begin dating. That journey inspired me to become a relationship coach and help others break through their barriers so they can have the confidence to reach their relationship goals.

In the interview, we focused on the unique challenges and opportunities that women in midlife face when it comes to dating and relationships. As I explained to Hélène, many women have a tendency to put their all into their professional lives, while inevitably putting their personal lives on hold. It is easy to put off dating because you believe you will find someone when the time is right or you aren’t comfortable with it. However, I’ve seen that when women reach a certain point in their lives, they realize “life is finite and if they want a special someone to share their life with they need to take action.” This particular excerpt from the interview sums up my thoughts pretty well:

“The opportunity for women in midlife, I believe, is their determination to achieve a sort of balance between their personal and professional selves. The good news is that the traits that make them successful at their career can be put to work for their personal fulfillment through relationship coaching.”

I also gave my advice for women who are just getting back into the dating scene at age 40 or older. As I explained to Hélène, I believe women have to allow themselves to be open to whoever may show up. Don’t say no to someone right away. Allow yourself time to think it over – You never know what may happen! I also offered this piece of advice:

“Yes, the dating world has changed, but that doesn’t mean you can’t meet someone with depth and great character. And in some ways, it has been made easier because all you have to do is go on your computer and find an activity of interest and go meet people. There are also many meet-ups organized around particular hobbies and singles events. Have fun in the process!”

Thank you to Hélène for featuring me on Next Act for Women! I enjoyed speaking to her about my experience and offering advice to her readers who are interested in getting back into the dating scene.

If you think you may need some relationship coaching of your own, or would like to learn more about my 3 month one-on-one coaching program, please fill out my contact form. I’ll reach out to connect!