The 7 Worst Marriage (+ Preparing for Marriage) Tips I’ve Ever Received

  1. No one knows what they’re doing in marriage – so just jump right in! THIS WAS REAL ADVICE I RECEIVED. And I can’t be too judgmental because, well, I did this. It is partly true. We can’t fully know what two people’s lives becoming one is really like until we’re in it.  BUT (BIG BUT HERE) there’s a lot we can know. The first phase of any relationship is characterized by complete fantasy. All we have are the attraction chemicals bubbling up from a childhood place drawing us to this person. Our conscious adult brains like to give our feelings logic, so we place all the fantasies we’ve ever had about a love interest on this person, because …


3 Rules for Casual Dating (If You Don’t Want to Fall in Love with EVERYONE)

At some point in our dating lives, we all must undergo a rude awakening: We can fall in love with anyone. This push-pull of falling for someone we KNOW is wrong for us is the tension Mark Manson talks about in his blog, “F* Your Feelings.” His basic premise is that emotions stem from our choices, and our choices are based on one of two motivations: The Choice feels good. The Choice is something we believe to be good or right. When a choice is based on both of those motivations, sweet! When these two things don’t align, though, cognitive dissonance arises, and our brain does everything it can to rectify it. [[Cognitive dissonance: “a situation involving conflicting attitudes, beliefs …


How Awkward First Dates Are a Path for Growth

These past few years have been a motor speedway of personal growth, the conduit being not only a ton of therapy but also destiny-driven personal interactions that left serious imprints. One date in particular was rather surreal, mostly because I was immediately uncomfortable sitting there. This date reminded me of pain from past relationships. I, unknowingly, had written off traditionally religious guys, associating similar traits to being hurt in the same ways I had been before. My subconscious mind kept me safe from those kinds of guys, protecting me from ever being like that again. The hour we sat there became weirdly healing as this guy began to disprove every assumption I placed on him. I thought a traditionally religious …


How To Tell When You’re Saying Yes To Your Worth and NO to Boundary-Stomping Jerks

This year, I’ve met a number of flighty, unreliable types. They chat you up, and they’re super flirtatious. It kinda feels like they create chemistry with everything. Initially, all your warning signs are screaming, “f*** boy/girl, stay away,” but then you find out the guy/girl is kind of creative, or they say something to make you feel special, and you’re in. One date couldn’t be so bad, right?! They ask you on a date (sort of). They don’t really set a time, or a day, and then they text you around the time you sort of agreed on but never finalize plans. A MILLION RED FLAGS. A. MILLION. I know this is a little sad, but the old Ilsa would …


The People We Attract + Why – Unfinished Business Part 2

The primary foundation of attraction and chemistry are tied to our unfinished business + imago match. (Read More Here) To remind us of these concepts: Unfinished business: our unconscious search for the mate that will right the wrongs of our imperfect childhoods. Imago match: someone who carries the traits of what survival looked like for us in childhood, most likely a combination of traits from our childhood caretakers. The final piece of the attraction puzzle is self-esteem, which is defined as “confidence in one’s value as a human being correlated with achievement, good relationships, and satisfaction.” While I like to define these three concepts separately, they are, in practice, totally intertwined. Our imago match will carry our unfinished business from …


Decoding “The Game” + Stop Wasting Time

Like many women, I have run hard after THE mixed signal kings. As the observant, reflective type – their lack of attention and my slight obsession has been strongly disconcerting. Why did their aloofness peak my interest? Turns out I’m not alone – there’s even research on it. According to research, some of us get stuck in the addiction/reward cycle when meeting a potential romantic interest. Their initial interest draws us in, their rejection makes us crave their interest even more (and subsequently  wonder where it went), and then we continuously seek the initial attention as a form of reward. It’s totally dysfunctional. As a typically confident woman, my insecurities go through the roof in this cycle. I can’t send …


Perfectionism and Dating: The Pure Boy vs. The Addict

Growing up I longed to be noticed by the straight-A, quarterback of the football team, homecoming king. The guy who was smart, popular, athletic, HOT, and probably tutored children in his free time. In my mind – he was perfect and if he liked me maybe that meant I could be perfect too. This is not life. Turns out, even the seemingly perfect among us are battling something. In Mark Manson’s “Happiness is Not Enough” Mark introduces us to his friend, John, who while being the king of positivity, was actually addicted to drugs. This year I met Mike, who at a pretty young age, is a recovering alcoholic. He has been through rehab, completed the 12 steps, and continues …


How To Get Over Them

The title of this blog has probably been googled a millions times. (I, too, am a contributor) One thing stands out amidst the search options: there are VERY few helpful things on in the internet. The truth is, there isn’t really a “How To” on this one, just like there isn’t really a “How To Grieve.” BUT I’ve discovered a helpful guidepost in regards to MOVING THE EFF ON. When we first fall for someone, the hormones create quite the emotional event. The dating app culture of our generation is to burn hot for like, two weeks, and then get ghosted. It’s the worst. In an effort to be “mature” and “diplomatic”, MANY of our well-meaning friends, encourage us to …


When The Ex Is No Longer Our Type

A few months ago, I had drinks with an ex-boyfriend of sorts, let’s call him Dan. Ex’s can be dangerous territory because there’s a familiarity that is oh-so enticing, as well novelty, because we haven’t seen them in while. Some things have changed and some things feel like an old pair of jeans that fit in all the right places. Dan and I had a really nice night. Surprisingly, some of the changes we’ve experienced seemed to converge. We’ve both experienced a dramatic shedding of societal burdens and with that the liberation and sometimes scary self-redefining that takes place. But, I really wasn’t into it. I felt like I was looking at an old version of myself. Not that that …


Why You Will Marry Your Parents and What To Do About It Part 1

You know that annoying thing older people tend to say: “You can’t help but marry your mother/father”? Turns out, it’s science. As a byproduct of surviving childhood but never being fully satisfied by our upbringing, our unconscious brain (also called the old brain) is forever attempting to recreate our childhood conditions in an effort to correct whatever left us wanting. Remember the stars of our childhood? You guessed it: mom and dad! With some guest appearances from siblings, nannies, aunts/uncles, neighbors, and teachers. In their book “Getting the Love You Want,” Harville Hendrix, PhD and Helen Lakelly Hunt, PhD detail what they call our “unfinished business” and our unconscious search for the mate that will right the wrongs of our …