Today, I spoke with Brenda Della Casa, who is a dating and relationship expert. We’ve had a discussion about dating, as it relates to personal branding, in the past. Now it’s time to dive deeper into how successful relationships can work, while you are working hard to build your personal brand. It’s not easy managing a relationship, while managing your career, at the same time. I have yet to succeed in doing this, but Brenda gives great advice in this interview.
Brenda, how does a man brand himself as prince charming and how does a woman brand herself as “Cinderella”?
I don’t know that too many people actually brand themselves as Cinderella and the Prince but I do know there are plenty of intelligent, lovely, competent and complete women who buy into the idea that their life and accomplishments only have significance if they are in a relationship.
You’ve interviewed 1,000 guys (GOD help you). What were some of the comical responses you received? What do most guys want in relationships with women and the other way around?
Many men, by nature, tend to approach things with a little less “life or death” seriousness than their female counterparts so a lot of the guys would throw in a joke here and there but all of the men I interviewed took the questions very seriously and gave straight and thoughtful answers. Some of the funnier answers made it into the back of the book. I had one man inform me they played Monopoly and drank diet coke at Bachelor Parties while another told me I could not know what happened because “then we don’t get to have them.”
Men and women are basically looking to get to the same destination; they just take different modes of transportation and drive at different speeds. Men want to be loved, appreciated, respected and romanced just as much as women want these things. They want to be heard and understood and to feel attractive, intelligent and desired the same as their wives and girlfriends do.
While they may not want roses and little Tiffany’s boxes, they want to know they matter and have someone relate to them and that’s a common desire between the sexes. I’ll tell you right now one thing they don’t want which is to be solely responsible for their partner’s happiness or be expected to swoop in and save them.
Why is modern romance so frustrating and strange?
We live in a world of disposability and an obsession with what I call, “The Bigger, Better Deal.” We are the most connected-disconnected- society in the history of the world. Phone calls have been replaced with emails and text messages, cards with e-Cards, dates with a 15 minute cocktail meeting in which you are expected to “audition” for a dinner date.
“Dating has become less about romance and courtship than a large social networking opportunity with fringe benefits.”
Are people just waiting longer to get married because they want to focus on their career?
While it is true that there are more women in the workplace and many men don’t want to get married until they have their careers in order, there is more to it than that. Careers, lifestyles, heightened expectations and a change in social rules regarding dating and women in general have all attributed to men and women waiting longer to say “I do.”
We live in a culture focused on instant gratification where the messages we get about men, women and what our lives should be are photo-shopped, airbrushed and spoon fed to us by PR and advertising companies.
“We have unrealistic ideas about what sex, dating, love, marriage, men, women and our lifestyles should be.”
Nothing ever measures up and we live in a constant state of “less than.” This has made it harder to get a second date, let alone get someone to commit. How can the average man or woman compete with our “Brangelina” ideals?
What are 5 tips for finding the one you love?
- Be yourself! If you are too busy morphing into who you think someone wants you to be, neither of you will be comfortable in the relationship. The more authentic you are and the more you live your most authentic life, the better the chance to find someone who fits into that life.
- Be realistic. We are all human beings and that means that we will have flaws, make mistakes and quite possibly not have perfect thighs or the “right” color eyes but can very well still be a good match.
- Show everyone involved a little respect. This means not allowing yourself to be treated in a way that makes you feel bad and showing others the same courtesy. Don’t say you will call if you don’t plan to, don’t forget to thank your date for the time they showed you, don’t sleep with someone until you’re ready or expecting it to change the dynamics of whatever relationship you have and so forth.
- When someone tells you who they are, believe them. If he says he isn’t interested in committing, that isn’t a challenge. Likewise, if she tells you she doesn’t want children, don’t expect your love to change her mind.
- Date Yourself! Instead of waiting for someone to share trips to the museum, try the bistro and visit Rome with yourself, go and live your life! Doing the things that make you feel happy and content will make you more attractive than any suit or pair of shoes will.
What is the connection between being in a relationship with someone else and one’s career? Do you need both at the same time? Is it possible to build a business from scratch, while being in a relationship and survive?
Like all situations and relationships, the journey and the outcome depend on the person you are and the person you are with. Balancing a relationship and a career, especially one as an entrepreneur, is definitely a delicate balance. The person starting the business is going to need a lot of understanding and support from their partner but that doesn’t mean they can ignore their partners needs and the relationship all day, every day for five years.
I have found that the couples who have the most successful relationships are those who are able to communicate their needs to their partner while empathizing with them at the same time. Relationships are more than roses, champagne and date night. They are about working together as a team to build a better life together and sacrificing for long-term goals while finding ways to celebrate the here and now.
Brenda Della Casa is an internationally published author and casting producer who has spent the last eight years interviewing single, married and divorced men and women for a variety of television shows and articles. Her new book is called Cinderella Was a Liar: The Real Reason You Cannot Find (or Keep) a Prince, which has been published in five languages. Brenda is a columnist for Divorce360.com and is the Dear Luv Lady for Lifetime Online.
She has been featured in Cosmopolitan, iVillage, FHM, Men’s Health, Health & Fitness, Cosmopolitan, The New York Daily News, Glamour, Scarlet, Seventeen, Bliss, Company, Elle, and many others. She has been a guest on The Today Show, IVillageLive! and numerous other television and radio programs.