October 25, 2013

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4 Love Lessons Learned from 100,000 Pickups in Psychology Today

[Editor's Note: This article appeared in Psychology Today]

I recently made the acquaintance of Nick Savoy. Mr. Savoy is the president of Love Systems, an international dating coach company. So, I took the opportunity to get his thoughts on love, dating, and the secrets of success for you.

Scratching beneath the surface, I found a very thoughtful man - educated and practiced in business (MBA from Wharton), and well versed in the language of love. Much of Savoy's wisdom, however, is earned through practical experience. You see, for over ten years, he and his team of coaches have been meeting and training thousands of men and women, in bars, clubs, and coffee shops around the world.

I was curious about the lessons he had learned from all of that practical experience. After all, I have been quite social myself, yet my own dating experience does not hit those numbers. Surprisingly though, I found that we agreed on many of the social dynamics of love. It seems that practical experience and scientific investigation can really lead to similar perspectives (although, I think he got to flirt and party a bit more his way).

So, if you could meet thousands of single men and women, what would you learn about dating? I will save you the trouble... Just read below!

Lesson #1: Dating is Difficult for Everyone

One of the first things Savoy is quick to point out is just how difficult modern dating is for everyone. Even in his younger years, despite all his success in other areas of life, he too faced dating issues.

As he explains, "I was successful in my career but my dating life was going nowhere. I didn’t want to be alone, but I didn’t want to settle, either. I was determined to find a better way. Through years of trial-and-error on a massive scale, I started to see patterns in terms of how dating and attraction really works in the real world – and how much media- and culture-driven 'conventional wisdom' and 'common sense' that I had to unlearn."

Thousands of men and women appear to agree. They purchase his books, Magic Bullets (link is external) (for men) and It's Your Move (link is external) (for women), in large numbers. Scores more sign up for his weekend-long dating "boot camps", paying thousands to attend.

This consumer advice-seeking highlights a growing social problem. With changing times and cultural customs in flux, dating has become complicated and confusing. Much of the "conventional wisdom", as Savoy puts it, does not seem to apply. He expounds on the various ways everyone is led astray in his most recent book - questioning "why is dating so different from how it is 'supposed' to work"? I too have highlighted this social confusion for men and women in previous writings (see here and here).

The message here is simple... If you are having difficulty finding love, you are not alone. In fact, you are in good company. Many valuable, successful, and good-hearted individuals are looking for love too. Society has just become confusing and got in the way. Fortunately, as we will see, there is hope!

Lesson #2: Men and Women are Teammates - Not Enemies

One of the reasons I liked Savoy was that I agreed with his positive outlook on love. While we both see finding the right person as a confusing struggle, we do not see it as a "war of the sexes". Unfortunately, many of the media messages and social ideologies tend to portray men and women as enemies, with love being a zero-sum game - rather than the truth of mutually-beneficial cooperation.

As Savoy explains in the introduction of It's Your Move (link is external), "Sometimes it feels like the dating world has become an arms race. I see more and more dating advice books and articles carrying titles like, 'How to Control Your Woman,' or 'How to Get Any Man to Do Anything You Want,' as if relationships were some sort of competition between men and women. In fact, the opposite should be true. One of the things I like most about my job as a Love Systems dating coach is that I make men and women happier. For every man whom I help find love, there's presumably a woman out there who has found love with him."

Meet enough people, or study the trends, and you soon realize that BOTH men and women are struggling - because they are interdependent. What affects one impacts the other too. Therefore, some dating confusion and heartache can be alleviated by seeing where the sexes can cooperate and coexist, rather than "win" at the expense of the other. After all, as I note in previous articles, successful relationships are built from a mutually-satisfying exchange (see here). So, see where you can create a win-win with a potential lover and you might just be more successful in love.

Lesson #3: Love Follows Predictable Patterns of Development

From all of his "infield observation" and real-world experience, Savoy started noticing patters in social interactions. He found that love followed a predictable and repeatable system, time after time. He distilled these observations and patterns into his Love Systems Triad Model. That model serves as the foundation for his coaching, as well as his books Magic Bullets (link is external) and It's Your Move (link is external).

As Savoy explains, "The Triad is a simple model that shows how to begin a romantic relationship. It is really important for two reasons. First, it provides a step-by-step roadmap, telling you exactly what to do next in a romantic interaction. Second, it offers an organizing principle for the vast amount of information out there that is relevant to dating and attraction. The Triad turns 'lots of random information' into 'news you can use'."

According to this model, dating follows a predictable progression in 1) the emotions each partner experiences, 2) their physical behaviors toward one another, and 3) the various locations they find themselves in along the way. Similar, progressive patterns of dating development have also been noted by social science field observation - particularly the work of Perper (1985) and Givens (2005).

Some of my own writing and research evaluation support Savoy's conclusions as well. For example, the Triad model highlights the importance of the "physical progression" of increasingly intimate touch in successful dating (a point I also note here). Similarly, the model also illustrates the importance of development through the emotions of attraction, comfort, and seduction (a point I also support here).

Overall, it is often enlightening to realize that finding love does not have to be bewildering. Both Savoy's vast real-world observation and social science agree - love follows predictable patterns of development. Learn how the system works and you don't have to guess, worry, or hope for luck.

Lesson #4: Everyone Can Get Better with Education and Practice

Nick Savoy relates that Love Systems evaluates the progress of each and every client. They also provide a full money back guarantee to anyone who is not satisfied with their "boot camp" weekend coaching sessions. To date, after working with thousands of clients, they report a success rate of over 99 percent.

Are these men and women clients better-than-average in some way? Just the opposite - they are normal, average people, coming from all walks of life. In fact, Savoy writes that the only thing that set his clients apart from their peers is that "they refused to give up on themselves and refused to give up on the chance to be happy in life."

What does this mean for you? It means, no matter who you are, you don't have to give up hope. You do not have to be "stuck" with the love life fate has given you. With the right education and practice, you can find the love you want too.

Conclusion

It seems that you can learn a lot by meeting thousands of potential dating partners. Mostly, you realize that everyone is struggling to find love out there. You recognize that men and women are in it together and need to cooperate for relationship success. You also begin to see patterns, models, and progressions - making love more predictable and less confusing. Finally, you realize that there is hope. With a bit of the right education and practice, everyone can sort through the confusion and find love after all.

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Until next time...happy dating and relating!

Dr. Jeremy Nicholson
The Attraction Doctor

(Read the original article here.)


Nick Savoy
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