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“Hitch” is one of my favorite romantic comedies to date. I love the way the film explores a woman’s endeavor to find and keep love — with the help of an expert — which is why I jumped at the chance to interview best-selling author and certified love guru Shay Levister to see what tips she might have for women looking to do the same in 2020.

Though she’s known as “Shay Your Love Diva,” the Certified Love Transformer™ didn’t grow up in a house full of love. In fact, she witnessed domestic violence in her childhood home, which had a negative impact on her view of romantic relationships. Shay went on to have a series of unhealthy relationships as she got older, reaching her breaking point when she became homeless with her 5-week old baby. After making a promise to her child that they would witness healthy love, Shay decided to dedicate her life to learning everything she possibly could about attracting healthy love and healthy partners. 

The relationship coach, who is also a master Neuro-Linguistic Programming and Rapid Transformational Therapy practitioner, read more than 100 relationship and human behavior books and noticed a pattern. Through her own healing, she also reconnected with her high school sweetheart and the two wed in 2013. Now the mother, of four who is also trained in hypnotherapy, has one mission: to help one million singles find love.

We asked Shay for some pointers for single women looking for committed relationships, and she said the first thing you need to do is evaluate. Ask yourself: Do I like this person? Do They Like Me? Do they ask me questions about myself? Are there any signs of chemistry?

“If they don’t meet your list requirements, that should make him nervous,” Shay said. “You are the prize.” 

The love guru said it’s also important for women to understand the six phases of dating.

  • Phase One is the Attraction Phase. During this time, there’s mutual attraction at play, but that doesn’t mean you should go to bed with your partner just yet.
  • Phase Two is the Courting Phase. During this phase you get the good morning texts, the amount of emojis increase, and the chase/pursuit begins. This is where the guy starts to fall. Scientifically, the serotonin levels go up and testosterone goes down. But wait, we’re still holding off on sex at this point.
  • Phase Three is called the pull away phase. Typically, women can multitask fairly well, while men find it difficult. Shay suggests women pull away to assess whose effort is really keeping things going. If the man stops pursuing, there’s a retardation in the relationship.
  • Phase Four is the most rewarding phase: commitment. According to Shay, you should wait until this phase to have sex.
  • Phase Five is engagement.
  • Phase Six, the final stage, is marriage. 

I was especially curious about phase three, as it seems to be the most telling phase. Women often miss the telltale signs that a relationship is going left until it’s too late and their feelings are hurt. I asked Shay why that is and she attributed the avoidance of red flags to loneliness, as well as the dopamine rush that comes from the initial attraction to a new potential partner, which can blind us to their shortcomings.

To bypass what our hearts may be telling us and lean more into our heads, Shay said it’s important to operate with high levels of discernment and a high level of expectation. If you’re looking for a committed relationship, you must always keep that end goal in mind. Though that may sound stringent, that doesn’t mean doing so can’t be fun. As Shay put it, “Be open to the process and enjoy the gift of each moment — and each lesson.”


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