The 45-year-old advisor was more than happy to have a chat with us from her London based home and offer FemaleFirst readers tips on dating, sex and other issues. Lets get down to business
What would you say are the major factors for a relationship breaking down?
There are lots of reasons. Sometime circumstances change dramatically. Often youll find relationships are in danger if somebody, say, leaves a job that theyre in. I know my marriage went through trouble when I left my job. I used to be the editor of Cosmopolitan in Australia and then I left to write freelance. It really stuffed up the dynamics of the relationship.
Often itll be if youre at a turning point as a couple. Like say youve been together for about eighteen months and everybodys going oh are you going to tie the knot, are you going to have babies that can make you feel like you need to split up, because one partner wants it and one partner doesnt. If youve cheated is another common reason. Even if they dont find out, a lot people cant live with the guilt and rather than tell the person theyll break it off.
Some people talk about we you know we did this at the weekend and others say I do this at the weekend. Youll find if youre still saying I, and people dont even know at work, for instance, that youve got a partner. You start to think to yourself, well hang on am I really committed to this?
Also the blinkers come off at a certain point. That lovely beginning bit the honeymoon period we see each other very perfect with rose tinted glasses really. Then suddenly they come off and if you are really interested in them in the long term, instead of the glasses you use a bloody microscope because youre really considering them as a long - term partner, so you scrutinize each other. Sometimes you just realize that theyre not what you really wanted or not what you thought you had. It can be that.
Sometimes people just drift apart.
What do you think about online dating?
Well I think everybody on earth is doing it. Its certainly the way forward. The only thing that I do think and its a pretty common thing Ive never done it myself but a lot of my friends have, and they said the only thing about it is the mystery has gone because you both know why you are there. Youve got to have a real spark. But it is so the way to go we do everything else by the Internet so of course we are going to find a partner that way.
What about blind dates?
Well thats very much like Internet dating isnt it I think sometimes they can be a very good idea and then other times they can be absolutely disastrous. It depends how you got on that blind date. If its case of a friend has lined you up with somebody and they know you really well and they know the person very well thats probably a really good sign that youre going to get on. If its a blind date that has been set up through a dating agency thats not terribly well run, then its obviously going to be a disaster. Have you ever been on one Tracey?
No, thank God (Laughs) I hope I never have to go on one. I dont think its something that anybody relishes is it.
Ive been on dates, which werent blind dates where Ive got my friends to call me and I might as well have said look Im not enjoying myself, cos he just looked at me like if you think Im going to fall for that, youve got another thing coming.
Do you have any break up tips to give?
Yeah, definitely. Seriously like number one you need to sort out what you want to say. I mean I dont think you should say Actually, Im breaking up with you cos I think youre too fat. But I think you should come up with something that they will believe will be best because when people have trouble getting over things its because they dont understand. Theyre like But hang on, you just said you still love me so why are we breaking up. You need to be quite firm and to come up with a reason which seems plausible which they then will accept. So then they can make sense of it. Once they make sense of it theyre fine they usually get over it.
The biggest mistake people make, I think is trying to be the persons friend. Because quite often you fall out of love with somebody but you still love them as a friend and you see them in all this pain and you try really hard to help them through it. But you cant you cant actually help them through this and they cant help you through this. If you want to be friends fine but youve got to a break for at least a month or depending upon how long the relationship it could be a couple of months.
Ignore public places and dont bloody do it by text! You know what though I sometimes think an email or a letter is kinder. I know some people would say youve got to do it face to face. To be honest I would be happy to be dumped by an email or a letter if it was a short-term relationship. Long-term relationships you have to do it face to face. But I mean its embarrassing and humiliating for people to be dumped. So sometimes by email its a better way to do it. But it should be a long email explaining things and being nice. Sometimes when its written down, people accept it more easily as well because its there. You cant deny it. Its like did he say that or did he not. But if its there in front of you youve got to accept it dont you?
Any comments for someone wanting to improve their self-esteem after splitting up with their partner?
Get rid of people who make you feel bad about yourself. Simple as that. Like in youre in a job where your boss makes you feel back get rid of it get out of it. If youve got friends that just constantly put you down get rid of them. Get rid of any guy who doesnt make you feel like a million pound. Be quite careful about who you surround yourself with. That makes a hell of a difference.
Then theres the usual things. If there are really severe issues with self-esteem then you need to go and get some counselling. Im totally pro counselling obviously because Im a psychologist but I mean Ive seen it make such a difference to peoples lives. Because self- esteem is often a negative way of thinking. You get into this spiral of thinking that youre shit and then just one thought leads into another thought and then another thought. Then before you know it youre down to thinking that youre minus 0. Whereas if you learn to think positively, and it is an art and a skill, you can get yourself out of it.
Also exercise is incredibly important. Eating right and exercise. Diet and lack of exercise effect our mood so much cos it effects the serotonin levels in the brain. It makes you feel better about your body which is often why people have a lack of self-esteem and it releases all the feel good hormones which stop us getting depressed. The quickest way to feel bad about yourself is to lie around, eat shit food and to do nothing. That is classic depression. If you did that for two weeks youd be depressed.
What are your top sex tips for women?
Women think that men are always ready for it and want sex. I think they dont quite get the fact that men use sex to express affection. Men can just want to have a cuddle though.
Give great oral sex. It is incredibly important to give oral sex not just because its how people have their most intense orgasm but because it shows that youre got at giving as well as receiving pleasure.
Be active in bed. You dont have to bounce around the bed but dont just leave it up to him to make all the moves. Men always have to make the moves, particularly in bed. It very easy if somebody is doing something right to lie back and take it. But just remember that its nice to give as well as receive.
Stop stressing about your body. Thats the main thing. Loads of women stress about their bodies, even those with perfect bodies. Youre never ever going to get it right. Theres never going to be the perfect day.
Also let him know that youre enjoying it. Stop this whole good girls dont thing. Make a bit of noise. Even if its a moan.
Just be aware that after sex, is the time when our bodies are flooded with hormones that make us want to talk and his bodies is flooded with those that make him want to sleep. And women always think this is lovely and intimate and choose that exact specific moment to talk about something really important and intimate and hes just not that interested not just because hes not interested but because mother nature going sleep, sleep, sleep. So its not really his fault that he wants to turn over and go to sleep, his body has been told to do that. So save any important conversations dont have it when youve just finished having sex.
What are the most common errors that many individuals make in the dating scene today?
I would say for women, its they reveal too much too soon. I.e.: they tell everything on the first date and then they know every little, single thing about you. So they dont need to have a second date. Also assuming that youre item before your item. This whole oh what are we going to do next Saturday when youve been out for half an hour. And getting drunk. Both sexes get too drunk and wake up the next morning absolutely horrified. Not only horrified but also cant remember half of what was said. And I think men boost a lot. Because men think in terms of what are my positive points and my negative points, they almost act like a job resume where they go oh, Ive got this car and Ive done that. They always big themselves up thinking thats going to impress women when in fact it does completely the opposite.
A lot of people get together at work what would you say to someone considering getting together with a co-worker?
It happens a lot because most people spend most of their lives at work. But I think you really have to think it through because going out with a co-worker is like having a relationship in a goldfish bowl. The whole world is looking in on you and its really difficult.
Also, it works a lot better if youre on the same level as each other as opposed to a boss, subordinate sort of thing. I would think very carefully about it.
And the prime rule, even if you are having a relationship with someone from work, you really have to try not to act like you are, when you at work. Not to the point where its ridiculous but work is for work, not for sorting out domestic disputes and stuff.
In a recent Daily Mail piece its been revealed that British women have worse sex lives than most of their international counterparts, with only a third making love once a week. What do you think about that?
You know what with all those surveys I have to say some people do it very well. But a lot of them, one week its England, next week its France. Human beings are human beings and I know from travelling around the world and talking to people that we have the same problems. Seriously, I get the same sex problems over and over and the same relationship problems and I have done for the last 15 years no matter what country Im in. Theres a veneer of difference culturally obviously but 80% of the time its exactly the same. And I do know whether I would agree that women have the worst sex lives. I wouldnt.