Monthly Archives: January 2014

Strength vs. Control: Dating 101 PT 1


In the bodybuilding world, if we’re being honest, the focus is actually on how strong you LOOK, not how strong you ARE.

This is why crossfit competitors and powerlifters and competitive athletes have my respect. Don’t get me wrong, TONS of work goes into bodybuilding competition prep, but the focus is on how you APPEAR, not how functional your fitness actually IS.

Let’s carry this analogy over into my personal experience in the dating world.

Growing up in a strict church culture, I wasn’t allowed to date anyone until I was 18, preferably later. I was in two fairly long, committed relationships between the ages of 18 and 23. I was single for about 6 months and then met my ex and was married for 3 years.

My abuse counselor has been pushing me to be open to casual dates for the sake of self-recovery and healing as I make my way through the difficult process of moving on from an deeply abusive experience. Trust me, I wasn’t thrilled with the idea.

What I’ve found is that for some reason, I have been conditioned to view a certain “type” of guy as “attractive”: the guys who give off that strong, aggressively “masculine” vibe; the military guys, construction workers, trainers, cops, coaches… usually guys in that line of work are instantly “attractive” to me by the way they carry themselves and the confidence which they portray.

The key word is “portray”.

IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER: I am in NO way identifying these job descriptions with abusive behavior or writing any of them off. I am simply speaking from personal experience. There are wonderful, loving men in every profession and equally terrible, abusive, controlling men of every job description. I also have a deep personal respect for the careers these men choose and particularly for the sacrifices made by military men and their families. “Rah!”

No matter what the job description of the guys I’m typically attracted to, I’ve come to find that MANY times this “overtly masculine” vibe is actually a harsh mask for deep insecurity and controlling behavior.

Here’s a stellar example:

I meet – let’s call him “John” – John at the gym. John is pushing some serious weight, he’s rugged, tall, “confident”, and clearly approaches me to ask if I’m using the tricep press for one reason.

I’m flattered. We flirt a little.

John gets my number.

I have a deep feeling of concern which I ignore over attraction.

Texting happens over the next week or so.

John disappears. Then reappears, more interested then ever.

I fail to text John back one evening while working a 6 hour shift on my feet (no phones allowed).

I return to my phone to a string of insecure, concerned text messages such as “Where are you?” “Are you okay?” “I hope I didn’t offend you” “I didn’t mean that to sound that way” “I know sometimes I come off too strong” “If you’re upset at me you should tell me, you’re being immature” “I guess I’ll talk to you later, this is ridiculous”.

In the span of a few hours of not talking, in a non-committed relationship with someone I barely know, this man has gone from happy and confident to angry, upset, self-abasing, worried, anxious, critical, and dismissive.


If you find yourself CONSTANTLY having to reassure someone you’re not even dating (let alone actually in a committed relationship with) that you’re honest, loving, non judgmental, faithful, and available in order to make them feel they have self-worth and that you’re “into them”:


One of the things I’ve learned in abuse counseling has been the vicious path that

  • begins with insecurity
  • moves on into fear
  • then to control
  • then to anger
  • and then to abuse.

Ain’t nobody got time for that.

Lesson #1: Don’t date anyone who “needs” you to be constantly affirming in order to feel they have value.

Here’s another scenario for you (these actually happened):

“Ryan” comes to me as a client via FB. We hit it off via email and move to texting or phone calls.

Things are going swimmingly: we have a lot in common, easy dialogue, attraction. I’m considering saying yes to the offer of a coffee date.

After a few days of talking, Ryan starts pushing a very sexual vibe into our conversations.

Don’t get me wrong, I love sex. I miss it. I had a deep, personal, intimate relationship with my ex and a very steamy sex life (at first). Might be TMI, but I’m just saying.

I’m uncomfortable with the vibe. I’ve been used and hurt and I’ve come to understand that friendship and care are the basis for healthy relationships. You need passion and sexuality, but you can’t start there.

I’m very, very hesitant to give into this type of talk. Ryan pushes and uses all sorts of manipulating phrasing and sentences like “Guys need sex to feel love” (we’re already talking about love??), “You’ve just been hurt, you need to let go of it and move forward”, “If you never open yourself up to a passionate relationship with someone again, you’ll just be lonely forever”, “You know I’m not that guy, I’m really into you”, “I’m not asking for much, just tell me/show me ___”.


There’s a REASON time has taught me to distrust this as a starting place for anything healthy and real and lasting.

Once again, it may come off as confident and flattering, but in truth it’s from a place of selfishness and control. It’s manipulative and it’s probably not new to them.

The right guy will understand several things about me, and these may apply to you as well (guy or girl):

  1. The right person will understand your hurt and be patient with it.
  2. The right person will value you as an individual enough to wait until you’re ready.
  3. The right person will be secure enough and ACTUALLY, truly strong enough to avoid rushing the relationship.
  4. The right person will let time develop intimacy and will not ask you to prove yourself.
  5. The right person will make you feel safe, vs questioning yourself every time they want something you aren’t ready for.

I describe my previous relationships and mistakes to people often as “instant coffee relationships”:

Very hot water. Add nasty fake coffee. Strong, heady, quick, hits you right away… and then the grinds start separating from the water, it goes all lukewarm because you only nuked it, and you’re left with a bitter aftertaste.

Lesson #2: The good stuff takes time.

So French Press that bitch if you want it to last.

Be very careful to cautiously analyze whether or not someone is legitimately strong in character, intentions, and integrity.

I’m learning to redefine “strong”, “masculine”, and “attractive”. I’m reconditioning myself to appreciate the humble, patient, loving, caring, quietly confident types. Those are the good ones.

You would think I would’ve picked up on that a long time ago, because my mother married one, and 30+ years later, they’re happy as can be.

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5 Reasons He Won’t Commit


James Michael Sama

It’s safe to say that most of us have found ourselves confused while talking to someone new. Are they as into you as you’re into them? Can they picture a commitment? Can you?

I’ve received some questions from women who have had a hard time deciphering what a man is thinking in terms of why he won’t fully commit himself to her – here are a few points to hopefully shed some light.


You came on too strong.

Unfortunately, sometimes we need to look into the mirror in order to identify an issue with our relationships.

The easiest way to lose someone is to want them too badly. There is absolutely nothing wrong with a woman making the first move or initiating advancements in a new dating situation, but if you’ve got your kids named after the first couple of dates or are bugging him to meet his family, he…

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Complete Nutrition Product Reviews #1


Over a month ago two burly young dudes walked into my YMCA and introduced themselves, repping the Complete Nutrition brand. I liked them and I was interested in their product description… we started discussing bodybuilding, and they told me I should come into the store to meet their owners, Morgan and Tyler, to learn more about who they were and possibly discuss an affiliation of some kind.

Being the curious cat that I am, I did. I popped over right after my workout: a sweaty, nasty, makeup-less mess eager to learn more.

I LOVED them. Here were my first impressions, off the bat:

1. Clean, organized, uncluttered store
2. Friendly, KNOWLEDGEABLE (they hire PERSONAL TRAINERS), outgoing, open, honest (with GENUINE CARE for the customer) staff
3. Fitness-savvy/well-rounded: aware of various industries and goals with expertise to address a variety of “niches”
4. Integrity: the brand has a clean, open, in-house tested approach to supps, with no push to upsell and a deep passion for customer loyalty
5. Ambitious…they’re going places. I love watching heart win over financial gain. The fact that they care about the organic integrity of their products and their effectiveness, provide free fitness consultations and input/training plans/nutrition advice to customers, and take the time to reach out and build a relationship with you speaks volumes for their future.

I was pretty thrilled to get a chance at a supplement goody bag!

Today I tried the Mixed Berry Blitzz pre-workout: amazeballs. Here’s why:
1. no weird asparthame aftertaste
2. the first pre that didn’t make me nauseous or jittery
3. the first pre that didnt make me act like a rabid squirrel
4. the first pre to give me a nice boost without the aftermath crash
5. best tasting mix i’ve ever added to my water.


After legday I tried the Vanilla Whey Iso: Gluten free!

Again, blow my mind (and I’ve gotten free products before, which I didn’t feel like raving about)

SO good! Very angel-food-cake, and knowing that they’ve tested it made it that much more reassuring when it comes to effective muscle repair and building. An hour later, no stomach pain, which means it really is a pure Whey Isolate.

I’m really excited to continue trying these products, and no matter what happens in future, this girl is going to be a Blitzz addict from now on!

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3 Words That Will Improve Your Relationships


James Michael Sama

Many people read through my articles or see what I post on Facebook or Twitter and tell me that they wish their relationship could be “like that.”

To all of you, absorb this: You have the power to do better.

Like anything in life, things don’t come to those who wish, they come to those who actually take action and make changes in their life.


Are you not happy with the person you’re with? Leave.

Do they mistreat you or act in ways that are unacceptable? Tell them, and if they don’t change, leave.

Are they physically or emotionally abusive in any way? Leave. Now.

I understand that it’s not always that easy. Life gets in the way, there are circumstances that don’t always make standing up and walking out the door a realistic option. But, any time is the perfect time to begin making positive changes in your life…

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