Relationship Guru Dr. Pat Allen Sets Me Straight!

Photo by: Monkey Wrench Collective

So you want to find Mr. Right? It’s simple: stop doing all the wrong (albeit fun) things when you first meet, says Dr. Pat Allen, Ph.D., relationship and communication therapist in Los Angeles. Allen is also the author of several best-selling books including: Getting To I-Do and The Truth About Men Will Set You Free, (But First It Will Piss You Off!) You may be more familiar with her, however, from her multiple TV interviews or her work on the TV show Millionaire Matchmaker where her blunt talk about sex and relationship blunders borders on the comical. Here’s a clip to see what I mean. (It’s ok, go ahead and watch it, I’ll wait!)

I met Dr. Allen in 2009 when I was desperately trying to keep my marriage together. Through a friend’s psychic vision (yeah, I know, but it really happened), I discovered that my husband started an affair when working abroad while I was at home with our six month old baby and his older brother. I try not to focus on all the details of this sordid time, and the time that followed of yo-yo-ing back and forth in this cycle of forgiveness and betrayal again and again. My life had become the car wreck that friends and family couldn’t stop themselves from slowing down to look at. When I think back to that period when I was still breastfeeding and down to 92 lbs from sheer sorrow, I just die inside. So, like a race car driver who refuses to look at the wall when he races, I’m keeping my eyes on the better road ahead.

Just know that three months of therapy with Dr. Allen helped me let go of an impossible situation. She taught me about the male brain and the drug-like effects of dopamine on men who are ascending into places of power. And, I learned that I was too nice, codependent, and had lost my power and my ability to say no in relationships that resulted in mistreatment.

I turned to Dr. Allen to advise all of us single moms who are venturing out into the dating world as newbies. Her books will teach you many things, including how right-handed men think (very interesting, but for another blog) and how you have to negotiate commitment with men and never assume they can be monogamous…which is a bitter pill to swallow, isn’t it? So my first question to her on the night we met at her office in West Los Angeles was this:

“What is the biggest tip you can give women entering the dating world again?”

Without hesitation, she replied: “Stop drinking. Pure and simple.”

She speaks in a quintessentially blunt, staccato voice. I’m listening, expecting a more elaborate explanation. When she doesn’t continue I push her for information on this topic as how many women like to have a glass of wine on a first date to take the edge off? The relationship expert explains that a woman can’t size up a man correctly if she even has one drink on the first date or before commitment.

“Wine (on the first date, first meeting) knocks out instincts for her and knocks out intelligence and intuition for him. They go home, have sex and wake up with strangers. The chemistry is all wrong,” Dr. Allen explains.

The relationship guru continues that “you need to be sober to feel chemistry.”

Sexual attraction that builds over drinks isn’t true chemistry, she reminds me.

Ok, I can do that. I don’t drink that much anymore anyway. The other tip for finding Mr. Right might be a bit trickier: NO sex.

And I don’t just mean on the first date, which isn’t an issue for many of us. Dr. Allen says a woman shouldn’t “consummate a relationship” before commitment.

“Don’t have sex without a commitment and don’t make a commitment under the influence,” she explains.

Before having sex with a man, women need to have at least “a gut feeling of the goodness of the person we are with.” That can’t happen under the influence and women bond too quickly with a man after sex—but clearly, it’s often with the wrong man.

This is science at work. If a woman is attracted to a man, the hormone oxytocin is released into her body, which heightens the sense of touch and orgasm. If she drinks and then has sex with a man that she knows little about, she can become addicted to him. This makes her disregard any red flags that she would have normally picked up on—such as drug use, a history of infidelity, sexual addiction, mental illness, anger issues, financial instability, etc.

“The problem with oxytocin-based addictive bonding to an inappropriate man is that the intellect is relegated to a secondary status in choice and judgment. The good counsel of parents, friends, religious leaders and psychotherapists is of no benefit. Addiction to oxytocin as a pleasure takes over,” Dr. Allen says.

Ok, Dr. Allen’s advice makes sense to me. But, like a lot of things in life, it might be harder to put all of it into practice. I always wait to have sex with a man until I feel a bit of goodness about him, and never on the first date. I remember hearing about the “3 Date Rule” when living in New York. Do you guys know of that one? Well, waiting until the third date to have sex is complete rubbish, according to Dr. Allen, unless you just want to have fun and don’t care whether you end up abused or in a long-term relationship.

What do you think single moms (and single women in general!) out there? I ran across a couple of great single mom blogs recently where this debate is raging., (who rocks, btw!) often writes about her dating adventures and chats with other single moms about the importance of having sex. In a forum asking how long it had been for her single mom readers some moms wrote in that it had been 18 months or even 2 years! Wait, these are gorgeous, smart, savvy, young women. What’s going on here? Well, most of us just won’t bring a man home to the kiddos. And, many of us are completely gun-shy after the heartbreak of our divorces. Dr. Allen says we all need to know that “No man is monogamous.” (Why this should be reassuring is hard to get right away!) A line from our interview that is so apropo for this is: “The man you’re afraid of is THE MAN.”

All men want to cheat, but not all do, she says. In order to find the good guys, the ones who will cherish and love you and feel horribly if they hurt you, you need to weed out the bad.

As a recap, here are Dr. Allen’s top tips to successfully find a good guy:

  1. Don’t drink on the first date, even one glass of vino, so you can determine chemistry and listen to your intuition.
  2. Don’t have sex on the first date, ever.
  3. Don’t have sex until a firm commitment, so you don’t bond with the wrong fella.
  4. Don’t drink with your new man until you have a commitment.

Why does she insist on these rules? Because you have to have true chemistry, compatibility and great communication to make a relationship work. “You will know in three minutes whether you have great chemistry with a man,” Dr. Allen insists.

Ok, I think I have three minutes.

And, she says give a potential good guy at least three dates in order to realize whether your intellect is disregarding him prematurely. But don’t drink on these dates!

Well, I’ve got three minutes and three evenings to spare. … Maybe I can tip-toe back out there after all. How about you? Do you think you can follow her rules? Do you even want to? Please chime in!!

12 responses to “Relationship Guru Dr. Pat Allen Sets Me Straight!

  1. Men who create the destruction of the families while leaving their children betrayed don’t even bat an eye at the hurt and their children endure. If their own father can’t even put them first, I wouldn’t want someone else whose needs would over shadow theirs. Also, I don’t want to give anyone the time it would take from personal growth, career growth and most of all my children in the first several years. At the end of the day, children have proven to come through for you more than “men who want to cheat ” as the therapist stated. I did read in a book about overall success that studies of men and success shows as they get older they have potential for more success. Why? They stop being ruled by the waist down. Seriously, that was written by a successful man. Wait ’til their old and broken seems unfair but the possible solution for successful relationships.

    • Hi Czarina,

      I don’t know why my response to you must have been deleted a long time ago. I just want to check in. How are you? I don’t think it’s too negative to want to date an older man who may have relaxed a bit and hopefully become emotionally wiser. 🙂 In the very least, perhaps older men may be more open to taking it slow and getting to know you better. I’m all for that. Take care! L.

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  4. Al of this is just so sad.

    • I know. I guess the take away is that we all need to trust our gut-our intuition about people. We can get a sense whether a person is genuinely good or not…but alcohol can diffuse the clarity of that message.

      Thanks for stopping by Harriet!

  5. I know this is an old article, but this quote: “The man you’re afraid of is THE MAN.” has really captured my attention. Can you supply the context so that I have a better understanding of what is meant by it? I really hope to hear back!

    • Hi Joy! So Dr Allen told me that her research proves that all men crave variety and are not wired to be monogamous. So women need to shed the faithful prince on a white horse fantasy. With that said, she told me that I need to take the time to get to know men sober so I can find one w a moral compass and who can fight his urges in order to be faithful. All men, however, in her opinion, are not built to not seek others, to not admire others, to not want others…but if you find one who isn’t narcissistic, who doesn’t drink excessively, who has a good heart, you can breathe better knowing once he commits to you, he’ll just look at others, but not act on his urges.

  6. Thanks for replying! However, I’m still stuck on the comment “the man you’re afraid of is THE MAN”. Is the man I’m afraid of THE MAN because he’s challenging me or is he THE MAN to avoid because he’s causing me to be afraid? Thanks again for the reply — you’ve got really good content here!

    • Joy! Wow, I don’t know how I missed this. She mean the man you’re afraid of is your man. Basically, all men are wired to want variety. Find one who has a spiritual center and would feel utterly shattered if he hurt you. Find a compassionate person who isn’t spinning nonstop, more centered. Basically, Dr. Allen says all men want to, not all will. So even your ‘soul mate’ will be attracted to others…women, however, are built differently. We lose attraction when the intimacy and close friendship is frayed. Lots of love! L. x

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