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The Short Version: If you’re in a relationship or out in the dating world, it’s likely that you know how difficult it can be to find and maintain a healthy, long-lasting connection. Relationships take work, and dating to find one takes confidence and openness — two things that many of us tend to struggle with. Dating coach and relationship expert Arica Angelo is the perfect person to help daters and couples develop skills like setting boundaries, finding love, and practicing vulnerability to build intimacy in a relationship.
Dating and relationships can be hard for many people. Things like intimacy or boundary-setting can fall away and be forgotten as people balance careers, social lives, and time with a partner. If you’re single, navigating the ever-changing dating landscape can be just as challenging.
Dating coach and relationship expert Arica Angelo says that healing is the first step to a fulfilling love life whether you’ve been hurt by a past relationship or you’re having trouble opening up with a partner. In her work with countless men and women, Arica presents solutions to issues like intimacy, vulnerability, and confidence in advocating for yourself.
It’s not a bad thing to focus on what others in your life may need, but that behavior becomes detrimental when it interferes with your needs and desires. Putting yourself first is not selfish, and may actually improve the connections you have with others.
Figuring out what you need to improve upon in your dating life is the first step to resolving it — and experts like Arica can help. With her one-on-one coaching and wide variety of helpful online courses, the talented relationship guru can help you find — and keep — the love you deserve.
“You can’t go through blaming dating apps, blaming people taking advantage of you, society, the divorce rate — all of these things are fearful,” Arica said. “It’s like you’re giving your power away. When you choose to be responsible for yourself, you start showing up differently.”
In past relationships, even friendships, I have struggled with setting boundaries. I would sometimes act like what I refer to as a “doormat”; rather than putting myself and my needs or preferences first, I would always try to take care of everyone else.
I felt the need to please other people to earn their love or affirmation, even though this pattern was to my detriment. Bending over backwards to make everyone else happy sure often left me feeling empty and unappreciated at times. This started to change once I learned about boundaries.
While I personally sought guidance through therapy for my issues with people-pleasing in relationships, relationship experts like Arica are also a fantastic source of wisdom and feedback for those who struggle to stand up for themselves in their relationships. You may not have a controlling or abusive partner, but even healthy couples can sometimes use some advice on how to set and uphold boundaries in their relationships.
“When people struggle with boundaries, the first [issue] is that they don’t know what to say. They don’t know how to stand up for themselves,” Arica said. “Whether a person is standing up to a narcissist, speaking up for the things that they desire in a relationship, or even when they’re dating, I really empower people to use their voice.”
Within Arica’s coaching sessions and online courses (like “The Boundaries Bible”), her clients can learn some key steps to setting and enforcing boundaries with their partners. Once they begin this process, they can start to feel more confident and powerful in how they relate with others.
“You’re more powerful than you realize. If you take personal responsibility, you can change how people perceive you and how they connect with you. But it starts with you,” Arica explained.
Although it’s traditionally seen as a bigger issue for men, the fear of being open and vulnerable in relationships can affect anyone. It’s understandable to worry about wearing your heart on your sleeve and sharing your feelings with someone new, especially if you’ve been burned in the past. Despite this, Arica explains that being vulnerable is the key to developing intimacy in any partnership.
Vulnerability doesn’t have to look like pouring your heart out to someone else on a daily basis, or setting yourself up to get hurt by revealing traumatic or super personal details about yourself. Being vulnerable can be as simple as speaking up when your partner does or says something to upset you, or asking for affirmation if you’re feeling insecure or uncomfortable in any situation.
Arica shared that, within her client coaching, she encourages people to really view vulnerability as a super power — one that actually takes strength and trust, not weakness. “I show people that vulnerability is more of a tool of freedom, and less about just exposing yourself. Liberating yourself and vulnerability go hand in hand.”
Her online course, “Vulnerability: The Path to Intimacy,” is a helpful tool for anyone looking to empower themselves through the practice of openness and honesty. Rather than targeting couples, Arica’s advice in this course offers nuggets of wisdom for anyone whether they’re single or dating.
Arica’s intimacy coaching doesn’t just require her clients to be open with nothing in return. Instead, she noted that she always reciprocates the trust they have in her by also sharing vulnerable information of her own.
“My coaching experience is about leading by example. I know that when I can communicate something vulnerable in my life, the same thing I do in the [online] program, people have that visceral experience of, ‘I can actually feel connected, I feel liberated.’ They feel their own emotions and they want to be able to do that, too. They want to feel like they can create that experience for themselves.”
Dating coaches and relationship experts seem to be a dime a dozen these days, and while many of them have great insight and plenty of unique experiences to share, determining which relationship expert is right for you can be a task. After all, there can only be so much variety within advice for the modern dater, right?
Arica is here to shake things up in that regard. Rather than avoid certain subjects that may seem uncomfortable or taboo” to some, she confronts them head-on to help her clients find the love lives they deserve. For example, she has recently been working with affluent men on honing their dating intentions and finding the partner they desire — without taking up all of their limited time.
“A lot of times on my YouTube channel, I get to speak to men. Men always complained to me, saying, ‘If I were just rich, then my dating life would be completely different.’ And I’m sharing on my YouTube channel that that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to be successful. I also talk about kind of taboo topics like prenups,” she said. “I’ve been talking about some things that I’ve seen people commenting on over the past 15 years, and I’m finally giving answers and confronting those hard questions and the elephant in the room.”
In line with her focus on helping men achieve their dating goals, Arica also works with them on their capacity for vulnerability and showing emotion in relationships. She mentioned the saying “boys don’t cry” as an example of the attitude some men come to her with, and how she sees her coaching change this narrative.
“I feel like men are feeling like their voice is finally being heard. I think they feel validated. I think that they’re speaking from their own experiences and their own stories of where they’ve been kind of sidelined by these things. It’s giving them a voice.”