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The Short Version: Dr. Bonnie Eaker Weil is a family therapist, author, and love expert with clear insights into what makes relationships succeed or fail. She offers relationship consultations for singles and couples by phone or in person. You can call her up to listen to sage dating advice and strategize ways to get over your hangups and build intimacy with someone special. Dr. Bonnie emphasizes the importance of starting a dialogue with the people closest to you and making your needs clear. She has written self-help books to provide specific guidance on common relationship dealbreakers, including commitment issues, financial strain, and adultery. Dr. Bonnie helps people identify where they’re going wrong so they can change their mindset and actions in constructive ways.
After her first marriage ended, Dr. Bonnie Eaker Weil threw herself into her career. She didn’t feel ready to commit to someone and get hurt again, and so she focused on improving herself in other areas of life. She earned her doctorate in 1975 and became a clinical therapist. Along the way, she had to go to therapy herself (it was a requirement of her program) and understand the mental blocks standing between her and an intimate relationship.
It all came back to her father, according to her mentor in the psychological field. She had to have an open discussion with her father if she wanted to move forward in the dating world without insecurity or fear of abandonment. Over the years, Dr. Bonnie worked on her personal issues and gained clarity on what she wanted from her relationships and her life.
Meanwhile, Dr. Bonnie started dating someone who seemed to be allergic to commitment. On one of their first dates, he had told her that he was afraid of her falling in love with him because he didn’t know if he loved her. She replied that she didn’t know either, and they could just take things one day at a time, have fun, and see where things went.
Two years passed, and they were still no closer to deciding what was going on between them.
Friends would ask Dr. Bonnie if she had a boyfriend, and she wouldn’t know what to say. Finally, after she talked to him about her desire for a commitment and gave him space to think about it, he realized that he was more afraid of losing her than committing to her. So he proposed. They’ve now been together for 29 years.
As a therapist and love expert, Dr. Bonnie brings her personal dating history to the table to show women that it is possible to assert your needs and have them met by a partner. All it takes is some internal work and emotional awareness to make an instrumental change in your dating patterns.
“I began to help people with commitment issues because I’d gone through similar experiences,” she said. “I really do believe that when people know where their actions are coming from, they can change them. They just have to have the right skills and tools to get unstuck.”
Today’s daters have a lot of avenues to choose from and resources at their disposal, but many of them are still asking the same age-old question: How do you make it past the first date or the second date and get in a relationship?
Dr. Bonnie went on 76 coffee dates before she met her second husband and the love of her life. The experience of meeting so many single men taught her that getting in a relationship is part luck and part skill. She told us that love is just a numbers game — the more people you meet, the more likely you are to make a special connection. And it only has to happen once.
She offers her sage dating advice in personal consultations over the phone and in her office in New York City. Single women of all ages turn to Dr. Bonnie for guidance on tricky dating subjects from getting over first-date jitters to dealing with the aftermath of a breakup.
Her approach is to use simple therapeutic exercises — like looking at a picture of a bride in a magazine every day — to help her clients get their priorities in order, set realistic goals, and approach dating with the proper mindset. Dr. Bonnie encourages her clients not to get ahead of themselves and quit on a relationship before it’s even begun because they’re afraid they’ll get hurt.
“We get stuck in hurt, but underneath that hurt is love,” Dr. Bonnie said. “Love is a reasonable risk to take. There’s no way you’re going to love somebody and not going to get disappointed or hurt sometimes, but you have to look at the bigger picture, which is having somebody to share a sunset with.”
Throughout her career, Dr. Bonnie has written several self-help books that break down core psychological principles into easy-to-understand terms. Her most popular book, “Make Up, Don’t Break Up: Finding and Keeping Love for Singles and Couples,” helps readers grasp the differences between men and women, particularly in terms of how they communicate, so they can approach relationships with greater knowledge, compassion, and perseverance.
Readers who don’t understand why they push people away or seek out emotionally unavailable partners can find remedies to their failed romances in the pages of her book. Dr. Bonnie outlines her theory that one person in the relationship is the Pursuer while the other is the Distancer and how to strike the proper balance between giving someone space and abandoning them. She proposes strategies for reigniting the spark in a relationship and choosing to stay together rather than drifting apart. As she says in the book, “Falling in love is easy; staying in love is hard.”
Her guidance gives couples the keys to relationship success based on years of study and experience. “I was amazed to be reading about myself on the pages,” said Karen in a review on Amazon. “I patched things up with my boyfriend after coming to my senses after reading this book, and things are better than ever!”
From how to cure adultery to how to deal with shared finances in a relationship, Dr. Bonnie has written authoritative guidebooks on many common issues faced by committed couples. For instance, in “Financial Infidelity,” she recommends couples discusses money early on in the relationship and work out how they want to share expenses going forward.
Dr. Bonnie tackles tricky subjects to encourage people to remove the barriers holding them back from building intimacy and a true connection. It’s her job to shine a light on obstacles and help people start a dialogue that leads them to a happier, healthier state of mind.
Dr. Bonnie has spent decades working with singles facing a variety of personal issues, and she has seen many of her clients overcome their painful pasts, take ownership of who they are, and get in the type of relationship they deserve. She has received thank-you notes from clients, readers, and other singles who took her advice and used it as inspiration to change their lives.
“What a wonderful adventure of discovery and growth,” wrote Shelley in a review of “Make Up, Don’t Break Up.” Shelley is a bereavement coach who recommends Dr. Bonnie’s book to all her clients. She herself used the techniques in the book to build a successful partnership with her second husband. “I love the information you have made available in your books.”
“She gives clear advice [about] how you can best adapt to your partner without sacrificing your self-respect and dignity.” — Stephanie Manley in a review of Dr. Bonnie’s book
A client named Frank said he felt paralyzed by fear in the dating scene when he started therapy sessions with Dr. Bonnie. “My motivation to see Bonnie back then was periodic episodes of nearly physically debilitating anxiety attacks,” he said. “In therapy with Bonnie I never made a conscious connection between my learning how to connect, and the anxieties leaving me, but they did. And they left me completely.”
By working with Frank on the root of his emotional problems, Dr. Bonnie helped him overcome his anxiety and learn how to build social and romantic connections without feeling threatened, frightened, or confused.
“You have to want it, believe it, and expect it,” she said. “The dialogue needs to start early on in the relationship. You have to start a dialogue with men to make them feel safe and comfortable.”
As a professional relationship expert, therapist, and author, Dr. Bonnie advocates for the dating strategies that worked for her and her husband when they first started dating. By having an open and honest conversation about her feelings, Dr. Bonnie took the pressure off the man she loved so that he could fall in love with her.
Now she shares her relationship insights with men and women in private consultations as well as through self-help resources. After decades of working closely with singles and couples, Dr. Bonnie has a good handle on what drives people apart and what keeps them together. She encourages her clients to start an open dialogue with their family members and partners so that they can work through their emotions and build healthy relationships.
“Women who are afraid to have a dialogue with men aren’t going to get past that second or third date,” Dr. Bonnie said. “I believe women need to make the first move because guys disconnect just by being who they are, while women connect by being who they are. That’s why women and men end up together.”