Can You Really Design Happiness Into Your Relationships?

by Reid on February 25, 2017

Young Couple Relaxing In GardenDon’t you have to take whatever you can get in dating? Can you really date your species?

Find out with Reid Mihalko from and Cathy Vartuli from

Cathy: Can you really design happiness into your relationships? 

Reid: Hello, that’s bullshit. Do you ever listen to Reid Mihalko? Oh my lord! 

Cathy: Reid Mihalko from talks about dating your species … 

Reid: I hate him, I don’t like that man. This is Cathy Vartuli from, and obviously we’ve been drinking coffee. Let’s answer this question Cathy. Let’s tackle it! 

Cathy: People can feel overwhelmed dating. It can feel disappointing “I’m not meeting the right people, there’s not going to be a good fit for me.” “How can I be so picky as to date my species?” “How can I turn away a perfectly okay person to find someone who’s a better fit for me?” “Can I really design happiness into my relationships?” 

Reid: I hope so, because my entire career is based on this advice. I mean think of it, what if I’m wrong?! Oh my god. I just gave the worst advice to a whole bunch of people. I don’t think I’m wrong though, and I’m a geek about this, and I’ll talk about this in a minute. But I want to hear your advice. 

Cathy: I was really in the space from the person who wrote in. I wasn’t meeting people, I was so shy I wasn’t sharing who I really was. I really expected people just to be able to notice who I was. I felt like I was sending out invitations really strongly, when now I realize I was just being quiet and not really engaging. I thought to me I was like “Oh over here, come hang out with me.” But to the outside world I was like, there was nothing … 

Reid: Do the face again, that was cool face. Do it to them. Not the best strategy. 

Cathy: It didn’t work, so I wasn’t finding a lot of people who wanted to engage with me … 

Reid: But weren’t you just looking at the people like this? 

Cathy: No, because that would be a really boring date. 

Reid: Oh okay, so what did you do to fix this? 

Cathy: Well Reid’s advice was to go ahead and put who I was, the things I was most ashamed of at the top of my dating profile, and to be very specific about what I really wanted. At the top of my dating profile, I was so certain no one would date me because I was a bigger woman, I put right at the top “I’m a big woman, if you don’t want to date a big woman please don’t bother to email.” I was certain everyone was going to run away and Reid actually, I argued with him, “I can’t do that, no one will date me.” 

Reid: Didn’t I make a bet with you? 

Cathy: You did not, you should have. 

Reid: I would have won money. 

Cathy: Yeah. I’m like, “Oh I can’t do that, no one will date me.” He’s like, “You’re kind of scared of dating anyways, so if nobody answers you’re off the hook.” I’m like, “Okay, you’re right.” I was amazed, I put that at the top, and I put some things that I specifically wanted, and who I was, and I had so many people write to me and say “Wow, I love how confident you are, and self accepting.” I’m like, I didn’t feel self accepting but I was miles ahead of the people who were writing the kind of profiles I used to write. Where it was like, “I like walks on the beach, and warm weather, and I like to eat food in restaurants.” I mean seriously I look back at some of my old profiles they’re so innocuous, there was nothing there. By being more explicit I was afraid I was going to have less people connecting to me. I thought, “Wow, if I can only get two or three people to go out with me, with this one profile, how can I get anyone to go out with me, if I’m more specific?” Actually it was the other way around that I had more dates than I could fit in my schedule with this profile that I thought would make everybody run screaming. 

Reid: There has been, and I talk about this in a lot of different places, relationship 10x, which is one of my online courses … 

Cathy: Great program … 

Reid: That you can go to and sign up for free videos about relationship stuff. There’s a course on my website about dating your species. I have some articles and some free videos about that too. The reason a lot of people are overwhelmed is there’s been a big shift in dating and relationships. Whereas we spent a lot of time honing in on the advice from culture about what are the right shoes to wear, the right colors to wear this fashion season. The right job to have, the right thing to say … 

Cathy: Yeah, how do you shake hands, how do you meet their eyes. 

Reid: Some of that stuff is important, but it’s important for like sociologically geeky reasons, not that if you shake somebodies hand the wrong way, you will be alone forever in your life. What’s happened is, we’ve shift from “I have to do the right things to be attractive”, which is a culturally prescribed thing, to a self-expression economy so to speak in relationships where it’s about transparency, honesty and authenticity. That means you need to go be you, which is way scarier and when you start to realize that you have to be yourself … 

Cathy: It’s vulnerable … 

Reid: It’s vulnerable and you step into the unknown. Most people never gave themselves permission about this. It’s overwhelming from that perspective, right? 

Cathy: Yeah. 

Reid: You felt overwhelming? 

Cathy: I did. I was scared and I was certain no one would ask me out. 

Reid: All the fear rises right to the surface, right? Where if we do what culture tells us, maybe it won’t be so scary because at least I’m doing the right thing. The other thing that’s happened, and this feels overwhelming too is, it’s kind of like Google – The better your search terms, the better results you get. You being more specific doesn’t guarantee that you’ll find the website you’re looking for, however you will find people who are a better fit for the things that make you happy. Relationships are about happiness now, source to this portal of self-expression, which means you have to start being self-expressed, figure out what that even means and then start putting that into the search terms into your dating profile or whatever analogy you want to use. 

Cathy: To me it’s like using the terms if you’re on Google searching cars where you might get car repair, buying a car, how to dispose of a car versus car rental for San Diego Airport … 

Reid: Mid size … 

Cathy: Yeah. Non smoking. 

Reid: Boom. 

Cathy: You’re going to land in the area you want to be. 

Reid: Looking at it from this perspective, it’s overwhelming because we’ve never asked people before to be this vulnerable and this specific. But when you start to do that, and be specific about the things that would be making you happy anyway, when you start hanging out with people for whom that also makes them happy, it’s easier to be happy … 

Cathy: Yes … 

Reid: Together doing those things being the way you want to be. That’s going to take a little bit of work, but once you get the hang of it, your search results are so much better. 

Cathy: Yeah. 

Reid: You want to share anything about what your life looks like now? 

Cathy: I have people that I really care about in my life. I have dates, I have a lot more self-expression. It gets easier, like it was really, really scary at first, and the more I did it, and the more happy results I got the better it was. And I was also not wasting time on a lot of dates, over the years I refined my profile more and more and made it more specific, so I’m not sitting there at a date and my first date is almost always coffee so there’s not a lot of investment for either side to test out. I’d be like, “Oh is a half hour up yet, that I can leave.” I wasn’t searching for the kind of people I wanted, and the more specific I made my profile, the more excited I am about dating because I’ve narrowed the pool, and that doesn’t mean everybody I date is a perfect fit, but it does help you. It’s like, “Oh I get to go meet someone who’s pretty cool.” Whether there’s a chemistry there or not. 

Reid: This is fun because I get to interview Cathy about this. So that piece for you has been in like what, four years? 

Cathy: Yeah. Oh yeah, four years. 

Reid: The amount of growth or progress you’ve made personally and how your life has changed in four years, if it continues at the same rate, what will it feel like, another four years from now? 

Cathy: Well I’ll have my own planet … 

Reid: Your own planet? 

Cathy: Yeah. 

Reid: Planet Cathy? 

Cathy: Yeah. 

Reid: Planet Vartuli? 

Cathy: Yeah. 

Reid: I like this, this is good. 

Cathy: I can’t imagine because just looking at how I view dates … 

Reid: You can’t imagine because it’s so horrible? 

Cathy: No, I’ve grown so much. My first date, I told three people where I was going to be and what the person’s name was and we were just meeting at Starbucks. I was petrified that there was going to be some ax murderer. I spent like 24 hours sick to my stomach, and all nervous … 

Reid: It’s normal to be nervous. This is a growth process, so that part is normal … 

Cathy: Right. Now I’m off, “Oh, I have a date in ten minutes. I’ve got to go brush my hair and get in the car.” Just the lack of stress I have about meeting people. As you start meeting more cool people whether you want to date them long term or not, the part of your brain that thinks there isn’t enough of something starts getting calmer. It’s not like “Oh you’re a human being, you’re the sex that I like to date, you’re alive, you’re breathing, let’s hook up.” That’s so much pressure, and I really did my first couple of dates I thought that that was going to be the one. There was so much pressure to be like “Oh my god, am I going to act right. And that person if he leaves I’m not always and forever.” It’s not. There’s really cool people, and when I got more relaxed the other person got more relaxed. We started having really cool conversations and I made some amazing friends, some of them worked out dating, some didn’t. Just having fun. 

Reid: Which would you say, has made you happier? 

Cathy: I would say, it has definitely made me happier. 

Reid: Ta-Da! I rest my case, no further questions your honor. Again, it’s work. You’ll have to go through some ahh, and not every relationship’s going to work out. Not every date’s going to be the one. But hopefully you’re having more fun over time. 

Cathy: Yeah, and you’re learning about yourself … 

Reid: Let us know what you think … 

Cathy: Yeah, we’d love to hear.

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