Since You Asked…

Photo: Google


Dear Caroline,

I’m in a new relationship with a wonderful man. No question in my mind that he’s a “keeper.” Any tips on how to keep him?

…Smitten in Santa Fe

Dear Smitten,

While I can’t cook up a love potion for you or share any magical incantations, I can give you a pretty good formula for keeping a man under your spell. Spoiler alert for salacious readers: It’s not about sex.

All human beings have two kinds of needs: universal needs and esoteric needs. Our universal needs start with food and shelter and get more complex from there, but they’re the same the world over. Our esoteric needs, on the other hand, vary. They tend to be tied to things we missed during our early, formative years.

Helping meet our partner’s universal needs is essentially “one size fits all.” But the secret ingredient in my love formula is meeting one another’s esoteric needs and having fun at it.

Here’s an example:

A man went to military school at age 13, and then went on to a military career. He missed a bit of his childhood in the form of fun and little surprises.

The woman in his life was the “caboose baby” in a large, Catholic family. Her closest sibling was eight years older. When her brothers and sisters went off to do fun things, she was too young to join them, so she missed feeling included.

Applying all this to my formula:

The woman meets man’s esoteric needs by giving him small, thoughtful gifts for no special reason and planning dates that bring out his boyish side.

The man, in turn, meets the woman’s esoteric needs by introducing her to his friends, colleagues and relatives and sharing details of his days with her whether he’s near or far.

The result: a match made in heaven!

There is a caveat: Explicitly revealing this formula to a lover reduces its potency. Instead, pay close attention to your special man. Ask him questions that might give you clues about his esoteric needs. Reflect on your own personality to know your own esoteric needs, and drop subtle clues about how he might meet them. Once these machinations are in place, you’ll have a special harmony.

May your romance be enduring and epic.


Do you have a problem that’s been on your mind for a while? Send your questions to:

Leave a Reply