Cupid's Pulse Article: ‘The Bachelorette’ Season 8, Episode 5: The Dos and Dont’s For Taking Your Relationship To The Next LevelCupid's Pulse Article: ‘The Bachelorette’ Season 8, Episode 5: The Dos and Dont’s For Taking Your Relationship To The Next Level

By Marni Kinrys, of

We’ve made it! We’re finally to the halfway point when the superficial, made-for-TV drama must go away and make room for the real connections to bloom on ‘The Bachelorette.’ Emily Maynard is now in falling-in-love mode, so it’s time for the guys to get serious and show her they’re ready to fall in love too.

As you know, I work with thousands of men, and one of their biggest challenges is connecting. Connection is something that comes really naturally to women, especially to a woman like Emily. As a single mother, she is even more open to love. But for men, the ability to share themselves with a woman can be a daunting task.

Honestly, I have been surprised this season because most of the contestants have it figured out. But there are still some who struggle with opening up, which may hurt their chances of taking their relationship with Emily to the next level – especially as the number of men gets smaller and smaller every week.

Here is my list of dos and don’ts for taking your relationship to the next level and truly connecting with your partner.

Do: Create trust and protection in a relationship. Whether you’re a woman or a man, you need to feel safe in a relationship. I love the way that Sean is so willing to share his feelings with Emily. He’s expressing his emotions without being emotional, a skill that few people are able to pull off. His behavior provides Emily with the security to always know what he is thinking, allowing her to never question their relationship. Safety!

Related: Bachelorette Season 8, Episode 4: Pucker Up! Lessons Learned from Emily Maynard

Don’t: Never put down, belittle or betray a date, especially in front of others. What the hell was Kalon thinking? For someone who cares so much about what others think, you would think he would be more discrete about his true feelings for Emily. He basically made a mockery of the Bachelorette process, and I couldn’t have been happier when Emily told him, in her squeaky, sick voice, to get the f*&k out. Loved it!

Do: Have fun! Being able to laugh at yourself is the ultimate sign that you are open to developing new relationships and nurturing old ones. No one wants to be with Mr. or Mrs. Serious. Being uptight and well-spoken all the time is no fun. For instance, on the group date, Doug, Arie and Travis really stepped up to the plate. They showed Emily that, no matter what crazy situation she threw at them, they could handle it and laugh their way through it.

Don’t: Sit there and say nothing when someone talks smack about your partner, especially if you have built a strong bond with each other. I am sure that this situation was a tough one for Arie. If he watched previous seasons where contestants would cause a disconnect when they tattled on one another, then it would’ve been easy to second guess his instinct. But Emily was starting to see Arie as her protector, and in this instance, he failed her. Hopefully, they can get over that hump and rebuild their strong connection.

Related: The Bachelorette Season 8, Episode 1 Recap: The Dos and Dont’s of First Impressions 

Do:  Listen to the Queen of Pop and EXPRESS YOURSELF.  When Emily was on her date with Jef, she kept mentioning how hard he was to read – and I wholeheartedly agree, which is why it was so essential for him to put into words what he was feeling and thinking. As much as we like to think we are mind readers, we are not. Expressing yourself is the one sure-fire way to boost a connection and move your relationship to the next level.

Don’t: Wait for others (in this case, Emily) to come to you. The only way to get what you want is by asking for it. Alejandro got the boot because he didn’t ask for what he wanted. He wanted to get to know Emily better, but he never took the initiative to make that happen. In a room full of 25 dudes, you have to step up and be an Alpha male in order to be noticed.

Connection is the toughest part of any relationship. You can’t fake it, but you can open yourself up so that it happens more easily. I can’t wait to see what happens next week. Be sure to tune in as these men fall harder for Emily and attempt to take their relationship to the next level!