language of love | 

Life coach Lisa McFarland says Love Island is selling a lie

Guru's relationship rule No. 1 is to ignore reality show 'romance'
Lisa McFarland

Lisa McFarland

Roisin Gorman

Love coach Lisa McFarland says Love Island is selling a lie.

The life coach is sharing the lessons she's learned about love in a new e-book and says reality TV is a turn-off.

Lisa, the resident agony aunt on U105, says no one is ever taught how to have a healthy relationship but she's determined to teach the language of love.

After a career in HR she started life coaching following the death of her mum and decided to share what she'd learned with other people.

The mum of-three from Antrim now has nearly 16,000 Instagram followers, has given a Ted talk and helps companies keep their staff happy as well as her weekly radio slot, one-to-one sessions and webinars.

"When my mum passed it was all a bit of a perfect storm and I just wanted to do something good," says Lisa.

"When your mum passes you realise you have to make all this matter. I'm a grown-up now. I started life coaching and thought this would have been useful information to have 20 years ago with three children.

"And when I found out all these things about relationships, I wanted everyone to know."

Love Island stars. Pic: ITV.

Love Island stars. Pic: ITV.

Couples can start by analysing their love language. Lisa, founder of Relationship Counselling NI, admits that for years she was co-dependent on her husband, believing that she had to be the other half of a couple.

She also made a habit of stonewalling for much of their 32 years together and describes herself now as a reformed huffer.

Johnny Depp and Amber Heard's marriage is a perfect example of a toxic cycle of love, fights, adrenaline, apologies, great sex and a honeymoon period before it all starts again, but the worst thing people can do is take Love Island seriously says the expert.

Amber Heard and Johnny Depp . Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images

Amber Heard and Johnny Depp . Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images

"The biggest thing I would say that gives us the wrong example is Love Island and the Kardashians. They give us the wrong idea of what a relationship should be like.

"It's so forced and so unrealistic, like being stuck in an experiment, asking 'do they find me attractive' rather than what do I want, is this the right match for me, is this someone who is good for me?"

After starting with life coaching videos, she began to run classes until Covid hit, when she promised to be online every day at 10am to help anyone who needed to talk. That turned into a business and then relationship coaching, when Lisa realised she was sharing details of her life. Taking a leaf from her own book she discussed it with her husband.

Lisa McFarland and her new ebook

Lisa McFarland and her new ebook

"When the numbers really started going up, I said to him 'sweetheart there is a little bit of a thing happening. This is really taking off.'

"He asked me to give him a wee second, and went off to his man cave, the garage. He came back and told me 'tell people everything they need to know because it has to get better'. It's a lovely thing to have that support."

She believes that never go to bed on an argument is terrible advice, and couples should take space and time instead, and sex makes annoying things less irritating.

"If you are not cultivating the intimate side of a relationship you turn into roommates and those shoes lying about become very annoying after a while.

"Why is it that the person we are meant to be the most in love with gets the worst of us? I hear couples speaking to each other and there is no please or thank you or sweetheart."

The expert says people put up with poor treatment because it echoes their own thoughts of self-doubt. Lisa identifies gaslighting - where a person convinces their partner they're not good enough - as a particularly unhealthy behaviour.

"The reason we tolerate it more than we should is because it's very familiar to the thoughts in our heads. You start to believe it because it sounds familiar."

She overcame her own self-doubt to start coaching and write her e-book and says it's still a bit of a surprise that it's become a new career.

"It's very challenging and very rewarding. I will say to people don't wait until the wheels come off your relationship," says Lisa.

  • Tips & Tools on How to Have a Healthy Relationship e-book by Lisa McFarland is £8.99 and available from

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