Saturday, July 31, 2010
I am resuming my normal posting schedule, so keep coming back to the site for exciting relationship content.
Thanks and keep reading!
MORE TO COME......
Sunday, July 25, 2010
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Why do relationships change over time?
Sage advice from my mother - "Do only those things in a relationship that you can/will continue in the long run." This statement resonates an important feature for most relationships. If someone was worth the effort during the chase, why are they no longer worth the effort once they are caught?
Research on conflict between couples highlights the loss of behavioral patterns that existed during courtship. Couples who have been married for many years no longer act like newlyweds.
They may rarely:
- Express genuine affection (hugs, kisses, love play)
- Show how much they appreciate each other (love notes, doing things for no reason)
- Display joy when they see each other (especially after being apart for some time)
- Work on their friendship (ask about goals, dreams, desires)
- Date (go out without children, share new experiences)
- Share positive feelings
- Surrender to let the other person win
- See sex as a fun activity instead of a chore
- Make their relationship a priority
Relationships are NOT EASY and they require HARD work full of emotion, thought, and action. This is especially true for long-term relationships. Effort must continue throughout and it must be reciprocal with both continuing to woo each other (even if at different times) and not take each other for granted. These are the things that make the beginning of relationships exciting and gratifying.
How to continue dating your spouse/partner:
Monday, July 19, 2010
Sunday, July 18, 2010
Body image refers to how we perceive our bodies, the control we feel over our body, and how we compare ourselves to others. Our body image is not constant, it fluctuates on a spectrum between positive and negative. Those with a positive body image have a realistic understanding of the size, shape and function of their bodies. Others who have a distorted view and are anxious, shameful or guilty about their bodies struggle with a negative body image.
Approximately 80% of women and 50% of men report being dissatisfied with some part of their bodies. Men and women differ as to to which body part causes the most concern:
Friday, July 16, 2010
- 35% complain about male baggage
- 23% did not know where to meet men and were meeting too few men
- 2% said sex on the first date is okay
- 35% prefer to date younger men
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Lately, my mother has been reciting phrases (which include a series of C-words) when talking about situations that she has no control over. These phrases help her focus, regain her personal rights and be able to say no when confronted with the thoughts or behavior of others. I found these to be very enlightening and will include them below.
- I didn't CAUSE it.
- I can't CURE it.
- I can't CONTROL it.
- I can help CARE for myself by COMMUNICATING my feelings,
- Making healthy CHOICES,
- And by CELEBRATING myself.
Monday, July 12, 2010
Sunday, July 11, 2010
Deal-breakers are those things (character traits, lifestyle choices, behavior, etc.) in a relationship that can end the relationship. Some people have very specific deal-breakers and others have general ways of evaluating whether or not they will continue a relationship.
Common relationship deal-breakers:
- Domestic violence
- Change in sexual orientation
- Criminal activity
- Substance abuse
- Poor financial habits
- Undesirable personality traits
- i.e., anger, jealousy, uncleanliness, conceit, etc.
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Dating rules are driven by societal norms, popular trends, and even advances in technology. Although the specifics may change with each generation, common standards exist and should be followed.
- Talk about your ex or other past relationships: This should be self-explanatory, but many make this mistake. Spending time discussing a past love may send the message that you are not over them and/or not into your current date. If you are asked by your date, simply say, "We were just not right for each other" and change the subject.
- Play with your cell phone: Resist the urge to text/call others (except for emergencies), update Facebook or Twitter, check stock portfolios, or play a newly downloaded game. Being nervous, disinterested or disrespectful does not send a good first impression. If the date is so bad that you want to do these things, end it and enjoy the rest of your day/night.
- Go to the movies: Sitting in the dark for 2 hours is not a good way to get to know someone. It is a common dating option, but there are betters ways to spend time with someone new.
- Refer to yourself in the 3rd person: A technique right out of a bad 80s "B" movie, there is no quicker way to turn someone off.
- MEN - Refuse to pay: Just because it's 2010, doesn't mean that acting like Prince Charming is passé. It is customary, and has been for centuries, that the man pays for the first date. And ladies...expect this to happen and let it happen. Most guys report they expect to pay and feel it is their duty.
- WOMEN - Choose a salad if you usually order steak: A mistake many women make in an attempt to portray a dainty, health conscious image. Men would rather date a woman who is not afraid to eat and does not obsess over every calorie.
- Arrive late (unless you let them know): Ever heard the saying, "You never get a second chance to make a first impression"? Being late is a good way to show someone how much you care...about yourself!
- Take them to meet your friends or family: This one is easy and everyone knows it right? No. You would be amazed how often this happens. A strong connection and feeling like you've known this person forever makes it okay to break this rule. If you believe that, then you are just as crazy as they are. Run Forrest Run!
- Drink too much: Unless you want to look like you have an addiction, embarrass yourself, or put yourself at risk for bad behavior (and the unwanted consequences), stick to a two drink maximum.
- Forget to tell someone of your plans: Dating is fun, but it can also be dangerous. Men and women should tell someone their whereabouts, so it is okay to break rule #2 if plans change.
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Recent research suggests the color red can influence male perception of a female attractiveness. Not only did male college students rate women in red as more attractive, they would also spend more money if on a date with her.
Are you thinking of getting back with your ex?
When is it okay to give an ex another shot?
This decision is confusing as some chose to rekindle lost love while others decide a new partner is best. Relationship experts are also split on this topic with some encouraging second chances and others forbidding them. As the circumstances and players vary, it is difficult to say which choice will be best in all situations. But, I am going out on a limb here and give concrete examples of when you should and should not date an ex.
The relationship ended due to bad timing
Over our objections, life can move us in many different directions. Job and educational opportunities, military service, and family emergencies can force us to leave a loved one behind. If your relationship was interrupted due to circumstances beyond your control, consider giving it another shot. Most likely in these situations, there were not any negative emotional consequences and your relationship with the ex is at least civil. Reconnecting with this type of ex can also be fun and exciting! It is like eating dessert first...you can skip the meal and head straight to good stuff.
All other reasons for a break-up should bear a warning sign. If your relationship ended because of commitment issues, infidelity, lack of communication, immaturity, outside interference, or other factors which should have been dealt with during the relationship...keep on moving!
Remember, an ex is an ex for a reason.
Monday, July 5, 2010
Wives would become irate and wanted to understand how their intelligent, well-read husbands could not grasp a concept so simple as putting the toilet seat down. Arguments would go on and on about this trivial (yes, I said trivial) issue often resulting in someone calling names and insulting someone else's intelligence.
I have always thought that conversations like these are a huge waste of time because they:
1. Do not get at the real issue causing the conflict (lack of communication,
feelings disrespected, etc.)
2. Only encourage the behavior. Constantly complaining to your spouse
gets similar results as doing the same to children - disregard and
Any of you who know me, know that I am a big fan of the work of Dr. John Gottman. In his 35+ years of studying the interactions of couples, he has found that marital problems fall into one of two categories: solvable and perpetual.
As the name implies, these problems have a solution, they can be fixed. Although these problems are quite simple in nature, they tend to cause a good bit of conflict in the relationship.
Examples: household chores, toilet seat positioning, childcare duties, finances, etc.
The overwhelming majority of marital problems (70%) do not have a quick fix. They are based on personality characteristics, personal beliefs, and those things about us that are not easily changed. Couples will remain in conflict about these issues for years.
Examples: sex, childrearing tactics, religion, politics, in-laws
Perpetual problems require more work, understanding, and compromise than solvable problems. Yet, couples choose to argue about the solvable problems instead of trying to fix them. It was my job as a therapist to encourage them to fix the solvable ones which allowed more time and energy for us to focus on the perpetual ones in therapy.
So, back to the toilet seat. Ladies, let it go! I mean, how hard it is to look before you sit? Not to let the guys off the hook here, but you must pick your battles. I would much rather have a husband who consistently leaves the toilet seat up than a Tiger Woods, Jesse James, Ike Turner, or Bernie Madoff wannabe.
The bottom line (pun intended) here - Isn't a cold, wet bottom worth the valuable time spent working on perpetual issues in your relationship? If your answer is no, you may need to seek the help of a divorce attorney...once you dry off.
In today's society cohabitation is seen by many as a just another step in the dating process. You meet someone, date for a while, move in together, get married, have kids...
While others hold to religious, moral, or personal views of cohabitation as sinful or an alternative to traditional marriage.
Is choosing to live together before or instead of getting married better? With most other major life decisions there is a trial run. We get to test drive a car, inspect a house, visit a college all before making major decisions. Can it be possible to do the same with a partner without living together? First, let's look at some interesting facts about cohabitation.
Researchers have conducted numerous studies and many statistics abound on the prevalence, success and length of cohabitating relationships:
- First marriages last longer than cohabiting relationships
- 65% of cohabiting couples transition to marriage within 5 years
- 52% of non-marital births occur in cohabiting unions
- Cohabiting couples report lower levels of relationship quality and lower income
- Cohabitation increases risk for divorce
- Age is also factor
- People 18-19 are more likely to live together
- People 25-44 are more likely to marry
Cohabitation appears to have negative outcomes in comparison to marriage. But, there are other ways to "test drive" living with a partner without actually living with them.
Taking an extended vacation (especially a cruise) can reveal a partner's living habits. Rotating "sleep-overs" throughout the week gives an opportunity to see one another in their natural habitat. Also, premarital counseling can identify possible areas of future concern that could surface when two people reside in the same household.
In light of the statistics, is it a good idea to take your partner for a "test drive" before making a lifelong commitment?
Source: (CDC) Marriage and Cohabitation in the U.S.
Sunday, July 4, 2010
Friends of the opposite sex can bring a lot to our lives. They give us a glimpse into how the "other half lives." They can give us advice into how men or women are thinking and how we should respond in certain situations.
Common men in a woman's life:
The Guy We'd Never...
This guy is funny, intelligent and you feel totally comfortable around him. He is like a brother and you do not see him in a romantic light whatsoever. But could you...
There is something about this guy that is irresistible. Although you value his friendship, you would say yes before he could even ask you for a date.
The "Will" to our "Grace"
Every contemporary diva needs a "Will" to balance her life. This guy may fit the stereotypical image of a gay man or he may not. Either way he brings a certain "je ne sais quoi" to the relationship that is refreshing!
An ex or someone you've never had a real relationship with for many reasons. He does little more than fulfill, let's say, basic needs. He's not exactly boyfriend material and you may deny talking to him, but...well, you know.
Common women in a man's life:
Any Day Now...
No matter how long you've known this girl, your main objective is to add her to your "list". She is attractive, a bit of a challenge, and possibly unaware of your desires. But if you get the green light...it is on!
Midnight (or anytime) Cowgirl
When the bar is closing and you've had no luck, you call her. Because no matter how late (or early) it is, she will pick up. Or she is a girl who you hang out with from time to time, but doesn't know what type of "friend" she is.
(the guy we'd never's friend)
This girl is absolutely amazing. You have many things in common, you can tell her anything, and you actually enjoy spending time with her. No wonder everyone thinks you guys should date...
Thursday, July 1, 2010
But, it is possible to share too much information with a friend?
Boundaries must exist in all relationships, even those with our BFFs, for many reasons.
Things you SHOULD NOT share with your girlfriends:
Private details about dating/marital relationships
Talking about intimate relationship issues (sex, partners finances, etc.) may lead to sticky situations. Some low self-esteem friends may try to hone in on your territory. Others may offer ill-advised solutions. The bottom line is you should be talking to your partner and not your girlfriends.
Decisions you may regret later
If unsure about breaking it off with a partner who your friends despise, keep it to yourself until you make a clear decision. Girlfriends only want what is best for you and may find it hard not to say "I told you so"!
Rumors about other friends
Besides creating drama, this sends the message that you are not to be trusted. Your girlfriends will wonder if you are also gossiping about them to others.
Trivial things that could harm the friendship
Some things are better left unsaid. Although valued, your opinion should be given when requested. Step in when your friend is doing something that will harm her or someone else. Otherwise, wait to give honest feedback when asked.