The Cheapest Way to Transform Relationships (And society)

Screen Shot 2015-11-05 at 3.52.59 PMCould you imagine if someone promised you a guaranteed 18% return on your money? I’ll bet you’d jump at such an impressive investment return, right? That’s what the lawmakers in Minnesota did after they read data by economist Arthur Rolnick Ph.D.. Turns out the best investment any legislator can make is in high grade early childcare and preschool. After crunching the numbers, free baby-care and pre-school paid an 18% return in savings from education, the judicial system, and health care. Yup. 18%.?This was only part of the data presented at a Think Tank I attended this week hosted by the Simms/Mann Institute.

But what does this have to do with relationships?

The other speakers at the Think Tank were esteemed neuroscientists and attachment researchers who backed up the financial argument for investment in babies and toddlers with startling news about brain development. According to the reams of research they presented, the foundational architecture of the brain is mostly formed by a child’s third birthday.?Disrupted early life bonding, abuse or neglect creates a break down in the brain’s receptors for oxytocin — the bonding hormone — making people who grow up unable to have secure attachments. They fail at relationships because they are missing some basic wiring.

But infants given consistent, empathetic care and emotional mirroring have a better capacity to regulate their own feelings, an increased ability to engage in intimate relationships, and are better able?to recover after relationship ruptures. In plain speak, a secure attachment in early life creates grown-up lovers who can contain themselves, become attracted to people who can love them back, and they fight fair and repair well. By the way, at this juncture, the researchers estimated that about half of us get this kind of early life care at home.

The rest grow up attempting to transform relationships. They ?spend money in therapy, or fighting chronic health conditions linked to stress, or commit crimes related to anger issues, poor impulse control or lack of empathy. And all that is not only bad for relationships, but very expensive for society.

According to Pat Levitt, Ph.D., the Simms/Mann Chair of Developmental Neurogenetics at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, “Investment in child development is the foundation for all prosperous communities. It is simply not cost effective to create plasticity through experiences later in life.”

Economist Rolnick backed up that sentiment, “A key ingredient in economic super powers is early child education. Kids in poverty show the biggest investment return. And the best predictor of successful outcomes for kids is a mother’s education.”

And, I’ll add to that: The best predictor of a healthy adult connection isn’t one’s access to Tinder or It’s ?the care one received aged 0 -3.


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FOR SINGLES: Who Gets Laid on a First Date?

man-drinking-beer-picLet me start with a question, if 100 young men, aged 18-25, go out on a first date tonight, how many do you think will get laid? How many will have sex? How many do you actually think will get to hook up? Think about it. Im waiting, you thinking?

Usually when I give this talk to kids at colleges or my salon parties, where I talk about sex and relationships, Im surprised to hear people say numbers like 70 percent, 80 percent! What this shows is that your brain has been manipulated by the media myth of the hook up culture. The truth is this: one study showed that about 99 percent of college students believed that the typical college students hooks up (having sex without commitment) about twice a year. When in fact, this study showed that only 35 percent of students had only one hook up in the past year. So, how many men, aged 18-25, out of 100 are going to get laid on a first date? 20 percent. That means that 80 percent of the women out there are smart enough not to expose their eggs and their blood stream to a stranger, who they wouldnt even give the keys to their apartment to water their plants while they are out of town!

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Think about it. Sex on the first date is loaded with disaster. In fact, with sex within the first 30 days of meeting someone youve got about a 90 percent chance of breaking up within a year. But the real danger here is that the talk of the hook up culture, this mythology, is dangerous to women because it puts pressure on them to adopt a male model of sexuality. In other words, take any sex, all sex, at any costs. By the way, plenty of guys arent happy with that model either.

Did you know that 25 percent of college students are actually virgins? Yeah! And the third reason they site for abstaining is religion. Number one and two are I dont want a pregnancy or relationship to deter my plans for education and a career. Thats the truth! How many get laid on a first date? Well, young men, 2 out of 10. Those are the A gamers, players, who are out to extract sex from a woman and not necessarily build a healthy relationship.

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Is “Un-Divorced” The New Marriage?

I have a guy-friend who has been un-divorced for three years. What that means is that he pays all his wife’s expenses while she lives in another (much smaller) house in the same city. They are both dating other people and speak only about practical household matters. When I ask my friend why he doesn’t get divorced, he shrugs his shoulders and says, his wife hasn’t asked for a divorce. I have a few theories on why this couple doesn’t legally pull the plug on their marriage — divorces are expensive, emotionally gruesome, and staying married is a kind of relationship that fulfills an attachment need for those who are more intimacy avoidant.

Apparently my friend’s situation is not unique. While it is difficult to estimate the numbers, a recent article in the New York Times says that “society is full of whispered scenarios in which spouses live apart.” The article even sites famous gazillionaire, Warren Buffet, who separated from his wife in 1977 and remained married to her until her death on 2004, even though he was living with another woman.

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I would venture to say that there are three categories of people who live in this marital limbo. First, wealthy people who stand to suffer financially if a divorce breaks up assets, like companies and real estate holdings. Second, couples with children who are co-parenting, albeit from separate homes, while health and life insurance policies remain intact, and finally, that large group of wishy-washy, can’t-get-off-the-fence Americans who fear intimacy and deep emotional commitment. After all, staying married to an estranged spouse protects one from having to marry anyone else. For some, staying un-divorced is a perfect purgatory where they can maintain a social illusion of a legal pairing, while sowing their oats elsewhere, yet never having to bring the new crop to fruition. For some of these scenarios, according to The New York Times, pressure from a new paramour is the most common cause, finally, of a delayed divorce.

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Florida: The State of Our Unions (Love Lab Live Miami)

Young couple on Miami Beach Riding bikes and having funThings aren’t so bad in Florida. People are becoming richer and, if you look at the numbers only one way, increasingly single.

The U.S. Census Bureau recently released 2014 statistics that show the average Florida household brought in nearly $47,500, the highest since before the great recession. This is a good news/bad news story for single women. Those much maligned “gold diggers” might do well in Florida to live out their naturally evolved instinct to gravitate toward men with resources (the better to feed hungry infants in our anthropological past.) But it’s bad news for high wage earning women, who tend to have higher divorce rates when they marry men with fewer resources.

These, and other sociological realities of human mating are woven into a new kind of show coming to Miami, headlined by America’s Relationship Expert, Dr. Wendy Walsh (CNN, The Doctors, KFI Radio.) Love Lab LIVE Miami comes to Tantalize Miami in South Beach on October. 29th. And the show doesn’t stop with data. Live social experiments involving smell, vocal tone, and yes, touch, reveal the science and sometimes shocking reality of our animal mating strategies.

“Married couples are usually the most astounded by our show,” says Walsh, “Because they are the true survivors of the fittest in the increasing competition for mates. And one lucky couple can win our Long Lasting Love Test, that looks at age of marriage, length of courtship, even career choices, proving that the data is usually right.”

The news in Florida about marriage rates is a bit deceiving.?The Census figures show that, compared to a decade ago, ?fewer Floridians have tied the knot, having decreased from 54% in ?2005 to a mere 46% in 2014.?But that doesn’t mean?marriage is out of vogue. True that there are more single adults in American today that in any other period in history. But that may be because there are simply more of us and our ages are different.

Look at this chart to see that the decline in both marriages and divorces during the 1960’s through 1970’s. Simply put, those were the years baby boomers were busy growing up, not running to the alter. It makes perfect sense that during those years the per capita marriage rate declined. Rest assured, marriage rates went back up to pre World War II levels, after boomers grew up.

The fact that marriage is alive and well in Florida is evidenced by the success of Cupid Dates, a Miami based special events agency that creates dream dates for married couples. Cupid Dates is a promotional sponsor of Love Lab Live.


Why Men Stray More than Women (And How to Prevent Cheating)

cheater-quiz-mainIt is estimated that 65% of divorces occur ?because of an extra-marital affair. And, despite the sexual revolution and the reduction of the “double standard,” more men still cheat than women. Now science shows us why this gender imbalance might exist.

First, there could be a genetic link. Swedish researchers recently identified an “infidelity gene,” which is present in four of 10 men. This gene can explain why some men are more prone to stormy relationships and bond less to their wives or girlfriends. However, it’s important to remember that biology is not destiny. People born with genetic predispositions to say, heart disease or obesity, make lifestyle adjustments that compensate for the negative gene.

Continue reading Why Men Stray More than Women (And How to Prevent Cheating)