Tag Archives: dating

How Your Attachment Style Makes You Leave or Stay

Couple Back to back with problemsSome of the reasons couples stay together or break up may surprise you. While it’s easy to assume that most people stay in relationships because it feels good and there are plenty of rewards such as having a close connection, along with physical and emotional intimacy, new research shows that depending on your attachment style, you may stay or leave for different reasons.

Stephanie Spielmann, of the University of Toronto’s department of psychology was one of the first researchers to look at the effects of social threats and rewards in relation to love commitment. They studied three separate groups of couples totally nearly 2000 people of both genders from the United States and Canada. And what her team found is that attachment style has a lot to do with why people stay.

The big take away is that people who tend to have an avoidant attachment style (those who shy away from emotional closeness) perceive that their relationship gives them few rewards. On the other hand, those with higher levels of attachment anxiety (those who worry about love and crave intimacy) perceive that the loss of their relationship will be a terrifying thing. Also, when people think their relationship is rewarding, they tend to have higher levels of commitment, invest more in their love life, and report that their relationship is satisfying. The results were the same for both genders.

What does all this mean to us? Simply put, people who have anxiety about love, tend to stay in an unsatisfying relationship because they fear being single. They actually settle for less, because they fear losing their relationships is worse than staying in a bad place. And people who avoid emotional closeness tend to have higher commitment problems. Not surprisingly, people who have a secure attachment style, those with high self esteem who can give and receive care comfortably and feel that closeness is rewarding, tend to have higher commitment levels and ride out the bumps of relationship ruptures well.

If you suspect you are in an unhealthy relationship, it’s important to understand your attachment style and to examine your fears about being single. Feelings of loneliness are painful feelings for both genders but dating a hurtful person can have longterm effects on self-esteem. Knowing your real value on the mating market is key to maintaining confidence in your current relationship.

Watch my video:

WHY PEOPLE DATE OUT OF THEIR LEAGUE

Why People Date Out of Their League

FOR COUPLES: Expressing the “F” word: Feelings

Communication problemsWhile some people seem to express emotions easily, most people have to learn. Having emotional language skills is crucial to not only the relationships we have with others, but also the relationship we have with ourself. If we can’t name our feelings and share them, we are a long way off from being able to process them and use them in a healthful way. Having an honest emotional vocabulary is crucial to emotional intimacy, though this communication art is easier for some of us than others.

There’s a joke I make about men. I like to say that most of them act like they’re afraid to say the “F” word — FEELINGS. And  I’m not totally off base here. Men and boys are socialized to express less emotional communication and I think the are also biologically wired to have less emotional awareness than women. There’s even a diagnosis is the therapist’s bible of mental disorders, the DSM, called Alexithymia, which basically means an inability to connect feelings with words. In recent years a Harvard professor, Dr. Ron Levant came up with the phrase “normative male alexithymia” to describe how American males are culturally conditioned  to repress their vulnerable and caring emotions, causing them to become underdeveloped in emotional expressiveness.

But a fear of talking about feelings is an equal opportunity affliction. Since feminism gave way to the no-rules relationship revolution, an age where emotions are less and less risked, many women have followed the example of men. I would venture to say that women’s greatest assets — an awareness of emotions and verbal skills — have been abandoned by too many of our gender.

The solution? To delve into the the squeamish sea of honest communication that focusses on personal feelings rather than points fingers at others.  One of the reasons this is a challenge for some is that this important skill was neither taught nor modeled by our parents. Parents of the 1960’s more often practiced critical parenting rather than emotionally intimate parenting. Critical parenting sounds like this: Johnny you are a messy boy! Look at that disgusting room. No TV for you, bad boy! Emotionally Intimate parenting sounds like this: Johnny, I feel angry when I have to clean up your mess and I want you to feel proud of your room, so I’m going to help you become neater by saying a clean room means a reward of TV. See the focus on feelings, in this case anger and pride, with a positive reward instead of shame as the behavior shaper.

So, assuming that you were parented in the more common, critical way, here’s a crash course in how to use emotional language to grow intimacy in all your relationships. First of all, in every communication, try to identify your own feelings and express them as a reaction to someone’s behavior rather than an assault on their behavior. People get less defensive when they hear the words, “I feel” than when they hear “You are.”

Having trouble labeling that uneasy feeling in your stomach? Here’s Dr. Walsh’s handy dictionary of the most common feelings people express. I like to call them the twenty power words of emotional intimacy. Next time you tell a story to someone, add your emotional experience by saying “I feel,” followed by one of these words: Nervous, Happy, Sad, Angry, Disappointed, Hopeful, Ignored, Embarrassed, Envious, Jealous, Lonely, Excited, Surprised, Proud, Scared, Guilty, Aroused, Uncomfortable, Rejected, Loved.

This kind of language will open the door to the most tender parts of your psyche and help you become more accessible and ultimately more lovable. It will also model skills for others, including your kids. Yes, even your sons. Using emotional language is a bit terrifying at first, but trust me, it can enrich all your relationships. “I feel” quite confident about this.

Watch my youtube video on:

How to Communicate and Be Heard

FOR SINGLES: WHO LIES IN ONLINE DATING?

Man looking shocked at computerIt’s common knowledge that, when selecting a mate men prefer youth and beauty and women prefer money and height. But did you know that pressure causes most people to outright lie on online dating sites. In fact, 81% of people lie.

And the most common lies? According to researcher, Catalina L. Toma of Michigan State University users mostly lie about their age and their height. In addition, Professor Toma, Jefferey T. Hancock, of Cornell University and Nicole B. Ellison at Michigan State University, interviewed people from New York City who were dating online. All three of the researchers recorded the dating users’ height, weight, and took pictures of their faces, and recorded their age by verifying by their driver’s license. From the information they gathered, they analyzed the group’s dating profiles.

Women were the pretty little liars when it comes to weight. They found women claimed to be, on average, 8.5 pounds thinner than their actual weight. But men lie about weight too, but tend to shave fewer pounds off. They averaged 2 pounds lighter. Not surprisingly, a greater portion of men fibbed about height than women. Most lying men added half an inch to their original height.

So how about age? Is it really true that women lie about age to appear younger and more fertile? Not so. The age factor, according to Toma, was one aspect that dating users of both genders were honest about.

The good news is that it is possible to tell if a person is lying on their dating profile. According to a study printed in the Journal of Communication, people who lie on their profiles tend to use fewer pronouns. In other words, they lie but don’t directly attribute it to “I” and “me.” As well, those who are not telling the truth on their profile have a tendency to use more negative words such as “not” or “never”. They write shorter descriptions about themselves and do not display pessimistic emotions like “sad” and “upset.”

In the online dating world, it is buyer beware. Understand that deception is a proven mating strategy. Accept that the lies exist and do the math for yourself. Add some weight to each woman and subtract some height from each man. That way, you won’t be disappointed when you meet for that first coffee.

WATCH MY VIDEO: FOUR TECH MISTAKES THAT SINGLE GIRLS MAKE

Four Tech Mistakes Single Girls Make

Cited Sources:
http://www.academia.edu/762681/The_truth_about_lying_in_online_dating_profiles

FOR MEN: Real Men Hate the Word Love

love-limit-road-sign-trim-black-partsHave you ever noticed that I talk about relationships all day long and I only rarely mention love? And when I do, it is usually to caution that it is a delusion intertwined with sexual attraction. Or, I remind you that love is a verb, not a noun. An action word. Not a state of being. Long term love is an intellectual commitment, I say.

Could I sound any more unromantic?

Hey, and speaking of romance, I normally dismiss flowers, chocolate, fine wine, and high heels simple accoutrements to delusion. I should also tell you that my “brainy” ideas about love have garnered me a group of male readers who say, “finally a woman who gets it.” Men do love to make rational sense of things that are so irrational. And men love to hate the word love. It feels weak to think feelings for a woman might disempower them.

But do I really get it?

I certainly have some textbook notions about how biology and psychology get all tangled up and sometimes make people do things they shouldn’t be doing. Running off with a paramour when a perfectly good spouse is right in front of you. Staying with an abusive spouse because of love. Jumping into bed with a Casanova because you will be the one to change him. Thinking that a loss of sexual energy is a loss of love. And, my favorite transgression of love’s delusion: Dragging children through our delusions.

Could love really be that dangerous? Must it always involve some form of heartbreak, dysfunction, boredom, loss, or even violence? And if that is the case, why do we march right back into the fire when we should know better?

I have some of the answers. But only some.

Psychologists would say that love is a seeking out of early womb experiences and infantile bliss. A baby’s play and cuddling becomes an adult sex life. Parts of our brain consider a lover a kind of mother, a nurturer, a protector, even an executor of boundaries. We feel safe and cared for in a love relationship.

We do it, that is, fall in love because it is the single best chemical high in our lifespan. At least, the best high that both genders can experience. Women also get to do childbirth, which is pretty darn close to experiencing heaven and hell at the same time. But love is different. It is shared with an adult.

Both genders can experience love together. Love. An unconscious handshake between too souls who agree there is more to this world than work, play, and food. It is an exchange of mutual projections that when executed well, is better than any Academy Award winning movie. Love may be a delusion but it is one of the best ones we have. And sometimes it’s all we have. With so many people losing faith in old religions, I wonder if love is becoming our new religion. And what is faith after all? Merely a belief in something that we have little scientific proof of. I would venture to say that we have far more proof of love’s power than many religions do in their folklore. The selfless acts of love that happen every day are real, observable, and can bring us to our knees in awe of the God-like powers within humans.

Now I will really go out on a limb and say that Love (look, I’m using a cap now!) can feel like a spiritual experience. All we can hope for, is that each new love relationship will bring us different challenges. We hope that as we grow we will not become trapped in familiar, unhealthy patterns that get us stuck. Delusion or not, love is something we should all sign up for. It’s an antidote to fear, horrific TV news, sickness, and other suffering. Love is the answer. And when life gets us down, when we feel, shame, loneliness, victimized, pressured, indecisive, or angry, love is the only choice that will work every single time. It won’t always have an instant result and it won’t always come back directly to us with the precision of a ping pong ball, but a loving act will change our biology and change the world. One selfless act at a time. Don’t fear love, nor waste it thoughtlessly. It is the biggest gift you will ever receive. Ya listening guys?

Watch my youtube on:

Is Rational Love Replacing Romantic Love?

For Men: First Date Strategies

Man getting ready for a date or weddingLet’s face it, first dates can feel downright awkward. Two people, pretending to be who they wish they were, while they keep their real motives hidden. Is she looking for a boyfriend or a fling? Is he thinking she could be wife material or a fun-time girl?

While traditional dating wisdom says that women decide within 30 seconds if they are physically attracted to a man, a study done by the University of Texas demonstrates that it takes twenty minutes for men to decide if they want to have a second date or not. The study also found that the more attractive a female date is, the more likely a man inclined to take her out again. (They needed a study to decide that?) And, the thing that keeps men strong and brave, even if they aren’t sure that she’s swooning, is the fact that men tend to over estimate how attracted a woman is. This crazy male trait can also set men up for a serious let down.

Here are three tips to help you men have a successful first date:

  1. Calm your nervous system. First dates can be wrought with anxiety. One way to ease that anxiety and calm down to act more relaxed and natural, is to boost your dopamine levels. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter in the brain that is released by nerve cells to send signals to other nerve cells that control motor skills, motivation, arousal and thinking. A study published by Current Biology,  found some foods, such as apples, bananas, and avocados, can increase dopamine levels. For your main entrée try ordering a plate of chicken, turkey or cheese. Food and drinks that will disrupt your dopamine are sugar, alcohol, and caffeine.
  2. Be What Women Love – While men put youth and beauty at the top of the list when choosing a mate, women put looks way farther down. Studies from around the world, show that women look for resources (Sigh. Income), intelligence, and kindness before they rate a man on looks. And the best way men can display intelligence is through humor. Kindness can we displayed  by treating everyone around you with respect, from the wait staff to the valet parker.
  3. Be Cool, Dude. That old deodorant ad tag line, “Never let them see you sweat” applies to first dates. Both genders what to feel like they are winning a prize. If you act too eager and energetic, she’ll devalue you. Instead, be kind. Be cool. And never ask her out for a second date until at least three days after the first day. Make he wonder if you like her. That’s how to play an “A” game.

And, if your date goes well and you hope it may lead to sex, arm yourself with knowledge about the differences between men and women’s sexuality. Watch my video here: