Chat and Flirt

Modern dating advice for the internet.

Tuesday

22

July 2014

0

COMMENTS

Is a ‘Man in Red’ More Attractive to Women?

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In my previous post and in my book, Sensation: The New Science of Physical Intelligence, I showed how the color red influences the way men perceive women. Men who saw a photo of a woman against a red background perceived her as more attractive and sexier. But what about women’s perception of men? Does red enhance the desirability of men to women? This question is more complicated. Unlike women, sexy men are not necessarily portrayed wearing red shirts. The songs are all about “the lady in red” – there is no “man in red.”

Red is associated not only with sex but with dominance, especially in the animal world. Studies with various types of animals have shown that red in males signals dominance, which is preferred by females for mating. When kids go to the zoo and see the red rumps of some of the monkeys, they may laugh but the red butt is serious; males, especially alpha males (and not females) display red and it as a symbol of status.

Researchers from the United Kingdom found that the red color on the face, rump, and genitalia of male mandrills is a sign of dominance. When two males with a similar red color encountered each other, there were more fights and aggressive behavior. When one of the males exhibited a stronger red color, however, he was clearly more dominant, and the less dominant male avoided him.

Red signals dominance in other types of animals too. Even “artificial” red signals  dominance and influences the behavior of zebra finches, common birds in Australia. Researchers arbitrarily placed red or green bands on the legs of zebra finches and found that those with the red bands were more dominant. Animal studies have also shown that females prefer dominant red males. For example, the three-spined stickleback fish appears red during breeding season. Researchers found that the females preferred males with more intense red color.

So enough about animals…what about humans? In the Western culture, dominance is considered a stereotypically masculine characteristic, and many studies have shown that women like dominant men and men with higher status.

Elliot and Niesta, with their colleagues, asked this question: “If red is associated with dominance and status, and if women prefer men with higher status, is it possible that women will find a man wearing a red item more attractive?” They showed groups of women the same photo of a man, where the only difference was the color of the background. They conducted several experiments on the effect of red on women’s perception of men. The researchers presented female students with black and white photos of a man on a red, white, or gray background. They then asked the women to rate how attractive they perceived the man to be and how sexually attracted they were to him.

Women who saw the photo of the man on a red background perceived him as more attractive and as more sexually desirable than women who saw the same photo on a white or gray background.

Similar results were found when, instead of the background, the researchers manipulated shirt color. Women were asked to judge a man wearing a red shirt or a green shirt. And wouldn’t you know it? The man with the red shirt was perceived as more attractive and desirable.

The researchers went one step further to examine what it is in the color red that affects women’s judgments of men. They once again presented female students with a photo of a man. As in the previous studies, all participants saw the same photo, but half saw the man wearing a red shirt and the other half a gray shirt. This time, they were asked to evaluate the status of the man and his status potential, that is, whether he had a high potential to succeed in the future and to earn a lot. The findings are extraordinary. Women who saw the man with the red shirt believed he had a higher status and a higher potential for status and success. In other words, exactly the same man was perceived as higher in status just because he wore a red shirt.

These experiments clearly demonstrate that the color red has a strong influence on women’s perception of men’s attractiveness and plays an important part in the attraction between the sexes. It seems that red signals a higher status, and higher status in men makes them more attractive and sexually desirable.

Men can easily apply these findings by wearing something red in social interactions and business meetings. Wearing a red tie or a red shirt may convey just enough status on a date to lead to success!

About the Author:

Sensation_9781451699135Thalma Lobel’s book is titled Sensation: The New Science of Physical Intelligence. Lobel is a professor of psychology at Tel Aviv University at the school of Psychological sciences and the director of the Adler Center for Research in Developmental Psychology and Psychopathology. Her research focuses on gender differences and gender roles and on embodied cognition. Her work has been published in prestigious journals including the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Developmental Psychology and Evolution and Human Behavior.

The post Is a ‘Man in Red’ More Attractive to Women? appeared first on eHarmony Advice.

Monday

14

July 2014

0

COMMENTS

Terry Crews: How to Be a Better Man in Love and Marriage

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ManhoodTerry Crews is on a serious roll these days! He is starring in FOX’s hit comedy, “Brooklyn Nine-Nine;” has several films in the can including “The Expendables 3,” “Aztec Warrior” and “Reach Me;” and he is the new host of “Who Wants To Be a Millionaire.”

Life wasn’t always this first-rate for the former NFL star and Old Spice guy. Even as he achieved success, he tended to make mistakes that caused him career problems and difficulties in his marriage. But he was also sharp enough to understand that he was his own worst enemy, so Crews energetically tackled the work necessary to get his life on the right track.

Now, he shares those lessons, including the ups and downs of his 25-year marriage, what it takes to forge successful relationships, and what he learned that keeps the home fires burning, in written form. Crews has added the title of author to his resumé with the release of Manhood, now in bookstores everywhere from Ballentine.

“The reason I wrote the book was to show that people can change,” Crews tells eHarmony. “Everything is changeable. Everything you see doesn’t have to remain the same. When I realized that, that’s when I grabbed the wheel of my life and decided I was going to learn how to drive.”

In this interview, Crews surprisingly says that to find love, you have to be willing to go through heartbreak, taking sex out of a relationship can make it stronger, secrets can destroy it, and forgiveness is the key to success.

eH: What is the message of Manhood that men and women should get about making relationships work?

Terry Crews: The message that I feel is most important is knowing your demons, so to speak. A lot of times as adults, we tend to make a lot of excuses for our behavior. I was one of those guys. I like to tell people that are certain stages in your life: You are either a fool, a victim, or a king.

The fool stage is when you are really young and doing crazy things just to be doing them. A fool gets mad when people try to help him. I was definitely at that stage. What happens is being a fool, you mess up your life.

Then you move into the victim stage, where your life is messed up and you tend to blame everybody else. The problem with being a victim, is you never see you are a victim. You can always find, or point to someone else as the problem.

When you start to think like a king, is when you start to take responsibility for everything in your life — good and bad. For me, there were several instances. Usually, to think like a king, you have to fall from grace first. When I hit rock bottom in several areas, either financially or relationship-wise, when something wasn’t working, it made me look and say, “What’s happening here? Why am I not progressing?” Thinking like a king makes you take inventory of your whole life. In the book, I wanted people to get that in a relationship you have to always, always take inventory of what is not working.

eH: What is the biggest mistake people make in relationships?

TC: The biggest thing is it is impossible to control someone and love them at the same time. Impossible. I remember when I wouldn’t tell my wife certain things, even about myself, in order to control her. It was an attempt, by lack of information, to give her a picture and an image that wasn’t really true. That’s a big thing. That’s why I don’t think people should live together.

Intimacy is never safe. To be intimate with someone, you really expose yourself. You are at your most vulnerable. But without commitment, are you really intimate? A lot of time people put on airs, and make themselves look perfect, and make themselves look smarter, but the real deal is when someone knows all your thoughts, and knows everything that you’ve done wrong and knows all your problems, and they still love you, the relationship will go forever. Now, you’ve reached the point where the intimacy is real and it can grow from there.

eH: You read a lot of self-help books, do you think that helps understand feelings, or do you need to be of an accepting mindset before they can help you?

TC: You do. You have to. You can’t really hear things unless you are ready to hear them. It’s funny. There are things you hear all of your life that you swear are correct, until you are presented with your own thing.

The perfect example that I have is driving. Your whole life, you watch people drive, but once you get behind the wheel, you don’t know how to drive. It is one of those things where you assume you know, because you watch people do it every day of your life. But just because you’ve watched it done, does not mean you know how to do it. Until you get behind the wheel, you don’t have a clue.

That is what good self-help books are about. It’s like your eyes aren’t open until you are ready to get behind the wheel and take control of your life. A lot of people are letting other things drive their lives — and they think, they’re driving. They are letting all kinds of people determine what they do, where they go, the circle that they are in, so other people are actually driving their life. When you decide, “I need to take control of what I’m about,” all of a sudden, you’re behind the wheel. You’re, “Okay, where’s the turn signal? Where’s the gas pedal?” That is what a good self-help book will do.

eH: You talk about a sex reset, where you went 90 days without sex. What did you learn from that? Do you think others can benefit from doing something similar?

TC: Definitely. Definitely. Parents have always tended to be old-fashioned, saying, “Don’t have sex before marriage,” but no one tells you the reason why. Remember, I told you, “Intimacy is not safe. It is vulnerable.” When I went through the reset, what happened was I started to understand what I wanted, what I was about, and I had to see my wife as not a object, which is weird, because as men, we get motivated by what we see, and a woman instantly becomes an object to us if we let it. But once I took sex out of the equation, I saw her as a total, whole human being. And I loved her more.

It was a really strange revelation to me because as a man you say, “I just need sex. If you’re not giving me sex, we have a problem.” That is what society thinks. I would encourage women to never let a man see you in that way, because again, intimacy is not safe unless he is committed to you. The phrase “love is all we need,” is wrong. It’s wrong. Because you need more than love, you need commitment. Love without commitment is unfinished: It’s yin without yang, up without down. You can say, “I love you,” and you can love everybody, but unless you are committed to me, there is no way that can really become true love.

I had the commitment. I was married to my wife and what I was exploring more and more was that commitment. Sex was out of the equation. Now, I saw her much differently. Now, we talked. I have to say, as a man you wonder, “When is this conversation going to end in something?” That is what guys do. But once a man is able to see you as you really, really are without sex, then it makes the sex much more. It goes to a whole other level. I think every man has experienced that. That is part of the courtship period. I don’t believe that a woman should ever give a man sex on the first, second, third date. There has got to be a commitment. Because a man will tell you he loves you, and it’s true. He’s not lying, but the flip side is, he’s not committed to you. Until you’ve got that commitment, it’s never, never safe to do something like that.

eH: If intimacy makes you vulnerable, but you say that keeping secrets is one of the biggest problems in relationships, at what point in a relationship do you think it is necessary to reveal all?

TC: You have to take it slow. You have to take baby steps. Also, you want someone who wants you for you. The thing is, if you are a jerk, you probably have a problem anyway. Then you have to work on yourself. But if you’ve already done the work and you know that you’re a kind, giving, loving person, you should have no problem telling people your dreams, telling people your hopes, telling people what you want in life. I think that is really where it all starts and it goes from there. It is a growing process. I am actually more committed to my wife after 25 years than I was the first day we got married.

I really, really think when you are dating, it is important to be upfront and honest about who you are. The first date, no. But if you decide after several dates to start to explain who you are, every time you decide you want the relationship to get closer, you are going to have to reveal a lot more about yourself.

eH: What is your best advice for someone single and looking for love?

TC: My best advice is be the person you want. It is like business. You have to keep looking. What you look for, you want. If you want a red car, all of a sudden, you start seeing great red cars everywhere.

My wife did a great job when she was single of writing down a list of things that she wanted in a potential husband. She wrote a big list, so she knew what she wanted when she saw it. I have heard it said before that if you’re going nowhere, any road will do, but once you have a goal, you have to stay on one road. If you write down what you want out of your mate — male or female — what you are looking for, then it’s all good. If something comes your way that is a little bit different, you don’t have to rule it out. You can definitely say, ‘Hmm. This is a deviation from what I wrote before, but I am interested to go this way.” I think remain open, but also have a list of what you want.

eH: What is the hardest thing about love?

TC: The hardest thing about love is you are going to get your heart broken. There is no way around it. It is not safe. It is just a very, very hurtful thing because you’ve exposed what you are to someone else, and maybe you’ve invested, and it doesn’t work out. You can’t make anyone love you. You can’t tie a person in the basement and say, “You love me.” That’s control. The mistake that people make is they slip into control in order to not get their heart broken. You have to let it be. The real deal and the reality is that you don’t want anyone who doesn’t want to be with you. That is just the truth.

But love, your heart will get broken and that is just the way it is. You must keep trying, you must keep going. I like to say, it is almost like you are standing on a gold mine, but you have to keep digging. You dig and you dig and you dig and one day you will hit the jackpot. But you’ve got to know the gold is there. It takes faith. Faith to go for your dreams and to go for love. You might fail, but more likely than not, you will succeed.

eH: What has marriage taught you?

TC: Marriage has made me come out of myself. First of all, there are some people who are meant to be single and that is just true. But there was no way I was going to improve as a person as a single man. There was no way for me to gauge what was wrong with me. There was no one to tell me, “Hey, man. You are really messed up.” My wife has been a sounding board, a dose of reality in my life, who lets me know when I am off track. If you get on a plane from New York to L.A., and you are off by an inch, you may end up in Seattle. The thing is, my wife has always kept me on my course. She has always been, “Hey, honey. You didn’t speak to me correctly. You didn’t do this right. I didn’t feel valued when you did this.” But a man who is on his own and single, he doesn’t have anyone to tell him that he’s off. His mother might tell him. His friends might tell him, but when you’re married, it makes you a better person.

eH: Do you believe in one soulmate for each person or are there multiple matches out there?

TC: I do not believe in one soulmate. I have never believed in that. It is one of those things where you have choices. You can pick and choose. I don’t believe in the soulmate theory, but what I do believe is that once you’ve committed, that is when it all happens. That is when the souls connect. Not before. The behavior of commitment creates a soulmate. There are some of the most famous couples over the years who had huge, huge issues, but they just decided to stay. They decided to stay committed to each other. They look back and they say, “This is my soulmate,” because their souls do get united.

eH: What do you think one needs in a partner to make the relationship successful?

TC: Forgiveness. Everyone has to forgive nonstop. You have to choose not to be offended. There have been times when my wife will say something to me and I will think, “Whoa! What was that?” But if I react in a certain way, it could take it to a whole other stratosphere of pain. But if I choose not to be offended … sometimes I will look back and realize I was wrong. By choosing not to be offended, or by forgiving the other person, it just keeps everything moving right along. What happens is you get that grace, too, because you’re going to be wrong.

eH: You had a lot of advice in your book. You made a lot of the same mistakes over and over. What was your inspiration in writing it? Did you want to show people it was okay to keep trying?

TC: I wanted to show people, “Wow! It took me 40 years.” I got to another place. I am a different person now. But I also had to bust the bubble because people were like, “Terry Crews is so amazing.” My wife was over there with a big sigh, going, “No way.” I was like, “We’ve got to bust this bubble here, because nobody is like that.” Everybody is imperfect.

That’s another thing. You talk about dating, everybody brings their pain, they bring their issues, they bring all their stuff into it. The thing is, you’ve got to ask yourself, “Are you the person to deal with their baggage?” Because you will. No one is perfect and the whole idea of romance means non-reality. Once you get rid of the fantasy, it hits you really, really hard. The first couple of years of marriage are very, very intense because all the smoke and mirrors are gone and you see the person as they really are. Now you have to assess, “Whoa! What did I get into?”

Truer words were never spoken! Follow Terry on Twitter, Facebook and check out his amazing new book, Manhood.

The post Terry Crews: How to Be a Better Man in Love and Marriage appeared first on eHarmony Advice.

Wednesday

9

July 2014

0

COMMENTS

5 Reasons to ‘Date’ Yourself

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Imagine knowing yourself on a deeper, more gratifying, less judgmental level. Imagine being able to describe yourself to others while being empowered by your strengths and experiences and not cringing at the thought of your weaknesses and struggles. Imagine taking care of yourself, owning your needs and treating yourself with the love and nurturance you would give to a baby or child.

Dating provides the platform to get to know someone, giving you the opportunity to assess if your personalities, goals, and values are compatible. Dating allows you to learn about a potential partner’s likes, dislikes, background, passions, beliefs, and the like. This knowledge is key to forming a romantic bond, however, it raises an important question — how much is dating focused on getting to know someone else when you might feel that you really do not know yourself?

This question leads me to the fun yet frightening exploration process of dating yourself. This is a practice I recommend to my clients who are newly single, grieving a breakup or divorce, attracting unhealthy partners or who are struggling with being single or not connecting on their dates.

Dating yourself might include everything and anything from checking out a new restaurant, seeing a movie or live music, hiking, going to a spa, attending a book talk, running or taking a dance or cooking class solo. It might also include writing a gratitude note to yourself, journaling, treating yourself to a massage or cooking yourself a delicious dinner with the recipe you have been wanting to try. The point is to confidently embark on the journey of doing what you love and what brings you happiness without waiting for anyone (especially a partner) to do it with you or for you.

In order to get the most out of this experience, dating yourself should also include allotting some time to be alone and connect with yourself without planned activities. Solitude aids you in developing a healthy relationship with yourself and discovering who you are.

Although this idea might feel completely overwhelming at first, there are many healthy benefits to dating yourself. Here are five:

1. Dating yourself gets you out of your comfort zone and into healthy risk-taking mode, especially if you tend to stay away from going out of your home solo or resist doing activities without the company of someone else.

2. Dating yourself reinforces the idea that love and happiness start within, teaching you to look within for the support, encouragement and love that you naturally crave. This puts less pressure on potential partners to be responsible for your happiness and health.

3. Dating yourself increases your self-esteem and worthiness as you actively value and care for yourself. It shows you that you are deserving of great care and attention and helps you expect that (in a healthy way) from your future partner(s).

4. Dating yourself gives you the opportunity to get to know who you are in a deeper way, bringing you insight about what is really important to you. This knowledge is vital to partner selection, attraction and maintaining healthy relationships with others.

5. Dating yourself teaches you to enjoy alone time and how to be independent, furthering the health of your present and future relationships and tying into the healthy balance of separateness and togetherness in relationships. It allows you to be happy with and without a partner.

If you’re still not sold…think about it like this: The more fear or discomfort you have about dating yourself, the more valuable this process will be. If you find yourself anxious or worrying about judgment from others for doing activities alone, look inward, notice your thoughts and make room for them without attachment.

About the Author:

Rachel Dack is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC), Nationally Certified Counselor and relationship coach, specializing in psychotherapy for individuals and couples via her private practice in Bethesda, Maryland. Rachel’s areas of expertise include relationships, self-esteem, dating, mindfulness, anxiety, depression and stress management. Rachel is a co-author to Sexy Secrets to a Juicy Love Life, an International Bestseller, written to support single women in decreasing frustration about single-hood, leaving the past behind, cultivating self-love and forming and maintaining loving relationships. Rachel also serves as a Relationship Expert for http://www.datingadvice.com/ and other dating and relationship advice websites. Follow her on Twitter for more daily wisdom!

The post 5 Reasons to ‘Date’ Yourself appeared first on eHarmony Advice.

Wednesday

9

July 2014

0

COMMENTS

6 Signs This is ‘Not’ The Guy for You

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The endless search for lasting love can be exhausting, frustrating, and depressing. In a world dominated by social media, serial dating, and a cheating rate of 60% of all married couples, we may questions why we search. We search because we want to be in love. We want to feel that connection and safety with another person. However, making smart decisions when it comes to love is a huge part of this picture. Here are some things to think about, ladies, as you get to know that new guy!

6 Signs this is NOT the “The Guy”

1. Mr. Unavailable: If you cannot easily get in touch with him when he lives in the same city, something is up. For a woman, it’s always a little nerve-wracking to reach out to a new guy. If you call him and he sounds annoyed or inconvenienced or only returns some of your calls/texts, maybe this isn’t the guy.

2. Mr. Invalidation: If they last time he complimented you was the day you met, then this is a guy who does not value you the way you deserve. Not that a man should be falling all over himself to compliment you, but he should be proud to be yours and under no uncertain terms let you know this as often as possible. Any healthy partnership is based on recognizing and making the other person feel good. This is natural to the feeling of love.

3. Mr. Only Good In the Moment: When you have confusion because you have an amazing time when you are together, but he hardly makes an effort to be together, he may not be having as much fun as you think. If thoughts of you seem to vanish from his mind when you are not around, and he has every excuse as to why he cannot see you, it is time to walk away, regardless of how good you feel it is when you do spend time together. A man who really wants a woman makes the effort to be with her.

4. Mr. I Want a Mama: If you notice he is always low on funds, food in his fridge and cannot keep his place clean, this man is looking for a mama. He will take from you, allow you to care for him and not value you all at the same time. This is a clear sign he cannot take care of himself. Get up and run.

5. My Way or The Highway: This guy is inflexible. Things must go his way for any type of relationship to be established. When you are straightforward with him about what you expect he may agree but when it comes down to it, if it isn’t his way it will be the highway, so start driving. Relationships require flexibility in an effort for both partners to get their needs met. All things cannot be based on one person’s idea of timing.

6. Mr. Quitter: If this man would let you walk away without any type of a fight then he was either never invested, or he knows deep down you are too good for him. Your first real fight will give you an idea if he is a quitter. If you find you have to fix everything when clearly he is in the wrong, you are setting a pattern of being with someone who has no desire to help fix or nurture the relationship. He would rather give up. This person doesn’t have much self-value, and certainly not enough of a work ethic to value anyone else.

All of these men may seem easy to spot, but any one or combination of these traits could happen in your relationships and you will be amazed and what kind mental trickery you will do to stay. You will first search every reason, that regardless of what it looks like, that you have enough evidence he does love you. This is happening because the relationship is still providing you with some amount of value, happiness and pleasure; you have an attachment to him and this is hard to let go of.

Little Life Message: If staying with a man comes from making excuses and justifying his substandard treatment, you are missing out on meeting someone who can love you, no excuses.

About the Author:

Dr. Sherrie Campbell is the author of Loving Yourself, and a licensed Psychologist with more than nineteen years of clinical training and experience. Receive free insights from Sherrie and get involved in her Facebook community with others looking to improve their relationships.

The post 6 Signs This is ‘Not’ The Guy for You appeared first on eHarmony Advice.

Tuesday

1

July 2014

0

COMMENTS

15 Reasons to Date a School Counselor

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Thank goodness for those who devote their lives to improving the well-being of our youth. Lots of kids have challenges of various kinds, and school counselors are among the trained professionals who intervene to help them overcome problems, gain vital skills, and develop self-esteem.

The skills and qualities that make school counselors so valuable in education settings translate well to personal relationships, naturally. Consider these reasons to date one of these professionals:

1. School counselors are empathetic, showing genuine concern for those who are struggling.

2. These professionals know how to collaborate—with teachers, parents, and administrators. Collaboration is, of course, essential to the success of romantic relationships as well.

3. Patience … school counselors have lots of patience.

4. They have strong communication skills, which will benefit a dating relationship.

5. Counselors are highly educated, having earned a graduate degree and license, along with continuing education requirements.

6. Got a problem? Even though you’re no longer in K-12, a school counselor can offer sage advice.

7. They know how to negotiate and compromise, often working within pressure-filled systems and with a variety of personalities.

8. Counselors are great listeners. If you want to be heard, you’ve come to the right person.

9. These men and women are service-oriented, helpful, and caring—qualities that would enrich any relationship.

10. School counselors know how to handle stress. They are required to deal calmly and effectively with challenging people and situations.

11. If you have children or hope to someday, a counselor will bring a wealth of experience and skills to the adult-child relationship.

12. Since school counselors typically work in conjunction with the school calendar, they get summers and holiday breaks off. Lots of time for you to play, vacation, and relax with your counselor-lover.

13. These people get daily glimpses into family dynamics—the good, the bad, and ugly—which provide insights for his/her own family.

14. School counselors are dedicated to bringing out the best in others. Who wouldn’t want a romantic partner like that?

15. Their work is never boring. After all, kids say (and do) the darndest things.

Why else should one date a school counselor?

The post 15 Reasons to Date a School Counselor appeared first on eHarmony Advice.

Monday

30

June 2014

0

COMMENTS

15 Ways to Tell if Someone is the Right Match for You

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Every person looking for a great relationship knows the importance of compatibility. You want to find someone whose beliefs, interests, and goals align with your own. The level of similarity will largely determine the fulfillment and stability you enjoy (or not) over the years to come.

Which brings us to a critical question: How exactly do you assess the degree of compatibility between you and a love interest?

1. Start with a thorough, reliable personality test. This will reveal areas of similarity and differences between you both.

2. Explore your family background and upbringing. That is what had the greatest influence on who you would eventually become.

3. Compare your dealbreakers and must-haves. Do you match up well with the qualities you’re looking for and wanting to avoid?

4. Ask yourself if you’re pretending to enjoy your partner’s interests (and vice versa). Sometimes we intentionally or unintentionally fool ourselves–and our partners—by acting enthusiastic about hobbies and pursuits. Over time, this false enthusiasm will fade away.

5. Assess your combination of passion and companionship. The most enduring chemistry between two people includes both passionate “sizzle” and deep friendship.

6. Recognize any cute quirks that might irk over time. Sometimes the habits and idiosyncrasies that seem charming while dating will grate on you through the years.

7. Gauge the level of acceptance you feel. Compatible couples feel a strong sense of harmony and freedom to be themselves.

8. Talk at length about your core values. Are you similar when it comes to your strongly held beliefs about social issues, spirituality, finances, politics, and child rearing?

9. Identify the differences that do exist. No matter how compatible the two of you are, there are bound to be some differences. Determine if those are related to significant issues that will impact your relationship over time—or relatively small issues that are be negotiated.

10. Observe each other in lots of different circumstances. Watch how each of you acts around family, work colleagues, at home, with children, and so on.

11. Evaluate your effectiveness at resolving conflicts. Where dissimilarities exist, are you and a partner able to talk them through and reach a fair resolution?

12. Look ahead. The standard job interview question is, “Where do you see yourself in ten years?” This is also a question you should carefully consider. Do your goals and aspirations for the future complement each other’s?

13. Take a hard look at your personal habits. All the nitty-gritty aspects of daily life—punctuality, neatness, grooming, weight management—can prove to a source of tension if two people having much different styles of living.

14. Notice how stress is handled. Pressure-filled situations tend to reveal our true nature. As Maya Angelou once said, “I’ve learned that you can tell a lot a person by the way he or she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas lights.”

15. Appraise your adaptability. A flexible personality enables you to ride out storms and adjust to all kinds of challenges. This will be essential for dealing with the areas where you aren’t compatible.

The post 15 Ways to Tell if Someone is the Right Match for You appeared first on eHarmony Advice.

Wednesday

25

June 2014

0

COMMENTS

How Gratitude Can Change Your Love Life

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Gratitude is magical. It has the power to transform your love life. When your heart is open, you have more meaningful connections with dates and partners, you think positively and feel good about yourself, and enjoy the ups and downs of your love life more. Opening your heart to gratitude lets you come from a place of abundance, helping you attract the kind of love you desire and deserve.

More at YourTango.com: 7 Ways Love Transforms Your Brain

What gratitude looks like:

If you’re single, grateful and would like to be in a healthy relationship, you’re happy with your own life while taking action to attract love, selective with who you share yourself with and doing the inner work to prepare yourself for the right relationship.

Being human makes it challenging to open our hearts to gratitude; we tend to get caught up in the cycle of unhealthy thoughts. These types of thoughts result in the following:

  • Thinking “I’m not enough”
  • Inability to be present to and accept what is
  • Having a “lack of” mentality
  • Never being satisfied
  • Striving, striving, striving
  • Trying to control the outcome
  • Needing to be right
  • Blaming others
  • Feeling disconnected to yourself
  • Seeing yourself as separate from others
  • Putting your focus on work and not on love
  • Perfection and not embracing your humanity
  • Taking love too seriously and not enjoying the journey
  • Wishing your love life were different
  • Judging yourself
  • Not enough time “just being” (too busy doing)

More at YourTango.com: Stop Making Excuses and Start Finding Love

How to open your heart:

Whether you’re in a good place, losing hope, skeptical or jaded, these practices will help open your heart.

  • See the gifts in challenging situations
  • Look for the good in life and others
  • Be kind to yourself and others
  • Spent time in nature
  • Indulge your senses
  • Feel your emotions
  • Connect with supportive family and friends
  • Help someone in need
  • Spend time with and around children
  • Be present
  • Enjoy your own company
  • Write a heartfelt letter to yourself
  • Play more and work less
  • Create an emotionally-compelling mantra
  • Discover and live your passions
  • Make time for you
  • Just be
  • Practice meditating — visualize love pouring all over you and through your heart
  • Communicate kindly (i.e. Say, “I feel differently.” instead of “You’re wrong”)

When your heart is opening up, you’ll begin to feel expanded, lighter, joyful, inspired and full of possibilities.

Which ones will you practice to open your heart to gratitude?

More at YourTango.com:

15 Subtle Ways Guys Say ‘I love you’

The Simple Way to Keep Love Alive

A Surefire Way to Tell if You’re in Love

This article originally posted at YourTango.com: Open Your Heart to Gratitude

The post How Gratitude Can Change Your Love Life appeared first on eHarmony Advice.

Monday

23

June 2014

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COMMENTS

How to Cope with the Ex Who Wants to Punish You

Written by , Posted in Advice

None of us like to think about the harsh reality that someone who once loved us is now out to hurt and even punish us, but it’s true.

Bitter, disgruntled and dismissed ex’s seek vengeance in any number of ways, including acts of violence, bullying, intimidation, harassment, passive aggressive behavior, silent indifference and using the children as pawns. Let’s look at four of the most common ways ex’s hurt and punish their former partners, why they do it and some positive alternatives to this kind of destructive behavior.

# 1. Putting Children in the Crossfire
Ex’s can became so ruthless, vicious and contentious that they falsely accuse their ex-husband or ex-wife, or soon-to-be ex, of child abuse, domestic violence, alcoholism, infidelity, illegal acts and so on. Brainwashing children and turning them against their other parent creates a no-win scenario of split loyalties in the psych of a child.

Another way of putting children in the crossfire is to punish your ex over time with silent disdain. This hurtful form of incivility forces children of divorce into walking on eggshells around the bitter, estranged parent — and being re-traumatized by the ever-present tension and animosity they pick up on.

# 2. Violent Aggression
Statistics show that domestic violence and spousal murder are pandemic in our society. The pain and rage of marital conflicts escalate to a boiling point — and someone gets hurt. The cruelty, brutality, incivility and trauma caused by vengeful violence can perpetuate a lifetime of mayhem.

# 3. Slander and Public Shaming
Discrediting and disgracing an ex by perpetuating lies, exposing secrets and exaggerating transgressions are designed to permanently damage their reputation. The effects are often intentionally devastating and irreparable.

# 4. Passive Aggressive Behavior
Passive-aggressive behavior is a cowardly and dangerously sneaky form of malice. Often described as the sly behavior of a “wolf in sheep’s clothing,” this indirect form of payback can result in getting people fired, turning kids against their other parent, ruining friendships, disrupting family relationships, causing financial hardship, and so on.

Why?
An ex who is feeling betrayed, hurt, abandoned and/or rejected may paint a grossly distorted, one-sided picture of their former partner — why their marriage failed. Taking up residence as a “victim,” they create a cynical narrative and project blame onto their partner, rather than taking any responsibility and/or ownership for their part in the demise of their relationship. As far as they’re concerned, their ex is bad, evil, ungrateful, dishonest, and a “lost soul” as one slanderous ex-husband put it. They, on the other hand, are good, righteous, honest, lovable and enlightened yet unlucky souls who have been victimized.

Insecure, low self-esteem and sociopathic ex’s can temporarily bolster their ego’s and feel better about themselves by doing this. They find relief from the unsettling feelings of failure and inadequacy that often accompany a breakup. Denial and self-deception are used as powerful tools of avoidance. Furthermore, they can rationalize, justify (and excuse) any pain, discomfort, harassment or outright punishment they inflict on their ex’s.

Alternatives to Punishing an Ex

It’s understandable that partners suffer great heartache and grief when love goes sideways. The pain of loss is debilitating, and can become unmanageable; so can the anger and hatred that arise from betrayal, failure, abandonment and shame. Here are five ways you can and must “take the high road” after a breakup if you’re the person inflicting pain and punishment. Doing these things will prevent things from escalating into destructive, dangerous and hurtful behaviors, protect your children, restore your integrity, activate your resilience and set the table for a better future:

1. Acknowledge your pain and psychological distress.
2. Own up to the fact that the situation has become (is becoming) difficult to manage and that you may be/are hurting others.
3. Make the decision to take the “high road” and not allow your hurt and anger to escalate any further. The false promise of revenge is that it’s going to make you feel better. And help you achieve justice. But neither is true.
4. Seek professional help and guidance to de-escalate your hurt and anger. Counselors, therapists and divorce coaches can help you learn constructive ways to vent/express your hurt feelings and begin healing your heart.
5. Stop seeing yourself as a victim and blaming the other person, their family, friends or therapist. Both of you share some of the responsibility for what happened and owning up to your part is the best insurance it will not happen again in your next relationship.
6. You are a work in progress. Catch yourself backsliding or resorting to punishing behavior. And STOP!  No amount of revenge is going to be satisfying or undo the past. Stick to your agreement and take the high road.

If you’re the one being hurt and/or punished by an ex, possibly because you left them, here are some ways to consider helping yourself:

1. Some ex’s are masters at convincing everybody that you’re the bad guy who gave up on your marriage — and that they are the victim. “My son was furiously angry with me for leaving his father” one woman reported. “’Mom, if he never hit or cheated on you, you should stay,’ he’d argue.”
2. Your children, family and friends may be “siding” with your ex. As devastating as this is, and as much as you’d like to strike back, slowing down will put you in a better frame of mind to set things right.
3. The subtle forms of psychological abuse, neglect, reckless and corrosive behavior that kill a marriage are not as observable as physical abuse, addiction and alcoholism, infidelity, financial mismanagement and other breaches of trust that justify ending a marriage.
4. You have every right to defend yourself and seek protection from a bully. This may necessitate calling the police, protective services or a lawyer. Talking directly to the children, family, friends, neighbors and colleagues who have been subjected to your ex’s slanderous comments (without becoming slanderous yourself) may also help matters.
5. Move on as best you can. The return on investment for getting too heavily embroiled in ex-wars is very poor. You are better off practicing good self-care as you recover from the ordeal of a breakup and surrounding yourself with people who lift your spirits.

Ex’s who punish and those who are trying to free themselves of this cycle of hurt, anger and revenge deserve another chance. Following the above guidelines will give you the best opportunity to learn from heartache and failure – and become the better, smarter, more relationship ready version of yourself.

Ending a relationship in never easy, but we can choose to forge peace rather than wage war. Both of you, and your children, deserve a chance to go on with your lives and find happiness again. Letting go and moving on with our lives happens when we put the past behind us, stop playing the victim, take responsibility for our part, forgive ourselves and our partner for not knowing/doing better, show one another respect and allow ourselves to feel sorrow for the bad and gratitude for the good (including children) that came from our time together.

Ken Druck, Ph.D., founder of The Jenna Druck Center in San Diego, is a renowned resilience expert, speaker, organizational and family consultant, and award-winning author of several books including, The Real Rules of Life (Hay House). Follow Ken’s blog or find him on Facebook.

 

The post How to Cope with the Ex Who Wants to Punish You appeared first on eHarmony Advice.

Friday

20

June 2014

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COMMENTS

Yes, now you can get your Tinder profile pimped out for $50

Written by , Posted in News


“No guile, no game, no girl,” said the fictional dating coach Hitch, played by Will Smith in the movie of the same name, to his newest customer.

Dating advice, in formal and informal manners, has probably been around since dating was invented (I once heard dating was invented when cars became common). But now there’s a new kind, one that takes away all of the tiny bit of effort that Tinder requires. Meet TinderUs: A service that will effectively pimp out your Tinder profile and coach you on flirting, all for a mere $50.

See, for a long time, dating was pretty tricky: You had to get out of your pajamas and go out to meet people, introduce yourself and make some chit chat, possibly ask them on a date, eventually go on said date, then be pleasant and charming, and finally close the deal (whatever that means to you). Then online dating came along, creating a marketplace of allegedly single people looking for other single people, and despite the efforts dating profiles required, things already got easier just by putting it on the Internet.

And then Tinder came along, completely taking any sort of lengthy effort out of online dating and stripping it to its even more bare minimum: photos and conversation. But TinderUs is making even that odious task go away.

I spotted the service on Product Hunt, a community board for tech products, last Thursday, where it quickly sparked a conversation between a few community members, with Product Hunt cofounder Ryan Hoover even asking at first if it’s “for real.”

And it is. It’s the side project of a London-based fella who asked to remain anonymous. He said he’s “been using Tinder for a short while now and [has] been quite successful in getting dates.” TinderUs is the business that resulted from him asking his “fashion friends” to help some of his buddies who were not having much luck on the app.

Today’s Tinder date

TinderUs has a pretty good little business model. For $50, unlucky and unmatched Tinderers can get their profile photos and tagline curated by fashion industry pros, as described by the company, and even get coached on how to chat and flirt with their matches for optimal meetup potential.

“I’ve seen some friends who complain about their lack of success. I got some friends who work in fashion to look at their profiles and give advice (same as offered by us now). They saw an immediate jump in matches — all from a short consultancy!” TinderUs’s founder told me in an email.

“We have consultants who work in the fashion business. Their job is knowing what looks good. Dating and fashion go hand in hand!” he added.

Tinder is all about love at first picture, so getting fashion people to pimp out profiles is almost too obvious and logical of an idea.

And if we look at TinderUs in the short run, it’s actually a perfect great idea. TinderUs’s customers, which, the founder admitted, are currently mostly men, are presenting themselves better and potentially even more accurately. Lord knows how many wonderful dudes out there blow their chances simply because they’ve somehow picked their worst picture ever and didn’t know how to open a chat with a pickup line that strikes the perfect balance between “Hey” and “So do you wanna have children?”

Tinder — online dating in general, actually — is a new-ish medium. It’s hard, and not everyone has an eye for aesthetics or knows how to market themselves to potential romantic interests. Your Tinder profile is all you have on your quest for love (or sex), so it has to serve you well.

Of course, dating profile optimization is nothing new. OkCupid had its “My best face” feature experiment which would surface the alleged best photo you should used as your profile picture. Plumer and Tinderlytics A/B test your photos, along with some other analytics. You can even find a willing and generous soul on Fiverr to make a long video of feedback about your dating profile.

“In my opinion, Tinder allows people to ‘practice’ chatting with the opposite sex,” TinderUs’ creator said.

“We help you with your presentation and social skills through some quick, expert advice that can be used in any situation. It’s a confidence thing,” he said.

And that’s fair.

Tomorrow’s bad pickup line

It’s no secret that Tinder is the easiest, least demanding version of online (and real) dating. You sit in the comfort of your pajamas, and you swipe. You swipe, and you make small talk with strangers. Sure, conversing can be tricky at times, having to think of engaging questions to ask or replies to give. But let’s remind ourselves that you are sitting with a phone in your hand, hiding behind your Tinder profile with matches served right into your palm, and typing words onto a screen.

This is not even remotely close to the efforts of putting real pants on, going to the bar (or wherever), and talking to total strangers because they ordered the same beer as you, and you therefore get to hit on them.

Not. Even. Close.

What I’m worried about here is that this could be a detriment to our social skills in the long run. Yes, this sounds a bit dramatic, but bear with me.

As a young single female in a city touted as having more men than women, I can tell you that high-quality interactions and effort are hard to find from men. We’re all busy, so why should they afford me any effort beyond a text message when it conveniences them (coincidentally, always at 2 a.m., but that’s another conversation) or meet up with me instead of doing anything else they could be doing?

Now, they don’t even have to put on a clean shirt and go hit on me at a bar — they just swipe and type.

What I’m getting at here is the erosion of social skills, the increasing perception that “romantic” matches (read: people to hook up with) are to be served up in an app, and if you can pimp out your profile to get even more of them, then all is fair in love and war. Never mind that when you meet them, you look a lot more unwashed than what your pictures promised and you have zero interest in asking questions or saying anything of substance — probably because you’re on your phone, swiping.

And no, this isn’t everyone; and yes, this can be very helpful for some folks to unleash their wonderful personalities. And no, not all of TinderUs’s customers are men, and this applies to women, too.

We might be setting ourselves on a dangerous course of thinking that, because there is an “Uber-for-dates,” you don’t even need to learn actual social skills.

But on an optimistic note, let’s hope this helps clueless Tinderers get a clue and maybe even inspires them to go flirt in the real world.


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Thursday

19

June 2014

0

COMMENTS

Do You Know the 5 Secrets to Creating a Lasting Love?

Written by , Posted in Advice

Developing the secure, fulfilling bond you deserve with your partner is hard work, but it is not impossible. Below are five characteristics of every strong bond and what you can do to help create a deep, loving connection.

1. You And Your Partner Must Truly Become Best Friends
But what is a best friend? A best friend is likely someone you have known for a long time. You probably know them better than anyone. You had an initial connection based on common interests and enjoyment of each other’s company that grew into a solid, trustworthy, caring relationship. From this history, you have established a level of comfort so great that you can take risks and allow yourself to be vulnerable around your best friend. You can talk to your best friend without judgment or fear. This is a person you really love.

This kind of connection cannot be rushed and it cannot be forced. Friendship often blooms from exciting but low-pressure situations. It strengthens through communication and developing trust. Take the time to first just have fun with your partner. Learn all you can about what they like and dislike, have adventures and make each other laugh. Know that this is a person you really like being around.

More at YourTango.com: Am I In Love? The Difference Between Love, Lust & Infatuation 

When you enjoy someone’s company, it becomes easy and even normal to open up. If you can share the best of times, you likely feel comfortable sharing the not-so-great thoughts and feelings we all experience. Open up to your partner and encourage them to share with you from a place of friendship: like a best friend would, withhold judgment unless they ask for your opinion. Always support them and comfort them. A best friend is a fellow team member, not a rival. Every truly bonded relationship begins with a team of supportive best friends.

2. Believe In The Power Of Your Love
Love has the ability to transform people. Even when it seems far-fetched, it’s important to keep believing the love that drew you and your partner together will continue to better both of your lives. Allow yourself to feel deserving and strong because of your relationship. Dream and fantasize about how beautiful it can really make both of you! Believe that together, you can conquer anything. This will increase your dedication and your trust with each other, making you closer and happier.

You must also believe in the continued presence of romance! Never forget to keep expressing your love. Dates, cards, flowers, emails and sticky-notes on the bathroom mirror — even the smallest gesture will bring joy to your partner. Those simple reminders and reassurances are vital to developing a deep bond.

Especially when it comes to anniversaries, birthdays and holidays, it’s very important to remember to remind your partner that you care. We have so much technology now to keep track of times and dates that there is no excuse for forgetting!

But there is no reason to wait for a certain day to show your partner you care. Whenever you think of expressing your love, do it! These expressions will help you be vulnerable and sensitive to what your partner needs. Even when things aren’t going so well, acknowledging you believe in your romantic relationship will help strengthen your connection and build that strong, loving bond.

3. Never Stop Courting Your Partner
While those late nights you had while dating — staying up till 2 A.M. talking, feeling too excited to sleep — don’t last forever, the idea of courting your partner should never totally disappear. When we first meet people, we are very observant. We go out of our way to do small things to show them that we care. We learn all we can about them and continually try to make a good impression.

Eventually, especially once we feel established in a relationship, we sometimes forget to make our partner a priority. We get caught up in our own lives again and have to go back to “reality”. But that initial love and attention was not some fantasy world — you can maintain that connection by remembering to return to those courting behaviors. Remember your partner’s likes and interests might change, and there is always more to learn about them. Remind yourself that you should keep trying to impress your partner, no matter how long you’ve been together. To really establish and maintain a close connection, make your courtship last forever.

More at YourTango.com: 7 Ways Love Transforms Your Brain

4. Be Emotionally Available And Vulnerable With Your Partner
The most important thing you can give to your partner is the knowledge they can come to you with anything. This requires an opening up on both sides. When one of you expresses your feelings, the other one must give support and provide comfort. Being present is extremely important in showing your partner you care.

“Are you there for me?” is often the most important question a partner needs to be able to answer. Being there for someone involves three characteristics:

Accessibility: Your partner must feel like you will open up to them, even if one of you has had a bad day. They must know that you will drop everything to be with them.
Responsiveness: Your partner must know you will come when they call. They must know you will be responsive when you are present.
Engagement: Your partner must know you will open up to them and share with them, as well.

Being there for your partner also requires an appreciation of the little things in your relationship. Even if some actions seem so mundane that you forget about them. Maybe your partner makes your lunch every day, fills your tank with gas for you or makes the bed every morning — try to take some time to acknowledge these actions. Ask yourself: What if these things disappeared? They may take on a different meaning and importance. Receiving thanks for the little things will make your partner feel good about doing them, and it will show that you’re aware of all they do for you.

Awareness of the little things paves the way for a closer, more trusting relationship. When larger issues arise, the sense of appreciation your partner feels from you can help keep everything in perspective. When your partner comes to you in need of serious support, knowing that you are already able to acknowledge the little things is helpful and comforting.

Being able to acknowledge, address and listen to those bigger concerns is obviously just as important. When fears and insecurities creep in, your partner must know you will support them. They must know and believe that they are the most important person in your life, and vice versa. The deepest bonds come from really knowing that you can count on each other.

5. Have Fun Together
In a close, loving, bonded relationship, both people have to feel that their connection is about fun and laughter — you can’t take each other too seriously. If the first four steps are fulfilled, having fun with each other isn’t too difficult. When you feel a close bond, you know what the other person cares about, you know how to be there for them and you also know how to make them laugh and how to bring them joy. Even when things are stressful, a closely bonded couple will feel strongly enough about each other that they can just let go and enjoy each other’s company.

So make time to laugh! Bring up old stories or jokes you’ve forgotten about. Be playful and silly again. Having fun with each other will help you and your partner develop a strong, exciting, positive bond.

In order for these five steps to really work, each partner has to take responsibility for their own role and contributions to the relationship. If you are both on the same page and both willing to put in the effort, you should be able to more closely and happily connect with your partner.

If you are having trouble creating these bonds, especially if you feel like there are blockages when it comes to expressing vulnerability or taking risks, professional counseling is highly recommended. Counseling can provide you with a safe space and a neutral facilitator to help you uncover the source of any fear or hesitancy. Counseling also gives you useful tools to better understand the needs of both yourself and others, which will allow you to work toward developing the strong, loving connection you deserve.

More at YourTango.com:

My Secret to Lasting Love: Radical Acceptance

Affection is Key to Keeping Love Alive

The Top 10 Qualities Men are Secretly Looking for in a Girlfriend

 

 

Originally posted on YourTango.com: The Secret 5 Steps to Creating a Love that Lasts Forever

The post Do You Know the 5 Secrets to Creating a Lasting Love? appeared first on eHarmony Advice.