eHarmony Blog http://www.eharmony.com/blog eHarmony experts’ take on dating, relationships and the science of love Fri, 21 Nov 2014 23:33:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Nine Tips for a Stress-Free Thanksgiving http://www.eharmony.com/blog/2014/11/21/nine-tips-for-a-stress-free-thanksgiving/ http://www.eharmony.com/blog/2014/11/21/nine-tips-for-a-stress-free-thanksgiving/#comments Fri, 21 Nov 2014 17:33:34 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/blog/?p=15144 Start a new tradition by actually having a peaceful Thanksgiving (the way it should be!). Today’s guest blog is from relationship expert Debra Smouse, who recognizes the holiday isn’t always as easy as it should be and offers tips to manage any difficult situations. We’re grateful for the advice, Debra! When it comes to Thanksgiving, we […]

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Start a new tradition by actually having a peaceful Thanksgiving (the way it should be!). Today’s guest blog is from relationship expert Debra Smouse, who recognizes the holiday isn’t always as easy as it should be and offers tips to manage any difficult situations. We’re grateful for the advice, Debra!

thanksgiving anxiety 300x200 Nine Tips for a Stress Free ThanksgivingWhen it comes to Thanksgiving, we tend to picture Norman Rockwell images of the family gathered around the table, sharing delicious food, thoughtful conversations, and loving interactions. What most of my clients actually report about previous gatherings is tension, bickering, and passive-aggressive comments.

Dreading the obligatory family gathering? Want to avoid the drama? Here are nine Thanksgiving ideas for you to consider.

Thanksgiving Idea #1: Make Your Mantra “It’s Not About Me.”

Some people escape the reality of their own lives by obsessing over the lives of others. People (especially family) will talk about you. They will comment on your clothes, your weight, and your choice of friends or love interest. They will judge you, because they are too afraid to look within themselves. Remembering that it’s not about you can help you release the worry of what others think about you. You are the only one who lives inside your skin, lives your daily life, and faces yourself in the mirror each day. If you are living true to what is best for you, then that’s all that matters.

Thanksgiving Idea #2: Don’t Take The Bait.

When people are rude or say mean things, it’s tempting to snap back. Remember idea #1: it’s not personal. Step back, apply some compassion and empathy to the situation, and don’t take the bait they dangle in front of you. Sure, a snappy retort might make you feel better in the moment, but in the long run, you’ll regret it. Someone showing their insecurities and fears doesn’t have to send you into reaction mode.

Thanksgiving Idea #3: Give Your Inner Critic the Weekend Off.

Sometimes, the words of our inner critic are worse than anything others might say. This is why an innocent comment from your aunt about your giant piece of pumpkin pie has you mentally jumping to the conclusion that she’s calling you fat. When you give your inner critic the weekend off, you can better enjoy the holiday banter.

Thanksgiving Idea #4: Don’t Play the Comparison Game.

Comparison is really about conforming and competition. While seemingly opposite ideas, the result of comparison is that you want to conform and stand out within a set of norm: cutest kids, best pie, best hair, and happiest life. Diving into the comparison game is going to push you towards trying to be perfect, which is just exhausting. Let go of comparison this weekend, relax, and simply enjoy the tales of what’s happening in your family’s lives.

Thanksgiving Idea #5: Let Your Inner Judge Off The Hook.

Find yourself mentally picking apart another’s words? Discover that you’ve been studying someone else’s behaviors and demeanor? Say, like the tightness of their jeans or their third helping of stuffing. Stop right there! You’ve been caught up in another type of comparison: judging. Let that inner judge off the hook and, instead, figure out what might be worrying you enough that you’d want to distract yourself from your own fabulous life.

Thanksgiving Idea #6: Lay Down Your Worries.

Families trigger all of our stuff, and out comes our inner critic or inner judge. Instead of allowing the triggers to serve as an invitation for your inner critic and judge to run wild in your head, verbalize your worries before the big gathering. Enlist your partner, a sibling, or another trusted family member to help you lay down your burdens for the day. Tell him about the challenge at work that has you stressing or all about how your mom always makes you feel like a naughty child. Your need to distract yourself from your life can be, instead, a bonding experience. Besides, a little vulnerability goes a long way in building and strengthening relationships.

Thanksgiving Idea #7:  Don’t Get Sucked In.

No matter what we do personally, there will be some sort of family drama. You don’t have to get sucked in. Instead? Walk away. Remove yourself from the situation by offering to help with the dishes, excusing yourself to the restroom, or just taking a walk. You have the right to honor yourself and your needs. Alternatively, put your wits to good use. There’s nothing wrong with trying to turn the conversation to another subject or injecting a humorous change. Stepping out of the family politics and drama can lead to others following your example.

Thanksgiving Idea #8: Laugh, Love, and Accept ‘Em.

No matter what the holiday brings, focus on the positive aspects of those around you instead of their negative traits. As crazy as they may make you feel, they are still your family. And deep down, you love them. You only have the power to change yourself and how you react. Accepting the fact that you can’t change anyone will help you just laugh and love them for who they are.

Thanksgiving Idea #9: Consider Skipping It!

And now for some flat-out honesty: if the thought of spending time with your family makes you ill, then stay home. You don’t have to submit to being emotionally or verbally abused. The world is full of unhappy people and sometimes, these people are family members. You have a right to enjoy the holidays. You have the right to be happy. Don’t make a rash decision, of course, but do listen to what your heart tells you.

If you decide that the holiday won’t be the same without visiting the family, just remember these ideas for dealing with the stressful moments. What other Thanksgiving ideas do you have for keeping the peace and reducing the drama?

More at YourTango:

What Is Your Body Language Telling Your Date?

6 Surefire Ways To Find Love After Divorce

‘In It For The Kids’: Terrible Reasons To Stay In A Bad Marriage

 

This article was originally published on YourTango.

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A Word about ‘Sexy Talk’: Treading the Line Between Flirtatious and Creepy http://www.eharmony.com/blog/2014/11/20/word-sexy-talk-treading-line-flirtatious-creepy/ http://www.eharmony.com/blog/2014/11/20/word-sexy-talk-treading-line-flirtatious-creepy/#comments Thu, 20 Nov 2014 23:48:35 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/blog/?p=18215 I recently had an enlightening discussion with a male friend about a recent video that went viral in which a woman recorded the male attention she received while strolling the streets of New York City. During the 10 straight hours she walked around with a hidden camera, she received a barrage of comments mostly about […]

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when to text and when to call 300x200 A Word about Sexy Talk: Treading the Line Between Flirtatious and CreepyI recently had an enlightening discussion with a male friend about a recent video that went viral in which a woman recorded the male attention she received while strolling the streets of New York City. During the 10 straight hours she walked around with a hidden camera, she received a barrage of comments mostly about her appearance, including “What’s up beautiful?”,”Have a good day”,“Hey baby”, or “Smile!”

“I don’t see what the big deal is,” my friend said. “People were just being friendly.” As a man, he couldn’t understand what it’s like to be subjected to an invasion of unwanted compliments, especially if you feel like getting lost in your own head and not being forced to interact with complete strangers. Never mind the fact that one person’s “friendly” can easily cross the line into “threatening” or “just plain creepy. ”

Of course, that line isn’t always clear in online dating communication, either. If you’re looking for a serious relationship, receiving a first message that reads, “Hey sexy!” probably won’t inspire you to write back. But if you’ve gone on a few dates – and shared a few good-night kisses – reading those words in a follow-up text will feel a lot different.

You should always trust your gut about what level of ‘sexy talk’ feels right to you. It should feel flattering – never intimidating. You can always apply U.S. Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart’s much-quoted 1964 definition of obscenity “I know it when I see it.” But that was long before the invention of the Internet and the evolution of a more liberal sexual culture that continually challenges our boundaries about what’s appropriate and what’s sketchy.

Here are a few guidelines to add:

1) Sexy should never be the first adjective

For most people, the success of dating depends on physical chemistry, and whether you find someone sexually attractive tends to be more important than whether you like the fact they love carnitas tacos. And it’s okay to bring it up as long as it’s not the focus of a first (or almost first) email. An email that reads, “Wow! I really like your profile. I think you’re beautiful, smart, and sexy” is fair game. “Hey sexy lady. I think you are so hot,” shows an appalling lack of vocabulary. Sex appeal should be part of the whole package.

2) Context and timing are everything

If your date asks you to send some “hot pics” within a day of corresponding, he or she probably doesn’t intend to trade retirement bucket lists in the near future. But if you’ve been corresponding for a while, and you mention that you’re getting ready for a fancy holiday party, then being asked to send a “hot pic” of you in your new sparkly dress can be fun and flirtatious.

3) Find a healthy way to talk about intimacy

Since sex is an important part of our lives, there’s no reason it shouldn’t be discussed even in early communication. But make it part of a bigger conversation. “I’m looking for someone who likes the same level of intimacy as I do,” is a respectful starting point to broach other related topics: Do you like a lot of affection throughout the day? Do you like to be held during the night or do you like your space? Keep the focus on you and what you’re looking for, rather than asking, “How adventurous are you?”

4) Keep it playful

No one is an expert at dating, and even the most honorable match’s efforts at being flirtatious can fall flat. How are you supposed to answer,“So are you a good kisser”? Um…doesn’t everyone think they’re a good kisser?

It helps to give everyone the benefit of the doubt, as long as the conversation makes you roll your eyes – and not your stomach lurch. Text messages that sweetly begin “Sorry to hear you had a hard day! If I was there, I’d give you a back massage” can quickly get heated. If a chat veers into uncomfortable territory, you can always text, “Well, let’s keep some mystery. Besides, I’m getting sleepy. Gotta go!”

If your match continues to be aggressive or tries to make nearly every exchange sexually charged, then you have your answer. It should go without saying that anyone who is genuinely looking to get to know someone won’t be pornographic or disrespectful. Shut it down and move on to someone whose commentary really feels a compliment.

How did you handle a conversation that went outside of your comfort zone?

About the Author:

Sarah Elizabeth Richards is a journalist and the author of Motherhood, Rescheduled: The New Frontier of Egg Freezing and the Women Who Tried It. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Marie Claire, Elle, Cosmopolitan, Slate and Salon.

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Single on Thanksgiving: Quick Answers to Your Relatives’ (Slightly!) Invasive Questions http://www.eharmony.com/blog/2014/11/20/single-thanksgiving-quick-answers-relatives-questions/ http://www.eharmony.com/blog/2014/11/20/single-thanksgiving-quick-answers-relatives-questions/#comments Thu, 20 Nov 2014 16:42:23 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/blog/?p=18198 The questions arise when you’re passing the potatoes or putting out the nut cups. Are you seeing anyone special? Playing the field? When are you going to settle down? Singles are often grilled about their personal lives in a way their married relations rarely are. When was the last time your sister and brother-in-law were […]

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single during thanksgiving 300x188 Single on Thanksgiving: Quick Answers to Your Relatives’ (Slightly!) Invasive QuestionsThe questions arise when you’re passing the potatoes or putting out the nut cups. Are you seeing anyone special? Playing the field? When are you going to settle down?

Singles are often grilled about their personal lives in a way their married relations rarely are. When was the last time your sister and brother-in-law were asked to defend their “married lifestyle” to a table of twelve?

Most of the time, the inquisitors don’t mean to make their single relations uncomfortable. They’re just curious, and maybe a little concerned. But they can still drive even the most self-possessed singleton to the cocktail cart. So here are a few conversational exit strategies to some of the holiday’s most uncomfortable questions.

What They Say: “Why are you single?”

What They Mean: “You’re a very appealing person, so clearly this is a choice you’ve made.”

What You Hear: “What’s wrong with you?”

How to Respond: “I don’t know.”

This might sound weird, but I find it’s the easiest answer. Otherwise, you’re likely to start dissecting all of your psychological eccentricities, musing about whether you’re too picky or too independent, slowly shredding your dignity like a cocktail napkin. “I don’t know” stops the conversation, which is likely what you want to do.

What They Say: “Are you seeing anyone special?”

What They Mean: “I’m curious about your life.”

What You Hear: “Prove that you’re not a lost cause.”

How to Respond: “Not at the moment.”

Again, short and light is key. The temptation might be to give a passionate speech about how amazing your solo life is and assure your curious relative that you’re too busy with work and friends to even think about dating. That’s fine if it’s true, but oftentimes we give the “too busy” speech as a hedge against pity, bending over backwards to assure family members that our lives are deeply fulfilling, non-stop fun or both. That’s too much work, and it can also send the wrong message. Who knows? Your cousin might have a cute neighbor or co-worker she wants to introduce you to. “Not at the moment” leaves you open, but also assures your relatives that you’re not worried about your romantic future, so they shouldn’t be either.

What They Say: “Aren’t you afraid you’ll spend the rest of your life alone?”

What They Mean: “Because the idea would scare the pants off me.”

What You Hear: “I’m looking into your future, and I see a cranky hoarder with 35 cats.”

How To Respond: “I’d be more worried about spending the rest of my life with the wrong person.”

Being alone is a big fear for a lot of people, which is why many choose to settle for mediocre relationships. You may not always love being alone, but if you have been on your own for a while then clearly you’re not afraid of it. This is not necessarily true for the person passing you the cranberry sauce.

But again, be gentle and avoid righteous speeches, since they rarely take dinner table talk to a good place. And remember, there is one guaranteed way to change the subject: Stop answering so many questions about your life, and start asking others questions about theirs.

 

its not you sara eckel 185x300 Single on Thanksgiving: Quick Answers to Your Relatives’ (Slightly!) Invasive QuestionsAbout the Author:

Sara Eckel is the author of It’s Not You: 27 (Wrong) Reasons You’re Single. You can get a free bonus chapter of her book at saraeckel.com. You can also find her on Twitter and Facebook.

Do you have a question for Sara? Go to saraeckel.com/contact and ask.

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Why People Settle for So-So Relationships http://www.eharmony.com/blog/2014/11/17/people-settle-relationships/ http://www.eharmony.com/blog/2014/11/17/people-settle-relationships/#comments Mon, 17 Nov 2014 18:06:11 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/blog/?p=18189 When you’re single and searching, couples can look like an interesting puzzle. What separates them from you? Are they more desirable? More mature? Just luckier? Possibly. But a new study has identified a less considered factor: Maybe they’re more fearful. In a recent study at the University of Toronto, single female college students evaluated a […]

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mediocre relationship 300x176 Why People Settle for So So RelationshipsWhen you’re single and searching, couples can look like an interesting puzzle. What separates them from you? Are they more desirable? More mature? Just luckier?

Possibly. But a new study has identified a less considered factor: Maybe they’re more fearful.

In a recent study at the University of Toronto, single female college students evaluated a dating profile that featured the picture of an attractive man with one of two descriptions of what he was seeking in a relationship.

The first profile said: “When I’m dating someone, I really care about putting in the effort and making it work. For me, that means paying attention to my girlfriend and getting to know who she really is as person” and “I figure the most important thing is that we’re there for each other, no b.s.”

The second said: “I love what I do, so I need someone who respects that and is willing to take the back seat when necessary,” and “I like to keep conversations light and not too serious when they’re not work-related, and I most prefer situations that easy and problem-free.”

Clearly, Guy No. 1 is a gem and Guy No. 2 not so much. The women in the experiment got that. When asked to evaluate their prospective date’s potential as a partner, the participants gave the nice guy high marks and the more self-absorbed one low marks.

But when the participants were asked if they were interested in dating this person, something interesting happened. A substantial number of women expressed romantic interest in Mr. “Work Comes First”—even though they had also acknowledged that he wouldn’t make a very good boyfriend.

What distinguished the women who were interested in Guy No. 2 from those who took a pass? One thing: The women interested in dating the not-so-nice guy were afraid to be alone.

Before examining the dating profiles, the participants answered a questionnaire designed to determine their fear of being single. The women who were not particularly stressed about being single expressed a lot of interest in Guy 1 but not much in Guy 2. But the women who were anxious about their single state expressed just as much interest in workaholic as they did the attentive guy.

“Despite recognizing that some targets were less likely to be caring and supportive than others, those who more strongly feared being single did not seem to be taking a prospective partner’s responsiveness into account when making decisions about romantic interest,” said the authors of the study, which was led by social psychologist Stephanie Spielmann and published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

A subsequent experiment found that men who were fearful about being single also prioritized relationship status over relationship quality. The researchers also looked at people in couples and found that those who were fearful about being single were more dependent on less satisfying relationships.

“Fear of being single is a unique predictor of settling for less in one’s relationship,” the authors said.

Single people are often told that they’re too picky—in fact, when I was reporting my book on the single life, It’s Not You, I learned that this is the most common refrain that single people heard about why they are alone.

The University of Toronto study gives credence to a theory that I often heard singles tentatively venture as they discussed their choices. Maybe the issue wasn’t that they were childish or entitled. Maybe they were just a little braver. Maybe the problem wasn’t that they were too picky. Maybe others weren’t picky enough.

its not you sara eckel 185x300 Why People Settle for So So RelationshipsAbout the Author:

Sara Eckel is the author of It’s Not You: 27 (Wrong) Reasons You’re Single. You can get a free bonus chapter of her book at saraeckel.com. You can also find her on Twitter and Facebook.

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3 Doomed Relationship Dynamics http://www.eharmony.com/blog/2014/11/17/3-doomed-relationship-dynamics/ http://www.eharmony.com/blog/2014/11/17/3-doomed-relationship-dynamics/#comments Mon, 17 Nov 2014 16:51:28 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/blog/?p=18174 While every couple faces the risks associated with new love, there are particular dynamics that will doom a relationship from the very start. If you’re dating and looking for the right partner, understanding a few basic rules will make the scavenger hunt that much easier. Take a look at the three relationship dynamics below that […]

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doomed relationships 300x180 3 Doomed Relationship DynamicsWhile every couple faces the risks associated with new love, there are particular dynamics that will doom a relationship from the very start. If you’re dating and looking for the right partner, understanding a few basic rules will make the scavenger hunt that much easier. Take a look at the three relationship dynamics below that are destined to end from the very beginning – no matter what anybody says, or how hard anyone tries.

1. Looking for Fun Versus Looking for a Steady Partner

Without question, this dynamic is the most ill-fated one of all. For this reason, we’ll spend more time discussing this dynamic than the others.

A female client of mine recently started dating a man who only texted or called her a few days each week, even though my client wanted more frequent contact. Fast forward two months, and my client felt frustrated and insecure that he was not interested in her because he wasn’t initiating frequent contact. When she forced the issue and wouldn’t let him get away with a dismissive response, he snapped and said, “Look, I am taking a work assignment in a month that’s going to take me to Spain for six weeks. Why would I want to get attached to anyone now? I thought we were just having fun.” If only my client had asked him upfront what he was looking for, she could have learned the truth and saved herself some heartache!

How to prevent this dynamic: Before stepping one foot on a date, make sure you know what you want from dating. Are you looking to casually date and potentially date more than one person for awhile? Are you looking to date only one person and work toward a serious, long-term relationship with a steady partner? Unless you instinctively know which of these two scenarios you’re looking for, you really shouldn’t be dating. Second, you need to discuss relationship goals at some point in the early dating stages. Instead of putting the other person on the spot and asking what they’re looking for, first tell them what you want.

A suggested approach if you’re looking for something serious: “There’s always that weirdness in dating where you don’t really know what the other person is looking for. But for me, I can tell you that I am happy to casually date for a bit, but what I’m really looking for is one person I can be with for a long time.”

A suggested approach if you’re looking for something casual: “There’s always that weirdness in dating where you don’t really know what the other person is looking for. But for me, I’m not actually looking for something really serious at this point. If it happens down the road, that’s fine, but I want to keep things light and casual.” If someone asks you if you want to date other people at the same time, it’s a fair question, so make sure to answer honestly. If you want to be able to date other people, say that but ask, “Are you comfortable with that? If not, I’m a big [insert “boy” or “girl”] and I can handle it!”

2. One Person has Major Insecurities, But the Other Does Not

I’ve heard people say that women have more insecurities than men, but I’ve never found this to be true. Though they often feel insecure about different things, men’s insecurity issues can be just as deadly to the relationship as those of women. A man or woman you date may have any of the following major insecurities: financial (not making enough money), appearance (too overweight, not pretty or handsome enough), intelligence (not smart enough), education (not being educated enough), or rejection/abandonment (feeling like you will be rejected or left). If you start dating someone who has any of these insecurities to an extreme degree, the relationship – as a rule – is not going to last.

How to prevent this dynamic: As harsh or insensitive as this sounds, walk a-w-a-y immediately. However, walking away doesn’t mean that you have to be nasty. Simply call the person or talk in person. Say, “I don’t feel like we’re a good fit, but it’s been nice hanging out with you and I hope we can bump into each other in the future and say hello.”

3. Trying to Catch a Player

Let’s be honest: Some players can be awfully attractive. Players are often physically attractive; they know just what to say and when to say it; and they always make you feel noticed. The problem is that they never notice you for very long. Players like to initiate contact with their admirers, but they don’t like it when their admirers initiate plans with them. Similarly, players will reach out to you occasionally, but only enough to keep you interested. Players feed on attention and can’t live without it. Accordingly, settling down with one person would cut them off from so much of the attention they crave from their various admirers.

How to prevent this dynamic: When you start getting the sense that someone you like is a player, be honest and straightforward. Say, “I like you, but I have this feeling that you’re a player, and it makes me uncomfortable. It may be my loss, but I just don’t feel comfortable seeing you again.”

The takeaway: Ultimately, these three relationship dynamics – each destined to end miserably – are absolutely preventable. The most important thing for you to remember: Do not try to change who the player is. As special as you are, no one is special enough to change the stripes of a tiger.

book Dr Seths Love Prescription lg1 190x300 3 Doomed Relationship DynamicsAbout the Author:

Dr. Seth is a licensed clinical psychologist, author, Psychology Today blogger, and TV guest expert. He practices in Los Angeles and treats a wide range of issues and disorders and specializes in relationships, parenting, and addiction. He has had extensive training in conducting couples therapy and is the author of Dr. Seth’s Love Prescription: Overcome Relationship Repetition Syndrome and Find the Love You Deserve.

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5 Critical Things to Look for in a New Love Interest http://www.eharmony.com/blog/2014/11/14/5-critical-things-look-new-love-interest/ http://www.eharmony.com/blog/2014/11/14/5-critical-things-look-new-love-interest/#comments Fri, 14 Nov 2014 21:29:29 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/blog/?p=18159 I loved this blog from dating expert Ravid Yosef. It’s so important to actually look beyond the infatuated haze in the beginning of a relationship to see if there is real opportunity for a healthy, long-term partnership. Below, she details how she tackled looking for the right guy. Enjoy! Written by Ravid Yosef, YourTango I was up against a […]

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traits to look for in a partner 300x204 5 Critical Things to Look for in a New Love InterestI loved this blog from dating expert Ravid Yosef. It’s so important to actually look beyond the infatuated haze in the beginning of a relationship to see if there is real opportunity for a healthy, long-term partnership. Below, she details how she tackled looking for the right guy. Enjoy!

Written by Ravid Yosef, YourTango

I was up against a deadline, so my relationships were on the fast track. Say we’ve been on a few great dates. In the first month or so of our relationship, I’m probably dating other guys. Once we’ve been out for a month, and I’ve decided that we’re on the same page about what we want in life and we seem to like in each other, I’ll cut most of my other dating options off and concentrate on you and you alone.

In that month of exclusivity, while not necessarily exclusive, I sit back and observe. A decision of whether or not I should take you seriously is made in this pivotal time frame.

If you’re older and you don’t have time to waste (clock is ticking), I suggest implementing a similar 8-week timeline where you look to answer the following:

1. Integrity: Does he do what he says, and says what he does? Does he show up? Is he flaky? Do you have to wonder if he’ll come through? Do you trust his word? When he does mess up, does he own it and then fix it? Does he have integrity? Because almost doesn’t count.

2. Time: Time is important to me. It’s one of the main ways I receive love. I used to make excuses for my own time when I was working in the music business, but I’ve come to learn that if you really like someone, there’s no distance or circumstance that will keep you from seeing each other. A man will fly/drive for hours, not sleep, and starve himself to see you, if he truly wants to. So, is this man making time for your relationship to grow?

3. Balance: Is he well balanced in his character, personality, and life? Some people are really intense, and others really carefree. Can he be both? Can you laugh together, and talk about serious subjects? Does he have hobbies and friends outside of your relationship? Is he well rounded? Is he mentally stable?

4. Authenticity: Is he honest about who he is? Is he comfortable in his own skin? Is he able to open up and share himself with you?

5. Commitment: How does he handle other commitments in his life; be it past relationships, his career, and family? Who is he committed to being, and what does he want in the future? Does that align with your commitments?

In most of these 8-week relationships, I spent the first four weeks convincing myself to give the guy a chance, and the second half convincing myself why I should leave. When someone did finally line up with my needs for these 5 factors, it was easy to commit.

More at YourTango:

All Of The Love Advice You’ll Ever Need

7 Crazy Ways Love Transforms Your Brain

15 Ways Guys Say ‘I Love You’ (Without Actually Saying It)

5 Tips For Moving On From That Painful Breakup

The Surprising Way To Get Your Ex Back

 

Originally posted at YourTango: 5 Traits to Look for in the Beginning of Every Relationship

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When Life Imitates Art: eHarmony TV Actress ‘Beth’ Logs onto eH, and Finds a Real-Life Fiancé http://www.eharmony.com/blog/2014/11/13/life-imitates-art-eharmony-tv-actress-beth-logs-onto-eh-finds-real-life-fiance/ http://www.eharmony.com/blog/2014/11/13/life-imitates-art-eharmony-tv-actress-beth-logs-onto-eh-finds-real-life-fiance/#comments Thu, 13 Nov 2014 22:52:06 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/blog/?p=18144 When actress Laura Carlson auditioned for a role in an eHarmony commercial, she had absolutely no idea how much this opportunity would change her life. As she sat on the set with eHarmony CEO and founder Dr. Neil Clark Warren, the two talked about life – including her lack of a love life. The fellow Iowan natives really […]

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When actress Laura Carlson auditioned for a role in an eHarmony commercial, she had absolutely no idea how much this opportunity would change her life.

As she sat on the set with eHarmony CEO and founder Dr. Neil Clark Warren, the two talked about life – including her lack of a love life. The fellow Iowan natives really bonded, and Dr. Warren urged her to give eHarmony a trial run.

A year and a half later, Dr. Warren received an email from Laura:

As you know last year, after we shot our commercial, you were so gracious to give me a free membership to your site. Even though I was skeptical I thought, ‘Ah what the heck, I’ll give it a shot, and I’m not out any money! You even prophesized that day that I would meet my husband on your site! Well, I just wanted to let you know that after almost a year and a half of dating a wonderful gentleman, Chris, who I met on eHarmony, he proposed to me on Oct 6th.

Dr. Warren and I had lunch with the happy couple last week, who are obviously very grateful, very compatible, and very in love.

FullSizeRender 265x180 When Life Imitates Art: eHarmony TV Actress ‘Beth’ Logs onto eH, and Finds a Real Life FiancéTruth is much more romantic than fiction – especially at eHarmony.

Congratulations, Laura and Chris.

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What to Do When You’re Rejected http://www.eharmony.com/blog/2014/11/13/youre-rejected/ http://www.eharmony.com/blog/2014/11/13/youre-rejected/#comments Thu, 13 Nov 2014 18:14:23 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/blog/?p=18137 Rejection in dating is a lot like rain in that it’s bound to happen sooner or later. The silver lining, however, is that being rejected doesn’t have to sting so badly as long as you learn to avoid taking the rejection too personally. Remember, you have control over how you feel and how much you […]

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how to get over rejection 300x225 What to Do When You’re RejectedRejection in dating is a lot like rain in that it’s bound to happen sooner or later. The silver lining, however, is that being rejected doesn’t have to sting so badly as long as you learn to avoid taking the rejection too personally. Remember, you have control over how you feel and how much you let the rejection define you.

I have counseled male and female clients over the years who, when rejected, eat themselves alive with self-doubt and insecurities. They feel convinced that the rejecting person wasn’t attracted to them, thought they were boring, or thought they weren’t interesting enough to date. Yet, as a therapist, I have the unique experience of hearing about dating from both sides, including people who do the rejecting and people who get rejected.

When my clients have decided to stop dating someone or not see someone again, the most common reasons are ones that have nothing to do with the inadequacy of the person being rejected. People reject others in dating because they’re not really ready for a committed relationship; they don’t want to give up the excitement of dating new people; they don’t feel like they share a similar enough sense of humor; and they feel like they don’t have enough in common to talk about.

When a client tells me that he’s been rejected by a woman with whom he had at least one date, I ask him to tell me play-by-play details about the date. Specifically, I ask him to focus on how he felt about the date – not on how she felt about him. I ask my client many questions: Did you have a lot in common when the two of you talked? Did you get her sense of humor, and did you feel like she got yours? Did you both talk about the same amount of time on the date, or did one talk more than the other? Usually, when my clients think back about details of the last date, they often realize that the person who rejected them probably wasn’t the perfect match for them anyhow!

What to do when you are rejected:

What you say to yourself about why you were rejected will determine how you’ll feel about the rejection. Take a look at the beliefs and corresponding feelings below.

A healthy, self-protective attitude about being rejected…

You tell yourself: “I don’t know why he rejected me. He probably started talking to someone else before he met me, or maybe he’s still hung up on an ex.”

How you will feel: You won’t feel too depressed or upset because you’ve told yourself that the rejection isn’t actually about you. You will feel disappointed for a minute but will then move on. You realize this: Getting upset because he rejected you would be like going to a department store that’s closed and taking it personally that you can’t go inside.

An unhealthy, self-destructive attitude about being rejected:

You tell yourself: “When I think about why he never called me again, I remember our last date. He didn’t go to kiss me or make plans for the future, and he seemed bored toward the end of dinner. I thought he would make such a good boyfriend, but he just didn’t like something about me.”

How you will feel: Sad, depressed, and angry. You will blame yourself for your inadequacies and feel like you may never meet someone whom you like and who likes you back. You may want to swear off dating or you may give up the hope of finding someone better for you.

Specific techniques to use:

Get angry. Most people hate to get angry, afraid that it’s an unappealing trait or sign of weakness. Child, please! Anger is a good friend to have, a feeling that reminds you that you have been unappreciated or that your boundaries have been trespassed. Connect with your angry feelings whenever someone rejects you. Say to yourself: “You wrote me off before truly giving me a chance? I was nicer to you by giving you a chance, but now I’m done, so now there’s one less person who’s interested in you.”

Distract yourself until the disappointed feelings pass. Try any version of the following behaviors: call a friend; pop in a fun exercise DVD; watch a silly video online; pay your bills for the month; take a hot shower; or trim your nails if that’s what works. The point, however, is to do something!

Write down a list of positive qualities for which others have complimented you. Your list could range from being smart or fun to being reliable and honest. The more you remind yourself about your positive qualities, the faster the disappointment over the rejection will pass.

Conclusion:

When all is said and done, getting rejected is not the end of the world — especially if you’re rejected by someone you hardly know. Attitude is everything in dating, so try harder than ever after a rejection to bounce back and say, “I know I’ve got something to offer, and the person I will end up with will see that from the start.”

book Dr Seths Love Prescription lg 190x300 What to Do When You’re RejectedAbout the Author:

Dr. Seth is a licensed clinical psychologist, author, Psychology Today blogger, and TV guest expert. He practices in Los Angeles and treats a wide range of issues and disorders and specializes in relationships, parenting, and addiction. He has had extensive training in conducting couples therapy and is the author of Dr. Seth’s Love Prescription: Overcome Relationship Repetition Syndrome and Find the Love You Deserve.

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‘Where Did All of My Friends Go?’ http://www.eharmony.com/blog/2014/11/12/friends-go/ http://www.eharmony.com/blog/2014/11/12/friends-go/#comments Wed, 12 Nov 2014 23:05:28 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/blog/?p=18125 Dear Sara, One thing I really miss about being in a relationship is the immediate and intense community it has always brought me. When I’m part of a couple, I am constantly invited to dine with other couples, double date, hang out and get to know my partner’s friends. When I’m single, I get about […]

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single and trying to meet friends 300x200 Where Did All of My Friends Go?’Dear Sara,

One thing I really miss about being in a relationship is the immediate and intense community it has always brought me. When I’m part of a couple, I am constantly invited to dine with other couples, double date, hang out and get to know my partner’s friends. When I’m single, I get about 50% fewer invites. 

There seem to be so many couples-only dinners, events and nights out, and I really don’t have any single girlfriends left. Even if they’re not married, they’re engaged or in a serious thing. And while they can certainly sneak away from time to time for a girl’s night, I’m left out of a substantial majority of activities simply because of my singleness.

It was fine in my twenties because some of my friends were single too. Now, I can’t think of one. I long for community and I feel like it’s missing from my life, like it’s been ebbing away quietly as more and more friends paired off.

The other side of the coin is that when I do get invited, I often end up feeling like the third (or fifth) wheel. There’s something soul-crushing about watching everyone in the room be very loved and then going home alone. Again.

Do you have any advice for building community solo? – G

Dear G,

You have struck on one of the toughest parts of being single: maintaining a healthy social life, especially when you’re constantly losing people to romantic partners. So I’ll share the best piece of advice I ever received on the subject: entertain.

Instead of waiting for an invitation or feeling like the sole spinster in a group of cozy couples, make yourself the social center.

Many years ago, I was struggling with the same thing you are now. So I started hosting dinner parties, inviting about six or seven women to my apartment for lasagna or Chicken Marbella on the occasional Saturday night. This did a number of things. First, it pre-empted the “Saturday’s bad. What about Tuesday?” conversation. Can’t tear yourself away from your boyfriend on a weekend night? Then I guess you’ll miss the party.

Second, it gave me a low-pressure way to reach out to acquaintances—neighbors, women I met at parties, etc. During that time, I was taking a lot of classes and doing various volunteer projects. I’d meet some nice people, and sometimes we’d say ‘let’s have coffee sometime’ and then we wouldn’t. But when I invited them to a party, they very frequently showed. And if they didn’t, no stress—all I’d lost was the two seconds it took to add their name to an email list.

Third, it gave my friends, new and old, a chance to know each other, which is really the foundation of a community. Someone mentions that she’s always wanted to go white water rafting and another person says she knows a great place to do it; pretty soon you’ve got a group outing.

And that leads to my final point: Entertaining leads to reciprocity. Once I started throwing parties, both intimate dinners and the kind that require purchasing large quantities of salty snacks, I noticed that my inbox started filling with more invitations to not just parties but bowling nights, pub crawls, and weekend hikes.

Now, I’m aware that not everyone lives in the kind of home that is conducive to dinner parties or beer bashes. I’m aware of this because when I first got the advice to entertain I was living in a studio apartment that was slightly larger than a pool table. So before I could move to a more party-friendly apartment (and, yes, I made this a priority), I wasn’t able to entertain people at my home. So I did the next best thing: I organized. I’d find a bar that was lively but didn’t get too crowded and send an email. “Hey everyone, we’re all getting together at X Bar two weeks from Friday. Hope you can make it!”

If bars aren’t your thing, of course this can be done with anything—spa days, exercise classes, poetry readings. Many people get so busy during the week that by the time Friday rolls around they just hit speed dial on the takeout Thai place and start scanning Netflix. If you can find something cool for everyone to do, a lot of people will be glad to have you do their thinking for them.

Now, if your friends are committed to a boring couples-only lifestyle (!), there’s not much you can do about that. But that’s all the more incentive to find some fun people. That can be hard, but when you commit to being the inviter, rather than the invitee, an interesting shift starts to happen. You stop asking yourself “How can I be less lonely?” and start asking “How can I make others less lonely?” In my experience, addressing the second question is a lot less stressful and a lot more fun.

Yours,

Sara

its not you sara eckel 185x300 Where Did All of My Friends Go?’About the Author:

Sara Eckel is the author of It’s Not You: 27 (Wrong) Reasons You’re Single. You can get a free bonus chapter of her book at saraeckel.com. You can also find her on Twitter and Facebook.

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Are You Sabotaging Your Chance at Love with This Destructive Habit? http://www.eharmony.com/blog/2014/11/12/sabotaging-chance-love-destructive-habit/ http://www.eharmony.com/blog/2014/11/12/sabotaging-chance-love-destructive-habit/#comments Wed, 12 Nov 2014 19:34:19 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/blog/?p=18115 When it comes to protecting yourself from loving the wrong person, you can forget solely relying on your list of deal-breakers. It turns out that our thoughts about ourselves are way more influential than we realize in determining the quality of person we connect with. I’m talking about the “not enough” greatest hits that haunt even […]

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how to find love 300x200 Are You Sabotaging Your Chance at Love with This Destructive Habit?When it comes to protecting yourself from loving the wrong person, you can forget solely relying on your list of deal-breakers. It turns out that our thoughts about ourselves are way more influential than we realize in determining the quality of person we connect with. I’m talking about the “not enough” greatest hits that haunt even the most confident daters: I’m not successful enough. I’m not fit enough. I’m not funny enough. I don’t take enough fish oil supplements. Or we feel bad about where we are in our lives. We should be married by now. We should have had children by now. We feel ashamed that we got dumped or divorced – or haven’t had a partner for the past decade. Or maybe we could never keep a relationship going longer than three months.

It’s a simple truth: How we feel about ourselves determines whom we attract into our lives. It’s almost as if we’re broadcasting: “Hey, I feel totally inadequate. You do, too? Let’s hang out.” No matter how much we pretend we’ve got scintillating self-esteem – walking with our shoulders back, skillfully mentioning our achievements or forcing ourselves to smile – it’s a waste of time unless we can change our internal dialogue.

So, how do you get good with yourself?

1) Find your own hero narrative

Our lives are never static. We’re strivers at heart. We’re always trying to overcome something or improve ourselves in ways big and small. Find that story that gives meaning to your own struggle or journey. Feeling bad that your last relationship ended? Congratulate yourself for having the courage to leave what wasn’t working so you have the chance to find something that better meets your needs.

Not thrilled about where you are in your career, finances, fitness level or meditation schedule? Stop chastising yourself with ruminations, such as “I’ve got to lose this weight!” or “I’ve got to make more money!” Remind yourself of what you’re doing to meet your goals – even if they’re just intentions. Try saying to yourself “I plan to work on finding more income streams” or “I ran a 5K last year and would like work up to a half-marathon” or “I’m trying to find an eating approach that will help me lose these 20 pounds.” These little shifts shape how we see ourselves and communicate to others that we’re comfortable in our own skin and in control of our lives. There’s also something touching about others expressing their vulnerability instead of faking that they’ve got everything together.

Forming a positive personal story is also good for our mental health. Research from Emory University found that children who identified with a strong family narrative, such as moving to another country or city in search of opportunity, had better self-esteem and were more likely to bounce back from trauma than those who didn’t.

2) Acknowledge everything you’re doing right

I recently went on a long car ride with a friend who after describing her disappointment with a few mini-relationships that failed to blossom into toe-curling love affairs showed off her skill at making these shifts. “Wait a minute!,” she exclaimed. “I should be proud that I’m at least out there. There are so many people who do nothing.” She couldn’t have been more right. Who doesn’t know someone who loves complaining about the lack of love in his or her life but does nothing to help the cause?

Praise everything you do do. You took the initial steps to write a profile. You do the daily work of emailing, texting and planning dates. You show up for dates and sometimes have to suffer through boring conversation. You spend money. You pay babysitters. You put on lip gloss or your best shirt. You take a deep breath and make yourself go into the bar and smile. You risk rejection by asking for the next date or zooming in for the kiss. You thought a first date went well only to get a text back, “It was nice to meet you, but I don’t feel any chemistry.” Still, you dust yourself off and do it all over again.

So talk to yourself nicely. Be okay with yourself. Treasure yourself. You’ll boost your chances of finding someone who will treasure you, too.

Have you thought about your internal dialogue? Are you being kind to yourself?

About the Author:

Sarah Elizabeth Richards is a journalist and the author of Motherhood, Rescheduled: The New Frontier of Egg Freezing and the Women Who Tried It. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Marie Claire, Elle, Cosmopolitan, Slate and Salon.

 

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