eHarmony Blog http://www.eharmony.com/blog eHarmony experts’ take on dating, relationships and the science of love Tue, 24 May 2016 23:16:18 +0000 en-US hourly 1 You Remind Me of Me (and That’s Hot) http://www.eharmony.com/blog/remind-thats-hot/ http://www.eharmony.com/blog/remind-thats-hot/#respond Tue, 24 May 2016 23:16:18 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/blog/?p=20855 At two bars in France, three women attended speed-dating sessions with specific instructions from a research team: mimic certain men they met, and take pains not to mimic others. For the uninitiated, speed-dating is a system where a large group of singles are paired off and placed at tables for short “dates” of about five […]

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At two bars in France, three women attended speed-dating sessions with specific instructions from a research team: mimic certain men they met, and take pains not to mimic others.

For the uninitiated, speed-dating is a system where a large group of singles are paired off and placed at tables for short “dates” of about five minutes. When the organizers call time, half of the couple—in this case the men—get up and move to the next table. The system repeats until every possible couple has met. At the end of the session, participants indicate whom they’d like to see again. When there’s a match, both parties are informed.

In the study, led by Nicolas Guéguen, the men were chosen at random. For the three women confederates, the mimicry took both verbal and non-verbal forms. For example, women were instructed to repeat the men’s phrases (such as “It’s great”; “It’s fun”) and to use the men’s exact words when answering questions (as in: “You really do this?” “Yes, I really do this.”) Non-verbal mimicking involved mirroring actions like touching one’s face, folding arms, scratching ears, etc.

After the sessions, the men being studied were asked to list, by order of preference, the five women they would like to provide their contact information to. They also took surveys about the confederates—how much did they enjoy speaking with them, how attractive were they? The results showed that the male participants most enjoyed their interactions with the mimickers and also found them more attractive than the other women.

Since the experiment only examined men’s attraction to women, it doesn’t shed light on whether this is a universal human behavior (we prefer people who act like us) or whether this is particular to men and romantic attraction (mimicry could be perceived as deference).

However, earlier studies show evidence for the former theory. As Guéguen notes, research has found that counselors who mirror their clients’ body language are seen as more empathetic. Researchers who mimic the mannerisms of study participants are better-liked and more likely to get assistance (for example, to have a participant pick up a pen they dropped). And waiters who repeat the orders of their customers in their exact language received significantly higher tips.

“Mimicry could serve to foster relationships with others,” writes Guéguen. “This behavior could serve a ‘social glue’ function, binding people together and creating harmonious relationships.”

Or, at the very least, possibly getting them to a second date.

its not you sara eckel

Sara Eckel is a personal coach and 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. Ask her any questions here.

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Dating Someone with Money http://www.eharmony.com/blog/dating-someone-money/ http://www.eharmony.com/blog/dating-someone-money/#respond Mon, 23 May 2016 22:43:05 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/blog/?p=20848 It sounds great on paper – dating someone with money – but there are special considerations to take if you decide to pursue or date someone who has a lot more money than you. Yes, dating someone with money has a lot of advantages in that he or she offers the prospect of having a […]

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It sounds great on paper – dating someone with money – but there are special considerations to take if you decide to pursue or date someone who has a lot more money than you. Yes, dating someone with money has a lot of advantages in that he or she offers the prospect of having a nice home in a good area, fancy vacations, and the chance to engage in activities and outings that many others can’t afford. But everything has a cost, and you should be aware of all the issues that can come with dating someone with money when you have a lot less money yourself.

Wealthy men and women often fear that people want them for their money.

The biggest challenge you’ll face in dating someone with a lot of money is the fear he or she has that you will like him or her because of the money and that you’re looking for a free ride. Sometimes men and women write in their dating profiles that they are looking for someone who is financially successful, but I highly advise against this practice. This, in fact, is the type of behavior that makes wealthy singles feel insecure and worried. If you date someone with money, make an extra effort to suggest date activities that involve middle-of-the-road costs. If you’re suggesting a restaurant, suggest a common one rather than a five-star restaurant with velvet ropes out front; if you’re suggesting a weekend away, suggest an average hotel instead of one known for top-of-the-line amenities and services. By doing this, you are sending a clear message that you are interested in getting to know that new person better, not trying to milk him or her for their money.

Watch out for the tendency to idealize the wealthy.

Dating someone with a lot more money than you sets you up for something that is extremely tempting: idealizing him or her because they have money. If you get picked up in a fancy car and whisked away to a fancy restaurant, you’re probably going to enjoy that. If you end up liking your date’s personality, it’s even more tempting to tell yourself that this person Has It All and that you would be perfectly happy with this partner. Remember that money is all about the surface, and it’s only after months of getting to know a person that you see their true personality and character. The truth is that wealthy men and women have just as many hang-ups and emotional issues as their less well-off counterparts, so catch yourself if you start idealizing him or her.

Don’t give in to your own insecurities about how little money you make or have in comparison.

Listen: money shouldn’t mean that much. Looking for someone with money is bad; looking for someone who is established – you know, has a job, health insurance, and enough money to take the occasional vacation – is good. The bottom line is that there is no fairness in the way people get paid. Some professions are paid extremely well while other worthy and important professions – teachers, childcare workers, and others – are paid minimally. You should feel good about what you do or you need to create a plan to change jobs or fields if you don’t feel good about what you do. Moreover, you should accept that some professions simply aren’t valued. In other words, a preschool teacher should feel just as proud of his job as the executive banker who makes five times the teacher’s salary. Show your wealthy date that you value your profession and that you understand that your low pay is no reflection on your overall merit or worth as an individual. (Never forget that confidence is the world’s greatest turn-on.)

Questions to ask yourself with someone rich, poor, or somewhere in between…

Does he treat me well? Do we have similar interests? How much do we have to talk about? Does she get my sense of humor? Does she have friends with whom she has good, close relationships? Is he affectionate and does he pay me enough attention? Is she already professionally established or does she have a plan about what she wants to do professionally? Is he someone who would make a caring, attentive dad? Is she sensitive to my feelings and the feelings of others?

These are the questions that matter, not the question about whether he or she has money. Yes, you can find someone who has money and who has the personality traits you value, but it will only last with that person if you don’t value their money too much.

book_Dr_Seths_Love_Prescription_lg

About 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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Women Love Men Who Love Dogs http://www.eharmony.com/blog/women-love-men-love-dogs/ http://www.eharmony.com/blog/women-love-men-love-dogs/#respond Mon, 23 May 2016 22:02:30 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/blog/?p=20840 In the summer of 2007, a handsome 20-year-old man was instructed to approach young women in a French pedestrian zone and say this: “Hello. My name’s Antoine. I just want to say that I think you’re really pretty. I have to go to work this afternoon, but I was wondering if you would give me […]

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In the summer of 2007, a handsome 20-year-old man was instructed to approach young women in a French pedestrian zone and say this:

“Hello. My name’s Antoine. I just want to say that I think you’re really pretty. I have to go to work this afternoon, but I was wondering if you would give me your phone number. I’ll phone you later and we can have a drink together someplace.”

In half of these instances, “Antoine” was walking a sweet-natured black mutt. In the other half, he approached the women without a dog.

The results were striking: With a dog at his side, Antoine received phone numbers from 28.3% of the women he approached. Without the dog, he only received numbers from 9.2% of the women he propositioned. Researchers Nicolas Guéguen and Serge Ciccotti speculate that perhaps walking a dog leads people to see strangers as “more kind, thoughtful, or sensitive, possibly because people who love animals, particularly dogs, are thought to have these attributes.”

So is a dog a single man’s best friend? Possibly, though a more recent study finds that a trusty mutt benefits some men more than others.

Authors Sigal Tifferet, Daniel Kruger, Orly Bar-Lev and Shani Zeller drew from research finding that men fall into two basic dating types. “Cads” are very competitive, socially dominant, and daring; “dads” are compassionate, kind, and romantic. Research indicates that women prefer “cads” when seeking short-term relationships and “dads” when seeking long-term partnerships.

In the experiment, women read descriptions of two men: either a cad with a dog and a dad without a dog, or a cad without a dog and a dad with a dog.

Women then rated the characters’ attractiveness and indicated whether they would be interested in marrying or having a fling with each one. They also evaluated each character’s potential as a partner, using a scale that has statements saying the man in the description would “cheat on his partner,” “get into fights,” “take good care of his kids” or “work hard at his job, even though he doesn’t like it.”

An analysis of the results found that dog ownership made the cads significantly more attractive to women, but didn’t really help the dads—apparently because the women already saw them as caring, nurturing, and resourceful (dog-ownership could signal that the owner can afford expenses like vet bills and pet-sitters, the authors said).

“Women prefer men with both positive cad and dad traits. In modern societies, dog ownership signals substantial caretaking in a long-term relationship. Thus a cad with a dog is especially attractive to women, as they may believe they are getting the best of both worlds,” the authors said.

As a recent Psychology Today post noted, both studies leave plenty of questions. Does the breed of dog matter (early indications suggest a Golden Retriever makes a better wingman than a Rottweiler), and how do these findings apply outside the context of “men seeking women”? A study cited in Aziz Ansari and Eric Klinenberg’s Modern Romance found that men who have pictures of pets in their online dating profile get more responses than men who don’t; however, pet pics in women’s profiles received fewer responses.

So, cads, if you’re thinking of getting a dog to boost your success with women, it could work. But here’s hoping you have other reasons—and that the experience of loving and caring for a sweet, dependent being will make you, well, less of a cad.

 

its not you sara eckel

Sara Eckel is a personal coach and 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. Ask her any questions here.

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After a Traumatic Event: Starting to Date Again http://www.eharmony.com/blog/traumatic-event-starting-date/ http://www.eharmony.com/blog/traumatic-event-starting-date/#respond Tue, 17 May 2016 22:24:02 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/blog/?p=20834 More men and women than you know are seated on the sidelines of dating because they have suffered some sort of traumatic event, and they are dealing with the psychological aftermath. People experience major traumas every single day and there are all types of trauma. Direct Trauma First, there are traumas in which a person is […]

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More men and women than you know are seated on the sidelines of dating because they have suffered some sort of traumatic event, and they are dealing with the psychological aftermath. People experience major traumas every single day and there are all types of trauma.

Direct Trauma

First, there are traumas in which a person is a direct victim. Examples: being mugged or carjacked, being physically or sexually assaulted, being the victim of identity theft; being the victim of a home robbery or home invasion; experiencing the sudden loss of a loved one; being involved in a bad, life-threatening accident; and many others.

Indirect Trauma

Second, there are traumas in which a person is indirectly impacted. Many of the traumas that impact people are indirect traumas, and this often includes witnessing a trauma. Examples: seeing someone get seriously physically injured or lose their life; witnessing any type of extreme maltreatment or abuse; or even being impacted by hearing news of a major traumatic event (e.g., a terrorist event, school shooting, and so forth).

There is no playbook on how people experience traumas or how they grieve. Everyone is different and handles traumatic events differently. Regardless of whether the trauma was direct or indirect, upsetting events of this scale can have a major effect on you psychologically.

When dealing with a trauma, most men and women who are single will shut down romantically and stop dating. This makes sense, too, because he or she is doing the best they can to keep going day to day; dating and finding a partner feels like a luxury when you’re just trying to get out of bed in the morning and avoid emotionally freezing or having crying spells throughout the day.

Common symptoms people have after a trauma

Men and women may have any of the following symptoms: feeling dazed or numb; feeling sad, helpless, or angry; getting into arguments more frequently; frequently changing moods; reliving the traumatic event through bad memories; difficulty paying attention; overeating or undereating; and weird, upsetting dreams or nightmares.

Deal with the trauma the right away with a trained professional

If you experienced a trauma, the best thing you can do for yourself is to go for a few sessions with a mental health therapist. If you need more sessions, they’re yours for the taking; if you don’t, then it’s time to move on. Therapists are trained in helping people work through traumas so that the symptoms don’t get in the way of your happiness and daily functioning. Make sure to exercise plenty, talk about the traumatic experience with friends, and spend extra time with pets if you have them.

How recent was the trauma?

After a trauma, it may be a matter of months before you feel like dating again – but it doesn’t have to be a matter of years. If you have gone longer than a year after a trauma and you still don’t feel like dating, you may have symptoms that rise to the level of PTSD, depression, or another mental disorder. Keep in mind that these disorders are totally treatable, but you may need to seek out treatment in order to get better.

Once you’ve decided you’re ready to date again

When your mood has improved and you have energy to date, don’t worry about sharing your traumatic experience with a new date in the very beginning. In fact, if the trauma was especially personal, you may want to wait a few months to tell your date. There is no rush, and you want to make sure that you know someone well enough to know that he or she won’t judge you or get freaked out when you share the details of what happened to you.

 

book_Dr_Seths_Love_Prescription_lg

About 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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Need a Relationship? You’re Not Needy. You’re Normal. http://www.eharmony.com/blog/need-relationship-youre-not-needy-youre-normal/ http://www.eharmony.com/blog/need-relationship-youre-not-needy-youre-normal/#respond Mon, 16 May 2016 20:43:28 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/blog/?p=20822 If there was ever a piece of bad relationship advice that won’t die, it’s this: Be super careful not to appear too needy to your romantic interests. Otherwise, you’ll turn them off. You’re supposed to show them that you’re independent and perfectly happy making your own coffee on Sunday mornings. Of course, there’s a fine […]

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If there was ever a piece of bad relationship advice that won’t die, it’s this: Be super careful not to appear too needy to your romantic interests. Otherwise, you’ll turn them off. You’re supposed to show them that you’re independent and perfectly happy making your own coffee on Sunday mornings.

Of course, there’s a fine line between having a healthy sense of self and not devouring your partner’s time and affection because you depend on them to boost your self-esteem. But if taken to the extreme, the “Don’t be needy!” warning can make you feel guilty that you need a relationship at all.

You’re supposed to “want” a relationship, remember? You’re supposed to be okay watching Netflix marathons and zipping up your own dress by yourself for the rest of your life. If someone comes along who’s the perfect crouton for your salad, that’s a lucky break. The problem is that this thinking tends to fuel the idea that romantic relationships are life’s free cookie that comes with the restaurant bill and not the main dish that sustains us.

The “I don’t need a relationship” mantra is a handy way to handle potential rejection. Not having something is much less painful and frustrating when you can trick yourself into believing it’s “no big deal” – or worse, “not in the cards” for you.

Yet we’re hard-wired to want a cuddle buddy. Research is chock full of reports on the benefits of marriage (and good long-term relationships, if you haven’t tied the knot), including better heart health, improved mental health, longer life spans, less production of the stress hormone cortisol, and faster recovery from surgery. The health toll from loneliness is also alarming: Social isolation leads to inflammation, which suppresses the body’s ability to fight disease, according to a recent study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Strong friendships and social ties can keep you healthy and connected, too. (And so can dates that are short on chemistry but full of fascinating conversation!) And yes, plenty of happy single people out there are walking antioxidants. But I’d like to make the case that dating would be a lot easier if we could acknowledge the importance of satisfying romantic relationships in our lives. We need companionship. We need physical intimacy. We need someone to care if we pulled our hamstrings during our morning run or whether we like our new haircut.

Here are two reasons to declare your need for romance:

1) It shows you’re someone who values companionship

Other people who are looking to connect with you would appreciate learning there’s a vacancy in your life that you’re hoping to fill with their company. You want a best friend and life partner. It gives you both a chance to admit you like chatting about the plot lines after a movie. You’d both love to go on a hunt for the best chocolate mousse in your city.  So talk less about your solo travel adventures and your weeknights full of work events. Give your date a chance to imagine what it would feel like to gaze at the stars with you during a weekend camping getaway in the desert.

2) It reminds you to make your love life a priority

You wouldn’t blow off going to the grocery store or renewing your lease. When something is a need, we make sure it gets fulfilled. Thinking about love as a need also helps keep you motivated during dry spells when no one seems to return your emails or want a second date.

So feel free to be as honest about this as you want. Not only does it feel liberating, the mindset shift might be the thing that helps send love your way.

Do you think it’s helpful to admit you need a relationship?

 

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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Recovery from Rejection Depends on Your Personal Outlook http://www.eharmony.com/blog/recovery-from-rejection-depends-on-how-you-view-yourself/ http://www.eharmony.com/blog/recovery-from-rejection-depends-on-how-you-view-yourself/#respond Mon, 16 May 2016 17:20:18 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/blog/?p=20805 Your romantic partner can be your best friend, your activity buddy, and your confidant. When a relationship ends, this source of approval and support is suddenly gone. This can be particularly difficult when your partner instigates the breakup, leaving you trying to understand why the relationship ended. Dealing with the feelings of rejection can take several potential […]

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Your romantic partner can be your best friend, your activity buddy, and your confidant. When a relationship ends, this source of approval and support is suddenly gone. This can be particularly difficult when your partner instigates the breakup, leaving you trying to understand why the relationship ended. Dealing with the feelings of rejection can take several potential paths. Your relationship may linger in the back of your mind, with bad memories triggered by hearing a shared favorite song or coming across an old picture. On the other hand, experiencing rejection may be a time for reflection and personal growth, triggering understanding as to what is most important in a relationship partner.

What factors may lead to these different scenarios following the same type of event? Recent psychological research on romantic relationships suggests that the long-term impact of romantic rejection is dependent, in part, on how you view yourself (Howe & Dweck, 2016).

Previous research has looked at how individuals differ in their beliefs about personality. Some people believe that their personal traits are innate, fixed, and unchanging over time (an entity theory of the self). However, others believe that personality is malleable and changes over time (an incremental theory of the self) (Dweck & Leggett, 1998). Through five studies, Howe and Dweck (2016) examined how people’s differing views about personality affect the experience of romantic rejection. They found that rejection can be especially hard for someone who believes that personality is fixed. They may be slower to recover from rejection, feeling a greater negative impact over a longer period of time. By comparison, for those holding a belief that personality is malleable, rejection can be viewed as an opportunity for growth and change. Rejection can be construed as a learning experience, with a focus towards future relationships.

Overall, researchers found that compared to those who endorsed a malleable view of the self, people who held the belief that personality is fixed were more likely to believe that the rejection revealed something inherently negative about themselves. They also felt more negative lingering emotions, even if the breakup had happened years in the past. Holding a fixed belief about the self was associated with fear of future rejection. With this mindset, experiencing a rejection led to expectations that new relationships would also follow the same pattern. This negative effect held regardless of the severity of the rejection experience (for example, being rejected on a first date compared to a breakup in a long-term relationship). Following an experimental manipulation designed to facilitate more of a fixed vs. malleable view of the self, respondents who were led to believe that personality is fixed were more likely to report strong negative emotions following rejection and were also more likely to anticipate future rejection experiences.             

Internalizing negative emotions and views about the self after a rejection may have a cyclical effect. Participants who viewed the self as unchanging were more likely to report wanting to suppress memories of the rejection and expressed wishes that the relationship had never happened. They also reported more wariness about being open to another relationship out of fear that new partners would “discover” the same negative things about themselves that their former partners found.

This research reveals that having a more flexible view of yourself is important for both personal well-being and the health of your romantic relationships. Working through the different emotions and thoughts that come from rejection and taking a learning approach to this negative experience can be important to future relationships. Although rejection is always painful, remaining open and positive about the future ensures that the experience can be a small footnote in a long and successful relationship history.

 

Resources

Dweck, C. S., & Legget, E. L. (1988). A social-cognitive approach to motivation and personality. Psychological Review, 95, 256-273.

Howe, L. C., & Dweck, C. S. (2016). Changes in self-definition impede recovery from rejection. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 42, 54-71.

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Cheap Date Ideas: Dr. Seth’s Top 5 Suggestions http://www.eharmony.com/blog/cheap-date-ideas-dr-seths-top-5-suggestions/ http://www.eharmony.com/blog/cheap-date-ideas-dr-seths-top-5-suggestions/#respond Thu, 12 May 2016 20:16:49 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/blog/?p=20794 If you think you need to spend a Kardashian-style wad of cash to pull off a great date, you are falling hook, line, and sinker for everything movies and TV tell us about dating. I worked with one young man years ago who sent a limousine to pick up a woman for their first date, […]

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If you think you need to spend a Kardashian-style wad of cash to pull off a great date, you are falling hook, line, and sinker for everything movies and TV tell us about dating. I worked with one young man years ago who sent a limousine to pick up a woman for their first date, and I swallowed hard when I heard the news. Yes, we see this behavior in the movies, but is it really necessary? Moreover, can anyone keep that up? Not surprisingly, that man’s relationship ended a couple years later and he always felt inferior, convinced he couldn’t be “enough” to make her happy. He always tried to one-up himself and to make the next date or vacation more exciting or exotic, but he forgot the most basic dating rule in the world: If someone really likes you, they don’t need all the bells and whistles.

The best dates are always dates that involve two key ingredients: a bit of adventure and the chance to talk. Remember that adventure can take many forms, and you’ll see what I mean in a moment.

Indoor or Outdoor Festivals

Taking a date to a festival is always a good idea because it allows the two of you to roam and wander, and conversation arises organically. Festivals are terrific because they offer all kinds of distractions so that you don’t feel uncomfortable with the usual first date face-off: two people staring at each other, firing questions at each other as each person fidgets and secretly feels that they’re being examined under a microscope. At festivals, too, you can get to know your date better because you can see what types of things they like and what they’re drawn to.

Traditional or Not-So-Traditional Museums

When you think of a museum, do you imagine something quiet and boring? If you’re like many people, the answer is yes! While more traditional museums – say, art or natural history – are fine if that’s your interest, don’t forget that there are scores of other types of museums that fly under the radar. In Los Angeles, where I live, we have everything from a contemporary art museum to a museum celebrating death. Take your date to an off-the-map museum and you can explore something weird and exciting together. Also, many of the big museums sponsor a night each week where they have live music or movie nights, and these are great ways to do something different with a date.

Outdoor Malls

Have you noticed a major trend in mall developments over the past ten or so years? In the past, malls were indoor affairs, but most new malls being developed today are outdoor. Walking around an outdoor mall with your date is a great chance to explore and people watch, but it’s also a great excuse to be outside – and happy people spend more time outside than unhappy people do!

Visit a different part of your town or city.

Most of us are creatures of habit, which means that we tend to find places we like and keep going back to them. If you live in a large city, there are some areas you may never visit because getting there sounds like a major production. Even if you live in a small town, there are probably a few places you have seen but never visited. Take one of your dates to a different part of town to eat or walk around. This type of adventure – seeing new things – can help to stimulate the two of you and fuel that sense of discovery and adventure.

Quick tips for planning

When you are working out date ideas with your new interest, it’s always respectful to give him or her a couple of choices. Come up with a few ideas and let your date make the choice. In addition, make sure to leave your date space to come up with ideas, too, by asking if there was something else they would prefer to do. Above all, remember to relax and enjoy your surroundings on a date because – and you know this too well – sometimes you end up liking the activity more than the actual person.

book_Dr_Seths_Love_Prescription_lg

About 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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Dating Lessons from The Harvard Business Review http://www.eharmony.com/blog/dating-lessons-harvard-business-review/ http://www.eharmony.com/blog/dating-lessons-harvard-business-review/#respond Thu, 12 May 2016 19:21:44 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/blog/?p=20787 Single people are often told to “get out there,” a phrase that can instill both anxiety and guilt. Of course, we all know it’s true—if you want to find a romantic partner, you’ll have to leave the house. But if the prospect of subjecting yourself to the scrutiny of others—while simultaneously evaluating them—makes you queasy, […]

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Single people are often told to “get out there,” a phrase that can instill both anxiety and guilt. Of course, we all know it’s true—if you want to find a romantic partner, you’ll have to leave the house. But if the prospect of subjecting yourself to the scrutiny of others—while simultaneously evaluating them—makes you queasy, you’re not alone.

Fortunately, the Harvard Business Review is here to help. While a recent article published in the journal was about networking for business, not dating, it offers insights that can help anyone attempting to connect with others.

Be Generous

HBR says: People who believe they have the power to be helpful to others enjoy networking more than those who don’t think they have anything useful to offer. The authors note that people in junior or subordinate roles often fall into the latter category: “They focus on tangible, task-related things such as money, social connections, technical support, and information, while ignoring less obvious assets such as gratitude, recognition, and enhanced reputation.”

We say: Try offering this more subtle form of generosity. For example, most of us are terrible listeners, as we frequently devote more brainspace to what we will say next, rather than what someone else is saying now. If you can give your date the gift of your attention—if you’re really listening—that will make a much better impression than the witty one liner you’re forming in your head.

You’ll also learn something new, which leads to the second point:

Be Curious

HBR says: There are two basic ways that people view networking events. Some see them as an unpleasant chore, where the task is to be schmoozy and fake. Others approach these events with a sense of excitement and curiosity about the possibilities— the conversations they might have, the ideas that might spark. Not surprisingly, the people who took the more open and receptive attitude were better networkers.

We say: Instead of focusing on how much you dread the idea of selling yourself, try simply being curious about what will happen. Who will you meet tonight? What are this person’s hopes, dreams, and fears? What does this person have to teach you?

If your goal is to get to know another human being—rather than showcase what hot stuff you are—you’ll probably have a better time and make a better impression. If you feel receptive to all of the possibilities the evening might bring, you can start to relax and allow it to be what it is. Maybe you won’t meet the love of your life tonight but instead find something else, like a lead on a new job or an idea about a graduate program you’d like to pursue.

Of course, there are important differences between meeting new people for business and personal life. On the other hand, it’s not always clear which you’re doing.

its not you sara eckel

Sara Eckel is a personal coach and 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. Ask her any questions here.

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A Couple’s First Fight: Don’t Overreact or Panic http://www.eharmony.com/blog/couples-first-fight-dont-overreact-panic/ http://www.eharmony.com/blog/couples-first-fight-dont-overreact-panic/#respond Wed, 11 May 2016 22:27:14 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/blog/?p=20783 Arguments are inevitable in relationships. I have found that the happiest long-term couples have occasional fights and they can return to normal pretty quickly. The key for any couple is to keep some perspective and to avoid getting too emotional when arguing. When you meet someone new, of course, the relationship starts with all sorts […]

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Arguments are inevitable in relationships. I have found that the happiest long-term couples have occasional fights and they can return to normal pretty quickly. The key for any couple is to keep some perspective and to avoid getting too emotional when arguing.

When you meet someone new, of course, the relationship starts with all sorts of unconscious fantasies: “This relationship will be the one that lasts;” “This guy is different from all the rest;” “This woman is perfect, almost too good for me.” Then, weeks or months later, reality sets in and each of you start to see in the other the inevitable personality flaws. How couples manage their first fight will partly determine the course of the rest of the relationship, so follow the principles below and your new relationship will be better off because of it.

Happy couples argue, period.

So many men and women I talk to have the mistaken belief that happy couples rarely fight. To some extent, this is true, but I will clarify the difference. The key is not the frequency of arguments but rather the intensity and duration of the arguments. Happy couples may have a brief argument several times per week, but the arguments are short (a few minutes) and not very intense. Each member of the couple may get annoyed or frustrated, and they speak out about their feelings, but they don’t reach the level of extreme exasperation or rage.

In an argument, feel your feelings but don’t live in them.

The goal is to feel your feelings but not to exaggerate them, and happy, long-term couples know how to express their feelings and then move on from them. With unhealthy couples whose fighting is a major problem, they treat each fight like the end-all, be-all argument. Couples who won’t last get stuck trying to win arguments or they get totally panicked that the fight – or more fights – will eventually lead to the end of the relationship. On the other hand, happy couples keep in mind the fact that arguments are a necessary but fleeting part of a relationship, and they approach the argument with a level head.

Don’t panic or overreact when you have your first fight.

The worst – but most common – mistake that couples make in their arguments is to overreact. Overreaction can cause the simplest tiff to spiral into a full-blown fight. When you have your first fight, ask yourself the following questions: Did I get too emotional or did my partner get too emotional? Who got too emotional first? This information is crucial as you must figure out whether one or both of you have a drama-prone style of exaggerating or living in emotions. If it’s you who gets too emotional, take yourself to therapy or search for some good self-help books. If it’s the other person, after the storm ends, you need to have a serious conversation and ask if this behavior reflects a pattern. Now, some people can handle a high-emotion partner, but high-emotion partners are not for everyone. Know what you can tolerate and tread forward cautiously.

The first fight is a great time to set up ground rules for future arguments.

After you have your first fight, take a day or two to breathe and let it all sink in. Take a few minutes and talk about the argument with your new partner. Tell him or her that you want to take a minute and go over some ground rules for arguments. Identify which behaviors are not okay with you during an argument – for example, name-calling – and tell your partner. Also, set up a rule about the length and intensity of your arguments. For example, I work with a couple who has a knock-down, drag-out fight once per month. For most people, this would not be acceptable, but the couple I work with are two highly emotional and stimulation-seeking people. In other words, both of them are a bit addicted to drama and so they feed off of this behavior. They also find that regular arguments make their sex life more exciting, but I am working with them to show them how to be comfortable with peace and harmony. (I know, it’s going to take some time!) If you can’t handle anything more than the rare fight, say that from the beginning; if you can’t handle someone yelling, say that from the beginning.

The overall message…

A couple’s first fight can be stressful and scary, and it’s disappointing because it causes all those fantasies you had in the beginning to crash and burn in an instant. Remember that the fight only has to mean as much you decide it should mean. Ultimately, the first fight is a great chance for you to set up ground rules for future fights so that you can get along as smoothly as possible in the future!

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About 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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Appreciation http://www.eharmony.com/blog/appreciation/ http://www.eharmony.com/blog/appreciation/#respond Wed, 11 May 2016 22:12:29 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/blog/?p=20777 I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Maya Angelou There are an overwhelming number of women who feel unappreciated by their husbands. I often hear the following: “I just want to feel appreciated. For years I have […]

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I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Maya Angelou

There are an overwhelming number of women who feel unappreciated by their husbands. I often hear the following: “I just want to feel appreciated. For years I have been the cook, the cleaner, the chauffeur… I don’t feel like we are a partnership… I’ve asked, demanded, and pleaded that we go to counseling… I can’t do this anymore. I don’t want to live the second half of my life feeling like this. I’m done.”

I know this is nothing new. I am sure my mother felt unappreciated by my dad at times during their marriage. I think that’s probably natural in the cycle of marriage and relationships. Life gets busy. We forget to thank those closest to us. But times are changing. I have spoken with more women than I can count over the past couple of years who aren’t just complaining about feeling unappreciated by their husbands. Instead, they are doing something about it.

These women, most of whom are in their mid-40’s, have decided they want out of their marriages. Sure, they are scared for what this means for them. Sure, they are nervous about the new unknowns divorce will bring. Sure, they recognize the impact this will have on their lives. For most of the women I spoke with, leaving their husbands means having to secure full-time employment for the first time in years. It mean moving out of the big brick colonial in the suburbs and moving into something more affordable. It means being alone. And you know what each and every woman I spoke with said? “I am absolutely OK with this.” I heard, “I’m OK being alone and starting over on my own… I feel as if I have been alone for years anyway. I don’t need my big house or my fancy car. I don’t mind having to work. I just know that I don’t want to spend the next half of my life living this way. Why should I?”

Wow! To give it all up and start over at 45? It’s surprising, particularly because to the outside world, these women appear to have it all. Their husbands aren’t “bad” people. We aren’t talking about men who are abusive or alcoholics. We aren’t talking about men who are dragging the family into bankruptcy. We aren’t talking about men who have lived a double life full of affairs.

What these women are expressing is a deep personal sadness at feeling disconnected and unappreciated by their husbands. They tell me they have fought for years to feel more connected and appreciated. This isn’t a whim, they assure me. They have thought long and hard about their decision to get divorced. They aren’t simply giving up. They have tried and fought a long battle. But the thing they each have in common is that they have reached their breaking point. They say, “I’m tired of not feeling appreciated, not feeling like I am part of a partnership. I feel like I am the roommate … not someone who is valued. I’m tired of asking to be appreciated — begging to be valued — pleading to feel as if I am important and not constantly playing second-fiddle to everything else going on in his life. I’m done.”

Divorce has become commonplace. Many women thrive after divorce. They live independent, happy lives. Any taboo or stigma that may have existed during my mother’s generation doesn’t exist any more. I think this gives many women the courage to say, “I can do this.” And, they are.

What do we do about this? Many husbands are left with their jaws hanging open in disbelief when their wives file for divorce. “Why didn’t we talk about this? Why didn’t we go to counseling? Why didn’t you tell me you were feeling this way?” The wives smile sadly and say, “We have, we did, I have… and it’s too late now… I’m done.”

I don’t like these conversations. I believe in the institution of marriage. I don’t like to see people quit. What can we do? I know the following advice is oversimplifying the issue — I really do — but it’s a start:

Men, please take the time to appreciate your wife regularly. Thank her for what she does for you and your family. Validate her. Cover her with words of affirmation. Wrap your appreciation of her deep within her heart. This is a marathon, not a sprint. The women I spoke with are not giving up because they weren’t thanked for emptying the dishwasher once. It’s the net result of decades of feeling taken for granted. When I suggest that perhaps having an open dialogue with their husbands alerting them to just how serious this really is and perhaps giving a final chance to make some changes, they tell me it would be too little, too late. “I’m done,” they say.

Clearly, women, this isn’t a one-way street. Appreciation goes both ways. Are you checking to see just how much appreciation you are showing to your husband as well? Do you thank him for all he does, or do you take him for granted? Really think about it. Perhaps you perceive that you are being more appreciative than you really are. What would he say?

I’m not saying that showing more appreciation will lower the divorce rate in our country, but I do believe that showing more appreciation will improve marital relationships.

Philosopher William James (1842-1910), said, “The deepest craving of human nature is the need to be appreciated.”  

The women I speak with are craving appreciation.

What do you think?

About the Author:

Author Monique A. Honaman wrote “The High Road Has Less Traffic: honest advice on the path through love and divorce” (2010) in response to a need for a book that provided honest, real, and raw advice about how to survive and thrive through one of life’s toughest journeys, and “The High Road Has Less Traffic … and a better view” (2013) to provide perspectives on love, marriage, divorce and everything in between. The books are available on Amazon.com. Learn more at www.HighRoadLessTraffic.com.

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