eHarmony Blog http://www.eharmony.com/blog eHarmony experts’ take on dating, relationships and the science of love Thu, 04 Feb 2016 00:02:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 4 Rules: The First 14 Days of Dating http://www.eharmony.com/blog/4-rules-first-14-days-dating/ http://www.eharmony.com/blog/4-rules-first-14-days-dating/#comments Thu, 04 Feb 2016 00:02:12 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/blog/?p=20438 I know, I know! You’ve met someone who you’re va-va-voom attracted to, so what happens next? If you’re like most of us, you’ve been out with several people but it didn’t quite work out. When you meet someone with whom you’re potentially a good fit, be very careful in the first two weeks of dating. Rushing […]

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I know, I know! You’ve met someone who you’re va-va-voom attracted to, so what happens next? If you’re like most of us, you’ve been out with several people but it didn’t quite work out. When you meet someone with whom you’re potentially a good fit, be very careful in the first two weeks of dating. Rushing things or getting too anxious can blow the entire operation, so I will give you a few basic rules to follow during the crucial first two weeks.

1. Don’t binge on each other.

When you think of binging, you probably associate it with eating. But the truth is that one can binge on anything: substances, shopping, or even seeing each other. One of the most common pitfalls for men and women in the first stage of dating is to make the gigantic mistake of seeing each other too frequently in the first week or two. It is perfectly normal to want to see that new person night after night, or a few times in the first week. After all, how often do you meet someone to whom you’re physically and emotionally attracted? Not that often, right? If you see someone too much in the first week, you are binging on that person, and you don’t have any real idea who that person is after just meeting them. Moving too quickly in the beginning is one of the most common ways people wreck a dating relationship.

2. Text less and call more.

Honestly, the savviest thing you can do when you meet someone you like is to talk on the phone a couple times and get together for a few hours in the first week – nothing more, nothing less. You need to protect your feelings in the beginning, so why invest so much so soon? The more cautious you are in starting a relationship, the better you will get to know the real man or woman you’ve met. When you do connect, talking on the phone is much better than texting because you can get a much better feel for the other person’s personality in the course of natural dialogue.

3. Don’t talk to others about the person you just started dating.

Of course, it’s inevitable to mention that you met someone you like to a best friend or family member, but keep your announcements to a minimum. Don’t tell more than a couple people, and don’t go overboard in talking about it to the one or two you do tell. The point is to keep the amount of time you spend with or talk about your new love interest proportionate to how secure you feel that the relationship will last. In other words, spending a lot of time with or talking about someone new may prove to be a total waste of energy if it fizzles out in a few weeks, so why get so worked up about it? Again, protect your feelings and protect your time!

4. Keep an open mind.

Though I don’t you, I know enough as a relationship psychologist to know that people who want relationships will usually find one if they are willing to do the work: to put themselves out there and to be open minded. Approach a new date as flexibly as possible, telling yourself that the people you connect with the most aren’t always the ones you would have expected. Suppress any judgmental inner voices and give people who seem kind the benefit of the doubt, even if they don’t have the image or appearance that you’ve envisioned for your future partner.

Reminders to take with you

Men and women dating must focus more on longevity than on immediate gratification when starting a relationship. Couples who have successful long-term relationships are patient, for example. When they first met, they probably didn’t feel overwhelmed with anxiety to sign the Partner for Life Contract so quickly. For this reason, my overall advice to you is to slow down and take dating day by day.

book_Dr_Seths_Love_Prescription_lgAbout 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 Terrible First Date Questions (You Should Wait to Ask Until Later!) http://www.eharmony.com/blog/5-terrible-early-dating-questions-wait-ask-later/ http://www.eharmony.com/blog/5-terrible-early-dating-questions-wait-ask-later/#comments Mon, 01 Feb 2016 23:32:35 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/blog/?p=20422 When you first meet someone you’re interested in, it is perfectly normal to want to know everything about this new person. There are usually some pretty loaded questions you’d like to ask, so the key is to know when and how to ask them. Take a look at the list below and you’ll quickly see why […]

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When you first meet someone you’re interested in, it is perfectly normal to want to know everything about this new person. There are usually some pretty loaded questions you’d like to ask, so the key is to know when and how to ask them. Take a look at the list below and you’ll quickly see why you should avoid asking any of these questions in the first month of dating.

After the two of you have been together a while and know each other better, you’ve earned the right to ask such private inquiries. You need to know that asking any of these questions too early usually backfires anyhow, because most people will lie or embellish the truth because they don’t truly trust you yet.

1. How many people have you been intimate with? It’s fair to suggest that you shouldn’t ask this question in the first month, but it’s also worth considering whether you should ever ask this question! I don’t think it’s a good idea to ever ask anyone this because the response might unleash obsessive or insecure thoughts on your part. At the same time, it’s certainly your right to ask – just remember that it’s not your right to demand an answer. If you ask this question, don’t do it the first month. Wait until you know each other better and then frame the question in a general way. Ask, “Have you had a lot or a little sexual experience?”

2. Have you ever tried any drugs? We all understand that drugs can be very bad for you, and yet people continue to experiment with substances every day. If you ask this question in the first month and your date has experimented with one or more drugs, odds are that your date won’t tell you the whole truth. The best way to figure out if your date currently dabbles with or abuses drugs is to watch his or her behavior closely in the first month. For example, when you’re at dinner, does your date have an alcoholic drink or two, or maybe five? If your date drinks alcohol in a binging manner, there is a decent chance that he has a substance abuse problem or that he has tried a drug or two, too.

3. Did your ex break up with you or did you break up with your ex? First, you probably agree that this question reflects an overly simplistic approach to relationship dynamics. In junior high, there’s usually one person who gets “dumped.” Adult relationships, however, are more complex to the point that a relationship that ends usually ends for a few different reasons. What’s more, adult relationships don’t usually end because just one person is unhappy. If you want to know more about why your date’s last relationship didn’t work, wait until you know each other better to ask for an honest appraisal of why things ended.

4. Have you ever cheated on someone?

This question is especially tricky. First, everyone understandably believes that cheating is wrong. But you really should know the reasons why a person cheated before deciding that they’re altogether bad news. Yes, people make mistakes, and some men and women learn to correct their behavior as a result of making major romantic mistakes. Asking your new date if they ever cheated is fair game, but you must understand that you will not necessarily get a truthful answer until you really, really know this new person. Who would admit to such a transgression so soon? Even people who cheated and learned their lesson will fear telling you the truth for obvious reasons, so don’t force them into a position of lying.

5. Are you attracted to [insert name of friend, coworker, or anyone else]?

As a relationship therapist, I firmly believe that it’s important to understand that being in a monogamous relationship does not mean that you cease being attracted to every other human being. Once you have a trusting and established relationship with someone, it can be healthy to confess an innocent crush on someone you would never end up being with, but don’t ask this question in the first month of dating. There simply isn’t enough trust yet to share such private thoughts and feelings.

The ultimate rule for the first month of dating is to keep cool, calm, and collected. See the new relationship in perspective, no matter how much you like that person or how much your sixth sense tells you This Is The One. Be patient and tone down your hope for the future, and trust that the relationship will become exactly what is supposed to be. I wish you well!

 

book_Dr_Seths_Love_Prescription_lgAbout 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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Not Sure About Online Dating? Keep it to Yourself! http://www.eharmony.com/blog/sure-online-dating-keep/ http://www.eharmony.com/blog/sure-online-dating-keep/#comments Fri, 22 Jan 2016 23:28:33 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/blog/?p=20413 If you’re new to online dating, you might have wrestled with the decision to join a site before you actually got up the nerve to post a profile. You might have wondered whether it would help you meet quality people. Even if you’re already chatting with matches, you still might be feeling ambivalent about whether […]

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If you’re new to online dating, you might have wrestled with the decision to join a site before you actually got up the nerve to post a profile. You might have wondered whether it would help you meet quality people. Even if you’re already chatting with matches, you still might be feeling ambivalent about whether online dating is for you.

However, you don’t need to broadcast your uncertainty. Here are some common disclaimers that often pop up in the first few sentences of doubters’ profiles.

I’m just checking this out.”

I don’t have any expectations, but I thought I’d give it a try.”

I haven’t had any luck with online dating in the past, but I decided to sign up one last time.”

My friend told me to try online dating, so I guess I thought I should.”

Or this is my favorite:

What will we tell our friends about how we met?”

Um, why don’t you tell them that you met through a dating website? According to a study by the Pew Research Center, the stigma of online dating is fast disappearing. Nearly 60 percent of Americans think the medium is a good way to meet people.

Now, imagine how you might feel reading this profile opener:

This year, I decided to make my love life a priority. I can’t wait to meet a wonderful new partner to cherish and share my caramel corn with. Could this be you?”

Which person would you rather go out with?

Here’s why your timid ‘tude undermines your success:

1) It doesn’t really reflect your intentions.

I recently listened to an episode of the radio show “This American Life” that exposed the car sales tactics at a Jeep dealership in Long Island. One supervisor instructed a salesman that there is no such thing as a browser. Even if a visitor claims he is “just looking,” the salesman should treat him as a potential sale. Why? The shopper took the time to drive to the dealership to look at cars. He clearly wants to buy a car.

The same logic applies to online dating. If you’ve taken the time to create a profile and purchase a membership, the odds are that you want to find a relationship. It doesn’t make sense that you’re “kinda maybe just checking this whole thing out.” This is especially the case for a site like eHarmony that has a reputation for attracting members who are interested in long-term relationships. If you’re a member, you’ve filled out a long questionnaire and committed to a communications process that is more thorough than those of other sites. You’ve had to put in some effort. So why not own that fact?

2) It makes matches doubt your commitment to dating.

If you’re not excited about the concept of online dating, matches can’t help but wonder if you’ll be committed to the process. Do you have enough enthusiasm to follow through with texting, calling, and setting up dates? It’s likely that matches will respond more to people who make it clear they want to meet someone rather than those who seem as if they’ll go “poof” at any minute.

Advertising your dating doubts generates about as much romantic interest as showing up to a 20-minute coffee date at the Starbucks at the interstate rest stop at which you announce: “This is probably not going to work, however I thought I should meet you anyway.”

3) Wishy-washiness is a turn off.

Confidence is sexy. It’s no accident that many profiles contain the phrase: “I’m looking for someone who knows what they want.” Be decisive. You don’t have to be clear about your feelings for your matches right away. But at the very least you should be able to communicate certainty that you want to be in the game.

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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A Cure for the ‘Pick Me’ Blues http://www.eharmony.com/blog/cure-pick-blues/ http://www.eharmony.com/blog/cure-pick-blues/#comments Fri, 22 Jan 2016 20:02:15 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/blog/?p=20406 If you’ve recently created a dating profile for yourself, you’re not alone. This is the busiest time of year for online dating sites like this one. Along with your height, eye color, and favorite films, you’ve probably attempted to include language that informs the reader that you’re worth a look. You want to distinguish yourself […]

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If you’ve recently created a dating profile for yourself, you’re not alone. This is the busiest time of year for online dating sites like this one.

Along with your height, eye color, and favorite films, you’ve probably attempted to include language that informs the reader that you’re worth a look. You want to distinguish yourself from all of the other 5’10”-inch brown-eyed men who like movies and the outdoors. More to the point, you want to convince the gentle strangers reading your profile that you’re a winner–smart, successful, well-rounded, good-looking. You want to set yourself apart.

When you read the profiles, it also becomes clear that there are a whole lot of people out there who think they’re a cut above. In her wonderful book, Self-Compassion, University of Texas psychologist Kristin Neff notes that most of Americans are afflicted with the “Lake Wobegon effect”—everyone thinks they’re above average. She cites some very striking figures:

  • 85 percent of students rate their interpersonal skills as above average
  • 94 percent of college professors say they’re better teachers than their colleagues
  • 90 percent of drivers believe they’re above-average drivers—even those who recently caused an accident

Neff says that people commonly see themselves as funnier, more logical, more popular, better looking, nicer, more trustworthy, wiser, and more intelligent than others. “Ironically most people think they’re above average in their ability to view themselves objectively,” she writes.

Obviously, there is a big math problem here—it’s not possible for all of us to be above-average at everything.

But even if we’re all living in the sunny delusion that we’re better than other people, is that so bad? If most people feel pretty good about themselves, isn’t that a positive thing?

The problem, Neff says, is that in order to be “better,” we have to make others “worse.” We have to prop up our impossible self-images by finding ways to convince ourselves that we’re superior to other people. “It’s very common to look for flaws or shortcomings in others as a way to feel better about ourselves. Why else do we love pictures of stars spilling out of their swimsuits, making fashion flubs or having a bad hair day?” writes Neff.

When the house of cards falls—as it inevitably does—we become quite distraught. Neff discusses one experiment in which students were put in pairs and took a test. Those who were told they received a lower score felt more distant and alienated from their partners than those who were told they received a higher score.

That’s the problem: An overinflated sense of self-worth is extremely fragile. Just a tiny pinprick of disappointment and the whole thing collapses.

“The sad irony is that the very reason we want to succeed in the first place is that we want to feel accepted and worthy, to be close to others, to feel that we belong. It’s a classic catch-22. The very act of competing with others for success sets up an unwinnable situation in which the feelings of connectedness we crave are forever out of reach,” she writes.

But Neff also has good news: The happiest people in our society are the ones who can accept the fact that they have more similarities with other people than they have differences. These are people who can cheerfully admit that, yes, they are ordinary.

Feeling special and wonderful is great—when that’s how you legitimately feel. But life is full of ups and downs. Sometimes you don’t get the job. Sometimes you fail the driver’s test. Sometimes the person you adore doesn’t feel reciprocate the feeling. Sometimes you’re left out.

When this happens, trying to convince yourself that you’re better than other people will be tough. So try thinking about how much you have in common with the rest of humanity instead. Everyone fails sometimes. Everyone gets rejected. Everyone experiences sadness, loneliness, and frustration.

Recognizing this won’t make these feelings go away, but it can help you cultivate gentleness with yourself and others. Once you’re not so invested in being superior to others–the inevitable disappoints of life become a lot more manageable.

Chances are, your setback is not remarkable, and the fact that you’re having it doesn’t mean you’re a failure. It just means you’re a person.

 

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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Talking Back to Your Inner Critic http://www.eharmony.com/blog/talking-back-inner-critic/ http://www.eharmony.com/blog/talking-back-inner-critic/#comments Tue, 19 Jan 2016 22:28:16 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/blog/?p=20399 In January, the gyms are crowded and dating sites like this one see their highest levels of traffic. That’s a good thing—the New Year is a terrific time to challenge yourself to improve your life. But as most of us are painfully aware, most New Year’s resolutions don’t stick, as the lure of streaming videos […]

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In January, the gyms are crowded and dating sites like this one see their highest levels of traffic.

That’s a good thing—the New Year is a terrific time to challenge yourself to improve your life. But as most of us are painfully aware, most New Year’s resolutions don’t stick, as the lure of streaming videos and salty snacks often overtakes our desire to be more fit, organized or sociable.

When that happens, many people berate themselves. “You’re so lazy!” says the harsh inner voice. “What a slob!” “No wonder you can’t find anyone to date!”

We say these things to ourselves because we think it will motivate us to get off the couch and stick to our pledges, but research has found that this harsh approach doesn’t help—and in fact can hinder progress. If you tell yourself you’re a fat slob with no willpower, what’s the point of trying to stick to your diet? If you’re convinced that you’re a lazy, undesirable sloth, why bother dating at all?

Fortunately, a study published in Cognitive Therapy and Research reveals an effective way to deal with the inner critic: talk back.

Researchers Allison C. Kelly, David C. Zuroff and Leah B. Shapira worked with individuals who suffered from facial acne and felt high levels of shame about their appearance. They divided the participants into three groups, one of which was offered strategies for challenging their inner critic.

These participants first imagined a defender—a strong, logical, and confident being who could confront the critic. They then wrote a letter to their critic from their defender’s perspective. They were told that their letters should express the view that they were strong and unbeatable, and hold the belief that their inner critic was unnecessarily or excessively harsh. They were to express confidence in themselves and their appearance, and have courage to fight back when the critic attempted to make them feel small or weak.

To assist them in this endeavor, the participants were provided with this sample letter: “I’ve been letting you attack me for some time now, and I’m not going to let you continue to put me down in the way that you do. You make me feel horrible and say things that are probably not even true. I’m going to stop believing what you say, because I can be logical and see the falsehoods in what you say to me … from now on, I’m going to stand up for myself when you say negative things to me. I’m smart enough to see that you have no evidence for most of what you say to me and I’m not going to believe it. I also don’t deserve to be treated in the harsh way you treat me, and am strong enough to stop you…”

After they wrote the letter, the participants wrote five statements in which they talked back to their critic. For example, ‘‘I have the inner strength to fight my distress and your role in creating it.” For the next two weeks, they repeated their statements three times a day, while conjuring their defender’s strength and resilience.

In just two weeks, the researchers found that the participants who followed this program had lower levels of depression, shame, and even skin complaints.

While this study dealt with a very particular problem—facial acne and the ensuing insecurity about appearance—it’s instructive for anyone who is hampered by harsh self-talk.

The inner critic is powerful because most people don’t recognize that it’s there; thoughts like, “You’re such a loser” or “No one wants to date you” pass through the mind without scrutiny.

Once you start to examine those toxic messages and recognize that many, if not all, of them are untrue, you can start to defend yourself against them. Like many liars and bullies, the inner critic withers in sunlight.

 

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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Teresa Palmer talks Soul Connections and Life’s Defining Choices http://www.eharmony.com/blog/teresa-palmer-talks-soul-connections-big-screen-choices/ http://www.eharmony.com/blog/teresa-palmer-talks-soul-connections-big-screen-choices/#comments Tue, 12 Jan 2016 23:07:43 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/blog/?p=20343 I am not sure anyone can author romantic tales quite as dreamily as Nicholas Sparks, whose latest book-turned-big screen romance ‘The Choice‘ arrives in theaters February 5. This particular story takes love, fate, and life’s toughest decisions to a new level, as a young couple (played by Teresa Palmer and Benjamin Walker) meet, fall in love (despite their biggest efforts not to!) and endure […]

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I am not sure anyone can author romantic tales quite as dreamily as Nicholas Sparks, whose latest book-turned-big screen romance ‘The Choice‘ arrives in theaters February 5. This particular story takes love, fate, and life’s toughest decisions to a new level, as a young couple (played by Teresa Palmer and Benjamin Walker) meet, fall in love (despite their biggest efforts not to!) and endure some extremely dramatic challenges. We chatted with the gorgeous leading lady about all things love and, of course, the choices we make.

choice postereH: What did you learn from this story about making choices?

Teresa Palmer: Life is really just a series of choices, and the choices we make tell our story.

eH: Do you think that there are any ‘wrong’ decisions, or does everything unfold as it should?

TP: I am a real believer in the notion that everything happens for a reason and our experiences are opportunities to reflect, observe, and grow.

eH: What is your theory on soul mates? Do we have one, more than one, several through our lives?

TP: I believe in a deeply rooted soul connection. I think it’s very rare to come across these people in life. I’m blessed that I crossed paths with my soul mate and married him. I think we have the potential to cross paths with different soul connections in our life. whether it means we will have a romantic relationship with them or not is the beauty of the unknown.

eH: Do you believe it is more important to love or to be loved?

TP: I think both are imperative but the most important of all is the ability to cultivate self love and acceptance and from there we can radiate love to all of those around us.

eH: What is the best advice you have heard or gotten?

TP: Violence, jealousy, and fear get you nowhere, love gets you everywhere — the spoken words of my husband Mark Webber.

eH: What advice would you give to those still looking for a great relationship or love in their lives?

TP: I would say to really put it out there what it is you desire in a romantic partner. Write it down, make it specific, throw love and positive energy at it and then let it go and do not obsess. Cultivate self love and don’t look for anything external to make you happy (like a relationship), you already have all you need within you. I really practiced this and within a few months I met my husband.

eH: Love that. What do you love most about your life right now?

TP: Being able to strike a balance between being fulfilled in both my work life and my home life with my son and husband. It’s the best of both worlds.

eH: What is your favorite romantic film?

TP: ‘The Notebook’! A real tear jerker and made me believe in that magical kind of love.

‘The Choice’ arrives in theaters Feb.5, 2016.

Motion Picture Artwork © 2016 Lions Gate Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Photo Credit: Dana Hawley

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5 Ways People ‘Single-Shame’ Singles! http://www.eharmony.com/blog/5-ways-people-single-shame-singles/ http://www.eharmony.com/blog/5-ways-people-single-shame-singles/#comments Wed, 06 Jan 2016 23:53:23 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/blog/?p=20378 There is no way around the following truth: The world expects all adults to be in a relationship. Actually, I must clarify that: The world expects all “normal” people to couple up, while simultaneously sending the message that something is wrong with you if you are single. Self-disclosure alert: This type of thinking disgusts me, and I know […]

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There is no way around the following truth: The world expects all adults to be in a relationship. Actually, I must clarify that: The world expects all “normal” people to couple up, while simultaneously sending the message that something is wrong with you if you are single. Self-disclosure alert: This type of thinking disgusts me, and I know it engenders a similar reaction in many others.

Single-shaming is an epidemic, and even these modern social times haven’t stopped it. Can we all agree that single-shaming is wrong – if not shameful – and that we should take a stand against it when we witness it? I will address five of the most common things people say that single-shame men and women.

“Why are you single?” When someone inappropriately asks you this question, they always ask it so incredulously, as if to say, “No really, I don’t get it! You’re so great, why hasn’t someone snapped you up yet? How could you possibly remain on the market?” This is a ridiculous question that no one should ever ask anyone.

“I need to set you up.”  Um, actually, no you don’t. Again, people want people to be in a relationship. People want people to settle down and have the white picket fence lifestyle. If you’re single and over the age of 25 — heaven forbid you’re 35 or older — family, friends, coworkers, and strangers may try to set you up. This unwarranted charity isn’t evil or vicious because many of the people who say this kind of thing to you actually say it lovingly. They have the best intentions, even though the behavior is frustrating and pressure-inducing.

“Aren’t you lonely?” I don’t know about you, but I’ve had a relationship in the past where I felt lonelier in it than I did when I was single! In other words, just being in a relationship says nothing about how lonely or not lonely a person feels.  (Think for a moment about a past relationship and how much longer you stayed than you should have.) When people in relationships ask you if you’re lonely being single, they are denying a really sad but real fact of life: Life can be lonely sometimes for everyone. Sure, being in a relationship means that someone is always physically there, but millions of couples go to bed every night and don’t touch or cuddle or say “I love you.” They must feel kind of lonely, too, right?

“When are you going to settle down?” First, is it really anyone’s business but yours? It’s always amazing to me the liberties people take in inserting themselves into your private life and judging it. People – especially those who are coupled up – seem to love to pressure singles to find a partner and settle down. The reality is that everyone lives their romantic life on their own schedule, so that people find what they need when they are ready for it. If you are single, the reality is clear-cut: You either aren’t ready for a serious, long-term relationship; you haven’t met someone who is a good fit; or both. The problem starts when people overstep your boundaries and ask questions that make you feel that you should be doing something differently than what you’re doing right now.

“Don’t you want to be in a relationship?” Again, this single-shaming statement indicates judgment of your decisions, as well as adds pressure by suggesting that you are abnormal if you don’t want a relationship at this point in time. For many men and women, being single is the best thing they could do for themselves. After all, you can’t jump right from a failed relationship into a great one immediately; you must take time on your own to figure out what you did wrong in the last one in order to set yourself up for a better one. Many people who have been in a relationship for a long time forget this point, and the ridiculous part of all this is that many of the people who ask singles this question are unhappy in their own relationships!

The takeaway message: Single-shaming is wrong because it’s judgmental and anxiety-provoking, and it suggests that every adult should want the same thing and be on the same timeline in terms of settling down. If anyone asks you any of these questions, the easiest thing you can do is to smile warmly and not answer the question. Your pause will send the clearest message of all.

 

book_Dr_Seths_Love_Prescription_lgAbout 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 Dating Resolutions I am Going to Keep in 2016 http://www.eharmony.com/blog/5-dating-resolutions-going-keep-2016/ http://www.eharmony.com/blog/5-dating-resolutions-going-keep-2016/#comments Tue, 05 Jan 2016 16:44:09 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/blog/?p=20368 “Tomorrow is the first blank page in a 365-page book. Write a good one.” Happy New Year! You rang in the new year and resolved that this will be the year that your dating life changes … for the better! Now what!? Here are 5 resolutions you may want to consider as you look ahead […]

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“Tomorrow is the first blank page in a 365-page book. Write a good one.”

Happy New Year! You rang in the new year and resolved that this will be the year that your dating life changes … for the better! Now what!? Here are 5 resolutions you may want to consider as you look ahead at the next 365 days.

1. I am going to put myself out there. No potential dates are going to find me sitting at home waiting for the “right” person to come along and wondering why “all the good ones are taken.” This year, I am going to be more proactive and see what happens. I am going to utilize online dating. I am going to become more involved in activities where I could meet others. In other words, I am going to put myself out there. I’m going to volunteer in my community, join a wine tasting club, learn how to cook, join a Saturday morning running group. I am going to put a little more effort into my online profile. I don’t know what it’s going to be, but I’m going to accept the idea and take responsibility for the fact that I won’t meet any new people sitting at home.

2. I am going to recognize that I am important too. I speak with countless divorced women who would love to be in a relationship, and who have so much love to give, but they feel guilty about dating while their kids are still at home. I hear, “The kids are my priority. I’ve decided I am going to wait to date until the kids head off to college.” In theory, how unselfish…but their kids are ages 5 and 7! Seriously. Two thoughts. One, you deserve to have a fulfilled life too. Contrary to popular belief, life is not just about catering to your kids, and they need to see that. Two, responsible dating can be a great thing to role model to your children, and it will set them up for success as they mature.

3. I am going to start dating when I “fill in the blank” (e.g., lose 10 pounds, or get a new job, or finish my masters degree). If you reflect back on your life, don’t the great things seem to happen when you don’t feel you are ready for them? We can’t always plan and control our own timing. Waiting for one “event” to happen before we allow ourselves to think about the next thing tends to put us in a perpetual cycle of waiting (and those 10 pounds may not come off as quickly as you would like, which is totally OK but it shouldn’t be the excuse that holds you back from other things). Let life happen.

4. I am going to put out the “available” vibe. I recall several friends telling me that there is an “available” vibe that a person puts out when they are truly ready to start dating. I wasn’t sure what this “beacon” or “signal” looked like, but they were right, and I’ve seen it play out several times over the years. It’s invisible, but there is something different about you when you are truly ready and open to meeting someone new. It’s not a vibe of desperation manifested in heading out to the bars every Saturday night in stilettos and fishnet stockings. Instead, it’s more of a subtle beacon that draws people into conversations with you. I can’t explain it, but it’s worth asking yourself what vibe are you putting out to the universe? Are you displaying negative energy with a chip on your shoulder, or are you a light of positivity open to new people, new ideas, and new situations?

5. I am going to be open to dating a different “type” than I normally do. We all have an idea of what our “perfect” type is, right? It may be a build, an education level, a profession, a personality type, but curtailing our potential dates because someone doesn’t fit our preconceived mold is just plain silly. What’s the worst that can happen if you go out with someone who on first glance isn’t your “type”? One, you may learn otherwise. Two, you may make a new friend. I have seen this one prove out over and over again. Friend A got asked out by a guy who was very short. “Not my type,” she said, “I like tall men.” I encouraged her to go out with him. “It’s just dinner for heaven’s sake. You’re not marrying the guy.” Within a year, they were married! Friend B was asked out by a guy she knew from a distance. She always considered him to be a wallflower with very little personality. As she lamented whether or not she should go out with him, I reminded her that she didn’t have anything else on her calendar for Saturday night. Turns out, he’s just a bit shy, but in fact he is a great guy who knows how to truly carry on a deep and meaningful conversation. Yup, still dating – very seriously!

What else? Any other dating resolutions you would add to this list?

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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5 Reasons People Lie (and What to Do About It) http://www.eharmony.com/blog/people-lie/ http://www.eharmony.com/blog/people-lie/#comments Mon, 04 Jan 2016 23:47:20 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/blog/?p=20362 You’ve probably heard the term “little white lie” a thousand times, a term used to describe the kind of harmless fib that men and women tell every day. It’s true that not all lies are devious or harmful, but the point is that you have to be clear about the purpose of the lie, regardless of […]

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You’ve probably heard the term “little white lie” a thousand times, a term used to describe the kind of harmless fib that men and women tell every day. It’s true that not all lies are devious or harmful, but the point is that you have to be clear about the purpose of the lie, regardless of who tells it. First, I will review the most basic reasons for lying in dating and relationships, and I will then share some of the more subtle reasons why people lie. You’ll see that I rotate the pronouns because men and women are guilty of the same types of lies, and they are motivated by the same reasons.

1. He lies because he wants to impress you. Lying to make oneself look more impressive is the most pervasive motivation for lying in dating and romantic relationships. The root of the problem is that most men and women don’t have great self-esteem. They often feel that they aren’t very desirable or appealing physically, or they don’t see themselves as particularly charming, intelligent or interesting. (Nonsense, right?) To make up for their self-perceived inadequacies, someone may lie to make himself appear more interesting or successful.

How to deal with this lie: If you feel like your date is embellishing parts of his life to impress you, make an effort to reassure him. Say,”What I am looking for more than anything is someone who is sweet and honest, so the added impressive details are great but totally not necessary!”

2. She lies to avoid something. Your date may lie because she is trying avoid any number of things: a kiss or sexual activity, a date or spending more time together, or meeting your friends or family, among other possibilities. Most people, in general, don’t love confrontations, so lying as a form of avoidance makes intuitive sense, even though it is a problem that hurts many relationships.

How to deal with this lie: If you feel like someone is lying to avoid something, ask them in a non-attacking manner,”Would you be okay with telling me if you really didn’t want to do something? I hope so because I want to be able to tell you honestly when I don’t want to do something, too.”

3. He lies to hide his unfaithfulness. We all know what we’re talking about when it comes to infidelity. Men and women lie every single day to hide the fact that there is someone they are talking to online or in person, or because they have gone so far as to have actual sex with someone else.

How to deal with this lie: If you just start dating someone and discover that he has lied about a sexual indiscretion, consider packing your bags and moving on. While it is arguably more complicated if a partner cheats on you after many years together, the situation should be simple if someone new lies to hide his unfaithfulness.

4. More subtle reasons: Indecisiveness. One of the most common reasons why people lie has to do with discomfort and difficulty with making decisions. Your date may lie because he isn’t actually sure what he wants, so he defaults to lying because that feels easier and faster in the moment than figuring out what he really wants.

How to deal with this lie: If you’re dating a guy who lies because he’s indecisive, overall he will come across as a good guy, albeit one who is too passive. If you sense that the root problem is indecisiveness, say, “If you need more time to decide, get back to me tomorrow and let me know.” Removing the pressure is key to get him to tell you the truth – and not lie in the future.

5. Manipulation.You know how singer Vanessa Williams sang a song about saving the best for last? Well, I saved for the worst reason for last. While most men and women you date won’t be prone to lies and manipulation, you will encounter a manipulator or two in the dating pool. If you’re dating a woman who lies due to a general manipulative personality style, you can see other clues for this twisted orientation. She often loves to be the center of attention; she always casts herself in a sympathetic light (either sweet and loving, or a victim in some way); and she tends to have stormy friendships and romantic relationships.

How to deal with this lie: If you’re dating a woman who lies in a way that feels manipulative (to gain power over you or others), be clear that you don’t feel like you can totally trust her. When you explain why, give her specific examples. However, you must understand that this personality style is extremely difficult to change, so you need to ask yourself if you want to sign in for months or years of this type of destructive behavior.

The ultimate goal is to find a partner who doesn’t lie with regularity and who doesn’t lie about anything meaningful. If you start dating someone and catch them in more than one or two lies in the first month, you have to realize that you may be dealing with a pathological liar – and that kind of person can destroy your self-esteem.

 

book_Dr_Seths_Love_Prescription_lgAbout 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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4 Beliefs Singles Can Leave in 2015 http://www.eharmony.com/blog/4-beliefs-singles-can-leave-2015/ http://www.eharmony.com/blog/4-beliefs-singles-can-leave-2015/#comments Tue, 29 Dec 2015 23:21:40 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/blog/?p=20332 This will be the year: that you start getting up at five a.m. to go running, that you go on two dates a week, that you develop a system that keeps your closet clutter-free. There’s a funny optimism that occurs at the end of every year. Somehow, despite all evidence to the contrary, many of […]

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This will be the year: that you start getting up at five a.m. to go running, that you go on two dates a week, that you develop a system that keeps your closet clutter-free.

There’s a funny optimism that occurs at the end of every year. Somehow, despite all evidence to the contrary, many of us become convinced that we’ll be able to alter fundamental aspects of our personalities—or at least become upgraded versions of ourselves.

And every year, sometime around mid-March, we realize we’re still hitting the snooze button, still weeding through overstuffed closets, still spending way too much time with our Netflix queues. We didn’t become shinier, happier or more popular versions of ourselves. We’re still basically working with last year’s model, and we see that as a problem.

When he came to Oxford in the 1960s, Buddhist teacher Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche was surprised by the way Westerners rejected themselves. The people he met, he observed, seemed to believe they had made some fundamental mistake, for which they were being punished.

By contrast, Buddhist philosophy holds that all beings are essentially good. We’re like diamonds in mud; our fundamental goodness might get clouded with the muck of societal confusion and aggression, but it never changes. To access our higher selves, we don’t need to eradicate some terrible flaw. We simply need to clear off the muck and grime of unhelpful beliefs and attitudes.

In that spirit, I’d like to suggest a few concepts to leave in 2015.

1) “I’m not FILL-IN-THE-BLANK Enough.”

Thin. Successful. Funny. Attractive. Compassionate. Generous.

The rap on single people is that they’re entitled and narcissistic. But the singles I have met through my coaching practice and book events are nothing like that.

To the contrary, they’re kind and thoughtful—and incredibly hard on themselves.

Because they would like a partner and don’t yet have one, they come up with long lists of things that are “wrong” with them: they’re too aloof, too scatter-brained, too inexperienced, etc.

I understand this impulse; when I was single I used to treat myself like an ongoing self-improvement project. Then one day it hit me. I’m not perfect, but none of the happily coupled people I know are either. As marriage researcher John Gottman has noted, you don’t need to get rid of all your quirks and neuroses to find a good relationship. “The key to a happy marriage isn’t having a ‘normal’ personality but finding someone with whom you mesh,” he writes in The Seven Principles For Making Marriage Work.

2) “If I do X, then I will be more attractive.”

When I was writing my book, It’s Not You, I interviewed a woman who said that as she has gotten older she has taken a more lighthearted approach to dating. “I think that makes me more attractive,” she said.

I was glad she was enjoying dating more, but I was slightly disheartened by this. She still seemed to buy into the idea that pleasing others is the game; she was still giving others power to judge her.

Single people are often told to develop confidence so they will be more attractive to others. I say develop your confidence so you don’t have to worry about what others think.

3) “It’s not fair.”

The transition from self-doubt to self-acceptance can be rocky. Once you realize that you don’t have to improve to find love—that you’re just as worthy of it as anyone else, the first feeling is relief. The second feeling is frequently anger—at all the time you wasted questioning yourself, and at all the various societal forces that led you down that path.

Those forces aren’t going to disappear just because you had an epiphany. And in my experience, trying to argue your case to others is usually not an effective way to convince them that you don’t have issues. So don’t worry about whether your great aunt or your long-married college friend gets it. You get it.

 4) “Now I’ve shed these feelings forever.”

Bad news: You never get there. Married, single, whatever.

One day you’re feeling great, having shed all those damaging beliefs. A few days later, someone cute will neglect to text you and you’ll find yourself back in confusion and doubt. That’s fine. You’re living your life, and naturally dust and dirt will fall. Just remember it’s not you—it’s the mud. And you can always wash it off again.

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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