eHarmony Advice http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice Dating Advice and Relationship Advice Tue, 22 Jul 2014 23:02:38 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Is a ‘Man in Red’ More Attractive to Women? http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/expert-advice/is-a-man-in-red-more-attractive-to-women/ http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/expert-advice/is-a-man-in-red-more-attractive-to-women/#comments Tue, 22 Jul 2014 22:57:32 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=30037 In my previous post and in my book, Sensation: The New Science of Physical Intelligence, I showed how the color red influences the way men perceive women. Men who saw a photo of a woman against a red background perceived her as more attractive and sexier. But what about women’s perception of men? Does red enhance the […]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About the Author:

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

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Terry Crews: How to Be a Better Man in Love and Marriage http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/about-you/terry-crews-how-to-be-a-better-man-in-love-and-marriage/ http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/about-you/terry-crews-how-to-be-a-better-man-in-love-and-marriage/#comments Mon, 14 Jul 2014 19:58:56 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=30015 Terry Crews is on a serious roll these days! He is starring in FOX’s hit comedy, “Brooklyn Nine-Nine;” has several films in the can including “The Expendables 3,” “Aztec Warrior” and “Reach Me;” and he is the new host of “Who Wants To Be a Millionaire.” Life wasn’t always this first-rate for the former NFL […]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

eH: What is the hardest thing about love?

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

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

eH: What has marriage taught you?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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20 First Date Questions You Don’t Want to Ask — Ever http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/dating-tips-women/20-first-date-questions-you-dont-want-to-ask-ever/ http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/dating-tips-women/20-first-date-questions-you-dont-want-to-ask-ever/#comments Mon, 14 Jul 2014 15:12:03 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=27955 As a matchmaker for eH+, I have pretty much heard it all when it comes to first dates — and the things some people actually say to one another! If you want to make sure your first encounter is a success, here are a few first date questions you should avoid asking if you want your crush to […]

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As a matchmaker for eH+, I have pretty much heard it all when it comes to first dates — and the things some people actually say to one another! If you want to make sure your first encounter is a success, here are a few first date questions you should avoid asking if you want your crush to ask you out a second time! And yes, most of the questions below were actually asked on dates.

Twenty first date questions you don’t want to ask — ever:

1. How much money do you make?

2. How do I look?

3. Who did you vote for in the last election?

4. How many kids do you want to have?

5. What kind of wedding do you want to have?

6. What went wrong between you and your ex?

7. Have you ever cheated on someone?

8. Have you ever been in love?

9. Where do you see this relationship going?

10. Why are you single?

11. Are you afraid of commitment?

12. What do your parents do?

13. Do you have any STDs?

14. What’s your greatest regret?

15. Do you think your parents will like me?

16. Are you on a diet?

17. Is that tan spray-on?

18. Have you ever had plastic surgery?

19. What’s your five-year plan?

20. Wanna come up for a drink?

Got any to add to the list? Please share if so!

More about eH+:

Ashley is a matchmaker for eHarmony’s new service, eH+. It gives you the benefit of a personal matchmaker who picks your matches and guides you to success. It’s eHarmony’s matching + premium professional matchmaking. Learn More Here.

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5 Reasons to ‘Date’ Yourself http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/dating/5-reasons-to-date-yourself/ http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/dating/5-reasons-to-date-yourself/#comments Wed, 09 Jul 2014 22:54:36 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=29992 Imagine knowing yourself on a deeper, more gratifying, less judgmental level. Imagine being able to describe yourself to others while being empowered by your strengths and experiences and not cringing at the thought of your weaknesses and struggles. Imagine taking care of yourself, owning your needs and treating yourself with the love and nurturance you […]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About the Author:

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

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6 Signs This is ‘Not’ The Guy for You http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/dating-advice-for-you/6-signs-this-is-not-the-guy-for-you/ http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/dating-advice-for-you/6-signs-this-is-not-the-guy-for-you/#comments Wed, 09 Jul 2014 21:39:36 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=29975 The endless search for lasting love can be exhausting, frustrating, and depressing. In a world dominated by social media, serial dating, and a cheating rate of 60% of all married couples, we may questions why we search. We search because we want to be in love. We want to feel that connection and safety with […]

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

6 Signs this is NOT the “The Guy”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About the Author:

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

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6 Things You Can Do to Better All of Your Relationships http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/relationships/six-things-you-can-do-to-improve-your-relationship/ http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/relationships/six-things-you-can-do-to-improve-your-relationship/#comments Thu, 03 Jul 2014 18:58:40 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=29326 We have one job in this life and that is to be authentic in who we are. It is easy to get pulled away from our commitment to ourselves in the world of relationships as we experience the demands of other people’s thoughts and expectations of who they would like us to be. The greatest gift you […]

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We have one job in this life and that is to be authentic in who we are. It is easy to get pulled away from our commitment to ourselves in the world of relationships as we experience the demands of other people’s thoughts and expectations of who they would like us to be. The greatest gift you give to yourself is to just be you.

6 Steps to Being Authentically You:

1. Know Who You Are: When we know who we are we can say no when we need to say no and yes when we need to say yes. We know what we like or dislike and are not insecure about it or other people’s judgments of us. We are able to coast along in life with a sense of well-being because we are solid internally. When we love ourselves we will not change who we are to gain love and approval.

2. Avoid Faking It: Being too nice makes us inauthentic. We do this because we do not want to hurt anyone’s feelings. So, we pretend to like people, events and circumstances we don’t like. A certain amount of this is socially acceptable and necessary. When it is a habit and there is an oppressive worry of what others think about us – this is unhealthy. We must be true to the truth of our experience and put that out into the world.

3. No Need to Audition: When we pretend to be someone we are not, we set ourselves up to be in an “audition” mode. We are always trying to be what we think others want us to be. We can sacrifice everything to give people what we think they want, when in reality, we have zero control over what people think. When we scale back and simply focus on the genuineness of who we are, there is no need to audition.

4. Observe: When going into a new situation, begin to assess it from “Is this going to be good for me?” and “Is this going to add to my life and make me feel good” rather than approaching it from “What do I need to change or do to be good enough for the situation?”

5. Be True to Yourself: It is one thing to know who you are but another thing to truly act upon it. Do what you want to do. Do what makes you happy and don’t waste one more minute of your time not feeling good enough for other people. When you can be in this place, you will be taken more seriously by others as well. When we are true to ourselves, others can sense it and life is much more enjoyable.

6. We Cannot Control What Others Think: What other people think of us actually has very little to do with us. What they think of us has to do with their own prejudices, fears, insecurities and projections. When we see it from this place it becomes clear that it is a waste of time to be going around pretending to have feelings we do not have in an effort to avoid abandonment and gain approval.

All you have to do in this life to make it happy and significant is to just be you. Be who you are. When you are out pretending, you are not being authentic. If you are not being authentic, people do not really know who they are dealing with and how to treat you according to what your true needs are. Take a moment and relax. There is no one to impress, nothing needs to be done. Your being worthy has nothing to do with other people.

Little life Message: We are most loved when we are being 100% ourselves.

Dr. Sherrie Campbell is the author of Loving Yourself and is a licensed Psychologist with more than nineteen years of clinical training and experience. She provides practical tools to help people overcome obstacles to self-love and truly achieve an empowered life. Click here to get her free article on Five Ways to Make Love the Common Ground in Your Communication. She is a featured expert on a variety of national websites and has a successful practice in Southern California. Receive free insights from Sherrie and to be involved in her Facebook community of others looking to improve their relationships.

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15 Reasons to Date a School Counselor http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/dating-advice-for-you/15-reasons-to-date-a-school-counselor/ http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/dating-advice-for-you/15-reasons-to-date-a-school-counselor/#comments Tue, 01 Jul 2014 22:51:25 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=29966 Thank goodness for those who devote their lives to improving the well-being of our youth. Lots of kids have challenges of various kinds, and school counselors are among the trained professionals who intervene to help them overcome problems, gain vital skills, and develop self-esteem. The skills and qualities that make school counselors so valuable in education […]

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

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

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

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

3. Patience … school counselors have lots of patience.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why else should one date a school counselor?

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15 Ways to Tell if Someone is the Right Match for You http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/relationships/15-ways-to-tell-if-someone-is-the-right-match-for-you/ http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/relationships/15-ways-to-tell-if-someone-is-the-right-match-for-you/#comments Mon, 30 Jun 2014 21:07:02 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=29959 Every person looking for a great relationship knows the importance of compatibility. You want to find someone whose beliefs, interests, and goals align with your own. The level of similarity will largely determine the fulfillment and stability you enjoy (or not) over the years to come. Which brings us to a critical question: How exactly do […]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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How to Pace Yourself While Dating http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/dating-advice-for-you/how-to-pace-yourself-while-dating/ http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/dating-advice-for-you/how-to-pace-yourself-while-dating/#comments Sat, 28 Jun 2014 14:44:06 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=26096 “Let’s take it slow” is easier said than done when you meet someone you’re immediately infatuated with, but taking the time to really get to know someone is crucial for building the foundation of a [hopefully] long-term relationship. Here are tips for how to pace yourself while dating: 1. Speak up. If you want to go […]

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“Let’s take it slow” is easier said than done when you meet someone you’re immediately infatuated with, but taking the time to really get to know someone is crucial for building the foundation of a [hopefully] long-term relationship.

Here are tips for how to pace yourself while dating:

1. Speak up.

If you want to go slow, say so — and say it early. If you establish boundaries and a pace you’re comfortable with early on, you won’t be alarming your date with an awkward “We need to slow down” conversation later. Reassure your partner that the reason you want to take your time is because you’re really into him/her and don’t want to mess up the relationship by jumping in too fast.

2. Don’t confuse honesty with verbal diarrhea.

You don’t have to air all of that proverbial “dirty laundry” on the first date just because he asks you a question about your personal life. Be honest and open, but refrain from unloading every little detail about your exes, financial situation, or health issues right away. There will be a time and place to share everything eventually; the first few dates usually don’t qualify as appropriate.

3. Use restraint.

Just because you both made fun of Celine Dion on your first date doesn’t mean you have to text her every single time you hear “My Heart Will Go On” in the grocery store. Don’t act on every impulse to make contact. Instead, share some of those little moments and stories with your date the next time you spend time together.

4. Avoid talking about your collective future.

Don’t make future plans together too soon. Sure, you both love French food, but this doesn’t mean that you should be making hypothetical plans to visit Paris together in the fall when you’ve only been dating for two weeks. Nor should you be talking about fun New Year’s plans if your first date is in July. And never start planning a wedding until you’re both already in it for the long haul.

5. Don’t say “I love you” yet.

You might believe it, but that doesn’t mean you should say it — yet. You might be swept up in a new romance, or just riding high after a passionate kiss. Even if this isn’t the case, your partner’s feelings might not be mutual. Give the relationship time to develop until you’re both feeling secure and confident about its direction. If you know you’d be upset if your partner couldn’t say “I love you, too” after you made a confession of love, hold off until you’re sure he/she is head over heels for you.

6. Keep living your life.

It’s easy to make a new relationship the center of your world. Be careful to honor previous commitments to family, friends, work and hobbies. Don’t put your life on hold for a new object of affection. Let your date know about your involvements and slowly introduce him/her to your world. Sure, with time you’ll give your partner a greater portion of your schedule, but in the early stages, make sure you continue to nurture your friendships and keep the commitments you’ve already made.

About Jeff and eH+:

eHarmony’s new service, eH+ , gives you the benefit of a personal matchmaker who picks your matches and guides you to success. We’re taking the best of what eHarmony does and combining that with what personal matchmakers do best – person-to-person conversation, opportunities for feedback, and coaching to put your best foot forward.

Learn More about eH+.

eHarmony users, be sure to include your phone number in your account information so that Jeff can contact you if you are a match for an eH+ client.

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How Gratitude Can Change Your Love Life http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/about-you/how-gratitude-can-change-your-love-life/ http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/about-you/how-gratitude-can-change-your-love-life/#comments Wed, 25 Jun 2014 17:54:24 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=29939 Gratitude is magical. It has the power to transform your love life. When your heart is open, you have more meaningful connections with dates and partners, you think positively and feel good about yourself, and enjoy the ups and downs of your love life more. Opening your heart to gratitude lets you come from a […]

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

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

What gratitude looks like:

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

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

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

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

How to open your heart:

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

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

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

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

More at YourTango.com:

15 Subtle Ways Guys Say ‘I love you’

The Simple Way to Keep Love Alive

A Surefire Way to Tell if You’re in Love

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

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How to Cope with the Ex Who Wants to Punish You http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/relationships/how-to-cope-with-the-ex-who-wants-to-punish-you/ http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/relationships/how-to-cope-with-the-ex-who-wants-to-punish-you/#comments Mon, 23 Jun 2014 19:39:06 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=29925 None of us like to think about the harsh reality that someone who once loved us is now out to hurt and even punish us, but it’s true. Bitter, disgruntled and dismissed ex’s seek vengeance in any number of ways, including acts of violence, bullying, intimidation, harassment, passive aggressive behavior, silent indifference and using the […]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Alternatives to Punishing an Ex

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Do You Know the 5 Secrets to Creating a Lasting Love? http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/relationships/do-you-know-the-5-secrets-to-creating-a-lasting-love/ http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/relationships/do-you-know-the-5-secrets-to-creating-a-lasting-love/#comments Thu, 19 Jun 2014 20:19:09 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=29913 Developing the secure, fulfilling bond you deserve with your partner is hard work, but it is not impossible. Below are five characteristics of every strong bond and what you can do to help create a deep, loving connection. 1. You And Your Partner Must Truly Become Best Friends But what is a best friend? A […]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More at YourTango.com:

My Secret to Lasting Love: Radical Acceptance

Affection is Key to Keeping Love Alive

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

 

 

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

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15 Ways to Date Successfully as a Single Parent http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/dating-advice-for-you/15-ways-to-date-successfully-as-a-single-parent-2/ http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/dating-advice-for-you/15-ways-to-date-successfully-as-a-single-parent-2/#comments Tue, 17 Jun 2014 20:55:33 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=29905 Everyone knows that dating is complicated under the best of circumstances. Add children into the picture, and things can get doubly complex. But complications need not keep a single parent from dating successfully. Careful planning and wise decision-making can lead to an enjoyable dating life—and who knows, maybe even the fabulous partner you’ve been looking […]

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Everyone knows that dating is complicated under the best of circumstances. Add children into the picture, and things can get doubly complex.

But complications need not keep a single parent from dating successfully. Careful planning and wise decision-making can lead to an enjoyable dating life—and who knows, maybe even the fabulous partner you’ve been looking for.

Here are 15 thoughts to consider, whether you are just starting to date or pondering a future with someone you’ve been dating a while:

1. Ensure safety first. Naturally, your child’s safety is priority number one. So enlist the help of your mother or most reliable babysitter. This is for your benefit, too, so you can relax and enjoy your date without worrying.

2. Be upfront about your status. It isn’t always easy to bring up the fact that you have kids when considering going out with someone new. But it’s best to put it out there from the get-go and avoid surprises later on.

3. Carefully consider potential partners’ interest in family matters. If you’re attracted to someone who isn’t interested in a lifestyle that includes a child, but expects you to fit into his/her childless lifestyle, this scenario has “red flag” written all over it.

4. Don’t bring a parade of potential partners through your kids’ lives. Be selective who you date and especially selective about who you bring into your children’s lives.

5. Be cautious about social media. Don’t post information about your children on your dating profile. This includes photos of you with your children or information about them, including names, ages, or where they go to school.

6. Get ready to be flexible. Kids’ needs won’t fit neatly into your dating agenda. If you’re going to date, you’ll need patience, adaptability, and improvisation.

7. Understand that kids will be the priority—for both adults. It can be frustrating when you have to cancel a date (maybe for the third time) because a child is sick or needs help with homework. It’s part of the deal.

8. Realize that kids have their own emotional agenda. When dating, it’s hard enough to sort through your own feelings. But kids often add their own into the mix. Listen carefully and honor those emotions.

9. Take your time. Rushing into a new relationship is not advisable under any circumstance, but especially when children are involved. If your romantic relationship gets serious, the next steps will greatly affect your child.

10. Err on the side of caution when introducing a potential partner to your kids. Children may be fearful about what changes a new person in your life will bring, or they may get their hopes up about a permanent relationship. Either way, it’s best to wait for introductions until there is a commitment between you and your partner.

11. Do not put your child in the role of confidante. You can be open about your feelings without sharing information that is too sensitive or detailed. To process your thoughts and feelings, bend the ear of your best friend, sibling, or therapist.

12. Don’t expect your kids’ approval. Of course you want to handle your children’s feelings sensitively, but (depending upon the child) he or she may not want to “share” you with someone else. There’s a fine balance between honoring your child’s wishes and honoring your own.

13. Be realistic. After introductions, be careful not to expect too much from your new relationship too soon. Someone who has never had kids will need plenty of time to develop his/her own relationship with your children.

14. Enjoy being more than a parent. You take your parenting responsibility seriously. But that is not all you are. It’s okay to think of yourself a multifaceted human being. Get a baby-sitter, relax, and treat yourself to an evening on the town.

15. Keep your dreams alive. You’re a parent forever, but you don’t need to be a SINGLE parent forever. Someone out there is going to love you—and your children—wholeheartedly.

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15 Reasons to Date a Single Dad http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/dating-tips-women/15-reasons-to-date-a-single-dad/ http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/dating-tips-women/15-reasons-to-date-a-single-dad/#comments Fri, 13 Jun 2014 18:28:59 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=27288 Just because he has kids doesn’t mean he can’t be “the one.” Here are 15 reasons to date a single dad: 1. The obvious: He likes kids. He’s good with them. There’s no guessing if he’ll be a good father; you KNOW that he is. 2. It’s easy to bless him: just lend a helping hand. (French-braiding […]

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Just because he has kids doesn’t mean he can’t be “the one.”

Here are 15 reasons to date a single dad:

1. The obvious: He likes kids. He’s good with them. There’s no guessing if he’ll be a good father; you KNOW that he is.

2. It’s easy to bless him: just lend a helping hand. (French-braiding a 6-year-old’s hair is tricky.)

3. He knows how to be patient, gentle and encouraging.

4. He’s emotionally mature. Nothing helps someone “grow up” faster than a dependent child.

5. He understands his role as a leader and role model.

6. Dads are protective and create safe environments for their loved ones.

7. You can observe how he loves and cares for others. (Which, by the way, is super-attractive.)

8. He can adapt. Even the most macho dads can be tenderhearted nurturers when the situation calls for it.

9. Single dads are handy. They can fix toys, tape hockey sticks and build a mean LEGO tower.

10. He’s looking for a good woman, not just a hot one. He values character and commitment over shallower qualities.

11. He’s unselfish, having learned to put his youngsters first.

12. Single dads are playful and have a great sense of humor. (They also know really cheesy family-friendly jokes.)

13. He takes the high road. Because of his kids, he still treats his ex and her family with respect.

14. He doesn’t just introduce anyone to his kids. If you make the cut, he’s serious about the relationship.

15. If he doesn’t have full custody, he likely has every other weekend free. Plan accordingly.

 

Why else should one date a single dad?

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14 Ways to Experience Contentment Today http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/about-you/14-ways-to-experience-contentment-today/ http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/about-you/14-ways-to-experience-contentment-today/#comments Tue, 10 Jun 2014 21:31:03 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=29893 Lots of people and organizations offer the “secret” to lasting contentment. And why not? This is a quality everyone desires but few seem to achieve. Consider the possibility there’s no secret—no surefire formula or magic elixir—needed to experience contentment, but rather simple shifts in attitude and action that anyone can implement. This doesn’t mean that […]

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Lots of people and organizations offer the “secret” to lasting contentment. And why not? This is a quality everyone desires but few seem to achieve.

Consider the possibility there’s no secret—no surefire formula or magic elixir—needed to experience contentment, but rather simple shifts in attitude and action that anyone can implement. This doesn’t mean that simple changes are always easy, but these methods can be pursued by anyone at any time.

Start here:

1. Recognize where contentment comes from. If you’re looking for anything external, beyond yourself, to bring contentment, you’ll be searching forever. Contentment comes from within you—always.

2. See your identity as more than what you do and have. Most people build their “identity” out of things that have nothing to do with who they really are. Jobs can be taken away. Possessions can be lost. Awards are quickly forgotten. Contentment comes when your identity as a human being comes from who you are, not what you do.

3. Be true to you. A sure way to kill contentment is trying to be someone you aren’t. But authentic people resist the impulse to play games or put on a false persona to impress others. They are real, demonstrating the truth of who they are deep down.

4. Strive to live in the present moment. Human nature leads us to dwell on past events or fret about future ones. The only true moment is right now, and living fully in the present relieves anxiety about what happened yesterday and what will happen tomorrow.

5. Recognize the spiritual side of life. Contented people understand that there are deeper meanings to the often-superficial world we live in. As French philosopher Teilhard de Chardin said, “You are not a human being in search of a spiritual experience. You are a spiritual being immersed in a human experience.”

6. Get out of the “more, more, more” trap. The stuff we purchase brings a surge of happiness and excitement, but those feelings fade. Possessions will never produce inner peace. Next time you pull out your credit card, pause for a moment to consider why you’re doing what you’re doing.

7. Practice forgiveness. Holding on to hurts is toxic to your heart and soul. Forgiving someone who has harmed you is never easy, but working through the process removes a major obstacle on the path toward contentment.

8. Make gratitude a daily practice. Get in the habit of giving thanks throughout the day. Count your blessings—literally—by making a mental or written list.

9. Pursue excellence, forgo perfection. Perfection is an illusion that fills many people with anxiety and disappointment. Trying to meet impossible standard is, in fact, impossible. Striving for excellence—always doing your very best—is deeply satisfying.

10. Keep growing. Apathy is an enemy of contentment, because stagnant, stuck people are sure to be frustrated. Contented men and women seek to continually grow, mature, and improve.

11. Do away with worry. Nothing undermines inner peace faster than fear over some future event, which may or may not ever happen. Contented people know what is worth worrying about (not much) and what isn’t.

12. Pace yourself. The fast pace and chronic busyness experienced by most people these days leaves little time for rest and reflection. Ease up on the accelerator.

13. Make way for fun. As adults we sometimes have to make a point of doing what comes naturally to kids: play. Find something that you enjoy —romping in the backyard with your dog, making paper snowflakes, water balloon fights with your kids. Do it no matter how silly you feel—and notice what happens to your outlook on life.

14. Choose your traveling companions wisely. In the journey of life, your friends offer support during hard times, share laughter during good times, and believe the best about you at all times. And this goes doubly for the lover you choose as your life companion.

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15 Ways to Date Successfully as a Single Parent http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/about-you/15-ways-to-date-successfully-as-a-single-parent/ http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/about-you/15-ways-to-date-successfully-as-a-single-parent/#comments Tue, 10 Jun 2014 17:56:43 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=29889 Everyone knows that dating is complicated under the best of circumstances. Add children into the picture, and things can get doubly complicated. But complications need not keep a single parent from dating … and dating successfully. Careful planning and wise decision-making can lead to an enjoyable dating life—and who knows, maybe even the partner you’ve been […]

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Everyone knows that dating is complicated under the best of circumstances. Add children into the picture, and things can get doubly complicated.

But complications need not keep a single parent from dating … and dating successfully. Careful planning and wise decision-making can lead to an enjoyable dating life—and who knows, maybe even the partner you’ve been dreaming of. Here are 15 thoughts to consider, whether you are just starting to date or pondering a future with someone you’ve been dating a while:

1. Ensure safety first. Naturally, your child’s safety is priority number one. So enlist the help of your mother or most reliable babysitter. This is for your benefit, too, so you can relax and enjoy your date without worrying.

2. Be upfront about your status. It isn’t always easy to bring up the fact that you have kids when considering going out with someone new. But it’s best to put it out there from the get-go and avoid surprises later on.

3. Carefully consider potential partners’ interest in family matters. If you’re attracted to someone who isn’t interested in a lifestyle that includes a child, but expects you to fit into his/her childless lifestyle, this scenario has “red flag” written all over it.

4. Don’t bring a parade of potential partners through your kids’ lives. Be selective who you date and especially selective who you bring into your children’s lives.

5. Be cautious about social media. Don’t post information about your children on your dating profile. This includes photos of you with your children or information about them, including names, ages, or where they go to school.

6. Get ready to be flexible. Kids’ needs won’t fit neatly into your dating agenda. If you’re going to date, you’ll need patience, adaptability, and improvisation.

7. Understand that kids will be the priority—for both adults. It can be frustrating when you have to cancel a date (maybe for the third time) because a child is sick or needs help with homework. It’s part of the deal.

8. Realize that kids have their own emotional agenda. When dating, it’s hard enough to sort through your own feelings. But kids often add their own into the mix. Listen carefully and honor those emotions.

9. Take your time. Rushing into a new relationship is not advisable under any circumstance, but especially when children are involved. If your romantic relationship gets serious, the next steps will greatly affect your child.

10. Err on the side of caution when introducing a potential partner to your kids. Children may be fearful about what changes a new person in your life will bring, or they may get their hopes up about a permanent relationship. Either way, it’s best to wait for introductions until there is commitment between you and your partner.

11. Do not put your child in the role of confidante. You can be open about your feelings without sharing information that is too sensitive or detailed. To process your thoughts and feelings, bend the ear of your best friend, sibling, or therapist.

12. Don’t expect your kids’ approval. Of course you want to handle your children’s feelings sensitively, but (depending upon the child) he or she may not want to “share” you with someone else. There’s a fine balance between honoring your child’s wishes and honoring your own.

13. Be realistic. After introductions, be careful not to expect too much from your new relationship too soon. Someone who has never had kids will need plenty of time to develop his/her own relationship with your children.

14. Enjoy being more than a parent. You take your parenting responsible seriously. But that is not all you are. It’s okay to think of yourself a multifaceted human being. Get a baby-sitter, relax, and treat yourself to an evening on the town. Lighten up and have some fun.

15. Keep your dreams alive. You’re a parent forever, but you don’t need to be a SINGLE parent forever. Someone out there is going to love you—and your children—wholeheartedly.

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How to Create Happiness Regardless of Your Relationship Status http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/about-you/how-to-create-happiness-regardless-of-your-relationship-status/ http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/about-you/how-to-create-happiness-regardless-of-your-relationship-status/#comments Thu, 05 Jun 2014 17:47:10 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=29875 During the difficult moments in your life, you might find yourself desperate for the love and approval of others. You might find yourself looking for praise, support, and attention externally – relying on others (family, friends, partners, etc.) to make you feel better about yourself and your circumstances. Whether you are single or in a relationship, problems are […]

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During the difficult moments in your life, you might find yourself desperate for the love and approval of others. You might find yourself looking for praise, support, and attention externally – relying on others (family, friends, partners, etc.) to make you feel better about yourself and your circumstances. Whether you are single or in a relationship, problems are likely to occur if you look elsewhere for love and encouragement instead of finding comfort and strength within.

To achieve optimal wellness and happiness, regardless of your relationship status, it is essential to cultivate self-love and a positive relationship with yourself. A common misconception that might be hindering your ability is the idea that we are not whole unless we have a partner or significant other. The truth is that you are born whole. As you get older and look to form a relationship with a partner, you might feel as though life is incomplete without another individual to share your life with, however, YOU are not incomplete.

Understanding the difference between wanting a partner during your life’s journey and needing a partner to enjoy life with is important. Without this awareness, it is common to “wait” to be happy until you form an intimate relationship with a partner and then solely rely on this person to meet your every need and keep you happy, putting tremendous pressure on the relationship.

When your partner naturally fails to bring you happiness all of the time (as no one is perfect, everyone has their own needs, and your partner is responsible for themselves and not you), you might conclude that your partner does not really love you, become clingy or withdrawn and experience tension and disconnect. Again, when you give others the power to dictate how you feel about yourself, they can lift you up as easily as they can tear you down and your happiness can be taken away as easily as it is given. This dynamic does not leave you in a healthy and empowered place.

The bottom line is: You create and are accountable for your own happiness and therefore should not put your happiness in the hands of anyone but yourself. If you wait to feel happy, loved and valued by someone else, you are giving your authentic power away.

The good news is that love is always available to you if you look within. Once you access self-love and let it grow, you will be better able to love others and let others love you, leading to even more satisfying relationships.

Three simple practices to create self-love and bring health and happiness into your life and relationships:

1. When you find yourself craving approval, attention, encouragement or praise from others, instead look within. Ask yourself what you hope someone would say to you and then say it to yourself. For example, if you are looking elsewhere for someone to congratulate you for a job well done, congratulate yourself. If you have been exercising and eating right to achieve a healthier weight, tell yourself how proud you are of your hard efforts and how great you look.

2. Start each day with deep breathing and a conscious intention to treat yourself and others non-judgmentally and kindly. Try an affirmation, such as, “I am lovable,” “I love myself and treat myself with respect,” or “Today, I will focus on loving myself and others.” When you notice yourself reverting back to old patterns, recite your affirmation to create new grooves in your brain and healthier habits.

3. Do something you love daily. It is easy to believe that you have no time or are too busy to do something fun each day, but if you make time, time will be on your side. Commit to at least 20-minutes of something you love – anything from cooking, gardening, yoga, dance, a bubble bath, a favorite tv show or sports game, music, meditation, or exercise.

You hold the power to live a happy life, filled with love. I urge you to be mindful of what you do with it!

About the Author:

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

 

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15 Ways to Know if Your New Partner is Trustworthy http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/relationships/15-ways-to-know-if-your-new-partner-is-trustworthy/ http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/relationships/15-ways-to-know-if-your-new-partner-is-trustworthy/#comments Wed, 04 Jun 2014 16:45:19 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=29871 Your new relationship is off to a positive start, and your hopes are getting higher this one may last a long time. But these days, it’s hard to know if you can really trust someone. How can you know for sure? It’s true that a person’s trustworthiness can only be measured over time, since words […]

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Your new relationship is off to a positive start, and your hopes are getting higher this one may last a long time. But these days, it’s hard to know if you can really trust someone. How can you know for sure?

It’s true that a person’s trustworthiness can only be measured over time, since words and actions are revealed (and assessed) month after month. Still, in the early stages of a relationship, there are helpful signs to watch for:

1. Observe the other people in your partner’s life. Does he/she have longstanding friendships and professional relationships built on trust? Do people comment on your partner’s dependability? You can tell a lot about a person’s character by the caliber of his other relationships.

2. Take your time getting to know the person. The longer you know someone, the harder it is for that person to keep from showing his or her true colors.

3. Believe that “actions speak louder than words.” People who are trustworthy don’t spend a lot of time telling you how trustworthy they are. They just live it.

4. Listen for gossip. Spreading rumors is a form of backstabbing—breaking someone’s trust without their ever knowing it.

5. Notice how everyday commitments are handled. Does he show up on time? Does she follow through on her promises? Being reliable with little things should give you confidence about the big issues.

6. Beware of blame-shifting. Trustworthy people take responsibility for their mistakes rather than blaming others.

7. Be attentive to exaggeration. Does he say things that seem too good to be true? If so, they might be.

8. Don’t be fooled by flattery. Does your new partner promise you the stars and moon? Are his compliments over the top? Behind the flattering words, does he seem driven by his own agenda and needs, rather than a sincere interest in getting to know you and your needs?

9. Be alert to evasiveness. If your partner is defensive or sensitive when you ask simple questions about where he/she has been, the person may be hiding something and is afraid you’ll put two and two together.

10. Sniff out secretiveness. Do you feel closed out to certain aspects of your partner’s life? If so, you have to wonder what lies behind those cordoned-off areas. Secrets arouse suspicion—and often for good reason.

11. Don’t dismiss flirting. If you notice your date flirting with someone other than you, neon lights should illuminate in your brain. Flirting or checking out other people in your presence is disrespectful, and disrespect is a first cousin of untrustworthiness.

12. Watch for inconsistency. Deceptive people must work hard to keep track of what they have said, and to whom. When the details of a story don’t add up or keep changing over time, it may be a sign that you’re not getting the straight scoop.

13. Be wary of “little white lies.” Someone who bends the truth “a little” in the early stages of a romance is likely to shred it to pieces later on. If you’ve caught your new partner in a seemingly innocent lie, watch out!

14. Ask direct questions. If you suspect the other person is not being completely honest and forthcoming, remember that you are entitled to the truth. Don’t let smokescreens deter you from getting a straight answer.

15. Trust until you’re convinced you shouldn’t. If you’ve been burned in the past, you may feel your partner isn’t entitled to your trust until he “earns” it. But an untrusting attitude can sabotage a growing relationship. Believe the best about your partner—and he might be motivated to live up to your high expectations.

 

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How to Avoid Being ‘Catfished’ http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/using-eharmony/how-to-avoid-being-catfished/ http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/using-eharmony/how-to-avoid-being-catfished/#comments Thu, 29 May 2014 15:53:57 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=26196 In the wake of the Manti Te’o scandal, it’s easy to fear being duped by an online relationship. To avoid being “Catfished” — the term comes from both the 2010 doc, “Catfish,” which examined a deceitful online relationship, and the MTV show that followed — be sure to follow smart online-dating guidelines: How to avoid […]

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In the wake of the Manti Te’o scandal, it’s easy to fear being duped by an online relationship. To avoid being “Catfished” — the term comes from both the 2010 doc, “Catfish,” which examined a deceitful online relationship, and the MTV show that followed — be sure to follow smart online-dating guidelines:

How to avoid being “Catfished”:

1. Fact-check. Don’t be afraid to Google someone you’ve just met online. If you met over Facebook, use Google’s “search by image” feature to check for multiple Facebook profiles using the same photo. If the person messaging you isn’t the only person claiming to have his face, you know you’re likely looking at a fake account.

2. Be smart. Fake Facebook accounts usually have extremely low friend counts, photos with no tags in them (or no tags linking to actual Facebook pages) and photos that don’t include family members, friends, or everyday adventures. If every photo looks like it came straight from a modeling portfolio, raise that red flag.

3. Verify further. Even if your initial Google searches don’t bring up anything suspicious — or they do and you’re not sure what to do with the uncertainty — don’t hesitate to order a background check on the individual. If the person really has your best interests at heart, he won’t be hurt when he later discovers that you took proactive steps to ensure you entered into a relationship carefully.

4. Protect yourself. Have privacy settings in place and be careful to not divulge too much personal information. Even if you’re chatting with someone who feels like an old friend, still treat her as a stranger — because she is. When you do eventually meet, do so in a public place. Don’t give out your address until you’re in an established, in-person relationship.

5. Meet as soon as possible. It’s too easy to keep secrets — or flat-out lie — when the relationship is strictly online, over text or even over the phone. If distance creates too great an obstacle to meet up in the near future, at least employ Skype to give you both a little face time. If the person you met online is hesitant to meet in person and continues to make excuses as to why he/she can’t Skype with you, the relationship likely has no future — and something sketchy might be going on.

6. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. People can create dream personas online. If your virtual date is a model-slash-anything, boasts about his Lamborghini and claims to have invented a bionic prosthesis, he’s probably lying — if “he” even is a he. If anything sounds strange or unbelievable, ask questions. If the person is defensive, you’re likely on to something.

7. Go slow. Beware of premature declarations of love or requests for sexy photos from your online crush. Don’t fall too fast for someone you’ve never met. You don’t know who you’re actually falling for.

8. Don’t be afraid to offend or make uncomfortable. If someone is pursuing you online, you have every right to ask as many questions as needed to put your mind at ease. It’s not unreasonable to request proof of hard-to-believe information. If she is who she claims, making you feel safe and secure will be a priority for her.

9. Tell your friends about the online relationship. Share a few details with your closest pals and ask them if they can identify any red flags. If they show concern, take that concern seriously.

10. Be honest with yourself. Don’t ignore any hesitancy or feelings of discomfort. You shouldn’t need to talk yourself into investing in a relationship with someone you haven’t met in person. Don’t let a charming stranger or single-too-long desperation convince you to deny your gut feelings about the stranger you’ve just met.

The idiom is true: It’s always better to be safe than sorry. Always.

See all of eHarmony’s safety tips.

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15 Reasons to Date an Optometrist http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/dating-tips-women/15-reasons-to-date-an-optometrist/ http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/dating-tips-women/15-reasons-to-date-an-optometrist/#comments Wed, 28 May 2014 20:18:30 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=29856 They are the wonderful professionals who protect our eyes, ensure our optimal vision, and help prevent disease. Many of the qualities that make these men and women so valuable in their careers translate into personal relationships. If you have the opportunity to date an optometrist, here are plenty of reasons you should have the foresight to […]

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They are the wonderful professionals who protect our eyes, ensure our optimal vision, and help prevent disease. Many of the qualities that make these men and women so valuable in their careers translate into personal relationships.

If you have the opportunity to date an optometrist, here are plenty of reasons you should have the foresight to do so:

1. As your partner, an optometrist will look deep into your eyes with great appreciation.

2. An optometrist understands the value of seeing things clearly—including issues that affect his/her most important relationship.

3. Optometry is a steady field, always needed and in demand. These are professionals who likely won’t have to worry about career prospects and financial security.

4. Your optometrist-lover will score points with your eyesight-challenged parents, siblings, and friends. They’re sure to receive special care and attention.

5. These people have demonstrated perseverance and persistence. The training and licensing process requires many years of intense study and testing.

6. Optometrists are in a serving profession, and helping others is a part of their make-up. That’s a quality that enriches a romantic relationship as well.

7. They know how to handle stress. In today’s health care environment, they must manage busy schedules, comply with complicated procedures, and deal with frustrated patients.

8. Optometrists have strong people skills—they help patients all day long, showing care and compassion.

9. They have opportunities to travel—to conferences, consultations, and continuing-education seminars. Wouldn’t it be nice to tag along?

10. Optometrists know how to deal with a wide range of people—young and old, congenial and cranky. It takes patience and poise.

11. These professionals are dependable: many patients rely on them for accurate advice.

12. They know how to collaborate. Their job requires them to cooperate with colleagues, nurses, support staff, and others. That’s good for you, since romantic relationships are all about collaboration.

13. Optometrists must be good listeners, hearing the concerns of patients. And since “good listener” ranks high among qualities singles want in a partner — this is another bonus.

14. With a steady flow of patients every day, optometrists meet all kinds of interesting characters … which will give you plenty to talk about.

15. Optometrists know, perhaps better than anyone else, that the eyes are essential to life … and love.

Why else should one date an optometrist?

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How to Let Go of Others (When You Really Want to Hold on Tighter!) http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/relationships/how-to-let-go-of-others-when-you-really-want-to-hold-on-tighter/ http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/relationships/how-to-let-go-of-others-when-you-really-want-to-hold-on-tighter/#comments Thu, 22 May 2014 20:52:54 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=29838 When friends and family members are going through a rough time, often our immediate reaction is to try to resolve the situation for them. To ease their pain. To make life better. If a romantic relationship isn’t going the way we want, a common reaction is to cling harder, trying to convince the other person […]

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When friends and family members are going through a rough time, often our immediate reaction is to try to resolve the situation for them. To ease their pain. To make life better. If a romantic relationship isn’t going the way we want, a common reaction is to cling harder, trying to convince the other person to stay. However, by easing our grip on relationships and circumstances that feel out of control, we paradoxically gain the control we were missing. We renew the power to be in charge of our own lives in a beneficial way that produces joy, and inspires others to live their own greatness.

The Drawbacks of Being Everyone’s Traffic Cop

When the traffic signals at an intersection go on the fritz, and a white-gloved policeman shows up to direct traffic, we’re relieved someone took charge of the chaos. On the other hand, when we helpfully take the reins in someone else’s life because we can see where they are going wrong, their initial gratitude reinforces our caretaking behavior, rewarding it and inspiring us to keep going on that path, doing more and more for others, and less and less for our own dreams.

A rooky cop might get so wrapped up in stopping that lane, waving on others, blowing the whistle, watching all four corners of the intersection, that he might not notice immediately when the signals are working again. Imagine the drivers are eager to go when the light turns green, but the traffic cop is oblivious. What if he keeps blowing that whistle, waving his arms, insisting everyone obey his will? That is a trap people with a caretaking tendency can easily fall into. When we try to manage the lives of others, we do both them and ourselves a disservice.

In essence, we disempower them and interfere with their own opportunity to grow. Instead of being hypervigilant about what others are doing or might do, relinquish the job of being the unofficial “traffic cop” of your family, and at the same time let go of the unwelcome offshoots of your good intentions.

When you’ve signed up to be that helpful traffic controller, you get paid a salary, too, but in a different currency:

• Resentments on the part of others

• Feeling unappreciated and disrespected

• Exhaustion

• Stress

• Rapid aging

• Chronic worry about when the other shoe will drop

• A frantic sense of running as fast as you can, and never being able to do “enough” to solve all the problems you feel responsible for

If you don’t do anything to stop the belief that it is your job to coordinate everyone else’s happiness and wellbeing, that belief grows stronger by default. Stronger not only in your own mind, but in the assumptions others make about you and your willingness to keep giving up pieces of yourself to try to make them feel good.

The behavioral roots grow deeper and wider, and every aspect of your life is affected. You feel the burden to make sure that everything goes smoothly. That sense of responsibility, and holding on to the outcome you’ve decided is best for all concerned, can become so strong that other parts of your life—those soul-wishes for happiness and fulfillment—begin to wither from lack of attention.

How to Balance Love of Others with Love of Self

Balancing your love for others with love for yourself is the key to finding that essential calmness everyone craves. When you are steadily on course with your own dreams, and living on purpose to create a life that is joyful and expansive, it becomes much simpler to allow others to live their own lives, too, even if they do it in ways you would never choose.

Enjoy spending time with them, and when someone has a problem, step back from it—don’t take on the yoke, and avoid commiserating with them about all that is wrong. Encourage them to look at possible solutions. Reassure them that you have every faith in their innate ability to make the right decisions for themselves and to enjoy positive outcomes. And declare your love and affection for them.

Without firm control on our own minds, we fall easily into the trap of default living, which the majority of people experience. Default living means that you live in a reactive way, bouncing from one crisis to the next, feeling controlled by what you see or hear around you. The news. What the neighbors are doing. A problem being faced by a family member.

Reap Your Rewards

The “secret power” of letting go contains a power in itself that will blossom and flourish if you pay attention to it. Like the Matryoshka doll–Russian nesting dolls that fit one inside the other–you will be gifted with:

• Serenity

• Calmness

• Peace of mind

• Ability to intuitively support others in their own growth while ceasing to micro-manage their every move

• Energy to pursue your own vision

As you practice letting go, instead of clinging even tighter out of fear the situation will get worse, you’ll discover that events and relationships actually become smoother, more easygoing, and more harmonious.

Try it: I believe you’ll enjoy your new sense of freedom to live your own life, on your terms. The power of letting go is a secret because so few people are using it. It’s a lost art that millions seek, not understanding they are looking for it somewhere out there, when it resides inside, ready to access at will.

About the Author:

Evelyn Roberts Brooks is a best-selling author, speaker and transformational life coach.  Go to evelynbrooks.com to enjoy over 400 free articles, free webinar invitations and to receive your free 3-Way Guilt & Stress Busters gift collection. To learn more about W.A.I.T. and other tools for working in harmony with the universal laws, see her book, “You Were Born to Triumph: Create a Five-Star Life in Your Quantum Kitchen.” For your free parenting workshop video gift, “The Secret to Family Harmony, ” and articles about raising great children and enjoying a happy family life, click here.

 

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9 Things to Never Do in the First Month of Dating http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/dating-tips/9-things-to-never-do-in-the-first-month-of-dating/ http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/dating-tips/9-things-to-never-do-in-the-first-month-of-dating/#comments Mon, 19 May 2014 22:47:18 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=29831 The first month of dating is an exciting one. And in that excitement, it’s easy to jump ahead and make some big dating mistakes. Here are nine things to avoid doing in the first month of dating: 1. Make plans for the distant future. Here’s a rule you can steal from “How I Met Your […]

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The first month of dating is an exciting one. And in that excitement, it’s easy to jump ahead and make some big dating mistakes.

Here are nine things to avoid doing in the first month of dating:

1. Make plans for the distant future.

Here’s a rule you can steal from “How I Met Your Mother”: “Never make plans with a date further in the future than the amount of time you’ve been going out.”

Of course, in non-sitcom land, this rule gets voided once you’re in a serious, committed relationship — otherwise, no one could ever make marriage vows — but in the first month of dating, keep plans for the future at a minimum. This should be a no-pressure time to get to know one another.

2. Use the “L” word.

You might be falling for Mr. Right, but don’t drop the “love” bomb just yet. Keep your date from getting overwhelmed — and guard your own heart — by taking things slow. There’s plenty of time for love talk. In the meantime, just keep things at “like” and reassure your date that you’re interested in moving forward.

3. Talk about your future wedding. (See #1)

Don’t get ahead of yourself. You’ll have plenty of time to plan a wedding…if the relationship makes it past the one-month mark. Also, no one wants to hear that you’ve been planning a wedding on your own. It can come across as too eager — or worse, desperate.

4. Introduce your date to your entire family.

Meeting up with some friends or a sibling for a drink is one thing, inviting your date to your aunt’s birthday party is another. Set aside month #1 as getting-to-know-you time. You don’t want your grandma coming to conclusions about the where the relationship is headed before you do.

Related: Don’t meet the kids either. Give it time. Only introduce your kids to someone you’re serious about.

5. Co-purchase something together.

Don’t buy a dog together, an antique table together, or a couples’ membership to the zoo. Don’t even buy a lottery ticket together.

Unless you’re just splitting the cost of dinner, keep purchases separate. Otherwise, you’re prematurely adding a level of commitment to the relationship.

6. Slam your ex.

Your date wants to get to know YOU, not that jerk who dumped you. In a long-term relationship, all the dating horror stories of the past will be revealed. Don’t overwhelm your date with unnecessary (and bitter) details in the early stages of a relationship.

7. Ask for money.

Don’t do it. Your first month of dating might turn into your last.

8. Give him a key.

Draw some careful boundaries for your burgeoning relationship. Don’t merge lives too soon.

Related: Don’t ask him to reschedule his life for you. You’ve been dating less than a month. Don’t expect him to cancel poker night for your friend’s wine and cheese night. It’s okay to have separate lives, especially this early on.

9. Show up at her work.

Let her brag to all of her coworkers about you for months before you make an appearance. Her work is her space. Respect it. (And when you do eventually show up at work, bring flowers.)

What is the biggest mistake you have made in the early days of dating someone? And don’t feel bad — we’ve all done at least one of the above!

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10 First Date Questions You Probably Haven’t Thought Of http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/dating-tips/10-first-date-questions-you-probably-havent-thought-of/ http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/dating-tips/10-first-date-questions-you-probably-havent-thought-of/#comments Sat, 17 May 2014 15:20:42 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=29824 You’re on a first date. Whether you’ve already run through the list of standard first-date questions — What do you do for a living? What do you do for fun? Where do you hope to see yourself in five years? — or are just looking to shake things up, conversation-wise, here are a few questions to […]

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You’re on a first date. Whether you’ve already run through the list of standard first-date questions — What do you do for a living? What do you do for fun? Where do you hope to see yourself in five years? — or are just looking to shake things up, conversation-wise, here are a few questions to have up your sleeve should your awkward silences need filling.

What’s your go-to meal when you’re home alone?

Everyone has an embarrassingly simple solution to eating solo at home. Does your date live off cereal when no one’s around? Does she have a takeout place on speed dial? Has he mastered the use-up-the-leftovers omelet? Or maybe he has a signature gourmet meal-for-one he can’t wait to whip up on quiet nights….

(Of course, hopefully this conversation will lead to a more in-depth discussion about culinary preferences and skill levels. Maybe the best cook makes dinner for Date #5?)

What’s your favorite thing about your hometown?

Childhood is a big topic to cover on Date #1, so keep it simple by sharing specific highlights instead of getting caught up in generic nostalgia.

Which book(s) have you read multiple times?

This might be different than your date’s current “favorite.” It could be a guilty pleasure, a nonfiction manual, a religious tome or a childhood classic. (Be ready to share yours, too.)

What’s on your bucket list?

This question gives your date plenty of freedom to share her dreams and interests with you. Her list could include travel plans, career goals, personal milestones, or adrenaline-junkie adventures. Or she could just be psyching herself up to finally try escargot.

What toppings are needed to create the perfect burger?

Assuming your date’s not a vegetarian, get the conversation going with a pretty innocent — but telling — question. You’ll discover how particular your date is about his food, how adventurous his palate is, and if you share a love (or hatred) of mustard.

Related: Describe the perfect sandwich, ice cream sundae, summer cocktail or four-course meal.

What’s the most embarrassing concert you’ve ever attended?

It’s easy to brag on first dates. Turn the tables and choose to share guilty pleasures instead. Tell on yourself. Some very respectable folks have been to Barry Manilow (and/or Yo Gabba Gabba) concerts.

If you had to drop a holiday from the calendar, which one would get the axe?

Instead of asking about favorite holidays, get your date to ditch one. It’s a tougher question, and forces the answer-giver to really evaluate how they celebrate holidays.

Related: If you could create a new holiday, what and when would it be?

When you start dating someone, who of your friends and family is first in line to meet the new guy/gal?

Who do they trust? Whose opinions matter most when it comes to approving of the new girl/guy? (If all goes well, will you be meeting mom and dad first, or the roommate?)

Do you read reviews, or just go with your gut?

Some people can’t go to the movies without reading multiple reviews first. Others can buy a brand-new vehicle without doing an iota of research. Find out which camp your date belongs in — and then admit you read restaurant reviews before making date reservations.

If you had to go back to school or learn a new skill, what would you want to learn?

Does he want to write his memoirs? Start his own business? Learn to sew? Does she wish she finished her masters? Learned Spanish when she was younger?

Talk about the skills you wish you had — and then maybe sign up for pottery class together.

If you have a favorite first date question, please share!

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Ladies, Want More Online Dates? Try a Red Background http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/using-eharmony/yes-men-do-find-women-in-red-more-attractive/ http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/using-eharmony/yes-men-do-find-women-in-red-more-attractive/#comments Thu, 15 May 2014 17:28:35 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=29812 The color red is commonly acknowledged as being linked with passion and sexuality. Eve’s red apple is a symbol of seduction. Valentine cards, symbolizing romantic love, are often red. In films, from Marilyn Monroe in ‘Niagara’ to ‘The Woman in Red’, to Jessica Rabbit, iconic in her slinky red dress, beautiful women (and rabbits) wear red. […]

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The color red is commonly acknowledged as being linked with passion and sexuality. Eve’s red apple is a symbol of seduction. Valentine cards, symbolizing romantic love, are often red. In films, from Marilyn Monroe in ‘Niagara’ to ‘The Woman in Red’, to Jessica Rabbit, iconic in her slinky red dress, beautiful women (and rabbits) wear red. But is there any scientific proof that red indeed evokes associations to passion and attractiveness? Can the color red alone make men perceive women differently, as more beautiful and attractive?

Scientists recently conducted several experiments to examine whether red really enhances men’s attraction to women. They presented several groups of men a black-and-white photo of the head and upper torso of the same woman. Men in one group viewed the photo against a red background, while men in the other groups viewed the same photo but against a different colored background such as white, green, or blue. Men who viewed a woman against a red background perceived her as being more attractive, more desirable and sexier.

Furthermore, they stated a greater desire to date her and even to spend more money on her on their date. Remember, all men saw exactly the same photo. Interestingly, the men had no idea that red was a factor in their decisions. They were all asked what they thought was affecting their perception most: the woman’s facial expression, the way she was dressed, or the color of the background. They indicated that the color had the least influence on their decision.

The researchers conducted several experiments with different photos and with different physical traits, expressions, and clothing. They showed photos of blond women and brunette women; women who wore turtleneck sweaters and women who wore striped button-down shirts; women who were smiling and women who had a neutral expression. They compared the red background with gray, green, and blue backgrounds, as well as with white. In one experiment, instead of coloring the background of the picture, the researchers tinted the woman’s shirt red, blue, green, or gray. The results were always similar. Men perceived the woman in the picture with the red background or shirt as more attractive and they were more interested in dating her than the exact same woman against other backgrounds or in a different colored shirt.

To verify the extent of red’s influence, the men were then asked to judge the woman on aspects unrelated to physical attractiveness such as her likability, how nice, honest, friendly, intelligent, and kind they believed she was. Red had no effect on the men’s judgments of the woman’s likability or intelligence. That is, men did not perceive the woman with the red background as more (or less) nice, intelligent, or kind than the (same) woman with a different color background.

Although we know that red is associated with love and passion, few of us would probably expect that simply changing the background color of a woman’s picture would strongly influence men’s judgments of her and their intentions to date her. Of course, the colors around you (even red) are not the ultimate factor in your choices or behaviors, just one of many. But the color red has a strong influence and being mindful of it can make a difference.

Women often debate what to wear in everyday life—well, if you want to look more attractive to men, red is now your scientifically approved go-to color. A red blouse or a red hat will make you stand out in a crowd, but so will a less conspicuous red item, such as a scarf, a ribbon, lipstick, or even a red T-shirt over blue jeans. Of course, red can also be overused, like adding too much spice to food, so it’s also helpful to know when not to wear red, for example, when signaling attractiveness is inappropriate.

When you are planning to go to any kind of meeting, whether business, social, or romantic, you might well ask yourself, “How do I want to be perceived?” and decide accordingly on the color of your outfit. Then again, you might decide that you don’t really care how you’re perceived and wear only what you like and what makes you feel comfortable. Maybe the poets were almost onto something: roses are red, violets are blue … but ’tis color itself my mind loves about you.

Sensation_9781451699135About the Author:

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

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To Tell or Not to Tell a Friend: ‘I Don’t Like Your Partner’ http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/about-you/should-you-tell-a-friend-you-dont-like-their-partner/ http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/about-you/should-you-tell-a-friend-you-dont-like-their-partner/#comments Tue, 13 May 2014 20:28:35 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=29799 A delicate, yet unfortunately common dilemma involves what to do when you don’t like a friend’s boyfriend or girlfriend. Many can relate to the internal battle between keeping your mouth shut or speaking your opinion. This is a difficult topic because emotions are involved and there is no clear-cut right or wrong answer. Naturally, there […]

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A delicate, yet unfortunately common dilemma involves what to do when you don’t like a friend’s boyfriend or girlfriend. Many can relate to the internal battle between keeping your mouth shut or speaking your opinion. This is a difficult topic because emotions are involved and there is no clear-cut right or wrong answer.

Naturally, there is a lot to consider in your decision. It is important to examine the potential consequences of sharing your thoughts and how your words will affect the friendship. You might consider the strength and history of your relationship, and think about the likelihood of your friendship being strained. You might consider how your feedback will be interpreted and received by your friend –based on your friend’s ability to be receptive to views other than his or her own.

It is also important to consider the origin and nature of your desire to share your feelings. For instance, are you trying to protect your friend? Do you feel that your friend is in danger of physical or emotional harm? If there is a safety risk at hand, your best bet is to speak up in a loving and non-judgmental way. If something about your friend’s partner irks you, annoys you, turns you off or is just plain irritating, it is probably safest not to share your thoughts if your friend is serious and happy in his or her relationship.

It’s most important to speak up if you have genuine safety concerns or notice behavioral or mood changes in your friend that are concerning. If your friend no longer sees you and other friends due to the controlling nature of her boyfriend, for instance, speaking up in a respectful and honest way is a reasonable option. Your delivery is important, though, as your friend might defend her boyfriend and take it personally that you have concerns about the partner she selected for herself.

It is critical to choose your words wisely and look for openings to honestly share your thoughts. A great time, for example, might be when your friend complains about her guy’s controlling nature or that she misses social time with her friends. You could start by asking open-ended questions and then delicately validate her feelings and add in your own observations about her relationship and what you notice.

Pointing out what you observe is also a good strategy. For example, you could say something like, “I know how much you love a delicious meal and I notice that you have been eating less when we are out together. I don’t want to pry, but wanted to check in because I remember that you previously mentioned that your boyfriend gives you a hard time about your weight. How is that going for you? I’m here for you if you want to talk about it.” Or, “Although it did not work out with Mary when you dated her, you were more your outgoing self and now with Ellen, I notice that you are really quiet and reserved with her. Just wanted to check in and see how things were going.”

The hope in both examples is that your friend will take the opportunity to open up and then you can provide more feedback. However, it is imperative that you don’t force them into discussing the relationship. If your friend is important to you and ends up with this person, it will be important to give your support and not let the small stuff get in the way of your bond.

Again, this is a tricky subject with a lot to consider as you can’t predict the future in terms of your friend’s response, his or her relationship and the effects on your friendship. With any difficult conversation, remember to act in loving ways while scripting how you want to be and being intentional in your delivery. Trust yourself and your intuition about your choice to step in or let it be.

Have you ever told a friend that you didn’t like his or her love? How did it work out?

About the Author:

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

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The One Relationship Skill that Minimizes Arguments and Increases Closeness http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/relationships/the-one-relationship-skill-that-minimizes-arguments-and-increases-closeness/ http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/relationships/the-one-relationship-skill-that-minimizes-arguments-and-increases-closeness/#comments Mon, 12 May 2014 21:59:58 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=29792 Every couple argues but what distinguishes happy and unhappy couples is how they argue. There is one relationship skill that when used correctly, has a practically magical ability to calm things down, reduce tension and anger, and even increase closeness—emotional validation. Validating someone’s emotions involves taking their perspective and conveying you ‘get’ why they’re upset […]

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Every couple argues but what distinguishes happy and unhappy couples is how they argue. There is one relationship skill that when used correctly, has a practically magical ability to calm things down, reduce tension and anger, and even increase closeness—emotional validation.

Validating someone’s emotions involves taking their perspective and conveying you ‘get’ why they’re upset from their point of view—something that at first glance might seem risky and even foolish. Indeed, when someone is angry or upset with you, telling them they have every right to feel the way they do might seem like the last thing you should do. First, because you might still think you’re right and you don’t want to convey you’re not. And second, because you probably fear that telling an angry or upset person they are entitled to feel as they do will only make them angrier or more upset.

However, both those concerns are unfounded. Conveying you understand why someone is upset does not mean you’re admitting you’re wrong, as you can and should also express your own perspective on things. And most importantly, when you convey you understand how your partner feels and do so with sympathy and understanding, something magical happen—rather than make them angrier and fuel their fire, your message of emotional validation will actually douse their flame and make them calmer.

Why does this paradoxical result happen?

Getting our feelings validated is something we all seek and crave, often far more than we realize. When we are upset, angry, frustrated, disappointed or hurt, the thing we want most is for the other person to ‘get it’, to understand how and why we feel the way we do—to validate our feelings and to convey their understanding with a generous dollop of sympathy.

Think back to a time you were angry or upset and someone totally got it and was able to validate exactly how you felt—you probably experienced tremendous relief and an authentic visceral ‘release’, and by doing so you were probably able to let go some of the feelings you had built up.

That is how your partner will feel if you are able to convey emotional validation to them, and yes, even in the midst of an argument. Providing emotional validation will not only calm things down but it will allow warmer feelings to return and a more reasonable discussion to ensue. Indeed, when both members of a couple practice emotional validation, they tend to have longer lasting and more satisfying relationships than couples who do not practice this skill.

Emotional validation does not come easily to most people and as such, it does need to be practiced. But it is has such a powerful and positive impact on relationships, it is one investment that is very much worthwhile.

EFA-CoverAbout the Author:

Guy Winch is a psychologist, speaker and author of Emotional First Aid: Practical Strategies for Treating Failure, Rejection, Guilt and Other Everyday Psychological Injuries (Hudson Street Press, 2013). Follow him on Twitter and check out his blog!

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10 Reasons to Date a Vegan http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/about-you/10-reasons-to-date-a-vegan/ http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/about-you/10-reasons-to-date-a-vegan/#comments Mon, 12 May 2014 18:23:03 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=29777 1. Vegans are passionate people. Their passion for a cause and for a lifestyle flows into all other areas of their lives. 2. Vegans have better sex lives. Their plant-based diets can boost hormone levels. 3. They are cheap dates! Veggies and tofu cost a lot less than lobster and steak. 4. Vegans aren’t afraid to stand up for […]

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1. Vegans are passionate people. Their passion for a cause and for a lifestyle flows into all other areas of their lives.

2. Vegans have better sex lives. Their plant-based diets can boost hormone levels.

3. They are cheap dates! Veggies and tofu cost a lot less than lobster and steak.

4. Vegans aren’t afraid to stand up for what they believe in. You will be getting a strong person who will stand up for you, as well.

5. They have learned to be creative in the kitchen, so you will be getting some great food.

6. They will encourage you to eat healthier.

7. Research shows vegans have a lower mortality rate than meat eaters, so you know they will be around for a long time.

8. Vegans are happy people. Eating all those fruits and veggies can improve mood and lead to calmness and feelings of happiness.

9. Vegans following a healthy plant-based diet have lots of energy, for lots of activities.

10. Vegans have compassion for animals, so they will have compassion for you too.

Why else should one date a vegan?

Skinny Bitch Bakery FLAT COVER IMAGEAbout the Author:

Kim Barnouin holds a master of science in holistic nutrition and offers guidance on her Healthy Bitch Daily blog . A former model, she is the author or coauthor of seven books and has successfully counseled models, actors, athletes, and other professionals using the Skinny Bitch method. She lives in Los Angeles.

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15 Ways to Help Your Partner Feel Loved http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/relationships/15-ways-to-help-your-partner-feel-loved/ http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/relationships/15-ways-to-help-your-partner-feel-loved/#comments Thu, 08 May 2014 21:53:09 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=29770 You’ve fallen in love, and now you want to make sure your partner is assured that your feelings are genuine. Saying the words “I love you” is music to the ears, but there are other ways to demonstrate through actions and attitudes the feelings you have. Consider these: 1. Attend to the small stuff. When it […]

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You’ve fallen in love, and now you want to make sure your partner is assured that your feelings are genuine. Saying the words “I love you” is music to the ears, but there are other ways to demonstrate through actions and attitudes the feelings you have. Consider these:

1. Attend to the small stuff. When it comes to love, it’s all in the details—tone of voice, an admiring look, a kind word. A genuine compliment can trump an expensive weekend getaway.

2. Give your partner focused, undivided attention. Being fully present—truly engaged with the other person—is a sure way to demonstrate your love.

3. Never judge your partner. Ever.

4. Apologize when you’ve messed up. And mean it. And vow to do better.

5. Use your words wisely—and gently. What you say, positive or negative, has staying power.

6. Ask your partner what makes him/her feel loved. Don’t assume it’s the same kinds of acts or words that make you feel loved. Find out for sure, then do those things.

7. Seek to improve. Is there something you do that annoys your partner? Running late? Dishes in the sink? Be intentional about changing that.

8. Put love into action. Get in the habit of asking, “What can I do to make your life easier today?” or “How can I help with that?” Knowing you have your partner’s needs and interests at heart will communicate love.

9. Lend a hand. Everyone could use a helping hand with the routine chores of daily life now and then. Nothing says “I care” any better than rolling up your sleeves, getting to work, and lightening your lover’s load a bit.

10. Surprise! Everyone appreciates an unexpected gesture of love. Send flowers for no particular reason. Put a love note on your partner’s windshield. Bring a midweek dinner so he/she doesn’t have to cook.

11. Be your partner’s biggest cheerleader. Whatever he or she is aiming to accomplish, you can provide the encouragement and support that makes the difference.

12. Celebrate often. Look for every occasion—big or small–to honor your partner.

13. Be there. Show up for every important (and semi-important) event … even when you’d rather not. Your presence will speak love unmistakably.

14. Praise your partner in public. Give him/her a compliment in front of others, and you’ll earn bonus points.

15. Defend your partner fiercely. If someone criticizes her, stand up for her forcefully. If someone disrespects your guy, show your respect by voicing your absolute support.

What other ways can you help a partner feel loved?

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3 Tips to Surround Yourself with Positive People http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/about-you/3-tips-to-surround-yourself-with-positive-people/ http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/about-you/3-tips-to-surround-yourself-with-positive-people/#comments Tue, 06 May 2014 21:30:59 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=29761 Do some people just drain the life out of you? You know, energy suckers? Believe it or not, they are direct reflections of the limiting beliefs you have about yourself. They are simply mirroring back to you the insecurities which they sense coming from you! Luckily you can change who is drawn to you and how people […]

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Do some people just drain the life out of you? You know, energy suckers? Believe it or not, they are direct reflections of the limiting beliefs you have about yourself. They are simply mirroring back to you the insecurities which they sense coming from you! Luckily you can change who is drawn to you and how people interact with you by changing the way you think and feel about yourself.

To improve the relationships in your life, you need to improve your self-image first. We all give off energy, commonly referred to as “vibes.” When you have a low self-image you give off negative vibes, and when you have a high self-perception you give off feel-good vibes.

The vibes we give off attract “like vibes” to us. Negative thoughts and feelings about yourself will draw more negative people and experiences to you, thus validating your undesirable feelings!

To have positive people in your life, you must first be positive about yourself and your life as it is now. Being optimistic gives you a brighter outlook and more gratitude for what you have, and that radiates higher energy, which naturally attracts positive people, circumstances and events to you.

The following three tips are powerful ways to attract positive people to you.

Believe in yourself. People can sense if you believe in yourself or not. If you don’t believe in yourself, then you will find that you attract others who struggle with believing in themselves too. Believe in all that you are by accepting yourself for who you are, just as you are. Acknowledge your strengths, gifts and talents, physical beauty and attributes. Be kind to yourself on a daily basis by having positive self-talk. When you believe in yourself, you will be able to honor your truth and follow your heart, which will attract upbeat people to you.

Forgive freely. Holding resentment towards yourself or others is negative energy, and will attract negative people and experiences to you. Forgive yourself for the mistakes you’ve made. Forgive others who have hurt or betrayed you, or caused you emotional pain. Realize that all things happen for a reason; each life experience has helped you become who you are today. We all stumble and fall and have failures, but it’s through those times that we learn and grow. Without knowing failure you can’t enjoy success. Difficult life lessons are there to help you become the intricate and beautiful person that you were meant to be, so learn from them and then let the negative memories go. The more you forgive, the more you will shift up to a higher energy which will attract supportive and loving people into your life.

Like attracts like. Remember that “like always attracts like”— it’s a universal law. To have positive experiences in your life you need to be positive about you, and appreciate life lessons learned from your past and your current conditions. When you are in a positive mindset you will attract likeness to you. Embrace relationships that empower, inspire and motivate you to be your best, and likewise do the same for others in return. Make it a habit to celebrate other peoples’ success, as well as your own. Surround yourself with positive people who believe in your dreams and cheer you on. The more you stay focused on being positive, the more positive people you will have in your life.

It is highly rewarding to be surrounded with positive people; however, it takes time and practice to be consciously aware of your thoughts and shift them from negative to positive. When negative thoughts come to mind just let them go and replace them with self-affirming, positive thoughts that support your heart’s desires. Make it a daily practice to love and believe in you. The more you see yourself for that which you are—a magnificent person—the more you will indeed draw more loving, supportive people to you.

carol whitakerCarol Whitaker is the author of the acclaimed book Ridiculously Happy! The Secret to Manifesting the Life & Body of Your Dreams.  Carol is a media expert, lifestyle fitness & life coach, motivational speaker, and mentor. Carol is a happily married mother of three and is an avid equestrian. Connect with Carol on LinkedIn and Facebook to receive her health, happiness and fitness tips, and by following her on Twitter. Visit CarolWhitaker.com and learn to unleash your inner powers to live a ridiculously happy life!

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15 Ways to Handle Difficult People http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/about-you/15-ways-to-handle-difficult-people/ http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/about-you/15-ways-to-handle-difficult-people/#comments Mon, 28 Apr 2014 23:31:19 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=29745 As much as we hope to surround ourselves with only pleasant, positive people, that is wishful thinking. The fact is, we all encounter difficult people … more frequently than we want. Since you can’t avoid difficult people completely, here are ideas for how to deal with them: 1. Don’t take it personally. Difficult people are that way […]

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As much as we hope to surround ourselves with only pleasant, positive people, that is wishful thinking. The fact is, we all encounter difficult people … more frequently than we want. Since you can’t avoid difficult people completely, here are ideas for how to deal with them:

1. Don’t take it personally. Difficult people are that way because of their own deficiencies—it’s not about you.

2. Enlist allies. Depending upon the circumstances, you may be able to call for backup. No need to handle a difficult person alone if you don’t have to.

3. Stop and listen. Sometimes, difficult people just want to be heard. Find out what they need—and are afraid of not getting.

4. Minimize contact with the person. Cut down on time spent and other entanglements that put you at the person’s mercy.

5. Set healthy boundaries for yourself. Determine what you will and will not put up with, then ruthlessly stick to those parameters.

6. Don’t get drawn into the craziness. Many difficult people are that way because they get something out of the drama or tension they create. You can choose not to play along.

7. Maintain your sense of humor. Gentle and well-timed humor is often the best way to diffuse tension.

8. Try empathy. Sometimes, difficult people are wounded souls who need compassion. As the biblical proverb says, “A gentle word turns away wrath.”

9. State your own needs and wishes. Make sure you aren’t contributing to the difficulty by failing to communicate what you need.

10. Avoid escalation. The temptation is to dish it right back to a difficult person, but that will just make things worse. Choose to be the bigger person.

11. Seek areas of commonality. You might find common ground—a favorite sports team, hobby, vacation spot, movie genre—that creates a safe zone for conversation.

12. Inoculate yourself against negativity. Don’t let another person’s antagonistic attitude rub off on you. Preserve your positive outlook.

13. Sidestep landmines. Everyone has hot buttons—topics that get us worked up. Be aware of your own and the other person’s … and stay clear.

14. Change what you can, accept what you can’t. If you’re on a date with a difficult person, you can bow out gracefully or decline a second date. If your boss (or mother or sibling) is the difficult person, you’ll need to accept the situation for what it is and do your best to improve it.

15. If all else fails, run. Seriously, sometimes people are so difficult that you just need to get away from them.

How else do you handle difficult people?

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