eHarmony Advice http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice Dating Advice and Relationship Advice Wed, 22 Oct 2014 17:14:17 +0000 en-US hourly 1 12 Ways to Attract The Perfect Partner http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/about-you/12-ways-to-attract-the-perfect-partner/ http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/about-you/12-ways-to-attract-the-perfect-partner/#comments Tue, 21 Oct 2014 17:16:24 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=30495 If you don’t yet have that special relationship in your life and you deeply want it, try the steps below and see what happens. 1. Write out all your negative feelings about your past relationship(s), then rip the paper into tiny pieces and let the wind carry all those old, stale memories away. 2. Find a […]

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978-0-385-34855-3If you don’t yet have that special relationship in your life and you deeply want it, try the steps below and see what happens.

1. Write out all your negative feelings about your past relationship(s), then rip the paper into tiny pieces and let the wind carry all those old, stale memories away.

2. Find a beach, a mountaintop or somewhere with wide open spaces, then scream into the waves, the mountains, etc., all the “gunk” you are now releasing.

3. Sit with a friend and describe the heartfelt desires and intentions you are now accepting into your life.

4. Begin making room in your life for the lover who is not yet here, but whom you are beginning to feel could soon show up.

5. Receive a consultation in the ancient ritual of Feng Shui to make your space conducive to your new relationship.

6. Write down everything you want in your man or woman.

7. Create a Vision Book to put into pictures the vision of your life with your soul mate, what your relationship would be like, and how you would feel in that relationship.

8. Get yourself out of the house. Each week do something that is fun for you.

9. Find exercise that you really enjoy, whether it’s Pilates, cycling, running, Zumba, or whatever and start working out regularly.

10. Begin your own daily visualization ritual. Each day listen to your favorite love songs, imagining your life with the man or woman of your dreams. Use all of your senses, to see and feel him/her in your life.

11. Take your life off “hold.” Start taking the trips you’ve dreamed about.

12. Now let go. Surrender. And see what the universe has in store for you.

Your Hidden Riches is available now wherever books are sold. Learn more at TheHiddenRiches.com

Excerpted and adapted from Your Hidden Riches: Unleashing the Power of Ritual to Create a Life of Meaning and Purpose by Janet Bray Attwood, Chris Attwood, and Sylva Dvorak, PH.D. Copyright © 2014 by Janet Bray Attwood and Chris Attwood. Excerpted by permission of Crown Publishers, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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Are You Having an Emotional Affair? Take this Quiz http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/relationships/are-you-having-an-emotional-affair-take-this-quiz/ http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/relationships/are-you-having-an-emotional-affair-take-this-quiz/#comments Mon, 20 Oct 2014 21:49:51 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=30483 A soul mate relationship is based on trust, commitment, and a strong desire to be together. Still, despite this powerful bond, it’s also true that your hearts will be stretched in countless ways. The danger, especially during challenging times, is that you may be vulnerable to having an emotional affair. This can damage trust and […]

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A soul mate relationship is based on trust, commitment, and a strong desire to be together. Still, despite this powerful bond, it’s also true that your hearts will be stretched in countless ways. The danger, especially during challenging times, is that you may be vulnerable to having an emotional affair. This can damage trust and stop you from surrendering to the growth needed for your relationship.

What is an emotional affair? In my book, The Ecstasy of Surrender, I describe it as when you turn to a friend or co-worker for emotional (not physical) intimacy. The seduction is that this person gives you what you feel your mate doesn’t: support, ego boosts, empathy, playfulness, an undercurrent of flirting or attraction. Initially, this can seem innocent but you may begin to share more with this “safe” person than with your mate. I understand how it can be easier to talk to someone sympathetic who’s more peripheral. You’re not wrestling with the same hot-button emotions such as anger or disappointment that can arise with a soul mate. Your dark sides aren’t engaged, which is what causes most impasses among couples.

However, if you keep sharing with your special friend and not your spouse, your primary relationship will suffer. You’ll become distant, less present, and therefore less able to resolve conflicts. Your partner will sense something is wrong. Basically, these affairs are a form of cheating, and like any infidelity can lead to deception and betrayal. In fact, research reports that about half of these “innocent” liaisons eventually turn into full blown sexual affairs. With a true platonic soul friend, there’s no deception, hidden sexual agenda, nor is anyone diverting your emotional energy from your primary relationship.

How do you know you’re having an emotional affair?

Watch for these signs:

You withdraw from your spouse but confide in your friend.

It’s difficult to talk to your spouse about conflicts.

You feel lonely and that your spouse doesn’t appreciate you.

You’re frequently online with your friend, texting, or even sexting.

You believe your friend understands you better than your spouse.

You keep your friendship a secret from your spouse or lie about how often you interact.

When you’re confronted with the emotional affair, you deny it.

If five to seven signs are present, it strongly suggests you’re having an emotional affair. Three to four signs indicate that you’re either primed to have one or you already are. One to two signs suggest the possibility of an emotional affair. Zero yeses indicate that you are not involved with one.

It takes honesty to admit you’re having an emotional affair. The first step is to recognize what’s happening. Then you have the choice to either continue the affair or decide to focus on your partner. The truth is, you can’t do both. If you choose your partner, you must surrender to doing what it takes to heal the relationship. First, this means cutting off the emotional affair. In a respectful, clear way you must tell the other person, “I can’t cyber-chat, text, meet up with you, or talk on the phone anymore. It’s not possible for us to be ‘just friends.’”

Then, openly talk to your partner about what’s causing the distance. Is it his or her long hours at work? A lingering hurt? Lack of affection? Many therapists recommend confessing your emotional affair. In most cases I agree, but how and whether you decide to do this depends on what will be most caring and helpful to your partner. At the very least, I suggest that patients lovingly communicate, “I’ve been sharing my feelings more with a friend than I have with you. This doesn’t feel right. I want us to be closer.” Or you can acknowledge that you’ve crossed a line and how far you’ve crossed it. Use your intuition as a guide for how much you want to share. But be prepared for your partner’s hurt and angry feelings. Listen without getting defensive. Then, together or with a therapist, begin to address where you’ve grown apart or shut down. Despite great pain, soul mates have what it takes to withstand difficulty until things are resolved. It may take time, awareness, and love, but with bonds as strong as these, I know it’s possible.

 

Surrender book coverJudith Orloff MD is author of the national bestseller The Ecstasy of Surrender: 12 Surprising Ways Letting Go Can Empower Your Life, upon which this article is based.

Dr. Orloff is a psychiatrist, intuitive healer, and New York Times bestselling author who synthesizes the pearls of traditional medicine with cutting edge knowledge of intuition, energy, and spirituality. An Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at UCLA, she passionately believes that the future of medicine involves integrating all this wisdom to achieve emotional freedom and total wellness. Dr. Orloff’s work has been featured on The Today Show, CNN, Forbes, the Oprah Magazine and USA Today. To learn more about the power of surrender and Dr. Orloff’s books and workshop schedule visit www.drjudithorloff.com.

 

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Unlocking Dating Myths: ‘Love Only Happens When You’re Not Looking.’ http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/about-you/unlocking-dating-myths-love-only-happens-when-youre-not-looking/ http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/about-you/unlocking-dating-myths-love-only-happens-when-youre-not-looking/#comments Mon, 20 Oct 2014 18:07:52 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=30473 Two days ago on Facebook, I saw this post: “Not looking anymore. If it’s meant to be, love will happen.” It was littered with likes. Folks, there is a word for people over age 25 or so who wait for love to happen to them, and that word is “single.” Yet people keep believing love […]

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Two days ago on Facebook, I saw this post: “Not looking anymore. If it’s meant to be, love will happen.” It was littered with likes.

Folks, there is a word for people over age 25 or so who wait for love to happen to them, and that word is “single.”

Yet people keep believing love will find a way—no assistance needed. Why?

When we are very young, we really don’t have to look for companions. We just naturally find them wherever we are. Sociologists claim that as long as people are thrown together often over time in circumstances that let them interact, they’ll make friends easily.

So a lot of people do find a mate when they aren’t looking—as long as the environment where they aren’t looking is someplace rife with the available, like high school or college.

Second, weird stuff happens, and when it does, it’s normal for people to pay attention to the weird stuff and discount the scientific norm. Our brains are wired for story, not statistics–especially vivid stories and stories of those close to us. This might’ve helped our ancestors avoid harm; they didn’t have stats, but they did have the benefit of others’ experience to guide them towards safety. So if you have a friend who accidentally jostled into Mr. Right on her subway commute, it’s tempting to think you don’t have to look, either.

But she’s an exception!

Sometimes, people don’t understand that science gives probabilities, not certainties, and it’s good at predicting what happens to large groups of people, rather than individuals. For instance, let’s say you heard that smoking kills six out of 10 smokers. That is objectively true. But let’s also say you have an uncle who smoked all his life and died of old age at 100; does his survival make science wrong? No. It makes your uncle an exception. Exceptional things do happen—in the case of smoking, four out of 10 times, smoking does not cause cancer. Also, science doesn’t tell us which four out of the 10 will be the survivors.

Yet if I were buying a car, and the salesperson said, “That’s a nice ride, but I should mention that this vehicle causes death by explosion in six of 10 buyers,” then I’d buy something else.

Science gives odds of an event happening; it doesn’t tell us exactly when and to whom it will occur. It doesn’t say: “Do what the science says, and you, Tanya, will find love next Tuesday.” It says: “This is what happens to most people most of the time, so if you want to max out your odds, here’s how.”

If you want certainties, you have to pay someone with a crystal ball! If you want advice based on compelling tales…well, there’s always your friends’ experiences. Or mine. Stories are wonderful—but they’re not data. If you want the best odds, based in fact, you consult science.

Upshot? If you’re a college student, or in some other environment rich in single people, then you are already looking, without having to look. Stumbling on a great mate really could happen to you.

But if you’re reading this, you probably aren’t in that kind of environment. And even if you are, using strategy to look won’t hurt your chances of finding love; it will help.

Script to confront this harmful myth: “I increase my odds of finding a worthy partner by actively searching, not passively waiting.”

LoveFactually-Final-CoverHang in there: Using the strategies that help most people most of the time is very doable. Let’s find out what they are, and how you can apply them, starting today.

Duana C. Welch, Ph.D., is the author of Love Factually: 10 Proven Steps from I Wish to I Do, releasing on January 7, 2015; this entry is a partial excerpt. She also contributes at Psychology Today and teaches psychology at Austin-area universities. Get a free chapter of Love Factually!

 

 

 

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Your Biggest First Date Worries…Solved http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/expert-advice/your-biggest-first-date-worriessolved/ http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/expert-advice/your-biggest-first-date-worriessolved/#comments Fri, 17 Oct 2014 20:19:55 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=30466 Virtually everyone gets nervous before dates. Especially if you’re shy or tend to be anxious, those nerves can translate into full blown dating anxiety, which can be paralyzing. The days and hours leading up to a date can be worry-filled, and you may even avoid dating altogether if it’s too intense. But your worries about […]

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Virtually everyone gets nervous before dates. Especially if you’re shy or tend to be anxious, those nerves can translate into full blown dating anxiety, which can be paralyzing. The days and hours leading up to a date can be worry-filled, and you may even avoid dating altogether if it’s too intense. But your worries about dating don’t have to keep you from meeting people and having good dates.

Based on cognitive-behavior therapy and acceptance and commitment therapy, I’ve listed some of the most common dating worries, and how to start approaching these worries in a new way:

“I will be embarrassed.” You worry that you might spill or drop something (I personally have a penchant for dropping forks when I’m nervous), have an awkward silence, or encounter an embarrassing situation (like running into an ex or tripping). The first thing to recognize is that these snafus can happen and it’s not going to make or break your date. You can also try using acceptance to deal with embarrassment. Acceptance is the idea that you can’t change what is already there; you acknowledge that you’ll have many experiences as you go through dating — some fun, others anxiety provoking, and yet others embarrassing. And you can’t control or prevent your emotions from happening. Instead, you can change your reaction to it when it occurs. Rather than push them away (or want to hide!), you can simply accept that it’s okay to have occurred. Embarrassment might happen, but it’s just one brief moment in time, and you’ll move past it.

“I can’t deal with all of the uncertainty.” A new date brings with it uncertainty. Will you like one another? Will you hug or kiss goodbye? Who will pay the bill? When will you know if the date is over? Should you tell her you want to see her again? For me, when I was single and dating, I had major anxiety about paying the bill. I knew most guys would offer to pay, but I didn’t want to offend them by not offering to split the check. My now-husband made it clear to me that our first date was his treat. This is an example of how you can eliminate some uncertainties to make your date go more smoothly. Another example is that if you like the person, don’t be afraid to say you had a good time. That being said, it is virtually impossible to remove all uncertainty. Here’s where learning to observe your thoughts and need for certainty—and not have to act on them—can be so helpful. You can learn to have more flexibility and embrace the unknown. Uncertainty doesn’t always have to be scary; the unknown can facilitate excitement, fun, and romance.

“My Anxiety Will Show.” If you’re prone to having physical symptoms when you get nervous, you might worry that your symptoms (like sweating, blushing, or shaking voice) will show. This worry can be distracting and take you away from engaging with your date. While your instinct might be to monitor yourself to see if the symptom is getting worse (Am I blushing? Does she notice I’m blushing?), the fact is that monitoring your symptoms closely tends to make them worse. Rather than focus on what you don’t want to happen, try to shift the focus to what you do want to bring to the date. Try to focus your attention outward rather than inward. This might include focusing on listening to your date, asking questions, sharing a story about yourself, or simply smiling and allowing yourself to have fun.

“I will be judged.” You might worry that your date won’t like how you look, or will be critical of what you say. First, recognize that if someone is judgmental, mean, or harsh towards you, it actually reflects the kind of person they are; it doesn’t reflect you or your qualities. Another way to bolster yourself from fear of judgment is self-compassion. Self-compassion is treating yourself kindly, with understanding, care, and forgiveness. Having self-compassion lets you care less about judgment from a date because it helps you to truly accept and like who you are. When you like yourself, you’re confident in what you have to offer. Judgments from others matter less.

“I will be rejected.” Another worry is that you’ll be rejected somehow; your date might not show up, he or she might not reciprocate your feelings, or they might not want to go out with you again. To help reduce the worry about rejection, remind yourself that not all dates will work out. Rejection is part of dating, and it happens to everyone. It can hurt, but usually the sting wears off fairly quickly. You can help reduce the sting of possible rejection by not building up the date too much; don’t build it up or make your whole week revolve around one date. Next, remember that dating is a 50/50 situation; both of you are responsible for contributing positively to the date (it’s not all on your shoulders to make it go well!). Similarly, part of dating is both of you deciding if you might be a good fit or want to see each other again. If the answer is no, it doesn’t mean it’s because either of you are judging one another to be grievously lacking; it might just not be a good match.

“I won’t be good enough.” You might worry that you’ll be boring or not have enough to say to contribute to the date. You might worry that you won’t be attractive enough or witty enough. People who worry that they’re not good enough often have a self-critical, harsh inner voice. To counter this, start by tracking your thoughts for a day. Label your thoughts as “judgment”, “critical” or “harsh” when you notice these kinds of thoughts. Then, make an effort to give yourself approval. It’s natural to seek validation from others, but the only way you can be truly free of needing approval from others is to be enough for yourself. Learn to embrace the unique qualities about yourself that your friends and family love; these are the things a future partner will love about you, too. And lastly, the next thing to do is practice dating; the more you expose yourself to dates, the more you get to practice your dating skills like flirting, listening, sharing, and having good conversations. It helps develop the confidence you need to be successful in dating.

For more on overcoming dating worries, read my dating guide: Single, Shy, and Looking for Love: A Dating Guide for the Shy and Socially Anxious.

SingleShyLookingforLoveMECH.inddAbout the Author:

Shannon Kolakowski, PsyD is a clinical psychologist and author. Her work has been featured in Redbook, Men’s Health Magazine, Shape.com, and Scientific American MIND, and she is a regular blogger for The Huffington Post. She is the author of Single, Shy, and Looking for Love: A Dating Guide for the Shy and Socially Anxious and When Depression Hurts Your Relationship. Follow her on Twitter @DrShannonK.

 

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10 Things to Never Write in an Online Dating Profile http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/using-eharmony/ten-things-to-never-write-in-an-online-dating-profile/ http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/using-eharmony/ten-things-to-never-write-in-an-online-dating-profile/#comments Fri, 17 Oct 2014 16:57:12 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=27938 Maybe you’ve decided to finally give online dating a try, or maybe you’re just wondering why your matches aren’t responding to your profile. There are a few profile-writing strategies to optimize the likelihood of interest from potential matches. Here are ten things to never write in an online profile: 1. Never dismiss online dating. Insulting the method […]

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Maybe you’ve decided to finally give online dating a try, or maybe you’re just wondering why your matches aren’t responding to your profile. There are a few profile-writing strategies to optimize the likelihood of interest from potential matches.

Here are ten things to never write in an online profile:

1. Never dismiss online dating. Insulting the method — or the people using the method — of finding love that you’re currently giving a try is a huge turn-off. You’ll come across as condescending and judgmental. Don’t bite the hand that might be feeding you your soulmate.

2. Never lie. Ever. Don’t lie about your height, age or weight: you’ll be found out soon enough. Don’t pretend to have a better job than you do, or that you’re more prepared for long-term commitment than you currently are. You don’t need to share all your dirty little secrets in your profile, but you shouldn’t use deception to lure dates either.

3. Never list what you’re looking for money-wise or baby-wise in a relationship. Some things are best left to date #10982.

4. Never use your profile to write about the ex. Or about sex. Keep in mind the rules of first-date conversation and apply them to how you introduce yourself to strangers online, too.

5. Never whine. Don’t whine about your singleness status, about the bad first dates you’ve had lately or about the sad state of politics in your area. Keep your profile upbeat and focused on all the great things you have to offer and are looking for in a new relationship. (Hint: No one’s profile says “seeking bitter pessimist.”)

6. Never ramble. If your profile is ten times longer than everyone else’s, it won’t be given much attention. Be concise, clear, and watch out for typos and grammatical errors.

7. Related to #6: Don’t be too vague or use too many clichéd phrases. Everyone likes “having fun” and would list their musical tastes as “eclectic.” You’re certainly not the only person who “can’t live without oxygen, friends, and family.” Fill your profile with details that reflect you as an individual.

8. Never divulge too much personal information. Your profile is being read by strangers. They shouldn’t be able to identify your specific place of work, home address, last name or personal contact information from your profile. Be careful to screen your photos, too: Don’t upload a pic of yourself in front of your new home, for example.

9. Never indulge the inner narcissist. Don’t demand that your future partner love, worship, and adore you. Don’t list the qualities you believe you “deserve.” Instead, focus on what you have to offer. Related: Don’t provide a list of dating rules or expectations — unless you don’t want anyone to contact you.

10. Never leave things blank. If you can’t put the time into filling out a simple dating profile, why would an interested guy/gal assume you’d put the time investing into getting to know them? Also cheating: “Not sure what to write here. My friends could better answer this for you.”

Good luck!

What things have you seen in online dating profiles that have bothered you?

eH+Ashsuit09102014-15About Ashley 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 Ashley can contact you if you are a match for an eH+ client.

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Rob and Kristen Bell: How to Create the Zimzum of Love http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/relationships/rob-bell-how-to-create-the-zimzum-of-love/ http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/relationships/rob-bell-how-to-create-the-zimzum-of-love/#comments Thu, 16 Oct 2014 18:17:27 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=30425 So, you’re dating. You’re meeting people, you’re getting to know them, you’re wondering whether one of these people you’re meeting is The One you could commit to. You’re doing this because you want to share your life with someone, you want someone to witness to your life while you are witness to theirs, you want […]

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So, you’re dating. You’re meeting people, you’re getting to know them, you’re wondering whether one of these people you’re meeting is The One you could commit to. You’re doing this because you want to share your life with someone, you want someone to witness to your life while you are witness to theirs, you want a partner, someone you can go the distance with.

That’s what we all want, isn’t it?

We’ve recently written a book on marriage called The Zimzum of Love, and as we finished the book we realized that a lot of the concepts we explain in the book about how to have a thriving marriage can be applied to dating — because when you’re dating, you’re building a foundation for the kind of relationship you’re going to have in the long term. As you build this foundation, there are questions you can be asking yourself—and each other—that will help you see not only whether or not this person is someone you can go the distance with, but what you can both do to make your relationship even better.

Before we get to the first of these questions, then, we’ll give you a bit of background on what a zimzum is and how it transforms our understanding of what marriage is, let alone dating.

To begin with, your life is mostly about you. Your interests, your work, your friends, your family, your hobbies, etc. You have a center of gravity, a life that you’re living. But then you meet someone, and that person has their own life with their own center of gravity. As you get to know them and your lives become more and more intertwined, you find yourself more and more involved in their life. (Maybe you’re experiencing this right now with someone you’re dating.) As you fall in love, you find yourself becoming more and more invested in their well-being, often finding yourself making sacrifices for them. As you create space in your life for that person, they’re doing the same for you. This creates space between you—vibrant, humming, pulsing space that is electric with love. The word for this creation of space is zimzum. You zimzum for another, while they’re zimzuming for you.

Relationships—dating and marriage—are about becoming more and more aware of how this space works, learning what you can do to increase the flow of energy and love between you.

The first question you can ask while you’re dating, then, is: How’s the space between us?

Are the energy and love flowing? Is anything blocking the flow of love? (We’ll cover this question in detail in the next post, so stay tuned … ) Are we too far apart? Do we not have enough space such that we’re losing our sense of individuality?

Do you see how just this one question—How’s the space between us?—can lead to so many more questions? (Which is itself a question! Ha ha.)

Now here’s why this question is so important and why it’s crucial to begin asking it while you’re still dating: You’re learning when you ask this question whether or not this person in your life is someone you can have these kinds of discussions with.

Being married is like being in an endless conversation in which you never stop talking and you never stop figuring out your life together. So when you’re dating, as you talk about how the space between you is, you’re learning what you both want, what you both think is healthy and normal, what you’re looking for in a partner—you’re laying the foundation for a lifelong conversation that will help your relationship flourish and thrive.

Kristen and I were friends for four years before we ever got together. So when we started dating, we knew a lot about each other. There weren’t any secrets—we could talk about anything. But often, you meet someone and start dating and you have no history. You’re learning so much about them on the fly, from how they handle conflict to what they want in life. All of it, everything about both of you, affects the space between you.

Zimzum of Love hc

You zimzum, they zimzum, the two of you creating space for the other to thrive, space that is electric with love and energy and possibility. And just asking the question, “How’s the space between us?”, can begin the most important conversation you can possibly have about your life together.

Rob and Kristen Bell are the authors of THE ZIMZUM OF LOVE: A New Way of Understanding Marriage (HarperOne, October 28, 2014).

Order the book here:

IndieBound

iBookstore

BarnesandNoble

Amazon

 

 

 

Learn more about books by Rob Bell. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook!

 

 

 

 

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5 Ways to Spot the Wrong Guy (Even If He Looks Like the Right One!) http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/about-you/5-ways-to-spot-the-wrong-guy-even-if-he-looks-like-the-right-one/ http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/about-you/5-ways-to-spot-the-wrong-guy-even-if-he-looks-like-the-right-one/#comments Tue, 14 Oct 2014 21:23:00 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=30409 Some of us are seeking Mr. Right when we should be searching for our life partner. There are many clichés such as, “He wasn’t right for you” or “You’ll find the right one,” as if we are looking for the right pair of shoes to offset an outfit. We have to remind ourselves, we are not […]

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Some of us are seeking Mr. Right when we should be searching for our life partner. There are many clichés such as, “He wasn’t right for you” or “You’ll find the right one,” as if we are looking for the right pair of shoes to offset an outfit.

We have to remind ourselves, we are not looking for an accessory but an individual who is interested in developing a partnership. Our powers of discernment are compromised when we seek someone who looks like the man in our daydreams or wears a suit like our father. Our mind tells us that he is the “right one,” so how do we know if he’s really the wrong one?

These five guidelines can help us develop our powers of discernment and make informed decisions about our choices. It is not fool-proof, but using these guidelines will help in eliminating the guys that are definitely to be avoided if we are seeking a life partner.

1. Develop Your Intuition: We are all comfortable following our hearts, but this can lead us into trouble. We have mental pictures about how our man should look and act. If we meet a man who reflects our mental pictures, then we automatically think they are “right” for us. If we have an uncomfortable feeling in our gut about someone who looks and acts perfect, then we need to pay attention. Our intuition is speaking to us about this individual and we need to honor it.

2. Pay Attention to His Behavior: As women, we love to hear men compliment our looks and achievements, but if his behavior is inconsistent then we need to reconsider our choice. If he says all the right things — yet cancels several dates at the last minute because he has something else to do, we need to move on. We also need to not make excuses for his behavior.

3. Avoids Uncomfortable Conversations: If he avoids conversations about our concerns in a relationship, such as money, commitment, or sex, then we need to check in with our intuition.

4. Self-Centered: This is an easy way to spot Mr. Wrong. If we are at a gathering and we meet a man who looks perfect, but is talking about himself – then cuts us off when we try to interject a comment – he may not be someone with whom we want to get involved. Maybe we go on one date to confirm this!

5. Mama’s Boy (or the Immature Guy): This is the most difficult to spot because we often find it charming if a man is devoted to his mother. “If he is that considerate to his mother, then that’s how he’ll treat me,” we think. In some cases, that is not how he will treat us. His mother will come first and her approval is of primary importance, especially the approval of the woman in his life. And, in the end, we will also try to please her.

Have you experienced any of the above red flags?

Catutti front cover 2014Carmela Cattuti is a writer, visual artist, and teacher. She is the author of Between the Cracks, a novel based on her great aunt’s journey from Sicily to the U.S. Carmela is a graduate of Boston College’s masters program in literature. Join her Facebook community and visit her on her Twitter and Pinterest for event updates and articles. Visit www.betweenthecracksnovel.blogspot.com for your free chapter.

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Author Holly Peterson: What I’ve Learned About Love http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/about-you/author-holly-peterson-what-ive-learned-about-love/ http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/about-you/author-holly-peterson-what-ive-learned-about-love/#comments Thu, 09 Oct 2014 20:51:20 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=30393 When writers sit down to create, one bit of sage advice that is often given is to write what they know. That is exactly what Holly Peterson did when she sat down at her computer to compose The Idea of Him. She dug inside her psyche and produced a novel that reflected a relationship mistake […]

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IdeaOfHimWhen writers sit down to create, one bit of sage advice that is often given is to write what they know. That is exactly what Holly Peterson did when she sat down at her computer to compose The Idea of Him. She dug inside her psyche and produced a novel that reflected a relationship mistake that she had made more than once: She fell for the idea of another person and what that person would bring to her, rather than who they actually were.

Not that the book is the story of her life by any means, but it was the end result of a period of change, during which Peterson, who is also the author of The Manny, tried to figure out what drives people to love, form relationships and sometimes decide that the person they thought was The One, actually wasn’t.

“I tried to write a book about things that people really feel,” says the divorced mother of three. “Good things and scary things. That first brush with love, that longing for the one that got away, that angst over the hot person we wish we never met, that confusion over whether we are in the right relationship, and that very scary fear of leaving and being on our own.”

Before heading off to London to promote The Idea of Him in the U.K., Peterson chatted with eHarmony about what she feels are the biggest mistakes people make in relationships, the warning signs, what people should look for in a partner, the hardest thing about love, and more.

eH: What was the impetus for The Idea of Him?

Holly Peterson: It doesn’t mean you’re psychologically messed up if you fall in love with the idea of someone. I think it can mean you’re a really open, exuberant, good-natured person. I do it. I’ve done it a lot with boyfriends. I just get a little overexcited about the person. I create this image of a French guy: He’s so chic, and he has so much class, and he has so much style, and his cashmere blazer is so fabulous, and he opens the doors for me, and he’s going to bring all this elegance to my life, and I’m going to be international, and his accent is so sexy, but he’s totally stupid, and I’m ignoring the fact that he’s totally stupid. We don’t have to talk about it because I’ve created this image of this man that I want to be — and with that is also an image of how I want to be with that man. It’s not just the idea of him; it’s the idea of yourself with him.

I think that’s something so many of us are guilty of. We get overly excited about someone, and we create this idea of them: The daddy replacement, the chic French man with the accent, the responsible husband type, the sexy girlfriend with huge breasts, the powerhouse woman who’s going to make me look important but who doesn’t pay any attention to me and is not nice.

I think that it’s something we all do that is kind of destructive because I think it gives us a false impression of what we’re about to enter into. It means we’re not being really realistic with ourselves. And then when we’re in it, the real problem is: What do you next? And that’s really what my book is about — that scary realization of: I’ve been in total denial here, and what do I do now?

eH: Are there warning signs that people can look for?

HP: It’s not so much of a warning sign. I kind of think of it in my head as: How do you know if it’s really the person and not the idea of the person? Do you really want to go to dinner with that person? Do you want to talk to them before and after sex? Do you want to share every book and movie and theater with that person? Is that person someone you can rely on and you feel really comfortable with? There’s a lot of relationships, like I had with my husband, where I still to this day just have enormous respect and admiration for them, who they are in their value system, their work ethic, their background, and their ability to do all kinds of amazing things, but I didn’t relate to him and I didn’t even want to go to the movies with him really. Why I married someone and had three children with him is definitely a complicated story but, I think, we do that. I think we get in our heads the idea of someone who’s going to be right for us and we just sometimes cling to that too hard.

eH: Do you think that is the biggest mistake people make in a relationship, or is there something else?

HP: I think it’s what I’m talking about. I think that we get locked on to a concept as opposed to the actual person. I think that that concept can vary. It can be sexy, it can be intelligent, it can be chic, it can be sporty, it can be paternalistic or maternalistic, it can slide either way, but what really matters is intimacy. That’s all that really counts at the end of the day. Are you intimate with that person? Do you share all of your tears and fears with that person? If you don’t, it’s not going to work.

eH: So when you’re talking about intimacy, you’re not talking about sex; you’re talking about emotions?

HP: Well, I think sex really matters, but I’m really talking about emotional intimacy: Are you able to open up to that person and tell that person everything? Are you able to laugh with that person and see the world the same way? You can be really, really different from someone, but you have to see the world the same way on a lot of different levels so that you can laugh together, you can cry together, and you can react to each other. You have to be the same type of person in certain important, deep ways in order for the intimacy to take place. I don’t mean the same background. I don’t mean the same personality. I don’t mean the same interests. I mean somewhat of the same values and somewhat of the same vision of how people relate and things work in the world.

eH: You mentioned you were married to someone you had three children with. What did marriage teach you?

HP: I think there’s a lot of marriages that can be parallel play, and they can be very successful parallel play in the sense that you have defined roles, you do everything you’re supposed to be doing side-by-side. You each do it with a lot of confidence and integrity and deliberation, but at the end of the day, if you’re not really close in relating emotionally, it’s not going to last. Or if it does last, I would wager that at least one, if not both, partners are feeling unsatisfied in a way they can’t totally define. Or they can define it and they leave, or they can define it and they’re too scared to leave but there is some level of dissatisfaction.

eH: What is the best advice you have for people looking for a partner?

HP: I think that following job, money, background, status, or [the idea of] Mr. Right or Mrs. Right is going to get you in a lot of trouble. I think that true happiness in life comes from the unexpected, and from the human intimacy that comes from two people really joining up together. That kind of intimacy very often doesn’t happen with two Yale law school grads that were at the top of their class in a marriage that made both parents very happy with dollar signs in their eyes.

eH: What’s the hardest thing about love for you?

HP: That’s when you’re not getting along, and you’re so deeply attached that you feel like you can’t function without the person, but you hate them. I think deep love swings 180 degrees pretty powerfully. That’s why they call it love-hate, but that’s not really love-hate actually. I think that when you feel something really powerfully, chances are that the pendulum is going to swing the other way just as powerfully. It doesn’t mean you’re out of love. It just means that sometimes you really, really hate, and it’s very scary to deal with those confusing feelings, or conflicting feelings.

eH: They say that the opposite of love is indifference, not hate.

HP: Yeah. The opposite of love is definitely indifference. I think it’s completely true.

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

HP: I think one needs to feel listened to and, I think, one needs to feel that they can laugh with the other person about some of the same things, and I think that there should be a basic shared vision. I really believe that. You can be completely different — rich and poor, old and young, completely different jobs, completely different intellectual interests — but you have to have some kind of basic, shared vision of how you roam through the planet in order for it to work. That’s why I think crazy relationships work because even though people are so different, they share something super intense and they stick together.

eH: Do you believe that there’s just one person out there, or that there’s a soul mate for each person? Or do you believe there are multiple matches?

HP: I fully believe in multiple matches. I fully believe that people change almost every decade, if not every decade. I fully believe that you could have a complete, wonderful, satisfying, intimate, great relationship with a large number of people, and that life is just chance. I fully believe that depending on the person that you choose, your life will alter dramatically. If you think of yourself as the middle of a bicycle wheel and the different men or women are spokes on that bicycle wheel, I think that you could go out from who you are in a lot of different directions and still have the same level of happiness and satisfaction.

eH: You mentioned changing in different decades. Does love have a different meaning to you now than it did, say, 10 years ago?

HP: No. But I think that I have changed as a person in what I want. So if I was massively in love in my 20s, or 30s, or my 40s, I could still be massively in love, but it might be with someone else. I think it’s okay to fall out of love with someone because you’ve changed. That doesn’t mean that you didn’t love them.

eH: Do you think it’s more important to love or be loved?

HP: That’s a really good question. I think, obviously, both. I would say to love because it is ultimately better to give than to receive, as long as you’re receiving at a high level.

eH: At what age did you discover your purpose and do you think we all share a purpose in life, or is it different for everyone?

HP: I talk to a lot of people in their 20s, who are completely confused, and I remind them that in my 40s, I feel no more adult than they feel, no more secure in what I’m doing, and that I hope to keep evolving and changing. The problem is when you’re in your 20s, you don’t realize that you are going to evolve and change every decade and the decisions you make are not lifelong, sometimes including your marriage partner, unfortunately.

eH: You’re a writer, is it easier for you to express your feelings through the written word or verbally?

HP: I like to express my feelings written better because I have some time to amend them.

eH: So, do you find yourself writing love notes?

HP: Yeah. I think they mean a lot. I think they’re kept in a drawer forever.

Learn more about Holly Peterson,  and The Idea of Him.

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Single, and Frustrated: 5 Things to Consider http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/about-you/single-and-frustrated-5-things-to-consider/ http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/about-you/single-and-frustrated-5-things-to-consider/#comments Thu, 09 Oct 2014 20:20:11 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=30380 One of the most frustrating issues singles face and contemplate is a lack of understanding about why they are single despite feeling as though they are doing everything “right” to find a partner. They might be using multiple avenues to meet potential matches, working to better themselves, engaging in social and community events, etc. However, […]

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One of the most frustrating issues singles face and contemplate is a lack of understanding about why they are single despite feeling as though they are doing everything “right” to find a partner. They might be using multiple avenues to meet potential matches, working to better themselves, engaging in social and community events, etc. However, when a partner does not appear after long periods of time, it is common to fixate on what is wrong or what is not working in the love department.

Many of my single clients report that their friends easily find partners and long-term romance (or so it seems) while they feel stuck in a rut and hopeless. They describe the loneliness, jealousy, frustration, doubt, and unfairness that they feel when they are putting in great effort to find love and their attempts are unmet, especially when they compare themselves to others who are in relationships.

Can you relate?

Although no situation or person is identical and I am a huge believer in the power of timing, I’ve compiled five common reasons why you might be chronically single or have trouble maintaining a healthy relationship. I’ve seen and heard these reasons firsthand from my clients. The good news is that once you honestly assess what might be holding you back, you can take action to knock down your own internal barriers to love.

1. Your past is still your present.

You might have endured one or more toxic relationships, have a history of picking partners who do not treat you well or dealt with a heartbreaking breakup or divorce. These sorts of situations take tremendous strength to heal from, but it is possible with time and support. Your problem is that regardless of when one of these situations might have happened, it remains in the forefront of your life, contributing to how you feel about yourself, how you approach dating and how you perceive relationships. When the past is still the present, it has power over you and interferes with your ability to love now. It is important to consciously let go of these heavy burdens as parts of your past. What should be present now are the lessons you have learned and your growth as a person.

2. Your desperation to find love acts as a repellent to potential partners.

It is absolutely wonderful to know what you want, however wanting a partner, relationship or marriage is very different than NEEDING them. When you bring a needy or desperate vibe into dating, you are likely to rush the natural flow of forming a relationship, overlook red flags and most importantly, you are likely to turn off potential partners. You might engage in clingy behaviors, act out when someone you are newly dating doesn’t respond right away, etc. The key is to be empowered to go after what you want and be confident in achieving it, as opposed to making your entire existence about finding a relationship and feeling miserable until you have someone special in your life.

3. You are caught up in magical or distorted thinking (“My partner will just appear”).

In Disney movies, we’ve all watched prince charming rescue a damsel in distress — and then they live happily ever after. Although it can be fun and entertaining to romanticize relationships and fantasize about this happening to you, you have to actually put effort into finding love. Too often single individuals believe that they do not have to do much to attract a partner, which in actuality keeps them single. If you have an online dating profile, but do not respond to any messages or go out on any dates for long periods of time, spend all of your time at the office, say no to opportunities for your friends to set you up, these are clues that you are not doing much to go after love. Look for spaces in your life to go after your relationship goals and take risks for love.

4. You have spent too much time with the wrong partners.

You might have a pattern of overstaying in relationships that were not right for you, prolonged an inevitable breakup, or convinced yourself to stay with someone who exhibited many of your deal breakers. You might have overstayed to protect yourself from the fear of being alone or felt undeserving of a healthier relationship and happiness. Maybe you did not want to deal with the logistics of a breakup, especially if you were cohabiting or engaged. Regardless of your reasons, you were not available to the right partner by staying involved with someone else. Now is the time to make a commitment to only date people who you see long-term potential with and honoring yourself if the relationship no longer serves you well. It takes courage to leave a relationship, but it is so freeing to be open and available to a great partner.

5. You are so busy comparing yourself to others that you become disengaged in your own life.

You only have so much time and energy, so it is vital to your own health and happiness to be very mindful of how you are spending your energy. Worrying about what others think, comparing your lack of love to your ex’s new seemingly perfect relationship, feeling jealous of your friends in relationships are all energy-drainers. When you put your energy into external matters (that truly have nothing to do with you), you lose sight of your own goals, values, and priorities. When in comparison mode, you are likely to take on a victim mindset, a self-defeating internal dialogue and experience more sadness and anxiety. All of this gets in the way of healthy dating and growing as a person. It is only natural for your mind to compare, but it is crucial to shift your energy inward and focus on yourself. This is when it can be especially helpful to detach from social media and Facebook, which can be dangerous when you are not feeling good about yourself.

Do any of these points ring true for you?

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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4 Strategies to Attract Your Soul Mate http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/about-you/4-strategies-to-attract-your-soul-mate/ http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/about-you/4-strategies-to-attract-your-soul-mate/#comments Wed, 08 Oct 2014 15:44:48 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=30369 The term “soul mate,” amor platonicus, was coined in the 15th century by Florentine scholar Marsilio Ficini, but the concept has appeared in many cultures since ancient times. The oldest record dates back five thousand years to the Egyptian legend of Osiris and Isis. Brother and sister, husband and wife, their eternal love lasted a […]

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The term “soul mate,” amor platonicus, was coined in the 15th century by Florentine scholar Marsilio Ficini, but the concept has appeared in many cultures since ancient times. The oldest record dates back five thousand years to the Egyptian legend of Osiris and Isis. Brother and sister, husband and wife, their eternal love lasted a lifetime and beyond. In Celtic lore, our souls begin as one being that gets broken apart. The search to reunite with our soul mate is a search for balance. In Yiddish, finding one’s “bashert” means finding your predestined partner, what’s meant to be.

Soul mates are mirrors for each other, what’s loving, smart, and adorable, as well what’s annoying, negative, or rigid. Thus, your relationship may experience tumultuous periods or you may have disagreements that require the two of you to expand your hearts and surrender your egos, in small and larger areas. For instance: the chick flick or testosterone-charged action film you see to please your spouse; the obligatory visit to your toxic in-laws; or larger arguments about everything from parenting styles to work schedules to dealing with money that require compromise. You surrender to these compromises in service to the “we” of love.

A soul mate union invites you to open differently than you would alone, become flexible, let go of behaviors that don’t benefit you or the relationship. In some ways, for me, it’s easier to be on my own, but moving beyond my comfort level lets me surrender in ways I long for. As fiery as it can get with a soul mate–good passionate and bad passionate–your mutual bond, the familiarity and instinctive trust, motivates you to resolve conflict instead of bolting. Getting to the other side of an impasse, working out a problem, feels marvelous. As barriers dissolve, the space between two people opens; there’s room for ecstasy.

Edgar Cayce, perhaps the most famous American intuitive of the Twentieth century, writes that soul mate relationships aren’t created out of thin air, as the world frequently thinks, but have evolved over numerous incarnations. He says that we have many possible soul mates in our lives, not just one. When a woman asked Cayce if there was someone other than her fiancée who could make her happy, he replied, “You might have 25 or 30 such relationships if you choose to make it so.” (Also he says soul mates play different supportive roles in our many lives such as colleague, teacher, or friend.) Still, Cayce suggested that instead of looking for a person simply to make us happy we’d be better off finding someone to facilitate our wholeness and spiritual growth. This was how he defined a soul mate–not an “other half” who completes us.

It’s important to carefully choose our companions in all areas of life. People can help or hinder our well-being. As a psychiatrist, I appreciate how much we can understand ourselves through our relationships. Therefore, it is critical to find a partner who supports us in becoming our best selves.

There are clear ways to hone your intuitive focus to make it more possible for your soul mate to materialize. Here is an exercise to do from The Ecstasy of Surrender.

Invite Your Soul Mate In:

Surrender into action by setting the stage for a soul mate, then notice the signs that he or she has arrived.

1. Make a wish list

Spend some quiet time picturing the qualities you most desire in a mate. Ask yourself: What would truly be good for me? What do I need? Intelligence? Kindness? Support? Chemistry? Wants children? Good communication skills? Is he or she spiritually connected? Also make a list of traits that are unacceptable to you such as being self-absorbed or rigid. Everyone’s needs are different.

2. Release Expectations

Think of your list as a letter to spirit. You’ve put in your soul mate requests. No need to keep re-sending the letter. Now, let the list go. Hold your desires lightly in your heart but don’t push. Have faith that you’ve been heard.

3. Listen to Intuition

Pay attention to intuitive signs that you’ve met someone of interest, even if he or she isn’t “your type.” These are: A sudden wave of chills, a gut feeling of attraction, or a flash of insight that this person may be right for you. Also stay aware of intuitions such as a sick feeling in your gut or a sense of distrust that warns, “Danger. Bad news. Stay away.” These will protect you from unhealthy relationships.

4. Be aware of synchronicities and déjà vu

Synchronicities are moments of perfect timing when paths effortlessly interconnect. You sit next to someone in a movie who turns out to be your soul mate. Or, out of the blue, you have a chance to go to Paris where you meet The One. Also, notice when you have a sense of déjà vu–as if you’ve known each other before. If this occurs with a stranger, say in the market, act on the situation by smiling and making eye contact. Then strike up a conversation such as asking for directions.

About the Author:

Judith Orloff MD is a psychiatrist, intuitive healer, and NY Times bestselling author. Her latest book is The Ecstasy of Surrender: 12 Surprising Ways Letting Go Can Empower Your Life, upon which this article is based. Dr. Orloff, an assistant clinical professor of Psychiatry at UCLA, synthesizes the pearls of traditional medicine with cutting edge knowledge of intuition, energy, and spirituality. Dr. Orloff’s work has been featured on The Today Show, CNN, Oprah Magazine and USA Today.

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15 Amazing Things About October http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/about-you/15-amazing-things-about-october/ http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/about-you/15-amazing-things-about-october/#comments Mon, 06 Oct 2014 17:24:37 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=30363 October has to be among the most beloved months of the year. The changing leaves, the little goblins and ghouls knocking at your door, the mulled wine…. Here are 15 amazing things about October: 1. Sweater weather. Fall is fashion’s New Year. No more fretting over skimpy clothing and feeling sweaty. (And it’s not yet cold […]

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October has to be among the most beloved months of the year. The changing leaves, the little goblins and ghouls knocking at your door, the mulled wine….

Here are 15 amazing things about October:

1. Sweater weather. Fall is fashion’s New Year. No more fretting over skimpy clothing and feeling sweaty. (And it’s not yet cold enough to be so bundled up that your date can’t see what you look like.) Cozy and comfy is cute.

2. Put the chili on. Comfort food is in again.

3. Pumpkin-spice everything. Bonus points if you can make your own.

4. Mini versions of your favorite candies go on sale. In bulk.

5. You can end the month with an epic costume party — which also happens to be a great date idea.

6. No more A/C. That crisp breeze makes us feel alive again.

7. The air just smells sweeter in October. And now that you have a decreased risk of sweaty palms and sun stroke, you can finally go for long walks with your sweetheart, hand-in-hand.

8. Sports fans get that magical week where they can tune in and watch everything: basketball, hockey, football, and baseball.

9. Apparently October is National Pizza, Popcorn Poppin’, Pork, Seafood, Sausage, and American Cheese month. So throw a party and eat all those foods.

10. Speaking of sausages and parties, Oktoberfest is can’t-miss.

11. Fall movies. Awards season is coming — so the movies are getting better. (Also, baseball fans, don’t forget your annual viewing of Field of Dreams.)

12. Another great date idea: Apple picking. Followed by hot apple cider.

13. On rainy days, you can curl up with a hot toddy and a loved one. The dreariness of winter has yet to set in, so the dark days are still romantic ones. Call the chimney sweep and get your fireplace in working order.

14. You get to be a kid again and carve pumpkins! Roast the seeds for a tasty snack while you perfect your creations.

15. Only two months until Christmas!

What did we miss? What’s your favorite thing about October?

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15 Reasons to Date a Vampire http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/about-you/15-reasons-to-date-a-vampire/ http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/about-you/15-reasons-to-date-a-vampire/#comments Fri, 03 Oct 2014 21:22:32 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=30355 If you’re ever going to say yes to a date with a vampire, October’s the month to do it. Here are 15 reasons to date a vampire: 1. Vampires are always cold. Your date won’t whine about the changing temperatures. 2. Move over, pointy-eared, Nosferatu! In recent years, vampires have become much better looking. See: […]

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If you’re ever going to say yes to a date with a vampire, October’s the month to do it.

Here are 15 reasons to date a vampire:

1. Vampires are always cold. Your date won’t whine about the changing temperatures.

2. Move over, pointy-eared, Nosferatu! In recent years, vampires have become much better looking. See: vampires Damon Salvatore (Vampire Diaries) and Bill Compton Moyer (True Blood).

3. Related to #2: Your attractive date will always look the way he does now. (The insecure need not apply. Your date won’t age — but you still will.)

4. Your date won’t bug you during the day. (Nighttime is way more romantic, anyway.)

5. You’ll have the best-dressed date at the costume party.

6. Your date sleeps in a coffin. Your place will always win.

7. If you ever need a break, just go to church. Or eat Caesar salad.

8. Your date won’t hog the mirror.

9. You can watch horror movies together — for a laugh. You’ll have your own personal fact-checker.

10. Sure, Twilight mania has faded, but that doesn’t mean vampires don’t need love. Also, capes are in this year. So they’re still trendy that way.

11. If you’re the kind of person who likes to coordinate what you’re wearing with your date’s wardrobe, you’ll always have a pretty good idea about what your date is going to be wearing: black.

12. That distinctive, sharp-toothed grin.

13. Like Gothic architecture? So does your date. You’ll finally have an excuse to plan that Transylvania-area castle tour

14. Every time you get a paper cut, you’ll feel desired.

15. If your “type” is dark and misunderstood, look no further. You’ve found Mr. Right.

Why else should one date a vampire? If we love your answers — we will add them to this list!

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10 Important Dating Commandments http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/dating-advice-for-you/ten-important-dating-commandments/ http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/dating-advice-for-you/ten-important-dating-commandments/#comments Fri, 03 Oct 2014 19:11:15 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=25272 While the dating rulebook certainly isn’t law — don’t wait three days to call her, just do it — there are certain dating principles to follow if you want to set any relationship up for success. Here are ten of my favorite dating commandments: Dating commandment #1: It all starts with you. It’s the same advice your […]

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While the dating rulebook certainly isn’t law — don’t wait three days to call her, just do it — there are certain dating principles to follow if you want to set any relationship up for success.

Here are ten of my favorite dating commandments:

Dating commandment #1: It all starts with you.

It’s the same advice your mom gave you on the first day of school: be yourself. Present yourself authentically, laugh at the things you find funny, share your personal viewpoints on hot topics, wear your favorite geeky sweater, and give your date an opportunity to get to know the real you. While the fear of rejection is often the greatest cause of putting fake selves forward, being rejected for not being yourself is far more tragic than being willing to be rejected by the wrong person in the quest for the right one who loves you just as you are.

Dating commandment #2: Do not lie.

Dishonesty is a deal-breaker for most daters. To avoid getting caught in a lie, don’t tell one. Be honest. Be vulnerable. When in doubt, say a little too much rather than attempt coyness around uncomfortable situations. If you have baggage stemming from a previous relationship, don’t pretend you don’t. If you don’t understand a political reference in a conversation, ask for clarification. If your date asks a question you don’t want to answer, tell her that you don’t feel comfortable answering it instead of avoiding it by giving a dishonest answer.

Dates early on set a precedent for the entire relationship. Don’t let dishonesty hurt the great future you might have.

Dating commandment #3: Do not compare.

Don’t hold the sins of others against your new date. Don’t compare your dinner companion to your ex, your girlfriend’s awesome boyfriend, or your dad. Don’t assume that similarities between your new guy and your ex will dictate heartache, or that significant differences will mean that you’ll never feel understood the way you once felt.

Give him/her a chance. Focus on getting to know someone new without comparing his/her menu choices to those of an old vegetarian crush’s.

Dating commandment #4: Do not ignore red flags.

While it’s important to give your date a fair shot, it’s also important to not ignore glaring signs of incompatibility, misaligned value systems or dangerous behaviors.

If you’re uncomfortable around someone, pay attention to the red flags. Don’t force yourself to stay in a bad situation, or to say yes to a date that you know, without a doubt, can lead nowhere.

Dating commandment #5: Do not play games.

That rulebook mentioned earlier? Throw it out. If you like her, ask her out. If he leaves a voicemail message, call him back. If you’re hesitant to say yes to a Friday date with Cute Co-Worker because you’re hoping other Cute Co-Worker will ask you out, say no to the first one regardless of the guarantee of a date with the second. Don’t use anyone as a backup plan.

Dating commandment #6: Know what you want.

Don’t start dating if you don’t know what you’re looking for. Take some time to evaluate what you’re looking for in a relationship. What do you value? When you think about your future, what elements do you most want in place? What makes you laugh? What can’t you stand? How important is marriage to you? What about monogamy? If you don’t know what you want before you start dating someone, you might get caught up in a romance that is ultimately destined to fail.

Dating commandment #7: Remain faithful.

No matter what, remain faithful. Is your partner a jerk? End things. Have you been hurt before? Are you feeling insecure? Talk things out. Be vulnerable. Don’t let temptation be an option. Infidelity doesn’t just often destroy an existing relationship, the repercussions can hurt relationships in the future.

If the adage is true — “once a cheater, always a cheater” — choose fierce loyalty. If things are on the rocks, let the relationship end with dignity before spending time with someone new.

Dating commandment #8: Do unto others….

The Golden Rule applies here more than anywhere. Always treat your partner with kindness and respect — especially on bad days.

If you want your birthday celebrated, honor hers. If you want your date to embrace your family wholeheartedly, do the same for his. If you want your passions celebrated, show an interest in hers.

Dating commandment #9: Fight fair.

Relationships aren’t easy. And with greater investment in a relationship often comes more passionate disagreements about things you care deeply about. Stay on topic when you fight, refrain from using hurtful language, keep your voice at a reasonable volume and listen to the counter agreement.

When you choose to listen rather than just insist on being heard, the person you’re fighting with becomes more important than the fight itself.

When you’re in the wrong, be humble and apologize. When you’re in the right, choose to reassure your partner following their apology. And even if you just have to agree to disagree, affirm one another of your commitment to each other. Hug it out.

Dating commandment #10: End it well.

Most dating relationships end, either in marriage or with people going their separate ways — that’s the dating adventure. Make it your goal to end it well. Cherish the relationship for what it is, respect the person you’re with, and if it’s not meant to be, walk away from the relationship having given it your best and with no regrets.

We know there must be more commandments in your book…so what are they?

eH+Ashsuit09102014-15About Ashley 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 Ashley can contact you if you are a match for an eH+ client.

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15 Reasons to Date a Runner http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/about-you/15-reasons-to-date-a-runner/ http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/about-you/15-reasons-to-date-a-runner/#comments Tue, 30 Sep 2014 23:24:14 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=30335 You see them pounding the pavement or bounding down the pathway. Runners are part of our society’s landscape, jogging to stay in shape, participate in clubs, or train for competition. There are lots of reasons to admire people who devote themselves to running regularly. Let us add one more reason to the list—these people often […]

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You see them pounding the pavement or bounding down the pathway. Runners are part of our society’s landscape, jogging to stay in shape, participate in clubs, or train for competition. There are lots of reasons to admire people who devote themselves to running regularly.

Let us add one more reason to the list—these people often times make excellent dating partners. Here’s why:

1. They care about themselves, and their own fitness. The vast majority of us prefer someone who is active, instead of a couch potato.

2. Running is a proven method of stress relief. It’s nice to date someone who knows how to blow off steam in a healthy way.

3. Runners are goal-oriented. Even the most casual runners exert themselves for a reason.

4. Your runner-love will encourage and maybe even inspire your own exercise. Whether you already exercise regularly or want to start, your partner will be your cheerleader.

5. Runners get high the natural way. All those endorphins create a euphoric feeling—without any unpleasant side effects.

6. They are self-motivated. Whether a casual jogger or devoted marathoner, it takes a lot of get-up-and-go to, well, get up and go.

7. Running stimulates creativity. Plenty of inventors and innovators say they get their best ideas during their daily run.

8. Running provides lots of time for thinking and processing. Of course, your runner-love will probably be thinking about you.

9. These people know that progress in life is made one step at a time. That’s a helpful principle for romantic relationships.

10. For people who run, there’s no need for boredom. Whether jogging through the park or participating in fundraisers, runners won’t complain of nothing to do.

11. People who run regularly have more energy. If you want someone with pep and vitality, you’ve come to the right person.

12. These people know interesting things about your area. Since they get a street-level view, they can point out intriguing spots you might have overlooked.

13. They know how to persevere. Another quality that will benefit your romantic relationship.

14. Running increases life expectancy. When you find the love of your life, you want to be together as long as possible.

15. Runners have toned bodies—or are working towards it. This may not be the main reason you would date someone (obviously!)… but it definitely doesn’t hurt!

Why else should one want to date a runner?

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How to Feel Good About Dating http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/dating-advice-for-you/how-to-feel-good-about-dating/ http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/dating-advice-for-you/how-to-feel-good-about-dating/#comments Fri, 26 Sep 2014 22:22:23 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=30321 Let’s pause for a moment, and think about how you would describe your experience of dating. What’s the emotion that the word “dating” brings up for you? What experiences, past or present do you think about? Each person brings a different perspective to dating. Yours is based on what you’ve been through, what you’re feeling […]

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Let’s pause for a moment, and think about how you would describe your experience of dating. What’s the emotion that the word “dating” brings up for you? What experiences, past or present do you think about?

Each person brings a different perspective to dating. Yours is based on what you’ve been through, what you’re feeling about your dating situation currently, and what your hopes are for your future. What I have noticed, however, is that sometimes when we get too entrenched in what we already know or feel about dating, it can do a disservice to our dating future.

When clients come to me and are either stuck in a dating rut, not meeting the right type of people, or are out of the dating game completely, here are some things we work on. Perhaps it will be helpful for you, too.

Knowing you are worthy, lovable, and special. Past experiences can be hurtful. Maybe people along the way have made you feel unworthy or unlovable. Perhaps you’ve never felt the type of love you long to have. Maybe you’ve told yourself that there is something wrong with you, or that you’re flawed. You are not flawed. Every piece of who you are is worth loving and being loved. Please know that.

Take care of yourself. Physically and emotionally, taking care of yourself is so important in dating. It signifies to you and your dating partners that you see yourself as someone of worth and of value. If you’ve been neglecting yourself in any way, make an effort to reach out to someone who can help — a friend, family member, therapist – and make an effort to replenish the areas in need.

Feeling confident in what you have to offer. Along with knowing that you deserve love, another key component is knowing that you have a lot to offer someone else. The kind of caring partner you will be, the fun and energy you bring, or the intelligence and insight you possess. When you are ready and willing to share all of the good things you have to offer, dating feels good again.

The attitude you bring in. When someone is anxious about dating, fears being hurt, or doesn’t think anyone will live up to their standards, it can bring with it a sense of being closed off, unavailable, or uninterested. When you can push yourself — despite some fears or apprehension — to be open, positive, and willing to engage with your date, that will shine through to your dating partner. It comes through in interactions you have with others, and spills over into how you feel about yourself. It’s a positive cycle that helps you open you up to believing in love and trust and good relationships.

Balance partner criteria with openness. This one is tricky. On one hand, it’s a really good idea to have a general idea what you want in terms of a partner: values, life path, traits and characteristics, the type of relationship you want to have. What happens, though, is that so often we don’t know with whom those particular ideas will flourish with. We may think that “the One” will look or be a certain way; our mind predicts or conjures up what exactly it is we think is best. And yet, we can’t really predict who we’ll meet or what will work out. That’s the mystery and the excitement of it. So instead of having too closely defined images of “the One”, approach dating looking to share positive experiences with the other person. When the right fit is there, it’s likely they’ll fit your criteria for an ideal partner, but will surprise you as well.

Reframing this period in your life. Each period of your life is unique. You’ll never have this particular time in your life again; life is ever shifting and ever changing. By embracing the here and now, it helps you come to love and accept what you already have in your life. It’s a natural human quality that we’re always thinking about what’s next and what will be. The next job, the next girlfriend or boyfriend, and so on. But by savoring the idea of being single and dating, by being content and enjoying it, you will find yourself at peace with the here-and-now.

Allowing yourself to feel what you feel. And then be willing to try again. Being lonely and not having anyone to go out with can feed hopelessness. Having to break it off with someone new who doesn’t feel quite right can be really hard. Being heartbroken when someone you really liked turns out to be very different than what you thought can be crushing. All of these feelings are normal, and it’s okay to feel discouraged or hurt in dating. And yet, we can’t let those negative experiences define our future dating prospects. Give yourself a clean slate as you move forward. Life and dating have ups and downs, that much we know. Though we can’t predict how the future will go, make room for the possibilities of all good things in your love life that will be there, too.

Feeling good about dating is about bringing a level of self-awareness; an awareness of what you have to offer, of your own worth, of what you must do to take care of yourself, and of who you are SingleShyLookingforLoveMECH.inddright now. Add to that a willingness to share the best parts of yourself — those inner qualities of warmth, or caring, spontaneity or sharp wit — and dating feels fresh, fun, and exciting again.

About the Author:

Shannon Kolakowski, PsyD is a clinical psychologist and author. Her work has been featured in Redbook, Men’s Health Magazine, Shape.com, and Scientific American MIND, and she is a regular blogger for The Huffington Post. She is the author of Single, Shy, and Looking for Love: A Dating Guide for the Shy and Socially Anxious and When Depression Hurts Your Relationship. Follow her on Twitter @DrShannonK. 

 

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How to Defend Against Five Emotional Vampires http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/relationships/how-to-defend-against-five-emotional-vampires/ http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/relationships/how-to-defend-against-five-emotional-vampires/#comments Thu, 25 Sep 2014 16:24:31 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=30315 Emotional vampires wear many different disguises–from workplace bullies to needy relatives to poor-me complainers. Intentionally or not, these people can make us feel depressed, overwhelmed, defensive, wiped out, and angry. Without effective self-defense strategies to keep them at bay, victims of emotional vampires sometimes develop unhealthy behaviors and symptoms, such as overeating, isolating, mood swings, […]

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Emotional vampires wear many different disguises–from workplace bullies to needy relatives to poor-me complainers. Intentionally or not, these people can make us feel depressed, overwhelmed, defensive, wiped out, and angry.

Without effective self-defense strategies to keep them at bay, victims of emotional vampires sometimes develop unhealthy behaviors and symptoms, such as overeating, isolating, mood swings, or feeling fatigued. They also get drawn into unhealthy relationships.

Here are five common types of emotional vampires we often encounter, adapted from the book The Ecstasy of Surrender, along with some “silver bullet” tips for fending them off.

Type #1: The Passive-Aggressive Person. This type of vampire expresses anger with a smile or exaggerated concern–but always maintains their cool. They are experts at sugar-coating hostility.

Self-Defense Tips: Let go of self-doubt and trust your gut reactions. Tell yourself that you deserve to be treated more lovingly. Address their behavior. In a calm, firm tone you might say, “I would greatly appreciate it if you can be on time when we go out to dinner.” If nothing changes, keep setting limits with this person and scale back on the time you spend with them.

Type #2: The Narcissist. For this vampire, everything is about them. They are ego-centric, self-important, and starved for admiration and attention. They may be charming and intelligent–until their guru status is threatened.

Self-defense Tips: Enjoy their good qualities, but have realistic expectations. Their motto is “me-first,” so getting angry or stating your needs won’t have any effect on them. Beware of this type, because narcissists lack empathy and are incapable of unconditional love. You may be able to get their cooperation, however, by appealing to their self-interest and showing them how your request will benefit them.

Type #3: The Anger Addict. This vampire deals with conflict by accusing, attacking, humiliating, or criticizing. Some anger addicts withhold things, or resort to using the silent treatment to punish you.

Self-defense Tips: Don’t let their anger wear down your self-esteem. Pause when agitated. Take a few slow breaths to relax, and do not respond until you are in a centered place. Try to stay neutral and balanced, and disarm the person by agreeing with them or acknowledging their position. Then state your case. It’s also useful to empathize with anger addicts. Ask yourself what pain or inadequacy makes them so angry.

Type #4: The Guilt Tripper. These types are world-class blamers, martyrs, and drama queens. They know how to make you feel bad about something by pressing your insecurity buttons.

Self-defense Tips: Let go of the notion that you have to be perfect. Everyone makes mistakes. If you feel really guilty, find a private place and let yourself cry. You can also reply with a positive statement such as, “I can see your point of view. But when you say ___, my feelings are hurt. I’d be grateful if you didn’t keep repeating it.”

Type #5: The Gossip. These busybodies delight in talking about others behind their backs, putting them down, and spreading catty rumors. When they do this, everyone around them feels slimed.

Self-defense Tips: Don’t worry about what this person thinks about you, and don’t take gossip personally. Rise to a higher place and ignore it. However, you may be able to get them to stop by saying, “Your comments are hurtful. How would you like it if others talked about you like that? Please stop saying these things about me.” If you’re in a group, change the subject. Also, never share information with a gossip.

 

Judith Orloff MD is a psychiatrist, intuitive healer, and NY Times bestselling author. Her latest book is The Ecstasy of Surrender: 12 Surprising Ways Letting Go Can Empower Your Life, upon which this article is based. Dr. Orloff, an assistant clinical professor of Psychiatry at UCLA, synthesizes the pearls of traditional medicine with cutting edge knowledge of intuition, energy, and spirituality. Dr. Orloff’s work has been featured on The Today Show, CNN, Oprah Magazine and USA Today.

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15 Reasons to Date a Golfer http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/dating-advice-for-you/15-reasons-to-date-a-golfer/ http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/dating-advice-for-you/15-reasons-to-date-a-golfer/#comments Wed, 24 Sep 2014 22:35:27 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=30310 If you are a golfer yourself, you already know many of the qualities—physical, mental, emotional—that lead to greatness on the course. If you don’t golf, you may have formed impressions from TV and movies: it’s a boring game, duffers ride around in carts, angry people throw clubs into the lake, the men wear plaid pants […]

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If you are a golfer yourself, you already know many of the qualities—physical, mental, emotional—that lead to greatness on the course. If you don’t golf, you may have formed impressions from TV and movies: it’s a boring game, duffers ride around in carts, angry people throw clubs into the lake, the men wear plaid pants and funny hats.

Save the stereotypes for the weekend hackers. The truth is, golfers who take the game seriously have numerous characteristics that would translate well into dating relationships. Consider these:

1. Golfers know that handicaps are a part of life and people shouldn’t be judged because of them.

2. They know that consistency leads to greatness. That’s certainly true with romantic relationships.

3. Golfers know how to deal with frustration … and lots of it.

4. Their mindset is to compete against themselves to improve. You want someone who is going to support you in all things, and not compete with you.

5. Golf requires significant focus and concentration. These qualities lead to success in other areas of life.

6. Golfers strive for emotional balance—a combination of energy and equanimity. Who wouldn’t want that quality in a dating partner?

7. They know how to make conversation. Only a small portion of a three to four hour game is spent whacking the ball, so there’s lots of time for small talk.

8. Golf emphasizes mental toughness. As legend Bobby Jones said, “Golf is a game that is played on a five-inch course—the distance between your ears.”

9. Golfers know that small things (two-foot putts) matter as much as big things (long drives off the tee). Skilled lovers know the same thing.

10. They know there will be good days and bad days.

11. Golfers understand they must forget mistakes and move on if they’re going to succeed. That’s a good principle for relationships as well.

12. Golf reinforces punctuality. Players take tee time seriously. In fact, tournament competitors are usually disqualified if they are late.

13. You’ll be introduced to a colorful new dialect. You will learn words like “waggle” and “wormburner,” and you’ll discover that “overclubbing” doesn’t mean spending too much time at dance venues.

14. Committed golfers are in it the long haul, since instant success is rare. You definitely want a partner like that.

15. If you take up golf too, you’ll be spending countless hours together in pristine park-like settings. Not a bad way to nurture romance.

Why else would one want to date a golfer?

 

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Why Does Love Last for Some, and Not Others? http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/dating-advice-for-you/why-does-love-last-for-some-and-not-others/ http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/dating-advice-for-you/why-does-love-last-for-some-and-not-others/#comments Fri, 19 Sep 2014 14:57:44 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=25357 Unless you are dating just for fun — for companionship, laughs, excitement — then chances are you’ve asked yourself the question at the top of this page. If you desire an enduring, stable, fulfilling relationship, you want to know exactly what fortifies love year after year. That’s a critical question, because as we look at […]

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Unless you are dating just for fun — for companionship, laughs, excitement — then chances are you’ve asked yourself the question at the top of this page. If you desire an enduring, stable, fulfilling relationship, you want to know exactly what fortifies love year after year.

That’s a critical question, because as we look at the society we live in, we see clear evidence that very often love DOESN’T last. If you’ve been deeply hurt by a marriage that ended badly — your own, your parents’, your friends’ — you want to do everything you can to create conditions for lasting love in your next relationship. The good news is that you can take much of the guesswork and wishful thinking out of the lasting-love equation.

For the past three decades, Dr. John Gottman has studied romantic relationships (especially marriages) up close and personal at his “Love Lab” in Seattle. After examining thousands of relationships, both stable and unstable, he has identified several key components that make love last. One ingredient stands out above all the rest, the very glue that holds together every long-term, loving relationship. It is — drum roll, please — trust.1

In fact, you’ve probably heard about the importance of trust, and maybe you too would rank it at or near the top of your own most-essential list. But the question remains: How exactly do you evaluate a person’s trustworthiness? How can you accurately assess if someone can truly be trusted? Thankfully, Dr. Gottman provides five specific criteria:

Honesty. Do not trust someone who lies to you. Too often we come up with excuses for the other person. It was a misunderstanding. She had her reasons. It wasn’t that bad. It was only one time. Take a clear-eyed look: Has this potential lover ever deceived you? Have you witnessed him or her lying to others? Do you find yourself questioning the veracity of what he or she says and then talking yourself out of your doubts? If so, move on.

Transparency. A partner’s life should be an open book, without secrets. Make sure this new person invites you to meet friends, family, colleagues, and also confides in you about major stresses, ambitions, goals. When you ask, “Where have you been?” he or she should answer without hesitation.

Accountability. Is there proof that this potential partner keeps promises? Are you able to check the details of any significant transactions with others, financial or otherwise? Do not trust someone who remains vague or unreachable about these issues. It’s best to be suspicious of people who say “Just trust me” in response to a specific question. Trustworthy people don’t feel the need to tell you what to think.

Ethical Actions. Does this person display just and fair conduct with consistency? Does he or she express and demonstrate values in tune with your own? If you’re not comfortable with someone’s morals, do not continue the relationship.

Proof of Alliance. Any potential mate should demonstrate being on your side and having your back — even in small ways. You want evidence that he or she does not operate out of sheer self-interest nor form coalitions against you. You want proof that he or she takes your interests to heart. It is a wonderful sign if someone demonstrates selflessness toward you.

If you subject people you meet to this clear-eyed assessment, you will gain confidence in your ability to size up others and determine if a potential partner has the trustworthiness to make love last.

1. John Gottman and Nan Silver, “What Makes Love Last?” (Simon & Schuster, 2012).

eH+Ashsuit09102014-15About Ashley 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 Ashley can contact you if you are a match for an eH+ client.

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True or False: ‘Before You Can Be Happy with Someone Else, You Have to Be Happy by Yourself.’ http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/about-you/true-or-false-before-you-can-be-happy-with-someone-else-you-have-to-be-happy-by-yourself/ http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/about-you/true-or-false-before-you-can-be-happy-with-someone-else-you-have-to-be-happy-by-yourself/#comments Tue, 16 Sep 2014 22:45:38 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=30293 Have you ever been told you haven’t found love because you need it too much? That you have to be happy by yourself first? Or have you said these things to yourself? These myths sound so plausible. It’s actually true that we can’t love others more than we love ourselves, and we need to love […]

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Have you ever been told you haven’t found love because you need it too much? That you have to be happy by yourself first? Or have you said these things to yourself?

These myths sound so plausible. It’s actually true that we can’t love others more than we love ourselves, and we need to love ourselves so we can absorb someone else’s love for us.

But the belief that you have to be happy alone to be happy with someone else is not the same idea. You can love yourself and still need people—including one life partner. In fact, it is human to do so.

As a species, we developed in context with other human beings. People did not evolve in isolation. There may have been some folks in ancient times who plunked their babies down on the ground, then wandered off, but it’s likely those kids didn’t become our ancestors. They became lunch!

The very dependence of human babies may be the reason two adults need one another so much. Our children are born so undeveloped, they take years to reach self-sufficiency. Many scientists say the sexual bond between parents needs to last not only long enough to create life—but to sustain it. No wonder reliance on friends, family, and community is not enough to create lasting happiness for most people most of the time; we’re wired up to find intimacy in partnership.

Today, the world is populated by people who need people.

I remember when my daughter, then six, came running in the door, breathless to tell me what she’d learned in school that day: “Mom, did you realize people *need* love? They don’t just want it. They *need* it. Like air!”

Yes. Being alone isn’t good for us. For most, singlehood is actually a noteworthy danger to mental health and life itself. Men who stay single or divorce, for instance, have about six times greater odds of death from all causes compared to married men. Even if you consider other factors, like money and gender and whether folks were married before, singletons have many struggles that marriage appears to ease.

Yesterday, I was out walking when a neighbor, a man in his late 90s, drove up. He held out a shaking hand to grasp mine as he told me his beloved wife had died the day before. “Oh, I’m so sorry, I know she’s the love of your life,” I said. He nodded, big tears rolling down his face: “We were very much in love. I miss her so.”

Other people’s opinion and treatment of us never stops mattering. Connection never becomes irrelevant. A need for intimacy is a genuine need, and when people meet that need, it improves our lives. It is not only against scientific finding, but flat-out weird to think that we ever stop needing others, including needing one special person.  

Indeed, you get closer to truth when you reverse the “happy alone” myth: In order to be happy with yourself, it helps to connect with another. Instead of shaming others who admit to wanting love, we should support them in their search.

Script to confront this harmful myth:

“I am a person, and people are wired to need other people. It’s perfectly natural and even healthy to want one special love in my life. I deserve to give and receive love~with pride, not shame.”

LoveFactually-Final-CoverAs one Wise Reader put it, “I always knew in my heart that my true happiness required not being alone. I always knew I wanted and needed to love and be loved. My problem was how to find it.”

He had it right. You can learn to find love. First, though, give yourself permission, sans shame.

Duana C. Welch, Ph.D., is the author of Love Factually: 10 Proven Steps from I Wish to I Do, coming in January, 2015.  She also contributes at Psychology Today and teaches psychology at Austin-area universities.  Get a free chapter of Love Factually!

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15 Ways to Make an Ordinary Day Extraordinary http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/about-you/15-ways-to-make-an-ordinary-day-extraordinary/ http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/about-you/15-ways-to-make-an-ordinary-day-extraordinary/#comments Wed, 10 Sep 2014 22:00:42 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=30283 Most of us look forward to big events — birthdays, job promotions, a party — to consider a day very special. That makes sense. But the danger in waiting for momentous events is that we might miss the simple joys and delights of ordinary days. Here’s a reminder that each day can be extraordinary if […]

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Most of us look forward to big events — birthdays, job promotions, a party — to consider a day very special. That makes sense. But the danger in waiting for momentous events is that we might miss the simple joys and delights of ordinary days.

Here’s a reminder that each day can be extraordinary if we will be intentional and make a little effort. Try these:

1. Stop and look around. There’s something you’ve been passing by each day without really noticing—the statue on the street corner or the mural on the side of that old building. Today’s the day to notice.

2. Do something childlike. Finger paint, climb on a jungle gym, make s’mores, read your favorite children’s book—let your inner kid loose for a while.

3. Meditate, or at least pause to think. In our fast-paced world, we need to be deliberate about stopping to ponder and process.

4. Make someone’s day. Give a surprise gift to a child you know. Buy a sandwich for a homeless person. Pay a big compliment to someone.

5. Take a gratitude break. Setting aside ten minutes to count your blessings is sure to give you a boost.

6. Call your best friend and set up time together. The anticipation of being with your close friends will lift your spirits.

7. Forgive someone. You’ll lighten your emotional load if you let go of hurts you’ve been holding on to.

8. Look yourself over—with admiration. Most people are hard on themselves when it comes to appearance. Go on, admire your best qualities.

9. Contact a friend or family member you’ve been out of touch with. Call with an out-of-the-blue “I’m thinking of you.”

10. Express your creativity. Take a break from work to draw a picture, watercolor, or blog!

11. Say hello to someone you’ve passed many times but never spoken to. Who knows—it could be a friendship in the making.

12. Write a thank you note to someone not expecting one. That’s a gift to both of you.

13. Dream about your next adventure. Check out travel magazines or websites and begin planning your getaway.

14. Break out of a rut. Get your coffee from a new place, try a new form of exercise, watch a movie different from your usual genre.

15. Take a risk and ask out that person you’ve been working up the courage to call. Go for it. It’ll make your day.

How else could you make an ordinary day extraordinary?

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3 Ways to Impress Anyone http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/about-you/3-ways-to-impress-anyone/ http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/about-you/3-ways-to-impress-anyone/#comments Tue, 09 Sep 2014 23:17:09 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=30267 What makes someone influential? One of the most common responses we hear is charisma—being able to connect, charm, and win over others with one’s personality. The thing is, charisma is not something you’re born with. It’s something you learn. If you want to be the person everyone wants more of, the following lessons will help […]

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What makes someone influential? One of the most common responses we hear is charisma—being able to connect, charm, and win over others with one’s personality. The thing is, charisma is not something you’re born with. It’s something you learn. If you want to be the person everyone wants more of, the following lessons will help you impress anyone:

Lesson 1: Hope

Optimists outperform pessimists in political elections, sales, and social connections, because hope tends to attract other people and is, quite simply, attractive. It’s not that they don’t have dark days. Charismatic people just don’t advertise them. Instead, they emulate hope by:

• Speaking optimistically about the future

• Sharing believable steps to attain that future

• Expressing confidence in the ability of others to take those steps

Lesson 2: Passion

When you’re passionate, people are drawn to you. It’s hard to fake passion. Whether they’re passionate about saving the planet, rising to the top of an organization, the latest fashion, freshwater fishing, or fine art, charismatic people talk about subjects they care about. Even if you’re not interested in the thing they are passionate about, you’re drawn to that person because they exude passion. Charismatic people express their passion by:

• Articulating a strong, informed point of view

• Speaking with energy and vigor

• Demonstrating single-mindedness and focus in what they want to achieve

Lesson 3: Connection

It’s apparent that you’ve made a strong connection with someone when you gesture or move, and they do, too. Charismatic people connect in this way deliberately. If you want to see charisma in action, pay attention to the most charismatic person in the room and you’ll see that they are matching the behavior of those around them. It’s a fantastic feeling when it happens naturally. Usually, however, it doesn’t happen without a nudge. And you can give it a nudge by matching the other person in some of the following ways:

• Speak at the same volume, pace, tempo, and rhythm

• Reflect or mirror similar body language, like crossing your legs

• Share similar beliefs and values

• Make statements or offer views that the other person is sure to agree with

Charisma is a great tool of influence. The most charismatic people have been taught or have trained themselves in the seemingly find art of being charming. If you want to learn to influence others, it’s important that you practice and become aware of these tactics. Practice, practice, practice. Charisma can be learned.

Give Your Mind a Workout: Introduce Yourself With Impact

A moment many people dread is when they’re asked to introduce themselves, particularly in front of others. But it is a great opportunity to demonstrate your charisma.

1. Assess how you currently introduce yourself to new people. What is your approach? Are you as impactful as you’d like to be? How do people react to your introduction? Do they ask questions to learn more about you, or nod and change the subject?

2. Write a couple of practice introductions on a piece of paper, and on each, include one or more of the tactics above.

3. Plan the way you will introduce yourself. How will you find congruence with another person? How will you sound? What will your body language look like?

4. Try it out. Test your new introductions the next time you are at a networking function or a party. Which introduction worked best, and how will you remember to keep using it?

 

mindgym

About the Authors:

Sebastian Bailey, Ph.D., is cofounder and president of Mind Gym, Inc. More than 50 percent of the companies in the S&P 100 have adopted Mind Gym, Inc.’s programs, which run in forty countries around the world. Bailey lives in New York City.

Octavius Black is cofounder and CEO of Mind Gym, Inc. He has contributed to and been featured in The Times, The Sunday Telegraph, The Daily Telegraph, and The Financial Times. He lives in London.

 

Excerpted from the book Mind Gym: Achieve More by Thinking Differently, by Sebastian Bailey and Octavius Black.

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5 Lies We Tell Ourselves About Dating http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/dating/lies-we-tell-ourselves-about-dating/ http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/dating/lies-we-tell-ourselves-about-dating/#comments Fri, 05 Sep 2014 16:45:21 +0000 http:///dating-advice/dating-advice-for-you/lies-we-tell-ourselves-about-dating/ No one enjoys being lied to, which is why singles rank “honesty” as one of the most important traits they look for in a partner.

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No one enjoys being lied to, which is why people on eHarmony rank “honesty” as one of the most important traits they look for in a partner. But when it comes to telling ourselves the truth, we don’t always hold to the same standard. Sometimes we fudge a little. Sometimes, in fact, we tell ourselves blatant lies.

Far from innocent and harmless, these self-deceptions can keep us from finding great relationships. Here are five of the most common lies we tell ourselves about dating:

1. “Love is for everyone except me.” Even if you don’t actually say these words to yourself, they may form the basis of a nameless, nagging fear. Either way, the feeling of being destined to forever stand on the outside of love looking in is common. Instead of telling yourself this lie, stop blurring the line between fact and fear. The lack of a significant other in your life currently may be a fact, but projecting that reality dismally into the future is all about fear. It can also become a self-fulfilling prediction, keeping you from exploring new relationships.

2. “I don’t really deserve more.” This lie can prevent you from taking the risk of exploring a new relationship or keep you stuck in a lousy one. Those who believe this lie may find themselves putting up with disrespect or even abuse. It’s counterintuitive to expect someone to love you well when you don’t expect it yourself. If you believe this about yourself, consider talking with a professional counselor about the events or relationships in your life that led you to embrace this falsehood in the first place.

3. “I know this relationship isn’t great, but it’s better than being alone.” People convince themselves there’s no downside to staying with the wrong person until the right one comes along, but the risks are actually huge. There’s the risk of becoming so comfortable with the wrong person that you stay in a mediocre dating relationship, which could lead to a mediocre marriage. There’s also the risk that, being preoccupied with a mismatch, you’ll miss out on the right match.

4. “It has to look like ‘love at first sight.’” Many people don’t take the time to get to know themselves or identify the essential qualities they need in a partner. These people often come to a first date with selection criteria based on distortions, and they make important decisions based on the delusion of “immediate chemistry.” If sparks don’t fly right away, they might pass on a great individual without giving chemistry a chance to develop. Or they may pursue the relationship based on chemistry when other vital qualities are missing.

5. “If I ignore this red flag, it’ll go away or change.” Sure, and that grinding noise coming from your car will also disappear if you pretend it’s not there! Unfortunately not. If you have nagging concerns about someone you’re dating, ignoring them only delays the inevitable. Convincing yourself otherwise is a sure path to disappointment and even heartache. You might end up wasting months and even years with the wrong person, missing out on better prospects in the process.

Recognizing and rejecting lies is a critical step in wise dating. By telling yourself the truth, you’ll be equipped and empowered to find a loving relationship. I wish you all the best in your search.

EHPlus-05222014-MED-1 (2)About Ashley 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 Ashley can contact you if you are a match for an eH+ client.

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15 Ways to Get Up When Life Knocks You Down http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/about-you/15-ways-to-get-up-when-life-knocks-you-down/ http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/about-you/15-ways-to-get-up-when-life-knocks-you-down/#comments Thu, 04 Sep 2014 22:58:42 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=30249 Sometimes life feels like a boating excursion on a sunny afternoon—smooth sailing, peaceful, and enjoyable. Other times it can feel more like a boxing match, where you are pummeled and down for the count. Everyone has times when they endure setbacks, disappointments, and failures. Psychologists and spiritual leaders agree that resilience is what makes the difference between […]

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Sometimes life feels like a boating excursion on a sunny afternoon—smooth sailing, peaceful, and enjoyable. Other times it can feel more like a boxing match, where you are pummeled and down for the count.

Everyone has times when they endure setbacks, disappointments, and failures. Psychologists and spiritual leaders agree that resilience is what makes the difference between those who survive and thrive, and those who don’t.

Feeling beaten down by life? Here are some ideas to help you get up, brush yourself off, and move forward:

1. Realize you’re not alone. Since everyone encounters adversity of various kinds, many people can relate to your particular struggles. Reach out to loved ones in times of need.

2. Don’t generalize. When hit with bad news (job loss, a break-up, financial troubles), it can seem that EVERYTHING in your life has soured. Stay focused on the many good things happening for you. It is helpful to keep a daily gratitude journal to keep things positive.

3. Remember when… Review your history and gain courage from the times you have overcome hardships.

4. Get inspired by resilient people. You know people who have endured misfortune—learn from their indomitable spirit and wisdom.

5. Keep up your healthy routines. Your emotional reserves will be replenished through physical well-being (exercise, adequate sleep, proper nutrition).

6. Write it out. Expressing your thoughts and feelings in a journal will help to process them and gain clarity.

7. Tap into your spiritual resources. Find strength in soul-nurturing activities.

8. Get back to nature. Many people find comfort by spending time at the beach, park, lake, or mountains.

9. Practice self-compassion. Treat yourself very well, with plenty of kindness and grace.

10. Stay in the present. When going through a rough spot, taking things one day at a time can be very comforting. Just focus on making the present moment the best you can. The rest will all take care of itself.

11. Accept the vagaries of life. We wish the world we live in would be predictable and reliable. Not so. We will work through pain and problems more effectively by accepting that life is fickle.

12. Reframe your perspective. Realize that adversity often leads to growth opportunities and new pathways.

13. Skip the victim mentality. Yes, life is unfair, and it seems that the unfairness is not doled out equally among all people. But you’ll never be a victor if you view yourself as a victim.

14. Mine the situation for lessons. Use hard times to gain insights that will equip you to flourish in the future.

15. Find your inner fortitude. Often, overcoming hardships is a matter of applying grit and determination. You can do it!

What helps you get back up when life gets rough?

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Stop What You’re Doing! How to Change Behaviors That Hurt Your Romantic Relationships http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/about-you/stop-what-youre-doing-how-to-change-behaviors-that-hurt-your-romantic-relationships/ http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/about-you/stop-what-youre-doing-how-to-change-behaviors-that-hurt-your-romantic-relationships/#comments Thu, 04 Sep 2014 18:25:09 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=30236 We all strive for close, loving, lasting relationships – but for many people, fear gets in the way. Depending on what you’ve experienced in the past, you may fear that the person you love will leave, or cheat, or treat you badly. And these fears can cause you to react in ways that push your […]

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We all strive for close, loving, lasting relationships – but for many people, fear gets in the way. Depending on what you’ve experienced in the past, you may fear that the person you love will leave, or cheat, or treat you badly. And these fears can cause you to react in ways that push your partner away, rather than drawing him closer.

Do you feel like you have to be perfect or you will be rejected? Do you become clingy or demanding when you feel someone pulling away? Do you panic when you don’t receive an immediate response to a text, email, or voicemail? Do you try to avoid your fears by numbing out with food or a few cocktails?

When deeply rooted fears surface, you may be so overwhelmed with anxiety, panic, and sadness that you react quickly in an effort to avoid the pain, or prevent the loss of connection. This is a natural and hardwired reaction. Unfortunately, these attempts to avoid painful feelings and experiences likely make your situation worse in the long term, despite feeling somewhat successful in the short term.

The truth is that, while the pain will never go away, you can learn to avoid the suffering that comes with it. The key is becoming aware of how you’re reacting when you experience painful emotions and negative thoughts, and finding new ways to manage the pain using healthy behaviors that will distract you from engaging in unhelpful reactions to the triggering event.

So what qualifies as a distracting activity? Any healthy pursuit that will divert you from acting on the difficult emotions that you are experiencing.

Doing something else—instead of resorting to the destructive strategies you’ve turned to in the past—provides a window of time during which the intensity of the emotion is allowed to decrease. It will be easier to make helpful choices when your negative feelings are more manageable and you have some distance from them.

Distracting activities are not about trying to avoid or escape your emotions; they are about giving you some space so you can see more clearly. Here are some suggestions for activities that you can use to distract yourself from engaging in unhealthy and unhelpful coping behaviors when you are flooded with negative emotions.

Exercising: Any form of exercise is going to be helpful. Exercise releases endorphins—a natural pain reliever and antidepressant that elevates mood and contributes to your overall well-being— which decreases levels of cortisol (the hormone related to stress) and increases and maintains feelings of self-esteem. Additionally, exercise increases blood and oxygen flow to the brain and increases chemicals (dopamine, glutamate, norepinephrine, and serotonin) that help with cognition. In other words, you’re not only distracting yourself from unhealthy and unhelpful behaviors, you’re engaging in a behavior that has positive psychological and physical benefits. Exercise options are as diverse as jumping rope, Pilates, rollerblading, weight lifting, hiking, running and biking.

Hobbies and Special Interests: If there is something you have always wanted to do, or do more of, identify that activity now. This could be drawing, knitting, photography, walking your dog, watching movies – the list is endless.

Volunteering: When your fears get triggered and you are flooded with negative emotions it becomes all about you and your experiences. In fact, the feeling of “it’s all about me” is part of the problem, which is why focusing on someone else is an especially effective distraction. There are few activities that are as rewarding and make you step outside of yourself as much as doing something for someone else. This might involve going to a soup kitchen and serving meals to homeless people, or it could be as simple as offering to walk your elderly neighbor’s dog.

To-Do Tasks: Another great way to distract yourself is to tackle some of the projects on your to-do list. Your list may include everyday housekeeping chores, organizational tasks, or personal projects.

Relaxation and Self-Care: You can also distract yourself by engaging in relaxing activities, such as getting a mani/pedi, listening to music, or taking a bath.

Now it’s time to create your personal distraction plan. Think about what kinds of events or interactions trigger your fears and anxieties. Use a 3×5 card, sticky note, or your smartphone and list some distracting activities for the situations you identified. Keep in mind that your favorite activity may not always be appropriate when you need it (e.g., although you may love running, you probably go for a run if you’re in the middle of your workday when you need a distracting activity), so include activities that are suitable for different situations and circumstances. Also list some distractions you can rely on no matter where you are or what the situation. Keep the card or sticky note in your wallet or on your smartphone.

Now you are armed with a distraction plan that will stop you from reverting to the unhelpful behaviors you have relied on in the past – and help you on your road to happier, healthier, lasting relationships!

LMDLMAbout the Author:

Michelle Skeen, PsyD is a therapist and the author of LOVE ME, DON’T LEAVE ME: Overcoming Fear of Abandonment & Building Lasting, Loving Relationships (New Harbinger, 2014).

 

 

 

Adapted with permission of the publisher, New Harbinger Publications, Inc., from LOVE ME, DON’T LEAVE ME:  Overcoming Fear of Abandonment & Building Lasting, Loving Relationships  by Michelle Skeen, PsyD.  Copyright (c) 2014 by Michelle Skeen. All rights reserved. This book is available at all bookstores and online booksellers.

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15 Ways to Be a Great Friend http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/about-you/15-ways-to-be-a-great-friend/ http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/about-you/15-ways-to-be-a-great-friend/#comments Wed, 27 Aug 2014 23:26:27 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=30217 It’s said that the quality of our lives is largely determined by the quality of our friendships. Your traveling companions on the journey of life can pick you up when you fall, bring out your best, and propel you forward. The surest way to have great friendships is to be a great friend. The bonus […]

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It’s said that the quality of our lives is largely determined by the quality of our friendships. Your traveling companions on the journey of life can pick you up when you fall, bring out your best, and propel you forward.

The surest way to have great friendships is to be a great friend. The bonus is that the skills you develop will translate well to your love life. In that spirit, we offer the following simple yet powerful ways to be a wonderful friend:

1. Build trust. For all relationships—friends, lovers, coworkers—consistent demonstrations of trustworthiness form the bond that holds people together.

2. Be there. Show up, physically and emotionally, for all of your friend’s important events (and unimportant ones, too).

3. Practice positivity. Optimism beats pessimism hands’ down—and your friend will benefit from your upbeat attitude.

4. Initiate consistently. Don’t wait for the other person to text or call you—take the initiative yourself.

5. Cultivate transparency. Openness begets openness, so share from your heart and you’ll receive the same.

6. Affirm differences. Celebrate the other person’s unique beliefs and lifestyle, even when they happen to conflict with your own.

7. Learn the art of listening. Focus on your friend’s words with open ears and an open heart.

8. Give generously. Pick up the tab, send a gift for no reason, offer to help move. A generous spirit will come back to you in unexpected ways.

9. Make the time. Overcrowded schedules crowd out friendships—and very few items on your schedule are worth that.

10. Empathize. Let your friend know you understand and relate to what he/she shares with you.

11. Peel the onion. Make the effort to dig deep into the other person’s life to discover what lies below the surface.

12. Accept the ebb and flow. Friendships go through times of closeness and times of distance. Stay committed throughout.

13. Compliment often. Identify the areas of your friend’s awesomeness and mention them whenever possible.

14. Apologize when you blow it. A sincere apology is the quickest and surest way to smooth over rough patches.

15. Create new memories. Meeting at the same old coffee joint to catch up is fine, but friendships are deepened through shared adventure and discovery.

What others way can you be a great friend?

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15 Reasons to Date a Lefty http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/about-you/15-reasons-to-date-a-lefty/ http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/about-you/15-reasons-to-date-a-lefty/#comments Tue, 26 Aug 2014 20:51:33 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=30194 We all know by now that left-handed folks aren’t of the devil, right?! Here are 15 reasons to date an amazing lefty. 1. If your date’s a lefty and you’re right-handed, you can hold non-dominant hands while eating dinner — or filling out paperwork. 2. Maybe it’s because they’re living in a right-handed world, but lefties excel at […]

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We all know by now that left-handed folks aren’t of the devil, right?! Here are 15 reasons to date an amazing lefty.

1. If your date’s a lefty and you’re right-handed, you can hold non-dominant hands while eating dinner — or filling out paperwork.

2. Maybe it’s because they’re living in a right-handed world, but lefties excel at thinking outside the box. According to Slate, “There may be an outsize number of lefty geniuses because lefties are more likely to engage in divergent thinking.”

3. Yep, they’re super-smart. Bill Gates, Aristotle and Marie Curie: all left-handed. Despite representing only 11 percent of the American population, about 20 per cent of Mensa‘s members are southpaws. There are a disproportionate number of left-handed Nobel Prize winners, too.

4. Not that you care…but college-educated left-handed men bring home a little more of the bacon than their right-handed counterparts. (See Bill Gates, above.)

5. You’ll be dating someone fit for leadership. In fact, the only non-lefty in the White House since the Cold War has been George W. Bush. (Alexander the Great, Joan of Arc and Napoleon Bonaparte were all rumored to be left-handed, too.)

6. The “lefty advantage.” Lefties have advantages in sports. Opponents aren’t used to facing a lefty’s serve (tennis) or punch (boxing). About 25 percent of pro baseball players are left-handed, and southpaws can better adjust to seeing underwater. You’ll want your date on your team.

7. Your date won’t steal your scissors. He has his own. (But if he can use your scissors, it’s because he’s adapted some ambidextrous habits. Impressive, huh?)

8. They get stuff done. Lefties are proven multitaskers. In fact, lefties “tend to have a more even distribution of mental activity across the two hemispheres of the brain,” says Dr. Clyde Francks from the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics at the University of Oxford. “This may make lefties better at organizing vast amounts of information and multitasking, since the two sides of their brain are accustomed to communicating more efficiently.”

9. When watching movies at home on the couch, you’ll each get your own armrest — and can still share the bowl of popcorn.

10. If your date ever ends up in a Zoolander-esque walk-off, he’ll be able to nail that left turn.

11. Lefties are visual and creative. Michelangelo, Raphael, Leonardo da Vinci and Renoir were all left-handed. So is Paul McCartney. One study found that participants just needed to clench their left hands to boost creativity.

12. Lefties are also natural performers, which is likely why so many of our A-list favorites sign autographs with their left hands, including Angelina Jolie, Tina Fey, Bruce Willis, Emma Thompson, Julia Roberts, Jerry Seinfeld, Oprah, Hugh Jackman, Whoopi Goldberg, Nicole Kidman, and Morgan Freeman.

13. He’ll get you home safely. Apparently lefties are better at learning to drive — at least in the U.K., where the gearshift is to the left of the driver. Famous left-handed drivers are pretty out-of-this-world: Buzz Aldrin and Chewbacca.

14. Fun fact: Your date can probably pick up a few groceries faster than you can. Studies have shown that shoppers line up at the checkout nearest to their dominant side. The left lane is usually emptiest.

15. And because we know you were wondering: Lefties are better off in the bedroom. According to a 2014 survey, left-handed people are 71 percent more satisfied in bed than right-handed people. Now you know.

Why else should one date a lefty?

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15 Reasons to Date a School Principal http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/about-you/15-reasons-to-date-a-school-principal/ http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/about-you/15-reasons-to-date-a-school-principal/#comments Wed, 20 Aug 2014 21:15:01 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=30183 Working up your nerve to visit the principal’s office? Here are 15 reasons to date a school principal: 1. To get over your fear of the principal’s office. 2. In fact, you’ll want to visit the principal’s office. 3. You’ll be dating someone in a position of power who commands a certain respect from students and colleagues alike. Can […]

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Working up your nerve to visit the principal’s office? Here are 15 reasons to date a school principal:

1. To get over your fear of the principal’s office.

2. In fact, you’ll want to visit the principal’s office.

3. You’ll be dating someone in a position of power who commands a certain respect from students and colleagues alike. Can you say turn-on!?

4. Enjoy watching the sunrise? You’re in luck. Principals are early risers. (P.S. Coffee is much appreciated.)

5. Principals work hard, and have to judiciously balance the needs of students and teachers, while dealing with the school board. To excel at the job, your date must stay cool under pressure.

6. Date night will be a much-anticipated break from a stressful week of dealing with unruly kids and school politics.

7. You’ll be dating someone who can be simultaneously strict, compassionate, and wise.

8. Your date “meets the parents” all the time. She’s a pro.

9. Summer holidays. Enough said.

10. You’ll be dating a respected member of the community.

11. Not all principals like kids, but the ones who love their jobs do. So if you have kids, your date will know how to talk to them with respect.

12. Principals have leadership skills and excel at team-building.

13. Worth noting if you’re in it for the long haul: Your date has a good pension and will retire well.

14. No graveyard shifts and weekends at the office. Sure, some times are busier than others, but at least evenings and weekends are technically free, right?

15. Principals are organized multitaskers. No lazy bones here!

Why else should one consider dating a school principal?

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15 Ways to Avoid Mr. or Ms. Wrong http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/about-you/15-ways-to-avoid-mr-or-ms-wrong/ http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/about-you/15-ways-to-avoid-mr-or-ms-wrong/#comments Fri, 15 Aug 2014 21:39:29 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=30163 Let’s be honest — no one ever sets out to spend a lifetime in a relationship with the wrong person. That’s an outcome we all are trying to avoid. And yet, if the number of failed relationships is any indication, that’s precisely where a sizable number of people end up anyway. The truth is, many men and women […]

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Let’s be honest — no one ever sets out to spend a lifetime in a relationship with the wrong person. That’s an outcome we all are trying to avoid. And yet, if the number of failed relationships is any indication, that’s precisely where a sizable number of people end up anyway.

The truth is, many men and women complicate matters by letting blind emotion do all the talking, when a little systematic reasoning would go a long way. In the heat of a new romance, it is difficult to think straight. Which is why it is helpful to make up your mind well in advance about how you will go about making such a momentous decision and know what criteria you will use in the process.

Here are some ways to sharpen your focus and take a clear-eyed look at whether a potential partner is the right one to accompany you into the future:

15 Ways to Avoid Mr. Wrong:

1. Check your romantic radar. First things first: make sure you’re not overeager to get into a relationship. Desperation leads to a multitude of mistakes.
2. Avoid the addict. The man who has an unaddressed addiction (drugs, alcohol, gambling, pornography) will make the object of his compulsion the center of his life—not you.
3. Look out for the guy who loves himself more than you. Confidence is what you want; conceitedness is not.
4. Ditch the deceiver. Beware of the man who will “shade the truth” with you—little lies will lead to bigger ones.
5. Pass on the passive man. Sure, you want to find a nice, amiable guy. But you also want one who will stand up for himself … and you.
6. Watch out for Mr. Wonderful. The guy who seems too good to be true—suave, sophisticated, super-successful—just may be.
7. Forget about the flagrant flirt. What seems at first like harmless sociability can conceal heartbreak waiting to happen. Find a man who only has eyes for you.
8. See through the sarcasm. A man’s sense of humor reveals much about his inner self. A jeering joker who relies on crudeness, put-downs, or laughter at someone else’s expense is not kindhearted.
9. Look for the master of disguise. Some men are highly skilled at adopting a persuasive persona, presenting themselves as something they’re not. If you detect a whiff of duplicity, ask yourself why the guy feels the need to fool you.
10. Beware of the man who’s easily bored. If you’re with a guy who seems chronically restless and antsy—always ready to move on to the next promising prospect—do yourself a favor and let him get bored with someone else.
11. Forego the control freak. The fastidious, uptight guy who wants to micromanage your life is probably not someone who want to live with day in and day out.
12. Evict the eternal adolescent. Some guys can’t seem to grow out of their high school days. You deserve better than sophomoric behavior.
13. Detach yourself from the detached man. The person who is preoccupied, distracted, and emotionally unavailable is not going to attach to you in a meaningful way.
14. Move on from the mama’s boy. It’s admirable when a guy loves his mother–but not when extreme attachment interferes with your romantic relationship.
15. Trust your gut on a guy’s trustworthiness. If you have a hint of concern about your man’s truthfulness and dependability, listen closely to what your instincts are telling you.

15 Ways to Avoid Ms. Wrong:

1. Know yourself. Before you can see whether she is the right fit, it helps to confidently know the contours of your own personality.
2. Beware of the chemistry. Emotional fireworks are a good thing in a healthy relationship. But physical attraction shouldn’t be the only thing holding you together. If you suspect that it is, think twice.
3. Take your time. You’ll never get a thorough look at a prospective partner in just a few euphoric weeks or even months. Give things a chance to evolve, and you’ll see how you mesh through all of life’s various moods.
4. Solicit advice from people you trust. You may be rendered senseless by the red-hot excitement of a new romance—but your friends and family won’t be. Let them give you reality checks.
5. Ask hard questions. No one wants to be accused of “buzz kill” in a new relationship by bringing up issues that might be uncomfortable. Yet often that is the only way to learn important things about each other.
6. Learn her history. The best way to understand why a woman thinks or behaves as she does is to know what she’s been through on her way to you.
7. Look out for mismatched goals and values. Be brutally realistic about whether your respective lives and desires are pointing you in the same direction, or whether impossible compromises lie ahead.
8. Observe how she handles conflict. Fights happen—and how a person behaves when feeling angry or threatened provides valuable insight into her character.
9. Discuss the M word … money. Researchers long ago identified financial stress and incompatibility as the leading cause of marital strife. Head off trouble by mapping out your beliefs and goals up front.
10. Talk about kids. After the arrival of children is the wrong time to discover you have very different ideas about parenthood. Thoroughly discuss this critical issue well ahead of time.
11. Be honest about your motives for wanting a lasting relationship. Are you unable to imagine spending life with anyone else, or are you simply tired of being alone?
12. Make sure you understand her motives as well. What are her expectations? Does she expect things from the relationship you can’t deliver?
13. Get to know her friends. Her choice of friends is a window into her most unguarded values.
14. Observe her in stressful situations. Stress has a way of revealing a person’s true character and ability to handle tough circumstances.
15. Take seriously any sign that she is less than truthful. Even little, seemingly inconsequential lies can foreshadow big problems later on.

Looking back, what were the biggest signs that someone may have been wrong for you?

 

EHPlus-05222014-MED-5About 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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35 Ways to Better Your Life Right Now http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/about-you/35-ways-to-better-your-life-right-now/ http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/about-you/35-ways-to-better-your-life-right-now/#comments Thu, 14 Aug 2014 21:33:16 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=30149 I recently experienced a health scare with a good ending. While I studied and practiced measures to improve my health, I also enjoyed more energy and vitality overall. As a result, I have now incorporated these health strategies into my regular habits, usually daily or at least consistently each week. These tips have improved the […]

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I recently experienced a health scare with a good ending. While I studied and practiced measures to improve my health, I also enjoyed more energy and vitality overall. As a result, I have now incorporated these health strategies into my regular habits, usually daily or at least consistently each week. These tips have improved the quality of my life, giving me a feeling of vibrancy. As a result of this increased enjoyment of my life, I decided to share these ideas with you.

Each body and health history is unique, as well as tolerances and sensitivities. Use common sense and your intuitive feelings to find out if a suggestion is right for you. You may also wish to do further research and consult your doctor or healthcare practitioner. At the minimum, you may get out of your rut and open your mind to alternatives that could enhance your life.

Here are 35 suggestions to improve your energy and your health:

1. Drink more water. Whatever your current level of water consumption, add to it! Water helps each organ of our bodies run more efficiently, boosts your immune system and helps flush toxins away.

2. Reduce or eliminate soda and alcohol. Neither are helping your body remain vibrant. Soda can weaken bones, create weight problems and has many other determents. Alcohol can impair your mental function and clarity and cause a plethora of serious health issues.

More at YourTango.com:How to Be Happy: Hint! It’s a Process

3. Eat more fruits and vegetables. Consider a foundation of a plant-based diet. Eating more vegetables and fruits can lower your risk of major diseases such as cardiovascular disease, stroke, cancer and diabetes, to name a few!

4. Reduce meat consumption, especially beef, pork, and chicken. Sway toward loading your plate with more salads, soups and vegetarian choices. Eating less meat can make you smell better and reduce your blood pressure and risk of serious disease.

5. Consider reducing gluten. Try eating less bread and explore gluten free alternatives. You may see your belly slimming down and experience increased regularity.

6. Consume less dairy products. Experiment with products such as almond or rice milk. Dairy products may aggravate allergies, sinus problems and headaches.

7. Reduce sugar. Skip dessert or eat fresh fruit instead. Reduce your cavities and your weight with less sugar.

8. Sleep and rest more. Go to bed earlier or integrate naps into your day. Improve your memory, mood, immunity, and even enhance your sex life!

9. Walk. Take a 15 minute or more walk each day. Like sleeping, walking is a powerful health enhancer and can also put a zip into your sex life!

More at YourTango.com: 10 Uplifting Quotes to Make Your Day

10. Get more sunshine. Add 15 minutes of sunshine to your skin each day—you may combine with this with walking! Grab your natural vitamin D and keep strong bones.

11. Clean out the clutter. Get rid of anything that you no longer use, enjoy or absolutely love. You may feel more productive, mentally sharp and focused as you release the stagnant energy of clutter.

12. Consider scheduling colon hydro-therapy session, a colonoscopy, or colon cleanse. A clean colon helps your overall health. Release toxins, improve absorption of good nutrients, and reduce constipation, all of which boost your energy level!

13. Be less busy. Stop trying to do everything. Learn to pare down and say no. Connect with others more deeply, recharge, and enjoy the simple pleasures that surround you.

14. Read or listen to inspiring books. Daily inspirational reading or listening, especially first thing in the morning, sets a positive tone for the day. Reading also exercises your mind improving your knowledge, concentration, and memory.

15. Practice relaxing. Add meditation, mind-controlled relaxation or visualization techniques, deep breathing, yoga, and other relaxation tools. Relaxing helps us cope with the stresses of life on this planet and returns us to balance when we experience an upset.

16. Visit a health care practitioner. Schedule a massage, acupuncture session or other therapeutic practice to give back to your body and re-balance. We all need self-care mixed into our lives so we have enough in our energy tanks to give to others without getting depleted.

17. Exercise your body. Gradually add more exercise into your life. Elevate your mood, tone your body, and experience more self-confidence and well-being.

18. Exercise your mind. Focus on what you want in life with affirmations and goal setting. By focusing your mind, you gain clarity and opportunities often come your way, especially if you write and review your intentions regularly.

19. Practice gratitude. Write in a gratitude journal or reflect on gratitude daily. The ritual of gratitude reflection can improve your sense of well-being and contentment, especially if you take the time to write down what you are thankful for each day.

20. Reduce your exposure to the news. Most T.V., radio and newspaper news is negative, so avoid it. Since most media leads with bad news, you might find yourself missing all the kind acts that happen and feel gloom instead of hope.

21. Play happy or peaceful music. Add some singing and dancing with the music to get even more out of it. It is hard to feel sad while singing and dancing to uplifting tunes!

22. Forgive more quickly, deeply, and completely. Practice forgiveness each day. Forgiving helps your heart heal and opens the door to more love in your life.

23. Love. Use kind words. Say “I love you” more often. Look for ways to love others and yourself. Love may extend your life, or at least create more happiness as you live it!

24. Worry less. Worry is the misuse of your imagination. Worry often leads to illness, and what you worry about may never come to pass!

More at YourTango.com: 20 Tips to Increase Your Happiness Every Single Day

25. Slow down and be present now. Wherever you are, be there with your full attention. Enjoy fewer accidents and more meaningful relationships with people.

26. Smile. Smile at everyone you see. Look younger and attract other smiling, happy people to you!

27. Laugh. Find humor in your life and express it with a good, hearty laugh as often as possible. Release those feel-good brain chemicals and see your stress level lower!

28. Think positive. Focus on and visualize the best possible outcome. Looking for the sunny side of life and searching for the good in a challenging situation helps you cope and reduces unnecessary struggle.

29. Be enthusiastic. Practice enthusiasm, even with routine tasks. Life becomes more fun with enthusiasm, and you may attract more opportunities and success along the way!

30. Avoid criticizing and complaining. Look for the positive in events and people. Look for a solution, take positive action, and switch your mood for a more pleasant experience.

31. Appreciate beauty. Notice beautiful things around you. Nature and people are filled with beauty if you take time to look, which can provide you with immense pleasure.

32. Keep an open heart and mind. A change might be just what you need. Tolerance can facilitate peace in your heart and in the world.

33. Simplify your life. Focus on quality over quantity. Simplicity gives you more time to relax and enjoy what really matters in your life.

34. Respond instead of react. Be thoughtful and mindful. Mindfulness lessens regrets and increases respect and kindness.

35. Practice the ‘Golden Rule’. Do unto others as you would wish them to do unto you. What goes around comes around, so start a positive cycle and enjoy the lasting benefits living a life of compassion and caring.

Do not assume that loss of energy and vigor are an inevitable consequence of aging. Many mid-aged people and seniors are dynamic and energetic. Diminished energy and poor health can be insidious. Bad habits may have been slowly creating problems for years. Now is the time to take measures to correct patterns before more significant negative health consequences erupt.

Which of the above suggestions are you ready to add to your life?

More at YourTango.com:

This post will make you stop drinking soda – like instantly.

5 Clear Signs You’ve Found the One

 

This article was originally posted at YourTango.com: 35 Ways You Can Improve Your Life Instantly

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15 Ways to Know It’s Time to Break Up http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/relationships/15-ways-to-know-its-time-to-break-up/ http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/relationships/15-ways-to-know-its-time-to-break-up/#comments Wed, 13 Aug 2014 22:01:32 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=30139 The road to a fulfilling, enduring relationship is almost always littered with a few attempts that turned out to be unfulfilling and unenduring. That’s what dating is all about—finding out if two people have the qualities and compatibility to sustain a relationship over the long haul. Sometimes you know for sure when it’s time to […]

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The road to a fulfilling, enduring relationship is almost always littered with a few attempts that turned out to be unfulfilling and unenduring. That’s what dating is all about—finding out if two people have the qualities and compatibility to sustain a relationship over the long haul.

Sometimes you know for sure when it’s time to break up. But other times you’re not so sure. Should you hang in there and give it a chance? Or should you move on so you don’t squander precious time and energy? Here are 15 indicators that, yes, it’s time to move on and seek better prospects:

1. Questions keep popping up in your head. It’s natural and healthy to evaluate a relationship at critical steps, but don’t ignore those nagging concerns that are trying to tell you something.

2. You’ve lost that lovin’ feeling way too soon. If you don’t feel consistent sparks and fireworks while dating, it’s a sure sign the chemistry just isn’t there.

3. The people closest to you express concern. If several people sound the alarm about your relationship, it’s wise to at least take it seriously.

4. Mistrust has crept in. Trust is the glue that holds couples together. If you have legitimate reason to doubt your partner’s trustworthiness, you can be sure more trouble is coming.

5. You wonder about your partner’s emotional health. If your dating partner is very self-absorbed, paranoid, overly defensive, easily angered, or anything else that indicates an emotional health deficit, it’s best to move on.

6. You’ve realized the two of you have missions in life that don’t mesh. Sometimes two good people simply have goals and ambitions that don’t complement each other’s.

7. The two of you differ on important aspects of life. If you have significantly different perspectives on social issues, religion, politics, parenting, environmentalism, and use of finances, it’s best to find a partner whose convictions more closely align with your own.

8. Your partner is holding too tightly to the past. Take note if the other person talks often about his ex, relives the glory days of past achievements, or is held back by old friends. Thriving relationships live in the present and plan for the future.

9. Your communication is strained or superficial. If you and your partner struggle to have open, heartfelt communication, the relationship will surely suffer.

10. You can’t resolve conflicts. In solid relationships, two people learn to manage their conflicts thoroughly and efficiently so that harmony prevails most of the time. Relationships fall apart when conflicts don’t get resolved.

11. Your interests don’t interest each other. If you have five or six major interests, it’s a good idea to find someone who shares two or three of them. The more hobbies and activities you both enjoy, the stronger your relationship will be.

12. You don’t feel free to be yourself. No relationship is going to reach it’s potential unless both partners are authentic. You will feel stifled and suffocated if you cannot consistently express your true self.

13. The pet peeves have piled up. The way people live day in and day out (punctuality, grooming, personal habits) can be no problem or a big problem. If it’s the latter for you, don’t ignore the annoyances.

14. You don’t feel 100 percent supported. If you notice that the person you’re with shows little regard for your ambitions and consistently displays a me-first attitude, you’re probably in the presence of someone more selfish than selfless.

15. You notice wandering eyes. It’s natural to admire attractive people, but if you or your partner frequently “check out” others, it may be because you feel something significant is lacking in your current relationship.

Do any of these reasons resonate with you? What have been the biggest reasons for your break ups?

 

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