eHarmony Advice http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice Dating Advice and Relationship Advice Wed, 23 Apr 2014 21:36:45 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Learning How to Trust Again http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/about-you/learning-how-to-trust-again/ http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/about-you/learning-how-to-trust-again/#comments Wed, 23 Apr 2014 21:36:45 +0000 Jeannie Assimos http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=29669 Whether you are coming out of a bad breakup or trying to figure out how to be vulnerable and trust the online dating structure, I have some advice on why learning how to trust actually begins with you. There are steps to cultivating trust. Trusting another begins with trusting ourselves. The shift may be imperceptible at […]

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Whether you are coming out of a bad breakup or trying to figure out how to be vulnerable and trust the online dating structure, I have some advice on why learning how to trust actually begins with you.

There are steps to cultivating trust. Trusting another begins with trusting ourselves. The shift may be imperceptible at first. It may even result in others experiencing a new, true part of us when we aren’t yet able to see it.

It took a long, hard look at betrayal and another at judgment to see that things aren’t always about me. People fail us, make up their minds about us, and withhold tenderness from us out of their own self-judgment and fear. We take this personally when it is so often all about them.

We each experience these fears and judgments deep inside. I began to trust my heart and had the courage to follow it when I began to address the voices of fear and judgment within myself. I wrote from that voice, or what I call my “inner critic crawl.” It’s sort of like the CNN crawl—that ongoing text at the bottom of the TV screen, but it goes on in your subconscious. I gave this voice a chance to speak so that I could experience her demands.

I heard “You should never let anyone see the real you because they’re just going to see how imperfect and unacceptable you really are. You’ll never be loved, and you’ll end up all alone.”

Harsh, right? By giving this part of myself a voice, I was able to clearly see how no one could live up to my inner critic’s expectations. I also began to see how no one judged me more harshly than I judged myself.

The process of cultivating trust created safety and relief. It became okay to admit things and really, honestly work on them. Work on me.

After discussing my secrets with trusted friends, I felt such relief. I discovered how much more energy it was taking to hold onto it than to be transparent and authentic.

Do you know what keeping a secret does to us internally?

In an article in the February 2007 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine, writer Martha Beck said, “Secrets are like stars. They’re hot, volatile concentrations of energy, and they have two ways of dying. Over time, small stars simply burn out and cool off, becoming what astronomers call white dwarfs. Massive stars collapse in on themselves, growing so dense that they create an immense gravitational vortex from which even light can’t escape. They become black holes.”

These “black holes” at the center of our lives—these masks that we wear—take an enormous amount of energy to maintain. There’s a wonderful Chinese proverb that expresses it well: “Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are.”

And, those old voices of fear still taunt, but I have learned how to keep them at bay by overriding with love, trusting that I will never abandon myself again.

jump coverTrust. What is the cost of holding onto your mask versus the cost of letting go? Only you can answer that question, but it’s worth contemplating.

How could cultivating trust soften your world?

About the Author:

Nancy Levin is a coach, poet, author, and Hay House Event Director. No matter what major change you want to make, Nancy’s new book, Jump… And Your Life Will Appear, and her step-by-step process – incorporating coaching, self-inquiry and journaling – will prepare and propel you to take action. It’s time to face and embrace your fears, create the courage necessary to take the leap toward self-love, and reap the rewards of the unforseen gifts and opportunities that await you upon landing.

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Why You Should Rethink Your Resistance to Online Dating http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/using-eharmony/why-you-should-rethink-your-resistance-to-online-dating/ http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/using-eharmony/why-you-should-rethink-your-resistance-to-online-dating/#comments Wed, 16 Apr 2014 18:03:20 +0000 Jeannie Assimos http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=29645 When you were younger and fantasized about how you were going to meet your special someone, you might have pictured meeting the “old-fashioned way.” Maybe you envisioned yourself locking eyes with this person from across the room, being setup by your best friends, or turning an intense attraction with a stranger on the street into a beautiful relationship. You might […]

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When you were younger and fantasized about how you were going to meet your special someone, you might have pictured meeting the “old-fashioned way.” Maybe you envisioned yourself locking eyes with this person from across the room, being setup by your best friends, or turning an intense attraction with a stranger on the street into a beautiful relationship. You might not have included online dating as a potential way to meet someone, but does that mean you should not try it now?

All too often I hear single clients and friends resist online dating because it does not feel romantic or natural and instead feels like work. Yes, it might feel incredibly overwhelming to have to “sell” yourself and make a lasting first impression from behind a computer screen, but I’d imagine that you did not let overwhelming feelings and thoughts hijack your ability to achieve other personal and professional goals. Dating is the same – it takes effort, time and investment in your present and future, as well as perseverance and courage throughout the difficult moments. Like most parts of life, dating comes with challenging moments, excitement, ups, downs, and learning.

Holding onto inflexible beliefs about how you are going to meet someone and excluding online dating and non-traditional methods as potential ways to meet your ideal partner might be doing you more harm than good. We all have different preferences, values and personalities so it makes sense that some single individuals use and highly recommend online dating and others are drawn to other avenues. However, you are more likely to find a loving relationship with a great partner if you put yourself out there and use a variety of methods to meet other singles. The good news about online dating is that it matches you up with other singles that you would not have known existed otherwise and broadens your network.

While it is always important to do what feels right for you and find ways to make dating an enjoyable experience, readiness and openness are essential in creating and maintaining a loving connection. After all, if you are single, but not actively putting yourself out there and are hoping to magically bump into Mr. and Mrs. Right, you might be waiting awhile.

If you are hesitant to online date or use non-traditional ways to meet potential partners, it is important to understand why. Is fear, anxiety or insecurity getting in your way? Do you consider yourself the opposite of computer savvy? Are you embarrassed to put a profile up on the Internet? Do you believe that you take horrible pictures or struggle to describe yourself in written words?

Once you honestly assess any barriers between you and online dating, it is important to remember that you are in charge of using online dating in a way that works for you. If you know that you are not the type to do well scheduling three dates a week, own that and go at your own pace. If you know that you will only feel comfortable meeting someone in person after a phone call, ask and make that happen regardless of anyone else’s recommendations or advice. If money is an issue, join a free site instead of letting finances be an excuse to not try at all.

Be empowered to turn any excuses or doubts into opportunities to conquer your fears, grow as a person and be open to love. When dating becomes exhausting or intense, remember the pros and cons of online dating and don’t make things personally. For example, instead of letting a date with someone whose picture looked more attractive than they actually were upset you, visualize yourself moving forward and don’t allow bad experiences to color the quality of your entire dating life. That was just one date. The next one could be amazing!

In this day and age, using a variety of dating methods is key to increasing your chances of meeting someone great. Regardless of if you meet or begin a dialogue from behind a computer screen, the key is to create an initial spark and connection that flows and grows into a satisfying relationship in real time, face to face.

Don’t hold back, start online dating today, and enjoy every second of it!

About the Author:

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

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15 Reasons to Date a Cyclist http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/dating-tips-women/15-reasons-to-date-a-cyclist/ http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/dating-tips-women/15-reasons-to-date-a-cyclist/#comments Thu, 10 Apr 2014 20:17:19 +0000 Jeannie Assimos http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=29626 If the cute guy who just asked you out spends his weekends on a bike, don’t hesitate to say yes. Here are 15 reasons to date a cyclist: 1. Two words: bicycle shorts. 2. It’s science: Cyclists are hot. A recent study found that cyclists who excelled in the Tour de France are perceived as more attractive […]

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If the cute guy who just asked you out spends his weekends on a bike, don’t hesitate to say yes.

Here are 15 reasons to date a cyclist:

1. Two words: bicycle shorts.

2. It’s science: Cyclists are hot. A recent study found that cyclists who excelled in the Tour de France are perceived as more attractive than other athletes — and that the top 10 percent of cyclists “is about 25 percent more attractive than the lowest 10 percent.” Maybe fast is the new rich?

3. Cyclists are smart. According to a recent Mindlab survey, most people view cyclists as 13 percent more intelligent than the average person.

4. Cyclists are good. According to the same survey, cyclists are generally viewed as 10 percent more charitable than non-cyclists.

5. Your date will be around for a while. Pro cyclists live, on average, 6.3 more years than non-cyclists. (Um, as long as they don’t get hit by a car.)

6. Cyclists are handy. After years of honing bike-maintenance skills, your date will be up for fixing things around the house, too.

7. The great outdoors. If you’re sick of dating indoor cats, date a cyclist. You’ll get reacquainted with nature. And maybe even travel a little more.

8. Cyclists are committed — and don’t accept defeat. Hopefully this extends to their pursuit of relationship success, too.

9. No lazy bums here, just toned ones. Cyclists are disciplined, often rigorously so, and will withstand the elements to get their rides in.

10. Cyclists are constantly setting goals for themselves. If you want a forward-thinking date, look no further.

11. Cyclists have great near-death-experience stories to share, which is also why they’re also sticklers about safety.

12. You can start cycling, too! Your date will be thrilled to share his/her enthusiasm for the sport. In fact, the whole family can join in, should the two of you eventually procreate.

13. Cyclists don’t call in sick. According to a 2013 survey by the National Cycle Network, cyclists take half the number of sick days as their public transportation-riding colleagues.

14. Think your date’s obsession with the open road is a little over-the-top? He’s saner than you think. Studies have shown that vigorous exercise like cycling can boost concentration and memory while reducing stress and anxiety. The bike is good for his brain.

15. Love the planet? Cycling is as green as it gets.

Research Info:

2. http://www.livescience.com/43110-attractive-cyclists-tour-de-france.html and http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-26034659

3 and 4. http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/cycling/cyclists-are-more-intelligent-charitable-and-cool-than-the-average-person-says-study-9051434.html

5. http://www.smh.com.au/sport/cycling/pro-cyclists-live-longer-report-20130903-2t3ka.html

13.  http://www.telegraph.co.uk/men/active/recreational-cycling/10097449/Cycling-halves-the-number-of-sick-days-taken-by-staff.html

14. http://www.bicycling.com/news/advocacy/your-brain-cycling

Other resources:

http://www.yourtango.com/2014207705/love-dating-6-reasons-date-cyclist-boyfriend

http://www.eharmony.co.uk/relationship-advice/dating/2014/03/15-reasons-to-date-a-cyclist#.Uzxtz61dWd5

http://www.hypeorlando.com/ride-for-veterans/2014/03/29/date-a-cyclist/

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How to Create Miracles in All of Your Relationships http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/relationships/how-to-create-miracles-in-your-relationships/ http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/relationships/how-to-create-miracles-in-your-relationships/#comments Tue, 08 Apr 2014 17:04:35 +0000 Jeannie Assimos http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=29612 Relationships can be our greatest teachers. We can find learning opportunities in all our relationships—whether family, friends or lovers. Rather than stress over challenging relationships, we can shift our perspective. Intimate connections offer us a glimpse into the darker sides of our personality that we may not always want to see. For instance, if you […]

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Relationships can be our greatest teachers. We can find learning opportunities in all our relationships—whether family, friends or lovers. Rather than stress over challenging relationships, we can shift our perspective. Intimate connections offer us a glimpse into the darker sides of our personality that we may not always want to see. For instance, if you constantly feel let down by others there’s a strong chance you’re letting yourself down in some way. Or if you feel judged by people close to you, you probably have some deep-rooted judgment that you’ve placed upon yourself. When we are open to seeing our relationships as assignments for personal growth, then we can begin to appreciate even the toughest times.

Navigating tumultuous relationships can be tough without a road map. To help you out, I’ve outlined three powerful relationship tools from my newest book Miracles Now. These three tools help you see your part, learn from your mistakes and release negative attachments.

Step 1: Take care of your side of the street.

The first step to healing a difficult relationship is to see your part in the chaos. Make a list of all the ways you’ve participated in the drama. Be specific and honest when writing them down.

Then once you’ve clarified your part, it’s very helpful to share it with the other person. Whether you send a letter, call them or meet face-to-face, take the time to acknowledge how you’ve been participating in the problems. This step is not an exercise in making yourself a punching bag. Rather, it’s an opportunity to make amends for whatever you’ve done wrong.

Step 2: Talk it out.

There is nothing more powerful than speaking your truth. This tool was taught to me by my friend Elena Brower, a world-renowned coach and yoga teacher. This exercise is designed to give each party the opportunity to say how they feel without interruption. Here’s how it works: Each person has three minutes to speak without interruption. You can say everything that is on your mind regardless of how bad it may sound. The other person cannot interrupt. When the three minutes are up the other person says, “You have been heard.” Then they get a chance to speak their mind. Once the second person is finished, the partner responds, “You have been heard.”

So often in conversations we interrupt each other to “correct” the other person’s story or defend ourselves. This exercise offers each person the opportunity to share their side of the story and fully own it. Most importantly, it gives each person the chance to be heard.

Step 3: Release.

The final step is crucial. The only way to move forward happily in a relationship is to release the past. This release comes through forgiveness. Now that you’ve owned your part and expressed your true feelings, the next step is to release the other person fully. This doesn’t mean you’re cutting the person out of your life; it means you release the energetic grip the relationship has had on you. To do this you can begin each day with the mantra, “I forgive you and I release you.” Whenever you are in a fight or stuck in an old pattern of negativity toward each other, repeat the mantra.

If your intimate relationships are tumultuous or feel stuck in an unhappy rut, apply these three tools. Trust that the best way to heal a relationship is to see your part, get honest and forgive. Be willing to open up to the root cause of the issue so that it can be brought to the surface and mended. Take responsibility for your happiness and actively choose to enjoy your relationships today.

gab_bookFor more guidance on how to create more flow in your relationships order a copy of my new book, Miracles Now, and get two free lectures from me. These resources will support your inner relationship to yourself thereby strengthening your connection to others. Get your free resources here www.gabbyb.tv/miracles.

Gabrielle Bernstein is a New York Times bestselling author, speaker and Kundalini meditation teacher. Her newest book is, Miracles Now, 108 Life-changing tools for less stress, more flow and finding your true purpose.

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15 Reasons to Date a Makeup Artist http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/dating-tips/15-reasons-to-date-a-makeup-artist/ http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/dating-tips/15-reasons-to-date-a-makeup-artist/#comments Mon, 07 Apr 2014 23:06:31 +0000 Jeannie Assimos http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=29607 Makeup artists might spend their days with beautiful people, but that shouldn’t intimidate you into rejecting a dinner offer. Here are 15 reasons to date a makeup artist: 1. If you’ve got a pimple, bruise or hickey, your date will have your back — and concealer. 2. Makeup artists see the beauty in people and enhance their […]

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Makeup artists might spend their days with beautiful people, but that shouldn’t intimidate you into rejecting a dinner offer.

Here are 15 reasons to date a makeup artist:

1. If you’ve got a pimple, bruise or hickey, your date will have your back — and concealer.

2. Makeup artists see the beauty in people and enhance their best features. It’s a great way to look at the world.

3. Makeup artists are good with their hands, both gentle and precise.

4. Best Halloween costume-party date ever.

5. Makeup artists are mood-boosters. They spend their days making people look and feel their best.

6. Like hair stylists, they become their clients’ therapists and confidantes. Your date will have great people skills — and plenty of relationship wisdom to offer.

7. Makeup artists are team players. On set, they work with wardrobe personnel and artistic directors. For big events, they often collaborate with hair stylists, fashion designers and clients.

8. To be successful in the industry, makeup artists have to set high standards for themselves. There’s no room for slacking off.

9. Makeup artists are adaptable. No two faces are alike, nor are two film sets or clients’ demands. They constantly rise to the occasion.

10. Makeup artists are problem-solvers. When a director asks for a specific kind of black eye or pouty lip, a makeup artist quickly figures out how to deliver.

11. There aren’t a lot of (or any) 9-to-5 jobs out there for makeup artists. Your date has to be entrepreneurial and motivated.

12. Related to #11: Makeup artists are self-employed. They book their own jobs, schedule their own hours and set their own rates. Even when busy, your date will likely have enough flexibility to prioritize love, too.

13. Perks to the job: attending glamorous events, occasionally traveling to vacation-worthy locations, and meeting interesting people. As a makeup artist’s “plus one,” you’ll likely benefit from some of these perks, too.

14. Makeup artists aren’t just creative in front of a makeup chair. If your dream date is someone who appreciates the arts and culture, you’re in luck.

15. If you can’t, for the life of you, figure out how to master a cat eye, a cute pro is willing to teach you.

Why else should one date a makeup artist?

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Filmmaker Ken Burns: What I’ve Learned About History, Love and Myself http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/about-you/ken-burns/ http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/about-you/ken-burns/#comments Mon, 07 Apr 2014 18:50:25 +0000 Jeannie Assimos http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=29582 One of the qualities that has made Ken Burns into a multi-Emmy Award-winning documentarian is his fascination with stories about people and events, and the fact that he doesn’t limit himself when it comes to picking the subject matter for his films. Rather than focusing on topics that he knows, he prefers to delve into […]

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One of the qualities that has made Ken Burns into a multi-Emmy Award-winning documentarian is his fascination with stories about people and events, and the fact that he doesn’t limit himself when it comes to picking the subject matter for his films. Rather than focusing on topics that he knows, he prefers to delve into the unknown. As a result, his projects are diverse: “The Civil War,” “Baseball,” “Jazz,” “The War,” “The National Parks: America’s Best Idea,” “Prohibition,” “The Central Park Five” and upcoming on PBS on April 15 is “The Address.”

the address“The Address” tells the story of the Greenwood School, a small institute in Putney, Vermont, where each year the students — bright, talented young men with learning differences and learning disabilities — are encouraged to memorize and recite the Gettysburg Address. In its exploration of the Greenwood School, the film also unlocks the history, context and importance of President Abraham Lincoln’s most powerful speech.

Then later this year, Burns will take an in-depth look at the relationship between Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt in a seven-part, 14-hour series entitled “The Roosevelts: An Intimate History.” One of the topics the series will delve into is how their love and marriage survived an extra-marital affair. If you think you’ve seen the movie, Burns is here to tell you that wasn’t the real story.

One of the key factors in obtaining all the details that make his films such special meditations on America is Burns’ ability to connect to his subjects. He says one element that is essential in so doing — and is important to all relationships — is the ability to be a good listener.

“People want to be heard,” the twice-married father of three tells eHarmony. “People want to feel like they are somebody and not a wholly-owned subsidiary of somebody else, so listening is a hugely important thing. It’s good as a filmmaker, but it’s obviously good as a husband and a father and a friend.”

In this interview, Burns also talks about the most touching love story he has ever come across that dates back to the Civil War, what marriage has taught him, why he thinks relationships haven’t changed over the years and more.

eH: How has the Gettysburg Address, which was panned at the time, become the most beloved speech in American history?

Ken Burns: You know it’s interesting. It’s gone through many cycles where, initially, it wasn’t as well received, or it didn’t have the [place in] history that we now recognize that it should have, and that comes in large part because it’s short, concise and speaks directly to the central themes of American life. It’s essentially the Declaration of Independence 2.0. The original Declaration said all men are created equal, but Thomas Jefferson, who wrote it, owned other human beings. [In making this speech], Lincoln was dedicating a cemetery to the great Civil War that was fought over the issue of slavery. So he was doubling down on the Declaration and saying that we really do believe that all men are created equal. Our operating system ever since has been that. When the first anniversary of 9/11 came, that’s what we listened to, the Gettysburg Address. We thought those words were medicine.

eH: What do you think Lincoln would have thought of today’s political climate?

KB: I think he would have recognized a lot of it. When he delivered the Gettysburg Address, a Chicago paper – this is his home state of Illinois – said the cheek of every American must tingle with shame as he reads the silly, flat, dish-watery utterances of the man who has to be pointed out to intelligent foreigners as the President of the United States. That sounds like a classic, partisan, political thing and we’ve had this since the beginning of the Republic. Now, it’s just that we have new platforms and new media gets amplified. Our populace learns less and less about their history, so it’s harder to differentiate, and since we think that all we have to do is live in an all-consuming and, thereby, forgettable present, we’re unaware of the fact that, as the Bible says, there’s nothing new under the sun. [Ecclesiates 1:9 What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.]

eH: In the work you’ve done, is there a love story that stands out to you or an astounding example of what real love is?

KB: Of course. First of all, there’s one love story, which is mine, of my country. That’s a good one, but the one that I think you’re looking for is the one from the Civil War series. The end of the first episode has a letter from a Rhode Island volunteer named Sullivan Ballou back to his wife in Smithfield, Rhode Island. Her name was Sarah, and he describes in one letter — I think it’s the most beautiful love letter I’ve ever come across in my life — love at many different levels: love of country, love of government – something you never hear today – love of cause, love of family, love of children, love of wife, but also love of the lover. He imagines that he will die and that his breath will be the breeze that cools her cheek. You can’t read it without crying. You can’t hear it without crying, and he did die a week later at the first battle of Bull Run, the first major battle of the Civil War. That letter is probably what made the Civil War series. I think that every man wishes he could say those words to the woman he loves, and, I think, every woman wishes her man could say those things to her.

eH: The fact that it was preserved from more than 100 years ago…

KB: I’m wearing a wedding ring and the inscription inside of it says “love multiplies.” I think it’s the only absolutely certain calculus I have about the way things work. I think that because the letter survived, or copies of the letter survived and people passed it around, it has that effect, just as a good gesture sometimes turns into two gestures, which turns into four, which turns into eight and suddenly things are better. I think that this is the formula of the universe that love multiplies.

eH: You mentioned your love for country. Was that an influence from your parents or developed from everything you’ve experienced?

KB: I think it’s been an ongoing evolution. I was certainly aware of history all my life. I was certainly aware of the spectacular history of the United States. I then learned the complicated history of the United States. I grew up in the ’50s and ’60s and went to college in the ’70s and started my business in the  ’70s, and have been going ever since. So I’ve seen a lot of water under the bridge, the historical bridge, but I agree with Lincoln and his address to Congress in 1862 when he said: We are the last, best hope of earth. My films have been very complicated looks at many different aspects of our country without them being whitewashed, or sanitized, or a kind of Madison Avenue version of that past. It’s been critical. It’s been tough, but it still celebrates the glories of the United States. I’m very proud of that love affair.

eH: A lot of your films cover past times in history and experiences during those times. Do you think things like relationships are more complicated these days based on all you’ve learned?

KB: I’ll go back to Ecclesiastes and say there’s nothing new under the sun, which is a very poetic way of saying that human nature never changes. You know there are people in history who like to think there are cycles. I don’t believe that’s true. There are those who like to quote the phrase from George Santayana: People who cannot remember their past are condemned to repeat it.  I don’t think that’s true either. I think just human nature is the same, and so, I think, people lived and loved as fully 10,000 years ago as they do today — perhaps even more so, because we weren’t distracted by so many things that today make us all sort of isolated, separated, individual free agents, but they really had to participate out of necessity in figuring out how to get along. Relationships have always been complicated. Love has always been complicated, hard and required work and attention and diligence for as long as there have been human beings. The investigation into the past doesn’t just shed light on important historical events and quotes, but it also shows you how human behavior is so similar to how we are now.

I’ve just finished a series on the history of the Roosevelts in which there is an extraordinarily complicated relationship between Franklin and Eleanor, because it’s blasted by distrust and by an extra-marital affair, but it’s also one of the most complexly beautiful relationships I’ve ever come across that endured that betrayal.

eH: We saw the movie, right?

KB: The movie was complete fiction. FDR was surrounded by people, many adoring women and men all his life, but a lot of it had to do with [the fact that] he couldn’t move and as his wife, in part reaction to the betrayal, set out for a political life of her own, so he found himself alone and often was surrounded by adoring females, but I don’t think he had a relationship with any one of them. I think he had a relationship with his wife, who was his most important advisor and closest partner, and so it makes it a very complicated and utterly modern type of story that also you can find antecedents of well into ancient classical history.

eH: What is the driving force behind the choice of subject matter for your films? Is it personal interest that you have, or things that you think haven’t been talked about enough?

KB: It’s always personal interest. So it means that some story grabs me. I don’t make films about things I know about. I make films about things I want to know about. Rather than tell you what you should know, a kind of homework, I’d rather share with you the process of discovery. The most satisfying thing about being a filmmaker is how many people come up to me to say that film that they just saw of mine, a subject that they thought they knew, they had no idea how little they knew, or how excited they were to learn so many new things about, whether it was the “Dust Bowl,” “The Central Park Five,” or the big series like “The Civil War,” “The War,” “Baseball,” “Jazz,” or  “The National Parks.”

I like that because that’s my process of discovery, as well. So it’s just that I’m drawn to something. It’s the chemistry of friendship in a way, the chemistry of love. You fall in love with a subject and you’re drawn to it and that’s what you focus on.

eH: So what do you love about your life and your work right now?

KB: Just about everything. There’s no differentiation between life and work. Life is work. Work is life. Family and friends and associates, professional associates, sort of blend together, which I really, really like. There’s no clock-punching or slavery to the weekly cycle. Monday doesn’t come with dread. Friday isn’t a day to be looked forward to. I work every day of my life. My oldest daughter and my son-in-law work with me on films. My office is in my house area. The editing room is not too far away. I do a lot of travel, and I meet other people who I feel a similarity with. I feel like I’ve got the best job in the country.

eH: What has marriage taught you?

KB: About compromise. Yeah. George Will in our film on Thomas Jefferson was talking about democracy as the politics of the half loaf. You never get everything and, I think, the most important thing I learned was articulated best by my best friend, David. He said the secret to a good marriage is not making the other person wrong. It’s a hard thing to do.

Ken Burns’ “The Address” will air on April 15 at 9 p.m. on PBS. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

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15 Reasons to Date a Fashion Designer http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/dating-tips/15-reasons-to-date-a-fashion-designer/ http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/dating-tips/15-reasons-to-date-a-fashion-designer/#comments Tue, 01 Apr 2014 11:00:32 +0000 Jeannie Assimos http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=29574 Sure, they might have better style than you. But that shouldn’t discourage you from saying yes to dinner and a movie. Here are 15 reasons to date a fashion designer: 1. Your date will notice your new shoes. (He’ll understand your closet-space complaints, too.) 2. Remember when your ex showed up for dinner at your ‘rents in a […]

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Sure, they might have better style than you. But that shouldn’t discourage you from saying yes to dinner and a movie.

Here are 15 reasons to date a fashion designer:

1. Your date will notice your new shoes. (He’ll understand your closet-space complaints, too.)

2. Remember when your ex showed up for dinner at your ‘rents in a sloppy tee and baseball cap? Not this time. Your date might even upstage you.

3. Not sure what to wear? If you need a little fashion advice, you’re in luck.

4. To succeed in fashion, you need brains. Your super-creative dinner date will also have engineering, math and problem-solving skills.

5. The world of fashion is a highly competitive one. You’ll be dating someone who’s a passionate, entrepreneurial go-getter.

6. While fashion designers often keep long, unconventional hours, they do enjoy some flexibility. (Just don’t expect much quality time together during Fashion Week.)

7. Hobnobbing! You’ll meet interesting people at interesting events.

8. Your date will appreciate you. At the end of a long, crazy day of juggling expectations, deadlines — and dealing with those aforementioned “interesting people” —  your presence will be a breath of fresh air.

9. It’s hard to succeed in fashion. And while there’s the possibility of doing well financially, your date probably isn’t in it for the money. You won’t be dating a sell-out.

10. To ensure their vision is clearly relayed and well-executed, fashion designers have to hone their leadership and communication skills.

11. Your friends will be impressed by your emerging new sense of style.

12. Dating perk: Fashion Week tickets.

13. Not sure if that old favorite coat is repairable? Your date will know. Get ready to learn a lot about clothing care and construction.

14. Your significant other won’t put your wool sweater in the dryer. Or accidentally toss their red socks in your white load.

15. Fashion designers fall into one of two camps: self-taught or design-school graduates. Both groups are highly motivated to make it to the top. You’ll be dating someone with something to prove.

Why else should one date a fashion designer?

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15 Ways to Get Your Date to Open Up http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/dating-tips/15-ways-to-get-your-date-to-open-up/ http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/dating-tips/15-ways-to-get-your-date-to-open-up/#comments Mon, 31 Mar 2014 19:11:02 +0000 Jeannie Assimos http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=29567 Here’s how the dating progression is supposed to go: (1) You meet someone you find intriguing and (2) you get to know each other. Step number one usually feels like the hard part, while getting acquainted comes more naturally. But not always. For some people, dropping their guard long enough to let you in takes a […]

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Here’s how the dating progression is supposed to go: (1) You meet someone you find intriguing and (2) you get to know each other. Step number one usually feels like the hard part, while getting acquainted comes more naturally. But not always. For some people, dropping their guard long enough to let you in takes a concerted effort—and plenty of time.

Here are 15 tips for how to proceed if that describes your new prospect:

1. Go easy. A good place to start is to be sure you aren’t pushing too hard too fast. There is nothing wrong with letting the person you are interested in have the reigns and set the pace for a while.

2. Lead by example. Be open yourself—to demonstrate what you’d like in return.

3. Pay attention. Nothing encourages somebody to share better than having an active, genuinely interested listener.

4. Ask small questions. Find a conversational thread and gently pull. Never start by saying, “So, tell me about yourself…”

5. Be aware of body language. Your posture, eye contact, hand gestures—all of these communicate something important. Your nonverbal cues say either “I’m really interested” or “I’m bored and going through the motions.” Use your body language to promote rather than prevent openness.

6. Give yourself a gut-check. Ask yourself: Are you critical and demanding of others? Is your sense of humor demeaning or uplifting? Would you feel safe sharing your inner self with you?

7. Stay in the sweet spot. Put your date at ease by doing things he/she enjoys the most. The more the person is having fun, the more likely conversation will flow.

8. Seek safety in numbers. Suggest dinner with his friends, then observe what happens when his defenses are down.

9. Bargain. Make a game out of trading personal details. Start silly—favorite TV sitcom—and work your way up.

10. Employ top-notch “customer service.” Make sure your focus is on the other person’s needs, desires, and wishes.

11. Be informed. There may be legitimate reasons for a person’s reticence to open up as soon as you’d like. A little empathy goes a long way.

12. Avoid interrogations. Nobody likes bright lights and thumbscrews.

13. Know when to fold ‘em. Back off if he or she starts signaling discomfort.

14. Don’t take reticence personally. If your date is slow to open up, it’s probably not about you. It is a statement about who they are and what they need.

15. Put the ball in his/her court. If you’ve done all of the above and still feel that you are on the outside looking in, you are allowed to tell your date what you want (to get acquainted) and why (because you’re interested and attracted).

There is no “right” way for relationships to develop. Each one follows its own path on its own timetable. Still, it can’t hurt to give yours a little active encouragement along the way.

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15 Reasons to Date an Employment Recruiter http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/date-tips/15-reasons-to-date-an-employment-recruiter/ http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/date-tips/15-reasons-to-date-an-employment-recruiter/#comments Mon, 24 Mar 2014 19:15:58 +0000 Jeannie Assimos http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=29538 If an employment recruiter shows interest in you — and not just because you’d be a perfect fit for a position he’s hoping to fill — go ahead and say yes to that dinner invitation. Here are 15 reasons to date an employment recruiter: 1. Hate awkward silences? Employment recruiters are great conversationalists and know which […]

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If an employment recruiter shows interest in you — and not just because you’d be a perfect fit for a position he’s hoping to fill — go ahead and say yes to that dinner invitation.

Here are 15 reasons to date an employment recruiter:

1. Hate awkward silences? Employment recruiters are great conversationalists and know which questions to ask.

2. Related to #1: Recruiters actually listen, too.

3. If you’re looking for a little life advice, your date might have some words of wisdom to offer.

4. Not satisfied at work? You’re in luck. Your date can probably help you land a better job or get that promotion.

5. A recruiter knows how to be a good support system. At work, she’s a team player, working as an extension of HR departments.

6. Employment recruiters have set hours. No crazy 80-hour work weeks here.

7. He’ll be your cheerleader. Employment recruiters excel at identifying strengths in others.

8. Your date’s a great screener. He probably already knows he’s making a good decision by asking you out.

9. She can identify and meet needs. Employment recruiters anticipate and provide what employers are looking for.

10. Your date will likely be an organized, efficient multitasker. To be successful, he/she must accommodate employers’ deadlines and specific requirements. He probably won’t forget about your plans on Friday night.

11. Your date is trustworthy. Companies trust your date to screen, interview (and sometimes hire) employees for them.

12. Sick of being the spiffy one in relationships? You’re in luck. Most employment recruiters have tailored, professional wardrobes.

13. They’re plugged in. Your date knows how to strategically use Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin to find and interact with potential job candidates. (Note: Your date probably Googled you in advance. So you don’t have to feel too guilty if you did the same.)

14. The job requires confidence. Your date will present herself as put together and self-assured.

15. Employment recruiters are good at selling ideas. Your date will want you on board — and has likely already convinced you to say yes to that dinner date next weekend.

Why else should one date an employment recruiter?

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Are You Getting in Your Own Way? Advice from Sarah, eH+ Matchmaker http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/relationships/are-you-getting-in-your-own-way-advice-from-sarah-eh-matchmaker/ http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/relationships/are-you-getting-in-your-own-way-advice-from-sarah-eh-matchmaker/#comments Fri, 21 Mar 2014 22:03:36 +0000 Jeannie Assimos http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=29519 Sarah is the matchmaker for eHarmony’s new service, eH+. It gives you the benefit of a personal matchmaker who picks your matches and guides you to success. It’s eHarmony’s matching + premium professional matchmaking. As the personal matchmaker for eH+, I get to spend lots of time talking to users who want a more hands-on experience in […]

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

eH+ Sarah 138-clo-edit-2As the personal matchmaker for eH+, I get to spend lots of time talking to users who want a more hands-on experience in their search for a great relationship. We get to dig into the past relationships they’ve had, the successes and failures of their romantic life and the reasons they believe things haven’t worked for them in an online dating environment.

But more than anything, I get to see the blind spots that develop as people search for love. These are tough subjects to discuss because, typically, they have no idea that they are sabotaging their own search, and failing to deal with this can literally mean that a person won’t find the love they need and hope to find.

In this first article, we look at a few common blind spots:

1. Letting the Past Teach You the Wrong Lesson…

If you dated a lawyer, and he was a jerk, it can be tempting to say, “No more lawyers!” But take that strategy to its logical conclusion. You end up with a list of, “No more lawyers. No more doctors. No more musicians. No more…” You end up building a wall of “no” that is simply based on a sample of one or two. The best attitude you can bring to the search for love is, “Bring it on!” Set aside your past disappointments and conclusions. Every match is a unique possibility.

2. “I’m paying a lot, so I want to endlessly shop.”

It can be easy to forget why you’re working with eH+ or eHarmony in the first place. You want to find one amazing person who will love you, appreciate you, and experience life with you for the rest of your days. Sometimes people come with the attitude of, “Well, that woman was great, but I really want to shop around. Maybe there’s someone better.”

Maybe there’s someone better?

eH+ brings you matches one at a time because each person is hand-selected and hand-vetted. If you enjoy a date with a match, feel a special connection, see a spark of chemistry, don’t let that person go. Don’t “throw back” a special person because you want to shop. You’re looking for love, not a car. If you end up marrying your soulmate, the price you’ve paid will be peanuts compared to the value, love and joy you’ll have.

3. Demanding Control…

Successful people have a few things in common. Typically, they pay attention to detail. They are proactive. They strategize, create structure and execute on their plan. Often these traits make them very successful in all areas of their life except one – romance.

Yet, because their traits work well for them in their business life or financial life they bring the same set of skills to their love life. I often talk with eH+ users who want to completely control how the process works. They know themselves, what they want and how it should work. I spend a great deal of time helping them understand that this is a different world and that they need to give up control.

It’s fine to be organized. It’s great to have a firm set of thoughts and feelings about what you want. But the best way to take advantage of eH+ or eHarmony is to take a step back, and let us do the work that has helped us create over 600,000 marriages.

About eH+: Unlike personal matchmakers that charge $50,000 and introduce you to a tiny number of matches, eH+ uses a personal matchmaker to vet and hand-select matches from eHarmony’s large pool of users for a fraction of the price these high-end matchmakers charge – $5000. Learn more about Sarah.

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15 Ways to Reduce First-Date Nerves http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/dating-tips/15-ways-to-reduce-first-date-nerves/ http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/dating-tips/15-ways-to-reduce-first-date-nerves/#comments Fri, 21 Mar 2014 18:22:38 +0000 Jeannie Assimos http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=29509 Nearly everyone feels some nervousness when going on a first date. Your anxiety might be mild or it might be massive. A few—or many–butterflies are bound to appear when you’ll be spending time with someone you don’t know well. Whatever the case for you, here are 15 ways to ease up, relax, and enjoy that first date: […]

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Nearly everyone feels some nervousness when going on a first date. Your anxiety might be mild or it might be massive. A few—or many–butterflies are bound to appear when you’ll be spending time with someone you don’t know well.

Whatever the case for you, here are 15 ways to ease up, relax, and enjoy that first date:

1. Make a plan. Remove some of the guesswork and uncertainty of a first date by having contingencies in place should the outing not go as planned.

2. Keep it simple. Don’t go looking for extra stress by making plans that depend heavily on the weather, traffic, other people, and so on.

3. Remember, this is only a meet-and-greet. Lower the pressure by keeping your expectations realistic.

4. Choose a time and place that’s comfortable. If Saturday morning lattes at the corner coffeehouse suits you (and your date) better than dinner and theater, go for it.

5. Take a deep breath. Inhale, exhale—it’s an easy, effective way to reduce stress.

6. Do something active. It can be intimidating to sit across a table from someone you don’t know, so consider a bike ride or a walk.

7. Resolve to be yourself. Of course you want to make a good first impression, but throw off all pretense and be who you are.

8. Ride out the lulls. If there are gaps in conversation or if the energy wanes, don’t worry. Dates have their own rhythm of highs and lows.

9. Understand that you have nothing to prove. Your only goal is to be who you are and let the potential relationship unfold as it will.

10. Forget the future. A first date is far too fragile to support expectations of a future relationship. Relax and just be here now.

11. Visualize success. Take a tip from sport psychologists, who instruct athletes to mentally rehearse their optimal performance.

12. Focus on the other person. You’ll think less about yourself if you concentrate on what your date is saying.

13. Get a pep talk from a friend. What are friends if not to bolster your courage and boost your self-esteem?

14. Review your best qualities. There’s no harm in giving yourself a pep talk too. You’ve got assets and abilities—take time to contemplate them.

15. Do a last-minute mirror check. You’ll worry a bit less if you double-check that nothing is on your face, in your teeth, or on your clothes.

What works best for you?

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15 Self-Esteem Boosters http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/about-you/15-self-esteem-boosters/ http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/about-you/15-self-esteem-boosters/#comments Thu, 20 Mar 2014 19:57:54 +0000 Jeannie Assimos http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=29496 The term “self-esteem” may be somewhat overused these days. That’s hard to avoid when it appears everywhere we turn—in ads, magazines, book titles, and on every TV talk show. Still, no matter what words you use to describe it, the way you see yourself—and how that makes you feel—plays a vital role in every aspect […]

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The term “self-esteem” may be somewhat overused these days. That’s hard to avoid when it appears everywhere we turn—in ads, magazines, book titles, and on every TV talk show. Still, no matter what words you use to describe it, the way you see yourself—and how that makes you feel—plays a vital role in every aspect of your life. A prospective partner will take his or her cue from you when sizing you up. But self-esteem is not a change of clothes you throw on before every date. It requires that you actually be someone and do something you can feel good about.

Here are 15 ideas to choose from:

1. Volunteer. There is no faster way to boost your own sense of self-worth than making someone else’s life a little brighter. Hospitals, museums, animal rescue centers, homeless shelters, and food pantries are always needing new volunteers. Find something that appeals to you and lend a hand.

2. Forgive somebody. This could range from someone you have not seen in years to the barista who was rude when you ordered coffee this morning. But forgiving somebody is not about them—it’s about lightening your emotional load and feeling better about yourself for it.

3. Do your best—all the time. Sometimes low self-esteem is well deserved—because you’ve been letting things slide. Tighten the ship to feel better.

4. Have a giant yard sale. The point is not to make a little extra money, though that never hurts. The real payoff lies in how good it feels to simplify your life and get rid of excess stuff.

5. Purge your life of toxic relationships. Stuff is not the only thing clogging the arteries of your self-image. Some people do that too. You can know who they are by asking yourself a simple question: Does being with this person make me feel energized and alive or drive me to shut the blinds and watch depressing movies all weekend? If you answered the latter, graciously bow out of the draining relationship.

6. Donate some money. Worthy causes abound. Support your favorite one with a financial sacrifice, and you’ll have yet another reason to feel good.

7. Teach a continuing education class. There is an old adage among educators: “There’s no better way to learn something than to teach it to someone else.” It’s also hard to find a better feeling than helping someone else master a new skill.

8. Smile more often. It isn’t necessary to wait for a reason. Research has documented a direct link between smiling or laughter and the neurochemicals of happiness and well-being. Give yourself a regular dose.

9. Change your look. Hair, clothes, music, favorite restaurant, books, TV shows—all can become a rut you fall into without knowing it. Like the old saying goes, “A change is as good as a rest.” Or a boost in how you feel about yourself.

10. Get in shape. Do it for you.

11. Pursue something on your bucket list. Low self-esteem is often triggered by the feeling of being stuck in neutral in your life, so shift gears and hit the gas.

12. Learn a new language. The first time you order dinner at an ethnic restaurant and exchange a phrase or two with the waiter in his native language, you will feel like a million bucks.

13. Throw a party. It can be anything from an elegant dinner party to a bad science fiction movie viewing night. Nothing beats a little fun for raising your spirits.

14. Take dance lessons. This item is good for several self-esteem boosters in one: exercise, new friends, and making it look good on Friday night.

15. Take a risk. Step outside your comfort zone and reach for something you want—and for a greater sense of empowerment. Start a business, move to a new neighborhood, publish your poetry, audition for a play, ask for a raise, get to know somebody new—you name it.

 

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Why Do We Stay with Partners Who Are Not Good for Us? http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/relationships/why-do-we-stay-with-partners-who-are-not-good-for-us/ http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/relationships/why-do-we-stay-with-partners-who-are-not-good-for-us/#comments Thu, 13 Mar 2014 21:15:39 +0000 Jeannie Assimos http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=29445 Unfortunately, it is all too common to stay in an unhealthy or toxic relationship. In fact, most people can relate to over-staying in a relationship with a partner who was not right for them, who displayed major red flags, or treated them poorly. Many admit to staying in a relationship even though their gut repeatedly told them […]

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Unfortunately, it is all too common to stay in an unhealthy or toxic relationship. In fact, most people can relate to over-staying in a relationship with a partner who was not right for them, who displayed major red flags, or treated them poorly. Many admit to staying in a relationship even though their gut repeatedly told them to get out.

So, why do we stay in relationships that bring us pain and unhappiness or continue to engage with partners who are not good for us?

There are many reasons, although fear and insecurity are the biggest two. When contemplating whether to leave a relationship or not, fear often kicks in. Questions surface: Will I ever find love again? What if I end up alone forever? These questions ignite fear. Common fears include being alone, being single and not being able to find a partner who treats you well. These ideas create a spiral of negative and catastrophic thinking which makes it even more difficult to leave an unhealthy relationship.

You might have had early childhood experiences or family, peer and romantic relationships throughout your life that resulted in you feeling inadequate or undeserving. Insecurities, regardless of where or when they originated, can certainly keep you in the wrong relationship, especially if you do not ultimately believe that you deserve better.

As distressing as your toxic relationship is, you also know what to expect from it. This creates a sense of false security in something that is really detrimental to your health and makes you believe that it is scarier to leave. For example, being able to predict that your partner will yell at you and degrade you each night might feel less anxiety provoking than making a huge change to end the relationship and deal with the unknown. You might even grow to believe that things will get better and change so you continue to ignore your gut.

There are other key components that keep us with toxic partners. Many report that they stay in unsatisfying relationships due to finances, kids, not wanting to break up their family, or move.

Here are a few points to consider if you know you should leave, but find yourself staying:

1. Understand the signs of a toxic relationships and trust how you feel.  Are you constantly being put down, feel fearful of being your true self or feel drained after most interactions with your partner? Does your partner try to exert power over you, control you, manipulate you or change you? Answering yes to these questions are true signals that your relationship is detrimental to your well-being. Healthy relationships are filled with respect, compassion, love, and support.

2. Assess what is keeping you in the relationship. Is it fear, finances, pity or not wanting to break up your family? Are you afraid to be alone or question if you will find the loving partner you deserve? What are the factors that keep you stuck?

3. By recognizing that your relationship is toxic and no longer denying it, it is common to feel empowered to take action. As difficult as it may seem, it is important to cut off communication (at least temporarily, unless you have kids together) when leaving so that you have the opportunity for healthy closure and healing.

4. Reach out to your support system, ask for help and make an effort to surround yourself with positive people. Engage in activities that make you happy and understand that there is a natural grieving process to endure. Seeking professional help, such as seeing a psychotherapist, is another valuable resource and way to take care of yourself.

5. Be confident in what you deserve and hopeful that you can create it. Unhealthy relationships require great strength to leave, but leaving is truly an investment in yourself and your future.  While giving yourself time to heal and grieve, remember that you are taking a courageous leap to a better present and future.

Ending a relationship, no matter how unhealthy it might be, is heartbreaking and can be overwhelming. It is a loss of something you have spent significant time building and it is only natural that it takes time to heal. Surround yourself with love and never forget what you deserve.

Have you ever left someone you knew wasn’t good for you?

About the Author:

Rachel Dack is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC) 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. Follow her on Twitter for more daily wisdom!

 

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15 Reasons to Date a Caterer http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/dating-tips/15-reasons-to-date-a-caterer/ http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/dating-tips/15-reasons-to-date-a-caterer/#comments Mon, 10 Mar 2014 19:50:08 +0000 Jeannie Assimos http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=29432 Attending a special event that’s catered means you’ll likely be treated well. If you’re the one hosting the party, having a caterer’s help will reduce your stress and headaches. If you’re a guest, you’ll be impressed by delicious cuisine and tasteful presentation. Which brings us to those behind-the-scenes professionals who work hard to provide wonderful food […]

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Attending a special event that’s catered means you’ll likely be treated well. If you’re the one hosting the party, having a caterer’s help will reduce your stress and headaches. If you’re a guest, you’ll be impressed by delicious cuisine and tasteful presentation.

Which brings us to those behind-the-scenes professionals who work hard to provide wonderful food and ensure a wonderful time. These creative men and women can also make your dating life wonderful. Here’s why:

1. Caterers exude poise. A calm, confident caterer puts everyone at ease.

2. They are highly organized and planned, executing their craft to the last detail.

3. They must also be spontaneous and flexible since special events rarely go off without some kind of glitch. Caterers deal with problems quickly and resourcefully.

4. Caterers know how to add the wow factor to any event–including your next date.

5. These individuals are hard-working and efficient. This business is not for the lazy and unmotivated.

6. They know how to deal with demanding, hard-to-please people. Catering requires people skills as much as culinary skills.

7. If you’re in charge of organizing a birthday party for ten people or a company party for a hundred, you’ll be relieved to have the guidance of your caterer-lover.

8. Caterers are dependable and reliable–otherwise they wouldn’t be in the business for long.

9. One word: leftovers!

10. They are strong communicators, skilled at both listening carefully and conveying thoughts clearly.

11. Caterers take initiative, consistently taking on new challenges and responsibilities.

12. They are proficient at money management. Working within budgets, purchasing supplies wisely, turning a profit without cutting corners—it’s all part of the job.

13. Caterers are people pleasers—in the best sense of the term. They delight when others are enjoying themselves.

14. When a caterer plans a special dinner for you, it’s going to be extraordinary.

15. Caterers know that the very best events require dedication, commitment, and passion—just like romantic relationships.

Why else would you want to date a caterer?

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Six Things You Need to Know about Dating with Depression (After a Breakup) http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/dating-issues/six-things-you-need-to-know-about-dating-with-depression/ http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/dating-issues/six-things-you-need-to-know-about-dating-with-depression/#comments Mon, 10 Mar 2014 18:05:14 +0000 Jeannie Assimos http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=29215 A painful breakup can cause you to fall into depression. You miss your ex (even if you know the breakup is for the best), you’re feeling miserable and crying often, or maybe you just feel numb and empty. You might be second-guessing yourself, feeling bad about yourself, having trouble concentrating at work, and can’t sleep […]

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A painful breakup can cause you to fall into depression. You miss your ex (even if you know the breakup is for the best), you’re feeling miserable and crying often, or maybe you just feel numb and empty. You might be second-guessing yourself, feeling bad about yourself, having trouble concentrating at work, and can’t sleep or eat normally. My first suggestion is to definitely seek professional help if it feels unmanageable—most people who get help find relief from their symptoms. When you’re ready, ease back into dating by considering the following:

1. The timing doesn’t have to be perfect. When you’re depressed after a difficult breakup, it can be really hard to know when it is time to start dating again. On one hand, you need to give yourself time to heal—the first days or weeks after an intense breakup, you may not be in a great place to date and it’s okay and completely normal not to want to date. Take some time to reflect on the relationship: What did you learn from it? What do you want to be different in your next relationship? Self-reflection can be helpful, but be aware that too much self-reflection can become ruminating—going over the same problems or regrets over and over, which can keep you stuck in depression rather than moving forward. Next, recognize that you don’t always have to be 100% over your ex in order to start dating again. Depression makes you feel helpless, so sometimes getting out and dating again helps you feel more in control of your life. Plus, meeting someone new can be really wonderful.

2. Strategize when planning. Since you’re more vulnerable to feeling rejected or upset if a date doesn’t go well, make sure you plan activities with your friends after a date, and don’t stake all of your happiness on the success of one date. Make dating a fun part of your life rather than the center of it.

3. Make an effort to focus on your date. Depression can make you very aware of your own inner pain and suffering—your focus becomes overly internal. This can make it hard to be truly interested in someone else. And yet to really connect with someone new, there has to be a willingness to learn about them. A good strategy is to stay engaged with your date by asking them questions, and making an effort to really listen when they answer. Not only will this help you connect with them, but it can your improve your mood when you’re actively engaged in a discussion.

4. Remind yourself that the future does hold possibility. Depression makes your own future look bleak: it tricks you into believing the future doesn’t hold promise for your love life, and keeps you hyper-focused on the negative side of things. You’re much more prone to focusing on your own perceived negative qualities, and seeing things generally with more pessimism. While you certainly don’t have to pretend that everything is roses, I suggest trying to identify one positive thing daily about yourself, about dating, or about your life that will help you reframe your mindset. Remind yourself of the good friends you have, celebrate when things go well at work, or call to mind past positive experiences you’ve had in dating. If it’s hard to identify favorable things, enlist the help of a friend. Sometimes a friend or family member who knows you well can see the positive things in you and in your life that you may have trouble recognizing. In addition to this, plan things for yourself that help you anticipate and look forward to the future.

5. Remember to be kind to yourself. Negative self-talk, like “I’m a failure” or “No one wants me” or “Things will never get better” can be so defeating, and you can start to believe all of the negative things about yourself and your dating prospects. So pay attention to these thought patterns. When you notice a negative thought, label it “that’s a negative thought” or “that’s a depressed thought”, and gently let it go.

6. When you’re depressed, there’s a tendency to excessively seek reassurance when entering a new relationship. Excessive reassurance seeking means that you are looking to your date to boost your self-esteem by confirming that you’re worthy and lovable. You look for signs that the person really likes you, and then even when you receive those signs, you may question them. How much does the person really like you? Are they really going to stick around? You may ask for confirmation of how much they really care for you. This type of behavior can be overwhelming and a turn-off to potential dates if you’re constantly questioning how they feel about you.

Instead, gently remind yourself that your depressed mood can make you extra sensitive and insecure, and remember that there’s a certain amount of trust and faith you need to put in a new person your developing a relationship with. Remind yourself that asking for reassurance all the time won’t really help you strengthen your new relationship, it can hurt it. Instead, focus on giving yourself affirmations—focusing on your own sense of self-worth. And rather than seek reassurance, you can simply notice how you feel when you’re around your partner. If they are treating you well, are interested in seeing you, and are treating you consistently well, then let their actions serve as reassurance to you—without having to ask for it.

About the Author:

drshannon_bookShannon Kolakowski, PsyD is a clinical psychologist, author and relationship expert. Dr. Shannon’s work has been featured in Redbook, Men’s Health Magazine, Shape.com, and ParentMap, and she is a regular blogger for The Huffington Post. Her new book, When Depression Hurts Your Relationship: How to Regain Intimacy and Reconnect with Your Partner When You’re Depressed, is available March 1st. Her dating book, Single, Shy, and Looking for Love: A Dating Guide for the Shy and Socially Anxious, will hit shelves Fall 2014.

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Can You Have a Healthy Marriage Without Much Sex? http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/relationships/can-you-have-a-healthy-marriage-without-much-sex/ http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/relationships/can-you-have-a-healthy-marriage-without-much-sex/#comments Mon, 10 Mar 2014 17:30:11 +0000 Jeannie Assimos http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=29421 Once the thrill is gone, is it possible to stay together? While experts agree that sex is the an important part of the glue that holds couples together, it is possible to have a long lasting relationship without sex. Over time, sex tends to be overrated and overhyped as couples mature, says marriage & family therapist […]

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Once the thrill is gone, is it possible to stay together?

While experts agree that sex is the an important part of the glue that holds couples together, it is possible to have a long lasting relationship without sex. Over time, sex tends to be overrated and overhyped as couples mature, says marriage & family therapist Dr. Paul Hokemeyer. ”Real joy and lasting pleasure comes from a deep and authentic emotional connection with another human being.”

Laughter, trust, vulnerability and respect keep relationships healthy if they’ve reached a point where sex is infrequent. Over time, in fact, that deep emotional connection is far more important than physical intimacy, experts say.

Although they certainly keep things going in the beginning, sexual intensity needs to be supplemented with emotional connection over time. ”Consider the situation in casual sex or hookups. People may be having great sex but without emotional closeness, it will cause them to feel more empty and alone than if they are in an emotionally fulfilling relationship that doesn’t include sex,” says Dr. Susan Whitbourne, a psychology professor at the University of Massachusetts who recently addressed the topic of sexless relationships in an article in Psychology Today.

New relationships, however, that are lacking in sex may be in trouble, Hokemeyer says, because sex feeds the relationship physically, emotionally and spiritually. ”If this ratio becomes skewed in the opposite direction, then destructive feelings can emerge between the partners, like resentment and anger.”

The key to making sexless relationships work is communication — both partners must be OK with it. If both decide their shared values and “we-ness” are more important than the physical nature of the relationship, they can transcend the lack of physical intimacy, says Whitbourne.

If a couple can maintain a sensual connection and expand their definition of sex, it can help them overcome physical sexual challenges and maintain the intimacy bond, even deepen it, sex therapist Ellen Eatough says. Says Eatough: “When the trust and intimacy have been established without the sex, and one partner does not have basic sexual needs that need to be fulfilled for them to be happy and healthy, it can work.”

What do you think: Do you agree with these experts?

More on this at Fox News Magazine:

30 Things to Forgive Your Partner For

3 Magic Words Your Significant Other Needs to Hear Now

What’s The Number One Secret to a Successful Relationship?

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15 Reasons to Date a Social Worker http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/dating-tips-women/15-reasons-to-date-a-social-worker/ http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/dating-tips-women/15-reasons-to-date-a-social-worker/#comments Thu, 06 Mar 2014 17:24:49 +0000 Jeannie Assimos http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=29414 The term “social work” is a broad description for a field with a variety of specific career paths: patient advocate in health care, foster care evaluator, court-appointed caseworker, hospice care worker, and many others. One common trait among social workers is that they are intent on improving the lives of the people they work with. […]

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The term “social work” is a broad description for a field with a variety of specific career paths: patient advocate in health care, foster care evaluator, court-appointed caseworker, hospice care worker, and many others.

One common trait among social workers is that they are intent on improving the lives of the people they work with. They are actively involved in enriching and safeguarding the physical and mental well-being of others. These individuals bring unique skills and qualities to their professional lives—skills and qualities that also make them excellent potential dating partners.

Consider these:

1.Social workers are compassionate and caring. Empathy is a key ingredient to their success.

2.They are diligent and motivated—after all, the typical social worker must complete graduate school, many hours of supervised experience, and a licensing process.

3.Social workers know how to get along with others. They must be relational and cooperative.

4.They know how to negotiate and compromise, often working within large systems and with a variety of personalities.

5.These people are good listeners, giving focused attention to what people tell them.

6.They have a “service orientation”—their lives are devoted to helping others.

7.Social workers are reliable and dependable. The people they work with rely on their support and guidance at strategic times.

8.They demonstrate poise and self-control. Their job often requires them to maintain composure, keep emotions in check, and avoid confrontation.

9.Social workers employ sound judgment and decision making. They are often placed in critical roles for determining the best course of action for people in need.

10.They are innovative, bringing creativity and resourcefulness to complicated problems.

11.Social workers know how to manage stress. They are called upon to deal calmly and effectively in high-stress situations.

12.They are part of a growing profession, with many opportunities for career mobility and advancement.

13.These professionals are organized and detailed-oriented, often dealing with complex policies and regulations.

14.They have stories to share. Dealing with a range of individuals–often in challenging circumstances–means a social worker’s life is rarely boring.

15.Social workers—as the name implies—have strong social skills. It’s doubtful you’ll have any trouble connecting on a date.

Why else should one date a social worker?

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Five Things to Consider Before Deciding Your New Love is ‘The One’ http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/relationships/five-things-to-consider-before-deciding-your-new-love-is-the-one/ http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/relationships/five-things-to-consider-before-deciding-your-new-love-is-the-one/#comments Thu, 06 Mar 2014 16:27:18 +0000 Jeannie Assimos http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=28502 Love and connection are the sustenance of life. Love is the super delicious treat in life. It’s wonderful. The challenge is that the few first few months of any relationship are consumed with a lusty kind of love and our brains are high on dopamine. We have absolutely no objectivity in this phase. All we can […]

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Love and connection are the sustenance of life. Love is the super delicious treat in life. It’s wonderful. The challenge is that the few first few months of any relationship are consumed with a lusty kind of love and our brains are high on dopamine. We have absolutely no objectivity in this phase. All we can do is think about and obsess over our lover. This is not the real nitty-gritty love where a person’s real qualities actually come out and show themselves.

That said, here are five ways to tell if this one is really the ONE.

1. Your love is the one if you respect him/her. When we respect someone, we operate with a higher level of self-awareness and self-control. Respect abolishes immaturity because it brings with it a certain standard of treatment, which sets limits without any words being said. When we respect someone we always want to be our highest quality self as we realize there is no room or desire to take advantage of this person in any way. You admire everything he/she stands for — how they treat people, how they view the world.

2. Your love is the one if you are attracted to each other. Attraction can wear off if your partner is not the one. When you are with the one, the intimacy only gets better as you are able to feel more and more comfortable and free to be yourself in the relationship.

3. Your love is your closest confidant. As you grow together, you will find that you are able to tell this person any and everything. You can confess your successes and insecurities and feel safe either way. There is no jealousy or degrading going on when you are sharing. You feel safe and totally accepted.

4. You agree on the basic things in life. Your love is the one when you operate in life from similar philosophies from the smaller details to the bigger picture. You also make room and space for small differences and have no problems compromising because the compromises are not major.

5. You are supported and encouraged to be the best version of yourself. You are able to be as expansive as you desire to be without your partner being intimidated or needing you to shrink to make him/her more comfortable. Your love is not threatened by your dreams. Your hard work and commitment to achieve them are supported by your partner. Your love is the ONE when they do anything in their power to assist you in being the biggest and best version of you.

When you are with the one, there are no games. You are not being called late as the last option, put on the side or made to feel insecure. You are never in question of your place in his/her life where you feel like you have to lobby for a position. When your partner is the one, you can relax and feel safe and yet you are inspired to give the best version of yourself each day to make this commitment work. There is nothing about this relationship that you feel could pull it apart. You communicate, you trust and you support each other even through your differences. You are good with teamwork and cooperation and finding mutually beneficial solutions.

If you are in a relationship and you are not feeling safe, then it cannot be the relationship that is going to take you into the true experience of love. You will feel pain and hope for love and that, my friends, is not love. Love is high level, interesting, and it can only grow in intensity as you grow as individual people.

True love embraces the individuality of each partner. If you are in anything less than this experience of love, start to love yourself the way you would want your partner to love you and soon you will outgrow your low level experience and pull in someone wonderful. Little life message: If you love yourself, others will reflect that back to you in equal or better value.

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

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Insights from The ‘Online Dating Rituals of the American Male’ http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/using-eharmony/insights-from-the-online-dating-rituals-of-the-american-male/ http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/using-eharmony/insights-from-the-online-dating-rituals-of-the-american-male/#comments Wed, 05 Mar 2014 22:18:18 +0000 Jeannie Assimos http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=29385 Ever wonder what men are thinking about in their pursuit of online dating? Are they actually looking for love and a life partner? Alex Stein is a 27-year-old who has used online dating to meet more than 100 women. And he’s not afraid to cop to those numbers. He says, “That’s true. That’s who I […]

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Ever wonder what men are thinking about in their pursuit of online dating? Are they actually looking for love and a life partner?

Alex Stein is a 27-year-old who has used online dating to meet more than 100 women. And he’s not afraid to cop to those numbers. He says, “That’s true. That’s who I am. No shame in my game. Life is about love. I’m looking for love and lust.” On the other side is Marcus Pierce, a divorced 36-year-old, who has turned to online dating to, as he says, “find a wife.”

Both Alex and Marcus let the cameras follow their search on Bravo Media’s new docu-series, “Online Dating Rituals of the American Male,” premiering Sunday, March 9 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Bravo.

Each week, the show will follow two men as they search for their match. Ladies will want to check out the series as it will provide them with an inside look at the male psyche from the beginning stages of communicating online to landing a date.

Intrigued? Well, read on as Alex and Marcus provide answers to the burning questions you have about what men look for in a woman’s online profile, what are the red flags, does the “M” word scare them off, and much more.

Alex Stein:ALEX 7

eH: Do you prefer to text or call someone you met online to get to know her better?

AS: I prefer to call but, in my experience, texting works better. It is a little more informal and you are more protected with a text because you have more time to respond. But I like to call and just get the ball rolling.

eH: How long do you wait before reaching out to someone to suggest you meet offline?

AS: Two seconds. Zero time if I like their pics. There is not some girl I am going to be intimidated or nervous to meet. I want to make friends. I am a social butterfly. I’ve got to spread my wings and fly.

eH: How many women do you “talk” to online at the same time? Or, do you prefer to focus on one woman at a time?

AS: You have to have your irons in a lot of fires. That is how I work in business and in love. You can’t put all your eggs in one basket. That is just a recipe for disaster in my opinion.

eH: How important is the rest of a woman’s profile (besides her pics)?

AS: There are a lot of red-flag words, like when a woman says, “Looking for money, or I’m broke.” Any type of money stuff is the biggest red flag to me. If that word is on there, it is a no-go. It is the biggest turnoff. I consider myself decently affluent and I would hate to be with a girl because I am buying her dinner. That is the last thing I want.

Other than the pictures, I like a girl that you can tell from her profile has a sense of humor. That is the most important thing. That she can make a joke about whatever it is. I like to see that. That is the most important thing to me other than the pictures.

eH: You said on the show you want to have a bikini shot?

AS: I want the full bod. In my profile, I put pictures of me in a bathing suit. I expect the same from a lady who is trying to get courted by a handsome young man like myself.

eH: Are you scared away from women who mention marriage in their profile?

AS: No. Not at all, because at the end of the day, I do want to get married. I just don’t want to get married today.

eH: Any other turnoffs in a woman’s profile?

AS: Because I am 26, I am not looking to be a stepfather, so when I see girls my age or younger — or even older — with kids, that’s another turnoff to me. I am just not willing to be a stepdad. That is my opinion and I am sticking with it.

eH: Besides a sense of humor, what else do you look for in the profile?

AS: I like when a girl tells you where she is from because that gives you a judge of her character.

eH: You said you have gone on more than 100 dates. Do you have a preference for what you do on a first date?

AS: This is my advice to online daters. The first date, you can’t buy a girl dinner. That is too formal. If you don’t like each other, you’ve got to sit there, and you’ve got the appetizer and the meal, so the best thing to do is go have a cup of coffee, or go to a popular bar and have a glass of wine. You can tell after one drink by her body language if a girl is interested in you. So that’s why I always say, go do something simple where you have an easy out if you are not interested in each other.

eH: How do you get out of a really bad first date?

AS: Sometimes, I use the cell-phone trick, I have a friend call me and say it is an emergency. A lot of times, I don’t use a gimmick, I just say straight up, “Look, I don’t think this is working. I don’t think we are clicking. Here is a drink on me. Good luck in the future looking for love.”

Marcus Pierce:

eH: Do you prefer to text or call someone you met online to get to know them better?MARCUS 5

MP: I would say texting is probably safer these days, just because when you get on the phone, it is a lot more personal. If you don’t have much in common, you have to feel your way through the whole thing. Messaging and texting is probably the best way to go until you feel comfortable.

eH: How long do you wait before reaching out to someone to suggest you meet offline?

MP: I just go off of the conversation. If the conversation flows easily, if I look forward to messaging with that person and it is a comfortable thing for both of us, I will feel it out and go to the next level.

eH: How many women do you “talk” to online at the same time? Or, do you prefer to focus on one woman at a time?

MP: I consider myself pretty picky, so it normally ends up being one girl. I am also really busy so it is hard to spread my time out amongst many girls at one time. So normally, there is just one girl I am messaging with back and forth.

eH: How important is the rest of a woman’s profile (besides her pics)?

MP: Very important. Not that the pictures aren’t important, but for somebody like myself, I am into fitness, I am into sports, I am into art, and not that they have to be into all of those things, but you just want to see some sort of connection there as well. It makes it easier to have conversations and to go through things, so to have that part of the profile filled out, which most women don’t fill out — and most guys don’t either — it is important.

eH: One of the things I liked was when you said that you don’t just look at a woman’s body, you look at her eyes. So can you talk about what you look for in photos?

MP: The No. 1 thing I want is a woman who is confident. Of course, I look at the eyes. I think you can see a lot of things in someone’s eyes. You can see peace, you can see happiness. But to also own whatever shape or size you are is attractive to me. I don’t have one specific body type. They don’t have to be super lean, or super skinny and tall. They can be short, athletic, whatever. Just own it. Don’t try to hide it by having pictures that are shoulders up and not showing everything.

eH: Are you scared away from women who mention marriage in their profile?

MP: Ultimately, for me that is where you want it to end. It just depends in what capacity. It depends on how that word is being used. I see myself being married down the road. I don’t mind that.

eH: What are the biggest turnoffs in a woman’s profile?

MP: There are a few. No. 1 is having pictures far away. Not showing pictures of your friends, just showing a bunch of selfie pictures. That is a red flag. I want to see that you have friends. I want to see that you have fun with those friends and they have fun with you.

I don’t like duck-faced pictures, where the lips are out and you’re trying to look sexy. That is a huge turnoff for me. I don’t know what that is. It seems to be a phenomenon of online dating, which is crazy.

eH: Like they are trying too hard?

MP: Exactly. Some guys may be into that, but I would just like to see you being normal, smiling and enjoying yourself. I want to see that real side.

eH: Do you have a preference for a first date? On the TV show, you had a lot of dinners, but then you got caught a lot in uncomfortable situations.

MP: I think my preference is drinks, and if a girl doesn’t drink, maybe coffee. Just a place that doesn’t suggest that we are going to be hooking up tonight, because I want her to feel comfortable. I want to feel comfortable, so a place where we can meet up without having to worry about where this is headed after this date. Normally, a drink. Something casual. Dinner sometimes tends to be a little too much because you are committing yourself to a lot more time.

eH: How do you get out if it is a disaster?

MP: I haven’t had many of those. I have had some. It has never been bad enough where I’ve had to be rude or not be charming and a gentleman. It’s normally mutual that it’s not working. I would normally get through the drink or dinner and connect on what we can, and then go our separate ways into the night. I have never had to bounce out of a date, or go to the restroom and then just leave type of thing.

eH: There was that one girl you didn’t want to kiss…

MP: That’s because that would be leading her on. I am online dating to meet someone I am interested in. A kiss would send the wrong message.

eH: You did say you were looking for your next wife.

MP: I never want to give it that finale because that could scare people away. I am looking for a life partner. I am looking for somebody who has a good understanding of who they are, that is happy with who they are, because, ultimately, I don’t believe in completing somebody. If someone is not happy in their own life, there is nothing you can do to make them happy. I am not a super hero. It’s finding somebody who is happy in their own life, and I am happy in mine, and if we can make it work, and marriage is the end result, great.

Learn more about the new series!

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15 Reasons to Date a Software Developer http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/dating-tips-women/15-reasons-to-date-a-software-developer/ http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/dating-tips-women/15-reasons-to-date-a-software-developer/#comments Mon, 03 Mar 2014 23:51:32 +0000 Jeannie Assimos http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=29379 If the words “software developer” make you think of nerdy glasses and pocket protectors, think again. Computer wizards can put the “app” into “happily ever after.” Here are 15 reasons why: 1. In today’s computerized world, a software developer is unlikely to be unemployed anytime soon. 2. Software developers like to unplug at the end of […]

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If the words “software developer” make you think of nerdy glasses and pocket protectors, think again. Computer wizards can put the “app” into “happily ever after.”

Here are 15 reasons why:

1. In today’s computerized world, a software developer is unlikely to be unemployed anytime soon.

2. Software developers like to unplug at the end of the day—with candlelit dinners and romantic walks.

3. People who design software are highly intelligent—by necessity.

4. Programmers are accustomed to being “user-friendly.”

5. Software developers know that any new program (or relationship) may have to be “de-bugged” before it meets its highest potential.

6. Software developers are good people to have around when your hard drive crashes, or when a virus changes all your passwords.

7. Someone who understands software knows that true compatibility is all about what’s on the inside.

8. A software developer is always alert for romantic malware (misunderstandings, miscommunications, and misguided assumptions that can infect a relationship, if you are not careful).

9. Software developers are self-assured, having long ago overcome the fear of being called a “nerd.”

10. A quick glance at the amazing apps on your phone will prove beyond a doubt that software developers are highly creative.

11. Computers and romantic relationships have one thing in common: “Garbage in, garbage out.” Software developers know this better than anyone.

12. A software developer believes in the value of regular relationship maintenance—and periodic weekend upgrades.

13. Developers understand that a successful relationship must do more than “function”—it has to make your life better.

14. A software developer can help you finally program your DVR.

15. Software developers learn to see past the ones and zeros of daily life and keep their eyes on the big picture.

What else makes a software developer a good catch?

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Why Forgiveness is so Critical in Every Relationship http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/relationships/why-forgiveness-is-so-critical-in-every-relationship/ http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/relationships/why-forgiveness-is-so-critical-in-every-relationship/#comments Fri, 28 Feb 2014 18:26:46 +0000 Jeannie Assimos http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=29372 Forgiveness in its most basic sense is letting go of the desire, the need, and the “right” to require punishment or restitution for the perceived offense. In forgiving, we renounce the right to hold resentment; we stop fanning the flame of anger, and instead seek to restore that which has been lost. The alternative to forgiveness is […]

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Forgiveness in its most basic sense is letting go of the desire, the need, and the “right” to require punishment or restitution for the perceived offense. In forgiving, we renounce the right to hold resentment; we stop fanning the flame of anger, and instead seek to restore that which has been lost.

The alternative to forgiveness is to allow little seeds of anger to be planted, watching them take root in the form of resentment which eventually leads to distance and walls developing in your relationship. You may have a situation currently that has taken root in your relationship in the form of resentment, anger, or perceived inequality. As you experience the implications of this circumstance, consider some of these aspects of forgiveness:

  • Forgiveness is about you – your choice to let go of the experience of hurt and pain.
  • Forgiveness is not about another person’s perception of your situation or relationship.
  • Forgiveness offers grace – unmerited favor, undeserved, and free of expectations.

Forgiveness provides a unique way to deepen your relationship and strengthen what you have together that is not possible any other way. When we are hurt, our natural response is to protect ourselves to ensure further harm does not occur. This happens through the release of adrenalin putting us into the “fight or flight” response. This could take the form of a spouse withdrawing emotionally, withholding who they are, their expressions of love, in an attempt to reduce vulnerability for a future wounding, an attempt to “flee” from potential hurt. An individual may protect themselves by becoming “armed”, by having an arsenal of criticism ready should they need to “fight” when anticipated pain is triggered in the future.

The alternative to holding on to the hurt and protecting oneself from future pain is choosing to offer the gift of forgiveness and letting go of resentment. Nelson Mandela summed up resentment quite visually, “Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.”

No one wins when pain is left unresolved. Pain is a signal that something is wrong and within a relationship when pain comes through insensitivity, lack of support, misunderstandings, or unmet expectations, forgiveness offers a remedy that has a twofold benefit.

Forgiveness allows us to move beyond our pain, to heal, and to grow. Forgiveness also provides grace to your partner for a wrong that has been experienced. Forgiveness does not look to equalize a situation, does not look for whether a situation is fair, rather, looks at not allowing pain to take root. Forgiveness is about allowing yourself to stay vulnerable with hope for growth in your relationship. It requires a willing heart to look beyond the injury and see the person whom you love, whose dreams you hold as your own, and to see their own pain that has now become your own.

Forgiveness is one of the greatest, unearned, unmerited gifts we can offer to our partners. We let go of our right to bring a sense of equality to the situation and instead, disarm the pain and hurt, by looking beyond and ahead.

If you feel you could benefit from Relationship or Marriage Counseling please visit http://www.theravive.com/

About the Author: 

Christie Hunter is the Co-Founder & CEO of Theravive.com an online directory for therapists and counselors. She holds a Master of Arts in Counseling Psychology and is a Certified Management Accountant.

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When the Going Gets Rough: The Path Back to Joy and Healing http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/about-you/when-the-going-gets-rough-mindfulness-as-a-path-to-joy-and-healing/ http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/about-you/when-the-going-gets-rough-mindfulness-as-a-path-to-joy-and-healing/#comments Thu, 27 Feb 2014 16:39:53 +0000 Jeannie Assimos http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=29361 Peace, joy, and gratitude – feelings we all wish for, but ones that can be hard to come by in our stressful world. When we’re bombarded with our own negative thoughts, it can make us feel as though we’re in a self-made prison of blame and judgments, making it feel impossible to relish the good […]

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Peace, joy, and gratitude – feelings we all wish for, but ones that can be hard to come by in our stressful world. When we’re bombarded with our own negative thoughts, it can make us feel as though we’re in a self-made prison of blame and judgments, making it feel impossible to relish the good in our lives. Happiness has a biological basis, and research shows that we can take steps toward creating a positive and healthy mental space, despite the stresses of living in a demanding, technology-driven existence.

By actively exercising kindness and appreciation, we can promote the brain’s natural production of oxytocin and dopamine— two chemicals that help us feel pleasure and well-being, while decreasing the secretion of adrenaline and cortisol, which make us feel agitation and stress. By focusing on simple pleasures and practicing a mindfulness of the present moment, we can get out of our own heads and into the world around us, allowing for an increased awareness and connectivity to the blessings and positivity in our lives.

It’s encouraging to know that learning mindfulness is possible. Ups and downs, joys and stresses, and hopes and expectations can all guide us to learn to take better care of ourselves and redefine the way we think about ourselves and others, which in turn changes our perception of the world around us. As neuroscientist Dr. Wayne Drevets attests, “In the brain, practice makes permanent.” If you would like to try some practices to foster your own peace of mind, here are some suggestions:

1. Focus on your breathing. When breathing in, think, “be.” When breathing out, think, “calm.” Breathe in and out slowly and purposefully.

2. Spend 30 seconds (or more) allowing your attention and senses to be fully in the present. Focus on simple, tactile pleasures; the scent of pine needles on a tree, a fabric’s texture against your fingers, or the taste and aroma of homemade bread.

3. Label your negative thoughts. Categorize them as “judgment,” “fear,” or “reliving the past,” as they pass through your mind. Then, redirect your attention back to the here and now.

4. Understand that you may have been programmed to engage in a negative way of thinking, and with this understanding, recognize that you have the choice to turn toward positivity instead. Many of us come to realize that negativity has somehow become our “default” way of thinking, and that we had been moving through life on autopilot.

5. Work on generating those positive chemicals: oxytocin and dopamine. Repeat in your mind:

• May I be at peace

• May I be healed

• May I send out loving kindness to others

• May you be at peace

• May you be healed

• May you be filled with loving kindness

6. Notice when you feel moments of joy, and focus on what brought you that joy.

7. Notice when you feel jealous or resentful and ask yourself why that happened. If a negative thought finds its way through, simply notice and acknowledge that thought, then return to the moment.

8. Forgive yourself. Say, “For the ways I was jealous or resentful, may I forgive myself.”

9. Give appreciation to yourself. Appreciate when you have offered kindness and love to others.

10. Notice the many blessing around you. Consider writing down these blessings as the day ends.

11. Intend to look for joy, love, and miracles around you. If you have trouble noticing such things, ask yourself why.

12. Set “mindfulness alerts” as reminders to stop during the day and experience the moment.

photo MilesAbout the Author:

Dr. Linda Miles is a leading expert on relationships and mindfulness. She is a psychotherapist, author, media expert and speaker. She has studied and worked in her field of counseling psychology for over 30 years and often speaks about mindfulness, stress reduction, mental health and relationships. Dr. Miles is personable and accessible in her books, articles and talks about how mindfulness and loving kindness can positively change your brain, your chemistry and your life. She can be reached at www.drlindamiles.com or followed on Twitter.

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What’s the Deal with ‘Love at First Sight?’ http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/dating-advice-for-you/whats-the-deal-with-love-at-first-sight/ http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/dating-advice-for-you/whats-the-deal-with-love-at-first-sight/#comments Wed, 26 Feb 2014 18:50:15 +0000 Jeannie Assimos http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=29351 The concept of love at first sight appears in so many films that you would think most people felt that same way when they first met their partner or spouse. Romantic comedies and dramas portray magical moments where two character’s eyes lock for the first time and life is never the same. Sound familiar? Probably not! We are a culture that thrives […]

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The concept of love at first sight appears in so many films that you would think most people felt that same way when they first met their partner or spouse. Romantic comedies and dramas portray magical moments where two character’s eyes lock for the first time and life is never the same. Sound familiar? Probably not!

We are a culture that thrives on music, television shows and stories with plots like the one described above. We love romance. After all, it is entertaining and to love and be loved is what we all want.  The problem, though, is that love at first sight stories and fairytale endings create unrealistic expectations about our real relationships. Sometimes we forget that relationships actually take work and that your partner does not come into your life to fix you.

Although there is scientific proof of love at first sight (and many couples can vouch for it), whether or not you believe in love at first sight may be one of the factors keeping you single. If you rigidly believe that you will experience love at first sight with the man or woman you will spend your life with, it is likely that you have missed out on other amazing partners because you didn’t experience that grand feeling you long for during an initial meeting. If you believe that magic will occur when you first see him or her, you are likely to dismiss anyone who you are not completely gaga over or anyone who doesn’t look like the person you envision yourself with.

Another potential issue with the love at first sight concept is that it might make you believe that you are destined to be with anyone who ignites a spark in you, causing you to downplay any red flags, areas of concern or negative signals when you actually get to know this new person.

While it is important to feel an initial attraction or connection that makes you want to smile, talk to or approach someone, this may be felt in a more subtle, anxious or superficial way at first. You may also feel a force that moves you toward this person even if you can’t automatically figure out why it’s there or put it into words. This very force may not be love. It could be an instant attraction, your intuition or a sense of knowing that you want to learn more or connect. It could be an energy that draws you toward this new person, but again, it might not necessarily be love.

Believing in love at first sight may be empowering and exciting and lead you in the right direction. It may also get in the way of being open to men and women who start off as acquaintances or friends. Regardless of if you believe in the concept or not (and there is no right or wrong here), honoring these two commitments is likely to enhance your love life:

1. Commit to approaching your personal and dating life with openness, curiosity and present moment awareness. If you do believe in love at first sight, allow that belief to inspire you while also making room for the belief that you may fall in love with someone in a slower capacity. This shift will naturally open you up to meeting a potential partner in a variety of situations.

2. Commit to making a point to get to know men or women who spark your interest or attention even if you don’t experience love at first sight as depicted in the media. Often times, relationships start slowly and progress toward love when mutual understanding, commonalities, meaningful dialogue and chemistry intersect and grow. Allow yourself to fall in love at your own pace.

Do you believe in love at first sight?

About the Author:

Rachel Dack is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC) 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. Follow her on Twitter for more daily wisdom!

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Are You Codependent? http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/relationships/are-you-codependent/ http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/relationships/are-you-codependent/#comments Wed, 26 Feb 2014 00:10:52 +0000 Jeannie Assimos http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=29339 In the best of circumstances, a parent will meet their child’s needs for nurturing, protection and emotional attunement in order to securely bond with them. When there is a failure to complete this process of secure bonding, codependency results. Characteristics of Codependency If you examine the characteristics of people with codependent behaviors, you will find behavior […]

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In the best of circumstances, a parent will meet their child’s needs for nurturing, protection and emotional attunement in order to securely bond with them. When there is a failure to complete this process of secure bonding, codependency results.

Characteristics of Codependency

If you examine the characteristics of people with codependent behaviors, you will find behavior patterns more typical of children than of fully functioning adults. The reason is because they are still attempting to fill in the deficits that resulted from their early insecure attachments.

Below are some of the common characteristics of codependency:

You don’t trust yourself and your own decisions.

You let your partner hurt you without trying to protect yourself.

You do things to please your partner even when you do not want to.

You rely on your partner to define and take care of you.

You live your life as if you are a victim of circumstances.

You fear expressing your feelings for fear your partner will reject you.

You seek the approval and attention of your partner in order to feel good.

You whine or pout when you don’t get what you want.

If you can identify with more than half of the items above, you likely have codependency issues to resolve.

Codependency in a relationship occurs when two people, both seeking from the other what they are lacking from their early childhood, come together to form a complete person. Each feels he or she cannot function well without the help of the other. Eventually, one of the partners tires of the dysfunctional attachment and will seek to change the status quo. Lacking the proper tools to break the pattern, they will be unable to successfully create change.

Let’s look at the following codependent interaction between Daphne and Dave, in which Dave depends on Daphne as a kind of mirror to define him and tell him who he is:

Dave: I lost another client today and I am terrified I will be let go. What should I do?

Daphne: Oh no, you can’t do this to us Dave. I have already told you I cannot have a relationship with a weakling.

Dave: I need you to be strong for me or I will get more anxious, which will really mess me up.

Daphne: Okay. Okay. Let’s talk about the situation and just like I always do, I will come up with a plan.

In the above example, we see how Dave’s immediate response to his fear was to depend on Daphne, not himself, to come up with the answers to his dilemma. Indeed, his dependency on Daphne makes us wonder how he is able to function independently in his work environment. His ability to trust his own capacity to survive his work concerns is fragile at best.

Daphne’s initial reaction was self-serving (“How can you do this to us?”) and showed no recognition that Dave was the one with the problem and needed help. Ultimately, she assumed the familiar role of rescuing Dave, further reinforcing his dependency on her.

Are they enmeshed in a codependent arrangement? You bet. Dave’s dependence on Daphne likely makes him feel that not having instant access to her would be tantamount to losing himself. While appearing to be the stronger of the two, Daphne’s need to take care of him like a child reflects her codependent need to micromanage Dave, rather than encourage his independent thinking.

Breaking The Cycle of Codependency

Believing that their partner is more competent than they are, people with codependency issues tend to pass on the responsibility for their healing to their partner. Turning attention toward one’s self and recognizing patterns of codependent behavior are the first steps toward making changes. This means developing personal boundaries, which includes learning about one’s thoughts, feeling and behaviors. Breaking the cycle of codependency must take place before successful, mutual, and cooperative interdependency can occur.

Deb Hecker headshotAbout the Author:

Author of the recently released book, “Who Am I Without My Partner? Post-Divorce Healing and Rediscovering Your SELF,” Deborah Hecker, Ph.D. is a psychotherapist with over 35 years of private practice experience. She received her Master’s Degree from Columbia University and her Ph.D. from The Union Institute. In addition, she is certified as a psychoanalyst and has extensive training in the following areas: addiction counseling, grief counseling, collaborative practice and mediation. For more information, please visit www.drdeborahhecker.com.

 

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6 Things You Can Do to Better All of Your Relationships http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/relationships/six-things-you-can-do-to-improve-your-relationship/ http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/relationships/six-things-you-can-do-to-improve-your-relationship/#comments Mon, 24 Feb 2014 21:58:40 +0000 Jeannie Assimos http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=29326 We have one job in this life and that is to be authentic in who we are. It is easy to get pulled away from our commitment to ourselves in the world of relationships as we experience the demands of other people’s thoughts and expectations of who they would like us to be. The greatest gift you […]

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

6 Steps to Being Authentically You:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Matching the Outside to the Inside http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/about-you/matching-the-outside-to-the-inside/ http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/about-you/matching-the-outside-to-the-inside/#comments Fri, 21 Feb 2014 22:40:58 +0000 Jeannie Assimos http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=29311 Did you get dressed this morning? Yes, of course you did, because in our society you can’t be naked. And even if you could, I think most of us would opt for clothing. After showering or brushing your teeth, dressing is probably the first thing you do every day. But have you ever stopped to […]

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Did you get dressed this morning? Yes, of course you did, because in our society you can’t be naked. And even if you could, I think most of us would opt for clothing. After showering or brushing your PowerofStyle_HCteeth, dressing is probably the first thing you do every day. But have you ever stopped to consider that it’s also the most important? This one act affects everything else that follows, yet the duty of putting ‘something’ on is often left to the last few minutes before you have to run out the door.

Your style is the way you speak to the world without words. It’s a layer of language that you wear and the first thing people notice about you. It’s how you initially attract people – from employers to friends to potential mates. So it’s imperative that you are in control of your personal image and what you are “saying” to others. Family, co-workers, companions, and potential love interests are constantly “listening” to how we present ourselves, because our style is such an echo of who we are. I believe that everyone has a “style speak” that is uniquely their own. Though we might not always realize it, we buy and wear clothes that physically represent and communicate our insights, frustrations, fears, goals, and desires — and we then carry these signifiers into the office, a party, or on a date.

Of course, it’s always a great idea to ask for what you want, but don’t expect the universe to do all the work for you. Just because you sit in front of the mirror asking for your soul mate to appear doesn’t mean it will simply happen without effort. If your intentions are blocked by the wrong style/communication choices, the universe may have a hard time hearing you. Are you “covering up” what you’re trying to say to the world or perhaps advertising to the wrong audience? It’s about aligning your image – the one you see AND the one others see – with your goals because your style speak is a louder voice that anything you might scream from a rooftop.

Think about this – has there ever been a moment in your life when you were sure things were going to go one way, and then the opposite occurred? Perhaps you had an amazing first date, but never heard from him/her again? You could have gone over the experience in your head hundreds of times and yet, it still didn’t make sense. In situations like this, it’s highly possible that you overlooked the power of the nonverbal. What you said on the date may have been a perfectly accurate representation of who you are, your interests, strengths, and abilities. But if your body language or style was conflicting with these messages – game over!

Of course, the opposite can often be true as well. Once you understand how powerful nonverbal communication is, you can start to use it to your advantage and ensure that you are always reinforcing your message and communicating honesty, authenticity, and likeability. To help you with this, start by asking yourself two key questions: Who am I? and What do I want to say?

Who Am I?

Think about big brands for a moment, the labels you gravitate towards, even if it’s just window-shopping. Pushing aside what’s available to you, or what you can afford, I want you to be more in tune with what you are instinctively attracted to. Do you have one favorite, or a few go-to retailers? If you have a particular designer or brand that you wear more than most, it’s likely because you resonate with their story. The portrayed aesthetic, values, and lifestyle align with yours, or at least, with those that you want to be associated with. These are hints that can uncover more about who you are. Don’t be discouraged if you find that what you are most attracted to isn’t represented by your current style. The whole purpose of asking yourself these questions is to find out more about who you are so that you can build upon what you already have and continue to move forward from this point in the right direction.

To further help you answer this question; you can create a style file of what inspires you. Most everyone who sets out to furnish a home or redecorate a room will gather ideas and items of interest to help bring their vision to life, yet we don’t take the time to do this for ourselves. Collect your favorite pictures of people (yourself, friends, or celebrities), places, or things (furniture, food) that speak to you, as well as thought-provoking quotes and sentimental scraps. Tear out eye-catching ads or pages in magazines or catalogs. Be open minded about where you draw from, but selective in what you choose. This file will be a visual wellspring that you can draw inspiration from to help you establish and reinforce your style-speak.

What do I want to say?

While verbal language is how we directly communicate messages, your style-speak is more open to interpretation. If you’re tired/hungry/happy, you might say it out loud, eliminating any confusion about what it is you are trying to convey. With style however, if you don’t know what you’re communicating, the world may get the wrong message. So in order to break down what it is that your style is saying, you first have to consider your short and long-term goals. Your short-term goals change daily. Today, you may have a first date where your goal is to get to know someone new and come across as warm and inviting; while tomorrow, you may have your daughter’s soccer game where your objective is just to remember to wash her uniform and get everyone to and from safely. While your outfit choices for each of these days will likely be very different, your individual brand stays the same – it’s the message that’s changing. Long-term goals are often accomplished slowly over the course of achieving many daily, short-term goals. If you are working toward a work promotion, trying to meet someone special, or even if your long-term goal is simply to have better control of your image, understanding your brand and accurate style-speak will help you achieve it.

At the end of the day, by having a firm grasp on who you are and what you want to say, then reinforcing these with your style speak, you will be able to become the most stylish, successful, and satisfied version of yourself. And this will help you attract what you want most from life.

Have you thought about how you dress and what thay conveys about you to others?

This article is an excerpt from Bobbie Thomas’s book, The Power of Style.

About the Author:

Bobbie Thomas has shared advice in nearly five hundred segments as style editor for NBC’s TODAY show since 2005, including her weekly “Bobbie’s Minute Buzz.” Although her television career started on the red carpet for E!, the former cohost of the Style network’s Fashion Police and national columnist began her work as a rape-crisis counselor. Uniquely understanding that beauty comes from the strength within, Bobbie has worked with major brands and organizations such as Step Up, Make-A-Wish, and the United Nations Foundation to promote positive campaigns and encourage people to use style as a powerful voice. Bobbie adores her dog, Chica, was born in Rhode Island, grew up in Los Angeles, and lives in New York. Learn more at bobbie.com.

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Judge Lynn Toler: The Biggest Mistakes People Make in Dating and Relationships http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/about-you/judge-lynn-toler-the-biggest-mistakes-people-make-in-dating-and-relationships/ http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/about-you/judge-lynn-toler-the-biggest-mistakes-people-make-in-dating-and-relationships/#comments Thu, 20 Feb 2014 17:05:02 +0000 Jeannie Assimos http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=29286 The audience for “Divorce Court” is up almost 50 percent from last year and a big part of the attraction is the common-sense approach taken by its presiding judge, Lynn Toler, who began overseeing the drama of separating couples in 2006. Naturally, Toler has learned a lot from her eight years on the bench of […]

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The audience for “Divorce Court” is up almost 50 percent from last year and a big part of the attraction is the common-sense approach taken by its presiding judge, Lynn Toler, who began overseeing the drama of separating couples in 2006.

Naturally, Toler has learned a lot from her eight years on the bench of the TV series, during which she has taken note of the most common mistakes that couples make – resulting in an appearance before her!

That, added to the fact that she has been married to Eric Mumford since April, 1989 — coming up on 25 years, not all of which were smooth sailing, led her to write Making Marriage Work: New Rules for an Old Institution.

Toler, who has two sons and four stepsons, cautions that the biggest impediment to marriage these days is that couples take their vows based on what she considers to be the most irrational of criteria: falling in love — without doing the necessary follow-up homework.

In a society where there are no longer strict demands to keep a marriage together, Toler advises couples to think of the union as a job, and to do the work required to make it work. To illustrate her points, she uses anecdotes from “Divorce Court” and closer to home, her own marriage and those of her friends.

Toler’s advice has been sage enough that she has actually managed to save a few of the marriages of the couples who have appeared before her on “Divorce Court.” Here she shares with eHarmony her best tips on how to get from falling in love to happily ever after.

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

LT: I think the biggest mistake that people make is not understanding the chemistry of it. In other words, that overwhelming feeling makes you believe that he or she is The One when really it is like a chemical reaction. You have to ride that out and really let it pass.

Then, you have to examine the situation. What does he want? What is he interested in? What does he do? How does he handle pressure? How does he handle money? What is he like when he’s sick? Of course, that goes for both sides. What are our goals? What are we like with respect to children? All of that needs to be examined and don’t force feed it. In other words, I think women do this a lot: Well, he doesn’t want to have kids and he isn’t interested in the same things I am, but I am really in love. It will work out once we get married … and it doesn’t.

eH: You said that that once initial attraction hits, both men and women need to do their homework and recognize any red flags and be prepared to walk away. What are some of those red flags?

LT: When I was talking about red flags in the book, I was talking about signs of potential abuse. But what I will say in regard to warning signs is someone who has had a lot of bad relationships before. You have to examine what part they played in it. If there is too much too soon, if someone has to have you — he met you on Tuesday and he can’t do without you on Thursday — that is a bad sign.

eH: Do you think people can change for a relationship?

LT: I am not the same person I was when I married my husband 25 years ago, but you can’t expect change because it is usually not the change that you want. You get the guy you pick. If he mellows with age, hallelujah!

eH: One of the aspects that your book is predicated on is the belief that love isn’t enough to take couples from head over heels to happily ever after. So, how do you bridge the gap?

LT: I think you bridge the gap by being mindfully married. Now that we don’t have all the strictures that keep you married, you have to find reasons to stay married. You have to find a common passion that is outside the home: something the two of you love to do together. You have to set up rituals and routines while you are still in love and doing silly stuff that you continue throughout your marriage. You have to check in with each other.

My husband and I stopped having conversations at one point about how everything was going, and how we were feeling. He thought it was over here and I thought it was over there. It was a mess. But if you have rituals and traditions of checking in, and talking to one another, and you do silly stuff, like I have friends who have divorce parties.

Every year they tell each other, “I am divorcing you and I am remarrying you next year.” They invite all their friends and they make jokes about what they don’t like about each other. Then they forgive each other and start fresh the next year. It sounds silly but it is a way to keep your eye on things and have fun while you’re doing it.

eH: It also lets your partner know what you are thinking.

LT: You have to keep checking in. You have to know where the other person stands and what they are feeling. Don’t assume you know how he or she is feeling. You have to actually ask.

eH: What else do you think is needed for long-term success?

LT: I think you have to have a real understanding of money. Money is one of the biggest stresses that people have. You have to understand how to use money. You also have to understand your emotional relationship to money, because if you don’t understand your emotional relationship to money, no matter how much of it you have, the two of you are probably going to disagree about it.

eH: You say that marriage is a like a job, you have to put in the work and that there are different rules for men and women. Can we take these rules one at a time and elaborate on them?

For women:

Eliminate white noise: Talking too much. Men don’t want to hear all that all the time. I always say that my husband listens to a few more words than he likes and I say a few less words than I like to reach some kind of compromise.

If you want a guy to hear something, you have to say it in his language. He doesn’t hear how you feel and all that stuff. You’ve got to give him points: This is what I am talking about. This is what my concern is. This is what I need from you.

If you really want him to hear, don’t say, “I was just so upset and I don’t understand.” You have to speak in terms they can understand because if you keep talking, they drift off.

Accept Not Right Now: Men don’t do stuff right now very well. Joe, my bailiff, used to tell me that and I asked him, “Why is that?” He said, ‘I don’t know why but when you ask a guy to do something, give him a minute to do it. It makes him feel that you are less like their mother.” You can give them a time frame: “Can you get it done by the end of the day?” That will give you an opportunity to check in on it. If he doesn’t do it right now, don’t go after him.

Avoid the False Okay: Women like to make things okay. We like to make peace, we don’t like to make waves. I have talked to a lot of women, who, when he says, “Let’s go to the ___,” will say, “okay,” when it is really not okay. You can’t keep saying, “okay,” because they believe you. They don’t see your dejected look; they don’t see how this is unfair; they don’t see how you have compromised so many times before. They take you at your word. Not all women do this, but enough that you have to be careful.

If something isn’t okay, you have to say it. Don’t get mad. You don’t have to get crazy, but you do have to say, “No, that’s not okay,” so you don’t harbor a lot of resentments, or he doesn’t realize you are making a compromise when you really are. Say, “I don’t want to go but I will go,” and you have a nice time, but he has to understand when you are compromising and appreciate that. If you keep saying, “okay,” no matter what, that never happens.

Just Ask:  A lot of women don’t understand why he doesn’t see how hard they work. They don’t understand why he doesn’t help. They don’t understand how he can see them doing all these things and not help. I used to be one of those women.

I will just tell you a quick story. I was in the kitchen. I was doing a whole bunch of things all at once and my husband walks in, he looks in [the refrigerator] and he says, “There’s no milk.” I got really angry. I thought, “Why are you telling me there is no milk? Don’t you see I am doing a million things here? You’re watching the game and you’re telling me there’s no milk.” I was going to yell at him. Then, I said, “No, before I yell at him, let me just ask. I said, ‘Honey, can you go and get some milk?’” He said, “Yeah. Anything else you want?” I was all, “Doesn’t he see everything I am doing? Doesn’t he see how hard this is?” But if I don’t ask him to do something, he feels I don’t need him to do it, so you ask.

Sex: They just want more of it.

eH: I think there maybe some relationships where the women want it more than the men do.

LT: That is very true. But, I rarely sit in a group of friends, where a bunch of women say, “I don’t get enough sex.” We women talk about how much they want sometimes, but it rarely goes the other way around. That may be because I am old-fashioned. All my friends are over 50.

For Men:

Make Sure You Hear Her: It’s what I spoke about before. Women need to be heard. Women  need to share their feelings with you. If they don’t feel heard, they don’t feel validated. You can’t dismiss those feelings and those wants and those needs. One of those needs is to say, “I feel this way. I am hurt. I am upset.” Just because it is something you don’t normally want to hear, you still have to listen.

Be Emotionally Proactive: Actually ask your wife is she okay, how is she doing? An unbelievable number of men getting divorced say they didn’t see it coming, because they think everything is okay because she is not actively complaining. But if you express a desire to know how she feels, it is huge for women. My husband always says, “If something was wrong, I thought you would tell me.” The fact that he asks now, makes me feel better and that he is interested, and it gives me an opportunity to tell him.

Listen in the Right Language: When women talk, you can’t look at the literal truth of the thing. I think a lot of men get caught up in that. For example, if your wife says, “We never go out,” and your response is, “Yes, we did. Three Thursdays ago. Remember, I took you to the movies?,” you are not listening in the right language. What “we never go out” means is this is how I feel. I feel bored; I feel lonely; I feel unengaged. That is what it is. It is not an accurate, factual statement, so you have to listen for the feelings behind the statement that might not be accurate factually.

See All of It: I think women do a lot of stuff that men don’t see. She takes care of their health, when company comes over, she does all the stuff, and she cleans up and does stuff that that doesn’t normally get applauded. Make sure that you notice all the stuff that your wife does for you. Say, “Thank you for that, babe,” or, “I appreciate it,” because, I think, a lot of women feel taken for granted in some respects because we tend to people.

All-Day Foreplay: If guys are worried about getting more sex, it is easy. The best way to do it is a call from work, a call from where you are, a kiss on her neck, a “how was your day, baby?” If you want to have sex around 8, don’t start thinking about it at 7:30. You start early in the morning. A couple of small gestures throughout the day gets our boat going, so the rest of the boat can come along that night. Men can transform what is happening in her head to something happening in the bed.

 eH: The best advice you can give to couples to make a relationship work?

LT: Continue to talk. When I say talk, speak in the right language. Speak to have a problem solved, don’t express your frustration. Start your sentence with “I feel” and go from there, but don’t express your frustration, express need.

Follow Judge Lynn Toler on Twitter and Facebook!

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The Opener: The Best Ways to Approach a Woman http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/dating-tips-men/the-opener-the-best-ways-to-approach-a-woman/ http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/dating-tips-men/the-opener-the-best-ways-to-approach-a-woman/#comments Thu, 20 Feb 2014 16:26:55 +0000 Jeannie Assimos http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=29256 You’ve made the approach. Now it’s time to open. The opener is quite simply the first words that come out of your mouth. Most guys leave this to chance; they rely on luck or hope. Here, you will learn what to say to women upon the approach and then what to say just afterward to transition […]

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You’ve made the approach. Now it’s time to open. The opener is quite simply the first words that come out of your mouth. Most guys leave this to chance; they rely on luck or hope. Here, you will learn what to say to women upon the approach and then what to say just afterward to transition smoothly into an interaction that feels natural and unforced.

The Pre-Opener: Just Say Hey

Believe it or not, all openers should start with “Hey.” This pre-opener is an important element, and because it’s counterintuitive—I mean, you expect that first word to be meaningful, right?—it needs to be explained.

Think about it: if you deliver an opener to a woman or a group, most of the time you’ll be interrupting something. They will likely be in conversation already, or at least thinking about something with a conversation going on inside their head. When you start talking, you’re breaking that state, and their response will be, “What?” In fact, they’ll say, “What?” Even if they heard what you said. Think about how you do this in your own life; be aware of your interaction next time you join a group. I only learned this properly when I started as a trainer and watched students open without first saying,  “Hey.” The girls would say, “What?” And the interaction always seemed to go badly after that. It got the guys off on the wrong foot from the beginning. The “Hey”  is followed by a pause,  to ensure that you have the attention of the group before you deliver your actual opener. It’s “Hey!” (Pause as group looks at you.) “Do you guys…” Actually, you’ve got a little leeway here: the pre-opener can be anything that gets the attention of the group: “Hey!” Or “Yo!” Or “Howdy!” Or even something nonverbal, like a raised hand, a funny or inquisitive facial expression, or some other  action that makes the girl or group stop what they’re doing and look at you.

Elements of a Successful Opener

The opener is the first real thing you say during an interaction, once you’ve taken the stage with your pre-opener. The best openers make your audience laugh, make you look cool, and are much more interesting than whatever the girls were discussing before you came along. There are various types of openers. An indirect opener is one that doesn’t immediately convey your interest in her and doesn’t put much pressure into the interaction. If you say, “You’re hot and I want you,” that’s very direct and puts a lot of pressure on her; if you say, “When does it get busy here?” there’s no pressure.

Indirect Openers

Here are some indirect openers and how they might be used. Different people feel comfortable saying different kinds of things. You can pick a few from below, modify them to fit you better, and later make up your own. You don’t need hundreds. A couple of solid, tried-and-tested openers are enough.

Are you guys talking about me? Why not?

Humor is the approach here. The key is making certain that the first line is deadpan and the second is delivered with a smile. Women are attracted to the unexpected. When they realize that they’ve fallen into your line, they’ll laugh and become interested in you.

There’s a guy over there who is so perfect for you!

This opener involves approaching a woman, pointing to a guy you (supposedly) think is “perfect” for her, and trying to take her over to meet him. Invariably she’ll refuse, and then you can say how she should trust you because you’re a great matchmaker. That opener leads nicely into conversation on dating and relationships. Her objection is projected onto the other guy, so you’ve got less chance of getting rejected yourself. It also provides a false disqualifier, meaning something that hides the fact that you are hitting on her, ultimately making it easier to hook a group.

You are so…in my way.

If you’ve got a situation where you’re walking and a girl you’re interested in blocks your path, put your hand up as if to gesture her to stop. Look at her seriously and deliver the line. The key is the pause; it makes her think you’re going to say, “You are so beautiful” or some other clichéd statement. If you do it right, it guarantees a laugh. I used to use it when I first started, and the girls would laugh but still carry on walking afterward—so you need to quickly introduce yourself in order to extend the opening.

Are you girls sociable/friendly?

Standard opener—can be delivered with a skeptical face. Be ready for a yes or no answer and have a follow-up ready.

Are you girls super-shy or what?

I’ve been here for ten minutes and you haven’t offered to buy me a drink or even said hello. This one puts them on the spot slightly and then releases the tension; they’ll laugh if it’s delivered right.

Did you invite all these people? I thought it’d just be us.

This is a semi-direct approach, but the pressure is softened by its humor.

Opinion Openers

Opinion openers, a subcategory of indirect openers, are the easiest way for a newbie to start a conversation in a quiet club or bar. They’re good in that they can get a long conversation started pretty easily. A well-crafted opinion opener can guarantee you a few minutes of conversation in which to make a connection. You’ve got two delivery options: you can either make it seem spontaneous or “root” it. A spontaneous opinion opener comes from reacting to something your friend supposedly said and simply asking whoever is nearest—who just happen to be a pair of hot chicks!—what  they think. Rooting the opener means that you tell them the reason you’re asking, so that they know why they’re spending their time giving you their advice. All of the examples below include roots, but remember that you can always go the spontaneous route if the situation calls for it.

How soon is too soon to get engaged?

Here’s how you might deliver this one: “You look like you can help me with something. My friend is coming in an hour and he needs my advice. He’s known his girlfriend for three months and he’s going to ask her to marry him tomorrow. He says he wants my advice, but I think he’s already made his mind up. I think it’s too soon, but if I tell him that he might never talk to me again. On the other hand, if I say it’s a good idea and it doesn’t work out, I’ll feel responsible. So what do you guys think, how soon is too soon to get engaged?” This is a fantastic opener that leads straight into relationship talk and has a lot of drama built in.

What kind of present should I get for my friend’s girlfriend?

“Hey, I need your advice on something. My best friend had to rush away on business—he’s got the biggest business deal of his life going—and he’s asked me a massive favor. He’s given me two hundred dollars and asked me to get a present for his girlfriend. He’s done so much for me over the years, so I said I’d take care of it. I really want to get it right. I’ve been giving it some thought, but I’m pretty stuck. Do you have any ideas?” This is a great one for daytime, in malls and stores, but it can also be used at night. It’s very flexible and also very engaging because it hits a great topic—shopping and gifts!

Direct Openers

It took a while before I had the confidence to deliver a direct opener. You have to believe in what you say and put yourself on the line. You have to have complete authority. If there’s even a hint  of weakness and the girl picks up on it, the opener will fall flat. When you have confidence from your success with other openers, or if you’re confident because you can tell the girl is attracted to you, bring out the direct opener and it’ll be fantastic. You will receive super-fast results and women will think you’re incredible because of your boldness. With a direct opener, if she doesn’t respond negatively, take the direct route and escalate quickly.

Here are some examples:

• I saw you and just had to come and tell you that you have the most amazing smile/energy/legs/fashion sense.

• I know this is kind of random, but I had to tell you that you’re just too cute.

• Do you know who you remind me of? Someone I want to meet.

• I saw you and I knew that if I didn’t come and introduce myself, I’d be kicking myself all day.

Situational Openers

Situational openers are what I mainly use now, after years of trial and error. When you find yourself spontaneously using situational openers, you know you have them down. This means you’re well on the path to becoming a true natural. A situational opener involves taking something about the current situation and using that to start the interaction. It could be noticing something about the woman you’re approaching; it could be a Seinfeld-esque “What’s the deal with that guy?” Usually it’s noticing something about the environment and posing the first question that comes to mind: “How can they eat ice cream in the winter?” “Would you wear that?” In looking back on an evening, I know when I used a situational opener because when I try to remember which opener I used, I can’t. It’s so natural and unconscious and uncalculated that it slips my mind. The way to become comfortable being as natural as possible is to get used to saying whatever comes into your head, without delay or planning.

The Natural-3D

To see hundreds more openers, continue here! Learn more about Richard La Ruina’s book, The Natural: How to Effortlessly Attract the Women You Want.

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About the Author:

At the age of 24 Richard La Ruina was single, had only kissed one girl, and lived at home with his mother in a small town in Camridge, UK. Fed up with living a life devoid of relationships and women he set out on a journey to discover the secrets of attracting women and since then, life has never been the same. Within 6 months of setting out to master seduction, Richard was widely regarded as the top “pick up artist” in the world and he hasn’t looked back. To date, Richard has trained hundreds of thousands of men through his live training programs and online training courses.

 

 

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The 15 Best Movie Boyfriends of All Time http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/about-you/the-15-best-movie-boyfriends-of-all-time/ http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/about-you/the-15-best-movie-boyfriends-of-all-time/#comments Wed, 19 Feb 2014 19:07:42 +0000 Jeannie Assimos http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=29244 Listen, we know that it’s unfair to compare our real-life romantic partners to the leading men we see on film. But every once in a while, is it so wrong to dream about ditching our husbands or boyfriends and running off to live with Lloyd Dobler from “Say Anything …”? Yeah, it probably is. But […]

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Listen, we know that it’s unfair to compare our real-life romantic partners to the leading men we see on film. But every once in a while, is it so wrong to dream about ditching our husbands or boyfriends and running off to live with Lloyd Dobler from “Say Anything …”?

Yeah, it probably is. But that doesn’t mean we can’t fantasize in secret. Even if Lloyd Dobler wasn’t your cup of tea, you’ve gotta admit you were smitten with at least one of the many fantastic big-screen boyfriends who established impossible standards for all the decent men you’ve dated or settled down with.

Check out a few of the best below, then let us know about your favorite movie boyfriend too:

1. Lloyd Dobler, “Say Anything … “ There’s something especially charming about a man who has no aspirations other than to just “hang” with the love of his life, even if her father doesn’t think so. Other than, that is, kick-boxing. Because you know, it’s the sport of the future.

2. Sam Wheat, “Ghost” Sam was such a dedicated boyfriend that he returned from the dead to defend his lady’s life. Plus, he seemed to share her passion for pottery. So that was nice.

3. Jake Ryan, “Sixteen Candles” For a moment, forget about the part where Jake leaves his drunk ex-girlfriend in the care of a geeky pervert. He’s a stand-up guy during most the rest of the film.

4. Ferris Bueller, “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off“ A date with Ferris Bueller is sure to be filled with fine art, fine cars, fine restaurants, and loads of spontaneity. It’s almost enough to forgive his occasional wandering eye.

5. Rick Blaine, “Casablanca” Rick doesn’t end up with Ilsa, but he ends up putting her first. We’re going to guess Bogart melted a few hearts with this performance.

6. Will Thacker, “Notting Hill” Sure, he’s impossibly eloquent and extremely well-read, but it’s refreshing to see a leading man who’s prone to the same flaky moments and dumb decisions as the rest of us.

7. Joe Fox, “You’ve Got Mail” Joe Fox is proof that if you’ve got a good heart, a girl is willing to overlook the fact that you put her independent book store out of business.

8. Jacob Palmer, “Crazy, Stupid, Love” We could’ve picked any number of Ryan Gosling roles, but Jacob Palmer was, by far, the sharpest-dressed and smoothest-talking of the bunch.

9. Josh Lucas, “Clueless” Look past their age difference and the fact that they were once step-siblings. Josh and Cher make a cute, opposites-attract sort of couple.

10. Landon Carter, “A Walk to Remember” Any movie based on a Nicholas Sparks novel is bound to feature a guy who (by the end, at least) turns out to be a flawless romantic.

11. Mark Darcy, “Bridget Jones’s Diary” Colin Firth doesn’t mince words as Mark Darcy, so you know he’s being completely genuine when he tells Bridget he likes her just the way she is.

12. Edward Scissorhands, “Edward Scissorhands” Johnny Depp’s Edward wouldn’t hurt a fly unless his lady was in danger, in which case he’ll straight-up murder Anthony Michael Hall. He can also sculpt a mean slab of ice — in his love’s likeness, no less.

13. Wall-E, “Wall-E” Ok, so he’s not technically a boy. But Wall-E follows Eve across the universe to try and keep her out of harm’s way. And even when she wasn’t in danger, he was always there to shield her with an umbrella or wrap her in a blanket.

14. Prince Akeem, “Coming to America” Prince Akeem eschewed an arranged marriage in favor of finding a smart, independent girl. (And Eddie Murphy, who plays Akeem, gets bonus points for not choosing to play his own love interest in drag.)

15. Tony Wyzek, “West Wide Story” Yeah, it’s basically a retelling of “Romeo and Juliet,” so yeah, maybe Tony dies at the end. But before that, he and Maria literally made beautiful music together.

Honorable Mention: Miles Dumont, “The Holiday”; Prince Charming, “Cinderella”; Westley, “The Princess Bride”; Dewey, “Scream”; Romeo, most any film interpretation of “Romeo and Juliet.”

Who do you think the best movie boyfriend is?

More at Fox News Magazine:

The 15 Best Movie Girlfriends in Film History

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This article originally appeared on Fox News Magazine 

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The Breath of Coupling http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/relationships/the-breath-of-coupling/ http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/relationships/the-breath-of-coupling/#comments Tue, 18 Feb 2014 21:58:58 +0000 Jeannie Assimos http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=29235 Breathing; it’s the thing we do every second of every day; day in and day out. Most often our breath happens without giving any thought to it, unless we are “out of it” or need to “catch it” or if some circumstance “takes it away.” Some of us take time during the day to notice our breath, […]

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Breathing; it’s the thing we do every second of every day; day in and day out. Most often our breath happens without giving any thought to it, unless we are “out of it” or need to “catch it” or if some circumstance “takes it away.” Some of us take time during the day to notice our breath, focus on it, and use it to calm us and to help nourish our bodies and souls.

Breath, of course, is vital to life itself, but also to our experience of life; our enthusiasm and our passion. Our first act as we enter this world is inspiration. The last thing we do as we leave this world is expiration. Our lives from beginning to end are marked by breath. Testprep101.com tells us that the root-word “spire” comes from the Latin word spirare, meaning breath or to breathe. It is interesting to think about some of the words we use with the root-word “spire”:  inspire, respire, conspire.

What does this have to do with coupling? By coupling I mean to come together with another person to become a couple. Rather than separate individuals, two entities unite to become one – a couple.

How do we recognize the person who is right for us? How do we find and choose the significant one with whom we can share our self, and our life experience?

Imagine breath as a metaphor in a relationship. Just as breath is vital to our living cells, does the relationship breathe life into your day-to-day sense of well-being, happiness, mental clarity? Does this person inspire you to be the best you can be; at home, at work, in all that you choose to do? And can this relationship continue to animate and motivate or respire, even in the face of challenging situations?

Perhaps even more compelling is the idea of conspiring. The word conspire has the connotation of a secret plot to do something harmful. But the actual meaning of the two words con and spire mean with breath. It means to breathe with someone and to act in harmony with someone. What a lovely image for coupling.

Being in a coupled relationship is very much like our breath. We are in it, day in and day out. We can choose to ignore it and just allow it to putter along shallowly. Or we can pay attention to it; notice it, appreciate it, focus on it, and connect to it; appreciating its worth in vitalizing ourselves, our loved ones, and the world around us. Whether you are in search of that special person or have already discovered your significant one, remember your breath; inspire, respire, conspire.

 

 RogersAbout the Author:

Dr. Mary Jayne Rogers is an Exercise Physiologist specializing in whole-person wellness and fitness education and instruction. As an educator, Mary Jayne brings multi-dimensional wellness and fitness experiences along with a welcoming and genuine teaching style to inspire students and wellness enthusiasts of all ages.  Dr. Rogers is the owner of Profound Wellness LLC.

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