eHarmony Advice http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice Dating Advice and Relationship Advice Fri, 02 Dec 2016 00:01:06 +0000 en-US hourly 1 After the Relationship Collapse: 4 Things to Consider http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/relationships/after-the-breakup-4-things-to-do-stat/ Fri, 02 Dec 2016 00:00:27 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=33420 It might have been a huge blow-up where you and your partner both said awful, hurtful words. It could have been a slow-building tension that brought coldness and distance. The effects are the same… your relationship feels like it has collapsed. The strong foundation of trust, communication, respect, and even love has been shaken and feels […]

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It might have been a huge blow-up where you and your partner both said awful, hurtful words. It could have been a slow-building tension that brought coldness and distance. The effects are the same… your relationship feels like it has collapsed. The strong foundation of trust, communication, respect, and even love has been shaken and feels destroyed.

You might be very upset, not sleeping or eating well and fearful about your future. You may also be feeling justified about what you’ve said or done. After all, your partner did something awful!

When your relationship has fallen apart, try this:

1. Be honest with yourself about what happened.

The first thing we recommend you do after a relationship collapse is to assess the state of your union. If your mind is racing ahead to what you think the future might hold or to what you guess your partner will do next, stop. If you’re replaying in your mind your version of what went down between you two, stop. Slow down your thinking and, instead, get very clear about literally what happened.

This is going to be your biased perspective, so be as choosy as you can about what you believe is true. Think about what was actually said and the actions that really happened. Go with observations and verifiable information when at all possible.

If, for example, you’re “sure” about your partners intentions or feelings, ask yourself if you really know this. Keep returning to what was said, what was done, and how you feel about it.

2. Be honest with yourself about what’s in your best interest.

Next, we invite you to consider the wisdom of repairing your relationship. We do NOT think that people should throw away a perfectly good relationship just because mistakes (even big mistakes) were made or an argument happened.

But, we also know how important it is to make conscious choices about one’s life…this includes the conscious choice to stay in or to leave a relationship.

Think about what is in your best interest. Think about where you stand right now with your partner and also about where you want to go in the future. Remind yourself that you deserve to have the relationship you truly want.

It’s also helpful to review what you know about your partner’s actions and stated intentions.

For instance, if your partner had an affair, get clear about whether or not the affair has actually ended. If it hasn’t, do you have any indication that your mate is planning to stop cheating? If he or she has vowed to end the affair but has done nothing to follow through, consider that as well.

The decision to stay in or leave a relationship is yours to make.

3. Be willing to own your role.

You’ve probably heard the saying that it takes “two to tango.” As uncomfortable as it is to admit, this is almost always true. What your partner said or did may have been a huge betrayal, but there is probably a role you also played in the relationship collapse. With gentleness and self-love, try to determine what your role was and is.

This isn’t about you taking the blame or being the only one at fault for what happened. That’s not helpful either! This is about you owning the part in your relationship that contributed to the collapse.

This might have been your tendency to say “yes” even when you mean “no.” This may be your habit of jumping to conclusions or to shutting down and withdrawing when things got tense. Find out what your role is and ask yourself if you are willing to make some changes.

4. Take your next best step.

The advice we’ve given you so far has all been what we call “advance work.” This is vital if you truly want to repair the damage of the relationship collapse. It is rarely a wise idea to rush to any action without taking some amount of time to get clear within yourself about where you stand, what your role is, and what is beneficial for you.

When couples have the same argument or they break up and reunite over and over again, it’s often because neither of them has done the advance work. They are merely repeatedly reacting to one another and building up even more hostility and pain. As you do the advance work we’ve recommended, you’re going to begin to know what is your next best step.

This might not be an action or decision that you are necessarily happy or comfortable with, but it will feel certain and right for you. Your next best step might be to offer your partner a heartfelt apology, to set a firm boundary, or to seek help from a professional.

Whatever it is, take your next step and keep checking in with yourself as you take another and another. This is the way to rebuild trust and connection and to re-discover your love for one another.

More at YourTango:

50 Love Quotes That Express Exactly What ‘I Love You’ Really Means

4 MUST-DO Tips For A Successful Monogamous Relationship

7 Critical Things Couples With Good Communication Do WAY Differently

 

Originally posted at YourTango

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Once a Cheater, Always a Cheater? 5 Surprising Truths About Trusting a Partner With a Past http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/relationship-questions/once-a-cheater-always-a-cheater-5-surprising-truths-about-trusting-a-partner-with-a-past/ Thu, 27 Oct 2016 21:57:19 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=33210 Who can you trust? That’s the gamble, and when it comes to choosing a partner, fidelity is a core aspect most of us require. Yet the adage, “once a cheater, always a cheater,” isn’t always true. Here are five guidelines you can use right now to make the wisest choice if you find yourself drawn […]

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Who can you trust? That’s the gamble, and when it comes to choosing a partner, fidelity is a core aspect most of us require.

Yet the adage, “once a cheater, always a cheater,” isn’t always true. Here are five guidelines you can use right now to make the wisest choice if you find yourself drawn to a partner with a past. 

1.Weigh Their Past

Factually, odds are highest that your sweetie will treat your relationship boundaries like they treated those boundaries in other relationships. In study after study, past behavior is your crystal ball; it’s the single best predictor of how any of us will behave, given similar circumstances. It’s one reason why someone who cheated with you is likely to cheat on you.

Overlook this rule of thumb, and you’ll get hurt again and again. People tend to do what and whom they have done before.

2.Note Their Timing

The recent past is particularly important. How long ago was the affair? A person who cheated last month and says it won’t happen again might be telling the truth.  But the person who had an affair once, ten years ago, and never did it again, is far safer.

Timing also matters in the context of their former relationship. Most people, including people who have had an affair, aren’t willful philanderers. But a statistically small group sees “getting some” — strange as that is — as their right. If they’ve cheated early in the passionate love phase of a relationship–during serious exclusive dating, engagement, or in the honeymoon phase of marriage—that’s a red flag you’re with one of them.  

3.Examine Their Habits

Was their cheating a one-night, one-time thing, or something they turned to often? Repeated acts are likelier to recur; they become habits. And especially in stressful times, people return to their habits. 

All relationships go through stresses. Are you okay with a partner whose default is soothing themselves in another’s arms? 

4.Explore Their Insight

What reasons does your new love give for their past infidelity? Do they offer excuses–or remorse? Do they give themselves a pass–or did they commit to change even if they were never caught, because in their view, affairs are wrong and they don’t want to catch themselves violating their own moral code? Do they accept responsibility for their choices and behavior, or do they pawn it off on their ex’s failings?

It’s a safer bet for you if your would-be mate takes it all on the chin: my fault, my responsibility, and my choices led to this. Remember the saying, the first step to change is knowing you have a problem? Ownership is key. If your date defends, excuses, and finds just cause for their past infidelity, prepare for more. 

Bonus points if they acknowledge a basic moral code of fidelity. A person who uses rough times in the relationship or flaws in their ex as an excuse for infidelity is a person who most likely will be unfaithful again.

5.Consider Yourself

During prep for this article, I heard from many people who basically said, “Even if you gave me all the data on best-cases, I would never again date someone who cheated. A partner was unfaithful to me, and I would always be waiting for the other shoe to drop.” Or, “I trusted someone with a past, and they cheated on me too.”

If that’s you, the psychological strain is just not worth it. Under those circumstances, it’s likely best to avoid everyone with a history of infidelity, no matter what might indicate it wouldn’t recur. Living with constant fear is contrary to loving yourself, and besides, most people have never cheated on anyone. Choose from among them!

So, who can you trust? You can trust everyone–to be who they already are. Take a clear-eyed view of your partner; accept that you aren’t going to change them; weigh the available evidence; and get honest about your own comfort level.  You have the tools you need.

img01Then—trust accordingly. It’s not a guarantee. Science has few of those. But it’s the way to bet.

Dr. Duana Welch is a relationship coach and the author of Love Factually, the first book that uses science rather than opinion to help men and women put all the odds in their favor for every stage of dating. You can get a free chapter and learn more at http://www.lovefactually.co/

 

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15 Ways to Get an Old Love Out of Your Head http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/about-you/15-ways-to-get-an-old-love-out-of-your-head/ Tue, 25 Oct 2016 22:17:46 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=33188 When a relationship comes to an end, the process of healing and moving on hopefully begins. The person you’re trying to let go of may be a recent part of your love life or an old flame. Now comes the task of wiping the slate clean, so you’ll be ready when a new partner enters your […]

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When a relationship comes to an end, the process of healing and moving on hopefully begins. The person you’re trying to let go of may be a recent part of your love life or an old flame. Now comes the task of wiping the slate clean, so you’ll be ready when a new partner enters your life.

Here are 15 practices that will help you leave the past behind:

1. Keep a realistic perspective of the person. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses, and every relationship has good and bad times. Acknowledging both assures you that your old love was not, in fact, ideal.

2. Clean your emotional house. Honestly inventory the strong feelings left over–pain, anger, regret–and then take time to heal. Proven techniques for doing that abound. Find the ones that make sense to you and get to work.

3. Clean your physical house. You might still have reminders of the relationship you’re trying to leave behind — photographs, mementos, and letters. Boxing them up can have a cleansing effect, a signal to your subconscious mind that a new beginning is underway.

4. Burn the bridge completely. If you know the relationship with your ex is truly over, then there’s nothing to gain from trying to be “just friends” or other variations. The best break is a clean break.

5. Watch your language. Meaning, watch how much you talk about your old relationship. The more your ex’s name comes out of your mouth, the more that person stays in your thoughts.

6. Close anything left open-ended. Whether they left your life weeks ago or years ago, you might have things you still need to say, amends you need to make, items you should have returned, or feelings you want to convey. Bring closure by taking care of what you need to.

7. Turn off the instant replay. Your mind can get stuck reliving the past, either adding fuel to your smoldering anger or romanticizing your memories. Either way, remember that you have sole possession of the remote control and can choose to direct your thoughts elsewhere.

8. Get involved in new activities. The process of leaving an old love behind is helped greatly by finding new pursuits that bring you joy, especially those that connect you with interesting people.

9. Resist the urge to follow the person via social media. Yes, of course you want to know what they’re up to! But if you really want to get that person out of your head, don’t fill it with current images and updates.

10. Tighten your ship. Let the breakup be an opportunity for honest self-assessment — so you’re that much better prepared for your next relationship. Are you a little too controlling? Argumentative? Clingy? Now’s the time to deal with it.

11. Forgive your ex. Holding a grudge ties you to the past, keeping you psychologically connected to the person and experiences you are trying to put behind you. Let it go — and set yourself free.

12. Forgive yourself. It’s just as likely you’ve said and done things yourself along the way you are not proud of — and equally important to put them behind you.

13. Practice gratitude. One time-honored way to move on from the past is to replace negative thoughts with positive ones. Like magic, the words “I am thankful for …” will empower you to step forward.

14. Activate your support group. Enlist trusted friends and family to your cause, people who will inspire excitement about the future.

15. Expect new love to appear at any moment. Looking ahead with anticipation will help you stop looking back with longing. Romance can appear anywhere, anytime. Your job is to be fresh and ready when it does — not stuck in the past.

More: 15 ways to know it’s time to break up

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6 Tips for Successful Dating in the Digital Age http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/date-tips/6-tips-for-successful-dating-in-the-digital-age/ Mon, 17 Oct 2016 22:59:24 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=33168 Technology has exploded our dating options and put dating effectively on amphetamines. The sheer quantity of choices gives us the feeling that we can and will meet someone through technology. How could we not? And yet, precisely because there is so much choice, we often don’t give the person we’ve met a real chance. If […]

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Technology has exploded our dating options and put dating effectively on amphetamines. The sheer quantity of choices gives us the feeling that we can and will meet someone through technology. How could we not?

And yet, precisely because there is so much choice, we often don’t give the person we’ve met a real chance. If anything isn’t to our immediate liking, we dive back into our device, back into the land of possibility. Sometimes we do this even when we like the person we’ve met, because we can, and there still could be someone better.

Technology creates a climate of always chasing better—something else.

Rather than focusing on the relationship in front of us—giving it our full attention, we look outside for what we might be missing out on. Consequently, it can feel like no one is ever good enough to stop searching for better. As a result, relationships that, before technology, might have turned into successful partnerships, never get the chance. It was difficult enough for a relationship to get out of the starting gate before technology, but now, despite or maybe because of all the possibilities, it can feel nearly impossible. There’s more potential but the potential remains unrealized.

These days, when a relationship does start, the primary form of communication is often texting. This can create a host of challenges that didn’t exist before technology. When we begin dating, we don’t know someone well and yet we text as if we do, sometimes communicating dozens of times in a day, sharing banter, minutia, and whatever else comes to mind. We communicate as if we are integrated players in each other’s lives, which we are not, at least not yet. So too, we now text with a flirtatious confidence, sometimes sexual, that does not match the actual level of intimacy we’ve achieved. Then, when we meet our person in the flesh or even on the phone, we have to play a game of emotional catch up, to try and bring the real relationship into sync with the virtual. We feel embarrassed and awkward, overexposed. We are building a relationship between two avatars, but not these two humans. But we can’t turn back, we’ve gone too far down the virtual road, and so are frequently left to continue in the virtual relationship, or nothing at all.

Dating in the age of technology presents challenges that can be difficult even for the most confident of daters. It is now possible to know if and when someone has read our text, which means that if our recipient has indeed read our words but not responded, or chosen not to read it at all, to leave it in the dreaded unopened, we are forced into the often unkind and frequently brutal hands of our inner dating critic.

With the help of modern technology, we are left to live a good portion of our dating life inside the maze of our own personal narrative. While we naturally craft our own story about what is happening within the relationship, technology exacerbates the storyteller within us by providing just enough information to send our mind into a tailspin, but not enough to set us free.

Technology is remarkable for many tasks, but if what we really want is to find meaningful connection with another human being, then technology is probably not the right means to achieve that end. Online dating allows us to meet people we would never get to meet, it provides options and inventory, but after we meet, we still have to be willing to do the real life work that real life relationships require. If we’re over the age of three, getting close to another person takes time and effort, but when we put in that time and effort, the infinitely possible can become infinitely real.

Tips for successful dating in the age of technology:

When beginning a new relationship, Do NOT use texting as your means of communication. Use it only as a last resort, for example, when running late for a date. Make an explicit agreement with your partner to communicate by telephone first, and email as a second option. (Or better yet, stop by in the flesh.)

When beginning a new relationship, REFRAIN from surfing the online dating world (chasing the better) until you are sure that the new person you are considering is not going to be your person. Give each person you date your full attention, one at a time.

When on a date, DO NOT keep your phone on the table or hold it in your hand.

When on a date, DO NOT check your dating profile.

CONTEMPLATE the following questions: Am I using my virtual dating life to avoid something in my real life? Is dating another distraction that keeps me from dealing with areas of my life or myself that need my attention? Do I really want a real relationship and if so, am I willing to do the work to create it?

RECOGNIZE that real relationships (with humans, not robots) take effort and time, are not easy and never without discomfort. REMIND yourself, when confronted with these challenges, that this is precisely the work that real relationships require, where the seeds are watered so that something worthwhile can bloom! Finally, honor yourself for putting in the effort to achieve something you desire.

 

About the Author

nancycolierNANCY COLIER is a psychotherapist, interfaith minister, author, and veteran meditator. She is the author of Inviting a Monkey to Tea: Befriending Your Mind, Discovering Lasting Contentment (Hohm Press, 2012), and her new book The Power of Off: The Mindful Way to Stay Sane in a Virtual World (Sounds True, November 2016). She lives in New York City. For more, visit nancycolier.com.

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Emotional Abuse: What to Look For http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/relationship-problems/emotional-abuse-what-to-look-for/ Mon, 17 Oct 2016 18:51:16 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=33156 When you consider what domestic violence is, you likely have those scary images in your head of an outraged partner physically attacking his wife or worse, their children, resulting in a frantic 911 emergency call. While – of course – violence is not only terrifying but damaging, the much more common type of abuse has […]

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When you consider what domestic violence is, you likely have those scary images in your head of an outraged partner physically attacking his wife or worse, their children, resulting in a frantic 911 emergency call. While – of course – violence is not only terrifying but damaging, the much more common type of abuse has nothing to do with someone using his hands, but rather, his words. In fact, therapists often say that many people (especially women) are emotionally abused every single day without realizing it.

“Emotional abuse can happen in any relationship once in awhile or continuously. I think that most people at one point in their lives have experienced some form of emotional abuse. Berating a person, yelling at them, calling them names, making them feel less than, all of this would constitute emotional abuse. At the base of emotional abuse is that the victim is made to feel bad about themselves. Emotional abuse can be dangerous if the person allows themselves to be abused, and then begins to put themselves down,” explains Dr. Dawn Michael, clinical sexologist and relationship expert.

You’re getting yelled at for nothing.

Every couple – no matter how much of a match you are for one another – has disagreements. Therapists actually say that arguing within a relationship can be healthy, as it helps you better communicate to your partner and can help widen your own perspective. But there’s a difference between bickering over who last walked the dog and your partner screaming at you inappropriately. “We call this the feeling of ‘walking on eggshells’ or in other words, when even the smallest mistakes you make has the person getting mad at you. This in turn can cause a person to become nervous around that person and make even more mistakes,” Michael explains. “This one is particularly insidious because if you do something small that they don’t like, your expectation would be that they either brush it off or say nicely not to do it, but a person who yells at the small stuff is usually a person that is controlling and has very little patience and therefore allows little mistakes to upset them. For instance, one time you don’t put the toothpaste cap on and they scream at you and tell you that you don’t care about them because you left the cap off.”

They say sly remarks that beat your confidence.

Though your boyfriend might tease you for the way you peel an orange or the crazy way you like to eat your french fries with ranch dressing and ketchup, an abusive partner will carefully say certain things that rub you the wrong way. Not only is it a tactic to always have the upper hand, those remarks overtime beat down your confidence and lead you to rely more solely on him for your own self-worth. “An emotionally abusive partner will put you down, instead of lift you up. Instead of complimenting you, they put you down, which can make you feel bad about yourself. They may say that if you were smarter you would have a better job, or if you lost weight people would like you more. It can even be putting you down to make you feel small so they feel better about themselves. This is not a nice person!”

They always result to name-calling.

Of all the things your partner should call you – derogatory and demeaning names are not terms of endearment or affection. Instead, they are a way of making you feel negative about yourself or to win an argument. “When couples argue it is not that they argue because all couples do, but how they argue. When name calling is a part of the argument its effects are lasting,” Michael explains. “Once it comes out of your mouth you can’t put it back in. Name calling is very immature as well as a way to gain control rather than resolve a problem and what happens over time is that the person being called names just begins to lose all respect for the other person.”

What should you do?

In so many words: stand up for yourself and get out of the relationship stat. “If your gut tells you that it is feeling abusive, then it is. Don’t brush it under the covers and take it, stand up for yourself and let that person know that you are not going to take it from them, if they can’t get their anger under control them they need to get help,” Michael says. “There are only so many times a person can apologize for being abusive. If they continue to do so then tell them that when they act that way you will not engage with them and walk away from them until they can cool down and be respectful. If you find yourself fighting back stop yourself, and walk away, because then it just becomes heated with no resolve, don’t stoop to their levels.”

Learn more about emotional abuse and how to get help.

 

About the Author: Lindsay Tigar is a 26-year-old single writer, editor, and blogger living in New York City. She started her popular dating blog, Confessions of a Love Addict, after one too many terrible dates with tall, emotionally unavailable men (her personal weakness) and is now developing a book about it, represented by the James Fitzgerald Agency. She writes for eHarmony, YourTango, REDBOOK, and more. When she isn’t writing, you can find her in a boxing or yoga class, booking her next trip, sipping red wine with friends or walking her cute pup, Lucy.

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Are You Emotionally Needy? 8 Signs That Point to Yes http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/relationships/are-you-emotionally-needy-8-signs-that-point-to-yes/ Wed, 12 Oct 2016 18:00:57 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=33139 We are all emotionally needy to some degree in relationships — meaning simply that, during a difficult time, we need more emotional support than usual. We all long to be understood, supported, loved, and accepted. It’s OK to reach out and ask for help — sometimes. And that’s okay. Yet, being overly emotionally needy — […]

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We are all emotionally needy to some degree in relationships — meaning simply that, during a difficult time, we need more emotional support than usual. We all long to be understood, supported, loved, and accepted.

It’s OK to reach out and ask for help — sometimes. And that’s okay. Yet, being overly emotionally needy — too demanding, clingy, annoying, fragile — can spell trouble for your relationship.

A person should be able to stand on their own, tolerate aloneness, and manage their own ‘stuff’ for a healthy relationship to exist. How we go about expressing our needs has a lot to do with our personality and our attachment style — our style based on how we learned to relate to our parents and how emotionally available they were…or not.

There are 3 styles of attachment that help create how secure or insecure we feel in relationships: secure, anxious, and avoidant.

Secure people present themselves as warm and loving and were most likely raised with caregivers that were consistently caring and responsive. Avoidant people often come across as dismissive, often minimize closeness and were raised in an environment that was less emotional and one in which insecurity and neediness were not tolerated.

However, people with an anxious attachment style are the ones that present and who are seen as overly needy. Some of the key characteristics are:

•Minimizing or denying their needs and look to others to fill their emotional gaps and emptiness in a way that often becomes manipulative.
•Worrying about their partner’s love and ‘search out’ for all the mannerisms and nuances that might indicate that their partner doesn’t love them.
•Emotionally overwhelmed and will reach out and ‘need’ their partner more to make them feel secure or constantly remind them of how they feel.
•Insecurity and oversensitivity to any slight.
•Had parents (or a parent) who was inconsistently nurturing. This created inner angst and turmoil and contributed to their anxiety — especially around relationships. 

However, this often leaves their partner emotionally tapped out and overwhelmed by their neediness. They are worn out. And yet, anxious people do the very thing they fear the most will happen — they push their partner away. Their behaviors are counterproductive, yet hard to stop doing in the moment.

For the other person, there is nothing they can do to help this person. You cannot encourage growth, compliment them, or reassure them — enough. They have an insatiable and exhausting emotional ‘neediness.’

Are you emotionally needy? Ask yourself these questions:

1. Do you look at your romantic partner to make you happy?

2. Do you look to your partner to fulfill all your needs in love, sex, and support?

3. Do you look to your partner for constant reassurance and validation? Are you looking for others to make you feel good about yourself — always looking outside ‘self’ for reassurance? And even if you get it, do you depend on it all the time? Do you feel abandoned if your partner is not available? Are you afraid your partner will not be there for you?

4. Do you get upset if your partner doesn’t react in a certain way, doesn’t meet a need?

5. If you are alone, do you do things to fill the void with other distractions? Or when alone, do you go over past conversations or worry that he/she might leave? Is it difficult to be alone?

6. Is your relationship the center of your universe? What about your relationship with other friends or family? Friends or your kids?

7. Does it bother you if you are not included in your partner’s plans?

8. Do you get jealous of things that he/she is doing without you?

You can overcome being emotionally needy. Here are 7 ways to do so:

Become more aware.

Awareness is the first step to recognizing there is a problem with how you relate to others and the increase in anxiety and anxious feelings relationships bring out in you. Begin to explore your anxious attachment style and start addressing how you can become less needy and clingy. Learn to connect the dots and understand what it is about your attachment style and upbringing that creates the neediness in your relationship. This will help you recognize unhealthy relationship patterns.

Be mindful.

Learn to sit with your anxiety and the uncertainties of life. Accept how you feel and don’t pass judgment on yourself. They will continue. Life is full of shades of gray, uncertainty, and unanswered questions. Uncertainty can also be an instigator for change.

Hold that text!

If you’ve reached out to someone (via phone, text, email), give them time to respond. There’s no need to do it again. There might be another explanation as to why they haven’t responded. It’s not always about you — so don’t personalize it. Overly needy people cannot wait. Silence is the worst.

Don’t suffocate someone.

No matter how close you are to another person, it is unhealthy to spend all of your time with him or her. They will feel overwhelmed and start to do things that back them out of the relationship. If it’s difficult for you to tolerate alone time, you will inevitably sabotage your relationship. Simply force yourself to back off in order to give both of you some space. Space in a relationship is key to long term success.

Improve your self-esteem.

If you struggle with being needy, odds are you probably lack self-esteem. Start doing things on your own, learn to be single, focus on yourself and what you did — or didn’t do — to contribute to the demise of the relationship. Engage in activities that are healthy for you and learn to feel more secure and confident. Remember: a person can boost up your self-esteem and make you feel good once in awhile, but this is not their job. It is our responsibility to do that for ourselves. Another person cannot be your only source of happiness. That’s a lot of pressure to put on another person.

Learn to trust.

Neediness is often associated with not trusting in others and often a fear of abandonment. If you start doubting someone’s feelings for you or fear being abandoned, you will start to put the ‘neediness’ wheels in motion — that actually provoke the person to want to run from the relationship. Do you feel abandoned? Are you afraid your partner will not be there for you? Are you looking for others to make you feel good about yourself — always looking outside ‘self’ for reassurance? Trusting that it’s okay to feel insecure in one another, but also asking yourself why you don’t trust the other person, is key.

Try to be more independent.

True non-neediness begins when you stop depending on others to take care of you and seeking fulfillment externally — because doing this only creates a black hole of never having enough. Ask yourself, what do I need to do to become more self-reliant and independent? What changes do I need to make to get me to a better and healthier place? Having more independence within the relationship is key to helping it thrive long term.

Making these changes in your life will help you get to the place you want to be! You will find yourself in a healthier relationship!

More at YourTango:

50 Love Quotes That Express Exactly What ‘I Love You’ Really Means

If He Doesn’t Have These 20 Qualities, He’s NOT Your Soulmate

4 MUST-DO Tips For A Successful Monogamous Relationship

 

Article originally posted at YourTango

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Searching for a Relationship: Do You Know What You’re Doing? http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/relationship-advice/searching-for-a-relationship-do-you-know-what-you-are-doing/ Mon, 19 Sep 2016 22:44:06 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=33085 Do we know what we are doing when it comes to modern relationships, or are we just being hi-jacked by primitive emotions? There’s a scene in the 1996 movie ‘Jerry Maguire’, where Tom Cruise  famously says to Renée Zellweger, “You Complete Me”. It’s a dry your eyes romantic moment, but it’s at the heart of what goes wrong […]

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Do we know what we are doing when it comes to modern relationships, or are we just being hi-jacked by primitive emotions?

There’s a scene in the 1996 movie ‘Jerry Maguire’, where Tom Cruise  famously says to Renée Zellweger, “You Complete Me”. It’s a dry your eyes romantic moment, but it’s at the heart of what goes wrong in relationships.

We are drawn to another person for a sense of completeness. We hope that this relationship will heal or fill an empty space in our life. And for a short time we are wrapped up in a cloud of ‘feel good’ hormones and everything looks and feels better. Then, our brain chemistry normalizes, reality comes crashing in, and we notice that the partner we chose to fill our void, is trying to make changes in us to fill their own. Welcome to codependency!

Is there a better way?

Modern relationships come in many forms; dating online or in person, cohabiting, marriage, divorce, single-parent dating, remarriage, to name a few.

I’ve experienced all of these and as a researcher and writer on self-leadership, I have a few pieces of advice for those of you who are still looking for ‘the perfect relationship’.

  1. Would you live with you? Before we can successfully be in a relationship with another person, we need to be comfortable with ourselves. We don’t have to be perfect, that’s not what self-esteem means. We need to be comfortable with our imperfections. We need to know what we want, need, value, and believe or how else will we authentically communicate this to a partner.
  2. Learn from the past, don’t repeat it. Your past relationships are not failures, they are part of the learning process to understand what you want, need, value, and believe. If it didn’t work, be honest with yourself about why that was and avoid repeating the pattern. For example, if you are looking for someone to fix, to make your feel better, and they leave you after being ‘fixed’ – there’s a good chance that will happen again.
  3. Understand that the only person you can change is you. People to grow and evolve together but only when they accept each other as they are. The fatal mistake in relationships is to try and change something in someone else. You can communicate how a behavior makes you feel, but the choice to change rests firmly with them. And saying, “If you loved me, you’d do this…” is manipulation 101 and never ends well.
  4. Don’t settle. For a relationship to last, it has to be physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual. We often try to settle for 2 or 3 out of 4. If the sex is great but you can’t enjoy a movie together because of a difference in intellect or education, then things are going to turn sour. If you can express your emotions with each other, but spiritually your values clash, then a schism is on the horizon.
  5. Communicate. This is the most fundamental of relationship advice – and the most powerful. Learn to authentically communicate your wants, needs, values and beliefs and listen openly to your partner without judgment. You are unlikely to be in relationship with your clone, and so there will be differences, but these conflicts can often be resolved by communicating in the following way; a) here’s what’s happening, b) this is what I feel, c) this is what I need, d) and so this I my request. The power of this 4-step communication strategy is that there is no blame. You are not making it your partners fault you have a feeling or an unmet need, but you are giving them an opportunity to adjust their perspective or behavior through a request.

Relationships can hurt because we open ourselves up to another, but they can also be a catalyst for us to be the best version of ourselves.

So here’s wishing you LUCK, when luck is an acronym for Laboring Under Correct Knowledge.

self leadershipAndrew Bryant is a motivational speaker, executive coach and author of ‘Self-Leadership: How to Become a More Successful, Efficient and Effective Leader from the Inside Out’ (McGraw-Hill 2012). Andrew has inspired and informed audiences as large as 12,000, facilitated breakthrough-learning sessions for senior leaders and been the coach for C-level executives of Fortune 500 companies. Sign up for his newsletter and receive a free chapter from his book: http://www.selfleadership.com/free. Connect with Andrew on LinkedIn and Twitter

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5 Ways to Get Over a Difficult Dating Past and Find a Great Partner http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/dating-advice-for-you/33064/ Mon, 19 Sep 2016 19:48:51 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=33064 Without resolution, awareness, and acceptance, your relationship history may have a strong influence on your current dating life. With a past that feels heavy, heartbreaking or disappointing, dating in the present may feel very draining and trigger anxiety and fear. Your past has a lot of influence if one of your greatest fears is having it be […]

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Without resolution, awareness, and acceptance, your relationship history may have a strong influence on your current dating life. With a past that feels heavy, heartbreaking or disappointing, dating in the present may feel very draining and trigger anxiety and fear.

Your past has a lot of influence if one of your greatest fears is having it be repeated. Therefore, you utilize behaviors designed to protect yourself, which makes it difficult to trust others and take chances toward intimacy and connection.

If the end of a previous relationship came as a shock or devastation to you, you may struggle to get close to someone new and approach dating with walls of emotional protection. If an ex betrayed you, you might be hesitant to trust a new partner and become fixated on determining if certain behaviors (for example, not responding to a text quickly) is a sign of cheating or future rejection. You might find yourself debating over giving into urges to check a potential partner’s email or phone for other clues.

If your past isn’t resolved, you may assume that the person you’re dating now will abandon you or break your trust just as your ex did, even if everything is going well in your current relationship. You may doubt if you are lovable, wonder what you have to offer, and beat yourself up about your relationship history and current singlehood. While these thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are understandable as they can be protective in nature, they represent the past remaining unresolved and dictating each moment.

Here are five ways to approach dating when you have had difficult relationship experiences in the past:

Reconstruct and modify the narrative in your mind for healthy closure

It is true that you can’t erase the past, but you can take control of how you think about it, which is what matters most and drives your behavior in the present. Spend time thinking about the story you tell yourself about your previous relationships, your ex’s, and breakups. What is the feeling that accompanies these thoughts and relationship stories? If your narrative feels very negative, is filled with anger, blame, resentment or fear, see if you can modify it to feel more neutral or positive. For example, can you find the silver lining? Can you focus on what you learned about yourself, your needs, and relationships instead of staying stuck? Can you find some space to create a new and improved version of an unhealthy or uncomfortable narrative by making modifications to the story you tell yourself? Rewrite your story and change any scripts that are not serving you well.

Watch your assumptions about the past

Most of what happens to us in life is not personal. This concept can be especially tricky to believe in the relationship world because relationships involve vulnerability and breakups can by nature feel personal. Also, unfortunately not all relationship endings involve healthy closure or communication. This can cause your mind to run wild with false ideas about what happened and believe stories that may or may not be true. Your brain may naturally want certainty and closure so badly that it will create answers to unresolved questions regardless of how factual they actually are. Therefore, it is important to watch your assumptions about why an ex treated you the way he or she did or why your relationship ended, as well as how your ex is doing now, especially if you are bothered by their current relationship status. Always remember that thoughts are not facts no matter how believable they may seem.

View each dating or relationship experience as a clean slate

Work to detach yourself from previous romantic experiences and any associated emotions that cause discomfort or fear. While it is healthy to examine your part and explore possible relationship patterns, it is crucial to avoid making negative projections into the future or continuing to punish yourself because of the past. Take part in self-discovery while viewing each dating experience as a new and separate opportunity and isolating each individual experience from the rest, especially when you are emotionally triggered.

Confront your underlying fears and insecurities

It is natural to feel vulnerable in dating, especially if you’ve been rejected or hurt before, but learning to tolerate all of the ups and downs will lead you toward your goals. Simply put, facing your fears makes them less powerful. If you allow fears and insecurities to hinder you from dating and you don’t act on your relationship goals and desires, life will feel incomplete. In fact, inaction can breed even more anxiety, fear, and doubt, whereas taking action and getting unstuck leads to confidence and the ability to handle more. Work to resolve and own your fears and insecurities instead of avoiding triggering experiences, such as first dates.

Engage in behaviors that keep you open, ready and willing to experience what you are looking for

Set an intention to slowly take down any walls interfering with your ability to connect. Starting small is absolutely okay. Allow yourself to move toward your relationship goals despite any past trauma by being more vulnerable and letting go of a guarded approach. Let go of unhealthy tendencies or responses to relationship pain, such as controlling, passive-aggressive, mean-spirited or avoidant behavior, and utilize an open, calm, optimistic, and grounded approach. Take breaks if you need to, but commit to staying aligned with your goals and acting in ways that promote connection. Remember to breathe and invite love in.

Dating may not be easy and the past may be painful, but it is worth it to achieve great love and companionship. You have the power to control what you do with the past and to create the future you want. The past can end with a period and stay there or it can come with you. Choose to be empowered!

About the Author:

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

 

 

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The Second Half of Life Relationship Rules: 6 Ways to Keep the Fires Burning http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/relationships/the-second-half-of-life-relationship-rules-6-ways-to-keep-the-fires-burning/ Fri, 16 Sep 2016 23:20:51 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=33050 Being married for any length of time is truly an accomplishment these days. Just last week a woman asked how long I had been married and when I said forty years this July, her eyes got huge and she said, “To the same person? How is that possible?” When we got married, people were taking bets […]

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Being married for any length of time is truly an accomplishment these days. Just last week a woman asked how long I had been married and when I said forty years this July, her eyes got huge and she said, “To the same person? How is that possible?”

When we got married, people were taking bets on how long our union would last. The average bet was between two weeks and two years because of our age difference and personalities. Let’s just say, my husband is calm, wise, and conservative and I am the exact opposite. I do remember feeling really shaky when I said my vows … “for better or worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and health, till death do us part.” Now that’s a huge promise! Could I really do this?

Flash forward forty years. We are still married, happy and love each other, although it hasn’t been an easy road and our relationship has been tested on many occasions, and I’m sure more will come as we navigate through our senior years.

Someone once said, “I married you for better or worse, but not for breakfast and lunch.” I never really understood that until now. Obviously, when couples first get married, it is exciting, challenging, romantic, and fun. And then if children come along, the marriage gets even more interesting and challenging as people try to raise their kids together. But after the kids are gone, and retirement looms, people start to feel displaced as their roles in life change. Who are we without our careers and kids? What do we have to talk about? And why do we keep bumping into each other in the kitchen?

So in order to keep a relationship going all the way to the end, here are six rules of engagement to keep the fires burning.

Stay Vibrant and Interesting! Continue to learn and try new experiences. You can do this as a couple or individual. No one likes to get stuck in a boring routine or a mundane life, so make sure you keep reinventing both yourself and you as a couple.

Have Date Night at Least Twice a Month. It’s important to have something to look forward to and it doesn’t have to be fancy. Just carving out a special time together is meaningful, thoughtful, and fun!

Make Sure You Don’t “Let Yourself Go.” Even though our partners have probably seen us at our most unattractive, we need to continue to make an effort to look appealing to our spouse. Try to stay fit, have good hygiene, and take good care of you. Doing so is imperative if we want to keep the intimacy going in the marriage. No one likes to sleep with a slob.

Listen! We have Two Ears and One Mouth for a Reason. Communication is essential for long-term relationships. To have someone who actually listens to you is one of the best gifts you can get from your marriage and give to your partner.

Never Go to Bed Mad at Your Partner. A friend once told me that when he and his wife have an argument that can’t be resolved, they “fight naked.” He said that it is impossible to keep arguing when you are in bed close to the one you love. My husband and I haven’t tried this one yet, but we won’t count it out.

Never Take Your Partner for Granted. Always show appreciation, even for small acts of kindness and help. And don’t forget to say those magic three words, at least once a day: I LOVE YOU!

These rules seem simple, but how many couples do you know who don’t abide by any of them? Are they happy? Are they fun to be around?  I saw an older couple at a restaurant the other day and they just sat there, ate their food, and never spoke or even looked at each other. It was sad!

So keep the fires burning and love the one you’re with. All it takes is a little effort, ingenuity, and a lot of love.

 

Sharkie Zartman, MA is a college professor, a former All-American volleyball athlete and award-winning volleyball coach. She hosts “Sharkie’s PEP Talk” on Healthy Life radio, is a certified health coach and is the author of five books, including “Take on Aging as a Sport.” She helps people take an empowered approach to life and aging so they can have optimal health and success at any age.                      

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15 Ways to Get a Handle on Life’s Hassles http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/about-you/15-ways-to-get-a-handle-on-lifes-hassles/ Thu, 01 Sep 2016 00:02:35 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=33030 We’ve all had them — one of “those” days. And for singles, having one of “those” days might include one of “those” dates. Bad days–and the occasional bad date–are unavoidable. Here are 15 effective ways to better handle life’s hassles: 1. Identify your style. Are you a night owl or a morning lark? Are you […]

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We’ve all had them — one of “those” days. And for singles, having one of “those” days might include one of “those” dates. Bad days–and the occasional bad date–are unavoidable.

Here are 15 effective ways to better handle life’s hassles:

1. Identify your style. Are you a night owl or a morning lark? Are you a creature of habit or do you hate routine? Knowing these things about yourself will help you get more out of every area of life.  

2. Plan ahead. A little foresight goes a long way. So do some research on that must-try restaurant before you find yourself facing a two-hour wait (and a frustrated date).

3. And have a backup plan. You wouldn’t prepare a presentation without backing it up. Apply this same mentality to your dating life, and expect the unexpected. If that concert gets rained out, have an alternative ready to go.

4. Make an appointment with yourself. Give yourself a set amount of time each day to get organized. That way, you can enjoy yourself when it’s time to relax.

5. Be your own best friend. Dating can be challenging and sometimes hard on your self-esteem. So resist the urge to be your own worst critic. Self-reflection is one thing, self-scrutiny is another.

6. Unwind. If you’re constantly on the go, it may be time to slow down. Take your date someplace relaxing and soak in the peace and quiet — together.

7. Give thanks. Even when you’re in a rough patch, there’s a lot to be thankful for. Set aside regular times to recall the things you love about yourself, your life, your job, and your social circle. 

8. Lend a hand. One of the best remedies for feeling burdened is to give back. Going above and beyond for another person can enhance every relationship, and benefit you in the process.

9. Get perspective. Don’t be afraid to ask friends and family for feedback. Maybe they can see something you don’t. 

10. Live (and date) within your means. So many of life’s anxieties could be avoided by creating and sticking to a budget. Finding creative and inexpensive ways to live and date will reduce stress while adding joy.

11. Don’t date while distracted. Multitasking makes everything more difficult and less enjoyable. Disconnect from your devices and recharge with the person in front of you.

12. Act the way you want to feel. Most of us tend to think that our feelings dictate our actions, but the truth is just the opposite. Whether you’re at the office or out on the town, remember: If you want to be interested, you need to behave like you already are.

13. Scale back. If your life is bursting at the seams, you can be sure that the seam will soon split. Pare down your obligations so when an opportunity presents itself (either at work or play), you’re able to take it.

14. End the night on the right note. You may be having the time of your life, but it’s important to know when to call it a night. Quality sleep is the fuel you need to rise to tomorrow’s challenges.

15. Laugh about it. Turn that tedious work meeting into a hilarious dinner date topic. Odds are good that you’re not the only one who needs a laugh after a rough day.

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6 Reasons Women Today Have the Power that Counts the Most http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/about-you/6-reasons-women-today-have-the-power-that-counts-the-most/ Fri, 26 Aug 2016 21:16:01 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=33019 Over the last several years, as an author, educator, and mentor of women, I have analyzed marriage from a multiplicity of angles—that is from material written by professional governmental, educational, and faith-based sociologists, scientists, and psychologists, as well as journalists, philosophers, and novelists. What strikes me overall is how each source (regardless of the author’s […]

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Over the last several years, as an author, educator, and mentor of women, I have analyzed marriage from a multiplicity of angles—that is from material written by professional governmental, educational, and faith-based sociologists, scientists, and psychologists, as well as journalists, philosophers, and novelists. What strikes me overall is how each source (regardless of the author’s personal background, purpose, or professional credentials) assert, or at least assume, these general trends in the Western world:

  1. There has been a titanic cultural shift in the roles of men and women. 
  2. This social transformation has left many men in a quandary over their identity. The lack of definitive social expectations leaves men at a disadvantage compared to their male progenitors, who knew for thousands of years exactly what was expected of a man.
  3. This adjustment is affecting men’s personal and professional relationships with women.
  4. Men are increasingly looking to strong women to help them direct their energy, inspire their dreams, and channel their ambitions in constructive ways.
  5. This progressive view is allowing more and more men and women to act as true partners in achieving family and professional goals.
  6. Of all the strengths women bring to partnership, one of the most vital is their natural orientation toward relationships. Women generally, by virtue of biochemistry, social tradition, contemporary cultural developments, or all of the above, are frequently more adept at relationship dynamics than men are.

Thus, in a nutshell, women today, either by design, development, or accident, depending on your belief system, are in a very powerful position when it comes to creating and maintaining truly rewarding relationships with men.

Of course, any relationship is a two-way street, linking two people who share responsibility for its outcome. But the truth of the matter appears to be that women have a disproportionate amount of influence on both the day-to-day and the long-term tenor of their marriage. The feminine energy we bring to the partnership is intuitive, relational, receptive, connective, intimate, and inclusive.

Musing over the idea that women in general (at least Western women) wield significant influence in their relationships, I am reminded of a conversation I once had with a student who took exception with this one aspect of Wife for Life (the body of successful marriage principles and skills I teach to women exclusively). I agreed with her—right out of the box—that each party in the marriage is responsible for 50% of the partnership.

“But aren’t you,” I challenged, “100% responsible for your 50%?”

She went on to concede that life is not really about numbers, and relationships that keep score inevitably fail. Plus–once we got off the principle platform–she admitted to reality: her man was persistently ignoring their troubles and resisting permanent change. Attempts to move the dial had repeatedly, frustratingly, topped out, at best, somewhere in the middle.

After our conversation however, my new friend made a new tact, fully embracing her relational power. With that simple shift, she felt suddenly motivated to learn and practice all she could about relationship dynamics, particularly marriage, so that, like thousands of others in my experience (including myself), she could move the dial past center, toward maximum. I watched her work day-by-day, week-by-week, year-by-year; her partner necessarily responding to, and learning from, her relational influence. She is now one of the most satisfied, successful wives I know, with a truly beautiful marriage—one for the family history books.

I believe that same outcome is possible for most intelligent women partnered with well-intentioned men because feminine intuition, inclination, and imagination is nothing less than potent, pure energy. Modern women really do have more power than ever before; and in terms of human happiness, it’s the power the counts the most.

Ramona Zabriskie, a wife of 38 years, is the multi-award winning author of Wife for Life: The Power to Succeed in Marriage and founder of the highly acclaimed Wife for Life University, a one-of-a-kind virtual school for wives that transforms marriages through a step-by-step, principle based approach via live mentoring, classes, and community. Watch Ramona’s free information-packed webinar, “Your Power to Succeed in Marriage” on demand at ramonazabriskie.com.

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Dating and the Single Parent: 9 Things to Remember http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/dating/dating-and-the-single-parent-9-things-to-remember/ Thu, 25 Aug 2016 22:43:11 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=33004 Think dating is difficult? Try dating with a five-year-old or fourteen-year-old watching your every move. Suddenly your romantic life is immersed in the morals, values, and integrity you’ve established for your children. Can you hold fast to them or are you just talking out of the both sides of your mouth? Every single parent must […]

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Think dating is difficult? Try dating with a five-year-old or fourteen-year-old watching your every move. Suddenly your romantic life is immersed in the morals, values, and integrity you’ve established for your children. Can you hold fast to them or are you just talking out of the both sides of your mouth?

Every single parent must remember they are showing their kids how to date: what to look for in a man or woman, how to act, how to be treated, is sex before marriage ok, is a lot of sex with a lot of different people before marriage ok?

Children notice a strange man in mom’s bedroom, they notice a half naked woman in the kitchen in the morning. They’ll quiz you incessantly about your date, did you like the guy, do you think you might get married to that woman. They’ll also be loaded with opinions about your dates: be ready to hear not that just “he’s nice” or “she’s pretty” but “he looks mean” or “She doesn’t like me, I can tell.”

So there are some proven suggestions for loving, caring parents who for one reason or another find themselves back in the dating game.

  1. Ask yourself — how important are your kids to you? This is a serious question. “I love them to death,” isn’t a serious answer. “I love them so much I’m willing to put off any relationship for a year or two or three,” is a serious answer. I’m not saying that’s always necessary, but sometimes it is. God put the destiny of these young children in your hands, you can’t be willing to throw it out the window for the first good-looking regional manager that walks into your life.
  2. If your first relationship ended in divorce, remember your kids probably still love their parent. They don’t want to hear how much nicer this new woman is than their mother. For awhile they won’t want to hear how much more you love this new person.
  3. You don’t have to, in fact you shouldn’t, introduce every date to your kids. This will only confuse them and let them build up false hope about a person they unexpectedly like.
  4. Let every date know you have kids. This will eliminate future complications with prospective partners who absolutely aren’t ready for the responsibility of kids.
  5. Do not let your kids find half-naked strangers roaming around your house in the early morning.
  6. When you feel a relationship has become serious enough to introduce the kids, keep everything low key. Maybe a picnic or trip to the zoo with young kids, so the focus isn’t on “the new person.” Older kids can be tougher or easier depending. Sometimes, if the parent is a widow, they just want their parents to be happy. Other times, if they are children of divorce, don’t expect them to love the new person overnight.
  7. Remember, somebody can be a fun date and suck at being a mom or dad. The more you’re around them, the more you’ll be able to tell.
  8. If things are getting serious, take your date to the PTA meeting. Let them know what their future looks like.
  9. If things get real serious, bring all the kids into the discussion of do we want this person as part of our family. Then tell him or her together.

 

Harry H Harrison Jr. is a NY TIMES best selling parenting author with some 4 million books in print. He has been interviewed on over 25 television programs, and is featured in over 75 local and national radio stations including NPR, throughout Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Norway, South America, China, Saudi Arabia and in the Far East. His books are available in over thirty-five countries. He is a featured expert at kidsinthehouse.com. For more information visit www.fearlessparenting.com.

 

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What Prevents You from Loving Yourself? http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/about-you/what-prevents-you-from-loving-yourself/ Wed, 24 Aug 2016 18:15:16 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=32987 In your daily life, are you guided by fear or love? What are the fears that block being loving to yourself and others? How often is the question, “What is loving to myself and others– what is in my highest good and the highest good of another?” the question that guides your actions? Is there something […]

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In your daily life, are you guided by fear or love? What are the fears that block being loving to yourself and others?

How often is the question, “What is loving to myself and others– what is in my highest good and the highest good of another?” the question that guides your actions? Is there something in the way of you asking this question? What is the fear that gets in the way of loving yourself?

Ethan’s fear is that “If I’m open to love, I will be weak and then easily taken advantage of. I might lose my sharpness in business and then lose money. Business people will see that I’m a soft touch and run right over me.”

Alexis is stuck in her cycle of anger at her husband. In her mind, she knows that her controlling, blaming anger is pushing him away, yet she fears that “If I let go of the control, he will end up making a fool of me. The only way I can be safe from him doing something behind my back, like having an affair, is to keep a tight rein on him.” Alexis’s husband, Noah, has been staying away more and more, and coming home later and later. He doesn’t want to be around the anger. The more he stays away, the angrier Alexis gets. She is terrified to let go and see what will happen. Having a huge abandonment issue, and not doing the inner work to take care of herself, she is very afraid he will leave her. Rather than risk this, she keeps doing the very thing that pushes Noah away, while her fears continue to grow.

Each of these people are terrified at losing something – losing themselves, losing the other, losing face, losing money, losing power. None of them have the faith that if they are open to loving themselves and others, they will be supported by the vast power of Spirit. None of them are willing to risk opening to love and seeing what happens. As a result, they cannot create a strong enough connection with their spiritual guidance to know that their fears are not based on truth, but on their false beliefs.

Two things would need to happen for them to change:

They would need to be willing to risk having their worst fears happen. Until they are willing to find out whether or not their fears are based on truth, they will be stuck avoiding them. When they finally say, “Okay, if I’m abandoned, made a fool of, taken advantage of or completely controlled by another, so be it. Living this way isn’t working so I’m willing to see what will happen if I open,” then they will be open to learning and loving.

When they decide that the spiritual journey of becoming a loving human being is more important than whether or not they are hurt, rejected, controlled, or made a fool of, they will open. As long as they believe that the earthly journey of getting and controlling is more important than the spiritual journey of learning and loving, they will stay stuck.

Your soul remembers your spiritual journey. Your soul yearns to love and share love. Your soul yearns for the lightness of being that comes from opening to love. If you diligently practice inner Bonding, you will eventually connect with the deep desires of your soul and open your heart.

Margaret Paul, Ph.D. is a best-selling author of 8 books, relationship expert, and co-creator of the powerful Inner Bonding® process – featured on Oprah, and recommended by actress Lindsay Wagner and singer Alanis Morissette. Are you are ready to heal your pain and discover your joy? Click here for a FREE Inner Bonding course: http://www.innerbonding.com/welcome and visit our website at www.innerbonding.com for more articles and help. Phone and Skype Sessions Available. Join the thousands we have already helped and visit us now!

 

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5 Warning Signs That Your Partner May Not Be Good in a Crisis http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/relationships/5-warning-signs-that-your-partner-may-not-be-good-in-a-crisis/ Tue, 16 Aug 2016 21:12:58 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=32932 Sometimes the very things we find attractive in someone may actually be warning signs that they may not be good for us in the long run. Those high expectations that make him a success in business may turn to unnecessary pressure in a crisis. That dramatic flair that makes him exciting, may actually keep him […]

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Sometimes the very things we find attractive in someone may actually be warning signs that they may not be good for us in the long run. Those high expectations that make him a success in business may turn to unnecessary pressure in a crisis. That dramatic flair that makes him exciting, may actually keep him from being a comfort to you in a time of need. Here are 5 warning signs that your guy may not be good in a crisis.

He can’t go with the flow.

How does he react when things don’t go according to plan? When you get stuck in traffic does he freak out? How about when plans change at the last minute? What does he do when you’re late? If your partner sweats the small stuff, don’t assume he’ll rise to the occasion when there’s a real crisis. Instead, what you see is probably what you’ll get. Most people don’t change personalities during a crisis. In fact, most revert to type. The guy who freaks out when there’s a change of plan, may not be able to handle the uncertainties of a health crisis, or have the flexibility he needs to be a great parent.

He has friends or family he chooses not to speak to anymore.

This is a big red flag. Anyone who is capable of cutting people out of their lives has the ability to see the world as black and white. The truth is that relationships, and life in general, have a lot of gray matter. The more forgiving someone is, the more empathy they have and the more supportive they are likely to be. Make sure you get the story on why he’s pushed someone away and ask yourself if you’d do the same.

He is a perfectionist.

There’s a big difference between someone with high expectations and a perfectionist. A perfectionist is defined in Merriman Webster dictionary as: a disposition to regard anything short of perfection as unacceptable; especially: the setting of unrealistically demanding goals accompanied by a disposition to regard failure to achieve them as unacceptable and a sign of personal worthlessness. Need I say more? When a crisis hits, sometimes all you can do is get through the day. A perfectionist can’t let go of expectations and that pressure can be debilitating for someone going through a difficult time.

He talks much more about himself than you to his friends and family.

A supportive partner will be excited to share your accomplishments. He will be sure to mention how well you’re doing at work, or even some small thing that you’ve done that he’s proud of. An unsupportive partner will fail to mention both the big and small things that happen in your world. Instead, he will focus only on what he himself has done. This type of partner may resent the attention you receive during a crisis. 
 
He’s dramatic.

If your guy is the type who seems to create drama wherever he goes, a crisis may bring out the chance for even more. Instead of being the calm in your storm, he may bring on the thunder and add to your emotional burden.

So, now that you see the flags, what do you do? You may not need to kick your guy to the curb right now (unless you checked off every single one of these traits), but it’s good to take stock. Ask yourself how YOU are in a crisis? What do you need during your times of need? Maybe you are the strong one and you like it that way. Or maybe you get tired of always being the one who has to be stoic. Maybe the more intense he gets, the calmer you get and his demeanor doesn’t stress you out. If, on the other hand, you wind each other up, it may be time to think about making a change.

 

Andrea Hutton is a critically acclaimed author, speaker and breast cancer survivor. Her work on breast cancer and women’s wellness has been featured such varied outlets as: The Washington Post, Women’s Health and Psychology Today. As a breast cancer survivor, and patient advocate who has “been there, had that” Andrea Hutton is on a mission to empower and educate women on how to take charge of their own health. Andrea is the author of Bald is Better with Earrings – A Survivor’s Guide to Getting Through Breast Cancer (HarperCollins 2015). She is also a State Leader for the Young Survival Coalition, a graduate of Duke University and the National Breast Cancer Coalition’s prestigious Project Lead advocacy training program. For more information visit www.andreahutton.com.

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10 Things Happy Singles Do Every Day http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/about-you/10-things-happy-singles-do-every-day/ Thu, 11 Aug 2016 22:51:31 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=32916 Happy single people are just like happy coupled people. Yep, you read that right! Why? Because we know one of the greatest — and simplest — secrets in life. Every day, we get to hang out with the most amazing person we know … ourselves!And this doesn’t change when we find our perfect someone, because […]

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Happy single people are just like happy coupled people.

Yep, you read that right!

Why? Because we know one of the greatest — and simplest — secrets in life. Every day, we get to hang out with the most amazing person we know … ourselves!
And this doesn’t change when we find our perfect someone, because that person should never “complete” us; they should complement us. “Loving yourself” isn’t just a lip service concept — it’s a real way of life, whether your life is partnered or not.

Entrusting the sacred task of caring for you to anyone else can feel like a delicious perk, but it’s far from a necessity. And what better time to start putting yourself first than while you’re flying solo?

Happy-making habits will get you a long way towards not only being “content” as a single person, but towards truly loving your single self too. So, to help you along, here is some advice from those of us ALREADY rocking the happy single life. Here’s what we do that makes solo living so amazing:

1. We revel in our autonomy.

We do what we want to do, the way we want to do it, and on our own timeline. Why? Because we can! We appreciate not having to negotiate conflicting schedules, deal with remembering to update anyone on our whereabouts, or make concessions for differing preferences.

2. We don’t wait around.

We ask ourselves, “What do I want to do?”, and then we do it (or we don’t — it’s up to us.)

We don’t wait to get paired up to have whatever kind of fun we feel like having. If we want to go out, we go solo or wrangle a friend. We know that all activities are ours just as much as they belong to the coupled crowd.

Like what, you ask? My answer is anything — head off to a romantic island with a pal, travel abroad on your own, or explore neighborhoods in your city. Go to plays, museums, and films, eat in five-star restaurants, host Taco Tuesday for the gang, or just snuggle up in bed with a good book or film.

3. We make sure to get what we need.

Learning what’s needed to be in top mental, emotional, and physical shape is an individual journey.

Anytime you notice you’re cranky, upset, irked, or just all-around off-balance, there’s something you need that you’re not getting. Happy single people pay attention to having enough sleep, physical movement, companion time, alone time, and fun time — and when the crankypants alarm bells start going off, we take action!

4. We do things that make us genuinely happy.

We get a massage, buy ourselves flowers, grab a cupcake after lunch, or soak in a bubble bath. We indulge in life’s little luxuries.

5. We tend to our serenity.

Whether it’s a lunch-break walk at an urban park, a three-minute quickie meditation practice, or a hike with the dog, quiet time (and especially time outdoors if you can swing it) feeds us a healthy dose of calm between the many storms of everyday life on our own.

6. We nurture love in all of our relationships.

We spend focused love time with our dog, our cat, our pot-bellied pig, a close friend, or a family member (just maybe not the annoying family members). We volunteer at a local animal sanctuary or at another organization where we care about making a difference.

Love comes in many forms, and it’s there for the giving and the taking almost everywhere you look.

7. We spend time with lots of people.

We make random acts of kindness happen. We look forward to the friends we haven’t met yet, and invite sexy people to connect with us, to flirt with us, to lean in closer. We make room for strangers just to make our day a little bit brighter and hopefully add to the joy of their days, too.

8. We keep a morning gratitude list.

It takes very little time, so why not? We write down three things we’re grateful for to remind us what’s good, what’s worth it, and what makes the human experience something to be thankful for each and every morning. Sometimes, I write mine in steam on the bathroom mirror.

9. We use the buddy system.

We cultivate deep friendships with other happy single people (think of it as your single crew’s very own social network) where we enjoy each other’s company, see each other’s pain, comfort each other when things are rough, cheer on each other’s victories, and most importantly, witness each other’s lives.

10. We build and tend to a life we love.

We decide what flavor of life we want and we get right to work on mixing up a batch of it. We don’t ask ourselves, “How much more of this can I stand?” but “How great can I stand it?” and we take it from there.

We make plans for the future, we build businesses, we write books, we make friends, we travel, we create art, we get involved in what matters to us. We love ourselves.

More at YourTango:

The Best Part Of Being Single Is Knowing Nobody’s Cheating On You

4 Things Guys Do That Mean They’re Really Into You

What You SHOULD Do When He Asks You Out, But Doesn’t Follow Through

 

Article originally posted at YourTango

 

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15 Reasons a Sense of Humor Makes You Hot http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/about-you/15-reasons-a-sense-of-humor-makes-you-hot/ Tue, 02 Aug 2016 22:01:15 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=32897 Almost every person has “sense of humor” high on the list of things they want in a partner. You know, of course, what you like about another’s person ability to be funny. But have you considered exactly why this quality makes YOU desirable? A good sense of humor makes you highly attractive because it … 1. Expresses […]

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Almost every person has “sense of humor” high on the list of things they want in a partner. You know, of course, what you like about another’s person ability to be funny. But have you considered exactly why this quality makes YOU desirable? A good sense of humor makes you highly attractive because it …

1. Expresses your unique perspective on life. Humor says a lot about your outlook and attitude— which is hopefully positive and upbeat (!).

2. Is one of the best flirting strategies. As actress Nia Vardalos said, “Compliment a woman and, sure, she will smile. But make a woman laugh, and she may get naked.”

3. Makes up for personal weaknesses. If you consider yourself average or below average in some way–and who doesn’t?–realize that a great sense of humor more than compensates. It’s sexy.

4. Reveals your good heart. Since much of modern humor is sarcastic and cynical, your playful style will show that you’re kind.

5. Points to having an agreeable personality. A big part of what it means to be personable is the ability to joke and share funny moments with others.

6. Makes known your interest in the other person. Humor is often used as a “barometer” to gauge level of attraction and interest. Your engaged response to your date’s humor (and vice versa) is a good sign of chemistry.

7. Provides evidence of your sharp mind. People with a quick wit are typically bright and clever.

8. Demonstrates that you are willing to be vulnerable. Attempting to be funny takes guts–you risk your joke falling flat.

9. Puts the other person at ease. Laughing together reduces anxiety and fosters relaxation. That will create the conditions to get better acquainted.

10. Assures your date that you are a happy person. Having a lighthearted approach to life makes for happy individuals—and of course happy individuals make happy romantic couples.

11. Indicates compatibility in a vital area. You know you’ve clicked with someone when you laugh at the same things.

12. Defuses conflict. When disagreements arise, a light touch can lower the tension so you can resolve the matter efficiently.

13. Shows that you don’t take yourself too seriously. Self-deprecating humor lets your date know you can make fun at yourself.

14. Displays a quality that contributes to the health of a relationship. Laughter and levity contribute numerous therapeutic elements to a long-term relationship.

15. Invites the other person to join in the fun. When you act playful, you encourage your date to do the same. You allow him/her to share the spotlight—which will be much appreciated.

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Are You Paying Attention to the ‘Godwinks’? http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/about-you/are-you-paying-attention-to-the-godwinks/ Thu, 28 Jul 2016 22:49:26 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=32883 While walking to a workout class, busily talking to my mom about my latest dating flop, she kindly reminded me that when the time is right, when the stars align, when the right person comes along, it won’t be so difficult to fall in love. She’s a big believer in the way the universe twists […]

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While walking to a workout class, busily talking to my mom about my latest dating flop, she kindly reminded me that when the time is right, when the stars align, when the right person comes along, it won’t be so difficult to fall in love. She’s a big believer in the way the universe twists and turns, often giving us signs if we’re open-hearted enough to see them. I usually take everything she says as scripture (she is my mama, after all!), but on this particular sticky hot afternoon, I just couldn’t be bothered. I heard myself say snippy words as my eyes welled up with those big, splashy, unapologetic tears, and I quickly hurried off the phone.

Even an hour’s worth of boxing didn’t make me feel better, and though I had so many things to check off my to-do list, something told me to stop by Barnes & Noble before heading to my apartment. I remembered how my mom once said we all need some inspiration when we’re feeling defeated or disappointed, and maybe, just maybe, I’d find something that would give me that hope that often feels far away after five years of being single.

Normally not one to judge a book by it’s cover (I’m an avid Kindle reader, for the record) – I couldn’t help but look at a small, lightly-colored book called ‘Godwinks On Love.’ I told myself that I would only buy the book – a real, tangible book! – if I opened it to a random page and something spoke to me.

For whatever reason, I pried it open and my eyes instantly went to a date that was written out – September 16. No big deal, right? Wrong – that’s my birthday. Without hesitation, I hurried to check out and called my mom to apologize. I didn’t know what was in store for me with this quick-read book, but within a week, I had highlighted so many passages, cried my way through the chapters and gone to sleep every single night feeling more positive and full of life.

I’m still single but this profound book full of heartwarming stories that really make you trust in something bigger than yourself, was exactly what this 20-something girl needed. Luckily for me, the author – SQuire Rushnell (NOTE: the capital Q isn’t a typo!) took some time to answer questions for me about how he created the inspiring Godwink collection, along with some advice for daters like me:

What is a godwink?

SQuire Rushnell: “A “godwink” is one of those little experiences that everyone has; you’re tempted to call it “coincidence” but you know it’s something more … something of divine origin.

When that word came into mind, writing my first GodWinks book, I thought of when we were kids, sitting at the big table; you looked up and saw someone you loved looking back at you⎯they gave you a silent communication, a wink⎯you never said, “What do you mean by that?” You KNEW! It meant, “Hey kid, I’m thinking of you right now! I love you!” Well, that’s what a godwink is.

As someone who has been single for most of her adult life, reading your book was the breath of fresh air I really needed. It’s so hard to maintain hope in dating!

SR: I so identify with you. When you are feeling that perfect love in life is something that has passed you by, it gets pretty hopeless. But, I honestly believe that God has created the perfect mate for everyone. Think about this: Why would the God, who created everything perfectly, not have a perfect mate for you? Everything around you is a symphony of perfect design, balance, and color.

I once was mired in loneliness and hopeless about finding perfect love. But I now know that when I cried out in constant prayer that I was placing myself on His GPS⎯ God’s Positioning System. Louise was doing the same thing at the same time. It took awhile for Him to Divinely Align all the events and godwinks in our lives, so that our paths would intersect, but it was worth the wait. When the godwinks began, and our love ignited, it was better than any fourth of July fireworks. And today, 16 years later, I can honestly say that I love my wife more today than yesterday.

What tips do you have for someone who wants to stay positive?

SR: When you ask in prayer, believing that God is who He says He is, and can do what He says He can do, you should expect to receive perfect love. And also expect your answered prayers to come in the form of godwinks.

Godwinks happen more often when you get out of your comfort zone, leaving your baggage behind, and doing things that may take a little courage. Does that mean that people who engage others in conversation, and are actively involved in projects are more likely to experience godwinks than someone who is sitting at home watching TV? Yes.

 

Lindsay Tigar is a 26-year-old single writer, editor, and blogger living in New York City. She started her popular dating blog, Confessions of a Love Addict, after one too many terrible dates with tall, emotionally unavailable men (her personal weakness) and is now developing a book about it, represented by the James Fitzgerald Agency. She writes for eHarmony, YourTango, REDBOOK, and more. When she isn’t writing, you can find her in a boxing or yoga class, booking her next trip, sipping red wine with friends or walking her cute pup, Lucy.

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How to Say No to Narcissists and Takers http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/about-you/how-to-say-no-to-a-narcissist/ Wed, 27 Jul 2016 17:59:04 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=32875 Does this sound familiar? A friend I’ll call “Ed” kept pushing me to contribute to my school’s alumni fund. The more he called me, the more stubborn I felt that my answer was, “No.” I felt that not only did I lack the money necessary to contribute in order to make a true difference, but […]

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Does this sound familiar?

A friend I’ll call “Ed” kept pushing me to contribute to my school’s alumni fund. The more he called me, the more stubborn I felt that my answer was, “No.”

I felt that not only did I lack the money necessary to contribute in order to make a true difference, but I also knew whatever I could give would be paltry in relation to what the fund had already accumulated.

Finally, Ed said, “You’re the only person who hasn’t said yes.”
Maybe that was the truth. Maybe not. Knowing Ed — and his narcissistic ego — I sensed his motivation behind so actively pursuing my contribution had more to do with his desire to be able to say he got 100% of our class to contribute.

So I said, “I guess that’s the way we’ll have to leave it.”

We all receive unwanted requests from time to time. Some deal with money. Some deal with our precious time. Maybe you’re more generous than I was, or maybe you’re less stubborn. Your response may vary according to the situation, and whether or not you currently possess the resources, abilities, or time needed to oblige.

Learning to say no when requests are unreasonable, impossible, or simply unwanted frees your energy, time, and financial resources so you can say yes to those things you find truly important.

Here is a simple two-step process to identify how and when to confidently say, “NO.”

1. Identify the driving motivational tendencies beneath your difficulty saying no.

In general, women (particularly heterosexual women) find it more difficult to say no than do most men. Women are more concerned about hurting others’ feelings, and are generally more anxious about incurring hostility or resentment from the person asking.

You’ll know immediately that opportunities and issues lie within you as specific concerns and motivations are identified.

One of my closest friends has collected several people she calls her friends. I call them takers, and sometimes narcissists. The relationships she has with these people are one-way streets with aspects of co-dependency — a form of relationship dysfunction in which “one person’s help supports (enables) the other’s under-achievement, irresponsibility, immaturity, addiction, procrastination, or poor mental or physical health.” This dynamic often breeds greater dependency and postpones the other person’s progress, ultimately wearying if not draining the giver.

Too many of my own friendships have been based on such “helping” relationships. Over time, I began to realize how tired I felt being the useful one (if not used), in spite of satisfying my need to be needed, as well as to be seen as a good person. I had to be honest with myself and accept how lopsided these relationships were in order to then wean myself of the habit of forming relationships with needy people.

Now that I have, I’m able to enjoy balanced, mutually generous relationships.

And I’ve learned to request help myself!

Common motivations for those of us with difficulty saying no include:

•Fear of rejection
•Anxiety over the perceived threat of feeling lonely
•Preference for being seen as necessary and needed
•Conflict aversion
•Desire to uphold a self-image of generosity and kindness
•Need for control or superiority

2.  Practice the art of just saying no.

My mother used to describe her sister as a doormat before “people-pleaser” became a common term in our vocabulary. When people get used to your being in that role, you can expect continuing requests and even antagonism or resentment when you finally put your foot down. When you receive a response that makes you feel uncomfortable, use it as an opportunity to gather information about the foundation and value of that particular relationship.

Start by allowing yourself time to think before you answer. A simple, “Let me think about your request. I’ll get back to you by …,” is all you need to offer at first.

Next, give meaningful consideration to the request.

Ask yourself the following:

•Do I have the resources, time, and energy necessary to say yes and follow through?
•If so, do I really want to do it?
•How does this request align with or take away from my own needs and priorities?
•Will my involvement truly help this person, or will it serve to perpetuate their negative habits?
•How will I feel if I say yes now and find I can’t, or don’t want to, comply later?
•What are both the worst and best things that might happen if I say no?

If you reach the conclusion that, yes, your answer is indeed, “NO,” say so — politely and firmly.

If the person who made the request persists in asking you to reconsider, suggest alternative, comparable means of assistance — once. After which, simply repeat your refusal in a firm, pleasant manner as many times as necessary.

When the request comes as part of someone’s pattern of reliance on you, insist on setting a time and place to discuss the situation. Before that conversation takes place, take time to organize and clarify your responses, and well as to identify the outcome you would like to achieve.

Here are some questions to ask yourself:

•What is the meaning and value of this relationship to me?
•What am I willing to do to (and what am I unwilling to do) in order to sustain and improve it?

If the requestor has authority over you, you can also identify a range of alternatives, ask for clarification of previously agreed-upon priorities that may need re-visiting, or provide an either/or option (i.e., should I do this or that?).

Pay attention to what’s important to YOU and use your own resources well.

Time, energy, and financial resources are all precious. Once used, they cannot be retrieved. Every time you say no, you collect opportunities to say yes to yourself and to your own preferences, values, hopes, needs, and goals. Paradoxically, you also increase your opportunities to contribute to others, and possibly to your relationships, when you say no. You allow others the ability to deal with their own issues, become more resourceful in seeking alternatives, and gain respect for your strengths and interests.

To make the time you’ve used reading this article count, decide on your own next actions. Choose one opportunity or situation within the next week where saying no will benefit yourself and possibly someone else. Identify two or three steps you will take to prepare for action. Schedule them — and then make it happen.

Finally, if you feel stuck or occasionally hit a roadblock repeat this personal mantra I’ve developed:

I will be as kind to myself as I am to others.

 

More from YourTango:

17 Signs He’s Crazy About You

9 Ways Strong Women Get Ahead In Life WITHOUT Losing Themselves

5 Secrets That Help You Be The Person EVERYONE Wants To Talk To

 

Article originally posted at YourTango

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Are You a Financial Fit for Each Other? http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/relationships/are-you-a-financial-match-for-each-other/ Thu, 21 Jul 2016 23:11:02 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=32861 Healthy love and compatibility in a budding relationship are wonderful qualities and can take you a long way. If your attitudes about money matters don’t match, however, warning bells instead of wedding bells could be ringing. Have you had the “Talk” yet? You know, that talk about money. Have you talked about those taboo topics […]

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Healthy love and compatibility in a budding relationship are wonderful qualities and can take you a long way. If your attitudes about money matters don’t match, however, warning bells instead of wedding bells could be ringing.

Have you had the “Talk” yet? You know, that talk about money. Have you talked about those taboo topics like a personal budget, spending, and debt issues? Do you know where that special someone in your life stands when it comes to savings, planning, and overall financial awareness? What emotions surface or old memories get triggered when money issues come up? Perhaps there were role models that never talked about money or demonstrated negative emotions about it. Are you now adept at sidestepping the whole topic?

If this relationship is on track for the next commitment step, it’s time for the “Talk”. Go ahead, make that date, have some wine, remember the priority of the love you have for each other and slowly dive in. Discover where you match and where you want to adjust on the following financial money matters.

Budgeting – Liberating or Depriving?

Choosing to work with a personal budget plan on a regular basis can be very freeing. Think of it as a tool that allows you to spend without guilt and save with more ease. Once you have a spending plan, you KNOW what you have available to spend and no longer are worrying, guessing or depending on a credit card as a type of “supplemental income” to get you through “just in case”. This means managing bills in a timely manner, avoiding late fees and knowing what to anticipate, rather than being blindsided by supposed “emergencies.”

What is it about having a personal spending plan and being in control of your choices and spending that still feels like deprivation?

Spending – Conscious or Unconscious?

Does your day of convenient cashless spending go by on autopilot with no conscious recollection of the lattes, or downloads throughout the day? Any clue how much money just trickled out of your account that day?

Or are you on top of it, working with handy tracking systems and alerts? You have conscious mental practices keeping you aware of your spending plan and the impact on your overall balance.

Debt – Something to Avoid or Just a Way of Life?

Debt often has a variety of emotional charges around it related to childhood memories, debt collectors or impossible student loans. Based on your life experiences or temperament, are you the type who focuses on avoiding or eliminating debt at all costs? Or, do you tend to mortgage your future against today’s “necessities”? After all, why not live for today and trust the universe will take care of tomorrow.

SavingsSaver or a Spender?

Remember Aesop’s fable of the ant and the grasshopper? The grasshopper loved to have fun and sing all summer, laughing at the industrious ant gathering up food and preparing for the winter. Are you an ant who believes in emergency funds for those REAL emergencies? Events like work hours suddenly cut back at your job, traffic fines from hidden cameras, or the outrageous vet bill after your pet’s freak accident.

Or maybe, like the grasshopper, you feel lucky if you manage to keep even a portion of any savings. Depositing money in savings and then pulling it right back out again, because of a lack of any budget planning, is a hard cycle to break without conscious changes.

How about maxing out your retirement fund contributions at work? Do you believe in starting young and leveraging that compounding explosion over time? What explosion you say? Retirement is for the future. You’re a grasshopper. You’ll contribute later.

And now…How did the “Talk” go? Did you find a match, or a good starting point, concerning personal budgets, spending, debt and savings?

Judy Lawrence, M.S. Ed., is a Financial Counselor in Albuquerque, NM, founder of http://www.moneytracker.com/ and author of “The Budget Kit: Common 6th Ed“. Judy shares fundamental money management tools and concepts developed and gleaned from sitting at thousands of kitchen tables (physically and virtually) and guides couples toward healthy relationships with money. Allow Judy to help you understand, create and maintain a budget that works for you through her free one hour webinar and online e-course.

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6 Powerful Ways to Raise Your Feminine Energy http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/date-tips/6-powerful-ways-to-raise-your-feminine-energy/ Wed, 13 Jul 2016 22:49:40 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=32851 You are a powerful, smart, and driven woman. You excel in your career, are a go-getter and a doer. You’ve honed in on your masculine energy to help take charge but you find yourself burned out, tired, and out of balance. This is occurring because your feminine and masculine energies are out of balance. You […]

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You are a powerful, smart, and driven woman. You excel in your career, are a go-getter and a doer. You’ve honed in on your masculine energy to help take charge but you find yourself burned out, tired, and out of balance.

This is occurring because your feminine and masculine energies are out of balance. You see we all (men and women) need a balance of our feminine and masculine energy, but as career driven women, we often put our feminine on the backburner.

Why is feminine energy so important, especially in our love lives? It helps to ignite the attraction vibes that magnetize men and increases your clarity and confidence.

Being in your feminine is as easy as practicing your “CHARMS,” a powerful acronym I’ve created to help you raise your feminine energy.

C stands for CREATE.

Creativity fuels our feminine energy when we allow the creative process to simply let us be. To be creative is to let go of perfection and control because we are not attached to the final outcome. Our concern lies in our ability to express ourselves.

Practice being creative by creating something out of nothing or expressing yourself through art.

H stands for HAVING FUN.

A lot of the women I’ve spoken to want a FUN life, but when I ask them how they are having fun NOW I hear crickets!!

There is something magnetic about a woman who enjoys her life, has fun, laughs, and smiles. Her energy is contagious and you want to be around her, you want to enjoy life with her.

A stands for ALLOWING.

A woman utilizing her feminine energy has the ability to allow others in, to receive from others. She doesn’t need to do everything on her own. She knows when to ask for help and when to lean back and allow others to do for her.

Look for times at work, home, and with loved ones where you can allow and ask for help.

R stands for RELAX.

Relaxing is all about letting go and being in the present moment. Not allowing the to-do lists, the emails or notifications get in the way of simply being. When we are able to relax and be present, we are able to connect to everything around us in a much more profound way.

From meditation to massages, pick your favorite way to relax and do it for 30 minutes today.

M stands for MOVE.

Movement is about creating fluidity between your mind and body. It allows you to stay connected to your body and to clear your mind. It also serves our need to stay healthy.

Biologically speaking men are attracted to a healthy woman that they can procreate with. Don’t take this as a need to be slim and fit, it’s a need to be healthy enough to run around and ‘practice’ procreating, even if you are past that part of your life.

S stands for SHARE.

Sharing is where vulnerability begins. By sharing our truths and ourselves in an authentic way, your feminine energy distresses, lets go, and is able to sustain.

By practicing sharing with other women in your life, you will nurture your femininity and sharing with men will become easier for you.

In practicing your CHARMS, your intention is to:

  1. See how you show up and how you feel when you commit to self-care and accountability.
  2. Identify the things that make you feel more feminine, clear and free, so that you can add them into your regular routine.
  3. Figure out where you get stuck and which parts you struggle with so that you can continue to work on that aspect of your life.

 

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Want to learn how to Ignite Your Feminine Energy and Attract High-Quality Men? Click here to watch Ravid’s Free 3-Part video series to discover how.

 

About the Author:

Ravid Yosef is a Dating & Relationship coach living in Los Angeles. Adamant about sharing the lessons she learned about love and life after cancer, she established LoveLifeTBD.com, a personal blog in April of 2014 and has written over 100 advice articles. Her advice columns and personal essays have been featured on YourTango, Care, Women.com, Fox Magazine, Elite Daily, Thought Catalog, Psych Central, and many other online publications.

 

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6 Ways to Become a Successful Flirt http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/dating-advice-for-you/6-ways-to-flirt-effectively/ Fri, 08 Jul 2016 20:34:13 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=32833 Men and women flirt differently, for both different reasons and expected outcomes. Flirting is an art that requires confidence without being over the top. Some of the same things that work in real life, also apply to online flirting. Let’s face it, someone has to break the ice, and all relationships begin with successful flirting. […]

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Men and women flirt differently, for both different reasons and expected outcomes. Flirting is an art that requires confidence without being over the top. Some of the same things that work in real life, also apply to online flirting. Let’s face it, someone has to break the ice, and all relationships begin with successful flirting.

How do you achieve that halfway point?

Ninety percent of all communication is non-verbal. Body language always speaks first in any conversation. When you are confident your body relaxes, you lean in, you smile, and you become more animated. When you are tense or not at ease with yourself, you will be sitting back, crossing your legs, maybe your arms are folded, your mouth will barely break a smile, and your eyes will be searching the room. Knowing this will help you convey confidence with your body language.

If you flirt just to be friendly, you’re opening yourself to different opportunities. You may well end up with a new lover, or at the very least, a good friend. You might even be introduced to the ‘Right One’ by this person. One never knows! Keep your options open.

Tips To Become A Successful Flirt:

  1. Just relax. Have fun! Be lighthearted, funny, and entertaining. Make this person eager to talk to you again. Flirting is being playful.
  2. Radiate confidence. Successful flirts have a positive outlook on life. You need to transmit this feel-good factor in your words and approach. An optimistic attitude attracts everyone.
  3. Give out genuine compliments, and do it often. Suddenly doors fly open when you make them feel good about themselves. This person will want to spend more time with you and if he/she pays you a compliment, say thank you. Don’t be self-depreciating.
  4. Listen. Pay attention to what they have to say and ask appropriate questions. Get them to open up and talk about themselves. Be sincerely interested.
  5. Don’t be rude. Flirting does not include being sexually explicit nor taking offense if the person isn’t responding to you. If there’s no interest, take the hint and move on. If you get a lot of rejections, you should probably consider a different approach.
  6. Send an email after you chat. It’s similar to sending a thank you note or a gift, and it is vital to successful flirting. Don’t try to go too fast.

A few additional tips might include:

After you have exchanged glances and smiles across a room and are fairly confident that this person is attracted to you, approach him or her. They are giving you the green light!

Never use cheesy pickup lines, they never work. Keep your mind on the conversation and not on getting a date.  Make an effort to get to know this person before going for a date.

Respect is key. Touching can be a lovely flirty action, but it should be confined to the arms or resting the hand just above the arms. Before touching, test the personal space by moving closer, noticing their reactions, then moving back a little, to remove the threat.

Respect yourself at all times. Women tend to fall for men who are that little bit unreachable. Think of yourself as special and know that you deserve the very best. Flirting is the first step to a successful relationship. Given this, what are you waiting for?

Shirl Hooper, Founder/CEO of Matches By Design, LLC-TM, is a Certified Matchmaker, Expert Dating and Relationship Coach, who has previous experience in Customer Relations in the healthcare field. Shirl has a passion for romance and helping others find love. The first relationship one should have is a healthy respect and love for one’s self. Once this occurs, we project our best self, and truly inspire others to find their happiness.

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7 Ways to Connect with Your Date http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/dating-advice-for-you/7-ways-to-connect-with-your-date/ Fri, 08 Jul 2016 17:54:52 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=32822 Have you ever struggled to connect on a date? Or felt absolutely nothing sitting across the table from a potential partner? Or have you ever felt a strong connection to someone and believed you were going to get another date, but the feeling was not mutual? Do you have a sense of what was missing […]

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Have you ever struggled to connect on a date? Or felt absolutely nothing sitting across the table from a potential partner? Or have you ever felt a strong connection to someone and believed you were going to get another date, but the feeling was not mutual? Do you have a sense of what was missing or blocking a connection?

Or what about the opposite? Have you ever experienced an instant “click” or connection on a date or a feeling as if you had always known this person? Did you just know the date was going to lead to you in a positive direction together?

Connection is key to creating motivation to continue getting to know someone, determining compatibility, and developing affection and love toward someone. After all, the main purpose of a first date is to see if you connect, right?

Difficulty connecting commonly leads to self-doubt and a natural questioning of your own worthiness. Repetitive failed connections or an inability to connect during dating experiences can wear on your self-esteem and confidence. Discrepancies in perception of how a date went can also make your dating life feel disappointing and draining.

It is important to remember you are worthy and deserving of love regardless of your ability to connect in dating. What you can do, though, is take control of your dating approach and engage in behaviors that promote meaningful connection.

In fact, many of my clients say that “clicking” on a first date feels like magic, but there are actually certain mindsets and behaviors that are known to lead to connection.

Here are seven strategies to promote greater connection in dating:

Connect with yourself and hold yourself in a positive light.

Connecting with others can be challenging if you don’t feel connected to yourself, have a deep understanding of who you are and what you want, or have insecure and self-critical thoughts. Reflect on your personality, values, lifestyle preferences, hobbies, goals, and aspirations and take action on what is important or enjoyable to you. Developing yourself, honing in on your strengths and values, letting go of your flaws and imperfections, and engaging in behaviors that leave you feeling confident, content, and rejuvenated will aid you in feeling secure in what you have to offer a potential partner. Approaching dates with a positive mindset and self-image is a major component to connecting on a date.

Ensure you are emotionally available and ready to date.

If you arrive on dates with an ex or unhealed breakup on your mind or other potential partners floating around your thoughts, it is highly unlikely you are going to be present and open enough to actually connect to the person right in front of you, so it is crucial to honestly assess if you are ready to date. If you are ready, remember to approach dating with curiosity, openness, and positive energy and leave the past behind.

Be present.

Reading what is going on in the moment is essential. If you go into a date with a specific plan of what you are going to say and what you are not going to say or whether you are going to kiss your date or not, and you are so focused on your plan, you are not going to be present enough to read what is really going on. Approach a date with an intention and then be open to whatever experience the date brings, making decisions that are right for you and your date in the moment

Calm your nerves.

Being nervous or preoccupied with what your date thinks of you also hinders your ability to be fully present. Focus on deep breathing, self-care practices, and anxiety-reduction strategies to calm dating jitters and ground yourself. Remember to use your breath as an anchor to get back into the present moment if you are feeling anxious during a date.

Utilize skills proven to build positive rapport.

Along with being present and emotionally ready, engaging in open body language, active listening (listening attentively to cultivate mutual understanding), eye contact, smiling and nodding during a date is fundamental to connecting. Focus on mirroring your date’s body language and showing interest through warm replies and validation. Avoid doing all of the talking or using an interview style approach. Make sure your questions are appropriate given the short amount of time you have known each other and model acceptance even if you disagree. When you ask a question, respond with something that connects you to your date’s words and emotions. As always, employ a non-judgmental attitude as connection does not easily emerge in the presence of judgment.

Be authentic, real and genuine.

Long story short: Being fake or dishonest does not lead to lasting love. Instead, it directly impedes the potential for connection and leads to distrust. When you are unable to establish trust, you miss out on a key dimension of relationship health and success. Also, try not to fall into a trap of wanting to impress your date no matter what as you may unintentionally come off as arrogant, self-absorbed or disingenuous. If being liked is your sole focus, you are missing a huge opportunity to connect on a real level. So, be honest about who you are and your relationship goals and if you are having fun, say so! Showing genuine interest is imperative.

Have fun and take risks.

Many aspects of a date are out of your control, so try to move through any awkwardness or difficulty with flexibility. Don’t let a change of plans, bad restaurant experience or a clumsy, anxiety-provoking moment ruin a great date. Share about yourself, be vulnerable and open, and disclose some personal details so your date feels comfortable reciprocating. The key is to balance healthy boundaries (being respectful, not over-sharing) with taking emotional risks. It’s okay if you are more comfortable listening than talking about yourself, or vice versa, but commit to truly putting yourself out there. That is how connection grows.

My hope is that the above strategies offer a multi-dimensional approach to achieving true connection with yourself and others. Aligning with your goals and values, being present, utilizing skills for positive rapport, being genuine and vulnerable, and taking risks in love set you up for a powerful opportunity to connect!

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 Phrases That Shout ‘Red Alert!’ http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/dating/15-phrases-that-shout-red-alert/ Tue, 05 Jul 2016 22:47:50 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=32799 You’ve heard the saying, “Actions speak louder than words.” That’s generally true, but there are also some phrases that reveal important information about the person who speaks them. Sometimes, the words that come out of an individual’s mouth demonstrate attitudes and beliefs that should cause you to tread carefully. These include: 1. “I won’t ever talk […]

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You’ve heard the saying, “Actions speak louder than words.” That’s generally true, but there are also some phrases that reveal important information about the person who speaks them.

Sometimes, the words that come out of an individual’s mouth demonstrate attitudes and beliefs that should cause you to tread carefully. These include:

1. “I won’t ever talk about it.” Do you feel barred from certain aspects of this person’s life? If so, you have to wonder what lies behind those walled-off areas.

2. “Let’s get married!” (if said too soon). Under the right circumstances, these are amazing words. But some people hurry the process, perhaps out of insecurity, desperation, or unrealistic expectations about what is needed create an enduring and satisfying union.

3. “Why should I have to explain everything to you?” If your date is defensive or sensitive when you ask simple questions, he or she may be hiding something.

4. “C’mon, it was just a little white lie.” A person’s willingness to lie should serve as a big red alert about his/her character and emotional health.

5. “I’m bored.” Some people need constant action and busyness to feel satisfied. They easily become restless, making it hard to relax in their presence. Another danger: This person may quickly get bored with your relationship.

6. “Can I borrow some money?” Loaning money to a romantic partner is fraught with danger. A request for a loan, at the very least, shows that the person is not conscientious about money management. Be especially wary of anyone asking to borrow money you are chatting with online.

7. “No duh!” Insert your own sarcastic phrase here. Sarcasm stings, even when the other person insists it’s “just a joke.” Biting humor is a sign of insensitivity and superiority.

8. “You can trust me—really!” Trustworthy people usually don’t need to proclaim their ability to be trusted. Instead, they demonstrate their reliability through actions, day in and day out.

9. “I’m right, you’re wrong.” A healthy relationship is impossible with someone who insists on always being right and reacts strongly to any suggestion otherwise.

10. “Our relationship is fine the way it is. Why do we need a commitment?” Some people want the best of both worlds—the security of your dating relationship and the freedom to date others.

11. “Well, that was stupid.” If someone puts you down or tries to make you feel inferior, consider this a warning sign of more trouble ahead.

12. “Just do it the way I told you to.” Beware of those who feel the need to take control of every situation and be in charge. In the name of being “helpful,” some people want to micromanage your life.

13. “How could you say that to me? That’s so mean.” This is a red-alert phrase if you have gently and sensitively offered feedback or made a suggestion. People who are hypersensitive to criticism may be insecure or narcissistic.

14. “How can you believe that?” You will feel stifled if your date does not respect your opinions and beliefs.

15. “Don’t you feel lucky to be with me?” Some people exude arrogance and aloofness, sending the signal that you’re fortunate to be in their presence. A relationship can thrive only when BOTH partners feel grateful and blessed to be together.

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Are You Dating a ‘Chronically Difficult’ Person? http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/expert-advice/difficult-people-how-to-deal-and-ditch-them/ Tue, 05 Jul 2016 22:40:09 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=32809 Everyone has bad days. Everyone goes through rough patches. You’ve been there yourself. Someone you care about is overwhelmed or stressed to the point of snippiness and name-calling, or worse, a complete meltdown. It’s surprising and annoying, but you understand. You have compassion. You make an exception because you know that it’s temporary. Things will […]

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Everyone has bad days. Everyone goes through rough patches. You’ve been there yourself. Someone you care about is overwhelmed or stressed to the point of snippiness and name-calling, or worse, a complete meltdown.

It’s surprising and annoying, but you understand. You have compassion. You make an exception because you know that it’s temporary. Things will change. They’ll be alright. They fall into the “Momentarily Difficult” category.

But, then, there are the others: the “Chronically Difficult.” These are the people who suck you in and spit you out twice as fast. Their motto seems to be “Come closer. Go away!”

It could be an impossible-to-please parent. That family member who ruins every gathering could be one. Or a co-worker who makes you want to pull the covers over your head and miss a day’s pay.

What if it’s your partner? S/he started out so sweet, so interested, so interesting, and understanding. She did everything she could to please you. He showed his thoughtfulness in all the little ways that count. You really felt seen, heard, known, appreciated, and accepted. It was a match made in heaven and you were on Cloud Nine.

Except, there were these dark clouds, fleeting at first, and then they slowly moved in to stay. Your partner made promises and then forgot. At first, you got an apology. After a while, it disintegrated into, “You should never has asked me to do that for you. It’s your fault.”

In the beginning, you wanted so much to believe the excuses — to have them make sense — that you wrote it off as just being a bad day. Soon, it became apparent that it was going to be another bad year!

WHAT ARE THE RED FLAGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED?

•Nothing you do pleases them.
•You cannot do enough for them.
•They change their minds on a dime.
•They constantly blame you for everything.
•According to them, nothing is ever their fault.
•They always keep you uncertain, never sure of anything.
•They are quick to tell you that everything they think, feel, or do is justified.

Erosion begins. They will keep it up until you are worn down and worn out … and, it never ends.

At first, you’re hopeful. You think that s/he just needs more love, understanding, compassion, or patience. You knock yourself out to please them. You do everything to sidestep possible eruptions and keep the peace. You do the opposite. Soon, you’ve turned yourself into a pretzel, yet, nothing improves!

I coined the term, Hijackals™, for these chronically difficult people. They hijack relationships for their own purposes while scavenging them relentlessly for power, status, and control.  Hijackals constantly make you second-guess yourself and question your sanity. Their behavior is crazy-making!

My mom was a Hijackal. She would smile and laugh, convincing her customers that she looked forward to seeing them. Endlessly manipulative, she was at her best at work. Even there, her co-workers knew differently. They avoided her, knowing that she could turn on a dime.

At home, she was the worst. Nothing was ever good enough for her. Even as an adult, it continued. If I was focused on my children, she wanted to know why wasn’t I making my mark in the world through my career. When I was at the top of my game in my career, she questioned why I bothered having children if my career was so important. No question she could keep me second-guessing myself.

Hijackals can dismantle your self-esteem and shatter your world. They do it slowly, adding insult to injury over time. Just when they’ve stolen your heart and garnered your trust, they whip the rug out and send you tumbling.

You think it must be your fault that things aren’t working out well. If only you were kinder, more patient, and more understanding, things would be different.  Wrong! That’s where the downward spiral starts. You take the responsibility for their unreasonable behavior. This is where the real danger of shattering your world begins.

You MUST learn to recognize the truth of what is going on, for your own sanity.

When you actually see the patterns — really step out of the relationship and SEE them — you can change your approach. Dealing with chronically difficult people in healthy ways requires that you have boundaries and be strategic.

They tear you down, wear you out, and somehow make you feel like the most confused, unreliable, thoughtless person on the planet. That’s what they want.

You are not responsible for making them happy, meeting their demands, or living up to their expectations.

If you think you may be caught in the Hijackal trap, escape. Don’t let a chronically difficult person destroy your sense of yourself and shatter your world.

Dr. Rhoberta Shaler, The Relationship Help Doctor, specializes in working with the partners, exes, adult children, and co-workers of chronically difficult people: Hijackals. If you have a Hijackal in your life, get help now. Visit Hijackals.com for resources.

More from Dr. Shaler at YourTango:

7 Ways to Spot a Hijackal

The Truth: Why a Good Guy Turns Bad

 

Original article posted at YourTango

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14 Ways to Know if Your Date is Over His or Her Ex http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/date-tips/14-ways-to-know-if-your-date-is-over-his-or-her-ex/ Mon, 20 Jun 2016 21:25:44 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=32776 Exes are a fact of life for most of us. And that’s something you can deal with just fine, because you, too, have significant others in your rearview mirror. The issue is whether or not your date is over—really over—his or her ex. You can move forward with confidence if you know your new interest has truly left the past […]

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Exes are a fact of life for most of us. And that’s something you can deal with just fine, because you, too, have significant others in your rearview mirror.
The issue is whether or not your date is over—really over—his or her ex. You can move forward with confidence if you know your new interest has truly left the past in the past. Here’s how:

1. Ample time has passed. Hurrying into a new relationship is never a good idea. The heart needs to heal and the head needs to get clear.

2. You’ve got a fresh start. Your date isn’t drawn to places and activities enjoyed in a previous relationship. Every experience with you is a new discovery together, just the two of you.

3. You feel reassured. At a certain point, it’s okay to ask how he/she feels about the ex. Listen carefully to the response and see if your confidence is bolstered.

4. Keepsakes have been discarded. They don’t need or want tangible reminders of the previous relationship.

5. There is an absence of ex talk. Your date has the wisdom and sensitivity to forego references to his/her ex. More important, they have no need to talk about a past relationship.

6. But they will talk — if you ask. This person doesn’t hide anything from you and doesn’t come across as defensive.

7. There’s limited contact. If there are kids involved, of course there will be necessary coordination and conversation. If not, there is likely not much reason to maintain contact.

8. You’ve detected no comparisons. It’s lousy to be compared to a former love—and your date knows better than to do it.

9. Your date has attended to his/her emotional hurts. Any relationship with an ex is going to bring some baggage. Evidence that they have worked through (or are currently working through) lingering pain is a good sign.

10. There’s been a social media disconnect. Lots of ex partners stay friends on Facebook and other outlets, and it may be harmless. But creating distance online is a sign that the past has been left behind.

11. Proper boundaries are in place with the ex’s family and friends. Old connections can be hard to break, and maybe some of those relationships shouldn’t be ended altogether.

12. Words and actions are consistent. When this person says he/she is over the previous relationship, there are no actions that contradict the words.

13. There are no electronic footprints. Old texts have been deleted along with voice messages and other leftover communications.

14. Your heart and gut feel at peace. Feelings often deceive (jealousy in particular is a crazy-maker), but your intuition can speak the truth. If you feel at peace down deep, there’s probably a good reason.

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Are Texting and Dating a Recipe for Relationship Disaster? http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/dating/are-texting-and-dating-a-recipe-for-relationship-disaster/ Mon, 20 Jun 2016 20:38:39 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=32763 Modern dating has a lot of positives. We use the internet to meet people we would never be able to otherwise meet. (It’s how I met my husband!) It also creates complications we never had before, particularly with texting and dating. Texting and dating definitely isn’t just for 20 year olds anymore. As The Dating […]

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Modern dating has a lot of positives. We use the internet to meet people we would never be able to otherwise meet. (It’s how I met my husband!) It also creates complications we never had before, particularly with texting and dating.

Texting and dating definitely isn’t just for 20 year olds anymore. As The Dating and Relationship Coach for Women over 40, I hear endless dating dilemmas that are created by texting. Here’s are a couple examples of many:

“Sue” connected with a man online. He instantly started texting her. He sent her pictures of his son’s baseball game and told her about his day at work. She told him about her car trouble and he told her to come to him for help next time.

Then they had a coffee date. It went well. They “talked” (texted) all day for days. He complimented her and made her laugh. He told her how busy he was and she felt flattered that he was keeping in touch.

After two weeks the texts tapered, and then he stopped responding. She asked me, “I thought he was so into me. What should I do???”

“Melissa” stayed up until 3 AM texting with her dude. They had one date three weeks prior, and since then, they’ve only been texting here and there. But it is so romantic, she told me. She is falling for him. They have no dates planned…he doesn’t even bring it up.

Texting has complicated dating and relationships, particularly for those of us who did not come of age using this as our primary communication tool. Here is some straight scoop about what texting usually means and doesn’t mean. And, most importantly, I’m going to tell you how you can take control of the situation – like a grownup!

1. Texting is dating…not really.

Do not assume that getting a bunch of texts from a guy means you are having a relationship. You’re not even dating. If a man is choosing to only text or primarily text, it’s not likely he wants to get to know you in any meaningful way. Sure, you can assume he’s having fun flirting with you. He’s feeling entertained and he’s enjoying your responsiveness. Or maybe he’s just enjoying being able to talk about himself.

I agree that he wouldn’t be spending time communicating if he wasn’t somehow attracted. But if he’s solely texting, he’s either not looking for a serious relationship or doesn’t think of you as a potential partner. Expecting him to move on to something more serious isn’t realistic. He’s probably going to eventually disappear.

Why did he disappear? I get asked this all the time. Maybe be found someone else, he moved on to another text partner or got scared off somehow. Doesn’t matter one bit. You know what you need to know: he isn’t a grownup man looking for what you want. He’s not worth your time.

When a man is a serious guy interested in getting to know you, you know it. He steps up by calling and setting up dates. He tries to learn about you and your life. He makes an effort to spend time with you. He does little things to try to make you happy.

If you’re like Sue or Melissa, here is what you need to know: A text ‘relationship’, when void of in-person meeting, has very little meaning. If you agree to keep participating, expect to have a false sense of connection and unrealistic expectations. I have seen countless women create fantasies and get drawn in — often before they even meet a man. All because he’s a great texter.

Here’s the truth: If you aren’t spending time together, you do not know him. Keep your emotions in check and stay in reality.

2. Texting can ruin a great budding relationship.

With no tonality in messages, texting back and forth creates enormous opportunities to misread and misunderstand intent. I can’t tell you how many emails I’ve received from coaching clients with a text conversation pasted in and the question: What do you think he means (aka WTF)????

Honestly, half the time I don’t know what a guy means based on twelve words on a screen. And even if I think I know, I’m loathe to guess. Instead, I recommend that she invites him to call her in a kind and open way.

3. Some men use texting to string you along…period.

If you are getting texts along with calls and dates, then excellent! He’s interested in getting to know you and likely looking for a relationship.
But if there is no actual in-person contact – beware! Most women know a guy who texts once in a while as a kind of check in. Maybe he even calls occasionally. He tells you how much he likes you and what a great woman you are. He flirts. He says how busy he is and how he’d really love to see you soon. And it ends there.
That guy is what I call a “pinger.” Pingers want an ego boost. They text you and, when you respond positively, get the high of knowing that you’re still a willing option when (and if) he wants to actually spend time with you. And then he moves on.

With just ten minutes time and a few well-chosen keystrokes, a good pinger can keep you interested for months, even years…without so much as one date.
If you are involved with a pinger, girlfriend, you need to end that so-called relationship right now.  You can read more about pingers and learn what you can do with them by reading this article : Why Does He Keep Disappearing and Reappearing?

4.  Texting as a way of dating is for boys, not men.

If you haven’t met him yet, he hasn’t made an effort to plan a date and he’s texting to see if you can get together tonight, don’t be too flattered. He may be impulsive or using you as a back-up girl when his other plans fell through.

If you like him and are willing to give him a chance, then respond with a positive ‘thank you but no thank you.” You want to say something like this:
“I’m really looking forward to seeing your blue eyes in person, Bob, but I have plans tonight. Love to get together with a little more notice next time. Let me know what works. Enjoy your evening.”

Put it out there and see what happens. A grownup guy who truly wants to know you will get the message and ask you out ahead of time. A player or user guy will disappear or text you again in a few weeks wanting to see you that night. Take it for what it is – he’s not a serious guy looking for a serious relationship. Don’t answer. Next!

5. Texting does have a positive place in dating.

Texting can be a great complement to real dating. For instance, it’s a great way to clarify plans or make last minute updates to the plan. A man who wants a healthy, mature connection will make every effort to show you he’s interested and to actually see you in person. Why? Because that’s how men decide if they like you. It’s all about how he FEELS when he’s with you, and he knows it. So if he’s looking for something more than one fun night, a good man will do what he can to impress you by asking you out, and then be in your presence.

Texting is also good for a quick “had a nice time” or “sleep well” note following a nice date. Or a “looking forward to slurping spaghetti with you Friday.”  Let him know you’re thinking of him and appreciate him. Make it simple, and leave it there. If you don’t hear back, move on.

6. If he’s a grownup good guy, you can kindly get him off texting.

I can see why even good, solid, single men love texting. If he sees your picture and profile and wants to meet you, the hunter in him wants to get directly to the result: meeting you. This is also true of some women I know. They feel that chatting first just gets in the way and would rather skip the phone and/or email.
But I’ll say it again, doing a bunch of texting creates an unrealistic sense of connection. If you want a little more, like a phone call first, it’s up to you to get off the texting treadmill and ask for what you want. And if he is serious about meeting a woman for a real relationship, he will step up and you will know he’s into you.
How do you do that? Simply say something like this if he seems to be stuck on texting: “It would be great to hear the voice connected to these great texts and emails. I’d love a phone call when you’ve got time. Hope that works for you! 555-1212.” OR “Thanks for getting in touch. I’d like to get to know you but I find texting isn’t the best way. But catching up with you over coffee might be ;).”

So…the bottom line on texting and dating is this: use texting sparingly, wisely and, most of all, don’t read too much into it. Remember, real life and real love happen in person, smile to smile, touch to touch. Not on your phone or your computer.

I would LOVE to hear your texting stories and answer your questions about how to make it work for you while dating or in your relationship. Leave me your comments below.

Bobbi Palmer, founder of Date Like a Grownup, is an internationally recognized expert helping women over 40 add intimacy and partnership to their already good life.  As a first-time bride at age 47, Bobbi shares her first-hand experience to help you find grownup, lasting, passionate love with the right man. Click here to get her free coaching videos 4 Devastating Mistakes Women over 40 Make in their Search for Love. 

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Move Beyond Casual Dating: 3 Tips for Choosing a Partner You Can Grow With http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/date-tips/move-beyond-casual-dating-3-tips-to-choosing-a-partner-you-can-grow-with/ Fri, 17 Jun 2016 21:35:50 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=32745 You met at the right time and everything just fell into place. You’ve dated plenty of other people but it has never felt this right. You’re ready to move past casual dating and take the next step. A big, scary, exciting step. When you find someone you’re ready to take that leap with, it isn’t […]

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You met at the right time and everything just fell into place. You’ve dated plenty of other people but it has never felt this right. You’re ready to move past casual dating and take the next step. A big, scary, exciting step. When you find someone you’re ready to take that leap with, it isn’t unusual to struggle with a lot of thoughts: does this have a shot at the long run? Is what I’m feeling real? Will they be there through all the times, not just the easy ones but the truly challenging moments as well?

Here are three suggestions on how you can give yourself a little assurance that you’re choosing a partner who’s good for more than just dinner and a movie.

What Does the Future Hold?

First off, find out what they want for themselves and their own future. You’ve probably already talked about it; now it’s time to run it through your own internal filter. Do they say that they want someone that they can just have fun with and don’t want anything more serious?  Well, if they do, then believe them.  This person isn’t going to want to grow old with you. Does that person say they aren’t interested in marriage? Again, believe them. The number one mistake people make is that they will hear an answer from a partner and they think that the other person will change their mind.  Well, let me set the record straight for you, they mean what they say and to take it for anything else is inaccurate — and you will be the one hurting down the road.

I Think I’m in the Right Place, How About You?

There is a subtle question that can be asked during a first, second, or third date: “What kind of relationship do you want for yourself in the future?” If they’re offended by the question or think it’s premature to ask, well, there’s your answer. They aren’t interested in growth. I find that many people don’t ask enough questions, especially in the early, golden era of a relationship. They worry that it will scare their potential mate away or that they’re being too inquisitive.

If you don’t ask, you won’t know. Consequently, many people go on dating the same person for months or years without really knowing if there’s anything more than the present. Curiosity is a key to growth. The more you know about a subject, the more of an informed decision you can make. You don’t go out looking at cars and settle on something without doing a little (or a lot of) research. The more you know about a potential mate, the better decision you’re likely to make. It shouldn’t be an inquisition, but rather curiosity at its normal, respectful pace. Ask, and remember to tell them where you’re at, too.

Trust Your Gut.

Many of my clients say that they knew early on if someone wasn’t right or if a person probably wouldn’t be someone they would stay with for the long term. But they ignored their gut reaction and later find themselves in a mess. Many have a good sense when there are red flags or other indications; my advice is to listen to that little voice inside yourself. You know yourself better than anyone. You know what’s best for you. A partner that you can grow with can benefit you in so many ways. Don’t hobble yourself by choosing the wrong person.

 

everything will be okDr. Janna Fond, PsyD, LMFT is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with a private practice in the San Francisco Bay Area.  She has helped thousands of clients over the years dealing with numerous issues from family and personal relationships to intimacy and deeper couples problems.  Her new book, Everything Will Be OK: Blending Psychology and Spirituality to Heal Ourselves, offers practical reassurance on how to overcome challenges that seem impossible to resolve. For more information visit www.jannafond.com.

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Keep Your Relationship Together: The 10 Essentials http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/relationship-tips-2/keep-your-relationship-together-10-essentials/ Thu, 16 Jun 2016 21:25:54 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=32736 This is not the 50s or even the 90s. Relationships seem to be more and more transitory. Divorce rates are high, break-ups frequent, and long-term commitment is more the exception than the rule. There is hope, as there do exist some simple, universal, essentials that people require from their partners. These needs may be simple, […]

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This is not the 50s or even the 90s. Relationships seem to be more and more transitory. Divorce rates are high, break-ups frequent, and long-term commitment is more the exception than the rule. There is hope, as there do exist some simple, universal, essentials that people require from their partners. These needs may be simple, but they are not easy to provide or to obtain from your partner.

The 10 Essential Human Needs:

1. Safety – Our instinct to survive supersedes all other needs! Therefore, our first priority on the deepest unconscious level – and sometimes on the conscious level – is to stay safe. We can provide SAFETY for our partner by not attacking them with words or actions, and by not threatening to end the relationship – even at those moments when we might think it or feel like leaving.

2. Respect – Right after safety comes respect as a primary need. When you show respect to someone, you take them seriously and give them consideration and importance as a fellow human being. A major trigger of hurt or anger is when a person feels disrespected. With mutual respect, relationships have a solid foundation that provides the opportunity to work through inevitable differences and disagreements that occur.

3. Freedom – Beyond the first amendment freedom of expression and freedom from incarceration, there is the freedom to be ourselves! With pressure, manipulation, and control, human beings are instinctually on high alert, walking on eggshells. We would not have chosen this person if we didn’t find them to be very special.

4. Trust – When you can trust someone, you have a strong feeling that they will tell you the truth. You know they care about you and you know that they “have your back.”  You have little worry about manipulation, deceit, or betrayal. Ultimately, you can relax when you are with a trustful person.

5. Recognition – People absolutely need to feel that they are “seen” and recognized as a unique person with particular tastes, opinions, motivations, thoughts, and feelings. You may have some major differences, but at the same time you can make the effort to understand both the meaning and importance of what your partner expresses.

6. Attention – Yes, childhood is long over, but we still need to feel important in someone else’s life. When we put off other activities for a moment and focus on our partner, we communicate that they are worthy, interesting, and appealing as a human being. Life can get quite “busy,” but the reward you provide your partner by giving them attention proves to be rewarding for you as well.

7. Validation – It is a universal need to feel valuable for what we do, what we say, and for just being who we are! Validation has its root in “value.” When our partner expresses a feeling or takes an action, it is easy to provide validation by acknowledging them with words, gestures, eye contact, or a simple nod of the head. A major frustration – often leading to hopelessness – is when our partner does make the effort to understand what we are expressing. Our partners do not usually need us to agree with them; they need us to feel that we “get it!”

8. Intimacy– When it comes to relationships, the “buzz” word nowadays is intimacy.  Well, what is it? One of the main paths to creating an intimate personal relationship is to make time to focus on the stories, interests, needs, feelings, thoughts, and dreams that your partner expresses to you. Then, the connection that you establish becomes a genuine and deep bond! At that point, you’ve got something both rare and beautiful.

9. Space – Though not talked about much, the primary balance to navigate in a relationship is between being part of a couple and maintaining your unique self as a separate person. You must not only maintain your own identity, but you must continue to grow as a human being. Yes, you need to have your own space to work, to see your friends, to work out, to create art or music or a short story, to breathe!

10. Playfulness – It is often overlooked, but it is an important need to take a break from the work and seriousness of everyday life. When you play with your partner, you are taking that break together – like a mini-vacation. You are relating in a way that is totally unique to the two of you. Additionally, you secure the bond between the two of you – sharing a smile, a laugh, a moment of real connection.

Dr. Michael Levittan is an accomplished and recognized expert on Domestic Violence, Anger Management, Child Abuse, and PTSD. His passion comes across in his presentations. For more information visit www.michaellevittan.com.

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Stop Trying to Find Yourself, and Be Yourself http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/about-you/stop-trying-to-find-yourself-be-yourself/ Tue, 07 Jun 2016 22:15:46 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=32704 In this fast-paced, high-tech world we often feel lost, confused, and absent of meaningful connections to self and others. We’re becoming numb, deflated to the negative behavior of the housewives of stupidity and the fantasy images too often portraying our gender. Our lives spin like a revolving door and we certainly don’t have a year […]

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In this fast-paced, high-tech world we often feel lost, confused, and absent of meaningful connections to self and others. We’re becoming numb, deflated to the negative behavior of the housewives of stupidity and the fantasy images too often portraying our gender.

Our lives spin like a revolving door and we certainly don’t have a year to sit on a mountain top to find ourselves, but here’s the secret, we don’t need to find ourselves …we’re right here, housed in this gorgeous vessel called a body, that’s been with us since the day we were born.

We just need let go of what think we should be and remember to just BE true to ourselves and recognize that our total well-being cannot be separated from what we think, feel, and do for a meaningful life…but how do we get there?

Own it, Feel it, Live it: These are three simple steps, our mantra for a new way of living by reconnecting and rebalancing our mind, body, and spirit, our core essence, for a deeper feeling of self, clarity, and growth for a happier, healthier whole life.

Step 1. Own Your Power

Be self-aware: step into a relationship of trust and well-being with no one other than yourself. Owning it takes courage, raw honesty, and real work, but it’s the place we need to go if we really want to understand why and where we stand today. Take back ownership of your life by…

Accepting responsibility for the choices you’ve made, good and bad, and understanding how they’ve impacted your relationships and the world.

Acknowledge that only you can change your story, your mindset, your attitude, your situation to be the author of your own story.

Acknowledge that our lives are a collective of past, present, and future. Take the best of the past, be present in your daily interactions and embrace that everything has a time and a place, so you can live a full engaged life.

Let go of toxic situations that deflate your soul. You don’t have control over other people’s choices or behaviors, but you do your own.

Step 2. Connect to Your Feelings

We are all pure energy in motion fed by our heart, ignited by our spirit, distracted by our minds, all housed in our bodies. The question for most is whether we feel balanced, connected to our whole being and passions or are we fragmented, confused, and stagnant?

Be present in your emotions by:

Feeling the waves of joy and pain that a life well-lived brings: allow yourself to be vulnerable, notice what triggers you, where and how you feel tension in your body, breathe through the emotion, journal it and let it go, so you can keep walking forward.

Actively engaging our senses daily: for example, when greeting a friend, look into their eyes, hear the tone of their voice, and embrace them so they feel your presence. When we enliven our senses we heighten our intuition for more fulfilling experiences.

Connecting to our breath, our hearts, our life source through meditation, a walk in nature or yoga to feel the wisdom and joy of your mind, body, and soul flowing in unity, hear the beliefs you hold true and embrace total well-being.

Step 3. There’s life and then there’s living…

To live life we choose to be flexible, mindfully observant, and joyously present. When our mind, body, and spirit are working in harmony, we function as a whole being, not a fragmented one. By blocking out the noise we can pay attention to our own voice, desires, gifts and needs with clarity thereby enabling what we think, feel, and do to flow seamlessly with confidence for happier, healthier lives. We’re free to BE who we are, what we love, and to love.

Each day dip into the silence and ask these simple questions to stay on the path to living life by your own definition:

What am I choosing to focus my attention on, am I investing in my own dreams or someone else’s?

What feelings or sensations did this bring up in my body and where in my body?

Am I just functioning and going through the motions or am I participating in creating and living the life I want or just waiting for it to happen?

Diane Danvers-Simmons is a passionate, visionary global citizen who offers solutions to inspire women to embrace their core values and live life by their own definition with wit & wisdom. Through inspired Spirituality in Stilettos programming, uplifting Made by Survivors jewelry, impactful documentaries, and speaking engagements, Diane creates experiences and brands to raise awareness, uplift souls, inspire action, empower and connect people from all walks of life on one universal journey for a brighter, more enlightened future. For more information visit www.ownitfeelitliveit.com. For your free chapter of Spirituality in Stilettos click here.

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15 Reasons to Date Someone Who Grew Up in the Eighties http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/dating-advice-for-you/15-reasons-to-date-someone-who-grew-up-in-the-eighties/ Mon, 06 Jun 2016 20:55:16 +0000 http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/?p=32683 No one who lived during the 80s knew it would become such an iconic decade. The big hair, shoulder pads, massive political events, and colorful celebs … it was an epic time. Whether you look back on that era with fondness or fright, you should look favorably on dating someone who grew up during the eighties. Here’s why: 1. […]

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No one who lived during the 80s knew it would become such an iconic decade. The big hair, shoulder pads, massive political events, and colorful celebs … it was an epic time.

Whether you look back on that era with fondness or fright, you should look favorably on dating someone who grew up during the eighties. Here’s why:

1. Videocassettes! Your partner may have recorded favorite TV series like “Knight Rider,” “The A-Team,” and “Miami Vice.” Does it get any better?! You will, however, have to locate a VCR.

2. Your partner will give you a mixed tape—on an actual cassette tape. Take a trip down memory lane as you hear forgotten favorites: The Human League, Bananarama, Sheena Easton, and Adam Ant.

3. Relive your glory days by watching famed 80s flicks. Resurrect your inner teen and cue up “Pretty In Pink,” “The Breakfast Club,” “St. Elmo’s Fire,” “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” or “Fast Times at Ridgemont High.”

4. Get better acquainted by discussing which 80s type you were. Many people identified with a particular group. Could it be Goth, headbanger, jock, nerd, prep, skater, or valley girl?

5. Your love might show up outside your house hoisting a boombox. And of course the song playing will be Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes.” Hey, it worked for Lloyd Dobler (John Cusack) in “Say Anything.”

6. Reminisce about the good ol’ days together. Your date won’t think you’re old when you talk wistfully about your very first computer (perhaps an IBM 5150 or Commodore 64), your high score on Pac-Man, and the launch of music videos (on some hot new channel called MTV).

7. Get romantic with love songs. Your partner’s heart will melt as you listen to the sounds of “Endless Love” by Diana Ross and Lionel Richie, “Total Eclipse of the Heart” by Bonnie Tyler, and “Secret Lovers” by Atlantic Starr.

8. Get fit with Fonda. Put on your Lycra, leg warmers, and headband, and bounce around to Jane Fonda’s aerobics video. It was the decade’s fitness craze.

9. Re-enact some of the best romantic movie scenes. You could do worse than emulating the characters in “ An Officer and a Gentleman,” “Top Gun,” “Roxanne,” or “The Princess Bride.”

10. Banter like back in the day. Pull out all your best (or worst) 80s slang, like, “Grody to the max . . . Gag me with a spoon . . . Like, I’m so sure . . .”

11. Your partner may entertain you with impersonations of Ronald or Nancy Reagan. This power couple dominated national news during the 1980s, and their unique demeanor made them irresistible to imitate.

12. You’ll always have a date night out. Popular bands of yesteryear don’t retire—they get recycled and tour at state fairs and festivals. Get nostalgic by seeing live shows featuring REO Speedwagon, Whitesnake, The Go-Gos, General Public, or Kool and the Gang.

13. Your partner knows how to endure hard times. The 80s weren’t just about synth music, hair gel, and Rubik’s Cubes. There were plenty of shocking events people lived through, including John Lennon’s assassination, the Space Shuttle Challenger explosion, the Exxon Valdez oil spill, and the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

14. Bond over raisins. When you hear Marvin Gaye singing “I Heard it Through the Grapevine”, you’ll feel close to your partner knowing you’re both thinking of the same thing: The California Raisins.

15. You will rock the next 80s party. Dig out your old linen pastel blazer (with sleeves rolled up), acid-washed jeans, sequined glove, off-the-shoulder “Flashdance” sweatshirt, Members Only jacket, and anything neon. Tease your hair as high as possible (with Aqua Net, preferably!), and you’re sure to win the costume contest.

Bonus: If you ask for a potential date’s phone number and the response is “867-5309,” you know you’ve got the right era but not the real number. That is Jenny’s number! (If you don’t get that reference, you were asleep through the 80s.)

What is your favorite memory from the 80s?

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