Can People Really Be Afraid of Relationships?

There may be some real psychological truth when a date says, ‘it’s not you, it’s me’. They could fear being in a romantic relationship.

It is one of the most complicated fears because it involves a lot of history and baggage, says psychologist, Dr. Ron Glassman, who specializes in fears and phobias.  “This fear is common in people who have been in a series of bad relationships. The commitment and closeness may also mean a loss of control or space in one’s personal life.”

That said, these people can rarely get past a first date.

“A relationship fearing person hears ‘how do you feel about kids?’ as ‘this date will lead to several more dates, marriage and kids, how do you feel about that?’ Someone who has that response can be turned off to a second date instantly,” Glassman adds.

The fear can strike in both men and women and often shows up very early, even before a relationship has formed, says psychiatrist, Dr. Frederic Neuman. “Many such individuals seem inexplicably to their friends as simply too busy or unwilling to date.  These are the people who want all the advantages of a caring relationship and family, but such an affair is unimaginable to them because of the underlying fears of commitment, rejection and being dominated.”

These individuals may not like attaching themselves to anything.

“They rent instead of buy, they lease instead of purchase, they are very diligent in keeping their distance, even with friends,” says Glassman.

Another underlying belief is that the closeness associated with being a couple, can be dangerous, says relationship therapist, Stephanie Manes.  “If at any point being close meant being in the firing line of verbal and emotional abuse or total neglect, their fight or flight instincts kick in when someone starts getting too close.”

We all get stuck in old stories of painful events from our past. When old wounds get dredged up, our defenses come right back out.

“This is when people excuse themselves from the table and never come back and you never hear from them again. Or, they start some kind of a fight that ends in a relationship fiasco,” says Manes.

Although these feelings are deep rooted, like any other irrational fear, it goes away only after confronting it. With repeated involvement, a person becomes less hesitant.

Manes advises her patients to try a few more dates, not with the expectation it will go anywhere, but to learn a little about the fear that keeps stepping in. “When the urge to run comes on, can they stick around a little longer to see what it’s like on the other side?”

“People prone to being taken hostage of feelings from the past need to build some kind of internal alarm bell that will snap them out of the bad dream and into the present,” says Manes. “Some of the old excuses start to fall away and they start to really ask themselves, what is wrong with this picture?”

Why The #$%& Hasn’t He Asked You Out Yet?

You’re interested in a guy and he seems to be interested in you. You’ve been having a good conversation going for a while and may have even seen him a few times–in a non-date setting. Yet, he still hasn’t asked you out on a REAL date. It can be so frustrating and make you wonder why he hasn’t made a move or if he ever will.

Depending on the circumstances, the confidence of the guy, and the way a lady makes him feel, there’s a reason he hasn’t asked you out.

He may be physically or emotionally unavailable, in which case, the timing is just bad, says professional matchmaker and founder of cupidscronies.com, April Davis. “He could also be stringing the girl along simply for attention and to feed his ego, with no real interest in having it go anywhere.”

There is also more confusion about who asks who out today. Even when interest feels mutual, men fear rejection, says Michael Bruch, creator of the messaging app, Willow.

“Perhaps the guy is concerned the woman just views him as a friend. Many guys are hesitant to ask a girl out when they aren’t receiving strong signals. They don’t want to have their ego bruised, so many wait until they are confidant in the outcome to ask a girl out.”

Speaking of “friends”, he could’ve already placed you in the friend zone and more needs to be done to make him see you differently and create a spark.

“Turn up the sexy and flirt more, to get his attention,” says Davis.

Or, just ask him out.

A good looking guy may just be used to women throwing themselves at him, and asking him out, says relationship coach & author, Cherry Norris.

If that’s the case, do you really want to be with someone like that anyway?

“In every successful romantic relationship, there is one primarily masculine hero who initiates and pursues, and one feminine ingénue who is receptive and available,” says Norris.

Depending on the circumstances, both people could assume the role of the female.  If that happens, find yourself a new man!

First Date Mistakes that’ll Kill a New Relationship

 

Who hasn’t been on a really bad first date? Whether the other person did something embarrassing, annoying or rude, it doesn’t take much to make a good date turn sour. There is a lot to pay attention to on a first date which will ultimately determine if there will be a second date.

 

So, wouldn’t it be nice to know ahead of time what behaviors to avoid so you don’t turn the other person off? As petty as they may sound, here are 14 mistakes to avoid so you don’t get disqualified from the dating game.

 

Being late: Here’s a way to kick-start a date heading nowhere. If you set a time to meet, be there. That goes for both men and women. It makes a terrible first impression and guarantees the other person starts the date annoyed, notes psychologist Dr. Guy Winch in his piece for Psychology Today.

 

Drinking too much: Getting blitzed on a first date won’t leave a good impression. A drink or two is fine, but make sure you are present and in control. “Drinking also impairs your judgment and can make you more susceptible to let your physical desires overstep your relationship demands,” says relationship counselors and co-authors, Drs. Judith and Bob Wright.

 

Not speaking up: If the other person does something that makes you uncomfortable—subtly puts you down, is rude to the waitress, makes snide comments—don’t just take it like a punching a bag; say something! Dating is about finding the “the one”, not about torturing yourself with bad company.

 

Spilling your guts: Be forthcoming and real, but don’t turn the date into a therapy session. “Ease into talking about yourself—remember intimacy is a bit at a time. Let him or her reveal a little, then you reveal a little,” says Dr. Judith.

 

Trying to impress: Trying too hard to impress a date can easily backfire, if, for example, you take your date to a Michelin-Starred restaurant and your credit card gets declined. Know your limits and be confident that just being yourself, is enough to impress anybody.

 

Lying: Fudging the truth—even a little—on a first date means you’re starting the relationship with a lie. “When wanting to be liked, we may embellish, hide relevant data and say anything to make us appear more authentic. However, if you continue to date, the truth will eventually come out,” says Dr. Judith.

 

Thinking too far ahead: You may be thinking about the next date, but you’re still on date number one, so be present. “If you worry about what comes after the first date, chances are you’ll be anxious, appear needy and may try harder to impress the other person. Be on the date you’re on now,” says Dr. Bob.

 

Worrying about chemistry: Questioning whether there is a spark too early will easily eliminate a chance for a second date. You could be attracted to a “bad boy”, but that doesn’t mean he’s “the one”. Chemistry grows over time when one’s real self comes out. So, stop worrying about that before you even know your date’s last name.

 

Playing it safe: It’s normal to keep your guard up on a first date. Remember, it’s hard to get to know someone who isn’t open to letting somebody in. “If you don’t give the other person the chance to know you, they may not ask you out again because neither of you were real to begin with,” says Dr. Judith.

 

Talking about an ex: Unless specifically ask, avoid getting into relationships past. A recent survey by the dating website Zoosk.com on what’s okay to disclose and when, shows that nearly half of men and women say past relationships, including recent breakups, should not be discussed until after a few weeks of dating.

 

Checking your phone: It’s the classic 2016 scene: a man and a woman out to dinner and both have their smartphones on the table. Checking your phone makes you come across as bored, distracted, or worse, uninterested. “If you must check your phone, apologize, explain why, and do it quickly,” says Dr. Winch. Better yet, just keep it in your pocket or purse and on silent.

 

Being too self-demeaning: Modesty is appealing; low self-esteem is not. There is no need to announce all your flaws on the first date. Joking about how bad you are at dating is also a huge turn off. “Telling someone on a first date that you’re bad at dating is like a director coming out before the movie to announce that it stinks. It kills interest or motivation the other person might have had,” says Dr. Winch.

 

Lecturing or ranting: They say there are two things you should never discuss at the dinner table: religion and politics. The same holds true for the first date. When you have strong beliefs or opinions, it is easy to get overexcited. Zoosk.com’s disclosure survey again shows that close to half of men and women daters say religious beliefs should be discussed after a few weeks of dating.

 

Not asking questions: Conversations should flow back and forth. So, if you’re not asking questions to the other person and just talking about yourself, you’ll either look A, not interested, B, self-absorbed, or C, both. “Asking questions conveys engagement. If you’re shy or unsure of what to ask, think of topics ahead of time,” says Dr. Winch.

The Phrases to Avoid, to Avoid a Dating Disaster

 

When you ask couples who’ve been married 30-plus years about the key to a successful marriage, the majority will probably tell you, “having good communication”. So, what exactly does this mean? It’s not just about talking, but the words and phrases that are being said.

Psychotherapist, Mel Schwartz, writes in a piece for Psychology Today that we often take for granted that our words convey exactly what we want them to. In other words, what and how we phrase things, can easily be misconstrued by our partner. “By the time a few sentences have passed, we may have a totally missed-communication,” he says.

You can bypass a potential relationship dust-up by avoiding these 6 phrases.

“You should (do this, or that)” – Telling your partner what they “should”  do can make them feel like you’re the boss of them.  Life coach and author of Says Who?, Ora Nadrich, says, “A better way to suggest what you think would be good for them to do is to say, “It might be a good idea” or “Maybe you could” or “You might want to think about, consider, or try.”

“I hate when you” – “Hate” is a harsh word, so starting a sentence off with it can come off aggressive or angry. If you want to voice your feelings of displeasure or dissatisfaction, say, “It doesn’t make me feel good when you (do this, or say that)” or “It bothers me when you” or “I feel disrespected, or not listened to when you,” says Nadrich. Keep the focus on how YOU feel, don’t point fingers.

“Do (this), Get (that)” – Remember, manners matter. You don’t want to sound like an ungrateful master ordering around their servant. Take a lesson from Kindergarten 101 and use your “please”, “thank you’s” and “may I’s”. Try rewording your requests by saying something like, “You know I adore it when you…” or “I so appreciate it when you…”. Relationship expert and psychologist, Dr. Karen Ruskin, says, “If you use phrases that predict that the other person will do your request—and do it nicely—you’re more likely to get it.”

“It’s all your fault” – Even if your partner is 100% to blame for something that’s happened, casting blame only adds insult to injury. Nadrich says before accusing, check in with yourself to make sure that you didn’t contribute to an unpleasant outcome even in the slightest way. Then, address their fault by saying something like, “You might have thought about this more carefully” or “I hope this opened your eyes to how to avoid this from happening again”.

“You always do this” – Telling your partner that they always do something can sound like you’re judging them. You’re not in a relationship to be judged. If you find that they do something that bothers you frequently, a better way to say it could be “It seems like you’ve been doing this more often” or “This has been coming up a lot lately.”

“You’re never going to (do this or that, or be this or that)” – Besides sounding like a snob and downright mean, telling your partner that they’re never going to be something, or be able to do something is basically telling them that they’re never going to change. As frustrated as you may be with your partner’s habits or annoying mannerisms, it’s better to encourage the other by saying, “Why don’t you try this” or “You’ve been doing it that way for a long time, and might want to consider doing it differently” or “I know you can do this.”

We Actually Do Prefer Being With Someone Who is Just Like Us, Says Study

 

A new national poll by Monmouth University is challenging that old adage that opposites attract saying that we actually want to be in a relationship with someone who is just like us!  According to the poll, two-thirds of Americans believe that there is a special person out there who they are meant to be with and that most Americans feel that their ideal mate is someone who is basically similar to themselves – and for most people that means a level-headed decision-maker who will be their best friend.

 

The poll also shows that, “women who are currently in a relationship (82%) are the most likely to believe in the idea of soulmates. A smaller majority of men in a relationship (64%) feel the same. Among adults who are not currently in a relationship, just over half of women (53%) and just under half of men (47%) say they believe in the idea of soulmates.”

 

Dr. Gary Lewandowski, professor and chair of psychology at Monmouth University and founder of Scienceofrelationships.com, says, “The research indicates that those who believe in soulmates and destiny, are actually more likely to break up. On the other hand, those who believe that relationships grow over time have more stable relationships and are better at dealing with conflict.”

 

Here are some other interesting findings from the study:

 

  • 52% say their partner should be somewhat similar to them while 29% said somewhat different.
  • 51% say their partner should be equally as smart, 26% say slightly smarter, and only 3% said they’d marry someone less smart.
  • When it comes to making decisions 66% rely on their head and 26% make decisions with their gut.
  • 83% consider their partner to be their best friend while 14% say somebody else.

 

Dr. Lewandowski adds, “Considering your romantic partner to be your best friend is an important component of quality relationships. In fact, when researchers asked couples who have been married over 15 years why their relationship lasted, the top reason was that their partner is their best friend.”  He also says that being more similar helps minimize conflict.

 

When it comes to political leanings, the poll found partisan divide also impacts how we view our relationships. Self-described Republicans (65%) are more likely than independents (57%) and Democrats (52%) to say they are extremely satisfied with their current relationship. Also, Republicans (91%) are somewhat more likely than independents (78%) and Democrats (83%) to say their partner is their best friend.

 

“These differences may be attributable to Republican’s placing greater value on marriage. As a result, Republicans may be more motivated to see relationships more positively,” says Dr. Lewandowski.

Study: Millennials Putting Marriage & Family on Hold to Travel

The average age at which Americans marry keeps creeping higher.  According to research from the Pew Research Center, in 1960 the average groom was almost 23, and his bride-to-be just 20.  Fast forward over five decades and the average marriage age has climbed to nearly 29 years for men and 26 and a half years for women.  There’s lots of data supporting the claim that millennials are delaying marriage and one reason is because of money.  It’s not necessarily that they want to save more.  One study points to the fact that young adults prefer spending money on travel than buying a home and are looking to meet new friends rather than settle down in a relationship.

 

New research from Topdeck Travel, a group travel agency for 18-30 something’s, found that 1 in 6 Millennials actually prefer to travel with their friends than their significant other.  Perhaps it’s because 1 in 10 say it’s easier to plan a trip with their friends than with their sweetie.  If single and looking for love, the study finds that 1 in 11 Millennials are hoping to find their significant other on the road.

 

It looks like the love of travel trumps the love of marriage.  For those that are in committed relationships, over one third (36%) of Millennials would lower their wedding budget if it meant they could travel around the world.  Even more shocking, 1 in 11 Millennial women would accept a smaller engagement ring to travel more!  This isn’t necessarily a bad thing as it looks like couples would rather invest in adventure and experiences with their S.O. than the material things. 

 

But where exactly is this dying urge to travel the world coming from and is it a good idea to put life on hold to explore?  Of course there is much debate about this.  Many say it comes from social media.  It’s widely known that digital connectedness is a must for Millennials and with the media constantly glorifying elaborate vacations, young people are doing all they can do to keep up with others even it means exchanging their savings account to take a fantastic voyage that they can post on Instagram.  That leads us to the question: if social media didn’t exist, would marriage and family still be first place?

The Dating Safety Tips Women Need To Know

Credit: Candice Delong

Credit: Candice Delong

When we take a romantic interest in a new person, it’s like we need to know RIGHT NOW if this person can be our future boyfriend or girlfriend.  And, because of that, many daters willingly put a lot about themselves out there, whether it’s online or in person.  Just the chance of finding our perfect match can make us do some risky things—things you may not even realize put you in danger.  Even just posting a picture of your new car can give creeps enough information to track you down if your license plate is in the shot.

 

Because of the risks we face when dating, especially women, I wanted to put together a list of tips for single women to ensure they stay safe when putting themselves out there.  Who better to speak to about this than retired FBI profiler, author of Special Agent: My Life on the Front Lines as a Woman in the FBI, and famed commentator on Investigation Discovery’s, “Deadly Women”, Candice Delong.

 

Here are 8 crucial rules Delong says women need keep in mind:

 

1. Avoid posting too sexy and “party” photos.  It can send the wrong message.  “Not only are decent guys online looking to meet a nice woman, disturbed men and sexual predators are online, too.  If you put yourself out there in the wrong way, the wrong guy might think he’s JUST the guy to give you what he thinks you want.”

 

Having tens of thousands of followers is flattering, but while most may look and think, “Wow, nice looking woman!” It just takes one disturbed man or sex offender thinking something else entirely, and it usually isn’t good.

 

2. Get more information than you give.  You may want to brag but it’s better to be stingy about revealing specific data about yourself such as where you work or live, says Delong.  The more he knows about your personal life, the easier it is track you and remember, once they have that information, they have it forever!

 

3. Do a Google search. If you knew ahead of time your date was on the lam, would you still go out with him?  “We tend to show only our best side when getting to know someone–so buyer beware.  Always do at least a simple Google search on a potential date, and an advanced search is even better.  Try to verify what they are telling you about themselves,” says Delong.

 

READ: How to do a sly background check on your date.

 

4. Don’t judge a book by the cover.  There’s a lot you can learn from someone’s photos and a lot that can mislead you.  “Remember, everyone’s nice on the first date–even psychopaths.  Ted Bundy, one of the most notorious and prolific serial killers of young women in our history, was a very handsome  and charismatic man. Women voluntarily went off with him because he didn’t look like a bad guy. When he got them in his car, their hours were numbered…” says Delong.

 

5. Meet in a public place.  Good places include coffee shops, restaurants, and the mall.  Delong actually advise NOT to meet at a bar.  “A bar is not the best place for a first date, especially one in a questionable or remote location.  If you do drink alcohol, don’t leave your glass unattended – ever – and drink water too. Don’t put yourself in a high risk situation by becoming intoxicated,” she says.

 

6. Let others know where you’re going.  “Always let a friend know in advance where you are going and who you are meeting,” says Delong.  It’s also a good idea to check in with them during the date and when you get home.  And speaking of going home, Delong says ALWAYS have enough money to get home on your own.

 

7. Never lead someone on. Stalking situations can happen through no fault of your own (for men or women), but usually develop after an intimate relationship has begun, says Delong.  “For some people, a simple kiss on the cheek is enough to launch a delusion that you love them.  It’s impossible to know what’s inside someone’s head and heart.”

 

READ: Are you dating a psychopath? 

 

8. Trust your gut. If your gut tells you, “it’s not right,” then it isn’t.  “If you think someone has lied to you, you’re probably right–they did lie. If you overlook it (put it aside), you may end up regretting it later,” says Delong.  Hanging around and trying to make it feel right or justify probably won’t work.

 

 

Men & Women See Cheating Differently, Says Study

Cheating is cheating, right?

 

Well, that depends if you’re a man or a woman.

 

A new study published by Taylor & Francis Group in Sexual & Relationship Therapy reveals the different ways in which men and women perceive infidelity.  We all know the damage infidelity can do but when the sexes see cheating differently, that’s a problem in and of itself.

 

For the experiment, researchers asked hundreds of young men and women to complete an online questionnaire, which categorized infidelity in three ways – sexual infidelity, intimate infidelity, and fantasy infidelity.

 

The authors of the study found that, “women were more likely than men to identify both sexual-based and emotion-based acts as constituting infidelity.”

 

Men, find greater distress in sexual infidelity, overall because according to researchers, men fear that a woman’s sexual infidelity would result in the man having to provide for children who are not his own, and women fear that a man’s emotional infidelity would result in him providing for the other woman and not her.

 

The findings also suggest that women being more likely to identify certain acts as infidelity is unsurprising given that the women scored higher than the men on measures of communion—the extent to which a person wants to form and maintain positive interpersonal bonds.

 

So, what one partner may perceive as an act of infidelity, the other may perceive as a harmless act.  The researchers say, “knowing what your partner believes to be infidelity could potentially save a relationship if both partners understand each other’s perspective.”

 

 

* Read the full article online: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/14681994.2016.1196290

>Peace, Love & Politics Part 2

What does the heat of Election 2016 have to do with the heat in your bedroom?  Quite a lot, depending on which side you lean.  The dating website, Zoosk, polled nearly 6,000 singles to see how they really feel about the candidates as it relates to their love and sex lives.

 

Here are some of the key findings:

 

  • Democrats are better in bed. 55% of singles think Democrats are likely to be better than Republicans in bed; 23% of self-identified Republicans agree.
  • The frontrunners are the most dateable. 49% of Republican singles say Trump is the most dateable candidate while 40% of Democrats vote for Hillary.
  • Trump is the most charming and funniest candidate. More singles (36%) find Trump charming than Bernie (25%), Hillary (16%), John Kasich (11%) or Ted Cruz (11%). When it comes to humor, singles think Trump is the funniest (41%) followed by Bernie (28%) and Hillary (14%).
  • Singles want to grab a beer with Trump. More singles want to grab a beer with Trump (38%) over Bernie (27%) and Hillary (15%).

 

While Donald Trump may be the preferred candidate to grab a beer with, singles are sick of talking about him on dates.  When Zoosk originally addressed this topic in its “Are Your Politics Getting in the Way of Finding True Love?” survey back in August, 77% would welcome a productive conversation about politics if their date brought up Trump’s campaign.  However, after 8 months on the campaign trail, only 29% of singles feel that way today.  Another noticeable change is as the campaign moves forward, more singles are open to dating across party lines.  The survey found that 84% of singles would date someone from the opposite party, a 9% increase from August 2015.

 

Author, Dave Willis, tackles the issue in his bestseller, “The Seven Laws of Love”.  He says that while differing worldviews can make for lively discussions, you may be wasting your time with someone who doesn’t agree with you on the really important issues.  “On areas where you disagree, you have to ask yourself the questions, “Am I willing to enter into this relationship knowing this issue may create a lifelong source of unresolved tension in the relationship? Will I be okay if my future children adopt my lover’s beliefs and convictions instead of my own?” If you can’t answer “yes” to those questions, then you may want to tap the brakes,” he says.

 

Of course, it’s certainly possible to have a happy relationship with someone of different political convictions, but the repercussions are much more complex than most couples may realize.

 

> Just How Much Are Couples Spending To Tie The Knot? $32,641


As we head into wedding season, The Knot is out with its annual report of the latest spending habits and trends of weddings in America.  And, it looks like couples are spending an insane amount of money on the big day.

 

According to The Knot’s 2015 Real Weddings Study, which surveyed nearly 18,000 U.S. brides and grooms, the average wedding cost has increased by more than $5,500 in the past five years with couples spending an average $32,641 last year.  That doesn’t include the honeymoon, BTW.  It’s estimated that the biggest increase was on the reception venue (+$1,950), ceremony site (+$652) and the reception band (+545).

 

No surprise here, that the most expensive place to get married is in the Tri-State area.  Manhattan topped the list with an average wedding cost of $82,299.  Chicago came in second ($61,265) followed by Westchester/Hudson Valley in New York ($57,501), Long Island, New York ($56,950), and North/Central New Jersey ($55,389).  The least expensive place to wed is in Alaska where couples spend an average $17,361.

 

And the timeline of the average marriage?  Statistics show that the most popular month to get engaged is December (16%) with an average 14.5-month engagement.  More couples are also choosing fall ceremonies with the most popular month to get married being October (17%) and September (15%).

 

 

Here are some of the top findings from the study:

 

  • Average spent on a wedding dress: $1,469. Average spent on the groom’s attire: $269.
  • Average number of wedding guests in 2015: 139 (down from 149 in 2009). But, the cost per wedding guest: $237 (up from $194 in 2009).
  • Couples are spending more on wedding professionals to help them plan a perfect day.  26% of couples hired a planning professional in 2015 (up from 19% in 2010).
  • Parents are still footing the bulk of the bill. The bride’s parents contribute 44% of the overall wedding budget and the groom’s parents contribute 12%.  However, the bride and groom are willing to help by contributing 43% to the cost.
  • Fewer couples are having destination weddings with 21% tying the knot abroad. That’s down from 24% in 2014.
  • Average spent on an engagement ring: $5,871

 

If the findings have left you with cold feet, there’s always the Little White Chapel, where saying, “I Do”, only costs $75.