Women Really Don’t Understand what Men Find Attractive

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Women Really Don’t Understand what Men Find Attractive

Lots of men like a woman with curves. But most of those women feel insecure about the curves they have. Women often underestimate or just don’t really understand what it is that men really find attractive. They only pick up on the signals the media is sending to them on how they are supposed to be. Women often mistakenly believe that they have to be a certain weight or shape for men to find them attractive. Nothing is further from the truth. Case in point, in a 1985 study researchers asked participants of both sexes to list “their current figure, their ideal figure, the figure that they felt would be most attractive to the opposite sex, and the opposite sex figure to which they would be most attracted.” The results were that “women thought men would like women thinner than men reported they like.” On the other side, male participants, “thought women would like a heavier stature [in men] than females reported they like.” Men and women in this study both had misconceptions as to what was found attractive in the opposite sex.  However, women were injured by their self-perception of their figure and its assumed attractiveness while men were not. The authors wrote of their results, “Overall, men’s perceptions serve to keep them satisfied with their figures, whereas women’s perceptions place pressure on them to lose weight.”

Another breakthrough came three years later when the same researchers found that “mothers and daughters believed that men (of their own generation) prefer much thinner women than these men actually prefer.” We would think that with self-help so prevalent in society nowadays and gender equality issues pervasive we would have a clearer perception of our own attractiveness and what the opposite sex wants. Why don’t women have the same perception as men, the ones they are trying to attract? Evolutionary psychologists have a theory called “mate selection theory,” which states that women know their “mate value” and perceive their attractiveness in order to get the best mate possible in which to produce offspring. But this false self-perception of women contradicts the theory. According to David Buss, author and psychologist, what isn’t being taken into consideration is the media. “One ‘input’ into women’s mating psychology is rival women in their ‘social environment.’ Ancestrally, of course, women would not have been exposed to hundreds of images of these ultra-thin women; small-group living meant that women had perhaps a dozen or two other women of reproductive age that would have effective same-sex mating rivals.” It was when the fashion industry found that thinner models made the clothes hang better thus fit better that commercials and the fashion industry gave women millions of images of thin models to compete against, thus this modern angst. For more on this topic, check out The Evolution of Desire by David Buss.

Real Life Dating Advice you don’t get at School

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Real Life Dating Advice you don’t get at School

Though we have sex education in school lots of people aren’t satisfied with the curriculum or the results. Far too few Americans know what they need to know about the topic. Furthermore, they don’t teach anything about real dating life or relationships at school. Some people learn from their friends, others from their parents, and most through trial and error. There are those who get caught up in ideas that aren’t true. Some people make horrendous mistakes in their love lives that could have simply and easily been avoided with a little knowledge beforehand. Here are some things everyone should know about love but few people really do, at least without having some dreadful experiences under their belt. Though the entertainment industry has marketed this lie that the sexes are completely opposite, research suggests that they aren’t as different as they are made out to be. Though men and women have been portrayed almost as different species, the “Men are from Mars Women are from Venus” mentality, the truth is there is more variation when it comes to two individuals, regardless of their sex. There is even a study out of England that states that the male and female brain are far more similar that we’ve been led to believe. Men and women are different and are definitely socialized differently. But individual preference is more likely to vary further than actual gender differences do. Ergo you shouldn’t be looking for someone who is your opposite, or even someone who is a status symbol. Instead, find someone who you have things in common with, similar interests, outlook, moral views and especially the same sense of humor. Then you’ll both be happy. Opposites do attract but unfortunately rarely make stable long term relationships, though there are rare exceptions.

There are those individuals who continue to remain in relationships that aren’t good for them, or aren’t making them happy because they falsely believe that a breakup makes them a failure. Experience in love teaches us that in reality it was not meant to be. It isn’t anyone’s fault. More people should realize that relationships end and this is a natural process. But to stick to a relationship that is unsatisfying and can’t become satisfying or worse yet unhealthy is a tragic mistake and a private prison that one can escape from anytime one wishes. Now on another front, some people think it’s funny or cute to bother and annoy someone in the hopes that they will change their mind, and go hang out with them or become interested in them. But this isn’t cute or funny, it’s harassment. If someone is coming on strong and won’t back down or take the hint, don’t let them get away with it. Walk away, embarrass them, ask someone else for help but realize that they are being predatory and they need to be stopped. Not only is this awkward for the person but if they aren’t stopped it will only embolden them to try it again or even take it farther next time. There is in today’s world no rush to get married or find a long term life partner. With the divorce rate near 50%, and with so much education needed to be a viable candidate in today’s job market, most people are waiting. Studies have shown that young marriages are some of the least stable.  For more on this topic, read Relationship Advice: How to Attract and Experience Healthy Relationships for Life by Jeanette L. Davis.

What Makes a Couple Stay Together?

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What Makes a Couple Stay Together?

With the divorce rate as high as it is, about 50% for baby boomers and 40% for the other marrying age generations down the line, it may seem like there is nothing you can do to ensure that you and your spouse or partner will stay together. But nothing can be further from the truth. In fact, there is plenty of research that has come out that can tell us what makes couples stay together. Dr. John Gottman is at the forefront of this research. He is said to be able to predict divorce with 94% accuracy. His secret isn’t some unreachable scientific jargon; it’s actually things your grandmother might tell you over a nice cup of tea. However, he does have the statistical data to back up his conclusions. The first thing Gottman says is that for every negative interaction a couple takes part in they need to have five positive ones to counteract that negative. Negative interactions are seen as dismissive body language, a negative comment or eye rolling. Positive interactions include a loving look, a positive comment, and a hug or kiss. One caveat is that these interactions need to be genuinely positive. You can’t fake it. More than likely your partner will know. Remember that after work you need to slow down and become more in tune with your partner. Take some time for both of you to reconnect each day. Reflect on all the positive qualities that your partner has and what they do for you and the positive qualities that they bring into the relationship. This will help you to interact with them in a more genuinely positive way.

The next thing we can learn from Dr. Gottman’s research is what he calls the “four horseman of the apocalypse.” These four deadly interactions as they are called are toxic to a relationship. Avoid these at all costs and your relationship has a better chance of staying together. They are criticism, contempt, defensiveness and stonewalling. Criticizing your mate from how they dress to their personal habits to how they handle things can put a real damper on the relationship. Certainly there are behaviors you can tolerate in a relationship and those that you can’t. Learn to know the difference and come to accept those that you must. None of us are perfect. We all have faults. If we want full acceptance and unconditional love we must first learn to give these things. Contempt poisons a relationship outright; passive-aggressive behavior, sarcasm, vicious barbs and more. This is often one fight that has been raging on a long time. Underneath it all someone’s needs aren’t being met or there is a personality conflict that never got resolved. When we don’t receive what we are looking for in a relationship we start to feel insecure. We get defensive. But this defensiveness stands in the way of real communication, of revealing the problem and working together as partners to find a solution. The last type is stonewalling; when communication shuts down. This is one of the worst things that can happen in a relationship. Learn how to put these things past you and your relationship will be much stronger and happier for it.  For more advice on this topic, read Getting Together and Staying Together: Solving the Mystery of Marriage by William Glasser, M.D. and Carleen Glasser.

How to Avoid Mistakes in your New Relationship

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How to Avoid Mistakes in your New Relationship

After a hard breakup or a divorce, it can feel like you want to be alone for the rest of your life. You never want your heart ripped out of your chest again. But once the healing process is well under way, you feel like you’d like to put your suit back on and wade back into the dating pool. But that’s a scary time. Will you just end up repeating the past with a new person? How do you avoid making the same mistakes in your new relationship? First, feel confident that you have the self-reflection to realize these types of psychological patterns people take part in, in love. Noticing patterns is the first step to counteracting them. Start to realize that it is possible to find love after a big breakup or even divorce. According to Dr. Stephanie Manes family therapist, remind yourself not to view potential dates merely through “post-divorce goggles.” Feelings of vulnerability, loneliness and desperation can lead some to take mates that they wouldn’t otherwise. Be sure to reinvigorate your self-love before going out there to find love from someone else. As Dr. Manes says, “Remember your vulnerability can cloud your judgment.” Don’t rush into a relationship. Instead take your time. “A small dating rejection or disappointment can feel like a blow from a wrecking ball when you are still trying to heal from a divorce” says Dr. Manes. Remember to guard your heart carefully and to go at a pace that feels right. Anyone who is really interested in you will understand and if they are worthwhile they will take the time with you.

Figure out if you have a type or not, or several types appeal to you. You have a new lease on life. That doesn’t mean you need to date in a way that feels uncomfortable for you. Instead, enjoy your new freedom and find out what works for you. Even if you go on a date and you find that this person and you have no chemistry, still consider it a success if you’ve made a new friend. Who couldn’t use more friends? Dr. Laurie Moore, a family counselor, suggests that you make a list of what you are looking for in a partner. It can be short or long, the length doesn’t matter. Put everything you want on there. “Ask yourself, which of these are non-negotiable? Which of these could I compromise?” Once you have an idea of the person you want in mind, don’t go for someone who doesn’t fulfill the requirements. Don’t settle for less in other words. According to Dr. Moore “Sooner or later you’ll meet someone who meets your criteria and you share strong feelings with.” Take a look at your past relationship or relationships and look at what you brought to the table. What emotional baggage do you have and how does it affect your relationships? What role did you play and why? If you were needy, negative, a nag or a blamer find out why and find a positive way to be able to communicate without falling into old, negative patterns. For more on planning out your love life correctly, pick up a copy of Intelligent Love by Dr. Laurie Moore.

Don’t Get Serious if He Does These

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Don’t Get Serious if He Does These

Of course every woman is looking for prince charming. But the truth is there aren’t any perfect guys out there, nor perfect women either. That being said, there are things you can live with, even kind of begrudgingly love about your partner even though they are flaws, and things you can’t live with because they are unhealthy behaviors that are toxic to the relationship. Some ladies get with a guy and ignore serious flaws, which end up destroying the relationship. Don’t waste your time and get caught up with the wrong men. If he does any of these don’t get serious with him. Sure there are some guys who have lower sex drives. But if he’s just not that interested in sex you should have second thoughts about him. It can start out feeling like a blessing, especially if your last man seemed insatiable. But soon it will become a serious issue. And why is it that he has such a low libido? This could be a sign of serious health issues, depression, he could be in denial about being gay or he could be hooking up with someone else on the side. Is your guy irritable? How does he deal with it? If he overeats, drinks too much or stays in the house in a melancholy mood double think whether you want to stay with this man. Everyone has a really bad day once in a while. But if this is his holding pattern realize that you will have to deal with him when he’s like this. That can be way too high an emotional toll to pay for being with a guy.

Is this guy of yours the loner type? It may seem so exciting at first. A great relationship however has compromise, each person having self-awareness and good communication at its roots. The lone wolf however doesn’t deal with these very well, if at all. These can be exciting but for long-term relationships, perhaps a more amiable type is more desirable. Of course different people interact in different ways. Make sure to steer clear of anyone that has real substance abuse problems. Take note of how often they do what they do and other signs. Does your guy lack ambition? Say bye-bye to this guy, unless you don’t mind supporting him, or having a live in house guest. Any guy who has a horrible relationship with his family should be suspect. What has he done to be disowned by them? These are usually the last people to be estranged from. What kind of behavior or other issues does he have that prevent him from having a healthy relationship with his family? This goes double if he has kids and they don’t talk to him. Look out for a guy who is clingy or needy. He’ll drag you down, drowning you in love. You won’t have a second for yourself, your career, your friends or other important aspects of life. If he starts acting controlling or manipulative say adios to this creep. More than likely if you ignore it it’s just going to get worse and worse, and harder to untangle yourself. For more help, read Finding the Right One for You: Secrets to Recognizing Your Perfect Mate by H. Norman Wright.