How to Stop Pushing Nice Guys Away and Picking Jerks Instead

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How to Stop Pushing Nice Guys Away and Picking Jerks Instead

Speak to a lot of single women of a certain age and they’ll tell you that there are no quality men out there. Some are over-developed man children, they say. Others are sad and sorry pushovers, nice guys who have no passion in life and so stir none in them. Then there are the jerks that seem nice at first but play games, ignore needs, act callously, are distant, disrespectful and drop them without a second thought. So is this an actual social paradigm in the modern world, a list of excuses for broken hearts or a lashing out of the scorned and unlucky in love? Dr. Jeremy Nicholson is a social and personality psychologist who studies relationships. He posits that women’s evolutionary selves and the box our modern society tries to place them in are at odds, placing women in what he calls a “double-bind.” To find out more about what he says and what women can do about it, you need to know about Dr. Helen Fisher. She is an evolutionary anthropologist at Rutgers University. Dr. Fisher says there are three kinds of love: lust, attachment—managing the home, parenting and so on, and attraction, which is what we feel when we like someone and wish to pursue a relationship with them.

For each person, these are different. We’re all like weirdly shaped puzzle pieces trying to find the right fit. Though we are supposed to get all three from one person, sometimes we are attracted to one, lusting after another and still only feel comfortable with the third. Each of these three feelings that we blend together and call love start from different needs. Though you may get all three from the same person, Dr. Fisher argues that the needs themselves are very different. For most women these feelings just happen. But if they look deeper they would notice that there are certain features or cues put out by a partner that makes her attracted to him. These include physique, resources such as income, social status, stability, intelligence, conscientiousness and ambition. In society today, however, a woman needs to be many things to be deemed worthy. She has to be good at her job, her relationship, look beautiful, have a great attitude and raise stunning children. That’s a tall order. To do so she’ll have to be smart, industrious, assertive and motivated. These women, in order to have a mate that fits into her plans, must be agreeable, supportive, cooperative, and so on. Yet, by an evolutionary standpoint, these are not the men who are high in status. Those are often disagreeable. They don’t cooperate and they aren’t supportive. So those men who are culturally desirable aren’t desirable from an evolutionary perspective.

What strategies can a woman employ then to successfully traverse this complex landscape of the heart? Nicholson suggests selecting one of four successful strategies. The first is coming to love in the role of the leader. The businesswoman can also be the superheroine or the dominatrix. She can lead the nice guy to the right places and enjoy the ride. The second is holding off and finding the right guy. Here she will follow him and enjoy his attractive, strong leadership qualities, but will select a mate who also has a kind heart and keeps her wants, needs and desires in highest regard. Next, there is mixed dating. This is having one male partner for the household affairs and partnership, while another is for sexual rendezvouses. This could be an illicit affair, an ethical, polyamorous relationship or something in between. Lastly, there is sharing, balance, communication and compromise. Each person is in charge of their own set duties and the couple works everything out together. Good communication and a solid foundation to work from are key. For more on that state of human affection read, Why We Love by Helen Fisher.

How to keep your Love Interest Interested

interested

How to keep your Love Interest Interested

In today’s electronically interconnected world where almost every single milestone, anecdote, musing or irritation is put out for the entire world to see, it can feel like no one reserves any mysteries anymore. We all serve ourselves up daily to the giant, unblinking eye of the internet. But with dating, developing an air of mystery is essential. A lot of us like being an open book. Though this can initially put someone who is interested at ease, it can quickly become boring. Some of us are givers and people pleasers. But if we continue to give all our power away, if we make ourselves too transparent or if we fail to weave the magic spell properly we soon find lovers dropping off. Our interest pulls away. For many today we don’t even get to the dating stage. We text or message back and forth but nothing tangible ever emerges. The fact is some people seek a challenge, albeit a well-crafted one. Also, giving your lover everything they want upfront without asking anything in return, without any enticement or unfinished questions takes the fun out of the subtle, provocative dance that is human courtship. The problem is you have to play hard to get, but not too hard. You have to advertise your worth without pricing them out of your market. Here’s how to keep your love interest interested without driving them off.

Think of a date as a performance. The other person should always be left wanting more. Sometimes in our anxiety we want to in a confessionary manner divulge everything about us and get it all out of the way. But it’s important to have a bit more confidence and reserve portions of ourselves, doling it all out slowly. Look at it as a story. You want yours to slowly unravel in a delicious way. Leave them with a cliffhanger here and there. When scheduling a meetup, don’t be too available or accommodating or else you are giving all your power away. Some people change their entire schedule to accommodate someone else. Others need an entourage as if they were Hollywood celebrities. But this can also be a barrier. How can you really get to know each other with so many other people in the way? Don’t purposely obstruct an unfolding romance either. Be available perhaps one or two nights out of the week. Whatever arrangements are being made, the other person should meet you halfway. There needs to be balance. If getting together with you is way too difficult then they may give up. On dates many feel the need to prove themselves. But take a deep breath, step back and realize too that they should also have to prove themselves to you.

If you have a flare for the dramatic, surprise them. Don’t be too predictable. Everyone has inner mysteries that they love to explore, interests they pursue and curiosities that fascinate them. Find out what yours are and slowly introduce these secret mysteries to your love interest. Don’t pressure them. If you ask them where things are going after the third date, or levy some sort of ultimatum you will look desperate, apply too much pressure and end up alone. But if you’ve successfully weaved your spell, you’ll have them enchanted and ready to follow you anywhere. Sometimes we focus totally on ourselves. Step back and consider their situation. Did this person just get out of a serious relationship? Beware of being the rebound. If you are made to compete with someone, drop your love interest immediately. This person does not have your best interest at heart. Instead, they are on an ego trip and playing senseless games. Where could the relationship go if they are willing to play with your heart in such a manner? If your potential date is still in a relationship with someone else, walk away. Otherwise, you can just be friends. Don’t ever sacrifice your friends, family or your children to accommodate them. This person is selfish, egotistical and self-centered. Playing hard to get means enjoying each step of the human love ritual in all its rich complexity and splendor. But make sure you are coming across as interested. If you are cold and reserved the entire time, they may not know. Subtly is the key. You want to send slow, subtle signals such as eye contact, a brush of the arm, for guys opening the door and leading her in gently by the small of the back, leaning in when the other talks and so on. Just be sure to send out signals that, although you are interested, you have a life too. For the ladies who want to know more pick up a copy of, How to Keep a Man: What Every Woman Needs to Know to Keep Him Interested and Happy for Life by Niel Schreiber.

Meeting your Partner’s Needs While Getting Yours Met

THOUGHTFUL-COUPLE

Meeting your Partner’s Needs While Getting Yours Met

Everyone has needs. And if you are in a long term relationship you realize that it’s transactional as much as it’s interactional. We have emotional, sexual, and physical needs such as hugging and cuddling, spiritual, financial and social needs too. There are eight elements in all. When a relationship is doing well the two interact in these realms meeting each other’s needs in full measure. There’s no holding back, no splurging. If they’re lucky there is an “element equation” or a surplus on the part of both partners. If there is an imbalance, the couple can choose to acknowledge it, discuss it and work through the problem. A deficit in emotional availability could by tackled by telling one partner that they aren’t feeling their full presence in the relationship. Instead of reacting, the other partner would agree to discuss it at a certain time. Both parties could then come up with solutions on when the best time is to discuss their feelings, say at a meeting once per week or something like that.

So how do you work on meeting your partner’s needs while getting yours met? First you need to recognize the imbalance. Something doesn’t feel right. Define the problem. Talk about it with yourself. Investigate. Is one person overspending or the other holding back? Where is this imbalance coming from? Next, find the proper words to address the problem. Bring it up with your partner and find an appropriate time to discuss it. The key is open and honest communication, without ego or blame stepping into it. Both parties have to communicate effectively, honestly, and from a point of respect toward their partner. Nothing is solved by screaming matches or finger pointing sessions. But the couple who can have a calm, cool discussion and come up with concrete solutions enjoys the strongest and happiest type of relationship. Find out the reason of the withholding or the overspending. Is there some guilt or feeling of inadequacy? Why does your partner feel this way? It’s important to validate their responses. Always begin from a place of wellness. Make your partner understand that you care about your relationship and want it to be healthy. Let them know that you are invested in them and invested in “us.” For more advice read, The Rules of Love: A Personal Code for Happier, More Fulfilling Relationships by Richard Templar.

The Benefits of a Long-Distance Relationship

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The Benefits of a Long-Distance Relationship

Lots of people argue against long-distance relationships. But if you two are the right kind of people, a long-distance relationship can make love stronger, the relationship deeper and can make each party rise to the occasion, utilizing traits and skills that make them better people. First, a long-distance relationship has automatic breathing room built in. Balancing time for yourself and time together is a great challenge for many couples. Some people like to be together more often. Others like to be apart. Everyone has a relationship style.

If you and your significant other spend more time apart than together, you may be good candidates for a long-distance relationship. It also makes the time you spend together more fulfilling, significant, even magical since it is rarer and therefore, more precious.  In this, you may find that you have a deeper appreciation for your sweetheart and are less likely to take them for granted. Some in this type of relationship claim that a couple sustains the honeymoon phase of the relationship longer. The two aren’t together often enough for it to fade. So each time they see each other the steamy, magnetic giddiness of the honeymoon phase is renewed, at least until they stop being long-distance.

A long-distance relationship builds its own world, for just the two of you through email, Skype, and more. In regular relationships, friends, hobbies, and lifestyles blend together. But in a long-distance relationship, the world is more private, shared only between the two, almost sacrosanct. Excellent communication skills is the number one most important skill for any relationship and long-distancers have it by the boat load. In fact, communication seems to be what they have most of. Affection is also diversified and creatively put forth. If they mention they ran out of Keurig cups you secretly go online and order if for them. If you mention a movie you want to see, your partner will see it too so the two of you can discuss it and have something to look forward to.

Long-distance relationships are more secure in their love. If you’ve seen each other face-to-face for a long time, you start to wonder how committed the other person is. But in a long-distance relationship the fact that the person returns to Skype time and again, calls time and again, and shows their investment time and again keeps you from guessing. If you are considering a long-distance relationship, look at the benefits along with the drawbacks, talk with those close to you, and do some soul searching to see if it’s right for you. For more advice read, The Long-Distance Relationship Survival Guide by Chris Bell and Kate Brauer-Bell.

Used to be the Seven Year Itch, now It’s Just Three

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Used to be the Seven Year Itch, now It’s Just Three

50% of women and 60% of men admit to having an affair sometime in their lives. It’s inevitable that many people will start to question their marriage or even monogamy itself at some point. Many experts believe that this is happening earlier nowadays. It used to be the seven year itch, in other words at year seven people were wondering about their marriage, but today it’s happening at year three. Once the nuance wears off and we start to really get a sense of who the other person is, and what their faults actually are, disillusionment about the relationship, even marriage itself can set in.

Once the thrill has worn off the sex often declines and the couple feels disconnected. At this point some people question the relationship. Did they really know this person before tying the knot? Was something overlooked during the dating phase? They wonder if they settled or somehow made a mistake. First, understand that this is a normal, natural pattern that lots of couples go through. There are ways to reignite the spark. One is to practice compassion for your partner with absolute abandon. Show them your gratitude. Love them despite of their drawbacks. Practice radical acceptance and deep love.

Next, take part in novel experiences. What gets your heart racing? Find out how to answer that question the same as your partner and go and do that thing. Studies have shown that taking part in exciting activities can help reignite the spark. Work on bringing novelty into the bedroom. Plan a romantic evening together where you two open up to one another and start talking about your fantasies. Make plans to fulfill them, first one person’s then the others. Understand and mitigate the influence of society, particularly the fairytale fantasy and the idea of instant gratification. The media is constantly in movies, TV shows and so many other places showing us labor free, perfect relationships and uninhibited, instant mind-blowing sex. In the real world, things take investment, commitment, time and energy. Don’t think of it as work however but growing your relationship, deepening it and enhancing it.

Sometimes people get so busy with the bills, work, the kids and other responsibilities that they forget to save a little time to invest in one another. But it’s so important. Happy parents and happy workers lead to happy kids and a great working environment, advancement and productivity too. Find time to talk, show your appreciation for one another, do things that are fun and exciting together and you’ll never feel that itch at any year in your marriage. For more on keeping things hot and exciting read, The Spark: Igniting the Passion, Mystery, and Romance in Your Marriage by Jay Laffoon, Laura Laffoon and Ken Davis.