Why many are Scared of Love

fear of love

Why many are Scared of Love

Did you know that most divorces and breakups happen at the beginning of the year? January seeks the most separations of couples. Why is that? Speculations abound but no real reason has been pegged. It could be that people want to have a new life in the New Year. Or perhaps they see Valentine’s Day down the road and run off before it gets there. But this begs the question, why do so many breakups and divorces happen at all? One reason, lots of people are scared of an emotion that should instead empower them, love.

These fears don’t always surface at the beginning of a relationship. They may lay dormant waiting for the right trigger to bring them forth. They all come down to one thing, a fear of intimacy. And even though initially this fear is seen as a protective quality, it ultimately keeps us from the intimacy and closeness we desire most. There are lots of ways to be scared of love. See if any of these describe you or someone you know. First is fear of vulnerability. This usually happens at the beginning of a relationship. Love means letting someone else in. You are suddenly dependent upon someone else for your happiness, not just you. And this fear of vulnerability can often affect or even end a relationship, the fearful partner driving the other away.

Falling in love also brings up old scars from the past. Childhood traumas are often brought forth. Anger, resentment, neglect, rejection and fear can all resurface in conjunction of finding love in one’s life. Love can oppose our old perceptions of ourselves. We may think we’re unlovable or undeserving of love. There are those who sometimes mistake their inner critic for how they actually feel about themselves. They let those negative voices become their opinion of themselves. The inner critic is an amalgam. It is nothing but a collection of negative messages we were exposed to when we were young by our parents and others, or those which our parents felt about themselves which we internalized and made about ourselves. Other negative messages from bullies and other peers may become part of this amalgam. Eventually it gets ingrained in the individual. Falling in love, and being validated by someone who loves you, throws a wrench in that perception. And since our biggest fear is that of the unknown, the person who is loved but doesn’t feel that they deserve it doesn’t know what to do.

Some people fear inevitable pain from the elation of love. That the breakup will hurt just as bad as the love now feels. But how do you know that it won’t work out? Lastly, some people fear that the other person loves them more than they love that person. They’re afraid that this dynamic will never change. Love changes over time and moment to moment. Do not fear love. Let it be a transformative force in your life, not a blast that forces you to crouch but an updraft that makes you soar. For more advice read, Love Me, Don’t Leave Me: Overcoming Fear of Abandonment & Building Lasting, Loving Relationships by Michelle Skeen, PsyD.

Warning Signs on the Road to Divorce

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Warning Signs on the Road to Divorce

A marriage is like a car. If you invest time and effort into it, show it the proper affection, listen to it when you hear a problem and honestly try to fix it, you’ll have a great one that will last. But if you ignore the warning signs you’ll be sitting in the passenger seat of a tow truck on the road to couple’s therapy, separation or even divorce before you know it.

Most people get married without the slightest notion of what it takes to sustain a marriage and what the indicators of divorce are. Here are some warning signs. Do some soul searching and see if you or your relationship is suffering from one of these. Have you ever dreamt of life without your spouse? Once in a while is one thing. But if you find yourself doing it more often than not, it’s time to seek out couple’s counseling or marriage therapy. Talk to your spouse about it. It won’t be a nice conversation. But if you love them you owe it to them, and yourself to let them know how you feel. Ask if they’ve been feeling the same way. What issues or problems are you two not addressing that is contributing to this phenomenon? What solutions can be posited to solve them?

Our next warning sign is when bad things about a marriage overwhelm the good things. When couples have issues that go unaddressed, they don’t just go away. They fester under the surface until they become an enormous problem. Or they may surface as a conveyor belt of problems until you are both exhausted. Instead, find ways to nip problems in the bud, or counteract them before they occur. Don’t let them fester too long or perhaps it will be too late to fix them. Remember that communication is not only a way to make a connection. It helps soothe us when we’re stressed and bonds us to our partner. If you hold back on sharing your thoughts or feelings, for fear of retaliation or physical or verbal abuse, you are not in a good relationship. You need to extricate yourself.

Does one of you get overly defensive when a certain subject or issue is brought up? If your spouse does this, it may be the very issue you need to address. It may also mean the problem might have reached a fever pitch. If you or your spouse clams up, dismisses needs of the other or criticizes one another’s values these are signs that the relationship is in serious trouble. Do you feel all alone in solving the marriages problems? Seek counseling because this is the canary in the coal mine for your marriage. For more advice read, Marriage Help: How I Fixed My Marriage and Fell in Love All over Again by Corine Channell.

4 Warning Signs That Your Relationship Is in Trouble

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4 Warning Signs That Your Relationship Is in Trouble

Most of the time people enter relationships with a feeling that everything has excellent potential.  They’re not anticipating an end to their love.  The truth is, that’s often the case.  Relationships do end.  Often, warning signs are missed, but they do exist.  John Gottman, Ph.D., is a leading psychologist in the area of marriage and relationships.  He has four warning signs and adjustments that can be made:

  1. Criticism - It’s not the same as complaining, when you’re attacking one particular problem or the behavior of your partner.  You’re actually attacking their character.  A criticism might include, “You are such a slob”.  A complaint, on the other hand, would sound more like, “I’m tired of picking up after you”.   You can’t say anything constructive when a person is criticizing, or, it would be more difficult.  If someone complains, it’s easier to address the concern.  To fix this, make it a point to complain and not criticize.  And, if your partner is guilty of the latter, have a discussion about it and see if they’ll commit to not criticizing.
  2. Contempt - This is really criticism, magnified.  When you’re attacking your partner as a person, it’s demeaning and insulting.  You’re looking down on them, possibly calling them names, mocking them and being sarcastic.  To fix this, increase your tolerance.  Learn to communicate with your partner and appreciate each other.  Couples therapy is often necessary for relationships involving contempt.
  3. Defensiveness - This is when you’re attacked and then attack in defense.  This typically involves playing the victim, ignoring your partner, making excuses and disagreeing.  To fix this, listen to the complaint and try to empathize.  Then, take responsibility, or some of it.  After truly listening and showing compassion, tell your side of the story.
  4. Stonewalling - Checking out of a conversation to protect oneself from being hurt is stonewalling.  A person will stop following the conversation or actually leave.  They may seem apathetic, but are actually overwhelmed.  To fix this, try to discuss the issue together and find out when the person stonewalling is becoming overwhelmed. Make plans to give space if needed and eventually come back to discussing the problem.  Identify these issues early on.  The longer they last, the more it hurts your relationship.  If you’re trying your best to fix things and there’s no cooperation, and situations are repeated, you might try counseling together. Also try reading the book, The Relationship Cure: A 5 Step Guide to Strengthening Your Marriage, Family, and Friendships by John Gottman, Ph.D.

When an Ego Battle Replaces your Relationship

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When an Ego Battle Replaces your Relationship

Relationships can do funny things to people. The feeling of attachment can also bring confusion, fear of intimacy and the need to guard one’s self. This is due to past traumas during childhood or in previous relationships. So to protect one’s self this person will often lapse into creating fights, sarcasm, vengeful gestures, passive-aggressiveness, resentfulness, over-the-top competitiveness, self-doubt, frustration and aggression.

This person is afraid of letting their guard down or letting someone in for fear of being hurt. If you yourself think you have become stuck in an ego battle that has replaced your relationship, take a look at these signs. Ask your significant other or consider whether you are experiencing these symptoms. This person has a need to control things and situations. They may have a constant critic going in their head. They may be full of put-downs, sarcasm, criticism or ridicule. The ego tries too hard to control the situation. It is doing so in order to protect itself from love and so ironically becomes the very obstacle to what the person desires most, bonding with their love.

Some people go completely the other way. They give up everything to be with their spouse, their friends, family, hobbies, education and everything they value, just to be with the object of their desire. They lose themselves and this becomes their obstacle to their own pleasure, equal love. The last sign that you are in an ego battle is when one person is “Flat-lining.” This is behavior where one person in the relationship tries to disappear in order to not raise the ire of the other, and avoid conflict. They withdraw from their partner and stay in the relationship in name only. There is no engagement or intimacy. If the right relationship skills aren’t learned, even if this relationship doesn’t last, the person with commitment issues will bring the same problems into their next relationships.

Instead of using negative means to interact in your relationship, see the pattern and learn to dis-engage it. If this is your spouse or lover, teach them that they don’t have to act like this, that this isn’t what love is about. Whenever a problem arises, each side should take a deep breath, relax and manage the negative emotions that come to the surface. Both parties should consciously reach deep down inside and bring out the skills they need to make this relationship work; patience, understanding, openness and the desire to come to an understanding. Counseling or couples therapy may also be necessary. The first step is realizing the problem. The next is working through it. For more advice read, Why You Do the Things You Do: The Secret to Healthy Relationships by Dr. Tim Clinton and Dr. Gary Sibcy.

How Women can save their Relationships When they earn more

FEMALE-BREADWINNER

How Women can save their Relationships When they earn more

In America today, the mother is the sole breadwinner in 25% of households that have a child under eighteen years of age. That number has increased four times since 1960, over five million women. Though, in general, men make more, the number of educated women in professional careers has exploded. There are lots of couples where the woman makes more than the man. There is a growing number of stay at home fathers too; their numbers increased by the toll the Great Recession took. Men however often feel threatened or that their sense of manliness has diminished if their wife makes more or is more successful than they have been.

Since men were the traditional breadwinners it makes sense that their egos would be bruised by the woman in their life being the sole breadwinner or earning more. A Cornell University study from 2010 found that men in a cohabitating relationship between the ages of 18 and 28 and together for more than a year were five times more apt to cheat if he was financially dependent on the woman. Another problem is women feeling guilty about foregoing household duties and taking on too much of the chores and childcare to compensate, driving themselves crazy and wearing themselves out in the process.

Washington University in St. Louis in collaboration with colleges in Denmark conducted a study and found that when a wife’s salary was just a nudge higher, her husband was 10% more likely to need prescription medication for insomnia, anxiety and erectile dysfunction (ED). The higher her salary the higher his chances of experiencing ED. An independent survey of 1,033 women found that they were less satisfied and more embarrassed by their relationships when they made more than their partners. So what is the solution? How can women save their relationships if they earn more? It isn’t easy and of course it’s different for every couple. One important thing is to not over-criticize your man. Don’t emasculate him.

According to relationship coach Alison Armstrong, a woman needs to make a man feel as though he is a provider, even if he isn’t bringing in dollars and sense. For instance, lots of women do things men can do, try to change them and constantly critique how things are done. But this wears her husband down. It doesn’t build him up or make him feel like a man. Find ways to encourage him. Let him know that his contribution is important. Show your gratitude for having him in your life. Include him in financial decisions so he doesn’t feel emasculated. Ask his help with things and ask his advice, even if you don’t really need it. Call him your mentor and tell him you couldn’t do it without him. To read more on this subject pick up a copy of, When She Makes More: 10 Rules for Breadwinning Women by Farnoosh Torabi.