Is Monogamy’s Death Due to Hollywood?

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Is Monogamy’s Death Due to Hollywood?

On TV and in the movies today we see lots of young, healthy, attractive people taking part in friends with benefits scenarios or no strings attached sex. Meanwhile, frustrated wives and overweight inept husbands blanket the TV and movie screens. Monogamy is seen as passé by many millennials. In a survey last year many millennials said they thought marriage would soon die out. So here’s a riddle spawned in real life, another case of either life imitating art or art imitating life. Is monogamy’s death due to Hollywood? Or is Tinsel town merely reflecting a cultural phenomenon taking place in our country today?

First, there’s the fact that Hollywood is only out to entertain. A sexy young couple trying to feel their way through a friends with benefits scenario is far more interesting than a married couple trying to decide what color tile should go in the new bathroom. TV teen shows also portray torrid love affairs to long term romances. “Gossip Girl,” “The Vampire Diaries” and “Glee” are all a testament to this. Also shows like “No Strings Attached” and “Friends with Benefits” made it onto the small screen for adult viewing this year.

Dr. Jeffrey Gardere a clinical psychologist recently spoke on this phenomenon, the lack of monogamy and the widespread portrayal of hookup culture. “To some extent Hollywood may be promoting the hook up mentality because that is much more exciting and sexy than promoting monogamy and stable relationships.  Today’s younger culture is about the hook up and fun instead of settling down, so certainly Hollywood will play to that audience. I also believe there is a tendency to promote that lifestyle as being more easy to achieve than it actually is. There are not enough stories about the emotional and even physical repercussions to the hook-up mentality.”

But Jessica Wakeman, famous author and blogger on women’s issues and pop culture for popular website TheFrisky.com said, “Hollywood is not accurate about a lot of things regarding sexuality, but I do think it portrays ‘hook-up culture’ somewhat accurately. Teenagers and young adults today are a lot more comfortable hooking up with each other without further commitment than at any other point in history. A lot of us have friends with benefits to meet our needs for sexuality and companionship.” Most experts agree that although Hollywood does influence us psychologically, it’s mostly economic reasons that have changed male-female relationships and gender roles. Still, the impact and role Hollywood plays in shaping our perception of this phenomenon will be debated for some time to come. To learn more about hookup culture read, The End of Sex: How Hookup Culture Is Leaving a Generation Unhappy, Sexually Unfulfilled, and Confused about Intimacy by Donna Freitas.

Gender Difference Myths Affect Dating and Relationships

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Gender Difference Myths Affect Dating and Relationships

It seems that everyone knows someone who has it all figured out. They have an opinion on everything; men and women, how the sexes operate, dating and relationships. You would think they would all be in the throes of some powerful romantic relationship. But the best armchair philosophers often dine alone. Some people operate on the myths our culture perpetuates and get tripped up by them. A lot of these hangers on are not the individual’s fault. They are passed down by word of mouth for generations.

Other misconceptions that cause slipups happen due to an individual’s own past experiences. But experience is myopic. Cultural myths may be wrong, and personal experience, though valuable, is also shortsighted. One person’s experience does not necessarily mean it is everyone’s. In fact that situation, though real to them, may have been an anomaly. So does research support commonly understood beliefs about the sexes? Or are these myths just standing in the way of our happiness? Psychologists tell us that presumed gender differences and the myths that surround them actually affect dating and relationships. Men and women think they are supposed to act a certain way, or their partner feels a certain way due to their gender, and these expectations get in the way of reality, and make us less flexible in mitigating it.

One of the first such myths we come across is that men tend to be straightforward and pragmatic, while women are mysterious and romantic. Although with some couples this is true, psychologists say there are many men who are more romantic than the women they are with. There is a metric used to measure romantic sentiment called the Romantic Beliefs Scale. Men generally outscore women in this. Statements on the scale include: “If I love someone, I know I can make the relationship work, despite any obstacles” and “There will only be one real love for me”. Men also believe in love at first sight far more often than women do. Another commonly quoted myth is that men and women approach conflict differently. Actually, research suggests the opposite. Men and women generally approach conflict in a similar way. There are some couples however who engage in what is called the “demand/withdraw” style of argument. Here one person makes demands while the other avoids the subject being discussed. Here the demander makes more and more demands, while the withdrawer finds more and more ways to elude them. Both end up being angry and perplexed. In this scenario, the woman is often the one communicating demands. But of course, not always.

Some psychologists say power dynamics have more to do with an irreconcilable conflict pattern than anything else. In studies it is the role rather than the gender which is important. For instance, whoever wants change in the relationship, be they man or woman, becomes the demander in the demand/withdraw pattern. Researchers have found that both men and women can play both roles. Then there is the common myth that men only care about looks, while women care about who the person is on the inside. A study wanted to test this myth. In it researchers had both men and women rate the qualities they most desired in a mate. Both sexes put appearance on the list. Men rated it fourth most important, women sixth. So looks are important to both men and women. They are more important to men, but not significantly more.

Although men and woman are portrayed completely differently in the media, psychologists say the real life differences are relatively slight. If you want a physical metaphor to illustrate the point, women are generally shorter than men. But there are some women who are taller than some men, and that doesn’t surprise us. Personality differences are even less pronounced, psychologists say. In this case, it’s really up to the individual you are dating or are with. Find out what they are like, what you are like and how you can resolve your differences without worrying about preconceived notions of gender. If you want to strip away the myths and really communicate with your partner read the scholarly work, Close Encounters: Communication in Relationships by Laura K. Guerrero.

Men Prefer More Feminine faces in Certain Places

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Men Prefer More Feminine faces in Certain Places

If you, as other men do, prefer a more feminine face you probably grew up in a certain place, a healthier country according to a new study. Men who were raised in countries with lower infant mortality rates and longer lifespans are more attracted to women with finer features, as opposed to those raised in unhealthier conditions who prefer rougher features, so say researchers out of the University of Turku in Finland. Biologist Urszula Marcinkowska wanted to know if all men found the same things about women attractive or if culture played a role. The findings make researchers believe that evolution plays a role. They think that men living in harsher conditions select women that are more likely to bear offspring that will survive. Other studies have shown that women living in unhealthful conditions such as poverty and a high murder rate find more masculine men attractive. Marcinkowska and her team created an online survey that was translated into 16 different languages and taken by 1,972 male respondents between the ages of 18 and 24 in 28 different countries. There were 28 images of white women’s faces used, one with a more masculine looking face similar to one with finer features.

Men all over preferred a woman’s face that was seen as more feminine. That said, in countries that were less healthful men had less of a preference. The national health index which measures the overall well-being of people in every country correlated with the photo data. The findings appear in the online journal Biology Letters. Another reason for the findings according to the study’s author Marcinkowska is that “Women with more feminine features have, in the past, been found to be less socially dominant and less effective at competing for resources.” Over a period of millennia tougher women helped men survive and so were the better option in harsher conditions as mates. One reason Marcinkowska gave for this was that these men also had lower testosterone levels. Higher testosterone inhibits the immune system. In areas where disease is prevalent men often have lower testosterone levels, adding to their ability to have this preference for not as fine features. As Marcinkowska said, “Unfortunately we couldn’t measure participants’ testosterone levels in this study. However, I think this explanation is very plausible.” There is one conflicting study that finds certain pathogens actually increase male preference for fine features. But future studies will be able to see what is really going on and how the two interact.  To learn more about what men find attractive in a woman, read The 7 Irresistible Qualities Men Want in a Woman by Bruce Bryans.

When Dating after 50, It’s all About Tolerance

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When it comes to dating after 50, it’s all about tolerance. There are things you can tolerate and things you can’t. The trick is to figure out which is which. Do you have qualities the other person just has to have such as the same culture or religion? This isn’t a line of thinking that goes with any one sex. Both men and women have deal breakers. Women sometimes hang on to relationships that aren’t good for them, though some men do it too. They think they can change the person they are dating. With the right kind of love, and since you are the right kind of person you think you’ll change them. But frustration builds and actually hurts the relationship when these plans don’t work. They simply can’t work. Because the problem is that no one can change unless they come to the conclusion themselves, the old lead a horse to water model. There are women who decide settling is better than being alone, and that she’s with a good man. The truth is for people over 50 today, with the divorce rate so high, there are lots of people to date. There are also lots of ways to meet people. So there is no reason to feel cornered.

Some people are very attached to their pet. They won’t be able to tolerate someone who doesn’t like pets, or doesn’t enjoy the dog or cat as much as they do. You’ll have to figure out where you fit in the family and vice versa. Do you have adult children? What about your mate? If they have kids who are teens, are you okay with that, even when your kids are grown and moved out? Some people can’t tolerate smokers, while others can’t give up their cigarettes. Know how you feel about smoking before dating someone who does. Is it important for you to have someone you can share an occasional bubbly with or is someone in AA okay? What is the situation in the bedroom? Each person is different and it’s important to know whether you are compatible. What are the money issues? Who pays and how does it all work? The value of dating at this age is you really know yourself and you aren’t often hemmed in by social obligations like getting married or having children. There’s a lot more freedom, but you still want to enjoy it with the right person. Thinking it through now and knowing what you can tolerate in a relationship and what you can’t, and what your mate should be able to tolerate and what they shouldn’t have to put up with, is what it’s all about. Enjoy this very special time in your life and the new freedom it affords you. For more, pick up a copy of Over 50 Dating Secrets: #1 Senior Dating Guide For Mature Singles by P. David O’Brien and Over 50 Dating.

What to do if Your Friend’s Partner keeps Hitting On You

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So you are hanging out with your friend. Maybe it’s a couple’s dinner or just some friends getting together. But you start to notice some unusual behavior from your friend’s significant other. You start to notice that they are flirting with you. They give you knowing looks. They brush up against your arm or leg. They touch you on the shoulder. Should you say something? Should you make an excuse to leave? Do you have to tell your partner? Should you totally freak out?! Relax. Here’s what you do if your friend’s partner keeps hitting on you. First, evaluate the situation more carefully. What is this person like? Some people are naturally friendly and touchy-feely. Others are more proper and distant. Evaluate your friend’s partner to see what they are like. Do they act like this with everyone? Or is it just you? Take a look at their ethnicity or nationality. Some cultures for instance are warmer, friendlier and touching is part of that. Is nationality or ethnicity in play? If none of these things look as though they are the case, think about what they said and what exactly happened. Play the scene over in your mind. Would it seem to an outsider that they were making a pass at you? At this point if you still can’t figure it out or you’re not sure, take a confidant aside and explain the situation to them. It would be best if it was a third party. You don’t want to get your friend riled up over nothing. What does the third party think?

If your suspicions are confirmed take a step back. Try to maneuver away from this person. Give them the cold shoulder, avoid them and put distance between you and them. They will probably avoid trying to make it obvious so it shouldn’t be hard to get some breathing room. If it is really uncomfortable you can feign illness as an excuse for you and your partner should they be with you, to leave. If this is a good friend of yours set up a date where you and the friend can meet alone. Let your friend know about your suspicions if they are a really good friend. Chances are if their partner did it to you they may do it to others as well. Let them know that you are only telling them because you feel that you are such good friends, almost like family, and you can’t stand the thought of anyone hurting or betraying them. Be there for your friend. Tell them it’s okay if they don’t accept it or understand. Be there for them to comfort them. If this isn’t a very close friend, more like an acquaintance and you feel as though you don’t know them well enough to approach them with this information, or perhaps they won’t take it seriously and in fact will be hostile to you, gently steer clear of hanging out with that couple for a while. If it happens again address the issue. It may be awkward but at least it’s out in the open and can’t be used against you. Tell the person how you don’t appreciate their advances, how uncomfortable it makes you feel and how you are happy with your partner. Also tell them how it makes you feel regarding the friend. Make sure to explain to your partner, no matter what happens or how it plays out, openly and honestly what has happened or what is happening. Keep them in the loop to keep your relationship from being affected. For more advice on being open and honest in your relationships, read Just Be Honest: Authentic Communication Strategies that Get Results and Last a Lifetime by Steven Gaffney.