How to Get Your Partner to Give You Some Time to Yourself

How to Get Your Partner to Give You Some Time to Yourself

Most of us whether consciously or not come to love with all sorts of presuppositions. We have a preconceived notion of what it is like to be in the perfect relationship, what the opposite sex is really like, what a marriage should be, and so on. But living it, that’s a whole other thing. Though we often assume that being together all of the time is a sign of a healthy relationship, after the honeymoon phase is over our needs change. That is only natural. In this next phase, each of us needs some time apart from our partner. Coupledom comes with all different kinds of interactions. You do not have to be Siamese twins to share your love. In fact, it is unhealthy if you never spend time apart. When we are with our partner all the time, we cannot appreciate them as much. Things get stale. We take them for granted, get irritated more easily by them, which increases the chances of relationship strife. Then there are identity issues that come with coupledom. You have to always think in terms of “we.” You have to take your partner’s feelings into consideration. You have to constantly accommodate them. Sometimes we just need time away from our lover or spouse to be who we are without them, to get in touch with our feelings, digest the complex goings on in our lives, and just feel who we are without our blending into someone else.

Some people feel guilty asking for time alone. But realize that you are a big part of this relationship. If it is good for your mental health, it will be good for your partner too. In truth, getting a little time to yourself will actually rejuvenate the relationship. You will have thoughts, experiences, and insights to share. Remember that self-love is just as important as loving your partner. Every once in a while go on an adventure by yourself, or at least without your partner. A day trip, a biking tour, an afternoon at a museum, an evening with a good book, or a few hours at a coffee shop can really help you center yourself again. You will come back to your partner refreshed. Explain to them all of this so they understand. Be sure that they see that you just need a little me-time. It has nothing to do with them. Make sure they don’t feel rejected or lonesome. If so, help them find something to do, and encourage them to take part in personally fulfilling activities by themselves, or with friends.

Asking for some time alone can feel as though you are rejecting your partner. Instead, you are asking for exactly what you need. Anyone in a solid relationship should be able to openly and honestly communicate their needs and have them met. If your partner is resistant, take a good long look at them. Are they needy or clingy? They may have self-esteem issues. Reassure them that this is perfectly natural and reasonable. But also help them to build up their self-esteem over time. Reflect on their positive qualities and accomplishments. Encourage them to take part in interests, hobbies, and spend time with friends. If they are overbearing, manipulative, and try and guilt you into not having some time to yourself, rethink this relationship. This person may not be healthy for you. But a good partner will understand where you are coming from and support you. They may even be dying for a little time to themselves.

For more on how to run your romantic life smoothly read, Managing Relationships: Bridging The Communication Divide by Jemayne L. King.

Science Helps with Breakups

heartbreak

Science Helps with Breakups

We’ve all been there: the week in sweat pants, balled up tissues on the couch, a book of bad poetry in our lap, gallons of empty ice cream cartons all around (wine bottles too) and tearful moments wondering how you’ll ever get over the loss. Breakups are one of the most painful moments in life. Certainly wallowing in misery is not one the most healthful thing you can do. Reflection on the other hand can help the healing process along. That’s according to one study published in the in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science. The difference between helpful reflection and wallowing is the point of your ruminations. How long has it taken place? Are your thoughts severe? If you are reliving moments over and over again, just making yourself sick then it’s time to stop and shake yourself out of this funk. If you are looking at it in a somewhat detached manner, to see where mistakes were made, learning about yourself and vowing to do better in the future, congratulations; you are truly helping to facilitate your own healing, and making sure your future endeavors in the realm of love will not be fraught with misfortune and peril.

Graduate student Grace Larson at Northwestern University conducted the study. She found that a period of asking one’s self questions and deep reflection as she told NPR, “…helped them develop a stronger sense of who they were as single people.” But this isn’t the only science-backed method to employ after a breakup. In fact, there is a rather impressive body of evidence on how to recover. We say we have a physical ache in our hearts and that’s literally true, according to one 2011 study. Participants underwent brain scans while gazing upon a photo of their ex and suffering a breakup. Neurologists found that the same areas where pain is received lit up when the person was longing for their lost love. Another study suggested Tylenol might help relieve such pain. A breakup affects you in other ways physically too, not just being heartsick. When people are in a long-term relationship their biological rhythms synch up. When you break up with someone and are living alone your heart rate, sleep pattern, appetite and even your body temperature is out of sync and must readjust. That means post-breakup, instead of letting yourself go you should go out of your way to take good care of yourself.

Once your body has readjusted, it’s time to take stock of your psychological state. After a breakup your sense of self and identity is in flux. Reestablishing a sense of who you are and what you want out of life is the key to moving on, experts say. Some calm reflection on the relationship is in order. But avoid dwelling upon it. Adaptation is the best route. But adapting to a new environment sans significant other is not easy. A good portion of our lives revolves around our partner. When they are gone a portion of our life goes with them. The good news is we also have a tremendous opportunity to learn from our mistakes and make plans for our future, one better suited for us. One study using brain scans likened breakup pain to cocaine withdrawal. This may be why some of us act a little bit nuts after we and our lover have split. Just ride it out. Most research finds that the first estimate of how long it takes to get over a breakup is far too long. In the aftermath, when the emotions have cleared most people feel they’ve learned something, that the experience helped them grow and made them more goal oriented. That’s according to a 2007 study. People who survive a tough breakup come out stronger in the end, find purpose in life and learn to move on their own power. What may feel like a painful extraction at first turns out to be liberating. For more pick up a copy of, Getting Past Your Breakup: How to Turn a Devastating Loss into the Best Thing That Ever Happened to You by Susan J. Elliott, JD Med.

Don’t Put your Partner on a Pedestal, says Research

admiration

Don’t Put your Partner on a Pedestal, says Research

According to a study, thinking the world of your partner may not be the best romantic strategy. In fact, don’t put your partner on a pedestal at all, says this research out of Colgate University in New York. What happens when you do? The relationship satisfaction of your partner takes a nose dive. Psychologist and researcher Jennifer Tomlinson says that a balance in a relationship between admiration and a practical outlook on your partner is the best approach. In an interview with Live Science she said, “While it may be tempting to provide effusive praise, I think it’s also important to communicate understanding and validation of a person’s core identity.”

Those who believe that their partner is spectacular have higher rates of relationship satisfaction. But how a partner regards this also plays a role. Tomlinson and her colleagues wanted to investigate what the best level of idealization of a partner in a relationship was. Three experiments were devised to do just that. In the first experiment, 98 straight couples and one lesbian one were brought into a psychology lab. They were told to fill out a questionnaire about their relationship; one the participants believed was all the same. 50% of participants received a questionnaire with two different added questions. These participants were to list all of the “extremely valuable and positive” characteristics that their significant other possessed.

Next, the couples were to sit on a couch with a striped blanket over it. The stripes were inconspicuously used to count how far apart couples were. Those that had one partner who idealized the other too much found the couple sitting much farther apart. In the second experiment, 89 married couples whose median age was somewhere in the mid 30’s, and 153 university students in relationships participated. First, they completed surveys about their relationship including how their partner felt about them and how they felt about their partner. The best place to be, researchers found, was when the partner saw them as slightly higher than where they perceived themselves. But once the lover’s perception was far more elevated than the person’s own, the relationship suffered.

Those whose idealization was way out of proportion made their partners feel as though their sense of identity was threatened. They believe that their partner doesn’t really know them and that their expectations therefore cannot be met. Those who were overly-idealized were less accommodating in their relationships as well. Of this Tomlinson said, “People who are feeling over-idealized may feel like they have more power in the relationship, so they may be less willing to put their partner first.” This research appeared in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships. For more relationship advice read, The Love Book for Couples: Building a Healthy Relationship by E. Michael Lillibridge, Ph.D.

When Using Dating Apps look out for Scammers

TINDER-DATING-APP

When Using Dating Apps look out for Scammers

Only two years ago did steamy, hookup app Tinder hit smart phones across the nation. Today, they claim one billion matches among users. But not everyone on the app is who their profile says. 21 year old Kristin Shotwell, a junior at the University of North Carolina, was one day approached by a friend who showed her a profile, using her picture, of some girl named “Kim.” It said Shotwell was on the University of Georgia in Athens, when in fact she was on her own campus. Her friend texted her a screenshot of the Tinder profile. Shotwell told NBC News, “That is when it hit home, when I saw my face on a bio that had nothing to do with me.” Of course con artists have used love as a ploy forever. But dating apps are making scams much easier to pull off.  All a computer savvy con artist has to do is piece together a profile from information found on the internet, a photo here, a little information there and viola. For Shotwell, the profile and other photos were acquired from her Facebook page. But she says she made all of her photos private. The Internet Crime Complaint Center follows such crimes. The multi-agency entity says since 2012, dating app and website scams have cost Americans $55 million.

Though relatively new, Tinder boasts 10 million users. It has been so popular, corporate giant IAC recently bought more stock in the company. It is already a majority holder. Yet it felt the need to acquire another 10% to the tune of $500 million. Still, though popular, it may be a playground for charlatans. At this point, there is no way of knowing. It’s too new to have any statistics, yet. Security response manager Satnam Narang, from internet security giant Symantec told NBC News, “Because there are so many people using the app, it’s a ripe target for scammers.” Tinder matches you up with other users. You can select either to accept or reject them. But if a swim suit model or a shirtless man with a six pack responds very excitedly to your acceptance, you could be up against a bot. Bots are software that can give canned responses to questions. Some are easy to notice. They aren’t the best conversationalists. Ask something simple or even out of the ordinary and you are liable to foul them up. Still, every once in a while one slips under the radar. NTT Com Security consultant Chris Camejo said, “People are suckers when it comes to relationships. Show a guy a picture of a pretty girl and he will do pretty much anything.”

Many security experts agree. There are usually two types of scams you can run on a dating website. The first one is as mentioned, using bots. This is a low-quality, less time consuming, but high volume method. These scams are designed to deliver malware. Some also get users to adult websites. There are users on Tinder have reported, for instance, that after accepting a fake profile, they were brought to a game called “Castle Cash.” But Tinder in an email to NBC News said they were “aware of the accounts in question and are taking the necessary steps to remove them.” The other strategy is to have a fake profile, make contact and work a person, in order to get access to their money. This is analogous to the old swindle where a supposed U.S. serviceman, who after exchanging letters for some time, asks for a loan to buy a plane ticket, in order to meet in person. But once they receive the money, they never show up. Though Tinder has not had this kind of thing happen yet, other sites have. FBI Special Agent Darrell Foxworth in an interview on NBC said that these scams come from all over the world. Two Colorado women recently bilked 384 online daters out of $1 million, all told. Foxworth said that for the victims, “The emotions that they display range from anger to severe sadness and depression, and often times they criticize themselves for being duped out of their money.” He added, “It’s crushing emotionally and it can be crushing to them financially. It takes a toll.” Some aren’t outright financial cons, but instead mere hijinks. The scammer may be angry, lonely or just plain bored. Of course, it is important to be on your guard when using these sites. Most people are honest. But if you just get tripped up by a false profile, laugh it off. If they ask you for money get rid of them immediately, and report it if you can. For more on this subject read, How to Avoid On-line Dating Scams by Mitch Conway.

Divorced Dad 101

child-dad

Divorced Dad 101

Going from a chaotic, kid oriented household into a new place can be an awfully strange transition. You go from tripping over toys and a highly structured, kid-centered world to an adult world devoid of all of that. It can feel liberating but also lonely. You might end up missing the kids. In fact, it can even feel like you divorced them along with their mother. You can feel a deep sense of loss. You may even question your status as a parent. With that, a sense of the loss of your old identity can follow. You want to know who you are and what kind of dad you will be now that things have changed so dramatically. When a stepdad comes on the scene, it can feel even more awkward. It seems like they spend more time with your kids than you do. You may feel as though you are cut off from your children but you aren’t. In fact, one rule of divorced dad 101 is that this dramatic change in your family interaction could be a chance to connect in a more meaningful way with your children. Really, if it’s up to anyone, it’s up to you. Whether or not you are together with the mother of your children, they are your children. You have a right to see them, be there for them, spend time with them and teach them the things only you can bestow upon them.

Commit to regular and responsible time with the kids. Put your differences aside and co-parent in the best way possible. Do your best to set up the same rules and consequences in both houses. Attend parent teacher conferences together. Show solidarity and let the kids know that just because you two aren’t together, you are still their parents. You both love them and encourage a relationship with the other parent. And you will both be there for them, for the long haul. Though some things change, like the living arrangements, if you can set up good structure and communication with your co-parent the kids will make the transition better, as will the two of you. The thing is you both have to be able to compartmentalize things. Let parenting be one thing and conflict about the splitting of assets be another thing entirely. Don’t use the kids to find out what their mom is doing or who she is dating. Don’t put them in the middle and don’t let your ex do it either. If the kids become a weapon of war, they also become its collateral damage. The ones that lose the most is them. Having a good parenting relationship that is professional, logical, courteous and straightforward will be in the children’s best interest. So no matter what happened between the two of you, it has to be put aside. The children must come first.

Lots of guys feel marginalized after a divorce. They feel out of the loop with the kids. But un-marginalize yourself. Coach their sports teams. Be a scout master. Find out what the kids are into a do it with them. Build a culture of what you do when you hang out together. Having familiar activities that the kids enjoy and want to take part in with you are a great way to make them feel comfortable and to bond. Hiking, biking, playing sports together, comic book collecting or collecting other items, building models, chess and so much more are available. Don’t lavish the kids with gifts as a way to allay guilt or buy their love. Your time, energy, commitment, thoughtfulness and concern will be the most important things you can give a child. Really listen to them. Allay their fears and give them the skills and strategies they need to be successful. Always leave the door open for them to come and talk to you. A divorced dad is not the only person who has limited contact with the kids. Doctors, soldiers and others. But it isn’t the hours and minutes you spend but the quality of the time you spend with them. It’s the impact you make on them and the one they make on you.  Father’s Day may be once a year, but fatherhood lasts for a lifetime. For a unique and funny look at being a divorced dad read, The 40-Year-Old Version: Humoirs of a Divorced Dad byJoel Schwartzberg.