Are your Friends getting between you and your Relationship?

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Are your Friends getting between you and your Relationship?

Have you been through a series of broken relationships lately? Have you searched through your selection process, your personality, your emotional baggage and all other aspects of you, only to come up empty? If it isn’t you it could be your friends. Sometimes it’s obvious and sometimes more subtle. But your friends are a reflection of you. They can also get in the way of lasting love, if you let them. Are your friends getting between you and your relationship? Take a look at these indicators and see if you are the victim of love sabotage by your pals.

Do your friends ever tell you that your date isn’t good enough for you? If they call your date unattractive, stupid or dull right in front of you, you have a right to be upset. That’s really rude behavior. Still, take a look at the qualities of your date. If they cut the mustard, something might be wrong with your friends. If you are trying to chill with your new main squeeze and your friends are constantly turning up the volume, or the drama to get your attention, take note. They will drive a wedge between you and your partner. That’s not good. Realize that if they are your real friends, they’ll ask about your preferences. But if all they care about is their own entertainment, they won’t even think of asking what you think.

One of the most insensitive things your friends can do is bring up past relationships to your date before you are ready to expose them to these stories, and your role in them. Particularly if you’ve had a foible that’s run through many lovers, or a faux pas you want to put behind you, the fact that your friends, your own friends are bringing it up is enough to make you want to take them all out, ninja style. Currently, with pesky anti-ninja laws in place, they’ll have to live. But if they take part in this kind of behavior, don’t hang out with them anymore. At the very least, don’t bring any dates around them. Have you ever had a friend who wants you to cheat? Or a friend who thinks you’re perfect for their cousin or sibling and will sabotage other relationships so that you end up with a certain person? Yeah, lose that friend. They only have their own interests at heart, though they’ll swear they have your best interests in mind up and down. Their actions speak volumes, their words a pile of drivel.

The worst is a friend who puts you in the worst position. Like a friend who flirts with your date. Nothing is worse than a friend who overtly or covertly tries to steal your lover. Cut that Judas off immediately and remove their name from the record. A friend of the opposite sex flirting with you or making their feelings known is another potentially horrifying scenario. Let them down gingerly. For more advice read, Toxic Friends: A Practical Guide to Recognizing and Dealing with an Unhealthy Friendship by Loraine Smith-Hines.

Unhealthy Relationship Warning Signs

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Unhealthy Relationship Warning Signs

Do you know the warning signs of an unhealthy relationship? You’d better or else you could be in one and not even know it. Sure you might feel deep down something is wrong. But you’d be surprised how many people chug along in a relationship that is weighing them down or slowly poisoning them psychologically and they don’t even realize it. Here are the warning signs, see if you recognize them in your own relationship. First, what is the lying situation like?

Are you lying about small things? Do you tell a web of lies, one to cover up another and so on? If you aren’t a pathological liar by nature, then it is likely serious issues in the relationship that are making you lie. What about your partner? Are they lying all the time too? If you suspect they are lying, even on small matters, or worse if you’ve given up on whether they are being truthful or not, your relationship is rocky at best. Once the bond of trust has been severed, it’s hard to restore it. The next warning sign is infidelity. If one or both of you have gone astray, not only has the trust bond been severed but you’ve both been hurt emotionally. And what caused the cheating to begin with? This is a serious warning sign.

Do you have a secret goal that you wish your partner would achieve? If you have secret desires for them you haven’t shared, then go ahead and share them. Sit down with them and see if they want to commit to accomplishing whatever it is you have in mind. But to harbor them and have them affect you, thereby affecting the relationship, is a poor way to conduct yourself and it hurts your partner without either one of you knowing it. When they aren’t living up to some imagined expectation you punish them, even though they have no idea why. Is there jealousy issues? If you or your partner try to cut the other down, say separate someone from their friends because they are popular, or trying to get them fired because they are successful, a toxic jealousy has crept into the relationship. This will drive you two apart if it isn’t dealt with.

Being overly insecure and jealous of the opposite sex is another red flashing, warning sign. When you aren’t feeling any emotional intimacy the relationship is down the tubes. Reestablish it by reconnecting, or drift apart. If there is no sex in the relationship, this is a big sign that problems are deep and profound. Do you or your partner set each other up for a fall, just to say, “I told you so”? This is a warning sign that things aren’t going well. Find ways to turn this relationship around or get out of it. For more advice read, Love Is a Choice: The Definitive Book on Letting Go of Unhealthy Relationships by Dr. Robert Hemfelt, Dr. Frank Minirth, and Dr. Paul Meier.

Want to be Attractive? Be a Nonconformist

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Want to be Attractive? Be a Nonconformist

It’s the guy who plays guitar and rides a motorcycle, or the spritely minx who shows a little skin and sports that daring tattoo. It’s the musicians, artists, actors and activists. Those mavericks with the devil may cry attitude. They shake their fist at society and takeoff, blazing their own trail, and mowing down whatever stands in their way. Those rebels, loners, artists and performers, they take our breath away. They are our adolescent crushes adorning teenage rooms in posters. The stars change from one generation to the next, but the attitude is the same. Their loving eyes fall upon us and tell us, yes we are special and can go our own way too. Hand-in-hand we imagine laughing at the dullards as we take off on wild adventures together with our very own teenage crush. So if you want to be attractive, there’s an easy way. Be a rebel, also known as a nonconformist.

Of course, lots of sitcom episodes teach us that any character that isn’t true to him or herself falls flat on their face, and hilarity ensues. Don’t let that be you. But a bigger question remains. Why are we so instantly attracted to the ones who at a moment’s notice break all the rules, and grin from ear-to-ear while doing it? University of Queensland psychologist Matthew Hornsey asked himself this question. He set out to on a series of experiments to find why nonconformists exude sex appeal.

The first thing Hornsey and his team found out was that nonconformists were attractive across both genders. It’s a general misconception that men prefer conformists. A large number of women try all their lives to fit in. But they do so to their detriment, at least as far as dating goes. So how did Hornsey come about this information? He conducted a total of five studies. The first had 115 college students as participants. Here, they were asked to rank the attractiveness of 20 profiles. They had to say how attractive they themselves found the person in the profile, as well as how the opposite sex would rank them. In each profile’s statement there was tailored in a unique way either a conformist or nonconformist statement. They said things like, “She is happy to go along with what others are doing,” versus, “She enjoys time to herself rather than going along with others.” Researchers found that the majority overwhelmingly chose nonconformist profiles more attractive, no matter their sex. Hornsey and his team were doubly surprised that women tended to act conformist in the company of men, when clearly the results of their study showed that women were more attractive when they were nonconformist. Researchers wrote that this was a holdover belief from an era when, “women were expected to be submissive, modest, subdued, agreeable.” The results of Hornsey’s work was published in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. To learn how to be a nonconformist read, The Art of Non-Conformity: Set Your Own Rules, Live the Life You Want, and Change the World by Chris Guillebeau.

Sorting out Mixed Signals with Science

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Sorting out Mixed Signals with Science

Mixed signals can be unbearable. But they don’t have to be or at least, not for long. Some people are good at reading others. Then there are those who are completely hopeless. Most of us lie somewhere in-between. But whether you’ve got top rate interpersonal skills, or find the opposite sex is a mystifying enigma, everyone sooner or later runs into someone they can’t read. Is she playing hard to get? Is he interested and not showing it, or just being aloof? Usually we can tell with someone’s proximity. If they enter your personal space, that’s good. If they touch your arm, the back of your hand, your back or shoulder when talking, or when you first meet, this too is a good sign. Eye contact and leaning in when you talk are good signals too. When you are leaving the person you are trying to read, wait a few seconds and look back after departing. Often if they look back too, they’re interested. Even then, perception does play a role, as may our gender. A new study gives us insight into how each sex perceives mixed signals. This one studied straight people only. Generally, men overestimate a woman’s interest. A woman however will underestimate a man’s. Moreover, while men think female friendliness equates to sexual attraction, women believe men’s passes are mere attempts at being friendly.

Researchers at the Norwegian University of Science recruited 127 men and 181 women between the ages of 18 and 30 to take part. Each participant answered a questionnaire surrounding misunderstanding in the person’s level of interest when interacting with the opposite sex. Respondents were asked how many times such occurrences happened to them within the last year. Questions included, “Have you ever been friendly to someone of the opposite sex only to discover that he [she] had misperceived your friendliness as a sexual come-on?”, “Have you ever been in a situation with a member of the opposite sex in which you were sexually attracted to him [her] but he [she] assumed you were just trying to be nice?” and “Have you ever been in a situation with a member of the opposite sex in which you were just trying to be nice but he [she] assumed you were sexually attracted to him [her]?” Researchers found that women were sending out “let’s be friends” signals, and receiving “oh-baby” in return, while men were sending out the “lookin’ good sugar” and getting back “let’s be friends.” So what should you do if you are getting mixed signals?

First, act like a memory detective. Think back to all the time you spent together. Consider their behavior, no act is insignificant, no gesture no matter how subtle should be overlooked. Have they shown you any special interest, waited for you or done something just a little above and beyond what normal people do? Then they are interested in you. If it’s someone you have been sort of dating, or made out with that went lukewarm, don’t invest so much time in that relationship. This goes for men and women. They are either having fun playing the field or they just aren’t that into you. Lots of people get caught up in a kind of wishy-washy, do-they don’t-they limbo that’s excruciating. Though there are those who like to gnaw their knuckles pondering the possibilities for hours on end, for who knows why. For most of us, if things are going on for too long it’s best to either state your intentions or fade on out. Don’t be someone’s sometime thing if you are looking for something serious. If you’re not, just enjoy the adventure. Protect yourself and your heart, and let the journey lead you to its end. You’ll know it when you get there, and you’ll know when someone really likes you by how they treat you. For more on the near Vulcan approach to love pick up a copy of, The Science of Relationships: Answers to Your Questions about Dating, Marriage, and Family by Gary Lewandowski and Timothy Loving.

The Real Reason Men Cheat

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The Real Reason Men Cheat

George Mallory was the famous 1920’s mountain climber who attempted Everest in his words, “Because it’s there.” This is the reason many women think men cheat. Much like Mallory who ultimately succumbed to the world’s largest mountain, relationships are swallowed whole by such trysts. But is sex drive and opportunity the real reason men go astray? Or is there something more than the need for variety? Marriage counselor M. Gary Neuman noticed that most of the studies that looked at male infidelity examined the woman’s point of view. He decided to instead to go right to the source. Neuman interviewed 200 husbands, both those who practiced infidelity and those who remained faithful. He not only asked the cheaters why but also what could have kept them from going astray. What he found was, although we often blame insatiable lust coupled with mere opportunism, 48% of men said they did so out of emotional dissatisfaction with their primary relationship. Only 8% said they did so purely due to sexual dissatisfaction.

Neuman said that in our culture the social message we get is that all men need is food and sex to be happy. But guys are emotional creatures too. Neuman found that they also needed positive affirmation from time to time to feel appreciated by wives or girlfriends. When men felt underappreciated or their efforts unrecognized, was when their eyes began to wander. Neuman also pointed out that unlike women men are less likely to speak out about this need. It’s considered emasculating to seek appreciation or approval. Instead, women in relationships who want to solidify them should consider what her man brings to the table and show her appreciation for him. In fact, if she does so he will likely reciprocate, setting up a virtuous cycle dynamic. 68% of those who went astray said they never dreamed of cheating. Almost every cheater interviewed said they felt remorse. Most responded that if they could do it all over again, they would have remained faithful. Though they are emotional, the male of our species is different. Men are able to compartmentalize feelings in ways women cannot, the counselor said. These feelings are boxed and shoved away, to be dealt with at a later date. The takeaway is if you think you’re guy will never cheat, think again. But if you both put a little effort into having the kind of relationship you want, trussed with kindness and appreciation then you have nothing to worry about.

Want to get a sense of whether or not your man might cheat? Take a good, hard look at his friends. 77% of cheaters had a friend who cheated. This subconsciously legitimizes the act. Certainly you have to trust your husband or boyfriend and can’t tell him who to hang with and who he can’t. However, be aware of things, spend time amongst other happy couples and invest in your love. That should be more than enough to cheat-proof your relationship. 44% of cheaters met the other woman at work. “Oftentimes the woman he cheats with at the office is someone who praises him, looks up to him, and compliments his efforts,” Neuman said. This is even more reason to validate him at home. If he starts mentioning a female colleague very often, it may be time to have a conversation. Find out how he has been feeling. Talk about boundaries with a coworker of the opposite sex, for both of you. Find little ways or some time where you two can be more loving and feel connected. 6% cheated the same night they met. That means for the majority they got to know her. They developed a relationship. Notice when you two aren’t connecting. Don’t ignore it, clear the air and work on it together. There is a timeframe before most men cheat. If when things ebb you can reconnect, you’ll be faithful to one another and have a long and happy relationship together. To learn more, pick up a copy of the book, The Truth About Cheating by M. Gary Neuman.