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.

Couples without Children are Happier

happy-couple

Couples without Children are Happier

Those couples who are most blissful are childless, according to research out of Open University in the U.K. The study, entitled “Enduring Love?” found that couples without children, whether married or unmarried, were far more satisfied with life in general and felt considerably more appreciated by their partner than their counterparts. Parents who cohabitated but weren’t married were a little happier than those that were married. Over 5,000 people of all backgrounds in long term relationships were studied. Surprisingly, mothers were the happiest group while women without children were the unhappiest.

Having children did affect intimacy among partners. Fathers were 50% more likely to claim that lack of physical love was the biggest problem in their relationships. Meanwhile, mothers stated that they wanted to experience physical intimacy less often than their partners. This study found that showing appreciation for your partner was one of the biggest factors in making a marriage fulfilling. Giving compliments, thanking one another and other seemingly minor gestures added up to a lot. The takeaway here is that when a couple starts taking each other for granted, things go downhill fast. But if they constantly renew their love, commitment, fondness and appreciation for one another, their relationship will remain strong, sturdy, healthy and fulfilling.

The British library will soon release the results of this study. If you are a couple with children, or planning to have children, don’t let this study upset you. Instead, make plans on how you will find time to invest in your relationship. Perhaps have a date night where a sitter comes over or you leave the kids with the in-laws. If you know other couples with kids, watch their children on their date night and they can watch yours on theirs. Write each other little notes or texts at least once per day. Make it a point to spend some time chatting together, enjoying each other’s company without having to fulfill some chore. Thank one another for what they do, whether it’s their assigned job or chore, or not.

The real takeaway is that just because you have children doesn’t mean you should take one another for granted. In fact, it’s more important that you show how grateful you are that that person is in your life, loving you, supporting you and standing by you. Show them how much you care, a little each day and they will reciprocate. For more advice read, The 2 Minute Marriage Project: Simple Secrets for Staying in Love by Heidi Poleman.

The Reason Women End Relationships that They Shouldn’t

rejection

The Reason Women End Relationships that They Shouldn’t

Ever think about that one that got away? There was that one perfect relationship that for one reason or another didn’t work out. You wanted so desperately for it to. And you play it over in your mind every once in a while, wondering how things could have been different, how to keep it from blowing apart. Sometimes women end relationships that they shouldn’t, even though the reasons seem perfectly reasonable at the time.

See if any of these have been the case for you in the past, and make sure you avoid doing them the future:

The first is when it comes time to move in together. Some women have a timeline in their head. If they don’t move in with their boyfriend by a certain time than they believe the relationship isn’t going anywhere. This is usually somewhere between the first one to three years. If the man never brings it up, never suggests it, or if he rejects the idea than she is out of there. Believe it or not guys think about the big picture too. But what looks like a whole three years to a  woman seems like a small time in the sixty plus years a man believes he will have to commit to once he marries a woman. And generally speaking living together either ends in marriage or a painful breakup. So men try to be careful. Why not discuss the issue? If it’s been the time where you believe you should move in together broach the issue and see how he responds. Negotiate. If things last another year than agree to move in.

Some women pressure their men to introduce them to their family before the man is ready. Lots of women feel pressured to get married by their family or by outside pressure, their friends are getting married or that they feel just a general expectation. Talk to him and find out why he doesn’t want to take you home to see his family if it’s been long enough. Has he been hurt in a prior serious relationship or even a painful divorce? Does he have trust issues from a difficult childhood? Or perhaps he is embarrassed about his family, likes you and doesn’t want to disappoint you or feel embarrassed in front of you. Talk to him genuinely and sincerely. If you can get him to open up you may find out there is more there than meets the eye.

With the pressure to get married, many women punch out if their man hasn’t popped the question by a certain date. Sometimes it takes a man longer to sort out his feelings than a woman. But when a guy is ready to marry a woman he goes all in. If your guy is talking about the future with you, keep it in mind. He does care for you and will come around. Just keep talking about it and when he gets comfortable he will be all yours. The key to all of these situations is learning to see where your partner is coming from and keep communicating. For more relationship advice read, He’s Scared, She’s Scared: Understanding the Hidden Fears that Sabotage your Relationships by Steven Carter and Julia Sokol.

Liberate yourself from “Good Girl Syndrome”

Sad girl sits at table

Liberate yourself from “Good Girl Syndrome”

Many women at all different ages had it inculcated into them as children and teens to be “good girls.” This generally means being polite, having nice manners which are good but also being a perfectionist, bending over backwards to help others and suppressing aspects of one’s own unique personality for a façade deemed socially acceptable. Lots of women in the baby boomer generation tried to mold themselves into good girls and ended up divorced.

Today, many young women, supposedly liberated via the feminist movements of every historical age, most notably in the 1970’s, still try to fit a cookie-cutter mold of the perfect woman. Polls have shown that women today are actually less satisfied than they were in the 70’s. The reason? It’s harder for women to juggle family and career responsibilities. They also, like everyone else nowadays but perhaps more so, have little to any time to themselves. Many older women particularly of the baby boomer generation have regrets of trying to fit the “good girl” mold. Trying to please everyone makes you end up not pleasing anyone. Lots of women in this age group feel it took them years, even decades to pull free from this stereotype.

Lots of women for instance seek parental approval. But what they have in their hearts may be very different from what it is that their parents want. Changing out of a people-pleaser is hard, but living a lie even harder. It’s true that age plays a factor as well. All a teen wants is to be socially accepted. In our twenties we seek to find our adult identity. This may last into the thirties when we are trying to find our adult selves and build our adult life. But as we grow older we start to care far less about what others think about us or how we are perceived. Women especially shed the insecurities they had as younger versions of themselves. They start to form opinions about what things are really like and who they really want to be. This of course can shove up against the “good girl” persona.

In their love lives they may pursue someone whom their friends or family approves of but who they themselves don’t feel a strong connection with. This is a big mistake a lot of women make, and it ends up in a loveless marriage or a courtroom. When you reach a certain age it can feel very liberating that you aren’t obligated to please anyone but yourself. It’s important to love yourself and stick up for yourself, though in an appropriate manner. Be secure, firm but polite. Be direct but allow whoever it is to say their piece. It’s important to be true to yourself. If you ignore it, it will not go away. But if you listen and speak with that little voice inside you, you will never know such freedom and joy. For more advice read, Overcoming the Good Little Girl Syndrome: How to Stop Being a People-Pleaser by Linda Ellis Eastman.

Don’t Overlook a Male friend as a Potential Partner

friends

Don’t Overlook a Male friend as a Potential Partner

Do you have a friend who’s a guy but has all the potential of being a great romantic partner? He’s good looking, intelligent, passionate and fun. Lots of ladies are too quick to push a male friend into the friend zone, or disregard them if they haven’t made a move within a certain amount of time. But there are great relationships and even love stories where the couple started out friends. Of course, approaching a male friend for a date can be way awkward. If it backfires not only will he feel uncomfortable around you, if you hang out in a group, it could throw the group dynamic off too. Don’t overlook a male friend as a potential romantic partner, but approach the situation carefully as well.

Here’s some advice on how to figure out whether he’d be interested in taking things to the next level or only remaining friends. The first thing to do is evaluate how often he calls or texts. Are you guys communicating on a regular basis? Is it every day, in the morning or often before bed? If so, he’s probably into you. If they ever have a flirty tone, however slightly, he definitely likes you but is hiding his feelings, or subtly feeling out the situation, since he doesn’t want to ruin the friendship. Does he remember significant dates in your life like your birthday, the day you graduated, got divorced and so on? He’s way into you.

What do you guys talk about? Do you discuss deep, important things? If you talk about hopes, dreams, your past relationships, childhood memories and so on, he is emotionally invested in you which is a good sign that he may be interested above and beyond friendship. Check to see if he discusses these things with other friends, particularly with other female friends without him finding out, if you can. Have you met his parents? If he talks about you to his parents, siblings, other friends and so on, you are on his mind. And people don’t discuss friends at length like this, so it’s another sign that he may have feelings for you. What about tension? Do you two stare into each other’s eyes, pause awkwardly, or try and be near each other whenever you can? Check his eye contact.

Do either of you break the touch barrier with touches on the arm, unusually long hugs, or standing in each other’s personal space? If so, there is definite chemistry there, beyond the realm of friendship. When you two have long talks, does he tell you how much he appreciates having you in his life? Does he say you make him a better person? Red warning lights of love should be flashing in your head if this is the case. Does he get rid of any girls he dates you don’t like? If so, he is totally into you. Why not give him a nudge and see if things develop? If you are a teen just entering the dating scene and want more advice read, The Truth about Dating, Love, & Just Being Friends by Chad Eastham.