The number of people who report having tried online dating is approximately 50 million in the U.S. (www.statisticbrain.com). Several studies have been conducted to explore the demographics of the users, average amount of money spent on services, number of matches resulting in long-term relationships, marriage, etc. In a recent study completed by Consumer Reports, they found that “online dating, however painful and time-consuming, often does produce
Love & Relationships
On any given day, we engage in a number of activities which require us to agree to the “Terms and Conditions.” We enter into contracts with apps, cell phone providers, utility companies, banks, credit card companies, landlords, doctors, pharmacies... We have warranties and insurance policies on the goods we buy; which stipulate the terms and conditions for the care or replacement of said items. Just about everything in an American life has some kind of contract or agreement.
Like most things, our relationships have contracts—
After receiving several questions from LWM readers in response to my article “Missteps on the Path to Finding Love” (LWM September 2015) Primarily, readers wrote to me asking for more dating advice about ‘what not to do.’ Email after email, readers shared their experiences and asked my advice. A pattern emerged: I was being asked very similar questions, despite the differences of the individual’s specific experiences and demographics (age, sex, etc.).
Below are two of the more common questions, followed by my list of general “dating don’ts.”
When I was much younger, I hoped that the intensity of my love would fix things
It’s that time of year again – February, with its own special holiday to celebrate love. And whether or not you have a certain someone in your life who is your Valentine, let me suggest something a little different. This year, vow to be your own Valentine. Decide that no one is more deserving of your respect, kindness and enthusiastic support than you, and get creative about cultivating and expressing those qualities toward yourself.
In other words…love yourself. Completely, courageously and unconditionally.
She said, “Joe, I mastered the art of not getting what I want in my life.”
She went on to share examples of a failed marriage, an uninspiring career, and an uncertain future. She told me how she was on the verge of giving up hope; that the waves kept knocking her down. She felt she was running out of options and running thin on hope.
I remember the look in her weathered eyes when she asked me, “Is there any hope for me?”
Life can be tough. We all know that; and it is easy to get caught up in trying to make a living, paying the bills, raising kids, eating right, and so on. The next thing we know, that birthday with a “0” or a “5” is coming up, reminding us just exactly how far we have NOT come.
I smiled and said, “What you need isn’t hope. What you need is YOU. And that is something you have always had within you. You must access that part of you... the part of you that recognizes the truth: You are more than you’ve allowed yourself to become. Just because you have not stepped up in the past doesn’t mean that you can’t make a new choice right now. Your past does not equal your future. The question is: Will you let go of the familiar and comfortable for what you truly desire?
There are two worlds in which we can live. The world of comfort and the world of growth. Comfort is addictive and seductive, but there is no fulfillment in comfort. We are wired to grow. Yes it is uncertain, but it is part of who we are at our core. When we step out into the unknown, we grow and become more. As we become more, we then have more to share with ourselves and others. Through growth and contribution is where we feel fulfillment. It is not always easy, but it is the path we must all take.
She looked at me me with a nervous smile and said, “It has been so long since I really let go and embraced changed. I know I can do it, but my fear is: what if I fail?” I chuckled and said, “Don’t worry, you WILL fail, and you will learn how to get back up stronger, with more resolve than before.” Her face lit up and for once I saw her first real smile as she said, “I think I would really like that. I’ve lived in comfort and fear long enough. I am tired of waiting, tired of trying, it is time to break free!”
We all have the resources within us to create the life we want. Sometimes all we need is the courage to let go of comfort and embrace who we are and what we can achieve, accomplish, and become. In the case of my client, with a little coaching and guidance, she now lives in growth; unafraid and ready to achieve her dreams.
“Find your joy! Listen to your emotions and do what makes you happy.”
— Anita Moorjani
Author “Dying to be Me: My journey from Cancer to Near Death to True Healing
In the March issue of Living.Well Magazine I wrote briefly about an amazing book I’d recently read titled, “Dying To Be Me: My Journey from Cancer to Near Death to True Healing” by Anita Moorjani. In the book Anita shares her story of having miraculously healed from stage 4 terminal cancer through a consciousness-expanding near-death experience that awakened her to the truth of who she really is – and who we all are.
After previously discussing a foundation for communication in relationships, it’s time to go deeper into understanding physically intimate relationships. I love the work of David Deida and how he describes the role of masculine and feminine energies in relationships.
Listening is the most important component in communication. “Seek first to understand before being understood.” After 15 years of experience as an educator, psychotherapist, and everyday human being, I can share with you that this is easier said than done. Listening is an art and requires us to get out of our own way and our need to be right. That being said, there are tools we can learn that significantly increase our listening presence. Last month I laid out the seven feedback suggestions for creating an unwavering foundation for authentic communication. This month I am going to go into more detail about how to mirror and listen more effectively.
Authentic respectful communication is the cornerstone in all relationships. This includes family, friends, partners, lovers, people at work, etc. The more open and vulnerable we are in relationships, the deeper the connection, and the safer it is for the other to open up and share on a real and authentic level.
Maddie was my childhood chum, best friends forever. From children to adults, we shared our funniest moments, our darkest secrets, the angst of aging mothers, and stories about men. Enter Jack.
The curious and interesting stages of growth experienced in the evolution of a loving committed relationship
(Illusionment, Disillusionment, Loving Reality) is well documented in the plethora of ‘happy ever after’ fairy tales and romantic comedies. Certainly a wonderful experience, and one which helps create the glue and the initial bonding that encourage a couple stay together as they navigate the more difficult and stormy aspects of relationship. The second stage, ‘Honeymoon is Over’ involves the recognition that my beloved does not quite live up to the fantasy projection that he/she should meet my
"Fortune favors the brave" and love is not for the faint of heart. Love is the timeless theme adorned in movies, song, and dance. Loving, losing love, and finding love shadows our lives. Most of us, if we are honest, desire love on the deepest level. We want to have someone with whom we can feel completely open, honest, and vulnerable. Yet through direct or indirect experience, we find a gap between our desire and our willingness to fulfill our desire. We share stories of how love has wronged us, how our heart was broken, or how we gave all and received less in return. So, in reaction to these experiences or perhaps in protection, we wrap ourselves with the belief that we don't need love, or that we can't find someone. Sometimes we just settle for something less than what we want and deserve to avoid potentially having nothing or no-one.
The initial stage is falling in love and idealized romance in which we project onto our beloved our own images of hoped for perfection; in order to feel whole and complete with our significant other. As this begins to wear thin and we recognize the other as human, neither the Goddess nor Prince Charming, we will often attempt to ‘seduce’ the other into living the fantasy. When they (and I) continue to fall short, remaining a flawed human, the anger stage of relationship will often arise
We are all aware that the “Happy Ever After” endings to romantic comedies and fairy talestend to be filtered through rose colored glasses and are less than realistic approaches to long term loving, commitment and intimate relationship.
Neither, of course, are the tragedies of ‘Romeo and Juliet’ or ‘Tristan and Iseult’ what we hope for! The question remains; How do we navigate the ups and downs of the couple’s journey over the years? What are our expectations? Are they realistic, or skewed by either fairy tale or mud splattered lens?
So I’m going about my life, happily expanding my business and spending quality time with friends and learning how to eat more healthfully and reading really good books, when all of a sudden I’m surrounded by people – friends, clients and, yes, even myself – who are dealing with “relationship issues.” It’s as if, all at once, the gods and goddesses of relationship have decided it’s time for us to heal those old wounds, already, and get on with the business of creating or deepening the relationships we really want.
One of the truly great blessings of adulthood is that Valentine’s Day is no longer a thinly veiled popularity contest, a day when everyone drops cheap cards and candy hearts for their intended into a big box, and then waits with bated breath to see how many of those hopeful offerings have their name on them. I can remember glancing furtively around me every Valentine’s Day during my elementary school years as the cards were handed out, hoping upon hope that I didn’t have the smallest pile.