- It fosters Self-Expression.
- Helps you create your own identity.
- Brings New Energy to a stale marriage.
- Helps foster better communication
This article I wrote appeared courtesy of Yahoo Style and Your Tango. I hope you enjoy it.
Whether it’s the holiday season, wedding season or just time for your annual office party, it’s open season for FINALLY (maybe) meeting the love of your life. Or it means that after everything’s said and done, you’ll be starting a whole new year once again checking “single” on your 1040-EZ form.
Fear of being alone can cause people to make bad choices when it comes to relationships. In fact according to a study by the University of Toronto (U of T), the fear of being single is a meaningful predictor of settling for less in relationships among both men and women.
“Those with stronger fears about being single are willing to settle for less in their relationships,” says lead author Stephanie Spielmann, postdoctoral researcher in the University of Toronto’s Department of Psychology. “Sometimes they stay in relationships they aren’t happy in, and sometimes they want to date people who aren’t very good for them.”
She adds, “Now we understand that people’s anxieties about being single seem to play a key role in these types of unhealthy relationship behaviors.”
“In our results we see men and women having similar concerns about being single, which lead to similar coping behaviors, contradicting the idea that only women struggle with a fear of being single,” says co-author, Professor Geoff MacDonald of the University of Toronto’s Department of Psychology. “Loneliness is a painful experience for both men and women, so it’s not surprising that the fear of being single seems not to discriminate on the basis of gender.”
So if you’re feeling the pressure to settle, here are some things to remember before you make a bad choice:
1. You are ENOUGH.
The mainstream media is filled with really unhealthy messages regarding relationships. For example, many say that you need another person to make the holidays complete or to make you happy. These romantic notions work great in books and on the Hallmark Channel, but when taken literally, these ideas are super destructive.
You are always a whole and indivisible being, capable of immense self-love, self acceptance and self sexuality. Appreciate yourself and know that you’re not alone in your singleness.
2. You made a choice to be single because you WANT to be single.
Although it sounds ass-backward, this is a paradigm shift that will help you in the long run. By consciously making the choice to be single, if will shift the way you view your life and how you live it when it comes to sharing that information with your co-workers, family and friends. YOU are making this decision, so be proud.
3. You are in control of your life.
Instead of remaining the victim of your own fear of being single, take control! Tell yourself that you are actively remaining single for a the holidays. If you do plan to date every once in a while, make sure the dates are fun and give you ample time to get know someone. There’s no rush and no pressure – JUST fun.
4. Do WHATEVER you want.
In the end your relationship status is a personal choice – there is no right or wrong, no good or bad. Instead of being the victim of cultural assumptions and societal norms, take the time to find out how you really would like to engage with other people.
What kind of status would you choose if there was no pressure, no assumptions? Take your time and find what’s best for you. If you think something is a good idea, then there have already been many others who think the same, and have most likely blazed a trail for you to follow.
The way you engage in relationships (or don’t) is not what’s important – what IS important is doing it consciously, and doing what’s right for YOU!
5. It’s ALWAYS better to be single than in a bad relationship.
Getting into an unhealthy, bad relationship simply out of a fear of being alone is a really bad idea. It takes a lot of courage to take that leap into being single, but it’s always, 100% of the time worth it when the relationship is causing more harm than good.
Guys Explain How To Win On A Date
Do you agree? Does this win over the ladies?
Have you ever noticed some of the articles in Essence Magazine, as well as countless others always ask the same question over and over, “Why do I keep falling for the same, unavailable, unemotional, unattached guy?” The complete opposite!
The problem, is when you have an anxious attachment style it’s almost unavoidable. There are three reasons for this.
- There are just more of them around because they get over partners very quickly. An avoidant attachment styled man will usually go through multiple marriages.
- People with secure attachment styles are usually content with their marital situation,so you won’t find many of those around.
- A person with an avoidant style won’t date another avoidant. They already know the relationship is going nowhere for both parties, so why bother.
Even though, it’s almost inevitable that you as an anxious attachment style will find someone who is an avoidant attachment style, doesn’t mean there is no hope for you. You just have to be aware when your emotions start to kick in gear. Here are some reasons why you should be cautious.
YOU (Anxious Style) THEY(Avoidant Style)
|Want closeness and intimacy.||Want to maintain some distance emotional and or physical.|
|Sensitive to any signs of rejection.||Send mixed signals that can come across as rejecting.|
|Can’t tell them what you need from the relationship.||Can’t read your cues (verbal/nonverbal) and want to.|
|Need reassurance and to feel loved.||Puts you down as a way to deactivate their attachment style.|
|Need to know where you stand.||Prefers to keep you guessing. Even if the relationship is serious, questions will linger.|
So for all of you anxious people out there, how long are you are going to program yourself to fall for individuals that more than likely won’t make you happy.
If you have an anxious style, I would love to hear what you do to minimize your emotional rollercoaster, while dating.
Material taken from Attached. The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find and Keep Love by Amir Levine M.D.
Part 4 of our 5 part series of 5 Lessons about your marriage kids learn by your example has to do with Giving.
One of the most important ways, that our kids will follow our example is how we Give.
Our kids at an early age understand the word Get, especially when they see us purchase anything we want, or if anytime they ask for something and we buy it for them.
What we truly don’t understand is that our kids truly enjoy how much we give them versus how much we get them.
Let me explain. There are three crucial things that we can give, that will carry over into their own marriages when they have kids.
When you give them Thanks
Our kids will watch us, especially when you give thank them. Our kids feel empowered when we thank them for doing something out of the ordinary, or even more simply for being themselves. This will be helpful as our kids get to their teen years because their identity is constantly being challenged. If they get a sense from you that you value who they are it will provide confidence and self-esteem.
When you give them Time.
This is also important, but can be very challenging. Uninterrupted time is something we take for granted, but what our kids cherish the most. Imagine, if you gave each of your kids 1 hour of devoted time every day for them to do whatever they wanted. That can be a challenge for anyone. One thing, my wife and I do is give each of our children their own vacation by themselves. I can say, those opportunities have been the most memorable for all of them and it has truly allowed us to know them as individuals.
When you show them how to give out of your wallet.
By donating to a cause you believe in, whether it be your church or a non-profit organization it will help your kids understand that earning a living doesn’t mean that you buy things just for yourself. You should systematically sacrifice it to give to others in need.
More important to give things than to have things.
When show them how to give of yourself.
Your kids will definitely watch how you extend yourself to neighbors. Take the time to get to know them, at least their names, and their children’s names. At some point, invite them over to dinner. You will be amazed how beneficial this will be for your neighbors; for your kids and even to you.
The cartoon speaks for itself..On this Fun Friday, do you feel you don’t understand your spouse? What are some of the things he/she does that makes you SYH (shake your head) sometimes?
Looking forward to your comments!
I Live..I Learn..ILOVESTRONG.
For all you foodies out there, you take your kitchen to heart. But do you have the Magical Kitchen when it comes to Love. Here is an excerpt from Don Miguel Ruiz’s The Mastery of Love that explains what I mean.
Imagine that you have a magical kitchen in your home. In that magical kitchen, you can have any food you want from any place in the world in any quantity. You
never worry about what to eat; whatever you wish for, you can have at your table. You are very generous with your food; you give your food unconditionally
to others, not because you want something in return from them.
Then one day someone knocks at your door, and it’s a person with a pizza. You open the door, and the person looks at you and says, “Hey, do you see this pizza? I’ll give you this pizza if you let me control your life, if you just do whatever I want you to do. You are never going to starve because I can bring pizza every day. You just have to be good to me.”
Can you imagine your reaction? In your kitchen you can have the same pizza – even better. Yet this person comes to you and offers you food, if you just do whatever he wants you to do. You are going to laugh and say, “No, thank you! I don’t need your food; I have plenty of food. You can come into my house and eat whatever you want, and you don’t have to do anything. Don’t believe I’m going to do whatever you want me to do. No one will manipulate me with food.”
Now imagine exactly the opposite. Several weeks have gone by, and you haven’t eaten. You are starving, and you have no money in your pocket to buy food. The person comes with the pizza and says, “Hey, there’s food here. You can have this food if you just do what I want you to do.” You can smell the food, and you are starving. You decide to accept the food and do whatever that person asks of you. You eat some food, and he says, “If you want more, you can have more, but you have to keep doing what I want you to do.”
You have food today, but tomorrow you may not have food, so you agree to do whatever you can for food. You can become a slave because of food, because you need food, because you don’t have it. Then after a certain time you have doubts. You say, “What am I going to do without my pizza? I cannot live without my pizza. What if my partner decides to give the pizza to someone else – my pizza?”
Now imagine that instead of food, we are talking about love.
Don Miguel Ruiz in his book talks about how our lives are based on a dream and our dream is made up of emotions. The two main emotions we possess in dreams are fear and love. Most of us live on the track of fear rather than love. Living this way ultimately affects our choices and inhibit the mastery over our marriage. So how do you know if your relationship is based on the track of fear or the track of love.
Here are some clues:
Fear has a lot obligations vs. love with no obligations. We do something for our partner because we have to do it. We expect our partner to do something, but over time we begin to resist our obligations. In love, there is no resistance you do something for your partner because you want to do it.
Fear is full of expectations, love has no expectations. We do things because it’s a given, and we expect our partner to do the same. When those expectations don’t happen we feel hurt and we place the blame on our partners. In love, if nothing happens we don’t take it personally.
In fear you respect nothing, while in love is based on respect. Fear comes out in a couple of ways in regards to respect. If you don’t respect your partner, you will feel they can’t have a say in the relationship and you will try to control them. When you don’t respect yourself in the relationship, you doubt your own strength; your own intelligence. Love negates this type of behavior.
In you are on the track of fear, you are full of pity. You feel sorry for your partner when they aren’t strong enough. When you are on the track of love, you have compassion towards your partner if they fall. You prop them up.
On the track of fear you avoid responsibility. When you are on the track of love, you are responsible for your actions. When you try to avoid taking responsibility it only makes things worse because even non-action has consequences.
The track of fear is always unkind, while the track of love is kind. When you are living in a fear based relationship, you always feel like a victim, sad, jealous and betrayed. When you are in the track of love it’s always kind. The kindness makes you generous and opens doors to opportunities.
Fear is full of conditions, while love is unconditional. If you are on the track of fear, you will love the person if you are allowed to control them and if they fit into the image you create for them. In the track of love there are no conditions You will love your partner for who they are. If you don’t like them for who they are, you will find someone who is the way you like him/her to be.
Have you ever noticed when your partner started to tell you something important, but in the end never voiced what was on their mind. Or, after a very important discussion, all he/she ever did was shake their head in agreement, but never offered an opinion.
The reason is because you may be a connection blocker. A connection blocker is someone who doesn’t really want to know and understand their partner. Understanding your partner takes some key characteristics in order for connection to happen.
First you have to know yourself –what you think, want, desire, fear or want to communicate. Then you have to know how your spouse reacts to those same wants, fears and desires. You can only do that by asking the right questions.
So here is Part 1 of the possible connection blockers. Which one are you?
- You devalue your partner by saying things like “That’s not true,” or That’s totally crazy,” indicates that you don’t care about your partners feelings and that you are there to criticize and not connect.
- You minimize your partner – The “It’s not that bad.” statement is used to shut down your partner’s hope and that you will won’t understand. You may not feel the issue is as big a deal, but that’s not the issue right now. That’s where their heart is, connect around it.
- You get defensive with your partner – You try to fight off any attack that may bring any negative energy to you. When you attack, you are closed off from your partner and unwilling to hear anything about your behavior or attitude.
- You criticize or put down your partner– Being critical, when trying to build up your partner doesn’t work. Finding fault in your partner if it’s done for no good reason damages their self-esteem and ultimately damages your connection.
- You escalate or overreact with your partner – The more emotional the topic the more reactive and defensive you get. You must be aware of how your button(s) is get pushed and take alternative steps to remove yourself from the drama.
I would love to hear your comments about which connection blocker are you and how you try to minimize conflict.
Stay tuned to Part 2 of the connection blockers!
One of PG’s words of wisdom is, “You live, you learn and then you buy LUVS.” I would like to add-on to this profound quote. “You live, you learn, you laugh then you buy LUVS.
Laughter is an underrated aspect of marriage. If you and your spouse can laugh together and each other it can help sustain your marriage during those roller coaster moments. I am convinced that my marriage to ‘PG’ has lasted these 15 years because we have been able to laugh.
Laughter is contagious. It’s also beneficial to life and marriage.
Benefits of Laughter
- Reduction of stress and tension
- Stimulation of the immune system
- An increase of natural painkillers in the blood
- A decrease in systemic inflammation
- Reduction of blood pressure
- Lifts your spirits
- Brings couples closer together
- Can help keep a relationship fresh.
There are other medical benefits than the ones listed above. Our cardiovascular and respiratory systems, for example, benefit more from twenty seconds of robust laughter than from three minutes of exercise on a rowing machine. Through laughter, muscles release tension and neurochemicals are released into the bloodstream, creating the same feelings the long-distance joggers experience as “runner’s high.” We agree. We have experienced several of these moments and , especially after watching multiple episodes of ‘The Office’.
Being able to laugh at each other is a totally different matter. There are several components needed in order insure laughter doesn’t turn into pain. You will need mutual trust, respect for one another and a positive view of yourself. The reason why these components are important because a practical joke, or if your spouse is constantly laughing at your shortcomings can quickly cause a strain in your marriage. If you feel that your spouse has crossed the line, don’t hesitate to call them on it.
Since “The number of cardiac deaths is higher on Dec. 25 than on any other day of the year, second highest on Dec. 26, and third highest on Jan. 1, according to the Circulation study, lets learn to laugh a little more. It just may save your life, not to mention your marriage. To paraphrase Henry Ward Beecher, “A marriage without a sense of humor is like a wagon without springs – jolted by every pebble in the road.”
Come together as a couple to volunteer your time and skills to serve others. Work at a soup kitchen, or support your local senior center. If you aren’t sure the activity you would like to do for the day, go to volunteermatch.org or serve.gov to find local support.
For the first time, you may see a different side of your partner that may help you to love them in a much greater way.
Those that can volunteer together, stay together.