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Aug 03 2010

Is Your Boyfriend a Werewolf?

by Philip Belove, Ed.D.
Remember “The Wolf Man”? It was old silver screen horror story that mayseem pretty tame by today’s standards, but lately I find myself thinking about it as I work with people struggling to create good, intimate relationships.
Here’s a plot summary: The lead character is warm and easy to be with — that is, except during full moons, when he grows long teeth and hair, gets angry and rips people apart. He can’t help it; he is a good person, but with a curse. But here’s the key part: He wants to be released from his curse and the only way that can happen is for someone who really loves him to shoot him through the heart with a silver bullet. He has to be in a relationship with someone he really loves and she has to see the darker side of who he is and then she has to destroy him.
Someone who approved this script said, “That’s right. That makes a certain kind of sense.”
How does this weird lesson apply to the successful creation of a long term relationship?

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May 20 2010

Have You Been Dating a Werewolf?

Remember “The Wolf Man”? It was old silver screen horror story that may seem pretty tame by today’s standards, but lately I find myself thinking about it as I work with people struggling to create good, intimate relationships.

Here’s a plot summary: The lead character is warm and easy to be with — that is, except during full moons, when he grows long teeth and hair, gets angry and rips people apart. He can’t help it; he is a good person, but with a curse.

OK, so maybe your current flame isn’t sporting the wild hair and teeth, but something about the werewolf does remind me of certain stories I hear about people on the dating scene. Here are some of the distinguishing characteristics of psychological “werewolves”:

  1. They seem to have two personalities; one is glamorous, charming, vulnerable and winning, while and the other may be spoiled, envious, vindictive, petty or mean.
  2. They want to believe — and want you to believe — that only the nice personality is who they really are. That other part? That is just a curse, a condition or a product of a disturbed childhood.
  3. Behind their words, you will hear and be moved by this emotional howl: “Love me. I am lonely! Save me. I am suffering! Be careful. I am dangerous!” The bottom-line message? “Be with me but be willing to make some sacrifices for love.”
  4. They like you. They do. They appreciate your company. Yet they have an addiction — whether it’s gambling, drinking, flirting, shopping — and they want you to ignore it.
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Jun 09 2014

Internet Dating and Sociopaths.

Published by under Advice

drapper

 

(So, I’m taking a break from talking about really, really good relationships and I’m going to talk about really bad ones that usually don’t last.)

I saw a great TED talk. If you’re considering websites and online dating, as many are, this talk is very helpful.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tedtalks/amy-webb-ted-online-dating_b_5460048.html#es_share_ended

However, the main reason I mention this talk is that she tells a very dark, funny-but-dark story of a first date, arranged on line, and the guy turns out to be a sociopath. Only a small surprise.  The internet dating scene is filled with such folks and my experience as a coach in these realms has included hearing many such stories.

I got close to this sociopath stuff with the most popular blog I ever wrote.  “Is your boyfriend a Werewolf?”  https://www.drbelove.com/?s=werewolf  But the guys in that article were basically good guys with a dark side. When it comes to sociopaths, I’m not so sure. But maybe it’s the belief that he’s not so bad, really that tempts people.  There is a cartoon in the New Yorker that I love that shows a woman introducing her boyfriend to her parents and the boyfriend is obviously a vampire. He has those long teeth and his hair comes to a point and the woman is saying, “I know, but I think I can change him.”  Good joke.

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Apr 25 2009

What Harry Sanborn can Teach us about Some Single Midlife Men.

Published by under Culture

By the end of Nancy Meyer’s movie. Something’s Gotta Give, the lead character, Harry Sanborn, Jack Nicholson’s character, shows promise of finally being a mensch, a man of honor who can be trusted. We don’t know if he’s there yet, but he’s there enough that when Erica opens up to him again, at the end, we aren’t afraid for her.

When I was in Rome I saw the statues of Greek Heroes. Seven feet tall. Enough larger than life to be heroic, but close enough to human scale that I could relate and feel cowed. Harry is like that, just bigger enough than life to carry a movie, but close enough to people I’ve known, including, me.
Before the midlife wake-up call, a charming, and immature guy.

When we meet Harry, he’s a sixty year old guy who has perfected an adolescent male’s dream. He’s got the money, the power, the fame, the car, the pad and the impossibly gorgeous trophy women. The fact that he’s as much a trophy screw for the women as they are for him doesn’t bother him. It’s how he likes it.

I had a chance to see a pre-shooting script of the movie and the planned opening had him speaking about being afraid to grow old and a cruel fantasy about him being seen with a woman his own age. I liked the final cut better. It opens with him musing about mature young women at the height of their sexual powers and him uniquely positioned (to coin a phrase) to sample the batch of them.

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