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Tag Archive 'communication'

Mar 09 2011

“Is there something wrong with me for wanting what I want?”

Sometimes people want too much in a romance and just as often they don’t want enough.

It helps if you know what you want and what you are willing to do to get it. Often dating at midlife teaches you this.  At the same time, if you’ve had a string of unsatisfactory relationships, which is not unusual in dating at midlife, you will be a bit unsure about what you can reasonably expect.
A little pessimism is forgivable, especially if you’ve been burned in the past, but still, it is better to know what you want and to be able to say so clearly, at least to yourself.

In the last 20 years psychological research has systematically investigated the psychology of successful romantic relationships…and rediscovered what many folks simply knew all along. But still, there are a lot of opinions out there and it’s good to know what some folks have found out with rigorous thinking.

A good relationship contains three main elements – technically they are called “behavioral systems.” The term means that our brains are set up to create three different, somewhat independent kinds of relationship conditions. Relationships that live and flourish tend to contain all three.    Send article as PDF   

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Apr 25 2009

When All Else Fails, Tell the Truth

Published by under Advice

The premise of the Dating at Midlife research project is that as people go through a midlife transformation, they change the way they create intimate relationships.

It’s hard to catalogue all the changes. One of the big changes is that people become more honest with themselves. When I was younger, in a moment of supremely naïve arrogance I complained that I couldn’t understand why people found it so difficult to be honest with themselves. That was before I began my own midlife project.

Lying is a strange business. Many animals use deception for survival. A momma bird will pretend to have a broken wing to draw predators away from a nest. Many predators use camouflage to capture prey. Wild female birds will mate with one male but bond with another for child rearing. Among humans, there is no necessary connection between what is said and what is done. To deceive is natural.

And then there is television. Almost everyone you see on television including news people are actors. The more hours you watch television the fewer hours you are interacting with real people, people who aren’t always performing for you. Our infotainment culture has dulled our talent for truth detecting.

When we get honesty and fearless self-disclosure, we often aren’t sure how to handle it. We aren’t even sure we want it.

Most relationships are a cocktail of truth and lies. For example, less mature, and less honest people often perform a strange mental trick with their intimate relationships. They divide them into two opposing categories. Category one: predictable, but maybe dull. Category two: fascinating and romantic, but dangerous.    Send article as PDF   

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Apr 25 2009

Creating a Wise Conversation: The Mother of All Communication Skills

Published by under Advice

I have this all worked out. The next Messiah will not be an individual. The next Messiah will be a couple. Al and Betty. The message they will bring is this: “We can all have wise conversations with each other but we have to practice.”

Al and Betty will teach by example. We’ll watch them get tangled up in some passionate and profoundly important misunderstanding. Then we’ll see how they work their way out of it.

I think it would be fascinating to see them go back and forth, get frustrated, get sad, have hurt feelings, apologize, finally think they understand, and then be dead wrong.

The most instructive part will be watching them hang, go at it again, until finally, like a miracle, they come up with something neither one of them could have imagined before.

I’ve seen this happen and it’s always profoundly gratifying. I think it a holy act. It is certainly a creative act. Couples who are good at this process say that it is one of the most erotic forms of foreplay.

I think it’s really important to see how people reach dead ends, and feel it’s hopeless, and then still go on.
There is no right answer that better, more decent, smarter people than you already know. If you are looking for a really new understanding you don’t know where the process is going to end.    Send article as PDF   

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Mar 30 2009

Welcome to

Published by under Miscellaneous

You are a midlife adult now.

You can learn to create and manage your relationships.

You can get what you really want.

Welcome to

Being single and dating is so different at midlife that I’ve created a special  site with help, advice and resources. I’m a real human being, as you are-  not some kind of big business corporate organization, and I really care about helping you find fulfillment in your relationships!

You CAN create an exciting, fulfilling life partnership life. But don’t be too hard on yourself if you haven’t yet. Here are some of the real challenges you face as a single person at midlife:

Finding yourself single at midlife is a form of midlife crisis, and it doesn’t matter whether you left the relationship or it left you, it’s still your crisis.

In a crisis, there is no way back to what used to be “normal”. No matter what you do, something new must happen.

Midlife dating is confusing because there are four stages to the midlife crisis for single people (check out my article on the stages of midlife dating). In each stage there is a different way you have to take care of yourself and a different set of lessons to learn.

Success in partnerships at midlife demands higher level skills and more self knowledge. Which skills? What kind of self-knowledge? How do you learn about something if you don’t know that you don’t know it?    Send article as PDF   

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