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Tag Archive 'crisis'

Dec 04 2014

You. Me. We. Wow!

Published by under Knowing Relationships BLOG



A Relationship Has a Mind of It’s Own.

You’ve probably intuited this, sensed it vaguely. When you reach a certain level of maturity  you can really see this. But it takes effort.

When my collaborator, Marilyn Bronstein, and I interviewed really successful couples, this is what we saw: they not only had a significant amount of self-respect (The “Me” mind) and they not only had a genuine and intelligent appreciation for their partner (The “You” mind), they also had a reasonably solid sense of how the two of them fit together into a “We.” And more than that, the loved the “We.” Sometimes they thought the “We” was so cool they were blown away in awe.(Wow!)  You. Me. We. Wow.  That’s how great relationships seem to work.

So let’s look at the We.

(This is a little abstract, but it’s a start.)

A relationship is a shared mental process. In fact, at times couples aren’t sure who thought what, i.e., “Was that my idea or yours?”

  • A relationship has a presence, a personality and an emotional impact. If one partner has an intense emotion – anger, lust, sadness, pick one – the other person feels it. An emotion is alike a rope both people are holding; it can and will make demands on both partners. It shapes how partners see each other.  It is a lens through which partners understand each other. When there’s lust, they see each other as attractive, when there is anger, they see each other as dangerous, and so on.    Send article as PDF   

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May 20 2010

How to not get ahead of yourself when you are creating a new relationship.

Evaluating Relationship Readiness in Yourself and in a Potential Partner.

by Philip Belove, Ed.D.

Being single at midlife is a form of midlife crisis.

“Oh, no, not me,” you say. “I’m the good one. The crisis is what the other person is having.” But the truth is, when a couple breaks up, they are both in a crisis.

A crisis is a situation in which, no matter what you do, something new is going to happen.

There are doors in life that only go one way. Once you’ve walked through them, you can’t walk back. Being suddenly single at midlife is one of those doors. And someone who’s walked through it is in a crisis.

Is a person in midlife crisis really ready for a long term relationship?

Usually not. But there are lots of people out there like that, not yet ready for re-marriage or its equivalent and none the less acting like they are. There are others who don’t know what they are looking for. As you no doubt know, not everyone out there is honest, even with themselves.

What determines the kind of a relationship a person in a midlife crisis is ready for?

Relationship readiness. There are four stages to a midlife crisis. In each stage there is a change in both the kind of relationship a person wants and what the person is capable of. Each stage has a different kind of relationship readiness.    Send article as PDF   

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Jul 04 2009

A Relationship has a Mind of Its Own

Published by under Advice,Miscellaneous

  • A relationship is a shared mental process.
  • A relationship has a presence, a personality and an emotional impact.  It can and will make demands on both partners. It shapes how partners see each other.  It is a lens through which partners understand each other.
  • It has a mind and a heart of its own but it doesn’t have a body. Instead of flesh and blood, a relationship is formed by the constant flow of the ten thousand messages, and reactions to those messages, that flow constantly between the two minds of the two partners.
  • In other words, a relationship is a spiritual entity.  Like an Angel?  Maybe Except its presence can be seen with scientific instruments. Brain imaging can observe how the neural activity in one partner is mirrored by similar neural activity in the same brain areas in the other partner, a visible marker of empathetic resonance. If it’s an angel, it is one that you can see on a computer monitor.
  • Despite the hard science evidence, a relationship doesn’t live in the concrete world. A relationship lives in the world of stories. Stories register in our brains and make us think and feel in various ways.  We humans are, maybe more than anything else, creatures who tell stories. We live stories and will even die for stories. The deeper, more intimate the relationship, further it sends its roots into both partners’ stories – into the heart of their lives.    Send article as PDF   

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Apr 25 2009

What Happens in the Midlife Transformation

Published by under Advice

I have a friend, 72, who said, last week, “I’ve just realized that I’m going to die. I always pretended it was only something that happened to others.” At seventy-two he finally could handle the full impact of the challenge that drives us all through the midlife transformation.

Some of us never get that strong. For most of us, it takes years. I remember when the beginning edge of that awareness struck me. I was thirty five. I had been living a life designed more to make other people happy than to make me happy. Somewhere in my inner shadows I was sustaining myself on the thought that next time I would live life for me. I began to understand that depending on my next life to give spiritual justification to this one was a poor strategy, but I wasn’t sure of the alternative.

What was a better idea? I didn’t know and then I had a dream. In the dream I was in an office in an advertising agency visiting an important person, who I referred to in my dream as “the person in the advertising business I admired most.” In the dream I realized that that person was me. Even in the dream I felt sheepish about giving myself such importance. I had a lot to learn.

In my waking life I was not yet a psychologist. I was an associate creative director making television commercials for shampoo, soap, cereal, frozen pizza and dog food. In my dream I walked into my office and found this important person, “me,” on the window ledge about to jump.    Send article as PDF   

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Apr 25 2009

What is a Midlife Crisis?

Published by under Advice

“Midlife crisis” is a phrase made for comedy routines, something women say about men when the guys start acting like teenagers. There is truth in the accusation. At midlife people do go through a change, one as profound as adolescence. They become “Elders,” people with enough adult experience and judgment to become sources of wisdom for the rest of us.

This process of becoming wise is the midlife transformation. Some people make it smoothly and some resist it with all their might. They need wisdom forced upon them. Such people are the ones who have midlife crises.

Do you ask, “Why would anyone resist maturity?” If you can sympathize with people who resist maturity, you can understand the midlife crisis.

When I have resisted maturity it has always been because of my pride. It can be excruciating to see how wrong I have been about certain things. My experiences in this regard are very common.

Fortunately, God (or whatever you want to call the Deep Force Which Shapes Our Lives) wants us to mature and get wise. And to the common, garden variety of person like me, and many of you, there is the Gift of the Midlife Crisis.

If the way of wisdom is humility, the stuff of midlife crises is humiliation having humility forced upon you. As horrible as that is, it’s still better than the alternative.    Send article as PDF   

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Apr 25 2009

The Stages of Midlife Dating

Published by under Advice

Dating at midlife is one of those topics where everyone who has done it has a strong, opinion. But there is a difference between having an opinions and having a point of view.

After years of academic and clinical research, after a couple hundred of interviews and thousands of pages of outlines and notes, (I started the Dating at Midlife (DML) research project in 1995, seven years ago) I have developed a point of view and the web site and this newsletter reflect it.

Here then is the model which I’ve evolved for helping Midlife Singles get what they want for themselves.

Being single at midlife is a form of midlife crisis. It doesn’t matter whether you are the leave-r or leave-ee. The crisis may not hit you at divorce and may wait until your second divorce. The crisis might hold off until the break-up of your first big post-divorce love affair, the one you thought would save you. Or the crisis may hit you when you realize you are over 40 and never married ever.

What is a crisis?

There are doors in life that only go one way. You walk through them, click!, and there is no going back. You are not in Kansas anymore. The only way out is forward into the unknown. That’s a crisis.

In the single-at-midlife crisis, you find yourself at 40 or 50-something years old with energy, sexuality and time to spare, and single. What are you going to do with the rest of your life? Another relationship? Never another relationship? What?    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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