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Tag Archive 'dating'

Apr 26 2011

How to Read Someone’s Intentions Like a Pro.

In almost every counseling and coaching session I end up teaching this particular tool, so I’ve decided to write down the mini-lecture. It’s the sort of thing that took me years to finally learn and appreciate. So rather than repeat it as many times as I needed it repeated to me, I’m going to write it out. Please read and re-read. Please pass it along. As far as I’m concerned, it’s gold.

“The dangerous man is the one who has only one idea, because then he’ll fight and die for it. The way real science goes is that you come up with lots of ideas, and most of them will be wrong.”  Francis Crick.

If you’ve settled into a relationship, really settled, you know your partner’s quirks and you know how your partner is unique and different from you. But if you haven’t settled in, sooner or later you are going to be challenged by something your partner does that doesn’t make sense to you and which, often, you won’t like.

It’s important to remember this: You don’t know this person intimately. Not yet. The only people you know intimately are people you’ve had previous enduring relationships with, and maybe not even them. You are still learning.

What mental habits do you need in order to help you understand this new person’s intentions?

Here’s the golden rule: Always have three guesses about what’s really going on. And then watch how things unfold to see which of your guesses is best.

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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.

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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 31 2010

Little Steps that can Make a Big and Positive Difference in a Relationship.

What’s the biggest challenge in dating at midlife? I don’t think it’s finding an available single. The dating at midlife sub-culture is enormous. Census figures suggest that more than 30% of all adults are not married. It’s easy to find another single person who is looking for a relationship.  It’s even easy to get into a  relationship if you aren’t particular.  The real challenge is once you are in.

And it’s not so much the relationship per se that’s the problem. It’s the process of designing the relationship.

Every relationship needs a little tailoring. (I once read an interview with a fashion designer and the question was, how does an ordinary person, who can’t spend thousands on clothes, dress to look good. The designer said “tailoring.” He said that even those t-shirts the movie stars are wearing get a little bit of sewing here and there.)

The challenge is in finding a way to tailor the relationship to fit well for both of you. In other words, you both need to find a method for negotiating that relationship.

Every friendship has its little storms. The challenge in dating at midlife is creating a climate that, despite the ordinary storms, is so pleasant you want to settled down and live in it. How do you do that?

The Gottman Ratio.

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May 20 2010

Pick Yourself Up, Dust Yourself Off, And Learn to Trust Again

Dating at Midlife: How Can You Trust Again?
By Philip Belove, Ed.D.


If you are dating someone, you are probably considering letting him or her get pretty close to you. Yet at this midlife stage, you have probably also been involved in one or more major relationships that failed or ended poorly. That is why one of the most common questions asked by ThirdAgers is, “Can I trust this new person?”

It takes a while to get to know someone, and good judgment doesn’t descend upon you overnight. It is something you have to work at. Here are a few ways to start practicing:

  • Learn to trust yourself: Trusting another person more than you trust yourself is the definition of naiveté. In midlife, you have to develop your own judgment and honor it above the wishes of others.
  • Pay attention to your inklings: You know the tiny voices that tell you about things thatmight be true, but you just can’t be sure? These are the seeds of your intuition. Don’t dismiss them. They help you develop caution and they also help you discover opportunities. When you are dating, you usually have little feelings — good or bad — about something or someone. Never, ever brush those feelings aside.
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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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Sep 24 2009

What you want to think about if you are Dating Online

Published by under Advice

(This is an article by the late and brilliant Sue Price.)

Dating Online

by Susan Price, M.A.
Ask more questions, or let us know whether you personal experiences with dating online have been good or bad. we will publish interesting answers! Write me here! – Sue Price

Hi Sue,

I noticed you mentioned once about online personals. I have tried this before with some, shall I say, discomfort. Still, I feel it’s time to make more of an effort to make friends. It appears a lot of dating in the 90’s-2000’s is based online. I am wondering how to write an effective profile and also if you have any site recommendations.

Thanks, Sheila

Dear Sheila,

Thanks for your question! It’s one I am happy to answer in detail. I think the two best sites are Matchmaker.com and Match.com. Match.com is probably the best. I think it’s very important to put a picture up, because far more men answer profiles with pictures, even if they’re not just looking for very good looking women. A picture sort of “personalizes” your profile!

Make it an attractive one that is recent, and close enough to what you look like now that a man could recognize you from it when he meets you. If you don’t have any recent pictures, buy one of those cheap disposable cameras they sell in all the drugstores, preferably one with a flash, and have a friend fill it up with a variety of pictures of you. Then, when you take it in to be developed, ask the store to put the results “on disk”. That makes it easy to put up on your chosen singles dating website.

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Sep 24 2009

The Science of Advertising and Internet Personals

Published by under Articles,Culture

The Science of Advertising and Internet Personals

By Philip Belove, Ed.D. (all rights reserved.)

In this essay we’re going to think about composing one of those Internet personal ads. These days running one of those ads can cost around $25.00 a month and people usually run these ads for a year or so, so you are looking at spending maybe a few hundred dollars on personal advertising. How will you know if the money is well spent?

“Well,” you say, “it attracts responses.” Fair enough. But mere responses aren’t enough.

A year ago I told the story of a woman who put up a bland profile with no essay and no picture, just answers to the multiple choice questions and within 24 hours she received a letter from a man who said that she was the woman of his dreams and he was just about to give up on Internet personals but then he read her profile and realized he’d found his dream partner and so on…So, clearly, just showing up on the pages can be like walking into a bad bar.

Eliminating the bad and attracting the good are two separate processes requiring separate skills. So , we’re going to talk about personal niche marketing. Looking for a match is not like running for class president or home-coming queen or state representative, or any other activity where you want to generate a huge list of positive responses. All you want is that one person who is good enough and capable enough to partner with you so you can create a great relationship.

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Apr 25 2009

Measures of Maturity: The “Why Did Your Last Relationship End?” Test

Published by under Advice

This is the central fact of dating at midlife: if you are single at 20, you are just single. If you are single at 40, you have a story about it.

No one gets to be forty years old without having been hurt or having hurt. How a person deals with this unfortunate truth shapes their expectations about new relationships, and the way someone tells you their story tells you what they are expecting from you in the coming relationship.

There is a lot you can learn by listening to how they tell their stories. But you have to know what you are listening for. One of the things I listen for is how they deal with the fact that they have been hurt, or that they’ve hurt someone.

In my experience, if you have not reconciled yourself to this dark side of life, you will put certain specific and unreasonable pressures on your next relationship. In this short article, I want you to think about how this works.

I am going to start with the story of the Troubles Tree, an old Jewish folk tale.

One day in a small town in rural Poland an angel appeared and told everyone that, because of the piety of certain people the town’s people would be given a gift. For one day, everyone could walk around freed from the burden of their life’s troubles. A tree would appear in the center of the town and each person could hang their troubles on it.

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Apr 25 2009

Dating and Mating Dances at Midlife

Published by under Miscellaneous

It’s Spring and you know what happens. For the next few weeks, in the fields and forests, the birds and the beasts are doing their mating dances. We too, by instinct, perform a mating dance. The human mating dance is called dating.

A mating dance is a way for two creatures to work out whether they are going to have a certain, special relationship, which includes sex; it also includes certain understandings, expectations and obligations. A mating dance is not just matter of whether or not they are agreeing to do The Big It, it is also a matter of how they are going to get along, the Big How. This is the fundamental dynamic in dating.
Mating Dating Negotiating
In the Ken Burns 12 part documentary on jazz, Wynton Marsalis opens the series with this statement: “The real power of jazz and the innovation of jazz was that a group of people could come together and improvise art and can negotiate their agendas and that negotiation is the art.” I was struck by that last phrase, that the negotiation itself is the art. There it is again, the Big How.

In dating also, negotiation itself is the art. It’s not some specific goal or event dinner, sex, vacation plans — that really matters; the goal is to create a process, an ongoing relationship. It’s not what you get, it’s how you get there. Everything is foreplay.

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