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Tag Archive 'Philip Belove'

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

Ten Commandments, Shavuot, Zen, Happiness and Relationship Success. by Dr. Belove

Complex title, I know. But the pieces do fit.

This week I joined friends to celebrate Shavuot (Shah VOO oat) the Jewish holiday commemorating the day that Moses was said to have carried down from the mountain the tablets with the Ten Commandments.  The celebration was an all night study and discussion party, sort of like a pleasant version of a finals week all-nighter, with tea and cookies and singing.  Among other things we talked about something the Jewish philosopher, Martin Buber, had written about the Ten Commandments.  (Bear with me.  One point will lead to the next and will end up with me sharing something vital that I re-learned about how to be a good relationship partner. )

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May 20 2010

The All Important Difference between Forgiving and Trusting

“He cheated on me. I forgave him. Then he cheated on me again and I forgave him again and then he cheated on me and I can’t forgive him anymore.”


People confuse forgiving someone with trusting someone. You can forgive someone without trusting them. You can trust someone without forgiving them.

A forgiving person is someone who calms down quickly. It is always a shock when someone you trust and care for does something mean or hurtful to you. Your first tendency is either to run away or hurt them back. Somehow or other, you have to absorb the shock and resist the temptation to just react. You need time to think and calm down.

One time, almost 25 years ago, I started to rage at my youngest son. He was ten. His older sister stepped between us and slapped me in the face. She was protecting him.

Time stopped. I don’t know which of us was more shocked. Somewhere in the back of my mind I knew that I didn’t know what to do. The temptation to slap her back wasn’t all that great, thank goodness. But at the same time, I knew that I had to do something. I said to her, “This is important. I need time to think. I want you to be grounded until you and I talk about this. Not today, though, and maybe not tomorrow.” I think that was the first time I understood forgiveness.

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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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