Monthly Archives: September 2015

Michael and Gwen enter the counselor’s office and nervously take their seats. Michael fidgets and stares at the floor while Gwen sits upright, looks toward the therapist and utters the words that marriage counselors hear so frequently, they can almost say them in unison, “Doctor, we’re not like most of the couples you see… we don’t have any really serious problems; he doesn’t drink or beat me or chase other women—nothing like that. Our problem is that we just don’t communicate.”

“We just don’t communicate.” The cry is frequent and the assumptions are clear: Communication means a better marriage; more conversation means more connection; increased interaction means increased intimacy. It all sounds logical enough—or does it?

Brace for fallout

In the past, I might have rushed in with a glut of techniques to help a couple like Michael and Gwen accomplish their stated goal of better communication. But over the years I’ve learned that working to improve marital communication is a lot like exploratory surgery: The risk of what might be exposed is fraught with peril. Couples need to brace for the potential fallout that better communication may bring before they recklessly plunge ahead with the scalpel.

Good communication involves both partners being aware of their own thoughts and feelings and expressing them in an open, clear way. When a person communicates effectively, there is congruence between their inner experience and their outward expression. However, even an increase in direct and consistent communication doesn’t insure that a relationship will improve.

Let’s take television’s Cleaver family, for example. If Ward started to be more open with June, maybe he would finally tell her that he doesn’t like her award-winning meatloaf or share the fact that he’s still upset about her quitting her job last year. He might even confess that he just lost half of their savings by making a bad investment. If June risked better communication, she might reveal her dissatisfaction with their sex life, complain about Ward’s low income or disclose the fact that his inebriated brother made a pass at her last Thanksgiving.

Partners conspire to restrict and filter their interactions because they sense the danger involved in expressing themselves more openly. Once this pact of limited communication is broken, the lid of Pandora’s box can blast open.

Finally, you have met him or her. You know what I mean, the one. All your life, or so it seems, you have been waiting for the person who made your heart pound, made the stars bright, and taken over all reasonable thought processes with ideas of making love on every beach from here to Tahiti.

You have a weird expression on your face, food suddenly seems like a mere inconvenience and sleep is just something you used to do. Your friends tease you about being in love. Your mother WARNS you about being in love.

Of course, you’re not stupid. You’ve been around (more than Mom knows about), and you have spent time in meditation/therapy having explored your own needs in the world. You want a soul mate but this guy/gal is just so sexy that it’s hard to imagine introducing him/her to your parents at all.

Going Public

So, things are going well and you are looking toward the next step, becoming an item. Going public. Everyone knows and invites you as a couple. People you know speculate about the future of your relationship. But the future means forever when it comes to commitment, so how do you know if this is really a good thing?

Are people whispering about how happy they are for you, or are they wondering if you should be committed yourself (like in a secure mental health facility)? And how about yourself? Do you feel comfortable with your newest love interest or do you just want to feel comfortable with someone? Is this the person that you want to spend your life with or are you just afraid to march into the future alone?

These very large questions deserve great considerations. The passions of new love are so entwined in our own emotional makeup, that it seems impossible to find objective considerations when proceeding along love’s thorny paths. So, for the purposes of this discussion, let us define love and infatuation so each can be thought about in a more organized manner.

Love is Forever Changing

Love as a dynamic process. For me, that means that there is a relationship that flexes, changes and grows as people mature, experience happens upon them, priorities and dreams are built and goals are met. Love brings out the best in people as individuals. The relationship between them becomes the way they define their lives. As jobs, careers, and family concerns change, people are able to work as a team to be understanding and flexible so the relationship (their lives) will flourish.

Dynamic process of love equals a sharing of emotion, trust, and growth of relationship. Growth is increasing ability of a couple to live symbiotically, enjoy each others company, trust each other with more secrets, depend on each other in more crises over the years, in raising children and taking care of aging relatives. It’s about growing old together, and long-term investments like real estate and children.

Is it Just Infatuation?

So what about infatuation? That’s when you think of someone all the time, you go out of your way to be around him/her, and you begin to center your priorities around him/her as well. There is history with this person: Maybe a short history, but maybe quite a while. You both enjoy being together. You both daydream about each other and get all crawly in your underwear. But is it love? I mean, you hate to be wrong about this kind of thing, especially if you have in mind perhaps reproducing together (or maybe if you forget to think about it just once).

Infatuation as are defining it here, is a static process characterized by an unrealistic expectation of blissful passion without positive growth and development. Characterized by a lack of trust, lack of loyalty, lack of commitment, lack of reciprocity, an infatuation is not necessarily foreplay for a love scenario. People, however, have many reasons for making commitments.

Most people are infatuated with their love partners to a certain degree. People who are in love think of their partners periodically when they are apart (some more than others). Men seem to be better, in general, in compartmentalizing their lives, thereby putting thoughts of loved ones aside until the mind is free to dwell on life. And yes, there are many exceptions and many ranges within the genders.

Knowing the Difference?

So how do you know? The question, actually is simple, the answer, however, is not easy to own or accept. And here it is: Does this relationship bring out the best in both of you?
This is the part where you get to assess and evaluate yourself and your partner, and your relationship honestly.

Though difficult, evaluating how things are going at regular intervals can help to give some direction (and re-direct misdirection) to people who are self-guided toward happiness and success. For those who are on a negative course, people who are unhappy,
confused and perhaps self-sabotaging, regular evaluation can point out some hard truths about oneself, and/or about the person you want to take the next step with.

While you try to evaluate whether or not it is the real thing, here are some things to consider:

Are you happy? That would be a yes or no. When you wake up, are you glad to be alive? Are you grateful for the blessings that you receive daily, like being alive and loved? Are you loved and treated as a person of value? Does his or her mother know about you?

Is your life on a positive track? Do you have hope for the future? Do you have dreams and work toward them all the time? Is your life better because your boy/girlfriend is in it? Really?

Are you in this relationship alone? Having someone on your arm makes life less complicated. You get a built in escort and date. Most people seem to think and feel better as part of a pair. There is a sense of social relief as well meaning family and friends stop trying to fix you up. Are you thinking and planning as a pair? Do you automatically consider both of your plans for the weekend, or merely anticipate maybe meeting up sometime? Have you postponed or given up your hopes and dreams for the relationship or have you restructured your dreams together?

Determining the Difference

The answers, and the courage to face the facts is the key to making the determination. In infatuation, your gaze, your thoughts and maybe your world revolves around someone. You have blinders on. It seems that all the world pales in comparison to this person’s looks, talents, intelligence, creativity, etc. What you might not see by keeping the blinders on, what can be serious flaws in any relationship, are the destructive traits and behaviors that degrade self esteem and cause some pretty negative effects on one’s choices and decisions.

Many have had the experience of looking back at some early romance, in middle or high school perhaps, when we were “in love” with a special teacher, or camp counselor. It can be easier to see in retrospect, what you weren’t ready to see at the time. Your thoughts of
romance were simply an innocent fantasy: An infatuation that felt like love at the time.

Aside from your age, what was it about you that made you make that mistake. Innocence? Loneliness?: A longing to grow up, maybe. But those were things going on in your head. In fact, these feelings had little to do with the actual object of your infatuation (crush). It could be that some of those same feelings and needs exist for you today. Beware of your own vulnerability, and your own desire to “get rescued” from that solitary life of the unpaired.

In time, the faults that you refuse to see will begin to come to the foreground. You may be infatuated with a rich and powerful person, but as you come to know that person on a more intimate basis, the qualities that intrigued you will begin to fade into the background.

In the case of love, your focus is on your special someone, and that someone exists in the real world. Give and take, compromise and cooperation are characteristics of love relationships. Working toward common goals, sharing dreams and values define the dynamics of a good love relationship. People know each other on a separate and private level than the world at large.

Bringing it Into Reality

Infatuation can even be thought of as love with only 2 dimensions. With love, that third dimension is reality. So, it is actually your ability to tell what is real in a relationship, versus what is imagined. You love being part of a couple, but is this the person you want to be in a couple with?

Look at the reality of who this person is, not who she/he wants to be. Do you always interact over dinner and drinks? Meet under different circumstances. Become part of each other’s lives. If that is not happening, why not? Are you spending and enjoying time together? What happens when you’re apart? Are you sure?

Trying to differentiate your love interest from your lust interest is requires a level head and the courage to face the unpleasant. It also requires maturity and the ability to take a step back and survey the big picture. The result is more control and confidence as you stride your way in love’s direction.

About the Author: Michelle Drew is the pseudonym for J. Michelle Davis, a psychologist, educator and advocate with 30 years of experience in various social service and educational agencies in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut and New York. She holds a M. Ed. in Counseling Psychology from Cambridge College and a B.A. in developmental psychology from the University of Rochester.

Not to be sidelined by an accident induced disability in 1999, Michelle has continued to provide insightful advice, information and resources in her on line advice column, Soft Shoulder Advice. Please visit her website at www.softshoulderadvice.com for more advice, motivations and resources.

Falling in Love is important and an art form, but sometimes, we also need to learn how to fall out of love.
Be it a hurtful relationship we have to leave or being stuck in love with somebody, who we are not together with anymore, unable to get it over it.

It happens to most of us at some point in time, that is why I want to share with you a process designed by Richard Bandler, one of the founders of NLP.

 

1. Think of the person that you want to fall out of love with.
2. Remember all the good memories about being with them by seeing yourself in the memories. See the movies run backwards and make them all in black and white and small.
3. Remember all the times they treated you badly and all the negative feelings around them by imagining yourself looking at them inside the image, fully associated to what has happened.
4. Take every bad thing they did and imagine all of them, one after another as if played back to back on a movie screen. Run this movie over and over until you get sick of it.
5. Take something that is disgusting to you and then move the image of the person into the submodalities of the disgusting image, e.g. if you hate the look and smell of mushrooms, get a plate of it, take in the look and smell and open up a picture of that person over and over again.
6. Imagine a wonderful future free of them and imagine yourself being happy and free and step into that image.

It is key, to not only see the pictures, but also hear and feel what is happening.

If you are not sure it worked, do it several times.
It is like learning to ride a bicycle, initially, you cannot drive perfectly, but soon you’ll get it.

The problem is that you need to know how to love yourself unconditionally, because this is the only method that you can “conquer” a woman.

What are the “buttons”?

It is not like having your own charming machine, but every woman has her buttons that need to be pushed. Here are some ideas that might help.

1. Touch emotional subjects

Subjects such as childhood and her plans on long term, and talking about the passions of her is a good idea. They are all subjects that would awake her interest about you.

2. Women want a leader

While you talk, take over control and don’t be afraid to impose the subject of the discussion. Even if she might be annoyed, she will see that you are the leader. Don’t overreact! If she does not want to talk about her mother, don’t push the subject just to show that you can obtain what you like.

3. Be careful about gestures!

All the clues given by a woman are in her gestures! All the non verbal reactions are there. For example, if you sit too close to her, you might spit her when you talk, and she will definitely show you that this is annoying.

4. Be charming and funny, not a buffoon

Women like men with a sense of humor, but sticking a spoon on your nose is not a classy joke. It is a huge difference, and a gentleman knows it.

5. Be a gentleman

Women love the attention, but too much of it will make you a puppy! Play with her, put her on fire, and create the flirting atmosphere.

6. Be intimate but not invasive

Women like men that are able to take the discussion to intimate “places”, but this does not mean to ask her if she is shaved…you know where. Intimate talks must be about her soul, her feelings and her desires, not about her earrings and hidden piercings.

7. Show her that you can read her

You can express your opinion about how you feel and what you like, as women like to talk about themselves, but also men which can hear. Nodding your head in a boring and continuous “Yes” is not a way to express attention.

8. Don’t overreact with compliments

Talking about her shoes or about her dress is one thing, but talking about her incredible looks all the time it is just too much. The line between compliments and “ass liking” is thin, so be sure not to cross it.

9. What you need to avoid

The interview questions are just annoying. It is normal for you to be curious, but putting here in a string of questions will definitely annoy her.

10. Rephrase

“Where are you from?” Oh, yeah, a real inspiration. You can use “you don’t seem to be from around”. This shows interest, leaves mystery and allows her to express.