Archive for May, 2012

Truths about Love in a Crazy World

Thursday, May 24th, 2012

 

I decided to take Dr Eigen up on his interview offer, which I am glad I did since his answers were thoughtful and insightful. The original message his publicist sent me is below:

“In today’s world, the average relationship seems to last anywhere between a few months to a few years.  Long term commitments seem almost to belong to another age.  Often it seems we live in a crazy world and therefore accept crazy relationships.  People in relationships seem guarded and unwilling to let their partners in.  Some argue this is only because of the troubled economic time that we live in.  Others argue we are seeing so many dysfunctional relationships because the role of a man and woman are blurred.  What is the cause of so many short term relationships?  How can people have long term and meaningful relationships?

Able to discuss this and more is Dr. David Eigen, a leading psychologist and author of the books, Men – The Gods of Love and Women – The Goddesses of Wisdom.  Dr. Eigen discusses why so many live in a crazy world and have crazy relationships.  He discusses also how to have a healthy and normal relationship.  Dr. Eigen has appeared on CNN and HLN for his expertise.  Would you be interested in interviewing him on this?”

The Interview:

C: How do you feel the roles of men and women have blurred, and why does that lead to dysfunctional relationships?

Dr. E:   Men are taught and inherently are leaders who must also balance their feminine side. The Women’s Liberation movement taught women that being feminine was demeaning. It correctly taught women that abuse was unacceptable; they are equals of men and should be respected. They are equal but different. Unfortunately, blame was laid on men, not the patriarchal teachings and femininity. There solution was to become men, but not powerful balanced feminine beings. I see that many women are as aggressive and pushy in a masculine manner. This will emasculate their intended victim, who losses self-confidence and becomes less of a man, more passive and feminine, or rejects this and runs. Why is this balance so important? Because the balance between your inner male and female is a direct reflection of your ability to love and be loved!

C: Define some roles that you feel are (or should be) male roles and some that are (or should be) female roles.

Dr. E: These are the attributes listed in Women the Goddesses of Wisdom:

MEN                                              WOMEN

MENTAL                                       EMOTIONAL

Giver                                             Receiver

Doing                                               Being

Control Situations                    Capacity to Relate

Presenting Component            Receiving Vessel

Initiator of Life                          Producer of Life

Rigidity                                          Flexibility

Be Directive                                 Give Direction

Strength                                         Sensitivity

Focus                                          Inspiration

Structure                                            Vision

Intellect                                              Faith

Logic                                             Intuition

Guardian                                         Nurturer

Provider                                         Sustainer

Order                                                Fluid

Linear                                             Circular

Rational                                          Symbolic

Warrior                                          Defender

C: Is it more difficult for right-brained men and left-brained women to find love and LTRs? How and why?

Dr. E: Yes, because they have reversed their roles, which probably will lead to disharmony, dissatisfaction and, eventually, a break-up.

C: How do you feel tough economic times lead to dysfunctional relationships? Can’t we have good relationships regardless of our economic status?

Dr. E: “Economic stressors affect relationships. If the man is not providing (which is his job), he will feel less of a man. This can have a negative effect on the relationship.”

C: What is a “normal” relationship and what is a healthy relationship?

Dr. E: A balanced give-and-take is the basis of a healthy relationship. The name of my third incomplete book is The Sacred Dance, which describes a healthy balanced relationship between two balanced people.

C: How can you know when you first meet and/or start dating someone if they have long-term relationship potential?

Dr. E: Do they stick around? Are you both at peace being around each other? Do you both honor each other? If so, it is a possibility. If all there is…is a heated rush, it is doubtful.

C: What qualities should you look for and avoid in a potential mate?

Dr. E: I look for someone I care deeply about, am at peace with, who can discuss issues I may have and address behaviors that cause me to react. If they can be clear and not defensive, agree to review what is not working, are honorable, have integrity and seem to genuinely care for and about me – that is good. If they find excuses for upsetting behaviors, own up to nothing, and are self-involved, and I am feeling uneasy, jealous, resentful, alone, uncared about, lied to – (these are signs to avoid) then that’s all she wrote.

C: How do you break out of a pattern of dating the wrong people? How can you recognize the wrong people?

Dr. E: A pattern of “wrong people” is most likely codependency, which is the addiction to the struggle to be loved. Counseling, CODA [Co-Dependents Anonymous], [and] self-discovery are all available. Doing nothing will guarantee the same negative results.

C: What are three behaviors or mindsets you can adopt to improve your ability to find the right person?

Dr. E: AM I being the right person? What is it I really need? Am I pretending not to know something about myself and/or my partner that will make it clear? Am I blocking letting in the best partner for me?

C: What are three behaviors or mindsets you can adopt to improve your relationships?

Dr. E: How am I being loved that I am choosing to ignore and why? Am I creating situations/strife that blocks this love? How can I participate more fully in my relationship?

C: Does the man have to lead in a relationship, and how?

Dr. E: Both lead in their respective manner. The man leads more directly, while the woman encourages. Neither are [the] lessor or weaker, just leading from their sex’s perspective.

C: What are the differences between the self-limiting beliefs men have, versus the ones women have?

Dr. E: Men have to be macho to be men, therefore limiting their ability to feel and take in love. Women are taught they are weaker and less intelligent by nature, thereby limiting their inherent strength, their wisdom.

C: What could our families have taught us growing up that would help us in relationships as adults?

Dr. E: How to be whole and balanced, which they probably aren’t themselves.

C: Do “crazy relationships” work for some people? Why?

Dr. E: Some people like to be whipped to achieve physical orgasms. Is it crazy? Does this work for them? They say it does, but perhaps it is the only way they can feel, not knowing what love really is.

C: What qualities in a man most attract good quality women for long-term relationships, and what qualities in a woman most attract good quality men for long-term relationships?

Dr. E: This is a difficult question as the answer will be different for a healthy relationship. Present world answers, which create relationships that are bartered for, are the problem.

C: Do you believe that you need to just “be yourself” to do well with the opposite sex? Is this different for men and for women?

Dr. E: The big question is WHO AM I? Most people really have no idea who they are, but are just acting out the roles they have been taught. So the answer is YES, but you need to be clear who you are first.

C: Is there a correlation between how quickly a couple has sex and success of the LTR?

Dr. E: Quick sex will get the sexual compatibility question out of the way quickly, which is good. However, it can miss important understandings about one another that can be overlooked.

C: What are the most important ways a couple should be compatible? How do you screen for these compatibilities?

Dr. E: Screen for compatibility? Well first look at yourself and see what you really need, not just what you want. Then ask questions. I have found that within the first hour, I have all the info I usually need if I just LISTEN, and I don’t make excuses for my perspective partner answers or explain them away. If they say they are a retired axe murderer, penis amputator, etc., I believe them. I want warm fuzzy feelings, not cold prickly ones.

C: What do you know now about women and relationships that you wish you knew at 21?

Dr. E: A Whole Lot! In fact I have written books about relationships out of my experience, misunderstanding, and lack of self-knowledge. But the biggest thing is they are not the enemy, but they can be.

C: Do you feel that people have too many dating deal breakers? Is that a problem? Is this different between men and women?

Dr. E: Most I have heard are trite, hollow statements based in our own rigid thoughts. Get rid of them. Base it on honest feelings. If a woman did something unacceptable, it is possible after we discussed it that she owns up to it and… agrees to change, then that is a good thing. If they defensively argue and are not open to hearing what I am saying, that will cause me to move on. However, a relationship is NOT A DEAL, and trying to make it so…ruins it.

C: What are some deal breakers that you feel are not appropriate?

Dr. E: People looking for loveless arrangements based in their mental constructs. Not knowing who they are, but looking for some formula based relationship.

-Cuisine

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Check out my friend’s Costa Rica Tours and don’t forget to use the code “TOUCAN” to save money. He has some group tours that you can join, including an upcoming August tour, and I hear that airfare to Costa Rica is inexpensve right now for August.

 

Interview with Rachel Sussman, Author of The Breakup Bible

Monday, May 21st, 2012

Rachel Sussman, LCSW, is author of The Breakup Bible and a licensed psychotherapist. Below is my interview with her.

-Cuisine

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What do you think are the main reasons couples breakup?

There are many reasons why couples breakup, but the top 10 ones are:

Infidelity, financial and/or career difficulties, addictions, disagreement over commitment, sexual problems, life crisis, emotional or physical abuse, parenting stress, incompatibility/ growing apart, and what I call “dirty fighting” (repeated nagging, criticism, defensiveness, stonewalling, and anger). It’s important to have awareness of these reasons to ensure that your relationship doesn’t fall into any of these common pitfalls.

  • What are some warning signs that you are heading towards a breakup (or divorce)?

There has been a shift or a change in a pattern in your relationship. I.e., less sex, more arguing, less communication, less intimacy, spending less time together.

  • What are some ways people can give relationships a better chance for success from the beginning?

One way is to know if someone is the right fit for you within the first three months of dating, and to walk away before you get in too deep if the relationship isn’t good. You can do this by developing better assessment tools (or what I call “radar”) when you are newly dating someone. Be aware of “red flags”. I always say, “People will reveal pretty much everything you need to know about them in 5 dates.” You just have to pay attention, be careful to not drink too much, get into bed too soon, and don’t gloss over something if it doesn’t add up. Also, the more you have in common the better the chance for success. Opposites may attract, but the odds aren’t great that those relationships can last. On the other hand, if you are with the right person, get off on the right foot by discussing life goals, treating each other with kindness and respect, cherishing each other, nurturing the relationship, having fun, and being aware of the reasons why couple breakup.

  • How can people improve their relationship communications skills?

I regularly see couples that are good together in many ways, yet their relationships ends because they are poor communicators.  Anyone can learn how to be a better communicator if they follow a few simple rules:

If something is bothering you that you’d like to discuss with your partner, here are a few suggestions to turn you into a master communicator:

  • Pick your battle – Think before speaking. Are you sure it’s worth bringing this topic up? And if so, what result are you looking for?
  • Choose your moment – Good timing is really important. Ask yourself when might be an effective time to begin this discussion? Don’t start in if your partner is exhausted or in a bad mood, or if you are rushing to get somewhere.
  • Use “I” statements instead of blaming ones – Speak about how you feel. For example, “It hurts my feelings when you say you don’t like to spend time with my friends” as opposed to “You are so antisocial and don’t like anyone, what’s wrong with you?”
  • After you’ve said your piece, sit back quietly and listen.
  • Don’t interrupt – It is rude and will frustrate your partner.
  • Be mindful not to be defensive – Take a deep breath and relax. Behaving in a defensive manner accomplishes nothing positive, and worse, it will aggravate the situation and can cause an escalation.
  • Validate what your partner has said even if you don’t agree. This is a great skill to acquire and it really works well. You can do this by simply repeating back what he or she has said. For example, “I hear that you are saying you do like my friends, but you don’t like to stay out late during the week because it tires you. Is that correct?” This will keep the dialogue going in the right direction.
  • What are some suggestions to help breakup or divorce amicably?

Unfortunately the definition of the word “breakup” doesn’t necessarily connote peace, love and understanding. Still, I always instruct my audience to take the high road (especially if kids are involved). You can be kind and respectful to your partner, even at the end of a committed relationship.  Be mature and tell your partner why you are ending the relationship.  Talk in “I” statements (as opposed to blaming statements). And don’t make poor choices such as getting involved with another partner before your current romance is officially over. You will feel so much better about yourself and your circumstances if you breakup honorably and gracefully.

  • Why is your book geared towards women? Do men not need the support?

Of course men need support, but you can’t be all things to all people. Men and women deal very differently with their emotions. They also heal in diverse ways.  My research uncovered that women prefer to be in a healing circle with women after a breakup, and that’s exactly what I strived to create with “The Breakup Bible.” But stay tuned, there could be a book for men down the pike.

  • How can your friends/family support your after a bad breakup?

Building a support system is crucial after a breakup and I give lots of suggestions on how to do so in “The Breakup Bible”. Family and friends can provide support by validating your experience, offering a shoulder to lean on and an ear to listen to your narrative (talking is important!). They can also help combat loneliness by including you in activities and socializing. And, they can offer humor and hope.

Tell us a bit about your three-phase process of Healing, Understanding, and Transformation.

Recovering from a breakup is like running a marathon as opposed to a sprint. You can recover, but it takes time and hard work. My three phases of Healing, Understanding, and Transformation shape the book in a building-block style that lets the reader move through the process at her own pace.

The main concept behind Healing is that recovery takes time and it can’t be rushed. You must settle into your breakup and start taking excellent care of yourself. You have to build a support system, learn how to navigate your emotions, and if kids are involved, learn how to communicate effectively with your ex.

Understanding why you picked your ex as your lover, how you behaved during the course of your relationship, and how you mourned your breakup, is the lynch pin to a full and healthy recovery.  The explanation and examination of this crucial healing phase is eliminated from all other breakup books on the market. If you press “fast forward” and don’t take the time to fully comprehend these factors, you are endangering yourself to repeat the same patterns and make similar mistakes in all future relationships. You may also be setting yourself up for a life of continual heartache, isolation, depression and disappointment. Skipping this phase and avoiding this revealing work is the main reason why a large percentage of women don’t ever recover from a breakup or divorce. I teach my readers about this through an exercise called, “Creating Your Personal Love Map.” Also, concepts such as taking accountability, letting go, and forgiveness are explored.

In Transformation, the reader is finally out of the depths of her despair. She is now instructed that the past must be left behind, and it’s time to begin building a new life for herself. Many concepts are explored such as rebuilding self esteem, career exploration, volunteerism, expanding your mind, challenging your body, getting a makeover, and finally, dating again. Transformation is a fun section and I give excellent dating advice too.

  • How can someone get over an ex more quickly?

By Reading “the Breakup Bible” and following all of the exercises! It is also helpful if you do not spy on or inquire about your ex. Delete his phone number, de friend him on facebook, take down his photos today.

  • Do you get clients who ask you how to get their ex back, and does that bother you?

No, it doesn’t bother me at all. I have a lot of empathy for people going through a breakup – it’s a very very painful event. If you didn’t end the relationship, it is perfectly normal to want to attempt to get your ex back. Of course my job is to explore the entire relationship with my clients. Often during this process they will realize on their own, over time, that the relationship was broken and needed to end. Once that realization occurs, they will move toward acceptance. That is a powerful moment.

  • If someone is repeating a destructive pattern in their relationships, how do you get them to recognize and correct it?

This is an excellent question and it is discussed in detail in my “Understanding” phase. You can break destructive patterns by creating and interpreting your “Personal Love Map” – my unique and proven exercise which will help you understand why you picked your ex as your lover, how you behaved during the course of your relationship, and how you mourned your breakup. This is the lynch pin to a full and healthy recovery.  These patterns can be broken and once that occurs, it’s thrilling for me to witness people going forward to create much healthier relationships.

  • What advice do you have for managing separations or divorces that involve kids?
  1. After an agreement to divorce has been reached, effectively communicate the circumstances to your children along with your ex.
  • Describe the impending divorce as a unified decision made by adults.
  • Explain the difference between adult love and the love that a parent has for a child. Two very different types of love.
  • Adult love – sometimes it lasts, sometimes it doesn’t.
  • Love for a child – Unconditional. It lasts forever. “We will always love you. We will always be your parents.”
  1. Assure your children that they will be safe.
  • Commit to putting your children’s needs first and settling them in. “Your welfare comes first.”
  • “We will always talk over decisions together that will impact your life.”
  • “Our family is changing, but we are still a family.”
  • Delay dating.
  1. 3.    Agree to be excellent co-parents.
  • Your children didn’t ask for this. You are obliged to be the best parents you can be.
  • Commit to taking the high road and rising above petty concerns.
  • Just because you’re ending your marriage contract doesn’t mean you’re ending your contract to be excellent parents.
  1. 4.    Make a commitment with your ex to never say a bad word about each other to your children.
  • Your child is made up of 50% of each parent. If a parent badmouths the other, the child will experience it as a psychological blow to themselves. “If you hate my dad, you must hate me too.”
  • Badmouthing an ex is very dangerous to your child’s self-worth.
  1. 5.    Put an excellent support system in place for your children.
  • Inform your children’s school and their teachers of the situation.
  • Many schools now offer support groups for children of divorce.
  • Find out what other resources are available to help your kids through what will be a tough time.
  • Socialize with other divorced families to show your kids that they are not strange or different.

 

  • Do you have any last words of advice for our readers who want to move forward from a breakup or divorce?

 

  • Make peace with the concept that full recovery takes time and cannot be rushed.
  • Validate yourself. You are not alone. Millions of people have gone through difficult breakups and divorces and have fully recovered. In time, you will too.
  • Hold on to hope. If you want to recover, and put in the time to do so, you will.
  • Do not run from your feelings. Take the time to sit with and explore them.
  • Build and excellent support system and use it regularly.
  • Commit to fully cutting ties with your ex if you can.  It will accelerate your healing.
  • Do not spy on or inquire about your ex. Delete his phone number, de friend him on facebook, take down his photos.
  • Total recovery requires and honest inventory of your relationship and life history. Pledge to acquire a full understanding about why your relationship actually ended. It will help you build a higher “EQ” (emotional intelligence) and allow you to have enhanced relationships in the future.
  •  Take accountability. You have to understand the part you played in the breakup (even if miniscule) so you do not repeat any negative patterns in future relationships.
  • Don’t date until you are fully recovered.

Tips to Get Past Their Friends by Rachel Khona

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012
We were recently sent Rachel Khona‘s tips below regarding how to get past her friends. It is interesting to have a woman’s view on this topic.
-Cuisine
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Rule # 1 Read the group’s body language
If a group of girls is huddled in deep conversation, do not interrupt. Wait for the conversation to flow into something less intense. You’ll notice a relaxation in their body language and you can use that moment to make your move. Or look for a group of women that actually look like they’re having fun. A good cue would be women standing outwards instead of towards each other, or a group of women laughing. They’ll be more apt to let you in the on conversation, and chances are you’ll enjoy their company a lot more.
Rule #2 Focus your flirting on her
Do not flirt with all of her friends too. Make her feel like the only girl in the world as well.  Otherwise you’ll turn dream girl off, and her friends will just think you’re a player. And when you try to ask her for her number, chances are you’ll get shot down.
Rule #3 Be Friendly
On the flip side, don’t ignore her friends altogether. Being able to talk to everyone at the table shows that you’re comfortable talking women platonically. This is doubly important if she’s only with one other friend. If it’s a group, it’s a different scenario, but if she’s only with one girl, she won’t want to ditch or ignore her. Women often follow the rule “chicks before dicks”. Make nice with her friends and you’ll come across as natural and sociable, rather than a predator.
Rule #4 Treat her like a lady
Once you’ve established a good rapport with the group, ask her if she would like a drink and make sure you pay for it. If she gets up to go to the ladies’ room, hold her chair or bar stool out for her when she comes back. Help her put her coat on if you guys go outside for a smoke. Old-fashioned chivalry can be rare and it will impress the women in spades. Soon enough, you’ll have them all singing your praises. No matter how egalitarian we become in the workplace, in society, in relationships, or anywhere else, women still want to be treated like a lady. Doing any or all of the above shows that you value her and, (after you buy that drink), that you’re anything but cheap.
Rule #5 Don’t let the group shake your confidence
Women can smell insecurity and desperation. Do not allow yourself to be intimidated just because the girl in question is super hot.  If you start acting nervous and jittery around her, her friends will start rolling their eyes and giggling, and you’ll be a goner before you’ve said five sentences. Nobody wants to see their friend with a “mangina”.
Rule #6 Don’t put on a show (of yourself)
Save the braggadocio for your bros. Her friends do not want to hear about your latest merger, your car, your house, and your latest vacation all night long unless you’re trying to pick up gold diggers. You’ll make yourself seem like an insecure, pathetic bore.  Obviously, you do want to talk a little bit about yourself, but not to the point of self-obsession. Everyone likes talking about themselves, so use that to your advantage. Since you’re trying to get her friends on your side, make a point of asking them and her about themselves. They’ll think you’re caring and sensitive. And perfect for their friend.
Rule # 7 Don’t Argue
You may have been on the debate team, but this is not the time to impress her friends with your oration skills. Being passionate is usually a good thing, but not when it makes other people feel uncomfortable, disrespected, or foolish. If a charged topic comes up in the conversation, put in your two cents but do it calmly and but respect what everyone else has to say. Everyone has the right to their opinions, so until you and dream girl have been dating for a while, keep from stirring the pot.