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?”
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:
Control Situations Capacity to Relate
Presenting Component Receiving Vessel
Initiator of Life Producer of Life
Be Directive Give Direction
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.
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