Sunday, January 8, 2017
My new article for Psychology Today focuses on the narcissist, that enigmatic personality type that both fascinates and frustrates. Specifically, I address how the root of narcissism isn't feeling superior, bur rather it is the refuse to feel vulnerable which is the pivotal factor in this personality disorder. You can read my article here at Psychology Today.
Wednesday, December 21, 2016
Showtime's "The Affair" chronicles one of the richest, most layered relationships I've ever seen on television or in film. The most recent episode (Season 3, Episode 5) brought too many oh-wow moments to count. The show focuses on the relationship between Noah and Alison, and we finally see Alison gaining insight and maturing while Noah - older and most successful - still stumbles to find himself.
One point that I found especially interesting is how Alison, having been in a mental health treatment facility, at first appears to be the "crazy one" but is actually wiser in many ways than everyone around her. Alison has always been sexualized and seductive, but as she develops her sense of self, she is able to use her words and thoughts instead of her body to connect with men. True, she slept with both Cole and Noah in a short window of time, but you get the sense that she will learn from these mistakes. Cheers to the actors and writers which make this show such good TV!
Thursday, November 3, 2016
Most married couples experience it, the sense that the passion and sexual chemistry have died after many years together. The good news is that it doesn't have to be that way. Though you probably won't resuscitate the same type of passion you had when the two of you first got together, you can practice a few techniques to get some of that sexual interest and excitement back again. Check out my new article for Psychology Today and see what I mean. Article here!
Tuesday, October 18, 2016
Dating situations are tricky, in part, because they sometimes require you to say no or reject someone when you have no interest in hurting anyone's feelings or looking a bad person. The good news is that there are ways that you can say no that still manage to show respect and kindness. I'll show you how to say no respectfully but first I will ask you some questions to get you to think about why people have a hard time saying no in the first place.
Do you need to be liked by everyone?
Men and women who have a hard time saying no often have a deep need to be liked. While it's normal and healthy to want to be liked by the people you have relationships with - family, friends, and so on - it's not normal or healthy to want to be liked by everyone. If you need to be liked by everyone, you are inevitably going to feel stressed because you are trying to pull off the impossible! After all, who really cares if someone you don't know well doesn't like you? They don't even know you, so it doesn't make any sense to take it personally. The first step in learning how to say a "nice no" is to put any need to be liked by everyone to rest.
Do you try hard to look perfect or like one of the nicest people around?
If you have this problem, you know it. What you need to do is remember that the goal is to be good enough - not perfect - and to be nice enough - but not the nicest. Anyone who appears perfect or like the nicest gal or guy is actually working really hard to keep up that image. It's a lot of work, so spare yourself that headache and allow yourself to be flawed (a little) like the rest of the world around you!
The secret reason why some people don't want to say no
If you say no to someone about something specific, you may be afraid that they won't like you or want to be with you anymore. You may have the fear that you will only be liked if you mold yourself into whatever that other person wants you to be. If you say no to a date and let the other person know that you're not interested, you know what's going to happen: they will move on. If you are someone who doesn't want to say no and reject someone, it might not be for purely altruistic reasons; you might actually like the attention and you might not want to say no because you don't want the attention to end. While that it is understandable on a gut level, it's not fair to anyone to keep someone strung along for the sake of your (somewhat needy) ego.
The answer, finally - How to say no with a question
This technique is my favorite way of saying no to anything. You ask me for a date but I'm not interested, so I respond: "Thank you for asking but is it okay if I say no?" By asking the question, you aren't shooting anyone down harshly and you give the other person a sense of control so they don't otherwise have to feel like an idiot. If the person persists and asks why, say this: "I’m not sure exactly, but is that okay?" Again, you ask another question which has the effect of taking the pressure off of you. Very quickly the person will stop asking and will move on, and you won't have said anything mean or hurtful while simultaneously managing to avoid something you don't want to do. When someone asks you to do something that you really don’t want to do, ask “Is it okay if I say no?”
What you shouldn't do when you can't say no
There is no reason why you can't say no using the technique above. It's easy and direct, and you don't have to list a million reasons why you are saying no. What you shouldn't do is postpone dealing with the issue by not saying either yes or no: "Let me think about it;" "I'm not sure;" or "I have to check my calendar." Come on, let’s all degree to be more direct in our communication, especially in dating! It’s already stressful enough to begin with, so let’s not communicate in ambivalent ways and make a challenging process even more challenging. Deal with the question you're asked and say no nicely so that the two of you can move on.
Wednesday, October 5, 2016
Thursday, September 29, 2016
As a rule, there is nothing wrong with a woman dating a younger man. Big age differences definitely bring challenges, so my advice to any woman open to dating younger men is to not date someone more than ten or so years younger. If you want to make it work, keep some basic rules in mind. I have highlighted four mistakes that women sometimes make in dating younger men, and following these rules will prove to your younger guy that you see him as a real person and not an object to be picked off the shelf for play time. Men – and women, too – need to feel respected and valued, and following these suggestions will show him that you care and see him as a real man despite his younger age.
Expecting that younger men will want to be sexual all the time
Sex is an extremely delicate issue in relationships, and the degree to which a person feels sexual and seeks out sexual activity couldn't be more complex. How much you desire sexual activity has to do with your mood disposition, your personality style, and even your biological makeup. Just because a man is younger doesn't mean that he will be very sexual. The notion that young men want sex all the time? It may be true in many cases but it is simply not true in all cases.
Paying for everything
You may have money to share, but oversharing your money with a younger man often causes him to feel powerless or resentful later. It's important that a man - or woman, for that matter - feel purposeful and needed in a relationship. Even if a man does not have much disposable money to spend on a woman, it doesn't mean that he wants to be paid for all the time by a surrogate mommy. Don't make the mistake of believing that he will come to depend on you for your money - and not leave you because of it - because men typically only stay in relationships when their emotional - not financial - needs are being met.
Over-flattering them or talking about them as a "boy toy" in front of others
If you are flattering him or making comments about how attractive or sexy he is in front of your friends or his friends, be careful to not overdo it. If you make these kinds of comments too frequently, the flattery will wear thin quickly and actually start to bother him. Comments that are too sexualized will make him feel like an object or a caricature, and all anyone really wants in the end is to be liked for who they are beneath their skin.
Pressuring him to introduce you to his friends or family
If there's a tiny age difference between the two of you (e.g., zero to several years), the age difference will not make a major difference in the relationship. But if there is a significant age difference, the younger man you are with may feel nervous about what others may say about him. Understand that his anxiety is not about you, but rather his fear that others may see him as powerless in the relationship because he is younger (and typically) less established in his career and finances. If he doesn’t want to meet your friends or family members in the first few months, don’t pressure him. He may change his mind as long as you don’t pressure him to do so.
How do you make it work with a younger man?
The savviest strategy you can follow is to treat him like a man who happens to be a certain number of years younger, but who inspires and excites you emotionally like a male peer your own age. In other words, don't focus on or talk too much about the age difference so that you can focus instead on your shared interests. After all, it's liking the same sorts of things - activities and hobbies - that keeps people together for years to come.