Monthly Archives: March 2016

The secret to success in relationship

images-40Simone has been dating Jake for several   months. Every time they get together it’s wonderful – he’s sensitive and open, thesex is great. But then he’s gone – no contact for a couple of weeks, then he’s back, two dates nights in the same week, then back a week later, then nothing for 3 weeks. Simone feels like she is on a rollercoaster. She obsesses about him when he’s gone, but is afraid that if she pushes for any regularity or, God forbid, commitment he’ll bolt.

The problem here is that the relationship is Jake’s not Simone’s. He’s setting the pace, the rules of engagement, and she is essentially is taking what she gets. There are a couple of dynamics at work here that are keeping it in this stalemated position.

One is that intermittent reinforcement at play. There is no pattern, Simone is constantly off-balance. Just when she might reach her bottom-line – that Jake is always gone for weeks at a time and she is fed up – he instead shows up. Each time they have two dates in the same week, her brain starts thinking that this is the beginning of a possible change. This trying to connect dots that aren’t there both feeds her obsessing and keeps her emotionally hooked.

The other is that by taking what she gets, by her fear of rocking the boat and making demands, she is not actually getting to explore the relationship or Jake. The purpose of dating is to get to know someone, to see if you are truly compatible. An easy mistake to make is to stay in good dating behavior mode for too long. Both individuals let things go rather than speaking up, they accommodate rather than taking the risk of letting the other person know what they like, don’t like, need. The fact that they are not living together allows the distance to dissipate what might ordinarily become a source of tension.

So how does Simone not settle, make the relationship more her own, change the rules of engagement? Four steps:

She needs to decide what she really wants.

Simone needs to move from being reactive to being proactive, and before she can do that she needs to decide what she really wants. Is she wasting her time with Jake? That’s up to her. She may be fine right now with the excitement without the commitment, or no, she wants to settle into a permanent relationship. She is the only one who can set her own priorities and for this she needs to step back and take a look at what she really needs and wants right now.

She needs to be assertive with Jake.

This is the only way of changing the rules of the game. Simone needs to have input. This does not mean that she needs to lay down a list of demands that she wants Jake to follow. It’s all about the process. She needs to explain to Jake how she feels, that she wants to sensitive to his own fears and hesitations. What they need to discover is whether she can be more honest and whether they as a couple can truly compromise and solve problems. She needs to discover through the process whether Jake, because he cares about her, is willing to listen and make some changes. If she doesn’t she has no way of understandingJake, testing what the relationship can or cannot be. She’ll stay treading water.

She needs to diversify.

Simone is putting all her emotional eggs in the one basket that is Jake, which fuels her obsessions and riding the rollercoaster. It would help her feel less trapped, have a better perspective if she can create other baskets. This may be dating other men, it may be not waiting around to see if he calls on a Saturday and instead make plans to go out with friends. Continuing to take what she gets, staying reactionary will only keep her emotionally dependent and unhappy.

She needs to work on her stuckpoints.

This is likely not the first time that Simone has gone-along-with in a relationship. She may do the same with friends, at work. This is not about her relationship with Jake but about her, her high tolerance for accommodation. Even if Jake feels like too big an emotional challenge to take on right now, she can practice speaking up and being assertive with friends, with colleagues from work.

It doesn’t matter where she starts. Her goal is to practice taking risks, however small, as long as they help her step outside her comfort zone. With practice and successful experiences under her belt, her self confidence will increase. Even if Jake eventually fades away, she will have the tools to run her next relationship better.

What are you thinking about marriage in little age

This is the first of a two-part blog on how we may unwittingly enable our spouses to be either too responsible, or under-responsible. In Part I, I will focus on how over-responsible spouses play a direct role in allowing their partners to do less, while burdening themselves. In Part II, I will examine the ways in which less responsible spouses put over-responsible mates to work, and the developmental price they pay for their irresponsibility.

It’s alarmingly common to be presented in marital therapy with an over-responsible mate married to an under-responsible one. It’s a dynamic similar too Sager and Hunt’s (1979) parental-childlike relationship. Over-responsible partners are easy to spot. After all, they’ve initiated the therapy. The under-responsible may request treatment but usually under duress from the over-responsible. The over-responsible have a tendency to readself-help books and relentlessly cajole the under-responsible to do the same…which rarely works. The over-responsible aren’t always the bread winners, but many are. They tend to initiate sex…and just about everything else. The over-responsible almost always appear exhausted and exasperated in treatment; by the time they get to my office they are fed up and threatening separation or divorce.

The over-responsible have plenty of training before they marry. Oftentimes they were parentified in their families of origin or given age-inappropriate responsibility (Betchen, 1996; Boszormenyi-Nagy, 1965). For example, as a child or adolescent the over-responsible mate may have had sick parents or siblings that merited care. In some cases, they were enlisted, as the eldest or most competent children, by infantile or irresponsible parents who encouraged them to take over parental duties. One client reported that her parents immigrated to the United States but failed to assimilate. She said that from the time she was a little girl she served as her parent’s mediator and interpreter. And some over-responsible mates were born of elderly parents who chronically depended on them. Sounds exhausting doesn’t it? In extreme cases it robs one of childhood. But upon closer look, the over-responsible often mightily contribute to their burdens.

It seems the over-responsible relish being in charge despite the load they claim it to be. And therein lies the rub: The over-responsible spouse wants it all: to be in charge with less stress and responsibility—a real conflict. And they happen to be terrible at compromise. One chief defense is to say that they would gladly give up some responsibility but fear the job wouldn’t get done. What they really mean is that nobody can do it the way they can—a nice way to stay miserably in charge. The over-responsible will be the first to tell you how they do most, if not all of the chores in the house. They fail to admit however, that at times they block anyone else from taking over. When they do give others a chance to help, they can be so critical, their help quits. The over-responsible are famous for firing maid after maid or rendering their assistants at work useless. Over-responsible spouses are somewhat sadomasochistic. Their sadism comes out in the hypercritical, belittling of their spouse and the thwarting of their growth. The masochism is displayed in the enormous burden and stress that they put on themselves by rejecting significant relief. I use the word significant because another defense the over-responsible use is to accept a certain amount of help, but not nearly enough to change the dynamic of their relationships in any significant way.

I want to make it clear that I’m not suggesting that the over-responsible are terrible people. They can be extremely competent, “take charge” individuals who get things done. They’ve been trained from a very early age to be great administrators, and if they don’tburn out too young they can be quite successful. Many also have very good hearts and mean well. Some over-responsible spouses are simply victims of bad luck or circumstances, such as the chronic illness of a spouse or child. Nevertheless, they still remain poor at lightening their loads. It’s not hard to feel sorry for someone who has such difficulties setting limits. From what I can tell, most of their enabling is unconscious.

The cause of Sexual Imperialism

unduhan-92“Me love you long time” is a phrase often used when referring to foreign Asian women and sex.  It may or may not be explicitly associated with illicit sex but the clear underlying message is that the Asian woman’s role is to sexually serve the man.  She is to be docile, unassuming, exotic and demure — yet wildly sexual and uninhibited.  A woman with “slanted eyes and creamy yellow thighs” (lyrics from “Asian Girlz” song) to be tamed and devoured by the white man.

If you ask anyone younger than 30 where the roots are from the line, “Me love you long time”, you’d probably get a blank stare.  They may think it’s just broken English from an Asian women who is truly trying to express genuine affection to someone in English.  The reality is that this phrase, “Me love you long time” is not “I love you” coming out awkwardly in an Asian accent.  Instead, it’s a phrase popularized by Stanley Kubrick’s 1987 movie, Full Metal Jacket, where the line itself is taken from the scene where a Vietnamese woman propositions herself to two American GIs.

The movie’s objective was in capturing the essence and impact of the Vietnam War based on the experiences of a U.S Marines Corps platoon.  The term has since become a popular part of American lexicon spoken with limited insight to the past or a desire to ignore the realities of the present.

The scene unfortunately speaks the ugly truth about collateral damage in wars, especially U.S. military occupation overseas in Asian countries.  The first major American White sexual imperialism occurred during the Philippine-American War (1899-1902).  The Filipinos fought from being colonized by the U.S. but 250,000 lost lives later, they succumbed to the might of America’s military.  While the actual war only lasted three years, there were insurrections and rebellions along the way that kept a large number of American soldiers stationed on the island for more than a decade.  Slash and burn techniques swept across villages as the country lay in waste.  When the soldiers tired of wreaking havoc on the land, this same imperialistic mentality to conquer shifted to the local Filipina women who they referred to as, “little brown fucking machines powered by rice.” *

Filipino women were viewed so subservient and subordinate, not only to White men but also to White women, that U.S. soldiers sexually denigrated them in a way they would never have treated their spouses or other women back home.  “Filipina sex workers, for example, frequently report ‘being treated like a toy or a pig by the American [soldiers] and being required to do ‘three holes’ – oral, vaginal and anal sex.” *

It was this American colonialization period during the turn of the 20th century that gave rise to today’s notorious sex entertainment industry in Asia.  Sex and prostitution sprang up to cater to the American military amidst the backdrop of political and economic plight, despair, and poverty where a man could have “a girl for the price of a hamburger”.*

A few decades later, during the Vietnam War, this only intensified as the conflict took a long and brutal toll on the U.S. military and the American psyche back home.  But on the battlefield, the mind of the fighting soldier must be protected and preserved at all costs, even at the cost of Vietnamese or Thai women and girls.  Consequently, several military bases were stationed in Thailand to shelter up to 70,000 American GIs at any given time for “rest and recreation”.  “With pervasive disregard for human rights, the military grimly accepts and recognizes access to indigenous women’s bodies as a ‘necessity’ for American GIs stationed overseas”. *

Online Dating Tips

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and conventional wisdom both suggest that love is a fundamental human need. Most people meet their significant others through their social circles or work/school functions. However, these pools can be relatively shallow. In the search for a potential date, more and more people are switching to less traditional methods.

Online dating is really popular. Using the internet is really popular. A survey conducted in 2013 found that 77% of people considered it “very important” to have their smartphones with them at all times. With the rise and rise of apps like Tinder (and the various copycat models) who could blame them.  If you want to think about dating as a numbers game (and apparently many people do), you could probably swipe left/right between 10 – 100 times in the span of time that it would take you to interact with one potential date in ‘real-life’.

With the popularity of sites like eHarmony, match.com, OKcupid  and literally thousands of similar others, the stigma of online dating has diminished considerably in the last decade. More and more of us insist on outsourcing our love-lives to spreadsheets and algorithms. According to the Pew Research Center, the overwhelming majority of Americans suggest that online dating is a good way to meet people. Interestingly, more than 15% of adults say that they have used either mobile dating apps or an online dating site at least once in the past. Online dating services are now the second most popular way to meet a partner.

The popularity of online dating is being driven by several things but a major factor is time. Online dating presents an effective solution to a serious problem.

Browsing profiles isn’t nearly as time-consuming (or daunting) as mixing with people in a social context. Statistics suggest that about 1 in 5 relationships begin online nowadays. It’s estimated that by 2040, 70% of us will have met our significant other online.

The problem with a lot of online dating applications is that they don’t really work. Many are just ‘fad’ applications that squeeze money from punters with no intention of matching you with a suitable partner. Before you throw caution to the wind and empty your wallet into the pockets of an online app with the reckless abandon of a love-struck teenager, there are a few things you should know.

1. People lie on their online dating profiles

Ok this is hardly an earth-shattering revelation. Well duh, people want to be appealing. Most people probably wouldn’t be surprised to learn that it’s more common for people to lie in their online profile than be completely honest.

A study of over 1,000 online daters in the US and UK conducted by global research agency OpinionMatters founds some very interesting statistics. A total of 53% of US participants admitted to having lied in their online dating profile. Women apparently lied more than men, with the most common dishonesties being about looks. Over 20% of women posted photos of their younger selves. But men were only marginally better. Their most common lies revolved around their financial situation, specifically, about having a better job (financially) than they actually do. More than 40% of men indicated that they did this, but the tactic was also employed by nearly a third of women.