Everything You Thought About LOVE Is Wrong

Aziz Ansari, a comedian who starred on NBC’s Parks and Recreation just wrote a book along with sociologist Eric Klinenberg on the subject of love, and why people have such a hard time finding it. The authors point out that since the mid 1940’s the number one way of meeting your match has been through “friends” (or matchmakers). It became increasingly more likely that you would meet your match this way until the late nineties when it suddenly started becoming more likely that you would meet your match online or at a bar or restaurant. Over the last 15-20 years the fastest growing way of meeting people has been online, but thanks to mobile tech disrupting online dating, it has plateaued and more couples started meeting their match again in a restaurant/bar than online. Although their data only goes back to 2010, I have no doubt that in light of recent research on Tinder the likelihood of meeting a match for a relationship online is only diminishing.

There was a brief period of time when more couples met online than in person. Once it went from plausible, to likely that you would meet your match online, suddenly the thought that you could meet your match in a bar/restaurant didn’t seem so unlikely. Heck, if I could meet the love of my life online why couldn’t I meet them in a bar?

Well if you are looking for love in all the wrong places and you are determined to meet your match one way or another I think it all just boils down to economics. If producing a meaningful relationship is the goal, what is the most efficient and effective way of achieving it? In other words, how much capital and labor do you have at your disposal?

I approach love like business, as I should. I am in the business of love. Ultimately we are the CEOs of our love lives. This is not a role that can be relinquished or reassigned as long as we are unwed. So I instruct every one of my clients to write a Mission Statement for their love life. Only after putting the goal into perspective can you assess your likelihood of achieving it. Share the mission with others. Seek objective criticism. If your objective seems feasible and you have determined the mission, the next step is to perform a classic SWOT analysis.

Once you’ve given yourself the stark self-assessment it takes for any business, individual or organization to grow, and you’ve accounted for your resources (capital and labor), you can develop concurrent strategic initiatives that must be followed in order to achieve your goal. I always encourage clients, family, fans and friends to make one of those initiatives enlisting the support of others. After all, its the been the number one way to meet your match for over 70 years.

If you have the means to hire professionals to assist you your chance are better than most. Just be sure to do your homework first and work with a firm that has a proven track record of success like ours. If you can’t afford the services of seasoned search agents like Master Matchmakers, the least you can do is find a friend or family member to venture out in public with so you can seek chemistry on sight. My only recommendation is that no matter where you meet someone get to know them in Love Lab first so you can be sure there is chemistry and trust before going on a date.

Top 5 Reasons Why People Cheat

I have many clients emotionally scarred from relationships that ended with infidelity, an affair, unfaithfulness, cheating, adultery or whatever you want to call it. Most of the time they struggle to understand why it happened, how it happened and whether or not it could have been avoided. From the perspective of someone who has never cheated, it seems unthinkable. From the perspective of someone who has cheated, it may seem like anything but. Here are the top five reasons why men and women cheat.

5. They are insecure. There are few things in this world more gratifying than being desired by someone. The validation we get from this is hard to match. Often one strays from a relationship because they are anxious and restless in the situation they are in. They require stimulation and constant attention to calm their nerves. Even a terrific partner can be helpless in this situation.

4. They are unsatisfied. Even men and women with a healthy appetite for sex are frequently unsatisfied. Despite their best effort to stay focused and faithful to one person they find themselves wanting more than what they have. They feel deserving of a more-than-adequate sex life and will even stray with no intentions of jeopardizing their relationship just to get enough satisfaction that they need. 

3. They are insatiable. Hypersexual people don’t always meet their match. Even when their partner performs more than they want to this individual is still hungry for sex. Their thirst for sexual gratification can never be quenched and they will be incapable of maintaining a healthy relationship until they are able to deal with their addiction.

2. They are sociopaths. By definition this person lacks a conscience. Even if they may seem capable of empathy, they are merely acting and are always looking out for their own best interests. Sociopaths are master manipulators because they are more deceiving than narcissists. A narcissist may be completely unaware of their inability to feel. They deny remorse or gratitude. Sociopaths can seem to feel bad and can pretend to be grateful or remorseful, but they most certainly are not.

And the number one reason why men or women cheat, is because…

1. They want out. Because cheating is the ultimate show of disrespect and one of the most difficult things to forgive someone for, it is by far the easiest way to end a relationship. What’s there to talk about? Could you have driven them away? Possibly, but what difference does it make? Clearly this person is insecure, unsatisfied, insatiable, or sociopathic. Isn’t it also clear that they whether they want to admit it or not, they want out of the relationship?

Ultimately I beg my clients not to blame themselves. Either you acknowledge that you trusted and respected someone you shouldn’t have, or you accept the fact that they were too insecure or too self-centered to be in a relationship with you or anyone else. What you should never do is blame yourself.

 

The Secret to a Satisfying Sex Life

 

Countless relationships end due to infidelity. Men and women cheat because they are insecure, unsatisfied, insatiable or sociopathic. There’s little accounting for the sex addicts or social deviants of the world, but there is a secret to satisfying those with a healthy appetite for sex, and to keeping them committed over the long run.

Because many couples become physically intimate before they’re emotionally intimate, both people usually operate under a lot of assumptions. All too often sex happens prematurely and it sets the stage for discourse before a relationship ever has a chance to really start. Early on its important to share what’s need to know, but it’s equally as important not to share too much information. Communicating your wants and needs is as essential to the success of a relationship as is having mutual respect and trust. And I think you should want, and need to be exclusive if you want, and need mutual respect and trust. 

Once you’ve agreed to only sleep with each other you will instantly increase your level of intimacy both physically and emotionally. Anxiety is relieved and sexual satisfaction is more likely. But just because you’re sexually exclusive doesn’t mean you’re fully committed. Yes, monogamy is necessary to being committed (in most cases) but a commitment involves much, much more. 

When you make a commitment you are promising to be there for someone through thick and thin. You invite greater expectations to be placed on yourself, not just by your partner, but by others as well. When you’re exclusive you’re merely agreeing not to do things behind the other person’s back and to keep things between the two of you. The exclusive stage is the time you take to focus on opening up and becoming totally intimate with someone. Only after you’ve done that should you dive into a commitment. 

By the time you’ve committed to someone you should have discussed your sexual history and shared all the things that you would only share with your lover. If you had been a victim of abuse or someone had cheated on you in the past, your partner ought to know. If you have a communicable STD your partner ought to know. If you have a fetish or fantasy, your partner ought to know. Over time as couples become more committed and more invested in their relationship they must also become more open and more honest with each other. I would be remiss if I said this is easy. To keep the spark alive you must want to keep the spark alive. You must try to keep it alive and your partner must feel like you are trying. Even if you don’t want to entirely play out their fantasy you can pretend to. Sometimes just giving your partner the thought and feeling that you want to fulfill their fantasy is enough to keep them satisfied over the long run. 

If you would like personal support, direction or guidance in your love life please complete our Getting Started form and one of our client coordinators will contact you.

Moving from Text to Real-Life Interaction

Steven Ward nice dateMany people find it difficult to move from text message and social media interactions with people they are interested in into real life interaction and conversation. This is not unusual at all. It seems that these days, many people would rather text than talk. Because of how ubiquitous texting, emailing, and social media updating is in our daily lives, sometimes it can be uncomfortable to vocalize yourself instead. When people get too used to communicating electronically, they seem to forget the basics of conversation. If this has been a problem for you, here are a few important things to keep in mind.

First, remember to not make it about you. Make it about her. You can start with something simple, the subject of her career for example, but don’t dwell on it forever or very soon you will find yourself in the friend zone. After that, ask noninvasive questions. For the most part, women love to talk about their family, their friends, and their pets. If they ask you a question you’re uncomfortable with, just provide a pleasant answer and pivot back to them. Turn the tables and ask something that is easy to answer to change the subject.

Let her do more of the talking. If you catch her fidgeting, slouching, playing on her phone, making less eye contact, or generally looking less comfortable, it means you’re losing her. Find out what she’s passionate about and hone in on it. Do your best to learn as much as you can about what she cares about. Let her go on for as long as she likes, but remember to participate in conversation, too.

Those are a few “Do’s.” Now here are a few “Don’ts.”  Unless you’ve slept with her already, don’t make sexual innuendos. Don’t discuss — or at the very least — don’t dwell on your ex. Don’t debate politics or religion, and, at all costs, don’t be negative.

Three Dating Issues

Steven Ward couple-on-a-dateDating While Unemployed

Without a doubt, the number one thing that women expect when meeting someone is gainful employment.  If you find yourself in a position where a woman wants to get to know you better, but you happen to be out of work, the best thing to do is to own up to your current situation. It is also important to put a positive spin on things.  With that said, don’t embellish or make excuses. That will only make matters worse.  Tell her that you are currently exploring your options and want to be sure that the next position you take is one that challenges, motivates, and satisfies you. Having a plan is always attractive, so be sure to let her know what you are doing to secure your next opportunity, whether it’s going back to school, tapping into your network, working with a recruiter, or going into another line of work altogether.  Just remember, above all else, to be honest and to be confident.

Steven Ward talk-to-womenApproaching Women

Many guys find that they can approach girls when they are in a group setting, but that when they are flying solo they have trouble going up to talk to them.  Here are a few tips to keep in mind when you’re getting ready to approach someone of interest: Don’t catch them off guard or seem like you’re stalking them;  Make eye contact, but don’t stare;  Smile and project confidence.

Once you both have recognized each other’s presence, it’s time to make your approach. Casually close the gap between the two of you and get within chatting distance. In the words of my old high school football coach, “use the KISS method: Keep It Simple, Stupid!” Don’t try to appear too witty and don’t be pushy.  Open with a simple question in the context of the surroundings – “Excuse me, do you happen to know the bartender’s name? I can’t seem to get his attention,” or something along those lines.  Ask questions that aren’t easily Google-able, and that won’t seem too out of the blue.

If she engages, introduce yourself, pay her a compliment, and assume she’s unavailable – “I’m sorry, I should introduce myself.  And you are? You seem like a great catch, is your husband or boyfriend going to appear any second?”  If she tells you she’s available, it should be smooth sailing. If she confirms your assumption that she’s spoken for already, tell her, “Well, he’s obviously a lucky guy. Have a great night.” And get out of there.

Also keep in mind that pickup lines rarely work.  And, as always, it’s important to be confident.  If you feel awkward, she will definitely feel awkward.

Steven Ward Dating-CoupleDating Someone Who Is Recently Divorced

Someone recently asked me a question on this subject, so I think it would be worth sharing it here with my response.

Hey Steve,

I’m dating a woman that I care about, but I found out she got a divorce two months ago. Am I her rebound? It seems too quick for her to be dating already.

You can’t rush to judgment. Without knowing the circumstances, it’s hard to say. You must consider a few things: Did she decide to end it? Did he? Was someone unfaithful? Did they grow apart? Could it be all of the above?

You must be sure to let her know how you feel. Tell her that you really care about her, and that you want her to do what’s best for her own well-being. If you’re ready to be in a relationship and she isn’t, or vice versa, it’s important for each of you to know where the other stands. Respect her privacy, her space, her time, and her boundaries. Showing your appreciation for these things will only help.

Most men and women I know who have ever been married actually enjoyed it. Whether they enjoyed their spouse, however, is another issue. The point is that she might prefer to be with someone than without someone. She may want the time and space to rediscover herself, or she may prefer the closeness and companionship that comes with a relationship. The only way to find these things out for sure is to discuss your hopes, your fears, your thoughts, and your feelings.  The things you want to happen won’t just happen on their own.

Proof That Soul Mates Don’t Exist

According to a recent study published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology scientists concluded through a series of experiments that:

• Framing love as perfect unity can hurt relationship satisfaction.

• It hurts relationship satisfaction only in conflicts, not in celebrations.

• This content dependency supports metaphorical framing, not metaphorical transfer.

• Metaphorical framing effects are limited to targets to which frames are applicable.

What does that mean in laymen’s terms? It means that when you fight, and you’re the kind of person who considers someone your “soul mate”, your relationship satisfaction will be negatively impacted much more than if you simply had an idealistic frame of your partnership – you’re two individuals on a parallel path. This makes perfect sense. Why?

If you truly believe in the Myth of Romantic Love you will have a greater crisis of confidence and question your faith whenever a fight occurs. When you frame your partnership more realistically and fight, you’ll simply wonder whether or not this person is right for you. So what are we to do?

A study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology concluded, “that satisfaction is associated with idealistic, rather than realistic, perceptions of one’s partner”. In other words, it is imperative to focus on the positive and train yourself to idealize your partner. You must intentionally marginalize their shortcomings. But that doesn’t mean you should turn a blind eye to obvious issues. In this study researchers concluded that people who idealized their spouses when they married (focused primarily on their good qualities) were more likely to still be happy with their partner years later.

In my opinion these two studies suggest how important it is to maintain positivity, optimism and hope. However, considering the relationship preordained can detrimental. Balance your expectations and desires carefully or beware of the consequences.

SBW

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To read the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology study please click HERE.

To read the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology study please click HERE.

To read about The Myth of Romantic Love please click HERE.