Category: Happiness

Dating: Easy Tips to Find the Right Partner for You

Getting Science, Common Sense and a Sense of Adventure Working for You

In my earlier posts, “Why are Men Frustrated with Dating?” and “Why are Women Frustrated with Dating?” we explored the opinions and frustrations of both men and women when it comes to finding the right person for dating, partnerships and perhaps more.

Take the Innovative Approach

As Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Los Angeles, I counsel singles in individual therapy sessions, that are looking for new and innovative ideas on how to meet the right partner. What I tell them is that they’re on the right track by asking these questions – being innovative is the key word. When you’ve been dating one way for a while and it’s not working, it’s time to start thinking about doing things a little differently. Think outside of the box.

Play to Your Strong Points

If you’ve ever watched The Millionaire Matchmaker, Patty Stanger, in action then you know the kind of poignant questions she asks: “What is it you’re looking for in a mate,” “What is the age range you’re looking to date,” “What type of activities or hobbies do you have that you’d like to share with that someone special?” mostly questions that get to the heart of a person – who they are, what they like, what they’re into and what they’re looking for.

I’m not saying that you should bombard someone with questions like Patty on the first date, but I am stressing that asking the important questions gets you the answers you’re looking for. Yes, you’re on a fact finding mission – the mission is to find out if the person you’re dating has potential. Do you have the same likes, the same hobbies, the same goals.

Be Open to Changing What Hasn’t Worked

Another thing that Patty Stanger stresses is getting to know each other before sex. Actually, Patty suggests no sex before monogamy. This, of course, is a personal choice, but if you find yourself sharing the sheets with people you don’t know very well and then finding your relationships often end in disappointment later (when you learn that sex was about all you had in common) – maybe it’s time to think of a new approach. Why not try something different?

I can identify with Patty – we’re both Los Angeles women, and we both want you to find the right relationship for you. I’m not saying that I’m a matchmaker like Patty, but I am really good at helping you identify your relationship goals and I can suggest ways that you can meet and even exceed those goals. I can also help you gain a new perspective on the whole dating scene.

Love is out there waiting for you, and I can help you figure out how to find it. Make an appointment with me; come to my Los Angeles therapy office and let me help find a little relationship bliss.



Why are Men Frustrated With Dating?

Why Most Men Look at Dating as a No-Win Situation

In my post, “Why are Women Frustrated with Dating?” we discussed the way women often like the “bad boy” over the “safe guy.”  This speaks directly to why men are frustrated with dating, and it’s basically because they feel that finding the balance between being the biologically-attractive sexy guy and the socially-coveted safe guy puts them in a no-win situation.

In my therapy practice in Los Angeles I have worked with countless men who tell me that they find dating a frustrating experience. Not unlike their female counterparts, they feel stuck between a rock and a hard place (no pun intended) – the rock being what society and culture tell them to be:  the chivalrous and thoughtful guy – the safe guy, and the hard place being what women instinctively want in a man:  the go-getter, the assertive one – the bad boy.

Good Guy vs. Bad Boy

In my Los Angeles psychotherapy practice I’m often told that dating can feel like a no-win situation.  Men are often put into these two categories – the “bad boy” or the “good guy” with no wiggle room in between.  And often it’s unclear what a woman is looking for in the beginning, but after a few dates things become clearer.

The assertive one (aka the “bad body”) is a total turn-on for some women in the biological sense, but later on they often get labeled as “jerks” when they can’t make a commitment.   Who wants to make a commitment when you’re considered a jerk?

The “safe guy” or the “good guy” who is a more giving and gracious is often seen as weak and easily taken advantage of.   Men I counsel have told me that being the “good guy” to them, means being respectful, polite and engaging, but they often get treated as if those less-assertive qualities are weaknesses.  In many cases they find themselves under-valued in the dating realm and sometimes they are left behind for more exciting and “greener pastures” (aka the exciting “bad boy”).

For men and women both, dating can often be a confusing struggle.  I often tell both the men and women singles that I counsel in my Los Angeles therapy office to find that middle road between and to be open to more than one or two dates to really see what the other person is about.

It is possible to find joy in dating.  And if you’re someone who is frustrated with dating, don’t give up yet.  Let me show you how to bust those labels and stereotypes wide open and find that fulfilling dating experience. Visit my Los Angeles or Encino therapy office for individual therapy sessions. We can get to the source of the problem together.



Why Are Women Frustrated with Dating?

Why Are Women Frustrated with Dating?

Are Dating Choices Narrowing for Women or is it Just a Sign of Changing Times?

Dating Men with Class

When it comes to dating and the modern woman, there seems to be two major classes of men for them to choose from: The men they’re biologically attracted to and the men who they are culturally attracted to. It all seems so simple, right? So why are women frustrated with dating?

Many women in the dating world say that they are often put in a position where they have to choose between “the bad boy” and “the safe guy.” Is there a happy medium?

While the “bad boy” may stir passion, he often lacks what’s needed for a committed relationship; and while the “safe guy” provides the stability and maturity needed in a lasting relationship he may not always stir the passion that a riskier, bad-boy encounter might. The part that’s got women so frustrated when it comes to dating is when they want the excitement and passion while also wanting the confidence of being in a good dating relationship.

Changing Times

A lot has changed since the days when our grandmothers or even mothers met Mr. Right, got married, had kids and live “happily” ever after.
In a strange turn of events, roles have in some ways changed. By embracing the sexual revolution of the 1960s the mindset of the hunter-gatherer has changed. As women became more independent and equal as a result, the unfortunate price was losing the hunter.

In my Los Angeles therapy practice I often hear women comment on the fact that they’re having trouble meeting emotionally-available men who are also commitment-minded. Women often are attracted to the physically exciting “bad boy” and then try turning him into the “safe guy.” That’s what women find so frustrating with dating.
While women may be fully independent and capable of having a full life on their own, they want the passion and the excitement too. Inevitably they find it in the bad boy. Then they express the desire for it to naturally turn into a relationship, but it doesn’t always turn out that way. But while women may be torn between their biological and their cultural beliefs, is that all that’s going on?

What’s a Woman to Do?

In both my private and couples therapy sessions, I really try to get people to own what they want and to admit it, without feeling shame or feeling like they’re setting the bar too high. If you want to know why women are often frustrated with dating, it’s because they often play down who they are, what they’ve accomplished and even what they’re really looking for in a dating partnership. I say, “Own it.”

This goes back to that whole sexual equality thing. Women who want a relationship sometimes feel that if they show they’re too self-sufficient that it won’t elicit the kind of romantic, knight- in-shining-armor side from their dating partner. I say the more honest we are about who we are and what we’re looking for, the less we’ll be left crying in our coffee when a dating relationship doesn’t work out. If we’re honest and it doesn’t work then we’ll know that it didn’t work because you weren’t incompatible instead of being left saying, “If only I did this (or that) …,” because you can’t just go back and undo what’s already been put out there.

If you’re having trouble relating to the dating scene or you’re just frustrated with dating altogether, I can help you. In this ever-changing world we live in, the rules of dating and the venues upon which we find a date can often be confusing. I can show you how to do it so you get what you’re really looking for in a dating relationship minus the frustration. Let me help you. Visit my Los Angeles or Encino Therapy office for a private, individual session. Learn more about my private sessions here.



5 More Secrets of Happy Couples

5 More Secrets of Happy Couples

Love, Happiness and Togetherness – The Attainable Goals

This post, is a follow up to “5 Secrets of Happy Couples” (read here), published on earlier, sharing more tips and insights on what really makes for a happy couple. Couples that are happy together may not have any big secrets to their success, but they do have important habits and practices that ensure a lasting and happy relationship.  Here are 5  more of those habits and practices, that really contribute to a happy relationship:

  • Common Interests.  It’s okay to have your own things that you like to do, but having common interests will guarantee that you spend time together and ensures that you always have something to share and look forward to. Find a hobby, (i.e. gym, tennis, painting) that you can both enjoy together. Then, make it a habit to do those activities together on a regular basis (once a week).

Whether having common interests was the thing that brought you two together in the first place or not, you can also develop new interests together over time as well.  Most happy couples have like minds, like hobbies or both.

  • Be Sympathetic.  Even happy couples can occasionally disagree.  It’s important to sympathize with your partner’s point of view in addition to having your own opinion. Try to see both sides.  More importantly don’t make an argument into a contest that you have to “win.”  Instead you should strive to come to some mutually-agreeable solution.

Fighting can often become a contest between couples – one habit of happy couples is having the ability to see the other’s point of view and having the willingness to compromise.

  • Forgiveness.  This can be closely related being sympathetic to your partner’s point of view as well as having good communication skills.  Once you forgive someone of doing something, it’s no longer fair game to bring up at a future date. Don’t keep opening up old wounds or you will scar your relationship. Leave past actions in the past.
  • Rituals.  This can be anything from taking a nightly walk in the park to making your romantic partner breakfast in bed on Sundays.  Having some small ritual that only the two of you share can be comforting, reassuring and it will certainly reinforce the bond between you. This ties in closely with developing common interest, and actually doing them together. Spending time with your partner is important to keep your bond strong.
  • Spontaneity.  Being spontaneous is the icing on the cake.  Leave a love note in their briefcase, take a detour from the “usual” and shake things up a bit. Spending date night doing something different than just dinner, can even shake things up. Go to the skating ring, watch a play, or play miniature gold. Be spontaneous and a little silly.  This breeds excitement and wonder and it also tells your partner that you took the time to do something that you knew would make them smile.

There are tons things that can be classified as habits of happy couples.  The overall message is to be mindful of your relationship and to not take it for granted.  Like a beautiful garden that comes back each year, a relationship needs to be cultivated and cared for.

Are you communicating like a happy couple?  If you think you and your partner could benefit from couples therapy, contact my Los Angeles Couples Therapy office to arrange for an appointment.  It’s never too late for love.

 



Willpower Your Way To Happiness

The link between willpower and happiness

Willpower has a strong link to happiness. An experiment by Mischel called the marshmallow test, as seen in the video below, made this link more apparent. This experiment gave children the choice of having one marshmallow immediately or waiting for a period of time and getting two marshmallows. Take a look:

 

Mischel discovered that the children who had been best at delaying gratification at age 4 went on in later life to have the best academic results, to be the most popular, to earn the highest salaries and to have the lowest body mass index BMI compared to their peers in the test. The children with lower self-control tended to be worse off financially, to work in lower paid jobs, to have little money in the bank and to be unlikely to own their own home or to have saved for their retirement.

The evidence is mounting that willpower is a strength worth cultivating. The first step in becoming better at self-control is to set yourself very clear goals and these goals need to be aligned with your values. Here are some steps you can take to start working on your willpower:

  • If you are not clear on your values then take the http://www.viacharacter.org/www/ or http://www.strengthsfinder.com/home.aspx survey to discover what your values are.
  • Set yourself some specific goals which are aligned with these values.
  • Decide on one goal to focus on at a time and get ready to take action.

Once you have your new goals the best way to ensure that you are successful at your will power challenges is to:

  1. Get some exercise- Just 15 minutes on a treadmill can reduce cigarette cravings, for example, and a short brisk walk can reduce the urge to eat chocolate – so every little helps.
  2. Get enough sleep- From a willpower perspective sleep is crucial. If we are suffering from sleep deprivation we are much less likely to meet our willpower challenges (particularly when it comes to resisting almonds in my case).
  3. Relax- Taking time for relaxation every day has huge benefits from the point of view of maximizing your willpower. You do not need to become a mindfulness master in order to reap the benefits of relaxation. Even just relaxing for a few minutes can move your body into a reparative and healing state which enhances your immune function and lowers your stress hormones.

The results are amazing. Small steps can show huge results. Try out these exercises and share your results with us? Have you taken a willpower challenge and succeeded?