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February 2011
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The Singing Butler

Sex and Morality: A Debate Between Competing Neurons


Morality lies not where we think it does.

Boomerang! The short story of a divorce, reconciliation, and remarriage


A woman’s hard questions bring her back to her ex-husband.

Stepfamily, Blended Family, Remarried Family or Married with Baggage Family?


Sally Connolly, LCSW, LMFT Updated: Jan 26th 2011


What do you call yourselves?


What do you call the person who is married to your parent?


How do you refer to your spouse’s children?


What you call yourselves affects the way that you relate to others in your family.


Think about it. The term, “stepfamily” tends to have negative or evil connotations. How would you describe one of the most famous stepfamilies … Cinderella’s family? Most people automatically think of wicked stepmothers and stepsisters.


The term “blended family” has problems of its own. The dictionary definition of blending is “to create a harmonious effect or result” and in many remarried families, harmony might not be noticed very often at all! It is extremely difficult for many families to “blend”. Relationships are complicated and feelings, history and loyalties make blending impossible for a large percentage of stepfamilies.


Remarried family numbers are growing. In a nationwide Pew research study released recently, 42 percent of 2,700 adults polled said that they had at least one step-relative. Three in 10 have stepsiblings or half-siblings, 18 percent have a living stepparent, and 13 percent have at least one stepchild.


More of these newly constituted families also come from single adults with children who had previous relationships but never married.


Unrealistic expectations are common.


Setting unrealistic expectations, which the idea of “blending” seems to do, invites family members to expect that everyone will get along, like, and maybe even love each other … and be as happy as the two adults who fell in love and married.


Read in Full:

http://www.mentalhelp.net/poc/view_doc.php?type=doc&id=41781&cn=51


Men More Likely To Stick With Girlfriends Who Sleep With Other Women Than Other Men


Article Date: 30 Jan 2011 – 0:00 PST


Men are more than twice as likely to continue dating a girlfriend who has cheated on them with another woman than one who has cheated with another man, according to new research from a University of Texas at Austin psychologist.


Women show the opposite pattern. They are more likely to continue dating a man who has had a heterosexual affair than one who has had a homosexual affair.


The study, published last month in the journal Personality and Individual Differences, provides new insight into the psychological adaptations behind men’s desire for a variety of partners and women’s desire for a committed partner. These drives have played a key role in the evolution of human mating psychology.


“A robust jealousy mechanism is activated in men and women by different types of cues – those that threaten paternity in men and those that threaten abandonment in women,” says Jaime C. Confer, the study’s lead author and a doctoral candidate in evolutionary psychology.


Confer conducted the study with her father, Mark D. Cloud, a psychology professor at Lock Haven University in Pennsylvania.


The researchers asked 700 college students to imagine they were in a committed romantic and sexual relationship with someone they’ve been dating for three months. They were then asked how they would respond to infidelity committed by the imagined partner.


Read in Full:

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/215074.php


The Influence Of Parental Choice On Mate Guarding


Article Date: 03 Feb 2011 – 1:00 PST


Mate guarding is classified as excessive or unwarranted jealous or protective behavior towards a spouse or mate. This is common among many different species and can be useful to defend territory, guarantee paternity, or prevent disease. The authors of a new study published in Personal Relationships have discovered that this behavior is more common in societies which practice arranged marriages or in cultures that place a high value on parental influence in the choice of mate for their children. Furthermore, the authors comment on the fact that mate guarding is not an exclusively male phenomenon, and women can be just as forceful in protecting their monogamous relationships.


In many cultures, rules, behavioral practices, and physical measures, including veiling and walled courtyards, have been applied to prevent contact between women and potential sexual partners. The current findings indicate that the occurrence of mate guarding is more prevalent in Muslim, Indian, Chinese, Turkish, Moroccan, and South Asian societies.


Read in Full:

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/215466.php


Can Genetics Influence Romance?


By Rick Nauert PhD Senior News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on January 14, 2011


A new laboratory study on fruit flies may lead to a new way of looking at social behavior.


Texas A&M scientists believe the discovery that certain genes become activated in fruit flies when they interact with the opposite sex can change the way human dating and courtships are viewed.


Their research shows that our romantic courtship behaviors may be far more influenced by genetics than previously thought.


In addition, understanding why and how these genes become activated within social contexts may also lead to future insights into disorders such as autism.


“Be careful who you interact with,” said Ginger E. Carney, Ph.D. “The choice may affect your physiology, behavior and health in unexpected ways.”


To make this discovery, the scientists compared gene expression profiles in males that courted females, males that interacted with other males, and males that did not interact with other flies. The investigators identified a common set of genes that respond to the presence of either sex.


Read in Full:

http://psychcentral.com/news/2011/01/13/can-genetics-influence-romance/22641.html


Marriage Good For Men Physically And Women Mentally, Both Live Longer


rate icon Editor’s Choice

Article Date: 29 Jan 2011 – 9:00 PST


Marriage does not only increase male and female longevity, but also tends to benefit wives mentally and husbands physically, researchers from Cardiff University, Wales, wrote in the BMJ (British Medical Journal. The authors include both the “smug marrieds” and those in long-term committed relationships.


Authors David Gallacher and John Gallacher wrote:


“. . . on balance, it is probably worth making the effort.”

The authors believe males benefit from long-term stable relationships because their lifestyles are conducive to better health, compared to other men, and. . . . :


“. . . . the mental bonus for women may be due to a greater emphasis on the importance of the relationship.”

True love does not necessarily run smoothly in all cases, the authors added, relationships during the teen years are linked to a greater risk of adolescent depressive symptoms, this improves as people get older.


18 to 25 year olds tend to enjoy better mental but not physical health if they are in a romantic relationship.


Read in Full:

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/215132.php


Double-Dating Improves Romance


By Rick Nauert PhD Senior News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on February 11, 2011


To get out of a romantic rut, a new study by a Wayne State University professor recommends that dating couples to integrate other couples into their social circle.


Richard B. Slatcher, Ph.D., found that couples that spend quality time with other couples are more likely to have happy and satisfying romantic relationships.


His study, “When Harry and Sally met Dick and Jane: Experimentally creating closeness between couples,” which recently appeared in Personal Relationships, investigated 60 dating couples in a controlled laboratory setting.


The study looked at how friendships between couples are formed, and how these friendships affected each couple’s romantic relationship.


Each couple was paired with another couple and given a set of questions to discuss as a group. Half of the groups were given high-disclosure questions intended to spark intense discussion, while the other half were given small-talk questions that focused on everyday, unemotional activities.


Read in Full:

http://psychcentral.com/news/2011/02/11/double-dating-improves-romance/23418.html


The Science of Romance: The Love Drug


By Therese J. Borchard


On the comment box of my post “The Emotional Affair,” Beyond Blue reader Michael wrote:


I’m totally confused and caught up in this person. Some years go by without us speaking, but we always come back to each other. Convenience, you say, or possibly hoping for the best. I don’t now. The problem is that I’m hopelessly in love with this person and willing to give up all in every way there needs. But relationships are severely limited. You can justify anything in this world, especially the things you want most. The feeling of love is exceedingly strong and seductive, as is the feeling to be needed and to be loved. So I search spiritually, mentally …


If you read all the comments on the affair post and others like “12 Ways to End Addictive Relationships,” you might curse God for creating romance. After all, it’s like a drug (quite literally with all the dopamine and oxytocin that infatuation dumps into our systems) that drives us to do crazy things, like drive across the country in diapers (remember… the astronaut?).


Because I’ve read so many tales of heartaches from Beyond Blue readers, and I want to know what, if anything, I should say, I studied Time Magazine’s special issue awhile back on love and chemistry. The science of romance is fascinating to me because for some susceptible people, the rush involved in new love mimics a good buzz from drugs. Addiction is born very easily in the body of a person who craves the ecstasy created by elevated levels of dopamine and oxytocin in our blood.


Let me excerpt some important paragraphs from Jeffrey Kluger’s article “Why We Love” for people like Michael so he can learn about the different places inside our brains those idealizations and love fantasies make and how they infect his blood with potentially dangerous chemicals:


Read More:

http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2011/02/11/the-science-of-romance-the-love-drug/


Racial Divide for Online Dating?


By Rick Nauert PhD Senior News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on February 14, 2011


On-line dating appears to be as segregated as the real world, say researchers from the University of California, Berkeley.


Researchers gathered information from more than 1 million profiles of singles looking for love online.


They learned that whites overwhelmingly prefer to date members of their own race, while blacks, especially men, are far more likely to cross the race barrier.


The Berkeley scientists analyzed the racial preferences and online activity of people from the United States who subscribed between 2009 and 2010 to a major Internet dating service.


In their profiles, the online daters stated a racial preference. Some said they preferred to date only within their race, others preferred someone outside their race, and yet others said they were open to dating someone of any race.


Researchers were then able to compare the online daters’ stated preferences with whom they actually contacted for a date, and they found profound differences between blacks and whites.


“Those who said they were indifferent to the race of a partner were most likely to be young, male and black,” said Dr. Gerald Mendelsohn, lead lead author of the study, which will soon be submitted for publication.


Overall, he said, “Whites more than blacks, women more than men and old more than young participants stated a preference for a partner of the same race.”


Read in Full:

http://psychcentral.com/news/2011/02/14/racial-divide-for-online-dating/23469.html


The Letter

If Your Romantic Partner Recovers Well From Conflict, You Reap The Benefit: New University Of Minnesota Study


Article Date: 14 Feb 2011 – 2:00 PST


People searching for fulfilling and stable romantic relationships should look for a romantic partner who recovers from conflict well. Yes, it turns out that if your romantic partner recoups well after the two of you have a spat, you reap the benefits, according to results of a new study by the University of Minnesota College of Education and Human Development’s Institute of Child Development.


The research looks at how people recover or come down after a conflict with their romantic partner, said Jessica Salvatore, the lead researcher in the study “Recovering From Conflict in Romantic Relationships: A Developmental Perspective.” The article is set to appear in the journal Psychological Science, and has been released online. Co-authors of the study are university researchers Sally Kuo, Ryan Steele, Jeffry Simpson and W. Andrew Collins.


Salvatore and her colleagues’ research digs into a new area. In the past, marriage researchers have focused on how people resolve conflicts, but they never looked at what happens after the conflict ends and how people recover, Salvatore said.


“What we show is that recovering from conflict well predicts higher satisfaction and more favorable relationship perceptions. You perceive the relationship more positively,” Salvatore said.


The interesting finding is that you don’t have to be the one who recovers well to benefit.


“If I’m good at recovering from conflict, my husband will benefit and be more satisfied with our relationship,” Salvatore said.


The study’s participants were 73 young adults who have been studied since birth and their romantic partners.


Read in Full:

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/216388.php


Couples In The UK Are Happy In Their Relationship, Study


Article Date: 15 Feb 2011 – 3:00 PST


Whether you are married or cohabiting with your partner, the vast majority of couples in the UK are happy in their relationship. Initial findings from Understanding Society show that around 90 percent of individuals who are living with a partner are happy with their relationship.


Researchers at the Institute for Social and Economic Research asked both individuals in the couple to rate their happiness on a seven point scale; from the lowest score of ‘extremely unhappy’ to the middle point of ‘happy’, the highest point being ‘perfect’. The self-reported happiness rating revealed that 90 percent of married women and 88 percent of cohabiting women are happy in their relationships. Ninety-three percent of married men and 92 percent of cohabiting men said they were happy in their relationship.


The findings indicate the happiest couples are those in which both are educated to degree level, have no children, have been together for less than five years and the man is employed. Factors such as being married or cohabiting, age of the individuals and duration of the partnership all have an effect on the level of happiness in a relationship.


Professor John Ermisch, one of the authors of a book due to be published later this month that showcases a range of findings from the survey, commented: “Understanding Society has opened up many new avenues of research in studying both marriage and family life across the UK’s population and will continue to do so over the years to come.”


Read in Full:

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/216513.php


Man of Mystery

A Story of Healing from Infidelity


Dana Vince, M.A., LPC, MHSP Updated: Feb 17th 2011

In continuing my work to share stories of couples who sit on my couch, it is my goal to provide hope and encouragement out there to those who are struggling in their marriage.


Infidelity is one of the most painful and difficult challenges for a couple to work through because it pulls the floor of safety and security right out from under you. But the marriage can be restored. In fact, it can be better than before. It’s been said that time heals all wounds. When it comes to infidelity, time is certainly a factor, but it’s not the only one. There is work to be done in that time to restore trust, emotional safety and connection to the relationship. Time alone won’t solve those problems.


This story is about a young couple I’ll call Tom and Suzanne (fictitious names, of course). Suzanne had lost her father at a young age which left her feeling abandoned. She grew up never having felt “good enough”. When she married Tom, she had a lot of insecurities and needed a lot of approval. Because of this she avoided conflict like the plague. She was afraid if Tom got upset with her, he would abandon her. He would see the qualities that she saw in herself and he would not want to be with her any longer. Because of this fear, she manipulated herself to please him, never really being authentic. As some years past, she felt a loss of her sense of self.


Along came an older, attractive co-worker who showed her a lot of positive attention. With him she could really be herself because there was no fear of loss. With him she didn’t have anything, so she had nothing to lose and in that, she felt free. The relationship progressed into a physical affair.


In counseling, along with healing from the affair and rebuilding trust, Suzanne had to do a lot of individual work to understand her pain and fear and how it created problems in her relationship.


Read in Full:

http://www.mentalhelp.net/poc/view_doc.php?type=doc&id=42074&cn=289



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