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March 2012



Recent Posts



How Is Your Love Defined?

By YourTango Experts

This guest article from YourTango was written by Jianny Adamo.

Everyone wants love but not everyone finds it. Interestingly enough, when you love or are in love, you know exactly what it is. Love paints our view of the world and bestows purpose and meaning to life. Somehow, when love is absent or lost, amnesia sets in. It’s hard to define love; you wonder if it’s even real. You are either on a journey toward love or on a journey to defy it.

Love is fluid, offering different flavors and depths. In the attraction phase, being in love is an emotion producing, strong affection for some and an obsession for others. It’s driven by chemistry racing around your brain and body, an experience many poets and artists have written about. It’s euphoric and cannot be understood unless you have experienced it yourself.This experience is a hallmark of new love, marked with preoccupation with your beloved and making the world around you disappear. It transcends time and commands your attention.A three-hour conversation with your beloved can seem like a blink of an eye when smitten with love. Existence quickly moves from okay to “I can climb Mount Everest,” simply because of your experience with love.


But not every relationship experiences such a high, nor does experiencing this bliss determine the longevity of your relationship. Dopamine, the pleasure chemical in your brain, norepinephrine, which produces the racing heart and excitement, and endorphins — the body’s natural painkillers — act like magnets bringing lovers together in ecstasy. This chemical reaction produces a dependency on your love object. For some, the need for this natural high has tripped them up to becoming addicted to love, cycling through relationships looking for the next rush. On average, this phase lasts 18 to 36 months and is nature’s way of attracting us into venturing into ‘real’ love.

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Love After Death: The Widows’ Romantic Predicaments


I love both my late husband and the new guy.


What It’s Like To Have A Highly Sensitive Partner

By Gerti Schoen, MA, LP

Sometimes our partners become very irked and wounded when we just try to make conversation. They take any little comment as a criticism of them and turn a harmless inquiry into a paranoid insult.


If it feels like you have to walk on eggshells, that doesn’t mean your partner has a borderline personality disorder. They might just be a gentle soul on the verge of a breakdown.


One of the couples I see, let’s call them Phil and Jen, have these kinds of exchanges frequently. Jen is highly sensitive when it comes to her appearance. All her feelings of inadequacy have been displaced onto her body, which is now the battleground for her ongoing self improvement projects.


Phil thinks there is nothing wrong with Jen’s body. He doesn’t mind that she has a little fat around her belly, and is honestly convinced that she is beautiful. Jen tries to believe him but can’t quite pull it off. The belief that she is unattractive is stronger than his loving reassurances.


The other day Phil comes home from work, opens the fridge and asks innocuously, “Did you finish the leftovers?”


He should have known better. Jen took it as a criticism, thinking he blamed her for eating what she couldn’t really allow herself to eat.

Instead of just answering yes and moving on, Jen threw a fit and blamed Phil for just not getting it. She expects him to be aware of her sensitivities at all times and hold back any comment that might be hurtful for her.

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7 Things Women Wish They’d Known Before Marriage

By YourTango Experts

This guest article from YourTango was written by Dr. Laurie Weiss. 

The New York Times reported that over half of the births to US women younger than 30 occurred outside of marriage in 2009. Most of the ongoing rise of births to unmarried women occurred to couples living together but unmarried. So why don’t these young women want to get married?


New York Times experts speculate on a number of economic reasons in a follow-up article in the Motherlode section. They reported that many young parents said “they would like to be married but not now and not to each other.”


The research I did for my forthcoming book, 99 Things Women Wish They Knew Before Saying I Do: Your Guide to a Successful and Fulfilling Marriage suggests other important reasons that young women don’t feel ready to marry.


Here are seven of the areas that the women who answered my question, “What is the most important thing you wish you had known before you were married?” mentioned most frequently.



              1. I  wish I’d known what marriage is really like.

      Many of these women got most of their information (really misinformation) about what marriage was supposed to be like from the media and they believed it until reality struck.


  1. 2. I wish I’d known more about myself.
  2. These women had very little idea of who they were or would like to be when they were not trying to please the people around them.

  3. 3. I  wish I hadn’t been in such a hurry so I could’ve taken the time I needed.
  4. These women feel pressure to marry prematurely both internally from themselves and from others.

  5. 4. I wish I knew just how much family patterns could influence us.

    These women were so surprised by how difficult it was to blend their own ideas with their husbands’ family influenced ideas of what marriage was supposed to be like.

  6. 5. I wish I’d known that bad behavior can get worse.

    This very common response came from women who made excuses for their fiance’s behavior before marriage. They were surprised that they weren’t able to change it.

  7. 6. I wish I’d paid a whole lot more attention to money.

    Some women surprised themselves by how capably they managed money once they were forced to do so. Others realized how they have given away their power by not taking joint responsibility for the couple’s money.

  8. 7. I wish I’d known what it really takes to makes a marriage work.

    Many of these women shared the challenges they had met in the lessons they’ve learned along the way to help them eventually make their marriages work.

  9. Read in Full:
  10. http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2012/03/19/7-things-women-wish-theyd-known-before-marriage

10 Tips to Mend a Broken Heart

By Therese J. Borchard
Associate Editor

Bess Myerson once wrote that “to fall in love is awfully simple, but to fall out of love is simply awful.” Especially if you are the one who wanted the relationship to last.

Mending a broken heart is never easy. There is no quick way to stop your heart from hurting so much.

To stop loving isn’t an option. Author Henri Nouwen writes, “When those you love deeply reject you, leave you, or die, your heart will be broken. But that should not hold you back from loving deeply. The pain that comes from deep love makes your love ever more fruitful.”

But how do we get beyond the pain? Here are 10 tips I’ve gathered from experts and from conversations with friends on how they patched up their heart and tried, ever so gradually, to move on.

1. Go through it, not around it.

I realize the most difficult task for a person with a broken heart is to stand still and feel the crack. But that is exactly what she must do. Because no shortcut is without its share of obstructions. Here’s a simple fact: You have to grieve in order to move on. During the 18 months of my severe depression, my therapist repeated almost every visit: “Go through it. Not around it.” Because if I went around some of the issues that were tearing me apart inside, then I would bump into them somewhere down the line, just like being caught in the center of a traffic circle. By going through the intense pain, I eventually surfaced as a stronger person ready to tackle problems head on. Soon the pain lost its stronghold over me.

2. Detach and revel in your independence again.

Attempting to fill the void yourself — without rushing to a new relationship or trying desperately to win your lover back — is essentially what detaching is all about. The Buddha taught that attachment that leads to suffering. So the most direct path to happiness and peace is detachment. In his book, Eastern Wisdom for Western Minds, Victor M. Parachin tells a wonderful story about an old gardener who sought advice from a monk.

Read More …


You Want a Better Relationship? Listen

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. Updated: Mar 23rd 2012

I hear this scenario in couples all the time. All of a sudden he wakes up to the moment and hears, “Are you listening to me?” She asks as the muscles in her face begin to tighten and the spark of frustration ignites in the couple.  “Ofcourse, I heard what you said,” he retorts and then follows with a list of the words that his brain caught while she was talking. This isn’t too foreign to any of us and for some reason this response usually doesn’t relieve the situation between two people. Why it’s important to become a better listener. 

When we’re speaking to someone we want them to listen to us, not hear us. Listening and hearing are two different processes with the former being a conscious process of intentionally paying attention to the person, and the latter is a passive process of the words just filtering through our ears to our brain. There is that anonymous saying “We were given two ears and one mouth for a reason,” to cultivate the skill and gift of listening.  


How does the active skill listening turn into the passive act of hearing in our relationships? As we live our day to day lives we make little micro decisions that lay just beneath our consciousness about whom and what we’re going to pay attention to. What happens is we begin to develop filters in our minds about what we’re going to intentionally pay attention to and what we’re not. It’s as if we get kicked into auto-pilot, with no intentional focus in the moment. You can hear, but you’re not listening.

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Women Should Discuss Sex Life with Gynecologist

By Rick Nauert PhD Senior News Editor
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on March 23, 2012

A new report discusses shortfalls in doctor-patient communication around sexual matters.

Researchers discovered women’s sexual health issues are only touched on, if discussed at all. Experts believe avoiding this important topic could mean missing an important link to overall wellness.


Investigators came to these conclusions after evaluating the results of a comprehensive national survey of U.S. obstetrician-gynecologists regarding communication with patients about sex.


The report, “What We Don’t Talk about When We Don’t Talk about Sex,” uncovers the shortfalls in doctor-patient communication around sexual matters and examines the barriers that may be limiting the range of dialogue in a typical evaluation of a woman’s general health.


The study is published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine.


University of Chicago researchers discovered that although nearly two-thirds of OB-GYNs routinely inquire about patients’ sexual activity, other aspects of female sexuality are not regularly addressed.


Only 40 percent of physicians surveyed regularly check for sexual problems or dysfunction. Even fewer (29 percent) ask patients about satisfaction with their sexual lives and only 28 percent confirm a patient’s sexual orientation.


Study authors believe that an improved discussion on sexual health is needed, requiring stronger physician guidelines for conducting a thorough sexual history.


“As a practicing OB-GYN, many of my patients say I’m the first physician to talk with them about sexual issues,” said Stacy Tessler Lindau, MD, the study’s lead author.


“Sexuality is a key component of a woman’s physical and psychological health. Obviously, OB-GYNs are well positioned among all physicians to address female sexual concerns. Simply asking a patient if she’s sexually active does not tell us whether she has good sexual function or changes in her sexual function that could indicate underlying problems.”

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Faces are considered more attractive when they’re moving

Here’s some comforting news for anyone who despairs at how they look in photos – research by psychologists at the Universities of California and Harvard finds that the same people are rated as more attractive in videos than in static images taken from those videos. In other words, if you think you look awful in that holiday snap – don’t worry, you probably look much better in the flesh when people can see you moving.

Robert Post and his team call the relative unattractiveness of static faces, “the frozen face effect”. They think it may have to do with the way we form an impression of a moving face that’s averaged across the various positions and profiles of that face. This would fit earlier findings showing that more average faces are judged as more attractive. Another possibility is that we find moving faces more attractive because “they optimally drive the neural mechanisms of face recognition”. After all, the camera was only invented relatively recently and our face processing brain systems evolved to process moving faces, not still ones.

Read in Full:


Are Your Partner’s Social Skills Embarrassing?

By YourTango Experts

This guest article from YourTango was written by SaraKay Smullens. 

I hear about it week after week, month after month. From men and women. No, it is not affairs. Here’s what it is:


“When we are home together, life is great. But when we are with friends, family, workmates, bosses (take your pick—all are mentioned by various clients of all ages), he/she does things that make me want to hide under a table, or better yet, run.”


The examples are endless …

A thirty-something bride with a demanding PR job has recently married. “It took me so log to find him,” she explains. “He is kind, hard working and great in bed. But when he is with my friends or co-workers, he is forever saying stupid things and acting like a total jerk. He’s asked my friend who is desperate to have children, what she is waiting for. He’s gone to my boss’s house, reached across the table for bread and spilled red wine all over a white table cloth.”

A successful psychologist, who after “an abysmal and empty marriage,” is happily married to a construction worker. She explains: “I adore being with him. We have fun, love to travel, have great conversations, are good to each other’s kids, enjoy the same movies. But when he is with my friends he either clams up or talks in ways he never talks to me. He makes fun of others. He tells crude jokes. I just don’t get it.”


A 28 year old client consulted me because his fiance humiliated him at a recent wedding, where he was best man. The bride, a youthful and attractive 38 year old, was about 5 years older than the groom. My client’s fiancé asked the bride publicly at the rehearsal dinner how many men she had been with before she found Dr. Right.


“I love my husband,” confided a 50 year old client I worked with about a year ago. “But we are only happy when we are together or with our children. My husband hates to socialize with others. If I insist he does, he is eitherp rude or refuses to speak.”


In these above situations, 1 of 3 things is usually going on:


  1. 1. The most dangerous is a form of emotional abuse known as “social isolation.” In this “acting out”, one partner has a desperate need to control and does everything possible to isolate his or her partner form all other rewarding interaction. In this kind of situation, one needs to consult a professional for direction. Trying to discuss how this feels with this kind of partner, can lead to physical violence, against you and your children.

  2. 2. A second reason for this behavior is not having learned social skills as a child and feeling anxious and “all thumbs” when in a social situation.


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