When Love Runs Dry and No One Else to Turn to…

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Introduction   

         Hello to all my friends, followers, and subscribers of this blog! Thanks for your usual support, particularly for your views and likes this week! I am wishing you all the best to your plans, activities, and endeavors today!

       This post will be all about incompatibilities, insincerity, and lack of options in relationships. It also tries to describe and differentiate true love from deceptive one.  Love can mean different things to various groups of people. But many contemporary urban societies enamored with the idea of romantic love, a true love is said to be a mutual self-giving that is sincere  and based on trust, accepting the other no matter who he or she is!

Incompatibilities in Relationships are Facts of Life

           Couples always wish that their relationships should develop smoothly as they want them to be. But not all lovers can be sincere at all times. Sometimes, it is the social situations that will make them dishonest because of unmet needs. Partners can also have different motives on why they enter into loving relationships. As many sociologists would say: “Things are not what they seem!” What we externally see maybe not be the truth if we investigate further people’s motives. Some couples may appear to be loving and sweet in public, but deep inside their hearts are full of pain and hurts because of incompatibilities in personalities, views, beliefs, tastes, and personal values they experience daily in their union.

        Well, couples can’t  really avoid conflicts and incompatibilities in relationship. Social scientists believe that romantic or marital relationships are always cross-cultural. Every partner has his or her own cultural orientation and social upbringing which can lead to various forms of conflicts in the relationship. Cultural and personal differences are facts of life. No two people are identical. Each social situation and people’s reactions to it are unique. Even identical twins are culturally different.

         What is important is not how we avoid incompatibilities in a loving relationship, but how we understand them empirically and deal with them effectively in order to maintain the relationship. Many divorce cases occur because many couples wish that the irreconcilable incompatibilities should not have been there in the relationship. They expect marriages to be made in heaven. Thus, they give up finding creative ways to continue their loving relationships when their love runs dry because of irreconcilable differences.

         Experts believe that every loving relationship undergoes different stages. Dr. Jed Diamond  of the website “Menalive.com” identified 5 stages  of love. And it is often stage 3  or the period of discovery and disillusionment that causes break-ups and separations among couples. This is the stage when the love of couples runs dry and undergoes serious challenge:

Stage 1: Falling In Love
Stage 2: Becoming a Couple
Stage 3: Disillusionment
Stage 4: Creating Real, Lasting Love
Stage 5: Using the Power of Two to Change the World

           During the courtship or honeymoon phase or Stage 1, partners and spouses can be full of infatuation and romantic love. But as time goes by and partners become familiar with one another during the discovery or disillusionment phase or Stage 3, conflict, abuse, misunderstanding can arise and ultimately challenge the relationship. Experts say that this stage is the most difficult phase in a relationship. If one partner cannot accept the limitation of the other or whatever incompatibility they have in the union, frustrations, pains, and conflicts, can eventually ruin the commitment.  Overcoming Stage 3 is crucial in a relationship since the next stage is creating true and lasting love. True love would only occur if the couple can accept each other’s weakness and limitations, saying: “I love because you’re you” as the song goes!

          But not all relationships are meant to last because the some motives of one or both partners are deceptive. One partner maybe using the other to pursue his or her personal agenda. Despite this, there are still people who allow a manipulative type of love and tolerate their partners’s abuse, most probably because of their lack of options to find financial support or other partners if they leave the relationship. This particularly true for people who deliberately stayed with abusive partners due to social pressure, advanced age, and lack of education or career. A person who is single with mature age or a young person who is pressured by his or her peer group or relatives to have a boyfriend, girlfriend, or spouse may cling to an unhealthy or one-sided romantic love because of loyalty.

     As the following lyrics of the song “I can’t live without you” by the Bad Company illustrate:

The first time you deceived me, it nearly broke my heart
What hurts me most was I’m the last to know
So lately I’ve been thinking, thinking ’bout you
I know deep in my heart you had to go

Last night when I told you, you looked into my eyes
A wicked smile just spread across your face
You know I can’t resist you, no matter what you do
The way you treat me babe, it’s a disgrace

True Love

      According to the great Winston Churchill, an “[i]mmature love says, I love you because I need you, mature love says, I need you because I love you.” A true and mature romantic relationship does not use the other for selfish reasons. True love allows both partners to grow as persons and does not manipulate or use the other.

      But not all romantic relationships can blossom into real love. Because of some psychological issues faced by people in romantic love as well as incompatibilities in terms of personal trait and character between lovers, the initial feeling of love or infatuation can turn into an “unhealthy” romantic relationship. People who experience this type of love are advised to leave the relationship and move on to search their true love.

            Here’s an example of a one-sided and unhealthy types of romantic relationship. The lack of option is one important reason why people stay in a one-sided love affair. Obviously, this type of romance is not true love:

     “I don’t really know if I can call it love but I really care for this guy in my college. I had always been a reserved, socially awkward individual. I never really dated any guy in my school years because I couldn’t even look in the eyes of a man without blushing!…However, I am a changed person today—more confident, smart, straight forward and honest. This guy in my college was the FIRST guy who told me “I am falling for you”. He told me he thought I was beautiful. It took over a month to finally tell him a yes because I was afraid if he would hurt my feeble heart. The thing about me is that if I love, I love unconditionally….And so we spend a lot of time together and during one of our conversations he told me about his psychological condition—he had split personality, was a socially disconnected individual and couldn’t handle relationships. He told me about how his “falling in love” phase lasted only for hours to a few days…But the more I knew about his flaws, the more I loved him.

       Over time, I empathized so much with him that I ended up mirroring his emotions and his personality…I also realized that the only reason he sticks around with me is because 1) I am regular at work and is a good student at college. Hence, I can inform him of assignments to be submitted and college holidays. 2) He said he can’t afford a girlfriend at the moment and I am available at a ‘cheaper price’ and mostly free because I don’t demand for anything. 3) I am a girl and he is a guy and he can satisfy his ‘needs’….

         No! This is certainly not the way I wanted a man to love me. But I continued to remain in this one-sided, broken relationship in the craving and greed for the temporary happiness I gained when I was with him. I’ve lost all my self-respect; I have begun to value him more than I value myself. I know this isn’t good but I just can’t get over him and I just don’t seem to find the true love I have looking for my entire 19 years.

         Love and intimacy go hand in hand in romantic love. But these things must be felt by both partners. Love is the physical, emotional, sexual, intellectual, or social affection one person holds for another, while intimacy is the close relationship of two people where mutual acceptance, nurturance, and trust are shared at some level.

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Does Age Imply Control in a Relationship?

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Age does matter in a relationship whether one likes it or not. Although there other personal and social factors that can affect the social interaction of couples in a particular society, age definitely has an effect on the way partners relate with each other. Age is an informal social norm that somehow affects social interaction. The higher is the age, the higher is the influence of the older partner over the younger companion. Because he or she has more experience, the older partner will tend to guide the younger mate. This is particularly true if the age gap is wider.

Age implies length of experience in life. Older people have more encounters with tragedies and problems in life compared to younger ones. Thus, they tend dominate younger partners because they tend to believe that they know better than the other. Of course, this is only a general rule, since personality and other social factors can overcome this tendency. Thus, a younger partner with a domineering personality can control an older partner with a weaker personality. For instance, a gut person can easily dominate a heart or head person despite the age gap. Inspite of this, older people still tend to play the parent role in the relationship in general.

Thomas Anthony Harris published a classic self-help book entitled I’m OK – You’re OK as a practical guide to transactional analysis as a method for solving problems in life.Transactional analysis (TA) is a psychoanalytic theory and method of therapy wherein social transactions are analyzed to determine the ego state of the patient. A person’s ego can either act as a parent, adult, and child depending on the situation.

The problem with older partners in a loving relationship is that they tend to often act on their parent egos and dominate the younger partners who are forced to act on their adult or child roles to avoid conflict in their daily interactions. Thus, depending on the cultural standards, it is advisable that the age gap of lovers must be not very wide as this can pose problems both in their personal interaction and relationship adjustment. Maybe, 5 years or less is age gap is preferable, but more than 10 age gap can be challenging for couples to maintain their relationship. Of course, what matters most are the maturity and commitment of the partners to stay together despite the odds in the relationship.

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Photo1:     Hollywood couple with 20-year age gap: JASON STATHAM AND ROSIE HUNTINGTON WHITELEY (Photo credit: ALBERTO RODRIGUEZ/NBC/GETTY)

Photo2: Harrison Ford and his wife Calista Flockhart with 22 years age gap (Photo credit:STEVE GRANITZ/WIREIMAGE)

4 Top Myths about Women and Courtship!

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Introduction

It is widely believed in urban societies that women are more romantic than men and that they do not initiate the process of courtship. It is assumed by many that men must always initiate courtship. The women are expected to just wait for male initiatives and passively choose whose seductions and proposals from their suitors they would accept to become their boyfriends. Since women tend to read novels and romantic stories, it is also assumed that they are more romantic and that they would suffer more than men in dealing with separations or break-ups.

It is generally perceived as a cultural taboo for women to court men. Women would appear “cheap” or “easy to get” if they make the first move in expressing their feelings towards men they fall in love with. Thus one may ask: Do women really court men? Are women more romantic than men and would suffer more hardships after a serious break-up?

Let us examine the following top myths or falsehoods on women and courtship. I hope you will this post helpful in your social life.

Myth No. 1

Women are passive in courtship. Men should make the first move and the women only respond to it.

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Fact:

Both women and men are active in courtship, albeit in different roles. The most common pattern is that women court men indirectly through nonverbal signs, while men court women directly through verbal contact.

Many people believe that women do not play an active role in courtship. Women are said to just wait for men to do the first move to court them. In patriarchal societies, it is always thought that men must initiate the courtship and control the entire process of establishing a romantic relationship. But some studies have shown that women are actually active in the courtship process (e.g. Moore & Butler, 1989; Grammer, 1989).

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Although women do not  generally initiate verbal acts or explicitly express their affection for specific men, they nevertheless initiate the courtship process by first manifesting nonverbal signs of infatuation such as occasional glancing, dropping a handkerchief, being extra sweet, etc., hinting that they are interested or want to be pursued or courted. If men find these signs of interest by women worth pursuing, they usually would respond through verbal contact. Therefore both men and women are active in courtship. Courtship is not a one-way traffic. The women generally initiate the courtship process by showing signs of affection to the men that they fall in love with. Men generally respond to these signs through verbal moves to start the romantic relationship.

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Research studies often point to the seductive eye contact as the most common nonverbal strategy used by women  to woo their men.

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Of course, there are always exceptions. There are men who show nonverbal signs to women in order to show that they are attracted to them. But the most common pattern in courtship seems to be that the women provide the motive or nonverbal signs that they can be courted by certain men. In turn, men respond to these signs by verbal contact to complete the process of wooing.

Myth No. 2

Men are always aggressive in courting women even without signs of interest.

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Fact:

Men are generally hesitant to court women without nonverbal signs of attraction from them. Their first move is usually contingent to women’s interest towards them.

Many people think that men can just court any woman they are attracted to even without any signs of  seduction. But research studies show a different picture! Men tend to be hesitant to approach and court women without some form of seduction or nonverbal signals of attraction. These signals seem to be very important because males are generally hesitant to approach a female in the absence of indications of interest (Crook, 1972).

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The very frequency of approaches by males appears to be highly correlated to the frequency of a female’s nonverbal solicitation (Moore & Butler, 1989). Thus, in response to these signals males often make the first overt move.

Males usually say they’d use seduction more frequently than females and they erroneously conclude that they started the interaction (Grammer, 1989). But the male seductions appear to be contingent on the female’s initiating behaviors. They do not seduce women if they feel that the latter are not interested. Despite the sensitivity to the females’ subtle signals, men still process these signals in a largely sub-conscious way and would only initiate verbal moves if they are certain that women have special interest towards them.

Myth No. 3

Women are more romantic than men in courtship.

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Fact:

Although women tend to read romantic novels and stories, studies show that men are actually more romantic than women in their outlook on love and invest more in building up the relationship.

Since most romance novels and romantic comedies are marketed to female audiences, women are generally considered more romantic than men. But one study that adopted the much-used Romantic Beliefs Scale indicated men have more romantic beliefs than women. It asked the respondents to rate the extent to which they agree with statements like, “There will only be one real love for me,” and, “If I love someone, I know I can make the relationship work, despite any obstacles.” The results showed that men typically outscore women on romantic beliefs.

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Moreover, men are more likely than women to believe in the romantic notion of “love at first sight.” They are also more likely to invest more time and resources in building up their romantic relationship. In one research, men tend to spend more money for Valentine’s day than women. Sending a Valentine’s card is said to be sufficient for women. But men would go an extra mile to show their romantic affection for their partners by buying flowers, providing chocolates, arranging a candlelit dinner at a restaurant, booking a weekend away, buying theater tickets and splashing out on champagne or jewellery. This is a finding of a survey of around 2,000 men and women done by the researchers Consumer Intelligence for Valentine’s Day.

Myth No. 4

Women suffer more than men in serious romantic break-ups because  of their emotional sensitivity.

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Fact: 

Research studies show that since men have fewer friends to share their personal problems compared to women,  they are more likely to suffer more heartaches than women following a breakup of a romantic relationship.

Many research studies show that women are more emotional than men. Thus, women are stereotyped as experiencing more anxiety, guilt, sadness, and anger following relational dissolution than men.

Surprisingly, there are also other studies that show that women are more responsible when deciding to end the relationship. They tend to play the role of breakup initiator more often than do men. They become conscious of relational problems sooner than men do, which allows them time to prepare for the breakup and consequently leave men surprised by the revelation.

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Men tend to be more vulnerable, shocked, or upset after romantic separations. A study by Shimek and Bello (2014) revealed that men handle the ending of a romantic relationship worse than women. They also have stronger feelings of sadness, depression, and loneliness compared to women.

Men have fewer individuals they can rely on and turn to for some support after a romantic break-up. They become emotionally devastated after a separation because their primary confidant was their now absent partner. A research by Day and Livingstone (2003) indicated that women are more likely to confide in others about their romantic problems, while men are more independent and often refrain from expressing their emotions to their friends.

Thank you for reading this post! Please comment, like, or share this post to help others. Cheers and best wishes!

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References

Arla L. Day, and Holly A. Livingstone. “Gender differences in perceptions of stressors and utilization of social support among university students.” Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science 35 (2003): 73–83.

Sally A. Shumaker, and D. Robin Hill. “Gender differences in social support and physical health.” Health Psychology 10 (1991): 102–11.

Shimek, C. & Bello, R. (2014). Coping with Break-Ups: Rebound Relationships and Gender Socialization. Soc. Sci. 2014, 3(1), 24-43; doi:10.3390/socsci3010024.

The Telegraph. “It’s official: men are more romantic than women”. Retrieved from https://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/sex/online-dating/9860958/Its-official-men-are-more-romantic-than-women.html.

Seidman, G. (1 Oct 2014). “6 Myths About Men, Women, and Relationships”. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/close-encounters/201409/6-myths-about-men-women-and-relationships.

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4 Ways to Handle Marital Conflict and Stress

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1. Manage Your Marital Conflict. 

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Marriage is an ongoing negotiation. It formally begins during the wedding day when the bride and the groom say “I Do” to signal their lifetime commitment to stay together. But this agreement does not stop there. Right after the wedding ceremony the art of marital negotiation commences.

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Everyday, the couple has to agree and compromise to stay together. When there is a disagreement, especially on serious things, such as handling conjugal property or educating the children, the couple must manage and resolve the issues as soon as possible. If they need some professional help from a lawyer or counselor, by all means they must agree to such a move. If couple will not resolve one issue at a time, things and tensions could pile up and partners would find the issues become complex to handle that could eventually lead to their separation or divorce. Remember: Always nip a problem from the bud and not allow it to ruin a lifetime marital commitment.

2. Forgive Your Spouse.

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Forgiving your’s partner’s fault is not a sign of weakness but of strength. Giving mercy is an acknowledgement that your partner is, after all, a human being with frailties and weakness as a person. Many marriages fail because couples failed to forgive one another. Marriage is a union of two unique people. Thus, expect the spouses to clash in many personal issues, since each partner has a different personality, social upbringing, and cultural orientation.

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To be able to forgive requires some form of spirituality based on your religious beliefs. Forgiveness is actually going beyond your self. You let go of your partner’s fault because you also know that you have your own faults and weaknesses too as a human being and you believe in God. So forgive and forget is a great key to make marriages work!

3. Sacrifice in the Name of Love.

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The type love in marriage is different from romantic relationship, although romantic love is a preparation for marital love. Marital love is a self-giving love. This means that when you say “I Do” during the wedding ceremony, you promise to sacrifice for the other because of love. Sacrificing for the sake of your spouse is an expression of marital love. A willingness “to forgo self-interest and desired activities for the good of a partner or relationship is an important aspect of maintaining relationships.

4. Alleviate Each Other’s Stress.

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Sustaining and maintaining a family can be a very difficult task, especially for poor couples who are pressured by poverty. Also, troubles at work, financial crises or family drama can all push spouses apart. Couples who can respond to each other’s stress in a way that is soothing rather than exacerbating can weather the tenser times. That’s why constant communication and mutual affirmation are very important to maintain a marital commitment. Many married couples divorced because they no longer mutually support each other. The marital vows that mention the phrase”for better or for worse, ’til death do us part” implies that the couple’s mutual support in times of need and stress! Going out together on a date or special vacation during times of severe stress in family affairs is a great opportunity for couples to talk, support each other, and create new strategies on how to deal with their serious marital problems.

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4 Areas to Explore if You’re compatible with Your Partner

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It’s not true that one’s character is shown in one’s face. If it’s angelic and beautiful, then he or she is Mr. Or Ms. X, the long-lost soul mate or destined partner in life! Social science research has shown that there is no dependable association between facial features and personality traits. A person may look meek, soft-spoken, wholesome, and with sympathetic eyes, but may turn out to be abusive, violent and indecent in real life after a long acquaintance with him or her. Thus, a person cannot immediately identify his or her right partner in life based solely on facial or physical features during the first encounter or first date despite the strong feeling of romantic attraction or “love at first sight”.

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Moreover, a person who is infatuated is usually blinded with romantic passion or intense feeling of attraction for his or her partner that he or she tends to neglect knowing his or her true character and personality. Just enjoying the current bliss of falling in love without a serious effort to know the real character of one’s partner is a dangerous attitude, especially if the person intends to find his or her true love and enter into marriage. Relying merely on the attractive looks of one’s partner and intense romantic feeling for him or her can be deceiving. Many marriage counselors would say that people in love could not really know the real person or character of their partners unless they live together constantly in a conjugal home for at least five years in marriage. Knowing the real person of one’s romantic partner requires time, effort, and scientific strategies to know the real person behind the smiling and loving face!

Explore first whether there are strong signs that you’re compatible with your partner in the following areas:

Cultural Orientation. Check if your suitor or partner grew up in a culture similar to yours. Culture is a way of life in terms of beliefs, values, practices, etc. There is indeed a big cultural difference if an Asian marries an American. Asians, for instance, value more loyalty to their relatives and local communities than Americans who prioritizes individual rights. Differences in cultural upbringing can cause regular conflicts between partners in terms of taste, preferences, beliefs, and some practices. Marriage is cross-cultural, so one partner needs to adjust to the cultural uniqueness of the other to preserve the marital commitment.

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Religion. This is another big factor to consider if you and your partner wishes to enter into marriage. There are religions or churches which do not allow mixed marriage. Thus one partner is forced to convert to their partner’s religion. Differences in religious beliefs and practices can also divide one’s family. There is one couple in the Philippines where the father belongs to a Christian church while the mother is a Catholic. Every Sunday, the family is divided. Two children go with the father, while the three others join their mother to attend the Mass.

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Social Class. Differences in social class standing can cause serious conflicts in a couple’s relationship. Society classifies people according to the amount of their wealth or property, thus the rich belong to the upper class, the professionals as middle class, and poor as working class. Each social class has its own lifestyle, beliefs, and behavior. Rich people think and behave differently compared to the poor. Thus, the advise of many behavioral scientists and counselors is for people to marry their own class to minimize conflicts in romantic or marital relationship. The first to oppose in a relationship that involves a rich guy and a poor lady is usually the parents and relatives. It is normal for them to think that the poor person wants to marry their rich son or relative because of the wealth s/he might inherit.

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