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Posts Tagged ‘values’

Radio Embed: Thinking with the Big Head Instead of the Little Head

April 19, 2012 Leave a comment

Listen to the radio embed of Man Woman Truth with co-hosts Dr Tara Palmatier and Paul Elam in which they discuss how to engage both your reason and emotion in your relationships with women. Reason and emotion do not have to be antagonists and making proper use of both is one path toward having more satisfying relationships.

Here’s the link:

Man Woman Truth Radio Embed: Thinking with the Big Head Instead of the Little Head

Shrink4Men Coaching and Consultation Services:

Dr Tara J. Palmatier provides confidential, fee-for-service, consultation/coaching services to help both men and women work through their relationship issues via telephone and/or Skype chat. Her practice combines practical advice, support, reality testing and goal-oriented outcomes. Please visit the Shrink4Men Services page for professional inquiries.

12 Signs You Should Break Up With Your Girlfriend or Boyfriend or Spouse

January 20, 2009 283 comments

Breaking up is never easy (especially if it’s not your decision), but oftentimes it is necessary. Perhaps it’s a matter of growing apart or falling out of love. Perhaps one or both of you just aren’t into each other anymore. In extreme cases, perhaps the relationship has become emotionally and/or physically abusive, alternating between cold, sullen resentment and overt hostility.

People stay in unsatisfying and/or toxic relationships for a variety of reasons: fear of being alone, fear of change, the comfort of forked-heartthe familiar vs. the fear of the unknown, financial reasons, children, religious beliefs, etc. We tell ourselves it’s not that bad or things will get better as a reason (i.e., excuse) not to make a difficult, but positive change. Unhappiness in your primary relationship affects every area of your life—physical and mental health, career and other relationships.

Below are some strong signs that it’s time to end your current relationship:

1.    If you’ve been hurt physically.
Ignore excuses and apologies; if violence has surfaced, it will surface again. Get out at the very first strike. This goes for men, too. If your partner, pushes, kicks, shoves or slaps you and/or throw things at you; GET OUT. Physical violence isn’t acceptable from either sex.

2.    When you’re totally incompatible.
If your partner’s dream is to travel the road as a wandering musician and you’re a city person with ambitions, one or both of you will probably be unhappy if you stay together. Relationships have a better chance at being successful with people whom we share similar values and goals.

3.    When he or she isn’t even close to your fantasy.
You may be tempted to stay with someone just because they’re available and willing, but this is generally a bad idea. There should be some chemistry in order to have a successful future.

4.    When he or she just can’t say I love you.
Even if there’s chemistry, if someone can’t express their love for you with affectionate gestures, nurturing, and the words “I love you,” you’ll never really feel satisfied with them.

5.    When he or she just isn’t there for you.
If you’ve been together a while and can’t count on him or her to come get you if your car breaks down, or to attend family or work events, then you don’t have a solid relationship.

6.    When you’re afraid to express yourself.
Being in love should bring out the best in you. It should help you to be less self-conscious and make you more open and alive. If you feel like you’re walking on eggshells all the time because your partner is emotionally volatile and verbally abusive, it’s probably a sign that this is not the right relationship for you.

7.    When your self-esteem is suffering.
If your relationship is demeaning, makes you feel bad about yourself, leaves you feeling like you’re not heard, and you’re getting more criticism than praise, then it’s time to end it. A good relationship makes you feel respected and loved, worthwhile and good about yourself.

8.    When he or she is a philanderer.
Serial philanderers usually have a pattern of behavior. If you discover your mate has that kind of history, don’t believe “never again.” The heartache and torment will never end.

9.    When he or she commits an unforgivable act.
There are single acts so horrid that they should mean the END. If he or she sleeps with your best friend, is disrespectful to your family, consistently criticizes and undermines you, stands you up at the altar, or commits murder, end the relationship with no second chances.

10.    When the same problems recur again and again.
Loving someone doesn’t always guarantee you can spend the rest of your lives together. If you’ve broken up and reunited and you’re still having the same fights, the same problems or different versions of the same problem, especially if you’ve tried relationship counseling, it’s probably best to end the relationship. Saying, “things will be better” and actually making things better by changing attitudes and behaviors aren’t the same thing. The former is lip service and mollification; the latter is growth.

11.    When he or she says, “I need some space.”
The relationship seems to have stalled and your partner says something like, “I want time,” or “I want space,” or “I think we should see other people,” or “I need to devote myself to my career.” Almost always, what he or she means is “I want out.” These things happen, don’t drag it out. You might say, “Sounds like you want to break up. I’m sorry you feel that way, but I understand. I hope we can remain friends.”

12.    When the relationship just doesn’t progress.
Relationships have a natural progression. If you’re not progressing and you can’t pinpoint the cause, you might want to try couple’s counseling. However, if he or she won’t go, or goes but doesn’t think there’s a problem or can’t see his or her role in the problem, and/or uses counseling to blame and trash you while exonerating him- or herself, the relationship is coming to an end.

by Dr Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD

Private Consultation and Coaching

I provide confidential, fee-for-service, consultation/coaching services to help both men and women work through their relationship issues via telephone and/or Skype chat. My practice combines practical advice, support, reality testing and goal-oriented outcomes. Please visit Services and Products for professional inquiries.

Donations

If you find the information I provide free of charge helpful and valuable here on Shrink4Men, please consider making a donation via PayPal to help me maintain the site.

Photo credits:

Forked Heart by Barsho on flickr.

Are You My Soul Mate? Defining “the One”

January 19, 2009 25 comments

I’m looking for my soul mate. I want to meet THE ONE.” How many Internet dating profiles, conversations and therapy sessions begin with this statement? Lots.

soulmate_01The problem. Many of us don’t know who or what we’re looking for in a relationship. Ask your average person what they want and most reply: “I’m looking for ‘the one.’ Someone with a good sense of humor, attractive, good chemistry. I’ll know it when I see it.” That really narrows it down.

Most people put more thought into their choice of breakfast cereal than their relationships. If you don’t know what you want, how will you know where to look, much less recognize it, if you’re ever lucky enough to stumble across it?

Common values, emotional styles, and shared life goals are more important than “instant” chemistry, similar interests and leisure pursuits, but most people don’t know it. Just because two people enjoy playing water polo and watching Lost doesn’t make them compatible, although many marriages have been built on less.

soulmate_02-copy-copyThink of values as major internal organs like the heart and lungs. Think of interests as accessories like jewelry and neckties. We need our heart and lungs to live; charm bracelets and neckerchiefs are optional. Values and emotional style trump interests.

Instant chemistry is often nothing more than the recognition of finding that “perfect” someone with whom to recreate unresolved childhood issues. It’s the exquisite tension and anticipation of doggedly pursuing a corrective emotional experience that ain’t never gonna happen. The more instantaneous and hotter the flame, the greater the likelihood it will end in the ashes of emotional burnout.

For example, “Rick” marries “Liz” and the first flush of chemistry wears off. No matter how hard he tries, nothing’s good enough. He wants her, but she’s standoffish, contrary and withholding, which inflames Rick and he tries harder. On the rare occasion Liz throws Rick a crumb of affection, kind word or grudging sex as a reward for fulfilling a herculean checklist of deeds, he feels like an Olympic gold medalist. It’s no surprise Rick had an emotionally distant and hyper-critical mother. Recreation of the past is a seductive trap that means you’ve unfinished business; not that you’ve met your soul mate.

divorce_figurinesComplementary differences vs. divisive differences. Complementary differences balance a relationship; one is strong where the other is weak and vice versa. They make a couple into a more unified whole rather than tearing them apart.

Divisive differences are typified by the expression, “opposites attract.” Opposites may initially attract, but research (Buston & Emlen, 2003) indicates they don’t stand the test of time. Familiarity in the way we communicate and express love and affection is comforting.

Divisive differences include conflicting values, temperament, communication and sex drive. It creates a push-pull dynamic in which the “pursuer” feels consistently rejected and the “distancer” feels perpetually put upon.

The comfort of acceptance vs. the comfort of dysfunction. People have been conditioned to believe love involves angst and suffering- the heights and depths of drama – to the extent that feeling bad feels normal.

Being accepted for who you are, including sexually, is important. Too many people carry around feelings of not being “good enough” from childhood. If you’re with someone who reinforces these doubts and feelings, I encourage you to a) tell them how you’re feeling and b) if they can’t or won’t hear you, seriously reconsider the relationship. Constantly being criticized for being who you are is abusive and highly destructive to a relationship.

This is a crazy pattern for many, including me, until I realized what I was doing and consciously decided to stop making the same relationship choices. It felt weird to be valued, loved and accepted, at first, and then it felt great. After I rode out the weirdness of the unfamiliar, it felt normal to feel good.

A true soul mate relationship is acceptance. People are who they are. If you enter a relationship thinking you can change them, you’ll become frustrated and the other person will feel bad about not living up to some “ideal” he never was in the first place. When it comes to soul mates, I recommend finding someone who soothes your soul rather than tortures it.

Then again, maybe I’m wrong, but how many people who blindly gallop down the aisle, believing they’re marrying “the one,” their soul mate, end up in divorce court later?

by Dr Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD

Private Consultation and Coaching

I provide confidential, fee-for-service, consultation/coaching services to help both men and women work through their relationship issues via telephone and/or Skype chat. My practice combines practical advice, support, reality testing and goal-oriented outcomes. Please visit Services and Products for professional inquiries.

Donations

If you find the information I provide free of charge helpful and valuable here on Shrink4Men, please consider making a donation via PayPal to help me maintain the site.

Photo credits:

Image 1: Soulmate cheeses
Image 2: Costco soul mates
Image 3: Istockphotos

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