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10 Gifts NOT to Give on Valentine’s Day


Vending machineBecause some things are just bad ideas…

1) A pig’s heart with a nail through it. This actually happened to Neil Forrester on MTV’s The Real World: London in 1995. It was so disturbing 14 years ago, that I haven’t forgotten it. General rule of thumb for Valentine’s Day, birthdays, Christmas, Hanukkah, baptism, or anniversary gifts: No barnyard animal sacrifices.

2) Anything that can be purchased at a gas station or a men’s room. Nothing quite says, “I love you and think about you constantly” then a pack of Dentyne, Trojans, and a gallon of windshield wiper fluid. If you care enough to make an effort, the least you can do is get yourself to a Walgreen’s before closing. Even low-maintenance women don’t go this low.

3) Office supplies. Unless, of course, it’s a full-service photocopying machine. That would actually be handy to have at home. Throw in a year’s supply of toner and you have a winning combo.

4) His and hers adjoining burial plots. Because I love you so much that I want to spend eternity lying next to you. While this may seem romantic in theory, trust me, in reality it’s not a good idea, especially if you just started dating (stalker alert). An exception might be if you and your beloved are past retirement age. But even then, there’s probably a better time than Valentine’s Day to give this gift.

5) A mix tape. Or, if you’re a geek, a hard drive with 10,000 hours of mp3s. Although, a boyfriend once gave me a hard drive as a gift and I liked it. I realized it’s the techie’s version of a mix tape and found him all the more adorable, but I’m an odd duck. Many women would look at the hard drive and USB cables with a, “What do you expect me to do with this thing?” expression. It’s a judgment call.

6) Anything that requires assembly. It’s not a present if you have to break a sweat or use tools in order to enjoy it.

7) A membership to Jenny Craig or NutriSystem. Even if she or he needs it, you’re basically saying, “I won’t love you if you’re fat.” There are better days and gentler ways to discuss your sweetheart’s weight problem.

8) Randomly purchased scented lotions and shower gels. No one needs more Vanilla Amber Freesia Mist bath products. No one.

9) Body fluids or clippings. Before Brangelina, Billy Bob Thornton and Angelina Jolie wore vials filled with each other’s blood. Unless the object of your affection is a Goth, Vampire, or medical student, it’s probably best to skip gifts you harvest from your own body.

10) Feminine hygiene products. This is no joke. I found this image on flickr today. Eeeew. I threw up a little in my mouth when I saw it. I considered posting the image here, but I just can’t do it. Check out the link.

Counseling, Consulting and Coaching with Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD

Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD helps individuals work through their relationship and codependency issues via telephone or Skype. She specializes in helping men and women trying to break free of an abusive relationship, cope with the stress of an abusive relationship or heal from an abusive relationship. She combines practical advice, emotional support and goal-oriented outcomes. Please visit the Schedule a Session page for professional inquiries or send an email to shrink4men@gmail.com.

Want to Say Goodbye to Crazy? Buy it HERE.

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Photo credits:

Vending machine by Nuevo Anden on flickr.

2 Reasons Why Valentine’s Day Gifts Cause Relationship Problems


3250938683_94b1dee1fe1Are you sweating what to buy your sweetheart for Valentine’s Day this year? Are you feeling a lot of pressure to buy the “perfect gift?”

Valentine’s Day gifts have been the death knell of many a burgeoning and faltering relationship.  Men and women, mostly women, oftentimes attach over importance on the holiday trinket and not the relationship itself.

If a Valentine’s Day gift makes or breaks a relationship, odds are it was already on shaky ground. There are various reasons why people give gifts: etiquette (it’s expected), buying another person’s love and affection, manipulation, guilt, or as a simple token of affection.

For some, giving and receiving gifts is a huge deal; for others, it’s not so important. If you’re in a secure and healthy relationship, holidays, birthdays and other gift giving occasions are days that remind you how lucky you are to have found each other and be together. If you’re not in a happy and healthy relationship, gifts are a source of conflict, sense of failure, guilt trips, and anger. There are two main reasons why gift giving can cause relationship problems:

1) If You Could Read My Mind, Love. There are many women who believe that when men fall in love they develop special psychic powers. He is supposed to magically know her every need and desire. If he can’t guess or doesn’t know what she wants or needs, then he doesn’t really love her. While being in love adds many wonderful dimensions to a person’s life, ESP isn’t one of them.

Every one of us is responsible for getting our own needs met. If we put this on someone else–a boyfriend, a girlfriend, a spouse, a child, a friend–it will only lead to disappointment, hurt, and resentment. If there’s something specific that you want or need as a gift or in your relationship, ASK FOR IT. Passively sitting back and waiting for people to please you is NOT a recipe for relationship success.

If you communicate your needs you’re more likely to have them met. Alternately, if your partner cannot or will not meet your needs after you’ve communicated them or your needs are incompatible, perhaps it’s time to move on.

2) Money Matters. Many women think the cost of the gift correlates to the level of feelings and emotional investment of her partner. Sometimes this is true; sometimes it isn’t. Carat size isn’t necessarily indicative of the quality of a relationship.

I have a friend who gave his girlfriend a tennis bracelet last year for V-Day. She opened the box, tossed the bracelet in the air, let it land in her palm and said, “It feels a little light.” My response to him when he told me the story was, “And you’re still dating her WHY?”

The true measure of a relationship is mutual kindness, caring, support, warmth and commitment. Unreasonable gift expectations can be a sign that your values are out of sync or that perhaps one of you wants more of a commitment than the other.

The best gift of all is when you give of yourself, not your Amex card, well, on second thought, I guess it all depends upon whom you’re involved with.

Counseling, Consulting and Coaching with Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD

Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD helps individuals work through their relationship and codependency issues via telephone or Skype. She specializes in helping men and women trying to break free of an abusive relationship, cope with the stress of an abusive relationship or heal from an abusive relationship. She combines practical advice, emotional support and goal-oriented outcomes. Please visit the Schedule a Session page for professional inquiries or send an email to shrink4men@gmail.com.

Want to Say Goodbye to Crazy? Buy it HERE.

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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:

Cupid by Voodoolady on flickr.

More Funny Valentine’s Day Cards


Since you all seemed to enjoy the Funny, But Honest Valentine’s Day Card I posted yesterday (at least by the amount of traffic it received), I thought I’d share a few more that tickled my warped funny bone.

These two are from meish.org:

wee1

youlldo

This one is from amuse-biatch:

twopbettyilanThis one is from throughtheillusion:

i-burn-for-youThis one is from an unknown source. If you know it please post the link as a comment–thanks:

blackboard-o-loveDitto:

valentines-heartCall me sentimental, but I love sock monkeys. Unfortunately, I don’t know the source:

sock-monkeyEnjoy.

Counseling, Consulting and Coaching with Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD

Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD helps individuals work through their relationship and codependency issues via telephone or Skype. She specializes in helping men and women trying to break free of an abusive relationship, cope with the stress of an abusive relationship or heal from an abusive relationship. She combines practical advice, emotional support and goal-oriented outcomes. Please visit the Schedule a Session page for professional inquiries or send an email to shrink4men@gmail.com.

Want to Say Goodbye to Crazy? Buy it HERE.

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.

6 Signs Not to Propose to your Girlfriend on Valentine’s Day


bridezillaDo you and your girlfriend fight like cats and dogs? Are you always the one who initiates sex? Does it seem like you’re in a state of constant conflict? Does she put a lot of undue pressure on you? Does she expect you to make her happy? Are you considering proposing to her on Valentine’s Day?

This time of year can put a lot of pressure on men to “pop the question.” If the above questions ring true for you, then you probably shouldn’t buy that ring she’s been hinting, nagging and/or threatening you about.

Here are some signs you shouldn’t marry the woman you’re dating, no matter how much pressure she’s applying. In fact, if the following scenarios apply to your relationship, the two of you probably shouldn’t even be dating.

1) You have incompatible sex drives. SEX IS IMPORTANT. It’s just as important to a relationship as mutual respect, kindness, and emotional support. Too many people minimize the importance of having compatible sexual attitudes and sex drives.

If your girlfriend just isn’t that into sex or you have to beg for it or you have buy her presents or behave in specific ways to be “rewarded” with sex or she’s not open to talking about and exploring what’s mutually enjoyable, you’re probably not going to be happy with this woman no matter how wonderful her other qualities may be. A grown man who’s in a healthy, loving relationship shouldn’t have to beg for a blow-job.

2) You’re a case of opposites attract. This old cliche is a myth. Opposites may initially attract, but once the novelty wears off, research (Buston and Emlen, 2003) indicates they don’t stand the test of time. Familiarity in the way we communicate and express love and affection is comforting and a strong foundation for a lasting and loving relationship.

3) You have to constantly work at the relationship. Yes, you need to put some effort into relationship maintenance, but it shouldn’t be a constant, uphill struggle. If you’re stressed out and exhausted from the daily grind of your relationship, you’re probably not in the right relationship for you. You just can’t fix some problems. It’s ok to admit this and end it.

4) You just don’t have anything in common. You don’t have to like all the same things, people, places, foods, and music, but you should have some shared basic interests. Additionally, shared values are more important than common interests. It’s great that you both enjoy skiing and watching football, but do you want the same things in life? Do you have complementary temperaments and styles of relating? Do you have compatible views on child rearing?

5) You have constant conflict. Conflict is a natural part of relationships. However, there’s healthy conflict that results from minor disagreements and misunderstandings and there’s toxic, never ending, irresolvable conflict that results from unbridgeable individual differences and/or individual pathology. Signs that you’re dealing with the latter include:

  • Having the same argument over and over again.
  • Getting stuck in a cycle of mutual blame and resentment.
  • Bringing up hurts or arguments from the past in the present.
  • Name calling.
  • Not being able to move past the conflict once the fighting subsides.

6) You feel responsible for her happiness. If her happiness depends on things you say or do, it’s not a good sign. It’s a set-up for mutually assured unhappiness. If you’re responsible for making her happy, you’ll also be the person that gets blamed for her unhappiness, frustration, and the rest of life’s petite traumata. True happiness, satisfaction, and contentment come from within. It’s not dependent upon what you do or don’t do for her.

It can be difficult not getting worn down when some women begin the big push toward the altar. It’s natural to have some doubts and feel resistance to marriage. However, there’s a difference between simply having a case of cold feet and having legitimate concerns because of the issues cited above.

Counseling, Consulting and Coaching with Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD

Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD helps individuals work through their relationship and codependency issues via telephone or Skype. She specializes in helping men and women trying to break free of an abusive relationship, cope with the stress of an abusive relationship or heal from an abusive relationship. She combines practical advice, emotional support and goal-oriented outcomes. Please visit the Schedule a Session page for professional inquiries or send an email to shrink4men@gmail.com.

Want to Say Goodbye to Crazy? Buy it HERE.

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:

Bridezilla on Poor Richard’s Printshop.

A Funny, But Honest Valentine’s Day Card


This is quite possibly the most honest Valentine’s Day card I’ve ever seen. I’m usually not one for greeting cards, but I’d definitely give this to someone special in my life. The original source is xkcd.com. Smart and funny stuff!

valentine1

Counseling, Consulting and Coaching with Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD

Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD helps individuals work through their relationship and codependency issues via telephone or Skype. She specializes in helping men and women trying to break free of an abusive relationship, cope with the stress of an abusive relationship or heal from an abusive relationship. She combines practical advice, emotional support and goal-oriented outcomes. Please visit the Schedule a Session page for professional inquiries or send an email to shrink4men@gmail.com.

Want to Say Goodbye to Crazy? Buy it HERE.

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.

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