The Romantic Advantage of Seeing the World in Shades of Gray

The Romantic Advantage of Seeing the World in Shades of GrayWant to know whether this guy has what it takes to last in the long run?

Ask him about his parents. Or his exes. Or his boss. People who are emotionally charged for him.

Then sit back and listen.

If he paints a world in which people are either good or bad, saints or sinners, then watch out.

He may not have what psychologists call “healthy object relations,” which are crucial for lasting love.

In a moment, I’ll tell you why seeing in black and white can sabotage lasting love, but first, here’s a quick and very basic run-down on the theory.

As children, we see our parents as good when they’re doing something we like and bad when they’re doing something we don’t like.

It’s not until we grow up a bit that we realize our parents are neither good nor bad, but rather complex people with some traits we like and some we dislike.

That’s a mature point of view.

We can see that, even though we may dislike someone heartily, that person still has some good traits.

We can see that, even though we idolize someone, that person still has flaws.

But not everyone has this seemingly obvious insight.

Some people continue to see others in black or white … and that doesn’t bode well for romance.

Take this example.

Have you ever met a man who put you on a pedestal from the moment he met you?

He made you feel amazing. You were the center of his attention. His attachment to you was so intense you felt a bit blown over. You wondered whether he was seeing the real you or wearing some serious rose-colored glasses.

But it was flattering. So you went along with it.

Then, a few weeks into the relationship, or a few months, or even a few years, something shifted.

You disappointed him in some small way.

Maybe you said no when he was expecting you to say yes. Maybe you asked him to change something, and he took it as criticism. Or maybe you did nothing at all. He just woke up one morning and looked at you differently.

From that moment on, you were a disappointment to him. You could never measure up to the woman he thought you should be.

You could try harder, of course. But why would you? In his eyes, you were either the ideal woman or a flawed human being. Hopefully, you left the relationship and didn’t look back.

That’s the consequences of all-or-nothing thinking. A man who can’t appreciate a complex, interesting woman who’s got a bit of saint AND sinner in her isn’t one who’ll stay the course.

Now, let’s turn the tables. How can this theory help you spot a winner?

Glad you asked.

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3 Ways to Invite Love to Chase You

3 Ways to Invite Love to Chase YouThere are two kinds of singles:

Those who wait for Prince Charming to land in their laps…

And those who jump on a white stallion and gallop off to find him.

Because you’re reading this right now, you might very well fit into that second category!

We’re raised to believe that you can’t get what you want until you go after it. You should set a goal and take concrete action steps in the direction of your dreams.

But love is a funny thing. You can’t “achieve love” in the same way as you can achieve other goals.

Love is slippery. We think we’ll find it one place, then it’s not there. It often pops up in the most unlikely of places at the most inconvenient times.

No wonder love is so frustrating. We’re used to being in control of every aspect of our lives. It feels like we should be able to make love happen by sheer willpower. But love continues to elude us, like a wild animal that doesn’t want to be trapped.

Perhaps a better approach is not to treat love like a goal to be achieved…

But rather as a mystery to respect and appreciate.

Accept that love is a much bigger force than you could ever understand or hope to control, and you may just find it appears when you least expect it.

The 21st century is not an age of mysteries. We believe in the power of science to explain most things. We trust in reason and causality.

But romance often seems unpredictable, as evidenced by stories like these:

Once upon a time, a woman went to a conference and saw a man staring at her across a room. He wouldn’t have even been there had his friends not dragged him out. They met, talked until dawn, and fell in love. Today they’re happily married with two children.

Once upon a time, a woman joined a friend at a baseball game. Baseball wasn’t even her thing. She didn’t know why she’d agreed to go that night, but she’s so glad she did. She met her future husband at the game. They’ve been married 12 years and counting.

So many love stories involve unlikely events such as these.

Wild, crazy synchronicities. Meeting each other against all odds.

That’s the essence of romance. Love stories captivate us most when they’re unexpected.

So why shouldn’t love come to you in the same way?

Why shouldn’t love land in your lap when you least expect it?

Maybe love isn’t something you have to hunt down. Maybe there’s a mysterious force—call it Cupid or St. Valentine or even destiny if you like—working on your behalf, summonsing the perfect conditions for you to meet the one who’s also been waiting for you.

Like this idea? Want to know more?

Then try these 3 tips for letting love take the driver’s seat.

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The Unsexy Art of Relationship Maintenance

The Unsexy Art of Relationship MaintenanceYou’ve read those relationship articles, right? The ones featured in magazines in checkout lines? They’re always about passion or keeping the spark alive or making your relationship magical.

Would you like to know the truth about those articles?

Sometimes they have good advice. Really.

Yes, you may have to sift through some cheesy examples, and sometimes the headlines are just ridiculous, but more often than you’d think the content isn’t bad.

But there is a problem with those articles. They often paint an incomplete picture.

They’ll tell you about the fun side of building your relationship. Things like how to buy your guy little gifts or what you can do to feel sexy around him. Basically, the easy advice.

But the hard stuff? Forget about it. You won’t find that kind of advice in those articles very often at all.

People don’t buy magazines in the checkout line because they want to be challenged to grow.

But you’re reading this because you do want growth—for yourself and for your relationship. I want to honor that, so I’ll tell you the truth you won’t get from those magazine articles.

Ready?

Real relationship maintenance isn’t sexy. It’s work.

Keeping your romance in a good place takes persistence. And while that may not be sexy, persistent maintenance is what enables intimacy.

That’s why it matters.

Are you ready to give your relationship a maintenance check-up? I can show you how. This is the unsexy side of romance—but it’s so worth it.

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When You Should (and Shouldn’t) Say Yes to a Second Date

When You Should (and Shouldn’t) Say Yes to a Second DatePicture this. You’re out with a friend. She’s shoe shopping, and you’ve agreed to lend your fashion advice.

You walk into a store with no intention of buying anything for yourself, but the moment you enter it washes over you. The scent of leather. Suddenly, you’re thinking a new pair of pumps might not be a bad idea.

The smell alone can suck you right in. And businesses know it.

In fact, there are marketing firms that specialize specifically in scents that create sales![1] It’s called “sensory marketing.”

But the effect goes further than your nose. For example, wine stores that play classical music sell more champagne.[2] That’s because all your senses have the potential to produce a powerful emotional response.

As one article on sensory marketing put it, “we feel faster than we think.”[3]

The same thing can happen in your love life. When you go out for the first time with a man, the entire date is a collision of sensory input.

There’s the cologne he’s wearing. The visual impact of his clothes. The taste of the food you share over dinner, the touch of his skin when he takes your hand, even the sounds of others talking and laughing at the restaurant.

And because we feel faster than we think, it can be tough to tell if he’s really a good match for you.

You need a way to navigate through all that unintended “sensory marketing.” After all, you don’t want to go on multiple dates with the wrong guy just because everything felt right on the first.

Here’s how you bypass the hype and decide if a second date is a good idea.

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