Why You Should Play the Long Game

How To Find a Long Term RelationshipWhy You Should Play the Long Game

Jennifer was sick and tired of being overlooked by men … and she wasn’t shy about letting me know it.

“I could follow all the dating advice out there to the letter,” she complained, “and it wouldn’t do me as much good as liposuction. All I need to do is look hot. Then everything will fall into place.”

Was Jennifer right?

At a cursory glance, what she says has merit. Focus on your looks, and male attention flows. Each admiring glance feels like money in the bank.

But I like to think of the long game. And I was hoping to convince Jennifer of that, too.

There are two ways to play the dating game:

You can play the short game, or you can play the long game.

The short game is all about instant gratification. It’s about getting more male attention, the phone number requests, the hits on your online dating profile. You know you’re winning because you’re flooded with so much attention.

But the short game is hard to win. There’s a lot of competition. There are women with glossier hair, who take better selfies, or are more shameless about self-promoting.

I see so many women disheartened because they’re losing the short game. They’re not walking into venues and seeing heads swivel. They’re not getting five date requests a week.

But there’s a better game in town.

A game with higher odds of winning.

The long game is all about a lifetime of love. It’s not concerned about what happens today. It’s concerned about progress: that slow, gradual movement towards a dream. It aims for strong marriages and lifetime commitment.

What you look like isn’t so important in the long game. In fact, so-called “beautiful people” are at a disadvantage.  A 2017 Harvard study found that attractive couples are more likely to divorce, and their relationships don’t last as long.[1]

What keeps marriages together is this: Continue reading

How to Outsmart He-Said-She-Said Arguments

How to Outsmart He-Said-She-Said ArgumentsDid you know there’s a hidden danger in trusting your own memory?

Most of us think of our memory like a personal video recorder. When you remember something, it’s like sitting down in the theater of your own mind and pressing play.

Except, that’s not how memory works. Research Psychologist Elizabeth Loftus knows first hand.

When Loftus was 44 years old, her uncle told her that as a child she discovered her mother in the pool after an accidental drowning. Loftus had no memory of seeing her mom’s body, but she trusted her uncle.

Before long, she started remembering. She could picture details of the day. How her mom was dressed. Even the lights of the police cars.

Which is odd because, as it turns out, her uncle was mistaken. Loftus didn’t witness any of it. Instead, her mind created memories to match what her uncle said.[1]

That’s memory for you. We think of it as an accurate recording, but Loftus is famous for her research that shows how bad eye-witness accounts can be.  It turns out, our memories are surprisingly malleable.[2]

Memories change over time. They morph and combine. Sometimes we add to them. Sometimes we edit details out. Even otherwise honest folks have been known to fabricate entire scenes, believing something happened that never did.

Okay, so there’s A LOT we could explore here, but let’s narrow our focus. How does this affect your relationship?

That depends entirely on how much you let it.

Below are two tips for minimizing the impact of less-than-accurate memories—yours AND his! If you’re tired of he-said-she-said fights, keep reading.

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5 Relationship Myths That Make People Miserable

Relationship MythsHave you ever fallen prey to a widely-held misconception?

Here’s a completely harmless example: shaving makes hair thicker.

This old wives’ tale has been around for a long time, but there’s no truth in it.[1] Shaving can make hair look thicker. But shaving (or waxing) won’t actually make hair grow in fuller than it was before.

If you’ve ever held off removing hair for fear it would come back with a vengeance, the worst you suffered was some stubble. Not ideal, but not the end of the world.

But there are other myths that can really mess with important areas of your life. Like your love life.

But let’s back up a step. There are some commonly held beliefs that have the potential to wreck your relationships before it even gets off the ground. Buy into these lies, and you’re setting yourself up for failure.

Fortunately, they’re easy to identify and disarm.

In fact, as soon as you see them for what they are, the power of these myths will be broken. Let’s tackle these five relationship lies together.

Myth #1: Relationships are hard.

Relationships are not hard. You find someone you have stuff in common with, invest time and effort, and a bond develops. It’s not complex. It’s not even difficult.

Think about it. If relationships required special skills, how would people of all intelligence levels, all backgrounds, all socioeconomic groups, and all cultures find ways to succeed in them?

Relationships themselves are not hard. But building a beautiful relationship that is based on trust and commitment is hard. It takes commitment from two people over a long period of time.

Do you want true intimacy? Then yes, you have to put in the time. You have to commit the effort. There’s no other way.

But it’s not the relationship that is hard.  Instead, think of it like a work of art. It’s a beautiful process that unfolds over time. And the best artists enjoy their work, not just the end result.

Myth #2: Men can’t be trusted.

There’s zero connection between gender and a trustworthy character. While it’s not uncommon for women (and men) to claim the other is less than trustworthy, that’s a bunch of bunk.

The truth is there are people of all kinds who can’t be trusted . . . and there are people of all kinds who CAN be trusted. It’s not about gender. It’s about the individual’s values.

If you make sweeping judgments about men, the resulting bias will cause you to misinterpret and reject the honest claims of the good men who find their way into your life.

Myth #3: Relationships get better when you fix them.
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What Romance Novels Can Teach You about Real Relationships

What Romance Novels Can Teach You About Real RelationshipsSo I’m no expert on romance novels marketed to women.

(You probably could have guessed that, right?)

But I have read a few because it’s related to work I do.

For me, the most fascinating part has nothing to do with the budding romance that inevitably swings into full bloom by the end of the book.

Rather, I’m fascinated by the way the same plot plays out over and over again.

That plot structure gives us an important clue about common problems in real life relationships.

Here’s my understanding of what happens in a typical romance:

Part 1.
Guy and Girl meet. They don’t hit it off.

Part 2.
Guy and Girl are forced to interact with each other because of a goal that requires their cooperation, like winning a competition or surviving the zombie apocalypse.

Part 3.
Guy and Girl start to build chemistry, but every time they take a baby step closer and let their guard down, something happens to drive them apart again.

Part 4.
Guy and Girl get together. The end.

This isn’t a thriller or a suspense novel. You know they’re going to get together by the end. The only surprise is how they’re going to do it.

And yet romances are completely riveting nonetheless.

In the movie version of this common plot structure you’re sitting on the edge of your seat as the Guy and Girl almost make it to that first kiss. Only to be interrupted by someone shouting, “Zombie attack!” (or something similar).

Your emotional investment gets higher each time their passion for each other is thwarted. You can’t rest until they get together and live happily ever after.

Now, that’s not usually how I’m feeling.

As a guy, I know how the plot is going to end. So I can enjoy the storyline, but I don’t get so caught up in it.

The tables are turned when it’s sports, though.

Ever been in a living room where all the men are sitting at the edge of their seats screaming at the TV while the women are hanging out in the kitchen, only occasionally glancing in to see how the game is unfolding?

Men are riveted when they have no clue who is going to win. The best games are when their team is ahead, then behind, then ahead again. Guys live for those moments when they think their team is going to lose, only for a risky play in the last few seconds to win the game.

Notice a pattern here?

We know that it’s not as satisfying for a man when his team doesn’t have to fight to win. An easy win is no win at all.

We know that a chick flick where the guy and girl meet each other, fall in love on the spot, then live happily ever after for the next two hours wouldn’t hold many people’s attention.

Conclusion:

We become more emotionally invested when we don’t know what’s going to happen next.

The longer you can sustain that unbearable tension of not knowing whether the ending you want is the ending you’re going to get, the more emotionally fulfilling the climax is.

So why rush that stage when you’re dating?

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