Give Me Space – Adam Factor 16, Single Men

July 13th, 2013

“I’m fairly sure that my cute next door neighbor thinks I’m a stalker. She wrote it on Facebook, Twitter, and even in both of her diaries.” unknown

Personal space is personal for a reason. Aside from a brief period when a relationship first starts (remember sharing a chair, or eating off the same plate?), most people have a set space requirement that will revert to normal in time. There are however some very large differences between people and in a LTR these differences can either have a partner feeling suffocated or abandoned.

It’s important to understand that personal space is a very subjective subject that has very few hard rules. There are especially big differences between cultures and there are also differences between genders. So unless you are in same sex relationship with someone from an identical culture, don’t be alarmed.

While it’s more common to associate this factor with a stalker girlfriend, the truth is that men are just as guilty of ignoring the obvious. The reason why this factor affects both genders equally is that the root cause is a very human condition known as insecurity.

Relationships that have insecurity issues will often have partners acting more like cell mates than soul mates. While it’s great to have a tight bond, invisible handcuffs are not sexy. There are however a number of approaches and ways to address this issue that will make a difference.

The best solution is to not get in this tight spot to begin with. That starts with making sure friends and hobbies are retained when a relationship begins. Lacking sources outside the relationship for approval or feedback is the same as putting all your eggs in one basket.

There are however times when outside events can make diversity impossible. If you or your partner have just moved either for a job to be with one another it will take time to make new connections or develop new hobbies (it’s hard to surf in Omaha).

It’s also important to shake up the time you and your partner do spend together, don’t confuse quantity of time with quality. Staying at home watching TV together on the couch every night is great but the trough you are creating on the couch is going to create a rut in your relationship. Do some new things together, visit friends, take a walk, try a new sport; the point is to do something different or your relationship is going to be associated with watching paint dry.

It’s not wrong to desire a close relationship but even between couples there are limits on how much an individuals personal space can be invaded. The video below provides a good manner to view the world we share with others.

There’s two quizzes this time. The first will see how your relationship compares to others and the second  can help you better understand your personal space requirements and how to best interact with your partner.

For additional information check out the links below:

Suffocating in a Relationship?  start by not making it worse

The Nightmare  what every man fears, be afraid, be very afraid

Relationship Personal Space Quiz

Everybody is capable of all three styles shown further below, but there will be a dominant style. Some of your attachment style is hard-wired, but the rest of it is learned behavior.

Answer the questions below as true or false.

1. I show love clearly and regularly to the people I care for.

2. I openly accept the love and care of others.

3. I ask for help freely and often.

4. I have at least three people I trust and confide in regularly.

5. I feel calm and secure on a daily basis.

6. I am known for my patience and tolerance.

7. People see me as available for intimacy.

8. I am open with my feelings.

9. My lifestyle shows that relationships are a priority.

10. I initiate and maintain contact with people in my life.

11. I generally take care of others better than I take care of myself.

12. I need a lot of contact time with my close relationships.

13. I get anxious when separated from the people I love.

14. I am the one who initiates most contact in relationships.

15. I sometimes come across as critical or pushy.

16. People see me as impatient.

17. I can be demanding in relationships.

18. I have had several relationship disappointments.

19. I can be pretty intense in relationships.

20. Much of my thinking involves close relationships.

21. I often lose myself in work or projects.

22. I tend to be quiet or uncomfortable in social situations.

23. I am generally a private person.

24. I tend to be quite self-sufficient.

25. I get uncomfortable with extended periods of closeness.

26. I think too much is made of relationships and closeness.

27. My partner has complained about my distancing behaviors.

28. People sometimes see me as over-involved in work.

29. At times I consciously avoid contact with others.

30. I can be withdrawn in relationships.

KEY
The more true answers you have in each category, the more you display characteristics of the corresponding attachment style.

Questions 1-10: Secure
Individuals with this style can freely show and receive love; are sensual, sexual, and have high self-esteem; can ask for help and offer it to others; get upset but get over it; do not hold grudges; forgive; are comfortable with closeness as well as distance; enjoy time alone and with others.

Questions 11-20: Pursuer
Individuals with this style expect a great deal of contact and closeness; usually want more time and attention than their partner does; are sensitive to rejection; get anxious when separated from their partner; want more information than their partner gives; focus more on what they don’t have than what they do; are often perceived as needy; are better at giving love than receiving it; get upset easily; hold grudges; are hyper-vigilant about their partner’s behavior.

Questions 21-30: Avoider
Individuals with this style want and need a lot of time alone; are often less talkative than the partner; are sensitive to any form of control; are often quite self-sufficient; give little information; withdraw when upset; have difficulty expressing their feelings; are often very involved in their work.

Does attachment style vary with a particular romantic relationship?
It does. With two pursuers, it’s great in the beginning, but ultimately you’re going to have to come up for air. If you have two avoiders, one will have to shift or you’ll never have contact. The goal is to get the pursuer to shut up, and the avoider to show up.The goal is to get the pursuer to shut up, and the avoider to show up.

More women are pursuers when it comes to verbal intimacy, and more men are pursuers when it comes to sexual intimacy. A pursuer in the living room can be an avoider in the bedroom.

How can you have a healthy relationship if you aren’t securely attached?
If you’re a pursuer, when those magic moments of connection happen, breathe it in. Practice the art of daily appreciation. “Thank you’s” remind you that you got something. That’s what’s missing with the pursuers — they think they don’t have anything.

If you’re an avoider, recognize your own need for connection. Understand that you can communicate in nonverbal ways: You can write a letter, send an email, leave a rose on your partner’s pillow, initiate touch. Daily acts of initiation will reap great rewards.

The big mistake is to think that the avoider doesn’t want closeness, or that the overbearing pursuer wants to push you away. Fights usually happen when one person is asked to take on a style that doesn’t work for them.

Trust Tree – Adam Factor 15, Single Men

May 26th, 2013

“A psychiatrist asks a lot of expensive questions your wife asks for nothing.” Joey Adams

One of the benefits of being in a relationship is that you are going to get to know yourself even better. Even the parts of you that you’d soon just forget- you know, those long lost memories you would of forgotten about and never would have remembered until your partner brought them back up to the surface. There is likely plenty of stuff that you would prefer buried deep in the past, but if the material is good enough, your partner will keep those memories alive and well.

There’s no doubt that men need to share things with their partners and that there is a considerable amount of their life (past and present) that their partners should be made aware of. However, this does not mean that it is appropriate or right to share everything either. Finding a balance between under sharing and over sharing is something that both men and women need to work on.

The video below is a classic when it comes to this issue. The clip clarifies what “sharing too much” is. If you can’t see what the guy is doing wrong, then you really need to keep reading this post.

There are two very different aspects of this factor- over sharing (what you just watched) and under sharing. In both cases, the relationship can get off track and develop trust issues.

The problem with over sharing is that it can negatively affect your partner’s image of you. Women know that “men will be men,” but prefer to think that maybe their man is different. Even if she has a good idea of who you are and what you’ve done, there probably isn’t much benefit in telling her about your wild spring break adventure in Mexico. Your partner is already well aware of your shortcomings and flaws, over sharing is just another reminder of how she may have made a really poor choice.

Under sharing, while less likely to trigger the gag reflex in your partner, will perhaps be even more hurtful in the end. Sharing is viewed as part of trusting one another and once your partner has become aware that you have not been forthcoming with her, it is probable she will conclude the relationship has trust issues. In addition, you may find yourself being asked “If you didn’t tell me this, what else are you not telling me?”

No doubt there is nothing about this factor that makes finding a balance easy. There are differences between individuals and even genders that will complicate the very best efforts you and your partner will make. A good starting point, though, is learning more about you and your partner’s attachment styles. The following link will provide you with some clues that might make this factor easier for the both of you, Relationship Attachment Styles, thanks to Dr. Fraley of the University of Illinois.

It’s also pertinent that you have a firm grasp of the differences between the genders, when it comes to communication. A prior post, Something to Shout About, will provide you with the tools to make a good start.

As part of getting in touch with yourself, go ahead and start the process by taking  the quiz below and seeing how you compare to others.

For additional entertainment check out the link below:

Men Feeling  proof men can connect and do have feelings

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Kiss & Tell – Eve Factor 16

March 24th, 2013

“For it was not into my ear you whispered, but into my heart. It was not my lips you kissed, but my soul.” Judy Garland

What is private and what is public information in your relationship? If you are wanting to avoid unpleasant disclosures in the future, then this is a factor you should spend some time discussing in great depth with your partner.

In most cases, when your partner provides others with too much information it is by accident. While the disclosure will often feel intentional, it is important to try and keep things in perspective.  Often times the reactions that follow a leak of classified information can be more damaging than the information shared.

When trust is betrayed there are often several events that follow. The first is distress, especially if this is a close relationship. We don’t expect these kinds of transgressions to come from those with whom we are intimately involved with. A betrayal of trust makes us question our judgement and perception of things.

The second effect is that the person who is betrayed will usually seal themselves off in order to prevent additional harm. Relationships require both individuals to interact and share, so when one partner withdraws it unbalances the entire relationship.

The third effect from a betrayal of trust often appears later on~ a real desire for justice. While seeking to right a wrong sounds justifiable, it often resembles a form of revenge which only elevates and worsens the situation. A real lose, lose situation.

The best solution would be to avoid getting into this situation in the first place. It starts by clearly communicating to your partner as to what is private and what is public information. Privacy does not always mean the same thing to everyone. If your partner is a little more “open” with information, then it is important that you discuss with him/her what is okay and what is not okay with you. If you are the one who is more open about your relationship, then error on the side of caution~ keep it to yourself.

If you have crossed the line and made a mistake, start by admitting it. By taking responsibility for the slip, you take that weight off of the person who was betrayed. This helps to  lower their level of distress, as they at least understand that this wasn’t something they brought upon themselves. In addition, by taking responsibility you are working towards restoring your partner’s trust, making it easier to address the situation and mend the relationship. Taking responsibility for your actions also reduces the odds of your partner seeking revenge and evening the score.

While there are some matters that are clearly not open for public discussion, there are some subjects that don’t have to be discussed or disclosed in private either. Just because you are in a relationship, doesn’t mean that every aspect of your life has to be shared. The video below illustrates this situation quite well.

There are no clear rules that can be used to set the boundaries of personal disclosure across all relationships. Variations in culture, upbringing, and personality make this a factor where couples have to develop their own personal code that they will abide by. Take the quiz below to see how your relationship compares to others.

For additional information check out the link below:

Betrayal

Give & Take – Eve Factor 15

January 23rd, 2013

“There is no such thing as a “self-made” man. We are made up of thousands of others. Everyone who has ever done a kind deed for us, or spoken one word of encouragement to us, has entered into the make-up of our character and of our thoughts, as well as our success.” George Matthews Adams

Feel free to substitute “woman” for “man” in the quote above. While Wonder Woman is out there somewhere taking the world on, all on her own~ it’s a lonely job. Not to mention a job that requires a very high degree of confidence as the outfit appears to be prone to wardrobe malfunctions.

For those lacking an Amazonian pedigree, its important to have a strong support system in place, one that provides you with encouragement and feedback. This can be one of the greatest benefits of having a healthy long term relationship.

In order to build a strong support system, it is important to understand the role of givers and takers in the world. At various points in our lives we may find ourselves alternating between the giver and the taker, but in order for a personal relationship to survive long term, there needs to be a balance between the two. If your relationship is too one-sided, it just won’t last. A relationship with a parasitic taker will only last as long as the taker continues to receive. Unless a giver is able to rid themselves of a parasitic taker, they are usually sucked dry with nothing left to give.

Long term relationships require more of a “mutualistic” relationship- one in which both sides benefit from the relationship. If your relationship feels off balance, then ask yourself what kind of relationship do you have- parasitic or mutualistic?  If you find yourself in a parasitic relationship, then be aware of how it might end. It is better to rid yourself of a parasite now, then to wait until you are too weak to do so. If your relationship is generally mutualistic, but feeling one-sided lately, then it’s important to discuss this with your partner. Communication is key to getting things realigned. Just remember, when addressing shortcoming or failures with your partner, you need to layer the message. Start with a positive, then the issue, and finish with a positive – this is a sandwich approach that most people can handle. Also, don’t forget the research by Dr. Gottman (discussed in my post,  Are you a stinker? )  that found the positive to negative ratio had better be five to one if a happy relationship is desired.

 

While the video above is cute and demonstrates positive feedback, it’s also important to give honest feedback. A friend is someone who not only tells the truth, but finds a way to say it so that it doesn’t do more harm than good. If you have a friend like that, then you wouldn’t need a “Lasso of Truth” or have to go it alone like a true Amazonian. Take the quiz below to see how “mutualistic” your relationship is looking.

Something to Shout About – Eve Factor 14

December 9th, 2012

“My wife says I never listen to her. At least I think that’s what she said.” Author Unknown

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I don’t believe the author of the quote above is unknown, in fact, I believe he is in protective custody somewhere. The truth is, there are only a few couples who cannot relate to this quote. Even my wife claims we have a communication problem, or at least I think that’s what she said?

Over the past few decades, the common sense knowledge that men and women communicate differently has been proven time and again through numerous studies. Regrettably though, this knowledge hasn’t improved our ability to communicate with one another- well, not enough anyway. So if we are aware that men and women communicate differently, then why can’t we learn to communicate better?

There are several things that go on when men and women try to communicate. The first thing is that the objective of communication seems to be very different. In general, women talk as a means of sharing- they want someone to listen, empathize, and relate. While men are more focused on problem solving or bragging up their abilities. Not really a surprise that this area comes with communication problems. The video below is considered by some a humorous example while others might find fail to see the humor.

 

The second thing is related to conversational content. For quite some time it was accepted that women talk far more than men. While this still feels like it should be true (as the father of five girls), more recent research has shown the differences to be quite small. The truth is that while the word count may not differ greatly between the genders, the content of those words (and their intended purpose) is very different. Scientists can now take a conversation converted to text and in 80% of the cases correctly identify the gender based on word patterns.

The differences in conversational content between the genders, while not readily evident in short exchanges or to casual observers, adds up. If there are enough exchanges over a wide range of topics in an extended period of time, nearly every relationship will experience some degree of miscommunication. The video below is a cute example of miscommunication and events spiraling out of control, does it sound familiar?

 

Just recently I had an experience in which the differences in male and female communication became abundantly clear. While my wife and I were out with another couple, both of us men completely missed a verbal request made by our wives. This attention failure resulted in several minutes of a one sided rant about male shortcomings. Unfortunately at the time, I had not yet discovered the study below as it would have explained the situation perfectly.

Researchers at the University of Sheffield in the UK have found that men and women really do hear each other differently. As it turns out, men truly do have selective hearing. When a man listens to a woman speak, he uses the part of his brain that processes music, not human voices. With women, however, there is no gender differentiation in the brain while listening to others. Telling my wife that listening to her is like music to my ears hasn’t gotten me out of a fix, but the table below has ~ I found it to be much more useful.

Survival Tips For Men: How To Communicate With Women

Suicidal

Safer

Better Yet

Winner

What’s for dinner?

Can I help you with dinner?

Where would you like to go for dinner?

Would you like more wine?

Are you sure that you can still fit in that?

Brown really brings out your eyes.

Wow!!! You look sensational!

Would you like more wine?

What are you so worked up about?

Could we talk about this some more?

Here’s my credit card, paycheck, and testicles.

Would you like more wine?

Should you be eating that?

Look, there’s lots of celery left over.

How about another piece of chocolate pie?

Would you like more wine?

 

While I still think the table above is all men need to know, evidence has been hard to come by as there have been few volunteers willing to test it. I do, however, have one last study that might help us get to where we want to be. It turns out that we have the ability to overcome all the gender communication differences ~ when we are attracted to someone we naturally mimic their speech patterns, thus making communication easier.

That’s right. Better communication is what happens when you have a genuine interest in another person. It’s really no different than when your relationship first began. The communication gap doesn’t show up for a while and it can be reversed.

If the lines of communication are down in your relationship, ask yourself if you have been taking a genuine interest in your partner. Maybe it’s time to book that weekend getaway or simply plan a dinner just for two, try something besides talking about it. To see how your relationship compares to others, answer the survey question below.

 

For additional information check out the link below:

Don’t Talk why talking about it might be the wrong choice