Marta Meana watches from the back of the room when her husband, a professor of literature, gives talks.
“It’s amazing how attractive that is to me,” Meana tells journalist Daniel Bergner in his new book, What Do Women Want? Adventures in the Science of Female Desire, which charts the latest science of what is, by all accounts here, a vastly underestimated force. Gazing at her husband from afar helps Meana see him the way a stranger might. For her, that’s hot.
Meana, a scientist and couples counsellor, urges her patients to seize on moments like this, to view their spouses “apart” from their relationships. Another of her tips to women: Arrive at your dates separately – the way you probably did when you first started seeing each other.
"Love does not consist in gazing at each other, but in looking outward together in the same direction." - Antoine de Saint-Exupery, Airman's Odyssey
“Couple Consciousness.” It derives from the foundation of a true PARTNERSHIP of : Commitment, Cooperation, Communication, and Community. Couple consciousness, this Fifth C of Couple Power and Lifelong Love, involves looking at yourself, your relationship and others through the eyes of Couple. It is like a lens through which to see the world. It is a place to come from in dealing with anything you encounter in your life, from small events to big issues. And it looks at the sensual relationship one has with their significant other; their awareness of self with thier mate.
Meana, a scientist and couples counsellor, urges her patients to seize on moments like this, to view their spouses “apart” from their relationships. Another of her tips to women: Arrive at your dates separately – the way you probably did when you first started seeing each other.
Perhaps we’ve gotten it wrong on the couples therapy couch.
Visiting with pioneering sexuality researchers (many of them Canadian) and conducting in-depth interviews with women whose libidos had lagged in long-term committed relationships, Bergner controversially posits that women’s desire may dissipate more quickly than men’s – monogamy might be more of a cage for wives than for husbands.
He argues that we’ve falsely assumed women need emotional intimacy and safety to spark and then maintain their lust in monogamous relationships. Laughing over the phone during an interview, Bergner says that women “are a lot more like men, if not more like men than men are, maybe.” Ultimately they might need distance – not closeness – to reignite their loins, just like men apparently do.
Both of Meana’s tactics are “tricks of disentanglement” designed to inject some of the mysterious stranger back into your by-now-very-familiar spouse, Bergner explains. Such techniques are on the frontlines of new therapeutic approaches that seek to refuel marital libido by re-instilling psychological distance – not emotional intimacy – in relationships. When it comes to keeping desire alive in monogamous long-term unions, researchers are beginning to question whether modern couples therapy has overemphasized closeness, communication and empathy. While such traditionally touted values may improve day-to-day relations, it’s not necessarily what turns a woman’s crank.
“Bad relationships can kill desire, but good ones don’t at all guarantee it,” writes Bergner, distinguishing between that which is “prized in life” and “most potent” in bed.
If not folded laundry or tender pillow talk, what does it for women long-term? Being hungrily desired, suggests Meana, who as president of the Society for Sex Therapy and Research is now researching how distance stokes lust in long-term couples.
“We tend to be taught about emotional intimacy and we hear a lot about help around the house, help with the kids,” Bergner says. “But I listened to the therapists and they were cautioning strongly that helpfulness and emotional intimacy are just not the main keys to keeping desire going.”
The new thinking involves trying to see your partner as someone outside your relationship would see him. This is not about novelty efforts that see couples engaging in ziplining to shake up the daily slog, but a “rearrangement of expectations,” as Bergner puts it. While partners are naturally still encouraged to caringly support one another, they’re also being nudged away from constantly seeking out personal affirmation and unconditional love – and toward a model that’s a bit less cozy.
“The longing to depend, to be propped up and protected, was given too much power,” Bergner writes in the book, pointing out that the lustful beginnings of our relationships are often far less cushy and certain.
“For many of us it was at a time in our relationships when we were not so sure of our partners,” he said. “It might have been after the very beginning, but we certainly weren’t slipping into assumption. We were still in a place where that other person was an Other.”
Bergner said that while infusing your marriage with some distance and uncertainty can sound “tricky and paradoxical” – if not daunting – “that path is what we’re going to see more of as therapists talk more and more honestly.”
Distinguished thinkers in the field of female desire such as like Esther Perel, author of Mating in Captivity, agree that too much intimacy may actually be nuking sex in marriage – that while “love seeks closeness, desire needs distance.” And Marriage Confidential author Pamela Haag has lamented the passion-zapping effects of the modern friendship marriage.
“The good news in 21st-century marriage is that we’re marrying our ‘best friends.’ The bad news is that we’re marrying our ‘best friends.’ Best friends aren’t lovers,” Haag said via e-mail. Haag believes today’s couples overemphasize the partnership aspects of their relationships, getting too open when they constantly use “intimacy as disclosure” – they’ve lost “a healthy sense of estrangement from each other.”
“It’s the maintenance of some mystery or inscrutability about the partner because that fuels desire.”
This is consistent with the paradigm shift from individualism to “couplism,” from me-ness to we-ness. It comes from the commitment to your couple and then creating possibilities together that make a difference for others. Sharing these things with other people in your life not only helps them but also strengthens your own relationship. Just as with an individual, if you think only of yourself or your own couple, over time you will lose connection and vitality. When you reach out to others, you empower yourself, your couple and your community.
Try this exercise / scenario from Lifelong Love: 4 Steps to Creating and Maintaining an Extraordinary Relationship (Harlequin, 2012, p. 250):
– Think about how the lives of those around you could be affected if you were functioning consistently as a Couple.
- What actions would be necessary to make that happen?
– Make up an action to take as a Couple that would express couple consciousness between you, in your family or community, and do that together.
– Talk about how those actions turned out, how they impacted your partner, (and your family and community), and how it felt to be the source of that and feel the emotion generated from these actions between you and your partner... the source of real love.
With the longer and warmer days of summer just around the corner, this is the ideal time to take on some of these challenges to improve both your physical and mental health as well.
Whether it’s due to work, family or personal commitments, life can be full of stressful moments. When we’re overwhelmed, our body releases the hormone cortisol, which helps us cope and react to stress. However, an excess of cortisol can increase our appetite and storage of fat, disrupt our sleep patterns, and impair our immune function, making us more prone to infections or illness.
Research has shown that cortisol levels are lower in people who are regularly active as opposed to those who are inactive. Not only does exercise have a positive effect on managing cortisol levels, it also reduces symptoms of depression and anxiety, increases self-esteem, and releases stress reducing chemicals known as endorphins. In terms of physical health, exercise can help with not only weight management, but can also reduce your blood pressure and decrease your risk of diabetes and heart disease.
"There is more to life than increasing its speed."
~Mohandas K. Gandhi
Do you find yourself rushing through life so much you forget to stop and smell the flowers? When we do that, we tend to stress more, enjoy less, and possibly put ourselves at risk for burnout.
Challenge 1: Schedule your exercise time
Just like you schedule work meetings, dates or your kids’ sports games, why not do the same with your exercise? Start by setting a goal to exercise three to five times a week for 30 minutes. Look at your calendar, find an opening and block off the appropriate time for getting active. By scheduling it in, you are prioritizing exercise in your life and are more likely to stick to it.
Challenge 2: Declutter your life
We all know how it feels to come home to find piles of old clothes, paper and things that we have held onto but haven’t had the heart to let go of. Find a weekend or put in 10 to 15 minutes every night for a week to get rid of the things that you no longer need. You will find that the decluttering of your physical space will lighten your spirits and help create a calmer home environment. If you find it hard to do this on your own recruit a friend or family member to help you. Also, you may consider having a clothing swap with your friends or donate the items to a local shelter or community centre.
Challenge 3: Get active together
You’re more likely to start and maintain an exercise routine if you find someone to do it with because you will be accountable to each other. Consider starting a lunch time walking group with your colleagues, or encourage your child or partner to go for a family walk after dinner. Not only will you be getting active together but it’s an opportunity to catch up, work through some of the day’s stresses and build your relationships.
"Adopting the right attitude can convert a negative stress into a positive one.
Hans Selye is one of the pioneers of stress theory, and definitely knows what he's talking about here! When has a shift in perspective made all the difference for you? Effective cognitive reframing, an attitude trick that really works.
Challenge 4: Reduce screen time
We are surrounded by smartphones, laptops and televisions, and constantly distracted by the sounds of incoming messages and texts. This constant connectedness to our screens makes it difficult to be present and active. Try to cut back on watching TV and use the extra time to get exercise. The added bonus: by cutting down on screen time (as discussed in week two and three) you will improve your sleep quality and reduce your food intake by paying attention to what you’re eating.
Challenge 5: Just do it
Not only is it a form of exercise, but sex can improve your health in other ways too. Research has found that having sex twice a week can increase energy, immune function, sleep quality and is a great stress buster.
Challenge 6: Mix it up
Don’t stop what you’re doing, but add some variety into your exercise routine to challenge your body and improve your level of fitness. You can achieve this by including interval or weight training in between your regular exercise regimen.
"Life is not a matter of having good cards, but of playing a poor hand well."
- Robert Louis Stevenson
I love the idea of having lemons and making lemonade--there's virtually always something positive that can be found in the challenges we face.
Challenge 7: Find time to be silent and reflect
Give yourself a few quiet minutes every day. With the flurry of activity that many of us face in our lives, having this moment of stillness will allow you to breathe, calm the mind and become more focused. If you have the opportunity to do so, look for a meditation class in your neighbourhood as there are often many available. There is growing evidence that meditation can help not only with calming your mind but is also effective in helping symptoms of depression, anxiety, chronic pain, high blood pressure and insomnia.
"Stress: The confusion created when one's mind overrides the body's basic desire to choke the living daylights out of some jerk who desperately deserves it"
"If you don't like something change it; if you can't change it, change the way you think about it."
"If you ask what is the single most important key to longevity, I would have to say it is avoiding worry, stress and tension. And if you didn't ask me, I'd still have to say it."
The immediate aftermath of parental divorce is often a period of emotional distress for both parents and children (Hetherington, 1993; Hetherington & Elmore, 2003), such that emotional problems including anxiety, depression, anger, guilt, and resentment, may be temporarily evidenced (e.g., Amato, 2000; Hetherington & Elmore, 2003; Wallerstein,1989)
A. Children often develop behavioural problems following their parents’ divorce, such as aggression, non-compliance, delinquency, low academic performance, and low self-control (e.g., Hetherington, 1993; Hetherington & Elmore, 2003). B. Insufficient interaction with the non-custodial parent (e.g., Kelly & Lamb,2000). C. Inappropriate parenting by the custodial caregiver in particular (e.g.,Amato, 2000; Greene, Anderson, Hetherington, Forgatch, & DeGarmo, 2003).The healthy adjustment of children, therefore, is contingent upon the existence of protective factors, including: 1. Cooperative parenting (Hetherington & Elmore, 2003) 2. Meaningful relationships with parental figures (e.g., Hetherington &
Stanley-Hagan, 2000; Kelly & Lamb, 2003) 3. Stable social supports within the home (e.g., Hetherington & Elmore, 2003) 4. Positive community environments (Hetherington, 1989; O’Connor, Hetherington, & Reiss, 1998). 5. While the relationship with the non-custodial parent is important to a child’s long-term well-being, the relationship with his or her primary caregiver may exert the greatest developmental influence (Gordon v. Goertz, 1996). Older children tolerate more extended separations with less stress than younger children, provided meaningful contact is regularly maintained (Maccoby et al., 1993) and Short-term visitation with the non-custodial parent does not harm
attachment relationships with the custodial parent (Bray, 1991)
While a quality relationship with the custodial parent significantly influences developmental
outcomes for children, healthy adjustment is also contingent upon a quality relationship with the
non-custodial parent (Gunnoe & Hetherington, 2004; Hetherington et al, 1993). Therefore careful consideration must be given to the child’s relationship with this parental figure, most often the father.
Why are paternal relationships so important?
Fatherly involvement is strongly correlated with children’s psychological and behavioural
adjustment in the short and long term (Pruett, Williams, Insabella, & Little, 2003; Rohner &
Veneziano, 2001). Active involvement by fathers in their children’s lives fosters positive
psychological development by helping protect against:
Depression (Rohner & Veneziano, 2001)
In addition to the buffering influence fathers may have on their young and adolescent children
(Amato & Rivera, 1999), paternal involvement offers unique benefits to children that only a
positive father-child relationship may provide. Such important fatherly contributions include:
Improved socialization (Amato & Gilbreth, 1999)
A child’s relationship with the father is particularly significant for boys who may experience
limited identification with their male parents following divorce, and thus be placed at a
developmental disadvantage (Peretti & DiVitorrio, 1992). Active father involvement also exerts a
positive influence on mother-son relationships, and therefore indirectly benefits child adjustment
over time (Gjerde, 1986).
It is important to note, however, that only those fathers who actively engage in their children’s
lives exert a positive developmental influence (Amato & Gilbreth, 1999). Moreover, a father’s
involvement with his children may largely be dependent upon his traditional attitudes about
19 gender roles, suggesting that past experiences have considerable influence on future caregiving in the father role (Bulanda, 2004).
In general, however, it may be concluded that children who engage meaningfully with their
fathers over time are better adjusted on a variety of measures than those children whose fathers
are absent following divorce (Pruett et al., 2003). Consequently, assessors must not preclude the
positive influence fathers have on their children (Maccoby et al, 1993).
Research indicates that children who do not see their parents on a frequent or regular basis may
feel intensely disconnected and rejected (Emery, 2004; Grief, 1997; Wallerstein, 1987), which
increases these children’s risk for developing a variety of psychological and behavioural
problems following divorce (Hetherington et al., 1998; Kelly & Lamb, 2000; Ross, Roberts, &
Scott, 1998b; Whiteside & Becker, 2000). It is vital, therefore, to consider the impact of parental absence on the child’s emotional and psychological development.
Infants may cry, fuss, or pull away once reunited with an absent parent,
while toddlers may demand more personal attention by exhibiting clinging
or regressive behaviour (Anasuri, 2001). Older children are more likely to feel guilty or anxious about their parent’s absence, perhaps angry that the parent has been away while at the same time afraid that the parent will never return (Anasuri, 2001). Teenagers may tend to pull away from the absent parent, preferring to spend time with friends, or may challenge that parent’s authority and limits (Anasuri,2001). However, it is the quality rather than the frequency of contact that is considered most important (Hetherington et al.,1998).
A parent’s ability to respond to his or her children’s physical, psychological, emotional,
behavioural, and spiritual requirements has significant implications for child development
(Jackson & Donovan, 1990; Sherkow, 2005; Sparta, 1999). As primary caregiver, therefore, the
custodial parent should be assessed with respect to parenting capacity on a variety of measures:
Since a child’s long-term well-being is associated “with the adjustment of the custodial parent”
(Hetherington et al., 1993, p. 217; Felner & Terre, 1987; Jackson & Donovan, 1990), it is
important to ascertain the residential parent’s psychological stability as it may impact parenting
capacity and the child’s sense of security. In particular, comprehensive assessment should assess:
The presence of psychological disorders including psychosis, personality or
emotional disorders, substance abuse, criminality, and physical, emotional, or
sexual abuse of others, with particular attention to past neglect or abuse of a
child (Gardner, 1999) Whether the parent’s psychological conditions are chronic or if they arose mostly due to the circumstances of divorce, and thus more apt to abate with
time and altered situation (Bray, 1991)
The style of parenting most predictive of healthy child adjustment is authoritative parenting
(Amato, 2000; Demo & Cox, 2000; Hetherington & Elmore, 2003; Ross et al., 1998a; Sorensen
& Goldman, 1990). Through authoritative parenting, the caregiver displays toward his or her
Consistent control and monitoring of behaviour (Greene et al., 2003)
In other words, authoritative parenting is characterized by nurturing and responsive care, as well as implementation of age-appropriate limits (DeHart et al., 2000). Children reared in this manner typically exude energetic, curious behaviour, emotional responsiveness, and appropriate selfreliance (DeHart et al., 2000). Authoritative parenting has also been associated with:
Improved parent-child relationships
Reduced aggression in children
A child’s more positive attitude toward school and education (DeHart et al.,2000)
Those parents who are too permissive or too authoritarian in their parenting style may place their children at increased risk for a variety of psychological and behavioural problems (Demo & Cox,2000) including:
Passive hostility (DeHart et al., 2000)
Assessors must therefore be cognizant of these negative parenting practices due to the detrimental effects such interactions have on children’s long-term development.
It is important to note, however that the immediate period following divorce generally undergoes a deterioration of parenting, and that as parents and children adjust to the post-divorce situation, caregiving ability generally improves with time (Hetherington & Elmore, 2003). Further, parents may behave differently in front of the assessor than when alone with their infants, which could show a discrepancy of parenting practices (Pedersen, Zaslow, Cain, &
Anderson 1981 as cited in Parke, 1988).
Finally, while a parent’s prospective caregiving ability is important to assessment, past indicators
of parenting capacity must also be given due consideration. Comprehensive evaluation therefore
requires exploration of parenting history to gauge previous success in a caregiving role (Bricklin,
1995; Chrisholm & MacNaughton, 1990; Jameson et al., 1997), which may include:
Previous behaviours that have limited the parenting role, such as alcoholism/addiction
Past indicators of parenting style
Historical fulfillment of parenting responsibilities
Previous social engagements that negatively impacted the parent-child relationship
The children’s best interest
: get used to hearing this phrase and more importantly, get used to making it your number one priority because this is what it all boils down to. Your attorney will
fight for you in the court room or mediation with everything available, but if you have not made your children your number one priority then he or she will be fighting for nothing. You have to remember that there is nothing in this world more important than your children and you must prove that you believe this by acting in their best interest at all times. This brings us to the issue of custody.
If you are fighting for custody just out of nastiness then that is cowardly because only a coward would use an innocent child as a weapon against their ex. If you don’t want or can’t handle custody for any reason, then be a man/woman and step back; but if you do want custody, your children’s best interest is something that you should be willing to fight for. You need to consider the type of custody that you feel is in the children’s best interest.
Parents need to tell children repeatedly that there is no such thing as being divorced from their mother or father. Parents' behavior must give them the same unconditional, loving message. To reinforce that message, parents should show up on time for scheduled visits and pick up, or drop off, children on time. Failure to do this is a major stress for children and a major source of conflict between parents.
Here are some suggestions for you as parents to help you and your children during the divorce and afterwards. They are designed to help you protect your children from damaging side effects of divorce:
- Don't discuss your divorce problems or argue in front of your children.
- Don't use your children as messengers.
- If you make negative comments about your spouse, even in a joking manner, your children may get angry with you because children never want to hear anything negative about either of their parents.
- Maintain your positive parenting - your children want and need structure and limits (Make sure that your children are doing all they are supposed to be doing, like homework and other obligations).
- Reassure the children that you and your spouse love them and you both will always love them and take care of them.
- Reassure the children that the divorce is not their fault in any way.
- Let them know that there is nothing that they can do or say to prevent the divorce.
- Give age appropriate explanations to the children about your plans before you separate.
- Tell them your plans about the time they will spend with you, and where they will live and attend school. Invite questions and give age-appropriate answers.
- Maintain a positive attitude in front of your children - smile.
- Reduce stress by including physical exercise as a part of your regular activities together.
- Give each of your children their own journal where they can record their activities, and feelings through drawings and writing.
- Encourage your children to maintain, or develop hobbies and socialize with friends.
- Show your interest in your children's lives: Ask about school activities; go to parent teacher night; volunteer at their school; attend functions that are important to them.
- Have some fun with your children - take them to a ballgame, movie or museum.
- Keep your promises to your children.
- Your children may need to talk to an impartial, trusted adult, a counselor, a relative, a member of the clergy, or a therapist to deal with their fears and emotions surrounding the divorce.
Most important of all:
Enjoy your children and let them be children when they are with you.
- Take care of yourself so that you can care for your children.
- Remember, when one door closes, another one opens.
The human immunodeficiency virus
attacks the immune system
A baby girl in the US born with HIV appears to have been cured after very early treatment with standard drug therapy, doctors say.
The Mississippi child is now two-and-a-half years old and has been off medication for about a year with no signs of infection. More testing needs to be done to see if the treatment - given within hours of birth - would work for others. If the girl stays healthy, it would be the world's second reported 'cure'.
Dr Deborah Persaud, a virologist at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, presented the findings at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Atlanta.
"This is a proof of concept that HIV can be potentially curable in infants," she said.
Cocktail of drugs In 2007, Timothy Ray Brown became the first person in the world believed to have recovered from HIV. His infection was eradicated through an elaborate treatment for leukaemia that involved the destruction of his immune system and a stem cell transplant from a donor with a rare genetic mutation that resists HIV infection.
In contrast, the case of the Mississippi baby involved a cocktail of widely available drugs, known as antiretroviral therapy, already used to treat HIV infection in infants. It suggests the swift treatment wiped out HIV before it could form hideouts in the body. These so-called reservoirs of dormant cells usually rapidly reinfect anyone who stops medication, said Dr Persaud. Dr Deborah Persaud, Johns Hopkins Children's Center: "This sets the stage for paediatric care agenda"
The baby was born in a rural hospital where the mother had only just tested positive for HIV infection. Because the mother had not been given any prenatal HIV treatment, doctors knew the baby was at high risk of being infected. Researchers said the baby was then transferred to the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson.
Once there, paediatric HIV specialist Dr Hannah Gay put the infant on a cocktail of three standard HIV-fighting drugs at just 30 hours old, even before laboratory tests came back confirming the infection.
"I just felt like this baby was at higher-than-normal risk and deserved our best shot," Dr Gay said.
The treatment was continued for 18 months, at which point the child disappeared from the medical system. Five months later the mother and child turned up again but had stopped the treatment in this interim. The doctors carried out tests to see if the virus had returned and were astonished to find that it had not.
Dr Rowena Johnston, of the Foundation for Aids Research, said it appeared that the early intervention that started immediately after birth worked.
"I actually do believe this is very exciting.
"This certainly is the first documented case that we can truly believe from all the testing that has been done.
"Many doctors in six different laboratories all applied different, very sophisticated tests trying to find HIV in this infant and nobody was able to find any.
"And so we really can quite confidently conclude at this point that the child does very much appear to be cured."
300,000 HIV-positive babies born in 2011 Better than treatment is to prevent babies from being born with HIV in the first place.
About 300,000 children were born with HIV in 2011 — mostly in poor countries where only about 60 per cent of infected pregnant women get treatment that can keep them from passing the virus to their babies. In the U.S., such births are very rare because HIV testing and treatment long have been part of prenatal care.
"We can't promise to cure babies who are infected. We can promise to prevent the vast majority of transmissions if the moms are tested during every pregnancy," Gay stressed.The only other person considered cured of the AIDS virus underwent
a very different and risky kind of treatment — a bone marrow transplant from a special donor, one of the rare people who is naturally resistant to HIV. Timothy Ray Brown of San Francisco has not needed HIV medications in the five years since that transplant.
A spokeswoman for the HIV/Aids charity the Terrence Higgins Trust said: "This is interesting, but the patient will need careful ongoing follow-up for us to understand the long-term implications for her and any potential for other babies born with HIV."
Previously, antiretroviral therapy is given only once the immune system has been seriously weakened by infection. A trial, in the New England Journal of Medicine, showed that a year-long course of therapy after diagnosis helped preserve the immune system and keep the virus in check. It is thought that early treatment may also reduce the spread of HIV.
The virus is no longer a death sentence for patients who get the best care and drugs. Treatment is given once their CD4 T-cell count, a part of the immune system, falls below 350 cells per cubic millimetre of blood. However, there has been some speculation that starting as soon as a patient is diagnosed may be more beneficial. The Spartac study, which involved 366 patients from eight countries around the world, tested the theory. Questions remain about whether a longer course at an early stage could be more beneficial or whether early treatment should be continued for life”.
Some patients were given 12 weeks of drugs after being diagnosed, another group had drugs for 48 weeks after diagnosis and a third group were given no drugs until they reached the 350 level.
Prof Jonathan Weber, from Imperial College London, said those on the 48-week regime "end up with much higher CD4 cell count and a much lower viral load". "Also, the benefit persists after you've stopped treatment," he added.
Who pays? Keeping a strong immune system is important for preventing other "opportunistic" infections, such as tuberculosis, taking hold. Prof Weber acknowledged that cost was a "massive question" that would represent "a real problem" in poorer parts of the world. However, in richer countries if would mean "only a few extra years" on a lifetime of medication.
Dr Sarah Fidler, also from Imperial, pointed to the benefit of keeping levels of the virus low.
"This could be very important for helping reduce the risk of passing on the virus to a sexual partner," she said. Dr Jimmy Whitworth, from the Wellcome Trust, which funded the study, said: "This study adds to increasing evidence that early initiation of HIV treatment is of benefit to the individual in preventing severe disease and in reducing infectiousness to his or her partners.
"Questions remain about whether a longer course at an early stage could be more beneficial or whether early treatment should be continued for life." However, one of the biggest problems remains identifying people who have been infected. In the UK, one in four people with HIV are thought to be completely unaware they have the infection.
"Love is an irrisistable desire to be irrisistably desired." -- Robert Frost
"Friendship (liking someone) is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art ... It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival. "
-- C. S. Lewis
" The more you like yourself, the less you are like anyone else, which makes you unique. "
"I Love You as a Friend"
We all love so many things, don't we? A favorite sport, great pair of shoes, chocolate ice cream, and, of course, our pets. The same way we love a fiance? The same way we love a boyfriend we break up with? "I love you, just not in that
way." Sound familiar? The study performed by Rubin in 1973 looked closely at the distinctions people make between the labels of like and love. His scale to measure the differences between the two titles was determined through "fill in the blank" style questions, in which participants answered with the names of people they knew.
- I think that _____ is one of those people who quickly wins respect
- I think that _____ and I are quite similar to each other.
- I have great confidence in _____ good judgment.
- If I could never be with _____ I would be miserable.
- I feel very possessive toward _____.
- I would do almost anything for _____.
Some of the above were used to determine feelings of "like", while others noted feelings of "love". Dr. Rubin further went on to say that while liking
often go hand in hand, they are not two forms of the same sentiment. So like and love are different,and the spectrum of human emotion is so vast, that we often make incorrect associations.
The results revealed that good friends scored high on the liking scale, but only significant others rated high on the scales for loving. In his research, Rubin identified a number of characteristics that distinguished between different degrees of romantic love. For example, he found that participants who rated high on the love scale also spent a great deal more time gazing into each others eyes as compared to those who rated only as weakly in love. Liking is often one stage on the way to loving someone. That is, life partners typically like each other before they love
each other. People tend to like others who are similar to themselves. If the goal of attraction is partnership, and part of partnership is sharing your life with someone else, then clearly it is best to choose a partner that has similar interests. It's much easier to share your life with someone who is similar to you than with someone who is not similar to you, because the person who is similar to you will tend to have the same likes and dislikes as you do. They will want to do the same activities as you do.Love is not a concrete concept and is therefore difficult to measure.
How would you, based simply on your own personal experience, label the following:
excitement; quickened heart rate; clinginess; deep
emotional response; intense sensory perception
Is that love? Excitement for your partner; a quickened heart rate as they come near or enter your thoughts; a clinging to that person closest to you; a feeling so deep that you feel the quivering in your gut; every sense -- vision, touch, smell, taste, sound -- is up and taking that person in.....
Or is this the response of liking someone but not loving someone ? At times as overwhelming as love, but distinctly different result but oddly similar in the way it feels
. Triangular Theory of Love R.J. Steinberg's Triangular Theory of Love demonstrates the components present in the various forms of love.
Sternberg proposed that love has three components: intimacy, passion, and decision/commitment. The building of intimacy and passion in the early stages of a relationship not only lengthen that partnership's life, it builds the core of deciding that one is in love and is committed to maintaining that love.
- Intimacy: feelings that promote closeness, bondedness, and connectednes, including concern for the welfare of others, subjective happiness, positive regard, sharing, support, mutual understanding, and intimate communication.
- Passion: sources of arousal that contribute to the experience of pasion, such as sexual needs, the need for self-esteem, affiliation, submission, dominance, and self-actualization.
- Decision/Commitment: the decision that one is in love, and the commitment to maintain that love.
Type of Love Intimacy Passion Commitment Consumate Love X X X
Romantic Love X X -
Infatuation - X -
Fatuous Love - X -
Companionate Love X - X
Empty Love - - X
Liking X - -
Nonlove; Nonlike - - -
Akin to the various attachments made between infants and their care-givers, so, too, do intimate lovers form attachments. These bonds are predisposed to the personalities of the partners individually. Some people are trusting, secure, and excited from the very beginning, and bring this attitude into their readied attachments to others. On the other hand, others are too hard on themselves and fearful of letting someone get too close. Others yet dismiss themselves as being unworthy, yet find the good in everyone and jump easily to jealously.
Attachments can be broken down into three categories, described in detail below.
Secure Attachment (click here) Confident and trusting Anxious Attachment (click here) Needy and nervous Avoidant Attachment (click here) Fearful and guarded
Love is the master key that can open the gates of happiness." - Oliver Wendell Holmes
CURRENT RESEARCH IN SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY
RELATIONSHIP SATISFACTION: THE ROLE OF LOVE STYLES AND ATTACHMENT STYLES
Do we perceive our partner to be about as attractive as we perceive ourselves to be ?
ON PREDICTING RELATIONSHIP SATISFACTION FROM JEALOUSY: THE MODERATING EFFECTS OF LOVE
Romantic Attachment Quiz What's your style of romantic attachment?
Have you ever established a relationship with a supplier, only to realize, later, that you'd made the wrong choice?
For example, you may have found a supplier that offered a good price, but later realized that its quality standards were low, or that its communication was unacceptably poor.
Mismatches between your needs and a supplier's offerings can add costs, cause delays, and even damage your organization's reputation – for example, if the equipment or resources supplied are substandard.
The "10 Cs of Supplier Evaluation" help you avoid problems like these. This checklist helps you to set out your organization's needs, understand how suppliers can meet them, and identify the right supplier for you.
You can adapt the 10 Cs checklist to outline your organization's needs in a tendering process
. Use each of the elements to state the standards that you want your bidders to meet.Overview Ray Carter, director of DPSS Consultants, first outlined his Seven Cs of Supplier Evaluation in a 1995 article in "Purchasing and Supply Management." He later added three new Cs to the model.
The 10 Cs are:
Used as a checklist, the 10 Cs model can help you evaluate potential suppliers in several ways.
First, you can use it to analyze different aspects of a supplier's business: examining all 10 elements of the checklist will give you a broad understanding of the supplier's effectiveness and ability to deliver.
The checklist can also help you negotiate a lower price with a supplier.
For example, you're unlikely to find one that excels in all 10 areas; however, one might be strong in some areas and weak in others. You can use this insight to bargain for a lower price, especially if you perceive that the supplier's weaknesses pose a risk for your firm, and if you need to take action to minimize this risk.
If you have only a few suppliers to vet, you might quickly eliminate all of them, if you want them to excel in all 10 Cs.
To avoid this, use a tool such as Grid Analysis to choose the supplier who best satisfies the conditions that are important to you. However, also double-check the areas where the supplier is weak – some of these may make a relationship impossible.
Using the 10 Cs Let's look at how you can apply the 10 Cs to find the supplier that will best fit your organization's needs and values.
When asking questions of either the supplier or its customers, be ready to ask probing questions – ones that will reveal the level of detail that you need to make an informed decision.
For business-critical resources, for situations where you will be spending a lot of money, or where you want a long-term relationship with a supplier, it's worth putting a lot of effort into supplier evaluation.
1. Competency First, look at how competent this supplier is. Make a thorough assessment of the supplier's capabilities measured against your needs, but then also look at what other customers think. How happy are they with the supplier? Have they encountered any problems? And why have former customers changed supplier?
Look for customers whose needs and values are similar to yours, to ensure that the information you gather is relevant to your organization.
2. Capacity The supplier needs to have enough capacity to handle your firm's requirements. So, how quickly will it be able to respond to these, and to other market and supply fluctuations?
Look at all of the supplier's resources, too. Does it have the resources to meet your needs, particularly when commitments to other clients are considered? (These resources include staff, equipment, storage, and available materials.)
3. Commitment Your supplier needs to provide evidence that it's committed to high quality standards. Where appropriate, look for quality initiatives within the organization, such as ISO 9001 and Six Sigma.
The supplier also needs to show that it is committed to you, as a customer, for the duration of the time that you expect to work together. (This is particularly important if you're planning a long-term relationship with the supplier.)
You'll need evidence of its ongoing commitment to delivering to your requirements, whatever the needs of its other customers.
4. Control Query how much control this supplier has over its policies, processes, procedures, and supply chain.
How will it ensure that it delivers consistently and reliably, particularly if it relies on scarce resources, and particularly if these are controlled by another organization?
5. Cash Your supplier should be in good financial health. Cash-positive firms are in a much better position to weather the ups and downs of an uncertain economy.
So, does this supplier have plenty of cash at hand, or is it overextended financially? And what information can the supplier offer to demonstrate its ongoing financial strength?
6. Cost Look at the cost of the product that this supplier provides. How does this compare with the other firms that you're considering?
Most people consider cost to be a key factor when choosing a supplier. However, cost is in the middle of the 10 Cs list for a reason: other factors, such as a commitment to quality and financial health, can potentially affect your business much more than cost alone, particularly if you will be relying on the supplier on an ongoing basis.
7. Consistency How will this supplier ensure that it consistently provides high quality goods or services?
No one can be perfect all of the time. However, the supplier should have processes or procedures in place to ensure consistency. Ask this supplier about its approach, and get a demonstration and a test product, if possible.
8. Culture The best business relationships are based on closely matching workplace values. This is why looking at the supplier's business culture is important. For example, what if your organization's most important value is quality, and your main supplier cares more about meeting deadlines? This mismatch could mean that it's willing to cut corners in a way that could prove to be unacceptable to you.
Use the Cultural Web as a guide to organizational culture.
9. Clean This refers to this supplier's commitment to sustainability, and its adherence to environmental laws and best practices. What is it doing to lighten its environmental footprint? Ask to see evidence of any green accolades or credentials that it's earned.
Also, does this supplier treat its people – and the people around it – well; and does it have a reputation for doing business ethically?
10. Communication Query how the supplier plans to keep in touch with you. Will its proposed communication approaches align with your preferred methods? And who will be your contact person at this firm?
It's also important to find out how the supplier will handle communications in the event of a crisis. How quickly will it notify you if there's a supply disruption? How will that communication take place? And will you be able to reach senior people, if you need to?
Ensure that all of the information generated by your research – especially queries aimed directly at the supplier – is in writing. This will mean that information is "on the record," and that you can locate it easily in case of a problem.
Key Points Ray Carter first developed his Seven Cs of Supplier Evaluation in 1995. He later added three more Cs.
The 10 Cs are:
You can use this model to evaluate the competency and viability of potential suppliers. This, in turn, can help you choose the firm that best meets your needs, and that aligns with your organization's values.
Now, having said all that, put it in the context of psychology and how it can apply to you personally. Look at the ten C's and question what and how you are doing things or not doing things for yourself. How are you denying yourself the possibilities for change and for positive action? Ask your what are you competent in ? What is your capacity ? Where do you wish to go with your skills ? How much of a commitment are you making toward change and in helping yourself ? Who is controling who; is fear controlling you ? Money is always a factor in life; are you spending wisely ? Food prices, insurance, monthly rent or mortgage, other bills you receive is costly; are you balancing your budget ? Are you consistent in what you do or do you waste frivolously and shy away from growth possibilities ? Are you culturally accepting or are you divesting yourself of potential networking and further personal growth ? We need to keep ourselves hygenic and groomed no matter how we feel because by looking better you will see yourself with a better personal view. So are you taking care of yourself mentally and physically ? And lastly, communication via positive self-talk or by positive interaction with colleagues, friends, neighbours, will only enhance your well-being and outlook. Are you communicating in a manner which lends itself to a friendly atmosphere ? As you can see the ten C's may be applied to business and to personal psychology; what you do with it is up to you.
When was the last time your doctor asked how many close friends you have? If you participate in social activities? If you experience periods of loneliness and feelings of isolation? Everybody will tell you "Don’t drink too much", "Quit smoking", "Be physically active". Although many people may not follow these rules, they are well aware of how crucial they are to health. However, how many doctors tell you that if you are alone, you need to have social activities, build friendships, and explore human interaction.
It's long been known that elderly people are more prone to depression and other mental-health problems if they live on their own. New research suggests the same pattern may also be found in younger, working-age adults.
In a study of nearly 3,500 men and women ages 30 to 65, researchers in Finland found that people who lived alone were more likely that their peers to receive a prescription for antidepressant drugs. One-quarter of people living alone filled an antidepressant prescription during the seven-year study, compared to just 16 percent of those who lived with spouses, family, or roommates.
"Living alone may be considered a mental-health risk factor," says lead author Laura Pulkki-Råback, Ph.D., a lecturer at the University of Helsinki's Institute of Behavioral Sciences. The study was published today in the journal BMC Public Health.
Surveys of the study participants suggest that solo living may weaken social networks and produce "feelings of alienation from society" that could steer people toward depression, Pulkki-Råback says. "People living alone were more cynical in their attitudes," she explains. "Being cynical and living alone may predispose to hopelessness and negative feelings, ultimately leading to depression."
John Newcomer, M.D., a professor of psychiatry at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, says depression and feelings of isolation usually go hand in hand, and it's not always clear which comes first.
"Being depressed certainly can cause you to not only feel, but [also] become, more isolated," he says. "You feel hopeless that you're ever going to be able to have relationships, but even at another level, you ... just don't feel like getting up and going out. You're undermotivated to do the various steps that are necessary to achieve social engagement."
Loneliness and isolation can affect your quality of life -- and maybe one's quantity of life, too. According to a pair of studies published today in the Archives of Internal Medicine, living alone -- or even just feeling lonely -- may increase a person's risk of premature death.
One study followed nearly 45,000 people ages 45 and up who had heart disease or a high risk of developing the condition. Those who lived alone, the study found, were more likely to die from heart attacks, strokes, or other heart complications over a four-year period than people living with family or friends, or in some other communal arrangement.
The risk was highest in middle-aged people, just 14% of whom lived alone. Solo living increased the risk of heart problems and early death by 24% among people ages 45 to 65, and by only 12% among people ages 66 to 80. And there was no association at all in people age 80 and older, a group in which living alone is common.
Why is living alone potentially harmful? Especially among the middle-aged, a demographic in which living with a spouse or partner is the norm, living alone may be a sign of social or psychological problems, such as relationship trouble, a weak support system, job stress, or depression-- all of which have been linked to heart disease. Living alone "could be a little red flag" that a patient may be at a higher risk of bad outcomes.
Although it may not be a routine part of a check-up, the quality of our social connections can have a major impact on our health. People who experience long periods of loneliness have been found to develop serious health problems, including cardiovascular disease, dementia and decreased mobility, at much higher rates than people who don’t feel isolated. A major review of research into the effects of social disconnectedness on health, published in the journal PLOS Medicine in 2010, declared loneliness is just as dangerous to health as smoking and takes an even greater toll than obesity or physical inactivity.
There are growing concerns about the effects of loneliness on health as more Canadians live alone, potentially making some vulnerable to social isolation. For the first time, singleton households outnumber those consisting of couples with children, according to census figures released last year. Loneliness is often dismissed as a minor social issue that only affects a segment of the elderly population. But as it turns out, it’s a far larger issue.
“I think we’ve underestimated the importance of the social milieu just as fish underestimate the importance of water,” said John Cacioppo, director of the Center for Cognitive and Social Neuroscience at the University of Chicago.
How can a human emotion have such a powerful hold over physical health?
Researchers don’t yet have a complete understanding of the relationship, but they say prolonged feelings of loneliness or isolation can cause hormonal, genetic and other changes that may contribute to the risk of developing health problems. Scientists have also discovered that social isolation actually changes the way our brains function. For example, a recent experiment involving Romanian orphans showed that children raised in an institutional environment that was notorious for neglect had significantly less grey and white brain matter and far less electrical signalling than those raised in foster care.
“We’re a social species and if you don’t have others around you [that] you can trust …your brain effectively knows it’s on the social perimeter,” said Cacioppo. “All social species, when they’re on the perimeter, they’re at risk.”
Cacioppo, whose groundbreaking research discovered, among other things, that lonely people are more likely to develop vascular resistance, a prime risk factor for high blood pressure, said the health effects are extremely complex and likely developed as an evolutionary response. When we’re cut off from social networks, we suffer more frequent sleep disturbances and have higher stress levels as the brain goes into a high alert, protective mode, he says.
Britain is emerging as a leader in addressing social isolation on a population-wide level. Its government announced in November plans to map the incidence of loneliness across the country in order to develop strategies for what Health Minister Jeremy Hunt described as an urgent issue.
Of course, the relationship between loneliness and ill health is more complex than the number of people who sleep under one roof. Being alone doesn’t lead to health problems. But when people feel disconnected and cut off from the world, it’s a different story. Although living alone may put some individuals at greater risk of experiencing those feelings, research shows that people who live with others can also feel isolated.
“Living alone doesn’t mean people are lonely,” said Carsten Wrosch, professor in the department of psychology in the Centre for Research in Human Development at Concordia University in Montreal.
A study published last year in the JAMA Internal Medicine journal found people over 60 who felt lonely were more likely to experience functional decline and death than those who weren’t, regardless of whether they lived alone.
“Simply solving the issue by placing people living with others is not going to single-handedly remove the adverse health effects,” said Emily Bucholz, a Yale University PhD candidate who co-authored a commentary on social isolation and health.
One of the biggest challenges in developing comprehensive strategies that help socially isolated people develop meaningful connections is the fact that few people want to talk about it.
“People would far rather have some awful diagnosis than just admit they were lonely,” said Jacqueline Olds, clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School who co-authored The Lonely American: Drifting Apart in the Twenty-First Century. “Almost anything would be preferable to saying, ‘I’m just as lonely as can be.’”
If governments put a greater focus on the potentially devastating consequences of social isolation, it would be a major step to helping those in need, she said. In the meantime, there are groups working to reach those who would otherwise fall through the cracks.
The Langley Senior Resources Society has established several programs to encourage seniors to create and maintain social networks. Volunteer drivers are on hand to take seniors shopping or to do home visits with those who aren’t comfortable venturing out. They also have a “telephone buddy” system that connects trained senior volunteers with socially isolated elderly individuals.
The B.C. centre also recently ran a series of workshops on “Letting Go of Loneliness.” The workshops focused on helping elderly individuals accept that while they may never replace the lifelong friends and partners who have died, they can still create new relationships. The response to the programs has been overwhelmingly positive, says Janice McTaggart, director of outreach and volunteer services.
“When you have other things to think about and other things to talk about, you don’t dwell on your issues quite as much,” she said. “Lots of people that come to the centre here tell us we saved their lives.”
This edited article is reprinted courtesy of Rotman Magazine, Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto.Seth Godin, the best-selling author and ‘Ultimate Entrepreneur for the Information Age’ describes the importance of making yourself indispensable.You recently said that “There are no longer any great jobs where someone tells you precisely what to do.” What are the implications for today’s workers?
The fact is that today, any type of work that can be done ‘by the book’ can easily be moved to someone who will do it for cheaper. And companies have
to do this, because the competition is doing the same thing – there is this ‘race to the bottom’ going on. What this means to the modern worker is one of two things: either you need to accept the fact that you are part of the race to the bottom – which isn’t good, because you just might win; or you need to do work that cannot be written down in a manual. If the work you do is work that only you
can do, that creates scarcity, which is the goal in the modern workplace. What needs to be done at the business school level – and at the elementary and high school levels – is to spend way more time helping people develop unique skills and not worry so much about making them be compliant and able to do a bunch of things on a checklist.Basically, you believe that we must become indispensible in order to thrive going forward. How does a person become what you call a ‘linchpin’?
The short definition of a linchpin is, ‘someone who would be missed if they were gone.’ The nature of the industrial system was to have an organizational chart, and if someone didn’t show up for work, you didn’t shut down the factory – you just put someone else in their spot. A linchpin is someone who doesn’t have
a spot like that; these are people that we depend on, and if they go missing, it’s a big problem. Job seekers have to decide, are they looking for an opportunity where they get to make an imprint and be counted on? Or, are they looking for a job that could be filled by many different people, where they could be replaced in a day? Basically, you can either fit in or stand out – not both; today’s workers are either defending
the status quo or challenging
it.In what ways are modern workers ‘artists’ and their jobs ‘platforms’?
‘Art’ is about a lot more than painting. Art is the act of a human being doing something that has never been done before. It’s what happens when a human being connects with somebody else and makes an impact. Sure, sometimes that involves a painting or a sculpture or a theatrical play, but it can also be the way a doctor deals with a three-year-old who’s not feeling well. In Louis Hyde’
s brilliant book The Gift
, he says that a key aspect of art is that it always has a ‘gift’ component to it. Looking at a Pablo Picasso
painting or listening to a Paul McCartney
song doesn’t cost anything; it’s free – a gift from the artist to the person who receives it. Likewise, the notion that we can use digital networks to connect people, to contribute an idea or do something that benefits a tribe or society – those are all gifts. Once you get in the habit of giving these gifts and bringing emotional labour to the table, you are much more likely to create art; and once you start making art, you may discover that you’ve become a linchpin –that you’re scarce and highly valued.You have said that in today’s environment, ‘depth of knowledge’ on its own can get people into big trouble, and that schools should teach only two things: how to solve interesting problems and how to lead. Please explain.
I just wrote a book about that called, Stop Stealing Dreams
[available free online at stopstealingdreams.com] where I argue that innovative organizations such as Wikipedia
and the Kahn Academy
have eliminated the need for us to memorize stuff, because we now all have access to any information in just three keystrokes. As a result, you will never again hire someone merely because they have access to data, because we all have access to data. You are going to hire people because they can solve a problem that hasn’t been solved before, because the problems that have
been solved before are easy to look up. That’s why the skills of connecting people, standing up for what you believe in and making a difference are now significantly more important than your ability to solve a quadratic equation. It’s not that depth of knowledge is of no value: when it is combined with good judgment, diagnostic skills or nuanced insight, it is still worth a lot.You have criticized traditional hiring practices, particularly the focus on résumés. What should replace the résumé, in your view?
If you really think about it, a résumé is merely a chronicle of a lifetime of compliance. It says, “Here are examples of companies you have probably heard of where I was hired to do exactly as I was told.” This is still a good way to get a job where you are going to be told what to do; but the alternative is to have a body of work
– a trail that you’ve left behind of things you have accomplished and problems you have solved. There are lots of ways to describe that now; you can do it online or you can do it on a piece of paper. My point is, the important part isn’t the piece of paper; it’s being able to point to a trail, being able to say, ‘I’m the guy who wrote this part of Linux,’ or, ‘I’m the woman who got this person elected.’ Once you have a ‘list’ of the impact you have made on the world, getting a job will be easy, because these are the kind of people employers seek out. By the time an ad is listed in the newspaper or on Craigslist
, the employer has already announced that they are just looking for a cog for their machine.You have said that access to capital and appropriate connections are not as essential as they once were, and that the biggest shift in today’s economy is self determination . Are people up for this challenge?
Not everyone, that’s for sure. A lot of what I’m talking about is easily countered by people who will say, ‘That is all fine and good, but who is going to pick up my garbage? And who is going to assemble my iPad?’ To that I say, of course someone needs to do these things, but it doesn’t have to be you
. What we’re dealing with right now is the following: anyone who wants to start a business today can build a cash-flow positive business for one fiftieth of what it cost 10 years ago, because the cost of reaching a worldwide market has dropped to zero, and the cost of finding people to produce what you make has gone down to a trivial number. The connection economy has transformed all that, so that once you have a business that makes a little bit of money, raising more money for it is easy. What is hard is making money in a business that has no future.
As for connections, I personally haven’t set foot in the Century Club, the Harvard Club or any of the other clubs in New York City in a decade. Why would I? The fact is, if you speak up online and your ideas have currency, people are going to show up and want to connect with you. What we need more of are people with the guts and the emotional labour to do this – not people who were lucky enough to get into a particular elementary school so they could get into Harvard later on and get the ‘right job.’ The greatest shortage in today’s society is an instinct to produce.Seth Godin is the best-selling author of 15 books that have been translated into 38 languages. His latest is
We Are All Weird (The Domino Project, 2011). He holds an MBA from Stanford, and was called “the Ultimate Entrepreneur for the Information Age” by
© 2013 The Globe and Mail Inc. All Rights Reserved.
“Whether we draw from counselling, psychology or theology there are common understandings that underlie healthy relationships,” according to Dr. Helen Noh, Tyndale University College Assistant Professor of Counselling Psychology. Healthy relationships are central to why we exist. God, whomever that may be, who in the Trinity is relational, created us in His image for a loving relationship with you, him, the Earth, people on Earth, and the environment. We have been created to be relational. What makes a relationship healthy is when there is an underlying sense of authenticity. It is to know a person and to be known by a person. In his book Connecting, Dr. Larry Crabb’s research shows that we long for authentic relationships to know and affirm one another’s differences while building a sense of connection.
Building an authentic connection includes knowing and supporting each other’s strengths, weaknesses, differences and similarities. This relates to marriage, romantic relationships and to all relationships with friends, family and co-workers.
Dr. Gary Chapman emphasizes the concept of really knowing each other by describing different love languages. He identifies many different ways that we express and receive love. In relationships, misunderstandings can arise when we express love in a way that other people cannot understand. It is important to understand each other’s love languages so we can communicate in ways that will be understood. Understanding is based on communication. Dr. John Gottman, a key researcher in healthy relationships, analyzed the ways in which people communicate.
1. He found that the way we start a conversation often sets the direction of the conversation and even of the relationship itself. Dr. Gottman suggests a variety of ways to communicate that will build up a relationship, such as using supportive and understanding words and listening.
2. He also shows how communication can tear down a relationship, including the dangers of criticizing, attacking a person’s character,stonewalling, disengaging, communication breakdown or flooding the communication in the midst of conflict.
3. The main components of communication that build up or tear down are what we say and what we hear. One key to creating intimacy in any relationship is active listening. That is, listening that seeks to truly hear the person, to understand his or her perspective and to communicate back what you understood.
4. Another key to intimacy is creating a safe, trusting place for someone to share who they are and still be accepted even with differences and weaknesses. Within those safe places, differences in character need to be acknowledged and dealt with, as they often lead to conflict.
When sin entered the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve covered themselves up with fig leaves in shame. Within our relationships we can cover our authentic characteristics with ‘fig leaves’ because we believe that we will not be accepted for who we truly are. Fear of shame and disrespect stops us from developing safe and trusting environments. Being authentic, actively listening and supporting one another’s strengths and weaknesses are all components of
healthy relationships that we can embrace. In these safe and trusting environments we can truly be relational, the way we were created to be.
Below is a discussion with two leading Professors on Relationships and the various parameters associated with a fundamental relationship ...
(premise of Dr. John Gottman Professor of Counselling Psychology)
Dr. Helen Noh Assistant Professor of Counselling Psychology
Ximena Seifert MDiv, Clinical Counselling, 2015
Siyoon Yu MDiv, Counselling, 2014
David Au MDiv, Pastoral Counselling, 2012
at Tyndale University
Helen: What are some common characteristics of healthy relationships?
David: A degree of self-knowledge…I know not all of my relationships are healthy and I know I can be self-critical.
Ximena: Boundaries. You, knowing yourself as a person, and being okay with who you are as you try to balance your attachments to others. So, you are attached to others but not enmeshed with them.
Siyoon: Not being afraid of arguing with the other person and being able to functionally resolve conflict—not to throw anything under the rug or blow things out of proportion.
Helen: What are boundaries?
David: In an intimate relationship…it’s one thing to communicate what you want…but it’s another to let go and respect him/her so he/she can have her room to process.
Ximena: I like to think of it as keeping the good in and the bad out.
Helen: Any other characteristics that you see to be vital in healthy relationships?
Ximena: I would say empathy, being really able to try to look at things from your spouse’s or friend’s perspective.
David: I learned that a child/adult needs to be free from the fear of being unloved. Having reflected on that, I would let my wife and kids know that no matter what happens I will accept them, try my best to be there.
Siyoon: It’s also helpful to understand the language the other person is speaking because the expression of love can come in a variety of different ways. I think we forgot something that’s very basic. Commitment is the number one thing.
David: It’s often contrasted with conditions, right? You’ll commit on a set of conditions that the other party will fulfill.
Helen: How do you understand the role of conflict in relationships?
Siyoon: I think argument and conflict helps a couple, gives them a chance to really see what’s going on, as well as providing a chance to strengthen that bond…and their resiliency as a couple.
David: Obviously conflicts are very intimidating. That’s why I would say eighty to ninety per cent of the time I just want to win…but in the times I am awake I would prefer to reach out to the other person…to diffuse that conflict.
Ximena: We have to role model that it’s okay to be angry and to disagree…as long as you are working it out.
There are so many layers—getting to that little nugget of what this is really about takes time and maturity.
Siyoon: As well, not being afraid of emotions, that it’s okay to feel them, let them run their course.
David: On the flip side, that’s where it gets dangerous. When you let your emotions get the best of you, all of sudden that’s where the boundaries are broken down and you let the words fly.
Siyoon: I think you are right, David. Maturity comes when you can still be yourself and not let the emotion overcome you.
When the relationship is young…we get a sense that the person is just like me and then when we’re faced with conflict we somehow get threatened with the differences.
David: We need to make an effort to appreciate the difference because we actually complement each other.
Helen: You hit on something important—not only recognizing someone’s differences but appreciating them. Any real tangible ways you could give people to build healthy relationships?
David: Saying very specific thank-yous. We don’t have enough thank-yous.
Ximena: Not to be afraid to show love. I think touch is so important.
Siyoon: Don’t assume too much...don’t make your own conclusions and never check them out.
Helen: Those little things, we’ve let them slide in our busy culture.
Ximena: Making time for one another, even just to look at each other.
Siyoon: Continue to get to know the person. Don’t assume the person will remain the same forever.
Helen: What do you see as some of the critical factors that may be contributing to the breakdown of relationships?
David: Options—I think we’re just accustomed to this mentality that we can choose. If something goes wrong then we can just go or tell the person to go.
Ximena: People thinking of relationships as where I can get stuff—self-serving. What I can get and very little about what I can give.
Siyoon: I think today’s society gives a bad rep to compromises. They think…if you’re compromising, then you are less worthy. A relationship is all about compromise.
Ximena: In good, healthy relationships there are times we have to sacrifice.
Siyoon: I think a relationship itself has also become an option, so now it also competes with a lot of other things in life.
Ximena: It’s going against the cultural norm—a healthy relationship.
David: I think in a relationship, talking too much can harm the relationship as well…especially talking about yourself without giving the other person time to speak, without listening to the other person. Listening is one [tangible] thing.
Ximena: I think of my background as a teacher and how even in the curriculum there is a lack of emphasis on listening. It’s not given equal importance as speaking, writing and all the other skills we teach our children, yet it’s one of the most important skills in life.
Siyoon: We’re too busy to listen, to really pay attention to relationships. We want things too fast.
Helen: Instant intimacy. Just wanting it, then we get disappointed, then we have the option so we keep moving on. What we’re left with is people who are just jaded; who think it’s never going to be found.
Ximena In that need for instant gratification…they are trying to get what a healthy relationship would give them anyway. It’s almost like they are losing before even trying. God / Spirituality/ Philosophy has designed us in a way to get those needs met within the context of a relationship.
Helen: How does the role of our relationship with Spirituality play into building healthy or even unhealthy relationships?
Siyoon: In my own experience with my boyfriend, I think being Christian gives another layer to our relationship and that’s a vision that we have for our “coupleship.” We try to envision our “coupleship” as a community in God and what God envisions for us. We can really step back and evaluate where we are going and ask if this is pleasing in God’s eyes.
David I really think that much of it has to do with God and how I’m able to draw from Him. One of my favourite passages is Isaiah 49:16: “I’ve engraved you in the palm of my hand: your walls are ever before me.” I think that’s powerful. There’s no smudging away that person in the palm of God’s hand. That’s how ingrained it is that we are in God’s hand and that’s how committed He is to us. So it’s really to allow ourselves to be in God’s presence.
Ximena: A lot of it has to do with how I view God. My beliefs and thoughts I’ve had about God have really affected my relationships with others. So, if I thought God was distant and conditional, then it was hard for me to be unconditional and really giving of myself in my relationships. As I grow in my relationship with the Lord, in seeing Him as unconditional and a Father who cares for me, that has absolutely shifted how I experience my relationships now.
Helen: At the very beginning of creation, God Himself, in the Trinity, is relational. We’ve been created to be profoundly relational, therefore it reminds us that relationships are not an option and that’s…why one of the greatest forms of punishment is isolation. We’ve been created for healthy relationships. We long, in Christ, to move toward redemption and reconciliation. We’ve been reminded of the bigger picture and to make sense of the smaller pieces.
We need to work on the small to get to the big picture. Never forget the small pieces; if you do you will forget the other person.
Here are Ten Tips for Healthy Relationships
- Keep expectations realistic. No one can be everything we might want him or her to be. Sometimes people disappoint us. It’s not all-or-nothing, though. Healthy relationships mean accepting people as they are and not trying to change them!
- Talk with each other. It can’t be said enough: communication is essential in healthy relationships! It means— Take the time. Really be there. Genuinely listen. Don’t plan what to say next while you’re trying to listen. Don’t interrupt. Listen with your ears and your heart. Sometimes people have emotional messages to share and weave it into their words. Ask questions. Ask if you think you may have missed the point. Ask friendly (and appropriate!) questions. Ask for opinions. Show your interest. Open the communication door. Share information. Studies show that sharing information especially helps relationships begin. Be generous in sharing yourself, but don’t overwhelm others with too much too soon.
- Be flexible. Most of us try to keep people and situations just the way we like them to be. It’s natural to feel apprehensive, even sad or angry, when people or things change and we’re not ready for it. Healthy relationships mean change and growth are allowed!
- Take care of you. You probably hope those around you like you so you may try to please them. Don’t forget to please yourself. Healthy relationships are mutual!
- Be dependable. If you make plans with someone, follow through. If you have an assignment deadline, meet it. If you take on a responsibility, complete it. Healthy relationships are trustworthy!
- Fight fair. Most relationships have some conflict. It only means you disagree about something, it doesn’t have to mean you don’t like each other! When you have a problem:
- Negotiate a time to talk about it. Don’t have difficult conversations when you are very angry or tired. Ask, "When is a good time to talk about something that is bothering me?" Healthy relationships are based on respect and have room for both.
- Don’t criticize. Attack the problem, not the other person. Open sensitive conversations with "I" statements; talk about how you struggle with the problem. Don’t open with "you" statements; avoid blaming the other person for your thoughts and feelings. Healthy relationships don’t blame.
- Don’t assign feelings or motives. Let others speak for themselves. Healthy relationships recognize each person’s right to explain themselves.
- Stay with the topic. Don’t use a current concern as a reason to jump into everything that bothers you. Healthy relationships don’t use ammunition from the past to fuel the present. Say, "I’m sorry" when you’re wrong. It goes a long way in making things right again. Healthy relationships can admit mistakes.
- Don’t assume things. When we feel close to someone it’s easy to think we know how he or she thinks and feels. We can be very wrong! Healthy relationships check things out.
- Ask for help if you need it. Talk with someone who can help you find resolution—like your RA, a counselor, a teacher, a minister or even parents. Check campus resources like Counseling Services at 532-6927. Healthy relationships aren’t afraid to ask for help. There may not be a resolved ending. Be prepared to compromise or to disagree about some things. Healthy relationships don’t demand conformity or perfect agreement.
- Don’t hold grudges. You don’t have to accept anything and everything, but don’t hold grudges—they just drain your energy. Studies show that the more we see the best in others, the better healthy relationships get. Healthy relationships don’t hold on to past hurts and misunderstandings.
- The goal is for everyone to be a winner. Relationships with winners and losers don’t last. Healthy relationships are between winners who seek answers to problems together.
- You can leave a relationship. You can choose to move out of a relationship. Studies tell us that loyalty is very important in good relationships, but healthy relationships are NOW, not some hoped-for future development.
7. Show your warmth. Studies tell us warmth is highly valued by most people in their relationships. Healthy relationships show emotional warmth!
8. Keep your life balanced. Other people help make our lives satisfying but they can’t create that satisfaction for us. Only you can fill your life. Don’t overload on activities, but do use your time at college to try new things—clubs, volunteering, lectures, projects. You’ll have more opportunities to meet people and more to share with them. Healthy relationships aren’t dependent!
9. It’s a process. Sometimes it looks like everyone else on campus is confident and connected. Actually, most people feel just like you feel, wondering how to fit in and have good relationships. It takes time to meet people and get to know them…so, make "small talk"…respond to others…smile…keep trying. Healthy relationships can be learned and practiced and keep getting better!
10. Be yourself! It’s much easier and much more fun to be you than to pretend to be something or someone else. Sooner or later, it catches up anyway. Healthy relationships are made of real people, not images!
Divorced parents can get Christmas blues along with divorce depression. SAD may also play a role. Try concentrating on the kids, letting go, relaxing & light therapy. Easier said than done ...
Many divorced parents start to get depressed while thinking about Thanksgiving and then comes Christmas. Seasonal Affective Disorder can contribute to a parent's sadness. So try concentrating on making the holidays joyous for your kids, not for yourself. Try to let go, relax, and go with the flow. And, if necessary, seek medical help for your anxiety and depression.
Divorce depression appears to hit people the hardest around the holidays. Well, some divorced parents don’t get to see their children at Thanksgiving and/or Christmas, which can make November and December some of the hardest months of the year. Along with that, people who live in northern climates sometimes have to cope with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) along with the rest of it.
While sadness and loneliness are common after a divorce, any ongoing, unusual depression or feeling of hopelessness may, in fact, be clinical depression. Fortunately, clinical depression can be treated with the help of a physician and a therapist and talk therapy which helps tremendously to get things out that you have stuck inside your head. Many times, talk therapy mixed with a short dose (6 - 8 months) of antidepressants is what you need. Depression can also run in families. It's not your fault.Holiday Depression
Coping with holiday depression and having a broken family is just plain tough for everyone. And, almost all divorced people have difficulties with this time of the year. Here are some steps to help you get through the holiday season. The holiday blues or holiday depression may occur during any holiday or vacation time, but most commonly happens during the December holidays when everyone else in the world seems to be is celebrating. The blues can result from a mis-match between high expectations for the perfect holiday mixed with memories of holidays past, loved ones no longer present and the reality of the current holiday. The Holiday Blues although emotionally intense and upsetting, they tend to be short-lived and subside once the holiday season is over and normal daily routines are resumed. Help the Children
Try to keep things in perspective. Adults are the ones who married and divorced, and it's not fair that innocent and impressionable children should suffer from the mistakes of their parents. Also, divorced parents may very well be happier themselves if they concentrate more on their children's happiness and less on their own.Tips for Holidays:
- If your children are with your ex for one of the holidays, encourage your kids to have a good time while they are with the other parent.
- Christmas is not a competition. Do not compete with your ex over who can give the most presents. The only one who wins will be the bank that gave you the Visa card.
- Do not keep your children from seeing their other parent.
- Allow your children to love both of their parents, and be sure that your kids understand this. One way is to help your child make a present for his or her other parent.
- Be flexible. The best present you can give your kids is for you and your ex to get along, and to adjust written agreements to fit your children’s needs.
- Let go of expectations and relax.
- Keep your promises as much as possible. Show up on time or drop your kids off on time.
Another good thing that you can do is to keep in touch with your children during the holidays. You can call, skype, text, send cards, or email your children when they are with your X.Self Help for Depression
There is one very good rule for getting through the holidays after having gone through a nasty divorce: Let go of anger. While this may be easier said than done, it can be done. Try thinking about happy days before the marriage or before meeting the ex-spouse. Here are other tips:
- Smile when talking to your ex or talking about your ex. A smile creates a reaction in the body and tricks the mind into creating a happy mood by releasing endorphins and serotonin.
- Get out of town or find new friends. Holidays remind parents of Thanksgivings and Christmases past. So, make plans to spend time with friends or to take off on a road trip. Holidays can be lonely.
Seasonal Affective Disorder
Another problem that can add to Christmas blues and divorce depression is lack of sunlight. The well-documented Seasonal Affective Disorder is caused by the shorter darker days of winter and can lead to cravings for carbs, a need for more sleep, sleep disturbances, and general irritability.
People who were melancholic or lethargic around Christmastime, even before their divorces, could have SAD. This disorder is usually treated with special light therapy boxes, medications, or by talking with therapists. See a physician or psychologist for help.Clinical Depression
Certainly, it is quite common for divorced men and women to feel depressed around the holidays. However, anyone who has felt sad for two weeks or more, or feels an intense, debilitating depression, or an unbearable anxiety, should check with a doctor to find a treatment for it.
Winter blues can come from divorce depression, shorter days, or holiday nostalgia and loneliness. If self-help doesn’t work, talk to a therapist, psychologist, psychiatrist, or a general practitioner. Parents who are divorced should take very good care of themselves because their children need them. Basics of Coping with the Blues
For anyone feeling blue or sad like Charlie Brown during the holidays, there are some very basic, common sense steps that can be taken to help in coping.
- Maintain a normal routine. Try and continue with normal daily activities.
- Be sure to get enough sleep or at least rest if sleeping is difficult.
- Regular exercise, even walking, helps relieve stress and tension and improve moods.
- Maintain a balanced diet. Watch out for the temptation to eat high calorie "junk" foods and comfort foods. This will help avoid the post-holiday depressing weight gain.
- Alcohol should be used in moderation, not to mask the pain. Excessive drinking can contribute to feeling blue or depressed.
- Take it one hour at a time, one day at a time.
- Do those activities, or be with the people that comfort, sustain, nourish and recharge you.
- Remember other times in the past when you have experienced loss and the strategies used to survive the loss.