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We kind of all know what is meant by commitment phobia. It’s the person who bolts at the first sign of committing to a romantic relationship…(or is it?!)

While we might recognise it, commitment phobia is not a technical term as such, it’s certainly not a medical term. It’s not something, as of yet anyway, that is ‘diagnosed’. But it does exist, ‘the struggle for someone to commit to a long-term monogamous romantic and intimate relationship with another person’. It’s a term that describes a behaviour in a particular circumstance, we otherwise don’t have a word for. Many people will agree whether they have it. And one can have it in varying degrees, for example ‘the phobia’ might not make its appearance until you walk down the wedding aisle.

As a dating coach and psychologist, I come across many people who display signs of commitment phobia.

I see two types of people who struggle with committing to a romantic relationship.

One is easy to spot, they openly acknowledge and tell you they are commitment phobes. And if they don’t like to admit it, these are the sorts of behaviours you will see:

  • struggle to keep to their word when dating (ie cancel dates often, arrive late etc)
  • ghost their dates when things get too serious
  • loose romantic interest in their date, the moment their date shows more interest in them
  • cringe when someone uses the “L” word
  • hates public displays of affection
  • feel discomfort when someone tries to label the relationship
  • pride themselves of their independence

The other type of commitment phobes are the ones who don’t realise they struggle to have intimate relationships. Many of my clients fall in this category. These are the friends who always complain they are single and don’t understand why, and to be fair you don’t understand why. Typical signs are:

  • complain they can never meet anyone decent
  • keep getting ghosted by others
  • date people they know are not right for them
  • date people who they hope will change, but never do
  • struggle to ask the person they are dating whether they are exclusive (or ask for exclusivity)
  • spend too much time working (or always seem to be ‘too busy’)

As much as I’d like to say how to fix this, it’s difficult to give a generic solution, as there are many reasons why someone would ‘suffer’ from commitment phobia. But if I were to give some direction, it would be notice your pattern, be honest with yourself about what is going on, and embrace your fears.

Want to get help with this? Contact us for a free 10 minute consultation or email madeleine@passionsmiths.com

Madeleine Mason Roantree,          Dating Psychologist & Director of PassionSmiths

The post What is commitment phobia? appeared first on Passionsmiths.

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Have you ever considered that women are not the only ones who worry about not being able to find a partner with in time to start a family? Men have an equally large portion of worry as women do: major fertility issues and the ‘social biological clock’.

As a dating psychologist, I often hear my female clients worry that they come across as too needy. This worry stems from the whole ‘limited eggs’ thing, where some women in the past have been so driven to have a baby, that it superseded whether the father had any say in the matter, or indeed whether he was daddy-material in the first place. Stories of entrapment has shuddered the male population, resulting ostensibly in men being afraid of women who want a family. Who wants to partner up with someone for their ‘function’? Men and women, want to be loved, adored, respected, not just serve as a breeding programme.

But have you considered that men may be ‘needy’ too? In the last 40 years, male fertility has declined about 60% in the western world. Sperm donation is no longer accepted for men over 40, simply because the quality of the sperm is poorer. Studies have shown that the older a man gets, the more likely their offspring will suffer ailments. For example one study, on 5081 men in the US, found that men over 45 are 3.5 times more likely to have a child with autism, and 25 times more likely to have a child with a bipolar disorder, compared to a 24 for year old father. Regardless of the mothers ageAge does matter for men too.

There is also well known phenomenon called the ‘social biological clock’. This is when men reach around the age of 40 and they begin to worry about not having a family. The worry predominantly revolves around the idea of being an old dad. Many men don’t like the idea of being an aged father and thus have an urge to do something about it. I have know men to have serious conversations with their younger partners, in one case it came as an ultimatum. He is around 7 years older and said straight up to his, at the time, 32 year-old girlfriend “If you don’t want kids in the next couple of years, I will seriously have to consider finding someone else”. Thankfully, they are still together, with two gorgeous children, celebrating their 10th year wedding anniversary this year.

I think it’s high time to change the narrative that it women are needy. “Needy” is a terrible word in this context, it implies that someone is desperate, emotionally unstable and somehow a lesser being. It’s like saying to someone without a job, they are being needy for wanting one. Not everyone wants children, and that is fine, but for those who do, it should be ok to be clear about it. For those women who worry about getting rejected for fear of coming across as needy, consider the men who do want children. Go find them, date the guys who want a family. There are plenty out there. I see them in my practice too and they can be just as confused in their search for a partner as single women.

Madeleine Mason, Dating Psychologist & Director of PassionSmiths

If you would like to know about our services, head over to this page and sign up to a FREE 10 minute consultation.

The post Yes, men are needy too, it’s not only women appeared first on Passionsmiths.

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PassionSmiths met up with the new kids on the dating-app block, award-winning “Now Dating”, and asked about their thoughts on offline dates. While they are an online platform, they advocate for offline dating simply because spending too much time online has a detrimental effect on peoples health. Below are the 5 reasons why they think you need to get offline…

Mindlessness

Dan Ariely, Professor of Psychology and Behavioural Economics summed it up nicely when he said, “people spend too much time searching for options online for too little payoff in offline dates.”

We have become mindless ‘swipers’, scared to create meaningful conversations. Supposedly, we are searching for love but actually we are ending up with hundreds of so-called ‘matches’ yet virtually no real-life experiences.

Isn’t the idea of online dating to actually have dates? To meet people? The clue’s in the name, surely?

The vacuum that the ‘big’ dating apps have created is damaging to real life experiences.  It also affects how we interact and feel as people in its entirety.

Depression

The instantaneousness, visual-based scope of the online world means that many people care more about how they portray themselves online than their actual lives. The pressure of curating the perfect social media ‘persona’ is linked to depression and anxiety related issues.

Online dating and social media more widely have created a generation with low self-esteem as well as influencing other generations to become more distanced.

There is a poignant story that really illustrates the difference between someone’s online ‘persona’ and their real life: Madison Holleran. The 19-year-old posted a photograph on Instagram of a scenery in the local park, creating the illusion as was well, just hours before she jumped to her death.

This is an extreme and shocking case, but it is a real one.

The pressure of portraying oneself in a way that is deemed ‘attractive’ on dating apps is no different. You hear chuckles of friend groups as they discuss how their date was ‘nothing like their profile’ so they turned around and left.

Addiction

Social media addiction is a real phenomenon. Dating apps fall under this category too. Mindlessly swiping with no intention of actually dating only to pass time is damaging in it’s own way, especially when you aren’t even sure what your motivations are.

The allure of the thought that the next profile might be THE ONE leave singles wanting to swipe just one more time. Others find a match-confirmation affirming exhilarating and want more, and so continue to swipe for more matches. Going on dating apps can then become a vicious cycle where boredom or allure of matches, become meaningless interactions.  The lack of genuine contact then contributes to low self-esteem and loneliness.

Hopelessness

Furthermore this impacts the experience for those who ARE there to date. Those who ‘match’ and don’t talk, or want to meet in real life, ruin the experience for those who do. As a result, people feel rejected or negatively judged. People are more sensitive to rejection than we realise. In fact so much so, we have developed a fear of rejection.

Many people still feel it’s a stigma to find love online. So by virtue of being online leads many to feel insecure, needy and vulnerable. Once online, it’s not unusual to be met with dud matches and silence, or dead-end conversations, leaving people feeling hopeless. Online dating becomes pointless, especially if you really want a relationship.

What should you do?

Don’t let your match develop into a penpal relationship, meet in person as soon as you feel safe to. This is anywhere between a handful of messages in a day or two, to exchanges over a week or two. If you have been chatting for over 3 weeks and still haven’t started a conversation about meeting, you are probably in penpal mode.

Genuine, real life, offline experiences are a fundamental human need. We need offline interaction ignorer to develop and maintain Laughter Conversation Debate Passion Love.

“Now” believe in genuine interactions and are seeking to revolutionise this industry by enabling the use of technology to create real life experiences and break the aforementioned vicious cycle.

If you are reading this, chances are you believe in human interaction and real-life experiences too. Join us today, meet someone online and the go meet IRL!

If you are interested in their app, “NOW” download it here

The post The 4 reasons you need to get your dates offline asap appeared first on Passionsmiths.

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Dating Advice.com journalist Amber Brooks and Hayley Matthews Editor-in-Chief on PassionSmiths
Dating Advice.com have written an in depth article on how PassionSmiths does Dating Advice and more. Please find the original article here  or read it below. A big thank you to datingadvice.com

Madeleine Mason, Founder of PassionSmiths, says the desire for lasting love is a human concern that includes both sexes, which is why she’s made it her mission to help men and women make positive, permanent changes to their love lives. At their London-based dating and relationship coaching firm, Madeleine and her team of experts offer dynamic advice sessions, informational workshops, and therapy packages that empower clients to overcome the hurdles they’re facing in their quest to find a soul mate. PassionSmiths caters to the entire spectrum of dating and relationships, so whether you’re single, married, or in a dedicated partnership, the company can help you develop strategies for nurturing the healthy bonds you desire.inShare18

Madeleine Mason’s dream of helping men and women with their relationship needs began in the world of online dating. She met her co-founder in Dan Williams, a psychotherapist, and learned he shared her interests in wanting to transform lives, as Madeleine put it, “one heart at a time.”

Together, the two created a niche that fit outside the box of relationship coaching services that only cater to one gender or age group. Dan and Madeleine founded PassionSmiths as a full-service boutique that specializes in treating both sexes and all generations. Their goal is to deliver the tools essential for people to develop satisfying relationships.

As the leader of the London-based dating and relationship coaching firm, Madeleine finds pride in PassionSmiths’ dedication to being the go-to source for love seekers from any background. She wants her company to be a one-stop shop for men, women, couples, and singles — not only in London but worldwide.

“We cater to the whole spectrum behind the romantics,” she said. “We don’t really distinguish between men and women. We come from the standpoint that men aren’t from Mars and women aren’t from Venus. We’re all from Earth.”

The PassionSmiths team meets clients wherever they’re at on their life journeys to help them find romance and/or take relationships from good to great — offering tailor-made workshops, events, relationship coaching, and counseling.

“We want everybody to be happy in fulfilling relationships, be it in marriage or long-term partnerships,” Madeleine said.

CONTINUE ARTICLE HERE

The post Dating Advice, Love & Relationship Help appeared first on Passionsmiths.

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Ladies we you want to be hot! PassionSmiths had the privilege of talking to the amazing Sophie Thorpe of YourStyleSister. We asked her about what to wear on first dates…

Ah, the stress of what to wear for a date! But what type of date is it?

  • Is it a speed dating or singles event?
  • Is it drinks straight after work?
  • Is it a coffee date on a Saturday morning?
  • A dinner date?
  • Or what about a meet-the-friends ‘date’ (you know you’re going to be ‘checked’ out)?
  • And the ultimate meet and greet, the first ‘date’ with the parents/ possible future in-laws?

Trying not to send yourself into a tail spin of blind panic, you rummaged through the mostly uninspiring black and beige contents of your wardrobe, only to feel the cold sweat of fear drip from your forehead and run down the centre of your back as you realise that you have NOTHING TO WEAR!!

ARGGGHHHHHH!

Yep, you and almost every other woman on the planet.

Fear not my beauty, all will be revealed in the next few paragraphs to give you a head start and advantage over other ladies this chap might be swooning over.

Here we go…

First up, the speed dating or singles night. Wear RED. In a room jam packed with other bodies, the most effective way to stand out and grab a man’s attention, send his pulse racing and his heart all a flutter, is to wear red. Statistically speaking, red is the #1 colour MOST attractive to men and most noticeable in a packed room. Simples!

Next up, the drinks straight after work. You have 2 options here. Again, you can wear the trusty red, although I’d advise you to keep it to just the one item and on the top half of your body. Or you can opt for a hot pink or fuchsia, or even magenta, to keep the heat up and add a little feminine warmth. Men do like to feel there’s a ‘softness’ or warm nurturing side to you. Don’t judge them, it’s simply instinct. Play to it!

And for the Saturday lunch date? Well, I’d opt for the pink. Wear a rich, warm, seductive and feminine pink and he’ll not know what to do with himself, or what to do with his fish and chips (if he doesn’t order them with mushy peas on the side then he doesn’t know what real fish and chips are, so you should dump him straight away). Again, keep it to the top half of your body so if you’re sat down, he still gets an eyeful.

And if you’re curious to know which colours to wear for the other dating scenarios, and what colours to NEVER EVER wear on a date, then join me on 29th September at my drinks night ‘Dress UP Friday’ in central London, and I’ll be thrilled to let you in on the secret.

LINK: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/exclusive-ladies-drinks-night-dress-up-friday-tickets-36876449453

Sophie Thorpe aka Your Style Sister @ yourstylesister.com

The post Ladies: The competition is hot…and so should YOU BE! appeared first on Passionsmiths.

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Online dating can result in successful relationships for many but there are unscrupulous people out there too, whose mission is to scam you or mislead you in one way or another. Our friends at Scamalytics specialise in online scamming prevention, share with us 3 steps you can take to avoid scammers when you are online dating.

1.First and foremost, don’t let your contacts take the communications off the site or app too soon, as this will make it difficult for the dating site you are on to detect the scammer (and thus unable to delete their account). Most scammers will try and get you off the site as soon as possible by giving you their mobile number or a personal email address within the first couple of exchanges. Don’t fall into this trap until you can be sure they’re genuine. Keep the communications on the site until you agree to meet.

2. Speaking of meeting. Do not meet until you feel comfortable that they are genuine.  It’s easy to get carried away by someone who’s flattering and complimentary about you, but be aware they may have an ulterior motive.  However, also be aware of people who never seem to want to meet, yet allow the topic of conversation become more intimate. Be especially vigilant if anyone asks you for money.

3. Check out your date’s profile description – is their English poor and full of odd-sounding phrases and/or spelling mistakes?  Scammers often use over-the-top language in their profiles.  You can also search for scammer phrases by copying and pasting some of their profile text into Google, this will then highlight if the phrases appear on other sites.

4. Check that their photo is genuine by right clicking on their image to perform a Google search.  The search results will show where else their picture appears online, you should also check that their profile description matches their image.  You’ll also be able to see whether their photo belongs to someone with a different name which should ring alarm bells if it does.

It seems obvious, but it’s surprising how often people do this, don’t ever give any personal information such as bank account details or your address to someone you meet online, it almost always ends in tears. There is no harm in a bit of due diligence.

Keep these tips in mind if you’re looking for love online and they’ll help ensure you have a safer online dating experience.  If you want to find out more about Scamalytics and how they’re working to prevent online scammers, click here for their website: www.scamalytics.com

The post Tips on how to avoid scammers on dating sites appeared first on Passionsmiths.

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Comparison website DatingJungle shared a couple of their insights with us.

Check out the pros and cons on the 5 most popular online dating websites in 2017. Enjoy.

Match.com has about 4 million members in the UK and is one of the veterans in the online dating game. Most people on Match are looking for a serious relationship.

Relatively quick to set up a profile and get started

Screens members against public sex offender registries

Has a standard search function, and also a swipe left/right ‘Tinder’ function

Available in 25 countries and in 8 different languages

Almost balanced gender ratio (45% female and 55% male)

Match is a paid-for service. However, this may be beneficial as it screens out timewasters

Difficult to gauge whether a user is a paid and active member or not

You can’t specify what type of relationship you are looking for (casual, serious, etc.)

Eharmony has about 2.5 million members in the UK and is also one of the long-lasting dating websites. Eharmony is for the serious dater looking for a long-term relationship.

Matches users based on compatibility across several personality dimensions

Screens members against public sex offender registries

You get a very good understanding of your date before you meet him or her

Almost no scammers or fake profiles (since you cannot search for profiles)

Enables you to remain anonymous throughout the process

Eharmony is also a paid-for service. However, these paying members are very committed

Time-consuming to set up a profile, and it often takes a while before you meet your date

Presents matches to you – you can’t search for dates (for some, this is a good feature)

Tinder has about 4 million members in the UK and took online dating by storm when it was introduced in 2012. Tinder can work for serious relationships, but many use Tinder for hook-ups

Free to use

You can be set up in 5 minutes. Also very easy to use

High degree of ‘fun-factor’ – swiping left and right is like playing a game

Available world-wide and in several languages

There is no unsolicited contact. Only persons you have liked can contact you

Skewed gender ratio – significantly more male (62%) than female (38%) users

Can turn dating into an ‘easy-come-easy-go’ numbers game

Users often move on quickly and don’t stay interested in the same person for long

OKCupid has about 2 million members in the UK and is based on Q&A. You decide the questions, and you decide what answers you would like. For both serious and casual relationships

Free to use

Inclusive and liberal, open to people of any sexual orientation

You are matched from 0-100% based on how you answer and rate various questions

Available world-wide and in several languages

Offers multiple ways of finding dates (swiping, searching, Q&A, etc.)

Unbalanced gender ratio – significantly more male (61%) than female (39%) users

To answer questions and to get a fully functional profile can take some time

You can’t block incompatible people (e.g. outside age range) from contacting you

Lovestruck has about 0.3 million members in the UK and is aimed at busy young city professionals. Its largest market by far is London. For both serious and casual relationships

For young city-dwellers and professionals who want to meet like-minded people

Good if you are in London (as most users are London based)

Easy and quick to set up and to get stated searching for dates

Balanced male to female ratio (48% female / 52% male)

You can suggest a great first date which potential dates can take you up on

Also a paid-for service. Annoying for some, but it weeds out timewasters

Limited number of users (however, good in London)

Difficult to gauge whether a user is a paid and active member or not

This article was written with the help of our friends at DatingJungle. If you want to learn more about online dating, read in-depth reviews of the most popular online dating websites and apps, or if you want to compare features of dating sites, feel free to visit www.datingjungle.org.

The post The Pros and Cons of The Top 5 Dating Websites and Apps appeared first on Passionsmiths.

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While many people are searching for love, their single status should not hinder any love for travel. We find that if you make the most of your time while you are single, you will have more to offer when you finally meet the love of your life. PassionSmiths spoke with Wellbeing Escapes, award-winning pioneers in wellness travel for 10 years, who know what they are talking about when it comes singles on holiday. This is what they shared with us on why travelling solo rocks!

It’s only natural to feel a little apprehensive about going on holiday by yourself but, we promise you, once you’ve done it once, there will be just no stopping you in the future. It could be that you are single, your partner or friends can’t get the same time off or you need some ‘me-time’. In fact, a wellness holiday is a good idea as you follow a programme so will be interacting with others every day and most certainly won’t be by yourself unless you want to take yourself off for some peace and quiet. They often have sharing tables too so if you are feeling sociable at mealtimes, you can join fellow guests and have a good old yak about your stay!

So take a look at our Top 5 reasons to go solo below: 

1. It’s all about YOU. No compromising, no waiting around for anyone, just doing exactly what you fancy. This can be a good exercise in finding out about your likes and dislikes, which helps you navigate better in dating as you become more savvy on whether someone is compatible with you or not.

2. You’ll have the chance to get back in touch with yourself, think big thoughts and listen to your ‘inner voice’.  It has all the answers, you just need down time to listen to it! Think of it as getting in tune with your ‘gut-feeling’, the one you really need to listen to when you go out on dates and decide whether someone is a good match for you.

3. You’ll be more open-minded to new people and situations. Others are more likely to approach you (in a positive way!) and will go out of their way to help you. Smile at everyone that crosses your path and good things will happen. Seriously, whether you are shy, a little introverted or completely extroverted, meeting new people in a temporary environment to shift your mind-set and, as you practise talking to strangers, will prepare you for first dates. The more relaxed and comfortable you can be when meeting new people, the easier it is to open up to a potential life partner.

4. You’ll feel empowered – navigating under your own steam and working everything out yourself will boost your self-confidence and enhance your can-do attitude. By building up a repertoire of experiences in learning how to love yourself, you become more attractive. And the more attractive your are…. well, the more likely you will appeal to your hot date.

5. It’s fun! You can be whoever you want to be, you can go where you’ve always wanted to and you can try new experiences. That’s the ultimate freedom and win/win all round. Even if it’s just for a brief moment, these new experiences will give you something to talk about when you start dating. It’s all a bank of good memories you can savour when you finally settle down and need to compromise on things.

Now, pack your bags, off you go and have a fabulous time…!

ENTER PRIZE DRAW to win a spa day for and a friend at Lifehouse Spa & Hotel   CLICK HERE TO ENTER!

Otherwise get in touch with Wellbeing Escapes on +44 20 3735 7555

The post Top 5 reasons why going solo on holiday rocks! appeared first on Passionsmiths.

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Love is complicated, relationships are messy and we spend an awful lot of time trying figure out the best way to have them. Mostly because anguish, loneliness and drama seem to hijack our experiences of love without apparent good reason. Psychologists in particular are working hard to help us understand the dynamics of relationships; where and why we go wrong in order to reduce the stress that arises in the messiness.

In reality, a relationship is a concept. It’s not a ‘thing’ – we cannot physically measure it, point to, see, touch or hear it, yet we can sense it. We can sense whether 2 people are relating to one another, even if it is not always clear what that relation is. For that we need labels .… sibling, parent, colleague, lover, partner, spouse. And even then we negotiate, subconsciously, how that relation plays out and whether indeed it actually exists! For example one person may have the impression they have a relation to someone, who thinks otherwise, as in a situation of unrequited love. This technicality aside, my point is, in order to understand a concept, we need to approach understanding relationships in different ways. I am going to reveal to you one such way, a powerful one, that helps us understanding the difficulties we experience in relationships and how we may improve them: in psychology we call it ‘social exchange theory’.

Social exchange theory, basically says that we all have an invisible bank with the people we care about. Anyone we have a relation with, however big or small will have an account with us and we have one with them. Any exchange we have with someone is considered ‘a unit’, which can have a positive, neutral or negative value, and therefore we can deposit or withdraw from our accounts depending on the value. (I hope I haven’t lost you – I did say it was unsexy!!).

This is how it works: let’s say I give my husband a gift that makes him happy. That would be regarded as a positive unit and I will have deposited it in the account I have with him. I will be in credit! The more positive units I can deposit, (being understanding when he comes home late and drunk, supporting him when he’s had a bad day, cooking him his favourite meal, rooting for him in sports etc.) the more credit I will have in my account with him. I will have some ‘social capital’ in my account. Similarly, he will deposit positive units in his account with me, when he does things that make me happy. The more capital he has with me, the more happy I will be. It feels good to have overflowing accounts.

However, if either of us do something that is considered a negative unit, a withdrawal from our social capital in the respective accounts will be made. Let’s say he forgets a date with me, constantly criticises or ignores me, the social capital in his account with me will go down. And like with an ordinary bank account, you can go into minus and even bankrupt an account. Infidelity or physical abuse can close an account with immediate effect.  Accounts in minus will manifest as more arguments, fights, less understanding of one another, blaming, finger pointing, emotional turmoil, burnout and eventually disintegration of the relationship. Having an account in minus makes us feel dissatisfied and unhappy, especially if the account holder is someone we love. It’s upsetting to loose an account.

All in all it’s relatively straightforward: Do good things and you will have a happy partner. But we all know that is not how the world works. Sometimes the forgotten date was a result of an important meeting that dragged on and phone battery died – a withdrawal gets made and it wasn’t anyones fault. Maybe you had a stressful day and snap at your partner, another withdrawal, but inevitable. The kids have kept you up all night, you are too tired for sex… You don’t mean to withdraw your social capital from the account, but sometimes life gets in the way and you need to. (Another reason to keep the account topped up!). In fact, psychologists from the Gottman Institute, researching relationships, recommend that for every negative interaction, there should be 5 positive ones to counteract. The more credit you have with one another, the better you will fair when transgressions occur.

Now comes the messy bit!… We do not always agree on what a positive or negative unit is. Take a smothering mother. She thinks she is doing a good thing, depositing loads of positive units, yet the child feels resentful, and her ‘units’ are in fact negative, depleting her account. In romantic relationships, for example, a partner might not be responding to his or her distressed partner, thinking that giving space is the best course of action (a positive unit), yet the distressed partner sees this as an act of neglect and a withdrawal from the account is made instead of a deposit. Another example is, an eager partner wanting to show interest and enthusiasm in their loved one, thinking they are making positive deposits, when are in fact annoying their partner, who sees the actions as intrusive and demanding, and therefore unwittingly depleting the account. The terms and conditions have not been discussed! Indeed, we don’t even think to discuss them. Partly because a lot of this is unconscious and partly because we arrogantly think that our partners think the same way we do.

Another complication is the weighting of the units. Infidelity will close an account, simply taking all the credit there is in one fell swoop, whereas forgetting to pick up the dry-cleaning might barely withdraw an ounce of credit. To add to the complication, we might attribute different weighting to the same unit. Forgetting a birthday is no big deal for one person and so is not considered worthy of credit withdrawal, whereas for someone else, it’s a major transgression and ‘costs’ a big chunk of social capital. Again, we seldom negotiate these things and end up arguing and hurting one another needlessly.

The most messy and complex example is when the terms and conditions change and become inconsistent. Some people cannot make up their mind when what it is postive or negative value. It becomes impossible to relate them, because you never know whether ‘your unit’ will be regarded as negative or postive. One moment it’s bad to text a lot another time it’s not.

Accounts that are important to us, most notably our significant other, are monitored more closely. If I feel my husbands account with me is low, I will make bids to get him to fill it up. Similar to a notification that your battery power is running low. We are sensitive to our ‘prime accounts’, because their deposits are important to us. If we run low on social capital, we feel empty and lonely. Imagine a bank without any customers. It can’t run if no-one deposits anything. These bids can feel like nagging, whining or ‘being needy’ – so if you are wondering why the change in behaviour, it’s probably because you need to make some deposits with your partner!

As I implied, it is not very sexy to view your relationships as a series of transactions, deposits and withdrawals, but if you think about the analogy of finance, there is a lot of sense and it does help understand why some people misunderstand each other. More importantly, it helps us understand what we can do to make things better in our relationships.

 

Madeleine Mason, Dating Psychologist & Director of PassionSmiths

If you would like to know about our services, head over to this page and sign up to a FREE 10 minute consultation.

The post The unsexy truth about relationships appeared first on Passionsmiths.

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Finding lasting love is a biological ‘thing’ – it’s natural for humans to want to feel part of a social unit. In psychology we call it the need for attachment. It describes an invisible pull most of us have. It is a desire to be connected to someone we consider special. When we find that someone to connect with, we feel safe and we call it love.

It is so precious that we try and capture, maintain and develop it through marriage. However, finding it is easier said than done. If anything, it seems more tricky in our fast-paced digitalised world. Through my practice as a dating and relationship psychologist, I have found a few things that get in the way of people finding love and I want to share them with you.

First a word of warning:I fear you are not going to like what I have to tell you. If you have been single for long or have a series of short relationships on your ‘dating CV’, I am afraid you are in for some ugly truths. However, if you can overcome them, you will be all the better for it. So here goes…

The secret to finding lasting love has at least 3 elements involved and they are ALL about you. Your passion, courage and mindset.

Love yourself

We have heard this one before: “You can’t expect someone to love you, if you don’t love yourself”. But what does that really mean? Most advice will tout self-affirmation exercises or some such. While there may be some merit to this, loving oneself is about having confidence and sense of self-value and respect.

If you are lacking in ‘self-love’, you are lacking boundary-setting and healthy assertiveness. You give in to emotional impulses, struggle to know when someone treats you badly, are too readily available and you find it difficult to say no to things you don’t want to do. You may find you can’t make decisions, or you don’t like to have strong opinions in case you offend someone. You pride yourself in being kind and good. Your frustrations sound like ‘I am such a nice person, why do I get treated so badly?’, ‘Why doesn’t anyone love me like I love them?’. These are indicators of ‘low self-love’. What tends to happen is that you attract people that disrespect you, treat you badly or take you for granted – not a great position to start a relationship from.

Interestingly, if you appear to have very high self-love, you may be a narcissist, which in fact is not a genuine self-love. Narcissism is an inflated sense of self and is more likely an overcompensation for low self esteem.  In which case you are hypersensitive to criticism, require constant admiration and special treatment. You react to humiliation with anger or contempt. Your frustrations sound like ‘Nobody cares about me’, ‘Why do people not think I am great?’. Such hypersensitivity and high demand stifles a budding relationship.

One way to achieve greater self love, is to be committed to something you are passionate about. Whether via work or a hobby, become an expert in a subject matter that gives you great joy. Also, practice saying no to things you are not interested in doing. Challenge yourself to have opinions and voice them. Ask for things you need help with or want. Dare to be vulnerable and check for evidence against your negative emotional reactions, (in case they are overinflated). Curb reactive behaviour (for example, defriending someone on Facebook because they made you angry). Keep a gratitude diary and practice mindfulness.

Embrace your fears

We are complex creatures. Love is really all around us, yet we constantly dismiss it because of our fears. Fear of rejection, fear of being trapped, being taken for granted, losing independence, not being good enough, abandonment, looking stupid, appearing needy, of intimacy or closeness etc.

Some people worry that their love interest will lose interest in them. This causes them to become needy and clingy, pushing love away. Others feel claustrophobic when someone shows a romantic interest in them. This is a fear of intimacy and keeps people away from close relationships (leaving them perpetually single). Others have such low confidence that initiating any form of romantic contact brings up a lot of anguish. So much so, that they would rather be ‘married’ to their work or hobby, than face contact with someone they fancy. The list of fears seem endless. The saddest of all, I think, is the fear of receiving and accepting love, simply because of feelings of unworthiness.

Where do these fears come from? Humans are by nature sensitive to danger, regardless of whether they are real or imagined. The things we fear usually stem from childhood experiences, ranging from experiences of ridicule, bullying, rejection, abandonment, belittling to mollycoddling, lack of trust, too rigid or too fluid rules and inconsistent parenting. In order to survive, emotionally or otherwise, we create survival strategies that later become erroneous and inefficient in adulthood. However, we often don’t realise this until they continuously trip us up in life – such as constantly meeting the wrong type of person, always being single etc. – and end up in therapy to rework the inefficient survival strategies.

You may actually not be aware of what your fear is, because it’s not always intuitive and apparent. For example, if you say things like “I am so busy at work, I don’t have time to meet/be with someone” or “all the good people are taken”, you might have a fear of intimacy. If you say things like, “people are always interested at first and then disappear” you may have a fear of abandonment. (This is the sort of thing we work on in dating coaching).

If there is a lot of fear involved in your relationships, you may find it more difficult to relate to one another as there is likely to be many misunderstandings. There will be a lot of drama and emotion. If you can work through this and understand that the misunderstandings come from ‘outdated childhood strategies’, you stand a better chance of getting a solid relationship. Sadly, this is often not the case that people take themselves off to work on these things.

Nevertheless to the degree you can identify what your fears are, embrace them and work through them, the more likely you will succeed at relationships. This includes ditching behaviours that include ‘ghosting’, playing hard to get, excessive texting, whining, unreasonable demands to demonstrate love/commitment, silence as punishment, emotional reactivity and incongruence between what you say and do. You need a good portion of courage to refrain from giving in to your fears.

Adjust your mindset

A lot of people reject potential relationships on whimsical notions, such a job status, age or looks. We have a tendency to think in terms of finding the perfect partner. If they don’t fit specific criteria or make us feel a specific way, we reject them. The trouble is, perfection is not found, it is nurtured and grown. The most successful relationships start from a friendship base, from a place of compatibility and companionship.

I know, it doesn’t sound very sexy to look at someone and say ‘hey, you will do’ – and not very charming to be viewed in that light either. It is essentially because no human is perfect, so if you are under the illusion of having met someone who is perfect and who will solve all your problems, you will get sorely disappointed. The trick is to find someone you fancy ENOUGH, AND who fancies you back. This means you have to change your mindset from ‘I must find the perfect partner’ to ‘I must find someone who is GOOD ENOUGH’. ‘Good enough’ is someone who embodies values and qualities that are important to you, who engages with you and treats you with respect. It is then your job to create something special with that person. In other words, when you meet ‘good enough’, begin a friendship, spend time together, make an effort to get to know one another, build trust, learn how to make one another happy etc. When you do this, and a genuine friendship begins, you find that magic ensues. You fall in love and you will forget that you ever thought your partner was merely ‘good enough’ – they become the best thing that ever happened to you. You will often hear matchmakers advise not to sleep with one another until you are dating exclusively. Build that friendship first.

A word of caution – do not stubbornly continue in a relationship that is bad for you. Do not accept bad behaviour. Do not accept to see someone who constantly puts you down, who is abusive in any way, is chronically sarcastic, mean, condescending, unreliable, unreasonable or narcissistic. If you have enough self-love, this will not be an issue, but if you don’t, you might struggle to walk away from this (in which case you might want to consider seeing a dating coach or relationship counselor).

Now, if you are pursuing a passion (as we discussed in point 1), you are making it easier for the person to feel something special about you. You want someone to be proud of you, and vice versa. If you are embracing your fears, learning to communicate them and trusting that the other person means well, you are on a more solid path to achieving lasting love. If you take the time to get to know a person you fancy (who is a ‘good enough person’) and can accept their flaws, and vice versa, you will for certain stand a better chance at finding lasting love.

In conclusion, nurture your self-love, have courage to overcome your fears and adjust your mindset to the reality that nobody is perfect. Essentially, make a decision and commit to it. This comes naturally to many, but there are a lot of people for whom this is a major challenge. If this is you, you are not alone, but you can do something to change it. I am here to help – and so are many of my colleagues in the industry. It’ll be a challenge you will never regret. 

Madeleine Mason, Dating Psychologist & Director of PassionSmiths

If you would like to know about our services, head over to this page and sign up to a FREE 10 minute consultation.

The post The secret to finding lasting love appeared first on Passionsmiths.

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