Monthly Archives: September 2016

All about Valentines Day

Love is in the air. It’s that time of the year again: Valentine’s Day. Co-workers may be receiving gifts at work, restaurants will be crowded with couples trying to make the night special, and to others it may as well just be another day. But does everyone really celebrate Valentine’s Day and go all out for romance? In one of our latest surveys, we dared to find out.

We asked around 3,000 people if they had plans for Valentine’s Day, and about 64% of them said they did plan on celebrating the holiday with somebody special. Now we were curious, what goes into their Valentine’s Day plans?

Planning the Date

Most people who said they had Valentine’s Day plans had put at least a little bit of thought into it. 17% of people said they had not planned anything yet (and this survey was done 3 days before Valentine’s Day!), and 6% had said they put a lot of planning into the event.

So who’s doing the planning? According to our survey, it seems like chivalry is not dead. Men were more likely to say they had done a fair amount of planning or a lot of planning for their valentine, where as women were more likely to say they had done very little to no planning at all.

What about when you get married? Do the plans for Valentine’s Day slip away over time? Not as much as you may be thinking. When you are dating somebody exclusively, you are the most likely to have plans. 89% of people who are dating somebody exclusively have had made at least some plans, and 82% of married couples also had plans. Couples who are engaged were the least likely to have made any plans despite saying they were celebrating the holiday, with 25% of them saying they had done no planning.

Handle on Lifes Hassles

We’ve all had them — one of “those” days. And for singles, having one of “those” days might include one of “those” dates. Bad days–and the occasional bad date–are unavoidable.

Here are 15 effective ways to better handle life’s hassles:

1. Identify your style. Are you a night owl or a morning lark? Are you a creature of habit or do you hate routine? Knowing these things about yourself will help you get more out of every area of life.

2. Plan ahead. A little foresight goes a long way. So do some research on that must-try restaurant before you find yourself facing a two-hour wait (and a frustrated date).

3. And have a backup plan. You wouldn’t prepare a presentation without backing it up. Apply this same mentality to your dating life, and expect the unexpected. If that concert gets rained out, have an alternative ready to go.

4. Make an appointment with yourself. Give yourself a set amount of time each day to get organized. That way, you can enjoy yourself when it’s time to relax.

5. Be your own best friend. Dating can be challenging and sometimes hard on your self-esteem. So resist the urge to be your own worst critic. Self-reflection is one thing, self-scrutiny is another.

6. Unwind. If you’re constantly on the go, it may be time to slow down. Take your date someplace relaxing and soak in the peace and quiet — together.

The New Communication Experience Works

Well hello! By now you’ve hopefully experienced the new and improved eHarmony — there’s a lot of useful stuff to introduce but before we do, we’d just like to say one thing; you had everything to do with this.

That’s right. You spoke up and we listened. You told us what worked and what didn’t and we committed ourselves to go above and beyond, to think differently, and to take all our new research and turn it into actionable change that would make a difference. The end result was an entirely redesigned communication experience that we hope will make it more enjoyable and easier for you to find that special someone.

That being said, communication is key in any successful relationship. It is also vital in making the right first impression, which is why we’ve put so much time into updating our communication experience. Now, taking the first step feels a bit warmer and more natural in the Guided Communication process.

What is Guided Communication? It’s designed to help you get to know someone at your own pace; if you want more control of the conversation you can go with Quick Questions or you can skip this step and go directly to sending custom messages.

Sending pre-written Quick Questions that ask the hard stuff for you (but in a more welcoming way) efficiently gets to the heart of what you’re looking for. Quick Questions also takes the pressure off of you since the questions come from us. The goal is to help you learn more about someone, easier.

We provide fun yet meaningful questions for you to choose from, so you select the most important ones to ask. Then send them to your match. Your match will then choose from the pre-selected answers, making it a fairly quick process. Your match then gets to send you Quick Questions of their own. You can send as many Quick Questions as you want to. Oh — did we mention that the Quick Questions process is free? Yup! However, if you prefer to write your own answer to a Quick Question you must be a subscriber to do so.

Signs That Point to Yes

We are all emotionally needy to some degree in relationships — meaning simply that, during a difficult time, we need more emotional support than usual. We all long to be understood, supported, loved, and accepted.

It’s OK to reach out and ask for help — sometimes. And that’s okay. Yet, being overly emotionally needy — too demanding, clingy, annoying, fragile — can spell trouble for your relationship.

A person should be able to stand on their own, tolerate aloneness, and manage their own ‘stuff’ for a healthy relationship to exist. How we go about expressing our needs has a lot to do with our personality and our attachment style — our style based on how we learned to relate to our parents and how emotionally available they were…or not.

There are 3 styles of attachment that help create how secure or insecure we feel in relationships: secure, anxious, and avoidant.

Secure people present themselves as warm and loving and were most likely raised with caregivers that were consistently caring and responsive. Avoidant people often come across as dismissive, often minimize closeness and were raised in an environment that was less emotional and one in which insecurity and neediness were not tolerated.

However, people with an anxious attachment style are the ones that present and who are seen as overly needy. Some of the key characteristics are:

•Minimizing or denying their needs and look to others to fill their emotional gaps and emptiness in a way that often becomes manipulative.
•Worrying about their partner’s love and ‘search out’ for all the mannerisms and nuances that might indicate that their partner doesn’t love them.
•Emotionally overwhelmed and will reach out and ‘need’ their partner more to make them feel secure or constantly remind them of how they feel.
•Insecurity and oversensitivity to any slight.
•Had parents (or a parent) who was inconsistently nurturing. This created inner angst and turmoil and contributed to their anxiety — especially around relationships.

However, this often leaves their partner emotionally tapped out and overwhelmed by their neediness. They are worn out. And yet, anxious people do the very thing they fear the most will happen — they push their partner away. Their behaviors are counterproductive, yet hard to stop doing in the moment.

For the other person, there is nothing they can do to help this person. You cannot encourage growth, compliment them, or reassure them — enough. They have an insatiable and exhausting emotional ‘neediness.’

Tips for Dating in the Digital Age

Technology has exploded our dating options and put dating effectively on amphetamines. The sheer quantity of choices gives us the feeling that we can and will meet someone through technology. How could we not?

And yet, precisely because there is so much choice, we often don’t give the person we’ve met a real chance. If anything isn’t to our immediate liking, we dive back into our device, back into the land of possibility. Sometimes we do this even when we like the person we’ve met, because we can, and there still could be someone better.

Technology creates a climate of always chasing better—something else.

Rather than focusing on the relationship in front of us—giving it our full attention, we look outside for what we might be missing out on. Consequently, it can feel like no one is ever good enough to stop searching for better. As a result, relationships that, before technology, might have turned into successful partnerships, never get the chance. It was difficult enough for a relationship to get out of the starting gate before technology, but now, despite or maybe because of all the possibilities, it can feel nearly impossible. There’s more potential but the potential remains unrealized.

These days, when a relationship does start, the primary form of communication is often texting. This can create a host of challenges that didn’t exist before technology. When we begin dating, we don’t know someone well and yet we text as if we do, sometimes communicating dozens of times in a day, sharing banter, minutia, and whatever else comes to mind. We communicate as if we are integrated players in each other’s lives, which we are not, at least not yet. So too, we now text with a flirtatious confidence, sometimes sexual, that does not match the actual level of intimacy we’ve achieved. Then, when we meet our person in the flesh or even on the phone, we have to play a game of emotional catch up, to try and bring the real relationship into sync with the virtual. We feel embarrassed and awkward, overexposed. We are building a relationship between two avatars, but not these two humans. But we can’t turn back, we’ve gone too far down the virtual road, and so are frequently left to continue in the virtual relationship, or nothing at all.

Dating in the age of technology presents challenges that can be difficult even for the most confident of daters. It is now possible to know if and when someone has read our text, which means that if our recipient has indeed read our words but not responded, or chosen not to read it at all, to leave it in the dreaded unopened, we are forced into the often unkind and frequently brutal hands of our inner dating critic.

With the help of modern technology, we are left to live a good portion of our dating life inside the maze of our own personal narrative. While we naturally craft our own story about what is happening within the relationship, technology exacerbates the storyteller within us by providing just enough information to send our mind into a tailspin, but not enough to set us free.

Technology is remarkable for many tasks, but if what we really want is to find meaningful connection with another human being, then technology is probably not the right means to achieve that end. Online dating allows us to meet people we would never get to meet, it provides options and inventory, but after we meet, we still have to be willing to do the real life work that real life relationships require. If we’re over the age of three, getting close to another person takes time and effort, but when we put in that time and effort, the infinitely possible can become infinitely real.

How to Celebrite Valentines Day With Someone

Even though I’ve been unwillingly single for most of mine, I’ve never hated Valentine’s Day. I’m pretty sure it’s because my birthday is the next week, and I’ve never tried to reverse the childhood idea that all of the flowers, balloons, and chocolates are to celebrate me. But as I got older, I realized that most single people found Valentine’s Day annoying, or depressing. The day, and the marketing leading up to it, were reminders of what they didn’t have, and what many of them wanted.

A few years ago, I was getting ready for a trip overseas, and I needed to do a couple of errands downtown. On Valentine’s Day. Though I’d never have said it out loud, the engagement ring commercials I seemed to see every time I turned around were wearing on me. I was ready for Valentine’s Day to be over, even if we skipped straight to Easter baskets. My palms began to sweat just thinking about finding a parking place and dealing with crowds of couples. I might not hate Valentine’s Day, but I also don’t make dinner reservations, or try to see a movie that night. That evening, I thought, is for the couples. I’d never ventured inside.

I found a spot in the crowded parking garage and went about my business. I’d worn my red high heels to celebrate the day, and they clicked purposefully on the sidewalk. When I left my car, I’d vowed to get my errands done as quickly as I could so that I could get home and relax, far from romantic expectations or the question: “Why is a nice girl like you single?” But once I was walking through the balmy air, warmer than usual for February, the sun filtering through the trees, I slowed my steps. Couples walked down the street, hand in hand, and I smiled at them, feeling that I belonged here, too, downtown, on Valentine’s Day.

One of my stops was to buy some yoga pants, the kind that would make me actually want to go to yoga. I braced myself for a crowd of last minute shoppers, this place always seemed to be hopping, but the store was empty. It was just me and several employees, looking bored. They perked up as I walked in.

“What can I help you find?” The saleswoman looked so eager to please, I was tempted to ask her if she had a Valentine’s date somewhere in the back. Instead, she walked me through all the different types of athletic pants, why they had been designed, what they were made of. She brought me piles of colors and patterns to try on, and when I mumbled about my muffin top, she said, “It’s winter, give yourself a break. I think you look great.” When I tried on a pair of pants that made me feel strong and sexy, I thought this might count as the best date I’d ever been on.

This feeling connected with the work I’d been doing in therapy lately, mingled with Brene Brown’s words from her TED Talk about vulnerability and shame (which I’d watched countless times) echoing in my ears, reminding me that I was “worthy of love and belonging.” How could I forget, as I was feeling healthy and ready for a relationship with a wonderful person, that I was already in one with myself?

The Ways to Keep the Fires Burning

Being married for any length of time is truly an accomplishment these days. Just last week a woman asked how long I had been married and when I said forty years this July, her eyes got huge and she said, “To the same person? How is that possible?”

When we got married, people were taking bets on how long our union would last. The average bet was between two weeks and two years because of our age difference and personalities. Let’s just say, my husband is calm, wise, and conservative and I am the exact opposite. I do remember feeling really shaky when I said my vows … “for better or worse, richer or poorer, in sickness and health, till death do us part.” Now that’s a huge promise! Could I really do this?

Flash forward forty years. We are still married, happy and love each other, although it hasn’t been an easy road and our relationship has been tested on many occasions, and I’m sure more will come as we navigate through our senior years.

Someone once said, “I married you for better or worse, but not for breakfast and lunch.” I never really understood that until now. Obviously, when couples first get married, it is exciting, challenging, romantic, and fun. And then if children come along, the marriage gets even more interesting and challenging as people try to raise their kids together. But after the kids are gone, and retirement looms, people start to feel displaced as their roles in life change. Who are we without our careers and kids? What do we have to talk about? And why do we keep bumping into each other in the kitchen?

So in order to keep a relationship going all the way to the end, here are six rules of engagement to keep the fires burning.

Stay Vibrant and Interesting! Continue to learn and try new experiences. You can do this as a couple or individual. No one likes to get stuck in a boring routine or a mundane life, so make sure you keep reinventing both yourself and you as a couple.

Have Date Night at Least Twice a Month. It’s important to have something to look forward to and it doesn’t have to be fancy. Just carving out a special time together is meaningful, thoughtful, and fun!