Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Cling On or Run Away (What do you do in relationships?)

Written by Lindsay K. of Love Kudos

Have you ever wondered why you are attracted to another person?  Do we repeat the same types of relationships over and over again?  I'd like to welcome you to the blog about the "Psychosocial Journey of the Self" and how, in theory, this relates to finding love and keeping it.  There are 7 stages of development that we all go through from 0 to 19 years old.  Some of us get psychologically stuck at one or more stages which warps and slows down our maturity and development.  This is due to how our parents treated us (think nurture) and how our coping mechanisms worked due to genetics (think nature).  We can either minimize or maximize in our behavior, pull inward emotionally or outward.

The first 2 stages are called Attachment and Exploration, which occur in the 0-3 years of life.  This is how a baby learns about itself, their caretakers, and the world around them.  Depending on how they were or weren't nurtured during these stages of development, compounded by how their coping mechanisms minimized or maximized their situation, will determine if they become a clinger or an avoider. I grouped these 2 stages together because I thought they were somewhat similar to each other. 

Avoidant/Avoider: If the caretaker is too smothering or does not provide enough attention, the baby could become an avoider and turn inward for comfort (minimized.)  Childhood Image: child crying for mother/father to be picked up.  Baby is picked up for a few minutes, then put down. The baby would give up on getting their own needs met and lose contact with their desires. (Who needs you.)  I could also label this type of person as emotionally unavailable.

Anxious / Clinger: If the caretaker does not provide enough attention, the baby desperately attempts to get the attention of their distant caretaker.  Childhood Image: child crying for mother/father to be picked up.  Baby is picked up for a few minutes, then put down and the baby would not give up on their needs and continue the attention getting cycle. (You are never there for me.)

Another theory includes a third attachment type:  Secure.  Where the caretaker provides just enough attention to the baby.  The caretaker is in tune with the babies needs. Secure individuals are more likely to calm those anxious types and are more forgiving to the avoidant ones. Most of us can waiver between this attachment type and either the anxious or avoidant types. 

Off the hook, which one do you think you are? 

After speaking to my mom about my childhood, I feel that I have more clinger tendencies than avoider ones.  She says that I was always asking to help her around the house, and was social, but needed a lot attention. When I was 2, my family moved to Arizona, so she thought I might not have received all the attention that baby Lindsay needed.  When I was 7 years old or so, she remembered that I would physically turn her head with my hand, so she was looking at me. I was referred to as the Love Princess, while my sister was referred to as the Ice Princess!

In adult relationships, we reenact those old childhood memories and reopen the wounds in our adult relationships. We choose partners who become stuck in the same or adjacent stage as we did.  However, depending on who we choose as partners, the relationship will help or hinder us to cope to those early frustrations. My college ex-boyfriend helped reduce my clinger tendency by securely and frequently telling me his feelings for me openly and honestly when he could sense my insecurity.

Fast forward to 2012, I notice that I'm attracted to (and have formed relationships) with men with avoider tendencies.  I'm wonderful, how come this guy doesn't see it?  I need to prove to myself that I'm lovable.  I'll show him how amazing I am!

Take Joel*,  a guy that I went on two dates with.  He kept in touch with me frequently via text message.  He repeatedly asked me out on dates, but repeatedly made excuses and broke off dates 2, 3, 4, and 6.  His behavior made my clinger tendencies amplify.  The more he brushed me off, the more I tried to keep the relationship moving forward.  Challenge accepted. Cling-on!  

The attachment principles teach us that people are only as needy or clingy as their unmet needs!

As I said before, we chose partners that have the opposite coping mechanisms to the developmental stage.  Joel is a classic Avoider.  He refused my attempts to talk on the phone, but then would resurface a few days later like nothing ever happened.  His excuses were based on his own needs: didn't have any money, too busy with work, and temporary vertigo! (I'm not making that sh*t up.) He was either smothered emotionally or neglected at this stage by his caretakers. 

Maybe my attempt to psychoanalyze myself is outright outlandish.  I'm not a clinger! I was just giving him the benefit of the doubt one too many times, (as a secure individual is likely to do.) What do you think? This guy didn't have his act together or wasn't interested all together.  I couldn't imagine actually having a relationship with this Clinger vs Avoider struggle. It would be a nightmare. Those people who do have a secure attachment type, are more likely to recognize the early signs of an avoidant type and would have dismissed him before dates 3, 4, and 5. And that's what I will do from this point going forward!

Commentary from Lauren K.: I wax and wane between secure attachment and clinger type. When my needs are met in my professional life and things are more secure with my family, I am more secure in my dating life and act accordingly. I do believe that how we interacted with our caretakers at a young age can shape us. However, I believe that through self-reflection and work, you can alter your attachment type.    

If you like further reading on this topic, please check out Harville Hendrix's book called Keeping the Love you Find, A guide for Singles.  This book address all the stages in the picture above.

Another suggested book is called "Attached. The New Science of Adult Attachment and how it can help you find and keep love." This book specifically addresses issues with the Attachment phase and provides a quiz to determine where you fall in Attachment style.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

JDate ... Online Dating from a Male Perspective

Intro by Lauren K. of Love Kudos

Many of us have ventured into online dating with trepidation and unrealistic expectations of finding love on that first date or dare we say, from that very first wink. However, after only a short period of a time, we tend to ease up, set our expectations a notch or two lower, and plunge ino the madness of internet shopping for a mate. I have admittedly tried OK Cupid, Match, and Jdate, and can honestly say that I have met some great friends and had some quality long-term relationships as a result. Even those dates that went awry have led to great comedic stories. Below is an honest assessment of a young male's first hand account of his first week on the premiere Jewish dating site, Jdate.com.
Submitted by Guest Blogger: Adam R.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012, was a big day in my life. Not only did I run out of the peaches and chipotle cheese that I bought from H-E-B the week and a half before, which caused me to open my fourth case of Texas peanut butter for a nice afternoon garnish, but I did something I thought I would never do in my life.

I joined JDate.

The term “JDate” alone makes some cringe. It evokes the scene of Jewish mothers, sitting together at a Mah Jong game, conjuring up creative adjectives for profiles unbeknownst to their sons or daughters, setting their children up for a date filled with more awkwardness than Kris Humphries at the Kardashian family reunion.  It’s a guy that may or may not look like a mix of Seth Rogan’s body type with the social skills of Brick Tambland that is trying to make himself sound like a member of the Rat Pack, or a girl who swears she’s outdoorsy, when all she really means is she likes to watch the Real Housewives  on her apartment porch, iPad and cold drink in hand with an apartment view of the local bar scene.  

So I definitely exaggerated on that last paragraph. Point is, JDate , like most dating sites we see commercials for, is intimidating, especially being that its business focus is one small demographic. While JDate can essentially be equivalent to Craigslist casuals in places like New York City, Los Angeles, and Tel Aviv, the problem arises in cities with smaller Jewish populations, where your “matches” are essentially the men/women you go out with on the weekends, with little hope of actually dating, or having an interest in dating them.


“Wait!” You say. “Why did you join JDate then, being that you live in a city with a smaller Jewish population than the amount of kids Octomom’s household, and where most of the Jewish girls already know you from your partially witty status updates and not so romantic photos on Facebook?”

Simple. JDate allows another side of you that isn’t your Facebook. Yes, my JDate profile does resemble me in that it’s slightly sarcastic, mildly over the top, complete with conjured up rap lyrics that would make even Tupac jealous, but it is serious as well. It signifies to some women “hey, I won’t use verbs that I found from synonymous for howtomakemelookandsoundlikeaaronrodgers.com, and am a little off-base in how I come across, but also serious in being someone women would want to date and have a relationship with.”

Yes, some of the women in my small Jewish town might read it and laugh, but others may say “Hey, I never knew this side of him, maybe I’ll give him a shot”. This works both ways, when guys view girls’ profiles as well, even though many of us take one look at the photo and simply click “No.”

Even better, for some folks that aren’t exactly Shakespearean in their word diction, there’s a “flirt” option, which allows for slightly cheesy dialogue that is sure to make the opposite party crack a smile and maybe give an emoticon back. Being that I’m a paid member now, I tried this button twice on two different girls. After 4 days it has not worked, probably because A) when I flirted at the time, I had no picture, and had the term “body paint myself for UNT football games”, which probably made the girl think B) I was grossly overweight with more chins than the 2006 graduating class of Shanghai University and C) an overzealous sports fan with a hardcore alcohol addiction from August 30 (Chick Fila-A college kickoff) to February 3 (Super Bowl). Or they didn’t like a 24 year old. Either way, the flirt button is a great tool for those too scared to compose an e-mail.


What about those IT guys, whose eyes are constantly staring at a 30 computer inch monitor all day chatting with angry customers on technical support? Well never fear, you can chat real-time with people. Unfortunately for those in small communities, you’ll see that 95% of the JDate women online  are from New York, Maryland, or Los Angeles, but when that person from your small Jewish town gets online, it’s a great chance for you to show off your words per minute speed and make an impression on a girl who might not have viewed your profile before. I might’ve gotten in trouble on my first day on JDate, since I was IM-ing women in New York about how the Giants are a horrible football team, but regardless, this option allows those a reprieve from daily work activities and a chance to make that online connection that wouldn’t have happened if you had just been talking to Ramesh from Outsource Inc all day. And heck, one day, with the right opening IM, that woman who you’ve been eyeing in Tulsa, Oklahoma, might get back to you with a follow-up emoticon.

All in all, JDate is an adventure, which is why I signed up. One year, less than $200 (50 cents a day really) with a chance to meet a bunch of new friends, or meet the person you spend the rest of your life with. It’s a low-risk, high-reward proposition, unless you’re the type who has a penchant for screwing up dates or conveying a false online persona similar to the man described in the Brad Paisley song. Will I have these same feelings about JDate on September 18. 2013, as I’m gearing up for a Cowboys Super Bowl repeat? Stay tuned for new updates on my Jdate adventures.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

100 Degrees + Golf = BAD DATE

Share the Love
Written by Lauren K. of Love Kudos

It has been quite some time since I have mentioned anything truly personal about my dating life. This has been out of respect for the people I have dated and / or everything has been pretty copacetic in my romantic life. In my current single state however, I have recently decided to be a little less selective in who I say "Yes" to going on a first date with. I admit this is partly a social experiment. I am not taking it to an extreme and agreeing to go out with all willing participants, but I am no longer looking at a check list and eliminating someone because they don't meet a certain height or location requirement. 

I came to this epiphany when I realized that in spite of my unwritten check list, I fell for someone that did not meet some of my basic needs in a partner. I always say that I want someone who takes the lead in the relationship and makes decisions with conviction. However, the guy I liked can take 30 minutes to decide which sandwich shop he wants to go to for lunch and can get more distracted than me at times. I do think it is important to look at value compatibility, but removing someone or snipping someone as my dad would say, without really knowing them is a bit premature. Perhaps, their caring nature or athleticism overshadows what they don't have.  

Using my old system of the checklist, I agreed to go out with *Nate on a first date.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Make Your Own Speed Dating Night

Written by Lindsay K. and Lauren K. of Love Kudos

A reader of Love Kudos recently asked me a question about the first date protocol.  Victoria*,  a professional with an active social life, didn't want to waste her time on a first date when there was no immediate connection.  She would prefer to excuse herself after 15 minutes, instead of talking for an hour or so after clearly knowing there was no interest and/or attraction to the other person. However, Victoria didn't know the best way to go about it without hurting the other persons feelings or coming off as a rude. 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Burning Love and Poking Fun at the Bachelor

In case you have not seen the new series mocking the Bachelor / Bachelorette series, here is episode #1 of Burning Love. You can see more of them on Yahoo's Comedy Network. They plan to produce two new episodes a week. Since Emily Maynard, the current bachelorette, is so boring, this mockery might have more views soon than ABC's Bachelorette series. 

Introduction to Burning Love: 
Fireman Mark Orlando arrives at the Burning Love mansion to meet his future wife. Will she be beautiful, smart, ethnic? Only time will tell. One thing is for sure, he's going to have a tough time narrowing it down to one woman. Can't he have two? (Contains adult themes)

The exaggerated characters are not too far fetched from some of the unstable contestants they put on the actual TV show. I hope that this online series catches on and that ABC starts to have more of a psychological screening process beyond simply asking potential contestants are you currently married or engaged  for eligibility purposes. Let us know what you think. Would you ever subject yourself to being a contestant on the Bachelor or Bachelorette?

Brought to you by Lauren of Love Kudos

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