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Be Who You Want

Sunday, July 6, 2008

11 Things Women Don't Know About Men - Plus one thing they probably do know, but won't admit By Evan Marc Katz

1. Getting angry at us for not reading your mind is like getting angry at yourself for not being able to fly. It's not just futile, it's physically impossible.

2. Yes, we do think Jessica Alba is hot. Sometimes we're even dumb enough to admit it.

3. Don't ask us to understand your shoe fetish. Asking us to respect it is even sort of pushing it.

4. You do look good without makeup, just not as good as you look with it.

5. Ever notice how we don't fight with our male friends? That's why we get so frustrated when we fight with you.

6. You care what you're wearing infinitely more than we do. In fact, if you're naked when you open the front door, you won't hear an argument from us.

7. You don't like to get hit on in public, you don't want to date online and you don't want to be set up on blind dates. Tell us if sending messenger pigeons is an appropriate way of courting. Because if it is, we're all over it.

8. There should a statute of limitations on stupid things that we said that can come back to haunt us. I propose 24 hours.

9. Cooking dinner for a man is like buying flowers for a woman, except it takes a lot more time, effort and thought for you to do it. Thanks. We appreciate it.

10. We actually like your girly pet-names for us, but please, not in front of the guys!

11. Just because we like looking at the women in Maxim doesn't mean we want to actually converse with the women in Maxim. Not for long, anyway.

12. Your nice guy friends are the most reliable source for telling you if your new boyfriend's a jerk. And he probably is. (By the way, you might want to consider marrying that nice guy who's giving you advice about the jerk.)

10 Secrets About Men By Evan Marc Katz

Esquire magazine has female celebrities telling us "10 Things Men Don't Know About Women." Here's my take on what they and their sisters don't know about men.

1. You don't want to be judged for your looks; we don't want to be judged for our wallets. Unless we're ugly and have lots of money. Then it's OK.

2. You're not the only person who likes to be called "sexy."

3. Saying "I love you" is a major step in a man's life. That's why we wait for you to take that step first.

4. We are not being cheap when we make $35,000 a year and can't afford to pay every single date. We are merely being practical.

5. A guy who spends too much time in the gym is making up for something else that's lacking. Unfortunately, you can't figure out what it is until it's too late.

6. Don't get mad at us because we don't remember what you were wearing on our first date, or the angle of the light during our first kiss. We were probably drunk.

7. You're good in bed if you make us feel like stallions.

8. Jealousy isn't a sign that you love us more, it's a sign that you trust us less.

9. Hanging up on us is a surefire way to make sure we go to bed mad.

10. We're sorry. Whatever it is, we're sorry.

Are "Should" and "Ought" Blocking Your Path to Love? - How to overcome three intentional roadblocks to love By Kathryn Lord

Have you heard yourself saying things like "I should be thinking about my Sweetheart 24/7 or I must not be in love" or "I should know if he (or she) is the right one for me"? Or how about "We should have... (fill in the blank: the same sense of humor, a similar background, or compatible taste in furniture)"?

I find that lots of singles have rules that guide their love life. Some rules make good sense (like only dating people who are really single and available, economically stable, and live within the law). But many rules are unrealistic, harsh, or based on romantic myths. Then these singles end up comparing their dates with their guidelines, sensible or not, and making life decisions that have enormous consequences.

I am a romance coach, but I have also been a psychotherapist for over 30 years. I learned long ago to listen carefully to the language my clients use when they talk about themselves and their lives. In particular, I'd watch for the words "should" and "ought."What's wrong with 'should' and 'ought'

While exceedingly and commonly used, "should" and "ought" could easily be eliminated from our vocabulary. At the very least, we would all feel a lot better. Should and ought are guilt-producing words: "I should spend more time with my mother," "I really ought to lose some weight." The sayer doesn't really intend to do what he is shoulding or oughting. If so, he'd say, "I will spend more time with Mom," or "I'm going to start dieting today."

Shoulding and oughting are like giving yourself a lash on the back: You are punishing yourself with your "I should" or "I ought" statements. Your guilt is eased with your punishment, making it possible to go on with your life, while never following through with what you said you should or ought to do.

In the case of love, shoulds and oughts give us a way out when we need it, just like being picky. Looking for love is loaded with anxiety: "What if it doesn't work?" "What if I find out I don't really love her?" "What if he finds out about (you fill in the blank)?" When your anxiety screams for relief, pulling out a good old should or ought can provide your escape hatch.Top 'shoulds' and 'oughts':

Road blocks to love - Let's look at some common shoulds and oughts more closely, so that we can see the errors in thinking:

1. "I should be thinking about my Sweetheart 24/7 or I must not be in love." Odd as it may sound, some people never feel the intoxicating sensations we think of as "being in love." The ability to fall in love is on a continuum: Some people fall in and out of love very easily, some people never do. Most of us are somewhere in between. Those people who never "fall in love" are still quite capable of loving and forming relationships. If you find yourself waiting for the "in love" sensation which never comes, the "I should be thinking about my Sweetheart 24/7 or I must not be in love" could keep you permanently single.

2. "I should know if he (or she) is the right one for me." Really? How? Of course there are better or worse choices, but assuming that your date meets your criteria of "good person" and the two of you enjoy each other, seem compatible, and don't irritate the heck out of each other, what more do you need? This "should" may be connected to your "falling in love" ability: If you are able to "fall in love," that biochemical process (it's like being drunk or high) helps surge you forward into a permanent relationship and over any questions or doubts.

3. "We should share the same ... (fill in the blank)." Why? One of the wonderful parts about finding a life partner is all the things that he or she knows and you don't, or is and you are not. Think of what you can learn from the differences. Or what you won't have to learn because your partner already knows. Yes, some similarity is good, but why would you want someone just like you? You may be pretty terrific, but how boring would it be to be married to your carbon copy! So pay attention to your inner thoughts about love and your dates. If "should" or "ought" crop up in your thinking, take note and challenge yourself. You may have set up a condition that is road-blocking your search for love.

P.S. If worrying about a new partner discovering some secret of yours is keeping you from pursuing love, find out how to deal with your worst in my article "Do You Have a Secret? How to Tell Your Sweetheart Your Worst." I'll send it when you subscribe to my free email newsletter at Find-A-Sweetheart.com.

5 Ways to Get Into a Man's Head - To get into his heart, start by getting into his head By Caroline Presno, Ed.D., P.C.C.

How many times have you wondered, "What is this guy thinking!" If you want to get into a man's heart, you have to start by getting into his head. The problem is many men have a hard time being open about their thoughts and feelings. Armed with the following five techniques, a man will feel more comfortable opening up to you, so you can develop better communication with him and, ultimately, enjoy a better relationship.

1. Let him know you care about what he is saying. A man won't open up to you unless he knows you care. One of the best ways to convey this to him is through your body language. To show your interest, unfold your arms, lean into him and allow your eyes to meet his in a natural way. Let him know that you get what he is saying with a nod of the head or a raise of your brow. Also, try "mirroring," which means that you absorb his body movement and convey it back to him. So if he looks stressed telling a story, you look stressed as well. It's like saying, "I feel what you are feeling. I'm putting myself in your shoes."

2. Be nonjudgmental. No man is going to let you into his real thoughts if he senses he is going to be criticized or put down. Leave out comments like "How could you do something like that?" or "That's not something I would do." Give him the freedom to express himself openly and honestly without judgment and you'll be surprised at all that comes out. You don't have to condone or agree with everything he says. You're simply creating an environment where he has the freedom to say it.

3. Don't use the word "why." When psychotherapists are in training, they are often taught to erase the word "why" from their vocabulary, because "why" questions frequently sound negative and critical. When you ask a man, "Why did you do it that way?" it can come across as "Are you stupid, why on earth would you choose to do it that way?" Now he's on the defensive before you even finish the sentence. Practice using substitutes such as "Tell me more about it" instead of "Why did you do it?"

4. Never say, "We need to talk." Nothing makes a man want to talk less than hearing "We need to talk." It conveys the message that he's done something wrong, he's in trouble for it, and you are going to let him have it. He will shut down before the conversation starts. The best way to bring up an important topic is to ease into it. Choose a time when you are both doing a small task together such as light cleaning or cooking, which takes the harsh focus away from "the talk" and will make him more comfortable. Remember not to approach him while he is involved in something important to him like Monday night football. (Heare are some other ideas about dealing with a football fan.)

5. Learn how to really listen. Chances are you always listen to him but you don't always hear him. How many times have you had something else on your mind as he is talking to you? Or maybe you are thinking about what you're going to say next instead of paying full attention. It's important to stay in the "hear" and now with him, rather than letting your own thoughts or the outside world intrude. A man can sense when you really want to hear what he has to say -- true listening is the best way to get him talking true to you.

Surviving the Breakup Season: How to Mend Your Broken Heart By Caroline Presno, Ed.D., P.C.C.

In late December, we are not only in the midst of the holiday season; we are in the middle of the "breakup season." According to research, more breakups occur at this time than at any other time of year.

Maybe it's the stress that the holidays can put on us, or maybe it's because your boyfriend gave you fruitcake instead of the silver necklace you wanted for Christmas. Whatever the reason, you're hurting and you want it to stop. Here's how to mend your broken heart.

Don't Get Down on Yourself - After a breakup, people tend to plummet into a pit of low self-esteem and guilt. You are looking for reasons why the relationship ended, and you start obsessing and blaming yourself. "Maybe I was too hard on her for canceling dinner with my parents" or "Maybe I shouldn't have yelled at him when he came home late without calling." This kind of negative thinking spirals out of control quickly. You may start feeling you're not attractive enough or funny enough or just plain good enough to be with that person, which isn't true. Sit down. Take a breath. And STOP this negative thinking right now! This isn't to say that you shouldn't reflect on your role in the relationship. Just be kinder to yourself!

Forget About Being Friends - Anything that has the word "friend" in it, forget about. "Friends with benefits," "Just friends" -- just say "No." It's hard to move on when you are still keeping one foot in the past. It's time to rely on your other friends for support and get out there and make new friends. You won't be as quick to accept an invite to a party or call an old high school friend if you are busy with your ex.

Stop Thinking They're "All That" - When a relationship is over, it's easier to think of the good times as opposed to the bad times. The annoying habits and bad character traits seem to recede into the background. All you can think about is the great chemistry and the fun Saturday nights you had going out to your fave Italian restaurant together. What you're doing is idealizing the relationship now that it's gone. You're turning it into some blockbuster movie romance when at best it was a B movie with mixed reviews. Start looking at it with more objectivity. Remind yourself of the fights you had and the frustration you felt.

Start Dating Again - Post breakup, some people might advise you to work on yourself and forget about the dating scene for a while. And if that's what you feel like doing, no problem. However, this isn't good for everyone and there is nothing wrong with getting back out there sooner rather than later. Emailing a person you met online or going on a dinner date may be just the thing you need to lift your spirits. Of course, this doesn't mean you should dive into anything right away either. Start by getting your feet wet.

Never Lose Hope - When you are hurting after a breakup, it's easy to tell yourself, "I'll never meet anyone this fabulous again" or "I'll never find anyone." But the reality is, you WILL meet someone and, eventually, you will wind up in a better relationship. If this one was healthy and meant to be, you wouldn't be broken up. If you maintain hope and don't give into the hurt, you can pursue and find what you are looking for.

Heartbreaker 101: How to Heal and Move On After Breaking Someone's Heart By Lisa Steadman, The Relationship Journalist

Given the choice, most people say they would much rather break up with someone than get broken up with. But if you've recently initiated a breakup, you know how tough it can be.

Just because you summoned the courage to end your dead-end relationship doesn't mean you're not feeling a little heartache yourself (or experiencing some guilt for causing your ex heartache). But fear not, my brave friend. You are not alone. Following are some do's and don'ts that should make moving on that much easier.

Don't: Call, email, text or visit your ex in a moment of weakness -Even though you brought on the breakup, there may still be times when you miss your ex. A song might come on the radio that reminds you of them. Something funny will happen and you'll want to share it. Or maybe you're just having a bad day and want to reach out and reconnect.

STOP RIGHT THERE. Missing your ex is one thing. Contacting your ex is a no-no. In fact, reconnecting with your ex is the absolute worst thing you can do right now. So before you have that moment of weakness, remove your ex's number from your cell phone, delete their email address, and take them off your social networking contacts. (Right now.)

Do: Ask friends for help - Because you initiated the breakup, your friends may not know that you're hurting. But if you are, it's important to ask for help, a.k.a. recruit your Boo-Hoo Crew. You'll want to choose a least three friends who know you well enough to know when you need comfort versus when you need a kick in the pants. Your Boo-Hoo Crew should always know (and be able to remind you) why your ex wasn't good for you then, and why they're definitely not worth pining over now.

Don't: Second-guess your decision - After a breakup, it's all too easy to second-guess yourself and your choices. Did I do the right thing? Should I have given him/her another chance? Maybe there was more I could do to make it work... The truth is, you can make yourself crazy second-guessing your decision. But what's done is done. You had your reasons, made your decision, and now it's time to accept and move on.

Do: See your breakup for what it really is - You may not know it right now, but in ending your relationship with the wrong person, you're paving the way to meet the right one. Chances are good that you won't meet Mr. or Ms. Right overnight, but that doesn't mean the breakup was a bad decision. By walking away from that wrong relationship, you're headed towards a life that's more honest and authentic for you. By walking away from that wrong relationship, you're headed towards a life that's more honest and authentic for you. What better way to eventually attract your perfect partner than by living and loving your own life?

Don't: Badmouth your ex - In the aftermath of a breakup it's all too easy to badmouth your ex, spilling their dirty little secrets to anyone who will listen. Don't do it. Badmouthing your ex may feel good momentarily, but the fallout from those harmless snarky comments can be detrimental to your healing process, not to mention your dating future. Breakup karma is a bitch you don't want coming after you, so zip the lip and move on with dignity.

Do: Become a breakup rock star - And speaking of moving on, did you know that you can not only survive your breakup but actually thrive? By applying the lessons you learned from your last relationship, and refining what you want out of life and eventually from your perfect partner, you have the chance to reclaim yourself and become the ultimate breakup rock star. So go ahead, rock on!

Dropping Pounds Along With an Ex by By Julia Allison, Dating Columnist, Time Out New York

The truth is, I haven't been to the gym in over six months; my membership got cancelled in August, along with The (Ex) Boyfriend. And yet the number on the scale today is finally -- FINALLY -- the same as it was when I first moved to New York a little over two years ago. What happened?

Only the most effective weight loss strategy in the history of the world: the Breakup Diet.

My Breakup Diet consisted mainly of negatives: I was no longer eating out six nights a week, no longer having appetizers, entrees and desserts, no longer downing two glasses of wine with dinner, then chasing that with a cappuccino, no longer lingering over long brunches involving bagels, lox and all of the cream cheese in the entire state of Wisconsin.

Thanks to all this (and, okay, a small stint in the hospital conveniently during Thanksgiving), I've managed to shed the 15 pounds I gained with the Ex gastronomist.

Letting yourself go - Apparently, I'm not the only one whose weight fluctuates when getting in or getting out of a relationship. Katherine, 22, an editorial assistant, says that her last romance "started with me being fit and in shape (and quite confident) and ended with me being terribly unhappy because my body looked completely different." She and her then-boyfriend made a habit of scarfing down Chinese food, pizza and candy. "We had reached a comfort zone," she explains, and "there was no one to impress."

After what she describes as a "bitter" breakup, they turned things around. "We were both at the gym EVERY DAY trying to get back in shape because we had let ourselves go. Being back on the market and making SURE the other one was jealous was complete motivation."

"I see it a lot," says Stacy Berman, a certified fitness trainer and founder of Stacy's Boot Camp in New York. "

Individuals get in good shape to meet someone, then they meet them and gain all the weight back.

Individuals get in good shape to meet someone, then they meet them and gain all the weight back."

Lose weight while you're still together - Although many couples train with her to get ready for their weddings, Stacy contends that it would make more sense if they started working out earlier in their relationships. In other words, get thee to a gym when your jeans are merely snug, not when you can't wiggle them over your hips.

Her suggestions for busy couples? "You have to make time for exercise, and do it together, so it's more of a bonding experience." Physical activities like boot camp, dance lessons, yoga or even a stroll around the park are far more engaging than side-by-side lifting or 20 minutes of mind-numbing ellipticals.

And instead of bonding over an expensive, caloric, high-fat restaurant meal, try grocery shopping at Whole Foods together. Okay, so it won't be that much cheaper, but at least you'll control what goes into your meal.

Take away the take-out menus - If you're dating someone who thinks of kitchens as storage for his take-out menus and shot glass collection, remember that just because he doesn't gain weight from downing several slices of cheese pizza, doesn't mean you won't. Many women unintentionally match the caloric intake of their partners, and with even just a 500 calorie differential, that's at least a pound a week.

The solution? Um... tell your partner to quit eating crap food in front of you! Or wait until he's gone and throw all the food into a black garbage bag, along with his cell phone, which should make ordering take-out more challenging. If none of this works, don't despair. At some point you'll either have to lose weight for the Wedding, or you'll split and go on the amazing Breakup Diet.

In the meantime, just remember, "relationships are all about giving," says Ryan, 29, an artist. "And what kind of partner would you be without giving your mate the proper love handles for spooning?" You can imagine the ladies are all lining up for that.