Therapy That Works...

The Truth About Long-Term Relationships - By Chris Gearing

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Go The Distance: The Truth About Long-Term Relationships

With the new Drew Barrymore and Justin Long comedy “Going The Distance” in theaters, many couples are seeing a long distance relationship in a new light.

But what’s it really like to go the distance?

Recession Reality: Thanks to the economy, long distance relationships are relatively common nowadays with partners working jobs in different cities just to make the bills. The worst part is that as the recession drags on, so does the time apart – couples have been long-distance for years now either at work or at school getting ready for new jobs.

New Technology, New Relationships: With the advent of new technologies like text messaging, Twitter, and Skype available for free at the touch of a button – carrying on long-distance relationships has become easier than ever. Even though the frequency of communication has show no effect on whether or not couples stayed together or the quality of their relationship, technology has made it easier than ever to talk to our loved ones – no matter how far they are.

Magnify The Positive: Researchers have seen higher levels of idealization of a partner if they are far away. In addition, couples try much harder to avoid conflict if they are long-distance since they don’t want to spoil their little time together with fighting.

Progress Is Slow: Real partnerships and relationships develop through conflict resolution and fully knowing the other person – the good, the bad, and the ugly. Due to the lack of face time, long distance relationships tend to progress at a much slower rate, both towards breaking up and marriage.

If you’re considering a long-distance relationship, the biggest question that you have to answer is do you really trust the other person?

Physical attraction is not the same as the building blocks of love - trust, similar values, and a common view of the world. If you’re moving into a long-term, long-distance relationship, be extremely sure about what your partner will feel, think, and do when you’re apart.

SOURCES:

“More Young Couples Try Long-Distance Relationships” by Sharon Jayson, USA Today, http://www.usatoday.com/yourlife/health/medical/mentalhealth/2010-09-09-longdistance09_ST_N.htm

Why People Cheat - By Chris Gearing

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Wondering why people cheat? Who's more likely to leave the marriage after?

Watch Dr. Sylvia's responses on CBS 11 from tonight!

http://www.cbs11tv.com/video?id=57511@ktvt.dayport.com

Check back later for new vlogs!

Eat, Pray, and Love From Home - By Chris Gearing

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Eating, Praying, and Loving From Home

How To Have A Journey Of Self-Discovery On A Budget

By Dr Sylvia Gearing

With the release of the movie, “Eat. Pray. Love.” this past weekend, millions of Americans witnessed the journey of a woman’s self-discovery through the countries of Italy, India, and Indonesia. But in this tough economy, not everyone can spend a year living, laughing, and loving abroad. Not to fret – if you’re looking for a quest akin to Elizabeth Gilbert’s amazing saga, there’s plenty you can accomplish right here at home.

Remember that the Point of the Quest is to Find Yourself, Your Beliefs and Your Soul Mate

FINDING YOURSELF THROUGH PHYSICAL PLEASURES:

Your body is the temple of your soul and is extremely important in any journey of self-discovery and self-acceptance. The body, your center for “worldly pleasures,” is stimulated by the five major physical senses – taste, touch, sight, smell, and sound.

Taste and Pleasurable Eating:

Did you know that we have over 10,000 taste buds, but taste is the weakest of the senses? In an age of fast food and 80-hour workweeks, we don’t take the time to really savor our food.

Here’s How to Use Taste:

  • Slow down, sit down and calm down when you eat!
  • Eating should be a relaxing, sumptuous and even sensuous experience.
  • Try fresh foods from farmers markets or preparing your own food from simple, international recipes. You don’t have to be a gourmet chef to cook gourmet food!

Touch and Tactile Experiences:

Touch is an undervalued sense but it’s extremely important to pleasure.

Here’s How to Use Touch:

  • Buy Clothing: Sensual lingerie, soft, flowing clothing, silky bed sheets, plush throws, and plump pillows are comforting and enticing.
  • Pet The Dog: Don’t forget to cuddle up to your cat or dog—they are great sources of nurturing.
  • Get A Massage: Nothing relaxes people more than being touched. Hire an expert and indulge yourself.

Sight and Visual Experiences:

Have you ever been to a place that just clicked with your sense of style? Maybe the Coliseum or your childhood home, visual beauty is enchanting for all of us. Surround yourself with beautiful colors, textures and arrangements.

Here’s How to Use Sight:

  • Take the Time to Notice: Nurturing visual experiences are everywhere—a sunset, a stunning candle in your bedroom, a gracious moonlit night, the drape of a towel on a chair, or even the colors of your favorite flowers.
  • Take the Time to See: All of your world can be visually savored if you just take the time to notice and acknowledge the beauty right in front of you.
  • Bring Beauty To You: Take some time and assemble your personal list of beauty—candles, soaps, china, crystal, pictures of travel destinations, favorite pieces of art, pictures of your friends and family, flowers, etc.

Sense of Smell and Aromas:

Smell is the number one sense tied to memory and it really makes an impression – whether it’s the sweet scent of your mother’s cookies in the oven or the smell of cedar burning on a cold night.

Here’s How to Use Smell:

  • Burn lightly scented candles for your meals, your relaxation time and “just because.”
  • Bring highly fragrant flowers to your office
  • Use your own special perfume or cologne as your personal scent signature.

Hearing and Sound:

Pleasurable sounds are stimulating for your mind. Brain scans show that music—in particular—stimulates certain pleasure areas of the brain and lowers anxiety.

Here’s How to Use Sound:

  • Relax or meditate to natural sounds like the ocean tide or thunderstorms.
  • Listen to music all the time, whether it’s Beethoven or Lady Gaga. Music enhances any ordinary experience – whether it’s cleaning the house, talking to your friends or working out.
  • Sing loudly. Anxiety diminishes enormously when we’re belting out our favorite tunes.

FINDING YOUR BELIEFS THROUGH SPIRITUAL PRACTICES:

Spirituality asks the most important questions about life—why we’re here, why things happen, and where God is in all of this. Spiritual practice, irrespective of which religion you use, nurtures the most of important parts of ourselves—our minds, our hearts and our souls.

Here’s How to Enhance Your Spiritual Self:

Stillness and Thought:

An essential first step is mastery of some sort of meditation or self-reflection – whether it be through prayer, meditation techniques, long thoughtful walks, centering yoga, deep breathing exercises, or even just quiet time! Shut off your cell phone, exit your e-mail, and close your laptop for even an hour a day and ground yourself with one of these practices.

Attend to the Now:

Be present in every single moment of your life and live in the now – I call this “mindfulness.” This may sound a little “Zen” of me, but it really works. Give your anxiety a break, and suspend your thoughts while you focus on what is right in front of you. Combine the mindfulness mindset with the above steps for stillness and meditation for a real “one-two” punch of spirituality.

The Sound of Silence:

Silence leads to self-discovery and to understanding someone else. Silence lets you think effectively. Silence allows the world to pour into you while you contemplate, rather than react, to events. It is the elixir of creativity and perspective.

Gratitude and Reverence:

Experience your life with a true sense of gratitude and reverence for the things around you – whether it’s for your kids, your partner, your job or for the many blessings in your life. Viewing life through the lens of gratitude leads to higher levels of optimism, hope, and plain old happiness.

Acts of Altruism:

Try doing something fun and then try doing something altruistic. Studies show that you will remember your acts of altruism longer and more fondly than the “fun times.” In fact, selfless giving to others can even make you happier over the long haul.

FINDING YOUR SOUL MATE:

Soul mates come in different packages—a sister, a best friend, or a lover. Now, with your physical and spiritual sides in balance, you’re ready to share your world with someone else in an effective, intelligent way. By balancing your physical and the spiritual selves, you’re more discerning, less needy with others and more perceptive about what you need from anyone that walks in and out of your life.

Your combination of the worldly and the spiritual perspectives prepares you to define a relationship on both shared and individual terms. You have to nurture your physical self and embrace your spiritual self to fully experience and love another person.

Here’s How to Find Your Soul Mate:

Maintain Boundaries!:

Elizabeth Gilbert observed (rather wryly) that as she visited the ninth generation medicine man in Bali, she didn’t want to ask him about the meaning of life or what happens after we die. Instead, all she could think to ask about were her “boy troubles.” A common misstep is to let our relationships carry us away, and we end up leaving ourselves behind! Define yourself as an individual first—both physically and spiritually before you step into a relationship!

Shared Terms:

Women are so programmed all our lives to orbit around the needs of others—“accept me and I will do anything for you!” That kind of thinking was great two hundred years ago, but our new world requires self-sufficiency AND interdependence. We have to love him and leave him everyday to become ourselves in our jobs, our roles and our minds. But at the end of the day, we come home to him relaxed, refueled, and ready for intimacy.

The Golden Rule:

The great Greek philosophers taught that there was one golden rule for life – balance, in all things. Balance in our work, in our consumption, and in our relationships. Maintain the balance between worldly pleasure, divine transcendence, and experiencing and loving those around you.

Your feet on the ground, your heart fully opened and your soul finely tuned will lead to wise choices, magical moments, and mastery of the art of exuberant living.

SOURCES

Dr. Martin Seligman on TED.com

“Practicing Gratitude Can Increase Happiness by 25%” on PsyBlog (http://www.spring.org.uk/2007/09/practicing-gratitude-can-increase.php)

How To Catch A Liar, Part 3 - By Chris Gearing

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

How to Know if You’re Partner is Lying To You

Lying in America is sadly more common than ever with current studies estimating that we lie in about one fourth of our interactions with others. Most of these lies are committed to make our lives easier or to set boundaries with others. But the majority of Americans believe that you shouldn’t lie to your partner. Since trust is the foundation of love, lying can undermine even the best of love affairs. So why do all of us want to believe our partners so much?

Skin In The Game:

When you’re in a relationship, you want to believe your partner. You have “skin in the game” and have invested in this person. When he begins to lie, it's hard to believe that that he thinks so little of you. You don't want to believe that he would make up a lie, sell the lie to you and then watch while you believe it.

Unfortunately, most of us end up filling in the blanks of information a liar omits in an effort to see him in a positive light. If he is lying and we work to believe him, he is basically getting away with it.

Gender Differences in Lying:

One study found that men and women lie at the same rates but about different things. Women are more likely to lie to make you feel good while men rearrange the truth to make themselves look better.

Psychos And Sociopaths:

Remember that some people lie flawlessly and are difficult to catch due to their skill. Think Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct. They are able to control their emotions, their thoughts, and their bodies simultaneously. The flip side of that coin is that these people are generally sociopaths or psychopaths—definitely not dating material!

Now, if your partner is lying to you – your decision about whether or not to stay ultimately comes down to how invested you are in the relationship.

Here are a few tips depending on how long you’ve been in the relationship:

Early Liars Never Change:

Lying early in the relationship is a big sign of dishonesty. If they’re already lying to you in the beginning, what makes you think they won’t lie to you later on? Pay attention and get out quickly if you hear 2-3 lies in the first few weeks of a relationship. Please don’t pretend that everything is just fine. You’ll save yourself a lot of heartache later on.

Road To Recovery:

For long term relationships, you need to confront the problem immediately, set a limit, and establish a zero tolerance policy.

If there is a problem in the relationship, don’t linger—get help and resolve the issues. Most couples wait an average of six years before they seek help - and it's usually too late.

Lying Can Snowball:

Lying is a serious issue and tends to snowball. Rearranging the truth can get to be a bad habit for even the best of us. However, you can go from lying by omission to outright deceit. What seemed innocent in the beginning becomes a habit of pathological lying. Don’t let lying take over -- you won’t know what’s real and what’s a lie.

Source:

Paul Ekman’s excellent work on lying including Unmasking the Face and Emotions Revealed

The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker

ABC News, Study: We All Tell Lies Over the Phone, February 25, 2004

How To Catch A Liar, Part 3 - By Chris Gearing

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

How to Know if You’re Partner is Lying To You

Lying in America is sadly more common than ever with current studies estimating that we lie in about one fourth of our interactions with others. Most of these lies are committed to make our lives easier or to set boundaries with others. But the majority of Americans believe that you shouldn’t lie to your partner. Since trust is the foundation of love, lying can undermine even the best of love affairs. So why do all of us want to believe our partners so much?

Skin In The Game:

When you’re in a relationship, you want to believe your partner. You have “skin in the game” and have invested in this person. When he begins to lie, it's hard to believe that that he thinks so little of you. You don't want to believe that he would make up a lie, sell the lie to you and then watch while you believe it.

Unfortunately, most of us end up filling in the blanks of information a liar omits in an effort to see him in a positive light. If he is lying and we work to believe him, he is basically getting away with it.

Gender Differences in Lying:

One study found that men and women lie at the same rates but about different things. Women are more likely to lie to make you feel good while men rearrange the truth to make themselves look better.

Psychos And Sociopaths:

Remember that some people lie flawlessly and are difficult to catch due to their skill. Think Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct. They are able to control their emotions, their thoughts, and their bodies simultaneously. The flip side of that coin is that these people are generally sociopaths or psychopaths—definitely not dating material!

Now, if your partner is lying to you – your decision about whether or not to stay ultimately comes down to how invested you are in the relationship.

Here are a few tips depending on how long you’ve been in the relationship:

Early Liars Never Change:

Lying early in the relationship is a big sign of dishonesty. If they’re already lying to you in the beginning, what makes you think they won’t lie to you later on? Pay attention and get out quickly if you hear 2-3 lies in the first few weeks of a relationship. Please don’t pretend that everything is just fine. You’ll save yourself a lot of heartache later on.

Road To Recovery:

For long term relationships, you need to confront the problem immediately, set a limit, and establish a zero tolerance policy.

If there is a problem in the relationship, don’t linger—get help and resolve the issues. Most couples wait an average of six years before they seek help - and it's usually too late.

Lying Can Snowball:

Lying is a serious issue and tends to snowball. Rearranging the truth can get to be a bad habit for even the best of us. However, you can go from lying by omission to outright deceit. What seemed innocent in the beginning becomes a habit of pathological lying. Don’t let lying take over -- you won’t know what’s real and what’s a lie.

Source:

Paul Ekman’s excellent work on lying including Unmasking the Face and Emotions Revealed

The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker

ABC News, Study: We All Tell Lies Over the Phone, February 25, 2004

How To Turn Her On, Part 3 - By Chris Gearing

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

By Dr. Sylvia Gearing

We've covered the basics of how to be more physically attractive to a woman. However, personality is the essential spark for female attraction -- bar none. It boils down to several essential characteristics:

Good Sense of Humor:

Women who describe their guys as more witty report higher rates of satisfaction. A sense of humor indicates empathy and understanding. But it also indicates intelligence and social skills. Some researchers argue that a good sense of humor is literally the most effective tactic for attracting women. Literally, guys - laughter will make women like you.

Confidence Versus Cockiness:

A guy who knows what he is doing, is commanding with others, is poised and decisive are incredible attributes for attraction. Self-confidence is also a sign that he can protect and provide which are characteristics that are attractive to many women. But be careful -- self-confidence is different from cockiness, which indicates false pride and is very unattractive to women.

Character and Emotional Intelligence:

The presence of integrity and honesty are unbeatable combinations for men who are interested in attracting a long-term mate. While they may not help a man in the initial attraction dance, these characteristics are essential for long-term relationships. Women love to be understood and having an emotionally self-aware guy is a huge allure.

Source: “Why Women Have Sex,” Carol Meson and David Buss

Dr. Sylvia Gearing On CW33 - By Chris Gearing

Monday, August 02, 2010

Here's the CW 33 story Dr. Sylvia Gearing was featured on over the weekend!

Watch or read it here:

http://www.the33tv.com/news/kdaf-chelsea-clinton-lie-lying-lover-marriage-gearing-story,0,5381269.story

How To Turn Her On, Part 2 - By Chris Gearing

Monday, August 02, 2010

By Dr. Sylvia Gearing

Guys – are you ready to turn up the heat?

Then, buckle up and get ready to take notes. Here are a few physical ways to turn her on:

Smell of Attraction:

The smell of a man is vitally important to women when it comes to basic sexual attraction. Indeed, smell is the number one sense tied to memory – the better the smell, the more fondly she’ll think of you. In addition, a woman’s sense of smell reaches its peak during ovulation when she's more sexually responsive -- just keep that in mind.

It’s All in the Kiss:

Men who are good kissers have a distinct advantage with women. Good kissing awakens a woman’s erotic interest and many women think great kissing is a clue to how you are in bed.

Familiar Face:

Repeated contact with someone can increase the odds of attraction exponentially. Literally, showing up and making an appearance can swing attraction in your favor. Women begin to trust and like guys they see over time.

Eye Gazing:

Mutual and intense eye gazing is key for women in becoming attracted to a man. Men who sweep their eyes (respectfully) over women can be arousing. Studies have found that continuous “eye lock” can lead to attraction -- even with total strangers!

The Exotic Becomes Erotic:

Although we like the guy next door who is available as a potential long-term choice, our pulses are “revved up” when we encounter the mysterious, unavailable and handsome guy. That guy who swaggers, has little to say and is unavailable will catch our attention. Women simply love a mysterious man.

Height Advantage:

Many women love tall men and studies reveal that women consider tall men to be more attractive, more masculine and commanding. However, shorter men can achieve great presence by dressing correctly and by projecting a sense of self-confidence.

Get To The Gym!:

Women are drawn to a specific male body type. They love broad shoulders, slender hips and well-developed, toned muscles. Men with a high shoulder to hip ratio are especially valued since they are regarded as more athletic and better in the bedroom.

Lower Voice, Higher Attraction:

A resonant male voice with a deeper tone and pitch is incredibly attractive to women. At some level, women associate a deep baritone with good health, good genes, and the ability to protect her. Think John Wayne versus Jay Leno.

Something in the Way He Moves:

Male movement indicates age, health, and energy levels. Guys - to improve your attractiveness, you need to watch those dance moves, how you walk, how you sit down, and how you gesture. Larger, more sweeping movements are seen as dominant and attractive. But don’t take it too far – you don’t want to be seen as the weird guy waving his hands around.

Source: “Why Women Have Sex,” Carol Meson and David Buss

How To Turn Her On, Part 1 - By Chris Gearing

Sunday, August 01, 2010

What exactly attracts a woman to a man?

This mystery has been an elusive question for millions of men for thousands of years. Here are a few things to keep in mind about female attraction:

Complex Attraction:

A woman’s attraction to a man is much more complex than we ever thought possible. Universally, the number one reason men are attracted to women is beauty. In contrast, women seem to consider many more factors in whether or not they like a guy. Such factors explain why there are some couples that, on the surface, seem highly dissimilar -- think beauty and the geek.

It’s All In Her Head:

Since the brain is the primary generator of female sexual attraction, psychological factors are the “ballgame" in female attraction. A woman not only has to be in the “mood” physically, she must also “think” herself into the “mood.” Guys, if you’re hoping for something to happen – try to make her day a little better. Take the kids for a little while, do a load of laundry, or cook her a sumptuous dinner. You may find that your luck has changed.

Body Image:

The more a woman judges herself to be attractive, the more likely she's ready to head to the bedroom. Again, such self-appraisal does not have to be objective—she has to like the way she looks.

Unfortunately, 55% of American women express dissatisfaction with their bodies. Guys, try complimenting her or buying her something to make her feel sexy, but most of all do NOT criticize her weight, body, or age.

A Good Man is Hard to Find:

Ten different women will have ten different opinions about a man’s attractiveness. This phenomenon explains why a beautiful woman is often attracted to the less attractive, but charismatic man.

So, what can a guy or woman do to increase attraction? While you can never create that sexual chemistry on your own, you need to reconsider how you are thinking. Remember that for women, attraction is highly psychological -- it's all in her head.

Research shows that a lot of women are attracted to the “bad boys” who are dashing, handsome and potentially unfaithful. Don’t fret though, guys -- these same women outgrow bad boys over time due to bad experiences like getting dumped, getting cheated on, or putting up with a male diva.

Follow The Love Map:

We all have a unique template of what we find attractive called our "love map." This “map” accounts for some of the choices we make that may seem illogical such as why we like guys with brown hair versus blonde. However, we may choose against “type” when we meet someone we enjoy and who seems to understand us.

Weighted Values:

Ladies, write a list of attributes that you want your man to have and assign them values (one to ten etc.). Rate what is most important to least important. For example, if you want a guy who makes a lot of money or is close to his family -- rank those a 10. Think long and hard about what you want in a partner long term. For example, while he may not have the self-confidence and swagger of some more dashing men, he may have a great sense of humor that will keep you laughing through the night for the next fifty years.

Source: “Why Women Have Sex,” Carol Meson and David Buss

Predictive Factors of Divorce - By Chris Gearing

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Dr. Sylvia Gearing

The stunning announcement that the Gores were ending their forty year old marriage raises new questions about the longevity of long term marriages.

We do know that the Gores, as with many couples of that generation, had several risks factors for divorce:

Higher Divorce Rate for Older Marriages: According to research, marriages which originated in the 1960s and 1970s have higher divorce rates. Couples who married in the 1970s have a 47% divorce rate after thirty years.

Young Age at Marriage: The age when you marry is highly significant. Couples who married in their late teens or early twenties in the 70s are especially at risk.

Decades to Go: The Gores are still relatively young, affluent and well connected. In their early sixties, there are many years to come and many boomers long for an emotional connection they may not have realized in their earlier marriage.

While older couples may be splitting more, overall the marital stability rates seem to be improving with each decade and with female education. Among female college graduates, the ten year divorce rate for those married in the 1990s is just 16%. The divorce rate for the same demographic from the 1970s is 23%.

In addition, the increased education, economic self sufficiency and empowerment of today’s young twentysomething females lead to delayed marriage.

The average age for first marriages is 26 for females and 28 for men. With more education, the ages bump up anywhere from two to four years.

Older people just seem to make better marital decisions. They know themselves better, have a clearer understanding of the spousal attributes they are seeking and have the ability to assess a relationship without financial factors being so central. They can really engineer a wonderful beginning to the marriage since they are more mature in their careers and behavior. The marriage enjoys a profound kick start with older twentysomethings and thirtysomethings who invest enormous time cultivating and deepening the marital regard in the early years. Such investments create a sturdy and resilient marriage that will last a lifetime for many of them.

Sources:

Stephanie Coontz, Marriage, A History

Tara Parker Pope, For Better, The Science of a Good Marriage.


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