Beliefnet
Make Your Relationship Work

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Now that I’m single again, the question of “what to do next” has arisen several times. Each time I return with an answer of, “I don’t know.” What does one person do when they are single? Where do you begin? Should I begin dating again? I don’t have the answer to these questions, as I’m going thru the motions myself, but I’ve received some helpful advice from friends that are quite helpful. 

Don’t Look For Another Relationship

Most likely, after leaving a relationship, you’re not ready to jump into another one. Some of my friends have advised against dating altogether, but I’m not so sure about that. After a breakup, your best getting it out of your system. A casual, more non-comitted route may be your best avenue.

Make Up For Lost Time

While in a relationship, there’s friends you may not have seen as often or things you wish you could have done, but weren’t able to. Now is a perfect time to run out and do them! Return to a hobby you may have put down, or a trip you wanted to take. Catch up with acquaintances, friends, and stay out till 4 in the morning drinking with them. It’s your time to do whatever you want, without thinking of hurting someone else. So do it!

Revisit Your Dating Profile

What has worked in the past, may not work in the future. Just because your dating profile caught your ex, it may need some tweaking to catch the next person you’re seeking after. Take a moment and tweak it, improve on your dating profile, now with your past experiences.

Flirt

It’s time to practice the art of flirting all over again. Talk to women! But don’t just talk to women, flirt with them. Have fun meeting women, and being flirtatious. You’re most likely out of practice and need a refresher course.

Re-asses Yourself

Relationships change people.  There are some things you need to do, to ensure you become a better person. There’s also a few things, you will realize, that you want in the person consider dating next. Post breakup provides an excellent opportunity to evaluate where you are, what you are seeking, and most importantly, what you want.

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Sometimes the comments to the answers to questions that are asked provide the best source of blog fodder. Say that three times fast. The other day, I was asked a question about cyber cheating. Namely, a young lady found out that her man was cybercheating on her. I made mention of the fact that she was snooping and she was wrong for that, but the ends justified the means.

In the comments, one woman stated that snooping was a necessary evil and another pointed out that:

PJ…good answer for Marie (OP), and I agree with calling the cheater out…but maybe you can clear up the “snooping’ guilt thing?

I agree that there are trust issues, but if you don’t create an opportunity to discover this stuff, then how do you actually know the truth? Yes, he should be upfront/open with what’s going on and not be afraid to let you see it all, right? But that doesn’t always happen.

Now, I understand the need for women (and men) for that matter to cover their backs. We’d all like to believe the best in people and think that the people who have dedicated themselves to you will be who they say they are. Being faithful isn’t that hard is it? (Yes it is, is the correct answer.) But does the potential for cheating and distrust justify snooping?

I’m of the belief that if you are looking for something, you’re going to find something. It may not be what you started out looking for but there’s always something that looks suspicious. And what if you make the wrong call on it and it turns out that they did nothing wrong…at all? Now you’ve become untrustworthy because you’ve proven that not only are you rifling through my stuff, but you’re also willing to jump to conclusions.

In my life? You’d have to go.

But then there’s always the other side. The side where you do find something that proves your significant other is indeed playing around on you and you are able to bust them for it. But now you’re hurt and sad. But, you know. And you can decide for yourself how you will choose to proceed. Ultimately that’s what it seems all women want, full information, and also the ability to not ever lose leverage to a man (different talk show, but I abhor everybody who moves like this).

Snooping is one of those things thats very black and white. You either look smart because you found out he was cheating, or you look like an untrustworthy individual because there’s no reason to believe he’s cheating and you’re trying to find a reason. I feel like this, if you’re a woman who thinks that snooping is indeed a necessary evil in relationships, I would not be surprised if you found it hard to stay in relationships.

In order to remain in a relationship and prosper in one, you have to place your trust in somebody else. People who are unable to trust other people rarely manage to stay in relationships because they nag and question too much. You’re not supposed to expect the other person to mess up, you are supposed to be genuinely surprised and hurt. If you’re snooping I think its because you think deep down that this person is messing around so you can’t be surprised when you find out its true. The surprise may come in who they’re fooling around with (I would think boning your mother would be particularly surprising), but snooping is the pathway to the self-fulfilling prophesy.

But maybe I’m wrong here. Maybe for most people it’s just part of the game.

What say you?

Is snooping a necessary evil in a relationship?

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Since I’m paid to give people advice on the Internet, I take some time out of my day on a regular basis to wander around and read relationship advice elsewhere in this great digital infodump of ours.  And I find some truly great, informative information.

I also find some really, really bad ideas, often from websites that look like they’re from 1996.

Crying

I’m not a guy from the “crying is blackmail” school of thought when it comes to relationships: if your feelings are hurt, your feelings are hurt.  The problem is, and we’ve all met them, there are people who open the waterworks whenever something isn’t going their way or there’s a conversation they don’t want to have.  Because that solves everything, not having a difficult conversation!

To me, I find this idea problematic because honestly, not talking about a problem doesn’t make it go away.  If it did, we’d have nothing but fluffy bunnies and surfing squirrels on the news.  I’ve known a few criers in my time, and honestly, their relationships have ultimately not ended well because, well, you can’t talk to them about anything difficult, and in any relationship, difficult questions are going to come up.

Passive Aggression

“That’s fine.  Whatever.”  Three words any adult dreads hearing from whoever they’re dating.

Being passive aggressive has two major drawbacks.  First of all, when you’re not saying what you want and how you feel to who you’re with, odds are pretty good they’ll miss the hidden “NOT!” at the end of every sentence.  “Oh, sure, you can go drink beer with your friends if that’s what you want to do.”  “Great, thanks, see you later!”  “No, wait, I meant-!”

Secondly, it’s just begging to start a fight over something stupid.  I’ve seen this far, far too often; one person says something passive aggressive, and the second person chooses to either be passive aggressive right back or blows up at the other person for being passive aggressive.  It’s a fun argument to be trapped by when your roommate and her boyfriend are having it in front of the bathroom.

Clinging

I have literally come across websites that state “never let your boyfriend out of your sight.”  How?  He’s got to pee sometime.

In all seriousness, clinging is a bad idea and not just because it will annoy whoever you’re with into dumping you.  It’s a bad idea because it’s emotionally exhausting.

I’ve never gotten men or women who have to be in constant contact with their squeeze.  Sure, checking in on Facebook once or twice a day, maybe a phone call, but constantly?  How do you have time for anything else?  Don’t you have a job?  Friends?  The interest in seeing a movie once in a while?

And, of course, it can also turn into paranoia: “why hasn’t he/she called me back?”

In short, it’s too exhausting to be worth it.  Although I suppose some people have limitless energy in this regard.

giulia-bertelli-99776-unsplashThis question showed up in my inbox the other day: Why do men cheat? This is not the first time I’ve gotten this question. It’s not even the tenth time. I’ve probably gotten the question more than twenty times in the last four years, but I never had a good answer for it until now.

Before we get to that, let’s be clear about one thing: The real question isn’t why men cheat, but why anyone cheats. Though figures vary among the numerous studies, almost all researchers confirm that the percentage of women who stray from committed relationships is growing ever closer to the percentage of men who cheat. So let’s be fair and put the question like this:

Why do people cheat?

The brainy folk over at Psychology Today claim to know the answer. Here’s an abridged version of their article.

Lack of sexual satisfaction. The most common reason cited by individuals in the study. Both women and men who have affairs are hoping to improve their sex lives. They may love and enjoy their partners in other ways, but the sex is inadequate in quality and/or quantity.

Lack of emotional satisfaction. Seeking emotional intimacy can be nearly as compelling a reason to have an affair as seeking physical intimacy. Participants who stated the need for emotional closeness in an affair felt they were lacking this connection to their primary partners.

Desire for more sexual encounters. This was a relatively infrequent reason cited by cheaters in the study, perhaps because it is not a very socially desirable wish to articulate. One man who admitted it said he felt he needed more sex as a reward for performing well at his job.

Need for emotional validation. Being appreciated is a key factor in the emotional connection that partners feel toward each other. Partners may grow apart and, as they do, fail to acknowledge the needs that both have in their relationship. Some will seek to meet those needs elsewhere.

Falling out of love with your partner. This was a relatively insignificant reason in the study, perhaps because “love” is so difficult to define. In the grand scheme of things, having sexual and emotional intimacy seems to trump love.

Falling in love with someone new. Though another infrequent response in the study, some people did claim that falling in love with another person was the cause of their infidelity.

Revenge. In a relationship that is already suffering, the desire to hurt a partner who is (or is perceived as) cheating seems to raise the stakes significantly from mere lack of intimacy.

Curiosity. People who cited this reason felt that they wanted something new, but this motivation seemed to go beyond curiosity and into a need to measure their sexual prowess.

Does this list seem complete to you? Can you think of other reasons why someone might cheat on his or her partner? Let’s hear them.