Secrets About Gender Differences – Revealed!

By Dr. Carol Morgan

“If only he would pick up on my hints so I don’t have to spell it out!”

“If only he would talk to me about his feelings!”

“If only she would let me give her advice and not just want me to listen to her problems!”

Do these thoughts ever go through your mind? I’m sure they have. We have all had frustrations with the opposite sex at one point or another. It can lead to conflict, divorce, and pain if we don’t try to understand each other more. But no one ever teaches us about gender differences, unless you happen to come across a class like mine when you are in college.

I have been teaching gender communication for about 15 years, and it’s my favorite class. Why? Because my students become mesmerized. They have so many “Ah Ha!” moments. I love that!

Here are eight research-proven facts about gender that could be helpful to you:

1. People start “gender-izing” before a baby is even born.

I know people who decorate their baby boy’s room with images of footballs, basketballs and anything else sports-related. And they decorate girls’ rooms with pink colors, flowers, and frilly things. And don’t forget the flower headbands on the girl babies! The point here is that we are all so obsessed with labeling our children that we automatically set forth these unspoken expectations even before they are born.

2. Gender ideals are culturally bound (and time-bound).

American women shave their legs and arm pits. But in some other areas of the world, this isn’t so. And back several hundred years ago, the gender ideal for a woman was to be overweight and have very white skin (because it meant they were rich enough to eat well and not work in the fields). Now it’s the opposite. So gender ideals are very relative — even within families. Some families expect traditional gender roles from their children, while others welcome challenging those boundaries.

3. We tend to model our same-sex parent’s behavior.

The Social Learning Theory suggests that we model the behavior that we see on a regular basis. Therefore, if your mom wore make-up, did all the household chores, and was a stay-at-home mom, then you are more likely to follow in her footsteps. However, if your dad stayed at home with the kids while your mom was CEO of a company, you are more likely to follow their behavior. This theory makes gender behavior a little more individualistic and relative to families.

4. Males and females learn differently and are not treated the same in the classroom.

I’m sure you’ve heard that boys tend to be better at math, science and spatial subjects. And girls are better at reading and language. But did you know that teachers also treat them differently? From pre-school to graduate school, teachers tend to focus more time and attention on male students. The reasons for this vary, but it is true.

5. Men and women tend to have different leadership styles.

Traditionally, men have dominated the public sphere (business world and everything outside the home), whereas women have dominated the private sphere. Because of that, there are different skills required to be successful in these different arenas. One of those differing skills is their leadership styles. While there is a lot of research on the topic, men tend to be more autocratic leaders — they “tell people what to do.” On the contrary, women tend to be more democratic leaders — they ask input from their subordinates and give them more of a voice. Of course, not every male or female leader falls into these categories, but those are the tendencies.

6. Many women use “powerless” language.

Females tend to use language that undercuts their power and authority, and it is also excessively polite. They often say things like, “This might be a stupid idea, but …” or “I’m so sorry, am I bothering you? I can come back later…” or “You’ll be home soon, won’t you?” These types of ways of speaking gives up the power to the other person to say, “Yes, that’s a stupid idea” or “Yes, you’re bothering me — go away” or “No, I won’t be home soon.” Women are socialized to speak like this because they are supposed to be nice and polite to other people, but it undermines their self-confidence as well.

7. Women listen to connect with another person, and men listen to solve a problem.

When listening to a woman, men often think, “Oh my gosh, can she just GET TO THE POINT?” And women are thinking, “Why can’t he just listen to me without giving me advice and trying to fix my problem?” This is normal. Women view listening as something that bonds people. Men, however, are very goal-oriented. They don’t really see the point of just listening to someone vent if they can’t help them. Neither style is bad, they are just different!

8. The media simultaneously creates and perpetuates gender stereotypes.

As I discussed in point number two, gender ideals change and are culture-specific. And a huge area where we get messages about how we should be as a male or female is from the media. For example, women are socialized to want to have extravagant weddings. And men are socialized to want their independence. It’s not true for ALL men and ALL women, but generally speaking, it’s true.

This is just the tip of the iceberg. I teach an entire semester-long class about the topic of gender differences, so there is no way that I could fit it all into one little article. But hopefully I gave you some information that will help you be more tolerant and forgiving of the opposite sex!

Is He – Or Isn’t He – ‘The One’: 11 Signs Of A Bad Relationship

By Dr. LeslieBeth Wish

It’s difficult enough to meet someone who seems like a good love match.  But then, over time, things happen between you and your partner that make you wonder:  “Is this the right person for me?”

It seems as though it should be such an easy question to answer.  But once you fall in love, your head and heart can conspire to make you minimize your unhappiness.  As the saying goes, love really can make you blind.

Research about marriage reveals that even great relationships go through rough patches that can last months or even years.  Another surprising finding is that these mutally happy couples also live with important unresolved issues.

What keeps these couples happy together is that they sustain the building blocks of long lasting, mutually satisfying relationships:  commitment, passion, friendship, respect, complementary styles and abilities, good communication and problem-solving skills, and shared interests and values.

Every couple is different.  All you have to do to know that love has its wild cards is to look at all the combinations of couples that make you think:  “What an odd pair.”

Lifestyle Signs of a Bad RelationshipI can’t possibly know if your partner is the one for you, but I’m offering you this guide to help you assess whether you are in a bad relationship.  This list is based on findings from my five-year research with thousands of women for my book. It consists of statements that these women used to get a more honest picture of their relationships.

It’s possible that only one thing on the list below, such as domestic violence, is sufficient for you to know to get help or get out.  Use this list to educate you and to activate your newly informed intuition to help you understand your situation and make smart decisions.

Read each statement and think if it applies to your partner. There is no magic number that means you should leave.  As you can imagine, I strongly recommend you see a licensed mental health counselor for guidance.  Don’t let doubts linger or get swept under your radar.

Here’s 11 Lifestyle Signs of a Bad Relationship

1. I really respect my partner.

Almost all the time     Most of the time         Sometimes            Rarely

(Respect is earned.  It is a vital part of healthy love  Are you proud of your partner?.)

2. I really like how my partner treats me in public and in private.

Almost all the time     Most of the time         Sometimes            Rarely

(Loving partners do not air dirty laundry in public  They do not abuse in private.)

3. My partner criticizes me often and uses a sarcastic tone.

Almost all the time     Most of the time         Sometimes            Rarely

(Research shows that a sarcastic and criticizing style erodes love.)

4. My partner can be unhappy and even a little jealous of my successes.

Almost all the time     Most of the time         Sometimes            Rarely

(Your partner should want the best for you. Jealousy taints your joy.)

5. My partner always has to be right and have the last word.

Almost all the time     Most of the time         Sometimes            Rarely

(Mature partners are able to give up having to be right.)

6. My partner brings up my past mistakes whenever we have disagreements.

Almost all the time     Most of the time         Sometimes            Rarely

(Healthy couples get solution-focused, and they don’t replay the past.)

7. My partner rarely or never apologizes when he or she is wrong or hurtful.

Almost all the time       Most of the time         Sometimes            Rarely

(Inability or reluctance to say I’m sorry means someone does not take responsibility. Healthy relationships thrive on mutual self-responsibility.)

8. My partner is playful, tender, affectionate, and attentive when we make love.

Almost all the time      Most of the time                       Sometimes      Rarely

(Sex should never be demeaning or insensitive to your needs.)

9. My partner lets disagreements fester.

Almost all the time        Most of the time         Sometimes            Rarely

(Happy couples tell the partner what is bothering them.)

10. My partner has cheated on me, and he or she can be very flirtatious with others.

Almost all the time          Most of the time         Sometimes            Rarely

(Affairs are real threats to love. About a third of couples survives and thrives after an affair.)

11. My partner has lied to me about money or has used it without my knowledge or agreement.

Almost all the time          Most of the time         Sometimes            Rarely

(Stealing and lying about money is a real breach of trust and respect.)

 

What have you learned about your relationship?  Don’t act in haste.  Get professional help.  If you feel your life and safety are in danger, seek counseling to develop a safety plan first before you pack your bags. But even if it’s something as simple as you want to buy some contemporary wall art, but he gets angry with you for that, then it’s time to reconsider your whole relationship.

I hope these tips help.  My mission is to help you grow your emotional bravery and intuitive power in life, love, work, happiness, and success!  You can be part of my next book about intuition! Your story can help others! Go to my website www.lovevictory.com and sign up on the right column to receive gifts and information.

How To Get Closer: T-R-A-V-E-L

By Steve Goodier

For closeness: travel. No, I don’t mean to go to take a road trip or to fly away to some exotic place. But there are ways to go deeper into a relationship –- like traveling. And there are things we can do to help a relationship really go somewhere. Let me explain.

Inmate Mitchell King had a visitor — his wife. King was serving a six-year jail term in Auckland, New Zealand for armed robbery. But his wife didn’t want to be away from him for that long. So they held hands. She wanted them to always stick together – through it all. Hand in hand, forever joined. And they did stick together. She had rubbed her palms with Super Glue.

Their new-found closeness was short-lived. And their separation painful. (I suggest we put the Super Glue idea on a short list of “THINGS NOT TO DO” when we want to grow closer.)

But if you want a deeper connection with someone you care about, if you want relationships that are more intimate, more meaningful and longer-lasting, then try this simple technique. Just remember the word “TRAVEL.”

T is for TRUST. If we’re seeking a glue to cement us to another, then trust is that bond. A relationship will go nowhere without it.

R is for RESPECT. Some people talk about how much they have always respected their cherished friends and family at a funeral. But why wait? People want to know that we hold them in high regard. It’s about valuing others and letting them know you respect them.

A is for AFFECTION. Sometimes affection means love. Sometimes it means a touch. Or a hug. Always it means kindness.

V is for VULNERABILITY. Though we may feel afraid to let another too close, no relationship will go anywhere without taking a risk. Like entrepreneur Jim Rohn says, “The walls we build around us to keep out the sadness also keep out the joy.” And the love.

E is for EMOTIONAL INTIMACY. It about learning to be open. Learning to communicate freely. The quality of relationships we make are largely determined by how openly we communicate.

L is for LAUGHTER. Victor Borge got it right when he said, “Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.” It’s also the most enjoyable.

So for a relationship that can really go somewhere, just remember the word “TRAVEL.” Then enjoy the trip.

Need To Move On After A Break-Up? Here’s How …

By Dr. LeslieBeth Wish

Perhaps the end of your most recent relationship is a good thing regardless of who did the leaving. But now what’s the best next step for you?

Every situation has different details, but here are the top things to consider that emerged from my research and work with thousands of women.

1. Don’t swear off love for a long time. That decision could start an unhealthy cycle:

  • You fear not being able to recover from any more hurt.
  • Your guardedness feeds a negative self-view of you as someone who can’t trust her own judgment.
  • Over time, your relationship restriction makes you rusty at reading potential partners.
  • Something happens in your life such as illness or job crisis that increases your fear of being alone.
  • You then become vulnerable to choosing the next okay-enough-person who comes along.
  • This person ends up not being a wise choice, and so you decide to swear off love again.

If this pattern sounds familiar, you are not alone. Almost three-quarters of the women from my research and private practice got caught in this Hurt-Lonely-Scared Cycle.

2. Understand that it is normal to feel unhappy, lonely, confused, angry, or relieved about your break up. If you become too depressed or furious, seek professional help immediately. Here’s a checklist you can use to chart your emotional reactions and determine that it’s time to get professional help.

Break up Recovery Checklist

If you experience the items on the list for more than two weeks, I recommend you see a counselor. I never like to volunteer to close doors. You have far more to lose by not getting some guidance and tips. Invest in you! You are worth it.

Check the statements that describe you.

  • My appetite has changed. I’m either eating too much or too little.
  • I am relying on drugs or alcohol to make me feel better.
  • I have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep.
  • I’ve lost interest in things that I normally do.
  • I can’t concentrate or motivate myself at work or school.
  • I can’t stop thinking about my partner who left me. I wonder if there is a new person in his or her life already.
  • I’ve been contacting my ex and leaving mean messages or stalking him or her or damaging my ex’s property and basically making his or her life miserable.
  • I cry a lot.
  • I have lots of aches and pains and headaches and stomach upsets.
  • It feels like my life is over.
  • I don’t feel like being around my friends and family.
  • I don’t have a lot of energy, and I’ve stopped exercising or doing things that made me feel good.
  • I don’t think my life is worth living much longer, and I think of how I might kill myself

3. Learn from your past relationship. No one likes making the same mistake too many times. Here are some questions to help you understand your past relationship.

  • Why did I choose this person?
  • What do I think went wrong?
  • What was going on in my life when I chose this person?
  • What qualities do I now know I need in a relationship?
  • What is my Emotional Default Drive Attraction to a person who is not good for me? In other words, do I end up creating the same kinds of problems I had in other relationships?
  • What influence did my parents and childhood have over my love problems now?

4. Become careful about rebound love by jumping into another serious relationship immediately. That decision could land you in the most common and unhealthy love pattern:

You get trapped in the Relationship Flip where you over-correct your previously unhappy love pattern.

For example, if your previous partner was too mild or insecure or unreliable, you fall for someone who seems to take charge and has lots of confidence—but who ends up wanting to take charge of you! Or, if your previous partner was too controlling, you choose someone whose mildness morphs into meekness.

But notice that these two examples are just upside-down versions of the same pattern where someone is either too much or too little in charge or too passive.

The healthiest relationships consist of partners who fill in the gaps for the other partner’s weaknesses and who offer flexibility and reliability.

Know the reasons why you are in another relationship. Don’t do the following:

  • You choose someone quickly to prove to your ex that you can attract someone.
  • You choose someone who pleases your parents or family.
  • You choose someone because life circumstances such as feeling lonely or getting older make you act in haste.
  • You choose someone you don’t respect or—and who doesn’t respect or value you.

5. Become an expert in your reactions, feelings and assessments while on dates or in new relationships. Observe you on a date and your date at the same time. Observe important cues from your date such as:

  • How does your date treat the wait staff?
  • Does your date listen or talk only about him or her?
  • Does your date “charm” you too much and make you feel too “special?” These could be signs of this person reading your vulnerability—and then taking advantage of you.
  • Observe your own levels of too much excitement and anticipation for a date with this particular person. This reaction could be a sign that you are falling for your Emotional Default Attraction.
  • Go to the restroom and check your pulse—and your thoughts. Get in touch with you!
  • Read books about reading people.

6. Make the goal of dating to test your ability to read people accurately. Date lots of different kinds of people. Don’t worry if the person doesn’t seem your “type” or if there isn’t any “chemistry.” Give you and your dates time to build trust and respect and closeness. You might be surprised. Often, the best way to learn about you and your needs is to get to know different people.

7. Don’t have sex so soon. Get to know someone over time, and don’t let the high of sex flood your brain with pleasure hormones that cloud your ability to see and think clearly. Ask yourself: Are we both making love—or are we having sex? Do we share the same vision about what this experience means?

Buy Dr. Wish’s book right here:

3 Proven Ways A Simple List Can Revolutionize Your Love Life

By Duana C. Welch, Ph.D.

Take a moment and write a list of everything you desire and need in a life partner. Take several moments, in fact. Put in everything—in detail, in color. Dream big.

Then separate that list into “must-haves”—stuff you just can’t do without—and “desirables”—things you’d like, but could compromise on if they were otherwise wonderful.

All done? In my experience, most folks resist making their list. And that’s a shame, because your list is an amazing tool in the work belt of life.

With your help, it’s going to do three really vital jobs for you:

1. Find hidden singles.

Have you ever gone car shopping? Ten years ago, I bought a Mini Cooper, and I love it so much, I haven’t replaced it.
A funny thing happened while I was looking around, though: I saw Minis everywhere. It really seemed like the world was chock-full of them.

You may have heard of the Law of Attraction, which says that we draw to us what we imagine. If life really worked like that, you’d create your list and click your heels while The One appeared.

Sigh. Not true.

And yet the list is very powerful—not because it attracts the right people to you, but because you start noticing them. Just as I started noticing my brand of car everywhere once I’d narrowed my search, you will begin noticing your kind of sweetheart once you refine your own list.

Mr. Right might be where you work or live; Ms. Right might be where you worship, or shop. The point is, have you noticed? Or is The One hidden in plain sight because you aren’t clear on your needs?

2. Do first things first.

There’s a saying, “First things first.” It means you need to do things in the order that makes the most sense. This sounds obvious, but without your list, you’ll probably do first things last. In these relationships, people meet, have sex, get emotionally involved, and *then* figure out whether this person is what they want.

You may think this is the exception, but research shows that hooking up on college campuses has largely replaced dating. A hook-up can be anything from sleeping over to kissing to having intercourse to oral sex. An 18-month multi-campus study of American college life found that most women continue to enter and leave college hoping to find yes, a degree, but also to find love and marriage. The decline of dating and the rise of hook-ups has cost them–more than men–a great deal in terms of confusion and pain.

So some girls and women reading this may never have had a date; some might have had sex with men who wouldn’t acknowledge them as girlfriends. They have no idea what to expect and require in courtship. Take this letter, from Gina (not her real name):

“I’m confused about ‘Sam.’ We hang out almost every night, and we have sex, and he says he likes me. We are each other’s fallback plan; it’s assumed we will see each other daily. But he’s never outright said whether I am his girlfriend. I asked once, and he laughed and asked why I couldn’t tell, and changed the subject! It’s depressing. How can I find out what I am to him?”

If you are tired of being confused, or if you’re tired of getting into sex-first, questions-later situations, or if you’ve had enough of getting emotionally invested and only *later* finding out that this one is not The One—it’s time to let your list turn that dynamic around.

And how do you do that? Know your standards. Then, listen closely to feedback, and ask the tough questions about and to this person *before* you get emotionally and physically involved.

I’ve read of a study showing that a date’s friends will tell the truth about them. That fits my experience. I broke up with a man whose ex-wife called to ask me to reconsider: “You’re really special to Bill. I knew that as soon as I found out he drives an hour to see you. He never goes out of his way for anyone.”

I didn’t listen to the important part of her message: Bill wasn’t especially flexible or concerned with other people’s needs. Both times we broke up, the reason was: He was not especially flexible or concerned with other people’s needs.

When I met my husband Vic, though, he took me to a party “so you can meet everyone I know. I want my life to be an open book.” Nobody there told me how lucky Vic was; they all said how fortunate *I* was to be with him. Bingo.

So listen to what others say about your partner. Ask the person you’re dating, too. You can be creative about it, but ask questions that add up to whether or not this person fits your “must-haves.” One of the more valuable questions I learned to ask in my dating life was: “If your ex and I were talking, what reason would she give for your break-up?”
Vic had answered a lot of my questions before we ever met in person; we talked about them on the phone. I didn’t rudely bust out with, “Here is my list, and you’d better answer the way I want, or I’m not going out with you.” But I did broach important questions in a friendly way, and I didn’t wait until we were deeply involved.

What if he’d refused to respond, or said something like, “Wait, why all the questions?” Some men did. We didn’t go out. If you’re reading this, my guess is that you have had enough of doing last things first, having hook-ups, and floundering around wondering what’s going on. And if so, you’re ready for someone who is also ready to do first things first.

3. Avoid deal-breaker temptations.

Doing first things first won’t help unless you heed your own list. The absence of even one tiny little “must-have” means that you Must Not; the whole relationship is a no-go for you, a heartbreak waiting to happen. So don’t go there.

Of course, a lot of us have trouble with this one. Almost everyone I know who has made the list has at least occasionally dated someone with a known deal-breaker.

Why do we ignore our own lists? Sometimes, it’s because we question ourselves, or our standards. Or we’re lonely. We’ve lost hope. We think love is rare, and we have to hang onto it no matter what, because all you need is love.
Apologies to the Beatles, but science disagrees. Love is like roadside flowers in springtime: beautiful, but common.

Sometimes, we fall in love with people where things just won’t work out; and most people fall in love more than once. Nearly all of the divorced people in the world were in love when they wed. If love was all they needed, they would’ve stayed put!

What’s enough is love, plus kindness, respect, similarity, and you sticking to your list. Before I got that, I got heartache. After I got that, I got the man I’ve been happily married to for nearly seven years.

Your right person won’t be perfect. But if you’re careful about this, they will be perfect for you.

Duana C. Welch, Ph.D., is the author of Love Factually: 10 Proven Steps from I Wish to I Do (2015); this entry is a partial excerpt. You can get a free chapter and see more at http://www.lovefactually.co

Motivational Monday: Fear-Based Emotions

By Dr. Carol Morgan

Have you ever been jealous? Felt possessive? Or perhaps envious of other people? These are called fear-based emotions. In her Motivational Monday video series, our Editor shares her thoughts on why you should pay attention to these feelings.

What should you do now? First, don’t get all freaked out by all the negative emotions you have running through your head. Instead, do something about it! Start right now … TODAY … and monitor your thoughts. The more you do that, the more you can change them into positive ones. And you know what that means. You will be much, much happier!