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The seven dating traps e book revised

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The seven dating traps e book revised

  1. 1. 7 Dating TrapsBy Susanne JorgensenChartered Psychologist Author, Coach Relationship Expert
  2. 2. Contact Susanne Jorgensen – The Singles GymWebsite: http://thesinglesgym.comEmail: susanne@thesinglesgym.comTwitter: http://twitter.com/thesinglesgymFacebook: Facebook Fan Page ContentsDating Trap 1 Being Someone You Are Not Trap Page 3Dating Trap 2 Loving You Loving Me Trap Page 5Dating Trap 3 The Window Display Trap Page 7Dating Trap 4 Dating The Potential Trap Page 9Dating Trap 5 Falling In Lust Trap Page 11Dating Trap 6 Compatibility Trap Page 14Dating Trap 7 Mars – Venus Trap Page 17 © Susanne Jorgensen, The Singles Gym – 2010
  3. 3. Dating Trap 1 Being Someone You Are Not TrapFor most people, this happens all too easily. You so badly want to make a good impression,so you read as many of the “how to date” books you can get your hands on. They tell you, forexample, what men and women are supposed to do on a successful date.So as you’re feeling a bit nervous and you want to make a good impression, you might takesome of that advice. You might also go out and buy some new trendy clothes, or borrow yourmates car – as his is nicer than yours. And you might even lie about your age, where you live,or what job you really have.Initially this strategy seems to work – you may actually get the man or woman of your dreams.Yet, that is also when the problem really starts. The person you’ve got has fallen for the“mask” you presented to them, not the real you. This creates a big problem!You now have to go into ‘mask maintenance strategy’ to keep this relationship going. I meanhow long can you lie about your age? Admit it was your best friend’s car? Admit that theairport job you have is washing dishes in a restaurant? And, after six months, still beborrowing your friends flat when they are out of town to entertain your new love?Your biggest worry now isn’t ‘can I find the person of my dreams?’, but ‘can I keep them?’What if they find out who I really am - will they still love me?”Not only is this exhausting, but when your relationship is based on the fear of someonegetting to truly know you, you miss out on the meaning of real intimacy. The best you’ll get issome kind of pseudo-intimacy.And also, at some point, you will be caught off guard, or the energy it takes to maintain thatmask will overwhelm you with exhaustion and the ‘mask’ cracks.Your partner feels conned – they didn’t get what they bargained for. Trust is broken.I know it sounds simplistic but the bottom line is - be yourself!There is nothing wrong with going out and getting advice and learning new skills – as long aswhat you take on helps you to feel that you are being more of you, not less of you.At the end of the day, you want to know that someone loves you for who YOU are – warts andall. This creates emotional safety in a relationship and, from there, you and your partner canexperience true intimacy, in all its forms – physical, intellectual, emotional and ‘spiritual.’
  4. 4. • If you don’t like the person you are - you’re right - others probably won’t like you either. • If you think you are boring – yes - others will probably think you are boring too. • If you think you’ve got nothing to offer - you’re right - others will think you’ve got nothing to offer too. • If you think your life isn’t very exciting - you’re right - others won’t think your life is very exciting either.The solution, however, isn’t to try and be someone else.My colleague has sign on our notice board in our office that says: “Don’t try to be someoneelse, they are already taken!” The solution is to discover who you really are, stretch yourselfto be the best of who you are and create a life you love.‘But I don’t like who I am’ you say. ‘What do you mean discover who I really am?’I used to collect rocks and shells as a child. I was fascinated by how ugly a rock could look onthe outside but, when you cracked it open, it sparkled with such beautiful colors.I think we are bit like that too. When you get beneath the exterior of our defences - yourprotective mechanisms, your limiting beliefs - we get to the core of who we really are. And,when you nourish that, you will sparkle too.When you work on becoming the best of who you are, you will feel great in your own skin andyou will attract someone that is just right for you. © Susanne Jorgensen, The Singles Gym – 2010
  5. 5. Dating Trap 2 Loving You Loving Me TrapHave you ever found yourself saying to yourself; ‘if only I were in a relationship, then I’d behappy’ or ‘if only I were in a relationship, then I’d feel better about myself’ or even ‘if only Iwere in a relationship, then I wouldn’t feel so lonely, miserable’..?You might also be telling yourself that you’ll do all those wonderful things you are dreaming ofonce you meet the right person to do it with. ‘When I’m in a relationship, then I’ll…”You may not be aware of it, but every time you play what I call the ‘if only... then .....’ game,or the ‘when... then....’ game, you are actually acting on a belief that says you can only behappy or feel good about who you are - or be happy about your life - if you are in arelationship. In other words, you need to be in a relationship.Maybe that doesn’t sound like you, but there is also a masked version of this game. It’s theserial monogamy game. You go from one relationship to the other, with no space or time tobe on your own. People look at you and think that you must possess some amazing qualityand that’s why you are always hooked up with someone.In your own mind, you too know that you are wonderful – after all, you secretly tell yourself -that’s the reason these people want to be in a relationship with me. And let’s be honest here,there is still some covert belief that if you are single, there must be something wrong with you.So better to be in a relationship than to be single.The other masked version of this game is when you hook up with someone who representssomething that boosts your ego and your sense of self.The one classic here is the older man, who is losing his looks and his virility, and getstogether with someone who is beautiful and almost as young as his daughter. He believeshe’s something special now because he is with this gorgeous beast. And this feeling only getsenhanced every time his buddies nudge him on the elbow and give him the lucky you wink.The other ‘classic’ here is the woman who goes for the financially wealthy man – even if he islosing his looks and virility. It’s only when she is doted on that she has any sense of value.She believes she is somebody special and important, only as long as she is living the high lifeand surrounding herself with the “right kind” of people.Now, I’m not suggesting that everyone that fits into these two scenarios are in it for thatreason. I know people who are in both categories and have wonderful relationships - and arelovely people. © Susanne Jorgensen, The Singles Gym – 2010It’s when you are in these scenarios as a way to define yourself, or in order to feel good about
  6. 6. yourself, that it becomes a problem. The issue is that you’re in a relationship because youneed to be, and the dangers of this trap are: • Your life goes on hold every time you aren’t in a relationship • You’re using a relationship to bolster your sense of self. When the relationship goes, so does your sense of self. • You become dependent on the relationship for your happiness. When the relationship crumbles, so does your life. • Your control for your life and happiness is now in someone else’s hands – and you become more dependent on them. You lose control of your own life. • You are likely to put up with more bad in the relationship in order to experience the good you get from it. • You are likely to make compromises that you wouldn’t make if you didn’t need this relationship. • You won’t feel able to get out of the relationship, even if you are no longer happy in it.So does that mean it’s wrong to want to be in a relationship, you might be asking?Absolutely not! But do be sure you understand the difference between wanting to be in arelationship and needing to be in a relationship. • Needing a relationship is based on a belief that you can’t be on your own. You need the other person to feel ‘whole’, to feel good about yourself, to feel loved, valued and worthwhile - or to feel emotionally or financially secure. • Wanting a relationship is based on a belief that you can be on your own – emotionally and financially - and you feel good about who you are and the life that you live. You are looking for someone to further enrich your life, but not be your life.Needing to be in a relationship isn’t very easy to admit. If you’re not sure if that’s what you aredoing – then ask yourself how you feel about yourself and your life when you are on yourown.Successful singles are people who feel good about themselves, who don’t see relationshipsas the source of all their happiness, who are comfortable with who they truly are and who areliving life. They are more likely to get into a relationship for the ‘right reasons’ and more likelyto find a relationship that is just right for them!If that doesn’t describe you, dont be disheartened. Recognising where you are is the first stepto the possibility of having something better. Maybe it’s time to consider taking a journeythat’s all about you? About becoming the best of you! © Susanne Jorgensen, The Singles Gym – 2010Dating Trap 3
  7. 7. The Window Display TrapDating is a bit like window-shopping. As you walk past the shops, what lures you in is thewindow display. If you like what you see in the window, you are hopeful that you will also likewhat you find once you get into the shop.Have you, however, been completely taken in by the window display, then walked into theshop, full of hope that you will find what you like, only to be utterly disappointed with what youactually found in there? And you feel even more disappointed because you had such highhopes to begin with.In Dating Trap 1, Trying To Be Someone You’re Not, we looked at how you might ‘package’yourself in a way that you think others will be attracted to you. Dating Trap number 3 issimilar, but instead of focusing on how you might ‘package’ yourself to be attractive to others,Dating Trap number 3 is all about how you look at the ‘packing’ of others.In our modern society and especially through the the media, we are more caught up inexternals than ever before. There is a huge focus on youth, beauty, prestige, and wealth. Weare living in a very “image” conscious age and it’s so easy for singles to focus on these‘externals’ when making up their shopping list of the qualities of their ideal partner. What arethe criteria on your ‘shopping list’ for your ideal partner?Try This: 1. Take a few minutes and spontaneously jot down as many qualities you would want in your ideal partner. Don’t spend too much time thinking – just jot down whatever comes to mind. 2. Now beside each word you wrote, write down either an ‘I’ or an ‘E’ depending on whether the quality describes an ‘Internal’ quality or an ‘External’ quality. 3. What do you notice – more internal qualities or more external qualities? 4. If your list is heavily weighted in favour of “External” qualities, what might happen if you shifted the balance? The ‘Outside- In’ TrapNow, while it’s natural to initially notice, to be attracted to and have preferences to what yousee on the outside, the danger arises when this becomes your main focus in deciding the kindof person you eventually wish to be with.You see, the window display is probably the best feature of whatever is in the shop. It isdesigned to catch your attention and to lure you inside, but it doesn’t necessarily reflecteverything else that’s in there. The window display is not a guarantee of what you’ll find onceyou go inside. © Susanne Jorgensen, The Singles Gym – 2010The problem with focusing on, ‘externals’ or the window display is that:
  8. 8. • You see what they want you to see, not what’s really there. • People most often dress up and pour effort into their window display. • The outside window display doesn’t necessarily reflect what’s inside. • What you see is not always what you’ll get. • You may pass up a great relationship because the window display wasn’t as you expected or wanted.Did you know that, according to some experts, roughly one third of what dating couples say toeach other on the first three dates is either a straight-out lie or is heavily exaggerated?According to these experts, dating couples are the biggest fibbers of all!And there are lots of ways to fib: • Your date projects a lifestyle that he/she can’t really afford but which fits an image. • Your date claims similar interests to yours. • Your date wears the kind of clothes to impress, even if it’s not really their style. • Your date gives an impressive description of their job which ‘wows’ you.At some point, however, you find out the truth behind their masks. You find out that: • Your date is in a lot of debt and is constantly asking to borrow money from you - or asking you to pay whenever the two of you go out. • When you invite your date to join you in one of your interests, they say they haven’t done it for a while, or aren’t really interested any more. • Your date’s dress sense seems to get worse the longer you are together. • You find out that your date’s job isn’t that impressive after all, and they have very little time off or work inhumane hours.Focusing purely on people’s ‘externals’ is no guarantee for a happy relationship. Getting thatgorgeous girl or the wealthy guy may make you feel good in the short term. It may stroke yourego, but it won’t actually make them capable of loving you the way you really want to beloved. As David Steele - in his book Conscious Dating - puts it: “If your goal is an internal experience-such as to be happy, loved, and fulfilled in arelationship - we must balance external preferences with internal ones.”So what are the ‘internal’ qualities – the character and personality traits - that you want in yourideal partner?Try This: 1. Take a few minutes and spontaneously jot down as many ‘Internal’ qualities you would want in your ideal partner. Don’t spend too much time thinking. Just jot down whatever comes to mind. 2. For the qualities you listed: Have you got a clear definition of that quality? What would tell you that your date possessed that quality? What would tell you they didn’t possess it? Be as specific as you can. Do you reflect the qualities you are seeking? In the famous words of Mahatma Gandi: “We Must Become The Change We Want To See” © Susanne Jorgensen, The Singles Gym – 2010Dating Trap 4
  9. 9. Dating The Potential TrapOne of the biggest mistakes people make is to fall in love with someone’s potential. You fall inlove with who that person could become rather than with who that person is now.How many times have you thought, ‘He/she would be perfect, if only...’?You think the person you are dating is great in many ways and you think that, with just a bit ofwork, you could transform that person into someone amazing!There is a truth to the saying ‘love is blind’. Because you want a relationship to work out, youonly see what you want to see rather than what is - and one way of doing this is by focusingon someone’s potential.Another form of this is when you become the ‘rescuer’ or the ‘fixer’. You always go out withsomeone who is wounded, someone who is the underdog, and someone who needs help.When you do this, you take on the ‘parent’ role in the relationship. You’re always in the ‘one-up’ position. It becomes your mission to rescue your lover and to help them achieve thepotential you know they are capable of.If you find that you are always playing the rescuer or the shrink, you are consciously - butmore likely unconsciously - seeking out an uneven relationship. While you know from yourown relationship history that those kinds of relationships don’t work out to be happy andfulfilling ones in the end, there is actually a good reason why you do this.At some level, deep down inside, you believe that if you love enough, give enough and doenough for your partner, you’ll save them from their problems. And, in return, because theyare ever-grateful and dependent on you, they will never leave you. This belief is so deeplyburied, it’s not easy to realise you are holding it.Unless you’ve done a lot of work on yourself – reading, therapy or coaching – it isn’t easy tounderstand why you keep repeating certain patterns. If you want to understand your patterns,get a good therapist or coach. But even if you don’t understand why you do what you do – justbe aware of the pattern – and don’t get pulled into it. © Susanne Jorgensen, The Singles Gym – 2010Watch out for these signs:
  10. 10. • You keep telling yourself and others that your partner just needs a bit more time to sort themselves out. • You are still making excuses, months or even years later. • You keep putting your partner’s need before your own – and you feel like a bit of a martyr. • You are only happy if you are helping your partner. • You like to feel needed by your partner. • You like it when you can help your partner even when no one else can. • You feel responsible for you partner.It took me a while to figure out that this was the trap that I kept falling into.I’m a psychologist and a coach and a big part of my job is to be able to see people’s potential.For years, I thought my job was getting in the way of my relationships. It wasn’t until I thoughtmore about my own background of constant abandonment by different fathers that I becameaware that I was living out this fear in my current relationships. Whenever I met and fell forsomeone, I saw their potential and not who they were. My role in these relationships was allabout helping them reach their potential.These men did end up financially better off, living in nicer homes and yes, living more of theirpotential. The funny thing however, was that when they reached this point I was feelingemotionally starved and didn’t feel I was getting anything in return. And how could I get inreturn? My focus was disproportionately on them and not me.I also found that, at this point, I would lose interest in the relationship. It was always me thatended the relationship. It was a case of my no longer having the ‘guarantee’ that theywouldn’t leave me – so I ‘abandoned’ them before they ‘abandoned’ me. The Problem With The Potential, Not The Person Trap"It is important you explore which qualities seduce you in a prospective partner and whichhooks lead you into a relationship . . . . The more you understand about yourself, the moreaware you will be and the more empowered you will be to see the truth." Annie Bennett (The Love Trap)The dangers of the ‘Dating the Potential Not The Person’ Trap include: • You ignore the “red flags” that are there to warn you this isn’t the right relationship for you. You focus on changing your partner - while you avoid taking responsibility for your own life. • You cling on to a relationship that isn’t going to fulfil you. • Your partner may begin to experience you as controlling and resent you. • You don’t experience getting your own needs met. • You can feel resentful, especially when the relationship fails ‘after all you’ve done’If you want to improve your chances of being in a happy and long term relationship, then fallin love with someone as they are now… not who they could become. © Susanne Jorgensen, The Singles Gym – 2010
  11. 11. Dating Trap 5 Falling In Lust TrapI was out yesterday evening with my friends and the topic of conversation, as it often andeventually does, turned to the question: ‘How was your date this week?’The response I most often hear is that their date was a nice enough person, but that the‘chemistry’ wasn’t there. I’m often curious about what people actually mean when they talkabout ‘chemistry’ and when I probe them a bit more about what it means for them, they areoften not really able to explain what it is, except to say it’s a certain ‘feeling’.If you had to explain to someone who has never come across the concept of ‘chemistry’, howwould you explain to them what it is for you?I looked up the question: ‘What is Chemistry?’ and one of the answers that I found in WikiAnswers was: ‘Mutual attraction or sympathy; rapport: The chemistry was good between the partners’.This definitions seems to run in tandem with what Anthropologist, Helen Fisher, describes, asstages 1 and 2 of love, in her book ‘The Nature and Chemistry and Romance of Love’ (2004)In her book, she describes three stages: 1. Lust (mating response) - driven by testosterone and oestrogen. 2. Attraction (feeling love-struck) - regulated by neurotransmitters called monoamines. a. Dopamine. b. Norepinephrine (adrenaline). c. Serotonin. 3. Attachment – driven by hormones and oxytocin.So, maybe what we take for ‘falling in love’ when we meet someone and which we define as‘having chemistry’ isn’t love. Maybe it’s nothing more than the driving force of our hormones –or lust. But before you think I’m a spoilsport and am going to argue against ‘chemistry’ or‘lust’, let’s Get Real – great chemistry feels absolutely wonderful, doesn’t it?!You can’t wait to see your lover again and get your hands on them – anytime, anywhere…You both are on a high with excitement, tension and passion and you can’t seem to getenough of each other or this wonderful feeling.In a BBC series a few years ago, Dr. John Marsten, Senior Lecturer in Addictive Behaviour atthe London Institute of Psychiatry said ‘Love is so addictive, it’s akin to cocaine and speed’ (4Dec 2002). This certainly goes a long way to explain why people move from one relationshipto another, after the initial ‘high’ wears off.‘Chemistry’ is wonderful, but it’s important that you understand, that it isn’t necessarily love.You can be in love and have great “chemistry” but equally you can have “great chemistry –but not necessarily be in love. So what’s the difference between lust and love? How do youtell the difference? © Susanne Jorgensen, The Singles Gym – 2010 Is It Lust or Love? How Do You Tell The Difference?
  12. 12. To keep this simple, let’s look at two indicators that will help you know the difference betweenlust and love.Firstly, if we go back to Fisher’s three stages of love, you’ll notice that the stages move fromlust, attraction and to what she refers to as ‘attachment’.Interestingly enough, one definition Wiki offers to the question, ‘What is Love?’ is this: ‘An intense emotional attachment’‘Attachment’ as psychologists describe it, refers to a strong bond an individual has withanother person. What is peculiar to this is that the bond is emotional and affective.Psychologists go on to describe various ‘attachment patterns’ that run from childhood all theway into adulthood and go a long way to explain why people get into the same kinds ofrelationship patterns. It’s part of your “Intimacy Blueprint” but more of that another time…If we go back to Fisher’s three stages, you’ll notice that the focus moves from a physicalconnection on to an emotional connection – which she labels ‘attachment’.I found the following five minute video, in which the physiological responses of a couple whoare kissing (it’s a long one!) is measured. In the discussion with the psychologists, one of theresearchers notes that when a couple experience more bonding and emotional connection, itreleases the hormone oxytocin – just as Fisher mentions in stage three.The psychologist goes on to describe the positive impact this has on an individual’s overallhealth and happiness. You can see it here.Secondly, if you notice, Fisher’s three stages implicate a process over time. Moving frompure “chemistry” to emotional “attachment” is a process which occurs over time. As you movefrom lust and attraction to ‘attachment’, things like trust, fidelity, respect and other values youhave about relationships come into play.So, to know if you are ‘in love’ or ‘in lust’ requires the passing of time. That’s what dating isabout – taking time to get to know someone and finding out whether your compatibility is onan emotional, psychological and intellectual level as well as a physical level.Those of us who have been in bad relationships where the chemistry was initially fantastic,but where the relationship ended up in a disaster, have come to realise something reallyimportant. I liked the way Rene Eve from Brisbane, with whom I was twittering about thistopic, put it: ‘The trouble is people often mistake lust for love.’ ‘To really trust someone them takes time. Hormones dont know about time’ © Susanne Jorgensen, The Singles Gym – 2010The biggest danger of not recognising this is when you make major decisions while in thisstate. Whilst in this euphoric state, you may make the decision to move in together, start a
  13. 13. relationship or even get married. George Bernard Shaw adds an interesting perspective tothis scenario when he says that: ‘Marriage brings people together “under the influence of the most violent, most insane, most delusive and most transient of passion. They are required to swear that they will remain in that excited, abnormal and exhausted condition until death do them part”’At the end of the day, there are different kinds of relationships – they aren’t right or wrong – itjust all depends on what you are looking for at that time in your life.If you are looking for love – just be aware that while ‘chemistry’ may be important to you, itisn’t the full picture. On it’s own it can be a bit like a firework display. There is the anticipationand excitement as the firework shoots up into the sky. There is the awe, wonder, sheerenjoyment and pleasure in that moment that the whole sky lights up. And then there is thedarkness of the sky as the firework fizzles out and all you hear is the zzzzz as the fireworkmakes it’s way down.If you are looking for love, give yourself time when deciding whether this new romance isindeed love and know what your goals and values are and what kind of relationship you arelooking for. © Susanne Jorgensen, The Singles Gym – 2010Dating Trap 6
  14. 14. Compatibility TrapYou just can’t believe your luck with your new date as you realise how much the two of youhave in common! You both like the same foods, are into the same hobbies, enjoy reading thesame kind of books, are into the same kinds of films and you both absolutely adore the verysame band! You just know that this is a match made in heaven…It’s very easy to buy into the idea that common interests guarantee a successful relationship –but it’s a subtle trap. You see, while having common interests can be part of a successfulrelationship, they don’t absolutely guarantee a successful relationship – and here’s why: If the strongest bond you have are your common interests: - if your interests change, how you feel about the relationship will also change.Believing that having common interests guarantees a successful relationship is a subtle butdangerous trap because it can create a false illusion that the relationship is at a deeper levelthan it actually is. It’s Not Common Interests but Common Values . . .While having some common interests certainly adds to a successful relationship, they aren’tenough. It’s not common interests but common values that lay the foundation for a happyrelationship.Values are personal. They are not right or wrong and they are different for different people.Values are about what is important for you – they are an expression of who you truly are.What is right for you may not be right for those around you and may be a source ofdisagreement and dissatisfaction.Your values are what motivate and drive you and are reflected in your goals and how you live.Every time you have to decide between several choices, the choice your make reflects thevalues you hold.As an example, let’s take money which is one of the three resources we all have – time,energy and money. How you use each of these resources is all down to the value you placeon it. Chris and Susan were having yet another argument about their finances. It certainly wasn’t for lack of communication that they had this problem. They had been here many times before. Yet, no matter how much they discussed this issue, they just couldn’t resolve their differences. Whenever Chris went shopping, he would only buy the best. Susan, on the other hand, would only buy what she absolutely needed and only shop during the sales. Chris accused Susan of being ‘stingy’ and Susan accused Christ of being ‘irresponsible’. © Susanne Jorgensen, The Singles Gym – 2010Chris and Susan were both good people, but they just had very different value criteria formoney. Their value around money was reflected in how they used and managed it. Thedifference in their value around money was the problem, not the money itself.
  15. 15. Whilst finances are a huge issue in relationships, those ‘little’ or ‘stupid’ things that couplesrepeatedly argue about also come down to a question of values. The arguments you haveabout those ‘little’ or ‘stupid’ things have nothing to do with what you are actually arguingabout. These actually just represent a difference in core values that you and another personhold.Your values affect every decision you make - from the career you choose, to the hobbies youchose, to how you spend your leisure time, how you manage your finances and who youchoose as a life-partner.When your life is aligned with your values, you feel happy and fulfilled. When your life andvalues are not aligned you experience stress, unhappiness and confusion. When you andyour partner share similar values you will experience more harmony in your relationship.The problem is that most people don’t even know what their core values are. Most people areliving out the values handed down from their parents or their culture and it’s just notsomething we are used to thinking about. Good coaching will help you elicit and understandyour core values.Getting clear about your values is like having a compass. Without a compass you are like aship being tossed about at the mercy of the wind and sea, never knowing where you’ll end up.Life has a habit of just taking over but with a compass you can steer your life course and stayon track with your goals and plans. Values helps you get clear about setting your priorities,gives you clarity about the small everyday choices you have to make as well as those bigdecisions you have to make.And when things go wrong, your values will help you to manage those difficult times and helpyou to know how to get back on track again.Once you become clear on what your values are, your life will feel more balanced, fulfilledand less stressful and your relationships will have more harmony. Values Can’t Be CompromisedYou often hear people say that the secret to a happy relationship is being able tocompromise. While you do make compromises in a relationship, the one aspect that you can’tcompromise is your values.While your goals and interests may change over time, core values don’t change and if youcompromise your values, for your partner, you lose yourself. Ultimately this will affect yourrelationship as well.To start tapping into what your values are think about these questions:Workout: Uncovering Your ValuesTry thinking about these things:
  16. 16. • What is important to you? • What do you care about? • What do you want in your life? • Peak Experiences o When has life been rich, full, exhilarating, flowing? Pick a time. There may have been challenges, but you were on a roll. It may have been a few minutes, or hours, or weeks. What was important about that experience? What values were you honouring? • Crazies o Often we don’t know what our values are until someone steps on them. Think of the kinds of situations that upset or annoy you. What value is being stepped on? o What drives you absolutely nuts or makes you angry or frustrated? Think about one of these things. What values are being violated? • Invisible Values o What is so much a part of who you are that you haven’t even thought to put it on this list?I noticed, for example, with a client I recently worked with that she mentioned ‘security’ a lot inher conversations with me. She hadn’t written that down as one of her values, but realized,she actually did think about and talk about and make decisions that were linked to security.This ‘invisible’ value was such a part of who she was she hadn’t even realized it.So when thinking about who you want to be with and whether the person you are dating isright for you, remember that your values express your idea of how relationships should be.You can’t have a good relationship with someone until you both agree on what a goodrelationship looks like.Knowing your core values will help you get clarity. Some questions to think about: • Is this person capable of loving me the way I want to be loved? • Am I capable of loving this person in the way they want to be loved? • Does this person want the kind of relationship I want? • Do our hopes, dreams and expectations about a relationship match?Your happiness depends on not only knowing your core values, but also in living a life alignedwith them. That’s what authenticity is about – walking your talk, living your life in accordancewith who you really are. It’s about being more of you – not less of you. © Susanne Jorgensen, The Singles Gym – 2010Dating Trap 7
  17. 17. Mars – Venus TrapWe are living in the modern world, at a time, for the first time in history, when we have morefreedom to chose the kind of relationships and lives we want. And yet we are struggling morethan ever in our relationships. The battle of the sexes continues to rage on, becoming more,not less intense. What is going on? Where has it gone wrong? Samantha’s partner, Michael was made redundant from his job in the New Year. “We thought it might be coming but it still was a shock,” she said. They worked out how they could cut down on their spending until Michael was able to find another job. After a few months Samantha and Michael found themselves arguing about who should be taking care of the chores around the house. Samantha assumed Michael would take on more of the responsibility now that he was out of work, while Michael considered the housework Samantha’s domain.Samantha and Michael are caught in what many couples in this generation are struggling with– trying to fit the old model of gender roles in a world where social roles are changing both inthe home and the workplace.‘A gender stereotype is defined as a set of beliefs about what it means to be female or male’write Susan Golombok and Robyn Fivush in their book Gender Development. They are thebeliefs we hold about being man or woman.‘Our generation is caught up in the thick of a paradigm shift and our values have yet to catchup with our new roles in the workplace and home’ says Harriet Pappenheim, a couplestherapist and co-author of For Richer or Poorer: Keeping Your Marriage Happy When She’sMaking More Money.Though we think we have moved on in terms of gender stereotype roles, when it comes to asituation like redundancy we experience a conflict because without realising it we are stillholding on to old gender stereotypes.A situation like redundancy threatens our deeply held beliefs about what it means to be a manand a woman.Isn’t it fascinating that, at a time in history, just as we are beginning to let go of old genderstereotypes, the self-help, popular psychology books and the dating advice literature paint apicture of men and women being so different as to come from different planets.“While men and women are beginning to see the advantages for equality between thesexes, old stereotypes hang in there and mess with our minds.” Susan Jeffers,The Feel The Fear Guide To Lasting Love, p 177Here’s what seems to be happening: The ‘relationship experts’ have capitalised on theculturally accepted gender stereotypes and have created a multi-million dollar industry whichnot only explains why men and women are so different, but also offers advice, books andother products on how to bridge the gap between the genders. © Susanne Jorgensen, The Singles Gym – 2010David Baddiel writes,
  18. 18. ‘No sphere of human relations is so beset by clichés and generalisations as that of theopposition between men and women. In every type of behaviour, men, we are constantly told, are X and women are Y. ‘Men cannot multitask; women can do 400 things at once. Women cannot separate love and sex; men like nothing more than to wham and bam, rarely even stopping to thank their ma’ams. Men gorge on beer; women, chocolate”’ (Psychologies July 2009).The assumptions you buy into when you buy into Venus-Mars paradigm are: • There are huge differences between men and women and fewer similarities. • These differences are a product of nature, not nurture – it’s the way our brains are wired. • So you just have to learn how to live with it and work around the differences (and, by the way - if you buy our products we’ll help you out). Mars – Venus: Myth or Reality, Fact or Fiction?The Facts – Some Snippets:There isn’t time to go into an exhaustive discourse about the research here – either theresearch, you don’t hear about or the research that is misquoted and misrepresented. A fewsnippets will have to suffice: • Research doesn’t actually statistically support the huge differences purported between the genders. Hyde, a psychologist who specialises in ‘meta- analysis’ – a statistical technique which allows the analyst to collate many different research findings and draw overall conclusions from them, found that in almost every case, the overall differences made by gender is either small or close to zero. • Research actually shows that there are more similarities than differences, but we actively look for differences in the research. • As well as underplaying similarities between the genders, research minimises the differences within the genders. When there is a difference, it gets excused – ‘she has a male brain’. • Research that doesn’t fit the stereotype doesn’t get published. © Susanne Jorgensen, The Singles Gym – 2010 • Most people get their information about scientific findings from newspapers or
  19. 19. from television, which don’t use the most stringent criteria. A typical example: o In 2005 a report was published that claimed that men have trouble hearing women. Mark Liberman, a professor of phonetics, was prompted by his skepticism, to find out where the author had got her figures. o To cut a long story short, she admitted to having found the evidence from a self-help book. The author of the report admitted that her claim was not supported by evidence and said it would be deleted from future editions. But the damage was already done. Deborah Cameron, The Myth of Mars and Venus).The explanation that gender differences are biologically based – down to our innate ‘wiring’ -imply it can’t be changed. This argument completely ignores the research on the impact ofculture and our experiences and the newest and growing research on the plasticity of thebrain. Why We Buy Into The Myth of Mars and Venus ParadigmIt is a human tendency to rely on stereotypes when processing information about people – weall do it to some degree. It’s a short-cut to help us deal with new people and situations.Because we have a desire to fit in and belong (see Maslow’s Hierarchy of Human Needs), weuse the information about gender as information about what’s ‘normal’. ‘Individuals who deviate too much from the stereotyped views of masculinity and femininity are seen somewhat negatively… the aggressive woman who is seen as a bitch or the nurturing, compliant man who is seen as a wimp’ (Golomok and Fivush p 19).The more we need to fit in, the more we will adhere to the gender stereotypes.In fact, Golombok and Fivush note that ‘overall males tend to hold more stereotyped viewsabout gender than females, and individuals with more years of formal education tend to beless stereotyped in their views about gender than those with less formal schooling’.Another reason we buy into it is that a certain percentage of the population do fit in the typicalgender stereotypes. But as the research shows, these individuals only account for the 30–40% of the (American) population. It doesn’t accurately describe the 60 to 70% of people whodon’t fit into the stereotype. (Tieger & Barron Tieger in Just Your Type).It’s easy to believe we fit in because we want to. © Susanne Jorgensen, The Singles Gym – 2010 The Real Dangers Behind The Mars-Venus Myth
  20. 20. In their popular book Why Men Don’t Listen and Women Can’t Read Maps, Pease & Peasewrite: ‘If women and men are identical....how could men ever have achieved such total dominance over the world?’The danger of such a statement is that it does not account for any cultural context. Until morerecently, women: Were denied the right to an education. Were denied the right to work. Were denied the right to vote. Were denied public speaking.And have you noticed that when women exceed men in education, we get worried and it hitsthe headlines that we need to do more for our boys.It reminds one of the days, when blacks, in America, were labeled as less intelligent and usedas slaves – all the while they were being denied the same rights of work and education as thewhites. Today the United States has a black president.I’m also intrigued that the authors of Why Men Don’t Listen and Women Can’t Read Maps,have missed some glaring contradictions in their book. For example, they give evidence toshow that that women are much better at peripheral vision. Yet later on they explain thatfighter pilots can learn to increase their peripheral vision.Two things strike me here. Firstly, it should follow that if women are biologically wired to havebetter peripheral vision, then they would qualify as better fighter pilots, yet this is apredominately male profession.Secondly, if peripheral vision is innate, then how could male fighter pilots be taught toincrease theirs?To argue, in this day and age that mens’ ‘total dominance’ is down to innate wiring isludicrous! Let’s not be so naive as to believe that gender stereotypes are devoid of a culturalcontext. More Problems With Venus-MarsThe Gender War has increased, not decreased. Despite all the relationship advice from all theexperts, the gender gap has widened. As one of my clients remarked in exasperation: ‘if menand women are so different to start with, we haven’t a hope in hell of making relationshipswork’.Generalisations encourage excuses. When you and your partner disagree on something – it’sso much easier to fall back into the default model – ‘it’s just the way we men/women are’. © Susanne Jorgensen, The Singles Gym – 2010There really isn’t a solution to the conflicts and problems that we are experiencing during thissocial change. The solution being offered is to do nothing. The message is to accept what
  21. 21. cannot be altered and apportion blame – the women’s movement being the most obvious.What you expect is what you get. If you keep telling men and women how they should be,that’s what they will be. We are perpetuating an old model of gender stereotypes - one whichclearly isn’t working in today’s world.The Venus-Mars paradigm stops us thinking about what social arrangements might workbetter than our current ones, in the world in which we live. As Deborah Cameron suggests,‘Men are from Earth. Women are from Earth. Deal with it. Clinging to myths about the waymen and women communicate is no way to deal with it. To deal with the problems andopportunities facing men and women now, we must look beyond the myth of Mars and Venus’What would happen if we could step outside of the Mar-Venus paradigm and really thinkabout what would best work for us – in whatever situation the modern world presents to us?Are you caught up in the Mars - Venus Trap? If you are, maybe that’s why you are strugglingto find your ideal partner. Maybe that’s why your relationships don’t last – you don’t have theflexibility to flow with change.As Susan Jeffers recommends and to which I whole-heartedly agree:‘Don’t let the opinions of experts (including me) affect your choice of how to be in arelationship… You have to rely on your own wisdom by picking up the mirror, looking inside,seeing what feels right for you and then following your heart’ Feel The Fear Guide To Lasting LoveI hope you enjoyed this ebook, that is was useful for you and gave you some ‘food forthought’!If you are ready to take the next step to transforming your love life and want to: • Discover what’s really been getting in your way • Discover why its NOT your fault • Discover why ignorance isnt bliss and how what you dont know will hurt • Discover what you can do to take control of your relationship successRequest: a FREE Webinar by clicking on the link: "Successful But Single - Finding Love At The Top"Wishing you happiness and success in life and love!Susanne

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