Obesely Speaking

The brain and obesity

Dumped Again?

The five main reasons people are dumped.
Aaron Ben-Zeév
This post is a response to Why We All Need to Belong to Someone by Aaron Ben-Zeév, Ph.D.

There are very good reasons some people are dumped more often than coffee grounds. These are the five major reasons:

Number 1: Sex

If the sex is bad, it is just a matter of time until the: “I think we should be friends… it’s not you, it’s me,” speech. If the sex is good, people stick around. If the sex is great, people max out credit cards and write bad checks. Sex is like athletics. Some people are naturals, others are not. We cannot all be Venus Williams, but anybody can learn to play tennis. Considering the importance placed on sex, the number of sexually incompetent people is amazing. 

Over the years, which have been much kinder than the weekends, I have had a lot of sex in various scenarios. With women, with men, traditional, kinky, orgies, ménage-a-trois’s, ménage-a-cinq’s, ménage-a-neuf’s, you name it, been there, done that (and/or them)—don’t judge me.

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I have observed this: women are generally bad at sex, especially oral sex, which has more to do with social stigma than being female. Men are worse. Foreplay is a foreign concept; they ejaculate at the speed of light; and could not find the G-spot with Google Maps. Like athletics, if you want to become good at sex, master the basics, then break out the toys. Sex (not to be confused with making love) is play. Bring your A-game or do not come at all—no pun intended.

Sex provides rich neurochemical rewards, especially dopamine and oxytocin. The former is the brain’s happy dance drug, and the latter is its hug drug. The brain wants these rewards. If it is not getting them, it will leave, and take the rest of the body with it.

Number 2: Excessive Neediness

Romantic partners are not your shrink, friend, parent, fan, confessor, or God. Neediness is tedious and unattractive, especially in large doses. The human brain is busy. It naturally recoils from circumstances that increase demands—especially the male brain. Never expect long-term relationship rewards to be available in a new relationship just because you are, “in a relationship.” Like most things in life, relationships build over time. People who are consistently dumped generally overburden their companions with inappropriate expectations and demands.

The slower you ride, the further you go. Wanting is not getting. You cannot force companionship. Trying only invites solitude. The brain consolidates and simplifies information and passes it on over generations. We call that instinct. Mistrusting and devaluing things, which are too readily available, is a basic human instinct. The apotheosis of your companion is not flattering it is disconcerting. Once you place a person on that pedestal, they have two choices: fall down, or get down and walk way. Ego usually chooses the latter. Shared interests are a bonus, but not mandatory. That is why you have your friends and colleagues. If you love scrabble, play it with your scrabble friends. Do not insist the person you are in a relationship with join you; worse yet, do not insist on insinuating yourself into the other person’s life in that manner. You will find your “us thing,” give it time.

Number 3: Loss of Self

One person is maize, the other person is blue, and their relationship is green. Do not define yourself by the relationship. The relationship should define itself by shades of maize and blue, not vice versa. Some one dates you because they are attracted to you. When you are no longer that person, the reason they came for is gone. Making your priorities and goals secondary to maintaining a relationship is disingenuous. Self-advocacy and self-agency is not selfishness, it is honesty. It amazes me how boring people become after they are “in a relationship.” Redefine yourself constantly. Think of your life as if it were a movie. What would make and keep it interesting? Those things will keep him or her interested.

Number 4: Failure to Communicate and Observe

When the brain forms an opinion about something, it looks for things to reaffirm that opinion and ignores conflictive information. Never enter a relationship with an opinion about who the other person is, or what they are capable of it. If you do, you will miss vital information and end up dumped or worse. You have to listen to what people say, and to what they do. Sloppy language is fatal. Never presume that a word means the same thing to another person as it does to you. 

Number 5: Control Issues


Next to sex, this is the biggest relationship assassin. You cannot force a relationship; it is like telling a cat to sit. Nor, can you impose your value system on another person—for long. A person’s thoughts are private, even if they are about you, and people are who they are. You have one right—deciding how close or removed from that you want to be. Affection does not drive jealousy the need for control does, which stems from personal insecurity. Jealousy not only makes you crazy, it gets you dumped.

So, summarily: be good in bed, present yourself like a gift not an invoice, lick your wounds on your own time, check your expectations at the door, and take a lover not a hostage. Most importantly, stay in the moment. The past and the future are only valid when they are present. If you fixate on things in the past, or fret about the future of a relationship, there will be no future. After that, the next step is simple: remain fabulous and phenomenal!

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Billi Gordon, Ph.D., is  Co-Investigator in the  Ingestive Behaviors & Obesity Program, Center for the Neurobiology of Stress, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.

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