The Psychology of Profile Picture Selection

Personal profile pictures often display a glimpse of the arm of another person in them. This makes me wonder, "Why would people choose a picture with someone else in it?"

The Modern Way of Saying "I Love You"

Ten years ago, “I love you” was the statement that new lovers waited in breathless anticipation to hear. Nowadays, a new statement seems to have replaced "I love you."

If You Meet a Shark in the Dating Pool, Swim Away!

Beware that "soulmate" feelings may be echoes of former trauma that may lead us into a relationship that will morph into the nightmare of the abusive situation.

How Cocaine-Rush Feelings Are Stimulated on "The Bachelor"

Here are five examples of ways in which the scripting of reality TV shows enhances “cocaine-rush” feelings in new relationships.

New Love Euphoria Mimics Effects of Crack Cocaine

There are at least ten compelling reasons to use a model of addiction to crack cocaine to describe the euphoria that results from new love.

When Rage Is the "Third Party" in a Relationship

For some couples, rage is a "third party" in the relationship in much the same way as alcohol or drugs can be.

Financial Insecurity Among High-Earning Individuals

“Lack of money” and “fighting over financial matters” are dominant issues for even the most well-resourced couples. What might explain these interesting findings?
Financial Status of Highly-Educated Early-Career Women

Financial Status of Highly-Educated Early-Career Women

Over a series of 4 or 5 blog posts, I'll be discussing the topic of finances as a stressor in marriages. To lay the groundwork for these posts, this post describes several financial characteristics of a highly unique sample of women that I polled in 2008 (The Lifestyle Poll).

Relationships that are especially prone to love blindness

People in love often overestimate the actual potential of a succession of steamy phone conversations, weekend dalliances, or romantically titillating email chats to translate into a successful life partnership.
Impulsivity and "The Little Mermaid Syndrome"

Impulsivity and "The Little Mermaid Syndrome"

Sadly, in real life, there are plenty of “Ariels” (both men and women) who commit themselves in radical ways to people they barely know. No matter how sexually liberated one deems oneself, I’d submit that none of us wants to roll over in the morning and have our lover say, “So, what was your name again?”

Delay of Gratification and Exceptional Marriages

Waiting for a partner who is capable of maintaining a lifelong, happy marriage, and enjoying a long courtship with that person to really test mutual compatibility is an adult version of some research participants waiting for two marshmallows in Walter Mischel's landmark study of delayed gratification.
What Is Scarce Becomes Very Attractive

What Is Scarce Becomes Very Attractive

A blog post about the "beer goggle" effect - what it's really about (e.g. it's not really about alcohol) and how it explains the way that women with vastly different personalities conclude that a given Bachelor on ABC's "The Bachelor" is their pre-destined soul mate.

Choosing a Good "Stud" for 'The Bachelor'

Instead of allowing contestants to know anything of substance about his true character, the producers of 'The Bachelor' would be wise to instead emphasize his raw masculinity. If he is well built, then the plans for the show should include multiple opportunities for him to strip off his shirt and flex his muscles, cast in the role of the supreme protector of "his women."

To Breed or Not to Breed...that is the Question

Can models of sexual orientation help us decide whether and when to launch a family?

Marital Happiness and the Transition to Parenthood

Do kids really kill a good marriage?

Excitement, Longing, and Passion in lifelong relationships

Readers offer provocative perspectives on the possibility of sustaining excitement and passion in lifelong relationships.

How Long Can We Maintain the Rush of New Love?

Typically, the law of diminishing returns applies in the realm of love relationships. Over time, a kiss generally has relatively diminished power to produce the same explosion of feeling as it once did. No relationship remains in the cocaine-rush phase forever as a rule. There are exceptions to every rule however…

How to Have your Partner's Back

I’ve noticed that when I ask patients if they have a good working definition of emotional safety, it is often hard for them to generate a response. Within the military culture, the related concept that is the closest fit is the idea of “having your partner’s back.” In terms of emotional safety, there are four ways to have your partner’s back...
Shifting Perceptions in New Relationships

Shifting Perceptions in New Relationships

Have you ever wondered how children and their parents or two siblings can say the most awful things to each other, often without putting their relationships in real jeopardy, when newlyweds cannot do the same?

How to Ask for Change in Your Marriage

There is wisdom inherent in the "mud sandwich" principle when asking for change in close relationships. A healthy love relationship can tolerate plenty of change and mutual correction at the level of specific behaviors if both partners protect each other well on the level of global perception.

How do Spouses Want to be Seen by their Partners?

For more than a decade, marital researchers engaged in an ongoing debate that boils down to two opposing viewpoints. One camp insisted that happily married spouses want to be known and loved as the people they are, with their warts and all. The other camp insisted that happily married spouses want to be idealized in their partners’ eyes...

Be a Man: Respect Women

I asked my sample of well-educated women: “If you had to choose between feeling alone and unloved by everyone in the world or feeling disrespected and inadequate by everyone in the world, what would you choose? Can you comment on which situation would be WORSE to bear and why?”

Women Need Love and Men Need Respect?

Emerson Eggerichs, best-selling author of Love and Respect, asserts, “Husbands are made to be respected, want respect, and expect respect. Many wives fail to deliver. The result is that five out of ten marriages land in divorce court.” Has he discovered the ultimate key to marital success or are his views based on a faulty premise?
Travelling Alone May Be Good For Your Relationship

Travelling Alone May Be Good For Your Relationship

Travelling alone can present moments of solitary terror and experiences of exhilaration and renewal that are different from the renewal we experience when we travel with our partners. In the context of my marriage of 15 years, our solitary adventures have been a vital component in keeping our relationship vital and happy.

How Long to Wait Before Getting Married

In nearly each audience that I’ve spoken to about marital decision-making, someone raises a hand and says, “My parents fell in love and got married a month later, and they’ve been completely happy together for the last 50 years.” A handful of marriages might thrive after short courtships, but for every one of these examples, a much greater number end in divorce.

How Perfectionism Hurts Relationships

When an individual is caught up in the bondage of perfectionist striving, he or she is likely to be less interested in developing a healthy, mutually satisfying marriage and more interested in chasing the elusive rabbit in his or her own head.

Dangerous Reasons to Get Married

If you are on the hunt for a spouse, take an honest look at your motivations. When motivation to marry comes from anxiety, inadequacy, or self-centered pragmatics, you may be setting yourself up for what author Pamela Paul has referred to as a “starter marriage."

Unresolved Trauma Attracts the Sharks in the Dating Pool

Sharks in the dating pool will bump up against those they are getting to know, putting out feelers in the form of little tests to gauge the potential for dominating someone. There are many, many forms that these tests can take...
What Happens in Vegas does NOT stay in Vegas

What Happens in Vegas does NOT stay in Vegas

What happens in Vegas does NOT stay in Vegas. If you know that your partner would be upset to hear that you had strippers at your bachelor/bachelorette party, this decision will affect your marriage.
Fighting Before Marriage is a Good Thing

Fighting Before Marriage is a Good Thing

Some people see fighting as a sign of fundamental incompatibilities. They are right - we are all incompatible on some levels, and it’s delusionary to think otherwise. Two people who go into their marriage knowing that they can stay connected despite conflict have a much better chance of staying married.