How good is this advice?

swans-in-loveI love newspapers and news magazines. They are absolutely obsessed with positive psychology. Everything is about making yourself better, faster, stronger, etc. And they always put this stuff in a section called “Living” or “Life.” This brings to mind growth. No one wants to hear the bad stuff,that you will probably die alone, that you’ll never get that promotion. I wonder what kind of person reads this stuff every day.

Today, I’m taking a look at an article from The Huffington Post, How to Attract your Life Partner. I want to know, is this stuff real, or is is simply leftovers from Cosmo?

It starts out simple enough. If you want the right partner, here are a few things that you can do to work on yourself to “enhance your ability to attract someone who is really complimentary to you.”

1. What did you learn? Look at your last relationship and what went wrong. What were their complaints about you? As much as you don’t like what they were, you need to look at why they had them and, without dismissing it, find out if there was any truth in it. Usually there will be something in their opinion, at least to some extent. That will give you a good indication where you need to make steps to evolve.

This is pretty good advice, and I’m all for self improvement. Although I wouldn’t go calling the person up. “Hello, yeah, could you tell me the top five things about me that disgisted you?” Also remember that you are very likely to dismiss everything your ex says and your ex is likely to exaggerate every miniscule thing about you in the heat of the moment.

2. Dispelling the Unknown. Are you in any way uncomfortable around the opposite sex? Now this can be more prevalent if you didn’t grow up with a sibling or parent of the opposite sex, or you did, but you didn’t get on well with them. If this were the case, then you would do well to learn as much as you can about how the opposite sex is different and how the other half tick. Maybe that means developing friendships, reading books, going to therapy. If you are a woman, read men’s magazines, if you are a man, read women’s. Anything that will help you gain more information and dispel any enigmatic qualities that you think they might hold. The more knowledge you have, the better.

This is kind of silly. Women’s magazines suck. They’re all about picking up men, and they’re mostly wrong (unless it involves sex, or food, if sex is not available due to some unforseen circumstance like religious affiliation or rationing.) In psychology we study sex differences; it’s not going to get us laid. (“I have a better sense of direction but you have a better sense of location that is genetically hard-wired into our brains. Lets fuck!”) The key is to talk to the guy (or girl) like he is a human being. And if you have a question, ask. I still ask my wife questions.

3. A good match. Write down the best qualities of your father, if you are a woman and the best qualities of your mother, if you are a man. That will really give you a good indication the kind of man or woman that would be suitable for you.

valentine-darwin1They say that men marry women like their mothers and women marry men like their fathers. In reality, I would say that there are certain featured that both sexes look for and that people who maintain successful relationships seem to have. You think you married a man like your father because a good proportion of the traits you are looking for are actually very attractive to the population as a whole. David Buss writes very well on human mate choice.

4. Your internal partner. What does your internal male side think of your internal female side? Imagine you are writing down what he thinks of her and write whatever comes to your mind. Maybe he thinks she is fearful, insecure or a bit aggressive. Then when you have finished, write what your internal female side thinks of your internal male side. Maybe she thinks he’s a bully, weak or thoughtless. Whatever comes to mind, write it down. Your long-term goal is that they come to really love and respect each other. Remember, whatever happens externally has to happen internally first and your goal is to feel really whole inside to help magnetize you towards a partner that is really good for you.

I hate this stuff. You do not have a “male side” and a “female side.” You are either a male or female, and you will present interests and characteristics that are associated with male and female socialization. Just because I enjoyed Fried Green Tomatoes doesn’t mean I have some female side. In fact, the whole idea behind this is scary. These people want to believe that gender role socialization is so biologically ingrained that any expression of opposite-sex socialization means that their opposite sex part of the brain has taken over. This is actually offensive.

5. What do you want? List the qualities that are important to you in a partner. Don’t make them super human, as that person doesn’t exist and being unrealistic will stop you from drawing them in. So write down the top five qualities you would like and leave the rest to fate. Do you want them to be warm, loyal, honest, giving with a good sense of humor? Chose your own, but do be specific.

As i said before, those top five qualities will probably be the same as everyone else’s. Just look at the qualities mentioned: warm, loyal, honest, giving, good sens of humor. No one says “I want a cold, cheating, dishonest thief who nevr laughs at my jokes and thinks Andrew Dice Clay is funny.”

So, after this trashing, here’s some real advice.

1) Evaluate yourself- What are your strengths and weaknesses. More importantly, what do youvalentine-sagan love and hate about yourself. If you hate some quality of yourself, it will show, and it will look like self-loathing. Your potential mate will be turned off either by the same quality you hate, or your hatred of said quality. Work on yourself first.

2) Be assertive and flexible- Don’t be one of those dayes who always says “I don’t know, where do you want to eat? What would you like to watch?” No one wants to make all of the decisions all of the time. Your partner will be unhappy and you will be unhappy because you’re not getting what you want. Stand up for the things that you really want, throw away the stuff that you really don’t care about (“red or blue sweater, make a decision now!”), and be flexible for all of the stuff in between. If you’re assertive and your partner can’t handle that, the relationship was doomed anyway.

3) Be honest- Ask questions. Tell about yourself. Don’t treat the situation like a romantic one. Think of it as finding a new friend. Introduce yourself the same way you would to a friend, and allow the relationship to grow from there.

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