Some ways to improve your marriage — with little help from your spouse

gears

Good news! It is entirely possible to improve and enhance your marriage – by working on it yourself.

Systems Theory 101 states that a change in one part of the system leads to changes in other parts of the system.  In other words, change is like a chain reaction. One spouse tips over the first domino, then the other one mostly likely will change too.

When a spouse who is dissatisfied in the relationship decides to change their method of getting through to their partner, they aren’t doing “all the work.” Assuming responsibility for creating positive change in life isn’t working harder, it’s working smarter.

You don’t have to mention to your spouse that you are working on yourself.  But the difference will be noticed and appreciated. Be patient, the process can take a while.

 

Accept that successful marriage takes work.

Anything worthwhile takes work. Even if you find yourself struggling in the marriage, there is probably nothing really wrong.  (Unless, there is.) You may need some tools and mindset shifts. Don’t give up just because you’re having a rough time.

You might benefit from talking to a knowledgeable mashpia or professional marriage counselor.

Notice what you are contributing to the problem.

Notice your patterns.  Too often, we are fixated on what the other is doing wrong or not doing, that we forget about what we might be doing.   Maybe, just maybe, it is you who starts many of the fights.  Or you have unusually high expectations.

By becoming aware of these patterns, you will realize how much power you really do hold in the relationship’s well-being.  This will get you out of that feeling of discouragement that it won’t get any better until the other changes. It’s actually very empowering.

Fully accept your partner.

Let go.  Make peace with those traits that annoy you in your partner; it will reduce frictions and boost your overall happiness. Not everything will be perfect or go the way you think is best.

Sometimes, you have to put aside your pride. Or maybe even laugh about it, “that’s just who s/he is.”

Start by addressing one area.

A small one; so you can see improvements quickly.  And then another small one. The more small shifts you can appreciate and notice, the more encouraged you will feel. This alone will bring new energy and vitality to your relationship!

You fly off the handle too quickly? When you catch yourself getting angry, count until ten.  Do you tend to interrupt your spouse midsentence? Hone your listening skills.

Do more of what works and less of what doesn’t.  

Reflect about what is working well. What is it that you are doing when your spouse is acting  loving and considerate? Do more of that.

What are you doing that pushes their buttons. Or, what is it that you nag about? Just stop doing that. Either let it go, or experiment with other ways to address it.

Get vulnerable. Be the first to open up about the state of your marriage.

One of you has to go first. Apologize first. Be vulnerable first. Yield first. Forgive first. Why not let that person be you? It also shows your commitment to really improving the relationship.

“There’s been something on my mind for a while now.  I don’t want to live with all this fighting.   I’ve been thinking about what I have been contributing to the issue. Can we discuss this together?”

Have patience.

Trust the process. When you change, people notice. It may take a while for them to learn new responses. They might be used to always distrusting your words, it might take a while to see that you are genuine.  


 Related:

Recording of Rabbi Shais Taub on “How to Enhance a marriage even without the Help of the Spouse”

http://i41631.wixsite.com/adai-ad/taub-takesone

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A Vocabulary of Emotions

Emoticons

In expressing feelings, it is helpful to use words that refer to the specific emotions rather than words that are vague or general. The following lists have been compiled to help you increase your power to articulate feelings and clearly describe a whole range of emotional states (adapted from NVC, by Marshall Rosenberg).

How we are likely to feel when our needs are being met.

  • absorbed
  • adventurous
  • affectionate
  • alert
  • alive
  • amazed
  • amused
  • animated
  • appreciative
  • ardent
  • aroused
  • astonished
  • blissful
  • breathless
  • buoyant
  • calm
  • carefree
  • cheerful
  • comfortable
  • complacent
  • composed
  • concerned
  • confident
  • contented
  • cool
  • curious
  • dazzled
  • delighted
  • eager
  • ebullient
  • ecstatic
  • effervescent
  • elated
  • enchanted
  • encouraged
  • energetic
  • engrossed
  • enlivened
  • enthusiastic
  • excited
  • exhilarated
  • expansive
  • expectant
  • exultant
  • fascinated
  • free
  • friendly
  • fulfilled
  • glad
  • gleeful
  • glorious
  • glowing
  • good-humored
  • grateful
  • gratified
  • happy
  • helpful
  • hopeful
  • inquisitive
  • inspired
  • intense
  • interested
  • invigorated
  • involved
  • joyous
  • joyful
  • jubilant
  • keyed-up
  • loving
  • mellow
  • merry
  • mirthful
  • moved
  • optimistic
  • overjoyed
  • overwhelmed
  • peaceful
  • perky
  • pleasant
  • pleased
  • proud
  • quiet
  • radiant
  • rapturous
  • refreshed
  • relaxed
  • relieved
  • satisfied
  • secure
  • sensitive
  • serene
  • spellbound
  • splendid
  • stimulated
  • surprised
  • tender
  • thankful
  • thrilled
  • touched
  • tranquil
  • trusting
  • upbeat
  • warm
  • wide-awake
  • wonderful
  • zestful

How we’re likely to feel when our needs are not being met

  • afraid
  • aggravated
  • agitated
  • alarmed
  • aloof
  • angry
  • anguished
  • annoyed
  • anxious
  • apathetic
  • apprehensive
  • aroused
  • ashamed
  • beat
  • bewildered
  • bitter
  • blah
  • blue
  • bored
  • brokenhearted
  • chagrined
  • cold
  • concerned
  • confused
  • cool
  • cross
  • dejected
  • depressed
  • despairing
  • despondent
  • detached
  • disaffected
  • disappointed
  • discouraged
  • disenchanted
  • disgruntled
  • disgusted
  • disheartened
  • dismayed
  • displeased
  • disquieted
  • distressed
  • disturbed
  • downcast
  • downhearted
  • dull
  • edgy
  • embarrassed
  • embittered
  • exasperated
  • exhausted
  • fatigued
  • fearful
  • fidgety
  • forlorn
  • frightened
  • frustrated.
  • furious
  • guilty
  • harried
  • heavy
  • helpless
  • hesitant
  • horrible
  • horrified
  • hostile
  • hot
  • humdrum
  • hurt
  • impatient
  • indifferent
  • intense
  • irate
  • irked
  • irritated
  • jealous
  • jittery
  • keyed-up
  • lazy
  • leery
  • lethargic
  • listless
  • lonely
  • mad
  • mean
  • miserable
  • mopey
  • morose
  • mournful
  • nervous
  • nettled
  • numb
  • overwhelmed
  • panicky
  • passive
  • perplexed
  • pessimistic
  • puzzled
  • rancorous
  • reluctant
  • repelled
  • resentful
  • restless
  • sad
  • scared
  • sensitive
  • shaky
  • shocked
  • skeptical
  • sleepy
  • sorrowful
  • sorry
  • spiritless
  • startled
  • surprised
  • suspicious
  • tepid
  • terrified
  • tired
  • troubled
  • uncomfortable
  • unconcerned
  • uneasy
  • unglued
  • unhappy
  • unnerved
  • unsteady
  • upset
  • uptight
  • vexed
  • weary
  • wistful
  • withdrawn
  • were
  • woeful
  • worried
  • wretched
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Expressing your Real Feelings

whatdoyoufeel

The difficulty in identifying and expressing feelings is common. For couples and families, the toll is severe when members are unable to communicate emotions.

It is important to distinguish feelings from thoughts.

A common confusion, generated by the English language, is our use of the word feel without actually expressing a feeling. For example, in the sentence, “I feel I didn’t get a fair chance,” the words “I feel” could be more accurately replaced with “I think”.

Often times, we use the word feel when we are actually expressing an opinion. In general, it is not actual feelings, but rather opinions,  are being expressed when the word ‘feel’ is followed by:

1. Words such as that, like, as if:

“I feel that he should know better.”
“I feel like a failure.”
“I feel as if I’m talking to a wall.”

2. The pronouns I, you, he, she, they, it:

“I feel I am constantly on call.”
“I feel it is useless.”

3.  Names or pronouns referring to people:

“I feel Sammy has been very irresponsible.”
“I feel my spouse is being manipulative.”

Actually, in the English language, it is not necessary to use the word feel at all when you’re actually expressing a feeling. We can say “I’m feeling relieved”  or simply “I’m relieved”.

Distinguish between what we feel and what we think we are.

It’s important to distinguish between the words that express actual feelings and those that describe what we think we are.

1.  Description of what we think we are:

“I feel inadequate as a mother.”
In this statement she is assessing her ability as a wife rather than clearly expressing her feelings.

2. Expressions of the actual feelings:

“I feel disappointed in myself as a mother.”

“I feel frustrated with myself as a mother.”
The actual feeling behind the assessment of herself as inadequate could therefore be disappointment or frustration or some other emotion.

Distinguish between words that describe what we think others are doing around us and words that describe actual feelings

Similarly, it is helpful to differentiate between words that describe what we think others are doing around us and words that describe actual feelings.

1. “I feel unimportant to the people in my family”
The word unimportant describes how I think others are evaluating me rather than an actual feeling which in this situation might be I feel sad or I feel discouraged.

2. “I feel misunderstood.”
Here, the word misunderstood indicates an assessment of the other person’s level of understanding me rather than an actual feeling. In this situation, she may be feeling anxious or annoyed or some other emotion.

3.  “I feel ignored.”
This is more of an interpretation of the actions of the other than a clear statement of how we’re feeling. No doubt there have been times we thought we were being ignored and our feeling was relief was released because he wanted to be left to ourselves. No doubt there were other times  when we felt hurt when we thought we were being ignored because he wanted to be more involved.

It is actually important to share your feelings rather than statements such as “I feel like I’m talking to a wall.” Those are unlikely to bring your feelings and desires to your spouse. The spouse  would most likely be hear those words as criticism rather than invitation or request to connect. Furthermore, such statements often lead to self fulfilling prophecies. The spouse just heard him/herself criticized for behaving like a wall; s/he is hurt and discouraged and doesn’t respond, thereby confirming the image of him/herself as a wall.

These small nuances make a huge difference in communication and relationships.

See a full range of emotions here.

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Rabbi Lipskier responds

Recently, Rabbi Mendel Lipskier of Sherman Oaks, CA spoke via conference call to newly married men about the first years of marriage.  You can access the recording here.  

Several questions came in anonymously after the call. Rabbi Lipskier has graciously agreed to answer them. Here are his brief answers; these should all be explored more in depth with appropriate parties.


Q: Once life gets a bit busy with children, Shlichus or work, is it right to set times to be together? Or does that make it systematic rather than emotional?

A: Make time. Schedule time. It may not be spontaneous, but it turns into something greater. The Rebbe stressed that the husband-wife unit must be retained in order to have a healthy family.  The Rebbe suggested to his secretary, Rabbi Klein, that he take a walk with his wife once a week.

Q: What brings an emotional connection before intimacy?  Is it long conversations etc? How do you speed the process and do it right?

A: Connect and show your care throughout the whole day. It begins with a sweet good morning. And genuine compliments during the day.  A tea (or something that you both enjoy) in the evening. After a day of connection and care, the emotional flows faster.

Q: What if wife does not feel the pleasure of intimacy, and does not request/enjoy being intimate. We are intimate only when I request, and only once in a while.

A: Something seems off here and needs to be examined with a professional.  It may be physical, mental or emotional shut down.  Be compassionate through the process.

Q: All Sholom Bayis books are about listening to your wife, what if your wife is not so talkative?

A: Gemara says women talk. Either she has some previous issues. Or you may have shut her down or out. Don’t ignore it.

Q: My wife never talks to me, never has anything to share with me. Is there a way to get her to open up more? What can be the problem? It’s not like I try to solve problems, so I’m not sure why she would ever think I don’t listen or in tune to what she’s saying.

A: This needs some intervention, to learn skills and mindsets to really be present.

Q: If your wife is not responsible, how do you not show frustration?

A: Would you be frustrated at your child?  If you love someone, you must learn patience.  Help her learn by modeling good behavior.

Q: Is it appropriate to try to influence your wife in a positive direction in learning avodah, middos etc. Or does this compromise her personal and emotional space? How to find a healthy mashpia relationship?

A: Yes, this can be done.  In the proper way.  When you hold her high on a silver platter, then are gentle and supportive, she may be willing to see if she is really happy with who she is or wants to improve.

Q: What would you tell a husband that’s going through an unconsummated marriage for over a year due to vaginismus. They are going to therapy but the husband feels sexually frustrated?

A: This is URGENT.  Find a real professional who specializes in this field. It could be one of  a variety of things. Too often, it is misdiagnosed.  There is some halachik advice, call a good rov.

Q: How to balance technology use, phone,  etc. I work all day and don’t have opportunity to use my phone or technology then. I know that when I come home, it is important to spend time with my wife. So when do I get to check my email, whatsapps, and the rest?

A: Oy vay this one can really be a bad one on both spouses. Many women are also addicted to phone… First hour or two at home, Phone AWAY!!!

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Shalom Bayis Week – June 18-23, 2017

SHALOM BAYIS WEEK (1)

Onthe holiday of Shavuos, the yiden ‘married’ Hashem at Matan Torah. The whole month of Sivan is infused with this spirit of marriage and shalom bayis.  In that spirit, CHJCC and Adai Ad instituted a “Shalom Bayis Week”.

During this week, they will present a series of valuable discussions about shalom bayis via conference calls. There is a great lineup of important topics with top presenters to inspire you to deepen your marriage to the next level of connectedness and strength.  Or to help your friends and family enrich their marriage.

Devora Krasnianski of Adai Ad, organizer of this week and of the many conference calls and workshops in the recent past, shares,  “The timing of this Shalom Bayis Week – right before the summer –  works out really well. For some couples, their children will be away during the summer and they might be more relaxed, and have some time and head space to try out new tools.   Additionally, in the warm weather people are outside more and have the opportunity to talk to friends and neighbors, and can share ideas to enhance shalom bayis.”

This week’s schedule:

  • Sunday. Rabbi Pinney & Rebetzin Helana Herman will present about “Turning Conflict into Connection”, including mindsets and tools to build stronger relationships.  Based on the Imago principles integrated with chasidus.

 

  • Monday. Rabbi Mendel Lipskier from Sherman Oaks, California will talk to newly married men (and anyone else who wants to listen in) about the first years of marriage. He will be answeringquestions that newly married men have or didn’t even know to ask, and what young wives wish someone would tell their husbands.

 

  • Wednesday.   Dr. Elka Jacobs-Pinson will share about “How children impactedby their parent’s marriage” What the child hears and sees in the home affects them for life- both positively and negatively.  She will discuss what parents should and should not do in their own marriage for the sake of their child’s mental health.

 

  • Thursday. Rabbi Shais Taub will present “How to enhance a marriage singlehandedly, even without the help of the spouse.” In some marriages, this is the best possible way to improve the marriage.

 

All calls begin at 8:45 PM eastern PROMPT. Call in number is 641-552-9123 Access # 256965.   Questions can be sent in advance or during the call to info@adaiad.org or anonymously using the form at www.adaiad.org/ask-anonymous-question.

This series, as well as many of the other recent calls and workshops provided by Crown heights Jewish Community Council and Adai Ad were made possible by a grant from the New York City Council Domestic Violence Initiative awarded by our Council Member Matthieu Eugene.

Check Adai Ad’s website for upcoming calls and events at http://www.adaiad.org/events or recordings of past events at www.adaiad.org/past-events.

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How to detect narcissistic tendencies during dating

narcissist-feature

I recently met with Dr. Elinor Greenberg, author of Borderline, Narcissistic, and Schizoid Adaptations: The Pursuit of Love, Admiration, and Safety and several articles about narcissism and other personality disorders. Dr. Greenberg has done extensive research and study about these behaviors and the impact on the people around them.  Our conversation was specific to narcissism as it relates to marriage.


DK: In very short, what is narcissism?

EG: In way too short, narcissism is a set of coping mechanisms and strategies to deal with unstable self-esteem and low capacity for empathy that results from unmet interpersonal needs in childhood.

DK: So what might that look like in a marriage?  What might it be like to be married to a narcissist?

EG: First, I want to clarify. Nobody is a narcissist. Labels, however well intended, cannot do justice to human complexity. Someone may have a pattern of behaviors that fall under the specific diagnosis.  (However for the rest of our discussion, we will call these people ‘narcissists’  to avoid the lengthy explanation like the one I just described.)

To answer the question about what it might be like to be married to a narcissist. Wow! It’s an intense roller coaster.  First a quick description of the gestalt of narcissistic people.

Highly narcissistic people are unable to regulate their self-esteem by themselves. They need the validation of others in order not to fall into self-hating depressions characterized by abject shame over what they see as their irreparable defects. This leads them to spend an inordinate amount of time and energy trying to impress others.  This persistent internal preoccupation with status and validation, coupled with their inability to reassure themselves of their own self-worth without constant admiration of others leads them to be acutely sensitive to anything that impacts their self-esteem.  In particular, this means that they are highly sensitive to interpersonal situations that have to do with status, admiration and acknowledgment; or conversely, those that relate to criticism, humiliation and shame.

Thus, they often act as if everyone they meet is there either to admire or shame them. As if these were the only possible and appropriate responses the other person could make.  You are either their admiring audience or their critical audience.

They react negatively when they feel that the other person has shamed them. Key word is ‘feel’ – when they feel shamed.   How they respond depends on their temperament; those with ‘avoidant’ temperaments might use the silent treatment or take things away and those who are more ‘confrontational’ might verbally devalue the other person, or even worse physically lash out or break things. One man who was angry at his wife, threw a cup against the wall so that it smashed into pieces next to her head.

Their responses can be way out of proportion to what others might overlook as minor slights.   The spouse and family are likely to be constantly walking on eggshells when around them, never knowing what might trigger their rage and how it will manifest this time.  Hence, they are constantly stressed.

There might also be a growing lack of interest in you. In a healthy marriage, with the passing of time, both spouses begin to see the ‘every day you’.  And the initial fiery love is replaced with a certain comfort of knowing that you can be the ‘every day  you’ and still be loved. In a marriage with narcissist, when they see the ‘every day you’ and your humanness, you lose value and they easily get enraged that you aren’t what they dreamed of – the charm on their arm, the trophy wife.

DK: That sounds like an awful way to live. Is it possible for the spouse to learn how to deal with this?

EG: Well yes, but it will probably be an unpleasant way to live.  For this conversation, let’s say A is the spouse and N is the narcissist. A will need to work with a therapist to gain specific skills to learn to tolerate N’s behaviors and outbursts; and even then it will not work all the time.   A cannot get upset with anything N does; N cannot handle criticism and does not apologize. A should not expect much in the way of validation or appreciation.  As Narcissists are inherently unstable, N might even praise A one moment, and then in the next moment disparage her, without noticing anything strange about this inconsistent behavior.  And if A tries to point out the unfairness of this or the inconsistency, N will feel criticized and retaliate by attacking her.  Now the couple is in another pointless fight and the whole family is upset.   And this pattern will go on and on, over and over again. In short, it will not be an easy life.

DK: Similarly, is it possible for a narcissist to heal?

EG: Yes, it definitely is possible. But they have to want to. And be willing to put in the work that it will take. Unfortunately, too many don’t see themselves as needing help. To protect their shaky self-esteem, they always blame the other person.  It is the other people who needs help and needs to change, not the narcissist.  But, yes, they can heal and the marriage can be salvaged. If the narcissist really really wants to.

DK: Ideally, one wouldn’t get into such a marriage in the first place. Orthodox Jewish dating is generally short, from a few weeks to a few months.  Can one really recognize a narcissist in such a short time?

EG: When you know what to look out for, you can see patterns of narcissistic tendencies.

DK: Of course, noticing is just one part.  Being ready to act on your gut is crucial, be ready to end the relationship.   Can you describe what you might notice?

EG: Firstly, note that one or two isolated incidents is not necessarily indicative of a problem. When you start to notice a pattern, you might be looking at a narcissist.

On your point of trusting your gut:  If something feels ‘off’ during the date, or if you feel ‘off’ after the date, trust your intuition.  Ask for more time to process it all. Don’t let anyone talk you out of what your gut is telling you. No matter how well-intentioned someone else might be, you know yourself best.

Also, with everything I will share below, it is important to pay attention to the look on their face, the tone of their voice and other non-verbal cues.

Narcissists tend to And therefore they might
Need to feel superior, with not that much to back it up. ‘Braggart, with a lot to be modest about. ‘
  • Brag about their accomplishments, cars, important friends (or other status symbols) so that you’ll know how successful they are.
  • Talk negatively about previous dates.
  • Act with grandiosity (which can be misconstrued as confidence.)
See the world as hierarchal; things or people are either above them or below them.

 

  • Express contempt of other people or things.  They will devalue people to put them below them. They might use derogatory names or descriptions. Or roll their eyes, or use some other facial expression to let you know how they feel.
  • They idealize and try to befriend those people who they feel are self-esteem or status enhancers.
See everything in extremes, as totally wonderful or horribly terrible.   They can’t relate to the concept of ‘good enough’.  They don’t see ‘gray areas’. Use language of extremes

  • Everything about them is unique, special, perfect (ex: s/he goes to best doctors, lives in the best neighborhood)
  • Devalue anyone or anything.  Other people are defective, garbage and worthless.
  • Things ‘always’ happen to them, or ‘never’ happen for them.
  • They either ‘love’ something or ‘hate’ something.

Compare in extremes

  • Better than/ worse than  (ex: “This restaurant is so much better than the one yesterday”)

 

Feel that their way is the only right way. They do not recognize that others can have a different opinion and still be valid.

 

Try to persuade or convince you to bring you to understand the issue as they see it.

  • Even on the smallest things that aren’t really important or relevant to life together. (“You have to agree this show is great.”)
  • Insults others with intent to make you despise that person too.

Get insulted if didn’t take their advice.

Be overly concerned with status.
  • Get incensed about something that they feel slights them in any way (even something very, very small),  and they can’t get off the topic.   (ex: “That guy brought me hot coffee, I specifically asked him for iced. … I need to talk to the manger to get him fired… blah, blah”)
  • Try to show superior status over anyone in service position (ex: Bus boy, waiter, parking attendant, doorman)
Lack empathy. ‘Caring about others isn’t important’.
 ‘Others exist only for me’. People are interchangeable.
  • Not ask about your or your day. They really don’t care.
Are concerned about never feeling shamed.
  • Not to apologize for anything, as that will puncture their defense grandiosity and expose them as flawed. In a narcissist’s mind, to be flawed is the same as being worthless.  If they admit that they were wrong, they are likely to drop into a shame-based self-hating depression in which they hate themselves.  To avoid this, they avoid admitting that they ever do anything wrong.  It is all someone else’s fault.
  • Cares more about what the neighbors might think than for you.  (ex:  “Stop doing that; everyone will think that we are uncultured.”)
Think only about themselves.  They don’t realize that there are 2 people in the conversation.
  • Move the conversation back to themselves.  “Oh that reminds me of a story about myself …”
  • Talk only about topics that they are interested in.
  • Provide a running commentary of what happened that day, with no regard if it is interesting to you.

A typical response in a conversation might be a story about themselves, criticism, bragging, putdowns, complaining or lectures.  They might even repeat the same stories over and over.

DK: Most of the above will be revealed in the regular ‘dating’ conversations.  “How was your day?” “Tell me about your friends.”  “Who are people you look up to?”  Are there any other suggestions of scenarios to kind of ‘create’?

EG: You can bring up a topic and your opinion that you know will differ from theirs. See how they respond. Do they try to convince you to see it their way? Do they not ‘understand’ how you could see it in your way?  Do they get all upset that you voiced a perspective different from theirs?

DK: Any specific questions that can be asked that their answers can be telling of certain maladaptive tendencies?

EG: A great question to understand about how they grew up is: “When someone spilled milk on the table, what happened next?”

DK: I’m guessing that a similar question like  “What is a good response when kids scribble on the wall right before the guests arrive?” can also be telling of how they operate.

EG: Yes. There are no right responses to these types of questions. But do note that some people will try to answer ‘correctly’ so as not to feel ashamed.   So looking out for body language and other non-verbal cues are important.

DK: So if I probe further into their account of the story, I might touch on a detail that might trigger a response that can help me know more about their personality.  What are your thoughts about doing that?

EG:  That can work.

DK: Are there any other discussion starters or questions that can help discern one’s perception of the world?

EG:  Another great question is: “What is your vision of a happy marriage? What is the role of the wife in that marriage? The husband?” “If a wife and husband disagree, how do you think that they should settle it?” And here’s another question you might ask: “Some people believe that they are born to be ‘boss’, others believe that they are born to be ‘equals’.  Where do you stand on this idea?” Listen well.  How they answer is just as important as what they say.

DK: Is there anything that I didn’t ask that is important to this discussion?

EG:  Narcissism isn’t something that goes away with time, maturity or even being in a loving marriage.   A narcissist has their own distorted view of what love is and really no one can be that for them. If you see signs of narcissistic behaviors, do not think that your love for them can fix it; it won’t.

DK: Thank you for sharing all this. I am sure that this information will be helpful. And even if we save one person from a life of misery, we have saved a world.

EG: Thank you for the opportunity to share my life’s work with your community. Much hatzlacha in all that you do.

 

 

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A Different Kind of Date

picnic

Most shiduch dates are sitting in a lounge talking about yourselves.    A leisurely stroll along the river’s edge is similar. In a relaxed atmosphere, you can focus on the conversation and getting to know each other better.

Some people feel that they can’t possibly really get to know someone through conversation only; they want to experience them in ‘real life’ settings.  They want to see how they interact with others, what excites them, how they work, what makes them tick.

While indeed you can see somewhat about a person by the way they treat the service staff, such as waiters or valets, it really doesn’t say all that much about a person.

Here are some activities that people have done during dating.  The idea is not only to have a nice time together, but to get to know each other from a different angle. Doing such activities together can give you insight that cannot be gleaned from conversations.

Do they know how to laugh at themselves when something doesn’t go at planned, or do they get frustrated?  How do they respond to doing something that is interesting to you, but they don’t really care for it?  How well do you work together?  How do they interact with the other people there?  How do other people see him/her?  Are they competitive, or do they help you also do a good job?  How do you feel around them when doing these activities?

TIP: Do let the other person know in advance what you will be doing, so they can plan appropriately.

*You can talk to your mashpia to determine if these are appropriate for you.

  • Learn something together – from a sefer, a lecture, a computer program.
  • Teach each other something you like to do – ex: photography, brew beer.
  • Try something that neither of you have experience with – ex: tying a sailor knot.
  • Have a picnic or BBQ in the park. Prepare the food together.
  • Meet the other person at their place of work.
  • Volunteer  together.
  • Get to meet each other’s families.
  • Visit a zoo or museum.
  • Crafting – pottery, soap making, paper making, painting class, flower making.
  • Escape room.
  • Street fairs, window shopping, farmer’s market.
  • Visit local landmarks as tourists.
  • Meet for brunch, instead of meeting in the evening.
  • Hang out in nature – birdwatching. hiking, corn maze, winery, fruitpicking.
  • Wander the bookstore. Hang out in the travel section and talk about dream trips.
  • Prepare fun food together – chocolate dipped pretzels, cookie decorating.
  • Show n Tell – bring something that is meaningful and talk about it.
  • Each of you prepare something before and then share or discuss during the date. (ex: read an article, watch a video).

You can also checkout www.mikomos.com for other date places.

 

 

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