Archive for January 2014
It happens in our closest circle of friends and with the biggest celebrities: a couple announces they’re getting divorced and we feel a pain in our hearts. Marriage is hard, and hope can feel in short supply, so when we see them breaking up, we feel just that much more that none of us is safe from the death of love.
This hits hardest when we see an older couple breaking up. And now here are the Captain and Tennille with even their marriage hitting the skids.
But who are the Captain and Tennille, you might ask if you’re not a baby boomer? A pop duo—he played keyboards, she sang—with a number of very big hits in the ‘70s. A number of these hits, with now painful irony, celebrated their love, like “Love Will Keep Us Together” (no, it didn’t) and “Do That to Me One More Time” (not any more).
I joke, and for that I apologize, because the Captain and Tennille are real people—Daryl Dragon, 71, and Toni Tennille, 73—and this breakup must be a sign of real pain. Everyone who breaks up looks back at how they boasted of unbreakable love, and now . . . Well, it just hurts.
Fasten your seat belts: this is going to be a little different and, I hope, a lot of fun.
I know a guy whose marriage just blew up. I can’t go into the details but it’s a sad and harrowing story. Now one aspect of the situation is that while he’s really rich his soon-to-be ex, when he met her, had no money to speak of. The question arose in my work with this guy—how could it not?—of whether she married him for his money and, if so, whether the breakup was preordained.
Now you tell me: don’t you think most people with a lot of dough would at least wonder if the person they were dating was just interested in them for their money? It’s not a stupid question, is it?
And look, I’m not saying this is always the case. I’m just saying it’s sometimes the case and so well worth checking out, if you happen to be be rich person in the equation.
But that rich guy whose marriage just blew up, he’s a pretty smart guy, and a man of the world. And yet it never occurred to him that this woman might be just interested in him for his money. How could a smart person be so dumb?
Now you’d think that people really want to know what’s true. That getting to the actual truth is what they care most about. Yes?
NO! And that’s the truth!
The reason we don’t opt for or search for the truth is (more…)
Here’s what happens. A couple comes to see me. They’re miserable: they’ve done things to hurt each other, and they’ve struggled and failed to solve their differences. And the first thing they say to me is, “We need to work on our communication.”
Here are two bright, articulate people, people who often talk for a living, and their problem is they can’t communicate? What are they, cavemen?
No, the problem isn’t communication. The problem is trust.
If they trusted each other, they’d be able to communicate. No trust, no communication. With trust, no problem with communicating.
I can prove it to you, right now. (more…)
Here we go again: another blog post “ripped from the headlines”! This time I offer the raw interview from a very reputable health mag with an international circulation. The topic is the always-important issue of emotional energy: what drains it, how to build it up. All base, of course, on our award-winning The Emotional Energy Factor (a full five-star book on Amazon).
Here’s the interview:
Q: What is emotional energy, in a nutshell? Would you describe it as something like ‘life force’ or ‘internal batteries’?
CHI: When you don’t have physical energy, you can’t do things that are important to you. When you don’t have emotional energy, you (more…)
If you wanted a compendium of bad analysis about why people cheat and bad advice for how to avoid cheating, this is hard to beat, even though it quotes people you’d think would know better.
First of all, this article brings out the old b.s. about how we evolved to want to cheat. The story goes: a lot of babies died way back when but most kids four and up lived, so once a kid reached four the parents felt free to have sex with other people.
This is SO not based on evidence or reason. In general evolutionary psychology is usually based on the flimsy premise that some real circumstance our primitive ancestors found themselves in (in this case, high infant mortality) evolved an adaptation that became hardwired into our brains and that we are saddled with now.
But please. Most species face significant infant mortality, but only some species have non-monogamy, and this variation in monogamy is not correlated with the degree of infant mortality.
Furthermore, humans are enormously adaptive—that’s our biggest evolutionary adaptation! Enormous change in response to changed circumstances is normal for us. Of course I am not saying that no responses are hard wired into our repertoire. There’s the fight-or-flight response, for example. But with humans social learning most often trumps instinct. We may feel the fight-or-flight response, but most of the time when threatened we neither fight nor flee.
If you want to understand what really makes people cheat, you need look no further than (more…)