She Should Feel Safe Around Him

First let’s understand some of the aspects that create a feeling of safety in a relationship. A man’s unconditional acceptance of a woman means that there is no judgment and criticism. She can communicate honestly, be herself, and feel emotionally safe. There are also physical and financial factors that can appeal to a woman’s sense of safety. Sometimes a woman will trade one of these comforts for another in her relationship. It is emotional safety that I want to address. It is the one that creates a great deal of confusion.

…a confident man creates the feeling of trust with a woman.

A woman will feel emotionally safe with a man who is emotionally available, honest, trustworthy and authentic. These are emotional character strengths she can respect and admire in a man. A man of character and emotional depth is a man who knows who he is and likes himself. His love for himself is so strong he does not need to gain the acceptance of others by trying to be something he is not. His strength is not physical so much as it is in the clarity of his mind and emotions. These are character strengths that a woman not only admires, but feels safe with. He is not a weak man that will bend to the whims of other people. She can trust him to be who he is. I describe this kind of man as being in his emotional integrity.

…a woman feels safe if she believes the relationship is going somewhere.

A different factor for women that creates safety is her trust that the relationship is solid and will work out. When a man spends time doing activities as simple as cleaning house and cooking together it sends a message that he is committed to being with her. It is wasteful to invest her time with someone that may be gone soon. You want to know if your prospective partner has the capacity and willingness to match you for a deeper emotional commitment.

There is also the fear that if after getting emotionally invested in a man there will be a break up. It makes sense for us to wonder where the relationship is going. Sometimes a woman wants to be “safe” from the potential pain of a broken heart. She wants to avoid the emotions associated with being alone. This kind of safety is really about protecting herself from the painful emotions that come from her fears of break up and being alone. When a man is distant emotionally or physically from her it may bring up feelings of loneliness, or fear of a break up. Seeking this type of emotional safety can lead to emotional drama.

…feats and insecurity in relationship takes a woman out of her emotional integrity.

In order to avoid her fears of being alone the woman may make efforts to keep her man close. It might be a criticism for going out with the boys for an evening. By discouraging him to do other things she is increasing their time together. A critical comment is a means to reject his behavior so he would avoid criticism in the future. Becoming sad is a way for the man to notice her and get what she wants. If there is a lot of emotional charge the dynamic might include anger or jealousy. It is possible the man ends up feeling guilty for having done the “wrong” thing that caused her to be upset. The man may want to avoid the night out with the boys just so he doesn’t have to deal with her emotional reaction.

…the downside of getting what she wants

If a woman engages in such efforts and is successful in controlling her man she will have influenced his behavior by her emotional reactions. With influence over his emotions she will have influence over what he does with his time. He will learn to avoid the activities that bring emotional reactions and criticism and do the things that she approves of. They will spend more time together which will help her to feel solid in the relationship. It also distracts herself from the fear of being alone. In one part of her mind she has helped their relationship, but she has unknowingly created a separate feeling of not being safe.

When a woman see’s that she can modify her man’s behavior she might perceive him as not being as strong. She will see him as someone that gives up his interests, runs around trying to make her happy. He has stopped being his authentic self and started being what she wants him to be. At some level she perceives him as no longer being his own man. She could perceive him as having weak character and could lose respect for him. More importantly she will not feel safe with a man she sees as having a weak character. Some women will conclude that if they can influence or control their man then other women will also be able to control and influence him as well. All of this adds up to losing respect and trust in the man.

Question of the Day: Does the men in your life, help you to feel emotionally safe?

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SurveyStud: In the App Store

Men Don’t Notice or Care

Years back I woke up to find my wife, Chantel, in front of the mirror, examining her stretch marks. She asked me whether I thought she should try using cream to get rid of them. I told her the truth, if she wanted to improve her appearance, she should get more beauty sleep before our kids came in to rob us of whatever remains of our youth.

What I didn’t tell her—but should have—is this: I pretty much never notice those stretch marks.

Like most guys, I’m too busy paying attention to the stuff that makes the female body so awesome. We do, however, see your obsessing and attempting to compensate for what you perceive as flaws. Want to save yourself a whole bunch of angst and money?

WHAT MEN DON’T NOTICE

1. Cellulite, bellies, etc. When I go to the pool in the summertime, I get sad when I see beautiful women covering up their bodies because they’re self-conscious about a few jiggly parts here and there. Who cares? Everybody’s got a little jiggle; it’s a sign of good times. A woman who is confident enough to show you that she knows how to eat and laugh, who is willing to let a little muffin top rise over the edge of the pan, is a lot sexier than someone who hides herself in big, billowy clothing. As for getting physical, these bits don’t bother guys either: A little extra bounce and slap here and there is never a bad thing in bed.

2. Breasts that don’t bounce to attention. Men love boobs. Some guys are “boob men” and have specific tastes, but most of us are excited by life’s rich tapestry of breasts. After two kids and 10 years together, I think my wife’s pair of aces is just as incredible as when she first taught me how to play Texas hold ’em. (Worst poker metaphor ever? Yup.) Luckily, Chantel still loves her girls too, and proudly displays them despite all the changes they’ve undergone in the last decade. An appreciated boob is a sexy boob, whether it’s an A cup or a double D, whether there is a little sag or one’s bigger than the other. If you love your breasts and think they’re hot, so will your guy.

3. What you’re doing with your hair down there. Sometimes I trim my beard, sometimes I don’t. Feel free to take the same approach, because I’m not really paying attention. I’ve had this discussion with friends, and we all agree that the product is a lot more interesting than the packaging. So grow it out, trim it, make a funny design like a lighting bolt or an arrow, just have fun with it. One personal caveat: I’m not a fan of totally waxed pubic hair. I think it’s creepy and weird to fetishize the look of prepubescence. And regrowth is no fun for either party. Besides, people who take pubic hair for granted are destined to wear a merkin.

4. Split ends. What are these things? I see so many commercials about split ends, and the women in those commercials seem very concerned. I couldn’t identify a split end if it robbed me at gunpoint.

WHAT MEN DO NOTICE

5. When you fake the color of your skin. You know what freaks me out? Women spending money on products and treatments to make their skin darker. You know what’s equally crazy? Women spending money on products and treatments to make their skin lighter. The end results always seem to hover around “orange” or “E.T. when he’s sick.” Natural is hot: I love dark skin. I love olive and caramel skin, and Gothy pale white skin. Sick alien and Creamsicle orange I don’t dig so much, and I don’t know any guys who do.

6. Lips that have been injected with a foreign substance. So creepy. Take it from me: Collagen injections don’t make a woman look like Angelina Jolie; they make her look like she’s just had invasive dental surgery.

7. Frozen face. (Are you detecting a trend?) Why do men despise it when you inject your wrinkles away? Let me see, maybe it’s because it robs you of the ability to convey human emotions like surprise or worry. Husband: “Honey, you seem strangely unmoved by the fact that the dog just ate a carving knife.” Wife: “I’m furrowing my brow with concern… on the inside.”

8. Scars. And so we come back to the stretch marks. At one point Chantel’s were red and unmissable, along with her C-section scar, but they don’t, and never did, bother me. I don’t think other guys mind them either, as evidenced by the fact that many strippers out there have obvious C-section scars (don’t ask me how I know this). In Chantel’s case, they are physical evidence of our shared history and of the pain Chantel was willing to endure for our family. They show just how tough my wife is.

Just my thoughts… I normally don’t write for this blog but today I thought I would.

George T.

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SurveyStud: In the App Store

I Love My Cellulite

It’s the thing that affects almost every woman, no matter her size. You know what I’m talking about — the dimples and puckers, ripples and waves that crop up when you cross your legs or on your butt in a bathing suit. Tabloids pick apart stars who dare to frolic on the beach with it, and it can be enough to make you second-guess your short shorts or bathing suit bottoms.

But why do we give cellulite this power? Sure, you can rush to Sephora and load up on all the creams with fancy names and fun labels, each promising to help reduce and even banish the bumps that appear on even the thinnest of us. Everyone has it. Why can’t we seem to embrace it?

“It’s a biologic evolution that occurs after puberty in 90-plus percent of females on earth,” says Amy Goldenberg, Consumer Research Analyst, SurveyStud, Inc. Almost everyone has a certain amount of body fat between the muscles and skin, and “collagen fibers connect the skin through the fat all the way to the lining of the underlying muscle. It’s like the strings on a parachute. The skin is the parachute top and the strings go through the fat until they hit the muscle lining.” Cellulite, then, appears as body fat tries to poke through those fibers in little pockets.

With the advent of Photoshop and airbrushing, it’s easy to smooth out photos of models and celebrities, and that creates a warped view of the “ideal body” for the rest of us. But before you rush off to grab at anything that promises fewer puckers, know this:

Those creams don’t work.

How can they get away with promising results then? “They have some kind of caffeine effect to help tighten the skin, or they tend to hydrate the skin and so the skin gets more hydrated so the appearance of cellulite is less, but that only lasts a few days so that’s only very temporary. It’s not permanent,” says Goldenberg, “The skin is a very good barrier against the environment, which is water, solids, even cream, so that’s why most of the topical stuff doesn’t work because it doesn’t get absorbed into the skin.”

Amy also adds that “people who are more physically fit — not just because they’re less fat, but because their muscle tone is better — have less of an appearance of cellulite.” Join a team, or pick up a new exercise routine. Even if you might not see changes in your body immediately, studies have proven that people who work out have higher levels of self-esteem. You might reduce your body-fat percentage, sure, but you’ll also know that your body is so much more powerful than its lumps. It’s really a win-win.

Here’s the thing, though: you’re no less attractive just because the backs of your thighs ripple when you sit down. You’re no less smart, no less funny, no less kind, or a worse friend. Cellulite can’t tell you anything about your personality or your life. The most it says is what it says about the bodies of almost every other woman on earth — that your skin is attached to your muscle in the way it should be.

And if anyone has a problem with something as superficial as a dimple on your butt, you can respectfully tell them to kiss it.

Question: Do you ever hate looking at your thighs because of cellulite?

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SurveyStud: In the App Store

Confidence Is Attractive 

Confidence is either something you have or you don’t. Of course, there are some people who consider themselves somewhere in the middle of the spectrum, believing they are content with where they are in life and how they feel about themselves.

While these people are fine and complacent, they aren’t radiating any extra confidence.

Confidence is an asset that shines through personal relationships, your own relationship with yourself and relations in the workplace. Everyone respects a person with confidence because with it, you are basically investing your heart and soul into something you feel passionately about.
It shows how you feel about yourself…

If you aren’t going to have confidence in yourself, why would anyone else? You can’t expect people to support you unconditionally if you do not believe in yourself wholeheartedly. If you aren’t secure in who you are as a person, how can you ever move forward in life with ease?

The honest answer is you can’t because you are nervous and self-conscious. Instead of concerning yourself with the opinions of others, you must live your life for yourself. Do things that make you happy and that interest you. If an opportunity arises that you wish to explore, don’t think, just dive right in because that is the only way you are going to learn how to strive and to succeed on your own.

It asserts power and knowledge…

If you aren’t confident in your views and convictions, how can you expect others to listen to what you have to say? If you don’t believe what you are selling, no one else will either. People aren’t fools and will know when you are faking it. They can smell bullsh*t a mile away and are definitely not afraid to call you out on it.

If you want people to listen to what you have to say, you must exude confidence and engage them in whatever it is you are trying to say.

It encourages positive thinking…

Who wants to be around someone who is constantly negative all of the time? No one, that’s for damn sure. Confident people tend to think on the positive side because they are secure in themselves and aren’t easily thrown off track. They take what life throws at them as it comes and react accordingly.

They do not allow these obstacles to distract them from the task at hand, rather they calmly and rationally manage whatever the situation is and move on with whatever it is they are doing.

It shows leadership…

No one wants to follow the direction of a person who can’t assert him or herself because it defeats the whole purpose of having a leader: having one designated person who stands above the rest to help others.

There is no way to even trust someone’s ability to lead you if that person isn’t confident in his or her own motives. Leaders must have confidence so that the people looking up to them feel secure, motivated and driven.

It’s the best defense out there…

If someone is attacking your character and you are a confident individual, will their harsh words even leave a mark? Having self-esteem and confidence protects you from critics. This is not constructive criticism I’m talking about, rather negative individuals who appear jealous and try to bring you down. These people resort to insults because they believe that they are the quickest means to bring someone down.

But what does that really mean? It means these people lack confidence in their own lives and are trying to bring you down to their level. But you know better because, at the end of the day, it’s not what others think about you, it’s what you think about yourself.

It draws people to you…

Confidence creates an aura that draws people in. Because many people lack high self-esteems, they are intrigued by people who have high levels of confidence. They want to learn how these people live their lives with hopes of emulating their energy.

Finding a way to be confident is a beyond desirable lifestyle and one everyone should strive for. Although, it can sometimes be difficult to achieve, it is definitely worth it in the long run.

Value of Dating a Mama’s Boy

Dating a mama’s boy can come with its fair share of challenges, like a mother presence that never quits, but it can also be pretty great. Of course, there are limitations when it comes to what’s appropriate between a mother and her grown son, but there are plenty of reasons a classic mama’s boy makes for a great boyfriend (and husband!)

I spoke with Amy Goldenberg, Consumer Research Analyst, SurveyStud, Inc about Mama’s Boy, and below are excerpts of our conversation:

1. HE RESPECTS WOMEN.
A mama’s boy thinks his mom is number one, which means he knows how to treat a lady right. Plus, his mom would probably kick his butt if he disrespected a woman.

2. HE KNOWS HOW TO GIVE A GIFT.
Your mama’s boy is not only going to remember every anniversary/birthday/half birthday, but he’s going to sweetly acknowledge them in ways you actually appreciate.

3. HE’S TUNED IN TO A WOMAN’S EMOTIONS.
Guys who are really close to their moms have an insider perspective on what makes them tick (and what pisses them off).

4. YOU’LL ALWAYS HAVE SOMEWHERE TO SPEND THE HOLIDAYS.
Whether your family is a little far to get to for every holiday or you just feel like avoiding them sometimes, you can be sure a mama’s boy will be ready to visit home at a moments notice.

5. HE HAS HIGH EXPECTATIONS.
This is a good thing, because it means you have already passed his first round of assessments about what type of girl you are.

6. FAMILY IS IMPORTANT TO HIM.
You can rest assured that a mama’s boy is going to take his own future family life very seriously.

7. HE’S SENSITIVE.
A mama’s boy is not only sensitive to what women are feeling, he’s more in tune with what he’s feeling, as well.

8. HE’S CHIVALROUS.
A guy who wants to make women happy is going to be on his best dating behavior. Cue the door opening and cute moves like offering you his jacket.

9. HE’LL ONLY TAKE YOU HOME IF HE’S SERIOUS ABOUT YOU.
You don’t have to worry about a mama’s boy stringing you along – he wouldn’t introduce you to his mom unless he meant business, because she means business.

10. HE’S NOT GOING TO INSULT YOUR TIME OF THE MONTH.
This isn’t going to be the boyfriend who gets all snarky and asks if you’re PMSing every time you slightly raise your voice or get sensitive. In fact, he’ll probably bring you a hot water bottle and a bar of chocolate to make things easier.

11. HE WAS INSTILLED WITH CERTAIN VALUES. As long as a mama’s boy has individuated from his mom enough to make his own decisions, the behavioral rules he learned growing up will stay with him like an internal compass.

Question: Have you ever dated a Mama’s Boy?

Leave a comment below…

SurveyStud: In the App Store

The Art of Walking in Heels

Heels are the perfect addition to just about any outfit — and they make our legs look like a supermodel’s — yet wearing them comes at a price.

And it’s not just pain and blisters; even walking in them gracefully is a challenge.

So it’s no surprise that a recent picture of Rihanna gliding over a New York City subway grate in pointy stilettos practically made my head spin.

Shortly after seeing this I spoke with Amy Goldenberg, Consumer Research Analyst, SurveyStud, Inc to get data/uncover the secrets to walking in 4-inch stilettos (Your feet will definitely thank her later for this one.)

1. It’s all about posture.

Amy said, remember when your mom was always telling you to stand up straight? Turns out mom really does know best.

2. Work that inner core.

Besides giving you hopes of getting a six-pack, building inner core strength can actually help you walk better. Amy added that Pilates is her exercise of choice. Perhaps that’s the secret behind celebrities and models walking for hours on end in sky-high shoes.

3. There’s some homework involved.

What you do at home can actually make a difference when it comes to hitting the city streets with grace and elegance.

4. How you step matters.

Walking might not be as easy as 1-2-3.

Amy also said the key to walking in heels is trying a Y-step. Each time you step, land on the outer border of the heel and toe off.

5. Now put this all together.

If this seems overwhelming, I promise it’s not. According to Amy, here’s what you need to remember H-A-P-P-Y:

H: Head held high

A: Abdominal muscles pulled in

P: Pelvis in neutral

P: Press chest down

Y: Y-step

Perhaps it’s not so hard after all.

Question: Have you mastered walking in heels?

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SurveyStud: In the App Store

Dating A Friend’s Ex: LGBTQ Community

Lots of people have told me unequivocally that they would never date a friend’s ex. They wholeheartedly believe that it’s wrong, disrespectful, and if a friend did that to them, they’d never talk to that person again. They believe this is something everybody knows, that they’re just following the rules.

What I’ve noticed, though, is that every person I’ve heard espouse this worldview was straight. This rule is almost never stated or enforced among LGBTQ communities. If you’re gay, you will almost inevitably date a friend’s ex at some point. LGBTQ communities are often small and insular, and once you’ve found one, you tend to hold on to it for dear life. It’s difficult to meet people you’re romantically interested in beyond an already-defined circle, and outside of your city’s LGBTQ scene, most people you run into are likely to be straight. Even if you meet someone to whom you think you have no previous connection, a 10-minute conversation almost always reveals that she went to high school with your college roommate, used to be on a volleyball team with that girl from your book club, and had a six-month stand with your favorite barista.

LGBTQ don’t tend to expect their dates to come into their lives completely free of prior complication. They believe their backstories will be tangled and intertwined.

Whether you’re gay, straight, bi, or not into labels, dating a friend’s ex can absolutely be done without sacrificing your friendship — you just have to follow a few simple guidelines.

1. Don’t gossip. It’s common to assume that anything shared with you is by default shared with your partner as well; however, your friend might be much less comfortable speaking to you in confidence if she thought the details of her personal life were going to be relayed to someone who used to share her toothbrush. (I’m going to use female pronouns for your friend, and male pronouns for your sweetie, for the sake of simplicity; however, every rule here applies no matter the genders of the participants.) Keep your friend’s secrets. The reverse is also true; no matter how much you love discussing your dude with your besties, his ex can probably live without hearing the details of his current sex life. Save it for your diary or for anyone who didn’t date him.

2. Don’t trash talk. It’s OK to come to your partner for advice if you’re arguing with your friend, or vice versa, but absolutely resist the urge to belittle or insult one of them to the other. This can be extremely tempting if they ended on bad terms and you know you’ll find a sympathetic ear. However, in order to maintain a healthy relationship with both of them, it’s crucial that you never seem even a little like you’re taking sides in their breakup or casting either one as the bad guy, even months or years after the fact. If you need to vent about one of them, find a neutral party.

3. Respect boundaries without making assumptions. For instance, if your friend doesn’t want to go to parties where her ex will be in attendance, don’t pressure her. But don’t assume she doesn’t want an invite if you haven’t asked! In general, allow your friend and your sweetheart to decide how much contact they want with each other, and don’t push them to associate if they’re not into it. Remember that you can love them both without them necessarily having to enjoy each other. This goes for friends and partners who haven’t dated, too, now that I think of it. Set aside time for each of them and honor it — don’t drag your lover along on girls’ night out (not even if your lover is a lady; queer chicks are so bad about this), and don’t invite your friend to what was supposed to be a romantic dinner at home.

4. No comparisons. Don’t ask your man if you’re prettier/smarter/better at Scrabble than his last girlfriend. Don’t do this ever, but especially not if his last girlfriend is the person you’re going rock climbing with Sunday. No matter what his answer is, it’s going to make things weird. Besides, comparing yourself to anybody — even if you come out ahead — is always going to lead to feeling crappy, because basing your self-esteem on where you stand relative to someone else is Not Healthy. So don’t seek out comparisons, and if your dude brings up the topic, tell him you’re not interested in hearing it. You and your friend are not in competition, except when you’re actually playing Scrabble.

5. Don’t be paranoid. Don’t try to keep your boyfriend and your bud from associating because you’re afraid they still have feelings for each other, and don’t constantly seek reassurance that that’s not the case. Trust that your dude is with you because he likes you and you’re awesome, not because he’s biding his time until your friend takes him back. Trust that your friend is happy you’ve found someone you dig, not plotting to sabotage your love. And don’t ever use jealousy or insecurity over their past relationship to excuse irrational or controlling behavior on your part. Of course, if your sweetie gives you a legitimate reason to believe he’s untrustworthy, get out of there stat, but if there’s really nothing wrong, don’t create problems where none exist.

6. Don’t pry into their relationship. It may be tempting ask your friend to analyze what happened between the two of them so that you can avoid making the same mistakes, but resist that urge. Likewise, don’t grill your boyfriend on what went wrong or insist that he account for his behavior throughout the entire time they dated. Their relationship is between them; it’s not your cautionary tale or your soap opera. If they choose to share details with you, that’s fine — you don’t need to stick your fingers in your ears, unless an overt comparison is being made (see No. 4) — but don’t push. Your relationship and theirs are separate things, and you don’t need to know anything they don’t care to tell you.

7. Recognize that some exes really are off-limits. It’s easier, of course, to have hard-line rules — “exes are never OK” versus “exes are totally fine” — but that’s not the world we live in. If someone seriously mistreated your friend (we’re talking emotional or physical abuse, infidelity, lying, stealing, etc.), don’t date him, no matter how awesome his butt looks in jeans. This has nothing to do with some kind of Eternal Dibs situation, and everything to do with the fact that, by choosing to build a relationship with someone who treated her horribly, you’re telling your friend you don’t think what he did to her was all that bad. Just walk away.

Set the precedent that people who are awful to your friends are people who don’t get to see you naked, and your life will be the better because of it.

Question: Have you ever dated a friends Ex?

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SurveyStud: In the App Store